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Sample records for directed molecular evolution

  1. Theory of recombination in directed molecular evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peng, Weiqun; Hwa, Terence; Levine, Herbert; Kessler, David A.

    2003-03-01

    Recombination is a fundamental process driving the evolution of biological organisms in nature. It is also a very efficient method being used in in vitro directed evolution of molecules. Here we propose a simple model for the directed evolution of protein-binding DNA sequences subject to recombination, substitution, and competitive selection. This turns out to be a rare model of involving recombination which is analytically tractable. We characterize the dynamical and steady-state behaviors of this model and verify them numerically. We discuss the manner in which recombination drastically speeds up the evolutionary process.

  2. Detection of biological threats. A challenge for directed molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    Petrenko, Valery A; Sorokulova, Iryna B

    2004-08-01

    The probe technique originated from early attempts of Anton van Leeuwenhoek to contrast microorganisms under the microscope using plant juices, successful staining of tubercle bacilli with synthetic dyes by Paul Ehrlich and discovery of a stain for differentiation of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria by Hans Christian Gram. The technique relies on the principle that pathogens have unique structural features, which can be recognized by specifically labeled organic molecules. A hundred years of extensive screening efforts led to discovery of a limited assortment of organic probes that are used for identification and differentiation of bacteria. A new challenge--continuous monitoring of biological threats--requires long lasting molecular probes capable of tight specific binding of pathogens in unfavorable conditions. To respond to the challenge, probe technology is being revolutionized by utilizing methods of combinatorial chemistry, phage display and directed molecular evolution. This review describes how molecular evolution methods are applied for development of peptide, antibody and phage probes, and summarizes the author's own data on development of landscape phage probes against Salmonella typhimurium. The performance of the probes in detection of Salmonella is illustrated by a precipitation test, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) and fluorescent, optical and electron microscopy.

  3. Hypoallergens for allergen-specific immunotherapy by directed molecular evolution of mite group 2 allergens.

    PubMed

    Gafvelin, Guro; Parmley, Stephen; Neimert-Andersson, Theresa; Blank, Ulrich; Eriksson, Tove L J; van Hage, Marianne; Punnonen, Juha

    2007-02-09

    Allergen-specific immunotherapy is the only treatment that provides long lasting relief of allergic symptoms. Currently, it is based on repeated administration of allergen extracts. To improve the safety and efficacy of allergen extract-based immunotherapy, application of hypoallergens, i.e. modified allergens with reduced IgE binding capacity but retained T-cell reactivity, has been proposed. It may, however, be difficult to predict how to modify an allergen to create a hypoallergen. Directed molecular evolution by DNA shuffling and screening provides a means by which to evolve proteins having novel or improved functional properties without knowledge of structure-function relationships of the target molecules. With the aim to generate hypoallergens we applied multigene DNA shuffling on three group 2 dust mite allergen genes, two isoforms of Lep d 2 and Gly d 2. DNA shuffling yielded a library of genes from which encoded shuffled allergens were expressed and screened. A positive selection was made for full-length, high-expressing clones, and screening for low binding to IgE from mite allergic patients was performed using an IgE bead-based binding assay. Nine selected shuffled allergens revealed 80-fold reduced to completely abolished IgE binding compared with the parental allergens in IgE binding competition experiments. Two hypoallergen candidates stimulated allergen-specific T-cell proliferation and cytokine production at comparable levels as the wild-type allergens in patient peripheral blood mononuclear cell cultures. The two candidates also induced blocking Lep d 2-specific IgG antibodies in immunized mice. We conclude that directed molecular evolution is a powerful approach to generate hypoallergens for potential use in allergen-specific immunotherapy.

  4. Direct molecular evolution of detergent-stable G protein-coupled receptors using polymer encapsulated cells.

    PubMed

    Scott, Daniel J; Plückthun, Andreas

    2013-02-08

    G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are the largest class of pharmaceutical protein targets, yet drug development is encumbered by a lack of information about their molecular structure and conformational dynamics. Most mechanistic and structural studies as well as in vitro drug screening with purified receptors require detergent solubilization of the GPCR, but typically, these proteins exhibit only low stability in detergent micelles. We have developed the first directed evolution method that allows the direct selection of GPCRs stable in a chosen detergent from libraries containing over 100 million individual variants. The crucial concept was to encapsulate single Escherichia coli cells of a library, each expressing a different GPCR variant, to form detergent-resistant, semipermeable nano-containers. Unlike naked cells, these containers are not dissolved by detergents, allowing us to solubilize the GPCR proteins in situ while maintaining an association with the protein's genetic information, a prerequisite for directed evolution. The pore size was controlled to permit GPCR ligands to permeate but the solubilized receptor to remain within the nanocapsules. Fluorescently labeled ligands were used to bind to those GPCR variants inside the nano-containers that remained active in the detergent tested. With the use of fluorescence-activated cell sorting, detergent-stable mutants derived from two different family A GPCRs could be identified, some with the highest stability reported in short-chain detergents. In principle, this method (named cellular high-throughput encapsulation, solubilization and screening) is not limited to engineering stabilized GPCRs but could be used to stabilize other proteins for biochemical and structural studies.

  5. Directed Molecular Evolution Improves the Immunogenicity and Protective Efficacy of a Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis Virus DNA Vaccine

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2009-05-01

    VEEV IA/B challenge. Our results indicate that it is pos- sible to improve the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of alphavirus DNA vaccines using... alphaviruses that ause periodic epizootics in the Americas [1]. These New World lphaviruses cause diseases in humans characterized by fever, eadache...equine encephalitis virus, VEE, alphavirus , DNA vaccine, envelope glycoproteins, directed molecular evolution, efficacy, immunogenicity, laboratory

  6. Mistakes and Molecular Evolution.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Trevors, J. T.

    1998-01-01

    Examines the role mistakes play in the molecular evolution of bacteria. Discusses the interacting physical, chemical, and biological factors that cause changes in DNA and play a role in prokaryotic evolution. (DDR)

  7. Workshop on Molecular Evolution

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cummings, Michael P.

    2004-01-01

    Molecular evolution has become the nexus of many areas of biological research. It both brings together and enriches such areas as biochemistry, molecular biology, microbiology, population genetics, systematics, developmental biology, genomics, bioinformatics, in vitro evolution, and molecular ecology. The Workshop provides an important contribution to these fields in that it promotes interdisciplinary research and interaction, and thus provides a glue that sticks together disparate fields. Due to the wide range of fields addressed by the study of molecular evolution, it is difficult to offer a comprehensive course in a university setting. It is rare for a single institution to maintain expertise in all necessary areas. In contrast, the Workshop is uniquely able to provide necessary breadth and depth by utilizing a large number of faculty with appropriate expertise. Furthermore, the flexible nature of the Workshop allows for rapid adaptation to changes in the dynamic field of molecular evolution. For example, the 2003 Workshop included recently emergent research areas of molecular evolution of development and genomics.

  8. Optimized expression and specific activity of IL-12 by directed molecular evolution

    PubMed Central

    Leong, Steven R.; Chang, Jean C. C.; Ong, Randal; Dawes, Glenn; Stemmer, Willem P. C.; Punnonen, Juha

    2003-01-01

    DNA delivery of IL-12 has shown promise in reducing the toxic side effects associated with administration of recombinant human (h)IL-12 protein while maintaining the ability to inhibit tumor growth and abolish tumor metastases in animal models. We have developed a more potent version of IL-12 by using DNA shuffling and screening to improve its expression in human cells and specific activity on human T cells. The most improved evolved IL-12 (EvIL-12) derived from seven mammalian genes encoding both the p35 and p40 subunits of IL-12 showed a 128-fold improvement in human T cell proliferation compared with native hIL-12 during the initial screening of supernatants from transected cells. When purified hIL-12 and EvIL-12 proteins were compared in vitro in human T cell proliferation and Th1 differentiation assays, it was demonstrated that EvIL-12 exhibited a concomitant 10-fold increase in the specific activity of the protein compared with hIL-12. Furthermore, DNA shuffling improved the level of expression and homogeneity of the heterodimer synthesized by 293 human embryonic kidney cells transfected with EvIL-12 by at least 10-fold. Molecular analysis of the variant revealed strategic placement of amino acid substitutions that potentially may facilitate heterodimer formation and product expression. The enhanced expression and biological activity of EvIL-12 may improve the effectiveness of IL-12 gene-based vaccines and therapeutics without the toxic side effects sometimes associated with hIL-12 protein administration. PMID:12529500

  9. Directed Polymerase Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Tingjian; Romesberg, Floyd E.

    2014-01-01

    Polymerases evolved in nature to synthesize DNA and RNA, and they underlie the storage and flow of genetic information in all cells. The availability of these enzymes for use at the bench has driven a revolution in biotechnology and medicinal research; however, polymerases did not evolve to function efficiently under the conditions required for some applications and their high substrate fidelity precludes their use for most applications that involve modified substrates. To circumvent these limitations, researchers have turned to directed evolution to tailor the properties and/or substrate repertoire of polymerases for different applications, and several systems have been developed for this purpose. These systems draw on different methods of creating a pool of randomly mutated polymerases and are differentiated by the process used to isolate the most fit members. A variety of polymerases have been evolved, providing new or improved functionality, as well as interesting new insight into the factors governing activity. PMID:24211837

  10. The evolution of molecular clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shu, Frank H.; Lizano, Susana

    1988-01-01

    The problem of the structure and evolution of molecular clouds is reviewed, with particular emphasis given to the relationship with star formation. The basic hypothesis is that magnetic fields are the primary agents for supporting molecular clouds, although damped Alfven waves may play an important role in the direction parallel to the field lines. This picture naturally leads to a conception of 'bimodal star formation'. It is proposed that high-mass stars form from the overall gravitational collapse of a supercritical cloud, whereas low-mass stars form from small individual cores that slowly condense by ambipolar diffusion from a more extended envelope until they pass the brink of graviational instability and begin to collapse dynamically from 'inside-out'. The evidence that the infall stage of protostellar evolution is terminated by the development of a powerful stellar wind is reviewed.

  11. Microfluidic Compartmentalized Directed Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Paegel, Brian M.; Joyce, Gerald F.

    2010-01-01

    Summary Directed evolution studies often make use of water-in-oil compartments, which conventionally are prepared by bulk emulsification, a crude process that generates non-uniform droplets and can damage biochemical reagents. A microfluidic emulsification circuit was devised that generates uniform water-in-oil droplets (21.9 ± 0.8 μm radius) with high throughput (107–108 droplets per hour). The circuit contains a radial array of aqueous flow nozzles that intersect a surrounding oil flow channel. This device was used to evolve RNA enzymes with RNA ligase activity, selecting enzymes that could resist inhibition by neomycin. Each molecule in the population had the opportunity to undergo 108-fold selective amplification within its respective compartment. Then the progeny RNAs were harvested and used to seed new compartments. During five rounds of this procedure, the enzymes acquired mutations that conferred resistance to neomycin and caused some enzymes to become dependent on neomycin for optimal activity. PMID:20659684

  12. Evolution of molecular clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sevenster, M.

    1993-01-01

    The evolution of interstellar molecular hydrogen was studied, with a special interest for the formation and evolution of molecular clouds and star formation within them, by a two-dimensional hydrodynamical simulation performed on a rectangular grid of physical sizes on the order of 100 pc. It is filled with an initial density of approx. 1 cm(exp -3), except for one cell (approx. 1 pc(exp 2)) at the center of the grid where an accretion core of 1-10(exp 3) solar masses is placed. The grid is co-moving with the gridcenter that is on a circular orbit around the Galactic center and that also is the guiding center of epicyclic approximation of orbits of the matter surrounding it. The initial radial velocity is zero; to account for differential rotation the initial tangential velocity (i.e. the movement around the galactic center) is proportional to the radial distance to the grid center. The rate is comparable to the rotation rate at the Local Standard of Rest. The influence of galactic rotation is noticed by spiral or elliptical forms, but on much longer time scales than self gravitation and cooling processes. Density and temperature are kept constant at the boundaries and no inflow is allowed along the tangential boundaries.

  13. Directed Evolution and In Silico Analysis of Reaction Centre Proteins Reveal Molecular Signatures of Photosynthesis Adaptation to Radiation Pressure

    PubMed Central

    Rea, Giuseppina; Lambreva, Maya; Polticelli, Fabio; Bertalan, Ivo; Antonacci, Amina; Pastorelli, Sandro; Damasso, Mario; Johanningmeier, Udo; Giardi, Maria Teresa

    2011-01-01

    Evolutionary mechanisms adopted by the photosynthetic apparatus to modifications in the Earth's atmosphere on a geological time-scale remain a focus of intense research. The photosynthetic machinery has had to cope with continuously changing environmental conditions and particularly with the complex ionizing radiation emitted by solar flares. The photosynthetic D1 protein, being the site of electron tunneling-mediated charge separation and solar energy transduction, is a hot spot for the generation of radiation-induced radical injuries. We explored the possibility to produce D1 variants tolerant to ionizing radiation in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and clarified the effect of radiation-induced oxidative damage on the photosynthetic proteins evolution. In vitro directed evolution strategies targeted at the D1 protein were adopted to create libraries of chlamydomonas random mutants, subsequently selected by exposures to radical-generating proton or neutron sources. The common trend observed in the D1 aminoacidic substitutions was the replacement of less polar by more polar amino acids. The applied selection pressure forced replacement of residues more sensitive to oxidative damage with less sensitive ones, suggesting that ionizing radiation may have been one of the driving forces in the evolution of the eukaryotic photosynthetic apparatus. A set of the identified aminoacidic substitutions, close to the secondary plastoquinone binding niche and oxygen evolving complex, were introduced by site-directed mutagenesis in un-transformed strains, and their sensitivity to free radicals attack analyzed. Mutants displayed reduced electron transport efficiency in physiological conditions, and increased photosynthetic performance stability and oxygen evolution capacity in stressful high-light conditions. Finally, comparative in silico analyses of D1 aminoacidic sequences of organisms differently located in the evolution chain, revealed a higher ratio of residues more sensitive to

  14. Molecular evolution and the latitudinal biodiversity gradient

    PubMed Central

    Dowle, E J; Morgan-Richards, M; Trewick, S A

    2013-01-01

    Species density is higher in the tropics (low latitude) than in temperate regions (high latitude) resulting in a latitudinal biodiversity gradient (LBG). The LBG must be generated by differential rates of speciation and/or extinction and/or immigration among regions, but the role of each of these processes is still unclear. Recent studies examining differences in rates of molecular evolution have inferred a direct link between rate of molecular evolution and rate of speciation, and postulated these as important drivers of the LBG. Here we review the molecular genetic evidence and examine the factors that might be responsible for differences in rates of molecular evolution. Critical to this is the directionality of the relationship between speciation rates and rates of molecular evolution. PMID:23486082

  15. Antagonistic coevolution accelerates molecular evolution

    PubMed Central

    Paterson, Steve; Vogwill, Tom; Buckling, Angus; Benmayor, Rebecca; Spiers, Andrew J.; Thomson, Nicholas R.; Quail, Mike; Smith, Frances; Walker, Danielle; Libberton, Ben; Fenton, Andrew; Hall, Neil; Brockhurst, Michael A.

    2013-01-01

    The Red Queen hypothesis proposes that coevolution of interacting species (such as hosts and parasites) should drive molecular evolution through continual natural selection for adaptation and counter-adaptation1–3. Although the divergence observed at some host-resistance4–6 and parasite-infectivity7–9 genes is consistent with this, the long time periods typically required to study coevolution have so far prevented any direct empirical test. Here we show, using experimental populations of the bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens SBW25 and its viral parasite, phage Φ2 (refs 10, 11), that the rate of molecular evolution in the phage was far higher when both bacterium and phage coevolved with each other than when phage evolved against a constant host genotype. Coevolution also resulted in far greater genetic divergence between replicate populations, which was correlated with the range of hosts that coevolved phage were able to infect. Consistent with this, the most rapidly evolving phage genes under coevolution were those involved in host infection. These results demonstrate, at both the genomic and phenotypic level, that antagonistic coevolution is a cause of rapid and divergent evolution, and is likely to be a major driver of evolutionary change within species. PMID:20182425

  16. Molecular simulation of AG nanoparticle nucleation from solution: redox-reactions direct the evolution of shape and structure.

    PubMed

    Milek, Theodor; Zahn, Dirk

    2014-08-13

    The association of Ag(+) ions and the early stage of Ag nanoparticle nucleation are investigated from molecular dynamics simulations. Combining special techniques for tackling crystal nucleation from solution with efficient approaches to model redox-reactions, we unravel the structural evolution of forming silver nanoparticles as a function of the redox-potential in the solution. Within a range of only 1 eV, the redox-potential is demonstrated to have a drastic effect on both the inner structure and the overall shape of the forming particles. On the basis of our simulations we identify surface charge and its distribution as an atomic scale mechanism that accounts for creating/avoiding 5-fold coordination polyhedra and thus the degree of (multiple)-twinning in silver nanoparticles.

  17. Directed Molecular Evolution of an Engineered Gammaretroviral Envelope Protein with Dual Receptor Use Shows Stable Maintenance of Both Receptor Specificities

    PubMed Central

    Friis, Kristina Pagh; Iturrioz, Xavier; Thomsen, Jonas; Alvear-Perez, Rodrigo; Bahrami, Shervin; Llorens-Cortes, Catherine

    2015-01-01

    ABSTRACT We have previously reported the construction of a murine leukemia virus-based replication-competent gammaretrovirus (SL3-AP) capable of utilizing the human G protein-coupled receptor APJ (hAPJ) as its entry receptor and its natural receptor, the murine Xpr1 receptor, with equal affinities. The apelin receptor has previously been shown to function as a coreceptor for HIV-1, and thus, adaptation of the viral vector to this receptor is of significant interest. Here, we report the molecular evolution of the SL3-AP envelope protein when the virus is cultured in cells harboring either the Xpr1 or the hAPJ receptor. Interestingly, the dual receptor affinity is maintained even after 10 passages in these cells. At the same time, the chimeric viral envelope protein evolves in a distinct pattern in the apelin cassette when passaged on D17 cells expressing hAPJ in three separate molecular evolution studies. This pattern reflects selection for reduced ligand-receptor interaction and is compatible with a model in which SL3-AP has evolved not to activate hAPJ receptor internalization. IMPORTANCE Few successful examples of engineered retargeting of a retroviral vector exist. The engineered SL3-AP envelope is capable of utilizing either the murine Xpr1 or the human APJ receptor for entry. In addition, SL3-AP is the first example of an engineered retrovirus retaining its dual tropism after several rounds of passaging on cells expressing only one of its receptors. We demonstrate that the virus evolves toward reduced ligand-receptor affinity, which sheds new light on virus adaptation. We provide indirect evidence that such reduced affinity leads to reduced receptor internalization and propose a novel model in which too rapid receptor internalization may decrease virus entry. PMID:26608314

  18. The Molecular Basis of Evolution.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wilson, Allan C.

    1985-01-01

    Discovery that mutations accumulate at steady rates over time in the genes of all lineages of plants and animals has led to new insights into evolution at the molecular and organismal levels. Discusses molecular evolution, examining deoxyribonuclei acid (DNA) sequences, morphological distances, and codon rate of change. (DH)

  19. Chemical evolution of molecular clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Prasad, Sheo S.; Tarafdar, Sankar P.; Villere, Karen R.; Huntress, Wesley T., Jr.

    1987-01-01

    The principles behind the coupled chemical-dynamical evolution of molecular clouds are described. Particular attention is given to current problems involving the simplest species (i.e., C. CO, O2, and H2) in quiescent clouds. The results of a comparison made between the molecular abundances in the Orion ridge and the hot core (Blake, 1986) are presented.

  20. Laboratory-Directed Protein Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Yuan, Ling; Kurek, Itzhak; English, James; Keenan, Robert

    2005-01-01

    Systematic approaches to directed evolution of proteins have been documented since the 1970s. The ability to recruit new protein functions arises from the considerable substrate ambiguity of many proteins. The substrate ambiguity of a protein can be interpreted as the evolutionary potential that allows a protein to acquire new specificities through mutation or to regain function via mutations that differ from the original protein sequence. All organisms have evolutionarily exploited this substrate ambiguity. When exploited in a laboratory under controlled mutagenesis and selection, it enables a protein to “evolve” in desired directions. One of the most effective strategies in directed protein evolution is to gradually accumulate mutations, either sequentially or by recombination, while applying selective pressure. This is typically achieved by the generation of libraries of mutants followed by efficient screening of these libraries for targeted functions and subsequent repetition of the process using improved mutants from the previous screening. Here we review some of the successful strategies in creating protein diversity and the more recent progress in directed protein evolution in a wide range of scientific disciplines and its impacts in chemical, pharmaceutical, and agricultural sciences. PMID:16148303

  1. Directed evolution: tailoring biocatalysts for industrial applications.

    PubMed

    Kumar, Ashwani; Singh, Suren

    2013-12-01

    Current challenges and promises of white biotechnology encourage protein engineers to use a directed evolution approach to generate novel and useful biocatalysts for various sets of applications. Different methods of enzyme engineering have been used in the past in an attempt to produce enzymes with improved functions and properties. Recent advancement in the field of random mutagenesis, screening, selection and computational design increased the versatility and the rapid development of enzymes under strong selection pressure with directed evolution experiments. Techniques of directed evolution improve enzymes fitness without understanding them in great detail and clearly demonstrate its future role in adapting enzymes for use in industry. Despite significant advances to date regarding biocatalyst improvement, there still remains a need to improve mutagenesis strategies and development of easy screening and selection tools without significant human intervention. This review covers fundamental and major development of directed evolution techniques, and highlights the advances in mutagenesis, screening and selection methods with examples of enzymes developed by using these approaches. Several commonly used methods for creating molecular diversity with their advantages and disadvantages including some recently used strategies are also discussed.

  2. Outrunning Nature: Directed Evolution of Superior Biocatalysts

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Woodyer, Ryan; Chen, Wilfred; Zhao, Huimin

    2004-01-01

    The development of enzymes as biocatalysts for industrial use and the emergence of directed evolution in the invention of advanced biocatalysts are discussed and illustrated. Thus, directed evolution has bridged the functional gap between natural and specially designed biocatalysts.

  3. Quantum-like model of partially directed evolution.

    PubMed

    Melkikh, Alexey V; Khrennikov, Andrei

    2016-12-15

    The background of this study is that models of the evolution of living systems are based mainly on the evolution of replicators and cannot explain many of the properties of biological systems such as the existence of the sexes, molecular exaptation and others. The purpose of this study is to build a complete model of the evolution of organisms based on a combination of quantum-like models and models based on partial directivity of evolution. We also used optimal control theory for evolution modeling. We found that partial directivity of evolution is necessary for the explanation of the properties of an evolving system such as the stability of evolutionary strategies, aging and death, the presence of the sexes. The proposed model represents a systems approach to the evolution of species and will facilitate the understanding of the evolution and biology as a whole.

  4. Adaptive evolution of molecular phenotypes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Held, Torsten; Nourmohammad, Armita; Lässig, Michael

    2014-09-01

    Molecular phenotypes link genomic information with organismic functions, fitness, and evolution. Quantitative traits are complex phenotypes that depend on multiple genomic loci. In this paper, we study the adaptive evolution of a quantitative trait under time-dependent selection, which arises from environmental changes or through fitness interactions with other co-evolving phenotypes. We analyze a model of trait evolution under mutations and genetic drift in a single-peak fitness seascape. The fitness peak performs a constrained random walk in the trait amplitude, which determines the time-dependent trait optimum in a given population. We derive analytical expressions for the distribution of the time-dependent trait divergence between populations and of the trait diversity within populations. Based on this solution, we develop a method to infer adaptive evolution of quantitative traits. Specifically, we show that the ratio of the average trait divergence and the diversity is a universal function of evolutionary time, which predicts the stabilizing strength and the driving rate of the fitness seascape. From an information-theoretic point of view, this function measures the macro-evolutionary entropy in a population ensemble, which determines the predictability of the evolutionary process. Our solution also quantifies two key characteristics of adapting populations: the cumulative fitness flux, which measures the total amount of adaptation, and the adaptive load, which is the fitness cost due to a population's lag behind the fitness peak.

  5. Maternal Effects in Molecular Evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wilke, Claus O.

    2002-02-01

    We introduce a model of molecular evolution in which the fitness of an individual depends both on its own and on the parent's genotype. The model can be solved by means of a nonlinear mapping onto the standard quasispecies model. The dependency on the parental genotypes cancels from the mean fitness, but not from the individual sequence concentrations. For finite populations, the position of the error threshold is very sensitive to the influence from parent genotypes. In addition to biological applications, our model is important for understanding the dynamics of self-replicating computer programs.

  6. Advances in the directed evolution of proteins

    PubMed Central

    Lane, Michael D.; Seelig, Burckhard

    2014-01-01

    Natural evolution has produced a great diversity of proteins that can be harnessed for numerous applications in biotechnology and pharmaceutical science. Commonly, specific applications require proteins to be tailored by protein engineering. Directed evolution is a type of protein engineering that yields proteins with the desired properties under well-defined conditions and in a practical time frame. While directed evolution has been employed for decades, recent creative developments enable the generation of proteins with previously inaccessible properties. Novel selection strategies, faster techniques, the inclusion of unnatural amino acids or modifications, and the symbiosis of rational design approaches and directed evolution continue to advance protein engineering. PMID:25309990

  7. Novel Random Mutagenesis Method for Directed Evolution.

    PubMed

    Feng, Hong; Wang, Hai-Yan; Zhao, Hong-Yan

    2017-01-01

    Directed evolution is a powerful strategy for gene mutagenesis, and has been used for protein engineering both in scientific research and in the biotechnology industry. The routine method for directed evolution was developed by Stemmer in 1994 (Stemmer, Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 91, 10747-10751, 1994; Stemmer, Nature 370, 389-391, 1994). Since then, various methods have been introduced, each of which has advantages and limitations depending upon the targeted genes and procedure. In this chapter, a novel alternative directed evolution method which combines mutagenesis PCR with dITP and fragmentation by endonuclease V is described. The kanamycin resistance gene is used as a reporter gene to verify the novel method for directed evolution. This method for directed evolution has been demonstrated to be efficient, reproducible, and easy to manipulate in practice.

  8. Outrunning Nature: Directed Evolution of Superior Biocatalysts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Woodyer, Ryan; Chen, Wilfred; Zhao, Huimin

    2004-01-01

    Driven by recent technical advances in genetic engineering and new societal needs, the use of enzymes and microorganisms as catalysts to synthesize chemicals and materials is rapidly expanding. One of the key technical drivers is the development of various directed evolution methods for biocatalyst discovery and optimization. Although it essentially replicates the Darwinian evolutionary processes in a test tube, directed evolution can create biocatalysts with better catalytic performance than Nature's own products within weeks or months rather than eons. In this article, both the technologies and applications of directed evolution in biocatalysis are discussed.

  9. Directed evolution: new parts and optimized function.

    PubMed

    Dougherty, Michael J; Arnold, Frances H

    2009-08-01

    Constructing novel biological systems that function in a robust and predictable manner requires better methods for discovering new functional molecules and for optimizing their assembly in novel biological contexts. By enabling functional diversification and optimization in the absence of detailed mechanistic understanding, directed evolution is a powerful complement to 'rational' engineering approaches. Aided by clever selection schemes, directed evolution has generated new parts for genetic circuits, cell-cell communication systems, and non-natural metabolic pathways in bacteria.

  10. Proteins, exons and molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    Holland, S K; Blake, C C

    1987-01-01

    The discovery of the eukaryotic gene structure has prompted research into the potential relationship between protein structure and function and the corresponding exon/intron patterns. The exon shuffling hypothesis put forward by Gilbert and Blake suggests the encodement of structural and functional protein elements by exons which can recombine to create novel proteins. This provides an explanation for the relatively rapid evolution of proteins from a few primordial molecules. As the number of gene and protein structures increases, evidence of exon shuffling is becoming more apparent and examples are presented both from modern multi-domain proteins and ancient proteins. Recent work into the chemical properties and catalytic functions of RNA have led to hypotheses based upon the early existence of RNA. These theories suggest that the split gene structure originated in the primordial soup as a result of random RNA synthesis. Stable regions of RNA, or exons, were utilised as primitive enzymes. In response to selective pressures for information storage, the activity was directly transferred from the RNA enzymes or ribozymes, to proteins. These short polypeptides fused together to create larger proteins with a wide range of functions. Recent research into RNA processing and exon size, discussed in this review, provides a clearer insight into the evolutionary development of the gene and protein structure.

  11. Molecular evolution and thermal adaptation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Peiqiu

    2011-12-01

    In this thesis, we address problems in molecular evolution, thermal adaptation, and the kinetics of adaptation of bacteria and viruses to elevated environmental temperatures. We use a nearly neutral fitness model where the replication speed of an organism is proportional to the copy number of folded proteins. Our model reproduces the distribution of stabilities of natural proteins in excellent agreement with experiment. We find that species with high mutation rates tend to have less stable proteins compared to species with low mutation rate. We found that a broad distribution of protein stabilities observed in the model and in experiment is the key determinant of thermal response for viruses and bacteria. Our results explain most of the earlier experimental observations: striking asymmetry of thermal response curves, the absence of evolutionary trade-off which was expected but not found in experiments, correlation between denaturation temperature for several protein families and the Optimal Growth Temperature (OGT) of their carrier organisms, and proximity of bacterial or viral OGTs to their evolutionary temperatures. Our theory quantitatively and with high accuracy described thermal response curves for 35 bacterial species. The model also addresses the key to adaptation is in weak-link genes (WLG), which encode least thermodynamically stable essential proteins in the proteome. We observe, as in experiment, a two-stage adaptation process. The first stage is a Luria-Delbruck type of selection, whereby rare WLG alleles, whose proteins are more stable than WLG proteins of the majority of the population (either due to standing genetic variation or due to an early acquired mutation), rapidly rise to fixation. The second stage constitutes subsequent slow accumulation of mutations in an adapted population. As adaptation progresses, selection regime changes from positive to neutral: Selection coefficient of beneficial mutations scales as a negative power of number of

  12. Directed Evolution of Bacterial Chemoreceptors

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goulian, Mark

    2006-03-01

    The methyl-accepting chemotaxis proteins are a family of receptors in bacteria that mediate chemotaxis to diverse signals. We have developed a simple method for selecting bacteria that swim towards target attractants, which makes it possible to isolate novel chemoreceptors. The procedure is based on establishing a diffusive gradient in semi-soft agar and does not require that the attractant be metabolized or degraded. We have applied this method to evolve the E. coli aspartate receptor, Tar, to mediate chemotaxis to new attractants. We found that Tar is quite plastic and can be readily mutated to respond to diverse compounds. The overall change in specificity depended on the target attractant. In some cases the mutated receptors still showed significant sensitivity to aspartate, indicating that the receptors had a broadened specificity relative to wild-type Tar. In other cases, however, the Tar variants showed a dramatic decrease in their response to aspartate. This occurred in the absence of any counter-selection steps. For many of the receptors, the maximal sensitivity that was obtained could not be attributed solely to substitutions within the ligand binding pocket. The receptors that we have isolated, together with additional variants that may be obtained with our technique, provide new tools for exploring the molecular mechanisms of signal transduction by chemoreceptors. Our selection method will also be useful for constructing new receptors for the development of biosensors and for engineering bacteria for applications in biotechnology.

  13. Directed Evolution of Enzymes for Industrial Biocatalysis.

    PubMed

    Porter, Joanne L; Rusli, Rukhairul A; Ollis, David L

    2016-02-02

    Enzymes have the potential to catalyse a wide variety of chemical reactions. They are increasingly being sought as environmentally friendly and cost-effective alternatives to conventional catalysts used in industries ranging from bioremediation to applications in medicine and pharmaceutics. Despite the benefits, they are not without their limitations. Many naturally occurring enzymes are not suitable for use outside of their native cellular environments. However, protein engineering can be used to generate enzymes tailored for specific industrial applications. Directed evolution is particularly useful and can be employed even when lack of structural information impedes the use of rational design. The aim of this review is to provide an overview of current industrial applications of enzyme technology and to show how directed evolution can be used to modify and to enhance enzyme properties. This includes a brief discussion on library generation and a more detailed focus on library screening methods, which are critical to any directed evolution experiment.

  14. Model of evolution of molecular sequences

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Luo, Liaofu; Tsai, Lu; Lee, Weijiang

    1990-05-01

    A simplified model of the evolution of molecular sequences is proposed. An ensemble of strings is considered that consists of two letters and undergoes random point mutations and natural selections. A set of evolution equations is deduced. From the solution it is found that the first-order (second-order) informational parameters (redundancies) D1 decrease (D2 increase) in the course of evolution. Furthermore, the statistical correlations of the letters (bases) in the sequences are investigated in detail and the short-distance correlation is demonstrated. These results give a preliminary explanation of some physical aspects in the evolution of nucleic acid sequences.

  15. Molecular recordings by directed CRISPR spacer acquisition

    PubMed Central

    Shipman, Seth L; Nivala, Jeff; Macklis, Jeffrey D; Church, George M

    2016-01-01

    The ability to write a stable record of identified molecular events into a specific genomic locus would enable the examination of long cellular histories and have many applications, ranging from developmental biology to synthetic devices. We show that the type I-E CRISPR-Cas system of E. coli can mediate acquisition of defined pieces of synthetic DNA. We harnessed this feature to generate records of specific DNA sequences into a population of bacterial genomes. We then applied directed evolution to alter the recognition of a protospacer adjacent motif by the Cas1-Cas2 complex, which enabled recording in two modes simultaneously. We used this system to reveal aspects of spacer acquisition, fundamental to the CRISPR-Cas adaptation process. These results lay the foundations of a multimodal intracellular recording device. PMID:27284167

  16. Molecular recordings by directed CRISPR spacer acquisition.

    PubMed

    Shipman, Seth L; Nivala, Jeff; Macklis, Jeffrey D; Church, George M

    2016-07-29

    The ability to write a stable record of identified molecular events into a specific genomic locus would enable the examination of long cellular histories and have many applications, ranging from developmental biology to synthetic devices. We show that the type I-E CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats)-Cas system of Escherichia coli can mediate acquisition of defined pieces of synthetic DNA. We harnessed this feature to generate records of specific DNA sequences into a population of bacterial genomes. We then applied directed evolution so as to alter the recognition of a protospacer adjacent motif by the Cas1-Cas2 complex, which enabled recording in two modes simultaneously. We used this system to reveal aspects of spacer acquisition, fundamental to the CRISPR-Cas adaptation process. These results lay the foundations of a multimodal intracellular recording device.

  17. Directed evolution of enzymes using microfluidic chips

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pilát, Zdeněk.; Ježek, Jan; Šmatlo, Filip; Kaůka, Jan; Zemánek, Pavel

    2016-12-01

    Enzymes are highly versatile and ubiquitous biological catalysts. They can greatly accelerate large variety of reactions, while ensuring appropriate catalytic activity and high selectivity. These properties make enzymes attractive biocatalysts for a wide range of industrial and biomedical applications. Over the last two decades, directed evolution of enzymes has transformed the field of protein engineering. We have devised microfluidic systems for directed evolution of haloalkane dehalogenases in emulsion droplets. In such a device, individual bacterial cells producing mutated variants of the same enzyme are encapsulated in microdroplets and supplied with a substrate. The conversion of a substrate by the enzyme produced by a single bacterium changes the pH in the droplet which is signalized by pH dependent fluorescence probe. The droplets with the highest enzymatic activity can be separated directly on the chip by dielectrophoresis and the resultant cell lineage can be used for enzyme production or for further rounds of directed evolution. This platform is applicable for fast screening of large libraries in directed evolution experiments requiring mutagenesis at multiple sites of a protein structure.

  18. A biophysical perspective on molecular evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wilke, Claus

    2014-03-01

    The field of molecular evolution investigates how genes and genomes evolve over time. It has its origin in the late 1960s, when the first DNA and protein sequences were becoming available. With rapid progress in sequencing technologies came ever increasing demand for computational tools to study molecular evolution. Today, molecular evolution is among the largest subfields of evolutionary biology, and arguably one of the most computationally advanced. A side effect of the strong emphasis on developing sophisticated methods for sequence analysis has been that the underlying biophysical objects represented by the sequences, DNA molecules, RNA molecules, and proteins, have taken a back-seat in much computational molecular-evolution work. The vast majority of algorithms for sequence analysis, for example, operate purely on strings of letters, and don't incorporate any information of the biophysical reality that these letters represent. However, DNA, RNA, and proteins are three-dimensional physical objects composed of many interacting particles. We thus expect that their genetic evolution over time is shaped to some extent by these physical properties. Here, I will discuss the extent to which biophysical properties of proteins shape genetic evolution, and how we can use these properties to improve evolutionary analyses.

  19. Dacryocystorhinostomy: History, evolution and future directions

    PubMed Central

    Yakopson, Vladimir S.; Flanagan, Joseph C.; Ahn, Daniel; Luo, Betsy P.

    2010-01-01

    Dacryocystorhinostomy (DCR) is a procedure of choice for nasolacrimal duct obstruction and chronic dacryostenosis in the setting of patent canaliculi and a functional lacrimal pump. Two major approaches are utilized: external, via a transcutaneous incision and endonasal endoscopically guided. The surgery has a high success rate via both approaches. We review the history, evolution, current techniques, complications and future directions of DCR. PMID:23960901

  20. JavaGenes Molecular Evolution

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lohn, Jason; Smith, David; Frank, Jeremy; Globus, Al; Crawford, James

    2007-01-01

    JavaGenes is a general-purpose, evolutionary software system written in Java. It implements several versions of a genetic algorithm, simulated annealing, stochastic hill climbing, and other search techniques. This software has been used to evolve molecules, atomic force field parameters, digital circuits, Earth Observing Satellite schedules, and antennas. This version differs from version 0.7.28 in that it includes the molecule evolution code and other improvements. Except for the antenna code, JaveGenes is available for NASA Open Source distribution.

  1. Molecular evolution tracks macroevolutionary transitions in Cetacea.

    PubMed

    McGowen, Michael R; Gatesy, John; Wildman, Derek E

    2014-06-01

    Cetacea (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) is a model group for investigating the molecular signature of macroevolutionary transitions. Recent research has begun to reveal the molecular underpinnings of the remarkable anatomical and behavioral transformation in this clade. This shift from terrestrial to aquatic environments is arguably the best-understood major morphological transition in vertebrate evolution. The ancestral body plan and physiology were extensively modified and, in many cases, these crucial changes are recorded in cetacean genomes. Recent studies have highlighted cetaceans as central to understanding adaptive molecular convergence and pseudogene formation. Here, we review current research in cetacean molecular evolution and the potential of Cetacea as a model for the study of other macroevolutionary transitions from a genomic perspective.

  2. Molecular Evolution of Grass Stomata.

    PubMed

    Chen, Zhong-Hua; Chen, Guang; Dai, Fei; Wang, Yizhou; Hills, Adrian; Ruan, Yong-Ling; Zhang, Guoping; Franks, Peter J; Nevo, Eviatar; Blatt, Michael R

    2017-02-01

    Grasses began to diversify in the late Cretaceous Period and now dominate more than one third of global land area, including three-quarters of agricultural land. We hypothesize that their success is likely attributed to the evolution of highly responsive stomata capable of maximizing productivity in rapidly changing environments. Grass stomata harness the active turgor control mechanisms present in stomata of more ancient plant lineages, maximizing several morphological and developmental features to ensure rapid responses to environmental inputs. The evolutionary development of grass stomata appears to have been a gradual progression. Therefore, understanding the complex structures, developmental events, regulatory networks, and combinations of ion transporters necessary to drive rapid stomatal movement may inform future efforts towards breeding new crop varieties.

  3. Computationally optimizing the directed evolution of proteins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Voigt, Christopher Ashby

    Directed evolution has proven a successful strategy for protein engineering. To accelerate the discovery process, we have developed several computational methods to optimize the mutant libraries by targeting specific residues for mutagenesis, and subunits for recombination. In achieving this goal, a statistical model was first used to study the dynamics of directed evolution as a search algorithm. These simulations improved our understanding of the relationship between parameters describing the search space (e.g., interactions between amino acids) and experimental search parameters (e.g., mutation rate and library size). Based on these simulations, a more detailed model was used to calculate the structural tolerance of each residue to amino acid substitutions. Further, a computational model was developed to optimize recombination experiments, based on the three-dimensional structure. Together, these computational techniques represent a major step towards information-driven combinatorial protein design.

  4. Molecular cloud evolution and star formation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Silk, J.

    1985-01-01

    The present state of knowledge of the relationship between molecular clouds and young stars is reviewed. The determination of physical parameters from molecular line observations is summarized, and evidence for fragmentation of molecular clouds is discussed. Hierarchical fragmentation is reviewed, minimum fragment scales are derived, and the stability against fragmentation of both spherically and anisotropically collapsing clouds is discussed. Observational evidence for high-velocity flows in clouds is summarized, and the effects of winds from pre-main sequence stars on molecular gas are discussed. The triggering of cloud collapse by enhanced pressure is addressed, as is the formation of dense shells by spherical outflows and their subsequent breakup. A model for low-mass star formation is presented, and constraints on star formation from the initial mass function are examined. The properties of giant molecular clouds and massive star formation are described. The implications of magnetic fields for cloud evolution and star formation are addressed.

  5. A Nonstationary Markov Model Detects Directional Evolution in Hymenopteran Morphology.

    PubMed

    Klopfstein, Seraina; Vilhelmsen, Lars; Ronquist, Fredrik

    2015-11-01

    Directional evolution has played an important role in shaping the morphological, ecological, and molecular diversity of life. However, standard substitution models assume stationarity of the evolutionary process over the time scale examined, thus impeding the study of directionality. Here we explore a simple, nonstationary model of evolution for discrete data, which assumes that the state frequencies at the root differ from the equilibrium frequencies of the homogeneous evolutionary process along the rest of the tree (i.e., the process is nonstationary, nonreversible, but homogeneous). Within this framework, we develop a Bayesian approach for testing directional versus stationary evolution using a reversible-jump algorithm. Simulations show that when only data from extant taxa are available, the success in inferring directionality is strongly dependent on the evolutionary rate, the shape of the tree, the relative branch lengths, and the number of taxa. Given suitable evolutionary rates (0.1-0.5 expected substitutions between root and tips), accounting for directionality improves tree inference and often allows correct rooting of the tree without the use of an outgroup. As an empirical test, we apply our method to study directional evolution in hymenopteran morphology. We focus on three character systems: wing veins, muscles, and sclerites. We find strong support for a trend toward loss of wing veins and muscles, while stationarity cannot be ruled out for sclerites. Adding fossil and time information in a total-evidence dating approach, we show that accounting for directionality results in more precise estimates not only of the ancestral state at the root of the tree, but also of the divergence times. Our model relaxes the assumption of stationarity and reversibility by adding a minimum of additional parameters, and is thus well suited to studying the nature of the evolutionary process in data sets of limited size, such as morphology and ecology.

  6. A Nonstationary Markov Model Detects Directional Evolution in Hymenopteran Morphology

    PubMed Central

    Klopfstein, Seraina; Vilhelmsen, Lars; Ronquist, Fredrik

    2015-01-01

    Directional evolution has played an important role in shaping the morphological, ecological, and molecular diversity of life. However, standard substitution models assume stationarity of the evolutionary process over the time scale examined, thus impeding the study of directionality. Here we explore a simple, nonstationary model of evolution for discrete data, which assumes that the state frequencies at the root differ from the equilibrium frequencies of the homogeneous evolutionary process along the rest of the tree (i.e., the process is nonstationary, nonreversible, but homogeneous). Within this framework, we develop a Bayesian approach for testing directional versus stationary evolution using a reversible-jump algorithm. Simulations show that when only data from extant taxa are available, the success in inferring directionality is strongly dependent on the evolutionary rate, the shape of the tree, the relative branch lengths, and the number of taxa. Given suitable evolutionary rates (0.1–0.5 expected substitutions between root and tips), accounting for directionality improves tree inference and often allows correct rooting of the tree without the use of an outgroup. As an empirical test, we apply our method to study directional evolution in hymenopteran morphology. We focus on three character systems: wing veins, muscles, and sclerites. We find strong support for a trend toward loss of wing veins and muscles, while stationarity cannot be ruled out for sclerites. Adding fossil and time information in a total-evidence dating approach, we show that accounting for directionality results in more precise estimates not only of the ancestral state at the root of the tree, but also of the divergence times. Our model relaxes the assumption of stationarity and reversibility by adding a minimum of additional parameters, and is thus well suited to studying the nature of the evolutionary process in data sets of limited size, such as morphology and ecology. PMID:26272507

  7. [A group of new experiments on molecular evolution].

    PubMed

    Zhu, Xin-Yu; Xie, Xiao-Ling; Chen, Pei-Lin

    2004-07-01

    This paper presents a group of new experiments on molecular evolution. It allows students to get acquaint with the basic process of the reconstruction of phylogenetic tree using DNA or protein sequences, and to acquire the correct viewpoint how to affect the result of reconstruction when different tree-building methods, materials and parameters were used. This group of experiments are also characteristic of the opening and exploring, which accords with the direction and demand of experimental teaching reform.

  8. Evolution of molecular phenotypes under stabilizing selection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nourmohammad, Armita; Schiffels, Stephan; Lässig, Michael

    2013-01-01

    Molecular phenotypes are important links between genomic information and organismic functions, fitness, and evolution. Complex phenotypes, which are also called quantitative traits, often depend on multiple genomic loci. Their evolution builds on genome evolution in a complicated way, which involves selection, genetic drift, mutations and recombination. Here we develop a coarse-grained evolutionary statistics for phenotypes, which decouples from details of the underlying genotypes. We derive approximate evolution equations for the distribution of phenotype values within and across populations. This dynamics covers evolutionary processes at high and low recombination rates, that is, it applies to sexual and asexual populations. In a fitness landscape with a single optimal phenotype value, the phenotypic diversity within populations and the divergence between populations reach evolutionary equilibria, which describe stabilizing selection. We compute the equilibrium distributions of both quantities analytically and we show that the ratio of mean divergence and diversity depends on the strength of selection in a universal way: it is largely independent of the phenotype’s genomic encoding and of the recombination rate. This establishes a new method for the inference of selection on molecular phenotypes beyond the genome level. We discuss the implications of our findings for the predictability of evolutionary processes.

  9. Molecular evolution in bacterial endosymbionts of fungi.

    PubMed

    Castillo, Dean M; Pawlowska, Teresa E

    2010-03-01

    The prediction that progressive coupling of host and symbiont metabolic and reproductive interests leads to reduced mixing of symbiont lineages has been verified extensively in maternally transmitted bacterial endosymbionts of insects. To test whether this prediction is also applicable to associations of bacteria with fungi, we explored patterns of molecular evolution in two lineages of mutualistic endosymbionts of fungi: the Burkholderia endosymbionts of Rhizopus microsporus (Mucormycotina) and Candidatus Glomeribacter gigasporarum endosymbionts of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (Glomeromycota). We compared these two lineages with the closely related Candidatus Tremblaya princeps endosymbionts of mealybugs (Hemiptera, Coccoidea, Pseudococcidae) and to free-living Burkholderia species. To make inferences about the life histories of the endosymbionts, we relied on the empirically validated predictions of the nearly neutral theory of molecular evolution that a reduction of the effective population size increases the rate of fixation of slightly deleterious mutations. Our analyses showed that the slightly deleterious mutation accumulation patterns in the Burkholderia endosymbionts of Rhizopus were nearly indistinguishable from those in their free-living relatives. In contrast, Ca. Glomeribacter showed unique patterns of molecular evolution that differentiated them from both the Burkholderia endosymbionts of Rhizopus and from the Ca. Tremblaya endosymbionts of insects. These findings imply that reduced mixing of symbiont lineages is not a universal feature of symbioses between fungi and endocellular bacteria.

  10. Evolutionary branching under slow directional evolution.

    PubMed

    Ito, Hiroshi C; Dieckmann, Ulf

    2014-11-07

    Evolutionary branching is the process by which ecological interactions induce evolutionary diversification. In asexual populations with sufficiently rare mutations, evolutionary branching occurs through trait-substitution sequences caused by the sequential invasion of successful mutants. A necessary and sufficient condition for evolutionary branching of univariate traits is the existence of a convergence stable trait value at which selection is locally disruptive. Real populations, however, undergo simultaneous evolution in multiple traits. Here we extend conditions for evolutionary branching to bivariate trait spaces in which the response to disruptive selection on one trait can be suppressed by directional selection on another trait. To obtain analytical results, we study trait-substitution sequences formed by invasions that possess maximum likelihood. By deriving a sufficient condition for evolutionary branching of bivariate traits along such maximum-likelihood-invasion paths (MLIPs), we demonstrate the existence of a threshold ratio specifying how much disruptive selection in one trait direction is needed to overcome the obstruction of evolutionary branching caused by directional selection in the other trait direction. Generalizing this finding, we show that evolutionary branching of bivariate traits can occur along evolutionary-branching lines on which residual directional selection is sufficiently weak. We then present numerical analyses showing that our generalized condition for evolutionary branching is a good indicator of branching likelihood even when trait-substitution sequences do not follow MLIPs and when mutations are not rare. Finally, we extend the derived conditions for evolutionary branching to multivariate trait spaces.

  11. Molecular musings in microbial ecology and evolution

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    A few major discoveries have influenced how ecologists and evolutionists study microbes. Here, in the format of an interview, we answer questions that directly relate to how these discoveries are perceived in these two branches of microbiology, and how they have impacted on both scientific thinking and methodology. The first question is "What has been the influence of the 'Universal Tree of Life' based on molecular markers?" For evolutionists, the tree was a tool to understand the past of known (cultured) organisms, mapping the invention of various physiologies on the evolutionary history of microbes. For ecologists the tree was a guide to discover the current diversity of unknown (uncultured) organisms, without much knowledge of their physiology. The second question we ask is "What was the impact of discovering frequent lateral gene transfer among microbes?" In evolutionary microbiology, frequent lateral gene transfer (LGT) made a simple description of relationships between organisms impossible, and for microbial ecologists, functions could not be easily linked to specific genotypes. Both fields initially resisted LGT, but methods or topics of inquiry were eventually changed in one to incorporate LGT in its theoretical models (evolution) and in the other to achieve its goals despite that phenomenon (ecology). The third and last question we ask is "What are the implications of the unexpected extent of diversity?" The variation in the extent of diversity between organisms invalidated the universality of species definitions based on molecular criteria, a major obstacle to the adaptation of models developed for the study of macroscopic eukaryotes to evolutionary microbiology. This issue has not overtly affected microbial ecology, as it had already abandoned species in favor of the more flexible operational taxonomic units. This field is nonetheless moving away from traditional methods to measure diversity, as they do not provide enough resolution to uncover what lies

  12. Molecular epidemiology, phylogeny and evolution of dermatophytes.

    PubMed

    Cafarchia, Claudia; Iatta, Roberta; Latrofa, Maria Stefania; Gräser, Yvonne; Otranto, Domenico

    2013-12-01

    Dermatophytes are fungi that invade and propagate in the keratinized skin of mammals, including humans, often causing contagious infections. The species of medical concern belong to the genera Microsporum, Trichophyton, Epidermophyton (in their anamorphic state) and Arthroderma (in their telomorphic state), which were traditionally identified based on their morphology and biochemical characters. Nonetheless, limitations linked to the differentiation of closely related agents at species and strains level have been recently overcome by molecular studies. Indeed, an accurate identification of dermatophytes is pivotal for the establishment of effective control and prevention programs as well as for determining the most appropriate and effective antifungal therapies to be applied. This article reviews the DNA techniques and the molecular markers used to identify and to characterize dermatophyte species, as well as aspects of their phylogeny and evolution. The applications of typing molecular strain to both basic and applied research (e.g., taxonomy, ecology, typing of infection, antifungal susceptibility) have also been discussed.

  13. Selectionism and Neutralism in Molecular Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Nei, Masatoshi

    2006-01-01

    Charles Darwin proposed that evolution occurs primarily by natural selection, but this view has been controversial from the beginning. Two of the major opposing views have been mutationism and neutralism. Early molecular studies suggested that most amino acid substitutions in proteins are neutral or nearly neutral and the functional change of proteins occurs by a few key amino acid substitutions. This suggestion generated an intense controversy over selectionism and neutralism. This controversy is partially caused by Kimura's definition of neutrality, which was too strict (|2Ns| ≤ 1). If we define neutral mutations as the mutations that do not change the function of gene products appreciably, many controversies disappear because slightly deleterious and slightly advantageous mutations are engulfed by neutral mutations. The ratio of the rate of nonsynonymous nucleotide substitution to that of synonymous substitution is a useful quantity to study positive Darwinian selection operating at highly variable genetic loci, but it does not necessarily detect adaptively important codons. Previously, multigene families were thought to evolve following the model of concerted evolution, but new evidence indicates that most of them evolve by a birth-and-death process of duplicate genes. It is now clear that most phenotypic characters or genetic systems such as the adaptive immune system in vertebrates are controlled by the interaction of a number of multigene families, which are often evolutionarily related and are subject to birth-and-death evolution. Therefore, it is important to study the mechanisms of gene family interaction for understanding phenotypic evolution. Because gene duplication occurs more or less at random, phenotypic evolution contains some fortuitous elements, though the environmental factors also play an important role. The randomness of phenotypic evolution is qualitatively different from allele frequency changes by random genetic drift. However, there is

  14. Molecular Cancer Prevention: Current Status & Future Directions

    PubMed Central

    Maresso, Karen Colbert; Tsai, Kenneth Y.; Brown, Powel H.; Szabo, Eva; Lippman, Scott; Hawk, Ernest

    2016-01-01

    The heterogeneity and complexity of advanced cancers strongly supports the rationale for an enhanced focus on molecular prevention as a priority strategy to reduce the burden of cancer. Molecular prevention encompasses traditional chemopreventive agents as well as vaccinations and therapeutic approaches to cancer-predisposing conditions. Despite challenges to the field, we now have refined insights into cancer etiology and early pathogenesis; successful risk assessment and new risk models; agents with broad preventive efficacy (e.g., aspirin) in common chronic diseases, including cancer; and a successful track record of more than 10 agents approved by the FDA for the treatment of precancerous lesions or cancer risk reduction. The development of molecular preventive agents does not differ significantly from the development of therapies for advanced cancers, yet has unique challenges and special considerations given that it most often involves healthy or asymptomatic individuals. Agents, biomarkers, cohorts, overall design, and endpoints are key determinants of molecular preventive trials, as with therapeutic trials, although distinctions exist for each within the preventive setting. Progress in the development and evolution of molecular preventive agents has been steadier in some organ systems, such as breast and skin, than in others. In order for molecular prevention to be fully realized as an effective strategy, a number of challenges to the field must be addressed. Here we provide a brief overview of the context for and special considerations of molecular prevention along with a discussion of the results of major randomized controlled trials. PMID:26284997

  15. Social parasitism and the molecular basis of phenotypic evolution

    PubMed Central

    Cini, Alessandro; Patalano, Solenn; Segonds-Pichon, Anne; Busby, George B. J.; Cervo, Rita; Sumner, Seirian

    2015-01-01

    Contrasting phenotypes arise from similar genomes through a combination of losses, gains, co-option and modifications of inherited genomic material. Understanding the molecular basis of this phenotypic diversity is a fundamental challenge in modern evolutionary biology. Comparisons of the genes and their expression patterns underlying traits in closely related species offer an unrivaled opportunity to evaluate the extent to which genomic material is reorganized to produce novel traits. Advances in molecular methods now allow us to dissect the molecular machinery underlying phenotypic diversity in almost any organism, from single-celled entities to the most complex vertebrates. Here we discuss how comparisons of social parasites and their free-living hosts may provide unique insights into the molecular basis of phenotypic evolution. Social parasites evolve from a eusocial ancestor and are specialized to exploit the socially acquired resources of their closely-related eusocial host. Molecular comparisons of such species pairs can reveal how genomic material is re-organized in the loss of ancestral traits (i.e., of free-living traits in the parasites) and the gain of new ones (i.e., specialist traits required for a parasitic lifestyle). We define hypotheses on the molecular basis of phenotypes in the evolution of social parasitism and discuss their wider application in our understanding of the molecular basis of phenotypic diversity within the theoretical framework of phenotypic plasticity and shifting reaction norms. Currently there are no data available to test these hypotheses, and so we also provide some proof of concept data using the paper wasp social parasite/host system (Polistes sulcifer—Polistes dominula). This conceptual framework and first empirical data provide a spring-board for directing future genomic analyses on exploiting social parasites as a route to understanding the evolution of phenotypic specialization. PMID:25741361

  16. Social parasitism and the molecular basis of phenotypic evolution.

    PubMed

    Cini, Alessandro; Patalano, Solenn; Segonds-Pichon, Anne; Busby, George B J; Cervo, Rita; Sumner, Seirian

    2015-01-01

    Contrasting phenotypes arise from similar genomes through a combination of losses, gains, co-option and modifications of inherited genomic material. Understanding the molecular basis of this phenotypic diversity is a fundamental challenge in modern evolutionary biology. Comparisons of the genes and their expression patterns underlying traits in closely related species offer an unrivaled opportunity to evaluate the extent to which genomic material is reorganized to produce novel traits. Advances in molecular methods now allow us to dissect the molecular machinery underlying phenotypic diversity in almost any organism, from single-celled entities to the most complex vertebrates. Here we discuss how comparisons of social parasites and their free-living hosts may provide unique insights into the molecular basis of phenotypic evolution. Social parasites evolve from a eusocial ancestor and are specialized to exploit the socially acquired resources of their closely-related eusocial host. Molecular comparisons of such species pairs can reveal how genomic material is re-organized in the loss of ancestral traits (i.e., of free-living traits in the parasites) and the gain of new ones (i.e., specialist traits required for a parasitic lifestyle). We define hypotheses on the molecular basis of phenotypes in the evolution of social parasitism and discuss their wider application in our understanding of the molecular basis of phenotypic diversity within the theoretical framework of phenotypic plasticity and shifting reaction norms. Currently there are no data available to test these hypotheses, and so we also provide some proof of concept data using the paper wasp social parasite/host system (Polistes sulcifer-Polistes dominula). This conceptual framework and first empirical data provide a spring-board for directing future genomic analyses on exploiting social parasites as a route to understanding the evolution of phenotypic specialization.

  17. Integrating influenza antigenic dynamics with molecular evolution

    PubMed Central

    Bedford, Trevor; Suchard, Marc A; Lemey, Philippe; Dudas, Gytis; Gregory, Victoria; Hay, Alan J; McCauley, John W; Russell, Colin A; Smith, Derek J; Rambaut, Andrew

    2014-01-01

    Influenza viruses undergo continual antigenic evolution allowing mutant viruses to evade host immunity acquired to previous virus strains. Antigenic phenotype is often assessed through pairwise measurement of cross-reactivity between influenza strains using the hemagglutination inhibition (HI) assay. Here, we extend previous approaches to antigenic cartography, and simultaneously characterize antigenic and genetic evolution by modeling the diffusion of antigenic phenotype over a shared virus phylogeny. Using HI data from influenza lineages A/H3N2, A/H1N1, B/Victoria and B/Yamagata, we determine patterns of antigenic drift across viral lineages, showing that A/H3N2 evolves faster and in a more punctuated fashion than other influenza lineages. We also show that year-to-year antigenic drift appears to drive incidence patterns within each influenza lineage. This work makes possible substantial future advances in investigating the dynamics of influenza and other antigenically-variable pathogens by providing a model that intimately combines molecular and antigenic evolution. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.01914.001 PMID:24497547

  18. Molecular Evolution of Phosphoprotein Phosphatases in Drosophila

    PubMed Central

    Miskei, Márton; Ádám, Csaba; Kovács, László; Karányi, Zsolt; Dombrádi, Viktor

    2011-01-01

    Phosphoprotein phosphatases (PPP), these ancient and important regulatory enzymes are present in all eukaryotic organisms. Based on the genome sequences of 12 Drosophila species we traced the evolution of the PPP catalytic subunits and noted a substantial expansion of the gene family. We concluded that the 18–22 PPP genes of Drosophilidae were generated from a core set of 8 indispensable phosphatases that are present in most of the insects. Retropositons followed by tandem gene duplications extended the phosphatase repertoire, and sporadic gene losses contributed to the species specific variations in the PPP complement. During the course of these studies we identified 5, up till now uncharacterized phosphatase retrogenes: PpY+, PpD5+, PpD6+, Pp4+, and Pp6+ which are found only in some ancient Drosophila. We demonstrated that all of these new PPP genes exhibit a distinct male specific expression. In addition to the changes in gene numbers, the intron-exon structure and the chromosomal localization of several PPP genes was also altered during evolution. The G−C content of the coding regions decreased when a gene moved into the heterochromatic region of chromosome Y. Thus the PPP enzymes exemplify the various types of dynamic rearrangements that accompany the molecular evolution of a gene family in Drosophilidae. PMID:21789237

  19. Dissecting protein-protein interactions using directed evolution.

    PubMed

    Bonsor, Daniel A; Sundberg, Eric J

    2011-04-05

    Protein-protein interactions are essential for life. They are responsible for most cellular functions and when they go awry often lead to disease. Proteins are inherently complex. They are flexible macromolecules whose constituent amino acid components act in combinatorial and networked ways when they engage one another in binding interactions. It is just this complexity that allows them to conduct such a broad array of biological functions. Despite decades of intense study of the molecular basis of protein-protein interactions, key gaps in our understanding remain, hindering our ability to accurately predict the specificities and affinities of their interactions. Until recently, most protein-protein investigations have been probed experimentally at the single-amino acid level, making them, by definition, incapable of capturing the combinatorial nature of, and networked communications between, the numerous residues within and outside of the protein-protein interface. This aspect of protein-protein interactions, however, is emerging as a major driving force for protein affinity and specificity. Understanding a combinatorial process necessarily requires a combinatorial experimental tool. Much like the organisms in which they reside, proteins naturally evolve over time, through a combinatorial process of mutagenesis and selection, to functionally associate. Elucidating the process by which proteins have evolved may be one of the keys to deciphering the molecular rules that govern their interactions with one another. Directed evolution is a technique performed in the laboratory that mimics natural evolution on a tractable time scale that has been utilized widely to engineer proteins with novel capabilities, including altered binding properties. In this review, we discuss directed evolution as an emerging tool for dissecting protein-protein interactions.

  20. Evolution, phylogeny, and molecular epidemiology of Chlamydia.

    PubMed

    Nunes, Alexandra; Gomes, João P

    2014-04-01

    The Chlamydiaceae are a family of obligate intracellular bacteria characterized by a unique biphasic developmental cycle. It encompasses the single genus Chlamydia, which involves nine species that affect a wide range of vertebral hosts, causing infections with serious impact on human health (mainly due to Chlamydia trachomatis infections) and on farming and veterinary industries. It is believed that Chlamydiales originated ∼700mya, whereas C. trachomatis likely split from the other Chlamydiaceae during the last 6mya. This corresponds to the emergence of modern human lineages, with the first descriptions of chlamydial infections as ancient as four millennia. Chlamydiaceae have undergone a massive genome reduction, on behalf of the deletional bias "use it or lose it", stabilizing at 1-1.2Mb and keeping a striking genome synteny. Their phylogeny reveals species segregation according to biological properties, with huge differences in terms of host range, tissue tropism, and disease outcomes. Genome differences rely on the occurrence of mutations in the >700 orthologous genes, as well as on events of recombination, gene loss, inversion, and paralogous expansion, affecting both a hypervariable region named the plasticity zone, and genes essentially encoding polymorphic and transmembrane head membrane proteins, type III secretion effectors and some metabolic pathways. Procedures for molecular typing are still not consensual but have allowed the knowledge of molecular epidemiology patterns for some species as well as the identification of outbreaks and emergence of successful clones for C. trachomatis. This manuscript intends to provide a comprehensive review on the evolution, phylogeny, and molecular epidemiology of Chlamydia.

  1. The chemical evolution of molecular clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Iglesias, E.

    1977-01-01

    The nonequilibrium chemistry of dense molecular clouds (10,000 to 1 million hydrogen molecules per cu cm) is studied in the framework of a model that includes the latest published chemical data and most of the recent theoretical advances. In this model the only important external source of ionization is assumed to be high-energy cosmic-ray bombardment; standard charge-transfer reactions are taken into account as well as reactions that transfer charge from molecular ions to trace-metal atoms. Schemes are proposed for the synthesis of such species as NCO, HNCO, and CN. The role played by adsorption and condensation of molecules on the surface of dust grains is investigated, and effects on the chemical evolution of a dense molecular cloud are considered which result from varying the total density or the elemental abundances and from assuming negligible or severe condensation of gaseous species on dust grains. It is shown that the chemical-equilibrium time scale is given approximately by the depletion times of oxygen and nitrogen when the condensation efficiency is negligible; that this time scale is probably in the range from 1 to 4 million years, depending on the elemental composition and initial conditions in the cloud; and that this time scale is insensitive to variations in the total density.

  2. Pervasive Cryptic Epistasis in Molecular Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Lunzer, Mark; Golding, G. Brian; Dean, Antony M.

    2010-01-01

    The functional effects of most amino acid replacements accumulated during molecular evolution are unknown, because most are not observed naturally and the possible combinations are too numerous. We created 168 single mutations in wild-type Escherichia coli isopropymalate dehydrogenase (IMDH) that match the differences found in wild-type Pseudomonas aeruginosa IMDH. 104 mutant enzymes performed similarly to E. coli wild-type IMDH, one was functionally enhanced, and 63 were functionally compromised. The transition from E. coli IMDH, or an ancestral form, to the functional wild-type P. aeruginosa IMDH requires extensive epistasis to ameliorate the combined effects of the deleterious mutations. This result stands in marked contrast with a basic assumption of molecular phylogenetics, that sites in sequences evolve independently of each other. Residues that affect function are scattered haphazardly throughout the IMDH structure. We screened for compensatory mutations at three sites, all of which lie near the active site and all of which are among the least active mutants. No compensatory mutations were found at two sites indicating that a single site may engage in compound epistatic interactions. One complete and three partial compensatory mutations of the third site are remote and lie in a different domain. This demonstrates that epistatic interactions can occur between distant (>20Å) sites. Phylogenetic analysis shows that incompatible mutations were fixed in different lineages. PMID:20975933

  3. Molecular epidemiology and evolution of fish Novirhabdoviruses

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kurath, Gael

    2014-01-01

    The genus Novirhabdoviridae contains several of the important rhabdoviruses that infect fish hosts. There are four established virus species: Infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV), Viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV), Hirame rhabdovirus(HIRRV), and Snakehead rhabdovirus (SHRV). Viruses of these species vary in host and geographic range, and they have all been studied at the molecular and genomic level. As globally significant pathogens of cultured fish, IHNV and VHSV have been particularly well studied in terms of molecular epidemiology and evolution. Phylogenic analyses of hundreds of field isolates have defined five major genogroups of IHNV and four major genotypes of VHSV worldwide. These phylogenies are informed by the known histories of IHNV and VHSV, each involving a series of viral emergence events that are sometimes associated with host switches, most often into cultured rainbow trout. In general, IHNV has relatively low genetic diversity and a narrow host range, and has been spread from its endemic source in North American to Europe and Asia due to aquaculture activities. In contrast, VHSV has broad host range and high genetic diversity, and the source of emergence events is virus in widespread marine fish reservoirs in the northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Common mechanisms of emergence and host switch events include use of raw feed, proximity to wild fish reservoirs of virus, and geographic translocations of virus or naive fish hosts associated with aquaculture.

  4. Thermostabilization of firefly luciferase by in vivo directed evolution.

    PubMed

    Koksharov, Mikhail I; Ugarova, Natalia N

    2011-11-01

    Firefly luciferase is widely used in a number of areas of biotechnology and molecular biology. However, rapid inactivation of wild-type (WT) luciferases at elevated temperatures often hampers their application. A simple non-lethal in vivo screening scheme was used to identify thermostable mutants of luciferase in Escherichia coli colonies. This scheme allowed carrying out each cycle of mutagenesis in a rapid and efficient manner. Four rounds of directed evolution were conducted on a part of the gene coding for amino acid residues 130-390 of Luciola mingrelica luciferase. The resultant mutant designated 4TS had a half-life of 10 h at 42°C, which is 65-fold higher compared with the WT luciferase. Moreover, the mutant 4TS showed a 1.9-fold increase in specific activity, 5.7-fold reduction of K(m) for ATP and a higher-temperature optimum compared with the WT enzyme. 4TS contains eight mutations, four of which are suggested to be mainly responsible for the enhancement of thermostability: R211L, A217V, E356K and S364C. Thus, directed evolution with non-lethal colony screening for in vivo bioluminescence activity proved to be an effective and efficient approach for increasing thermal stability of luciferase while retaining high catalytic activity.

  5. Molecular Evolution of PTEN Pseudogenes in Mammals

    PubMed Central

    Tang, Jingsi; Ning, Ruihong; Zeng, Bo; Li, Ying

    2016-01-01

    Phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) is a tumor-suppressor gene. PTEN pseudogene (PTENp) acts as an endogenous RNA, which regulates its parental gene by competitively binding to the 3’ UTR of PTEN gene in the human. Despite the importance of this pseudogene, little is known about the molecular evolution of PTENp in mammals. In this study, we identified 37 pseudogenes from 65 mammalian genomes. Among them, 32 were from rodents or primates. Phylogenetic analyse showed a complex evolutionary history of this gene family. Some PTENps were shared both in primates and rodents. However, some PTENps were shown to be species-specific, such as the tasmanian devil PTENp1, nine banded armadillo PTENp1 and gibbon PTENp1. Most interestingly, the naked mole rat (NMR), an anticancer model organism, possessed 17 copies of PTENps, which were classified into four clades based on the phylogenetic analyses. Furthermore, we found that all the 3’UTR of PTEN and PTENps shared common microRNA (MicroRNA) binding sites in NMR, based on our prediction of specific MicroRNA binding sites. Our findings suggested that multiple gene duplications have occurred in the formation of PTEN/PTENp gene family during the evolution of mammals. Some PTENps were relatively ancient and were shared by primates and rodents; others were newly originated through species- specific gene duplications. PTENps in NMR may function as competitive endogenous RNAs (ceRNAs) to regulate their counterpart genes by competing for common MicroRNAs, which may be one of the interpretations for the cancer resistance in NMR. PMID:27936183

  6. Polishing the craft of genetic diversity creation in directed evolution.

    PubMed

    Tee, Kang Lan; Wong, Tuck Seng

    2013-12-01

    Genetic diversity creation is a core technology in directed evolution where a high quality mutant library is crucial to its success. Owing to its importance, the technology in genetic diversity creation has seen rapid development over the years and its application has diversified into other fields of scientific research. The advances in molecular cloning and mutagenesis since 2008 were reviewed. Specifically, new cloning techniques were classified based on their principles of complementary overhangs, homologous sequences, overlapping PCR and megaprimers and the advantages, drawbacks and performances of these methods were highlighted. New mutagenesis methods developed for random mutagenesis, focused mutagenesis and DNA recombination were surveyed. The technical requirements of these methods and the mutational spectra were compared and discussed with references to commonly used techniques. The trends of mutant library preparation were summarised. Challenges in genetic diversity creation were discussed with emphases on creating "smart" libraries, controlling the mutagenesis spectrum and specific challenges in each group of mutagenesis methods. An outline of the wider applications of genetic diversity creation includes genome engineering, viral evolution, metagenomics and a study of protein functions. The review ends with an outlook for genetic diversity creation and the prospective developments that can have future impact in this field.

  7. Patterns of molecular evolution of RNAi genes in social and socially parasitic bumblebees.

    PubMed

    Helbing, Sophie; Lattorff, H Michael G

    2016-08-01

    The high frequency of interactions amongst closely related individuals in social insect colonies enhances pathogen transmission. Group-mediated behavior supporting immune defenses tends to decrease selection acting on immune genes. Along with low effective population sizes this might result in relaxed constraint and rapid evolution of immune system genes. Here, we show that antiviral siRNA genes show high rates of molecular evolution with argonaute 2, armitage and maelstrom evolving faster in social bumblebees compared to their socially parasitic cuckoo bumblebees that lack a worker caste. RNAi genes show frequent positive selection at the codon level additionally supported by the occurrence of parallel evolution. Their evolutionary rate is linked to their pathway specific position with genes directly interacting with viruses showing the highest rates of molecular evolution. We suggest that higher pathogen load in social insects indeed drives the molecular evolution of immune genes including antiviral siRNA, if not compensated by behavior.

  8. Molecular evolution of Pediculus humanus and the origin of clothing.

    PubMed

    Kittler, Ralf; Kayser, Manfred; Stoneking, Mark

    2003-08-19

    The human head louse (Pediculus humanus capitis) and body louse (P. humanus corporis or P. h. humanus) are strict, obligate human ectoparasites that differ mainly in their habitat on the host : the head louse lives and feeds exclusively on the scalp, whereas the body louse feeds on the body but lives in clothing. This ecological differentiation probably arose when humans adopted frequent use of clothing, an important event in human evolution for which there is no direct archaeological evidence. We therefore used a molecular clock approach to date the origin of body lice, assuming that this should correspond with the frequent use of clothing. Sequences were obtained from two mtDNA and two nuclear DNA segments from a global sample of 40 head and body lice, and from a chimpanzee louse to use as an outgroup. The results indicate greater diversity in African than non-African lice, suggesting an African origin of human lice. A molecular clock analysis indicates that body lice originated not more than about 72,000 +/- 42,000 years ago; the mtDNA sequences also indicate a demographic expansion of body lice that correlates with the spread of modern humans out of Africa. These results suggest that clothing was a surprisingly recent innovation in human evolution.

  9. Diversifying Carotenoid Biosynthetic Pathways by Directed Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Umeno, Daisuke; Tobias, Alexander V.; Arnold, Frances H.

    2005-01-01

    Microorganisms and plants synthesize a diverse array of natural products, many of which have proven indispensable to human health and well-being. Although many thousands of these have been characterized, the space of possible natural products—those that could be made biosynthetically—remains largely unexplored. For decades, this space has largely been the domain of chemists, who have synthesized scores of natural product analogs and have found many with improved or novel functions. New natural products have also been made in recombinant organisms, via engineered biosynthetic pathways. Recently, methods inspired by natural evolution have begun to be applied to the search for new natural products. These methods force pathways to evolve in convenient laboratory organisms, where the products of new pathways can be identified and characterized in high-throughput screening programs. Carotenoid biosynthetic pathways have served as a convenient experimental system with which to demonstrate these ideas. Researchers have mixed, matched, and mutated carotenoid biosynthetic enzymes and screened libraries of these “evolved” pathways for the emergence of new carotenoid products. This has led to dozens of new pathway products not previously known to be made by the assembled enzymes. These new products include whole families of carotenoids built from backbones not found in nature. This review details the strategies and specific methods that have been employed to generate new carotenoid biosynthetic pathways in the laboratory. The potential application of laboratory evolution to other biosynthetic pathways is also discussed. PMID:15755953

  10. Expanding the metabolic engineering toolbox with directed evolution.

    PubMed

    Abatemarco, Joseph; Hill, Andrew; Alper, Hal S

    2013-12-01

    Cellular systems can be engineered into factories that produce high-value chemicals from renewable feedstock. Such an approach requires an expanded toolbox for metabolic engineering. Recently, protein engineering and directed evolution strategies have started to play a growing and critical role within metabolic engineering. This review focuses on the various ways in which directed evolution can be applied in conjunction with metabolic engineering to improve product yields. Specifically, we discuss the application of directed evolution on both catalytic and non-catalytic traits of enzymes, on regulatory elements, and on whole genomes in a metabolic engineering context. We demonstrate how the goals of metabolic pathway engineering can be achieved in part through evolving cellular parts as opposed to traditional approaches that rely on gene overexpression and deletion. Finally, we discuss the current limitations in screening technology that hinder the full implementation of a metabolic pathway-directed evolution approach.

  11. CADEE: Computer-Aided Directed Evolution of Enzymes.

    PubMed

    Amrein, Beat Anton; Steffen-Munsberg, Fabian; Szeler, Ireneusz; Purg, Miha; Kulkarni, Yashraj; Kamerlin, Shina Caroline Lynn

    2017-01-01

    The tremendous interest in enzymes as biocatalysts has led to extensive work in enzyme engineering, as well as associated methodology development. Here, a new framework for computer-aided directed evolution of enzymes (CADEE) is presented which allows a drastic reduction in the time necessary to prepare and analyze in silico semi-automated directed evolution of enzymes. A pedagogical example of the application of CADEE to a real biological system is also presented in order to illustrate the CADEE workflow.

  12. CADEE: Computer-Aided Directed Evolution of Enzymes

    PubMed Central

    Amrein, Beat Anton; Steffen-Munsberg, Fabian; Szeler, Ireneusz; Purg, Miha; Kamerlin, Shina Caroline Lynn

    2017-01-01

    The tremendous interest in enzymes as biocatalysts has led to extensive work in enzyme engineering, as well as associated methodology development. Here, a new framework for computer-aided directed evolution of enzymes (CADEE) is presented which allows a drastic reduction in the time necessary to prepare and analyze in silico semi-automated directed evolution of enzymes. A pedagogical example of the application of CADEE to a real biological system is also presented in order to illustrate the CADEE workflow. PMID:28250941

  13. Directed evolution of an RNA enzyme

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Beaudry, Amber A.; Joyce, Gerald F.

    1992-01-01

    An in vitro evolution procedures was used to obtain RNA enzymes with a particular catalytic function. A population of 10 exp 13 variants of the Tetrahymena ribozyme, a group I ribozyme that catalyzes sequence-specific cleavage of RNA via a phosphoester transfer mechanism, was generated. This enzyme has a limited ability to cleave DNA under conditions of high temperature or high MgCl2 concentration, or both. A selection constraint was imposed on the population of ribozyme variants such that only those individuals that carried out DNA cleavage under physiologic conditions were amplified to produce 'progeny' ribozymes. Mutations were introduced during amplification to maintain heterogeneity in the population. This process was repeated for ten successive generations, resulting in enhanced (100 times) DNA cleavage activity.

  14. Rhodopsin Molecular Evolution in Mammals Inhabiting Low Light Environments

    PubMed Central

    Zhao, Huabin; Ru, Binghua; Teeling, Emma C.; Faulkes, Christopher G.; Zhang, Shuyi; Rossiter, Stephen J.

    2009-01-01

    The ecological radiation of mammals to inhabit a variety of light environments is largely attributed to adaptive changes in their visual systems. Visual capabilities are conferred by anatomical features of the eyes as well as the combination and properties of their constituent light sensitive pigments. To test whether evolutionary switches to different niches characterized by dim-light conditions coincided with molecular adaptation of the rod pigment rhodopsin, we sequenced the rhodopsin gene in twenty-two mammals including several bats and subterranean mole-rats. We compared these to thirty-seven published mammal rhodopsin sequences, from species with divergent visual ecologies, including nocturnal, diurnal and aquatic groups. All taxa possessed an intact functional rhodopsin; however, phylogenetic tree reconstruction recovered a gene tree in which rodents were not monophyletic, and also in which echolocating bats formed a monophyletic group. These conflicts with the species tree appear to stem from accelerated evolution in these groups, both of which inhabit low light environments. Selection tests confirmed divergent selection pressures in the clades of subterranean rodents and bats, as well as in marine mammals that live in turbid conditions. We also found evidence of divergent selection pressures among groups of bats with different sensory modalities based on vision and echolocation. Sliding window analyses suggest most changes occur in transmembrane domains, particularly obvious within the pinnipeds; however, we found no obvious pattern between photopic niche and predicted spectral sensitivity based on known critical amino acids. This study indicates that the independent evolution of rhodopsin vision in ecologically specialised groups of mammals has involved molecular evolution at the sequence level, though such changes might not mediate spectral sensitivity directly. PMID:20016835

  15. Using experimental evolution to probe molecular mechanisms of protein function.

    PubMed

    Fischer, Marlies; Kang, Mandeep; Brindle, Nicholas Pj

    2016-02-01

    Directed evolution is a powerful tool for engineering protein function. The process of directed evolution involves iterative rounds of sequence diversification followed by assaying activity of variants and selection. The range of sequence variants and linked activities generated in the course of an evolution are a rich information source for investigating relationships between sequence and function. Key residue positions determining protein function, combinatorial contributors to activity and even potential functional mechanisms have been revealed in directed evolutions. The recent application of high throughput sequencing substantially increases the information that can be retrieved from directed evolution experiments. Combined with computational analysis this additional sequence information has allowed high-resolution analysis of individual residue contributions to activity. These developments promise to significantly enhance the depth of insight that experimental evolution provides into mechanisms of protein function.

  16. Directionality principles in thermodynamics and evolution.

    PubMed

    Demetrius, L

    1997-04-15

    Directionality in populations of replicating organisms can be parametrized in terms of a statistical concept: evolutionary entropy. This parameter, a measure of the variability in the age of reproducing individuals in a population, is isometric with the macroscopic variable body size. Evolutionary trends in entropy due to mutation and natural selection fall into patterns modulated by ecological and demographic constraints, which are delineated as follows: (i) density-dependent conditions (a unidirectional increase in evolutionary entropy), and (ii) density-independent conditions, (a) slow exponential growth (an increase in entropy); (b) rapid exponential growth, low degree of iteroparity (a decrease in entropy); and (c) rapid exponential growth, high degree of iteroparity (random, nondirectional change in entropy). Directionality in aggregates of inanimate matter can be parametrized in terms of the statistical concept, thermodynamic entropy, a measure of disorder. Directional trends in entropy in aggregates of matter fall into patterns determined by the nature of the adiabatic constraints, which are characterized as follows: (i) irreversible processes (an increase in thermodynamic entropy) and (ii) reversible processes (a constant value for entropy). This article analyzes the relation between the concepts that underlie the directionality principles in evolutionary biology and physical systems. For models of cellular populations, an analytic relation is derived between generation time, the average length of the cell cycle, and temperature. This correspondence between generation time, an evolutionary parameter, and temperature, a thermodynamic variable, is exploited to show that the increase in evolutionary entropy that characterizes population processes under density-dependent conditions represents a nonequilibrium analogue of the second law of thermodynamics.

  17. Law of genome evolution direction: Coding information quantity grows

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Luo, Liao-Fu

    2009-06-01

    The problem of the directionality of genome evolution is studied. Based on the analysis of C-value paradox and the evolution of genome size, we propose that the function-coding information quantity of a genome always grows in the course of evolution through sequence duplication, expansion of code, and gene transfer from outside. The function-coding information quantity of a genome consists of two parts, p-coding information quantity that encodes functional protein and n-coding information quantity that encodes other functional elements. The evidences on the law of the evolutionary directionality are indicated. The needs of function are the motive force for the expansion of coding information quantity, and the information quantity expansion is the way to make functional innovation and extension for a species. Therefore, the increase of coding information quantity of a genome is a measure of the acquired new function, and it determines the directionality of genome evolution.

  18. Animal Foraging and the Evolution of Goal-Directed Cognition

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hills, Thomas T.

    2006-01-01

    Foraging-and feeding-related behaviors across eumetazoans share similar molecular mechanisms, suggesting the early evolution of an optimal foraging behavior called area-restricted search (ARS), involving mechanisms of dopamine and glutamate in the modulation of behavioral focus. Similar mechanisms in the vertebrate basal ganglia control motor…

  19. Frogs without polliwogs: evolution of anuran direct development.

    PubMed

    Callery, E M; Fang, H; Elinson, R P

    2001-03-01

    Direct development is the assumption of the adult morphology without progression through an intervening, morphologically distinct, free-living larval phase. We discuss the ecological factors contributing to the evolution of this derived life-history strategy in frogs, and the developmental modifications that facilitate such an unusual mode of embryogenesis. Studies on the Puerto Rican tree frog, Eleutherodactylus coqui, have identified several such modifications, including developmental adaptations for dealing with increased egg size, and loss of tadpole structures. Surprisingly, this direct developer still undergoes a thyroid hormone-dependent metamorphosis, which occurs before hatching. We suggest how the ancestral biphasic developmental pattern may have been rearranged during the evolution of direct development.

  20. Imaging the Temporal Evolution of Molecular Orbitals during Ultrafast Dissociation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sann, H.; Havermeier, T.; Müller, C.; Kim, H.-K.; Trinter, F.; Waitz, M.; Voigtsberger, J.; Sturm, F.; Bauer, T.; Wallauer, R.; Schneider, D.; Weller, M.; Goihl, C.; Tross, J.; Cole, K.; Wu, J.; Schöffler, M. S.; Schmidt-Böcking, H.; Jahnke, T.; Simon, M.; Dörner, R.

    2016-12-01

    We investigate the temporal evolution of molecular frame angular distributions of Auger electrons emitted during ultrafast dissociation of HCl following a resonant single-photon excitation. The electron emission pattern changes its shape from that of a molecular σ orbital to that of an atomic p state as the system evolves from a molecule into two separated atoms.

  1. Polyspecific pyrrolysyl-tRNA synthetases from directed evolution

    PubMed Central

    Guo, Li-Tao; Wang, Yane-Shih; Nakamura, Akiyoshi; Eiler, Daniel; Kavran, Jennifer M.; Wong, Margaret; Kiessling, Laura L.; Steitz, Thomas A.; O’Donoghue, Patrick; Söll, Dieter

    2014-01-01

    Pyrrolysyl-tRNA synthetase (PylRS) and its cognate tRNAPyl have emerged as ideal translation components for genetic code innovation. Variants of the enzyme facilitate the incorporation >100 noncanonical amino acids (ncAAs) into proteins. PylRS variants were previously selected to acylate Nε-acetyl-Lys (AcK) onto tRNAPyl. Here, we examine an Nε-acetyl-lysyl-tRNA synthetase (AcKRS), which is polyspecific (i.e., active with a broad range of ncAAs) and 30-fold more efficient with Phe derivatives than it is with AcK. Structural and biochemical data reveal the molecular basis of polyspecificity in AcKRS and in a PylRS variant [iodo-phenylalanyl-tRNA synthetase (IFRS)] that displays both enhanced activity and substrate promiscuity over a chemical library of 313 ncAAs. IFRS, a product of directed evolution, has distinct binding modes for different ncAAs. These data indicate that in vivo selections do not produce optimally specific tRNA synthetases and suggest that translation fidelity will become an increasingly dominant factor in expanding the genetic code far beyond 20 amino acids. PMID:25385624

  2. Polyspecific pyrrolysyl-tRNA synthetases from directed evolution.

    PubMed

    Guo, Li-Tao; Wang, Yane-Shih; Nakamura, Akiyoshi; Eiler, Daniel; Kavran, Jennifer M; Wong, Margaret; Kiessling, Laura L; Steitz, Thomas A; O'Donoghue, Patrick; Söll, Dieter

    2014-11-25

    Pyrrolysyl-tRNA synthetase (PylRS) and its cognate tRNA(Pyl) have emerged as ideal translation components for genetic code innovation. Variants of the enzyme facilitate the incorporation >100 noncanonical amino acids (ncAAs) into proteins. PylRS variants were previously selected to acylate N(ε)-acetyl-Lys (AcK) onto tRNA(Pyl). Here, we examine an N(ε)-acetyl-lysyl-tRNA synthetase (AcKRS), which is polyspecific (i.e., active with a broad range of ncAAs) and 30-fold more efficient with Phe derivatives than it is with AcK. Structural and biochemical data reveal the molecular basis of polyspecificity in AcKRS and in a PylRS variant [iodo-phenylalanyl-tRNA synthetase (IFRS)] that displays both enhanced activity and substrate promiscuity over a chemical library of 313 ncAAs. IFRS, a product of directed evolution, has distinct binding modes for different ncAAs. These data indicate that in vivo selections do not produce optimally specific tRNA synthetases and suggest that translation fidelity will become an increasingly dominant factor in expanding the genetic code far beyond 20 amino acids.

  3. The evolution of endothermy: role for membranes and molecular activity.

    PubMed

    Else, Paul L; Turner, N; Hulbert, A J

    2004-01-01

    On the basis of the comparative approach and three models of metabolism (endothermic and ectothermic vertebrates, body mass, and mammalian development), we suggest that a few common cellular processes, linked either directly or indirectly to membranes, consume the majority of energy used by most organisms; that membranes act as pacemakers of metabolism through changes in lipid composition, altering membrane characteristics and the working environment of membrane proteins--specifically, that changes in the membrane environment similarly affect the molecular activities (specific rates of activity) of membrane-bound proteins; and that polyunsaturation of membranes increases whereas monounsaturation decreases the activity of membrane proteins. Experiments designed to test this theory using the sodium pump support this supposition. Potential mechanisms considered include fluidity, electrical fields, and related surface area requirements of lipids. In considering the evolution of endothermy in mammals, for example, if the first mammals were small, possibly nocturnal and active organisms, all these factors would favour increased polyunsaturation of membranes. Such changes (from monounsaturated to polyunsaturated membranes) would allow membranes to set the pace of metabolism in the evolution of endothermy.

  4. Design of a directed molecular network.

    PubMed

    Ashkenasy, Gonen; Jagasia, Reshma; Yadav, Maneesh; Ghadiri, M Reza

    2004-07-27

    An ability to rationally design complex networks from the bottom up can offer valuable quantitative model systems for use in gaining a deeper appreciation for the principles governing the self-organization and functional characteristics of complex systems. We report herein the de novo design, graph prediction, experimental analysis, and characterization of simple self-organized, nonlinear molecular networks. Our approach makes use of the sequence-dependent auto- and cross-catalytic functional characteristics of template-directed peptide fragment condensation reactions in neutral aqueous solutions. Starting with an array of 81 sequence similar 32-residue coiled-coil peptides, we estimated the relative stability difference between all plausible A(2)B-type coiled-coil ensembles and used this information to predict the auto- and cross-catalysis pathways and the resulting plausible network motif and connectivities. Similar to most complex systems, the generated graph displays clustered nodes with an overall hierarchical architecture. To test the validity of the design principles used, nine nodes composing a main segment of the graph were experimentally analyzed for their capacity in establishing the predicted network connectivity. The resulting self-organized chemical network is shown to display 25 directed edges in good agreement with the graph analysis estimations. Moreover, we show that by varying the system parameters (presence or absence of certain substrates or templates), its operating network motif can be altered, even to the extremes of turning pathways on or off. We suggest that this approach can be expanded for the construction of large-scale networks, offering a means to study and to understand better the emergent, collective behaviors of networks.

  5. Design of a directed molecular network

    PubMed Central

    Ashkenasy, Gonen; Jagasia, Reshma; Yadav, Maneesh; Ghadiri, M. Reza

    2004-01-01

    An ability to rationally design complex networks from the bottom up can offer valuable quantitative model systems for use in gaining a deeper appreciation for the principles governing the self-organization and functional characteristics of complex systems. We report herein the de novo design, graph prediction, experimental analysis, and characterization of simple self-organized, nonlinear molecular networks. Our approach makes use of the sequence-dependant auto- and cross-catalytic functional characteristics of template-directed peptide fragment condensation reactions in neutral aqueous solutions. Starting with an array of 81 sequence similar 32-residue coiled-coil peptides, we estimated the relative stability difference between all plausible A2B-type coiled-coil ensembles and used this information to predict the auto- and cross-catalysis pathways and the resulting plausible network motif and connectivities. Similar to most complex systems, the generated graph displays clustered nodes with an overall hierarchical architecture. To test the validity of the design principles used, nine nodes composing a main segment of the graph were experimentally analyzed for their capacity in establishing the predicted network connectivity. The resulting self-organized chemical network is shown to display 25 directed edges in good agreement with the graph analysis estimations. Moreover, we show that by varying the system parameters (presence or absence of certain substrates or templates), its operating network motif can be altered, even to the extremes of turning pathways on or off. We suggest that this approach can be expanded for the construction of large-scale networks, offering a means to study and to understand better the emergent, collective behaviors of networks. PMID:15256596

  6. Direct Observations of the Evolution of Polar Cap Ionization Patches

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Q.; Zhang, B.; Lockwood, M. M.; Hu, H.; Moen, J. I.; Ruohoniemi, J.; Thomas, E. G.; Zhang, S.; Yang, H.; Liu, R.; McWilliams, K. A.; Baker, J. B.

    2013-12-01

    Patches of ionization are common in the polar ionosphere where their motion and associated density gradients give variable disturbances to High Frequency (HF) radio communications, over-the-horizon radar location errors, and disruption and errors to satellite navigation and communication. Their formation and evolution are poorly understood, particularly under disturbed space weather conditions. We report direct observations of the full evolution of patches during a geomagnetic storm, including formation, polar cap entry, transpolar evolution, polar cap exit, and sunward return flow. Our observations show that modulation of nightside reconnection in the substorm cycle of the magnetosphere helps form the gaps between patches where steady convection would give a 'tongue' of ionization (TOI).

  7. Direct anharmonic correction method by molecular dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Zhong-Li; Li, Rui; Zhang, Xiu-Lu; Qu, Nuo; Cai, Ling-Cang

    2017-04-01

    The quick calculation of accurate anharmonic effects of lattice vibrations is crucial to the calculations of thermodynamic properties, the construction of the multi-phase diagram and equation of states of materials, and the theoretical designs of new materials. In this paper, we proposed a direct free energy interpolation (DFEI) method based on the temperature dependent phonon density of states (TD-PDOS) reduced from molecular dynamics simulations. Using the DFEI method, after anharmonic free energy corrections we reproduced the thermal expansion coefficients, the specific heat, the thermal pressure, the isothermal bulk modulus, and the Hugoniot P- V- T relationships of Cu easily and accurately. The extensive tests on other materials including metal, alloy, semiconductor and insulator also manifest that the DFEI method can easily uncover the rest anharmonicity that the quasi-harmonic approximation (QHA) omits. It is thus evidenced that the DFEI method is indeed a very efficient method used to conduct anharmonic effect corrections beyond QHA. More importantly it is much more straightforward and easier compared to previous anharmonic methods.

  8. Automatic Evolution of Molecular Nanotechnology Designs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Globus, Al; Lawton, John; Wipke, Todd; Saini, Subhash (Technical Monitor)

    1998-01-01

    This paper describes strategies for automatically generating designs for analog circuits at the molecular level. Software maps out the edges and vertices of potential nanotechnology systems on graphs, then selects appropriate ones through evolutionary or genetic paradigms.

  9. Molecular clouds. [significance in stellar evolution

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thaddeus, P.

    1977-01-01

    An attempt is made to understand star formation in the context of the dense interstellar molecular gas from which stars are made. Attention is given to how molecular observations (e.g., UV spectroscopy and radio 21-cm and recombination line observations) provide data on the physical state of the dense interstellar gas; observations of H II regions, stellar associations, and dark nebulae are discussed. CO clouds are studied with reference to radial velocity, temperature, density, ionization, magnetic field.

  10. Directed evolution of nucleotide-based libraries using lambda exonuclease.

    PubMed

    Lim, Bee Nar; Choong, Yee Siew; Ismail, Asma; Glökler, Jörn; Konthur, Zoltán; Lim, Theam Soon

    2012-12-01

    Directed evolution of nucleotide libraries using recombination or mutagenesis is an important technique for customizing catalytic or biophysical traits of proteins. Conventional directed evolution methods, however, suffer from cumbersome digestion and ligation steps. Here, we describe a simple method to increase nucleotide diversity using single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) as a starting template. An initial PCR amplification using phosphorylated primers with overlapping regions followed by treatment with lambda exonuclease generates ssDNA templates that can then be annealed via the overlap regions. Double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) is then generated through extension with Klenow fragment. To demonstrate the applicability of this methodology for directed evolution of nucleotide libraries, we generated both gene shuffled and regional mutagenesis synthetic antibody libraries with titers of 2×108 and 6×107, respectively. We conclude that our method is an efficient and convenient approach to generate diversity in nucleic acid based libraries, especially recombinant antibody libraries.

  11. Directed Evolution as a Powerful Synthetic Biology Tool

    PubMed Central

    Cobb, Ryan E.; Sun, Ning; Zhao, Huimin

    2012-01-01

    At the heart of synthetic biology lies the goal of rationally engineering a complete biological system to achieve a specific objective, such as bioremediation and synthesis of a valuable drug, chemical, or biofuel molecule. However, the inherent complexity of natural biological systems has heretofore precluded generalized application of this approach. Directed evolution, a process which mimics Darwinian selection on a laboratory scale, has allowed significant strides to be made in the field of synthetic biology by allowing rapid identification of desired properties from large libraries of variants. Improvement in biocatalyst activity and stability, engineering of biosynthetic pathways, tuning of functional regulatory systems and logic circuits, and development of desired complex phenotypes in industrial host organisms have all been achieved by way of directed evolution. Here, we review recent contributions of directed evolution to synthetic biology at the protein, pathway, network, and whole cell levels. PMID:22465795

  12. Molecular Evolution of Threonine Dehydratase in Bacteria

    PubMed Central

    Yu, Xuefei; Li, Ye; Wang, Xiaoyuan

    2013-01-01

    Threonine dehydratase converts L-threonine to 2-ketobutyrate. Several threonine dehydratases exist in bacteria, but their origins and evolutionary pathway are unknown. Here we analyzed all the available threonine dehydratases in bacteria and proposed an evolutionary pathway leading to the genes encoding three different threonine dehydratases CTD, BTD1 and BTD2. The ancestral threonine dehydratase might contain only a catalytic domain, but one or two ACT-like subdomains were fused during the evolution, resulting BTD1 and BTD2, respectively. Horizontal gene transfer, gene fusion, gene duplication, and gene deletion may occur during the evolution of this enzyme. The results are important for understanding the functions of various threonine dehydratases found in bacteria. PMID:24324624

  13. Temperature Evolution of Molecular Clouds in the Central Molecular Zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Krieger, Nico; Ott, Jürgen; Walter, Fabian; Kruijssen, J. M. Diederik; Beuther, Henrik

    2017-01-01

    We infer the absolute time dependence of kinematic gas temperature along a proposed orbit of molecular clouds in the Central Molecular Zone (CMZ) of the Galactic Center (GC). Ammonia gas temperature maps are one of the results of the ``Survey of Water and Ammonia in the Galactic Center'' (SWAG, PI: J. Ott); the dynamical model of molecular clouds in the CMZ was taken from Kruijssen et al. (2015). We find that gas temperatures increase as a function of time in both regimes before and after the cloud passes pericenter on its orbit in the GC potential. This is consistent with the recent proposal that pericenter passage triggers gravitational collapse. Other investigated quantities (line width, column density, opacity) show no strong sign of time dependence but are likely dominated by cloud-to-cloud variations.

  14. Directed evolution of bacteriorhodopsin for applications in bioelectronics

    PubMed Central

    Wagner, Nicole L.; Greco, Jordan A.; Ranaghan, Matthew J.; Birge, Robert R.

    2013-01-01

    In nature, biological systems gradually evolve through complex, algorithmic processes involving mutation and differential selection. Evolution has optimized biological macromolecules for a variety of functions to provide a comparative advantage. However, nature does not optimize molecules for use in human-made devices, as it would gain no survival advantage in such cooperation. Recent advancements in genetic engineering, most notably directed evolution, have allowed for the stepwise manipulation of the properties of living organisms, promoting the expansion of protein-based devices in nanotechnology. In this review, we highlight the use of directed evolution to optimize photoactive proteins, with an emphasis on bacteriorhodopsin (BR), for device applications. BR, a highly stable light-activated proton pump, has shown great promise in three-dimensional optical memories, real-time holographic processors and artificial retinas. PMID:23676894

  15. Analytical Biases Associated with GC-Content in Molecular Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Romiguier, Jonathan; Roux, Camille

    2017-01-01

    Molecular evolution is being revolutionized by high-throughput sequencing allowing an increased amount of genome-wide data available for multiple species. While base composition summarized by GC-content is one of the first metrics measured in genomes, its genomic distribution is a frequently neglected feature in downstream analyses based on DNA sequence comparisons. Here, we show how base composition heterogeneity among loci and taxa can bias common molecular evolution analyses such as phylogenetic tree reconstruction, detection of natural selection and estimation of codon usage. We then discuss the biological, technical and methodological causes of these GC-associated biases and suggest approaches to overcome them. PMID:28261263

  16. Models for the directed evolution of bacterial allelopathy: bacteriophage lysins.

    PubMed

    Bull, James J; Crandall, Cameron; Rodriguez, Anna; Krone, Stephen M

    2015-01-01

    Microbes produce a variety of compounds that are used to kill or suppress other species. Traditional antibiotics have their origins in these natural products, as do many types of compounds being pursued today in the quest for new antibacterial drugs. When a potential toxin can be encoded by and exported from a species that is not harmed, the opportunity exists to use directed evolution to improve the toxin's ability to kill other species-allelopathy. In contrast to the typical application of directed evolution, this case requires the co-culture of at least two species or strains, a host that is unharmed by the toxin plus the intended target of the toxin. We develop mathematical and computational models of this directed evolution process. Two contexts are considered, one with the toxin encoded on a plasmid and the other with the toxin encoded in a phage. The plasmid system appears to be more promising than the phage system. Crucial to both designs is the ability to co-culture two species/strains (host and target) such that the host is greatly outgrown by the target species except when the target species is killed. The results suggest that, if these initial conditions can be satisfied, directed evolution is feasible for the plasmid-based system. Screening with a plasmid-based system may also enable rapid improvement of a toxin.

  17. Collection Directions: The Evolution of Library Collections and Collecting

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dempsey, Lorcan; Malpas, Constance; Lavoie, Brian

    2014-01-01

    This article takes a broad view of the evolution of collecting behaviors in a network environment and suggests some future directions based on various simple models. The authors look at the changing dynamics of print collections, at the greater engagement with research and learning behaviors, and at trends in scholarly communication. The goal is…

  18. Slow rate of molecular evolution in high-elevation hummingbirds.

    PubMed

    Bleiweiss, R

    1998-01-20

    Estimates of relative rates of molecular evolution from a DNA-hybridization phylogeny for 26 hummingbird species provide evidence for a negative association between elevation and rate of single-copy genome evolution. This effect of elevation on rate remains significant even after taking into account a significant negative association between body mass and molecular rate. Population-level processes do not appear to account for these patterns because (i) all hummingbirds breed within their first year and (ii) the more extensive subdivision and speciation of bird populations living at high elevations predicts a positive association between elevation and rate. The negative association between body mass and molecular rate in other organisms has been attributed to higher mutation rates in forms with higher oxidative metabolism. As ambient oxygen tensions and temperature decrease with elevation, the slow rate of molecular evolution in high-elevation hummingbirds also may have a metabolic basis. A slower rate of single-copy DNA change at higher elevations suggests that the dynamics of molecular evolution cannot be separated from the environmental context.

  19. Molecular evolution of cryptochromes in fishes.

    PubMed

    Mei, Qiming; Sadovy, Yvonne; Dvornyk, Volodymyr

    2015-12-10

    Circadian rhythmicity is an endogenous biological cycle of about 24h, which exists in cyanobacteria and fungi, plants and animals. Circadian rhythms improve the adaptability of organisms in both constant and changing environments. The cryptochrome (CRY) is a key element of the circadian system in various animal groups including fishes. We studied evolution of cryptochromes in the phylogenetically and ecologically diverse fish taxa. The phylogenetic tree of fish Cry features two major clades: Cry1 and Cry2. Teleosts possess extra copies of Cry1 due to the genome duplication, which resulted in 3 main paralogous subfamilies (1A, 1B and 1C). Cry1 experienced further diversification through additional duplications in some taxa. 1A of Cry1 is more conserved than the other paralogs (dN=0.010 ± 0.003, π=0.119 ± 0.058). The analysis of selection indicated that, while the Cry homologs in fish evolved under the different levels of selection pressure, strong purifying selection (average ω=0.017) dominated in their evolution.

  20. Evolution of dislocation mechanisms in single-crystal Cu under shock loading in different directions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Neogi, Anupam; Mitra, Nilanjan

    2017-02-01

    Even though there are numerous experiments and molecular dynamic simulations of Cu under shock loading, there appears to be no literature on the evolution of different types of dislocation mechanisms and their mutual interactions during the process of shock loading, which this article addresses through molecular dynamic simulations using the Mishin EAM potential for Cu. Three different directions < 100> , < 110> , and < 111> that have been considered in this article are subjected to shock compression with piston velocities ranging between 0.3–3 km s‑1. The evolution of Hirth locks, Lomer–Cottrell locks, cross-slips, jogs, and dislocation-originated stacking-fault tetrahedra are demonstrated in this article for different direction shock loading of single-crystal Cu.

  1. Environmental Epigenetics and a Unified Theory of the Molecular Aspects of Evolution: A Neo-Lamarckian Concept that Facilitates Neo-Darwinian Evolution.

    PubMed

    Skinner, Michael K

    2015-04-26

    Environment has a critical role in the natural selection process for Darwinian evolution. The primary molecular component currently considered for neo-Darwinian evolution involves genetic alterations and random mutations that generate the phenotypic variation required for natural selection to act. The vast majority of environmental factors cannot directly alter DNA sequence. Epigenetic mechanisms directly regulate genetic processes and can be dramatically altered by environmental factors. Therefore, environmental epigenetics provides a molecular mechanism to directly alter phenotypic variation generationally. Lamarck proposed in 1802 the concept that environment can directly alter phenotype in a heritable manner. Environmental epigenetics and epigenetic transgenerational inheritance provide molecular mechanisms for this process. Therefore, environment can on a molecular level influence the phenotypic variation directly. The ability of environmental epigenetics to alter phenotypic and genotypic variation directly can significantly impact natural selection. Neo-Lamarckian concept can facilitate neo-Darwinian evolution. A unified theory of evolution is presented to describe the integration of environmental epigenetic and genetic aspects of evolution.

  2. Directing the evolution of Rubisco and Rubisco activase: first impressions of a new tool for photosynthesis research.

    PubMed

    Mueller-Cajar, Oliver; Whitney, Spencer M

    2008-01-01

    During the last decade the practice of laboratory-directed protein evolution has become firmly established as a versatile tool in biochemical research by enabling molecular evolution toward desirable phenotypes or detection of novel structure-function interactions. Applications of this technique in the field of photosynthesis research are still in their infancy, but recently first steps have been reported in the directed evolution of the CO(2)-fixing enzyme Rubisco and its helper protein Rubisco activase. Here we summarize directed protein evolution strategies and review the progressive advances that have been made to develop and apply suitable selection systems for screening mutant forms of these enzymes that improve the fitness of the host organism. The goal of increasing photosynthetic efficiency of plants by improving the kinetics of Rubisco has been a long-term goal scoring modest successes. We discuss how directed evolution methodologies may one day be able to circumvent the problems encountered during this venture.

  3. Molecular pathways for defect annihilation in directed self-assembly.

    DOE PAGES

    Hur, Su-Mi; Thapar, Vikram; Ramirez-Hernandez, Abelardo; ...

    2015-11-17

    Over the last few years, the directed self-assembly of block copolymers by surface patterns has transitioned from academic curiosity to viable contender for commercial fabrication of next-generation nanocircuits by lithography. Recently, it has become apparent that kinetics, and not only thermodynamics, plays a key role for the ability of a polymeric material to self-assemble into a perfect, defect-free ordered state. Perfection, in this context, implies not more than one defect, with characteristic dimensions on the order of 5 nm, over a sample area as large as 100 cm2. In this work, we identify the key pathways and the corresponding free-energymore » barriers for eliminating defects, and we demonstrate that an extraordinarily large thermodynamic driving force is not necessarily sufficient for their removal. By adopting a concerted computational and experimental approach, we explain the molecular origins of these barriers, how they depend on material characteristics, and we propose strategies designed to over-come them. The validity of our conclusions for industrially-relevant patterning processes is established by relying on instruments and assembly lines that are only available at state-of-the-art fabrication facilities and, through this confluence of fundamental and applied research, we are able to discern the evolution of morphology at the smallest relevant length scales - a handful of nanometers -, and present a view of defect annihilation in directed self-assembly at an unprecedented level of detail.« less

  4. Molecular pathways for defect annihilation in directed self-assembly.

    SciTech Connect

    Hur, Su-Mi; Thapar, Vikram; Ramirez-Hernandez, Abelardo; Khaira, Gurdaman S.; Segal-Peretz, Tamar; Rincon-Delgadillo, Paulina A.; Li, Weihua; Muller, Marcus; Nealey, Paul F.; de Pablo, Juan J.

    2015-11-17

    Over the last few years, the directed self-assembly of block copolymers by surface patterns has transitioned from academic curiosity to viable contender for commercial fabrication of next-generation nanocircuits by lithography. Recently, it has become apparent that kinetics, and not only thermodynamics, plays a key role for the ability of a polymeric material to self-assemble into a perfect, defect-free ordered state. Perfection, in this context, implies not more than one defect, with characteristic dimensions on the order of 5 nm, over a sample area as large as 100 cm2. In this work, we identify the key pathways and the corresponding free-energy barriers for eliminating defects, and we demonstrate that an extraordinarily large thermodynamic driving force is not necessarily sufficient for their removal. By adopting a concerted computational and experimental approach, we explain the molecular origins of these barriers, how they depend on material characteristics, and we propose strategies designed to over-come them. The validity of our conclusions for industrially-relevant patterning processes is established by relying on instruments and assembly lines that are only available at state-of-the-art fabrication facilities and, through this confluence of fundamental and applied research, we are able to discern the evolution of morphology at the smallest relevant length scales - a handful of nanometers -, and present a view of defect annihilation in directed self-assembly at an unprecedented level of detail.

  5. Molecular pathways for defect annihilation in directed self-assembly.

    PubMed

    Hur, Su-Mi; Thapar, Vikram; Ramírez-Hernández, Abelardo; Khaira, Gurdaman; Segal-Peretz, Tamar; Rincon-Delgadillo, Paulina A; Li, Weihua; Müller, Marcus; Nealey, Paul F; de Pablo, Juan J

    2015-11-17

    Over the last few years, the directed self-assembly of block copolymers by surface patterns has transitioned from academic curiosity to viable contender for commercial fabrication of next-generation nanocircuits by lithography. Recently, it has become apparent that kinetics, and not only thermodynamics, plays a key role for the ability of a polymeric material to self-assemble into a perfect, defect-free ordered state. Perfection, in this context, implies not more than one defect, with characteristic dimensions on the order of 5 nm, over a sample area as large as 100 cm(2). In this work, we identify the key pathways and the corresponding free energy barriers for eliminating defects, and we demonstrate that an extraordinarily large thermodynamic driving force is not necessarily sufficient for their removal. By adopting a concerted computational and experimental approach, we explain the molecular origins of these barriers and how they depend on material characteristics, and we propose strategies designed to overcome them. The validity of our conclusions for industrially relevant patterning processes is established by relying on instruments and assembly lines that are only available at state-of-the-art fabrication facilities, and, through this confluence of fundamental and applied research, we are able to discern the evolution of morphology at the smallest relevant length scales-a handful of nanometers-and present a view of defect annihilation in directed self-assembly at an unprecedented level of detail.

  6. The Jukes-Cantor Model of Molecular Evolution

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Erickson, Keith

    2010-01-01

    The material in this module introduces students to some of the mathematical tools used to examine molecular evolution. This topic is standard fare in many mathematical biology or bioinformatics classes, but could also be suitable for classes in linear algebra or probability. While coursework in matrix algebra, Markov processes, Monte Carlo…

  7. Molecular characterization of the evolution of phagosomes

    PubMed Central

    Boulais, Jonathan; Trost, Matthias; Landry, Christian R; Dieckmann, Régis; Levy, Emmanuel D; Soldati, Thierry; Michnick, Stephen W; Thibault, Pierre; Desjardins, Michel

    2010-01-01

    Amoeba use phagocytosis to internalize bacteria as a source of nutrients, whereas multicellular organisms utilize this process as a defense mechanism to kill microbes and, in vertebrates, initiate a sustained immune response. By using a large-scale approach to identify and compare the proteome and phosphoproteome of phagosomes isolated from distant organisms, and by comparative analysis over 39 taxa, we identified an ‘ancient' core of phagosomal proteins around which the immune functions of this organelle have likely organized. Our data indicate that a larger proportion of the phagosome proteome, compared with the whole cell proteome, has been acquired through gene duplication at a period coinciding with the emergence of innate and adaptive immunity. Our study also characterizes in detail the acquisition of novel proteins and the significant remodeling of the phagosome phosphoproteome that contributed to modify the core constituents of this organelle in evolution. Our work thus provides the first thorough analysis of the changes that enabled the transformation of the phagosome from a phagotrophic compartment into an organelle fully competent for antigen presentation. PMID:20959821

  8. Molecular clocks and the early evolution of metazoan nervous systems

    PubMed Central

    Wray, Gregory A.

    2015-01-01

    The timing of early animal evolution remains poorly resolved, yet remains critical for understanding nervous system evolution. Methods for estimating divergence times from sequence data have improved considerably, providing a more refined understanding of key divergences. The best molecular estimates point to the origin of metazoans and bilaterians tens to hundreds of millions of years earlier than their first appearances in the fossil record. Both the molecular and fossil records are compatible, however, with the possibility of tiny, unskeletonized, low energy budget animals during the Proterozoic that had planktonic, benthic, or meiofaunal lifestyles. Such animals would likely have had relatively simple nervous systems equipped primarily to detect food, avoid inhospitable environments and locate mates. The appearance of the first macropredators during the Cambrian would have changed the selective landscape dramatically, likely driving the evolution of complex sense organs, sophisticated sensory processing systems, and diverse effector systems involved in capturing prey and avoiding predation. PMID:26554040

  9. Molecular clocks and the early evolution of metazoan nervous systems.

    PubMed

    Wray, Gregory A

    2015-12-19

    The timing of early animal evolution remains poorly resolved, yet remains critical for understanding nervous system evolution. Methods for estimating divergence times from sequence data have improved considerably, providing a more refined understanding of key divergences. The best molecular estimates point to the origin of metazoans and bilaterians tens to hundreds of millions of years earlier than their first appearances in the fossil record. Both the molecular and fossil records are compatible, however, with the possibility of tiny, unskeletonized, low energy budget animals during the Proterozoic that had planktonic, benthic, or meiofaunal lifestyles. Such animals would likely have had relatively simple nervous systems equipped primarily to detect food, avoid inhospitable environments and locate mates. The appearance of the first macropredators during the Cambrian would have changed the selective landscape dramatically, likely driving the evolution of complex sense organs, sophisticated sensory processing systems, and diverse effector systems involved in capturing prey and avoiding predation.

  10. Direct observations of the evolution of polar cap ionization patches.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Qing-He; Zhang, Bei-Chen; Lockwood, Michael; Hu, Hong-Qiao; Moen, Jøran; Ruohoniemi, J Michael; Thomas, Evan G; Zhang, Shun-Rong; Yang, Hui-Gen; Liu, Rui-Yuan; McWilliams, Kathryn A; Baker, Joseph B H

    2013-03-29

    Patches of ionization are common in the polar ionosphere, where their motion and associated density gradients give variable disturbances to high-frequency (HF) radio communications, over-the-horizon radar location errors, and disruption and errors to satellite navigation and communication. Their formation and evolution are poorly understood, particularly under disturbed space weather conditions. We report direct observations of the full evolution of patches during a geomagnetic storm, including formation, polar cap entry, transpolar evolution, polar cap exit, and sunward return flow. Our observations show that modulation of nightside reconnection in the substorm cycle of the magnetosphere helps form the gaps between patches where steady convection would give a "tongue" of ionization (TOI).

  11. Molecular evolution of the gamma-Herpesvirinae.

    PubMed Central

    McGeoch, D J

    2001-01-01

    Genomic sequences available for members of the gamma-Herpesvirinae allow analysis of many aspects of the group's evolution. This paper examines four topics: (i) the phylogeny of the group; (ii) the histories of gamma-herpesvirus-specific genes; (iii) genomic variation of human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8); and (iv) the relationship between Epstein-Barr virus types 1 and 2 (EBV-1 and EBV-2). A phylogenetic tree based on eight conserved genes has been constructed for eight gamma-herpesviruses and extended to 14 species with smaller gene sets. This gave a generally robust assignment of evolutionary relationships, with the exception of murine herpesvirus 4 (MHV-4), which could not be placed unambiguously on the tree and which has evidently experienced an unusually high rate of genomic change. The gamma-herpesviruses possess a variable complement of genes with cellular homologues. In the clearest cases these virus genes were shown to have originated from host genome lineages in the distant past. HHV-8 possesses at its left genomic terminus a highly diverse gene (K1) and at its right terminus a gene (K15) having two diverged alleles. It was proposed that the high diversity of K1 results from a positive selection on K1 and a hitchhiking effect that reduces diversity elsewhere in the genome. EBV-1 and EBV-2 differ in their alleles of the EBNA-2, EBNA-3A, EBNA-3B and EBNA-3C genes. It was suggested that EBV-1 and EBV-2 may recombine in mixed infections so that their sequences outside these genes remain homogeneous. Models for genesis of the types, by recombination between diverged parents or by local divergence from a single lineage, both present difficulties. PMID:11313003

  12. [Recent progress in protist virology--molecular ecology, taxonomy, molecular evolution].

    PubMed

    Nagasaki, Keizo; Tomaru, Yuji

    2009-06-01

    At present, more than 40 protist-infecting viruses have been isolated and characterized. From the viewpoints of molecular ecology, taxomony and molecular evolution, several new discoveries were made within the last five years. In this minireview, three topics of interest on protist-infecting viruses are introduced: 1) molecular ecological relationships between a bloom-forming dinoflagellate Heterocapsa circularisquama and its ssRNA virus (HcRNAV); 2) findings of new ssRNA- and ssDNA-virus groups infecting diatoms; 3) establishment of a hypothesis concerning the evolution of picornaviruses. The potential of aquatic virus studies is far-reaching and inestimable.

  13. An epistatic ratchet constrains the direction of glucocorticoid receptor evolution

    SciTech Connect

    Bridgham, Jamie T.; Ortlund, Eric A.; Thornton, Joseph W.

    2010-10-28

    The extent to which evolution is reversible has long fascinated biologists. Most previous work on the reversibility of morphological and life-history evolution has been indecisive, because of uncertainty and bias in the methods used to infer ancestral states for such characters. Further, despite theoretical work on the factors that could contribute to irreversibility, there is little empirical evidence on its causes, because sufficient understanding of the mechanistic basis for the evolution of new or ancestral phenotypes is seldom available. By studying the reversibility of evolutionary changes in protein structure and function, these limitations can be overcome. Here we show, using the evolution of hormone specificity in the vertebrate glucocorticoid receptor as a case-study, that the evolutionary path by which this protein acquired its new function soon became inaccessible to reverse exploration. Using ancestral gene reconstruction, protein engineering and X-ray crystallography, we demonstrate that five subsequent 'restrictive' mutations, which optimized the new specificity of the glucocorticoid receptor, also destabilized elements of the protein structure that were required to support the ancestral conformation. Unless these ratchet-like epistatic substitutions are restored to their ancestral states, reversing the key function-switching mutations yields a non-functional protein. Reversing the restrictive substitutions first, however, does nothing to enhance the ancestral function. Our findings indicate that even if selection for the ancestral function were imposed, direct reversal would be extremely unlikely, suggesting an important role for historical contingency in protein evolution.

  14. Advances in generating functional diversity for directed protein evolution.

    PubMed

    Shivange, Amol V; Marienhagen, Jan; Mundhada, Hemanshu; Schenk, Alexander; Schwaneberg, Ulrich

    2009-02-01

    Despite advances in screening technologies, only a very small fraction of theoretical protein sequence can be sampled in directed evolution experiments. At the current state of random mutagenesis technologies mutation frequencies have often been adjusted to values that cause a limited number of amino acid changes (often one to four amino acid changes per protein). For harvesting the power of directed evolution algorithms it is therefore important that generated mutant libraries are rich in diversity and enriched in active population. Insufficient knowledge about protein traits, mutational robustness of protein folds and technological limitations in diversity generating methods are main challenges for managing the complexity of protein sequence space. This review covers computational and experimental advances for high quality mutant library generation that have been achieved in the past two years.

  15. Two-photon directed evolution of green fluorescent proteins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stoltzfus, Caleb R.; Barnett, Lauren M.; Drobizhev, Mikhail; Wicks, Geoffrey; Mikhaylov, Alexander; Hughes, Thomas E.; Rebane, Aleksander

    2015-07-01

    Directed evolution has been used extensively to improve the properties of a variety of fluorescent proteins (FPs). Evolutionary strategies, however, have not yet been used to improve the two-photon absorption (2PA) properties of a fluorescent protein, properties that are important for two-photon imaging in living tissues, including the brain. Here we demonstrate a technique for quantitatively screening the two-photon excited fluorescence (2PEF) efficiency and 2PA cross section of tens of thousands of mutant FPs expressed in E. coli colonies. We use this procedure to move EGFP through three rounds of two-photon directed evolution leading to new variants showing up to a 50% enhancement in peak 2PA cross section and brightness within the near-IR tissue transparency wavelength range.

  16. Conceptual and methodological advances in cell-free directed evolution

    PubMed Central

    Dodevski, Igor; Markou, George C.; Sarkar, Casim A.

    2015-01-01

    Although cell-free directed evolution methods have been used to engineer proteins for nearly two decades, selections on more complex phenotypes have largely remained in the domain of cell-based engineering approaches. Here, we review recent conceptual advances that now enable in vitro display of multimeric proteins, integral membrane proteins, and proteins with an expanded amino acid repertoire. Additionally, we discuss methodological improvements that have enhanced the accessibility, efficiency, and robustness of cell-free approaches. Coupling these advances with the in vitro advantages of creating exceptionally large libraries and precisely controlling all experimental conditions, cell-free directed evolution is poised to contribute significantly to our understanding and engineering of more complex protein phenotypes. PMID:26093059

  17. Giant Molecular Cloud Structure and Evolution

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hollenbach, David (Technical Monitor); Bodenheimer, P. H.

    2003-01-01

    Bodenheimer and Burkert extended earlier calculations of cloud core models to study collapse and fragmentation. The initial condition for an SPH collapse calculation is the density distribution of a Bonnor-Ebert sphere, with near balance between turbulent plus thermal energy and gravitational energy. The main parameter is the turbulent Mach number. For each Mach number several runs are made, each with a different random realization of the initial turbulent velocity field. The turbulence decays on a dynamical time scale, leading the cloud into collapse. The collapse proceeds isothermally until the density has increased to about 10(exp 13) g cm(exp -3). Then heating is included in the dense regions. The nature of the fragmentation is investigated. About 15 different runs have been performed with Mach numbers ranging from 0.3 to 3.5 (the typical value observed in molecular cloud cores is 0.7). The results show a definite trend of increasing multiplicity with increasing Mach number (M), with the number of fragments approximately proportional to (1 + M). In general, this result agrees with that of Fisher, Klein, and McKee who published three cases with an AMR grid code. However our results show that there is a large spread about this curve. For example, for M=0.3 one case resulted in no fragmentation while a second produced three fragments. Thus it is not only the value of M but also the details of the superposition of the various velocity modes that play a critical role in the formation of binaries. Also, the simulations produce a wide range of separations (10-1000 AU) for the multiple systems, in rough agreement with observations. These results are discussed in two conference proceedings.

  18. HIV-1 evolution: frustrating therapies, but disclosing molecular mechanisms

    PubMed Central

    Das, Atze T.; Berkhout, Ben

    2010-01-01

    Replication of HIV-1 under selective pressure frequently results in the evolution of virus variants that replicate more efficiently under the applied conditions. For example, in patients on antiretroviral therapy, such evolution can result in variants that are resistant to the HIV-1 inhibitors, thus frustrating the therapy. On the other hand, virus evolution can help us to understand the molecular mechanisms that underlie HIV-1 replication. For example, evolution of a defective virus mutant can result in variants that overcome the introduced defect by restoration of the original sequence or by the introduction of additional mutations in the viral genome. Analysis of the evolution pathway can reveal the requirements of the element under study and help to understand its function. Analysis of the escape routes may generate new insight in the viral life cycle and result in the identification of unexpected biological mechanisms. We have developed in vitro HIV-1 evolution into a systematic research tool that allows the study of different aspects of the viral replication cycle. We will briefly review this method of forced virus evolution and provide several examples that illustrate the power of this approach. PMID:20478891

  19. HIV-1 evolution: frustrating therapies, but disclosing molecular mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Das, Atze T; Berkhout, Ben

    2010-06-27

    Replication of HIV-1 under selective pressure frequently results in the evolution of virus variants that replicate more efficiently under the applied conditions. For example, in patients on antiretroviral therapy, such evolution can result in variants that are resistant to the HIV-1 inhibitors, thus frustrating the therapy. On the other hand, virus evolution can help us to understand the molecular mechanisms that underlie HIV-1 replication. For example, evolution of a defective virus mutant can result in variants that overcome the introduced defect by restoration of the original sequence or by the introduction of additional mutations in the viral genome. Analysis of the evolution pathway can reveal the requirements of the element under study and help to understand its function. Analysis of the escape routes may generate new insight in the viral life cycle and result in the identification of unexpected biological mechanisms. We have developed in vitro HIV-1 evolution into a systematic research tool that allows the study of different aspects of the viral replication cycle. We will briefly review this method of forced virus evolution and provide several examples that illustrate the power of this approach.

  20. Directionality theory and the evolution of body size.

    PubMed

    Demetrius, L

    2000-12-07

    Directionality theory, a dynamic theory of evolution that integrates population genetics with demography, is based on the concept of evolutionary entropy, a measure of the variability in the age of reproducing individuals in a population. The main tenets of the theory are three principles relating the response to the ecological constraints a population experiences, with trends in entropy as the population evolves under mutation and natural selection. (i) Stationary size or fluctuations around a stationary size (bounded growth): a unidirectional increase in entropy; (ii) prolonged episodes of exponential growth (unbounded growth), large population size: a unidirectional decrease in entropy; and (iii) prolonged episodes of exponential growth (unbounded growth), small population size: random, non-directional change in entropy. We invoke these principles, together with an allometric relationship between entropy, and the morphometric variable body size, to provide evolutionary explanations of three empirical patterns pertaining to trends in body size, namely (i) Cope's rule, the tendency towards size increase within phyletic lineages; (ii) the island rule, which pertains to changes in body size that occur as species migrate from mainland populations to colonize island habitats; and (iii) Bergmann's rule, the tendency towards size increase with increasing latitude. The observation that these ecotypic patterns can be explained in terms of the directionality principles for entropy underscores the significance of evolutionary entropy as a unifying concept in forging a link between micro-evolution, the dynamics of gene frequency change, and macro-evolution, dynamic changes in morphometric variables.

  1. Molecular evolution of cyclin proteins in animals and fungi

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background The passage through the cell cycle is controlled by complexes of cyclins, the regulatory units, with cyclin-dependent kinases, the catalytic units. It is also known that cyclins form several families, which differ considerably in primary structure from one eukaryotic organism to another. Despite these lines of evidence, the relationship between the evolution of cyclins and their function is an open issue. Here we present the results of our study on the molecular evolution of A-, B-, D-, E-type cyclin proteins in animals and fungi. Results We constructed phylogenetic trees for these proteins, their ancestral sequences and analyzed patterns of amino acid replacements. The analysis of infrequently fixed atypical amino acid replacements in cyclins evidenced that accelerated evolution proceeded predominantly during paralog duplication or after it in animals and fungi and that it was related to aromorphic changes in animals. It was shown also that evolutionary flexibility of cyclin function may be provided by consequential reorganization of regions on protein surface remote from CDK binding sites in animal and fungal cyclins and by functional differentiation of paralogous cyclins formed in animal evolution. Conclusions The results suggested that changes in the number and/or nature of cyclin-binding proteins may underlie the evolutionary role of the alterations in the molecular structure of cyclins and their involvement in diverse molecular-genetic events. PMID:21798004

  2. Evolution of egg coats: linking molecular biology and ecology.

    PubMed

    Shu, Longfei; Suter, Marc J-F; Räsänen, Katja

    2015-08-01

    One central goal of evolutionary biology is to explain how biological diversity emerges and is maintained in nature. Given the complexity of the phenotype and the multifaceted nature of inheritance, modern evolutionary ecological studies rely heavily on the use of molecular tools. Here, we show how molecular tools help to gain insight into the role of egg coats (i.e. the extracellular structures surrounding eggs and embryos) in evolutionary diversification. Egg coats are maternally derived structures that have many biological functions from mediating fertilization to protecting the embryo from environmental hazards. They show great molecular, structural and functional diversity across species, but intraspecific variability and the role of ecology in egg coat evolution have largely been overlooked. Given that much of the variation that influences egg coat function is ultimately determined by their molecular phenotype, cutting-edge molecular tools (e.g. proteomics, glycomics and transcriptomics), combined with functional assays, are needed for rigorous inferences on their evolutionary ecology. Here, we identify key research areas and highlight emerging molecular techniques that can increase our understanding of the role of egg coats in the evolution of biological diversity, from adaptation to speciation.

  3. A molecular description of the evolution of resistance

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ordoukhanian, P.; Joyce, G. F.

    1999-01-01

    BACKGROUND: In vitro evolution has been used to obtain nucleic acid molecules with interesting functional properties. The evolution process usually is carried out in a stepwise manner, involving successive rounds of selection, amplification and mutation. Recently, a continuous in vitro evolution system was devised for RNAs that catalyze the ligation of oligonucleotide substrates, allowing the evolution of catalytic function to be studied in real time. RESULTS: Continuous in vitro evolution of an RNA ligase ribozyme was carried out in the presence of a DNA enzyme that was capable of cleaving, and thereby inactivating, the ribozyme. The DNA concentration was increased steadily over 33.5 hours of evolution, reaching a final concentration that would have been sufficient to inactivate the starting population in one second. The evolved population of ribozymes developed resistance to the DNA enzyme, reducing their vulnerability to cleavage by 2000-fold but retaining their own catalytic function. Based on sequencing and kinetic analysis of the ribozymes, two mechanisms are proposed for this resistance. One involves three nucleotide substitutions, together with two compensatory mutations, that alter the site at which the DNA enzyme binds the ribozyme. The other involves enhancement of the ribozyme's ability to bind its own substrate in a way that protects it from cleavage by the DNA enzyme. CONCLUSIONS: The ability to direct the evolution of an enzyme's biochemical properties in response to the behavior of another macromolecule provides insight into the evolution of resistance and may be useful in developing enzymes with novel or enhanced function.

  4. Directed Chemical Evolution with an Outsized Genetic Code

    PubMed Central

    Krusemark, Casey J.; Tilmans, Nicolas P.; Brown, Patrick O.; Harbury, Pehr B.

    2016-01-01

    The first demonstration that macromolecules could be evolved in a test tube was reported twenty-five years ago. That breakthrough meant that billions of years of chance discovery and refinement could be compressed into a few weeks, and provided a powerful tool that now dominates all aspects of protein engineering. A challenge has been to extend this scientific advance into synthetic chemical space: to enable the directed evolution of abiotic molecules. The problem has been tackled in many ways. These include expanding the natural genetic code to include unnatural amino acids, engineering polyketide and polypeptide synthases to produce novel products, and tagging combinatorial chemistry libraries with DNA. Importantly, there is still no small-molecule analog of directed protein evolution, i.e. a substantiated approach for optimizing complex (≥ 10^9 diversity) populations of synthetic small molecules over successive generations. We present a key advance towards this goal: a tool for genetically-programmed synthesis of small-molecule libraries from large chemical alphabets. The approach accommodates alphabets that are one to two orders of magnitude larger than any in Nature, and facilitates evolution within the chemical spaces they create. This is critical for small molecules, which are built up from numerous and highly varied chemical fragments. We report a proof-of-concept chemical evolution experiment utilizing an outsized genetic code, and demonstrate that fitness traits can be passed from an initial small-molecule population through to the great-grandchildren of that population. The results establish the practical feasibility of engineering synthetic small molecules through accelerated evolution. PMID:27508294

  5. Widespread convergence in toxin resistance by predictable molecular evolution

    PubMed Central

    Ujvari, Beata; Casewell, Nicholas R.; Sunagar, Kartik; Arbuckle, Kevin; Wüster, Wolfgang; Lo, Nathan; O’Meally, Denis; Beckmann, Christa; King, Glenn F.; Deplazes, Evelyne; Madsen, Thomas

    2015-01-01

    The question about whether evolution is unpredictable and stochastic or intermittently constrained along predictable pathways is the subject of a fundamental debate in biology, in which understanding convergent evolution plays a central role. At the molecular level, documented examples of convergence are rare and limited to occurring within specific taxonomic groups. Here we provide evidence of constrained convergent molecular evolution across the metazoan tree of life. We show that resistance to toxic cardiac glycosides produced by plants and bufonid toads is mediated by similar molecular changes to the sodium-potassium-pump (Na+/K+-ATPase) in insects, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. In toad-feeding reptiles, resistance is conferred by two point mutations that have evolved convergently on four occasions, whereas evidence of a molecular reversal back to the susceptible state in varanid lizards migrating to toad-free areas suggests that toxin resistance is maladaptive in the absence of selection. Importantly, resistance in all taxa is mediated by replacements of 2 of the 12 amino acids comprising the Na+/K+-ATPase H1–H2 extracellular domain that constitutes a core part of the cardiac glycoside binding site. We provide mechanistic insight into the basis of resistance by showing that these alterations perturb the interaction between the cardiac glycoside bufalin and the Na+/K+-ATPase. Thus, similar selection pressures have resulted in convergent evolution of the same molecular solution across the breadth of the animal kingdom, demonstrating how a scarcity of possible solutions to a selective challenge can lead to highly predictable evolutionary responses. PMID:26372961

  6. Clostridium difficile infection: Evolution, phylogeny and molecular epidemiology.

    PubMed

    Elliott, Briony; Androga, Grace O; Knight, Daniel R; Riley, Thomas V

    2017-04-01

    Over the recent decades, Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) has emerged as a global public health threat. Despite growing attention, C. difficile remains a poorly understood pathogen, however, the exquisite sensitivity offered by next generation sequencing (NGS) technology has enabled analysis of the genome of C. difficile, giving us access to massive genomic data on factors such as virulence, evolution, and genetic relatedness within C. difficile groups. NGS has also demonstrated excellence in investigations of outbreaks and disease transmission, in both small and large-scale applications. This review summarizes the molecular epidemiology, evolution, and phylogeny of C. difficile, one of the most important pathogens worldwide in the current antibiotic resistance era.

  7. Contrasting Levels of Molecular Evolution on the Mouse X Chromosome.

    PubMed

    Larson, Erica L; Vanderpool, Dan; Keeble, Sara; Zhou, Meng; Sarver, Brice A J; Smith, Andrew D; Dean, Matthew D; Good, Jeffrey M

    2016-08-01

    The mammalian X chromosome has unusual evolutionary dynamics compared to autosomes. Faster-X evolution of spermatogenic protein-coding genes is known to be most pronounced for genes expressed late in spermatogenesis, but it is unclear if these patterns extend to other forms of molecular divergence. We tested for faster-X evolution in mice spanning three different forms of molecular evolution-divergence in protein sequence, gene expression, and DNA methylation-across different developmental stages of spermatogenesis. We used FACS to isolate individual cell populations and then generated cell-specific transcriptome profiles across different stages of spermatogenesis in two subspecies of house mice (Mus musculus), thereby overcoming a fundamental limitation of previous studies on whole tissues. We found faster-X protein evolution at all stages of spermatogenesis and faster-late protein evolution for both X-linked and autosomal genes. In contrast, there was less expression divergence late in spermatogenesis (slower late) on the X chromosome and for autosomal genes expressed primarily in testis (testis-biased). We argue that slower-late expression divergence reflects strong regulatory constraints imposed during this critical stage of sperm development and that these constraints are particularly acute on the tightly regulated sex chromosomes. We also found slower-X DNA methylation divergence based on genome-wide bisulfite sequencing of sperm from two species of mice (M. musculus and M. spretus), although it is unclear whether slower-X DNA methylation reflects development constraints in sperm or other X-linked phenomena. Our study clarifies key differences in patterns of regulatory and protein evolution across spermatogenesis that are likely to have important consequences for mammalian sex chromosome evolution, male fertility, and speciation.

  8. Directed evolution of artificial metalloenzymes for in vivo metathesis.

    PubMed

    Jeschek, Markus; Reuter, Raphael; Heinisch, Tillmann; Trindler, Christian; Klehr, Juliane; Panke, Sven; Ward, Thomas R

    2016-09-29

    The field of biocatalysis has advanced from harnessing natural enzymes to using directed evolution to obtain new biocatalysts with tailor-made functions. Several tools have recently been developed to expand the natural enzymatic repertoire with abiotic reactions. For example, artificial metalloenzymes, which combine the versatile reaction scope of transition metals with the beneficial catalytic features of enzymes, offer an attractive means to engineer new reactions. Three complementary strategies exist: repurposing natural metalloenzymes for abiotic transformations; in silico metalloenzyme (re-)design; and incorporation of abiotic cofactors into proteins. The third strategy offers the opportunity to design a wide variety of artificial metalloenzymes for non-natural reactions. However, many metal cofactors are inhibited by cellular components and therefore require purification of the scaffold protein. This limits the throughput of genetic optimization schemes applied to artificial metalloenzymes and their applicability in vivo to expand natural metabolism. Here we report the compartmentalization and in vivo evolution of an artificial metalloenzyme for olefin metathesis, which represents an archetypal organometallic reaction without equivalent in nature. Building on previous work on an artificial metallohydrolase, we exploit the periplasm of Escherichia coli as a reaction compartment for the 'metathase' because it offers an auspicious environment for artificial metalloenzymes, mainly owing to low concentrations of inhibitors such as glutathione, which has recently been identified as a major inhibitor. This strategy facilitated the assembly of a functional metathase in vivo and its directed evolution with substantially increased throughput compared to conventional approaches that rely on purified protein variants. The evolved metathase compares favourably with commercial catalysts, shows activity for different metathesis substrates and can be further evolved in

  9. Directed evolution of artificial metalloenzymes for in vivo metathesis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jeschek, Markus; Reuter, Raphael; Heinisch, Tillmann; Trindler, Christian; Klehr, Juliane; Panke, Sven; Ward, Thomas R.

    2016-09-01

    The field of biocatalysis has advanced from harnessing natural enzymes to using directed evolution to obtain new biocatalysts with tailor-made functions. Several tools have recently been developed to expand the natural enzymatic repertoire with abiotic reactions. For example, artificial metalloenzymes, which combine the versatile reaction scope of transition metals with the beneficial catalytic features of enzymes, offer an attractive means to engineer new reactions. Three complementary strategies exist: repurposing natural metalloenzymes for abiotic transformations; in silico metalloenzyme (re-)design; and incorporation of abiotic cofactors into proteins. The third strategy offers the opportunity to design a wide variety of artificial metalloenzymes for non-natural reactions. However, many metal cofactors are inhibited by cellular components and therefore require purification of the scaffold protein. This limits the throughput of genetic optimization schemes applied to artificial metalloenzymes and their applicability in vivo to expand natural metabolism. Here we report the compartmentalization and in vivo evolution of an artificial metalloenzyme for olefin metathesis, which represents an archetypal organometallic reaction without equivalent in nature. Building on previous work on an artificial metallohydrolase, we exploit the periplasm of Escherichia coli as a reaction compartment for the ‘metathase’ because it offers an auspicious environment for artificial metalloenzymes, mainly owing to low concentrations of inhibitors such as glutathione, which has recently been identified as a major inhibitor. This strategy facilitated the assembly of a functional metathase in vivo and its directed evolution with substantially increased throughput compared to conventional approaches that rely on purified protein variants. The evolved metathase compares favourably with commercial catalysts, shows activity for different metathesis substrates and can be further evolved in

  10. Induced allostery in the directed evolution of an enantioselective Baeyer–Villiger monooxygenase

    PubMed Central

    Wu, Sheng; Acevedo, Juan Pablo; Reetz, Manfred T.

    2010-01-01

    The molecular basis of allosteric effects, known to be caused by an effector docking to an enzyme at a site distal from the binding pocket, has been studied recently by applying directed evolution. Here, we utilize laboratory evolution in a different way, namely to induce allostery by introducing appropriate distal mutations that cause domain movements with concomitant reshaping of the binding pocket in the absence of an effector. To test this concept, the thermostable Baeyer–Villiger monooxygenase, phenylacetone monooxygenase (PAMO), was chosen as the enzyme to be employed in asymmetric Baeyer–Villiger reactions of substrates that are not accepted by the wild type. By using the known X-ray structure of PAMO, a decision was made regarding an appropriate site at which saturation mutagenesis is most likely to generate mutants capable of inducing allostery without any effector compound being present. After screening only 400 transformants, a double mutant was discovered that catalyzes the asymmetric oxidative kinetic resolution of a set of structurally different 2-substituted cyclohexanone derivatives as well as the desymmetrization of three different 4-substituted cyclohexanones, all with high enantioselectivity. Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations and covariance maps unveiled the origin of increased substrate scope as being due to allostery. Large domain movements occur that expose and reshape the binding pocket. This type of focused library production, aimed at inducing significant allosteric effects, is a viable alternative to traditional approaches to “designed” directed evolution that address the binding site directly. PMID:20133612

  11. The direction of evolution: the rise of cooperative organization.

    PubMed

    Stewart, John E

    2014-09-01

    Two great trends are evident in the evolution of life on Earth: towards increasing diversification and towards increasing integration. Diversification has spread living processes across the planet, progressively increasing the range of environments and free energy sources exploited by life. Integration has proceeded through a stepwise process in which living entities at one level are integrated into cooperative groups that become larger-scale entities at the next level, and so on, producing cooperative organizations of increasing scale (for example, cooperative groups of simple cells gave rise to the more complex eukaryote cells, groups of these gave rise to multi-cellular organisms, and cooperative groups of these organisms produced animal societies). The trend towards increasing integration has continued during human evolution with the progressive increase in the scale of human groups and societies. The trends towards increasing diversification and integration are both driven by selection. An understanding of the trajectory and causal drivers of the trends suggests that they are likely to culminate in the emergence of a global entity. This entity would emerge from the integration of the living processes, matter, energy and technology of the planet into a global cooperative organization. Such an integration of the results of previous diversifications would enable the global entity to exploit the widest possible range of resources across the varied circumstances of the planet. This paper demonstrates that it's case for directionality meets the tests and criticisms that have proven fatal to previous claims for directionality in evolution.

  12. Selection platforms for directed evolution in synthetic biology.

    PubMed

    Tizei, Pedro A G; Csibra, Eszter; Torres, Leticia; Pinheiro, Vitor B

    2016-08-15

    Life on Earth is incredibly diverse. Yet, underneath that diversity, there are a number of constants and highly conserved processes: all life is based on DNA and RNA; the genetic code is universal; biology is limited to a small subset of potential chemistries. A vast amount of knowledge has been accrued through describing and characterizing enzymes, biological processes and organisms. Nevertheless, much remains to be understood about the natural world. One of the goals in Synthetic Biology is to recapitulate biological complexity from simple systems made from biological molecules-gaining a deeper understanding of life in the process. Directed evolution is a powerful tool in Synthetic Biology, able to bypass gaps in knowledge and capable of engineering even the most highly conserved biological processes. It encompasses a range of methodologies to create variation in a population and to select individual variants with the desired function-be it a ligand, enzyme, pathway or even whole organisms. Here, we present some of the basic frameworks that underpin all evolution platforms and review some of the recent contributions from directed evolution to synthetic biology, in particular methods that have been used to engineer the Central Dogma and the genetic code.

  13. Engineering Platforms for Directed Evolution of Laccase from Pycnoporus cinnabarinus

    PubMed Central

    Camarero, S.; Pardo, I.; Cañas, A. I.; Molina, P.; Record, E.; Martínez, A. T.; Martínez, M. J.

    2012-01-01

    While the Pycnoporus cinnabarinus laccase (PcL) is one of the most promising high-redox-potential enzymes for environmental biocatalysis, its practical use has to date remained limited due to the lack of directed evolution platforms with which to improve its features. Here, we describe the construction of a PcL fusion gene and the optimization of conditions to induce its functional expression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, facilitating its directed evolution and semirational engineering. The native PcL signal peptide was replaced by the α-factor preproleader, and this construct was subjected to six rounds of evolution coupled to a multiscreening assay based on the oxidation of natural and synthetic redox mediators at more neutral pHs. The laccase total activity was enhanced 8,000-fold: the evolved α-factor preproleader improved secretion levels 40-fold, and several mutations in mature laccase provided a 13.7-fold increase in kcat. While the pH activity profile was shifted to more neutral values, the thermostability and the broad substrate specificity of PcL were retained. Evolved variants were highly secreted by Aspergillus niger (∼23 mg/liter), which addresses the potential use of this combined-expression system for protein engineering. The mapping of mutations onto the PcL crystal structure shed new light on the oxidation of phenolic and nonphenolic substrates. Furthermore, some mutations arising in the evolved preproleader highlighted its potential for heterologous expression of fungal laccases in yeast (S. cerevisiae). PMID:22210206

  14. Selection platforms for directed evolution in synthetic biology

    PubMed Central

    Tizei, Pedro A.G.; Csibra, Eszter; Torres, Leticia; Pinheiro, Vitor B.

    2016-01-01

    Life on Earth is incredibly diverse. Yet, underneath that diversity, there are a number of constants and highly conserved processes: all life is based on DNA and RNA; the genetic code is universal; biology is limited to a small subset of potential chemistries. A vast amount of knowledge has been accrued through describing and characterizing enzymes, biological processes and organisms. Nevertheless, much remains to be understood about the natural world. One of the goals in Synthetic Biology is to recapitulate biological complexity from simple systems made from biological molecules–gaining a deeper understanding of life in the process. Directed evolution is a powerful tool in Synthetic Biology, able to bypass gaps in knowledge and capable of engineering even the most highly conserved biological processes. It encompasses a range of methodologies to create variation in a population and to select individual variants with the desired function–be it a ligand, enzyme, pathway or even whole organisms. Here, we present some of the basic frameworks that underpin all evolution platforms and review some of the recent contributions from directed evolution to synthetic biology, in particular methods that have been used to engineer the Central Dogma and the genetic code. PMID:27528765

  15. Site-directed deep electronic tunneling through a molecular network

    SciTech Connect

    Caspary, Maytal; Peskin, Uri

    2005-10-15

    Electronic tunneling in a complex molecular network of N(>2) donor/acceptor sites, connected by molecular bridges, is analyzed. The 'deep' tunneling dynamics is formulated using a recursive perturbation expansion, yielding a McConnell-type reduced N-level model Hamiltonian. Applications to models of molecular junctions demonstrate that the donor-bridge contact parameters can be tuned in order to control the tunneling dynamics and particularly to direct the tunneling pathway to either one of the various acceptors.

  16. [Directed evolution of antibody molecules in phage-displayed combinatorial libraries].

    PubMed

    Fujii, Ikuo

    2007-01-01

    Advances in methods for conformational prediction, structural analysis and site-directed mutagenesis of proteins and peptides have contributed to the understanding of their structure and function. However, with the exception of a few successes, the generation of practical functional molecules solely by rational design remains a difficult challenge. The aim of our study is to investigate molecular design relying on evolutionary processes, called as "directed evolution", to generate a novel class of biofunctional molecules. This evolutionary approach consists of three steps; 1) constructions of protein/peptide libraries based on structural information, 2) expressions of the libraries on phage particles, and 3) selections with investigator-imposed selective pressures. In this work, we study on directed evolution with antibody libraries. We have succeeded in generating highly active catalytic antibodies in phage-displayed antibody (Fab) libraries. To evolve catalytic antibodies toward higher catalytic activity, we have mimicked an enzyme-evolutional process, in which an enzyme has evolved their ability to use binding energies for catalysis by increasing the affinity for the transition state of a reaction and decreasing the affinity for the ground state. Thus, phage-displayed libraries derived from an original catalytic antibody were selected against a newly-devised TSA, which was programmed to optimize the differential affinity for the transition state relative to the ground state, to provide variants with improved reaction rates (k(cat)). The in vitro evolution has great potential for generating novel catalysts as well as for providing opportunities to examine the evolutionary dynamics of enzymes.

  17. Direct Photoalignment and Optical Patterning of Molecular Thin Films.

    PubMed

    Pithan, Linus; Beyer, Paul; Bogula, Laura; Zykov, Anton; Schäfer, Peter; Rawle, Jonathan; Nicklin, Chris; Opitz, Andreas; Kowarik, Stefan

    2017-02-01

    A novel strategy for direct photoalignment of molecular materials using optothermal re-orientation is introduced. Photoalignment for molecular materials such as the organic semiconductor tetracene is shown, without relying on additional photoreactive dopants or alignment layers. Patterning and polarized light emission, e.g., for polarized organic light emitting diodes is demonstrated.

  18. Evolution of group-wise cooperation: Is direct reciprocity insufficient?

    PubMed

    Kurokawa, Shun; Ihara, Yasuo

    2017-02-21

    Group-wise cooperation, or cooperation among three or more individuals, is an integral part of human societies. It is likely that group-wise cooperation also played a crucial role in the survival of early hominins, who were confronted with novel environmental challenges, long before the emergence of Homo sapiens. However, previous theoretical and empirical studies, focusing mainly on modern humans, have tended to suggest that evolution of cooperation in sizable groups cannot be explained by simple direct reciprocity and requires some additional mechanisms (reputation, punishment, etc.), which are cognitively too demanding for early hominins. As a partial resolution of the paradox, our recent analysis of a stochastic evolutionary model, which considers the effect of random drift, has revealed that evolution of group-wise cooperation is more likely to occur in larger groups when an individual's share of the benefit produced by one cooperator does not decrease with increasing group size (i.e., goods are non-rivalrous). In this paper, we further extend our previous analysis to explore possible consequences of introducing rare mistakes in behavior or imperfect information about behavior of others on the model outcome. Analyses of the extended models show that evolution of group-wise cooperation can be facilitated by large group size even when individuals intending to cooperate sometimes fail to do so or when all the information about the past behavior of group members is not available. We argue, therefore, that evolution of cooperation in sizable groups does not necessarily require other mechanisms than direct reciprocity if the goods to be produced via group-wise cooperation are non-rivalrous.

  19. Reconstructing phylogenies and phenotypes: a molecular view of human evolution

    PubMed Central

    Bradley, Brenda J

    2008-01-01

    This review broadly summarizes how molecular biology has contributed to our understanding of human evolution. Molecular anthropology began in the 1960s with immunological comparisons indicating that African apes and humans were closely related and, indeed, shared a common ancestor as recently as 5 million years ago. Although initially dismissed, this finding has proven robust and numerous lines of molecular evidence now firmly place the human-ape divergence at 4–8 Ma. Resolving the trichotomy among humans, chimpanzees and gorillas took a few more decades. Despite the readily apparent physical similarities shared by African apes to the exclusion of modern humans (body hair, knuckle-walking, thin tooth enamel), the molecular support for a human–chimpanzee clade is now overwhelming. More recently, whole genome sequencing and gene mapping have shifted the focus of molecular anthropology from phylogenetic analyses to phenotypic reconstruction and functional genomics. We are starting to identify the genetic basis of the morphological, physiological and behavioural traits that distinguish modern humans from apes and apes from other primates. Most notably, recent comparative genomic analyses strongly indicate that the marked differences between modern humans and chimpanzees are likely due more to changes in gene regulation than to modifications of the genes themselves, an idea first proposed over 30 years ago. Almost weekly, press releases describe newly identified genes and regulatory elements that seem to have undergone strong positive selection along the human lineage. Loci involved in speech (e.g. FOXP2), brain development (e.g. ASPM), and skull musculature (e.g. MYH16) have been of particular interest, but some surprising candidate loci (e.g. those involved in auditory capabilities) have emerged as well. Exciting new research avenues, such as the Neanderthal Genome Project, promise that molecular analyses will continue to provide novel insights about our evolution

  20. Are Molecular Alphabets Universal Enabling Factors for the Evolution of Complex Life?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dunn, Ian S.

    2013-12-01

    Terrestrial biosystems depend on macromolecules, and this feature is often considered as a likely universal aspect of life. While opinions differ regarding the importance of small-molecule systems in abiogenesis, escalating biological functional demands are linked with increasing complexity in key molecules participating in biosystem operations, and many such requirements cannot be efficiently mediated by relatively small compounds. It has long been recognized that known life is associated with the evolution of two distinct molecular alphabets (nucleic acid and protein), specific sequence combinations of which serve as informational and functional polymers. In contrast, much less detailed focus has been directed towards the potential universal need for molecular alphabets in constituting complex chemically-based life, and the implications of such a requirement. To analyze this, emphasis here is placed on the generalizable replicative and functional characteristics of molecular alphabets and their concatenates. A primary replicative alphabet based on the simplest possible molecular complementarity can potentially enable evolutionary processes to occur, including the encoding of secondarily functional alphabets. Very large uniquely specified (`non-alphabetic') molecules cannot feasibly underlie systems capable of the replicative and evolutionary properties which characterize complex biosystems. Transitions in the molecular evolution of alphabets can be related to progressive bridging of barriers which enable higher levels of biosystem organization. It is thus highly probable that molecular alphabets are an obligatory requirement for complex chemically-based life anywhere in the universe. In turn, reference to molecular alphabets should be usefully applied in current definitions of life.

  1. Design of protein function leaps by directed domain interface evolution

    PubMed Central

    Huang, Jin; Koide, Akiko; Makabe, Koki; Koide, Shohei

    2008-01-01

    Most natural proteins performing sophisticated tasks contain multiple domains where an active site is located at the domain interface. Comparative structural analyses suggest that major leaps in protein function occur through gene recombination events that connect two or more protein domains to generate a new active site, frequently occurring at the newly created domain interface. However, such functional leaps by combination of unrelated domains have not been directly demonstrated. Here we show that highly specific and complex protein functions can be generated by joining a low-affinity peptide-binding domain with a functionally inert second domain and subsequently optimizing the domain interface. These directed evolution processes dramatically enhanced both affinity and specificity to a level unattainable with a single domain, corresponding to >500-fold and >2,000-fold increases of affinity and specificity, respectively. An x-ray crystal structure revealed that the resulting “affinity clamp” had clamshell architecture as designed, with large additional binding surface contributed by the second domain. The affinity clamps having a single-nanomolar dissociation constant outperformed a monoclonal antibody in immunochemical applications. This work establishes evolutionary paths from isolated domains with primitive function to multidomain proteins with sophisticated function and introduces a new protein-engineering concept that allows for the generation of highly functional affinity reagents to a predefined target. The prevalence and variety of natural interaction domains suggest that numerous new functions can be designed by using directed domain interface evolution. PMID:18445649

  2. Immune evasion and the evolution of molecular mimicry in parasites.

    PubMed

    Hurford, Amy; Day, Troy

    2013-10-01

    Parasites that are molecular mimics express proteins which resemble host proteins. This resemblance facilitates immune evasion because the immune molecules with the specificity to react with the parasite also cross-react with the host's own proteins, and these lymphocytes are rare. Given this advantage, why are not most parasites molecular mimics? Here we explore potential factors that can select against molecular mimicry in parasites and thereby limit its occurrence. We consider two hypotheses: (1) molecular mimics are more likely to induce autoimmunity in their hosts, and hosts with autoimmunity generate fewer new infections (the "costly autoimmunity hypothesis"); and (2) molecular mimicry compromises protein functioning, lowering the within-host replication rate and leading to fewer new infections (the "mimicry trade-off hypothesis"). Our analysis shows that although both hypotheses may select against molecular mimicry in parasites, unique hallmarks of protein expression identify whether selection is due to the costly autoimmunity hypothesis or the mimicry trade-off hypothesis. We show that understanding the relevant selective forces is necessary to predict how different medical interventions will affect the proportion of hosts that experience the different infection types, and that if parasite evolution is ignored, interventions aimed at reducing infection-induced autoimmunity may ultimately fail.

  3. A direct way to observe absolute molecular handedness

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vager, Zeev

    2014-07-01

    We claim that the polarization of electrons tunneling through the molecular electric dipole direction uniquely determines the handedness of chiral centers. Unique labeling of chiral stereo-centers must include their handedness. The conventional method is formally known as the R, S nomenclature or the Ingold-Prelog priority (CIP) rules. It requires knowledge of the spatial absolute configuration of that center. Traditionally, experimental methods of extracting handedness go through the absolute configuration and only then would the CIP convention be applied. Here we show that a direct experimental method of determination of the natural molecular handedness by the polarization of tunneling electrons is almost always compatible with the CIP convention. By the sole use of symmetry arguments we show that the chiral molecular symmetry eliminates the need of fine structure splitting. As a consequence, the polarization of electrons tunneling through the molecular electric dipole direction uniquely determines their handedness.

  4. Molecular ecology of aquatic communities: Reflections and future directions

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Zehr, J.P.; Voytek, M.A.

    1999-01-01

    During the 1980s, many new molecular biology techniques were developed, providing new capabilities for studying the genetics and activities of organisms. Biologists and ecologists saw the promise that these techniques held for studying different aspects of organisms, both in culture and in the natural environment. In less than a decade, these techniques were adopted by a large number of researchers studying many types of organisms in diverse environments. Much of the molecular-level information acquired has been used to address questions of evolution, biogeography, population structure and biodiversity. At this juncture, molecular ecologists are poised to contribute to the study of the fundamental characteristics underlying aquatic community structure. The goal of this overview is to assess where we have been, where we are now and what the future holds for revealing the basis of community structure and function with molecular-level information.

  5. GeneGenie: optimized oligomer design for directed evolution

    PubMed Central

    Swainston, Neil; Currin, Andrew; Day, Philip J.; Kell, Douglas B.

    2014-01-01

    GeneGenie, a new online tool available at http://www.gene-genie.org, is introduced to support the design and self-assembly of synthetic genes and constructs. GeneGenie allows for the design of oligonucleotide cohorts encoding the gene sequence optimized for expression in any suitable host through an intuitive, easy-to-use web interface. The tool ensures consistent oligomer overlapping melting temperatures, minimizes the likelihood of misannealing, optimizes codon usage for expression in a selected host, allows for specification of forward and reverse cloning sequences (for downstream ligation) and also provides support for mutagenesis or directed evolution studies. Directed evolution studies are enabled through the construction of variant libraries via the optional specification of ‘variant codons’, containing mixtures of bases, at any position. For example, specifying the variant codon TNT (where N is any nucleotide) will generate an equimolar mixture of the codons TAT, TCT, TGT and TTT at that position, encoding a mixture of the amino acids Tyr, Ser, Cys and Phe. This facility is demonstrated through the use of GeneGenie to develop and synthesize a library of enhanced green fluorescent protein variants. PMID:24782527

  6. Simulation of gene evolution under directional mutational pressure

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dudkiewicz, Małgorzata; Mackiewicz, Paweł; Kowalczuk, Maria; Mackiewicz, Dorota; Nowicka, Aleksandra; Polak, Natalia; Smolarczyk, Kamila; Banaszak, Joanna; R. Dudek, Mirosław; Cebrat, Stanisław

    2004-05-01

    The two main mechanisms generating the genetic diversity, mutation and recombination, have random character but they are biased which has an effect on the generation of asymmetry in the bacterial chromosome structure and in the protein coding sequences. Thus, like in a case of two chiral molecules-the two possible orientations of a gene in relation to the topology of a chromosome are not equivalent. Assuming that the sequence of a gene may oscillate only between certain limits of its structural composition means that the gene could be forced out of these limits by the directional mutation pressure, in the course of evolution. The probability of the event depends on the time the gene stays under the same mutation pressure. Inversion of the gene changes the directional mutational pressure to the reciprocal one and hence it changes the distance of the gene to its lower and upper bound of the structural tolerance. Using Monte Carlo methods we were able to simulate the evolution of genes under experimentally found mutational pressure, assuming simple mechanisms of selection. We found that the mutation and recombination should work in accordance to lower their negative effects on the function of the products of coding sequences.

  7. Rapid Modeling and Analysis Tools: Evolution, Status, Needs and Directions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Knight, Norman F., Jr.; Stone, Thomas J.; Ransom, Jonathan B. (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    Advanced aerospace systems are becoming increasingly more complex, and customers are demanding lower cost, higher performance, and high reliability. Increased demands are placed on the design engineers to collaborate and integrate design needs and objectives early in the design process to minimize risks that may occur later in the design development stage. High performance systems require better understanding of system sensitivities much earlier in the design process to meet these goals. The knowledge, skills, intuition, and experience of an individual design engineer will need to be extended significantly for the next generation of aerospace system designs. Then a collaborative effort involving the designer, rapid and reliable analysis tools and virtual experts will result in advanced aerospace systems that are safe, reliable, and efficient. This paper discusses the evolution, status, needs and directions for rapid modeling and analysis tools for structural analysis. First, the evolution of computerized design and analysis tools is briefly described. Next, the status of representative design and analysis tools is described along with a brief statement on their functionality. Then technology advancements to achieve rapid modeling and analysis are identified. Finally, potential future directions including possible prototype configurations are proposed.

  8. Molecular hyperdiversity and evolution in very large populations

    PubMed Central

    Cutter, Asher D.; Jovelin, Richard; Dey, Alivia

    2014-01-01

    The genomic density of sequence polymorphisms critically affects the sensitivity of inferences about ongoing sequence evolution, function, and demographic history. Most animal and plant genomes have relatively low densities of polymorphisms, but some species are hyperdiverse with neutral nucleotide heterozygosity exceeding 5%. Eukaryotes with extremely large populations, mimicking bacterial and viral populations, present novel opportunities for studying molecular evolution in sexually-reproducing taxa with complex development. In particular, hyperdiverse species can help answer controversial questions about the evolution of genome complexity, the limits of natural selection, modes of adaptation, and subtleties of the mutation process. However, such systems have some inherent complications and here we identify topics in need of theoretical developments. Close relatives of the model organisms Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila melanogaster provide known examples of hyperdiverse eukaryotes, encouraging functional dissection of resulting molecular evolutionary patterns. We recommend how best to exploit hyperdiverse populations for analysis, for example, in quantifying the impact of non-crossover recombination in genomes and for determining the identity and micro-evolutionary selective pressures on non-coding regulatory elements. PMID:23506466

  9. Epidemiology, molecular epidemiology and evolution of bovine respiratory syncytial virus.

    PubMed

    Sarmiento-Silva, Rosa Elena; Nakamura-Lopez, Yuko; Vaughan, Gilberto

    2012-11-30

    The bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV) is an enveloped, negative sense, single-stranded RNA virus belonging to the pneumovirus genus within the family Paramyxoviridae. BRSV has been recognized as a major cause of respiratory disease in young calves since the early 1970s. The analysis of BRSV infection was originally hampered by its characteristic lability and poor growth in vitro. However, the advent of numerous immunological and molecular methods has facilitated the study of BRSV enormously. The knowledge gained from these studies has also provided the opportunity to develop safe, stable, attenuated virus vaccine candidates. Nonetheless, many aspects of the epidemiology, molecular epidemiology and evolution of the virus are still not fully understood. The natural course of infection is rather complex and further complicates diagnosis, treatment and the implementation of preventive measures aimed to control the disease. Therefore, understanding the mechanisms by which BRSV is able to establish infection is needed to prevent viral and disease spread. This review discusses important information regarding the epidemiology and molecular epidemiology of BRSV worldwide, and it highlights the importance of viral evolution in virus transmission.

  10. Parasitic plants have increased rates of molecular evolution across all three genomes

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Theoretical models and experimental evidence suggest that rates of molecular evolution could be raised in parasitic organisms compared to non-parasitic taxa. Parasitic plants provide an ideal test for these predictions, as there are at least a dozen independent origins of the parasitic lifestyle in angiosperms. Studies of a number of parasitic plant lineages have suggested faster rates of molecular evolution, but the results of some studies have been mixed. Comparative analysis of all parasitic plant lineages, including sequences from all three genomes, is needed to examine the generality of the relationship between rates of molecular evolution and parasitism in plants. Results We analysed DNA sequence data from the mitochondrial, nuclear and chloroplast genomes for 12 independent evolutionary origins of parasitism in angiosperms. We demonstrated that parasitic lineages have a faster rate of molecular evolution than their non-parasitic relatives in sequences for all three genomes, for both synonymous and nonsynonymous substitutions. Conclusions Our results prove that raised rates of molecular evolution are a general feature of parasitic plants, not confined to a few taxa or specific genes. We discuss possible causes for this relationship, including increased positive selection associated with host-parasite arms races, relaxed selection, reduced population size or repeated bottlenecks, increased mutation rates, and indirect causal links with generation time and body size. We find no evidence that faster rates are due to smaller effective populations sizes or changes in selection pressure. Instead, our results suggest that parasitic plants have a higher mutation rate than their close non-parasitic relatives. This may be due to a direct connection, where some aspect of the parasitic lifestyle drives the evolution of raised mutation rates. Alternatively, this pattern may be driven by an indirect connection between rates and parasitism: for example, parasitic

  11. Molecular Evolution of Freshwater Snails with Contrasting Mating Systems.

    PubMed

    Burgarella, Concetta; Gayral, Philippe; Ballenghien, Marion; Bernard, Aurélien; David, Patrice; Jarne, Philippe; Correa, Ana; Hurtrez-Boussès, Sylvie; Escobar, Juan; Galtier, Nicolas; Glémin, Sylvain

    2015-09-01

    Because mating systems affect population genetics and ecology, they are expected to impact the molecular evolution of species. Self-fertilizing species experience reduced effective population size, recombination rates, and heterozygosity, which in turn should decrease the efficacy of natural selection, both adaptive and purifying, and the strength of meiotic drive processes such as GC-biased gene conversion. The empirical evidence is only partly congruent with these predictions, depending on the analyzed species, some, but not all, of the expected effects have been observed. One possible reason is that self-fertilization is an evolutionary dead-end, so that most current selfers recently evolved self-fertilization, and their genome has not yet been strongly impacted by selfing. Here, we investigate the molecular evolution of two groups of freshwater snails in which mating systems have likely been stable for several millions of years. Analyzing coding sequence polymorphism, divergence, and expression levels, we report a strongly reduced genetic diversity, decreased efficacy of purifying selection, slower rate of adaptive evolution, and weakened codon usage bias/GC-biased gene conversion in the selfer Galba compared with the outcrosser Physa, in full agreement with theoretical expectations. Our results demonstrate that self-fertilization, when effective in the long run, is a major driver of population genomic and molecular evolutionary processes. Despite the genomic effects of selfing, Galba truncatula seems to escape the demographic consequences of the genetic load. We suggest that the particular ecology of the species may buffer the negative consequences of selfing, shedding new light on the dead-end hypothesis.

  12. Molecular Recognition Directed Self-Assembly of Supramolecular Polymers

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1994-06-30

    SUPRAMOLECULAR POLYMERS by V. Percec, J. Heck, G. Johansson, D. Tomazos, M. Kawasumi and G. Ungar Published in the J. Macromol. SOi: Part A: Pure...W.asetaqIom OC JOS0l 4 TITE AN SUBITLES. FUNDING NUMBERS Molecular Recognition Directed Self-Assembly of Suprainolecular Polymers N00014-89--J-1828 6. AUTHOR(S...comparison between various supramolecular (generated via H-bonding, iions) and molecular " polymer backbones" will be made. The present limitations

  13. Evolution of molecular crystal optical phonons near structural phase transitions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Michki, Nigel; Niessen, Katherine; Xu, Mengyang; Markelz, Andrea

    Molecular crystals are increasingly important photonic and electronic materials. For example organic semiconductors are lightweight compared to inorganic semiconductors and have inexpensive scale up processing with roll to roll printing. However their implementation is limited by their environmental sensitivity, in part arising from the weak intermolecular interactions of the crystal. These weak interactions result in optical phonons in the terahertz frequency range. We examine the evolution of intermolecular interactions near structural phase transitions by measuring the optical phonons as a function of temperature and crystal orientation using terahertz time-domain spectroscopy. The measured orientation dependence of the resonances provides an additional constraint for comparison of the observed spectra with the density functional calculations, enabling us to follow specific phonon modes. We observe crystal reorganization near 350 K for oxalic acid as it transforms from dihydrate to anhydrous form. We also report the first THz spectra for the molecular crystal fructose through its melting point.

  14. Molecular oxygen observed by direct photoproduction from carbon dioxide

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Larimian, Seyedreza; Erattupuzha, Sonia; Mai, Sebastian; Marquetand, Philipp; González, Leticia; Baltuška, Andrius; Kitzler, Markus; Xie, Xinhua

    2017-01-01

    We report experiments on the direct observation of molecular oxygen formation from CO2 in strong laser fields with a reaction microscope. Our accompanying simulations and pump-probe measurements suggest that CO2 molecules undergo bending motion during strong-field ionization which supports the molecular oxygen formation process. The observation of molecular oxygen formation from CO2 may trigger further experimental and theoretical studies on such processes with laser pulses, and provides hints in studies of the O2 and O2+ abundance in CO2-dominated planetary atmospheres.

  15. Putative RNA-directed adaptive mutations in cancer evolution

    PubMed Central

    Auboeuf, Didier

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT Understanding the molecular mechanisms behind the capacity of cancer cells to adapt to the tumor microenvironment and to anticancer therapies is a major challenge. In this context, cancer is believed to be an evolutionary process where random mutations and the selection process shape the mutational pattern and phenotype of cancer cells. This article challenges the notion of randomness of some cancer-associated mutations by describing molecular mechanisms involving stress-mediated biogenesis of mRNA-derived small RNAs able to target and increase the local mutation rate of the genomic loci they originate from. It is proposed that the probability of some mutations at specific loci could be increased in a stress-specific and RNA-depending manner. This would increase the probability of generating mutations that could alleviate stress situations, such as those triggered by anticancer drugs. Such a mechanism is made possible because tumor- and anticancer drug-associated stress situations trigger both cellular reprogramming and inflammation, which leads cancer cells to express molecular tools allowing them to “attack” and mutate their own genome in an RNA-directed manner. PMID:27715501

  16. Engineering Genetically-Encoded Mineralization and Magnetism via Directed Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Xueliang; Lopez, Paola A.; Giessen, Tobias W.; Giles, Michael; Way, Jeffrey C.; Silver, Pamela A.

    2016-01-01

    Genetically encoding the synthesis of functional nanomaterials such as magnetic nanoparticles enables sensitive and non-invasive biological sensing and control. Via directed evolution of the natural iron-sequestering ferritin protein, we discovered key mutations that lead to significantly enhanced cellular magnetism, resulting in increased physical attraction of ferritin-expressing cells to magnets and increased contrast for cellular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The magnetic mutants further demonstrate increased iron biomineralization measured by a novel fluorescent genetic sensor for intracellular free iron. In addition, we engineered Escherichia coli cells with multiple genomic knockouts to increase cellular accumulation of various metals. Lastly to explore further protein candidates for biomagnetism, we characterized members of the DUF892 family using the iron sensor and magnetic columns, confirming their intracellular iron sequestration that results in increased cellular magnetization. PMID:27897245

  17. Engineering Genetically-Encoded Mineralization and Magnetism via Directed Evolution.

    PubMed

    Liu, Xueliang; Lopez, Paola A; Giessen, Tobias W; Giles, Michael; Way, Jeffrey C; Silver, Pamela A

    2016-11-29

    Genetically encoding the synthesis of functional nanomaterials such as magnetic nanoparticles enables sensitive and non-invasive biological sensing and control. Via directed evolution of the natural iron-sequestering ferritin protein, we discovered key mutations that lead to significantly enhanced cellular magnetism, resulting in increased physical attraction of ferritin-expressing cells to magnets and increased contrast for cellular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The magnetic mutants further demonstrate increased iron biomineralization measured by a novel fluorescent genetic sensor for intracellular free iron. In addition, we engineered Escherichia coli cells with multiple genomic knockouts to increase cellular accumulation of various metals. Lastly to explore further protein candidates for biomagnetism, we characterized members of the DUF892 family using the iron sensor and magnetic columns, confirming their intracellular iron sequestration that results in increased cellular magnetization.

  18. Molecular phylogeny and evolution of the cone snails (Gastropoda, Conoidea).

    PubMed

    Puillandre, N; Bouchet, P; Duda, T F; Kauferstein, S; Kohn, A J; Olivera, B M; Watkins, M; Meyer, C

    2014-09-01

    We present a large-scale molecular phylogeny that includes 320 of the 761 recognized valid species of the cone snails (Conus), one of the most diverse groups of marine molluscs, based on three mitochondrial genes (COI, 16S rDNA and 12S rDNA). This is the first phylogeny of the taxon to employ concatenated sequences of several genes, and it includes more than twice as many species as the last published molecular phylogeny of the entire group nearly a decade ago. Most of the numerous molecular phylogenies published during the last 15years are limited to rather small fractions of its species diversity. Bayesian and maximum likelihood analyses are mostly congruent and confirm the presence of three previously reported highly divergent lineages among cone snails, and one identified here using molecular data. About 85% of the species cluster in the single Large Major Clade; the others are divided between the Small Major Clade (∼12%), the Conus californicus lineage (one species), and a newly defined clade (∼3%). We also define several subclades within the Large and Small major clades, but most of their relationships remain poorly supported. To illustrate the usefulness of molecular phylogenies in addressing specific evolutionary questions, we analyse the evolution of the diet, the biogeography and the toxins of cone snails. All cone snails whose feeding biology is known inject venom into large prey animals and swallow them whole. Predation on polychaete worms is inferred as the ancestral state, and diet shifts to molluscs and fishes occurred rarely. The ancestor of cone snails probably originated from the Indo-Pacific; rather few colonisations of other biogeographic provinces have probably occurred. A new classification of the Conidae, based on the molecular phylogeny, is published in an accompanying paper.

  19. Enhanced activity of Rhizomucor miehei lipase by directed evolution with simultaneous evolution of the propeptide.

    PubMed

    Wang, Jue; Wang, Dan; Wang, Bo; Mei, Zhuo-Hang; Liu, Ji; Yu, Hong-Wei

    2012-10-01

    Propeptides are short sequences that facilitate the folding of their associated proteins. The present study found that the propeptide of Rhizomucor miehei lipase (RML) was not proteolytically removed in Escherichia coli. Moreover, RML was not expressed if the propeptide was removed artificially during the cloning process in E. coli. This behavior in E. coli permitted the application of directed evolution to full-length RML, which included both propeptide and catalytic domain, to explore the role played by the propeptide in governing enzyme activity. The catalytic rate constant, k (cat), of the most active mutant RML protein (Q5) was increased from 10.63 ± 0.80 to 71.44 ± 3.20 min(-1) after four rounds of screening. Sequence analysis of the mutant displayed three mutations in the propeptide (L57V, S65A, and V67A) and two mutations in the functional region (I111T and S168P). This result showed that improved activity was obtained with essential involvement by mutations in the propeptide, meaning that the majority of mutants with enhanced activity had simultaneous mutations in propeptide and catalytic domains. This observation leads to the hypothesis that directed evolution has simultaneous and synergistic effects on both functional and propeptide domains that arise from the role played by the propeptide in the folding and maturation of the enzyme. We suggest that directed evolution of full-length proteins including their propeptides is a strategy with general validity for extending the range of conformations available to proteins, leading to the enhancement of the catalytic rates of the enzymes.

  20. Molecular Evolution of Cytochrome bd Oxidases across Proteobacterial Genomes

    PubMed Central

    Degli Esposti, Mauro; Rosas-Pérez, Tania; Servín-Garcidueñas, Luis Eduardo; Bolaños, Luis Manuel; Rosenblueth, Monica; Martínez-Romero, Esperanza

    2015-01-01

    This work is aimed to resolve the complex molecular evolution of cytochrome bd ubiquinol oxidase, a nearly ubiquitous bacterial enzyme that is involved in redox balance and bioenergetics. Previous studies have created an unclear picture of bd oxidases phylogenesis without considering the existence of diverse types of bd oxidases. Integrated approaches of genomic and protein analysis focused on proteobacteria have generated a molecular classification of diverse types of bd oxidases, which produces a new scenario for interpreting their evolution. A duplication of the original gene cluster of bd oxidase might have occurred in the ancestors of extant α-proteobacteria of the Rhodospirillales order, such as Acidocella, from which the bd-I type of the oxidase might have diffused to other proteobacterial lineages. In contrast, the Cyanide-Insensitive Oxidase type may have differentiated into recognizable subtypes after another gene cluster duplication. These subtypes are widespread in the genomes of α-, β-, and γ-proteobacteria, with occasional instances of lateral gene transfer. In resolving the evolutionary pattern of proteobacterial bd oxidases, this work sheds new light on the basal taxa of α-proteobacteria from which the γ-proteobacterial lineage probably emerged. PMID:25688108

  1. Integrating fossils with molecular phylogenies improves inference of trait evolution.

    PubMed

    Slater, Graham J; Harmon, Luke J; Alfaro, Michael E

    2012-12-01

    Comparative biologists often attempt to draw inferences about tempo and mode in evolution by comparing the fit of evolutionary models to phylogenetic comparative data consisting of a molecular phylogeny with branch lengths and trait measurements from extant taxa. These kinds of approaches ignore historical evidence for evolutionary pattern and process contained in the fossil record. In this article, we show through simulation that incorporation of fossil information dramatically improves our ability to distinguish among models of quantitative trait evolution using comparative data. We further suggest a novel Bayesian approach that allows fossil information to be integrated even when explicit phylogenetic hypotheses are lacking for extinct representatives of extant clades. By applying this approach to a comparative dataset comprising body sizes for caniform carnivorans, we show that incorporation of fossil information not only improves ancestral state estimates relative to those derived from extant taxa alone, but also results in preference of a model of evolution with trend toward large body size over alternative models such as Brownian motion or Ornstein-Uhlenbeck processes. Our approach highlights the importance of considering fossil information when making macroevolutionary inference, and provides a way to integrate the kind of sparse fossil information that is available to most evolutionary biologists.

  2. Statistical mechanics of quasispecies theories of molecular evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Munoz Tavera, Enrique

    This thesis presents a statistical mechanical analysis of different formulations of quasispecies theory of molecular evolution. These theories, characterized by two different families of models, the Crow-Kimura and the Eigen model, constitute a microscopie description of evolution. These models are most often used for RNA viruses, where a phase transition is predicted, in agreement with experiments, between an organized or quasispecies phase, and a disordered non-selective phase when the mutation rate exceeds a critical value. The methods of statistical mechanics, in particular field-theoretic methods, are employed to obtain analytic solutions to four problems relevant to biological interest. The first chapter presents the study of evolution under a multiple-peak fitness landscape, with biological applications in the study of the proliferation of viruses or cancer under the control of drugs or the immune system. The second chapter studies the effect of incorporating different forms of horizontal gene transfer and two-parent recombination to the classical formulation of quasispecies models. As an example, we study the effect of the sign of epistasis of the fitness landscape on the advantage or disadvantage of recombination for the mean fitness. The third chapter considers the relaxation of the purine/pyrimidine assumption in the classical formulation of the models, by formulating and solving the parallel and Eigen models in the context of a four-letter alphabet. The fourth and final chapter studies finite population effects, both in the presence and in the absence of horizontal gene transfer.

  3. Directed evolution of FLS2 towards novel flagellin peptide recognition

    DOE PAGES

    Helft, Laura; Thompson, Mikayla; Bent, Andrew F.

    2016-06-06

    Microbe-associated molecular patterns (MAMPs) are molecules, or domains within molecules, that are conserved across microbial taxa and can be recognized by a plant or animal immune system. Although MAMP receptors have evolved to recognize conserved epitopes, the MAMPs in some microbial species or strains have diverged sufficiently to render them unrecognizable by some host immune systems. In this study, we carried out in vitro evolution of the Arabidopsis thaliana flagellin receptor FLAGELLIN-SENSING 2 (FLS2) to isolate derivatives that recognize one or more flagellin peptides from bacteria for which the wildtype Arabidopsis FLS2 confers little or no response. A targeted approachmore » generated amino acid variation at FLS2 residues in a region previously implicated in flagellin recognition. The primary screen tested for elevated response to the canonical flagellin peptide from Pseudomonas aeruginosa, flg22. From this pool, we then identified five alleles of FLS2 that confer modest (quantitatively partial) recognition of an Erwinia amylovora flagellin peptide. Use of this Erwinia-based flagellin peptide to stimulate Arabidopsis plants expressing the resulting FLS2 alleles did not lead to a detectable reduction of virulent P. syringae pv. tomato growth. However, combination of two identified mutations into a single allele further increased FLS2-mediated responses to the E. amylovora flagellin peptide. Furthermore, these studies demonstrate the potential to raise the sensitivity of MAMP receptors toward particular targets.« less

  4. Directed Evolution of FLS2 towards Novel Flagellin Peptide Recognition

    PubMed Central

    Helft, Laura; Thompson, Mikayla

    2016-01-01

    Microbe-associated molecular patterns (MAMPs) are molecules, or domains within molecules, that are conserved across microbial taxa and can be recognized by a plant or animal immune system. Although MAMP receptors have evolved to recognize conserved epitopes, the MAMPs in some microbial species or strains have diverged sufficiently to render them unrecognizable by some host immune systems. In this study, we carried out in vitro evolution of the Arabidopsis thaliana flagellin receptor FLAGELLIN-SENSING 2 (FLS2) to isolate derivatives that recognize one or more flagellin peptides from bacteria for which the wild-type Arabidopsis FLS2 confers little or no response. A targeted approach generated amino acid variation at FLS2 residues in a region previously implicated in flagellin recognition. The primary screen tested for elevated response to the canonical flagellin peptide from Pseudomonas aeruginosa, flg22. From this pool, we then identified five alleles of FLS2 that confer modest (quantitatively partial) recognition of an Erwinia amylovora flagellin peptide. Use of this Erwinia-based flagellin peptide to stimulate Arabidopsis plants expressing the resulting FLS2 alleles did not lead to a detectable reduction of virulent P. syringae pv. tomato growth. However, combination of two identified mutations into a single allele further increased FLS2-mediated responses to the E. amylovora flagellin peptide. These studies demonstrate the potential to raise the sensitivity of MAMP receptors toward particular targets. PMID:27270917

  5. Starch and alpha-glucan acting enzymes, modulating their properties by directed evolution.

    PubMed

    Kelly, Ronan M; Dijkhuizen, Lubbert; Leemhuis, Hans

    2009-03-25

    Starch is the major food reserve in plants and forms a large part of the daily calorie intake in the human diet. Industrially, starch has become a major raw material in the production of various products including bio-ethanol, coating and anti-staling agents. The complexity and diversity of these starch based industries and the demand for high quality end products through extensive starch processing, can only be met through the use of a broad range of starch and alpha-glucan modifying enzymes. The economic importance of these enzymes is such that the starch industry has grown to be the largest market for enzymes after the detergent industry. However, as the starch based industries expand and develop the demand for more efficient enzymes leading to lower production cost and higher quality products increases. This in turn stimulates interest in modifying the properties of existing starch and alpha-glucan acting enzymes through a variety of molecular evolution strategies. Within this review we examine and discuss the directed evolution strategies applied in the modulation of specific properties of starch and alpha-glucan acting enzymes and highlight the recent developments in the field of directed evolution techniques which are likely to be implemented in the future engineering of these enzymes.

  6. Supernova feedback in molecular clouds: global evolution and dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Körtgen, Bastian; Seifried, Daniel; Banerjee, Robi; Vázquez-Semadeni, Enrique; Zamora-Avilés, Manuel

    2016-07-01

    We use magnetohydrodynamical simulations of converging warm neutral medium flows to analyse the formation and global evolution of magnetized and turbulent molecular clouds subject to supernova feedback from massive stars. We show that supernova feedback alone fails to disrupt entire, gravitationally bound, molecular clouds, but is able to disperse small-sized (˜10 pc) regions on time-scales of less than 1 Myr. Efficient radiative cooling of the supernova remnant as well as strong compression of the surrounding gas result in non-persistent energy and momentum input from the supernovae. However, if the time between subsequent supernovae is short and they are clustered, large hot bubbles form that disperse larger regions of the parental cloud. On longer time-scales, supernova feedback increases the amount of gas with moderate temperatures (T ≈ 300-3000 K). Despite its inability to disrupt molecular clouds, supernova feedback leaves a strong imprint on the star formation process. We find an overall reduction of the star formation efficiency by a factor of 2 and of the star formation rate by roughly factors of 2-4.

  7. Hepatitis A virus: host interactions, molecular epidemiology and evolution.

    PubMed

    Vaughan, Gilberto; Goncalves Rossi, Livia Maria; Forbi, Joseph C; de Paula, Vanessa S; Purdy, Michael A; Xia, Guoliang; Khudyakov, Yury E

    2014-01-01

    Infection with hepatitis A virus (HAV) is the commonest viral cause of liver disease and presents an important public health problem worldwide. Several unique HAV properties and molecular mechanisms of its interaction with host were recently discovered and should aid in clarifying the pathogenesis of hepatitis A. Genetic characterization of HAV strains have resulted in the identification of different genotypes and subtypes, which exhibit a characteristic worldwide distribution. Shifts in HAV endemicity occurring in different parts of the world, introduction of genetically diverse strains from geographically distant regions, genotype displacement observed in some countries and population expansion detected in the last decades of the 20th century using phylogenetic analysis are important factors contributing to the complex dynamics of HAV infections worldwide. Strong selection pressures, some of which, like usage of deoptimized codons, are unique to HAV, limit genetic variability of the virus. Analysis of subgenomic regions has been proven useful for outbreak investigations. However, sharing short sequences among epidemiologically unrelated strains indicates that specific identification of HAV strains for molecular surveillance can be achieved only using whole-genome sequences. Here, we present up-to-date information on the HAV molecular epidemiology and evolution, and highlight the most relevant features of the HAV-host interactions.

  8. Directed evolution of FLS2 towards novel flagellin peptide recognition

    SciTech Connect

    Helft, Laura; Bent, Andrew F.

    2016-06-06

    Microbe-associated molecular patterns (MAMPs) are molecules, or domains within molecules, that are conserved across microbial taxa and can be recognized by a plant or animal immune system. Although MAMP receptors have evolved to recognize conserved epitopes, the MAMPs in some microbial species or strains have diverged sufficiently to render them unrecognizable by some host immune systems. In this study, we carried out in vitro evolution of the Arabidopsis thaliana flagellin receptor FLAGELLIN-SENSING 2 (FLS2) to isolate derivatives that recognize one or more flagellin peptides from bacteria for which the wildtype Arabidopsis FLS2 confers little or no response. A targeted approach generated amino acid variation at FLS2 residues in a region previously implicated in flagellin recognition. The primary screen tested for elevated response to the canonical flagellin peptide from Pseudomonas aeruginosa, flg22. From this pool, we then identified five alleles of FLS2 that confer modest (quantitatively partial) recognition of an Erwinia amylovora flagellin peptide. Use of this Erwinia-based flagellin peptide to stimulate Arabidopsis plants expressing the resulting FLS2 alleles did not lead to a detectable reduction of virulent P. syringae pv. tomato growth. However, combination of two identified mutations into a single allele further increased FLS2-mediated responses to the E. amylovora flagellin peptide. Furthermore, these studies demonstrate the potential to raise the sensitivity of MAMP receptors toward particular targets.

  9. Endoreplication: a molecular trick during animal neuron evolution.

    PubMed

    Mandrioli, Mauro; Mola, Lucrezia; Cuoghi, Barbara; Sonetti, Dario

    2010-06-01

    The occurrence of endoreplication has been repeatedly reported in many organisms, including protists, plants, worms, arthropods, molluscs, fishes, and mammals. As a general rule, cells possessing endoreplicated genomes are large-sized and highly metabolically active. Endoreplication has not been frequently reported in neuronal cells that are typically considered to be fully differentiated and non-dividing, and which normally contain a diploid genome. Despite this general statement, various papers indicate that giant neurons in molluscs, as well as supramedullary and hypothalamic magnocellular neurons in fishes, contain DNA amounts larger than 2C. In order to study this issue in greater detail here, we review the available data about endoreplication in invertebrate and vertebrate neurons, and discuss its possible functional significance. As a whole, endoreplication seems to be a sort of molecular trick used by neurons in response to the high functional demands that they experience during evolution.

  10. Nucleotide exchange and excision technology DNA shuffling and directed evolution.

    PubMed

    Speck, Janina; Stebel, Sabine C; Arndt, Katja M; Müller, Kristian M

    2011-01-01

    Remarkable success in optimizing complex properties within DNA and proteins has been achieved by directed evolution. In contrast to various random mutagenesis methods and high-throughput selection methods, the number of available DNA shuffling procedures is limited, and protocols are often difficult to adjust. The strength of the nucleotide exchange and excision technology (NExT) DNA shuffling described here is the robust, efficient, and easily controllable DNA fragmentation step based on random incorporation of the so-called 'exchange nucleotides' by PCR. The exchange nucleotides are removed enzymatically, followed by chemical cleavage of the DNA backbone. The oligonucleotide pool is reassembled into full-length genes by internal primer extension, and the recombined gene library is amplified by standard PCR. The technique has been demonstrated by shuffling a defined gene library of chloramphenicol acetyltransferase variants using uridine as fragmentation defining exchange nucleotide. Substituting 33% of the dTTP with dUTP in the incorporation PCR resulted in shuffled clones with an average parental fragment size of 86 bases and revealed a mutation rate of only 0.1%. Additionally, a computer program (NExTProg) has been developed that predicts the fragment size distribution depending on the relative amount of the exchange nucleotide.

  11. Directed evolution of the substrate specificity of biotin ligase.

    PubMed

    Lu, Wei-Cheng; Levy, Matthew; Kincaid, Rodney; Ellington, Andrew D

    2014-06-01

    We have developed selection scheme for directing the evolution of Escherichia coli biotin protein ligase (BPL) via in vitro compartmentalization, and have used this scheme to alter the substrate specificity of the ligase towards the utilization of the biotin analogue desthiobiotin. In this scheme, a peptide substrate (BAP) was conjugated to a DNA library encoding BirA, emulsified such that there was a single template per compartment, and protein variants were transcribed and translated in vitro. Those variants that could efficiently desthiobiotinylate their corresponding peptide:DNA conjugate were subsequently captured and amplified. Following just six rounds of selection and amplification several variants that demonstrated higher activity with desthiobiotin were identified. The best variants from Round 6, BirA6-40 and BirA6-47 , showed 17-fold and 10-fold higher activity, respectively, their abilities to use desthiobiotin as a substrate. While selected enzymes contained a number of substitutions, a single mutation, M157T, proved sufficient to provide much greater activity with desthiobiotin. Further characterization of BirA6-40 and the single substitution variant BirAM157T revealed that they had twoto threefold higher kcat values for desthiobiotin. These variants had also lost much of their ability to utilize biotin, resulting in orthogonal enzymes that in conjunction with streptavidin variants that can utilize desthiobiotin may prove to be of great use in developing additional, robust conjugation handles for a variety of biological and biotechnological applications.

  12. Directed Evolution and Structural Characterization of a Simvastatin Synthase

    SciTech Connect

    Gao, Xue; Xie, Xinkai; Pashkov, Inna; Sawaya, Michael R.; Laidman, Janel; Zhang, Wenjun; Cacho, Ralph; Yeates, Todd O.; Tang, Yi; UCLA

    2010-02-02

    Enzymes from natural product biosynthetic pathways are attractive candidates for creating tailored biocatalysts to produce semisynthetic pharmaceutical compounds. LovD is an acyltransferase that converts the inactive monacolin J acid (MJA) into the cholesterol-lowering lovastatin. LovD can also synthesize the blockbuster drug simvastatin using MJA and a synthetic {alpha}-dimethylbutyryl thioester, albeit with suboptimal properties as a biocatalyst. Here we used directed evolution to improve the properties of LovD toward semisynthesis of simvastatin. Mutants with improved catalytic efficiency, solubility, and thermal stability were obtained, with the best mutant displaying an {approx}11-fold increase in an Escherichia coli-based biocatalytic platform. To understand the structural basis of LovD enzymology, seven X-ray crystal structures were determined, including the parent LovD, an improved mutant G5, and G5 cocrystallized with ligands. Comparisons between the structures reveal that beneficial mutations stabilize the structure of G5 in a more compact conformation that is favorable for catalysis.

  13. Directed adenovirus evolution using engineered mutator viral polymerases

    PubMed Central

    Uil, Taco G.; Vellinga, Jort; de Vrij, Jeroen; van den Hengel, Sanne K.; Rabelink, Martijn J. W. E.; Cramer, Steve J.; Eekels, Julia J. M.; Ariyurek, Yavuz; van Galen, Michiel; Hoeben, Rob C.

    2011-01-01

    Adenoviruses (Ads) are the most frequently used viruses for oncolytic and gene therapy purposes. Most Ad-based vectors have been generated through rational design. Although this led to significant vector improvements, it is often hampered by an insufficient understanding of Ad’s intricate functions and interactions. Here, to evade this issue, we adopted a novel, mutator Ad polymerase-based, ‘accelerated-evolution’ approach that can serve as general method to generate or optimize adenoviral vectors. First, we site specifically substituted Ad polymerase residues located in either the nucleotide binding pocket or the exonuclease domain. This yielded several polymerase mutants that, while fully supportive of viral replication, increased Ad’s intrinsic mutation rate. Mutator activities of these mutants were revealed by performing deep sequencing on pools of replicated viruses. The strongest identified mutators carried replacements of residues implicated in ssDNA binding at the exonuclease active site. Next, we exploited these mutators to generate the genetic diversity required for directed Ad evolution. Using this new forward genetics approach, we isolated viral mutants with improved cytolytic activity. These mutants revealed a common mutation in a splice acceptor site preceding the gene for the adenovirus death protein (ADP). Accordingly, the isolated viruses showed high and untimely expression of ADP, correlating with a severe deregulation of E3 transcript splicing. PMID:21138963

  14. ScaffoldSeq: Software for characterization of directed evolution populations.

    PubMed

    Woldring, Daniel R; Holec, Patrick V; Hackel, Benjamin J

    2016-07-01

    ScaffoldSeq is software designed for the numerous applications-including directed evolution analysis-in which a user generates a population of DNA sequences encoding for partially diverse proteins with related functions and would like to characterize the single site and pairwise amino acid frequencies across the population. A common scenario for enzyme maturation, antibody screening, and alternative scaffold engineering involves naïve and evolved populations that contain diversified regions, varying in both sequence and length, within a conserved framework. Analyzing the diversified regions of such populations is facilitated by high-throughput sequencing platforms; however, length variability within these regions (e.g., antibody CDRs) encumbers the alignment process. To overcome this challenge, the ScaffoldSeq algorithm takes advantage of conserved framework sequences to quickly identify diverse regions. Beyond this, unintended biases in sequence frequency are generated throughout the experimental workflow required to evolve and isolate clones of interest prior to DNA sequencing. ScaffoldSeq software uniquely handles this issue by providing tools to quantify and remove background sequences, cluster similar protein families, and dampen the impact of dominant clones. The software produces graphical and tabular summaries for each region of interest, allowing users to evaluate diversity in a site-specific manner as well as identify epistatic pairwise interactions. The code and detailed information are freely available at http://research.cems.umn.edu/hackel. Proteins 2016; 84:869-874. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  15. Increased Fab thermoresistance via VH-targeted directed evolution

    PubMed Central

    Entzminger, Kevin C.; Johnson, Jennifer L.; Hyun, Jeongmin; Lieberman, Raquel L.; Maynard, Jennifer A.

    2015-01-01

    Antibody aggregation is frequently mediated by the complementarity determining regions within the variable domains and can significantly decrease purification yields, shorten shelf-life and increase the risk of anti-drug immune responses. Aggregation-resistant antibodies could offset these risks; accordingly, we have developed a directed evolution strategy to improve Fab stability. A Fab-phage display vector was constructed and the VH domain targeted for mutagenesis by error-prone PCR. To enrich for thermoresistant clones, the resulting phage library was transiently heated, followed by selection for binding to an anti-light chain constant domain antibody. Five unique variants were identified, each possessing one to three amino acid substitutions. Each engineered Fab possessed higher, Escherichia coli expression yield, a 2–3°C increase in apparent melting temperature and improved aggregation resistance upon heating at high concentration. Select mutations were combined and shown to confer additive improvements to these biophysical characteristics. Finally, the wild-type and most stable triple variant Fab variant were converted into a human IgG1 and expressed in mammalian cells. Both expression level and aggregation resistance were similarly improved in the engineered IgG1. Analysis of the wild-type Fab crystal structure provided a structural rationale for the selected residues changes. This approach can help guide future Fab stabilization efforts. PMID:26283664

  16. Increased Fab thermoresistance via VH-targeted directed evolution.

    PubMed

    Entzminger, Kevin C; Johnson, Jennifer L; Hyun, Jeongmin; Lieberman, Raquel L; Maynard, Jennifer A

    2015-10-01

    Antibody aggregation is frequently mediated by the complementarity determining regions within the variable domains and can significantly decrease purification yields, shorten shelf-life and increase the risk of anti-drug immune responses. Aggregation-resistant antibodies could offset these risks; accordingly, we have developed a directed evolution strategy to improve Fab stability. A Fab-phage display vector was constructed and the VH domain targeted for mutagenesis by error-prone PCR. To enrich for thermoresistant clones, the resulting phage library was transiently heated, followed by selection for binding to an anti-light chain constant domain antibody. Five unique variants were identified, each possessing one to three amino acid substitutions. Each engineered Fab possessed higher, Escherichia coli expression yield, a 2-3°C increase in apparent melting temperature and improved aggregation resistance upon heating at high concentration. Select mutations were combined and shown to confer additive improvements to these biophysical characteristics. Finally, the wild-type and most stable triple variant Fab variant were converted into a human IgG1 and expressed in mammalian cells. Both expression level and aggregation resistance were similarly improved in the engineered IgG1. Analysis of the wild-type Fab crystal structure provided a structural rationale for the selected residues changes. This approach can help guide future Fab stabilization efforts.

  17. Directed evolution of a far-red fluorescent rhodopsin

    PubMed Central

    McIsaac, R. Scott; Engqvist, Martin K. M.; Wannier, Timothy; Rosenthal, Adam Z.; Herwig, Lukas; Flytzanis, Nicholas C.; Imasheva, Eleonora S.; Lanyi, Janos K.; Balashov, Sergei P.; Gradinaru, Viviana; Arnold, Frances H.

    2014-01-01

    Microbial rhodopsins are a diverse group of photoactive transmembrane proteins found in all three domains of life. A member of this protein family, Archaerhodopsin-3 (Arch) of halobacterium Halorubrum sodomense, was recently shown to function as a fluorescent indicator of membrane potential when expressed in mammalian neurons. Arch fluorescence, however, is very dim and is not optimal for applications in live-cell imaging. We used directed evolution to identify mutations that dramatically improve the absolute brightness of Arch, as confirmed biochemically and with live-cell imaging (in Escherichia coli and human embryonic kidney 293 cells). In some fluorescent Arch variants, the pKa of the protonated Schiff-base linkage to retinal is near neutral pH, a useful feature for voltage-sensing applications. These bright Arch variants enable labeling of biological membranes in the far-red/infrared and exhibit the furthest red-shifted fluorescence emission thus far reported for a fluorescent protein (maximal excitation/emission at ∼620 nm/730 nm). PMID:25157169

  18. Extraordinary molecular evolution in the PRDM9 fertility gene.

    PubMed

    Thomas, James H; Emerson, Ryan O; Shendure, Jay

    2009-12-30

    Recent work indicates that allelic incompatibility in the mouse PRDM9 (Meisetz) gene can cause hybrid male sterility, contributing to genetic isolation and potentially speciation. The only phenotype of mouse PRDM9 knockouts is a meiosis I block that causes sterility in both sexes. The PRDM9 gene encodes a protein with histone H3(K4) trimethyltransferase activity, a KRAB domain, and a DNA-binding domain consisting of multiple tandem C2H2 zinc finger (ZF) domains. We have analyzed human coding polymorphism and interspecies evolutionary changes in the PRDM9 gene. The ZF domains of PRDM9 are evolving very rapidly, with compelling evidence of positive selection in primates. Positively selected amino acids are predominantly those known to make nucleotide specific contacts in C2H2 zinc fingers. These results suggest that PRDM9 is subject to recurrent selection to change DNA-binding specificity. The human PRDM9 protein is highly polymorphic in its ZF domains and nearly all polymorphisms affect the same nucleotide contact residues that are subject to positive selection. ZF domain nucleotide sequences are strongly homogenized within species, indicating that interfinger recombination contributes to their evolution. PRDM9 has previously been assumed to be a transcription factor required to induce meiosis specific genes, a role that is inconsistent with its molecular evolution. We suggest instead that PRDM9 is involved in some aspect of centromere segregation conflict and that rapidly evolving centromeric DNA drives changes in PRDM9 DNA-binding domains.

  19. Molecular evolution of GPCRs: Kisspeptin/kisspeptin receptors.

    PubMed

    Pasquier, Jérémy; Kamech, Nédia; Lafont, Anne-Gaëlle; Vaudry, Hubert; Rousseau, Karine; Dufour, Sylvie

    2014-06-01

    Following the discovery of kisspeptin (Kiss) and its receptor (GPR54 or KissR) in mammals, phylogenetic studies revealed up to three Kiss and four KissR paralogous genes in other vertebrates. The multiplicity of Kiss and KissR types in vertebrates probably originated from the two rounds of whole-genome duplication (1R and 2R) that occurred in early vertebrates. This review examines compelling recent advances on molecular diversity and phylogenetic evolution of vertebrate Kiss and KissR. It also addresses, from an evolutionary point of view, the issues of the structure-activity relationships and interaction of Kiss with KissR and of their signaling pathways. Independent gene losses, during vertebrate evolution, have shaped the repertoire of Kiss and KissR in the extant vertebrate species. In particular, there is no conserved combination of a given Kiss type with a KissR type, across vertebrate evolution. The striking conservation of the biologically active ten-amino-acid C-terminal sequence of all vertebrate kisspeptins, probably allowed this evolutionary flexibility of Kiss/KissR pairs. KissR mutations, responsible for hypogonadotropic hypogonadism in humans, mostly occurred at highly conserved amino acid positions among vertebrate KissR. This further highlights the key role of these amino acids in KissR function. In contrast, less conserved KissR regions, notably in the intracellular C-terminal domain, may account for differential intracellular signaling pathways between vertebrate KissR. Cross talk between evolutionary and biomedical studies should contribute to further understanding of the Kiss/KissR structure-activity relationships and biological functions.

  20. Direct observation of stepwise movement of a synthetic molecular transporter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wickham, Shelley F. J.; Endo, Masayuki; Katsuda, Yousuke; Hidaka, Kumi; Bath, Jonathan; Sugiyama, Hiroshi; Turberfield, Andrew J.

    2011-03-01

    Controlled motion at the nanoscale can be achieved by using Watson-Crick base-pairing to direct the assembly and operation of a molecular transport system consisting of a track, a motor and fuel, all made from DNA. Here, we assemble a 100-nm-long DNA track on a two-dimensional scaffold, and show that a DNA motor loaded at one end of the track moves autonomously and at a constant average speed along the full length of the track, a journey comprising 16 consecutive steps for the motor. Real-time atomic force microscopy allows direct observation of individual steps of a single motor, revealing mechanistic details of its operation. This precisely controlled, long-range transport could lead to the development of systems that could be programmed and routed by instructions encoded in the nucleotide sequences of the track and motor. Such systems might be used to create molecular assembly lines modelled on the ribosome.

  1. Sex Speeds Adaptation by Altering the Dynamics of Molecular Evolution

    PubMed Central

    McDonald, Michael J.; Rice, Daniel P.; Desai, Michael M.

    2016-01-01

    Sex and recombination are pervasive throughout nature despite their substantial costs1. Understanding the evolutionary forces that maintain these phenomena is a central challenge in biology2,3. One longstanding hypothesis argues that sex is beneficial because recombination speeds adaptation4. Theory has proposed a number of distinct population genetic mechanisms that could underlie this advantage. For example, sex can promote the fixation of beneficial mutations either by alleviating interference competition (the Fisher-Muller effect)5,6 or by separating them from deleterious load (the ruby in the rubbish effect)7,8. Previous experiments confirm that sex can increase the rate of adaptation9–17, but these studies did not observe the evolutionary dynamics that drive this effect at the genomic level. Here, we present the first comparison between the sequence-level dynamics of adaptation in experimental sexual and asexual populations, which allows us to identify the specific mechanisms by which sex speeds adaptation. We find that sex alters the molecular signatures of evolution by changing the spectrum of mutations that fix, and confirm theoretical predictions that it does so by alleviating clonal interference. We also show that substantially deleterious mutations hitchhike to fixation in adapting asexual populations. In contrast, recombination prevents such mutations from fixing. Our results demonstrate that sex both speeds adaptation and alters its molecular signature by allowing natural selection to more efficiently sort beneficial from deleterious mutations. PMID:26909573

  2. Karyotype evolution in the Pinaceae: implication with molecular phylogeny.

    PubMed

    Nkongolo, K K; Mehes-Smith, M

    2012-11-01

    The family Pinaceae is made up mostly of diploid species (2n = 24). Systematization of karyotype analysis was developed to make comparison of intra- and interspecific karyotypes among the Pinaceae more accurate and reliable. Considering all parameters, the genera Pseudotsuga and Pseudolarix have the "most derived" (or advanced) and asymmetric karyotypes in the Pinaceae, followed by Larix, Picea, Abies, and Cedrus. The genus Pinus was the "least derived" (or ancestral) of all the genera of the Pinaceae analyzed. Differences in karyotype formulae and asymmetry indices were found among species within the same genera, suggesting that structural changes may have contributed to the diversification of the genus. This review is a detailed analysis of comparative karyotyping based on similar parameters, including numeric data and cytogenetic information. Telomeric sequence repeats and rDNA distribution in the Pinaceae were surveyed. The role of transposition in rDNA chromosome distribution is analyzed. Cytogenetic implications of hybridization between related species are reported. Likewise, the relationships between molecular phylogenetic and karyotype evolution is discussed in light of several reports. Within many genera, chromosomal organization was conserved despite independent molecular divergence and adaptation through the evolutionary history of the species of the Pinaceae.

  3. Sex speeds adaptation by altering the dynamics of molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    McDonald, Michael J; Rice, Daniel P; Desai, Michael M

    2016-03-10

    Sex and recombination are pervasive throughout nature despite their substantial costs. Understanding the evolutionary forces that maintain these phenomena is a central challenge in biology. One longstanding hypothesis argues that sex is beneficial because recombination speeds adaptation. Theory has proposed several distinct population genetic mechanisms that could underlie this advantage. For example, sex can promote the fixation of beneficial mutations either by alleviating interference competition (the Fisher-Muller effect) or by separating them from deleterious load (the ruby in the rubbish effect). Previous experiments confirm that sex can increase the rate of adaptation, but these studies did not observe the evolutionary dynamics that drive this effect at the genomic level. Here we present the first, to our knowledge, comparison between the sequence-level dynamics of adaptation in experimental sexual and asexual Saccharomyces cerevisiae populations, which allows us to identify the specific mechanisms by which sex speeds adaptation. We find that sex alters the molecular signatures of evolution by changing the spectrum of mutations that fix, and confirm theoretical predictions that it does so by alleviating clonal interference. We also show that substantially deleterious mutations hitchhike to fixation in adapting asexual populations. In contrast, recombination prevents such mutations from fixing. Our results demonstrate that sex both speeds adaptation and alters its molecular signature by allowing natural selection to more efficiently sort beneficial from deleterious mutations.

  4. Molecular evolution of Dmrt1 accompanies change of sex-determining mechanisms in reptilia

    PubMed Central

    Janes, Daniel E.; Organ, Christopher L.; Stiglec, Rami; O'Meally, Denis; Sarre, Stephen D.; Georges, Arthur; Graves, Jennifer A. M.; Valenzuela, Nicole; Literman, Robert A.; Rutherford, Kim; Gemmell, Neil; Iverson, John B.; Tamplin, Jeffrey W.; Edwards, Scott V.; Ezaz, Tariq

    2014-01-01

    In reptiles, sex-determining mechanisms have evolved repeatedly and reversibly between genotypic and temperature-dependent sex determination. The gene Dmrt1 directs male determination in chicken (and presumably other birds), and regulates sex differentiation in animals as distantly related as fruit flies, nematodes and humans. Here, we show a consistent molecular difference in Dmrt1 between reptiles with genotypic and temperature-dependent sex determination. Among 34 non-avian reptiles, a convergently evolved pair of amino acids encoded by sequence within exon 2 near the DM-binding domain of Dmrt1 distinguishes species with either type of sex determination. We suggest that this amino acid shift accompanied the evolution of genotypic sex determination from an ancestral condition of temperature-dependent sex determination at least three times among reptiles, as evident in turtles, birds and squamates. This novel hypothesis describes the evolution of sex-determining mechanisms as turnover events accompanied by one or two small mutations. PMID:25540158

  5. Molecular evolution of Dmrt1 accompanies change of sex-determining mechanisms in reptilia.

    PubMed

    Janes, Daniel E; Organ, Christopher L; Stiglec, Rami; O'Meally, Denis; Sarre, Stephen D; Georges, Arthur; Graves, Jennifer A M; Valenzuela, Nicole; Literman, Robert A; Rutherford, Kim; Gemmell, Neil; Iverson, John B; Tamplin, Jeffrey W; Edwards, Scott V; Ezaz, Tariq

    2014-12-01

    In reptiles, sex-determining mechanisms have evolved repeatedly and reversibly between genotypic and temperature-dependent sex determination. The gene Dmrt1 directs male determination in chicken (and presumably other birds), and regulates sex differentiation in animals as distantly related as fruit flies, nematodes and humans. Here, we show a consistent molecular difference in Dmrt1 between reptiles with genotypic and temperature-dependent sex determination. Among 34 non-avian reptiles, a convergently evolved pair of amino acids encoded by sequence within exon 2 near the DM-binding domain of Dmrt1 distinguishes species with either type of sex determination. We suggest that this amino acid shift accompanied the evolution of genotypic sex determination from an ancestral condition of temperature-dependent sex determination at least three times among reptiles, as evident in turtles, birds and squamates. This novel hypothesis describes the evolution of sex-determining mechanisms as turnover events accompanied by one or two small mutations.

  6. Linking the molecular evolution of avian beta (β) keratins to the evolution of feathers.

    PubMed

    Greenwold, Matthew J; Sawyer, Roger H

    2011-12-15

    Feathers of today's birds are constructed of beta (β)-keratins, structural proteins of the epidermis that are found solely in reptiles and birds. Discoveries of "feathered dinosaurs" continue to stimulate interest in the evolutionary origin of feathers, but few studies have attempted to link the molecular evolution of their major structural proteins (β-keratins) to the appearance of feathers in the fossil record. Using molecular dating methods, we show that before the appearance of Anchiornis (∼155 Million years ago (Ma)) the basal β-keratins of birds began diverging from their archosaurian ancestor ∼216 Ma. However, the subfamily of feather β-keratins, as found in living birds, did not begin diverging until ∼143 Ma. Thus, the pennaceous feathers on Anchiornis, while being constructed of avian β-keratins, most likely did not contain the feather β-keratins found in the feathers of modern birds. Our results demonstrate that the evolutionary origin of feathers does not coincide with the molecular evolution of the feather β-keratins found in modern birds. More likely, during the Late Jurassic, the epidermal structures that appeared on organisms in the lineage leading to birds, including early forms of feathers, were constructed of avian β-keratins other than those found in the feathers of modern birds. Recent biophysical studies of the β-keratins in feathers support the view that the appearance of the subfamily of feather β-keratins altered the biophysical nature of the feather establishing its role in powered flight.

  7. Directed evolution of mandelate racemase by a novel high-throughput screening method.

    PubMed

    Yang, Chengcheng; Ye, Lidan; Gu, Jiali; Yang, Xiaohong; Li, Aipeng; Yu, Hongwei

    2017-02-01

    Optically pure methyl (R)-o-chloromandelate and (R)-acetyl-o-mandelic acid are key intermediates for the synthesis of (S)-clopidogrel, which could be prepared with 100 % theoretical yield by sequential hydrolysis and racemization. At the moment, efficient sequential hydrolysis and racemization are hindered by the low catalytic activity of mandelate racemase (MR) toward (S)-o-chloromandelic acid ((S)-2-CMA). In the present work, we proposed to improve the catalytic performance of MR toward (S)-2-CMA by directed evolution and developed an enantioselective oxidation system for high-throughput screening (HTS) of MR libraries. Based on this HTS method, a triple mutant V22I/V29I/Y54F (MRDE1) with 3.5-fold greater relative activity as compared to the native MR was obtained. Kinetic analysis indicated that the enhanced catalytic efficiency mainly arose from the elevated k cat. Further insight into the source of improved catalytic activity was gained by molecular simulations, finding that substrate binding and product release were possibly made easier by decreased steric bulk and increased hydrophobicity of substrate binding sites. In addition, the substrate (S)-2-CMA in the enzyme-substrate complex of MRDE1 seemed to have a lower binding free energy comparing with the complex of wild-type MR. The HTS method developed in this work and the successful directed evolution of MR based on this method provide an example for racemase engineering and may inspire directed evolution of other racemases toward enhanced catalytic performance on non-natural substrates.

  8. Nucleotide substitution type dependence of generation time effect of molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    Kisakibaru, Y; Matsuda, H

    1995-06-01

    Using DNA sequence data of 18 genes from 14 mammals, we analyzed how the average molecular evolution rate per year per site (Vy) depends on the generation time (g). (I) Assuming the relation Vy varies; is directly proportional to g(-alpha), the index of generation time effect, (alpha) was estimated to be about 0.14 for amino acid replacement substitutions (A), and about 0.32 for synonymous substitutions (S). (II) Assuming the relation Vy = V(m)g g-1 + V(e)y, where V(m)g and V(e)y are constant independent of g, the fraction, r(e) = V(e)y/Vy, of the mutation rate independent part (V(e)y) in the total evolution rate (Vy) was estimated under the assumptions of the star phylogeny and the constancy of the mutation rate per generation. r(e) was smallest for mouse with the shortest generation time among our analyzed species, and it was estimated to be about 0.57 for A and 0.31 for S. Both results do not support the view that Vy is equal to the neutral mutation rate per site both for A and for S. They are in line with the thesis that, at least for A and probably even for S, the molecular evolution rate is influenced by some causes other than the mutation rate, such as changing environment.

  9. Directionality in the evolution of influenza A haemagglutinin

    PubMed Central

    Kryazhimskiy, Sergey; Bazykin, Georgii A; Plotkin, Joshua; Dushoff, Jonathan

    2008-01-01

    The evolution of haemagglutinin (HA), an important influenza virus antigen, has been the subject of intensive research for more than two decades. Many characteristics of HA's sequence evolution are captured by standard Markov chain substitution models. Such models assign equal fitness to all accessible amino acids at a site. We show, however, that such models strongly underestimate the number of homoplastic amino acid substitutions during the course of HA's evolution, i.e. substitutions that repeatedly give rise to the same amino acid at a site. We develop statistics to detect individual homoplastic events and find that they preferentially occur at positively selected epitopic sites. Our results suggest that the evolution of the influenza A HA, including evolution by positive selection, is strongly affected by the long-term site-specific preferences for individual amino acids. PMID:18647721

  10. Directed evolution of a thermostable l-aminoacylase biocatalyst.

    PubMed

    Parker, Brenda M; Taylor, Ian N; Woodley, John M; Ward, John M; Dalby, Paul A

    2011-10-10

    Enzymes from extreme environments possess highly desirable traits of activity and stability for application under process conditions. One such example is l-aminoacylase (E.C. 3.5.1.14) from Thermococcus litoralis (TliACY), which catalyzes the enantioselective amide hydrolysis of N-protected l-amino acids, useful for resolving racemic mixtures in the preparation of chiral intermediates. Variants of this enzyme with improved activity and altered substrate preference are highly desirable. We have created a structural homology model of the enzyme and applied various two different directed evolution strategies to identify improved variants. Mutants P237S and F251Y were 2.4-fold more active towards N-benzoyl valine relative to the wild type at 65°C. F251 mutations to basic residues resulted in 4.5-11-fold shifts in the substrate preference towards N-benzoyl phenylalanine relative to N-benzoyl valine. The substrate preference of wild type decreases with increasingly branched and sterically hindered substrates. However, the mutant S100T/M106K disrupted this simple trend by selectively improving the substrate preference for N-benzoyl valine, with a >30-fold shift in the ratio of k(cat) values for N-benzoyl valine and N-benzoyl phenylalanine. Mutations that favoured N-benzoyl-phenylalanine appeared at the active site entrance, whereas those improving activity towards N-benzoyl-valine occurred in the hinge region loops linking the dimerization and zinc-binding domains in each monomer. These observations support a previously proposed substrate induced conformational transition between open and closed forms of aminoacylases.

  11. The First Molecular Phylogeny of Strepsiptera (Insecta) Reveals an Early Burst of Molecular Evolution Correlated with the Transition to Endoparasitism

    PubMed Central

    McMahon, Dino P.; Hayward, Alexander; Kathirithamby, Jeyaraney

    2011-01-01

    A comprehensive model of evolution requires an understanding of the relationship between selection at the molecular and phenotypic level. We investigate this in Strepsiptera, an order of endoparasitic insects whose evolutionary biology is poorly studied. We present the first molecular phylogeny of Strepsiptera, and use this as a framework to investigate the association between parasitism and molecular evolution. We find evidence of a significant burst in the rate of molecular evolution in the early history of Strepsiptera. The evolution of morphological traits linked to parasitism is significantly correlated with the pattern in molecular rate. The correlated burst in genotypic-phenotypic evolution precedes the main phase of strepsipteran diversification, which is characterised by the return to a low and even molecular rate, and a period of relative morphological stability. These findings suggest that the transition to endoparasitism led to relaxation of selective constraint in the strepsipteran genome. Our results indicate that a parasitic lifestyle can affect the rate of molecular evolution, although other causal life-history traits correlated with parasitism may also play an important role. PMID:21738621

  12. Hepatitis C virus molecular evolution: transmission, disease progression and antiviral therapy.

    PubMed

    Preciado, Maria Victoria; Valva, Pamela; Escobar-Gutierrez, Alejandro; Rahal, Paula; Ruiz-Tovar, Karina; Yamasaki, Lilian; Vazquez-Chacon, Carlos; Martinez-Guarneros, Armando; Carpio-Pedroza, Juan Carlos; Fonseca-Coronado, Salvador; Cruz-Rivera, Mayra

    2014-11-21

    Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection represents an important public health problem worldwide. Reduction of HCV morbidity and mortality is a current challenge owned to several viral and host factors. Virus molecular evolution plays an important role in HCV transmission, disease progression and therapy outcome. The high degree of genetic heterogeneity characteristic of HCV is a key element for the rapid adaptation of the intrahost viral population to different selection pressures (e.g., host immune responses and antiviral therapy). HCV molecular evolution is shaped by different mechanisms including a high mutation rate, genetic bottlenecks, genetic drift, recombination, temporal variations and compartmentalization. These evolutionary processes constantly rearrange the composition of the HCV intrahost population in a staging manner. Remarkable advances in the understanding of the molecular mechanism controlling HCV replication have facilitated the development of a plethora of direct-acting antiviral agents against HCV. As a result, superior sustained viral responses have been attained. The rapidly evolving field of anti-HCV therapy is expected to broad its landscape even further with newer, more potent antivirals, bringing us one step closer to the interferon-free era.

  13. Characterizing Microbe-Environment Interactions Through Experimental Evolution: The Autonomous Adaptive Directed Evolution Chamber

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ibanez, C. R.; Blaich, J.; Owyang, S.; Storrs, A.; Moffet, A.; Wong, N.; Zhou, J.; Gentry, D.

    2015-12-01

    We are developing a laboratory system for studying micro- to meso-scale interactions between microorganisms and their physicochemical environments. The Autonomous Adaptive Directed Evolution Chamber (AADEC) cultures microorganisms in controlled,small-scale geochemical environments. It observes corresponding microbial interactions to these environments and has the ability to adjust thermal, chemical, and other parameters in real time in response to these interactions. In addition to the sensed data, the system allows the generation of time-resolved ecological, genomic, etc. samples on the order of microbial generations. The AADEC currently houses cultures in liquid media and controls UVC radiation, heat exposure, and nutrient supply. In a proof-of-concept experimental evolution application, it can increase UVC radiation resistance of Escherichia coli cultures by iteratively exposing them to UVC and allowing the surviving cells to regrow. A baseline characterization generated a million fold resistance increase. This demonstration uses a single-well growth chamber prototype, but it was limited by scalability. We have expanded upon this system by implementing a microwell plate compatible fluidics system and sensor housing. This microwell plate system increases the diversity of microbial interactions seen in response to the geochemical environments generated by the system, allowing greater control over individual cultures' environments and detection of rarer events. The custom microfluidic card matches the footprint of a standard microwell plate. This card enables controllable fluid flow between wells and introduces multiple separate exposure and sensor chambers, increasing the variety of sensors compatible with the system. This gives the device control over scale and the interconnectedness of environments within the system. The increased controllability of the multiwell system provides a platform for implementing machine learning algorithms that will autonomously

  14. Direct Imaging of Laser-driven Ultrafast Molecular Rotation.

    PubMed

    Mizuse, Kenta; Fujimoto, Romu; Mizutani, Nobuo; Ohshima, Yasuhiro

    2017-02-04

    We present a method for visualizing laser-induced, ultrafast molecular rotational wave packet dynamics. We have developed a new 2-dimensional Coulomb explosion imaging setup in which a hitherto-impractical camera angle is realized. In our imaging technique, diatomic molecules are irradiated with a circularly polarized strong laser pulse. The ejected atomic ions are accelerated perpendicularly to the laser propagation. The ions lying in the laser polarization plane are selected through the use of a mechanical slit and imaged with a high-throughput, 2-dimensional detector installed parallel to the polarization plane. Because a circularly polarized (isotropic) Coulomb exploding pulse is used, the observed angular distribution of the ejected ions directly corresponds to the squared rotational wave function at the time of the pulse irradiation. To create a real-time movie of molecular rotation, the present imaging technique is combined with a femtosecond pump-probe optical setup in which the pump pulses create unidirectionally rotating molecular ensembles. Due to the high image throughput of our detection system, the pump-probe experimental condition can be easily optimized by monitoring a real-time snapshot. As a result, the quality of the observed movie is sufficiently high for visualizing the detailed wave nature of motion. We also note that the present technique can be implemented in existing standard ion imaging setups, offering a new camera angle or viewpoint for the molecular systems without the need for extensive modification.

  15. Optimizing legacy molecular dynamics software with directive-based offload

    SciTech Connect

    Michael Brown, W.; Carrillo, Jan-Michael Y.; Gavhane, Nitin; Thakkar, Foram M.; Plimpton, Steven J.

    2015-05-14

    The directive-based programming models are one solution for exploiting many-core coprocessors to increase simulation rates in molecular dynamics. They offer the potential to reduce code complexity with offload models that can selectively target computations to run on the CPU, the coprocessor, or both. In our paper, we describe modifications to the LAMMPS molecular dynamics code to enable concurrent calculations on a CPU and coprocessor. We also demonstrate that standard molecular dynamics algorithms can run efficiently on both the CPU and an x86-based coprocessor using the same subroutines. As a consequence, we demonstrate that code optimizations for the coprocessor also result in speedups on the CPU; in extreme cases up to 4.7X. We provide results for LAMMAS benchmarks and for production molecular dynamics simulations using the Stampede hybrid supercomputer with both Intel (R) Xeon Phi (TM) coprocessors and NVIDIA GPUs: The optimizations presented have increased simulation rates by over 2X for organic molecules and over 7X for liquid crystals on Stampede. The optimizations are available as part of the "Intel package" supplied with LAMMPS. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  16. Optimizing legacy molecular dynamics software with directive-based offload

    DOE PAGES

    Michael Brown, W.; Carrillo, Jan-Michael Y.; Gavhane, Nitin; ...

    2015-05-14

    The directive-based programming models are one solution for exploiting many-core coprocessors to increase simulation rates in molecular dynamics. They offer the potential to reduce code complexity with offload models that can selectively target computations to run on the CPU, the coprocessor, or both. In our paper, we describe modifications to the LAMMPS molecular dynamics code to enable concurrent calculations on a CPU and coprocessor. We also demonstrate that standard molecular dynamics algorithms can run efficiently on both the CPU and an x86-based coprocessor using the same subroutines. As a consequence, we demonstrate that code optimizations for the coprocessor also resultmore » in speedups on the CPU; in extreme cases up to 4.7X. We provide results for LAMMAS benchmarks and for production molecular dynamics simulations using the Stampede hybrid supercomputer with both Intel (R) Xeon Phi (TM) coprocessors and NVIDIA GPUs: The optimizations presented have increased simulation rates by over 2X for organic molecules and over 7X for liquid crystals on Stampede. The optimizations are available as part of the "Intel package" supplied with LAMMPS. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.« less

  17. Directed enzyme evolution and selections for catalysis based on product formation.

    PubMed

    Jestin, Jean-Luc; Kaminski, Pierre Alexandre

    2004-09-30

    Enzyme engineering by molecular modelling and site-directed mutagenesis can be remarkably efficient. Directed enzyme evolution appears as a more general strategy for the isolation of catalysts as it can be applied to most chemical reactions in aqueous solutions. Selections, as opposed to screening, allow the simultaneous analysis of protein properties for sets of up to about 10(14) different proteins. These approaches for the parallel processing of molecular information 'Is the protein a catalyst?' are reviewed here in the case of selections based on the formation of a specific reaction product. Several questions are addressed about in vivo and in vitro selections for catalysis reported in the literature. Can the selection system be extended to other types of enzymes? Does the selection control regio- and stereo-selectivity? Does the selection allow the isolation of enzymes with an efficient turnover? How should substrates be substituted or mimicked for the design of efficient selections while minimising the number of chemical synthesis steps? Engineering sections provide also some clues to design selections or to circumvent selection biases. A special emphasis is put on the comparison of in vivo and in vitro selections for catalysis.

  18. Chemical evolution of giant molecular clouds in simulations of galaxies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Richings, Alexander J.; Schaye, Joop

    2016-08-01

    We present an analysis of giant molecular clouds (GMCs) within hydrodynamic simulations of isolated, low-mass (M* ˜ 109 M⊙) disc galaxies. We study the evolution of molecular abundances and the implications for CO emission and the XCO conversion factor in individual clouds. We define clouds either as regions above a density threshold n_{H, min} = 10 {cm}^{-3}, or using an observationally motivated CO intensity threshold of 0.25 {K} {km} {s}^{-1}. Our simulations include a non-equilibrium chemical model with 157 species, including 20 molecules. We also investigate the effects of resolution and pressure floors (i.e. Jeans limiters). We find cloud lifetimes up to ≈ 40 Myr, with a median of 13 Myr, in agreement with observations. At one-tenth solar metallicity, young clouds ( ≲ 10-15 Myr) are underabundant in H2 and CO compared to chemical equilibrium, by factors of ≈3 and one to two orders of magnitude, respectively. At solar metallicity, GMCs reach chemical equilibrium faster (within ≈ 1 Myr). We also compute CO emission from individual clouds. The mean CO intensity, ICO, is strongly suppressed at low dust extinction, Av, and possibly saturates towards high Av, in agreement with observations. The ICO-Av relation shifts towards higher Av for higher metallicities and, to a lesser extent, for stronger UV radiation. At one-tenth solar metallicity, CO emission is weaker in young clouds ( ≲ 10-15 Myr), consistent with the underabundance of CO. Consequently, XCO decreases by an order of magnitude from 0 to 15 Myr, albeit with a large scatter.

  19. Molecular phylogeny and evolution of the genus Neoerysiphe (Erysiphaceae, Ascomycota).

    PubMed

    Takamatsu, Susumu; Havrylenko, Maria; Wolcan, Silvia M; Matsuda, Sanae; Niinomi, Seiko

    2008-06-01

    The genus Neoerysiphe belongs to the tribe Golovinomyceteae of the Erysiphaceae together with the genera Arthrocladiella and Golovinomyces. This is a relatively small genus, comprising only six species, and having ca 300 species from six plant families as hosts. To investigate the molecular phylogeny and evolution of the genus, we determined the nucleotide sequences of the rDNA ITS regions and the divergent domains D1 and D2 of the 28S rDNA. The 30 ITS sequences from Neoerysiphe are divided into three monophyletic groups that are represented by their host families. Groups 1 and 3 consist of N. galeopsidis from Lamiaceae and N. galii from Rubiaceae, respectively, and the genetic diversity within each group is extremely low. Group 2 is represented by N. cumminsiana from Asteraceae. This group also includes Oidium baccharidis, O. maquii, and Oidium spp. from Galinsoga (Asteraceae) and Aloysia (Verbenaceae), and is further divided into four subgroups. N. galeopsidis is distributed worldwide, but is especially common in western Eurasia from Central Asia to Europe. N. galii is also common in western Eurasia. In contrast, the specimens of group 2 were all collected in the New World, except for one specimen that was collected in Japan; this may indicate a close relationship of group 2 with the New World. Molecular clock calibration demonstrated that Neoerysiphe split from other genera of the Erysiphaceae ca 35-45M years ago (Mya), and that the three groups of Neoerysiphe diverged between 10 and 15Mya, in the Miocene. Aloysia citriodora is a new host for the Erysiphaceae and the fungus on this plant is described as O. aloysiae sp. nov.

  20. Molecular evolution of the Sorghum Maturity Gene Ma3.

    PubMed

    Wang, Yan; Tan, Lubin; Fu, Yongcai; Zhu, Zuofeng; Liu, Fengxia; Sun, Chuanqing; Cai, Hongwei

    2015-01-01

    Time to maturity is a critical trait in sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) breeding, as it determines whether a variety can be grown in a particular cropping system or ecosystem. Understanding the nucleotide variation and the mechanisms of molecular evolution of the maturity genes would be helpful for breeding programs. In this study, we analyzed the nucleotide diversity of Ma3, an important maturity gene in sorghum, using 252 cultivated and wild sorghum materials from all over the world. The nucleotide variation and diversity were analyzed based both on race- and usage-based groups. We also sequenced 12 genes around the Ma3 gene in 185 of these materials to search for a selective sweep and found that purifying selection was the strongest force on Ma3, as low nucleotide diversity and low-frequency amino acid variants were observed. However, a very special mutation, described as ma3R, seemed to be under positive selection, as indicated by dramatically reduced nucleotide variation not only at the loci but also in the surrounding regions among individuals carrying the mutations. In addition, in an association study using the Ma3 nucleotide variations, we detected 3 significant SNPs for the heading date at a high-latitude environment (Beijing) and 17 at a low-latitude environment (Hainan). The results of this study increases our understanding of the evolutionary mechanisms of the maturity genes in sorghum and will be useful in sorghum breeding.

  1. Molecular evolution of SRP cycle components: functional implications.

    PubMed

    Althoff, S; Selinger, D; Wise, J A

    1994-06-11

    Signal recognition particle (SRP) is a cytoplasmic ribonucleoprotein that targets a subset of nascent presecretory proteins to the endoplasmic reticulum membrane. We have considered the SRP cycle from the perspective of molecular evolution, using recently determined sequences of genes or cDNAs encoding homologs of SRP (7SL) RNA, the Srp54 protein (Srp54p), and the alpha subunit of the SRP receptor (SR alpha) from a broad spectrum of organisms, together with the remaining five polypeptides of mammalian SRP. Our analysis provides insight into the significance of structural variation in SRP RNA and identifies novel conserved motifs in protein components of this pathway. The lack of congruence between an established phylogenetic tree and size variation in 7SL homologs implies the occurrence of several independent events that eliminated more than half the sequence content of this RNA during bacterial evolution. The apparently non-essential structures are domain I, a tRNA-like element that is constant in archaea, varies in size among eucaryotes, and is generally missing in bacteria, and domain III, a tightly base-paired hairpin that is present in all eucaryotic and archeal SRP RNAs but is invariably absent in bacteria. Based on both structural and functional considerations, we propose that the conserved core of SRP consists minimally of the 54 kDa signal sequence-binding protein complexed with the loosely base-paired domain IV helix of SRP RNA, and is also likely to contain a homolog of the Srp68 protein. Comparative sequence analysis of the methionine-rich M domains from a diverse array of Srp54p homologs reveals an extended region of amino acid identity that resembles a recently identified RNA recognition motif. Multiple sequence alignment of the G domains of Srp54p and SR alpha homologs indicates that these two polypeptides exhibit significant similarity even outside the four GTPase consensus motifs, including a block of nine contiguous amino acids in a location

  2. Dynamics of nitrogen dissociation from direct molecular simulation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Valentini, Paolo; Schwartzentruber, Thomas E.; Bender, Jason D.; Candler, Graham V.

    2016-08-01

    We present a molecular-level investigation of nitrogen dissociation at high temperature. The computational technique, called direct molecular simulation (DMS), solely relies on an ab initio potential energy surface and both N2+N2 and N +N2 processes are simulated as they concurrently take place in an evolving nonequilibrium gas system. Quasiclassical trajectory calculations (QCT) reveal that dissociation rate coefficients calculated at thermal equilibrium, i.e., assuming Boltzmann energy distributions, are approximately equal (within less than 15%) for both N2+N2 and N +N2 collisions for the range of temperatures considered. The DMS (nonequilibrium) results indicate, however, that the presence of atomic nitrogen significantly affects the dissociation rate of molecular nitrogen, but indirectly. In fact, the presence of atomic nitrogen causes an important reduction of the vibrational relaxation time of N2, by almost one order of magnitude. This, in turn, speeds up the replenishment of high-v states that are otherwise significantly depleted if only N2+N2 collisions are considered. Because of the strong favoring of dissociation from high-v states, this results in dissociation rates that are 2-3 times higher when significant atomic nitrogen is present compared to systems composed of mainly diatomic nitrogen, such as during the initial onset of dissociation. Specifically, we find that exchange events occur frequently during N +N2 collisions and that such exchange collisions constitute an effective mechanism of scrambling the internal energy states, resulting in multiquantum jumps in vibrational energy levels that effectively promote energy transfers. The resulting vibrational relaxation time constant we calculate for N +N2 collisions is significantly lower than the widely used Millikan-White model. Significant discrepancies are found between predictions of the Park two-temperature model (using the Millikan-White vibrational relaxation model) and the DMS results for

  3. Evolution of Molecular and Atomic Gas Phases in the Milky Way

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koda, Jin; Scoville, Nick; Heyer, Mark

    2016-06-01

    We analyze radial and azimuthal variations of the phase balance between the molecular and atomic interstellar medium (ISM) in the Milky Way (MW) using archival CO(J = 1-0) and HI 21 cm data. In particular, the azimuthal variations—between the spiral arm and interarm regions—are analyzed without any explicit definition of the spiral arm locations. We show that the molecular gas mass fraction, i.e., {f}{{mol}}={{{Σ }}}{{{H}}2}/({{{Σ }}}{HI}+{{{Σ }}}{{{H}}2}), varies predominantly in the radial direction: starting from ˜ 100% at the center, remaining ≳ 50% to R˜ 6 {{kpc}} and decreasing to ˜10%-20% at R=8.5 {{kpc}} when averaged over the whole disk thickness (from ˜100% to ≳60%, then to ˜50% in the midplane). Azimuthal, arm-interarm variations are secondary: only ˜ 20% in the globally molecule-dominated inner MW, but becoming larger, ˜40%-50%, in the atom-dominated outskirts. This suggests that in the inner MW the gas remains highly molecular ({f}{{mol}}\\gt 50%) as it moves from an interarm region into a spiral arm and back into the next interarm region. Stellar feedback does not dissociate molecules much, and the coagulation and fragmentation of molecular clouds dominate the evolution of the ISM at these radii. The trend differs in the outskirts where the gas phase is globally atomic ({f}{{mol}}\\lt 50%). The HI and H2 phases cycle through spiral arm passage there. These different regimes of ISM evolution are also seen in external galaxies (e.g., the LMC, M33, and M51). We explain the radial gradient of {f}{{mol}} using a simple flow continuity model. The effects of spiral arms on this analysis are illustrated in the Appendix.

  4. In vitro molecular evolution yields an NEIBM with a potential novel IgG binding property

    PubMed Central

    Qi, Peipei; Ding, Ying-Ying; He, Ting; Yang, Tong; Chen, Qiuli; Feng, Jiaojiao; Wang, Jinhong; Cao, Mingmei; Li, Xiangyu; Peng, Heng; Zhu, Huaimin; Cao, Jie; Pan, Wei

    2014-01-01

    Staphylococcus aureus protein A (SpA) and protein G of groups C and G streptococci (SpG) are two well-defined bacterial immunoglobulin (Ig)-binding proteins (IBPs) with high affinity for specific sites on IgG from mammalian hosts. Both SpA and SpG contain several highly-homologous IgG-binding domains, each of which possesses similar binding characteristic of the whole corresponding proteins. Whether specific combinations of these domains could generate a molecule with novel IgG-binding properties remained unknown. We constructed a combinatorial phage library displaying randomly-rearranged A, B, C, D and E domains of SpA as well as the B2 (G2) and B3 (G3) domains of SpG. In vitro molecular evolution directed by human, rabbit, bovine, or goat polyclonal IgGs and four subclasses of mouse monoclonal IgGs generated one common combination, D-C-G3. A series of assays demonstrated that D-C-G3 exhibited a potential novel IgG binding property that was obviously different from those of both parent proteins. This study provides an example of successful protein engineering through in vitro molecular evolution and useful approaches for structure and function studies of IBPs. PMID:25366194

  5. In-situ Mass Spectrometric Determination of Molecular Structural Evolution at the Solid Electrolyte Interphase in Lithium-Ion Batteries

    SciTech Connect

    Zhu, Zihua; Zhou, Yufan; Yan, Pengfei; Vemuri, Venkata Rama Ses; Xu, Wu; Zhao, Rui; Wang, Xuelin; Thevuthasan, Suntharampillai; Baer, Donald R.; Wang, Chong M.

    2015-08-19

    Dynamic molecular evolution at solid/liquid electrolyte interface is always a mystery for a rechargeable battery due to the challenge to directly probe/observe the solid/liquid interface under reaction conditions, which in essence appears to be similarly true for all the fields involving solid/liquid phases, such as electrocatalysis, electrodeposition, biofuel conversion, biofilm, and biomineralization, We use in-situ liquid secondary ion mass spectroscopy (SIMS) for the first time to directly observe the molecular structural evolution at the solid electrode/liquid electrolyte interface for a lithium (Li)-ion battery under dynamic operating conditions. We have discovered that the deposition of Li metal on copper electrode leads to the condensation of solvent molecules around the electrode. Chemically, this layer of solvent condensate tends to deplete the salt anion and with low concentration of Li+ ions, which essentially leads to the formation of a lean electrolyte layer adjacent to the electrode and therefore contributes to the overpotential of the cell. This unprecedented molecular level dynamic observation at the solid electrode/liquid electrolyte interface provides vital chemical information that is needed for designing of better battery chemistry for enhanced performance, and ultimately opens new avenues for using liquid SIMS to probe molecular evolution at solid/liquid interface in general.

  6. Molecular epidemiology, phylogeny and evolution of Candida albicans.

    PubMed

    McManus, Brenda A; Coleman, David C

    2014-01-01

    A small number of Candida species form part of the normal microbial flora of mucosal surfaces in humans and may give rise to opportunistic infections when host defences are impaired. Candida albicans is by far the most prevalent commensal and pathogenic Candida species. Several different molecular typing approaches including multilocus sequence typing, multilocus microsatellite typing and DNA fingerprinting using C. albicans-specific repetitive sequence-containing DNA probes have yielded a wealth of information regarding the epidemiology and population structure of this species. Such studies revealed that the C. albicans population structure consists of multiple major and minor clades, some of which exhibit geographical or phenotypic enrichment and that C. albicans reproduction is predominantly clonal. Despite this, losses of heterozygosity by recombination, the existence of a parasexual cycle, toleration of a wide range of aneuploidies and the recent description of viable haploid strains have all demonstrated the extensive plasticity of the C. albicans genome. Recombination and gross chromosomal rearrangements are more common under stressful environmental conditions, and have played a significant role in the evolution of this opportunistic pathogen. Surprisingly, Candida dubliniensis, the closest relative of C. albicans exhibits more karyotype variability than C. albicans, but is significantly less adaptable to unfavourable environments. This disparity most likely reflects the evolutionary processes that occurred during or soon after the divergence of both species from their common ancestor. Whilst C. dubliniensis underwent significant gene loss and pseudogenisation, C. albicans expanded gene families considered to be important in virulence. It is likely that technological developments in whole genome sequencing and data analysis in coming years will facilitate its routine use for population structure, epidemiological investigations, and phylogenetic analyses of

  7. Directed evolution of an extremely stable fluorescent protein.

    PubMed

    Kiss, Csaba; Temirov, Jamshid; Chasteen, Leslie; Waldo, Geoffrey S; Bradbury, Andrew R M

    2009-05-01

    In this paper we describe the evolution of eCGP123, an extremely stable green fluorescent protein based on a previously described fluorescent protein created by consensus engineering (CGP: consensus green protein). eCGP123 could not be denatured by a standard thermal melt, preserved almost full fluorescence after overnight incubation at 80 degrees C and possessed a free energy of denaturation of 12.4 kcal/mol. It was created from CGP by a recursive process involving the sequential introduction of three destabilizing heterologous inserts, evolution to overcome the destabilization and finally 'removal' of the destabilizing insert by gene synthesis. We believe that this approach may be generally applicable to the stabilization of other proteins.

  8. Depression of hydrogen evolution during operation of a direct borohydride fuel cell

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Z. P.; Liu, B. H.; Zhu, J. K.; Suda, S.

    Hydrogen evolution from the anode usually occurs during operation of a Direct Borohydride Fuel Cell (DBFC). This would not only decrease the fuel utilization, but also lower the cell performance because hydrogen bubbles would hinder ion movement in the anolyte. In this paper, the hydrogen evolution behavior is investigated based on relations of hydrogen evolution rates versus operation currents of the DBFC. The effects of anode modification on the hydrogen evolution rate and the cell performance were investigated. It was found that hydrogen evolution was depressed by adding Pd, Ag and Au catalysts in the anode. Coating a thin Nafion film on the catalyst surfaces was another effective way to decrease the hydrogen evolution rate. Depression of the hydrogen evolution and improvement of the DBFC performance can be achieved by adding carbon supported Pd in Ni anode with a suitable content of Nafion. However, too much Nafion in the anode would degrade the DBFC performance.

  9. Iterative key-residues interrogation of a phytase with thermostability increasing substitutions identified in directed evolution.

    PubMed

    Shivange, Amol V; Roccatano, Danilo; Schwaneberg, Ulrich

    2016-01-01

    Bacterial phytases have attracted industrial interest as animal feed supplement due to their high activity and sufficient thermostability (required for feed pelleting). We devised an approach named KeySIDE,  an iterative Key-residues interrogation of the wild type with Substitutions Identified in Directed Evolution for improving Yersinia mollaretii phytase (Ymphytase) thermostability by combining key beneficial substitutions and elucidating their individual roles. Directed evolution yielded in a discovery of nine positions in Ymphytase and combined iteratively to identify key positions. The "best" combination (M6: T77K, Q154H, G187S, and K289Q) resulted in significantly improved thermal resistance; the residual activity improved from 35 % (wild type) to 89 % (M6) at 58 °C and 20-min incubation. Melting temperature increased by 3 °C in M6 without a loss of specific activity. Molecular dynamics simulation studies revealed reduced flexibility in the loops located next to helices (B, F, and K) which possess substitutions (Helix-B: T77K, Helix-F: G187S, and Helix-K: K289E/Q). Reduced flexibility in the loops might be caused by strengthened hydrogen bonding network (e.g., G187S and K289E/K289Q) and a salt bridge (T77K). Our results demonstrate a promising approach to design phytases in food research, and we hope that the KeySIDE might become an attractive approach for understanding of structure-function relationships of enzymes.

  10. Directional evolution of stockiness coevolves with ecology and locomotion in lizards.

    PubMed

    Bergmann, Philip J; Meyers, Jay J; Irschick, Duncan J

    2009-01-01

    Although studied in many taxa, directional macroevolution remains difficult to detect and quantify. We present an approach for detecting directional evolution in subclades of species when relatively few species are sampled, and apply it to studying the evolution of stockiness in Phrynosomatine lizards. Our approach is more sensitive to detecting the tempo of directional evolution than other available approaches. We use ancestral reconstruction and phylogenetic mapping of morphology to characterize the direction and magnitude of trait evolution. We demonstrate a directional trend toward stockiness in horned lizards, but not their sister groups, finding that stockier species tend to have relatively short and wide bodies, and relatively short heads, tails, and limbs. Ornstein-Uhlenbeck models show that the directional trend in horned lizards is due to a shift in selective regime and stabilizing selection as opposed to directional selection. Bayesian evolutionary correlation analyses indicate that stockier species run more slowly and eat a larger proportion of ants. Furthermore, species with larger horns tend to be slower and more ant-specialized. Directional evolution toward a stocky body shape has evolved in conjunction with changes in a suite of traits, representing a complex example of directional macroevolution.

  11. Pervasive genetic integration directs the evolution of human skull shape.

    PubMed

    Martínez-Abadías, Neus; Esparza, Mireia; Sjøvold, Torstein; González-José, Rolando; Santos, Mauro; Hernández, Miquel; Klingenberg, Christian Peter

    2012-04-01

    It has long been unclear whether the different derived cranial traits of modern humans evolved independently in response to separate selection pressures or whether they resulted from the inherent morphological integration throughout the skull. In a novel approach to this issue, we combine evolutionary quantitative genetics and geometric morphometrics to analyze genetic and phenotypic integration in human skull shape. We measured human skulls in the ossuary of Hallstatt (Austria), which offer a unique opportunity because they are associated with genealogical data. Our results indicate pronounced covariation of traits throughout the skull. Separate simulations of selection for localized shape changes corresponding to some of the principal derived characters of modern human skulls produced outcomes that were similar to each other and involved a joint response in all of these traits. The data for both genetic and phenotypic shape variation were not consistent with the hypothesis that the face, cranial base, and cranial vault are completely independent modules but relatively strongly integrated structures. These results indicate pervasive integration in the human skull and suggest a reinterpretation of the selective scenario for human evolution where the origin of any one of the derived characters may have facilitated the evolution of the others.

  12. In vitro molecular evolution of AL NEIBMs improved immunoglobulin (Ig) binding and antibody detection.

    PubMed

    He, Ting; Ding, Ying-Ying; Feng, Jiao-Jiao; Chen, Qiu-Li; Zhu, Huai-Min; Peng, Heng; Rui, Bing; Li, Xiang-Yu; Cao, Ming-Mei; Pan, Wei

    2014-08-20

    AL (SpA A domain-PpL B3 domain), LD5 (PpL B3 domain-SpA D domain-PpL B3 domain-SpA D domain-PpL B3 domain, L-D-L-D-L) and LD3 (PpL B3 domain-SpA D domain-PpL B3 domain, L-D-L) are novel evolved Ig binding molecules (NEIBMs) derived from the in vitro molecular evolution of combinatorial phage libraries displaying randomly rearranged Ig-binding domains of protein A and protein L. These molecules all showed novel Ig-binding properties of double-site binding to the VH3 and Vκ regions of human Ig Fab and high affinity for human IgM, which enhanced IgM detection in the anti-HCV ELISA assay. In this double-site binding, the A domain binds to the VH3 chain with low affinity. Whether the appropriate mutations in the A domain could improve this binding remains unknown. In this study, four combinatorial phage libraries displaying AL mutants with random mutations at different amino acid positions in the A domain were constructed. Seven AL mutant phages with significantly improved Ig binding activity were obtained from the phage library displaying AL mutants randomly mutated at positions 27 and 34 through human IgM-directed in vitro evolution. Two of the seven prokaryotically expressed AL mutants, AL (VV) and AL (KA), exhibited IgM and IgG binding activities equivalent to those of wild-type AL, whereas other mutants showed attenuated binding. However, after labeling with HRP, AL (VV) and AL (KA) showed improved IgM and IgG binding activity, which significantly improved the detection in the anti-HCV assay. Thus, the present study demonstrates that the binding properties of AL were successfully improved through phage-based molecular evolution, which could substantially contribute to the use of AL in antibody detection, and provides an example of successful protein engineering through in vitro molecular evolution.

  13. Engineering and Evolution of Molecular Chaperones and Protein Disaggregases with Enhanced Activity

    PubMed Central

    Mack, Korrie L.; Shorter, James

    2016-01-01

    Cells have evolved a sophisticated proteostasis network to ensure that proteins acquire and retain their native structure and function. Critical components of this network include molecular chaperones and protein disaggregases, which function to prevent and reverse deleterious protein misfolding. Nevertheless, proteostasis networks have limits, which when exceeded can have fatal consequences as in various neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. A promising strategy is to engineer proteostasis networks to counter challenges presented by specific diseases or specific proteins. Here, we review efforts to enhance the activity of individual molecular chaperones or protein disaggregases via engineering and directed evolution. Remarkably, enhanced global activity or altered substrate specificity of various molecular chaperones, including GroEL, Hsp70, ClpX, and Spy, can be achieved by minor changes in primary sequence and often a single missense mutation. Likewise, small changes in the primary sequence of Hsp104 yield potentiated protein disaggregases that reverse the aggregation and buffer toxicity of various neurodegenerative disease proteins, including α-synuclein, TDP-43, and FUS. Collectively, these advances have revealed key mechanistic and functional insights into chaperone and disaggregase biology. They also suggest that enhanced chaperones and disaggregases could have important applications in treating human disease as well as in the purification of valuable proteins in the pharmaceutical sector. PMID:27014702

  14. Molecular Diversity and Functional Evolution of Scorpion Potassium Channel Toxins*

    PubMed Central

    Zhu, Shunyi; Peigneur, Steve; Gao, Bin; Luo, Lan; Jin, Di; Zhao, Yong; Tytgat, Jan

    2011-01-01

    Scorpion toxins affecting K+ channels (KTxs) represent important pharmacological tools and potential drug candidates. Here, we report molecular characterization of seven new KTxs in the scorpion Mesobuthus eupeus by cDNA cloning combined with biochemical approaches. Comparative modeling supports that all these KTxs share a conserved cysteine-stabilized α-helix/β-sheet structural motif despite the differences in protein sequence and size. We investigated functional diversification of two orthologous α-KTxs (MeuTXKα1 from M. eupeus and BmP01 from Mesobuthus martensii) by comparing their K+ channel-blocking activities. Pharmacologically, MeuTXKα1 selectively blocked Kv1.3 channel with nanomolar affinity (IC50, 2.36 ± 0.9 nm), whereas only 35% of Kv1.1 currents were inhibited at 3 μm concentration, showing more than 1271-fold selectivity for Kv1.3 over Kv1.1. This peptide displayed a weak effect on Drosophila Shaker channel and no activity on Kv1.2, Kv1.4, Kv1.5, Kv1.6, and human ether-a-go-go-related gene (hERG) K+ channels. Although BmB01 and MeuTXKα1 have a similar channel spectrum, their affinity and selectivity for these channels largely varies. In comparison with MeuTXKα1, BmP01 only exhibits a submicromolar affinity (IC50, 133.72 ± 10.98 nm) for Kv1.3, showing 57-fold less activity than MeuTXKα1. Moreover, it lacks the ability to distinguish between Kv1.1 and Kv1.3. We also found that MeuTXKα1 inhibited the proliferation of activated T cells induced by phorbol myristate acetate and ionomycin at micromolar concentrations. Our results demonstrate that accelerated evolution drives affinity variations of orthologous α-KTxs on Kv channels and indicate that MeuTXKα1 is a promising candidate to develop an immune modulation agent for human autoimmune diseases. PMID:20889474

  15. Molecular evolution of the ependymin protein family: a necessary update

    PubMed Central

    Suárez-Castillo, Edna C; García-Arrarás, José E

    2007-01-01

    Background Ependymin (Epd), the predominant protein in the cerebrospinal fluid of teleost fishes, was originally associated with neuroplasticity and regeneration. Ependymin-related proteins (Epdrs) have been identified in other vertebrates, including amphibians and mammals. Recently, we reported the identification and characterization of an Epdr in echinoderms, showing that there are ependymin family members in non-vertebrate deuterostomes. We have now explored multiple databases to find Epdrs in different metazoan species. Using these sequences we have performed genome mapping, molecular phylogenetic analyses using Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian methods, and statistical tests of tree topologies, to ascertain the phylogenetic relationship among ependymin proteins. Results Our results demonstrate that ependymin genes are also present in protostomes. In addition, as a result of the putative fish-specific genome duplication event and posterior divergence, the ependymin family can be divided into four groups according to their amino acid composition and branching pattern in the gene tree: 1) a brain-specific group of ependymin sequences that is unique to teleost fishes and encompasses the originally described ependymin; 2) a group expressed in non-brain tissue in fishes; 3) a group expressed in several tissues that appears to be deuterostome-specific, and 4) a group found in invertebrate deuterostomes and protostomes, with a broad pattern of expression and that probably represents the evolutionary origin of the ependymins. Using codon-substitution models to statistically assess the selective pressures acting over the ependymin protein family, we found evidence of episodic positive Darwinian selection and relaxed selective constraints in each one of the postduplication branches of the gene tree. However, purifying selection (with among-site variability) appears to be the main influence on the evolution of each subgroup within the family. Functional divergence among the

  16. The Eyes Have It: A Problem-Based Learning Exercise in Molecular Evolution

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    White, Harold B.

    2007-01-01

    Molecular evolution provides an interesting context in which to use problem-based learning because it integrates a variety of topics in biology, biochemistry, and molecular biology. This three-stage problem for advanced students deals with the structure, multiple functions, and properties of lactate dehydrogenase isozymes, and the related…

  17. Whole-genome duplication and molecular evolution in Cornus L. (Cornaceae) – Insights from transcriptome sequences

    PubMed Central

    Yu, Yan; Xiang, Qiuyun; Manos, Paul S.; Soltis, Douglas E.; Soltis, Pamela S.; Song, Bao-Hua; Cheng, Shifeng; Liu, Xin; Wong, Gane

    2017-01-01

    The pattern and rate of genome evolution have profound consequences in organismal evolution. Whole-genome duplication (WGD), or polyploidy, has been recognized as an important evolutionary mechanism of plant diversification. However, in non-model plants the molecular signals of genome duplications have remained largely unexplored. High-throughput transcriptome data from next-generation sequencing have set the stage for novel investigations of genome evolution using new bioinformatic and methodological tools in a phylogenetic framework. Here we compare ten de novo-assembled transcriptomes representing the major lineages of the angiosperm genus Cornus (dogwood) and relevant outgroups using a customized pipeline for analyses. Using three distinct approaches, molecular dating of orthologous genes, analyses of the distribution of synonymous substitutions between paralogous genes, and examination of substitution rates through time, we detected a shared WGD event in the late Cretaceous across all taxa sampled. The inferred doubling event coincides temporally with the paleoclimatic changes associated with the initial divergence of the genus into three major lineages. Analyses also showed an acceleration of rates of molecular evolution after WGD. The highest rates of molecular evolution were observed in the transcriptome of the herbaceous lineage, C. canadensis, a species commonly found at higher latitudes, including the Arctic. Our study demonstrates the value of transcriptome data for understanding genome evolution in closely related species. The results suggest dramatic increase in sea surface temperature in the late Cretaceous may have contributed to the evolution and diversification of flowering plants. PMID:28225773

  18. Direct Observation of a Dark State in the Photocycle of a Light-Driven Molecular Motor

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    Controlling the excited-state properties of light driven molecular machines is crucial to achieving high efficiency and directed functionality. A key challenge in achieving control lies in unravelling the complex photodynamics and especially in identifying the role played by dark states. Here we use the structure sensitivity and high time resolution of UV-pump/IR-probe spectroscopy to build a detailed and comprehensive model of the structural evolution of light driven molecular rotors. The photodynamics of these chiral overcrowded alkene derivatives are determined by two close-lying excited electronic states. The potential energy landscape of these “bright” and “dark” states gives rise to a broad excited-state electronic absorption band over the entire mid-IR range that is probed for the first time and modeled by quantum mechanical calculations. The transient IR vibrational fingerprints observed in our studies allow for an unambiguous identification of the identity of the “dark” electronic excited state from which the photon’s energy is converted into motion, and thereby pave the way for tuning the quantum yield of future molecular rotors based on this structural motif. PMID:27684513

  19. Direct handling of sharp interfacial energy for microstructural evolution

    DOE PAGES

    Hernández–Rivera, Efraín; Tikare, Veena; Noirot, Laurence; ...

    2014-08-24

    In this study, we introduce a simplification to the previously demonstrated hybrid Potts–phase field (hPPF), which relates interfacial energies to microstructural sharp interfaces. The model defines interfacial energy by a Potts-like discrete interface approach of counting unlike neighbors, which we use to compute local curvature. The model is compared to the hPPF by studying interfacial characteristics and grain growth behavior. The models give virtually identical results, while the new model allows the simulator more direct control of interfacial energy.

  20. Molecular evolution of aminoacyl tRNA synthetase proteins in the early history of life.

    PubMed

    Fournier, Gregory P; Andam, Cheryl P; Alm, Eric J; Gogarten, J Peter

    2011-12-01

    Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (aaRS) consist of several families of functionally conserved proteins essential for translation and protein synthesis. Like nearly all components of the translation machinery, most aaRS families are universally distributed across cellular life, being inherited from the time of the Last Universal Common Ancestor (LUCA). However, unlike the rest of the translation machinery, aaRS have undergone numerous ancient horizontal gene transfers, with several independent events detected between domains, and some possibly involving lineages diverging before the time of LUCA. These transfers reveal the complexity of molecular evolution at this early time, and the chimeric nature of genomes within cells that gave rise to the major domains. Additionally, given the role of these protein families in defining the amino acids used for protein synthesis, sequence reconstruction of their pre-LUCA ancestors can reveal the evolutionary processes at work in the origin of the genetic code. In particular, sequence reconstructions of the paralog ancestors of isoleucyl- and valyl- RS provide strong empirical evidence that at least for this divergence, the genetic code did not co-evolve with the aaRSs; rather, both amino acids were already part of the genetic code before their cognate aaRSs diverged from their common ancestor. The implications of this observation for the early evolution of RNA-directed protein biosynthesis are discussed.

  1. Molecular Evolution of Aminoacyl tRNA Synthetase Proteins in the Early History of Life

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fournier, Gregory P.; Andam, Cheryl P.; Alm, Eric J.; Gogarten, J. Peter

    2011-12-01

    Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (aaRS) consist of several families of functionally conserved proteins essential for translation and protein synthesis. Like nearly all components of the translation machinery, most aaRS families are universally distributed across cellular life, being inherited from the time of the Last Universal Common Ancestor (LUCA). However, unlike the rest of the translation machinery, aaRS have undergone numerous ancient horizontal gene transfers, with several independent events detected between domains, and some possibly involving lineages diverging before the time of LUCA. These transfers reveal the complexity of molecular evolution at this early time, and the chimeric nature of genomes within cells that gave rise to the major domains. Additionally, given the role of these protein families in defining the amino acids used for protein synthesis, sequence reconstruction of their pre-LUCA ancestors can reveal the evolutionary processes at work in the origin of the genetic code. In particular, sequence reconstructions of the paralog ancestors of isoleucyl- and valyl- RS provide strong empirical evidence that at least for this divergence, the genetic code did not co-evolve with the aaRSs; rather, both amino acids were already part of the genetic code before their cognate aaRSs diverged from their common ancestor. The implications of this observation for the early evolution of RNA-directed protein biosynthesis are discussed.

  2. The evolution of surgical telementoring: current applications and future directions

    PubMed Central

    El-Sabawi, Bassim

    2016-01-01

    Surgical telementoring is a concept within telemedicine that involves the use of information technology to provide real-time guidance and technical assistance for surgical procedures from an expert physician at a different geographical location. It is a means to overcome the logistic obstacles associated with traditional mentoring and can aid in the distribution of advanced surgical techniques. In addition to its perceived educational benefits, it has the potential to directly impact patient care by providing immediate access to specialized surgical expertise in areas lacking access to qualified surgeons. With advances in technology, surgical telementoring has made significant strides in the past two decades and a breadth of positive experiences have been published in the literature. Despite this growth, questions remain regarding ideal videoconferencing methodology, resolution and latency requirements, security and liability issues, and telementoring in combination with emerging technology. This review addresses the history and progression, current applications, and future directions of surgical telementoring as a means to distribute advanced surgical expertise around the world. PMID:27867943

  3. Directed evolution of a filamentous fungus for thermotolerance

    PubMed Central

    de Crecy, Eudes; Jaronski, Stefan; Lyons, Benjamin; Lyons, Thomas J; Keyhani, Nemat O

    2009-01-01

    Background Filamentous fungi are the most widely used eukaryotic biocatalysts in industrial and chemical applications. Consequently, there is tremendous interest in methodology that can use the power of genetics to develop strains with improved performance. For example, Metarhizium anisopliae is a broad host range entomopathogenic fungus currently under intensive investigation as a biologically based alternative to chemical pesticides. However, it use is limited by the relatively low tolerance of this species to abiotic stresses such as heat, with most strains displaying little to no growth between 35–37°C. In this study, we used a newly developed automated continuous culture method called the Evolugator™, which takes advantage of a natural selection-adaptation strategy, to select for thermotolerant variants of M. anisopliae strain 2575 displaying robust growth at 37°C. Results Over a 4 month time course, 22 cycles of growth and dilution were used to select 2 thermotolerant variants of M. anisopliae. Both variants displayed robust growth at 36.5°C, whereas only one was able to grow at 37°C. Insect bioassays using Melanoplus sanguinipes (grasshoppers) were also performed to determine if thermotolerant variants of M. anisopliae retained entomopathogenicity. Assays confirmed that thermotolerant variants were, indeed, entomopathogenic, albeit with complex alterations in virulence parameters such as lethal dose responses (LD50) and median survival times (ST50). Conclusion We report the experimental evolution of a filamentous fungus via the novel application of a powerful new continuous culture device. This is the first example of using continuous culture to select for complex phenotypes such as thermotolerance. Temperature adapted variants of the insect-pathogenic, filamentous fungus M. anisopliae were isolated and demonstrated to show vigorous growth at a temperature that is inhibitory for the parent strain. Insect virulence assays confirmed that pathogenicity

  4. Moving in the Right Direction: Evolution of Protein Structural Vibrations with Functional State and Mutation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Niessen, Katherine; Xu, Mengyang; Snell, Edward; Markelz, Andrea

    Long-range intramolecular vibrations may enable efficient access to functionally important conformations. We examine how these motions change with inhibitor binding and mutation using terahertz anisotropic absorption and molecular modeling. The measured anisotropic absorption dramatically changes with 3NAG inhibitor binding for wild type (WT) free chicken egg white lysozyme (CEWL). We examine the evolution of internal motions with binding using normal mode analysis to calculate an ensemble averaged vibrational density of states (VDOS) and isotropic and anisotropic absorptions for both WT and a two residue (R14 and H15) deletion mutant which has a 1.4 higher activity rate. While the VDOS and isotropic response are largely unchanged with inhibitor binding, the anisotropic response changes dramatically with binding. However, for the mutant the calculated unbound anisotropic absorption more closely resembles its bound spectrum, and it has increased calculated mean squared fluctuations in regions overlapping those in its bound state. These results indicate that the mutant's enhanced activity may be due to a shift in the direction of vibrations toward those of the bound state, increasing the sampling rate of the bound conformation.

  5. Directed evolution can rapidly improve the activity of chimeric assembly-line enzymes

    PubMed Central

    Fischbach, Michael A.; Lai, Jonathan R.; Roche, Eric D.; Walsh, Christopher T.; Liu, David R.

    2007-01-01

    Nonribosomal peptides (NRPs) are produced by NRP synthetase (NRPS) enzymes that function as molecular assembly lines. The modular architecture of NRPSs suggests that a domain responsible for activating a building block could be replaced with a domain from a foreign NRPS to create a chimeric assembly line that produces a new variant of a natural NRP. However, such chimeric NRPS modules are often heavily impaired, impeding efforts to create novel NRP variants by swapping domains from different modules or organisms. Here we show that impaired chimeric NRPSs can be functionally restored by directed evolution. Using rounds of mutagenesis coupled with in vivo screens for NRP production, we rapidly isolated variants of two different chimeric NRPSs with ≈10-fold improvements in enzyme activity and product yield, including one that produces new derivatives of the potent NRP/polyketide antibiotic andrimid. Because functional restoration in these examples required only modest library sizes (103 to 104 clones) and three or fewer rounds of screening, our approach may be widely applicable even for NRPSs from genetically challenging hosts. PMID:17620609

  6. Changing the peptide specificity of a human T cell receptor by directed evolution

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Sheena N.; Wang, Yuhang; Baylon, Javier L.; Singh, Nishant K.; Baker, Brian M.; Tajkhorshid, Emad; Kranz, David M.

    2014-01-01

    Binding of a T cell receptor (TCR) to a peptide/major histocompatibility complex is the key interaction involved in antigen specificity of T cells. The recognition involves up to six complementarity determining regions (CDR) of the TCR. Efforts to examine the structural basis of these interactions and to exploit them in adoptive T cell therapies has required the isolation of specific T cell clones and their clonotypic TCRs. Here we describe a strategy using in vitro, directed evolution of a single TCR to change its peptide specificity, thereby avoiding the need to isolate T cell clones. The human TCR A6, which recognizes the viral peptide Tax/HLA-A2, was converted to TCR variants that recognized the cancer peptide MART1/HLA-A2. Mutational studies and molecular dynamics simulations identified CDR residues that were predicted to be important in the specificity switch. Thus, in vitro engineering strategies alone can be used to discover TCRs with desired specificities. PMID:25376839

  7. Directed Evolution of a Bright Near-Infrared Fluorescent Rhodopsin Using a Synthetic Chromophore.

    PubMed

    Herwig, Lukas; Rice, Austin J; Bedbrook, Claire N; Zhang, Ruijie K; Lignell, Antti; Cahn, Jackson K B; Renata, Hans; Dodani, Sheel C; Cho, Inha; Cai, Long; Gradinaru, Viviana; Arnold, Frances H

    2017-03-16

    By engineering a microbial rhodopsin, Archaerhodopsin-3 (Arch), to bind a synthetic chromophore, merocyanine retinal, in place of the natural chromophore all-trans-retinal (ATR), we generated a protein with exceptionally bright and unprecedentedly red-shifted near-infrared (NIR) fluorescence. We show that chromophore substitution generates a fluorescent Arch complex with a 200-nm bathochromic excitation shift relative to ATR-bound wild-type Arch and an emission maximum at 772 nm. Directed evolution of this complex produced variants with pH-sensitive NIR fluorescence and molecular brightness 8.5-fold greater than the brightest ATR-bound Arch variant. The resulting proteins are well suited to bacterial imaging; expression and stability have not been optimized for mammalian cell imaging. By targeting both the protein and its chromophore, we overcome inherent challenges associated with engineering bright NIR fluorescence into Archaerhodopsin. This work demonstrates an efficient strategy for engineering non-natural, tailored properties into microbial opsins, properties relevant for imaging and interrogating biological systems.

  8. Evolution of photoelectron vibrational coupling with molecular complexity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Poliakoff, E. D.; Lucchese, R. R.

    2006-11-01

    We review how electronic and vibrational degrees of freedom become coupled in molecular photoionization, and describe effects that emerge as the molecular complexity increases. Molecular photoionization is frequently influenced by the temporary trapping of the continuum electron in the field of the target molecules, which is referred to as a shape resonance, as it depends on the shape of the potential experienced by the exiting photoelectron. Such resonances couple electronic and vibrational motion, and the nature of the coupling can vary widely for polyatomic molecules. We show how vibrationally resolved photoelectron spectra acquired as a function of energy can be used to elucidate such coupling. The experiments are analysed using physically realistic and computationally tractable Schwinger variational theory, and the systems studied to date can be well understood using an independent-particle, adiabatic nuclei framework. As a result, simple and intuitive pictures emerge, even when dealing with scattering phenomena involving complex molecular targets and potentials.

  9. Cosmic Structure and Galaxy Evolution through Intensity Mapping of Molecular Gas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bower, Geoffrey C.; Keating, Garrett K.; Marrone, Daniel P.; YT Lee Array Team, SZA Team

    2016-01-01

    The origin and evolution of structure in the Universe is one of the major challenges of observational astronomy. How does baryonic structure trace the underlying dark matter? How have galaxies evolved to produce the present day Universe? A multi-wavelength, multi-tool approach is necessary to provide the complete story of the evolution of structure in the Universe. Intensity mapping, which relies on the ability to detect many objects at once through their integrated emission rather than direct detection of individual objects, is a critical part of this mosaic. In particular, our understanding of the molecular gas component of massive galaxies is being revolutionized by ALMA and EVLA but the population of smaller, star-forming galaxies, which provide the bulk of star formation cannot be individually probed by these instruments.In this talk, I will summarize two intensity mapping experiments to detect molecular gas through the carbon monoxide (CO) rotational transition. We have completed sensitive observations with the Sunyaev-Zel'dovic Array (SZA) telescope at a wavelength of 1 cm that are sensitive to emission at redshifts 2.3 to 3.3. The SZA experiments sets strong limits on models for the CO emission and demonstrates the ability to reject foregrounds and telescope systematics in very deep integrations. I also describe the development of an intensity mapping capability for the Y.T. Lee Array, a 13-element interferometer located on Mauna Loa. In its first phase, this project focuses on detection of CO at redshifts 2.4 - 3.0 with detection via power spectrum and cross-correlation with other surveys. The project includes a major technical upgrade, a new digital correlator and IF electronics component to be deployed in 2015/2016. The Y.T. Lee Array observations will be more sensitive and extend to larger angular scales than the SZA observations.

  10. Visual displays that directly interface and provide read-outs of molecular states via molecular graphics processing units.

    PubMed

    Poje, Julia E; Kastratovic, Tamara; Macdonald, Andrew R; Guillermo, Ana C; Troetti, Steven E; Jabado, Omar J; Fanning, M Leigh; Stefanovic, Darko; Macdonald, Joanne

    2014-08-25

    The monitoring of molecular systems usually requires sophisticated technologies to interpret nanoscale events into electronic-decipherable signals. We demonstrate a new method for obtaining read-outs of molecular states that uses graphics processing units made from molecular circuits. Because they are made from molecules, the units are able to directly interact with molecular systems. We developed deoxyribozyme-based graphics processing units able to monitor nucleic acids and output alphanumerical read-outs via a fluorescent display. Using this design we created a molecular 7-segment display, a molecular calculator able to add and multiply small numbers, and a molecular automaton able to diagnose Ebola and Marburg virus sequences. These molecular graphics processing units provide insight for the construction of autonomous biosensing devices, and are essential components for the development of molecular computing platforms devoid of electronics.

  11. On the Stability and Evolution of Isolated Molecular Clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Langer, W.; Nelson, R.

    1998-01-01

    We present the results of three dimensional hydrodynamic models of evolving, isolated, low mass, quiescent clouds and Bok gobules, where the interstellar radiation field plays an important role in the thermal and chemical evolution, and thermal pressure provides dominant support against gravitational collapse.

  12. "Eve" in Africa: Human Evolution Meets Molecular Biology.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Seager, Robert D.

    1990-01-01

    Presented is a discussion of recent evidence on the evolution of human forms on earth gathered and evaluated using mitochondrial DNA techniques. Theories regarding the possibility that a common female ancestor existed in Africa about 200,000 years ago are discussed. A list of teaching aids is provided. (CW)

  13. Molecular Evolution and Functional Characterization of a Bifunctional Decarboxylase Involved in Lycopodium Alkaloid Biosynthesis1[OPEN

    PubMed Central

    Bunsupa, Somnuk; Hanada, Kousuke; Maruyama, Akira; Aoyagi, Kaori; Komatsu, Kana; Ueno, Hideki; Yamashita, Madoka; Sasaki, Ryosuke; Oikawa, Akira; Yamazaki, Mami

    2016-01-01

    Lycopodium alkaloids (LAs) are derived from lysine (Lys) and are found mainly in Huperziaceae and Lycopodiaceae. LAs are potentially useful against Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, and myasthenia gravis. Here, we cloned the bifunctional lysine/ornithine decarboxylase (L/ODC), the first gene involved in LA biosynthesis, from the LA-producing plants Lycopodium clavatum and Huperzia serrata. We describe the in vitro and in vivo functional characterization of the L. clavatum L/ODC (LcL/ODC). The recombinant LcL/ODC preferentially catalyzed the decarboxylation of l-Lys over l-ornithine (l-Orn) by about 5 times. Transient expression of LcL/ODC fused with the amino or carboxyl terminus of green fluorescent protein, in onion (Allium cepa) epidermal cells and Nicotiana benthamiana leaves, showed LcL/ODC localization in the cytosol. Transgenic tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) hairy roots and Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) plants expressing LcL/ODC enhanced the production of a Lys-derived alkaloid, anabasine, and cadaverine, respectively, thus, confirming the function of LcL/ODC in plants. In addition, we present an example of the convergent evolution of plant Lys decarboxylase that resulted in the production of Lys-derived alkaloids in Leguminosae (legumes) and Lycopodiaceae (clubmosses). This convergent evolution event probably occurred via the promiscuous functions of the ancestral Orn decarboxylase, which is an enzyme involved in the primary metabolism of polyamine. The positive selection sites were detected by statistical analyses using phylogenetic trees and were confirmed by site-directed mutagenesis, suggesting the importance of those sites in granting the promiscuous function to Lys decarboxylase while retaining the ancestral Orn decarboxylase function. This study contributes to a better understanding of LA biosynthesis and the molecular evolution of plant Lys decarboxylase. PMID:27303024

  14. Processing of meteoritic organic materials as a possible analog of early molecular evolution in planetary environments

    PubMed Central

    Pizzarello, Sandra; Davidowski, Stephen K.; Holland, Gregory P.; Williams, Lynda B.

    2013-01-01

    The composition of the Sutter’s Mill meteorite insoluble organic material was studied both in toto by solid-state NMR spectroscopy of the powders and by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry analyses of compounds released upon their hydrothermal treatment. Results were compared with those obtained for other meteorites of diverse classifications (Murray, GRA 95229, Murchison, Orgueil, and Tagish Lake) and found to be so far unique in regard to the molecular species released. These include, in addition to O-containing aromatic compounds, complex polyether- and ester-containing alkyl molecules of prebiotic appeal and never detected in meteorites before. The Sutter’s Mill fragments we analyzed had likely been altered by heat, and the hydrothermal conditions of the experiments realistically mimic early Earth settings, such as near volcanic activity or impact craters. On this basis, the data suggest a far larger availability of meteoritic organic materials for planetary environments than previously assumed and that molecular evolution on the early Earth could have benefited from accretion of carbonaceous meteorites both directly with soluble compounds and, for a more protracted time, through alteration, processing, and release from their insoluble organic materials. PMID:24019471

  15. Extracellular Matrix Molecular Remodeling in Human Liver Fibrosis Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Baiocchini, Andrea; Montaldo, Claudia; Conigliaro, Alice; Grimaldi, Alessio; Correani, Virginia; Mura, Francesco; Ciccosanti, Fabiola; Rotiroti, Nicolina; Brenna, Alessia; Montalbano, Marzia; D’Offizi, Gianpiero; Capobianchi, Maria Rosaria; Alessandro, Riccardo; Piacentini, Mauro; Schininà, Maria Eugenia; Maras, Bruno; Del Nonno, Franca; Tripodi, Marco; Mancone, Carmine

    2016-01-01

    Chronic liver damage leads to pathological accumulation of ECM proteins (liver fibrosis). Comprehensive characterization of the human ECM molecular composition is essential for gaining insights into the mechanisms of liver disease. To date, studies of ECM remodeling in human liver diseases have been hampered by the unavailability of purified ECM. Here, we developed a decellularization method to purify ECM scaffolds from human liver tissues. Histological and electron microscopy analyses demonstrated that the ECM scaffolds, devoid of plasma and cellular components, preserved the three-dimensional ECM structure and zonal distribution of ECM components. This method has been then applied on 57 liver biopsies of HCV-infected patients at different stages of liver fibrosis according to METAVIR classification. Label-free nLC-MS/MS proteomics and computation biology were performed to analyze the ECM molecular composition in liver fibrosis progression, thus unveiling protein expression signatures specific for the HCV-related liver fibrotic stages. In particular, the ECM molecular composition of liver fibrosis was found to involve dynamic changes in matrix stiffness, flexibility and density related to the dysregulation of predominant collagen, elastic fibers and minor components with both structural and signaling properties. This study contributes to the understanding of the molecular bases underlying ECM remodeling in liver fibrosis and suggests new molecular targets for fibrolytic strategies. PMID:26998606

  16. Structure-Guided Directed Evolution of Highly Selective P450-based Magnetic Resonance Imaging Sensors for Dopamine and Serotonin

    PubMed Central

    Brustad, Eric M.; Lelyveld, Victor S.; Snow, Christopher D.; Crook, Nathan; Jung, Sang Taek; Martinez, Francisco M.; Scholl, Timothy J.; Jasanoff, Alan; Arnold, Frances H.

    2012-01-01

    New tools that allow dynamic visualization of molecular neural events are important for studying the basis of brain activity and disease. Sensors that permit ligand-sensitive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are useful reagents due to the non-invasive nature and good temporal and spatial resolution of MR methods. Paramagnetic metalloproteins can be effective MRI sensors due to the selectivity imparted by the protein active site and the ability to tune protein properties using techniques such as directed evolution. Here we show that structure-guided directed evolution of the active site of the cytochrome P450 BM3 heme domain (BM3h) produces highly selective MRI probes with sub-micromolar affinities for small molecules. We report a new, high affinity dopamine sensor as well as the first MRI reporter for serotonin, with which we demonstrate quantification of neurotransmitter release in vitro. We also present a detailed structural analysis of evolved BM3h lineages to systematically dissect the molecular basis of neurotransmitter binding affinity, selectivity, and enhanced MRI contrast activity in these engineered proteins. PMID:22659321

  17. Structural limits for evolutive capacities in complex molecular systems.

    PubMed

    Bergareche, A M; Ostolaza, J F

    1990-01-01

    The possibilities of evolution for a system with and without a code of translation from nucleic acids into proteins are evaluated. Our interest is mainly centred on the enzymatic RNA case since this molecule has, at the same time, reproductive and functional properties. After scanning the evolutive capacities of the enzymatic RNAs, including the possibility to play the role of "synthetase" which would match nucleic acids with amino acids as a transition step towards a code, we will try to show that due to their own functional limitative factors, the matching system (code) is necessary. This would be the only way to transform the formal complexity--complexity which has not entered into action before the translation process--into functional information to drive the instructive self-reproductive process. Once this stage is reached, the system could evolve without a limit.

  18. Evolution and Molecular Control of Hybrid Incompatibility in Plants

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Chen; E, Zhiguo; Lin, Hong-Xuan

    2016-01-01

    Postzygotic reproductive isolation (RI) plays an important role in speciation. According to the stage at which it functions and the symptoms it displays, postzygotic RI can be called hybrid inviability, hybrid weakness or necrosis, hybrid sterility, or hybrid breakdown. In this review, we summarized new findings about hybrid incompatibilities in plants, most of which are from studies on Arabidopsis and rice. Recent progress suggests that hybrid incompatibility is a by-product of co-evolution either with “parasitic” selfish elements in the genome or with invasive microbes in the natural environment. We discuss the environmental influences on the expression of hybrid incompatibility and the possible effects of environment-dependent hybrid incompatibility on sympatric speciation. We also discuss the role of domestication on the evolution of hybrid incompatibilities. PMID:27563306

  19. Primer and interviews: molecular mechanisms of morphological evolution.

    PubMed

    Kiefer, Julie C

    2010-12-01

    The beauty of the developing embryo, and the awe that it inspires, lure many scientists into the field of developmental biology. What compels cells to divide, migrate, and morph into a being with a complex body plan? Evolutionary developmental biologists hold similar fascinations, with dynamics that take place on a grander timescale. How do phenotypic traits diverge over evolutionary time? This primer illustrates how a deep understanding of the basic principles that underlie developmental biology have changed how scientists think about the evolution of body form. The primer culminates in a conversation with David Stern, PhD, and Michael Shapiro, PhD, who discuss current topics in morphological evolution, why the field should be of interest to classic developmental biologists, and what lies ahead.

  20. Primer and interviews: Molecular mechanisms of morphological evolution

    PubMed Central

    Kiefer, Julie C

    2010-01-01

    The beauty of the developing embryo, and the awe that it inspires, lure many scientists into the field of developmental biology. What compels cells to divide, migrate, and morph into a being with a complex body plan? Evolutionary developmental biologists hold similar fascinations, with dynamics that take place on a grander timescale. How do phenotypic traits diverge over evolutionary time? This primer illustrates how a deep understanding of the basic principles that underlie developmental biology have changed how scientists think about the evolution of body form. The primer culminates in a conversation with David Stern, PhD, and Michael Shapiro, PhD, who discuss current topics in morphological evolution, why the field should be of interest to classic developmental biologists, and what lies ahead. Developmental Dynamics 239:3497–3505, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc. PMID:21069831

  1. Abrupt deceleration of molecular evolution linked to the origin of arborescence in ferns.

    PubMed

    Korall, Petra; Schuettpelz, Eric; Pryer, Kathleen M

    2010-09-01

    Molecular rate heterogeneity, whereby rates of molecular evolution vary among groups of organisms, is a well-documented phenomenon. Nonetheless, its causes are poorly understood. For animals, generation time is frequently cited because longer-lived species tend to have slower rates of molecular evolution than their shorter-lived counterparts. Although a similar pattern has been uncovered in flowering plants, using proxies such as growth form, the underlying process has remained elusive. Here, we find a deceleration of molecular evolutionary rate to be coupled with the origin of arborescence in ferns. Phylogenetic branch lengths within the “tree fern” clade are considerably shorter than those of closely related lineages, and our analyses demonstrate that this is due to a significant difference in molecular evolutionary rate. Reconstructions reveal that an abrupt rate deceleration coincided with the evolution of the long-lived tree-like habit at the base of the tree fern clade. This suggests that a generation time effect may well be ubiquitous across the green tree of life, and that the search for a responsible mechanism must focus on characteristics shared by all vascular plants. Discriminating among the possibilities will require contributions from various biological disciplines,but will be necessary for a full appreciation of molecular evolution.

  2. Molecular evolution of communication signals in electric fish.

    PubMed

    Zakon, Harold H; Zwickl, Derrick J; Lu, Ying; Hillis, David M

    2008-06-01

    Animal communication systems are subject to natural selection so the imprint of selection must reside in the genome of each species. Electric fish generate electric organ discharges (EODs) from a muscle-derived electric organ (EO) and use these fields for electrolocation and communication. Weakly electric teleosts have evolved at least twice (mormyriforms, gymnotiforms) allowing a comparison of the workings of evolution in two independently evolved sensory/motor systems. We focused on the genes for two Na(+) channels, Nav1.4a and Nav1.4b, which are orthologs of the mammalian muscle-expressed Na(+) channel gene Nav1.4. Both genes are expressed in muscle in non-electric fish. Nav1.4b is expressed in muscle in electric fish, but Nav1.4a expression has been lost from muscle and gained in the evolutionarily novel EO in both groups. We hypothesized that Nav1.4a might be evolving to optimize the EOD for different sensory environments and the generation of species-specific communication signals. We obtained the sequence for Nav1.4a from non-electric, mormyriform and gymnotiform species, estimated a phylogenetic tree, and determined rates of evolution. We observed elevated rates of evolution in this gene in both groups coincident with the loss of Nav1.4a from muscle and its compartmentalization in EO. We found amino acid substitutions at sites known to be critical for channel inactivation; analyses suggest that these changes are likely to be the result of positive selection. We suggest that the diversity of EOD waveforms in both groups of electric fish is correlated with accelerations in the rate of evolution of the Nav1.4a Na(+) channel gene due to changes in selection pressure on the gene once it was solely expressed in the EO.

  3. Evolution & Phylogenetic Analysis: Classroom Activities for Investigating Molecular & Morphological Concepts

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Franklin, Wilfred A.

    2010-01-01

    In a flexible multisession laboratory, students investigate concepts of phylogenetic analysis at both the molecular and the morphological level. Students finish by conducting their own analysis on a collection of skeletons representing the major phyla of vertebrates, a collection of primate skulls, or a collection of hominid skulls.

  4. Tracking the Molecular Evolution of Calcium Permeability in a Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor

    PubMed Central

    Lipovsek, Marcela; Fierro, Angélica; Pérez, Edwin G.; Boffi, Juan C.; Millar, Neil S.; Fuchs, Paul A.; Katz, Eleonora; Elgoyhen, Ana Belén

    2014-01-01

    Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors are a family of ligand-gated nonselective cationic channels that participate in fundamental physiological processes at both the central and the peripheral nervous system. The extent of calcium entry through ligand-gated ion channels defines their distinct functions. The α9α10 nicotinic cholinergic receptor, expressed in cochlear hair cells, is a peculiar member of the family as it shows differences in the extent of calcium permeability across species. In particular, mammalian α9α10 receptors are among the ligand-gated ion channels which exhibit the highest calcium selectivity. This acquired differential property provides the unique opportunity of studying how protein function was shaped along evolutionary history, by tracking its evolutionary record and experimentally defining the amino acid changes involved. We have applied a molecular evolution approach of ancestral sequence reconstruction, together with molecular dynamics simulations and an evolutionary-based mutagenesis strategy, in order to trace the molecular events that yielded a high calcium permeable nicotinic α9α10 mammalian receptor. Only three specific amino acid substitutions in the α9 subunit were directly involved. These are located at the extracellular vestibule and at the exit of the channel pore and not at the transmembrane region 2 of the protein as previously thought. Moreover, we show that these three critical substitutions only increase calcium permeability in the context of the mammalian but not the avian receptor, stressing the relevance of overall protein structure on defining functional properties. These results highlight the importance of tracking evolutionarily acquired changes in protein sequence underlying fundamental functional properties of ligand-gated ion channels. PMID:25193338

  5. Tracking the molecular evolution of calcium permeability in a nicotinic acetylcholine receptor.

    PubMed

    Lipovsek, Marcela; Fierro, Angélica; Pérez, Edwin G; Boffi, Juan C; Millar, Neil S; Fuchs, Paul A; Katz, Eleonora; Elgoyhen, Ana Belén

    2014-12-01

    Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors are a family of ligand-gated nonselective cationic channels that participate in fundamental physiological processes at both the central and the peripheral nervous system. The extent of calcium entry through ligand-gated ion channels defines their distinct functions. The α9α10 nicotinic cholinergic receptor, expressed in cochlear hair cells, is a peculiar member of the family as it shows differences in the extent of calcium permeability across species. In particular, mammalian α9α10 receptors are among the ligand-gated ion channels which exhibit the highest calcium selectivity. This acquired differential property provides the unique opportunity of studying how protein function was shaped along evolutionary history, by tracking its evolutionary record and experimentally defining the amino acid changes involved. We have applied a molecular evolution approach of ancestral sequence reconstruction, together with molecular dynamics simulations and an evolutionary-based mutagenesis strategy, in order to trace the molecular events that yielded a high calcium permeable nicotinic α9α10 mammalian receptor. Only three specific amino acid substitutions in the α9 subunit were directly involved. These are located at the extracellular vestibule and at the exit of the channel pore and not at the transmembrane region 2 of the protein as previously thought. Moreover, we show that these three critical substitutions only increase calcium permeability in the context of the mammalian but not the avian receptor, stressing the relevance of overall protein structure on defining functional properties. These results highlight the importance of tracking evolutionarily acquired changes in protein sequence underlying fundamental functional properties of ligand-gated ion channels.

  6. Molecular evolution of monotreme and marsupial whey acidic protein genes.

    PubMed

    Sharp, Julie A; Lefèvre, Christophe; Nicholas, Kevin R

    2007-01-01

    Whey acidic protein (WAP), a major whey protein present in milk of a number of mammalian species has characteristic cysteine-rich domains known as four-disulfide cores (4-DSC). Eutherian WAP, expressed in the mammary gland throughout lactation, has two 4-DSC domains, (DI-DII) whereas marsupial WAP, expressed only during mid-late lactation, contains an additional 4-DSC (DIII), and has a DIII-D1-DII configuration. We report the expression and evolution of echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus) and platypus (Onithorhynchus anatinus) WAP cDNAs. Predicted translation of monotreme cDNAs showed echidna WAP contains two 4-DSC domains corresponding to DIII-DII, whereas platypus WAP contains an additional domain at the C-terminus with homology to DII and has the configuration DIII-DII-DII. Both monotreme WAPs represent new WAP protein configurations. We propose models for evolution of the WAP gene in the mammalian lineage either through exon loss from an ancient ancestor or by rapid evolution via the process of exon shuffling. This evolutionary outcome may reflect differences in lactation strategy between marsupials, monotremes, and eutherians, and give insight to biological function of the gene products. WAP four-disulfide core domain 2 (WFDC2) proteins were also identified in echidna, platypus and tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii) lactating mammary cells. WFDC2 proteins are secreted proteins not previously associated with lactation. Mammary gland expression of tammar WFDC2 during the course of lactation showed WFDC2 was elevated during pregnancy, reduced in early lactation and absent in mid-late lactation.

  7. Molecular evolution of the metazoan PHD-HIF oxygen-sensing system.

    PubMed

    Rytkönen, Kalle T; Williams, Tom A; Renshaw, Gillian M; Primmer, Craig R; Nikinmaa, Mikko

    2011-06-01

    Metazoans rely on aerobic energy production, which requires an adequate oxygen supply. During reduced oxygen supply (hypoxia), the most profound changes in gene expression are mediated by transcription factors known as hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs). HIF alpha proteins are commonly posttranslationally regulated by prolyl-4-hydroxylase (PHD) enzymes, which are direct "sensors" of cellular oxygen levels. We examined the molecular evolution of the metazoan PHD-HIF oxygen-sensing system by constructing complete phylogenies for PHD and HIF alpha genes and used computational tools to characterize the molecular changes underlying the functional divergence of PHD and HIF alpha duplicates. The presence of PHDs in metazoan genomes predates the emergence of HIF alphas. Our analysis revealed an unexpected diversity of PHD genes and HIF alpha sequence characteristics in invertebrates, suggesting that the simple oxygen-sensing systems of Caenorhabditis and Drosophila may not be typical of other invertebrate bilaterians. We studied the early vertebrate evolution of the system by sequencing these genes in early-diverging cartilaginous fishes, elasmobranchs. Cartilaginous fishes appear to have three paralogs of both PHD and HIF alpha. The novel sequences were used as outgroups for a detailed molecular analysis of PHD and HIF alpha duplicates in a major air-breathing vertebrate lineage, the mammals, and a major water-breathing vertebrate lineage, the teleosts. In PHDs, functionally divergent amino acid sites were detected near the HIF alpha-binding channel and beta2beta3 loop that defines its substrate specificity. In HIF alphas, more functional divergence was found in teleosts than in mammals, especially in the HIF-1 alpha PAS domain and HIF-2 alpha oxygen-dependent degradation (ODD) domains, which interact with PHDs. Overall, in the vertebrates, elevated substitution rates in the HIF-2 alpha N-terminal ODD domain, together with a functional divergence associated with the known

  8. Molecular evolution and genetics of postzygotic reproductive isolation in plants

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    In just the last few years, plant geneticists have made tremendous progress in identifying the molecular genetic basis of postzygotic reproductive isolation. With more than a dozen genes now cloned, it is clear that plant hybrid incompatibilities usually evolve via two or more mutational steps, as is predicted by the Dobzhansky-Muller model. There is evidence that natural selection or random genetic drift can be responsible for these incompatibilities. PMID:23236340

  9. Molecular phylogeny, biogeography, and habitat preference evolution of marsupials.

    PubMed

    Mitchell, Kieren J; Pratt, Renae C; Watson, Laura N; Gibb, Gillian C; Llamas, Bastien; Kasper, Marta; Edson, Janette; Hopwood, Blair; Male, Dean; Armstrong, Kyle N; Meyer, Matthias; Hofreiter, Michael; Austin, Jeremy; Donnellan, Stephen C; Lee, Michael S Y; Phillips, Matthew J; Cooper, Alan

    2014-09-01

    Marsupials exhibit great diversity in ecology and morphology. However, compared with their sister group, the placental mammals, our understanding of many aspects of marsupial evolution remains limited. We use 101 mitochondrial genomes and data from 26 nuclear loci to reconstruct a dated phylogeny including 97% of extant genera and 58% of modern marsupial species. This tree allows us to analyze the evolution of habitat preference and geographic distributions of marsupial species through time. We found a pattern of mesic-adapted lineages evolving to use more arid and open habitats, which is broadly consistent with regional climate and environmental change. However, contrary to the general trend, several lineages subsequently appear to have reverted from drier to more mesic habitats. Biogeographic reconstructions suggest that current views on the connectivity between Australia and New Guinea/Wallacea during the Miocene and Pliocene need to be revised. The antiquity of several endemic New Guinean clades strongly suggests a substantially older period of connection stretching back to the Middle Miocene and implies that New Guinea was colonized by multiple clades almost immediately after its principal formation.

  10. Molecular Recognition Directed Self-Assembly of Supramolecular Liquid Crystals

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1994-06-30

    supramolecular (generated via H-bonding, ionic and electrostatic interactions) and molecular " polymer backbones" will be made. The formation of columnar hexagonal...electrostatic interactions) and molecular " polymer backbones" will be made. The formation of columnar hexagonal (0h), nematic and re-entrant isotropic phases by...trihydroxybenzoate with either bromoalkanes or with alkoxybenzyloxybenzyl chloride. Variants of these taper shaped side groups were attached to polymer

  11. Alleles versus mutations: Understanding the evolution of genetic architecture requires a molecular perspective on allelic origins.

    PubMed

    Remington, David L

    2015-12-01

    Perspectives on the role of large-effect quantitative trait loci (QTL) in the evolution of complex traits have shifted back and forth over the past few decades. Different sets of studies have produced contradictory insights on the evolution of genetic architecture. I argue that much of the confusion results from a failure to distinguish mutational and allelic effects, a limitation of using the Fisherian model of adaptive evolution as the lens through which the evolution of adaptive variation is examined. A molecular-based perspective reveals that allelic differences can involve the cumulative effects of many mutations plus intragenic recombination, a model that is supported by extensive empirical evidence. I discuss how different selection regimes could produce very different architectures of allelic effects under a molecular-based model, which may explain conflicting insights on genetic architecture from studies of variation within populations versus between divergently selected populations. I address shortcomings of genome-wide association study (GWAS) practices in light of more suitable models of allelic evolution, and suggest alternate GWAS strategies to generate more valid inferences about genetic architecture. Finally, I discuss how adopting more suitable models of allelic evolution could help redirect research on complex trait evolution toward addressing more meaningful questions in evolutionary biology.

  12. The Question of Absolute Space and Time Directions in Relation to Molecular Chirality, Parity Violation, and Biomolecular Homochirality

    SciTech Connect

    Quack, Martin

    2001-03-21

    The questions of the absolute directions of space and time or the “observability” of absolute time direction as well as absolute handedness-left or right- are related to the fundamental symmetries of physics C, P, T as well as their combinations, in particular CPT, and their violations, such as parity violation. At the same time there is a relation to certain still open questions in chemistry concerning the fundamental physical- chemical principles of molecular chirality and in biochemistry concerning the selection of homochirality in evolution. In the lecture we shall introduce the concepts and then report new theoretical results from our work on parity violation in chiral molecules, showing order of magnitude increases with respect to previously accepted values. We discus as well our current experimental efforts. We shall briefly mention the construction of an absolute molecular clock.

  13. The Question of Absolute Space and Time Directions in Relation to Molecular Chirality, Parity Violation, and Biomolecular Homochirality

    SciTech Connect

    Quack, Martin

    2001-03-21

    The questions of the absolute directions of space and time or the 'observability' of absolute time direction as well as absolute handedness - left or right - are related to the fundamental symmetries of physics C, P, T as well as their combinations, in particular CPT, and their violations, such as parity violation. At the same time there is a relation to certain still open questions in chemistry concerning the fundamental physical-chemical principles of molecular chirality and in biochemistry concerning the selection of homochirality in evolution. In the lecture we shall introduce the concepts and then report new theoretical results from our work on parity violation in chiral molecules, showing order of magnitude increases with respect to previously accepted values. We discuss as well our current experimental efforts. We shall briefly mention the construction of an absolute molecular clock.

  14. Evolution of double white dwarf binaries undergoing direct-impact accretion: Implications for gravitational wave astronomy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kremer, Kyle; Breivik, Katelyn; Larson, Shane L.; Kalogera, Vassiliki

    2017-01-01

    For close double white dwarf binaries, the mass-transfer phenomenon known as direct-impact accretion (when the mass transfer stream impacts the accretor directly rather than forming a disc) may play a pivotal role in the long-term evolution of the systems. In this analysis, we explore the long-term evolution of white dwarf binaries accreting through direct-impact and explore implications of such systems to gravitational wave astronomy. We cover a broad range of parameter space which includes initial component masses and the strength of tidal coupling, and show that these systems, which lie firmly within the LISA frequency range, show strong negative chirps which can last as long as several million years. Detections of double white dwarf systems in the direct-impact phase by detectors such as LISA would provide astronomers with unique ways of probing the physics governing close compact object binaries.

  15. Gibberellin Receptor GID1: Gibberellin Recognition and Molecular Evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kato, Hiroaki; Sato, Tomomi; Ueguchi-Tanaka, Miyako

    Gibberellins (GAs) are phytohormones essential for many developmental processes in plants. We analyzed the crystal structure of a nuclear GA receptor, GIBBERELLIN INSENSITIVE DWARF 1 (GID1) from Oryza sativa. As it was proposed from the sequence similarity, the overall structure of GID1 shows an α/β-hydrolase fold similar to that of the hormone-sensitive lipases (HSLs) except for an amino-terminal lid. The GA-binding site corresponds to the substrate-binding site of HSLs. Almost residues assigned for GA binding showed very little or no activity when they were replaced with Ala. The substitution of the residues corresponding to those of the lycophyte GID1s caused an increase in the binding affinity for GA34, a 2β-hydroxylated GA4. These findings indicate that GID1 originated from HSL and was tinkered to have the specificity for bioactive GAs in the course of plant evolution.

  16. DNA polymerases engineered by directed evolution to incorporate non-standard nucleotides

    PubMed Central

    Laos, Roberto; Thomson, J. Michael; Benner, Steven A.

    2014-01-01

    DNA polymerases have evolved for billions of years to accept natural nucleoside triphosphate substrates with high fidelity and to exclude closely related structures, such as the analogous ribonucleoside triphosphates. However, polymerases that can accept unnatural nucleoside triphosphates are desired for many applications in biotechnology. The focus of this review is on non-standard nucleotides that expand the genetic “alphabet.” This review focuses on experiments that, by directed evolution, have created variants of DNA polymerases that are better able to accept unnatural nucleotides. In many cases, an analysis of past evolution of these polymerases (as inferred by examining multiple sequence alignments) can help explain some of the mutations delivered by directed evolution. PMID:25400626

  17. Directed evolution combined with synthetic biology strategies expedite semi-rational engineering of genes and genomes.

    PubMed

    Kang, Zhen; Zhang, Junli; Jin, Peng; Yang, Sen

    2015-01-01

    Owing to our limited understanding of the relationship between sequence and function and the interaction between intracellular pathways and regulatory systems, the rational design of enzyme-coding genes and de novo assembly of a brand-new artificial genome for a desired functionality or phenotype are difficult to achieve. As an alternative approach, directed evolution has been widely used to engineer genomes and enzyme-coding genes. In particular, significant developments toward DNA synthesis, DNA assembly (in vitro or in vivo), recombination-mediated genetic engineering, and high-throughput screening techniques in the field of synthetic biology have been matured and widely adopted, enabling rapid semi-rational genome engineering to generate variants with desired properties. In this commentary, these novel tools and their corresponding applications in the directed evolution of genomes and enzymes are discussed. Moreover, the strategies for genome engineering and rapid in vitro enzyme evolution are also proposed.

  18. Molecular Imaging and Contrast Agent Database (MICAD): evolution and progress.

    PubMed

    Chopra, Arvind; Shan, Liang; Eckelman, W C; Leung, Kam; Latterner, Martin; Bryant, Stephen H; Menkens, Anne

    2012-02-01

    The purpose of writing this review is to showcase the Molecular Imaging and Contrast Agent Database (MICAD; www.micad.nlm.nih.gov ) to students, researchers, and clinical investigators interested in the different aspects of molecular imaging. This database provides freely accessible, current, online scientific information regarding molecular imaging (MI) probes and contrast agents (CA) used for positron emission tomography, single-photon emission computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, X-ray/computed tomography, optical imaging and ultrasound imaging. Detailed information on >1,000 agents in MICAD is provided in a chapter format and can be accessed through PubMed. Lists containing >4,250 unique MI probes and CAs published in peer-reviewed journals and agents approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration as well as a comma separated values file summarizing all chapters in the database can be downloaded from the MICAD homepage. Users can search for agents in MICAD on the basis of imaging modality, source of signal/contrast, agent or target category, pre-clinical or clinical studies, and text words. Chapters in MICAD describe the chemical characteristics (structures linked to PubChem), the in vitro and in vivo activities, and other relevant information regarding an imaging agent. All references in the chapters have links to PubMed. A Supplemental Information Section in each chapter is available to share unpublished information regarding an agent. A Guest Author Program is available to facilitate rapid expansion of the database. Members of the imaging community registered with MICAD periodically receive an e-mail announcement (eAnnouncement) that lists new chapters uploaded to the database. Users of MICAD are encouraged to provide feedback, comments, or suggestions for further improvement of the database by writing to the editors at micad@nlm.nih.gov.

  19. Molecular tools in understanding the evolution of Vibrio cholerae

    PubMed Central

    Rahaman, Md. Habibur; Islam, Tarequl; Colwell, Rita R.; Alam, Munirul

    2015-01-01

    Vibrio cholerae, the etiological agent of cholera, has been a scourge for centuries. Cholera remains a serious health threat for developing countries and has been responsible for millions of deaths globally over the past 200 years. Identification of V. cholerae has been accomplished using a variety of methods, ranging from phenotypic strategies to DNA based molecular typing and currently whole genomic approaches. This array of methods has been adopted in epidemiological investigations, either singly or in the aggregate, and more recently for evolutionary analyses of V. cholerae. Because the new technologies have been developed at an ever increasing pace, this review of the range of fingerprinting strategies, their relative advantages and limitations, and cholera case studies was undertaken. The task was challenging, considering the vast amount of the information available. To assist the study, key references representative of several areas of research are provided with the intent to provide readers with a comprehensive view of recent advances in the molecular epidemiology of V. cholerae. Suggestions for ways to obviate many of the current limitations of typing techniques are also provided. In summary, a comparative report has been prepared that includes the range from traditional typing to whole genomic strategies. PMID:26500613

  20. The molecular evolution of the vertebrate behavioural repertoire

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    How the sophisticated vertebrate behavioural repertoire evolved remains a major question in biology. The behavioural repertoire encompasses the set of individual behavioural components that an organism uses when adapting and responding to changes in its external world. Although unicellular organisms, invertebrates and vertebrates share simple reflex responses, the fundamental mechanisms that resulted in the complexity and sophistication that is characteristic of vertebrate behaviours have only recently been examined. A series of behavioural genetic experiments in mice and humans support a theory that posited the importance of synapse proteome expansion in generating complexity in the behavioural repertoire. Genome duplication events, approximately 550 Ma, produced expansion in the synapse proteome that resulted in increased complexity in synapse signalling mechanisms that regulate components of the behavioural repertoire. The experiments demonstrate the importance to behaviour of the gene duplication events, the diversification of paralogues and sequence constraint. They also confirm the significance of comparative proteomic and genomic studies that identified the molecular origins of synapses in unicellular eukaryotes and the vertebrate expansion in proteome complexity. These molecular mechanisms have general importance for understanding the repertoire of behaviours in different species and for human behavioural disorders arising from synapse gene mutations. PMID:26598730

  1. Structure, molecular evolution, and hydrolytic specificities of largemouth bass pepsins.

    PubMed

    Miura, Yoko; Suzuki-Matsubara, Mieko; Kageyama, Takashi; Moriyama, Akihiko

    2016-02-01

    The nucleotide sequences of largemouth bass pepsinogens (PG1, 2 and 3) were determined after molecular cloning of the respective cDNAs. Encoded PG1, 2 and 3 were classified as fish pepsinogens A1, A2 and C, respectively. Molecular evolutionary analyses show that vertebrate pepsinogens are classified into seven monophyletic groups, i.e. pepsinogens A, F, Y (prochymosins), C, B, and fish pepsinogens A and C. Regarding the primary structures, extensive deletion was obvious in S'1 loop residues in fish pepsin A as well as tetrapod pepsin Y. This deletion resulted in a decrease in hydrophobic residues in the S'1 site. Hydrolytic specificities of bass pepsins A1 and A2 were investigated with a pepsin substrate and its variants. Bass pepsins preferred both hydrophobic/aromatic residues and charged residues at the P'1 sites of substrates, showing the dual character of S'1 sites. Thermodynamic analyses of bass pepsin A2 showed that its activation Gibbs energy change (∆G(‡)) was lower than that of porcine pepsin A. Several sites of bass pepsin A2 moiety were found to be under positive selection, and most of them are located on the surface of the molecule, where they are involved in conformational flexibility. The broad S'1 specificity and flexible structure of bass pepsin A2 are thought to cause its high proteolytic activity.

  2. Molecular tools in understanding the evolution of Vibrio cholerae.

    PubMed

    Rahaman, Md Habibur; Islam, Tarequl; Colwell, Rita R; Alam, Munirul

    2015-01-01

    Vibrio cholerae, the etiological agent of cholera, has been a scourge for centuries. Cholera remains a serious health threat for developing countries and has been responsible for millions of deaths globally over the past 200 years. Identification of V. cholerae has been accomplished using a variety of methods, ranging from phenotypic strategies to DNA based molecular typing and currently whole genomic approaches. This array of methods has been adopted in epidemiological investigations, either singly or in the aggregate, and more recently for evolutionary analyses of V. cholerae. Because the new technologies have been developed at an ever increasing pace, this review of the range of fingerprinting strategies, their relative advantages and limitations, and cholera case studies was undertaken. The task was challenging, considering the vast amount of the information available. To assist the study, key references representative of several areas of research are provided with the intent to provide readers with a comprehensive view of recent advances in the molecular epidemiology of V. cholerae. Suggestions for ways to obviate many of the current limitations of typing techniques are also provided. In summary, a comparative report has been prepared that includes the range from traditional typing to whole genomic strategies.

  3. Footprints of directional selection in wild Atlantic salmon populations: evidence for parasite-driven evolution?

    PubMed

    Zueva, Ksenia J; Lumme, Jaakko; Veselov, Alexey E; Kent, Matthew P; Lien, Sigbjørn; Primmer, Craig R

    2014-01-01

    Mechanisms of host-parasite co-adaptation have long been of interest in evolutionary biology; however, determining the genetic basis of parasite resistance has been challenging. Current advances in genome technologies provide new opportunities for obtaining a genome-scale view of the action of parasite-driven natural selection in wild populations and thus facilitate the search for specific genomic regions underlying inter-population differences in pathogen response. European populations of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) exhibit natural variance in susceptibility levels to the ectoparasite Gyrodactylus salaris Malmberg 1957, ranging from resistance to extreme susceptibility, and are therefore a good model for studying the evolution of virulence and resistance. However, distinguishing the molecular signatures of genetic drift and environment-associated selection in small populations such as land-locked Atlantic salmon populations presents a challenge, specifically in the search for pathogen-driven selection. We used a novel genome-scan analysis approach that enabled us to i) identify signals of selection in salmon populations affected by varying levels of genetic drift and ii) separate potentially selected loci into the categories of pathogen (G. salaris)-driven selection and selection acting upon other environmental characteristics. A total of 4631 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were screened in Atlantic salmon from 12 different northern European populations. We identified three genomic regions potentially affected by parasite-driven selection, as well as three regions presumably affected by salinity-driven directional selection. Functional annotation of candidate SNPs is consistent with the role of the detected genomic regions in immune defence and, implicitly, in osmoregulation. These results provide new insights into the genetic basis of pathogen susceptibility in Atlantic salmon and will enable future searches for the specific genes involved.

  4. Footprints of Directional Selection in Wild Atlantic Salmon Populations: Evidence for Parasite-Driven Evolution?

    PubMed Central

    Zueva, Ksenia J.; Lumme, Jaakko; Veselov, Alexey E.; Kent, Matthew P.; Lien, Sigbjørn; Primmer, Craig R.

    2014-01-01

    Mechanisms of host-parasite co-adaptation have long been of interest in evolutionary biology; however, determining the genetic basis of parasite resistance has been challenging. Current advances in genome technologies provide new opportunities for obtaining a genome-scale view of the action of parasite-driven natural selection in wild populations and thus facilitate the search for specific genomic regions underlying inter-population differences in pathogen response. European populations of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) exhibit natural variance in susceptibility levels to the ectoparasite Gyrodactylus salaris Malmberg 1957, ranging from resistance to extreme susceptibility, and are therefore a good model for studying the evolution of virulence and resistance. However, distinguishing the molecular signatures of genetic drift and environment-associated selection in small populations such as land-locked Atlantic salmon populations presents a challenge, specifically in the search for pathogen-driven selection. We used a novel genome-scan analysis approach that enabled us to i) identify signals of selection in salmon populations affected by varying levels of genetic drift and ii) separate potentially selected loci into the categories of pathogen (G. salaris)-driven selection and selection acting upon other environmental characteristics. A total of 4631 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were screened in Atlantic salmon from 12 different northern European populations. We identified three genomic regions potentially affected by parasite-driven selection, as well as three regions presumably affected by salinity-driven directional selection. Functional annotation of candidate SNPs is consistent with the role of the detected genomic regions in immune defence and, implicitly, in osmoregulation. These results provide new insights into the genetic basis of pathogen susceptibility in Atlantic salmon and will enable future searches for the specific genes involved. PMID

  5. Molecular therapy of colorectal cancer: progress and future directions.

    PubMed

    Weng, Wenhao; Feng, Junlan; Qin, Huanlong; Ma, Yanlei

    2015-02-01

    Colorectal cancer (CRC) remains one of the most common types of cancer and leading causes of cancer death worldwide. Although the introduction of cytotoxic drugs such as oxaliplatin, irinotecan and fluorouracil has improved the treatment of advanced CRC, the individual response to chemoradiotherapy varies tremendously from one patient to another. However, recent progress in CRC molecular therapies may provide new insight into the treatment of this disease. Currently, components of the EGFR, VEGF, Wnt and NF-kB pathways are the most important targets for CRC therapy. This review chronicles the development of molecular CRC therapies over the past few decades. We also provide an update on the current progress of research concerning the molecular pathways leading to CRC and discuss the possible implications for CRC therapy.

  6. Regional differences in rates of plant speciation and molecular evolution: a comparison between eastern Asia and eastern North America.

    PubMed

    Xiang, Qiu-Yun Jenny; Zhang, Wen Heng; Ricklefs, Robert E; Qian, Hong; Chen, Zhi Duan; Wen, Jun; Hua, Jian L

    2004-10-01

    The eastern Asian (EAS)-eastern North American (ENA) floristic disjunction is one of the best-known biogeographic patterns in the Northern Hemisphere. Recent paleontological and molecular analyses have illuminated the origins of the biogeographic pattern, but subsequent diversification and evolution of the disjunct floras in each of the two continents after isolation remains poorly understood. Although similar in climate and floristic composition, EAS has twice as many species as ENA in genera occurring in both regions. Explaining such differences in species diversity between regions with similar environmental conditions (diversity anomalies) is an important goal of the study of the global patterns of biodiversity. We used a phylogenetic approach to compare rates of net speciation and molecular evolution between the two regions. We first identified EAS-ENA disjunct sister clades from ten genera (Asarum, Buckleya, Carpinus, Carya, Cornus, Hamamelis, Illicium, Panax, Stewartia, and Styrax) that represent diverse angiosperm lineages using phylogenetic analyses of ITS (internal transcribed spacer of nuclear ribosomal DNA) sequence data. Species richness and substitution rate of ITS between sister clades were compared. The results revealed a pattern of greater species diversity in the EAS counterparts. A positive relationship between species diversity and ITS substitution rate was also documented. These results suggest greater net speciation and accelerated molecular evolution in EAS. The data support the idea that a regional difference in net speciation rate related to topographic heterogeneity contributes to the diversity anomaly between EAS and ENA. The close relationship between rates of ITS evolution and species richness further suggests that species production may be directly linked to rate of nucleotide substitution.

  7. Directional molecular sliding at room temperature on a silicon runway.

    PubMed

    Bouju, Xavier; Chérioux, Frédéric; Coget, Sébastien; Rapenne, Gwénaël; Palmino, Frank

    2013-08-07

    The design of working nanovehicles is a key challenge for the development of new devices. In this context, 1D controlled sliding of molecules on a silicon-based surface is successfully achieved by using an optimized molecule-substrate pair. Even though the molecule and surface are compatible, the molecule-substrate interaction provides a 1D template effect to guide molecular sliding along a preferential surface orientation. Molecular motion is monitored by STM experiments under ultra-high vacuum at room temperature. Molecule-surface interactions are elucidated by semi-empirical calculations.

  8. Molecular Evolution of Insect Sociality: An Eco-Evo-Devo Perspective.

    PubMed

    Toth, Amy L; Rehan, Sandra M

    2017-01-31

    The evolution of eusociality is a perennial issue in evolutionary biology, and genomic advances have fueled steadily growing interest in the genetic changes underlying social evolution. Along with a recent flurry of research on comparative and evolutionary genomics in different eusocial insect groups (bees, ants, wasps, and termites), several mechanistic explanations have emerged to describe the molecular evolution of eusociality from solitary behavior. These include solitary physiological ground plans, genetic toolkits of deeply conserved genes, evolutionary changes in protein-coding genes, cis regulation, and the structure of gene networks, epigenetics, and novel genes. Despite this proliferation of ideas, there has been little synthesis, even though these ideas are not mutually exclusive and may in fact be complementary. We review available data on molecular evolution of insect sociality and highlight key biotic and abiotic factors influencing social insect genomes. We then suggest both phylogenetic and ecological evolutionary developmental biology (eco-evo-devo) perspectives for a more synthetic view of molecular evolution in insect societies.

  9. Molecular Evolution of the Oxygen-Binding Hemerythrin Domain

    PubMed Central

    Alvarez-Carreño, Claudia; Becerra, Arturo; Lazcano, Antonio

    2016-01-01

    Background The evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis during Precambrian times entailed the diversification of strategies minimizing reactive oxygen species-associated damage. Four families of oxygen-carrier proteins (hemoglobin, hemerythrin and the two non-homologous families of arthropodan and molluscan hemocyanins) are known to have evolved independently the capacity to bind oxygen reversibly, providing cells with strategies to cope with the evolutionary pressure of oxygen accumulation. Oxygen-binding hemerythrin was first studied in marine invertebrates but further research has made it clear that it is present in the three domains of life, strongly suggesting that its origin predated the emergence of eukaryotes. Results Oxygen-binding hemerythrins are a monophyletic sub-group of the hemerythrin/HHE (histidine, histidine, glutamic acid) cation-binding domain. Oxygen-binding hemerythrin homologs were unambiguously identified in 367/2236 bacterial, 21/150 archaeal and 4/135 eukaryotic genomes. Overall, oxygen-binding hemerythrin homologues were found in the same proportion as single-domain and as long protein sequences. The associated functions of protein domains in long hemerythrin sequences can be classified in three major groups: signal transduction, phosphorelay response regulation, and protein binding. This suggests that in many organisms the reversible oxygen-binding capacity was incorporated in signaling pathways. A maximum-likelihood tree of oxygen-binding hemerythrin homologues revealed a complex evolutionary history in which lateral gene transfer, duplications and gene losses appear to have played an important role. Conclusions Hemerythrin is an ancient protein domain with a complex evolutionary history. The distinctive iron-binding coordination site of oxygen-binding hemerythrins evolved first in prokaryotes, very likely prior to the divergence of Firmicutes and Proteobacteria, and spread into many bacterial, archaeal and eukaryotic species. The later

  10. Molecular evolution of urea amidolyase and urea carboxylase in fungi

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Urea amidolyase breaks down urea into ammonia and carbon dioxide in a two-step process, while another enzyme, urease, does this in a one step-process. Urea amidolyase has been found only in some fungal species among eukaryotes. It contains two major domains: the amidase and urea carboxylase domains. A shorter form of urea amidolyase is known as urea carboxylase and has no amidase domain. Eukaryotic urea carboxylase has been found only in several fungal species and green algae. In order to elucidate the evolutionary origin of urea amidolyase and urea carboxylase, we studied the distribution of urea amidolyase, urea carboxylase, as well as other proteins including urease, across kingdoms. Results Among the 64 fungal species we examined, only those in two Ascomycota classes (Sordariomycetes and Saccharomycetes) had the urea amidolyase sequences. Urea carboxylase was found in many but not all of the species in the phylum Basidiomycota and in the subphylum Pezizomycotina (phylum Ascomycota). It was completely absent from the class Saccharomycetes (phylum Ascomycota; subphylum Saccharomycotina). Four Sordariomycetes species we examined had both the urea carboxylase and the urea amidolyase sequences. Phylogenetic analysis showed that these two enzymes appeared to have gone through independent evolution since their bacterial origin. The amidase domain and the urea carboxylase domain sequences from fungal urea amidolyases clustered strongly together with the amidase and urea carboxylase sequences, respectively, from a small number of beta- and gammaproteobacteria. On the other hand, fungal urea carboxylase proteins clustered together with another copy of urea carboxylases distributed broadly among bacteria. The urease proteins were found in all the fungal species examined except for those of the subphylum Saccharomycotina. Conclusions We conclude that the urea amidolyase genes currently found only in fungi are the results of a horizontal gene transfer event from

  11. Vibration-mediated Kondo transport in molecular junctions: conductance evolution during mechanical stretching

    PubMed Central

    Rakhmilevitch, David

    2015-01-01

    Summary The vibration-mediated Kondo effect attracted considerable theoretical interest during the last decade. However, due to lack of extensive experimental demonstrations, the fine details of the phenomenon were not addressed. Here, we analyze the evolution of vibration-mediated Kondo effect in molecular junctions during mechanical stretching. The described analysis reveals the different contributions of Kondo and inelastic transport. PMID:26734532

  12. Molecular phylogenetic study on the origin and evolution of Mustelidae.

    PubMed

    Yonezawa, Takahiro; Nikaido, Masato; Kohno, Naoki; Fukumoto, Yukio; Okada, Norihiro; Hasegawa, Masami

    2007-07-01

    The family Mustelidae, which consists of Mustelinae, Lutrinae, Melinae, and Taxidiinae, is the largest family among Carnivora and is a highly diverse group. Recent molecular phylogenetic studies have clarified the phylogenetic relations among Mustelidae, but there remain several unresolved problems, particularly concerning the deep branchings. Whereas many studies support the monophyly of Mustelidae+Procyonidae among Musteloidea, the relations between Mustelidae+Procyonidae, Ailuridae, and Miphitidae are still unclear. To address these problems, we inferred a tree on the basis of the sequences of mitochondrial genomes and of multiple nuclear genes using the maximum likelihood method. Our results strongly support the hypothesis that the Taxidiinae branched at first, followed by the branching of the Melinae. After that, Mustelinae diversified, and Lutrinae evolved within Mustelinae. With respect to the deep branchings in Musteloidea, the Ailuridae/Mephitidae monophyly tree and the Mephitidae-basal tree are indistinguishable in log-likelihood score, and this problem remains unresolved.

  13. Molecular evolution of toxin genes in Elapidae snakes.

    PubMed

    Tamiya, Toru; Fujimi, Takahiko J

    2006-11-01

    The venom of the sea krait, Laticauda semifasciata, consists primarily of two toxic proteins, phospholipase A(2) (PLA(2)) and a three-finger-structure toxin. We have cloned both toxic protein genes, including the upstream region. PLA(2) genes contain three types of inserted sequences: an AG-rich region, a chicken repeat 1-like long interspersed nucleotide element sequence and an intron II 3' side repeat sequence. The molecular divergence of L. semifasciata PLA(2) genes was defined on the basis of the inserted sequences and their sequence homology. The length of intron I in the three-finger-structure toxin genes differs from species to species. The alignment analysis of intron I of the three-finger-structure toxin genes revealed that the intron I sequence of the ancestral gene comprised ten genetic regions. A hypothetical evolutionary process for the three-finger-structure toxin genes has also been developed.

  14. Molecular Recognition Directed Self-Assembly of Supramolecular Architectures

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1994-06-30

    chemistry. The ability of these supramolecular architectures to form liquid crystalline phases is determined by the shape of the self-assembled...be discussed. In the case of TMV-like supramolecular architectures a comparison between various supramolecdr (generated via H-bonding, ionic and...molecular, macromolecular and supramolecular chemistry. The ability of these supramolecular architectures to form liquid crystalline phases is determined

  15. Promiscuity in alkaline phosphatase superfamily. Unraveling evolution through molecular simulations.

    PubMed

    López-Canut, Violeta; Roca, Maite; Bertrán, Juan; Moliner, Vicent; Tuñón, Iñaki

    2011-08-10

    We here present a theoretical study of the alkaline hydrolysis of a phosphodiester (methyl p-nitrophenyl phosphate or MpNPP) in the active site of Escherichia coli alkaline phosphatase (AP), a monoesterase that also presents promiscuous activity as a diesterase. The analysis of our simulations, carried out by means of molecular dynamics (MD) simulations with hybrid quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) potentials, shows that the reaction takes place through a D(N)A(N) or dissociative mechanism, the same mechanism employed by AP in the hydrolysis of monoesters. The promiscuous activity observed in this superfamily can be then explained on the basis of a conserved reaction mechanism. According to our simulations the specialization in the hydrolysis of phosphomonoesters or phosphodiesters, developed in different members of the superfamily, is a consequence of the interactions established between the protein and the oxygen atoms of the phosphate group and, in particular, with the oxygen atom that bears the additional alkyl group when the substrate is a diester. A water molecule, belonging to the coordination shell of the Mg(2+) ion, and residue Lys328 seem to play decisive roles stabilizing a phosphomonoester substrate, but the latter contributes to increase the energy barrier for the hydrolysis of phosphodiesters. Then, mutations affecting the nature or positioning of Lys328 lead to an increased diesterase activity in AP. Finally, the capacity of this enzymatic family to catalyze the reaction of phosphoesters having different leaving groups, or substrate promiscuity, is explained by the ability of the enzyme to stabilize different charge distributions in the leaving group using different interactions involving either one of the zinc centers or residues placed on the outer side of the catalytic site.

  16. A mitogenomic timescale for birds detects variable phylogenetic rates of molecular evolution and refutes the standard molecular clock.

    PubMed

    Pereira, Sergio L; Baker, Allan J

    2006-09-01

    Current understanding of the diversification of birds is hindered by their incomplete fossil record and uncertainty in phylogenetic relationships and phylogenetic rates of molecular evolution. Here we performed the first comprehensive analysis of mitogenomic data of 48 vertebrates, including 35 birds, to derive a Bayesian timescale for avian evolution and to estimate rates of DNA evolution. Our approach used multiple fossil time constraints scattered throughout the phylogenetic tree and accounts for uncertainties in time constraints, branch lengths, and heterogeneity of rates of DNA evolution. We estimated that the major vertebrate lineages originated in the Permian; the 95% credible intervals of our estimated ages of the origin of archosaurs (258 MYA), the amniote-amphibian split (356 MYA), and the archosaur-lizard divergence (278 MYA) bracket estimates from the fossil record. The origin of modern orders of birds was estimated to have occurred throughout the Cretaceous beginning about 139 MYA, arguing against a cataclysmic extinction of lineages at the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary. We identified fossils that are useful as time constraints within vertebrates. Our timescale reveals that rates of molecular evolution vary across genes and among taxa through time, thereby refuting the widely used mitogenomic or cytochrome b molecular clock in birds. Moreover, the 5-Myr divergence time assumed between 2 genera of geese (Branta and Anser) to originally calibrate the standard mitochondrial clock rate of 0.01 substitutions per site per lineage per Myr (s/s/l/Myr) in birds was shown to be underestimated by about 9.5 Myr. Phylogenetic rates in birds vary between 0.0009 and 0.012 s/s/l/Myr, indicating that many phylogenetic splits among avian taxa also have been underestimated and need to be revised. We found no support for the hypothesis that the molecular clock in birds "ticks" according to a constant rate of substitution per unit of mass-specific metabolic energy rather

  17. Low-molecular-weight carbon nitrides for solar hydrogen evolution.

    PubMed

    Lau, Vincent Wing-hei; Mesch, Maria B; Duppel, Viola; Blum, Volker; Senker, Jürgen; Lotsch, Bettina V

    2015-01-28

    This work focuses on the control of the polymerization process for melon ("graphitic carbon nitride"), with the aim of improving its photocatalytic activity intrinsically. We demonstrate here that reduction of the synthesis temperature leads to a mixture of the monomer melem and its higher condensates. We show that this mixture can be separated and provide evidence that the higher condensates are isolated oligomers of melem. On evaluating their photocatalytic activity for hydrogen evolution, the oligomers were found to be the most active species, having up to twice the activity of the monomer/oligomer mixture of the as-synthesized material, which in turn has 3 times the activity of the polymer melon, the literature benchmark. These results highlight the role of "defects", i.e., chain terminations, in increasing the catalytic activity of carbon nitrides and at the same time point to the ample potential of intrinsically improving the photocatalytic activity of "carbon nitride", especially through the selective synthesis of the active phase.

  18. Origin of noncoding DNA sequences: molecular fossils of genome evolution.

    PubMed

    Naora, H; Miyahara, K; Curnow, R N

    1987-09-01

    The total amount of noncoding sequences on chromosomes of contemporary organisms varies significantly from species to species. We propose a hypothesis for the origin of these noncoding sequences that assumes that (i) an approximately equal to 0.55-kilobase (kb)-long reading frame composed the primordial gene and (ii) a 20-kb-long single-stranded polynucleotide is the longest molecule (as a genome) that was polymerized at random and without a specific template in the primordial soup/cell. The statistical distribution of stop codons allows examination of the probability of generating reading frames of approximately equal to 0.55 kb in this primordial polynucleotide. This analysis reveals that with three stop codons, a run of at least 0.55-kb equivalent length of nonstop codons would occur in 4.6% of 20-kb-long polynucleotide molecules. We attempt to estimate the total amount of noncoding sequences that would be present on the chromosomes of contemporary species assuming that present-day chromosomes retain the prototype primordial genome structure. Theoretical estimates thus obtained for most eukaryotes do not differ significantly from those reported for these specific organisms, with only a few exceptions. Furthermore, analysis of possible stop-codon distributions suggests that life on earth would not exist, at least in its present form, had two or four stop codons been selected early in evolution.

  19. Phylogeography and molecular evolution of potato virus Y.

    PubMed

    Cuevas, José M; Delaunay, Agnès; Visser, Johan C; Bellstedt, Dirk U; Jacquot, Emmanuel; Elena, Santiago F

    2012-01-01

    Potato virus Y (PVY) is an important plant pathogen, whose host range includes economically important crops such as potato, tobacco, tomato, and pepper. PVY presents three main strains (PVY(O), PVY(N) and PVY(C)) and several recombinant forms. PVY has a worldwide distribution, yet the mechanisms that promote and maintain its population structure and genetic diversity are still unclear. In this study, we used a pool of 77 complete PVY genomes from isolates collected worldwide. After removing the effect of recombination in our data set, we used bayesian techniques to study the influence of geography and host species in both PVY population structure and dynamics. We have also performed selection and covariation analyses to identify evolutionarily relevant amino acid residues. Our results show that both geographic and host-driven adaptations explain PVY diversification. Furthermore, purifying selection is the main force driving PVY evolution, although some indications of positive selection accounted for the diversification of the different strains. Interestingly, the analysis of P3N-PIPO, a recently described gene in potyviruses, seems to show a variable length among the isolates analyzed, and this variability is explained, in part, by host-driven adaptation.

  20. Molecular evolution of GPCRs: GLP1/GLP1 receptors.

    PubMed

    Hwang, Jong-Ik; Yun, Seongsik; Moon, Mi Jin; Park, Cho Rong; Seong, Jae Young

    2014-06-01

    Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP1) is an intestinal incretin that regulates glucose homeostasis through stimulation of insulin secretion from pancreatic β-cells and inhibits appetite by acting on the brain. Thus, it is a promising therapeutic agent for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity. Studies using synteny and reconstructed ancestral chromosomes suggest that families for GLP1 and its receptor (GLP1R) have emerged through two rounds (2R) of whole genome duplication and local gene duplications before and after 2R. Exon duplications have also contributed to the expansion of the peptide family members. Specific changes in the amino acid sequence following exon/gene/genome duplications have established distinct yet related peptide and receptor families. These specific changes also confer selective interactions between GLP1 and GLP1R. In this review, we present a possible macro (genome level)- and micro (gene/exon level)-evolution mechanisms of GLP1 and GLP1R, which allows them to acquire selective interactions between this ligand-receptor pair. This information may provide critical insight for the development of potent therapeutic agents targeting GLP1R.

  1. Molecular genetics and evolution of melanism in the cat family.

    PubMed

    Eizirik, Eduardo; Yuhki, Naoya; Johnson, Warren E; Menotti-Raymond, Marilyn; Hannah, Steven S; O'Brien, Stephen J

    2003-03-04

    Melanistic coat coloration occurs as a common polymorphism in 11 of 37 felid species and reaches high population frequency in some cases but never achieves complete fixation. To investigate the genetic basis, adaptive significance, and evolutionary history of melanistic variants in the Felidae, we mapped, cloned, and sequenced the cat homologs of two putative candidate genes for melanism (ASIP [agouti] and MC1R) and identified three independent deletions associated with dark coloration in three different felid species. Association and transmission analyses revealed that a 2 bp deletion in the ASIP gene specifies black coloration in domestic cats, and two different "in-frame" deletions in the MC1R gene are implicated in melanism in jaguars and jaguarundis. Melanistic individuals from five other felid species did not carry any of these mutations, implying that there are at least four independent genetic origins for melanism in the cat family. The inferred multiple origins and independent historical elevation in population frequency of felid melanistic mutations suggest the occurrence of adaptive evolution of this visible phenotype in a group of related free-ranging species.

  2. Molecular phylogeny and evolution of the extinct bovid Myotragus balearicus.

    PubMed

    Lalueza-Fox, Carles; Shapiro, Beth; Bover, Pere; Alcover, Josep Antoni; Bertranpetit, Jaume

    2002-12-01

    Myotragus balearicus was a dwarf artiodactyl endemic to the Eastern Balearic Islands, where it evolved in isolation for more than 5 million years before becoming extinct between 3640 and 2135 cal BC (calibrated years BC). Numerous unusual apomorphies obscure the relationship between Myotragus and the extant Caprinae. Therefore, genetic data for this species would significantly contribute to the clarification of its taxonomic position. In this study, we amplify, sequence, and clone a 338-base pair (bp) segment of the mitochondrial cytochrome b (cyt b) gene from a >9Kyr Myotragus subfossil from la Cova des Gorgs (Mallorca). Our results confirm the phylogenetic affinity of Myotragus with the sheep (Ovis) and the takin (Budorcas). In each tree, the Myotragus branch is long in comparison with the other taxa, which may be evidence of a local change in the rate of evolution in cyt b. This rate change may be due to in part to an early age of first reproduction and short generation time in Myotragus, factors that are potentially related to the extreme reduction in size of the adult Myotragus as compared to the other Caprinae.

  3. [Modern evolutional developmental biology: mechanical and molecular genetic or phenotypic approaches?].

    PubMed

    Vorob'eva, É I

    2010-01-01

    Heightened interest in the evolutionary problems of developmental biology in the 1980s was due to the success of molecular genetics and disappointment in the synthetic theory of evolution, where the chapters of embryology and developmental biology seem to have been left out. Modern evo-devo, which turned out to be antipodean to the methodology of the synthetic theory of evolution, propagandized in the development of evolutionary problems only the mechanical and molecular genetic approach to the evolution of ontogenesis, based on cellular and intercellular interactions. The phonotypical approach to the evaluation of evolutionary occurrences in ontogenesis, which aids in the joining of the genetic and epigenetic levels of research, the theory of natural selection, the nomogenetic conception, and the problem of the wholeness of the organism in onto- and phylogenesis may be against this. The phenotypic approach to ontogenesis is methodologically the most perspective for evolutionary developmental biology.

  4. Entropy and charge in molecular evolution--the case of phosphate

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Arrhenius, G.; Sales, B.; Mojzsis, S.; Lee, T.; Bada, J. L. (Principal Investigator)

    1997-01-01

    Biopoesis, the creation of life, implies molecular evolution from simple components, randomly distributed and in a dilute state, to form highly organized, concentrated systems capable of metabolism, replication and mutation. This chain of events must involve environmental processes that can locally lower entropy in several steps; by specific selection from an indiscriminate mixture, by concentration from dilute solution, and in the case of the mineral-induced processes, by particular effectiveness in ordering and selective reaction, directed toward formation of functional biomolecules. Numerous circumstances provide support for the notion that negatively charged molecules were functionally required and geochemically available for biopoesis. Sulfite ion may have been important in bisulfite complex formation with simple aldehydes, facilitating the initial concentration by sorption of aldehydes in positively charged surface active minerals. Borate ion may have played a similar, albeit less investigated role in forming charged sugar complexes. Among anionic species, oligophosphate ions and charged phosphate esters are likely to have been of even more wide ranging importance, reflected in the continued need for phosphate in a proposed RNA world, and extending its central role to evolved biochemistry. Phosphorylation is shown to result in selective concentration by surface sorption of compounds, otherwise too dilute to support condensation reactions. It provides protection against rapid hydrolysis of sugars and, by selective concentration, induces the oligomerization of aldehydes. As a manifestation of life arisen, phosphate already appears in an organic context in the oldest preserved sedimentary record.

  5. Karyotypic evolution in the Galliformes: an examination of the process of karyotypic evolution by comparison of the molecular cytogenetic findings with the molecular phylogeny.

    PubMed

    Shibusawa, M; Nishibori, M; Nishida-Umehara, C; Tsudzuki, M; Masabanda, J; Griffin, D K; Matsuda, Y

    2004-01-01

    To define the process of karyotypic evolution in the Galliformes on a molecular basis, we conducted genome-wide comparative chromosome painting for eight species, i.e. silver pheasant (Lophura nycthemera), Lady Amherst's pheasant (Chrysolophus amherstiae), ring-necked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus), turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), Western capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus), Chinese bamboo-partridge (Bambusicola thoracica) and common peafowl (Pavo cristatus) of the Phasianidae, and plain chachalaca (Ortalis vetula) of the Cracidae, with chicken DNA probes of chromosomes 1-9 and Z. Including our previous data from five other species, chicken (Gallus gallus), Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica) and blue-breasted quail (Coturnix chinensis) of the Phasianidae, guinea fowl (Numida meleagris) of the Numididae and California quail (Callipepla californica) of the Odontophoridae, we represented the evolutionary changes of karyotypes in the 13 species of the Galliformes. In addition, we compared the cytogenetic data with the molecular phylogeny of the 13 species constructed with the nucleotide sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene, and discussed the process of karyotypic evolution in the Galliformes. Comparative chromosome painting confirmed the previous data on chromosome rearrangements obtained by G-banding analysis, and identified several novel chromosome rearrangements. The process of the evolutionary changes of macrochromosomes in the 13 species was in good accordance with the molecular phylogeny, and the ancestral karyotype of the Galliformes is represented.

  6. Origin of the Directed Movement of Protocells in the Early Stages of the Evolution of Life

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Melkikh, Alexey V.; Chesnokova, Oksana I.

    2012-08-01

    The origin of the directed motion of protocells during the early stages of evolution was discussed. The expenditures for movement, space orientation, and reception of information about the environment were taken into consideration, and it was shown that directed movement is evolutionarily advantageous in the following cases: when opposite gradients of different resources (for example, matter and energy) are great enough and when there is a rapid change in environmental parameters. It was also shown that the advantage of directed movement strategies depends greatly on how information about the environment is obtained by a protocell.

  7. Advances on molecular mechanism of the adaptive evolution of Chiroptera (bats).

    PubMed

    Yunpeng, Liang; Li, Yu

    2015-01-01

    As the second biggest animal group in mammals, Chiroptera (bats) demonstrates many unique adaptive features in terms of flight, echolocation, auditory acuity, feeding habit, hibernation and immune defense, providing an excellent system for understanding the molecular basis of how organisms adapt to the living environments encountered. In this review, we summarize the researches on the molecular mechanism of the adaptive evolution of Chiroptera, especially the recent researches at the genome levels, suggesting a far more complex evolutionary pattern and functional diversity than previously thought. In the future, along with the increasing numbers of Chiroptera species genomes available, new evolutionary patterns and functional divergence will be revealed, which can promote the further understanding of this animal group and the molecular mechanism of adaptive evolution.

  8. Direct experimental determination of spectral densities of molecular complexes

    SciTech Connect

    Pachón, Leonardo A.; Brumer, Paul

    2014-11-07

    Determining the spectral density of a molecular system immersed in a proteomic scaffold and in contact to a solvent is a fundamental challenge in the coarse-grained description of, e.g., electron and energy transfer dynamics. Once the spectral density is characterized, all the time scales are captured and no artificial separation between fast and slow processes need to be invoked. Based on the fluorescence Stokes shift function, we utilize a simple and robust strategy to extract the spectral density of a number of molecular complexes from available experimental data. Specifically, we show that experimental data for dye molecules in several solvents, amino acid proteins in water, and some photochemical systems (e.g., rhodopsin and green fluorescence proteins), are well described by a three-parameter family of sub-Ohmic spectral densities that are characterized by a fast initial Gaussian-like decay followed by a slow algebraic-like decay rate at long times.

  9. In Situ Mass Spectrometric Determination of Molecular Structural Evolution at the Solid Electrolyte Interphase in Lithium-Ion Batteries.

    PubMed

    Zhu, Zihua; Zhou, Yufan; Yan, Pengfei; Vemuri, Rama Sesha; Xu, Wu; Zhao, Rui; Wang, Xuelin; Thevuthasan, Suntharampillai; Baer, Donald R; Wang, Chong-Min

    2015-09-09

    Dynamic structural and chemical evolution at solid-liquid electrolyte interface is always a mystery for a rechargeable battery due to the challenge to directly probe a solid-liquid interface under reaction conditions. We describe the creation and usage of in situ liquid secondary ion mass spectroscopy (SIMS) for the first time to directly observe the molecular structural evolution at the solid-liquid electrolyte interface for a lithium (Li)-ion battery under dynamic operating conditions. We have discovered that the deposition of Li metal on copper electrode leads to the condensation of solvent molecules around the electrode. Chemically, this layer of solvent condensate tends to be depleted of the salt anions and with reduced concentration of Li(+) ions, essentially leading to the formation of a lean electrolyte layer adjacent to the electrode and therefore contributing to the overpotential of the cell. This observation provides unprecedented molecular level dynamic information on the initial formation of the solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) layer. The present work also ultimately opens new avenues for implanting the in situ liquid SIMS concept to probe the chemical reaction process that intimately involves solid-liquid interface, such as electrocatalysis, electrodeposition, biofuel conversion, biofilm, and biomineralization.

  10. Molecular evolution of the mammalian ribosomal protein gene, RPS14.

    PubMed

    Rhoads, D D; Roufa, D J

    1991-07-01

    Ribosomal protein S14 genes (RPS14) in eukaryotic species from protozoa to primates exhibit dramatically different intron-exon structures yet share homologous polypeptide-coding sequences. To recognize common features of RPS14 gene architectures in closely related mammalian species and to evaluate similarities in their noncoding DNA sequences, we isolated the intron-containing S14 locus from Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell DNA by using a PCR strategy and compared it with human RPS14. We found that rodent and primate S14 genes are composed of identical protein-coding exons interrupted by introns at four conserved DNA sites. However, the structures of corresponding CHO and human RPS14 introns differ significantly. Nonetheless, individual intron splice donor, splice acceptor, and upstream flanking motifs have been conserved within mammalian S14 homologues as well as within RPS14 gene fragments PCR amplified from other vertebrate genera (birds and bony fish). Our data indicate that noncoding, intronic DNA sequences within highly conserved, single-copy ribosomal protein genes are useful molecular landmarks for phylogenetic analysis of closely related vertebrate species.

  11. Mesoamerican tree squirrels evolution (Rodentia: Sciuridae): a molecular phylogenetic analysis.

    PubMed

    Villalobos, Federico; Gutierrez-Espeleta, Gustavo

    2014-06-01

    The tribe Sciurini comprehends the genera Sciurus, Syntheosiurus, Microsciurus, Tamiasciurus and Rheinthrosciurus. The phylogenetic relationships within Sciurus have been only partially done, and the relationship between Mesoamerican species remains unsolved. The phylogenetic relationships of the Mesoamerican tree squirrels were examined using molecular data. Sequence data publicly available (12S, 16S, CYTB mitochondrial genes and IRBP nuclear gene) and cytochrome B gene sequences of four previously not sampled Mesoamerican Sciurus species were analyzed under a Bayesian multispecies coalescence model. Phylogenetic analysis of the multilocus data set showed the neotropical tree squirrels as a monophyletic clade. The genus Sciurus was paraphyletic due to the inclusion of Microsciurus species (M. alfari and M. flaviventer). The South American species S. aestuans and S. stramineus showed a sister taxa relationship. Single locus analysis based on the most compact and complete data set (i.e. CYTB gene sequences), supported the monophyly of the South American species and recovered a Mesoamerican clade including S. aureogaster, S. granatensis and S. variegatoides. These results corroborated previous findings based on cladistic analysis of cranial and post-cranial characters. Our data support a close relationship between Mesoamerican Sciurus species and a sister relationship with South American species, and corroborates previous findings in relation to the polyphyly of Microsciurus and Syntheosciurus paraphyly.

  12. Two Types of Molecular Evolution. Evidence from Studies of Interspecific Hybridization

    PubMed Central

    Wilson, A. C.; Maxson, L. R.; Sarich, V. M.

    1974-01-01

    To assess the significance of macromolecular sequence differences among species, we compared the serum albumins of 81 pairs of vertebrate species capable of producing viable hybrids. Micro-complement fixation experiments showed that the average difference between the albumins within such pairs was only 3 immunological distance units for placental mammals (31 pairs), but 36 units for frogs (50 pairs). Albumin immunological distance is strongly correlated with other measures of genetic distance, including those made with DNA annealing techniques. It therefore seems likely that mammalian species pairs capable of hybridization are far more similar at the macromolecular sequence level than is the case for most hybridizable frogs. We think the most likely explanation for the marked molecular restriction on hybridization among mammals is that the ratio of regulatory evolution to protein evolution is higher for mammals than for frogs. Mammals may have experienced unusually rapid regulatory evolution; indeed, this could be the factor responsible for their unusually rapid anatomical evolution. Images PMID:4212492

  13. Direct writing of molecularly imprinted microstructures using a nanofountain pen

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Belmont, Anne-Sophie; Sokuler, Mordechai; Haupt, Karsten; Gheber, Levi A.

    2007-05-01

    Molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) constitute a very appealing avenue to parallel sensors of a multitude of small target molecules due to their stability, relative ease of preparation, and their ability to recognize targets for which natural capture molecules do not exist. The authors present here a way of arraying MIP structures with micrometer dimensions, using nanofountain pen, and demonstrate their functionality using a fluorescent template molecule.

  14. Molecular imaging of breast cancer: present and future directions

    PubMed Central

    Alcantara, David; Leal, Manuel Pernia; García-Bocanegra, Irene; García-Martín, Maria L.

    2014-01-01

    Medical imaging technologies have undergone explosive growth over the past few decades and now play a central role in clinical oncology. But the truly transformative power of imaging in the clinical management of cancer patients lies ahead. Today, imaging is at a crossroads, with molecularly targeted imaging agents expected to broadly expand the capabilities of conventional anatomical imaging methods. Molecular imaging will allow clinicians to not only see where a tumor is located in the body, but also to visualize the expression and activity of specific molecules (e.g., proteases and protein kinases) and biological processes (e.g., apoptosis, angiogenesis, and metastasis) that influence tumor behavior and/or response to therapy. Breast cancer, the most common cancer among women and a research area where our group is actively involved, is a very heterogeneous disease with diverse patterns of development and response to treatment. Hence, molecular imaging is expected to have a major impact on this type of cancer, leading to important improvements in diagnosis, individualized treatment, and drug development, as well as our understanding of how breast cancer arises. PMID:25566530

  15. Molecular Imaging of Breast Cancer: Present and future directions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alcantara, David; Pernia Leal, Manuel; Garcia, Irene; Garcia-Martin, Maria Luisa

    2014-12-01

    Medical imaging technologies have undergone explosive growth over the past few decades and now play a central role in clinical oncology. But the truly transformative power of imaging in the clinical management of cancer patients lies ahead. Today, imaging is at a crossroads, with molecularly targeted imaging agents expected to broadly expand the capabilities of conventional anatomical imaging methods. Molecular imaging will allow clinicians to not only see where a tumour is located in the body, but also to visualize the expression and activity of specific molecules (e.g. proteases and protein kinases) and biological processes (e.g. apoptosis, angiogenesis, and metastasis) that influence tumour behavior and/or response to therapy. Breast cancer, the most common cancer among women and a research area where our group is actively involved, is a very heterogeneous disease with diverse patterns of development and response to treatment. Hence, molecular imaging is expected to have a major impact on this type of cancer, leading to important improvements in diagnosis, individualized treatment, and drug development, as well as our understanding of how breast cancer arises.

  16. Directed evolution of phenylacetone monooxygenase as an active catalyst for the Baeyer-Villiger conversion of cyclohexanone to caprolactone.

    PubMed

    Parra, Loreto P; Acevedo, Juan P; Reetz, Manfred T

    2015-07-01

    Phenylacetone monooxygenase (PAMO) is an exceptionally robust Baeyer-Villiger monooxygenase, which makes it ideal for potential industrial applications. However, its substrate scope is limited, unreactive cyclohexanone being a prominent example. Such a limitation is unfortunate, because this particular transformation in an ecologically viable manner would be highly desirable, the lactone and the respective lactam being of considerable interest as monomers in polymer science. We have applied directed evolution in search of an active mutant for this valuable C-C activating reaction. Using iterative saturation mutagenesis (ISM), several active mutants were evolved, with only a minimal trade-off in terms of stability. The best mutants allow for quantitative conversion of 2 mM cyclohexanone within 1 h reaction time. In order to circumvent the NADP(+) regeneration problem, whole E. coli resting cells were successfully applied. Molecular dynamics simulations and induced fit docking throw light on the origin of enhanced PAMO activity. The PAMO mutants constitute ideal starting points for future directed evolution optimization necessary for an industrial process.

  17. Reconstructing web evolution and spider diversification in the molecular era.

    PubMed

    Blackledge, Todd A; Scharff, Nikolaj; Coddington, Jonathan A; Szüts, Tamas; Wenzel, John W; Hayashi, Cheryl Y; Agnarsson, Ingi

    2009-03-31

    The evolutionary diversification of spiders is attributed to spectacular innovations in silk. Spiders are unique in synthesizing many different kinds of silk, and using silk for a variety of ecological functions throughout their lives, particularly to make prey-catching webs. Here, we construct a broad higher-level phylogeny of spiders combining molecular data with traditional morphological and behavioral characters. We use this phylogeny to test the hypothesis that the spider orb web evolved only once. We then examine spider diversification in relation to different web architectures and silk use. We find strong support for a single origin of orb webs, implying a major shift in the spinning of capture silk and repeated loss or transformation of orb webs. We show that abandonment of costly cribellate capture silk correlates with the 2 major diversification events in spiders (1). Replacement of cribellate silk by aqueous silk glue may explain the greater diversity of modern orb-weaving spiders (Araneoidea) compared with cribellate orb-weaving spiders (Deinopoidea) (2). Within the "RTA clade," which is the sister group to orb-weaving spiders and contains half of all spider diversity, >90% of species richness is associated with repeated loss of cribellate silk and abandonment of prey capture webs. Accompanying cribellum loss in both groups is a release from substrate-constrained webs, whether by aerially suspended webs, or by abandoning webs altogether. These behavioral shifts in silk and web production by spiders thus likely played a key role in the dramatic evolutionary success and ecological dominance of spiders as predators of insects.

  18. Molecular systematics and evolution of the Cyanocorax jays.

    PubMed

    Bonaccorso, Elisa; Peterson, A Townsend; Navarro-Sigüenza, Adolfo G; Fleischer, Robert C

    2010-03-01

    Phylogenetic relationships were studied in the genus Cyanocorax (Aves: Corvidae) and related genera, Psilorhinus and Calocitta, a diverse group of New World jays distributed from the southern United States south to Argentina. Although the ecology and behavior of some species in the group have been studied extensively, lack of a molecular phylogeny has precluded rigorous interpretations in an evolutionary framework. Given the diverse combinations of plumage coloration, size, and morphology, the taxonomy of the group has been inconsistent and understanding of biogeographic patterns problematic. Moreover, plumage similarity between two geographically disjuct species, the Tufted jay (Cyanocorax dickeyi) from western Mexico and the White-tailed jay (C. mystacalis) from western Ecuador and Peru, has puzzled ornithologists for decades. Here, a phylogeny of all species in the three genera is presented, based on study of two mitochondrial and three nuclear genes. Phylogenetic trees revealed the non-monophyly of Cyanocorax, and the division of the whole assemblage in two groups: "Clade A" containing Psilorhinus morio, both species in Calocitta,Cyanocorax violaceus, C. caeruleus, C. cristatellus, and C. cyanomelas, and "Clade B" consisting of the remaining species in Cyanocorax. Relationships among species in Clade A were ambiguous and, in general, not well resolved. Within Clade B, analyses revealed the monophyly of the "Cissilopha" jays and showed no evidence for a sister relationship between C. mystacalis and C. dickeyi. The phylogenetic complexity of lineages in the group suggests several complications for the understanding biogeographic patterns, as well as for proposing a taxonomy that is consistent with morphological variation. Although multiple taxonomic arrangements are possible, recommendations are for recognizing only one genus, Cyanocorax, with Psilorhinus and Calocitta as synonyms.

  19. Co-evolution of Central Direct Collapse Black Holes and Stellar Populations in the Early Universe

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aykutalp, Aycin; Wise, John

    2017-01-01

    The formation and growth of supermassive black holes (SMBHs) in the centers of galaxies and their role in shaping the evolution of galaxies and their stellar populations is a central topic for cosmology. In order to understand the co-evolution between the SMBHs and the host galaxy dynamics in the early universe we perform cosmological radiation hydrodynamics simulations. These simulations include the unique implementation of the interactions between X-rays and the non-zero metallicity gas. This is particularly important since, as shown by observations, the ambient gas around active galactic nuclei is already enriched by metals at high redshifts. I will present the results from our latest simulations on how X-ray irradiation from an accreting direct collapse seed black hole affects the distribution and evolution of stellar populations in the host galaxy and their possible observational implications.

  20. DNA Re-EvolutioN: a game for learning molecular genetics and evolution.

    PubMed

    Miralles, Laura; Moran, Paloma; Dopico, Eduardo; Garcia-Vazquez, Eva

    2013-01-01

    Evolution is a main concept in biology, but not many students understand how it works. In this article we introduce the game DNA Re-EvolutioN as an active learning tool that uses genetic concepts (DNA structure, transcription and translation, mutations, natural selection, etc.) as playing rules. Students will learn about molecular evolution while playing a game that mixes up theory and entertainment. The game can be easily adapted to different educational levels. The main goal of this play is to arrive at the end of the game with the longest protein. Students play with pawns and dices, a board containing hypothetical events (mutations, selection) that happen to molecules, "Evolution cards" with indications for DNA mutations, prototypes of a DNA and a mRNA chain with colored "nucleotides" (plasticine balls), and small pieces simulating t-RNA with aminoacids that will serve to construct a "protein" based on the DNA chain. Students will understand how changes in DNA affect the final protein product and may be subjected to positive or negative selection, using a didactic tool funnier than classical theory lectures and easier than molecular laboratory experiments: a flexible and feasible game to learn and enjoy molecular evolution at no-cost. The game was tested by majors and non-majors in genetics from 13 different countries and evaluated with pre- and post-tests obtaining very positive results.

  1. Directed evolution of G protein-coupled receptors in yeast for higher functional production in eukaryotic expression hosts

    PubMed Central

    Schütz, Marco; Schöppe, Jendrik; Sedlák, Erik; Hillenbrand, Matthias; Nagy-Davidescu, Gabriela; Ehrenmann, Janosch; Klenk, Christoph; Egloff, Pascal; Kummer, Lutz; Plückthun, Andreas

    2016-01-01

    Despite recent successes, many G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) remained refractory to detailed molecular studies due to insufficient production yields, even in the most sophisticated eukaryotic expression systems. Here we introduce a robust method employing directed evolution of GPCRs in yeast that allows fast and efficient generation of receptor variants which show strongly increased functional production levels in eukaryotic expression hosts. Shown by evolving three different receptors in this study, the method is widely applicable, even for GPCRs which are very difficult to express. The evolved variants showed up to a 26-fold increase of functional production in insect cells compared to the wild-type receptors. Next to the increased production, the obtained variants exhibited improved biophysical properties, while functional properties remained largely unaffected. Thus, the presented method broadens the portfolio of GPCRs accessible for detailed investigations. Interestingly, the functional production of GPCRs in yeast can be further increased by induced host adaptation. PMID:26911446

  2. Directed evolution of a sphingomyelin flippase reveals mechanism of substrate backbone discrimination by a P4-ATPase

    PubMed Central

    Graham, Todd R.

    2016-01-01

    Phospholipid flippases in the type IV P-type ATPase (P4-ATPases) family establish membrane asymmetry and play critical roles in vesicular transport, cell polarity, signal transduction, and neurologic development. All characterized P4-ATPases flip glycerophospholipids across the bilayer to the cytosolic leaflet of the membrane, but how these enzymes distinguish glycerophospholipids from sphingolipids is not known. We used a directed evolution approach to examine the molecular mechanisms through which P4-ATPases discriminate substrate backbone. A mutagenesis screen in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has identified several gain-of-function mutations in the P4-ATPase Dnf1 that facilitate the transport of a novel lipid substrate, sphingomyelin. We found that a highly conserved asparagine (N220) in the first transmembrane segment is a key enforcer of glycerophospholipid selection, and specific substitutions at this site allow transport of sphingomyelin. PMID:27432949

  3. Synthetic biology for the directed evolution of protein biocatalysts: navigating sequence space intelligently

    PubMed Central

    Currin, Andrew; Swainston, Neil; Day, Philip J.

    2015-01-01

    The amino acid sequence of a protein affects both its structure and its function. Thus, the ability to modify the sequence, and hence the structure and activity, of individual proteins in a systematic way, opens up many opportunities, both scientifically and (as we focus on here) for exploitation in biocatalysis. Modern methods of synthetic biology, whereby increasingly large sequences of DNA can be synthesised de novo, allow an unprecedented ability to engineer proteins with novel functions. However, the number of possible proteins is far too large to test individually, so we need means for navigating the ‘search space’ of possible protein sequences efficiently and reliably in order to find desirable activities and other properties. Enzymologists distinguish binding (K d) and catalytic (k cat) steps. In a similar way, judicious strategies have blended design (for binding, specificity and active site modelling) with the more empirical methods of classical directed evolution (DE) for improving k cat (where natural evolution rarely seeks the highest values), especially with regard to residues distant from the active site and where the functional linkages underpinning enzyme dynamics are both unknown and hard to predict. Epistasis (where the ‘best’ amino acid at one site depends on that or those at others) is a notable feature of directed evolution. The aim of this review is to highlight some of the approaches that are being developed to allow us to use directed evolution to improve enzyme properties, often dramatically. We note that directed evolution differs in a number of ways from natural evolution, including in particular the available mechanisms and the likely selection pressures. Thus, we stress the opportunities afforded by techniques that enable one to map sequence to (structure and) activity in silico, as an effective means of modelling and exploring protein landscapes. Because known landscapes may be assessed and reasoned about as a whole

  4. A New Take on John Maynard Smith's Concept of Protein Space for Understanding Molecular Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Hartl, Daniel L.

    2016-01-01

    Much of the public lacks a proper understanding of Darwinian evolution, a problem that can be addressed with new learning and teaching approaches to be implemented both inside the classroom and in less formal settings. Few analogies have been as successful in communicating the basics of molecular evolution as John Maynard Smith’s protein space analogy (1970), in which he compared protein evolution to the transition between the terms WORD and GENE, changing one letter at a time to yield a different, meaningful word (in his example, the preferred path was WORD → WORE → GORE → GONE → GENE). Using freely available computer science tools (Google Books Ngram Viewer), we offer an update to Maynard Smith’s analogy and explain how it might be developed into an exploratory and pedagogical device for understanding the basics of molecular evolution and, more specifically, the adaptive landscape concept. We explain how the device works through several examples and provide resources that might facilitate its use in multiple settings, ranging from public engagement activities to formal instruction in evolution, population genetics, and computational biology. PMID:27736867

  5. A New Take on John Maynard Smith's Concept of Protein Space for Understanding Molecular Evolution.

    PubMed

    Ogbunugafor, C Brandon; Hartl, Daniel L

    2016-10-01

    Much of the public lacks a proper understanding of Darwinian evolution, a problem that can be addressed with new learning and teaching approaches to be implemented both inside the classroom and in less formal settings. Few analogies have been as successful in communicating the basics of molecular evolution as John Maynard Smith's protein space analogy (1970), in which he compared protein evolution to the transition between the terms WORD and GENE, changing one letter at a time to yield a different, meaningful word (in his example, the preferred path was WORD → WORE → GORE → GONE → GENE). Using freely available computer science tools (Google Books Ngram Viewer), we offer an update to Maynard Smith's analogy and explain how it might be developed into an exploratory and pedagogical device for understanding the basics of molecular evolution and, more specifically, the adaptive landscape concept. We explain how the device works through several examples and provide resources that might facilitate its use in multiple settings, ranging from public engagement activities to formal instruction in evolution, population genetics, and computational biology.

  6. Modelling the chemical evolution of molecular clouds as a function of metallicity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Penteado, E. M.; Cuppen, H. M.; Rocha-Pinto, H. J.

    2014-04-01

    The Galaxy is in continuous elemental evolution. Since new elements produced by dying stars are delivered to the interstellar medium, the formation of new generations of stars and planetary systems is influenced by this metal enrichment. We aim to study the role of the metallicity on the gas phase chemistry of the interstellar medium. Using a system of coupled ordinary differential equations to model the chemical reactions, we simulate the evolution of the abundance of molecules in the gas phase for different initial interstellar elemental compositions. These varying initial elemental compositions consider the change in the `elemental abundances' predicted by a self-consistent model of the elemental evolution of the Galaxy. As far as we are aware, this is the first attempt to combine elemental evolution of the Galaxy and chemical evolution of molecular clouds. The metallicity was found to have a strong effect on the overall gas phase composition. With decreasing metallicity, the number of long carbon chains was found to increase, the time-scale on which small molecular species are increases, and the main form of oxygen changed from O and CO to O2. These effects were found to be mainly due to the change in electron, H_3^+, and atomic oxygen abundance.

  7. Direct molecular simulation of nitrogen dissociation based on an ab initio potential energy surface

    SciTech Connect

    Valentini, Paolo Schwartzentruber, Thomas E. Bender, Jason D. Nompelis, Ioannis Candler, Graham V.

    2015-08-15

    The direct molecular simulation (DMS) approach is used to predict the internal energy relaxation and dissociation dynamics of high-temperature nitrogen. An ab initio potential energy surface (PES) is used to calculate the dynamics of two interacting nitrogen molecules by providing forces between the four atoms. In the near-equilibrium limit, it is shown that DMS reproduces the results obtained from well-established quasiclassical trajectory (QCT) analysis, verifying the validity of the approach. DMS is used to predict the vibrational relaxation time constant for N{sub 2}–N{sub 2} collisions and its temperature dependence, which are in close agreement with existing experiments and theory. Using both QCT and DMS with the same PES, we find that dissociation significantly depletes the upper vibrational energy levels. As a result, across a wide temperature range, the dissociation rate is found to be approximately 4–5 times lower compared to the rates computed using QCT with Boltzmann energy distributions. DMS calculations predict a quasi-steady-state distribution of rotational and vibrational energies in which the rate of depletion of high-energy states due to dissociation is balanced by their rate of repopulation due to collisional processes. The DMS approach simulates the evolution of internal energy distributions and their coupling to dissociation without the need to precompute rates or cross sections for all possible energy transitions. These benchmark results could be used to develop new computational fluid dynamics models for high-enthalpy flow applications.

  8. Enzymes useful for chiral compound synthesis: structural biology, directed evolution, and protein engineering for industrial use.

    PubMed

    Kataoka, Michihiko; Miyakawa, Takuya; Shimizu, Sakayu; Tanokura, Masaru

    2016-07-01

    Biocatalysts (enzymes) have many advantages as catalysts for the production of useful compounds as compared to chemical catalysts. The stereoselectivity of the enzymes is one advantage, and thus the stereoselective production of chiral compounds using enzymes is a promising approach. Importantly, industrial application of the enzymes for chiral compound production requires the discovery of a novel useful enzyme or enzyme function; furthermore, improving the enzyme properties through protein engineering and directed evolution approaches is significant. In this review, the significance of several enzymes showing stereoselectivity (quinuclidinone reductase, aminoalcohol dehydrogenase, old yellow enzyme, and threonine aldolase) in chiral compound production is described, and the improvement of these enzymes using protein engineering and directed evolution approaches for further usability is discussed. Currently, enzymes are widely used as catalysts for the production of chiral compounds; however, for further use of enzymes in chiral compound production, improvement of enzymes should be more essential, as well as discovery of novel enzymes and enzyme functions.

  9. Directed Evolution of a Fluorinase for Improved Fluorination Efficiency with a Non-native Substrate.

    PubMed

    Sun, Huihua; Yeo, Wan Lin; Lim, Yee Hwee; Chew, Xinying; Smith, Derek John; Xue, Bo; Chan, Kok Ping; Robinson, Robert C; Robins, Edward G; Zhao, Huimin; Ang, Ee Lui

    2016-11-07

    Fluorinases offer an environmentally friendly alternative for selective fluorination under mild conditions. However, their diversity is limited in nature and they have yet to be engineered through directed evolution. Herein, we report the directed evolution of the fluorinase FlA1 for improved conversion of the non-native substrate 5'-chloro-5'-deoxyadenosine (5'-ClDA) into 5'-fluoro-5'-deoxyadenosine (5'-FDA). The evolved variants, fah2081 (A279Y) and fah2114 (F213Y, A279L), were successfully applied in the radiosynthesis of 5'-[(18) F]FDA, with overall radiochemical conversion (RCC) more than 3-fold higher than wild-type FlA1. Kinetic studies of the two-step reaction revealed that the variants show a significantly improved kcat value in the conversion of 5'-ClDA into S-adenosyl-l-methionine (SAM) but a reduced kcat value in the conversion of SAM into 5'-FDA.

  10. Direct evidence of the molecular basis for biological silicon transport

    PubMed Central

    Knight, Michael J.; Senior, Laura; Nancolas, Bethany; Ratcliffe, Sarah; Curnow, Paul

    2016-01-01

    Diatoms are an important group of eukaryotic algae with a curious evolutionary innovation: they sheath themselves in a cell wall made largely of silica. The cellular machinery responsible for silicification includes a family of membrane permeases that recognize and actively transport the soluble precursor of biosilica, silicic acid. However, the molecular basis of silicic acid transport remains obscure. Here, we identify experimentally tractable diatom silicic acid transporter (SIT) homologues and study their structure and function in vitro, enabled by the development of a new fluorescence method for studying substrate transport kinetics. We show that recombinant SITs are Na+/silicic acid symporters with a 1:1 protein: substrate stoichiometry and KM for silicic acid of 20 μM. Protein mutagenesis supports the long-standing hypothesis that four conserved GXQ amino acid motifs are important in SIT function. This marks a step towards a detailed understanding of silicon transport with implications for biogeochemistry and bioinspired materials. PMID:27305972

  11. [Evolution of the significance of advance directives in the ethos of medicine].

    PubMed

    Delfosse, Marie-Luce

    2008-01-01

    Patient's right to formulate advanced directives is a result of the joint evolution of laws and the medical ethos. How is this bringing together at the same time the recognization of patient autonomy and objectifs of the art of medicine? Due to the impossibility of answering the question in a general way, the issue will be studied by referring to the positions of the Belgium order of doctors.

  12. Rapid directed evolution of stabilized proteins with cellular high-throughput encapsulation solubilization and screening (CHESS).

    PubMed

    Yong, K J; Scott, D J

    2015-03-01

    Directed evolution is a powerful method for engineering proteins towards user-defined goals and has been used to generate novel proteins for industrial processes, biological research and drug discovery. Typical directed evolution techniques include cellular display, phage display, ribosome display and water-in-oil compartmentalization, all of which physically link individual members of diverse gene libraries to their translated proteins. This allows the screening or selection for a desired protein function and subsequent isolation of the encoding gene from diverse populations. For biotechnological and industrial applications there is a need to engineer proteins that are functional under conditions that are not compatible with these techniques, such as high temperatures and harsh detergents. Cellular High-throughput Encapsulation Solubilization and Screening (CHESS), is a directed evolution method originally developed to engineer detergent-stable G proteins-coupled receptors (GPCRs) for structural biology. With CHESS, library-transformed bacterial cells are encapsulated in detergent-resistant polymers to form capsules, which serve to contain mutant genes and their encoded proteins upon detergent mediated solubilization of cell membranes. Populations of capsules can be screened like single cells to enable rapid isolation of genes encoding detergent-stable protein mutants. To demonstrate the general applicability of CHESS to other proteins, we have characterized the stability and permeability of CHESS microcapsules and employed CHESS to generate thermostable, sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) resistant green fluorescent protein (GFP) mutants, the first soluble proteins to be engineered using CHESS.

  13. High capsid-genome correlation facilitates creation of AAV libraries for directed evolution.

    PubMed

    Nonnenmacher, Mathieu; van Bakel, Harm; Hajjar, Roger J; Weber, Thomas

    2015-04-01

    Directed evolution of adeno-associated virus (AAV) through successive rounds of phenotypic selection is a powerful method to isolate variants with improved properties from large libraries of capsid mutants. Importantly, AAV libraries used for directed evolution are based on the "natural" AAV genome organization where the capsid proteins are encoded in cis from replicating genomes. This is necessary to allow the recovery of the capsid DNA after each step of phenotypic selection. For directed evolution to be used successfully, it is essential to minimize the random mixing of capsomers and the encapsidation of nonmatching viral genomes during the production of the viral libraries. Here, we demonstrate that multiple AAV capsid variants expressed from Rep/Cap containing viral genomes result in near-homogeneous capsids that display an unexpectedly high capsid-DNA correlation. Next-generation sequencing of AAV progeny generated by bulk transfection of a semi-random peptide library showed a strong counter-selection of capsid variants encoding premature stop codons, which further supports a strong capsid-genome identity correlation. Overall, our observations demonstrate that production of "natural" AAVs results in low capsid mosaicism and high capsid-genome correlation. These unique properties allow the production of highly diverse AAV libraries in a one-step procedure with a minimal loss in phenotype-genotype correlation.

  14. High Capsid–Genome Correlation Facilitates Creation of AAV Libraries for Directed Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Nonnenmacher, Mathieu; van Bakel, Harm; Hajjar, Roger J; Weber, Thomas

    2015-01-01

    Directed evolution of adeno-associated virus (AAV) through successive rounds of phenotypic selection is a powerful method to isolate variants with improved properties from large libraries of capsid mutants. Importantly, AAV libraries used for directed evolution are based on the “natural” AAV genome organization where the capsid proteins are encoded in cis from replicating genomes. This is necessary to allow the recovery of the capsid DNA after each step of phenotypic selection. For directed evolution to be used successfully, it is essential to minimize the random mixing of capsomers and the encapsidation of nonmatching viral genomes during the production of the viral libraries. Here, we demonstrate that multiple AAV capsid variants expressed from Rep/Cap containing viral genomes result in near-homogeneous capsids that display an unexpectedly high capsid–DNA correlation. Next-generation sequencing of AAV progeny generated by bulk transfection of a semi-random peptide library showed a strong counter-selection of capsid variants encoding premature stop codons, which further supports a strong capsid–genome identity correlation. Overall, our observations demonstrate that production of “natural” AAVs results in low capsid mosaicism and high capsid–genome correlation. These unique properties allow the production of highly diverse AAV libraries in a one-step procedure with a minimal loss in phenotype–genotype correlation. PMID:25586687

  15. Directed evolution of a cellodextrin transporter for improved biofuel production under anaerobic conditions in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

    PubMed

    Lian, Jiazhang; Li, Yanglin; HamediRad, Mohammad; Zhao, Huimin

    2014-08-01

    Introduction of a cellobiose utilization pathway consisting of a cellodextrin transporter and a β-glucosidase into Saccharomyces cerevisiae enables co-fermentation of cellobiose and xylose. Cellodextrin transporter 1 (CDT1) from Neurospora crassa has been established as an effective transporter for the engineered cellobiose utilization pathways. However, cellodextrin transporter 2 (CDT2) from the same species is a facilitator and has the potential to be more efficient than CDT1 under anaerobic conditions due to its energetic benefits. Currently, CDT2 has a very low activity and is considered rate-limiting in cellobiose fermentation. Here, we report the directed evolution of CDT2 with an increased cellobiose uptake activity, which results in improved cellobiose fermentation under anaerobic conditions. After three rounds of directed evolution, the cellobiose uptake activity of CDT2 was increased by 2.2-fold, which resulted from both increased specific activity and transporter expression level. Using high cell density fermentation under anaerobic conditions, the evolved mutant conferred 4.0- and 4.4-fold increase in the cellobiose consumption rate and ethanol productivity, respectively. In addition, although the cellobiose uptake activity was still lower than that of CDT1, the engineered CDT2 showed significantly improved cellobiose consumption and ethanol production under anaerobic conditions, representing the energetic benefits of a sugar facilitator for anaerobic cellobiose fermentation. This study demonstrated that anaerobic biofuel production could be significantly improved via directed evolution of a sugar transporter protein in yeast.

  16. Evolution of egoism on semi-directed and undirected Barabási-Albert networks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lima, F. W. S.

    2015-05-01

    Through Monte Carlo simulations, we study the evolution of the four strategies: Ethnocentric, altruistic, egoistic and cosmopolitan in one community of individuals. Interactions and reproduction among computational agents are simulated on undirected and semi-directed Barabási-Albert (BA) networks. We study the Hammond-Axelrod (HA) model on undirected and semi-directed BA networks for the asexual reproduction case. With a small modification in the traditional HA model, our simulations showed that egoism wins, differently from other results found in the literature where ethnocentric strategy is common. Here, mechanisms such as reciprocity are absent.

  17. The pattern of mammalian evolution and the relative rate of molecular evolution

    SciTech Connect

    Easteal, S. )

    1990-01-01

    The rates of nucleotide substitution at four genes in four orders of eutherian mammals are compared in relative rate tests using marsupial orthologs for reference. There is no evidence of systematic variation in evolutionary rate among the orders. The sequences are used to reconstruct the phylogeny of the orders using maximum likelihood, parsimony and compatibility methods. A branching order of rodent then ungulate then primate and lagomorph is overwhelmingly indicated. The nodes of the nucleotide based cladograms are widely separated in relation to the total lengths of the branches. The assumption of a star phylogeny that underlies Kimura's test for molecular evolutionary rate variation is shown to be invalid for eutherian mammals. Excess variance in nucleotide or amino acid differences between mammalian orders, above that predicted by neutral theory is explained better by variation in divergence time than by variation in evolutionary rate.

  18. The Molecular Basis of Evolution and Disease: A Cold War Alliance.

    PubMed

    Suárez-Díaz, Edna

    2017-03-28

    This paper extends previous arguments against the assumption that the study of variation at the molecular level was instigated with a view to solving an internal conflict between the balance and classical schools of population genetics. It does so by focusing on the intersection of basic research in protein chemistry and the molecular approach to disease with the enactment of global health campaigns during the Cold War period. The paper connects advances in research on protein structure and function as reflected in Christian Anfinsen´s The molecular basis of evolution, with a political reading of Emilé Zuckerkandl and Linus Pauling's identification of molecular disease and evolution. Beyond atomic fallout, these advances constituted a rationale for the promotion of genetic surveys of human populations in the Third World, in connection with international health programs. Light is shed not only on the experimental roots of the molecular challenge but on the broader geopolitical context where the rising role of biomedicine and public health (particularly the malaria eradication campaigns) had an impact on evolutionary biology.

  19. Morphological and Molecular Evolution Are Not Linked in Lamellodiscus (Plathyhelminthes, Monogenea)

    PubMed Central

    Poisot, Timothée; Verneau, Olivier; Desdevises, Yves

    2011-01-01

    Lamellodiscus Johnston & Tiegs 1922 (Monogenea, Diplectanidae) is a genus of common parasites on the gills of sparid fishes. Here we show that this genus is probably undergoing a fast molecular diversification, as reflected by the important genetic variability observed within three molecular markers (partial nuclear 18S rDNA, Internal Transcribed Spacer 1, and mitonchondrial Cytochrome Oxidase I). Using an updated phylogeny of this genus, we show that molecular and morphological evolution are weakly correlated, and that most of the morphologically defined taxonomical units are not consistent with the molecular data. We suggest that Lamellodiscus morphology is probably constrained by strong environmental (host-induced) pressure, and discuss why this result can apply to other taxa. Genetic variability within nuclear 18S and mitochondrial COI genes are compared for several monogenean genera, as this measure may reflect the level of diversification within a genus. Overall our results suggest that cryptic speciation events may occur within Lamellodiscus, and discuss the links between morphological and molecular evolution. PMID:22022582

  20. Evolution of molecular clouds in the starburst galaxy NGC 1808 revealed with ALMA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Salak, D.; Nakai, N.; Miyamoto, Y.

    2015-05-01

    We present large-field CO(1-0) observations of the starburst galaxy NGC 1808 conducted with ALMA. High-resolution (˜100 pc) images reveal a high concentration of molecular gas in the nucleus, 500-pc ring, gas-rich bar, and spiral arms. We derived the bar pattern speed and found an offset between CO and Hα emission peaks in the offset ridges along the bar. The results indicate that the evolution of molecular clouds on the galactic scale is driven by bar dynamics.

  1. A molecular mechanism for direct sirtuin activation by resveratrol.

    PubMed

    Gertz, Melanie; Nguyen, Giang Thi Tuyet; Fischer, Frank; Suenkel, Benjamin; Schlicker, Christine; Fränzel, Benjamin; Tomaschewski, Jana; Aladini, Firouzeh; Becker, Christian; Wolters, Dirk; Steegborn, Clemens

    2012-01-01

    Sirtuins are protein deacetylases regulating metabolism, stress responses, and aging processes, and they were suggested to mediate the lifespan extending effect of a low calorie diet. Sirtuin activation by the polyphenol resveratrol can mimic such lifespan extending effects and alleviate metabolic diseases. The mechanism of Sirtuin stimulation is unknown, hindering the development of improved activators. Here we show that resveratrol inhibits human Sirt3 and stimulates Sirt5, in addition to Sirt1, against fluorophore-labeled peptide substrates but also against peptides and proteins lacking the non-physiological fluorophore modification. We further present crystal structures of Sirt3 and Sirt5 in complex with fluorogenic substrate peptide and modulator. The compound acts as a top cover, closing the Sirtuin's polypeptide binding pocket and influencing details of peptide binding by directly interacting with this substrate. Our results provide a mechanism for the direct activation of Sirtuins by small molecules and suggest that activators have to be tailored to a specific Sirtuin/substrate pair.

  2. Development of a Dinitrosyl Iron Complex Molecular Catalyst into a Hydrogen Evolution Cathode.

    PubMed

    Chiou, Tzung-Wen; Lu, Tsai-Te; Wu, Ying-Hao; Yu, Yi-Ju; Chu, Li-Kang; Liaw, Wen-Feng

    2015-12-01

    Despite extensive efforts, the electrocatalytic reduction of water using homogeneous/heterogeneous Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, W, and Mo complexes remains challenging because of issues involving the development of efficient, recyclable, stable, and aqueous-compatible catalysts. In this study, evolution of the de novo designed dinitrosyl iron complex DNIC-PMDTA from a molecular catalyst into a solid-state hydrogen evolution cathode, considering all the parameters to fulfill the electronic and structural requirements of each step of the catalytic cycle, is demonstrated. DNIC-PMDTA reveals electrocatalytic reduction of water at neutral and basic media, whereas its deposit on electrode preserves exceptional longevity, 139 h. This discovery will initiate a systematic study on the assembly of [Fe(NO)2] motif into current collector for mass production of H2, whereas the efficiency remains tailored by its molecular precursor [(L)Fe(NO)2].

  3. Evolution of land plants: insights from molecular studies on basal lineages.

    PubMed

    Ishizaki, Kimitsune

    2017-01-01

    The invasion of the land by plants, or terrestrialization, was one of the most critical events in the history of the Earth. The evolution of land plants included significant transformations in body plans: the emergence of a multicellular diploid sporophyte, transition from gametophyte-dominant to sporophyte-dominant life histories, and development of many specialized tissues and organs, such as stomata, vascular tissues, roots, leaves, seeds, and flowers. Recent advances in molecular genetics in two model basal plants, bryophytes Physcomitrella patens and Marchantia polymorpha, have begun to provide answers to several key questions regarding land plant evolution. This paper discusses the evolution of the genes and regulatory mechanisms that helped drive such significant morphological innovations among land-based plants.

  4. Directed evolution of polymerases to accept nucleotides with nonstandard hydrogen bond patterns.

    PubMed

    Laos, Roberto; Shaw, Ryan; Leal, Nicole A; Gaucher, Eric; Benner, Steven

    2013-08-06

    Artificial genetic systems have been developed by synthetic biologists over the past two decades to include additional nucleotides that form additional nucleobase pairs independent of the standard T:A and C:G pairs. Their use in various tools to detect and analyze DNA and RNA requires polymerases that synthesize duplex DNA containing unnatural base pairs. This is especially true for nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which has been shown to dramatically lower noise in multiplexed nested PCR if nonstandard nucleotides are used in their external primers. We report here the results of a directed evolution experiment seeking variants of Taq DNA polymerase that can support the nested PCR amplification with external primers containing two particular nonstandard nucleotides, 2-amino-8-(1'-β-d-2'-deoxyribofuranosyl)imidazo[1,2-a]-1,3,5-triazin-4(8H)-one (trivially called P) that pairs with 6-amino-5-nitro-3-(1'-β-d-2'-deoxyribofuranosyl)-2(1H)-pyridone (trivially called Z). Variants emerging from the directed evolution experiments were shown to pause less when challenged in vitro to incorporate dZTP opposite P in a template. Interestingly, several sites involved in the adaptation of Taq polymerases in the laboratory were also found to have displayed "heterotachy" (different rates of change) in their natural history, suggesting that these sites were involved in an adaptive change in natural polymerase evolution. Also remarkably, the polymerases evolved to be less able to incorporate dPTP opposite Z in the template, something that was not selected. In addition to being useful in certain assay architectures, this result underscores the general rule in directed evolution that "you get what you select for".

  5. A Novel Application of Synthetic Biology and Directed Evolution to Engineer Phage-based Antibiotics

    SciTech Connect

    Wu, Meiye

    2014-09-01

    The emergence of multiple drug resistant bacteria poses threats to human health, agriculture and food safety. Annually over 100,000 deaths and up to $20 billion loss to the U.S. economy are attributed to multiple drug resistant bacteria. With only four new chemical antibiotics in the drug development pipeline, we are in dire need of new solutions to address the emerging threat of multiple drug resistance. We propose a paradigm-changing approach to address the multi-drug resistant bacteria problem by utilizing Synthetic Biology (SynBio) methodologies to create and evolve “designer” bacteriophages or phages – viruses that specifically infect bacteria – to infect and kill newly emerging pathogenic bacterial strains WITHOUT the need for chemical antibiotics. A major advantage of using phage to combat pathogenic bacteria is that phages can co-evolve with their bacterial host, and Sandia can be the first in the world to establish an industrial scale Synthetic Biology pipeline for phage directed evolution for safe, targeted, customizable solution to bacterial drug resistance. Since there is no existing phage directed evolution effort within or outside of Sandia, this proposal is suitable as a high-risk LDRD effort to create the first pipeline for such an endeavor. The high potential reward nature of this proposal will be the immediate impact in decontamination and restoration of surfaces and infrastructure, with longer term impact in human or animal therapeutics. The synthetic biology and screening approaches will lead to fundamental knowledge of phage/bacteria co-evolution, making Sandia a world leader in directed evolution of bacteriophages.

  6. Photochemistry. Evidence for direct molecular oxygen production in CO₂ photodissociation.

    PubMed

    Lu, Zhou; Chang, Yih Chung; Yin, Qing-Zhu; Ng, C Y; Jackson, William M

    2014-10-03

    Photodissociation of carbon dioxide (CO2) has long been assumed to proceed exclusively to carbon monoxide (CO) and oxygen atom (O) primary products. However, recent theoretical calculations suggested that an exit channel to produce C + O2 should also be energetically accessible. Here we report the direct experimental evidence for the C + O2 channel in CO2 photodissociation near the energetic threshold of the C((3)P) + O2(X(3)Σ(g)(-)) channel with a yield of 5 ± 2% using vacuum ultraviolet laser pump-probe spectroscopy and velocity-map imaging detection of the C((3)PJ) product between 101.5 and 107.2 nanometers. Our results may have implications for nonbiological oxygen production in CO2-heavy atmospheres.

  7. Ecological and Lineage-Specific Factors Drive the Molecular Evolution of Rhodopsin in Cichlid Fishes.

    PubMed

    Torres-Dowdall, Julián; Henning, Frederico; Elmer, Kathryn R; Meyer, Axel

    2015-11-01

    The visual system in the colorful cichlid fishes from the African great lakes is believed to be important for their adaptive radiations. However, few studies have attempted to compare the visual system of radiating cichlid lineages with that of cichlids that have not undergone recent radiations. One such study published in this journal (Schott RK, Refvik SP, Hauser FE, López-Fernández H, Chang BSW. 2014. Divergent positive selection in rhodopsin from lake and riverine cichlid fishes. Mol Biol Evol. 31:1149-1165) found divergent selection on rhodopsin between African lacustrine and riverine cichlid species and riverine Neotropical cichlids, concluding that ecology drives the molecular evolution of this opsin. Here, we expand this analysis by incorporating rhodopsin sequences from Neotropical lacustrine cichlids and show that both ecology and phylogeny are important drivers of the molecular evolution of rhodopsin in cichlids. We found little overlap of sites under selection between African and Neotropical lineages and a faster rate of molecular evolution in African compared with Neotropical cichlids. These results support the notion that genetic or population genetic features particular to African cichlids contributed to their radiations.

  8. Five molecular markers reveal extensive morphological homoplasy and reticulate evolution in the Malva alliance (Malvaceae).

    PubMed

    Escobar García, Pedro; Schönswetter, Peter; Fuertes Aguilar, Javier; Nieto Feliner, Gonzalo; Schneeweiss, Gerald M

    2009-02-01

    The Malva alliance is a well-defined group with extensive morphological homoplasy. As a result, the relationships among the taxa as well as the evolution of morphological traits have remained elusive and the traditional classifications are highly artificial. Using five molecular markers (nuclear ITS, plastid matK plus trnK, ndhF, trnL-trnF, psbA-trnH), we arrived at a phylogenetic hypothesis of this group, the genera Alcea, Althaea and Malvalthaea being studied here for the first time with molecular data. Althaea and, in particular, Lavatera and Malva are highly polyphyletic as currently circumscribed, because their diagnostic characters, the number and degree of fusion of the epicalyx bracts, evolve in a highly homoplasious manner. In contrast, fruit morphology largely agrees with the molecularly delimited groups. Hybrid origins confirmed for the genus Malvalthaea and for Lavatera mauritanica and hybridization in the group of ruderal small-flowered mallows underline the importance of reticulate evolution in shaping the history of this group and complicating the interpretation of morphological evolution.

  9. A new model for biological effects of radiation and the driven force of molecular evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wada, Takahiro; Manabe, Yuichiro; Nakajima, Hiroo; Tsunoyama, Yuichi; Bando, Masako

    We proposed a new mathematical model to estimate biological effects of radiation, which we call Whack-A-Mole (WAM) model. A special feature of WAM model is that it involves the dose rate of radiation as a key ingredient. We succeeded to reproduce the experimental data of various species concerning the radiation induced mutation frequencies. From the analysis of the mega-mouse experiments, we obtained the mutation rate per base-pair per year for mice which is consistent with the so-called molecular clock in evolution genetics, 10-9 mutation/base-pair/year. Another important quantity is the equivalent dose rate for the whole spontaneous mutation, deff. The value of deff for mice is 1.1*10-3 Gy/hour which is much larger than the dose rate of natural radiation (10- (6 - 7) Gy/hour) by several orders of magnitude. We also analyzed Drosophila data and obtained essentially the same numbers. This clearly indicates that the natural radiation is not the dominant driving force of the molecular evolution, but we should look for other factors, such as miscopy of DNA in duplication process. We believe this is the first quantitative proof of the small contribution of the natural radiation in the molecular evolution.

  10. Is ultra-violet radiation the main force shaping molecular evolution of varicella-zoster virus?

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Varicella (chickenpox) exhibits a characteristic epidemiological pattern which is associated with climate. In general, primary infections in tropical regions are comparatively less frequent among children than in temperate regions. This peculiarity regarding varicella-zoster virus (VZV) infection among certain age groups in tropical regions results in increased susceptibility during adulthood in these regions. Moreover, this disease shows a cyclic behavior in which the number of cases increases significantly during winter and spring. This observation further supports the participation of environmental factors in global epidemiology of chickenpox. However, the underlying mechanisms responsible for this distinctive disease behavior are not understood completely. In a recent publication, Philip S. Rice has put forward an interesting hypothesis suggesting that ultra-violet (UV) radiation is the major environmental factor driving the molecular evolution of VZV. Discussion While we welcomed the attempt to explain the mechanisms controlling VZV transmission and distribution, we argue that Rice's hypothesis takes lightly the circulation of the so called "temperate VZV genotypes" in tropical regions and, to certain degree, overlooks the predominance of such lineages in certain non-temperate areas. Here, we further discuss and present new information about the overwhelming dominance of temperate VZV genotypes in Mexico regardless of geographical location and climate. Summary UV radiation does not satisfactorily explain the distribution of VZV genotypes in different tropical and temperate regions of Mexico. Additionally, the cyclic behavior of varicella does not shown significant differences between regions with different climates in the country. More studies should be conducted to identify the factors directly involved in viral spreading. A better understanding of the modes of transmissions exploited by VZV and their effect on viral fitness is likely to facilitate

  11. Molecular evolution of a steroid hydroxylating cytochrome P450 using a versatile steroid detection system for screening.

    PubMed

    Virus, Cornelia; Bernhardt, Rita

    2008-12-01

    Molecular evolution is a powerful tool for improving or changing activities of enzymes for their use in biotechnological processes. Cytochromes P450 are highly interesting enzymes for biotechnological purposes because they are able to hydroxylate a broad variety of substrates with high regio- and stereoselectivity. One promising steroid hydroxylating cytochrome P450 for biotechnological applications is CYP106A2 from Bacillus megaterium ATCC 13368. It is one of a few known bacterial cytochromes P450 able to transform steroids such as progesterone and 11-deoxycortisol. CYP106A2 can be easily expressed in Escherichia coli with a high yield and can be reconstituted using the adrenal redox proteins, adrenodoxin and adrenodoxin reductase. We developed a simple screening assay for this system and performed random mutagenesis of CYP106A2, yielding variants with improved 11-deoxycortisol and progesterone hydroxylation activity. After two generations of directed evolution, we were able to improve the k (cat)/K (m) of the 11-deoxycortisol hydroxylation by a factor of more than four. At the same time progesterone conversion was improved about 1.4-fold. Mapping the mutations identified in catalytically improved CYP106A2 variants into the structure of a CYP106A2 model suggests that these mutations influence the mobility of the F/G loop, and the interaction with the redox partner adrenodoxin. The results show the evolution of a soluble steroid hydroxylase as a potential new catalyst for the production of steroidogenic compounds.

  12. Antibody biomarker discovery through in vitro directed evolution of consensus recognition epitopes.

    PubMed

    Ballew, John T; Murray, Joseph A; Collin, Pekka; Mäki, Markku; Kagnoff, Martin F; Kaukinen, Katri; Daugherty, Patrick S

    2013-11-26

    To enable discovery of serum antibodies indicative of disease and simultaneously develop reagents suitable for diagnosis, in vitro directed evolution was applied to identify consensus peptides recognized by patients' serum antibodies. Bacterial cell-displayed peptide libraries were quantitatively screened for binders to serum antibodies from patients with celiac disease (CD), using cell-sorting instrumentation to identify two distinct consensus epitope families specific to CD patients (PEQ and (E)/DxFV(Y)/FQ). Evolution of the (E)/DxFV(Y)/FQ consensus epitope identified a celiac-specific epitope, distinct from the two CD hallmark antigens tissue transglutaminase-2 and deamidated gliadin, exhibiting 71% sensitivity and 99% specificity (n = 231). Expansion of the first-generation PEQ consensus epitope via in vitro evolution yielded octapeptides QPEQAFPE and PFPEQxFP that identified ω- and γ-gliadins, and their deamidated forms, as immunodominant B-cell epitopes in wheat and related cereal proteins. The evolved octapeptides, but not first-generation peptides, discriminated one-way blinded CD and non-CD sera (n = 78) with exceptional accuracy, yielding 100% sensitivity and 98% specificity. Because this method, termed antibody diagnostics via evolution of peptides, does not require prior knowledge of pathobiology, it may be broadly useful for de novo discovery of antibody biomarkers and reagents for their detection.

  13. Texture Evolution of a Non-oriented Electrical Steel Cold Rolled at Directions Different from the Hot Rolling Direction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    He, Youliang; Hilinski, Erik; Li, Jian

    2015-11-01

    With the objective of optimizing the crystallographic texture of non-oriented electrical steel, i.e., reducing the <111>//ND and <110>//RD fibers and promoting the <001>//ND texture, a new rolling scheme was proposed and tested, in which the cold rolling direction (CRD) was intentionally inclined at an angle to the hot rolling direction (HRD) in order to change the orientation flow paths during cold rolling and alter the final texture of the annealed sheets. A non-oriented electrical steel containing 0.88 wt pct Si was hot rolled using conventional routes and annealed, and a number of rectangular plates were cut from the hot band with the longitudinal directions inclined at various angles, i.e., 0, 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, and 90 deg, to the HRD. These plates were then cold rolled along the longitudinal directions with a thickness reduction of 72 pct. The cold-rolled samples were annealed, temper rolled and annealed again (final annealing). The texture evolution during hot rolling, hot band annealing, cold rolling, and final annealing was characterized by electron backscatter diffraction and X-ray diffraction techniques. By changing the CRD with respect to the HRD, the initial texture and the orientation flow paths were altered, which resulted in apparent differences in the textures as compared to conventional cold rolling. After temper rolling and final annealing, the recrystallization textures consisted of mainly a <001>//ND fiber and there was almost no <111>//ND fiber. The sample cold rolled at an angle of 60 deg to the HRD had the strongest texture (intensity almost 2× of conventional rolling) with a maximum at the cube {001}<100> orientation—a magnetically favorable orientation for non-oriented electrical steels.

  14. Evolution in response to direct and indirect ecological effects in pitcher plant inquiline communities.

    PubMed

    terHorst, Casey P

    2010-12-01

    Ecologists have long recognized the importance of indirect ecological effects on species abundances, coexistence, and diversity. However, the evolutionary consequences of indirect interactions are rarely considered. Here I conduct selection experiments and examine the evolutionary response of Colpoda sp., a ciliated protozoan, to other members of the inquiline community of purple pitcher plants (Sarracenia purpurea). I measured the evolution of six traits in response to (1) predation by mosquito larvae, (2) competition from other ciliated protozoans, and (3) simultaneous predation and competition. The latter treatment incorporated both direct effects and indirect effects due to interactions between predators and competitors. Population growth rate and cell size evolved in response to direct effects of predators and competitors. However, trait values in the multispecies treatment were similar to those in the monoculture treatment, indicating that direct effects were offset by strong indirect effects on the evolution of traits. For most of the traits measured, indirect effects were opposed to, and often stronger than, direct effects. These indirect effects occurred as a result of behavioral changes of the predator in the presence of competitors and as a result of reduced densities of competitors in the presence of predators. Incorporating indirect effects provides a more realistic description of how species evolve in complex natural communities.

  15. Modeling of microstructure evolution in direct metal laser sintering: A phase field approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nandy, Jyotirmoy; Sarangi, Hrushikesh; Sahoo, Seshadev

    2017-02-01

    Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) is a new technology in the field of additive manufacturing, which builds metal parts in a layer by layer fashion directly from the powder bed. The process occurs within a very short time period with rapid solidification rate. Slight variations in the process parameters may cause enormous change in the final build parts. The physical and mechanical properties of the final build parts are dependent on the solidification rate which directly affects the microstructure of the material. Thus, the evolving of microstructure plays a vital role in the process parameters optimization. Nowadays, the increase in computational power allows for direct simulations of microstructures during materials processing for specific manufacturing conditions. In this study, modeling of microstructure evolution of Al-Si-10Mg powder in DMLS process was carried out by using a phase field approach. A MATLAB code was developed to solve the set of phase field equations, where simulation parameters include temperature gradient, laser scan speed and laser power. The effects of temperature gradient on microstructure evolution were studied and found that with increase in temperature gradient, the dendritic tip grows at a faster rate.

  16. Light-powered autonomous and directional molecular motion of a dissipative self-assembling system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ragazzon, Giulio; Baroncini, Massimo; Silvi, Serena; Venturi, Margherita; Credi, Alberto

    2015-01-01

    Biomolecular motors convert energy into directed motion and operate away from thermal equilibrium. The development of dynamic chemical systems that exploit dissipative (non-equilibrium) processes is a challenge in supramolecular chemistry and a premise for the realization of artificial nanoscale motors. Here, we report the relative unidirectional transit of a non-symmetric molecular axle through a macrocycle powered solely by light. The molecular machine rectifies Brownian fluctuations by energy and information ratchet mechanisms and can repeat its working cycle under photostationary conditions. The system epitomizes the conceptual and practical elements forming the basis of autonomous light-powered directed motion with a minimalist molecular design.

  17. Directed evolution of new and improved enzyme functions using an evolutionary intermediate and multidirectional search.

    PubMed

    Porter, Joanne L; Boon, Priscilla L S; Murray, Tracy P; Huber, Thomas; Collyer, Charles A; Ollis, David L

    2015-02-20

    The ease with which enzymes can be adapted from their native roles and engineered to function specifically for industrial or commercial applications is crucial to enabling enzyme technology to advance beyond its current state. Directed evolution is a powerful tool for engineering enzymes with improved physical and catalytic properties and can be used to evolve enzymes where lack of structural information may thwart the use of rational design. In this study, we take the versatile and diverse α/β hydrolase fold framework, in the form of dienelactone hydrolase, and evolve it over three unique sequential evolutions with a total of 14 rounds of screening to generate a series of enzyme variants. The native enzyme has a low level of promiscuous activity toward p-nitrophenyl acetate but almost undetectable activity toward larger p-nitrophenyl esters. Using p-nitrophenyl acetate as an evolutionary intermediate, we have generated variants with altered specificity and catalytic activity up to 3 orders of magnitude higher than the native enzyme toward the larger nonphysiological p-nitrophenyl ester substrates. Several variants also possess increased stability resulting from the multidimensional approach to screening. Crystal structure analysis and substrate docking show how the enzyme active site changes over the course of the evolutions as either a direct or an indirect result of mutations.

  18. Directed long-range molecular migration energized by surface reaction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harikumar, K. R.; Polanyi, John C.; Zabet-Khosousi, Amir; Czekala, Piotr; Lin, Haiping; Hofer, Werner A.

    2011-05-01

    The recoil of adsorbates away (desorption) and towards (reaction) surfaces is well known. Here, we describe the long-range recoil of adsorbates in the plane of a surface, and accordingly the novel phenomenon of reactions occurring at a substantial distance from the originating event. Three thermal and three electron-induced surface reactions are shown by scanning tunnelling microscopy to propel their physisorbed ethylenic products across the rough surface of Si(100) over a distance of up to 200 Å before an attachment reaction. The recoil energy in the ethylenic products comes from thermal exoergicity or from electronic excitation of chemisorbed alkenes. We propose that the mechanism of migration is a rolling motion, because the recoiling molecule overcomes raised surface obstacles. Electronic excitation of propene causes directional recoil and often end-to-end inversion, suggesting cartwheeling. Ab initio calculations of the halogenation and electron-induced reactions support a model in which asymmetric forces between the molecule and the surface induce rotation and therefore migration.

  19. Direct molecular hydrogen sulphide scrubbing with hollowfibre membranes.

    PubMed

    Boucif, N; Jefferson, B; Parsons-, S A; Judd, S J; Stuetz, R M

    2001-01-01

    The emission of hydrogen sulphide is a major problem associated with anaerobic treatment of sulphate and sulphite containing wastewaters. Conventional absorbing processes, such as packed towers, spray towers or bubble columns, are all constrained by factors such as flooding and foaming. Membrane systems, on the other hand, enable independent control of the liquid and gas flow rate and a step change order of magnitude increase in the specific surface area of the contact process. The membrane acts as a gas absorber with a design similar to a shell and tube heat exchanger. On the other hand, they are limited by facets of the membrane such as its resistance to mass transfer and permselectivity, as well as its cost. The work presented in this paper refers to an absorption process based on a non-wetted hollow fibre membrane for the scrubbing of hydrogen sulphide from air, with water as the contact solvent. Results presented describe the performance of the unit in terms of overall transfer and outlet liquid concentration as a function of circulation regime, gas flow rate, liquid flow rate and specific surface area. In particular, results are presented using traditional plots of Sherwood number (Sh) against Graetz (Gr) number for the liquid flowing in the lumens, such that experimental and available empirical descriptions of the process performance are directly compared. Results suggest that, as expected, very efficient mass transfer is obtained. However, the mass transfer was found to reach a maximum value against Gr, contrary to available empirical models.

  20. Sodium channel genes and the evolution of diversity in communication signals of electric fishes: convergent molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    Zakon, Harold H; Lu, Ying; Zwickl, Derrick J; Hillis, David M

    2006-03-07

    We investigated whether the evolution of electric organs and electric signal diversity in two independently evolved lineages of electric fishes was accompanied by convergent changes on the molecular level. We found that a sodium channel gene (Na(v)1.4a) that is expressed in muscle in nonelectric fishes has lost its expression in muscle and is expressed instead in the evolutionarily novel electric organ in both lineages of electric fishes. This gene appears to be evolving under positive selection in both lineages, facilitated by its restricted expression in the electric organ. This view is reinforced by the lack of evidence for selection on this gene in one electric species in which expression of this gene is retained in muscle. Amino acid replacements occur convergently in domains that influence channel inactivation, a key trait for shaping electric communication signals. Some amino acid replacements occur at or adjacent to sites at which disease-causing mutations have been mapped in human sodium channel genes, emphasizing that these replacements occur in functionally important domains. Selection appears to have acted on the final step in channel inactivation, but complementarily on the inactivation "ball" in one lineage, and its receptor site in the other lineage. Thus, changes in the expression and sequence of the same gene are associated with the independent evolution of signal complexity.

  1. Influence of shear motion on evolution of molecular clouds in the spiral galaxy M 51

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miyamoto, Yusuke; Nakai, Naomasa; Kuno, Nario

    2014-04-01

    We have investigated the dynamics of the molecular gas and the evolution of giant molecular associations (GMAs) in the spiral galaxy M 51 with the Nobeyama Radio Observatory 45-m telescope. The velocity components of the molecular gas perpendicular and parallel to the spiral arms are derived at each spiral phase from the distribution of the line-of-sight velocity of the CO gas. In addition, the shear motion in the galactic disk is determined from the velocity vectors at each spiral phase. It is revealed that the distributions of the shear strength and of GMAs are anti-correlated. GMAs exist only in the area of the weak shear strength and further on the upstream side of the high shear strength. GMAs and most giant molecular clouds (GMCs) exist in the regions where the shear critical surface density is smaller than the gravitational critical surface density, indicating that they can stably grow by self-gravity and the collisional agglomeration of small clouds without being destroyed by shear motion. These factors indicate that the shear motion is an important factor in evolution of GMCs and GMAs.

  2. The effect of development on the direction of evolution: toward a twenty-first century consensus.

    PubMed

    Arthur, Wallace

    2004-01-01

    One of the most important questions in evolutionary biology is: what orients the evolutionary process? That is, what causes evolution to proceed toward certain developmental trajectories, and hence phenotypes, rather than others? In particular, there has been prolonged controversy over whether the direction of evolution is determined solely by external factors or whether the nature of the ontogenetic process, and the ways in which it can be altered by mutations in developmental genes, may also play a major role. Here, I examine this issue, concentrating on the following: the possible evolutionary orienting role of "developmental bias;" the question of whether selection can and/or will break bias; the extent to which bias is already incorporated in quantitative genetic studies; and ways of approaching the possible role of bias in the origin of evolutionary novelties. Finally, I suggest that developmental bias may provide a focal point for the coming together of conceptual and practical approaches to evo-devo.

  3. Thermally induced structural evolution and performance of mesoporous block copolymer-directed alumina perovskite solar cells.

    PubMed

    Tan, Kwan Wee; Moore, David T; Saliba, Michael; Sai, Hiroaki; Estroff, Lara A; Hanrath, Tobias; Snaith, Henry J; Wiesner, Ulrich

    2014-05-27

    Structure control in solution-processed hybrid perovskites is crucial to design and fabricate highly efficient solar cells. Here, we utilize in situ grazing incidence wide-angle X-ray scattering and scanning electron microscopy to investigate the structural evolution and film morphologies of methylammonium lead tri-iodide/chloride (CH3NH3PbI(3-x)Cl(x)) in mesoporous block copolymer derived alumina superstructures during thermal annealing. We show the CH3NH3PbI(3-x)Cl(x) material evolution to be characterized by three distinct structures: a crystalline precursor structure not described previously, a 3D perovskite structure, and a mixture of compounds resulting from degradation. Finally, we demonstrate how understanding the processing parameters provides the foundation needed for optimal perovskite film morphology and coverage, leading to enhanced block copolymer-directed perovskite solar cell performance.

  4. Simultaneous optimization of enzyme activity and quaternary structure by directed evolution

    PubMed Central

    Vamvaca, Katherina; Butz, Maren; Walter, Kai U.; Taylor, Sean V.; Hilvert, Donald

    2005-01-01

    Natural evolution has produced efficient enzymes of enormous structural diversity. We imitated this natural process in the laboratory to augment the efficiency of an engineered chorismate mutase with low activity and an unusual hexameric topology. By applying two rounds of DNA shuffling and genetic selection, we obtained a 400-fold more efficient enzyme, containing three non-active-site mutations. Detailed biophysical characterization of the evolved variant suggests that it exists predominantly as a trimer in solution, but is otherwise similarly stable as the parent hexamer. The dramatic structural and functional effects achieved by a small number of seemingly innocuous substitutions highlights the utility of directed evolution for modifying protein–protein interactions to produce novel quaternary states with optimized activities. PMID:15987889

  5. Protein change in plant evolution: tracing one thread connecting molecular and phenotypic diversity.

    PubMed

    Bartlett, Madelaine E; Whipple, Clinton J

    2013-10-10

    Proteins change over the course of evolutionary time. New protein-coding genes and gene families emerge and diversify, ultimately affecting an organism's phenotype and interactions with its environment. Here we survey the range of structural protein change observed in plants and review the role these changes have had in the evolution of plant form and function. Verified examples tying evolutionary change in protein structure to phenotypic change remain scarce. We will review the existing examples, as well as draw from investigations into domestication, and quantitative trait locus (QTL) cloning studies searching for the molecular underpinnings of natural variation. The evolutionary significance of many cloned QTL has not been assessed, but all the examples identified so far have begun to reveal the extent of protein structural diversity tolerated in natural systems. This molecular (and phenotypic) diversity could come to represent part of natural selection's source material in the adaptive evolution of novel traits. Protein structure and function can change in many distinct ways, but the changes we identified in studies of natural diversity and protein evolution were predicted to fall primarily into one of six categories: altered active and binding sites; altered protein-protein interactions; altered domain content; altered activity as an activator or repressor; altered protein stability; and hypomorphic and hypermorphic alleles. There was also variability in the evolutionary scale at which particular changes were observed. Some changes were detected at both micro- and macroevolutionary timescales, while others were observed primarily at deep or shallow phylogenetic levels. This variation might be used to determine the trajectory of future investigations in structural molecular evolution.

  6. Protein change in plant evolution: tracing one thread connecting molecular and phenotypic diversity

    PubMed Central

    Bartlett, Madelaine E.; Whipple, Clinton J.

    2013-01-01

    Proteins change over the course of evolutionary time. New protein-coding genes and gene families emerge and diversify, ultimately affecting an organism’s phenotype and interactions with its environment. Here we survey the range of structural protein change observed in plants and review the role these changes have had in the evolution of plant form and function. Verified examples tying evolutionary change in protein structure to phenotypic change remain scarce. We will review the existing examples, as well as draw from investigations into domestication, and quantitative trait locus (QTL) cloning studies searching for the molecular underpinnings of natural variation. The evolutionary significance of many cloned QTL has not been assessed, but all the examples identified so far have begun to reveal the extent of protein structural diversity tolerated in natural systems. This molecular (and phenotypic) diversity could come to represent part of natural selection’s source material in the adaptive evolution of novel traits. Protein structure and function can change in many distinct ways, but the changes we identified in studies of natural diversity and protein evolution were predicted to fall primarily into one of six categories: altered active and binding sites; altered protein–protein interactions; altered domain content; altered activity as an activator or repressor; altered protein stability; and hypomorphic and hypermorphic alleles. There was also variability in the evolutionary scale at which particular changes were observed. Some changes were detected at both micro- and macroevolutionary timescales, while others were observed primarily at deep or shallow phylogenetic levels. This variation might be used to determine the trajectory of future investigations in structural molecular evolution. PMID:24124420

  7. Nuclear Architecture and Patterns of Molecular Evolution Are Correlated in the Ciliate Chilodonella uncinata

    PubMed Central

    Maurer-Alcalá, Xyrus X.; Katz, Laura A.

    2016-01-01

    The relationship between nuclear architecture and patterns of molecular evolution in lineages across the eukaryotic tree of life is not well understood, partly because molecular evolution is traditionally explored as changes in base pairs along a linear sequence without considering the context of nuclear position of chromosomes. The ciliate Chilodonella uncinata is an ideal system to address the relationship between nuclear architecture and patterns of molecular evolution as the somatic macronucleus of this ciliate is composed of a peripheral DNA-rich area (orthomere) and a DNA-poor central region (paramere) to form a “heteromeric” macronucleus. Moreover, because the somatic chromosomes of C. uncinata are highly processed into “gene-sized” chromosomes (i.e., nanochromosomes), we can assess fine-scale relationships between location and sequence evolution. By combining fluorescence microscopy and analyses of transcriptome data from C. uncinata, we find that highly expressed genes have the greatest codon usage bias and are enriched in DNA-poor regions. In contrast, genes with less biased sequences tend to be concentrated in DNA abundant areas, at least during vegetative growth. Our analyses are consistent with recent work in plants and animals where nuclear architecture plays a role in gene expression. At the same time, the unusual localization of nanochromosomes suggests that the highly structured nucleus in C. uncinata may create a “gene bank” that facilitates rapid changes in expression of genes required only in specific life history stages. By using “nonmodel” organisms like C. uncinata, we can explore the universality of eukaryotic features while also providing examples of novel properties (i.e., the presence of a gene bank) that build from these features. PMID:27189988

  8. From the ultrasonic to the infrared: molecular evolution and the sensory biology of bats

    PubMed Central

    Jones, Gareth; Teeling, Emma C.; Rossiter, Stephen J.

    2013-01-01

    Great advances have been made recently in understanding the genetic basis of the sensory biology of bats. Research has focused on the molecular evolution of candidate sensory genes, genes with known functions [e.g., olfactory receptor (OR) genes] and genes identified from mutations associated with sensory deficits (e.g., blindness and deafness). For example, the FoxP2 gene, underpinning vocal behavior and sensorimotor coordination, has undergone diversification in bats, while several genes associated with audition show parallel amino acid substitutions in unrelated lineages of echolocating bats and, in some cases, in echolocating dolphins, representing a classic case of convergent molecular evolution. Vision genes encoding the photopigments rhodopsin and the long-wave sensitive opsin are functional in bats, while that encoding the short-wave sensitive opsin has lost functionality in rhinolophoid bats using high-duty cycle laryngeal echolocation, suggesting a sensory trade-off between investment in vision and echolocation. In terms of olfaction, bats appear to have a distinctive OR repertoire compared with other mammals, and a gene involved in signal transduction in the vomeronasal system has become non-functional in most bat species. Bitter taste receptors appear to have undergone a “birth-and death” evolution involving extensive gene duplication and loss, unlike genes coding for sweet and umami tastes that show conservation across most lineages but loss in vampire bats. Common vampire bats have also undergone adaptations for thermoperception, via alternative splicing resulting in the evolution of a novel heat-sensitive channel. The future for understanding the molecular basis of sensory biology is promising, with great potential for comparative genomic analyses, studies on gene regulation and expression, exploration of the role of alternative splicing in the generation of proteomic diversity, and linking genetic mechanisms to behavioral consequences. PMID

  9. From the ultrasonic to the infrared: molecular evolution and the sensory biology of bats.

    PubMed

    Jones, Gareth; Teeling, Emma C; Rossiter, Stephen J

    2013-01-01

    Great advances have been made recently in understanding the genetic basis of the sensory biology of bats. Research has focused on the molecular evolution of candidate sensory genes, genes with known functions [e.g., olfactory receptor (OR) genes] and genes identified from mutations associated with sensory deficits (e.g., blindness and deafness). For example, the FoxP2 gene, underpinning vocal behavior and sensorimotor coordination, has undergone diversification in bats, while several genes associated with audition show parallel amino acid substitutions in unrelated lineages of echolocating bats and, in some cases, in echolocating dolphins, representing a classic case of convergent molecular evolution. Vision genes encoding the photopigments rhodopsin and the long-wave sensitive opsin are functional in bats, while that encoding the short-wave sensitive opsin has lost functionality in rhinolophoid bats using high-duty cycle laryngeal echolocation, suggesting a sensory trade-off between investment in vision and echolocation. In terms of olfaction, bats appear to have a distinctive OR repertoire compared with other mammals, and a gene involved in signal transduction in the vomeronasal system has become non-functional in most bat species. Bitter taste receptors appear to have undergone a "birth-and death" evolution involving extensive gene duplication and loss, unlike genes coding for sweet and umami tastes that show conservation across most lineages but loss in vampire bats. Common vampire bats have also undergone adaptations for thermoperception, via alternative splicing resulting in the evolution of a novel heat-sensitive channel. The future for understanding the molecular basis of sensory biology is promising, with great potential for comparative genomic analyses, studies on gene regulation and expression, exploration of the role of alternative splicing in the generation of proteomic diversity, and linking genetic mechanisms to behavioral consequences.

  10. Eventful evolution of giant molecular clouds in dynamically evolving spiral arms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baba, Junichi; Morokuma-Matsui, Kana; Saitoh, Takayuki R.

    2017-01-01

    The formation and evolution of giant molecular clouds (GMCs) in spiral galaxies have been investigated in the traditional framework of the combined quasi-stationary density wave and galactic shock model. In this study, we investigate the structure and evolution of GMCs in a dynamically evolving spiral arm using a three-dimensional N-body/hydrodynamic simulation of a barred spiral galaxy at parsec-scale resolution. This simulation incorporated self-gravity, molecular hydrogen formation, radiative cooling, heating due to interstellar far-ultraviolet radiation, and stellar feedback by both H II regions and Type II supernovae. In contrast to a simple expectation based on the traditional spiral model, the GMCs exhibited no systematic evolutionary sequence across the spiral arm. Our simulation showed that the GMCs behaved as highly dynamic objects with eventful lives involving collisional build-up, collision-induced star formation, and destruction via stellar feedback. The GMC lifetimes were predicted to be short, only a few tens of millions years. We also found that at least at the resolutions and with the feedback models used in this study, most of the GMCs without H II regions were collapsing, but half of the GMCs with H II regions were expanding owing to the H II-region feedback from stars within them. Our results support the dynamic and feedback-regulated GMC evolution scenario. Although the simulated GMCs were converging rather than virial equilibrium, they followed the observed scaling relationship well. We also analysed the effects of galactic tides and external pressure on GMC evolution and suggested that GMCs cannot be regarded as isolated systems since their evolution in disc galaxies is complicated because of these environmental effects.

  11. Directed evolution of brain-derived neurotrophic factor for improved folding and expression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

    PubMed

    Burns, Michael L; Malott, Thomas M; Metcalf, Kevin J; Hackel, Benjamin J; Chan, Jonah R; Shusta, Eric V

    2014-09-01

    Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays an important role in nervous system function and has therapeutic potential. Microbial production of BDNF has resulted in a low-fidelity protein product, often in the form of large, insoluble aggregates incapable of binding to cognate TrkB or p75 receptors. In this study, employing Saccharomyces cerevisiae display and secretion systems, it was found that BDNF was poorly expressed and partially inactive on the yeast surface and that BDNF was secreted at low levels in the form of disulfide-bonded aggregates. Thus, for the purpose of increasing the compatibility of yeast as an expression host for BDNF, directed-evolution approaches were employed to improve BDNF folding and expression levels. Yeast surface display was combined with two rounds of directed evolution employing random mutagenesis and shuffling to identify BDNF mutants that had 5-fold improvements in expression, 4-fold increases in specific TrkB binding activity, and restored p75 binding activity, both as displayed proteins and as secreted proteins. Secreted BDNF mutants were found largely in the form of soluble homodimers that could stimulate TrkB phosphorylation in transfected PC12 cells. Site-directed mutagenesis studies indicated that a particularly important mutational class involved the introduction of cysteines proximal to the native cysteines that participate in the BDNF cysteine knot architecture. Taken together, these findings show that yeast is now a viable alternative for both the production and the engineering of BDNF.

  12. Evolution.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Mayr, Ernst

    1978-01-01

    Traces the history of evolution theory from Lamarck and Darwin to the present. Discusses natural selection in detail. Suggests that, besides biological evolution, there is also a cultural evolution which is more rapid than the former. (MA)

  13. Construction of lycopene-overproducing Saccharomyces cerevisiae by combining directed evolution and metabolic engineering.

    PubMed

    Xie, Wenping; Lv, Xiaomei; Ye, Lidan; Zhou, Pingping; Yu, Hongwei

    2015-07-01

    Improved supply of farnesyl diphosphate (FPP) is often considered as a typical strategy for engineering Saccharomyces cerevisiae towards efficient terpenoid production. However, in the engineered strains with enhanced precursor supply, the production of the target metabolite is often impeded by insufficient capacity of the heterologous terpenoid pathways, which limits further conversion of FPP. Here, we tried to assemble an unimpeded biosynthesis pathway by combining directed evolution and metabolic engineering in S. cerevisiae for lycopene-overproduction. First, the catalytic ability of phytoene syntheses from different sources was investigated based on lycopene accumulation. Particularly, the lycopene cyclase function of the bifunctional enzyme CrtYB from Xanthophyllomyces dendrorhous was inactivated by deletion of functional domain and directed evolution to obtain mutants with solely phytoene synthase function. Coexpression of the resulting CrtYB11M mutant along with the CrtE and CrtI genes from X. dendrorhous, and the tHMG1 gene from S. cerevisiae led to production of 4.47 mg/g DCW (Dry cell weight) of lycopene and 25.66 mg/g DCW of the by-product squalene. To further increase the FPP competitiveness of the lycopene synthesis pathway, we tried to enhance the catalytic performance of CrtE by directed evolution and created a series of pathway variants by varying the copy number of Crt genes. Finally, fed-batch fermentation was conducted for the diploid strain YXWPD-14 resulting in accumulation of 1.61 g/L (24.41 mg/g DCW) of lycopene, meanwhile, the by-production of squalene was reduced to below 1 mg/g DCW.

  14. Making glucose oxidase fit for biofuel cell applications by directed protein evolution.

    PubMed

    Zhu, Ziwei; Momeu, Carmen; Zakhartsev, Maxim; Schwaneberg, Ulrich

    2006-05-15

    Progress in miniature chip-design raises demands for implantable power sources in health care applications such as continuous glucose monitoring of diabetic patients. Pioneered by Adam Heller, miniaturized enzymatic biofuel cells (mBCs) convert blood sugars into electrical energy by employing for example glucose oxidase (GOx) on the anode and bilirubin oxidase on the cathode. To match application demands it is crucial to increase lifetime and power output of mBCs. The power output has been limited by the performance of GOx on the anode. We developed a glucose oxidase detection assay (GODA) as medium-throughput screening system for improving GOx properties by directed protein evolution. GODA is a reaction product detection assay based on coupled enzymatic reactions leading to NADPH formation which is recorded at 340 nm. The main advantage of the assay is that it detects the production of d-gluconolactone instead of the side-product hydrogen peroxide and enables to improve bioelectrochemical properties of GOx. For validating the screening system, a mutagenic library of GOx from Aspergillus niger (EC 1.1.3.4) was generated and screened for improved activity using Saccharomyces cerevisiae as host. Directed evolution resulted in a GOx mutant I115V with 1.4-1.5-fold improved activity for beta-d-glucose (Vmax from 7.94 to 10.81 micromol min(-1) mg(-1); Km approximately 19-21 mM) and oxygen consumption kinetics correlate well [Vmax (O2) from 5.94 to 8.34 micromol min(-1) mg(-1); Km (O2) from 700 to 474 microM]. The developed mutagenic protocol and GODA represent a proof-of-principle that GOx can be evolved by directed evolution in S. cerevisiae for putative use in biofuel cells.

  15. Protein consensus-based surface engineering (ProCoS): a computer-assisted method for directed protein evolution.

    PubMed

    Shivange, Amol V; Hoeffken, Hans Wolfgang; Haefner, Stefan; Schwaneberg, Ulrich

    2016-12-01

    Protein consensus-based surface engineering (ProCoS) is a simple and efficient method for directed protein evolution combining computational analysis and molecular biology tools to engineer protein surfaces. ProCoS is based on the hypothesis that conserved residues originated from a common ancestor and that these residues are crucial for the function of a protein, whereas highly variable regions (situated on the surface of a protein) can be targeted for surface engineering to maximize performance. ProCoS comprises four main steps: (i) identification of conserved and highly variable regions; (ii) protein sequence design by substituting residues in the highly variable regions, and gene synthesis; (iii) in vitro DNA recombination of synthetic genes; and (iv) screening for active variants. ProCoS is a simple method for surface mutagenesis in which multiple sequence alignment is used for selection of surface residues based on a structural model. To demonstrate the technique's utility for directed evolution, the surface of a phytase enzyme from Yersinia mollaretii (Ymphytase) was subjected to ProCoS. Screening just 1050 clones from ProCoS engineering-guided mutant libraries yielded an enzyme with 34 amino acid substitutions. The surface-engineered Ymphytase exhibited 3.8-fold higher pH stability (at pH 2.8 for 3 h) and retained 40% of the enzyme's specific activity (400 U/mg) compared with the wild-type Ymphytase. The pH stability might be attributed to a significantly increased (20 percentage points; from 9% to 29%) number of negatively charged amino acids on the surface of the engineered phytase.

  16. Enzymatic site-selectivity enabled by structure-guided directed evolution.

    PubMed

    Wang, Jian-Bo; Li, Guangyue; Reetz, Manfred T

    2017-03-15

    Biocatalytic site-selective (regioselective) organic transformations have been practiced for decades, but the traditional limitations of enzymes regarding narrow substrate acceptance and the often observed insufficient degree of selectivity have persisted until recently. With the advent of directed evolution, it is possible to engineer site-selectivity to suit the needs of organic chemists. This review features recent progress in this exciting research area, selected examples involving P450 monooxygenases, halogenases and Baeyer-Villiger monooxygenases being featured for illustrative purposes. The complementary nature of enzymes and man-made catalysts is emphasized.

  17. Highly oil-producing microalgae selected through directed-evolution on a microfludic chip

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mestler, Troy; Estevez-Torres, Andre; Lambert, Guillaume; Austin, Robert H.

    2009-03-01

    Some species of photosynthetic microalgae produce signi?cant amounts of oil which can be easily converted to diesel fuel. However, as it stands today, biodiesel is signi?cantly more expensive than fossil fuels. We wish to improve the oil yield and production rate of a single species of microalgae through directed evolution. We propose to utilize our microfabication technology to create microhabitats to control the nutrient environment of the species, monitor oil production through Raman Spectroscopy, and punish colonies of algae which have low oil yield. We believe this process will produce a mutant species with a high oil yield.

  18. Engineering the properties of D-amino acid oxidases by a rational and a directed evolution approach.

    PubMed

    Pollegioni, Loredano; Sacchi, Silvia; Caldinelli, Laura; Boselli, Angelo; Pilone, Mirella S; Piubelli, Luciano; Molla, Gianluca

    2007-12-01

    D-amino acid oxidase (DAAO) is a FAD-containing flavoprotein that dehydrogenates the D-isomer of amino acids to the corresponding imino acids, coupled with the reduction of FAD. The cofactor then reoxidizes on molecular oxygen and the imino acid hydrolyzes spontaneously to the alpha-keto acid and ammonia. In vitro DAAO displays broad substrate specificity, acting on several neutral and basic D-amino acids: the most efficient substrates are amino acids with hydrophobic side chains. D-aspartic acid and D-glutamic acid are not substrates for DAAO. Through the years, it has been the subject of a number of structural, functional and kinetic investigations. The most recent advances are represented by site-directed mutagenesis studies and resolution of the 3D-structure of the enzymes from pig, human and yeast. The two approaches have given us a deeper understanding of the structure-function relationships and promoted a number of investigations aimed at the modulating the protein properties. By a rational and/or a directed evolution approach, DAAO variants with altered substrate specificity (e.g., active on acidic or on all D-amino acids), increased stability (e.g., stable up to 60 degrees C), modified interaction with the flavin cofactor, and altered oligomeric state were produced. The aim of this paper is to provide an overview of the most recent research on the engineering of DAAOs to illustrate their new intriguing properties, which also have enabled us to pursue new biotechnological applications.

  19. Reptilian heart development and the molecular basis of cardiac chamber evolution.

    PubMed

    Koshiba-Takeuchi, Kazuko; Mori, Alessandro D; Kaynak, Bogac L; Cebra-Thomas, Judith; Sukonnik, Tatyana; Georges, Romain O; Latham, Stephany; Beck, Laurel; Beck, Laural; Henkelman, R Mark; Black, Brian L; Olson, Eric N; Wade, Juli; Takeuchi, Jun K; Nemer, Mona; Gilbert, Scott F; Bruneau, Benoit G

    2009-09-03

    The emergence of terrestrial life witnessed the need for more sophisticated circulatory systems. This has evolved in birds, mammals and crocodilians into complete septation of the heart into left and right sides, allowing separate pulmonary and systemic circulatory systems, a key requirement for the evolution of endothermy. However, the evolution of the amniote heart is poorly understood. Reptilian hearts have been the subject of debate in the context of the evolution of cardiac septation: do they possess a single ventricular chamber or two incompletely septated ventricles? Here we examine heart development in the red-eared slider turtle, Trachemys scripta elegans (a chelonian), and the green anole, Anolis carolinensis (a squamate), focusing on gene expression in the developing ventricles. Both reptiles initially form a ventricular chamber that homogenously expresses the T-box transcription factor gene Tbx5. In contrast, in birds and mammals, Tbx5 is restricted to left ventricle precursors. In later stages, Tbx5 expression in the turtle (but not anole) heart is gradually restricted to a distinct left ventricle, forming a left-right gradient. This suggests that Tbx5 expression was refined during evolution to pattern the ventricles. In support of this hypothesis, we show that loss of Tbx5 in the mouse ventricle results in a single chamber lacking distinct identity, indicating a requirement for Tbx5 in septation. Importantly, misexpression of Tbx5 throughout the developing myocardium to mimic the reptilian expression pattern also results in a single mispatterned ventricular chamber lacking septation. Thus ventricular septation is established by a steep and correctly positioned Tbx5 gradient. Our findings provide a molecular mechanism for the evolution of the amniote ventricle, and support the concept that altered expression of developmental regulators is a key mechanism of vertebrate evolution.

  20. Mutagenic Organized Recombination Process by Homologous IN vivo Grouping (MORPHING) for directed enzyme evolution.

    PubMed

    Gonzalez-Perez, David; Molina-Espeja, Patricia; Garcia-Ruiz, Eva; Alcalde, Miguel

    2014-01-01

    Approaches that depend on directed evolution require reliable methods to generate DNA diversity so that mutant libraries can focus on specific target regions. We took advantage of the high frequency of homologous DNA recombination in Saccharomyces cerevisiae to develop a strategy for domain mutagenesis aimed at introducing and in vivo recombining random mutations in defined segments of DNA. Mutagenic Organized Recombination Process by Homologous IN vivo Grouping (MORPHING) is a one-pot random mutagenic method for short protein regions that harnesses the in vivo recombination apparatus of yeast. Using this approach, libraries can be prepared with different mutational loads in DNA segments of less than 30 amino acids so that they can be assembled into the remaining unaltered DNA regions in vivo with high fidelity. As a proof of concept, we present two eukaryotic-ligninolytic enzyme case studies: i) the enhancement of the oxidative stability of a H2O2-sensitive versatile peroxidase by independent evolution of three distinct protein segments (Leu28-Gly57, Leu149-Ala174 and Ile199-Leu268); and ii) the heterologous functional expression of an unspecific peroxygenase by exclusive evolution of its native 43-residue signal sequence.

  1. Mutagenic Organized Recombination Process by Homologous In Vivo Grouping (MORPHING) for Directed Enzyme Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Gonzalez-Perez, David; Molina-Espeja, Patricia; Garcia-Ruiz, Eva; Alcalde, Miguel

    2014-01-01

    Approaches that depend on directed evolution require reliable methods to generate DNA diversity so that mutant libraries can focus on specific target regions. We took advantage of the high frequency of homologous DNA recombination in Saccharomyces cerevisiae to develop a strategy for domain mutagenesis aimed at introducing and in vivo recombining random mutations in defined segments of DNA. Mutagenic Organized Recombination Process by Homologous IN vivo Grouping (MORPHING) is a one-pot random mutagenic method for short protein regions that harnesses the in vivo recombination apparatus of yeast. Using this approach, libraries can be prepared with different mutational loads in DNA segments of less than 30 amino acids so that they can be assembled into the remaining unaltered DNA regions in vivo with high fidelity. As a proof of concept, we present two eukaryotic-ligninolytic enzyme case studies: i) the enhancement of the oxidative stability of a H2O2-sensitive versatile peroxidase by independent evolution of three distinct protein segments (Leu28-Gly57, Leu149-Ala174 and Ile199-Leu268); and ii) the heterologous functional expression of an unspecific peroxygenase by exclusive evolution of its native 43-residue signal sequence. PMID:24614282

  2. Evolution of star cluster systems in isolated galaxies: first results from direct N-body simulations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rossi, L. J.; Bekki, K.; Hurley, J. R.

    2016-11-01

    The evolution of star clusters is largely affected by the tidal field generated by the host galaxy. It is thus in principle expected that under the assumption of a `universal' initial cluster mass function the properties of the evolved present-day mass function of star cluster systems should show a dependence on the properties of the galactic environment in which they evolve. To explore this expectation, a sophisticated model of the tidal field is required in order to study the evolution of star cluster systems in realistic galaxies. Along these lines, in this work we first describe a method developed for coupling N-body simulations of galaxies and star clusters. We then generate a data base of galaxy models along the Hubble sequence and calibrate evolutionary equations to the results of direct N-body simulations of star clusters in order to predict the clusters' mass evolution as function of the galactic environment. We finally apply our methods to explore the properties of evolved `universal' initial cluster mass functions and any dependence on the host galaxy morphology and mass distribution. The preliminary results show that an initial power-law distribution of the masses `universally' evolves into a lognormal distribution, with the properties correlated with the stellar mass and stellar mass density of the host galaxy.

  3. The molecular biology and evolution of feline immunodeficiency viruses of cougars.

    PubMed

    Poss, Mary; Ross, Howard; Rodrigo, Allen; Terwee, Julie; Vandewoude, Sue; Biek, Roman

    2008-05-15

    Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is a lentivirus that has been identified in many members of the family Felidae but domestic cats are the only FIV host in which infection results in disease. We studied FIVpco infection of cougars (Puma concolor) as a model for asymptomatic lentivirus infections to understand the mechanisms of host-virus coexistence. Several natural cougar populations were evaluated to determine if there are any consequences of FIVpco infection on cougar fecundity, survival, or susceptibility to other infections. We have sequenced full-length viral genomes and conducted a detailed analysis of viral molecular evolution on these sequences and on genome fragments of serially sampled animals to determine the evolutionary forces experienced by this virus in cougars. In addition, we have evaluated the molecular genetics of FIVpco in a new host, domestic cats, to determine the evolutionary consequences to a host-adapted virus associated with cross-species infection. Our results indicate that there are no significant differences in survival, fecundity or susceptibility to other infections between FIVpco-infected and uninfected cougars. The molecular evolution of FIVpco is characterized by a slower evolutionary rate and an absence of positive selection, but also by proviral and plasma viral loads comparable to those of epidemic lentiviruses such as HIV-1 or FIVfca. Evolutionary and recombination rates and selection profiles change significantly when FIVpco replicates in a new host.

  4. Molecular evolution and adaptation of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene in the subgenus Martes.

    PubMed

    Li, B; Malyarchuk, B; He, X B; Derenko, M

    2013-09-23

    Martes species represent a typical example of rapid evolutionary radiation and a recent speciation event. To identify regions of the genome that experienced adaptive evolution, which might provide clues to their functional importance and may be informative about the features that make each species unique, we sought evidence of molecular adaptation in the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) cytochrome b gene in the subgenus Martes. Complete sequences of the cytochrome b gene were obtained from 87 samples, including 49 sables, 28 pine martens, and 10 stone martens, and were combined with mtDNA sequences of other true martens, such as M. melampus and M. americana. Analysis of the cytochrome b gene variation in true martens has shown that the evolution of this gene is under negative selection. In contrast, positive selection on the cytochrome b protein has been detected by means of the software TreeSAAP using a phylogenetic reconstruction of Martes taxa. Signatures of adaptive variation in cytochrome b were restricted to the transmembrane domains, which likely function as proton pumps. We compared results of different methods for testing selection and molecular adaptation, and we supposed that the radical changes of the cytochrome b amino acid residues in the subgenus Martes may be the result of molecular adaptation to specific environmental conditions coupled with species dispersals.

  5. Evolution of ethnocentrism on undirected and directed Barabási-Albert networks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lima, F. W. S.; Hadzibeganovic, Tarik; Stauffer, Dietrich

    2009-12-01

    Using Monte Carlo simulations, we study the evolution of contingent cooperation and ethnocentrism in the one-shot game. Interactions and reproduction among computational agents are simulated on undirected and directed Barabási-Albert (BA) networks. We first replicate the Hammond-Axelrod model of in-group favoritism on a square lattice and then generalize this model on undirected and directed BA networks for both asexual and sexual reproduction cases. Our simulations demonstrate that irrespective of the mode of reproduction, the ethnocentric strategy becomes common even though cooperation is individually costly and mechanisms such as reciprocity or conformity are absent. Moreover, our results indicate that the spread of favoritism towards similar others highly depends on the network topology and the associated heterogeneity of the studied population.

  6. EDGA: A Population Evolution Direction-Guided Genetic Algorithm for Protein-Ligand Docking.

    PubMed

    Guan, Boxin; Zhang, Changsheng; Ning, Jiaxu

    2016-07-01

    Protein-ligand docking can be formulated as a search algorithm associated with an accurate scoring function. However, most current search algorithms cannot show good performance in docking problems, especially for highly flexible docking. To overcome this drawback, this article presents a novel and robust optimization algorithm (EDGA) based on the Lamarckian genetic algorithm (LGA) for solving flexible protein-ligand docking problems. This method applies a population evolution direction-guided model of genetics, in which search direction evolves to the optimum solution. The method is more efficient to find the lowest energy of protein-ligand docking. We consider four search methods-a tradition genetic algorithm, LGA, SODOCK, and EDGA-and compare their performance in docking of six protein-ligand docking problems. The results show that EDGA is the most stable, reliable, and successful.

  7. Species-specific size expansion and molecular evolution of the oleosins in angiosperms.

    PubMed

    Liu, Qi; Sun, Yepeng; Su, Wujie; Yang, Jing; Liu, Xiuming; Wang, Yanfang; Wang, Fawei; Li, Haiyan; Li, Xiaokun

    2012-11-10

    Oleosins are hydrophobic plant proteins thought to be important for the formation of oil bodies, which supply energy for seed germination and subsequent seedling growth. To better understand the evolutionary history and diversity of the oleosin gene family in plants, especially angiosperms, we systematically investigated the molecular evolution of this family using eight representative angiosperm species. A total of 73 oleosin members were identified, with six members in each of four monocot species and a greater but variable number in the four eudicots. A phylogenetic analysis revealed that the angiosperm oleosin genes belonged to three monophyletic lineages. Species-specific gene duplications, caused mainly by segmental duplication, led to the great expansion of oleosin genes and occurred frequently in eudicots after the monocot-eudicot divergence. Functional divergence analyses indicate that significant amino acid site-specific selective constraints acted on the different clades of oleosins. Adaptive evolution analyses demonstrate that oleosin genes were subject to strong purifying selection after their species-specific duplications and that rapid evolution occurred with a high degree of evolutionary dynamics in the pollen-specific oleosin genes. In conclusion, this study serves as a foundation for genome-wide analyses of the oleosins. These findings provide insight into the function and evolution of this gene family in angiosperms and pave the way for studies in other plants.

  8. Plant hemoglobins: a molecular fossil record for the evolution of oxygen transport.

    PubMed

    Hoy, Julie A; Robinson, Howard; Trent, James T; Kakar, Smita; Smagghe, Benoit J; Hargrove, Mark S

    2007-08-03

    The evolution of oxygen transport hemoglobins occurred on at least two independent occasions. The earliest event led to myoglobin and red blood cell hemoglobin in animals. In plants, oxygen transport "leghemoglobins" evolved much more recently. In both events, pentacoordinate heme sites capable of inert oxygen transfer evolved from hexacoordinate hemoglobins that have unrelated functions. High sequence homology between hexacoordinate and pentacoordinate hemoglobins in plants has poised them for potential structural analysis leading to a molecular understanding of this important evolutionary event. However, the lack of a plant hexacoordinate hemoglobin structure in the exogenously ligand-bound form has prevented such comparison. Here we report the crystal structure of the cyanide-bound hexacoordinate hemoglobin from barley. This presents the first opportunity to examine conformational changes in plant hexacoordinate hemoglobins upon exogenous ligand binding, and reveals structural mechanisms for stabilizing the high-energy pentacoordinate heme conformation critical to the evolution of reversible oxygen binding hemoglobins.

  9. PAL: an object-oriented programming library for molecular evolution and phylogenetics.

    PubMed

    Drummond, A; Strimmer, K

    2001-07-01

    Phylogenetic Analysis Library (PAL) is a collection of Java classes for use in molecular evolution and phylogenetics. PAL provides a modular environment for the rapid construction of both special-purpose and general analysis programs. PAL version 1.1 consists of 145 public classes or interfaces in 13 packages, including classes for models of character evolution, maximum-likelihood estimation, and the coalescent, with a total of more than 27000 lines of code. The PAL project is set up as a collaborative project to facilitate contributions from other researchers. AVAILIABILTY: The program is free and is available at http://www.pal-project.org. It requires Java 1.1 or later. PAL is licensed under the GNU General Public License.

  10. Structural evolution of dilute magnetic (Sn,Mn)Se films grown by molecular beam epitaxy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kanzyuba, Vasily; Dong, Sining; Liu, Xinyu; Li, Xiang; Rouvimov, Sergei; Okuno, Hanako; Mariette, Henri; Zhang, Xueqiang; Ptasinska, Sylwia; Tracy, Brian D.; Smith, David J.; Dobrowolska, Margaret; Furdyna, Jacek K.

    2017-02-01

    We describe the structural evolution of dilute magnetic (Sn,Mn)Se films grown by molecular beam epitaxy on GaAs (111) substrates, as revealed by transmission electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. When the Mn concentration is increased, the lattice of the ternary (Sn,Mn)Se films evolves quasi-coherently from a SnSe2 two-dimensional (2D) crystal structure into a more complex quasi-2D lattice rearrangement, ultimately transforming into the magnetically concentrated antiferromagnetic MnSe 3D rock-salt structure as Mn approaches 50 at. % of this material. These structural transformations are expected to underlie the evolution of magnetic properties of this ternary system reported earlier in the literature.

  11. Molecular evolution and antigenic variation of European brown hare syndrome virus (EBHSV).

    PubMed

    Lopes, Ana M; Capucci, Lorenzo; Gavier-Widén, Dolores; Le Gall-Reculé, Ghislaine; Brocchi, Emiliana; Barbieri, Ilaria; Quéméner, Agnès; Le Pendu, Jacques; Geoghegan, Jemma L; Holmes, Edward C; Esteves, Pedro J; Abrantes, Joana

    2014-11-01

    European brown hare syndrome virus (EBHSV) is the aetiological agent of European brown hare syndrome (EBHS), a disease affecting Lepus europaeus and Lepus timidus first diagnosed in Sweden in 1980. To characterize EBHSV evolution we studied hare samples collected in Sweden between 1982 and 2008. Our molecular clock dating is compatible with EBHSV emergence in the 1970s. Phylogenetic analysis revealed two lineages: Group A persisted until 1989 when it apparently suffered extinction; Group B emerged in the mid-1980s and contains the most recent strains. Antigenic differences exist between groups, with loss of reactivity of some MAbs over time, which are associated with amino acid substitutions in recognized epitopes. A role for immune selection is also supported by the presence of positively selected codons in exposed regions of the capsid. Hence, EBHSV evolution is characterized by replacement of Group A by Group B viruses, suggesting that the latter possess a selective advantage.

  12. Directed evolution of adenylosuccinate synthetase from Bacillus subtilis and its application in metabolic engineering.

    PubMed

    Wang, Xiaoyue; Wang, Guanglu; Li, Xinli; Fu, Jing; Chen, Tao; Wang, Zhiwen; Zhao, Xueming

    2016-08-10

    Adenylosuccinate synthetase (EC. 6.3.4.4) encoded by purA in Bacillus subtilis, catalyzing the first step of the conversion of IMP to AMP, plays an important role in flux distribution in the purine biosynthetic pathway. In this study, we described the use of site saturation mutagenesis to obtain a desired enzyme activity of adenylosuccinate synthetase and its application in flux regulation. Based on sequence alignment and structural modeling, a library of enzyme variants was created by a semi-rational evolution strategy in position Thr238 and Pro242. Other than purA deletion, the leaky mutation purA(P242N) partially reduced the flux towards AMP derived from IMP and increased the riboflavin synthesis precursor GTP, while also kept the requirement of ATP synthesis for cell growth. PurA(P242N) was introduced into an inosine-producing strain and resulted in an approximately 4.66-fold increase in inosine production, from 0.088±0.009g/L to 0.41±0.051g/L, in minimal medium without hypoxanthine accumulation. These results underline that the directed evolution of adenylosuccinate synthetase could tailor its activities and adjust metabolic flux. This mutation may provide a promising application in purine-based product accumulation, like inosine, guanosine and folate which are directly stemming from purine pathway in B. subtilis.

  13. Directed evolution of subtilisin E in Bacillus subtilis to enhance total activity in aqueous dimethylformamide.

    PubMed

    You, L; Arnold, F H

    1996-01-01

    Sequential rounds of error-prone PCR to introduce random mutations and screening of the resultant mutant libraries have been used to enhance the total catalytic activity of subtilisin E significantly in a non-natural environment, aqueous dimethylformamide (DMF). Seven DNA substitutions coding for three new amino acid substitutions were identified in a mutant isolated after two additional generations of directed evolution carried out on 10M subtilisin E, previously "evolved' to increase its specific activity in DMF. A Bacillus subtilis-Escherichia coli shuttle vector was developed in order to increase the size of the mutant library that could be established in B.subtilis and the stringency of the screening process was increased to reflect total as well as specific activity. This directed evolution approach has been extremely effective for improving enzyme activity in a non-natural environment: the resulting-evolved 13M subtilisin exhibits specific catalytic efficiency towards the hydrolysis of a peptide substrate succinyl-Ala-Ala-Pro-Phe-p-nitroanilide in 60% DMF solution that is three times that of the parent 10M and 471 times that of wild type subtilisin E. The total activity of the 13M culture supernatant is enhanced 16-fold over that of the parent 10M.

  14. Assessing directed evolution methods for the generation of biosynthetic enzymes with potential in drug biosynthesis.

    PubMed

    Nannemann, David P; Birmingham, William R; Scism, Robert A; Bachmann, Brian O

    2011-05-01

    To address the synthesis of increasingly structurally diverse small-molecule drugs, methods for the generation of efficient and selective biological catalysts are becoming increasingly important. 'Directed evolution' is an umbrella term referring to a variety of methods for improving or altering the function of enzymes using a nature-inspired twofold strategy of mutagenesis followed by selection. This article provides an objective assessment of the effectiveness of directed evolution campaigns in generating enzymes with improved catalytic parameters for new substrates from the last decade, excluding studies that aimed to select for only improved physical properties and those that lack kinetic characterization. An analysis of the trends of methodologies and their success rates from 81 qualifying examples in the literature reveals the average fold improvement for k (cat) (or V (max)), K (m) and k (cat)/K (m) to be 366-, 12- and 2548-fold, respectively, whereas the median fold improvements are 5.4, 3 and 15.6. Further analysis by enzyme class, library-generation methodology and screening methodology explores relationships between successful campaigns and the methodologies employed.

  15. No evidence for directional evolution of body mass in herbivorous theropod dinosaurs.

    PubMed

    Zanno, Lindsay E; Makovicky, Peter J

    2013-01-22

    The correlation between large body size and digestive efficiency has been hypothesized to have driven trends of increasing mass in herbivorous clades by means of directional selection. Yet, to date, few studies have investigated this relationship from a phylogenetic perspective, and none, to our knowledge, with regard to trophic shifts. Here, we reconstruct body mass in the three major subclades of non-avian theropod dinosaurs whose ecomorphology is correlated with extrinsic evidence of at least facultative herbivory in the fossil record--all of which also achieve relative gigantism (more than 3000 kg). Ordinary least-squares regressions on natural log-transformed mean mass recover significant correlations between increasing mass and geological time. However, tests for directional evolution in body mass find no support for a phylogenetic trend, instead favouring passive models of trait evolution. Cross-correlation of sympatric taxa from five localities in Asia reveals that environmental influences such as differential habitat sampling and/or taphonomic filtering affect the preserved record of dinosaurian body mass in the Cretaceous. Our results are congruent with studies documenting that behavioural and/or ecological factors may mitigate the benefit of increasing mass in extant taxa, and suggest that the hypothesis can be extrapolated to herbivorous lineages across geological time scales.

  16. No evidence for directional evolution of body mass in herbivorous theropod dinosaurs

    PubMed Central

    Zanno, Lindsay E.; Makovicky, Peter J.

    2013-01-01

    The correlation between large body size and digestive efficiency has been hypothesized to have driven trends of increasing mass in herbivorous clades by means of directional selection. Yet, to date, few studies have investigated this relationship from a phylogenetic perspective, and none, to our knowledge, with regard to trophic shifts. Here, we reconstruct body mass in the three major subclades of non-avian theropod dinosaurs whose ecomorphology is correlated with extrinsic evidence of at least facultative herbivory in the fossil record—all of which also achieve relative gigantism (more than 3000 kg). Ordinary least-squares regressions on natural log-transformed mean mass recover significant correlations between increasing mass and geological time. However, tests for directional evolution in body mass find no support for a phylogenetic trend, instead favouring passive models of trait evolution. Cross-correlation of sympatric taxa from five localities in Asia reveals that environmental influences such as differential habitat sampling and/or taphonomic filtering affect the preserved record of dinosaurian body mass in the Cretaceous. Our results are congruent with studies documenting that behavioural and/or ecological factors may mitigate the benefit of increasing mass in extant taxa, and suggest that the hypothesis can be extrapolated to herbivorous lineages across geological time scales. PMID:23193135

  17. eCodonOpt: a systematic computational framework for optimizing codon usage in directed evolution experiments

    PubMed Central

    Moore, Gregory L.; Maranas, Costas D.

    2002-01-01

    We present a systematic computational framework, eCodonOpt, for designing parental DNA sequences for directed evolution experiments through codon usage optimization. Given a set of homologous parental proteins to be recombined at the DNA level, the optimal DNA sequences encoding these proteins are sought for a given diversity objective. We find that the free energy of annealing between the recombining DNA sequences is a much better descriptor of the extent of crossover formation than sequence identity. Three different diversity targets are investigated for the DNA shuffling protocol to showcase the utility of the eCodonOpt framework: (i) maximizing the average number of crossovers per recombined sequence; (ii) minimizing bias in family DNA shuffling so that each of the parental sequence pair contributes a similar number of crossovers to the library; and (iii) maximizing the relative frequency of crossovers in specific structural regions. Each one of these design challenges is formulated as a constrained optimization problem that utilizes 0–1 binary variables as on/off switches to model the selection of different codon choices for each residue position. Computational results suggest that many-fold improvements in the crossover frequency, location and specificity are possible, providing valuable insights for the engineering of directed evolution protocols. PMID:12034828

  18. Dieselzymes: development of a stable and methanol tolerant lipase for biodiesel production by directed evolution

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Biodiesels are methyl esters of fatty acids that are usually produced by base catalyzed transesterification of triacylglyerol with methanol. Some lipase enzymes are effective catalysts for biodiesel synthesis and have many potential advantages over traditional base or acid catalyzed transesterification. Natural lipases are often rapidly inactivated by the high methanol concentrations used for biodiesel synthesis, however, limiting their practical use. The lipase from Proteus mirabilis is a particularly promising catalyst for biodiesel synthesis as it produces high yields of methyl esters even in the presence of large amounts of water and expresses very well in Escherichia coli. However, since the Proteus mirabilis lipase is only moderately stable and methanol tolerant, these properties need to be improved before the enzyme can be used industrially. Results We employed directed evolution, resulting in a Proteus mirabilis lipase variant with 13 mutations, which we call Dieselzyme 4. Dieselzyme 4 has greatly improved thermal stability, with a 30-fold increase in the half-inactivation time at 50°C relative to the wild-type enzyme. The evolved enzyme also has dramatically increased methanol tolerance, showing a 50-fold longer half-inactivation time in 50% aqueous methanol. The immobilized Dieselzyme 4 enzyme retains the ability to synthesize biodiesel and has improved longevity over wild-type or the industrially used Brukholderia cepacia lipase during many cycles of biodiesel synthesis. A crystal structure of Dieselzyme 4 reveals additional hydrogen bonds and salt bridges in Dieselzyme 4 compared to the wild-type enzyme, suggesting that polar interactions may become particularly stabilizing in the reduced dielectric environment of the oil and methanol mixture used for biodiesel synthesis. Conclusions Directed evolution was used to produce a stable lipase, Dieselzyme 4, which could be immobilized and re-used for biodiesel synthesis. Dieselzyme 4 outperforms

  19. Non-unity molecular heritability demonstrated by continuous evolution in vitro

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schmitt, T.; Lehman, N.

    1999-01-01

    INTRODUCTION: When catalytic RNA is evolved in vitro, the molecule's chemical reactivity is usually the desired selection target. Sometimes the phenotype of a particular RNA molecule cannot be unambiguously determined from its genotype, however. This can occur if a nucleotide sequence can adopt multiple folded states, an example of non-unity heritability (i.e. one genotype gives rise to more than one phenotype). In these cases, more rounds of selection are required to achieve a phenotypic shift. We tested the influence of non-unity heritability at the molecular level by selecting for variants of a ligase ribozyme via continuous evolution. RESULTS: During 20 bursts of continuous evolution of a 152-nucleotide ligase ribozyme in which the Mg2+ concentration was periodically lowered, a nine-error variant of the starting 'wild-type' molecule became dominant in the last eight bursts. This variant appears to be more active than the wild type. Kinetic analyses of the mutant suggest that it may not possess a higher first-order catalytic rate constant, however. Examination of the multiple RNA conformations present under the continuous evolution conditions suggests that the mutant is superior to the wild type because it is less likely to misfold into inactive conformers. CONCLUSIONS: The evolution of genotypes that are more likely to exhibit a particular phenotype is an epiphenomenon usually ascribed only to complex living systems. We show that this can occur at the molecular level, demonstrating that in vitro systems may have more life-like characteristics than previously thought, and providing additional support for an RNA world.

  20. Evolution of a single gene highlights the complexity underlying molecular descriptions of fitness

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peña, Matthew I.; Van Itallie, Elizabeth; Bennett, Matthew R.; Shamoo, Yousif

    2010-06-01

    Evolution by natural selection is the driving force behind the endless variation we see in nature, yet our understanding of how changes at the molecular level give rise to different phenotypes and altered fitness at the population level remains inadequate. The reproductive fitness of an organism is the most basic metric that describes the chance that an organism will succeed or fail in its environment and it depends upon a complex network of inter- and intramolecular interactions. A deeper understanding of the quantitative relationships relating molecular evolution to adaptation, and consequently fitness, can guide our understanding of important issues in biomedicine such as drug resistance and the engineering of new organisms with applications to biotechnology. We have developed the "weak link" approach to determine how changes in molecular structure and function can relate to fitness and evolutionary outcomes. By replacing adenylate kinase (AK), an essential gene, in a thermophile with a homologous AK from a mesophile we have created a maladapted weak link that produces a temperature-sensitive phenotype. The recombinant strain adapts to nonpermissive temperatures through point mutations to the weak link that increase both stability and activity of the enzyme AK at higher temperatures. Here, we propose a fitness function relating enzyme activity to growth rate and use it to create a dynamic model of a population of bacterial cells. Using metabolic control analysis we show that the growth rate exhibits thresholdlike behavior, saturating at high enzyme activity as other reactions in the energy metabolism pathway become rate limiting. The dynamic model accurately recapitulates observed evolutionary outcomes. These findings suggest that in vitro enzyme kinetic data, in combination with metabolic network analysis, can be used to create fitness functions and dynamic models of evolution within simple metabolic systems.

  1. Direct optical determination of interfacial transport barriers in molecular tunnel junctions.

    PubMed

    Fereiro, Jerry A; McCreery, Richard L; Bergren, Adam Johan

    2013-07-03

    Molecular electronics seeks to build circuitry using organic components with at least one dimension in the nanoscale domain. Progress in the field has been inhibited by the difficulty in determining the energy levels of molecules after being perturbed by interactions with the conducting contacts. We measured the photocurrent spectra for large-area aliphatic and aromatic molecular tunnel junctions with partially transparent copper top contacts. Where no molecular absorption takes place, the photocurrent is dominated by internal photoemission, which exhibits energy thresholds corresponding to interfacial transport barriers, enabling their direct measurement in a functioning junction.

  2. Molecular dynamics simulations of the structure evolutions of Cu-Zr metallic glasses under irradiation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lang, Lin; Tian, Zean; Xiao, Shifang; Deng, Huiqiu; Ao, Bingyun; Chen, Piheng; Hu, Wangyu

    2017-02-01

    Molecular dynamics simulations have been performed to investigate the structural evolution of Cu64.5Zr35.5 metallic glasses under irradiation. The largest standard cluster analysis (LSCA) method was used to quantify the microstructure within the collision cascade regions. It is found that the majority of clusters within the collision cascade regions are full and defective icosahedrons. Not only the smaller structures (common neighbor subcluster) but also primary clusters greatly changed during the collision cascades; while most of these radiation damages self-recover quickly in the following quench states. These findings indicate the Cu-Zr metallic glasses have excellent irradiation-resistance properties.

  3. Thiol-catalyzed formation of lactate and glycerate from glyceraldehyde. [significance in molecular evolution

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Weber, A. L.

    1983-01-01

    The rate of lactate formation from glyceraldehyde, catalyzed by N-acetyl-cysteine at ambient temperature in aqueous sodium phosphate (pH 7.0), is more rapid at higher sodium phosphate concentrations and remains essentially the same in the presence and absence of oxygen. The dramatic increase in the rate of glycerate formation that is brought about by this thiol, N-acetylcysteine, is accompanied by commensurate decreases in the rates of glycolate and formate production. It is suggested that the thiol-dependent formation of lactate and glycerate occurs by way of their respective thioesters. Attention is given to the significance of these reactions in the context of molecular evolution.

  4. Mutagenesis and functional selection protocols for directed evolution of proteins in E. coli.

    PubMed

    Troll, Chris; Alexander, David; Allen, Jennifer; Marquette, Jacob; Camps, Manel

    2011-03-16

    The efficient generation of genetic diversity represents an invaluable molecular tool that can be used to label DNA synthesis, to create unique molecular signatures, or to evolve proteins in the laboratory. Here, we present a protocol that allows the generation of large (>10(11)) mutant libraries for a given target sequence. This method is based on replication of a ColE1 plasmid encoding the desired sequence by a low-fidelity variant of DNA polymerase I (LF-Pol I). The target plasmid is transformed into a mutator strain of E. coli and plated on solid media, yielding between 0.2 and 1 mutations/kb, depending on the location of the target gene. Higher mutation frequencies are achieved by iterating this process of mutagenesis. Compared to alternative methods of mutagenesis, our protocol stands out for its simplicity, as no cloning or PCR are involved. Thus, our method is ideal for mutational labeling of plasmids or other Pol I templates or to explore large sections of sequence space for the evolution of activities not present in the original target. The tight spatial control that PCR or randomized oligonucleotide-based methods offer can also be achieved through subsequent cloning of specific sections of the library. Here we provide protocols showing how to create a random mutant library and how to establish drug-based selections in E. coli to identify mutants exhibiting new biochemical activities.

  5. A first continuous 4-aminoantipyrine (4-AAP)-based screening system for directed esterase evolution.

    PubMed

    Lülsdorf, Nina; Vojcic, Ljubica; Hellmuth, Hendrik; Weber, Thomas T; Mußmann, Nina; Martinez, Ronny; Schwaneberg, Ulrich

    2015-06-01

    Esterases hydrolyze ester bonds with an often high stereoselectivity as well as regioselectivity and are therefore industrially employed in the synthesis of pharmaceuticals, in food processing, and in laundry detergents. Continuous screening systems based on p-nitrophenyl- (e.g., p-nitrophenyl acetate) or umbelliferyl-esters are commonly used in directed esterase evolution campaigns. Ongoing challenges in directed esterase evolution are screening formats which offer a broad substrate spectrum, especially for complex aromatic substrates. In this report, a novel continuous high throughput screening system for indirect monitoring of esterolytic activity was developed and validated by detection of phenols employing phenyl benzoate as substrate and p-nitrobenzyl esterase (pNBEBL from Bacillus licheniformis) as catalyst. The released phenol directly reacts with 4-aminoantipyrine yielding the red compound 1,5-dimethyl-4-(4-oxo-cyclohexa-2,5-dienylidenamino)-2-phenyl-1,2-dihydro-pyrazol-3-one. In this continuous B. licheniformis esterase activity detection system (cBLE-4AAP), the product formation is followed through an increase in absorbance at 509 nm. The cBLE-4AAP screening system was optimized in 96-well microtiter plate format in respect to standard deviation (5 %), linear detection range (15 to 250 μM), lower detection limit (15 μM), and pH (7.4 to 10.4). The cBLE-4AAP screening system was validated by screening a random epPCR pNBEBL mutagenesis library (2000 clones) for improved esterase activity at elevated temperatures. Finally, the variant T3 (Ser378Pro) was identified which nearly retains its specific activity at room temperature (WT 1036 U/mg and T3 929 U/mg) and shows compared to WT a 4.7-fold improved residual activity after thermal treatment (30 min incubation at 69.4 °C; WT 170 U/mg to T3 804 U/mg).

  6. Evaluation of Luminescent P450 Analysis for Directed Evolution of Human CYP4A11.

    PubMed

    Choi, Seunghye; Han, Songhee; Lee, Hwayoun; Chun, Young-Jin; Kim, Donghak

    2013-11-01

    Cytochrome P450 4A11 (CYP4A11) is a fatty acid hydroxylase enzyme expressed in human liver. It catalyzes not only the hydroxylation of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, but the conversion of arachidonic acid to 20-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid (20-HETE), a regulator of blood pressure. In this study, we performed a directed evolution analysis of CYP4A11 using the luminogenic assay system. A random mutant library of CYP4A11, in which mutations were made throughout the entire coding region, was screened with luciferase activity to detect the demethylation of luciferin-4A (2-[6-methoxyquinolin-2-yl]-4,5-dihydrothiazole-4-carboxylic acid) of CYP4A11 mutants in Escherichia coli. Consecutive rounds of random mutagenesis and screening yielded three improved CYP4A11 mutants, CP2600 (A24T/T263A), CP2601 (T263A), and CP2616 (A24T/T263A/V430E) with ~3-fold increase in whole cells and >10-fold increase in purified proteins on the luminescence assay. However, the steady state kinetic analysis for lauric acid hydroxylation showed the significant reductions in enzymatic activities in all three mutants. A mutant, CP2600, showed a 51% decrease in catalytic efficiency (k cat/K m) for lauric acid hydroxylation mainly due to an increase in K m. CP2601 and CP2616 showed much greater reductions (>75%) in the catalytic efficiency due to both a decrease in k cat and an increase in K m. These decreased catalytic activities of CP2601 and CP2616 can be partially attributed to the changes in substrate affinities. These results suggest that the enzymatic activities of CYP4A11 mutants selected from directed evolution using a luminogenic P450 substrate may not demonstrate a direct correlation with the hydroxylation activities of lauric acid.

  7. Thermoadaptation-directed evolution of chloramphenicol acetyltransferase in an error-prone thermophile using improved procedures.

    PubMed

    Kobayashi, Jyumpei; Furukawa, Megumi; Ohshiro, Takashi; Suzuki, Hirokazu

    2015-07-01

    Enhancing the thermostability of thermolabile enzymes extends their practical utility. We previously demonstrated that an error-prone thermophile derived from Geobacillus kaustophilus HTA426 can generate mutant genes encoding enzyme variants that are more thermostable than the parent enzyme. Here, we used this approach, termed as thermoadaptation-directed enzyme evolution, to increase the thermostability of the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) of Staphylococcus aureus and successfully generated a CAT variant with an A138T replacement (CAT(A138T)). This variant was heterologously produced, and its enzymatic properties were compared with those of the wild type. We found that CAT(A138T) had substantially higher thermostability than CAT but had comparable activities, showing that the A138T replacement enhanced protein thermostability without affecting the catalytic activity. Because variants CAT(A138S) and CAT(A138V), which were generated via in vitro site-directed mutagenesis, were more thermostable than CAT, the thermostability enhancement resulting from the A138T replacement can be attributed to both the presence of a hydroxyl group and the bulk of the threonine side chain. CAT(A138T) conferred chloramphenicol resistance to G. kaustophilus cells at high temperature more efficiently than CAT. Therefore, the gene encoding CAT(A138T) may be useful as a genetic marker in Geobacillus spp. Notably, CAT(A138T) generation was achieved only by implementing improved procedures (plasmid-based mutations on solid media); previous procedures (chromosome-based mutations in liquid media) were unsuccessful. This result suggests that this improved procedure is crucial for successful thermoadaptation-directed evolution in certain cases and increases the opportunities for generating thermostable enzymes.

  8. Molecular diversity and evolution of myticin-C antimicrobial peptide variants in the Mediterranean mussel, Mytilus galloprovincialis.

    PubMed

    Padhi, Abinash; Verghese, Bindhu

    2008-07-01

    Mussels have diverse groups of cysteine rich, cationic antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) (defensins, mytilins, myticins, and mytimycin) that constitute an important component of their innate immune defence. Despite the identification and characterization of these AMPs in mussels, the underlying genetic mechanisms that maintain high diversity among multiple variants of the myticin-C isoform are poorly understood. Using phylogeny-based models of sequence evolution and several site-by-site frequency spectrum statistical tests for neutrality, herein we report that positive selection has been the major driving force in maintaining high diversity among the allelic-variants of the myticin-C AMP of Mytilus galloprovincialis. The statistical tests rejected the hypothesis that all polymorphism within myticin-C loci is neutral. Although a majority of the codons constrained to purifying selection (rate of amino acid replacement to the silent substitution, omega < 1), approximately 8% of the codons with omega approximately equal to 5.5 are under positive selection (omega > 1), thus indicating adaptive evolution of certain amino acids. Direct interaction of these peptides with the surrounding pathogens and/or altered/new pathogens in the changing environment is the likely cause of molecular adaptation of certain amino acid sites in myticin-C variants.

  9. The genome as a life-history character: why rate of molecular evolution varies between mammal species

    PubMed Central

    Bromham, Lindell

    2011-01-01

    DNA sequences evolve at different rates in different species. This rate variation has been most closely examined in mammals, revealing a large number of characteristics that can shape the rate of molecular evolution. Many of these traits are part of the mammalian life-history continuum: species with small body size, rapid generation turnover, high fecundity and short lifespans tend to have faster rates of molecular evolution. In addition, rate of molecular evolution in mammals might be influenced by behaviour (such as mating system), ecological factors (such as range restriction) and evolutionary history (such as diversification rate). I discuss the evidence for these patterns of rate variation, and the possible explanations of these correlations. I also consider the impact of these systematic patterns of rate variation on the reliability of the molecular date estimates that have been used to suggest a Cretaceous radiation of modern mammals, before the final extinction of the dinosaurs. PMID:21807731

  10. Synthesis of a specified, silica molecular sieve by using computationally predicted organic structure-directing agents.

    PubMed

    Schmidt, Joel E; Deem, Michael W; Davis, Mark E

    2014-08-04

    Crystalline molecular sieves are used in numerous applications, where the properties exploited for each technology are the direct consequence of structural features. New materials are typically discovered by trial and error, and in many cases, organic structure-directing agents (OSDAs) are used to direct their formation. Here, we report the first successful synthesis of a specified molecular sieve through the use of an OSDA that was predicted from a recently developed computational method that constructs chemically synthesizable OSDAs. Pentamethylimidazolium is computationally predicted to have the largest stabilization energy in the STW framework, and is experimentally shown to strongly direct the synthesis of pure-silica STW. Other OSDAs with lower stabilization energies did not form STW. The general method demonstrated here to create STW may lead to new, simpler OSDAs for existing frameworks and provide a way to predict OSDAs for desired, theoretical frameworks.

  11. Direct induction of molecular alignment in liquid crystal polymer network film by photopolymerization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hisano, K.; Aizawa, M.; Ishizu, M.; Kurata, Y.; Shishido, A.

    2016-09-01

    Liquid crystal (LC) is the promising material for the fabrication of high-performance soft, flexible devices. The fascinating and useful properties arise from their cooperative effect that inherently allows the macroscopic integration and control of molecular alignment through various external stimuli. To date, light-matter interaction is the most attractive stimuli and researchers developed photoalignment through photochemical or photophysical reactions triggered by linearly polarized light. Here we show the new choice based on molecular diffusion by photopolymerization. We found that photopolymerization of a LC monomer and a crosslinker through a photomask enables to direct molecular alignment in the resultant LC polymer network film. The key generating the molecular alignment is molecular diffusion due to the difference of chemical potentials between irradiated and unirradiated regions. This concept is applicable to various shapes of photomask and two-dimensional molecular alignments can be fabricated depending on the spatial design of photomask. By virtue of the inherent versatility of molecular diffusion in materials, the process would shed light on the fabrication of various high-performance flexible materials with molecular alignment having controlled patterns.

  12. Anticipatory dynamics of biological systems: from molecular quantum states to evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Igamberdiev, Abir U.

    2015-08-01

    Living systems possess anticipatory behaviour that is based on the flexibility of internal models generated by the system's embedded description. The idea was suggested by Aristotle and is explicitly introduced to theoretical biology by Rosen. The possibility of holding the embedded internal model is grounded in the principle of stable non-equilibrium (Bauer). From the quantum mechanical view, this principle aims to minimize energy dissipation in expense of long relaxation times. The ideas of stable non-equilibrium were developed by Liberman who viewed living systems as subdivided into the quantum regulator and the molecular computer supporting coherence of the regulator's internal quantum state. The computational power of the cell molecular computer is based on the possibility of molecular rearrangements according to molecular addresses. In evolution, the anticipatory strategies are realized both as a precession of phylogenesis by ontogenesis (Berg) and as the anticipatory search of genetic fixation of adaptive changes that incorporates them into the internal model of genetic system. We discuss how the fundamental ideas of anticipation can be introduced into the basic foundations of theoretical biology.

  13. Major Radiations in the Evolution of Caviid Rodents: Reconciling Fossils, Ghost Lineages, and Relaxed Molecular Clocks

    PubMed Central

    Pérez, María Encarnación; Pol, Diego

    2012-01-01

    Background Caviidae is a diverse group of caviomorph rodents that is broadly distributed in South America and is divided into three highly divergent extant lineages: Caviinae (cavies), Dolichotinae (maras), and Hydrochoerinae (capybaras). The fossil record of Caviidae is only abundant and diverse since the late Miocene. Caviids belongs to Cavioidea sensu stricto (Cavioidea s.s.) that also includes a diverse assemblage of extinct taxa recorded from the late Oligocene to the middle Miocene of South America (“eocardiids”). Results A phylogenetic analysis combining morphological and molecular data is presented here, evaluating the time of diversification of selected nodes based on the calibration of phylogenetic trees with fossil taxa and the use of relaxed molecular clocks. This analysis reveals three major phases of diversification in the evolutionary history of Cavioidea s.s. The first two phases involve two successive radiations of extinct lineages that occurred during the late Oligocene and the early Miocene. The third phase consists of the diversification of Caviidae. The initial split of caviids is dated as middle Miocene by the fossil record. This date falls within the 95% higher probability distribution estimated by the relaxed Bayesian molecular clock, although the mean age estimate ages are 3.5 to 7 Myr older. The initial split of caviids is followed by an obscure period of poor fossil record (refered here as the Mayoan gap) and then by the appearance of highly differentiated modern lineages of caviids, which evidentially occurred at the late Miocene as indicated by both the fossil record and molecular clock estimates. Conclusions The integrated approach used here allowed us identifying the agreements and discrepancies of the fossil record and molecular clock estimates on the timing of the major events in cavioid evolution, revealing evolutionary patterns that would not have been possible to gather using only molecular or paleontological data alone. PMID

  14. Speciation and extinction drive the appearance of directional range size evolution in phylogenies and the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Pigot, Alex L; Owens, Ian P F; Orme, C David L

    2012-01-01

    While the geographic range of a species is a fundamental unit of macroecology and a leading predictor of extinction risk, the evolutionary dynamics of species' ranges remain poorly understood. Based on statistical associations between range size and species age, many studies have claimed support for general models of range evolution in which the area occupied by a species varies predictably over the course of its life. Such claims have been made using both paleontological data and molecular estimates of the age of extant species. However, using a stochastic model, we show that the appearance of trends in range size with species' age can arise even when range sizes have evolved at random through time. This occurs because the samples of species used in existing studies are likely to be biased with respect to range size: for example, only those species that happened to have large or expanding ranges are likely to survive to the present, while extinct species will tend to be those whose ranges, by chance, declined through time. We compared the relationship between the age and range size of species arising under our stochastic model to those observed across 1,269 species of extant birds and mammals and 140 species of extinct Cenozoic marine mollusks. We find that the stochastic model is able to generate the full spectrum of empirical age-area relationships, implying that such trends cannot be simply interpreted as evidence for models of directional range size evolution. Our results therefore challenge the theory that species undergo predictable phases of geographic expansion and contraction through time.

  15. Mountain colonisation, miniaturisation and ecological evolution in a radiation of direct-developing New Guinea Frogs (Choerophryne, Microhylidae)

    PubMed Central

    Iannella, Amy; Richards, Stephen J.; Lee, Michael S.Y.

    2017-01-01

    Aims Mountain ranges in the tropics are characterised by high levels of localised endemism, often-aberrant evolutionary trajectories, and some of the world’s most diverse regional biotas. Here we investigate the evolution of montane endemism, ecology and body size in a clade of direct-developing frogs (Choerophryne, Microhylidae) from New Guinea. Methods Phylogenetic relationships were estimated from a mitochondrial molecular dataset using Bayesian and maximum likelihood approaches. Ancestral state reconstruction was used to infer the evolution of elevational distribution, ecology (indexed by male calling height), and body size, and phylogenetically corrected regression was employed to examine the relationships between these three traits. Results We obtained strong support for a monophyletic lineage comprising the majority of taxa sampled. Within this clade we identified one subclade that appears to have diversified primarily in montane habitats of the Central Cordillera (>1,000 m a.s.l.), with subsequent dispersal to isolated North Papuan Mountains. A second subclade (characterised by moderately to very elongated snouts) appears to have diversified primarily in hill forests (<1,000 m a.s.l.), with inferred independent upwards colonisations of isolated montane habitats, especially in isolated North Papuan Mountains. We found no clear relationship between extremely small body size (adult SVL less than 15 mm) and elevation, but a stronger relationship with ecology—smaller species tend to be more terrestrial. Conclusions Orogeny and climatic oscillations have interacted to generate high montane biodiversity in New Guinea via both localised diversification within montane habitats (centric endemism) and periodic dispersal across lowland regions (eccentric endemism). The correlation between extreme miniaturisation and terrestrial habits reflects a general trend in frogs, suggesting that ecological or physiological constraints limit niche usage by miniaturised frogs

  16. Molecular evolution of sex-biased genes in the Drosophila ananassae subgroup

    PubMed Central

    2009-01-01

    Background Genes with sex-biased expression often show rapid molecular evolution between species. Previous population genetic and comparative genomic studies of Drosophila melanogaster and D. simulans revealed that male-biased genes have especially high rates of adaptive evolution. To test if this is also the case for other lineages within the melanogaster group, we investigated gene expression in D. ananassae, a species that occurs in structured populations in tropical and subtropical regions. We used custom-made microarrays and published microarray data to characterize the sex-biased expression of 129 D. ananassae genes whose D. melanogaster orthologs had been classified previously as male-biased, female-biased, or unbiased in their expression and had been studied extensively at the population-genetic level. For 43 of these genes we surveyed DNA sequence polymorphism in a natural population of D. ananassae and determined divergence to the sister species D. atripex and D. phaeopleura. Results Sex-biased expression is generally conserved between D. melanogaster and D. ananassae, with the majority of genes exhibiting the same bias in the two species. However, about one-third of the genes have either gained or lost sex-biased expression in one of the species and a small proportion of genes (~4%) have changed bias from one sex to the other. The male-biased genes of D. ananassae show evidence of positive selection acting at the protein level. However, the signal of adaptive protein evolution for male-biased genes is not as strong in D. ananassae as it is in D. melanogaster and is limited to genes with conserved male-biased expression in both species. Within D. ananassae, a significant signal of adaptive evolution is also detected for female-biased and unbiased genes. Conclusions Our findings extend previous observations of widespread adaptive protein evolution to an independent Drosophila lineage, the D. ananassae subgroup. However, the rate of adaptive evolution is

  17. Scombroid fishes provide novel insights into the trait/rate associations of molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    Qiu, Fan; Kitchen, Andrew; Burleigh, J Gordon; Miyamoto, Michael M

    2014-06-01

    The study of which life history traits primarily affect molecular evolutionary rates is often confounded by the covariance of these traits. Scombroid fishes (billfishes, tunas, barracudas, and their relatives) are unusual in that their mass-specific metabolic rate is positively associated with body size. This study exploits this atypical pattern of trait variation, which allows for direct tests of whether mass-specific metabolic rate or body size is the more important factor of molecular evolutionary rates. We inferred a phylogeny for scombroids from a supermatrix of molecular and morphological characters and used new phylogenetic comparative approaches to assess the associations of body size and mass-specific metabolic rate with substitution rate. As predicted by the body size hypothesis, there is a negative correlation between body size and substitution rate. However, unexpectedly, we also find a negative association between mass-specific metabolic and substitution rates. These relationships are supported by analyses of the total molecular data, separate mitochondrial and nuclear genes, and individual loci, and they are robust to phylogenetic uncertainty. The molecular evolutionary rates of scombroids are primarily tied to body size. This study demonstrates that groups with novel patterns of trait variation can be particularly informative for identifying which life history traits are the primary factors of molecular evolutionary rates.

  18. Probability distributions of molecular observables computed from Markov models. II. Uncertainties in observables and their time-evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chodera, John D.; Noé, Frank

    2010-09-01

    Discrete-state Markov (or master equation) models provide a useful simplified representation for characterizing the long-time statistical evolution of biomolecules in a manner that allows direct comparison with experiments as well as the elucidation of mechanistic pathways for an inherently stochastic process. A vital part of meaningful comparison with experiment is the characterization of the statistical uncertainty in the predicted experimental measurement, which may take the form of an equilibrium measurement of some spectroscopic signal, the time-evolution of this signal following a perturbation, or the observation of some statistic (such as the correlation function) of the equilibrium dynamics of a single molecule. Without meaningful error bars (which arise from both approximation and statistical error), there is no way to determine whether the deviations between model and experiment are statistically meaningful. Previous work has demonstrated that a Bayesian method that enforces microscopic reversibility can be used to characterize the statistical component of correlated uncertainties in state-to-state transition probabilities (and functions thereof) for a model inferred from molecular simulation data. Here, we extend this approach to include the uncertainty in observables that are functions of molecular conformation (such as surrogate spectroscopic signals) characterizing each state, permitting the full statistical uncertainty in computed spectroscopic experiments to be assessed. We test the approach in a simple model system to demonstrate that the computed uncertainties provide a useful indicator of statistical variation, and then apply it to the computation of the fluorescence autocorrelation function measured for a dye-labeled peptide previously studied by both experiment and simulation.

  19. Molecular Evolution of the Infrared Sensory Gene TRPA1 in Snakes and Implications for Functional Studies

    PubMed Central

    Jiang, Ke; Zhang, Peng

    2011-01-01

    TRPA1 is a calcium ion channel protein recently identified as the infrared receptor in pit organ-containing snakes. Therefore, understanding the molecular evolution of TRPA1 may help to illuminate the origin of “heat vision” in snakes and reveal the molecular mechanism of infrared sensitivity for TRPA1. To this end, we sequenced the infrared sensory gene TRPA1 in 24 snake species, representing nine snake families and multiple non-snake outgroups. We found that TRPA1 is under strong positive selection in the pit-bearing snakes studied, but not in other non-pit snakes and non-snake vertebrates. As a comparison, TRPV1, a gene closely related to TRPA1, was found to be under strong purifying selection in all the species studied, with no difference in the strength of selection between pit-bearing snakes and non-pit snakes. This finding demonstrates that the adaptive evolution of TRPA1 specifically occurred within the pit-bearing snakes and may be related to the functional modification for detecting infrared radiation. In addition, by comparing the TRPA1 protein sequences, we identified 11 amino acid sites that were diverged in pit-bearing snakes but conserved in non-pit snakes and other vertebrates, 21 sites that were diverged only within pit-vipers but conserved in the remaining snakes. These specific amino acid substitutions may be potentially functional important for infrared sensing. PMID:22163322

  20. Molecular timetrees reveal a Cambrian colonization of land and a new scenario for ecdysozoan evolution.

    PubMed

    Rota-Stabelli, Omar; Daley, Allison C; Pisani, Davide

    2013-03-04

    Ecdysozoans have been key components of ecosystems since the early Cambrian, when trilobites and soft-bodied Burgess Shale-type ecdysozoans dominated marine animal communities. Even today, the most abundant animals on Earth are either nematode worms or plankton-forming crustaceans, whereas the most diverse are the insects. Throughout geological time, several ecdysozoan lineages independently colonized land, shaping both marine and terrestrial ecosystems and providing an adequate environment for successive animal terrestrialization. The timing of these events is largely uncertain and has been investigated only partially using molecular data. Here we present a timescale of ecdysozoan evolution based on multiple molecular data sets, the most complete set of fossil calibrations to date, and a thorough series of validation analyses. Results converge on an Ediacaran origin of all major ecdysozoan lineages (∼587-543 million years ago [mya]), followed by a fast Cambrian radiation of the pancrustaceans (∼539-511 mya), a Cambro-Ordovician colonization of land of different arthropod lineages (∼510-471 mya), and a relatively recent radiation of extant nematodes, onychophorans, and tardigrades (∼442 mya). Arthropods colonized land nearly synchronously with land plants. Further diversification within flying insects, nematodes and onychophorans might be related to the evolution of vascular plants and forests.

  1. Molecular evolution of the nuclear von Willebrand factor gene in mammals and the phylogeny of rodents.

    PubMed

    Huchon, D; Catzeflis, F M; Douzery, E J

    1999-05-01

    Nucleotide sequences of exon 28 of the von Willebrand Factor (vWF) were analyzed for a representative sampling of rodent families and eutherian orders, with one marsupial sequence as outgroup. The aim of this study was to test if inclusion of an increased taxonomic diversity in molecular analyses would shed light on three uncertainties concerning rodent phylogeny: (1) relationships between rodent families, (2) Rodentia monophyly, and (3) the sister group relationship of rodents and lagomorphs. The results did not give evidence of any particular rodent pattern of molecular evolution relative to a general eutherian pattern. Base compositions and rates of evolution of vWF sequences of rodents were in the range of placental variation. The 10 rodent families studied here cluster in five clades: Hystricognathi, Sciuridae and Aplodontidae (Sciuroidea), Muridae, Dipodidae, and Gliridae. Among hystricognaths, the following conclusions are drawn: a single colonization event in South America by Caviomorpha, a paraphyly of Old World and New World porcupines, and an African origin for Old World porcupines. Despite a broader taxonomic sampling diversity, we did not obtain a robust answer to the question of Rodentia monophyly, but in the absence of any other alternative, we cannot reject the hypothesis of a single origin of rodents. Moreover, the phylogenetic position of Lagomorpha remains totally unsettled.

  2. Molecular Evolution of Aralkylamine N-Acetyltransferase in Fish: A Genomic Survey

    PubMed Central

    Li, Jia; You, Xinxin; Bian, Chao; Yu, Hui; Coon, Steven L.; Shi, Qiong

    2015-01-01

    All living organisms synchronize biological functions with environmental changes; melatonin plays a vital role in regulating daily and seasonal variations. Due to rhythmic activity of the timezyme aralkylamine N-acetyltransferase (AANAT), the blood level of melatonin increases at night and decreases during daytime. Whereas other vertebrates have a single form of AANAT, bony fishes possess various isoforms of aanat genes, though the reasons are still unclear. Here, we have taken advantage of multiple unpublished teleost aanat sequences to explore and expand our understanding of the molecular evolution of aanat in fish. Our results confirm that two rounds of whole-genome duplication (WGD) led to the existence of three fish isoforms of aanat, i.e., aanat1a, aanat1b, and aanat2; in addition, gene loss led to the absence of some forms from certain special fish species. Furthermore, we suggest the different roles of two aanat1s in amphibious mudskippers, and speculate that the loss of aanat1a, may be related to terrestrial vision change. Several important sites of AANAT proteins and regulatory elements of aanat genes were analyzed for structural comparison and functional forecasting, respectively, which provides insights into the molecular evolution of the differences between AANAT1 and AANAT2. PMID:26729109

  3. Molecular heterochrony and the evolution of sociality in bumblebees (Bombus terrestris)

    PubMed Central

    Woodard, S. Hollis; Bloch, Guy M.; Band, Mark R.; Robinson, Gene E.

    2014-01-01

    Sibling care is a hallmark of social insects, but its evolution remains challenging to explain at the molecular level. The hypothesis that sibling care evolved from ancestral maternal care in primitively eusocial insects has been elaborated to involve heterochronic changes in gene expression. This elaboration leads to the prediction that workers in these species will show patterns of gene expression more similar to foundress queens, who express maternal care behaviour, than to established queens engaged solely in reproductive behaviour. We tested this idea in bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) using a microarray platform with approximately 4500 genes. Unlike the wasp Polistes metricus, in which support for the above prediction has been obtained, we found that patterns of brain gene expression in foundress and queen bumblebees were more similar to each other than to workers. Comparisons of differentially expressed genes derived from this study and gene lists from microarray studies in Polistes and the honeybee Apis mellifera yielded a shared set of genes involved in the regulation of related social behaviours across independent eusocial lineages. Together, these results suggest that multiple independent evolutions of eusociality in the insects might have involved different evolutionary routes, but nevertheless involved some similarities at the molecular level. PMID:24552837

  4. Molecular Evolution of Aralkylamine N-Acetyltransferase in Fish: A Genomic Survey.

    PubMed

    Li, Jia; You, Xinxin; Bian, Chao; Yu, Hui; Coon, Steven L; Shi, Qiong

    2015-12-31

    All living organisms synchronize biological functions with environmental changes; melatonin plays a vital role in regulating daily and seasonal variations. Due to rhythmic activity of the timezyme aralkylamine N-acetyltransferase (AANAT), the blood level of melatonin increases at night and decreases during daytime. Whereas other vertebrates have a single form of AANAT, bony fishes possess various isoforms of aanat genes, though the reasons are still unclear. Here, we have taken advantage of multiple unpublished teleost aanat sequences to explore and expand our understanding of the molecular evolution of aanat in fish. Our results confirm that two rounds of whole-genome duplication (WGD) led to the existence of three fish isoforms of aanat, i.e., aanat1a, aanat1b, and aanat2; in addition, gene loss led to the absence of some forms from certain special fish species. Furthermore, we suggest the different roles of two aanat1s in amphibious mudskippers, and speculate that the loss of aanat1a, may be related to terrestrial vision change. Several important sites of AANAT proteins and regulatory elements of aanat genes were analyzed for structural comparison and functional forecasting, respectively, which provides insights into the molecular evolution of the differences between AANAT1 and AANAT2.

  5. Speeding up evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hoff, Wouter

    Proteins and cells offer great opportunities for green chemistry and renewable energy. However, few of these possible applications have been put into practice because of details that turn out to be major barriers to cost-efficient implementation and that prove difficult to solve by genetic engineering. A better understanding of molecular evolution promises a novel approach to addressing these important challenges. While major advances have been made, major gaps remain in understanding the evolution of proteins. Different approaches to accelerating molecular evolution into targeted directions will be discussed, including recent progress on evolution in non-homogeneous environments.

  6. Molecular tools and bumble bees: revealing hidden details of ecology and evolution in a model system.

    PubMed

    Woodard, S Hollis; Lozier, Jeffrey D; Goulson, David; Williams, Paul H; Strange, James P; Jha, Shalene

    2015-06-01

    Bumble bees are a longstanding model system for studies on behaviour, ecology and evolution, due to their well-studied social lifestyle, invaluable role as wild and managed pollinators, and ubiquity and diversity across temperate ecosystems. Yet despite their importance, many aspects of bumble bee biology have remained enigmatic until the rise of the genetic and, more recently, genomic eras. Here, we review and synthesize new insights into the ecology, evolution and behaviour of bumble bees that have been gained using modern genetic and genomic techniques. Special emphasis is placed on four areas of bumble bee biology: the evolution of eusociality in this group, population-level processes, large-scale evolutionary relationships and patterns, and immunity and resistance to pesticides. We close with a prospective on the future of bumble bee genomics research, as this rapidly advancing field has the potential to further revolutionize our understanding of bumble bees, particularly in regard to adaptation and resilience. Worldwide, many bumble bee populations are in decline. As such, throughout the review, connections are drawn between new molecular insights into bumble bees and our understanding of the causal factors involved in their decline. Ongoing and potential applications to bumble bee management and conservation are also included to demonstrate how genetics- and genomics-enabled research aids in the preservation of this threatened group.

  7. Molecular Evolution of Drosophila Germline Stem Cell and Neural Stem Cell Regulating Genes.

    PubMed

    Choi, Jae Young; Aquadro, Charles F

    2015-10-27

    Here, we study the molecular evolution of a near complete set of genes that had functional evidence in the regulation of the Drosophila germline and neural stem cell. Some of these genes have previously been shown to be rapidly evolving by positive selection raising the possibility that stem cell genes as a group have elevated signatures of positive selection. Using recent Drosophila comparative genome sequences and population genomic sequences of Drosophila melanogaster, we have investigated both long- and short-term evolution occurring across these two different stem cell systems, and compared them with a carefully chosen random set of genes to represent the background rate of evolution. Our results showed an excess of genes with evidence of a recent selective sweep in both germline and neural stem cells in D. melanogaster. However compared with their control genes, both stem cell systems had no significant excess of genes with long-term recurrent positive selection in D. melanogaster, or across orthologous sequences from the melanogaster group. The evidence of long-term positive selection was limited to a subset of genes with specific functions in both the germline and neural stem cell system.

  8. Adaptive molecular evolution of a defence gene in sexual but not functionally asexual evening primroses.

    PubMed

    Hersch-Green, E I; Myburg, H; Johnson, M T J

    2012-08-01

    Theory predicts that sexual reproduction provides evolutionary advantages over asexual reproduction by reducing mutational load and increasing adaptive potential. Here, we test the latter prediction in the context of plant defences against pathogens because pathogens frequently reduce plant fitness and drive the evolution of plant defences. Specifically, we ask whether sexual evening primrose plant lineages (Onagraceae) have faster rates of adaptive molecular evolution and altered gene expression of a class I chitinase, a gene implicated in defence against pathogens, than functionally asexual evening primrose lineages. We found that the ratio of amino acid to silent substitutions (K(a) /K(s) = 0.19 vs. 0.11 for sexual and asexual lineages, respectively), the number of sites identified to be under positive selection (four vs. zero for sexual and asexual lineages, respectively) and the expression of chitinase were all higher in sexual than in asexual lineages. Our results are congruent with the conclusion that a loss of sexual recombination and segregation in the Onagraceae negatively affects adaptive structural and potentially regulatory evolution of a plant defence protein.

  9. Molecular evolution of a widely-adopted taxonomic marker (COI) across the animal tree of life

    PubMed Central

    Pentinsaari, Mikko; Salmela, Heli; Mutanen, Marko; Roslin, Tomas

    2016-01-01

    DNA barcodes are widely used for identification and discovery of species. While such use draws on information at the DNA level, the current amassment of ca. 4.7 million COI barcodes also offers a unique resource for exploring functional constraints on DNA evolution. Here, we explore amino acid variation in a crosscut of the entire animal kingdom. Patterns of DNA variation were linked to functional constraints at the level of the amino acid sequence in functionally important parts of the enzyme. Six amino acid sites show variation with possible effects on enzyme function. Overall, patterns of amino acid variation suggest convergent or parallel evolution at the protein level connected to the transition into a parasitic life style. Denser sampling of two diverse insect taxa revealed that the beetles (Coleoptera) show more amino acid variation than the butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera), indicating fundamental difference in patterns of molecular evolution in COI. Several amino acid sites were found to be under notably strong purifying selection in Lepidoptera as compared to Coleoptera. Overall, these findings demonstrate the utility of the global DNA barcode library to extend far beyond identification and taxonomy, and will hopefully be followed by a multitude of work. PMID:27734964

  10. Near-Neutrality: the Leading Edge of the Neutral Theory of Molecular Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Hughes, Austin L.

    2009-01-01

    The nearly-neutral theory represents a development of Kimura’s Neutral Theory of Molecular Evolution that makes testable predictions that go beyond a mere null model. Recent evidence has strongly supported several of these predictions, including the prediction that slightly deleterious variants will accumulate in a species that has undergone a severe bottleneck or in cases where recombination is reduced or absent. Because bottlenecks often occur in speciation and slightly deleterious mutations in coding regions will usually be nonsynonymous, we should expect that the ratio of nonsynonymous to synonymous fixed differences between species should often exceed the ratio of nonsynonymous to synonymous polymorphisms within species. Numerous data support this prediction, although they have often been wrongly interpreted as evidence for positive Darwinian selection. The use of conceptually flawed tests for positive selection has become widespread in recent years, seriously harming the quest for an understanding of genome evolution. When properly analyzed, many (probably most) claimed cases of positive selection will turn out to involve the fixation of slightly deleterious mutations by genetic drift in bottlenecked populations. Slightly deleterious variants are a transient feature of evolution in the long term, but they have had substantial impact on contemporary species, including our own. PMID:18559820

  11. Evolution of apolar sporocytes in marchantialean liverworts: implications from molecular phylogeny.

    PubMed

    Shimamura, Masaki; Itouga, Misao; Tsubota, Hiromi

    2012-03-01

    In meiosis of basal land plants, meiotic division planes are typically predicted by quadri-lobing of the cytoplasm and/or quadri-partitioning of plastids prior to nuclear divisions. However, sporocytes of several marchantialean liverworts display no indication of premeiotic establishment of quadripolarity, as is observed in flowering plants. In these cases, the shape of sporocytes remains spherical or elliptical and numerous plastids are distributed randomly in the cytoplasm during meiosis. Through a survey of sporocyte morphology in marchantialean liverworts, we newly report the occurrence of apolar sporocytes in Sauteria japonica and Athalamia nana (Cleveaceae; Marchantiales). Molecular phylogenetic analyses revealed that the quadri-lobing of cytoplasm and quadri-partitioning of plastids were lost independently several times during the evolution of marchantialean liverworts. In addition, our phylogenetic analyses indicate that the simplified sporophytes of several marchantialean liverworts are not a primitive condition but rather represent the result of reductive evolution. The loss of the quadripolarity of sporocytes appears to correlate with the evolutionary trend of the sporophyte towards reductions. Through the evolution of the simplified sporophytes, suppression of mitotic divisions of sporogenous cells might had caused not only the modification of sporophyte ontogeny but also the drastic cytological change of sporocyte.

  12. Evolution of hypervariable microsatellites in apomictic polyploid lineages of Ranunculus carpaticola: directional bias at dinucleotide loci.

    PubMed

    Paun, Ovidiu; Hörandl, Elvira

    2006-09-01

    Microsatellites are widely used in genetic and evolutionary analyses, but their own evolution is far from simple. The mechanisms maintaining the mutational patterns of simple repeats and the typical stable allele-frequency distributions are still poorly understood. Asexual lineages may provide particularly informative models for the indirect study of microsatellite evolution, because their genomes act as complete linkage groups, with mutations being the only source of genetic variation. Here, we study the direction of accumulated dinucleotide microsatellite mutations in wild asexual lineages of hexaploid Ranunculus carpaticola. Whereas the overall number of contractions is not significantly different from that of expansions, the within-locus frequency of contractions, but not of expansions, significantly increases with allele length. Moreover, within-locus polymorphism is positively correlated with allele length, but this relationship is due solely to the influence of contraction mutations. Such asymmetries may explain length constraints generally observed with microsatellites and are consistent with stable, bell-shaped allele-frequency distributions. Although apomictic and allohexaploid, the R. carpaticola lineages show mutational patterns resembling the trends observed in a broad range of organisms, including sexuals and diploids, suggesting that, even if not of germline origin, the mutations in these apomicts may be the consequence of similar mechanisms.

  13. LONG-TERM EVOLUTION OF DOUBLE WHITE DWARF BINARIES ACCRETING THROUGH DIRECT IMPACT

    SciTech Connect

    Kremer, Kyle; Kalogera, Vassiliki; Sepinsky, Jeremy E-mail: vicky@northwestern.edu

    2015-06-10

    We calculate the long-term evolution of angular momentum in double white dwarf binaries undergoing direct impact accretion over a broad range of parameter space. We allow the rotation rate of both components to vary and account for the exchange of angular momentum between the spins of the white dwarfs and the orbit, while conserving the total angular momentum. We include gravitational, tidal, and mass transfer effects in the orbital evolution, and allow the Roche radius of the donor star to vary with both the stellar mass and the rotation rate. We examine the long-term stability of these systems, focusing in particular on those systems that may be progenitors of AM CVn or SNe Ia. We find that our analysis yields an increase in the predicted number of stable systems compared to that in previous studies. Additionally, we find that by properly accounting for the effects of asynchronism between the donor and the orbit on the Roche-lobe size, we eliminate oscillations in the orbital parameters, which were found in previous studies. Removing these oscillations can reduce the peak mass transfer rate in some systems, keeping them from entering an unstable mass transfer phase.

  14. Microstructure and Microtexture Evolution of Pure Titanium during Single Direction Torsion and Alternating Cyclic Torsion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Han; Li, Fuguo; Liu, Jie; Li, Jinghui; Ma, Xinkai; Wan, Qiong

    2017-03-01

    Systematic experimental studies of microstructure and crystallographic texture of pure titanium during the Single Direction Torsion (SDT) and Alternating Cyclic Torsion (ACT) are carried out at room temperature. The microstructure evolution indicates that the grain size can be refined during SDT, while the grain morphology can be controlled during ACT. Also, lots of {10-12} and few {11-22} twins are observed and their area percentages increase with increasing torsion angles during SDT. The microtexture evolution states that the deformation texture first approaches to the B fiber (0, 90, 0 to 60 deg), and then stays away from B fiber (0, 90, 0 to 60 deg) with increasing plastic strain during SDT. The change of deformation texture is mainly attributed to the appearance of {10-12} twin. However, the deformation texture is always close to B fiber (0, 90, 0 to 60 deg) during ACT. Finally, the effects of different dislocation movements caused by SDT and ACT are discussed. Quantities of subgrains with high density dislocation are observed during SDT while the {10-12} and {11-22} twins intersect with each other, and high density dislocations distribute the twin during ACT.

  15. End-directed evolution and the emergence of energy-seeking behavior in a complex system.

    PubMed

    Kondepudi, Dilip; Kay, Bruce; Dixon, James

    2015-05-01

    Self-organization in a voltage-driven nonequilibrium system, consisting of conducting beads immersed in a viscous medium, gives rise to a dynamic tree structure that exhibits wormlike motion. The complex motion of the beads driven by the applied field, the dipole-dipole interaction between the beads and the hydrodynamic flow of the viscous medium, results in a time evolution of the tree structure towards states of lower resistance or higher dissipation and thus higher rates of entropy production. Thus emerges a remarkably organismlike energy-seeking behavior. The dynamic tree structure draws the energy needed to form and maintain its structure, moves to positions at which it receives more energy, and avoids conditions that lower available energy. It also is able to restore its structure when damaged, i.e., it is self-healing. The emergence of energy-seeking behavior in a nonliving complex system that is extremely simple in its construct is unexpected. Along with the property of self-healing, this system, in a rudimentary way, exhibits properties that are analogous to those we observe in living organisms. Thermodynamically, the observed diverse behavior can be characterized as end-directed evolution to states of higher rates of entropy production.

  16. A cricket Gene Index: a genomic resource for studying neurobiology, speciation, and molecular evolution

    PubMed Central

    Danley, Patrick D; Mullen, Sean P; Liu, Fenglong; Nene, Vishvanath; Quackenbush, John; Shaw, Kerry L

    2007-01-01

    Background As the developmental costs of genomic tools decline, genomic approaches to non-model systems are becoming more feasible. Many of these systems may lack advanced genetic tools but are extremely valuable models in other biological fields. Here we report the development of expressed sequence tags (EST's) in an orthopteroid insect, a model for the study of neurobiology, speciation, and evolution. Results We report the sequencing of 14,502 EST's from clones derived from a nerve cord cDNA library, and the subsequent construction of a Gene Index from these sequences, from the Hawaiian trigonidiine cricket Laupala kohalensis. The Gene Index contains 8607 unique sequences comprised of 2575 tentative consensus (TC) sequences and 6032 singletons. For each of the unique sequences, an attempt was made to assign a provisional annotation and to categorize its function using a Gene Ontology-based classification through a sequence-based comparison to known proteins. In addition, a set of unique 70 base pair oligomers that can be used for DNA microarrays was developed. All Gene Index information is posted at the DFCI Gene Indices web page Conclusion Orthopterans are models used to understand the neurophysiological basis of complex motor patterns such as flight and stridulation. The sequences presented in the cricket Gene Index will provide neurophysiologists with many genetic tools that have been largely absent in this field. The cricket Gene Index is one of only two gene indices to be developed in an evolutionary model system. Species within the genus Laupala have speciated recently, rapidly, and extensively. Therefore, the genes identified in the cricket Gene Index can be used to study the genomics of speciation. Furthermore, this gene index represents a significant EST resources for basal insects. As such, this resource is a valuable comparative tool for the understanding of invertebrate molecular evolution. The sequences presented here will provide much needed genomic

  17. Evolution of dark colour in toucans (Ramphastidae): a case of molecular adaptation?

    PubMed

    Corso, J; Mundy, N I; Fagundes, N J R; de Freitas, T R O

    2016-12-01

    In the last decades, researchers have been able to determine the molecular basis of some phenotypes, to test for evidence of natural selection upon them, and to demonstrate that the same genes or genetic pathways can be associated with convergent traits. Colour traits are often subject to natural selection because even small changes in these traits can have a large effect on fitness via camouflage, sexual selection or other mechanisms. The melanocortin-1 receptor locus (MC1R) is frequently associated with intraspecific coat colour variation in vertebrates, but it has been far harder to demonstrate that this locus is involved in adaptive interspecific colour differences. Here, we investigate the contribution of the MC1R gene to the colour diversity found in toucans (Ramphastidae). We found divergent selection on MC1R in the clade represented by the genus Ramphastos and that this coincided with the evolution of darker plumage in members of this genus. Using phylogenetically corrected correlations, we show significant and specific relationships between the rate of nonsynonymous change in MC1R (dN) and plumage darkness across Ramphastidae, and also between the rate of functionally significant amino acid changes in MC1R and plumage darkness. Furthermore, three of the seven amino acid changes in MC1R that occurred in the ancestral Ramphastos branch are associated with melanism in other birds. Taken together, our results suggest that the dark colour of Ramphastos toucans was related to nonsynonymous substitutions in MC1R that may have been subject to positive selection or to a relaxation of selective pressure. These results also demonstrate a quantitative relationship between gene and phenotype evolution, representing an example of how MC1R molecular evolution may affect macroevolution of plumage phenotypes.

  18. Directed Evolution of RebH for Site Selective Halogenation of Large, Biologically Active Molecules**

    PubMed Central

    Payne, James T.; Poor, Catherine B.

    2015-01-01

    We recently characterized the substrate scope of wild-type RebH and evolved variants of this enzyme with improved stability for biocatalysis. The substrate scopes of both RebH and the stabilized variants, however, are limited primarily to compounds similar in size to tryptophan. We have now used a substrate walking approach to further evolve RebH variants with expanded substrate scope. Two particularly notable variants were identified: 3-SS, which provides high conversion of tricyclic tryptoline derivatives; and 4-V, which accepts a broad range of large indoles and carbazoles. This constitutes the first reported use of directed evolution to enable functionalization of substrates not accepted by wild-type RebH and demonstrates the utility of RebH variants for site-selective halogenation of biologically active compounds. PMID:25678465

  19. Directed evolution of an ultrastable carbonic anhydrase for highly efficient carbon capture from flue gas

    PubMed Central

    Alvizo, Oscar; Nguyen, Luan J.; Savile, Christopher K.; Bresson, Jamie A.; Lakhapatri, Satish L.; Solis, Earl O. P.; Fox, Richard J.; Broering, James M.; Benoit, Michael R.; Zimmerman, Sabrina A.; Novick, Scott J.; Liang, Jack; Lalonde, James J.

    2014-01-01

    Carbonic anhydrase (CA) is one of nature’s fastest enzymes and can dramatically improve the economics of carbon capture under demanding environments such as coal-fired power plants. The use of CA to accelerate carbon capture is limited by the enzyme’s sensitivity to the harsh process conditions. Using directed evolution, the properties of a β-class CA from Desulfovibrio vulgaris were dramatically enhanced. Iterative rounds of library design, library generation, and high-throughput screening identified highly stable CA variants that tolerate temperatures of up to 107 °C in the presence of 4.2 M alkaline amine solvent at pH >10.0. This increase in thermostability and alkali tolerance translates to a 4,000,000-fold improvement over the natural enzyme. At pilot scale, the evolved catalyst enhanced the rate of CO2 absorption 25-fold compared with the noncatalyzed reaction. PMID:25368146

  20. Directed evolution of an ultrastable carbonic anhydrase for highly efficient carbon capture from flue gas

    DOE PAGES

    Alvizo, Oscar; Nguyen, Luan J.; Savile, Christopher K.; ...

    2014-11-03

    Carbonic anhydrase (CA) is one of nature’s fastest enzymes and can dramatically improve the economics of carbon capture under demanding environments such as coal-fired power plants. The use of CA to accelerate carbon capture is limited by the enzyme’s sensitivity to the harsh process conditions. Using directed evolution, the properties of a β-class CA from Desulfovibrio vulgaris were dramatically enhanced. Iterative rounds of library design, library generation, and high-throughput screening identified highly stable CA variants that tolerate temperatures of up to 107 °C in the presence of 4.2 M alkaline amine solvent at pH >10.0. This increase in thermostability andmore » alkali tolerance translates to a 4,000,000-fold improvement over the natural enzyme. In conclusion, at pilot scale, the evolved catalyst enhanced the rate of CO2 absorption 25-fold compared with the noncatalyzed reaction.« less

  1. Directed evolution of an ultrastable carbonic anhydrase for highly efficient carbon capture from flue gas

    SciTech Connect

    Alvizo, Oscar; Nguyen, Luan J.; Savile, Christopher K.; Bresson, Jamie A.; Lakhapatri, Satish L.; Solis, Earl O. P.; Fox, Richard J.; Broering, James M.; Benoit, Michael R.; Zimmerman, Sabrina A.; Novick, Scott J.; Liang, Jack; Lalonde, James J.

    2014-11-03

    Carbonic anhydrase (CA) is one of nature’s fastest enzymes and can dramatically improve the economics of carbon capture under demanding environments such as coal-fired power plants. The use of CA to accelerate carbon capture is limited by the enzyme’s sensitivity to the harsh process conditions. Using directed evolution, the properties of a β-class CA from Desulfovibrio vulgaris were dramatically enhanced. Iterative rounds of library design, library generation, and high-throughput screening identified highly stable CA variants that tolerate temperatures of up to 107 °C in the presence of 4.2 M alkaline amine solvent at pH >10.0. This increase in thermostability and alkali tolerance translates to a 4,000,000-fold improvement over the natural enzyme. In conclusion, at pilot scale, the evolved catalyst enhanced the rate of CO2 absorption 25-fold compared with the noncatalyzed reaction.

  2. Expanding the enzyme universe: accessing non-natural reactions by mechanism-guided directed evolution.

    PubMed

    Renata, Hans; Wang, Z Jane; Arnold, Frances H

    2015-03-09

    High selectivity and exquisite control over the outcome of reactions entice chemists to use biocatalysts in organic synthesis. However, many useful reactions are not accessible because they are not in nature's known repertoire. In this Review, we outline an evolutionary approach to engineering enzymes to catalyze reactions not found in nature. We begin with examples of how nature has discovered new catalytic functions and how such evolutionary progression has been recapitulated in the laboratory starting from extant enzymes. We then examine non-native enzyme activities that have been exploited for chemical synthesis, with an emphasis on reactions that do not have natural counterparts. Non-natural activities can be improved by directed evolution, thus mimicking the process used by nature to create new catalysts. Finally, we describe the discovery of non-native catalytic functions that may provide future opportunities for the expansion of the enzyme universe.

  3. Directed evolution of AraC for improved compatibility of arabinose- and lactose-inducible promoters.

    PubMed

    Lee, Sung Kuk; Chou, Howard H; Pfleger, Brian F; Newman, Jack D; Yoshikuni, Yasuo; Keasling, Jay D

    2007-09-01

    Synthetic biological systems often require multiple, independently inducible promoters in order to control the expression levels of several genes; however, cross talk between the promoters limits this ability. Here, we demonstrate the directed evolution of AraC to construct an arabinose-inducible (P(BAD)) system that is more compatible with IPTG (isopropyl-beta-D-1-thiogalactopyranoside) induction of a lactose-inducible (P(lac)) system. The constructed system is 10 times more sensitive to arabinose and tolerates IPTG significantly better than the wild type. Detailed studies indicate that the AraC dimerization domain and C terminus are important for the increased sensitivity of AraC to arabinose.

  4. Facile Construction of Random Gene Mutagenesis Library for Directed Evolution Without the Use of Restriction Enzyme in Escherichia coli.

    PubMed

    Kim, Jae-Eung; Huang, Rui; Chen, Hui; You, Chun; Zhang, Y-H Percival

    2016-09-01

    A foolproof protocol was developed for the construction of mutant DNA library for directed protein evolution. First, a library of linear mutant gene was generated by error-prone PCR or molecular shuffling, and a linear vector backbone was prepared by high-fidelity PCR. Second, the amplified insert and vector fragments were assembled by overlap-extension PCR with a pair of 5'-phosphorylated primers. Third, full-length linear plasmids with phosphorylated 5'-ends were self-ligated with T4 ligase, yielding circular plasmids encoding mutant variants suitable for high-efficiency transformation. Self-made competent Escherichia coli BL21(DE3) showed a transformation efficiency of 2.4 × 10(5) cfu/µg of the self-ligated circular plasmid. Using this method, three mutants of mCherry fluorescent protein were found to alter their colors and fluorescent intensities under visible and UV lights, respectively. Also, one mutant of 6-phosphorogluconate dehydrogenase from a thermophilic bacterium Moorella thermoacetica was found to show the 3.5-fold improved catalytic efficiency (kcat /Km ) on NAD(+) as compared to the wild-type. This protocol is DNA-sequence independent, and does not require restriction enzymes, special E. coli host, or labor-intensive optimization. In addition, this protocol can be used for subcloning the relatively long DNA sequences into any position of plasmids.

  5. The Morphological and Molecular Changes of Brain Cells Exposed to Direct Current Electric Field Stimulation

    PubMed Central

    Pelletier, Simon J.; Lagacé, Marie; St-Amour, Isabelle; Arsenault, Dany; Cisbani, Giulia; Chabrat, Audrey; Fecteau, Shirley; Lévesque, Martin

    2015-01-01

    Background: The application of low-intensity direct current electric fields has been experimentally used in the clinic to treat a number of brain disorders, predominantly using transcranial direct current stimulation approaches. However, the cellular and molecular changes induced by such treatment remain largely unknown. Methods: Here, we tested various intensities of direct current electric fields (0, 25, 50, and 100V/m) in a well-controlled in vitro environment in order to investigate the responses of neurons, microglia, and astrocytes to this type of stimulation. This included morphological assessments of the cells, viability, as well as shape and fiber outgrowth relative to the orientation of the direct current electric field. We also undertook enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays and western immunoblotting to identify which molecular pathways were affected by direct current electric fields. Results: In response to direct current electric field, neurons developed an elongated cell body shape with neurite outgrowth that was associated with a significant increase in growth associated protein-43. Fetal midbrain dopaminergic explants grown in a collagen gel matrix also showed a reorientation of their neurites towards the cathode. BV2 microglial cells adopted distinct morphological changes with an increase in cyclooxygenase-2 expression, but these were dependent on whether they had already been activated with lipopolysaccharide. Finally, astrocytes displayed elongated cell bodies with cellular filopodia that were oriented perpendicularly to the direct current electric field. Conclusion: We show that cells of the central nervous system can respond to direct current electric fields both in terms of their morphological shape and molecular expression of certain proteins, and this in turn can help us to begin understand the mechanisms underlying the clinical benefits of direct current electric field. PMID:25522422

  6. Increasing activity and thermal resistance of Bacillus gibsonii alkaline protease (BgAP) by directed evolution.

    PubMed

    Martinez, Ronny; Jakob, Felix; Tu, Ran; Siegert, Petra; Maurer, Karl-Heinz; Schwaneberg, Ulrich

    2013-03-01

    Bacillus gibsonii Alkaline Protease (BgAP) is a recently reported subtilisin protease exhibiting activity and stability properties suitable for applications in laundry and dish washing detergents. However, BgAP suffers from a significant decrease of activity at low temperatures. In order to increase BgAP activity at 15°C, a directed evolution campaign based on the SeSaM random mutagenesis method was performed. An optimized microtiter plate expression system in B. subtilis was established and classical proteolytic detection methods were adapted for high throughput screening. In parallel, the libraries were screened for increased residual proteolytic activity after incubation at 58°C. Three iterative rounds of directed BgAP evolution yielded a set of BgAP variants with increased specific activity (K(cat)) at 15°C and increased thermal resistance. Recombination of both sets of amino acid substitutions resulted finally in variant MF1 with a 1.5-fold increased specific activity (15°C) and over 100 times prolonged half-life at 60°C (224 min compared to 2 min of the WT BgAP). None of the introduced amino acid substitutions were close to the active site of BgAP. Activity-altering amino acid substitutions were from non-charged to non-charged or from sterically demanding to less demanding. Thermal stability improvements were achieved by substitutions to negatively charged amino acids in loop areas of the BgAP surface which probably fostered ionic and hydrogen bonds interactions.

  7. Simulation of Scan-Directional Dependence of Superlubricity of C60 Molecular Bearings and Graphite

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Itamura, Noriaki; Miura, Kouji; Sasaki, Naruo

    2009-06-01

    The scan-directional dependence of the superlubricity of a C60 molecular bearing system (graphite/C60/graphite interface) is studied and compared with that of a graphite system (graphite/graphite/graphite interface) by molecular mechanics simulation. The mean lateral force reaches a maximum within a narrow region approximately in the [1010] direction. For other regions, has a nearly constant value of less than 1 pN. In particular, in the [1230] direction, reaches a minimum of nearly zero. It is clarified that reflects the following types of C60 motion: sliding above the carbon bond and a discrete slip to the neighboring AB-stacking position. The load dependence of also exhibits marked anisotropy. The orders of magnitude of the simulated friction coefficients are comparable to those obtained in our previous experiments.

  8. Gradual molecular evolution of a sex determination switch through incomplete penetrance of femaleness.

    PubMed

    Beye, Martin; Seelmann, Christine; Gempe, Tanja; Hasselmann, Martin; Vekemans, Xavier; Fondrk, M Kim; Page, Robert E

    2013-12-16

    Some genes regulate phenotypes that are either present or absent. They are often important regulators of developmental switches and are involved in morphological evolution. We have little understanding of the molecular mechanisms by which these absence/presence gene functions have evolved, because the phenotype and fitness of molecular intermediate forms are unknown. Here, we studied the sex-determining switch of 14 natural sequence variants of the csd gene among 76 genotypes of the honeybee (Apis mellifera). Heterozygous genotypes (different specificities) of the csd gene determine femaleness, while hemizygous genotypes (single specificity) determine maleness. Homozygous genotypes of the csd gene (same specificity) are lethal. We found that at least five amino acid differences and length variation between Csd specificities in the specifying domain (PSD) were sufficient to regularly induce femaleness. We estimated that, on average, six pairwise amino acid differences evolved under positive selection. We also identified a natural evolutionary intermediate that showed only three amino acid length differences in the PSD relative to its parental allele. This genotype showed an intermediate fitness because it implemented lethality regularly and induced femaleness infrequently (i.e., incomplete penetrance). We suggest incomplete penetrance as a mechanism through which new molecular switches can gradually and adaptively evolve.

  9. Direct calculation of ice homogeneous nucleation rate for a molecular model of water

    PubMed Central

    Haji-Akbari, Amir; Debenedetti, Pablo G.

    2015-01-01

    Ice formation is ubiquitous in nature, with important consequences in a variety of environments, including biological cells, soil, aircraft, transportation infrastructure, and atmospheric clouds. However, its intrinsic kinetics and microscopic mechanism are difficult to discern with current experiments. Molecular simulations of ice nucleation are also challenging, and direct rate calculations have only been performed for coarse-grained models of water. For molecular models, only indirect estimates have been obtained, e.g., by assuming the validity of classical nucleation theory. We use a path sampling approach to perform, to our knowledge, the first direct rate calculation of homogeneous nucleation of ice in a molecular model of water. We use TIP4P/Ice, the most accurate among existing molecular models for studying ice polymorphs. By using a novel topological approach to distinguish different polymorphs, we are able to identify a freezing mechanism that involves a competition between cubic and hexagonal ice in the early stages of nucleation. In this competition, the cubic polymorph takes over because the addition of new topological structural motifs consistent with cubic ice leads to the formation of more compact crystallites. This is not true for topological hexagonal motifs, which give rise to elongated crystallites that are not able to grow. This leads to transition states that are rich in cubic ice, and not the thermodynamically stable hexagonal polymorph. This mechanism provides a molecular explanation for the earlier experimental and computational observations of the preference for cubic ice in the literature. PMID:26240318

  10. Direct calculation of ice homogeneous nucleation rate for a molecular model of water.

    PubMed

    Haji-Akbari, Amir; Debenedetti, Pablo G

    2015-08-25

    Ice formation is ubiquitous in nature, with important consequences in a variety of environments, including biological cells, soil, aircraft, transportation infrastructure, and atmospheric clouds. However, its intrinsic kinetics and microscopic mechanism are difficult to discern with current experiments. Molecular simulations of ice nucleation are also challenging, and direct rate calculations have only been performed for coarse-grained models of water. For molecular models, only indirect estimates have been obtained, e.g., by assuming the validity of classical nucleation theory. We use a path sampling approach to perform, to our knowledge, the first direct rate calculation of homogeneous nucleation of ice in a molecular model of water. We use TIP4P/Ice, the most accurate among existing molecular models for studying ice polymorphs. By using a novel topological approach to distinguish different polymorphs, we are able to identify a freezing mechanism that involves a competition between cubic and hexagonal ice in the early stages of nucleation. In this competition, the cubic polymorph takes over because the addition of new topological structural motifs consistent with cubic ice leads to the formation of more compact crystallites. This is not true for topological hexagonal motifs, which give rise to elongated crystallites that are not able to grow. This leads to transition states that are rich in cubic ice, and not the thermodynamically stable hexagonal polymorph. This mechanism provides a molecular explanation for the earlier experimental and computational observations of the preference for cubic ice in the literature.

  11. Directed evolution of rubisco in Escherichia coli reveals a specificity-determining hydrogen bond in the form II enzyme.

    PubMed

    Mueller-Cajar, Oliver; Morell, Matthew; Whitney, Spencer M

    2007-12-11

    Ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) occupies a critical position in photosynthetic CO2-fixation and consequently has been the focus of intense study. Crystal-structure-guided site-directed mutagenesis studies have met with limited success in engineering kinetic improvements to Rubisco, highlighting our inadequate understanding of structural constraints at the atomic level that dictate the enzyme's catalytic chemistry. Bioselection provides an alternative random mutagenic approach that is useful for identifying and elucidating imperceptible structure-function relationships. Using the dimeric Form II Rubisco from Rhodospirillum rubrum, its gene (rbcM) was randomly mutated and introduced under positive selection into Escherichia coli cells metabolically engineered to be dependent on Rubisco to detoxify its substrate ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate. Thirteen colonies displaying improved fitness were isolated, and all were found to harbor mutations in rbcM at one of two codons, histidine-44 or aspartate-117, that are structurally adjacent amino acids located about 10 A from the active site. Biochemical characterization of the mutant enzymes showed the mutations reduced their CO2/O2 specificity by 40% and decreased their carboxylation turnover rate by 20-40%. Structural analyses showed histidine-44 and aspartate-117 form a hydrogen bond in R. rubrum Rubisco and that the residues are conserved among other Form II Rubiscos. This study demonstrated the utility of directed evolution in E. coli for identifying catalytically relevant residues (in particular nonobvious residues disconnected from active site residues) and their potential molecular interactions that influence Rubisco's catalytic chemistry.

  12. Directed evolution of the alpha-L-fucosidase from Thermotoga maritima into an alpha-L-transfucosidase.

    PubMed

    Osanjo, George; Dion, Michel; Drone, Jullien; Solleux, Claude; Tran, Vinh; Rabiller, Claude; Tellier, Charles

    2007-01-30

    The alpha-L-fucosidase from Thermotoga maritima (Tm alpha fuc) was converted into alpha-L-transfucosidase variants by directed evolution. The wild-type enzyme catalyzes oligosaccharide synthesis by transfer of a fucosyl residue from a pNP-fucoside donor to pNP-fucoside (self-condensation) with alpha-(1-->3) regioselectivity or pNP-galactoside (transglycosylation) with alpha-(1-->2) regioselectivity at low yields (7%). The wild-type enzyme was submitted to one cycle of mutagenesis, followed by rational recombination of the selected mutations, which allowed identification of variants with improved transferase activity. The transferase and hydrolytic kinetics of all the mutants were assessed by NMR methods and capillary electrophoresis. It was shown that the best mutant exhibited a dramatic 32-fold increase in the transferase/hydrolytic kinetic ratio, while keeping 60% of the overall wild-type enzyme activity. Accordingly, the maximum yield of a specific transglycosylation product [pNP-Gal-alpha-(1-->2)-Fuc] reached more than 60% compared to 7% with WT enzyme at equimolar and low concentrations of donor and acceptor (10 mM). Such an improvement was obtained with only three mutations (T264A, Y267F, L322P), which were all located in the second amino acid shell of the fucosidase active site. Molecular modeling suggested that some of these mutations (T264A, Y267F) cause a reorientation of the amino acids that are in direct contact with the substrates, resulting in a better docking energy. Such mutants with high transglycosidase activity may constitute novel enzymatic tools for the synthesis of fucooligosaccharides.

  13. Characterization and directed evolution of BliGO, a novel glycine oxidase from Bacillus licheniformis.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Kai; Guo, Yiming; Yao, Pei; Lin, Yongjun; Kumar, Ashok; Liu, Ziduo; Wu, Gaobing; Zhang, Lili

    2016-04-01

    Glycine oxidase (GO) has great potential for use in biosensors, industrial catalysis and agricultural biotechnology. In this study, a novel GO (BliGO) from a marine bacteria Bacillus licheniformis was cloned and characterized. BliGO showed 62% similarity to the well-studied GO from Bacillus subtilis. The optimal activity of BliGO was observed at pH 8.5 and 40°C. Interestingly, BliGO retained 60% of the maximum activity at 0°C, suggesting it is a cold-adapted enzyme. The kinetic parameters on glyphosate (Km, kcat and k(cat)/K(m)) of BliGO were 11.22 mM, 0.08 s(-1), and 0.01 mM(-1) s(-1), respectively. To improve the catalytic activity to glyphosate, the BliGO was engineered by directed evolution. With error-prone PCR and two rounds of DNA shuffling, the most evolved mutant SCF-4 was obtained from 45,000 colonies, which showed 7.1- and 8-fold increase of affinity (1.58 mM) and catalytic efficiency (0.08 mM(-1) s(-1)) to glyphosate, respectively. In contrast, its activity to glycine (the natural substrate of GO) decreased by 113-fold. Structure modeling and site-directed mutation study indicated that Ser51 in SCF-4 involved in the binding of enzyme with glyphosate and played a crucial role in the improvement of catalytic efficiency.

  14. Digital Direct-to-Consumer Advertising: A Perfect Storm of Rapid Evolution and Stagnant Regulation

    PubMed Central

    Mackey, Tim K.

    2016-01-01

    The adoption and use of digital forms of direct-to-consumer advertising (also known as "eDTCA") is on the rise. At the same time, the universe of eDTCA is expanding, as technology on Internet-based platforms continues to evolve, from static websites, to social media, and nearly ubiquitous use of mobile devices. However, little is known about how this unique form of pharmaceutical marketing impacts consumer behavior, public health, and overall healthcare utilization. The study by Kim analyzing US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) notices of violations (NOVs) and warning letters regarding online promotional activities takes us in the right direction, but study results raise as many questions as it does answers. Chief among these are unanswered concerns about the unique regulatory challenges posed by the "disruptive" qualities of eDTCA, and whether regulators have sufficient resources and oversight powers to proactively address potential violations. Further, the globalization of eDTCA via borderless Internet-based technologies raises larger concerns about the potential global impact of this form of health marketing unique to only the United States and New Zealand. Collectively, these challenges make it unlikely that regulatory science will be able to keep apace with the continued rapid evolution of eDTCA unless more creative policy solutions are explored. PMID:27239871

  15. Directionality theory: an empirical study of an entropic principle in life-history evolution.

    PubMed

    Ziehe, Martin; Demetrius, Lloyd

    2005-06-07

    Understanding the relationship between ecological constraints and life-history properties constitutes a central problem in evolutionary ecology. Directionality theory, a model of the evolutionary process based on demographic entropy, a measure of the uncertainty in the age of the mother of a randomly chosen newborn, provides an analytical framework for addressing this problem. The theory predicts that in populations that spend the greater part of their evolutionary history in the stationary growth phase (equilibrium species), entropy will increase. Equilibrium species will be characterized by high iteroparity and strong demographic stability. In populations that spend the greater part of their evolutionary history in the exponential growth phase (opportunistic species), entropy will decrease when population size is large, and will undergo random variation when population size is small. Opportunistic species will be characterized by weak iteroparity and weak demographic stability when population size is large, and random variations in these attributes when population size is small. This paper assesses the validity of these predictions by employing a demographic dataset of 66 species of perennial plants. This empirical analysis is consistent with directionality theory and provides support for its significance as an explanatory and predictive model of life-history evolution.

  16. Assessing directed evolution methods for the generation of biosynthetic enzymes with potential in drug biosynthesis

    PubMed Central

    Nannemann, David P; Birmingham, William R; Scism, Robert A; Bachmann, Brian O

    2011-01-01

    To address the synthesis of increasingly structurally diverse small-molecule drugs, methods for the generation of efficient and selective biological catalysts are becoming increasingly important. ‘Directed evolution’ is an umbrella term referring to a variety of methods for improving or altering the function of enzymes using a nature-inspired twofold strategy of mutagenesis followed by selection. This article provides an objective assessment of the effectiveness of directed evolution campaigns in generating enzymes with improved catalytic parameters for new substrates from the last decade, excluding studies that aimed to select for only improved physical properties and those that lack kinetic characterization. An analysis of the trends of methodologies and their success rates from 81 qualifying examples in the literature reveals the average fold improvement for kcat (or Vmax), Km and kcat/Km to be 366-, 12- and 2548-fold, respectively, whereas the median fold improvements are 5.4, 3 and 15.6. Further analysis by enzyme class, library-generation methodology and screening methodology explores relationships between successful campaigns and the methodologies employed. PMID:21644826

  17. Directed evolution improves the fibrinolytic activity of nattokinase from Bacillus natto.

    PubMed

    Yongjun, Cai; Wei, Bao; Shujun, Jiang; Meizhi, Weng; Yan, Jia; Yan, Yin; Zhongliang, Zheng; Goulin, Zou

    2011-12-01

    Nattokinase (subtilisin NAT, NK) is a relatively effective microbial fibrinolytic enzyme that has been identified and characterized from Bacillus natto. In the current report, DNA family shuffling was used to improve the fibrinolytic activity of nattokinase. Three homologous genes from B. natto AS 1.107, Bacillus amyloliquefaciens CICC 20164 and Bacillus licheniformis CICC 10092 were shuffled to generate a mutant library. A plate-based method was used to screen the mutant libraries for improved activity. After three rounds of DNA shuffling, one desirable mutant with 16 amino acid substitutions was obtained. The mutant enzyme was purified and characterized. The kinetic measurements showed that the catalytic efficiency of the mutant NK was approximately 2.3 times higher than that of the wild-type nattokinase. In addition, the molecular modeling analysis suggested that the mutations affect the enzymatic function by changing the surface conformation of the substrate-binding pocket. The current study shows that the evolution of nattokinase with improved fibrinolytic activity by DNA family shuffling is feasible and provides useful references to facilitate the application of nattokinase in thrombolytic therapy.

  18. Molecular Corridor Based Approach for Description of Evolution of Secondary Organic Aerosols

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Y., Sr.; Poeschl, U.; Shiraiwa, M.

    2015-12-01

    Organic aerosol is ubiquitous in the atmosphere and its major component is secondary organic aerosol (SOA). Formation and evolution of SOA is a complex process involving coupled chemical reactions and mass transport in the gas and particle phases (Shiraiwa et al., 2014). Current air quality models do not embody the full spectrum of reaction and transport processes, nor do they identify the dominant rate-limiting steps in SOA formation, resulting in the significant underprediction of observed SOA concentrations, which precludes reliable quantitative predictions of aerosols and their environmental impacts. Recently, it has been suggested that the SOA chemical evolution can be represented well by "molecular corridor" with a tight inverse correlation between molar mass and volatility of SOA oxidation products (Shiraiwa et al., 2014). Here we further analyzed the structure, molar mass and volatility of 31,000 unique organic compounds. These compounds include oxygenated organic compounds as well as nitrogen- and sulfur-containing organics such as amines, organonitrates, and organosulfates. Results show that most of those compounds fall into this two-dimensional (2-D) space, which is constrained by two boundary lines corresponding to the volatility of n -alkanes CnH2n+2 and sugar alcohols CnH2n+2On. A method to predict the volatility of nitrogen- and sulfur- containing compounds is developed based on those 31,000 organic compounds. It is shown that the volatility can be well predicted as a function of chemical composition numbers, providing a way to apply this 2-D space to organic compounds observed in real atmosphere. A comprehensive set of observation data from laboratory experiments, field campaigns and indoor measurements is mapped to the molecular corridor. This 2-D space can successfully grasp the properties of organic compounds formed in different atmospheric conditions. The molecular corridor represents a new framework in which chemical and physical properties as

  19. PyEvolve: a toolkit for statistical modelling of molecular evolution

    PubMed Central

    Butterfield, Andrew; Vedagiri, Vivek; Lang, Edward; Lawrence, Cath; Wakefield, Matthew J; Isaev, Alexander; Huttley, Gavin A

    2004-01-01

    Background Examining the distribution of variation has proven an extremely profitable technique in the effort to identify sequences of biological significance. Most approaches in the field, however, evaluate only the conserved portions of sequences – ignoring the biological significance of sequence differences. A suite of sophisticated likelihood based statistical models from the field of molecular evolution provides the basis for extracting the information from the full distribution of sequence variation. The number of different problems to which phylogeny-based maximum likelihood calculations can be applied is extensive. Available software packages that can perform likelihood calculations suffer from a lack of flexibility and scalability, or employ error-prone approaches to model parameterisation. Results Here we describe the implementation of PyEvolve, a toolkit for the application of existing, and development of new, statistical methods for molecular evolution. We present the object architecture and design schema of PyEvolve, which includes an adaptable multi-level parallelisation schema. The approach for defining new methods is illustrated by implementing a novel dinucleotide model of substitution that includes a parameter for mutation of methylated CpG's, which required 8 lines of standard Python code to define. Benchmarking was performed using either a dinucleotide or codon substitution model applied to an alignment of BRCA1 sequences from 20 mammals, or a 10 species subset. Up to five-fold parallel performance gains over serial were recorded. Compared to leading alternative software, PyEvolve exhibited significantly better real world performance for parameter rich models with a large data set, reducing the time required for optimisation from ~10 days to ~6 hours. Conclusion PyEvolve provides flexible functionality that can be used either for statistical modelling of molecular evolution, or the development of new methods in the field. The toolkit can be

  20. Lighting the Dark Molecular Gas: H2 as a Direct Tracer

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Togi, Aditya; Smith, J. D. T.

    2016-10-01

    Robust knowledge of molecular gas mass is critical for understanding star formation in galaxies. The {{{H}}}2 molecule does not emit efficiently in the cold interstellar medium, hence the molecular gas content of galaxies is typically inferred using indirect tracers. At low metallicity and in other extreme environments, these tracers can be subject to substantial biases. We present a new method of estimating total molecular gas mass in galaxies directly from pure mid-infrared rotational {{{H}}}2 emission. By assuming a power-law distribution of {{{H}}}2 rotational temperatures, we can accurately model {{{H}}}2 excitation and reliably obtain warm (T ≳ 100 K) {{{H}}}2 gas masses by varying only the power law’s slope. With sensitivities typical of Spitzer/IRS, we are able to directly probe the {{{H}}}2 content via rotational emission down to ∼80 K, accounting for ∼15% of the total molecular gas mass in a galaxy. By extrapolating the fitted power-law temperature distributions to a calibrated single lower cutoff temperature, the model also recovers the total molecular content within a factor of ∼2.2 in a diverse sample of galaxies, and a subset of broken power-law models performs similarly well. In ULIRGs, the fraction of warm {{{H}}}2 gas rises with dust temperature, with some dependency on α CO. In a sample of five low-metallicity galaxies ranging down to 12+{log}[{{O}}/{{H}}]=7.8, the model yields molecular masses up to ∼100× larger than implied by CO, in good agreement with other methods based on dust mass and star formation depletion timescale. This technique offers real promise for assessing molecular content in the early universe where CO and dust-based methods may fail.

  1. High sensitivity of diamond resonant microcantilevers for direct detection in liquids as probed by molecular electrostatic surface interactions.

    PubMed

    Bongrain, Alexandre; Agnès, Charles; Rousseau, Lionel; Scorsone, Emmanuel; Arnault, Jean-Charles; Ruffinatto, Sébastien; Omnès, Franck; Mailley, Pascal; Lissorgues, Gaëlle; Bergonzo, Philippe

    2011-10-04

    Resonant microcantilevers have demonstrated that they can play an important role in the detection of chemical and biological agents. Molecular interactions with target species on the mechanical microtransducers surface generally induce a change of the beam's bending stiffness, resulting in a shift of the resonance frequency. In most biochemical sensor applications, cantilevers must operate in liquid, even though damping deteriorates the vibrational performances of the transducers. Here we focus on diamond-based microcantilevers since their transducing properties surpass those of other materials. In fact, among a wide range of remarkable features, diamond possesses exceptional mechanical properties enabling the fabrication of cantilever beams with higher resonant frequencies and Q-factors than when made from other conventional materials. Therefore, they appear as one of the top-ranked materials for designing cantilevers operating in liquid media. In this study, we evaluate the resonator sensitivity performances of our diamond microcantilevers using grafted carboxylated alkyl chains as a tool to investigate the subtle changes of surface stiffness as induced by electrostatic interactions. Here, caproic acid was immobilized on the hydrogen-terminated surface of resonant polycrystalline diamond cantilevers using a novel one-step grafting technique that could be also adapted to several other functionalizations. By varying the pH of the solution one could tune the -COO(-)/-COOH ratio of carboxylic acid moieties immobilized on the surface, thus enabling fine variations of the surface stress. We were able to probe the cantilevers resonance frequency evolution and correlate it with the ratio of -COO(-)/-COOH terminations on the functionalized diamond surface and consequently the evolution of the electrostatic potential over the cantilever surface. The approach successfully enabled one to probe variations in cantilevers bending stiffness from several tens to hundreds of

  2. Temporal dynamics of intrahost molecular evolution for a plant RNA virus.

    PubMed

    Cuevas, José M; Willemsen, Anouk; Hillung, Julia; Zwart, Mark P; Elena, Santiago F

    2015-05-01

    Populations of plant RNA viruses are highly polymorphic in infected plants, which may allow rapid within-host evolution. To understand tobacco etch potyvirus (TEV) evolution, longitudinal samples from experimentally evolved populations in the natural host tobacco and from the alternative host pepper were phenotypically characterized and genetically analyzed. Temporal and compartmental variabilities of TEV populations were quantified using high throughput Illumina sequencing and population genetic approaches. Of the two viral phenotypic traits measured, virulence increased in the novel host but decreased in the original one, and viral load decreased in both hosts, though to a lesser extent in the novel one. Dynamics of population genetic diversity were also markedly different among hosts. Population heterozygosity increased in the ancestral host, with a dominance of synonymous mutations fixed, whereas it did not change or even decreased in the new host, with an excess of nonsynonymous mutations. All together, these observations suggest that directional selection is the dominant evolutionary force in TEV populations evolving in a novel host whereas either diversifying selection or random genetic drift may play a fundamental role in the natural host. To better understand these evolutionary dynamics, we developed a computer simulation model that incorporates the effects of mutation, selection, and drift. Upon parameterization with empirical data from previous studies, model predictions matched the observed patterns, thus reinforcing our idea that the empirical patterns of mutation accumulation represent adaptive evolution.

  3. Computationally Efficient Numerical Model for the Evolution of Directional Ocean Surface Waves

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Malej, M.; Choi, W.; Goullet, A.

    2011-12-01

    The main focus of this work has been the asymptotic and numerical modeling of weakly nonlinear ocean surface wave fields. In particular, a development of an efficient numerical model for the evolution of nonlinear ocean waves, including extreme waves known as Rogue/Freak waves, is of direct interest. Due to their elusive and destructive nature, the media often portrays Rogue waves as unimaginatively huge and unpredictable monsters of the sea. To address some of these concerns, derivations of reduced phase-resolving numerical models, based on the small wave steepness assumption, are presented and their corresponding numerical simulations via Fourier pseudo-spectral methods are discussed. The simulations are initialized with a well-known JONSWAP wave spectrum and different angular distributions are employed. Both deterministic and Monte-Carlo ensemble average simulations were carried out. Furthermore, this work concerns the development of a new computationally efficient numerical model for the short term prediction of evolving weakly nonlinear ocean surface waves. The derivations are originally based on the work of West et al. (1987) and since the waves in the ocean tend to travel primarily in one direction, the aforementioned new numerical model is derived with an additional assumption of a weak transverse dependence. In turn, comparisons of the ensemble averaged randomly initialized spectra, as well as deterministic surface-to-surface correlations are presented. The new model is shown to behave well in various directional wave fields and can potentially be a candidate for computationally efficient prediction and propagation of extreme ocean surface waves - Rogue/Freak waves.

  4. How the Microbial World Saved Evolution from the Scylla of Molecular Biology and the Charybdis of the Modern Synthesis

    PubMed Central

    Woese, Carl R.; Goldenfeld, Nigel

    2009-01-01

    Summary: In this commentary, we provide a personal overview of the conceptual history of microbiology and molecular biology over the course of the last hundred years, emphasizing the relationship of these fields to the problem of evolution. We argue that despite their apparent success, all three reached an impasse that arose from the influence of dogmatic or overly narrow perspectives. Finally, we describe how recent developments in microbiology are realizing Beijerinck's vision of a field that is fully integrated with molecular biology, microbial ecology, thereby challenging and extending current thinking in evolution. PMID:19258530

  5. Directed evolution of xylose isomerase for improved xylose catabolism and fermentation in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

    PubMed

    Lee, Sun-Mi; Jellison, Taylor; Alper, Hal S

    2012-08-01

    The heterologous expression of a highly functional xylose isomerase pathway in Saccharomyces cerevisiae would have significant advantages for ethanol yield, since the pathway bypasses cofactor requirements found in the traditionally used oxidoreductase pathways. However, nearly all reported xylose isomerase-based pathways in S. cerevisiae suffer from poor ethanol productivity, low xylose consumption rates, and poor cell growth compared with an oxidoreductase pathway and, additionally, often require adaptive strain evolution. Here, we report on the directed evolution of the Piromyces sp. xylose isomerase (encoded by xylA) for use in yeast. After three rounds of mutagenesis and growth-based screening, we isolated a variant containing six mutations (E15D, E114G, E129D, T142S, A177T, and V433I) that exhibited a 77% increase in enzymatic activity. When expressed in a minimally engineered yeast host containing a gre3 knockout and tal1 and XKS1 overexpression, the strain expressing this mutant enzyme improved its aerobic growth rate by 61-fold and both ethanol production and xylose consumption rates by nearly 8-fold. Moreover, the mutant enzyme enabled ethanol production by these yeasts under oxygen-limited fermentation conditions, unlike the wild-type enzyme. Under microaerobic conditions, the ethanol production rates of the strain expressing the mutant xylose isomerase were considerably higher than previously reported values for yeast harboring a xylose isomerase pathway and were also comparable to those of the strains harboring an oxidoreductase pathway. Consequently, this study shows the potential to evolve a xylose isomerase pathway for more efficient xylose utilization.

  6. Supermassive black hole seed formation at high redshifts: long-term evolution of the direct collapse

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shlosman, Isaac; Choi, Jun-Hwan; Begelman, Mitchell C.; Nagamine, Kentaro

    2016-02-01

    We use cosmological adaptive mesh refinement code ENZO zoom-in simulations to study the long-term evolution of the collapsing gas within dark matter haloes at z. This direct collapse process is a leading candidate for rapid formation of supermassive black hole (SMBH) seeds. To circumvent the Courant condition at small radii, we apply the sink particle method, focusing on evolution on scales ˜0.01-10 pc. The collapse proceeds in two stages, with the secondary runaway happening within the central 10 pc. The sink particles form when the collapsing gas requires additional refinement of the grid size at the highest refinement level. Their growth is negligible with the sole exception of the central seed which grows dramatically to Mseed ˜ 2 × 106 M⊙ in ˜2 Myr, confirming the feasibility of this path to the SMBH. The variability of angular momentum in the accreted gas results in the formation of two misaligned discs. Both discs lie within the Roche limit of the central seed. While the inner disc is geometrically thin and weakly asymmetric, the outer disc flares due to turbulent motions as a result of the massive inflow along a pair of penetrating filaments. The filamentary inflow determines the dominant Fourier modes in this disc - these modes have a non-self-gravitational origin. We do not confirm that m = 1 is a dominant mode that drives the inflow in the presence of a central massive object. The overall configuration appears to be generic, and is expected to form when the central seed becomes sufficiently massive.

  7. Heterogeneous Rates of Molecular Evolution and Diversification Could Explain the Triassic Age Estimate for Angiosperms.

    PubMed

    Beaulieu, Jeremy M; O'Meara, Brian C; Crane, Peter; Donoghue, Michael J

    2015-09-01

    Dating analyses based on molecular data imply that crown angiosperms existed in the Triassic, long before their undisputed appearance in the fossil record in the Early Cretaceous. Following a re-analysis of the age of angiosperms using updated sequences and fossil calibrations, we use a series of simulations to explore the possibility that the older age estimates are a consequence of (i) major shifts in the rate of sequence evolution near the base of the angiosperms and/or (ii) the representative taxon sampling strategy employed in such studies. We show that both of these factors do tend to yield substantially older age estimates. These analyses do not prove that younger age estimates based on the fossil record are correct, but they do suggest caution in accepting the older age estimates obtained using current relaxed-clock methods. Although we have focused here on the angiosperms, we suspect that these results will shed light on dating discrepancies in other major clades.

  8. Molecular co-catalyst accelerating hole transfer for enhanced photocatalytic H2 evolution

    PubMed Central

    Bi, Wentuan; Li, Xiaogang; Zhang, Lei; Jin, Tao; Zhang, Lidong; Zhang, Qun; Luo, Yi; Wu, Changzheng; Xie, Yi

    2015-01-01

    In artificial photocatalysis, sluggish kinetics of hole transfer and the resulting high-charge recombination rate have been the Achilles' heel of photocatalytic conversion efficiency. Here we demonstrate water-soluble molecules as co-catalysts to accelerate hole transfer for improved photocatalytic H2 evolution activity. Trifluoroacetic acid (TFA), by virtue of its reversible redox couple TFA·/TFA−, serves as a homogeneous co-catalyst that not only maximizes the contact areas between co-catalysts and reactants but also greatly promotes hole transfer. Thus K4Nb6O17 nanosheet catalysts achieve drastically increased photocatalytic H2 production rate in the presence of TFA, up to 32 times with respect to the blank experiment. The molecular co-catalyst represents a new, simple and highly effective approach to suppress recombination of photogenerated charges, and has provided fertile new ground for creating high-efficiency photosynthesis systems, avoiding use of noble-metal co-catalysts. PMID:26486863

  9. Oxygen evolution on a SrFeO3 anode - Mechanistic considerations from molecular orbital theory

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mehandru, S. P.; Anderson, Alfred B.

    1989-01-01

    Various pathways proposed in the literature for the evolution of O2 in electrochemical oxidations are explored using the atom superposition and electron delocalization molecular orbital (ASED-MO) theory and the cluster models of the SrFeO3 surface as a prototype material. Calculations indicate that oxygen atoms can be easily formed on the (100) surface as well as on the edge cation sites of a SrFeO3 anode by the discharge of OH(-), followed by its deprotonation and electron transfer to the electrode. The O atoms can form O2 on the edge and corner sites, where the Fe(4+) is coordinated to four and three bulk oxygen anions, respectively. The calculations strongly disfavor mechanisms involving coupling of oxygen atoms adsorbed on different cations as well as a mechanism featuring an ozone intermediate.

  10. Molecular co-catalyst accelerating hole transfer for enhanced photocatalytic H2 evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bi, Wentuan; Li, Xiaogang; Zhang, Lei; Jin, Tao; Zhang, Lidong; Zhang, Qun; Luo, Yi; Wu, Changzheng; Xie, Yi

    2015-10-01

    In artificial photocatalysis, sluggish kinetics of hole transfer and the resulting high-charge recombination rate have been the Achilles' heel of photocatalytic conversion efficiency. Here we demonstrate water-soluble molecules as co-catalysts to accelerate hole transfer for improved photocatalytic H2 evolution activity. Trifluoroacetic acid (TFA), by virtue of its reversible redox couple TFA./TFA-, serves as a homogeneous co-catalyst that not only maximizes the contact areas between co-catalysts and reactants but also greatly promotes hole transfer. Thus K4Nb6O17 nanosheet catalysts achieve drastically increased photocatalytic H2 production rate in the presence of TFA, up to 32 times with respect to the blank experiment. The molecular co-catalyst represents a new, simple and highly effective approach to suppress recombination of photogenerated charges, and has provided fertile new ground for creating high-efficiency photosynthesis systems, avoiding use of noble-metal co-catalysts.

  11. Tethering metal ions to photocatalyst particulate surfaces by bifunctional molecular linkers for efficient hydrogen evolution.

    PubMed

    Yu, Weili; Isimjan, Tayirjan; Del Gobbo, Silvano; Anjum, Dalaver H; Abdel-Azeim, Safwat; Cavallo, Luigi; Garcia-Esparza, Angel T; Domen, Kazunari; Xu, Wei; Takanabe, Kazuhiro

    2014-09-01

    A simple and versatile method for the preparation of photocatalyst particulates modified with effective cocatalysts is presented; the method involves the sequential soaking of photocatalyst particulates in solutions containing bifunctional organic linkers and metal ions. The modification of the particulate surfaces is a universal and reproducible method because the molecular linkers utilize strong covalent bonds, which in turn result in modified monolayer with a small but controlled quantity of metals. The photocatalysis results indicated that the CdS with likely photochemically reduced Pd and Ni, which were initially immobilized via ethanedithiol (EDT) as a linker, were highly efficient for photocatalytic hydrogen evolution from Na2S-Na2SO3-containing aqueous solutions. The method developed in this study opens a new synthesis route for the preparation of effective photocatalysts with various combinations of bifunctional linkers, metals, and photocatalyst particulate materials.

  12. Dynamics of the Eigen and the Crow-Kimura models for molecular evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Saakian, David B.; Rozanova, Olga; Akmetzhanov, Andrei

    2008-10-01

    We introduce an alternative way to study molecular evolution within well-established Hamilton-Jacobi formalism, showing that for a broad class of fitness landscapes it is possible to derive dynamics analytically within the 1/N accuracy, where N is the genome length. For a smooth and monotonic fitness function this approach gives two dynamical phases: smooth dynamics and discontinuous dynamics. The latter phase arises naturally with no explicite singular fitness function, counterintuitively. The Hamilton-Jacobi method yields straightforward analytical results for the models that utilize fitness as a function of Hamming distance from a reference genome sequence. We also show the way in which this method gives dynamical phase structure for multipeak fitness.

  13. Molecular Evolution and Functional Divergence of Trace Amine–Associated Receptors

    PubMed Central

    Eyun, Seong-il; Moriyama, Hideaki; Hoffmann, Federico G.; Moriyama, Etsuko N.

    2016-01-01

    Trace amine-associated receptors (TAARs) are a member of the G-protein-coupled receptor superfamily and are known to be expressed in olfactory sensory neurons. A limited number of molecular evolutionary studies have been done for TAARs so far. To elucidate how lineage-specific evolution contributed to their functional divergence, we examined 30 metazoan genomes. In total, 493 TAAR gene candidates (including 84 pseudogenes) were identified from 26 vertebrate genomes. TAARs were not identified from non-vertebrate genomes. An ancestral-type TAAR-like gene appeared to have emerged in lamprey. We found four therian-specific TAAR subfamilies (one eutherian-specific and three metatherian-specific) in addition to previously known nine subfamilies. Many species-specific TAAR gene duplications and losses contributed to a large variation of TAAR gene numbers among mammals, ranging from 0 in dolphin to 26 in flying fox. TAARs are classified into two groups based on binding preferences for primary or tertiary amines as well as their sequence similarities. Primary amine-detecting TAARs (TAAR1-4) have emerged earlier, generally have single-copy orthologs (very few duplication or loss), and have evolved under strong functional constraints. In contrast, tertiary amine-detecting TAARs (TAAR5-9) have emerged more recently and the majority of them experienced higher rates of gene duplications. Protein members that belong to the tertiary amine-detecting TAAR group also showed the patterns of positive selection especially in the area surrounding the ligand-binding pocket, which could have affected ligand-binding activities and specificities. Expansions of the tertiary amine-detecting TAAR gene family may have played important roles in terrestrial adaptations of therian mammals. Molecular evolution of the TAAR gene family appears to be governed by a complex, species-specific, interplay between environmental and evolutionary factors. PMID:26963722

  14. Molecular Evolution of Slow and Quick Anion Channels (SLACs and QUACs/ALMTs)

    PubMed Central

    Dreyer, Ingo; Gomez-Porras, Judith Lucia; Riaño-Pachón, Diego Mauricio; Hedrich, Rainer; Geiger, Dietmar

    2012-01-01

    Electrophysiological analyses conducted about 25 years ago detected two types of anion channels in the plasma membrane of guard cells. One type of channel responds slowly to changes in membrane voltage while the other responds quickly. Consequently, they were named SLAC, for SLow Anion Channel, and QUAC, for QUick Anion Channel. Recently, genes SLAC1 and QUAC1/ALMT12, underlying the two different anion current components, could be identified in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Expression of the gene products in Xenopus oocytes confirmed the quick and slow current kinetics. In this study we provide an overview on our current knowledge on slow and quick anion channels in plants and analyze the molecular evolution of ALMT/QUAC-like and SLAC-like channels. We discovered fingerprints that allow screening databases for these channel types and were able to identify 192 (177 non-redundant) SLAC-like and 422 (402 non-redundant) ALMT/QUAC-like proteins in the fully sequenced genomes of 32 plant species. Phylogenetic analyses provided new insights into the molecular evolution of these channel types. We also combined sequence alignment and clustering with predictions of protein features, leading to the identification of known conserved phosphorylation sites in SLAC1-like channels along with potential sites that have not been yet experimentally confirmed. Using a similar strategy to analyze the hydropathicity of ALMT/QUAC-like channels, we propose a modified topology with additional transmembrane regions that integrates structure and function of these membrane proteins. Our results suggest that cross-referencing phylogenetic analyses with position-specific protein properties and functional data could be a very powerful tool for genome research approaches in general. PMID:23226151

  15. Molecular evolution of mollusc shell proteins: insights from proteomic analysis of the edible mussel Mytilus.

    PubMed

    Marie, Benjamin; Le Roy, Nathalie; Zanella-Cléon, Isabelle; Becchi, Michel; Marin, Frédéric

    2011-06-01

    Shell matrix proteins (SMPs) that are embedded within calcified layers of mollusc shells are believed to play an essential role in controlling the biomineral synthesis and in increasing its mechanical properties. Among the wide diversity of mollusc shell textures, nacro-prismatic shells represent a tremendous opportunity for the investigation of the SMP evolution. Indeed, nacro-prismatic texture appears early in Cambrian molluscs and is still present in the shell of some bivalves, gastropods, cephalopods and very likely also, of some monoplacophorans. One key question is to know whether these shells are constructed from similar matrix protein assemblages, i.e. whether they share a common origin. Most of the molecular data published so far are restricted to two genera, the bivalve Pinctada and the gastropod Haliotis. The shell protein content of these two genera are clearly different, suggesting independent origins or considerable genetic drift from a common ancestor. In order to describe putatively conserved mollusc shell proteins, here we have investigated the SMP set of a new bivalve model belonging to another genera, the edible mussel Mytilus, using an up-to-date proteomic approach based on the interrogation of more than 70,000 EST sequences, recently available from NCBI public databases. We describe nine novel SMPs, among which three are completely novel, four are homologues of Pinctada SMPs and two are very likely homologues of Haliotis SMPs. This latter result constitutes the first report of conserved SMPs between bivalves and gastropods. More generally, our data suggest that mollusc SMP set may follow a mosaic pattern within the different mollusc models (Mytilus, Pinctada, Haliotis). We discuss the function of such proteins in calcifying matrices, the molecular evolution of SMP genes and the origin of mollusc nacro-prismatic SMPs.

  16. Host shifts and molecular evolution of H7 avian influenza virus hemagglutinin

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Evolutionary consequences of host shifts represent a challenge to identify the mechanisms involved in the emergence of influenza A (IA) viruses. In this study we focused on the evolutionary history of H7 IA virus in wild and domestic birds, with a particular emphasis on host shifts consequences on the molecular evolution of the hemagglutinin (HA) gene. Based on a dataset of 414 HA nucleotide sequences, we performed an extensive phylogeographic analysis in order to identify the overall genetic structure of H7 IA viruses. We then identified host shift events and investigated viral population dynamics in wild and domestic birds, independently. Finally, we estimated changes in nucleotide substitution rates and tested for positive selection in the HA gene. A strong association between the geographic origin and the genetic structure was observed, with four main clades including viruses isolated in North America, South America, Australia and Eurasia-Africa. We identified ten potential events of virus introduction from wild to domestic birds, but little evidence for spillover of viruses from poultry to wild waterbirds. Several sites involved in host specificity (addition of a glycosylation site in the receptor binding domain) and virulence (insertion of amino acids in the cleavage site) were found to be positively selected in HA nucleotide sequences, in genetically unrelated lineages, suggesting parallel evolution for the HA gene of IA viruses in domestic birds. These results highlight that evolutionary consequences of bird host shifts would need to be further studied to understand the ecological and molecular mechanisms involved in the emergence of domestic bird-adapted viruses. PMID:21711553

  17. Molecular Evolution and Phylodynamics of Acute Hepatitis B Virus in Japan

    PubMed Central

    Lin, Serena Y. C.; Toyoda, Hidenori; Kumada, Takashi; Liu, Hsin-Fu

    2016-01-01

    Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is prevalent worldwide and causes liver diseases, including acute and chronic hepatitis. Ten HBV genotypes (A–J) with distinct geographic distributions have been reported. Cases of acute HBV infection with genotype A have increased in Japan nationwide since the 1990s, mainly through sexual transmission. To investigate the molecular evolution and phylodynamics of HBV genotypes, we collected acute HBV isolates acquired in Japan from 1992–2002. Full genomes were obtained for comprehensive phylogenetic and phylodynamic analysis, with other Japanese HBV sequences from GenBank that were isolated during 1991–2010. HBV genotypes were classified using the maximum-likelihood and Bayesian methods. The GMRF Bayesian Skyride was used to estimate the evolution and population dynamics of HBV. Four HBV genotypes (A, B, C, and H) were identified, of which C was the major genotype. The phylodynamic results indicated an exponential growth between the 1960s and early 1990s; this was followed by a population bottleneck after 1995, possibly linked with successful implementation of a nationwide vaccination program. However, HBV/A increased from 1990 to 2003–2004, and then started to decrease. The prevalence of genotype A has increased over the past 10 years. Phylodynamic inference clearly demonstrates a steady population growth compatible with an ongoing subepidemic; this might be due to the loss of immunity to HBV in adolescents and people being born before the vaccination program. This is the first phylodynamic study of HBV infection in Japan and will facilitate understanding the molecular epidemiology and long-term evolutionary dynamics of this virus in Japan. PMID:27280441

  18. Molecular metal-Nx centres in porous carbon for electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liang, Hai-Wei; Brüller, Sebastian; Dong, Renhao; Zhang, Jian; Feng, Xinliang; Müllen, Klaus

    2015-08-01

    Replacement of precious platinum with efficient and low-cost catalysts for electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution at low overpotentials holds tremendous promise for clean energy devices. Here we report a novel type of robust cobalt-nitrogen/carbon catalyst for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) that is prepared by the pyrolysis of cobalt-N4 macrocycles or cobalt/o-phenylenediamine composites and using silica colloids as a hard template. We identify the well-dispersed molecular CoNx sites on the carbon support as the active sites responsible for the HER. The CoNx/C catalyst exhibits extremely high turnover frequencies per cobalt site in acids, for example, 0.39 and 6.5 s-1 at an overpotential of 100 and 200 mV, respectively, which are higher than those reported for other scalable non-precious metal HER catalysts. Our results suggest the great promise of developing new families of non-precious metal HER catalysts based on the controlled conversion of homogeneous metal complexes into solid-state carbon catalysts via economically scalable protocols.

  19. Molecular evolution of colorectal cancer: from multistep carcinogenesis to the big bang.

    PubMed

    Amaro, Adriana; Chiara, Silvana; Pfeffer, Ulrich

    2016-03-01

    Colorectal cancer is characterized by exquisite genomic instability either in the form of microsatellite instability or chromosomal instability. Microsatellite instability is the result of mutation of mismatch repair genes or their silencing through promoter methylation as a consequence of the CpG island methylator phenotype. The molecular causes of chromosomal instability are less well characterized. Genomic instability and field cancerization lead to a high degree of intratumoral heterogeneity and determine the formation of cancer stem cells and epithelial-mesenchymal transition mediated by the TGF-β and APC pathways. Recent analyses using integrated genomics reveal different phases of colorectal cancer evolution. An initial phase of genomic instability that yields many clones with different mutations (big bang) is followed by an important, previously not detected phase of cancer evolution that consists in the stabilization of several clones and a relatively flat outgrowth. The big bang model can best explain the coexistence of several stable clones and is compatible with the fact that the analysis of the bulk of the primary tumor yields prognostic information.

  20. Molecular evolution of plant haemoglobin: two haemoglobin genes in Nymphaeaceae Euryale ferox.

    PubMed

    Guldner, E; Desmarais, E; Galtier, N; Godelle, B

    2004-01-01

    We isolated and sequenced two haemoglobin genes from the early-branching angiosperm Euryale ferox (Nymphaeaceae). The two genes belong to the two known classes of plant haemoglobin. Their existence in Nymphaeaceae supports the theory that class 1 haemoglobin was ancestrally present in all angiosperms, and is evidence for class 2 haemoglobin being widely distributed. These sequences allowed us to unambiguously root the angiosperm haemoglobin phylogeny, and to corroborate the hypothesis that the class 1/class 2 duplication event occurred before the divergence between monocots and eudicots. We addressed the molecular evolution of plant haemoglobin by comparing the synonymous and nonsynonymous substitution rates in various groups of genes. Class 2 haemoglobin genes of legumes (functionally involved in a symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria) show a higher nonsynonymous substitution rate than class 1 (nonsymbiotic) haemoglobin genes. This suggests that a change in the selective forces applying to plant haemoglobins has occurred during the evolutionary history of this gene family, potentially in relation with the evolution of symbiosis.

  1. Molecular phylogeny and character evolution in terete-stemmed Andean opuntias (Cactaceae-Opuntioideae).

    PubMed

    Ritz, C M; Reiker, J; Charles, G; Hoxey, P; Hunt, D; Lowry, M; Stuppy, W; Taylor, N

    2012-11-01

    The cacti of tribe Tephrocacteae (Cactaceae-Opuntioideae) are adapted to diverse climatic conditions over a wide area of the southern Andes and adjacent lowlands. They exhibit a range of life forms from geophytes and cushion-plants to dwarf shrubs, shrubs or small trees. To confirm or challenge previous morphology-based classifications and molecular phylogenies, we sampled DNA sequences from the chloroplast trnK/matK region and the nuclear low copy gene phyC and compared the resulting phylogenies with previous data gathered from nuclear ribosomal DNA sequences. The here presented chloroplast and nuclear low copy gene phylogenies were mutually congruent and broadly coincident with the classification based on gross morphology and seed micro-morphology and anatomy. Reconstruction of hypothetical ancestral character states suggested that geophytes and cushion-forming species probably evolved several times from dwarf shrubby precursors. We also traced an increase of embryo size at the expense of the nucellus-derived storage tissue during the evolution of the Tephrocacteae, which is thought to be an evolutionary advantage because nutrients are then more rapidly accessible for the germinating embryo. In contrast to these highly concordant phylogenies, nuclear ribosomal DNA data sampled by a previous study yielded conflicting phylogenetic signals. Secondary structure predictions of ribosomal transcribed spacers suggested that this phylogeny is strongly influenced by the inclusion of paralogous sequence probably arisen by genome duplication during the evolution of this plant group.

  2. Turning points in the evolution of peroxidase-catalase superfamily: molecular phylogeny of hybrid heme peroxidases.

    PubMed

    Zámocký, Marcel; Gasselhuber, Bernhard; Furtmüller, Paul G; Obinger, Christian

    2014-12-01

    Heme peroxidases and catalases are key enzymes of hydrogen peroxide metabolism and signaling. Here, the reconstruction of the molecular evolution of the peroxidase-catalase superfamily (annotated in pfam as PF00141) based on experimentally verified as well as numerous newly available genomic sequences is presented. The robust phylogenetic tree of this large enzyme superfamily was obtained from 490 full-length protein sequences. Besides already well-known families of heme b peroxidases arranged in three main structural classes, completely new (hybrid type) peroxidase families are described being located at the border of these classes as well as forming (so far missing) links between them. Hybrid-type A peroxidases represent a minor eukaryotic subfamily from Excavates, Stramenopiles and Rhizaria sharing enzymatic and structural features of ascorbate and cytochrome c peroxidases. Hybrid-type B peroxidases are shown to be spread exclusively among various fungi and evolved in parallel with peroxidases in land plants. In some ascomycetous hybrid-type B peroxidases, the peroxidase domain is fused to a carbohydrate binding (WSC) domain. Both here described hybrid-type peroxidase families represent important turning points in the complex evolution of the whole peroxidase-catalase superfamily. We present and discuss their phylogeny, sequence signatures and putative biological function.

  3. The molecular origin and evolution of dim-light vision in mammals.

    PubMed

    Bickelmann, Constanze; Morrow, James M; Du, Jing; Schott, Ryan K; van Hazel, Ilke; Lim, Steve; Müller, Johannes; Chang, Belinda S W

    2015-11-01

    The nocturnal origin of mammals is a longstanding hypothesis that is considered instrumental for the evolution of endothermy, a potential key innovation in this successful clade. This hypothesis is primarily based on indirect anatomical inference from fossils. Here, we reconstruct the evolutionary history of rhodopsin--the vertebrate visual pigment mediating the first step in phototransduction at low-light levels--via codon-based model tests for selection, combined with gene resurrection methods that allow for the study of ancient proteins. Rhodopsin coding sequences were reconstructed for three key nodes: Amniota, Mammalia, and Theria. When expressed in vitro, all sequences generated stable visual pigments with λMAX values similar to the well-studied bovine rhodopsin. Retinal release rates of mammalian and therian ancestral rhodopsins, measured via fluorescence spectroscopy, were significantly slower than those of the amniote ancestor, indicating altered molecular function possibly related to nocturnality. Positive selection along the therian branch suggests adaptive evolution in rhodopsin concurrent with therian ecological diversification events during the Mesozoic that allowed for an exploration of the environment at varying light levels.

  4. Conflicting selection alters the trajectory of molecular evolution in a tripartite bacteria-plasmid-phage interaction.

    PubMed

    Harrison, Ellie; Hall, James J P; Paterson, Steve; Spiers, Andrew J; Brockhurst, Michael A

    2017-03-01

    Bacteria engage in a complex network of ecological interactions, which includes mobile genetic elements (MGEs) such as phages and plasmids. These elements play a key role in microbial communities as vectors of horizontal gene transfer but can also be important sources of selection for their bacterial hosts. In natural communities bacteria are likely to encounter multiple MGEs simultaneously and conflicting selection among MGEs could alter the bacterial evolutionary response to each MGE. Here we test the effect of interactions with multiple MGEs on bacterial molecular evolution in the tripartite interaction between the bacterium, Pseudomonas fluorescens, the lytic bacteriophage SBW25φ2 and conjugative plasmid, pQBR103, using genome sequencing of experimentally evolved bacteria. We show that, individually, both plasmids and phages impose selection leading to bacterial evolutionary responses that are distinct from bacterial populations evolving without MGEs, but that together, plasmids and phages impose conflicting selection on bacteria, constraining the evolutionary responses observed in pairwise interactions. Our findings highlight the likely difficulties of predicting evolutionary responses to multiple selective pressures from the observed evolutionary responses to each selective pressure alone. Understanding evolution in complex microbial communities comprising many species and MGEs will require that we go beyond studies of pairwise interactions. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  5. Bioinspired Molecular Co-Catalysts Bonded to a Silicon Photocathode for Solar Hydrogen Evolution

    SciTech Connect

    Hou, Yidong

    2011-11-08

    The production of fuels from sunlight represents one of the main challenges in the development of a sustainable energy system. Hydrogen is the simplest fuel to produce and although platinum and other noble metals are efficient catalysts for photoelectrochemical hydrogen evolution earth-abundant alternatives are needed for large-scale use. We show that bioinspired molecular clusters based on molybdenum and sulphur evolve hydrogen at rates comparable to that of platinum. The incomplete cubane-like clusters (Mo{sub 3}S{sub 4}) efficiently catalyse the evolution of hydrogen when coupled to a p-type Si semiconductor that harvests red photons in the solar spectrum. The current densities at the reversible potential match the requirement of a photoelectrochemical hydrogen production system with a solar-to-hydrogen efficiency in excess of 10% (ref. 16). The experimental observations are supported by density functional theory calculations of the Mo{sub 3}S{sub 4} clusters adsorbed on the hydrogen-terminated Si(100) surface, providing insights into the nature of the active site.

  6. Molecular metal–Nx centres in porous carbon for electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution

    PubMed Central

    Liang, Hai-Wei; Brüller, Sebastian; Dong, Renhao; Zhang, Jian; Feng, Xinliang; Müllen, Klaus

    2015-01-01

    Replacement of precious platinum with efficient and low-cost catalysts for electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution at low overpotentials holds tremendous promise for clean energy devices. Here we report a novel type of robust cobalt–nitrogen/carbon catalyst for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) that is prepared by the pyrolysis of cobalt–N4 macrocycles or cobalt/o-phenylenediamine composites and using silica colloids as a hard template. We identify the well-dispersed molecular CoNx sites on the carbon support as the active sites responsible for the HER. The CoNx/C catalyst exhibits extremely high turnover frequencies per cobalt site in acids, for example, 0.39 and 6.5 s−1 at an overpotential of 100 and 200 mV, respectively, which are higher than those reported for other scalable non-precious metal HER catalysts. Our results suggest the great promise of developing new families of non-precious metal HER catalysts based on the controlled conversion of homogeneous metal complexes into solid-state carbon catalysts via economically scalable protocols. PMID:26250525

  7. Population genetics and molecular evolution of DNA sequences in transposable elements. I. A simulation framework.

    PubMed

    Kijima, T E; Innan, Hideki

    2013-11-01

    A population genetic simulation framework is developed to understand the behavior and molecular evolution of DNA sequences of transposable elements. Our model incorporates random transposition and excision of transposable element (TE) copies, two modes of selection against TEs, and degeneration of transpositional activity by point mutations. We first investigated the relationships between the behavior of the copy number of TEs and these parameters. Our results show that when selection is weak, the genome can maintain a relatively large number of TEs, but most of them are less active. In contrast, with strong selection, the genome can maintain only a limited number of TEs but the proportion of active copies is large. In such a case, there could be substantial fluctuations of the copy number over generations. We also explored how DNA sequences of TEs evolve through the simulations. In general, active copies form clusters around the original sequence, while less active copies have long branches specific to themselves, exhibiting a star-shaped phylogeny. It is demonstrated that the phylogeny of TE sequences could be informative to understand the dynamics of TE evolution.

  8. THE GLOBAL EVOLUTION OF GIANT MOLECULAR CLOUDS. II. THE ROLE OF ACCRETION

    SciTech Connect

    Goldbaum, Nathan J.; Krumholz, Mark R.; Matzner, Christopher D.; McKee, Christopher F.

    2011-09-01

    We present virial models for the global evolution of giant molecular clouds (GMCs). Focusing on the presence of an accretion flow and accounting for the amount of mass, momentum, and energy supplied by accretion and star formation feedback, we are able to follow the growth, evolution, and dispersal of individual GMCs. Our model clouds reproduce the scaling relations observed in both galactic and extragalactic clouds. We find that accretion and star formation contribute roughly equal amounts of turbulent kinetic energy over the lifetime of the cloud. Clouds attain virial equilibrium and grow in such a way as to maintain roughly constant surface densities, with typical surface densities of order 50-200 M{sub sun} pc{sup -2}, in good agreement with observations of GMCs in the Milky Way and nearby external galaxies. We find that as clouds grow, their velocity dispersion and radius must also increase, implying that the linewidth-size relation constitutes an age sequence. Lastly, we compare our models to observations of GMCs and associated young star clusters in the Large Magellanic Cloud and find good agreement between our model clouds and the observed relationship between H II regions, young star clusters, and GMCs.

  9. Molecular evolution and functional divergence of the metallothionein gene family in vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Serén, Nina; Glaberman, Scott; Carretero, Miguel A; Chiari, Ylenia

    2014-04-01

    The metallothionein (MT) gene superfamily consists of metal-binding proteins involved in various metal detoxification and storage mechanisms. The evolution of this gene family in vertebrates has mostly been studied in mammals using sparse taxon or gene sampling. Genomic databases and available data on MT protein function and expression allow a better understanding of the evolution and functional divergence of the different MT types. We recovered 77 MT coding sequences from 20 representative vertebrates with annotated complete genomes. We found multiple MT genes, also in reptiles, which were thought to have only one MT type. Phylogenetic and synteny analyses indicate the existence of a eutherian MT1 and MT2, a tetrapod MT3, an amniote MT4, and fish MT. The optimal gene-tree/species-tree reconciliation analyses identified the best root in the fish clade. Functional analyses reveal variation in hydropathic index among protein domains, likely correlated with their distinct flexibility and metal affinity. Analyses of functional divergence identified amino acid sites correlated with functional divergence among MT types. Uncovering the number of genes and sites possibly correlated with functional divergence will help to design cost-effective MT functional and gene expression studies. This will permit further understanding of the distinct roles and specificity of these proteins and to properly target specific MT for different types of functional studies. Therefore, this work presents a critical background on the molecular evolution and functional divergence of vertebrate MTs to carry out further detailed studies on the relationship between heavy metal metabolism and tolerances among vertebrates.

  10. Directed Evolution of an LBP/CD14 Inhibitory Peptide and Its Anti-Endotoxin Activity

    PubMed Central

    Fang, Li; Xu, Zhi; Wang, Guan-song; Ji, Fu-yun; Mei, Chun-xia; Liu, Juan; Wu, Guo-ming

    2014-01-01

    Background LPS-binding protein (LBP) and its ligand CD14 are located upstream of the signaling pathway for LPS-induced inflammation. Blocking LBP and CD14 binding might prevent LPS-induced inflammation. In previous studies, we obtained a peptide analog (MP12) for the LBP/CD14 binding site and showed that this peptide analog had anti-endotoxin activity. In this study, we used in vitro directed evolution for this peptide analog to improve its in vivo and in vitro anti-endotoxin activity. Methods We used error-prone PCR (ep-PCR) and induced mutations in the C-terminus of LBP and attached the PCR products to T7 phages to establish a mutant phage display library. The positive clones that competed with LBP for CD14 binding was obtained by screening. We used both in vivo and in vitro experiments to compare the anti-endotoxin activities of a polypeptide designated P1 contained in a positive clone and MP12. Results 11 positive clones were obtained from among target phages. Sequencing showed that 9 positive clones had a threonine (T) to methionine (M) mutation in amino acid 287 of LBP. Compared to polypeptide MP12, polypeptide P1 significantly inhibited LPS-induced TNF-α expression and NF-κB activity in U937 cells (P<0.05). Compared to MP12, P1 significantly improved arterial oxygen pressure, an oxygenation index, and lung pathology scores in LPS-induced ARDS rats (P<0.05). Conclusion By in vitro directed evolution of peptide analogs for the LBP/CD14 binding site, we established a new polypeptide (P1) with a threonine (T)-to-methionine (M) mutation in amino acid 287 of LBP. This polypeptide had high anti-endotoxin activity in vitro and in vivo, which suggested that amino acid 287 in the C-terminus of LBP may play an important role in LBP binding with CD14. PMID:25025695

  11. Evidence for a convergent slowdown in primate molecular rates and its implications for the timing of early primate evolution

    PubMed Central

    Steiper, Michael E.; Seiffert, Erik R.

    2012-01-01

    A long-standing problem in primate evolution is the discord between paleontological and molecular clock estimates for the time of crown primate origins: the earliest crown primate fossils are ∼56 million y (Ma) old, whereas molecular estimates for the haplorhine-strepsirrhine split are often deep in the Late Cretaceous. One explanation for this phenomenon is that crown primates existed in the Cretaceous but that their fossil remains have not yet been found. Here we provide strong evidence that this discordance is better-explained by a convergent molecular rate slowdown in early primate evolution. We show that molecular rates in primates are strongly and inversely related to three life-history correlates: body size (BS), absolute endocranial volume (EV), and relative endocranial volume (REV). Critically, these traits can be reconstructed from fossils, allowing molecular rates to be predicted for extinct primates. To this end, we modeled the evolutionary history of BS, EV, and REV using data from both extinct and extant primates. We show that the primate last common ancestor had a very small BS, EV, and REV. There has been a subsequent convergent increase in BS, EV, and REV, indicating that there has also been a convergent molecular rate slowdown over primate evolution. We generated a unique timescale for primates by predicting molecular rates from the reconstructed phenotypic values for a large phylogeny of living and extinct primates. This analysis suggests that crown primates originated close to the K–Pg boundary and possibly in the Paleocene, largely reconciling the molecular and fossil timescales of primate evolution. PMID:22474376

  12. Direct determination of discrete harmonic bath parameters from molecular dynamics simulations.

    PubMed

    Walters, Peter L; Allen, Thomas C; Makri, Nancy

    2017-01-15

    We present a direct procedure for determining the parameters of a discrete harmonic bath modeling the influence of a complex condensed phase environment on the system of interest. The procedure employs an efficient discretization of the spectral density into modes that correspond to equal fractions of the reorganization energy. The new procedure uses directly the classical correlation function (available from molecular dynamics calculations) as input, avoiding numerical computation of the spectral density by means of a discrete Fourier transform. Convergence is obtained using a shorter time length of the correlation function, leading to significant computational savings. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  13. Molecular Cloning of the Human Genes(s) Directing the Synthesis of Nervous System Cholinesterases.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1985-12-01

    AD-8163 229 MOLECULAR CLONING OF THE HUMAN GENES (S) DIRECTING THE 1/1 SYNTHESIS OF NERYOU.. (U) NEIZMANN INST OF SCIENCE REHOVOT (ISRAEL) DEPT OF...whether these forms are produced from discrete genes or by post-transcrip- tional and post-translational processing. In addition, the amino acid...brain cholinseee (aRE.) is =*rxm yet, Which leaves open several questions Of cosdeal 1. Are the various Ch foru produiced from discrete genes , or is

  14. Molecular dynamics simulation and site-directed mutagenesis of alcohol acyltransferase: a proposed mechanism of catalysis.

    PubMed

    Morales-Quintana, Luis; Nuñez-Tobar, María Ximena; Moya-León, María Alejandra; Herrera, Raúl

    2013-10-28

    Aroma in Vasconcellea pubescens fruit is determined by esters, which are the products of catalysis by alcohol acyltransferase (VpAAT1). VpAAT1 protein structure displayed the conserved HxxxD motif facing the solvent channel in the center of the structure. To gain insight into the role of these catalytic residues, kinetic and site-directed mutagenesis studies were carried out in VpAAT1 protein. Based on dead-end inhibition studies, the kinetic could be described in terms of a ternary complex mechanism with the H166 residue as the catalytic base. Kinetic results showed the lowest Km value for hexanoyl-CoA. Additionally, the most favorable predicted substrate orientation was observed for hexanoyl-CoA, showing a coincidence between kinetic studies and molecular docking analysis. Substitutions H166A, D170A, D170N, and D170E were evaluated in silico. The solvent channel in all mutant structures was lost, showing large differences with the native structure. Molecular docking and molecular dynamics simulations were able to describe unfavored energies for the interaction of the mutant proteins with different alcohols and acyl-CoAs. Additionally, in vitro site-directed mutagenesis of H166 and D170 in VpAAT1 induced a loss of activity, confirming the functional role of both residues for the activity, H166 being directly involved in catalysis.

  15. Halogen-directed drug