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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. Directionality of evolution at molecular and organismic levels.

    PubMed

    Livshits, M A; Volkenstein, M V

    1991-01-01

    The molecular evolution theories of Eigen and Kimura are compared and their difference is explained. In terms of Eigen's theory for the evolution of macromolecules, the selection of genotypes occurs directly. The physical meaning of the neutral theory is the degeneracy of the correlation between a phenotype and a genotype at the molecular level. A model theory of evolution on a fitness landscape is proposed. The theory shows that the constraints of selection determined by the structure and dynamics of previous evolution stages increases its rate strongly.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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. Copyright © 2012. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  6. 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

  7. 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)

  8. 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)

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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)

  2. 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)

  3. Molecular Evolution in Historical Perspective.

    PubMed

    Suárez-Díaz, Edna

    2016-12-01

    In the 1960s, advances in protein chemistry and molecular genetics provided new means for the study of biological evolution. Amino acid sequencing, nucleic acid hybridization, zone gel electrophoresis, and immunochemistry were some of the experimental techniques that brought about new perspectives to the study of the patterns and mechanisms of evolution. New concepts, such as the molecular evolutionary clock, and the discovery of unexpected molecular phenomena, like the presence of repetitive sequences in eukaryotic genomes, eventually led to the realization that evolution might occur at a different pace at the organismic and the molecular levels, and according to different mechanisms. These developments sparked important debates between defendants of the molecular and organismic approaches. The most vocal confrontations focused on the relation between primates and humans, and the neutral theory of molecular evolution. By the 1980s and 1990s, the construction of large protein and DNA sequences databases, and the development of computer-based statistical tools, facilitated the coming together of molecular and evolutionary biology. Although in its contemporary form the field of molecular evolution can be traced back to the last five decades, the field has deep roots in twentieth century experimental life sciences. For historians of science, the origins and consolidation of molecular evolution provide a privileged field for the study of scientific debates, the relation between technological advances and scientific knowledge, and the connection between science and broader social concerns.

  4. Mechanistic and Structural Insights into the Regioselectivity of an Acyl-CoA Fatty Acid Desaturase via Directed Molecular Evolution*

    PubMed Central

    Vanhercke, Thomas; Shrestha, Pushkar; Green, Allan G.; Singh, Surinder P.

    2011-01-01

    Membrane-bound fatty acid desaturases and related enzymes play a pivotal role in the biosynthesis of unsaturated and various unusual fatty acids. Structural insights into the remarkable catalytic diversity and wide range of substrate specificities of this class of enzymes remain limited due to the lack of a crystal structure. To investigate the structural basis of the double bond positioning (regioselectivity) of the desaturation reaction in more detail, we relied on a combination of directed evolution in vitro and a powerful yeast complementation assay to screen for Δx regioselectivity. After two selection rounds, variants of the bifunctional Δ12/Δ9-desaturase from the house cricket (Acheta domesticus) exhibited increased Δ9-desaturation activity on shorter chain fatty acids. This change in specificity was the result of as few as three mutations, some of them near the putative active site. Subsequent analysis of individual substitutions revealed an important role of residue Phe-52 in facilitating Δ9-desaturation of shorter chain acyl substrates and allowed for the redesign of the cricket Δ12/Δ9-desaturase into a 16:0-specific Δ9-desaturase. Our results demonstrate that a minimal number of mutations can have a profound impact on the regioselectivity of acyl-CoA fatty acid desaturases and include the first biochemical data supporting the acyl-CoA acyl carrier specificity of a desaturase able to carry out Δ12-desaturation. PMID:21300802

  5. Biocatalyst Development by Directed Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Meng; Si, Tong; Zhao, Huimin

    2012-01-01

    Biocatalysis has emerged as a great addition to traditional chemical processes for production of bulk chemicals and pharmaceuticals. To overcome the limitations of naturally occurring enzymes, directed evolution has become the most important tool for improving critical traits of biocatalysts such as thermostability, activity, selectivity, and tolerance towards organic solvents for industrial applications. Recent advances in mutant library creation and high-throughput screening have greatly facilitated the engineering of novel and improved biocatalysts. This review provides an update of the recent developments in the use of directed evolution to engineer biocatalysts for practical applications. PMID:22310212

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. The structure of monoamine oxidase from Aspergillus niger provides a molecular context for improvements in activity obtained by directed evolution.

    PubMed

    Atkin, Kate E; Reiss, Renate; Koehler, Valentin; Bailey, Kevin R; Hart, Sam; Turkenburg, Johan P; Turner, Nicholas J; Brzozowski, A Marek; Grogan, Gideon

    2008-12-31

    Monoamine oxidase from Aspergillus niger (MAO-N) is a flavoenzyme that catalyses the oxidative deamination of primary amines. MAO-N has been used as the starting model for a series of directed evolution experiments, resulting in mutants of improved activity and broader substrate specificity, suitable for application in the preparative deracemisation of primary, secondary and tertiary amines when used as part of a chemoenzymatic oxidation-reduction cycle. The structures of a three-point mutant (Asn336Ser/Met348Lys/Ile246Met or MAO-N-D3) and a five-point mutant (Asn336Ser/Met348Lys/Ile246Met/Thr384Asn/Asp385Ser or MAO-N-D5) have been obtained using a multiple-wavelength anomalous diffraction experiment on a selenomethionine derivative of the truncated MAO-N-D5 enzyme. MAO-N exists as a homotetramer with a large channel at its centre and shares some structural features with human MAO B (MAO-B). A hydrophobic cavity extends from the protein surface to the active site, where a non-covalently bound flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) sits at the base of an 'aromatic cage,' the sides of which are formed by Trp430 and Phe466. A molecule of l-proline was observed near the FAD, and this ligand superimposed well with isatin, a reversible inhibitor of MAO-B, when the structures of MAO-N proline and MAO-B-isatin were overlaid. Of the mutations that confer the ability to catalyse the oxidation of secondary amines in MAO-N-D3, Asn336Ser reduces steric bulk behind Trp430 of the aromatic cage and Ile246Met confers greater flexibility within the substrate binding site. The two additional mutations, Thr384Asn and Asp385Ser, that occur in the MAO-N-D5 variant, which is able to oxidise tertiary amines, appear to influence the active-site environment remotely through changes in tertiary structure that perturb the side chain of Phe382, again altering the steric and electronic character of the active site near FAD. The possible implications of the change in steric and electronic environment

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Thermal Solutions for Molecular Evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mast, Christof B.; Osterman, Natan; Braun, Dieter

    2012-12-01

    The key requirement to solve the origin of life puzzle are disequilibrium conditions. Early molecular evolution cannot be explained by initial high concentrations of energetic chemicals since they would just react towards their chemical equilibrium allowing no further development. We argue here that persistent disequilibria are needed to increase complexity during molecular evolution. We propose thermal gradients as the disequilibrium setting which drove Darwinian molecular evolution. On the one hand the thermal gradient gives rise to laminar thermal convection flow with highly regular temperature oscillations that allow melting and replication of DNA. On the other hand molecules move along the thermal gradient, a mechanism termed Soret effect or thermophoresis. Inside a long chamber a combination of the convection flow and thermophoresis leads to a very efficient accumulation of molecules. Short DNA is concentrated thousand-fold, whereas longer DNA is exponentially better accumulated. We demonstrated both scenarios in the same micrometer-sized setting. Forthcoming experiments will reveal how replication and accumulation of DNA in a system, driven only by a thermal gradient, could create a Darwinian process of replication and selection.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. The Molecular Basis of Human Brain Evolution.

    PubMed

    Enard, Wolfgang

    2016-10-24

    Humans are a remarkable species, especially because of the remarkable properties of their brain. Since the split from the chimpanzee lineage, the human brain has increased three-fold in size and has acquired abilities for vocal learning, language and intense cooperation. To better understand the molecular basis of these changes is of great biological and biomedical interest. However, all the about 16 million fixed genetic changes that occurred during human evolution are fully correlated with all molecular, cellular, anatomical and behavioral changes that occurred during this time. Hence, as humans and chimpanzees cannot be crossed or genetically manipulated, no direct evidence for linking particular genetic and molecular changes to human brain evolution can be obtained. Here, I sketch a framework how indirect evidence can be obtained and review findings related to the molecular basis of human cognition, vocal learning and brain size. In particular, I discuss how a comprehensive comparative approach, leveraging cellular systems and genomic technologies, could inform the evolution of our brain in the future. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  16. 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.

  17. The Evolution of Molecular Clouds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wannier, Peter

    2002-07-01

    How is the evolution of dense clouds affected by their surrounding, more diffuse gas? Without an answer, it is not possible to understand the evolution of the ISM. Dense clouds can end their lives through the combined actions of star formation, violent disruption, and ablation. If ablation is an important process, then it is not a foregone conclusion that the dense clouds we see today will ever form stars. We will learn about the ablation process using STIS observations toward 18 stars for which we have existing FUSE observations, sightlines selected to lie behind the extended halos of four widely separated, molecular clouds. Our primary goal is to measure the gas pressure, the key to driving gas flows; secondary goals are to estimate the prevailing radiation and the CO column density. We have completed a pilot study of three stars in B5/Perseus, which enabled us to infer the presence near that cloud, of an isobaric, evaporative outflow, probably driven by UV irradiation. The 18 proposed sightlines lie near four dense clouds which have been well studied at radio, mm and far-IR wavelengths, providing needed auxiliary information about morphology and kinematics. The clouds {1} are nearby, {2} are unperturbed by massive star formation, and {3} sample a range of external environments. The combined STIS, FUSE and ground-based results will yield information needed to understand the role of ablation in the evolution of the central clouds.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. Can evolution be directional without being teleological?

    PubMed

    McGhee, George R

    2016-08-01

    Convergent evolution reveals to us that the number of possibilities available for contingent events is limited, that historically contingent evolution is constrained to occur within a finite number of limited pathways, and that contingent evolution is thus probabilistic and predictable. That is, the phenomenon of convergence proves that truly contingent evolutionary processes can repeatedly produce the same, or very similar, organic designs in nature and that evolution is directional in these cases. For this reason it is argued in this paper that evolution can be directional without being teleological, and that the dichotomy that evolution must either be directionless and unpredictable or directional and predetermined (teleological) is false. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. 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.

  2. When directed evolution met ancestral enzyme resurrection.

    PubMed

    Alcalde, Miguel

    2017-01-01

    The directed evolution of ancestral -resurrected- enzymes can give a new twist in protein engineering approaches towards more versatile and robust biocatalysts. © 2016 The Authors. Microbial Biotechnology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd and Society for Applied Microbiology.

  3. Directed Evolution of Novel Enzyme Activities

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2002-06-11

    We report here the directed evolution of the two valuable oxidases horseradish peroxidase (HRP) and laccase . We achieved functional expression of HRP...expressed the laccase from Myceliophthora themophila in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We employed directed evolution to improve catalysis as well as...expression level to a 170 fold higher total activity. Our evolved yeast mutant has the highest functional expression ever reported for laccase in a

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. Elements for a theory of molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    Arber, Werner

    2003-10-23

    Biological evolution is known to be driven by the availability of genetic variants. Spontaneous genetic variation can be the result of a number of specific molecular mechanisms. These can be grouped into three qualitatively different natural strategies of generating genetic variations, namely local sequence changes, DNA rearrangement within the genome and horizontal gene transfer, which is referred to here as DNA acquisition. All of these strategies bring about alterations in the DNA sequences of the genome, thus corresponding to the molecular genetic definition of the term mutation. A detailed inspection of specific mechanisms of mutagenesis reveals on the one hand the impact of non-genetic internal and environmental factors, and on the other hand the specific involvement of gene products. The underlying so-called evolution genes can be classified into generators of genetic variations and into modulators of the frequency of genetic variation. These evolution genes are postulated to have themselves undergone biological evolution under the pressure of second-order selection. On the basis of a few selected examples of mutagenesis, elements for a theory of molecular evolution are collected without a claim for completeness. Philosophical dimensions as well as practical aspects of the advanced knowledge on specific molecular mechanisms involved in molecular evolution are also briefly discussed.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Molecular signatures of ribosomal evolution.

    PubMed

    Roberts, Elijah; Sethi, Anurag; Montoya, Jonathan; Woese, Carl R; Luthey-Schulten, Zaida

    2008-09-16

    Ribosomal signatures, idiosyncrasies in the ribosomal RNA (rRNA) and/or proteins, are characteristic of the individual domains of life. As such, insight into the early evolution of the domains can be gained from a comparative analysis of their respective signatures in the translational apparatus. In this work, we identify signatures in both the sequence and structure of the rRNA and analyze their contributions to the universal phylogenetic tree using both sequence- and structure-based methods. Domain-specific ribosomal proteins can be considered signatures in their own right. Although it is commonly assumed that they developed after the universal ribosomal proteins, we present evidence that at least one may have been present before the divergence of the organismal lineages. We find correlations between the rRNA signatures and signatures in the ribosomal proteins showing that the rRNA signatures coevolved with both domain-specific and universal ribosomal proteins. Finally, we show that the genomic organization of the universal ribosomal components contains these signatures as well. From these studies, we propose the ribosomal signatures are remnants of an evolutionary-phase transition that occurred as the cell lineages began to coalesce and so should be reflected in corresponding signatures throughout the fabric of the cell and its genome.

  1. Molecular signatures of ribosomal evolution

    PubMed Central

    Roberts, Elijah; Sethi, Anurag; Montoya, Jonathan; Woese, Carl R.; Luthey-Schulten, Zaida

    2008-01-01

    Ribosomal signatures, idiosyncrasies in the ribosomal RNA (rRNA) and/or proteins, are characteristic of the individual domains of life. As such, insight into the early evolution of the domains can be gained from a comparative analysis of their respective signatures in the translational apparatus. In this work, we identify signatures in both the sequence and structure of the rRNA and analyze their contributions to the universal phylogenetic tree using both sequence- and structure-based methods. Domain-specific ribosomal proteins can be considered signatures in their own right. Although it is commonly assumed that they developed after the universal ribosomal proteins, we present evidence that at least one may have been present before the divergence of the organismal lineages. We find correlations between the rRNA signatures and signatures in the ribosomal proteins showing that the rRNA signatures coevolved with both domain-specific and universal ribosomal proteins. Finally, we show that the genomic organization of the universal ribosomal components contains these signatures as well. From these studies, we propose the ribosomal signatures are remnants of an evolutionary-phase transition that occurred as the cell lineages began to coalesce and so should be reflected in corresponding signatures throughout the fabric of the cell and its genome. PMID:18768810

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Automating Microbial Directed Evolution For Bioengineering Applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, A.; Demachkie, I. S.; Sardesh, N.; Arismendi, D.; Ouandji, C.; Wang, J.; Blaich, J.; Gentry, D.

    2016-12-01

    From a micro-biology perspective, directed evolution is a technique that uses controlled environmental pressures to select for a desired phenotype. Directed evolution has the distinct advantage over rational design of not needing extensive knowledge of the genome or pathways associated with a microorganism to induce phenotypes. However, there are currently limitations to the applicability of this technique including being time-consuming, error-prone, and dependent on existing assays that may lack selectivity for the given phenotype. The AADEC (Autonomous Adaptive Directed Evolution Chamber) system is a proof-of-concept instrument to automate and improve the technique such that directed evolution can be used more effectively as a general bioengineering tool. A series of tests using the automated system and comparable by-hand survival assay measurements have been carried out using UV-C radiation and Escherichia coli cultures in order to demonstrate the advantages of the AADEC versus traditional implementations of directed evolution such as random mutagenesis. AADEC uses UV-C exposure as both a source of environmental stress and mutagenesis, so in order to evaluate the UV-C tolerance obtained from the cultures, a manual UV-C exposure survival assay was developed alongside the device to compare the survival fractions at a fixed dosage. This survival assay involves exposing E.coli to UV-C radiation using a custom-designed exposure hood to control the flux and dose. Surviving cells are counted then transferred to the next iteration and so on for several iterations to calculate the survival fractions for each exposure iteration. This survival assay primarily serves as a baseline for the AADEC device, allowing quantification of the differences between the AADEC system over the manual approach. The primary data of comparison is survival fractions; this is obtained by optical density and plate counts in the manual assay and by optical density growth curve fits pre- and post

  5. Molecular evolution of the vertebrate mechanosensory cell and ear

    PubMed Central

    Fritzsch, Bernd; Beisel, Kirk W.; Pauley, Sarah; Soukup, Garrett

    2014-01-01

    The molecular basis of mechanosensation, mechanosensory cell development and mechanosensory organ development is reviewed with an emphasis on its evolution. In contrast to eye evolution and development, which apparently modified a genetic program through intercalation of genes between the master control genes on the top (Pax6, Eya1, Six1) of the hierarchy and the structural genes (rhodopsin) at the bottom, the as yet molecularly unknown mechanosensory channel precludes such a firm conclusion for mechanosensors. However, recent years have seen the identification of several structural genes which are involved in mechanosensory tethering and several transcription factors controlling mechanosensory cell and organ development; these warrant the interpretation of available data in very much the same fashion as for eye evolution: molecular homology combined with potential morphological parallelism. This assertion of molecular homology is strongly supported by recent findings of a highly conserved set of microRNAs that appear to be associated with mechanosensory cell development across phyla. The conservation of transcription factors and their regulators fits very well to the known or presumed mechanosensory specializations which can be mostly grouped as variations of a common cellular theme. Given the widespread distribution of the molecular ability to form mechanosensory cells, it comes as no surprise that structurally different mechanosensory organs evolved in different phyla, presenting a variation of a common theme specified by a conserved set of transcription factors in their cellular development. Within vertebrates and arthropods, some mechanosensory organs evolved into auditory organs, greatly increasing sensitivity to sound through modifications of accessory structures to direct sound to the specific sensory epithelia. However, while great attention has been paid to the evolution of these accessory structures in vertebrate fossils, comparatively less attention has

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. Molecular evolution of color vision in vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Yokoyama, Shozo

    2002-10-30

    Visual systems of vertebrates exhibit a striking level of diversity, reflecting their adaptive responses to various color environments. The photosensitive molecules, visual pigments, can be synthesized in vitro and their absorption spectra can be determined. Comparing the amino acid sequences and absorption spectra of various visual pigments, we can identify amino acid changes that have modified the absorption spectra of visual pigments. These hypotheses can then be tested using the in vitro assay. This approach has been a powerful tool in elucidating not only the molecular bases of color vision, but the processes of adaptive evolution at the molecular level.

  9. [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.

  10. Improved Precursor Directed Biosynthesis in E. coli via Directed Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Lee, Ho Young; Harvey, Colin J.B.; Cane, David E.; Khosla, Chaitan

    2010-01-01

    Erythromycin and related macrolide antibiotics are widely used polyketide natural products. We have evolved an engineered biosynthetic pathway in Escherichia coli that yields erythromycin analogs from simple synthetic precursors. Multiple rounds of mutagenesis and screening led to the identification of new mutant strains with improved efficiency for precursor directed biosynthesis. Genetic and biochemical analysis suggested that the phenotypically relevant alterations in these mutant strains were localized exclusively to the host-vector system, and not to the polyketide synthase. We also demonstrate the utility of this improved system through engineered biosynthesis of a novel alkynyl erythromycin derivative with comparable antibacterial activity to its natural counterpart. In addition to reinforcing the power of directed evolution for engineering macrolide biosynthesis, our studies have identified a new lead substance for investigating structure-function relationships in the bacterial ribosome. PMID:21081955

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. Molecular musings in microbial ecology and evolution.

    PubMed

    Case, Rebecca J; Boucher, Yan

    2011-11-10

    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

  16. Time-dependent rates of molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    Ho, Simon Y W; Lanfear, Robert; Bromham, Lindell; Phillips, Matthew J; Soubrier, Julien; Rodrigo, Allen G; Cooper, Alan

    2011-08-01

    For over half a century, it has been known that the rate of morphological evolution appears to vary with the time frame of measurement. Rates of microevolutionary change, measured between successive generations, were found to be far higher than rates of macroevolutionary change inferred from the fossil record. More recently, it has been suggested that rates of molecular evolution are also time dependent, with the estimated rate depending on the timescale of measurement. This followed surprising observations that estimates of mutation rates, obtained in studies of pedigrees and laboratory mutation-accumulation lines, exceeded long-term substitution rates by an order of magnitude or more. Although a range of studies have provided evidence for such a pattern, the hypothesis remains relatively contentious. Furthermore, there is ongoing discussion about the factors that can cause molecular rate estimates to be dependent on time. Here we present an overview of our current understanding of time-dependent rates. We provide a summary of the evidence for time-dependent rates in animals, bacteria and viruses. We review the various biological and methodological factors that can cause rates to be time dependent, including the effects of natural selection, calibration errors, model misspecification and other artefacts. We also describe the challenges in calibrating estimates of molecular rates, particularly on the intermediate timescales that are critical for an accurate characterization of time-dependent rates. This has important consequences for the use of molecular-clock methods to estimate timescales of recent evolutionary events. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  17. Molecular evolution of prolactin in primates.

    PubMed

    Wallis, O Caryl; Mac-Kwashie, Akofa O; Makri, Georgia; Wallis, Michael

    2005-05-01

    Pituitary prolactin, like growth hormone (GH) and several other protein hormones, shows an episodic pattern of molecular evolution in which sustained bursts of rapid change contrast with long periods of slow evolution. A period of rapid change occurred in the evolution of prolactin in primates, leading to marked sequence differences between human prolactin and that of nonprimate mammals. We have defined this burst more precisely by sequencing the coding regions of prolactin genes for a prosimian, the slow loris (Nycticebus pygmaeus), and a New World monkey, the marmoset (Callithrix jacchus). Slow loris prolactin is very similar in sequence to pig prolactin, so the episode of rapid change occurred during primate evolution, after the separation of lines leading to prosimians and higher primates. Marmoset prolactin is similar in sequence to human prolactin, so the accelerated evolution occurred before divergence of New World monkeys and Old World monkeys/apes. The burst of change was confined largely to coding sequence (nonsynonymous sites) for mature prolactin and is not marked in other components of the gene sequence. This and the observations that (1) there was no apparent loss of function during the episode of rapid evolution, (2) the rate of evolution slowed toward the basal rate after this burst, and (3) the distribution of substitutions in the prolactin molecule is very uneven support the idea that this episode of rapid change was due to positive adaptive selection. In the slow loris and marmoset there is no evidence for duplication of the prolactin gene, and evidence from another New World monkey (Cebus albifrons) and from the chimpanzee and human genome sequences, suggests that this is the general position in primates, contrasting with the situation for GH genes. The chimpanzee prolactin sequence differs from that of human at two residues and comparison of human and chimpanzee prolactin gene sequences suggests that noncoding regions associated with regulating

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. Molecular evolution of human species D adenoviruses

    PubMed Central

    Robinson, Christopher M.; Seto, Donald; Jones, Morris S.; Dyer, David W.; Chodosh, James

    2011-01-01

    Adenoviruses are medium-sized double stranded DNA viruses that infect vertebrates. Human adenoviruses cause an array of diseases. Currently there are 56 human adenovirus types recognized and characterized within seven species (A-G). Of those types, a majority belongs to species D. In this review, the genomic conservation and diversity are examined amongst human adenoviruses within species D, particularly in contrast to other human adenovirus species. Specifically, homologous recombination is presented as a driving force for the molecular evolution of human adenoviruses and the emergence of new adenovirus pathogens. PMID:21570490

  4. Amino Acid Properties Conserved in Molecular Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Rudnicki, Witold R.; Mroczek, Teresa; Cudek, Paweł

    2014-01-01

    That amino acid properties are responsible for the way protein molecules evolve is natural and is also reasonably well supported both by the structure of the genetic code and, to a large extent, by the experimental measures of the amino acid similarity. Nevertheless, there remains a significant gap between observed similarity matrices and their reconstructions from amino acid properties. Therefore, we introduce a simple theoretical model of amino acid similarity matrices, which allows splitting the matrix into two parts – one that depends only on mutabilities of amino acids and another that depends on pairwise similarities between them. Then the new synthetic amino acid properties are derived from the pairwise similarities and used to reconstruct similarity matrices covering a wide range of information entropies. Our model allows us to explain up to 94% of the variability in the BLOSUM family of the amino acids similarity matrices in terms of amino acid properties. The new properties derived from amino acid similarity matrices correlate highly with properties known to be important for molecular evolution such as hydrophobicity, size, shape and charge of amino acids. This result closes the gap in our understanding of the influence of amino acids on evolution at the molecular level. The methods were applied to the single family of similarity matrices used often in general sequence homology searches, but it is general and can be used also for more specific matrices. The new synthetic properties can be used in analyzes of protein sequences in various biological applications. PMID:24967708

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Directed evolution of aldolases for exploitation in synthetic organic chemistry.

    PubMed

    Bolt, Amanda; Berry, Alan; Nelson, Adam

    2008-06-15

    This review focuses on the directed evolution of aldolases with synthetically useful properties. Directed evolution has been used to address a number of limitations associated with the use of wild-type aldolases as catalysts in synthetic organic chemistry. The generation of aldolase enzymes with a modified or expanded substrate repertoire is described. Particular emphasis is placed on the directed evolution of aldolases with modified stereochemical properties: such enzymes can be useful catalysts in the stereoselective synthesis of biologically active small molecules. The review also describes some of the fundamental insights into mechanistic enzymology that directed evolution can provide.

  11. Directed evolution of aldolases for exploitation in synthetic organic chemistry

    PubMed Central

    Bolt, Amanda; Berry, Alan; Nelson, Adam

    2008-01-01

    This review focuses on the directed evolution of aldolases with synthetically useful properties. Directed evolution has been used to address a number of limitations associated with the use of wild-type aldolases as catalysts in synthetic organic chemistry. The generation of aldolase enzymes with a modified or expanded substrate repertoire is described. Particular emphasis is placed on the directed evolution of aldolases with modified stereochemical properties: such enzymes can be useful catalysts in the stereoselective synthesis of biologically active small molecules. The review also describes some of the fundamental insights into mechanistic enzymology that directed evolution can provide. PMID:18230325

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  16. The evolution of giant molecular filaments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Duarte-Cabral, Ana; Dobbs, C. L.

    2017-10-01

    In recent years, there has been a growing interest in studying giant molecular filaments (GMFs), which are extremely elongated (>100 pc in length) giant molecular clouds (GMCs). They are often seen as inter-arm features in external spiral galaxies, but have been tentatively associated with spiral arms when viewed in the Milky Way. In this paper, we study the time evolution of GMFs in a high-resolution section of a spiral galaxy simulation, and their link with spiral arm GMCs and star formation, over a period of 11 Myr. The GMFs generally survive the inter-arm passage, although they are subject to a number of processes (e.g. star formation, stellar feedback and differential rotation) that can break the giant filamentary structure into smaller sections. The GMFs are not gravitationally bound clouds as a whole, but are, to some extent, confined by external pressure. Once they reach the spiral arms, the GMFs tend to evolve into more substructured spiral arm GMCs, suggesting that GMFs may be precursors to arm GMCs. Here, they become incorporated into the more complex and almost continuum molecular medium that makes up the gaseous spiral arm. Instead of retaining a clear filamentary shape, their shapes are distorted both by their climbing up the spiral potential and their interaction with the gas within the spiral arm. The GMFs do tend to become aligned with the spiral arms just before they enter them (when they reach the minimum of the spiral potential), which could account for the observations of GMFs in the Milky Way.

  17. Why do species vary in their rate of molecular evolution?

    PubMed Central

    Bromham, Lindell

    2009-01-01

    Despite hopes that the processes of molecular evolution would be simple, clock-like and essentially universal, variation in the rate of molecular evolution is manifest at all levels of biological organization. Furthermore, it has become clear that rate variation has a systematic component: rate of molecular evolution can vary consistently with species body size, population dynamics, lifestyle and location. This suggests that the rate of molecular evolution should be considered part of life-history variation between species, which must be taken into account when interpreting DNA sequence differences between lineages. Uncovering the causes and correlates of rate variation may allow the development of new biologically motivated models of molecular evolution that may improve bioinformatic and phylogenetic analyses. PMID:19364710

  18. Why do species vary in their rate of molecular evolution?

    PubMed

    Bromham, Lindell

    2009-06-23

    Despite hopes that the processes of molecular evolution would be simple, clock-like and essentially universal, variation in the rate of molecular evolution is manifest at all levels of biological organization. Furthermore, it has become clear that rate variation has a systematic component: rate of molecular evolution can vary consistently with species body size, population dynamics, lifestyle and location. This suggests that the rate of molecular evolution should be considered part of life-history variation between species, which must be taken into account when interpreting DNA sequence differences between lineages. Uncovering the causes and correlates of rate variation may allow the development of new biologically motivated models of molecular evolution that may improve bioinformatic and phylogenetic analyses.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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. © The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.

  14. 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…

  15. 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…

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. The neutral theory of molecular evolution in the genomic era.

    PubMed

    Nei, Masatoshi; Suzuki, Yoshiyuki; Nozawa, Masafumi

    2010-01-01

    The neutral theory of molecular evolution has been widely accepted and is the guiding principle for studying evolutionary genomics and the molecular basis of phenotypic evolution. Recent data on genomic evolution are generally consistent with the neutral theory. However, many recently published papers claim the detection of positive Darwinian selection via the use of new statistical methods. Examination of these methods has shown that their theoretical bases are not well established and often result in high rates of false-positive and false-negative results. When the deficiencies of these statistical methods are rectified, the results become largely consistent with the neutral theory. At present, genome-wide analyses of natural selection consist of collections of single-locus analyses. However, because phenotypic evolution is controlled by the interaction of many genes, the study of natural selection ought to take such interactions into account. Experimental studies of evolution will also be crucial.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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).

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  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 and synthetic biology applications to microbial systems.

    PubMed

    Bassalo, Marcelo C; Liu, Rongming; Gill, Ryan T

    2016-06-01

    Biotechnology applications require engineering complex multi-genic traits. The lack of knowledge on the genetic basis of complex phenotypes restricts our ability to rationally engineer them. However, complex phenotypes can be engineered at the systems level, utilizing directed evolution strategies that drive whole biological systems toward desired phenotypes without requiring prior knowledge of the genetic basis of the targeted trait. Recent developments in the synthetic biology field accelerates the directed evolution cycle, facilitating engineering of increasingly complex traits in biological systems. In this review, we summarize some of the most recent advances in directed evolution and synthetic biology that allows engineering of complex traits in microbial systems. Then, we discuss applications that can be achieved through engineering at the systems level. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  12. Directed Evolution: An Evolving and Enabling Synthetic Biology Tool

    PubMed Central

    Cobb, Ryan E.; Si, Tong; Zhao, Huimin

    2012-01-01

    Synthetic biology, with its goal of designing biological entities for wide-ranging purposes, remains a field of intensive research interest. However, the vast complexity of biological systems has heretofore rendered rational design prohibitively difficult. As a result, directed evolution remains a valuable tool for synthetic biology, enabling the identification of desired functionalities from large libraries of variants. This review highlights the most recent advances in the use of directed evolution in synthetic biology, focusing on new techniques and applications at the pathway and genome scale. PMID:22673064

  13. 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

  14. Galaxy chemical evolution models: the role of molecular gas formation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mollá, Mercedes; Díaz, Ángeles I.; Ascasibar, Yago; Gibson, Brad K.

    2017-06-01

    In our classical grid of multiphase chemical evolution models, star formation in the disc occurs in two steps: first, molecular gas forms, and then stars are created by cloud-cloud collisions or interactions of massive stars with the surrounding molecular clouds. The formation of both molecular clouds and stars are treated through the use of free parameters we refer to as efficiencies. In this work, we modify the formation of molecular clouds based on several new prescriptions existing in the literature, and we compare the results obtained for a chemical evolution model of the Milky Way Galaxy regarding the evolution of the Solar region, the radial structure of the Galactic disc and the ratio between the diffuse and molecular components, H i/H2. Our results show that the six prescriptions we have tested reproduce fairly consistent most of the observed trends, differing mostly in their predictions for the (poorly constrained) outskirts of the Milky Way and the evolution in time of its radial structure. Among them, the model proposed by Ascasibar et al. (in preparation), where the conversion of diffuse gas into molecular clouds depends on the local stellar and gas densities as well as on the gas metallicity, seems to provide the best overall match to the observed data.

  15. 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.

  16. Directed evolution of bacteriorhodopsin for applications in bioelectronics.

    PubMed

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

    2013-07-06

    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.

  17. 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

  18. As it happens: current directions in experimental evolution.

    PubMed

    Bataillon, Thomas; Joyce, Paul; Sniegowski, Paul

    2013-02-23

    Recent decades have seen a significant rise in studies in which evolution is observed and analysed directly-as it happens-under replicated, controlled conditions. Such 'experimental evolution' approaches offer a degree of resolution of evolutionary processes and their underlying genetics that is difficult or even impossible to achieve in more traditional comparative and retrospective analyses. In principle, experimental populations can be monitored for phenotypic and genetic changes with any desired level of replication and measurement precision, facilitating progress on fundamental and previously unresolved questions in evolutionary biology. Here, we summarize 10 invited papers in which experimental evolution is making significant progress on a variety of fundamental questions. We conclude by briefly considering future directions in this very active field of research, emphasizing the importance of quantitative tests of theories and the emerging role of genome-wide re-sequencing.

  19. Cellular heterogeneity and molecular evolution in cancer.

    PubMed

    Almendro, Vanessa; Marusyk, Andriy; Polyak, Kornelia

    2013-01-24

    Intratumor heterogeneity represents a major obstacle to effective cancer treatment and personalized medicine. However, investigators are now elucidating intratumor heterogeneity at the single-cell level due to improvements in technologies. Better understanding of the composition of tumors, and monitoring changes in cell populations during disease progression and treatment, will improve cancer diagnosis and therapeutic design. Measurements of intratumor heterogeneity may also be used as biomarkers to predict the risk of progression and therapeutic resistance. We summarize important considerations related to intratumor heterogeneity during tumor evolution. We also discuss experimental approaches that are commonly used to infer intratumor heterogeneity and describe how these methodologies can be translated into clinical practice.

  20. 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.

  1. 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…

  2. 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…

  3. 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

  4. Dracula's children: molecular evolution of vampire bat venom.

    PubMed

    Low, Dolyce H W; Sunagar, Kartik; Undheim, Eivind A B; Ali, Syed A; Alagon, Alejandro C; Ruder, Tim; Jackson, Timothy N W; Pineda Gonzalez, Sandy; King, Glenn F; Jones, Alun; Antunes, Agostinho; Fry, Bryan G

    2013-08-26

    While vampire bat oral secretions have been the subject of intense research, efforts have concentrated only on two components: DSPA (Desmodus rotundus salivary plasminogen activator) and Draculin. The molecular evolutionary history of DSPA has been elucidated, while conversely draculin has long been known from only a very small fragment and thus even the basic protein class was not even established. Despite the fact that vampire bat venom has a multitude of effects unaccounted by the documented bioactivities of DSPA and draculin, efforts have not been made to establish what other bioactive proteins are secreted by their submaxillary gland. In addition, it has remained unclear whether the anatomically distinct anterior and posterior lobes of the submaxillary gland are evolving on separate gene expression trajectories or if they remain under the shared genetic control. Using a combined proteomic and transcriptomic approach, we show that identical proteins are simultaneously expressed in both lobes. In addition to recovering the known structural classes of DSPA, we recovered a novel DSPA isoform as well as obtained a very large sequence stretch of draculin and thus established that it is a mutated version of the lactotransferrin scaffold. This study reveals a much more complex secretion profile than previously recognised. In addition to obtaining novel versions of scaffolds convergently recruited into other venoms (allergen-like, CRiSP, kallikrein, Kunitz, lysozyme), we also documented novel expression of small peptides related to calcitonin, PACAP, and statherin. Other overexpressed protein types included BPI-fold, lacritin, and secretoglobin. Further, we investigate the molecular evolution of various vampire bat venom-components and highlight the dominant role of positive selection in the evolution of these proteins. Conspicuously many of the proteins identified in the proteome were found to be homologous to proteins with known activities affecting vasodilation and

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    Skinner, Michael K.

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:25917417

  9. 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. © 2013 The Author(s). Evolution © 2013 The Society for the Study of Evolution.

  10. Fish rhabdoviruses: molecular epidemiology and evolution.

    PubMed

    Hoffmann, B; Beer, M; Schütze, H; Mettenleiter, T C

    2005-01-01

    Rhabdoviruses may cause serious diseases in wild and farmed fish. Within the Rhabdoviridae six genera have been established: Ephemerovirus, Cytorhabdovirus, Nucleorhabdovirus, Lyssavirus, Vesiculovirus, and Novirhabdovirus. Viruses that infect fish are official or tentative members of the genera Vesiculovirus and Novirhabdovirus, or are listed as unassigned rhabdoviruses. In this report, we summarize and discuss published and our own unpublished data on the molecular epidemiology and phylogeography of fish rhabdoviruses including intrapopulational differences and subgrouping of fish rhabdoviruses, in particular the species spring viremia of carp virus (SVCV), infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV) and viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV).

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    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.

    2015-01-01

    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 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. PMID:26515095

  15. 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.

  16. Molecular evolution of GPCRs: Ghrelin/ghrelin receptors.

    PubMed

    Kaiya, Hiroyuki; Kangawa, Kenji; Miyazato, Mikiya

    2014-06-01

    After the discovery in 1996 of the GH secretagogue-receptor type-1a (GHS-R1a) as an orphan G-protein coupled receptor, many research groups attempted to identify the endogenous ligand. Finally, Kojima and colleagues successfully isolated the peptide ligand from rat stomach extracts, determined its structure, and named it ghrelin. The GHS-R1a is now accepted to be the ghrelin receptor. The existence of the ghrelin system has been demonstrated in many animal classes through biochemical and molecular biological strategies as well as through genome projects. Our work, focused on identifying the ghrelin receptor and its ligand ghrelin in laboratory animals, particularly nonmammalian vertebrates, has provided new insights into the molecular evolution of the ghrelin receptor. In mammals, it is assumed that the ghrelin receptor evolution is in line with the plate tectonics theory. In contrast, the evolution of the ghrelin receptor in nonmammalian vertebrates differs from that of mammals: multiplicity of the ghrelin receptor isoforms is observed in nonmammalian vertebrates only. This multiplicity is due to genome duplication and polyploidization events that particularly occurred in Teleostei. Furthermore, it is likely that the evolution of the ghrelin receptor is distinct from that of its ligand, ghrelin, because only one ghrelin isoform has been detected in all species examined so far. In this review, we summarize current knowledge related to the molecular evolution of the ghrelin receptor in mammalian and nonmammalian vertebrates. © 2014 Society for Endocrinology.

  17. 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…

  18. 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…

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. Microstructure evolution of polycrystalline silicon by molecular dynamics simulation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Xiao; Ding, Jianning; Jiang, Cunhua; Liu, Zunfeng; Yuan, Ningyi

    2017-06-01

    Polycrystalline silicon is the dominant material in solar cells and plays an important role in photovoltaic industry. It is important for not only the conventional production of silicon ingots but also the direct growth of silicon wafers to control crystallization for obtaining the desired polycrystalline silicon. To the best of our knowledge, few studies have systematically reported about the effects of crystalline planes on the solidification behavior of liquid silicon and the analysis of the microstructural features of the polysilicon structure. In this study, molecular dynamics simulations were employed to investigate the solidification and microstructure evolution of polysilicon, with focus on the effects of the seed distribution and cooling rate on the growth of polycrystalline silicon. The (110), (111), and (112) planes were extruded by the (100) plane and formed the inclusion shape. The crystallization of silicon consisted of diamond-type structures is relatively high at a low cooling rate. The simulations provide substantial information regarding microstructures and serve as guidance for the growth of polycrystalline silicon.

  3. Molecular evolution of neuropeptides in the genus Drosophila

    PubMed Central

    Wegener, Christian; Gorbashov, Anton

    2008-01-01

    Background Neuropeptides comprise the most diverse group of neuronal signaling molecules. They often occur as multiple sequence-related copies within single precursors (the prepropeptides). These multiple sequence-related copies have not arisen by gene duplication, and it is debated whether they are mutually redundant or serve specific functions. The fully sequenced genomes of 12 Drosophila species provide a unique opportunity to study the molecular evolution of neuropeptides. Results We data-mined the 12 Drosophila genomes for homologs of neuropeptide genes identified in Drosophila melanogaster. We then predicted peptide precursors and the neuropeptidome, and biochemically identified about half of the predicted peptides by direct mass spectrometric profiling of neuroendocrine tissue in four species covering main phylogenetic lines of Drosophila. We found that all species have an identical neuropeptidome and peptide hormone complement. Calculation of amino acid distances showed that ortholog peptide copies are highly sequence-conserved between species, whereas the observed sequence variability between peptide copies within single precursors must have occurred prior to the divergence of the Drosophila species. Conclusion We provide a first genomic and chemical characterization of fruit fly neuropeptides outside D. melanogaster. Our results suggest that neuropeptides including multiple peptide copies are under stabilizing selection, which suggests that multiple peptide copies are functionally important and not dispensable. The last common ancestor of Drosophila obviously had a set of neuropeptides and peptide hormones identical to that of modern fruit flies. This is remarkable, since drosophilid flies have adapted to very different environments. PMID:18717992

  4. Molecular evolution of shark and other vertebrate DNases I.

    PubMed

    Yasuda, Toshihiro; Iida, Reiko; Ueki, Misuzu; Kominato, Yoshihiko; Nakajima, Tamiko; Takeshita, Haruo; Kobayashi, Takanori; Kishi, Koichiro

    2004-11-01

    We purified pancreatic deoxyribonuclease I (DNase I) from the shark Heterodontus japonicus using three-step column chromatography. Although its enzymatic properties resembled those of other vertebrate DNases I, shark DNase I was unique in being a basic protein. Full-length cDNAs encoding the DNases I of two shark species, H. japonicus and Triakis scyllia, were constructed from their total pancreatic RNAs using RACE. Nucleotide sequence analyses revealed two structural alterations unique to shark enzymes: substitution of two Cys residues at positions 101 and 104 (which are well conserved in all other vertebrate DNases I) and insertion of an additional Thr or Asn residue into an essential Ca(2+)-binding site. Site-directed mutagenesis of shark DNase I indicated that both of these alterations reduced the stability of the enzyme. When the signal sequence region of human DNase I (which has a high alpha-helical structure content) was replaced with its amphibian, fish and shark counterparts (which have low alpha-helical structure contents), the activity expressed by the chimeric mutant constructs in transfected mammalian cells was approximately half that of the wild-type enzyme. In contrast, substitution of the human signal sequence region into the amphibian, fish and shark enzymes produced higher activity compared with the wild-types. The vertebrate DNase I family may have acquired high stability and effective expression of the enzyme protein through structural alterations in both the mature protein and its signal sequence regions during molecular evolution.

  5. 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).

  6. 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

  7. [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.

  8. Climbing the social ladder: the molecular evolution of sociality.

    PubMed

    Rehan, Sandra M; Toth, Amy L

    2015-07-01

    Genomic tools are allowing us to dissect the roles of genes and genetic architecture in social evolution, and eusocial insects are excellent models. Numerous hypotheses for molecular evolution of eusociality have been proposed, ranging from regulatory shifts in 'old' genes to rapid evolution of 'new' genes. A broad model to explain this major transition in evolution has been lacking. We provide a synthetic framework centered on the idea that different evolutionary processes dominate during different transitional stages, beginning with changes in gene regulation and culminating in novel genes later on. By considering multiple mechanisms as we 'climb the social ladder', we can test whether the transitions from solitary to simple sociality to complex sociality represent incremental changes or genetic revolutions. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. Compensatory vs. pseudocompensatory evolution in molecular and developmental interactions.

    PubMed

    Haag, Eric S

    2007-01-01

    The evolution of molecules, developmental circuits, and new species are all characterized by the accumulation of incompatibilities between ancestors and descendants. When specific interactions between components are necessary at any of these levels, this requires compensatory coevolution. Theoretical treatments of compensatory evolution that only consider the endpoints predict that it should be rare because intermediate states are deleterious. However, empirical data suggest that compensatory evolution is common at all levels of molecular interaction. A general solution to this paradox is provided by plausible neutral or nearly neutral intermediates that possess informational redundancy. These intermediates provide an evolutionary path between coadapted allelic combinations. Although they allow incompatible end points to evolve, at no point was a deleterious mutation ever in need of compensation. As a result, what appears to be compensatory evolution may often actually be "pseudocompensatory." Both theoretical and empirical studies indicate that pseudocompensation can speed the evolution of intergenic incompatibility, especially when driven by adaptation. However, under strong stabilizing selection the rate of pseudocompensatory evolution is still significant. Important examples of this process at work discussed here include the evolution of rRNA secondary structures, intra- and inter-protein interactions, and developmental genetic pathways. Future empirical work in this area should focus on comparing the details of intra- and intergenic interactions in closely related organisms.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. Molecular mechanisms of dominance evolution in Müllerian mimicry.

    PubMed

    Llaurens, V; Joron, M; Billiard, S

    2015-12-01

    Natural selection acting on dominance between adaptive alleles at polymorphic loci can be sufficiently strong for dominance to evolve. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying such evolution are generally unknown. Here, using Müllerian mimicry as a case-study for adaptive morphological variation, we present a theoretical analysis of the invasion of dominance modifiers altering gene expression through different molecular mechanisms. Toxic species involved in Müllerian mimicry exhibit warning coloration, and converge morphologically with other toxic species of the local community, due to positive frequency-dependent selection acting on these colorations. Polymorphism in warning coloration may be maintained by migration-selection balance with fine scale spatial heterogeneity. We modeled a dominance modifier locus altering the expression of the warning coloration locus, targeting one or several alleles, acting in cis or trans, and either enhancing or repressing expression. We confirmed that dominance could evolve when balanced polymorphism was maintained at the color locus. Dominance evolution could result from modifiers enhancing one allele specifically, irrespective of their linkage with the targeted locus. Nonspecific enhancers could also persist in populations, at frequencies tightly depending on their linkage with the targeted locus. Altogether, our results identify which mechanisms of expression alteration could lead to dominance evolution in polymorphic mimicry. © 2015 The Author(s). Evolution © 2015 The Society for the Study of Evolution.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  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. Widespread convergence in toxin resistance by predictable molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    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

    2015-09-22

    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.

  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

    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

  9. 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

  10. The Evolution of Mutual Mate Choice under Direct Benefits.

    PubMed

    Courtiol, Alexandre; Etienne, Loïc; Feron, Romain; Godelle, Bernard; Rousset, François

    2016-11-01

    In nature, the intensity of mate choice (i.e., choosiness) is highly variable within and between sexes. Despite growing empirical evidence of male and/or mutual mate choice, theoretical investigations of the joint evolution of female and male choosiness are few. In addition, previous approaches have often assumed an absence of trade-off between the direct benefits per mating and the lower mating rate that results from being choosy. Here we model the joint evolution of female and male choosiness when it is solely ruled by this fundamental trade-off. We show that this trade-off can generate a diversity of stable combinations of choosiness. Mutual mate choice can evolve only if both females and males exhibit long latency after mating. Furthermore, we show that an increase in choosiness in one sex does not necessarily prevent the evolution of mutual mate choice; the outcome depends on details shaping the trade-off: the life history, the decision rule for mate choice, and how the fecundity of a pair is shaped by the quality of both individuals. Last, we discuss the power of the sensitivity of the relative searching time (i.e., of the proportion of a lifetime spent searching for mates) as a predictor of the joint evolution of choosiness.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. In the light of directed evolution: Pathways of adaptive protein evolution

    PubMed Central

    Bloom, Jesse D.; Arnold, Frances H.

    2009-01-01

    Directed evolution is a widely-used engineering strategy for improving the stabilities or biochemical functions of proteins by repeated rounds of mutation and selection. These experiments offer empirical lessons about how proteins evolve in the face of clearly-defined laboratory selection pressures. Directed evolution has revealed that single amino acid mutations can enhance properties such as catalytic activity or stability and that adaptation can often occur through pathways consisting of sequential beneficial mutations. When there are no single mutations that improve a particular protein property experiments always find a wealth of mutations that are neutral with respect to the laboratory-defined measure of fitness. These neutral mutations can open new adaptive pathways by at least 2 different mechanisms. Functionally-neutral mutations can enhance a protein's stability, thereby increasing its tolerance for subsequent functionally beneficial but destabilizing mutations. They can also lead to changes in “promiscuous” functions that are not currently under selective pressure, but can subsequently become the starting points for the adaptive evolution of new functions. These lessons about the coupling between adaptive and neutral protein evolution in the laboratory offer insight into the evolution of proteins in nature. PMID:19528653

  17. Molecular masers as tracers of early stellar evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Strel'Nitskii, V. S.

    The discovery, observation, and interpretation of molecular masers in regions of active star formation are discussed. OH masers noted in these regions are the product of the disintegration of dense molecular envelopes surrounding compact H-II regions of young OB stars, and they typically have densities of about 10 to the 6th/cu cm and temperatures of about 100 K. H2O masers are connected with still earlier stages of stellar evolution, and are located closer to their parent stars than the OH sources. Strong CH3OH 2.5-cm masers are closely associated with OH masers.

  18. As it happens: current directions in experimental evolution

    PubMed Central

    Bataillon, Thomas; Joyce, Paul; Sniegowski, Paul

    2013-01-01

    Recent decades have seen a significant rise in studies in which evolution is observed and analysed directly—as it happens—under replicated, controlled conditions. Such ‘experimental evolution’ approaches offer a degree of resolution of evolutionary processes and their underlying genetics that is difficult or even impossible to achieve in more traditional comparative and retrospective analyses. In principle, experimental populations can be monitored for phenotypic and genetic changes with any desired level of replication and measurement precision, facilitating progress on fundamental and previously unresolved questions in evolutionary biology. Here, we summarize 10 invited papers in which experimental evolution is making significant progress on a variety of fundamental questions. We conclude by briefly considering future directions in this very active field of research, emphasizing the importance of quantitative tests of theories and the emerging role of genome-wide re-sequencing. PMID:23118431

  19. Biogeographic, molecular evolution, and diversification patterns in Neotropical plants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, S. A.; Dick, C. W.

    2014-12-01

    Neotropical plants demonstrate a phenomenal range of ecological and morphological diversity. We will explore the phylogenetic and biogeographic patterns of a group of Neotropical plants and how these patterns relate to the geological history of the area. This includes the timing and location of biological exchange between areas. Neotropical plants also demonstrate repeated examples of rapid speciation and diversification. We will examine these evolutionary patterns and how they relate to molecular evolution.

  20. 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.

  1. [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.

  2. 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. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-05-06

    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.

  7. 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.

  8. Molecular Ultrasound Imaging: Current Status and Future Directions

    PubMed Central

    Deshpande, Nirupama; Needles, Andrew; Willmann, Jürgen K.

    2011-01-01

    Targeted contrast-enhanced ultrasound (molecular ultrasound) is an emerging imaging strategy that combines ultrasound technology with novel molecularly-targeted ultrasound contrast agents for assessing biological processes at the molecular level. Molecular ultrasound contrast agents are nano- or micro-sized particles that are targeted to specific molecular markers by adding high-affinity binding ligands onto the surface of the particles. Following intravenous administration, these targeted ultrasound contrast agents accumulate at tissue sites overexpressing specific molecular markers, thereby enhancing the ultrasound imaging signal. High spatial and temporal resolution, real-time imaging, non-invasiveness, relatively low costs, lack of ionizing irradiation and wide availability of ultrasound systems are advantages compared to other molecular imaging modalities. In this article we review current concepts and future directions of molecular ultrasound imaging, including different classes of molecular ultrasound contrast agents, ongoing technical developments of preclinical and clinical ultrasound systems , the potential of molecular ultrasound for imaging different diseases at the molecular level, and the translation of molecular ultrasound into the clinic. PMID:20541656

  9. Molecular ultrasound imaging: current status and future directions.

    PubMed

    Deshpande, N; Needles, A; Willmann, J K

    2010-07-01

    Targeted contrast-enhanced ultrasound (molecular ultrasound) is an emerging imaging strategy that combines ultrasound technology with novel molecularly-targeted ultrasound contrast agents for assessing biological processes at the molecular level. Molecular ultrasound contrast agents are nano- or micro-sized particles that are targeted to specific molecular markers by adding high-affinity binding ligands onto the surface of the particles. Following intravenous administration, these targeted ultrasound contrast agents accumulate at tissue sites overexpressing specific molecular markers, thereby enhancing the ultrasound imaging signal. High spatial and temporal resolution, real-time imaging, non-invasiveness, relatively low costs, lack of ionising irradiation and wide availability of ultrasound systems are advantages compared to other molecular imaging modalities. In this article we review current concepts and future directions of molecular ultrasound imaging, including different classes of molecular ultrasound contrast agents, ongoing technical developments of pre-clinical and clinical ultrasound systems, the potential of molecular ultrasound for imaging different diseases at the molecular level, and the translation of molecular ultrasound into the clinic. Copyright 2010 The Royal College of Radiologists. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  10. Molecular Evolution of the Testis TAFs of Drosophila

    PubMed Central

    Davis, Jerel C.; Lenkov, Kapa; Bolival, Benjamin; Fuller, Margaret T.; Petrov, Dmitri A.

    2009-01-01

    The basal transcription machinery is responsible for initiating transcription at core promoters. During metazoan evolution, its components have expanded in number and diversified to increase the complexity of transcriptional regulation in tissues and developmental stages. To explore the evolutionary events and forces underlying this diversification, we analyzed the evolution of the Drosophila testis TAFs (TBP-associated factors), paralogs of TAFs from the basal transcription factor TFIID that are essential for normal transcription during spermatogenesis of a large set of specific genes involved in terminal differentiation of male gametes. There are five testis-specific TAFs in Drosophila, each expressed only in primary spermatocytes and each a paralog of a different generally expressed TFIID subunit. An examination of the presence of paralogs across taxa as well as molecular clock dating indicates that all five testis TAFs likely arose within a span of ∼38 My 63–250 Ma by independent duplication events from their generally expressed paralogs. Furthermore, the evolution of the testis TAFs has been rapid, with apparent further accelerations in multiple Drosophila lineages. Analysis of between-species divergence and intraspecies polymorphism indicates that the major forces of evolution on these genes have been reduced purifying selection, pervasive positive selection, and coevolution. Other genes that exhibit similar patterns of evolution in the Drosophila lineages are also characterized by enriched expression in the testis, suggesting that the pervasive positive selection acting on the tTAFs is likely to be related to their expression in the testis. PMID:19244474

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Differential evolution with neighborhood and direction information for numerical optimization.

    PubMed

    Cai, Yiqiao; Wang, Jiahai

    2013-12-01

    Differential evolution (DE) is a simple and powerful population-based evolutionary algorithm, successfully used in various scientific and engineering fields. Although DE has been studied by many researchers, the neighborhood and direction information is not fully and simultaneously exploited in the designing of DE. In order to alleviate this drawback and enhance the performance of DE, we first introduce two novel operators, namely, the neighbor guided selection scheme for parents involved in mutation and the direction induced mutation strategy, to fully exploit the neighborhood and direction information of the population, respectively. By synergizing these two operators, a simple and effective DE framework, which is referred to as the neighborhood and direction information based DE (NDi-DE), is then proposed for enhancing the performance of DE. This way, NDi-DE not only utilizes the information of neighboring individuals to exploit the regions of minima and accelerate convergence but also incorporates the direction information to prevent an individual from entering an undesired region and move to a promising area. Consequently, a good balance between exploration and exploitation can be achieved. In order to test the effectiveness of NDi-DE, the proposed framework is applied to the original DE algorithms, as well as several state-of-the-art DE variants. Experimental results show that NDi-DE is an effective framework to enhance the performance of most of the DE algorithms studied.

  14. Evolution of genitalia: theories, evidence, and new directions.

    PubMed

    Eberhard, William G

    2010-01-01

    Many hypotheses have been proposed to explain why male intromittent genitalia consistently tend to diverge more rapidly than other body traits of the same individuals in a wide range of animal taxa. Currently the two most popular involve sexual selection: sexually antagonistic coevolution (SAC) and cryptic female choice (CFC). A review of the most extensive attempts to discriminate between these two hypotheses indicates that SAC is not likely to have played a major role in explaining this pattern of genital evolution. Promising lines for future, more direct tests of CFC include experimental modification of male genital form and female sensory abilities, analysis of possible male-female dialogues during copulation, and direct observations of genital behavior.

  15. Directing evolution: the next revolution in drug discovery?

    PubMed

    Davis, Andrew M; Plowright, Alleyn T; Valeur, Eric

    2017-10-01

    The strong biological rationale to pursue challenging drug targets such as protein-protein interactions has stimulated the development of novel screening strategies, such as DNA-encoded libraries, to allow broader areas of chemical space to be searched. There has also been renewed interest in screening natural products, which are the result of evolutionary selection for a function, such as interference with a key signalling pathway of a competing organism. However, recent advances in several areas, such as understanding of the biosynthetic pathways for natural products, synthetic biology and the development of biosensors to detect target molecules, are now providing new opportunities to directly harness evolutionary pressure to identify and optimize compounds with desired bioactivities. Here, we describe innovations in the key components of such strategies and highlight pioneering examples that indicate the potential of the directed-evolution concept. We also discuss the scientific gaps and challenges that remain to be addressed to realize this potential more broadly in drug discovery.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. Social molecular pathways and the evolution of bee societies

    PubMed Central

    Bloch, Guy; Grozinger, Christina M.

    2011-01-01

    Bees provide an excellent model with which to study the neuronal and molecular modifications associated with the evolution of sociality because relatively closely related species differ profoundly in social behaviour, from solitary to highly social. The recent development of powerful genomic tools and resources has set the stage for studying the social behaviour of bees in molecular terms. We review ‘ground plan’ and ‘genetic toolkit’ models which hypothesize that discrete pathways or sets of genes that regulate fundamental behavioural and physiological processes in solitary species have been co-opted to regulate complex social behaviours in social species. We further develop these models and propose that these conserved pathways and genes may be incorporated into ‘social pathways’, which consist of relatively independent modules involved in social signal detection, integration and processing within the nervous and endocrine systems, and subsequent behavioural outputs. Modifications within modules or in their connections result in the evolution of novel behavioural patterns. We describe how the evolution of pheromonal regulation of social pathways may lead to the expression of behaviour under new social contexts, and review plasticity in circadian rhythms as an example for a social pathway with a modular structure. PMID:21690132

  1. Molecular evolution of haemagglutinin (H) gene in measles virus

    PubMed Central

    Kimura, Hirokazu; Saitoh, Mika; Kobayashi, Miho; Ishii, Haruyuki; Saraya, Takeshi; Kurai, Daisuke; Tsukagoshi, Hiroyuki; Shirabe, Komei; Nishina, Atsuyoshi; Kozawa, Kunihisa; Kuroda, Makoto; Takeuchi, Fumihiko; Sekizuka, Tsuyoshi; Minakami, Hisanori; Ryo, Akihide; Takeda, Makoto

    2015-01-01

    We studied the molecular evolution of the haemagglutinin (H) gene (full length) in all genotypes (24 genotypes, 297 strains) of measles virus (MeV). The gene’s evolutionary timescale was estimated by the Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) method. We also analysed positive selection sites. The MCMC tree indicated that the MeV H gene diverged from the rinderpest virus (same genus) about 250 years ago and that 24 MeV genotypes formed 3 lineages dating back to a 1915 ancestor (95% highest posterior density [HPD] 1882–1941) with relatively rapid evolution (mean rate: 9.02 × 10−4 substitutions/site/year). The 3 lineages diverged in 1915 (lineage 1, 95% HPD 1882–1941), 1954 (lineage 2, 95% HPD 1937–1969), and 1940 (lineage 3, 95% HPD 1927–1952). These 24 genotypes may have diverged and emerged between the 1940s and 1990s. Selective pressure analysis identified many negative selection sites on the H protein but only a few positive selection sites, suggesting strongly operated structural and/or functional constraint of changes on the H protein. Based on the molecular evolution of H gene, an ancestor MeV of the 24 genotypes emerged about 100 years ago and the structure of H protein has been well conserved. PMID:26130388

  2. 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.

  3. Carbonic anhydrase and the molecular evolution of C4 photosynthesis.

    PubMed

    Ludwig, Martha

    2012-01-01

    C(4) photosynthesis, a biochemical CO(2)-concentrating mechanism (CCM), evolved more than 60 times within the angiosperms from C(3) ancestors. The genus Flaveria, which contains species demonstrating C(3), C(3)-C(4), C(4)-like or C(4) photosynthesis, is a model for examining the molecular evolution of the C(4) pathway. Work with carbonic anhydrase (CA), and C(3) and C(4) Flaveria congeners has added significantly to the understanding of this process. The C(4) form of CA3, a β-CA, which catalyses the first reaction in the C(4) pathway by hydrating atmospheric CO(2) to bicarbonate in the cytosol of mesophyll cells (mcs), evolved from a chloroplastic C(3) ancestor. The molecular modifications to the ancestral CA3 gene included the loss of the sequence encoding the chloroplast transit peptide, and mutations in regulatory regions that resulted in high levels of expression in the C(4) mesophyll. Analyses of the CA3 proteins and regulatory elements from Flaveria photosynthetic intermediates indicated C(4) biochemistry very likely evolved in a specific, stepwise manner in this genus. The details of the mechanisms involved in the molecular evolution of other C(4) plant β-CAs are unknown; however, comparative genetics indicate gene duplication and neofunctionalization played significant roles as they did in Flaveria. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  4. Protein engineering of conger eel galectins by tracing of molecular evolution using probable ancestral mutants

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Conger eel galectins, congerin I (ConI) and congerin II (ConII), show the different molecular characteristics resulting from accelerating evolution. We recently reconstructed a probable ancestral form of congerins, Con-anc. It showed properties similar to those of ConII in terms of thermostability and carbohydrate recognition specificity, although it shares a higher sequence similarity with ConI than ConII. Results In this study, we have focused on the different amino acid residues between Con-anc and ConI, and have performed the protein engineering of Con-anc through site-directed mutagenesis, followed by the molecular evolution analysis of the mutants. This approach revealed the functional importance of loop structures of congerins: (1) N- and C-terminal and loop 5 regions that are involved in conferring a high thermostability to ConI; (2) loops 3, 5, and 6 that are responsible for stronger binding of ConI to most sugars; and (3) loops 5 and 6, and Thr38 residue in loop 3 contribute the specificity of ConI toward lacto-N-fucopentaose-containing sugars. Conclusions Thus, this methodology, with tracing of the molecular evolution using ancestral mutants, is a powerful tool for the analysis of not only the molecular evolutionary process, but also the structural elements of a protein responsible for its various functions. PMID:20152053

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. Recent Progress Toward the Templated Synthesis and Directed Evolution of Sequence-Defined Synthetic Polymers

    PubMed Central

    Brudno, Yevgeny; Liu, David R.

    2009-01-01

    Biological polymers such as nucleic acids and proteins are ubiquitous in living systems, but their ability to address problems beyond those found in nature is constrained by factors such as chemical or biological instability, limited building-block functionality, bioavailability, and immunogenicity. In principle, sequence-defined synthetic polymers based on nonbiological monomers and backbones might overcome these constraints; however, identifying the sequence of a synthetic polymer that possesses a specific desired functional property remains a major challenge. Molecular evolution can rapidly generate functional polymers but requires a means of translating amplifiable templates such as nucleic acids into the polymer being evolved. This review covers recent advances in the enzymatic and nonenzymatic templated polymerization of nonnatural polymers and their potential applications in the directed evolution of sequence-defined synthetic polymers. PMID:19318208

  9. Recent progress toward the templated synthesis and directed evolution of sequence-defined synthetic polymers.

    PubMed

    Brudno, Yevgeny; Liu, David R

    2009-03-27

    Biological polymers such as nucleic acids and proteins are ubiquitous in living systems, but their ability to address problems beyond those found in nature is constrained by factors such as chemical or biological instability, limited building-block functionality, bioavailability, and immunogenicity. In principle, sequence-defined synthetic polymers based on nonbiological monomers and backbones might overcome these constraints; however, identifying the sequence of a synthetic polymer that possesses a specific desired functional property remains a major challenge. Molecular evolution can rapidly generate functional polymers but requires a means of translating amplifiable templates such as nucleic acids into the polymer being evolved. This review covers recent advances in the enzymatic and nonenzymatic templated polymerization of nonnatural polymers and their potential applications in the directed evolution of sequence-defined synthetic polymers.

  10. 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.

  11. A Tale of Two Crocoducks: Creationist Misuses of Molecular Evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hofmann, James R.

    2014-10-01

    Although some creationist objections to evolutionary biology are simplistic and thus are easily refuted, when more technical arguments become widespread it is important for science educators to explain the relevant science in a straightforward manner. An interesting case study is provided by misguided allegations about how cytochrome c data pertain to molecular evolution. The most common of these misrepresentations bears a striking similarity to a particularly glaring misunderstanding of what should be expected of a transitional form in a fossil sequence. Although evangelist Kirk Cameron's ridiculous injunction of a hypothetical `crocoduck' as an example of a potential transitional form is frequently invoked to illustrate the ignorance of many critics of evolutionary science, a strikingly analogous argument was applied to cytochrome c data by biochemist Michael Denton in 1985. The details of this analogy are worth exploring to clarify the fallacy of the widely circulated molecular argument.

  12. 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.

  13. Sexual selection and the molecular evolution of ADAM proteins.

    PubMed

    Finn, Scott; Civetta, Alberto

    2010-09-01

    Rapid evolution has been identified for many reproductive genes and recent studies have combined phylogenetic tests and information on species mating systems to test sexual selection. Here we examined the molecular evolution of the ADAM gene family, a diverse group of 35 proteins capable of adhesion to and cleavage of other proteins, using sequence data from 25 mammalian genes. Out of the 25 genes analyzed, all those expressed in male reproductive tissue showed evidence of positive selection. Positively selected amino acids within the protein adhesion domain were only found in sperm surface ADAM proteins (ADAMs 1, 2, 3, 4, and 32) suggesting selection driven by male x female interactions. We tested heterogeneity in rates of evolution of the adhesion domain of ADAM proteins by using sequence data from Hominidae and macaques. The use of the branch and branch-site models (PAML) showed evidence of higher d (N)/d (S) and/or positive selection linked to branches experiencing high postmating selective pressures (chimpanzee and macaque) for Adams 2, 18, and 23. Moreover, we found consistent higher proportion of nonsynonymous relative to synonymous and noncoding sequence substitutions in chimpanzee and/or macaque only for Adams 2, 18, and 23. Our results suggest that lineage-specific sexual selection bouts might have driven the evolution of the adhesion sperm protein surface domains of ADAMs 2 and 18 in primates. Adams 2 and 18 are localized in chromosome 8 of primates and adjacent to each other, so their evolution might have also been influenced by their common genome localization.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. Direct observation of spoke evolution in magnetron sputtering

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anders, André; Yang, Yuchen

    2017-08-01

    Ionization zones, also known as spokes, are plasma instabilities manifested as locations of intensified excitation and ionization over a sputtering magnetron's racetrack. Using a linear magnetron and a streak camera, we were able to observe and quantify spoke dynamics. The technique allows us to image the onset and changes for both direct current magnetron sputtering (dcMS) and high power impulse magnetron sputtering (HiPIMS). Spokes in dcMS exhibit substructures. Spokes in HiPIMS are not stable as they shift along the racetrack; rather, they tend to grow or diminish, and they may split and merge. Their evolution can be interpreted in the context of localized electric fields and associated electron heating.

  17. Directed evolution of squalene synthase for dehydrosqualene biosynthesis.

    PubMed

    Furubayashi, Maiko; Li, Ling; Katabami, Akinori; Saito, Kyoichi; Umeno, Daisuke

    2014-09-17

    Squalene synthase (SQS) catalyzes the first step of sterol/hopanoid biosynthesis in various organisms. It has been long recognized that SQSs share a common ancestor with carotenoid synthases, but it is not known how these enzymes selectively produce their own product. In this study, SQSs from yeast, human, and bacteria were independently subjected to directed evolution for the production of the C30 carotenoid backbone, dehydrosqualene. This was accomplished via high-throughput screening with Pantoea ananatis phytoene desaturase, which can selectively convert dehydrosqualene into yellow carotenoid pigments. Genetic analysis of the resultant mutants revealed various mutations that could effectively convert SQS into a "dehydrosqualene synthase." All of these mutations are clustered around the residues that have been proposed to be important for NADPH binding. Copyright © 2014 Federation of European Biochemical Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  18. 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

  19. 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. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  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. 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.

  4. Molecular origins of rapid and continuous morphological evolution.

    PubMed

    Fondon, John W; Garner, Harold R

    2004-12-28

    Mutations in cis-regulatory sequences have been implicated as being the predominant source of variation in morphological evolution. We offer a hypothesis that gene-associated tandem repeat expansions and contractions are a major source of phenotypic variation in evolution. Here, we describe a comparative genomic study of repetitive elements in developmental genes of 92 breeds of dogs. We find evidence for selection for divergence at coding repeat loci in the form of both elevated purity and extensive length polymorphism among different breeds. Variations in the number of repeats in the coding regions of the Alx-4 (aristaless-like 4) and Runx-2 (runt-related transcription factor 2) genes were quantitatively associated with significant differences in limb and skull morphology. We identified similar repeat length variation in the coding repeats of Runx-2, Twist, and Dlx-2 in several other species. The high frequency and incremental effects of repeat length mutations provide molecular explanations for swift, yet topologically conservative morphological evolution.

  5. [Molecular evidence of regression in evolution of metazoa].

    PubMed

    Aleshin, V V; Petrov, N B

    2002-01-01

    Molecular data permit to construct phylogenetic trees independently of morphological characters. It allows to consider their evolution without the frames of a priori hypothesis of regularities of morphological evolution and independently of palaeontological data. Cladistic analysis of elements of secondary structure of varible areas V7 and V2 in 18S rRNA with different Protozoa as "external" groups shows that Bilateria + Cnidaria are monophyletic, Ctenophora and Porifera are early derivatives of Metazoa, Trichoplax (Placozoa) is a form related to Cnidaria, while Rhombozoa, Orthonectida and Myxozoa were branched within Bilateria. Morphological reduction with losses of any organs and tissues took place many times in early evolution of Metazoa and Bilateria not only in parasitic species. It occurred both at early and late stages of embryonic development and differentiation. Two alternative scenario of morphological degeneration in Trichoplax and the way of their testing are suggested. The similarity of Ctenophora and Calcarea is discussed. Meridional or oblique position of the third cleavage furrow of ovule can be considered as an evidence of their origin from common ancestor.

  6. 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. © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  7. Microstructure evolution in grey cast iron during directional solidification

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ding, Xian-fei; Li, Xiao-zheng; Feng, Qiang; Matthias, Warkentin; Huang, Shi-yao

    2017-08-01

    The solidification characteristics and microstructure evolution in grey cast iron were investigated through Jmat-Pro simulations and quenching performed during directional solidification. The phase transition sequence of grey cast iron was determined as L → L + γ → L + γ + G → γ + G → P (α + Fe3C) + α + G. The graphite can be formed in three ways: directly nucleated from liquid through the eutectic reaction (L → γ + G), independently precipitated from the oversaturated γ phase (γ → γ + G), and produced via the eutectoid transformation (γ → G + α). The area fraction and length of graphite as well as the primary dendrite spacing decrease with increasing cooling rate. Type-A graphite is formed at a low cooling rate, whereas a high cooling rate results in the precipitation of type-D graphite. After analyzing the graphite precipitation in the as-cast and transition regions separately solidified with and without inoculation, we concluded that, induced by the inoculant addition, the location of graphite precipitation changes from mainly the γ interdendritic region to the entire γ matrix. It suggests that inoculation mainly acts on graphite precipitation in the γ matrix, not in the liquid or at the solid-liquid front.

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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. Published by Elsevier B.V.

  14. The predictability of molecular evolution during functional innovation.

    PubMed

    Blank, Diana; Wolf, Luise; Ackermann, Martin; Silander, Olin K

    2014-02-25

    Determining the molecular changes that give rise to functional innovations is a major unresolved problem in biology. The paucity of examples has served as a significant hindrance in furthering our understanding of this process. Here we used experimental evolution with the bacterium Escherichia coli to quantify the molecular changes underlying functional innovation in 68 independent instances ranging over 22 different metabolic functions. Using whole-genome sequencing, we show that the relative contribution of regulatory and structural mutations depends on the cellular context of the metabolic function. In addition, we find that regulatory mutations affect genes that act in pathways relevant to the novel function, whereas structural mutations affect genes that act in unrelated pathways. Finally, we use population genetic modeling to show that the relative contributions of regulatory and structural mutations during functional innovation may be affected by population size. These results provide a predictive framework for the molecular basis of evolutionary innovation, which is essential for anticipating future evolutionary trajectories in the face of rapid environmental change.

  15. A molecular collision operator of adjustable direction for the discrete velocity direction model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Zhenyu; Peng, Cheng; Xu, Jianzhong

    2017-10-01

    The discrete velocity direction model is an approximate method to the Boltzmann equation. A developed molecular collision operator for the model is presented in this paper. Under the new operator, the discrete directions of molecules are adjustable, namely, both the number and the angles of discrete directions can be changed as needed in the discrete velocity direction model. At the same time, the governing equations will keep unchanged when the number of discrete directions changes. In fact, with the continuous molecular speed, the discrete velocity direction model has been able to employ any discrete velocities in numerical calculations. The discrete velocity direction model under the new collision operator was applied into some benchmark flows in micro scales in this paper, and the influence of the number of discrete velocities on the computational accuracy was analyzed. The numerical results show that the accuracy of the discrete velocity direction model can be improved significantly by employing more discrete directions, especially for the gas flows at large Knudsen number. With appropriate discrete velocities, this model has been able to give accurate numerical results in all flow regimes. In addition, it is proved that the discrete velocity direction model under the new collision operator satisfies a global H theorem unconditionally, which means that the new operator further improves the intrinsic stability of the discrete velocity direction model.

  16. Testing the molecular clock using mechanistic models of fossil preservation and molecular evolution

    PubMed Central

    2017-01-01

    Molecular sequence data provide information about relative times only, and fossil-based age constraints are the ultimate source of information about absolute times in molecular clock dating analyses. Thus, fossil calibrations are critical to molecular clock dating, but competing methods are difficult to evaluate empirically because the true evolutionary time scale is never known. Here, we combine mechanistic models of fossil preservation and sequence evolution in simulations to evaluate different approaches to constructing fossil calibrations and their impact on Bayesian molecular clock dating, and the relative impact of fossil versus molecular sampling. We show that divergence time estimation is impacted by the model of fossil preservation, sampling intensity and tree shape. The addition of sequence data may improve molecular clock estimates, but accuracy and precision is dominated by the quality of the fossil calibrations. Posterior means and medians are poor representatives of true divergence times; posterior intervals provide a much more accurate estimate of divergence times, though they may be wide and often do not have high coverage probability. Our results highlight the importance of increased fossil sampling and improved statistical approaches to generating calibrations, which should incorporate the non-uniform nature of ecological and temporal fossil species distributions. PMID:28637852

  17. Testing the molecular clock using mechanistic models of fossil preservation and molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    Warnock, Rachel C M; Yang, Ziheng; Donoghue, Philip C J

    2017-06-28

    Molecular sequence data provide information about relative times only, and fossil-based age constraints are the ultimate source of information about absolute times in molecular clock dating analyses. Thus, fossil calibrations are critical to molecular clock dating, but competing methods are difficult to evaluate empirically because the true evolutionary time scale is never known. Here, we combine mechanistic models of fossil preservation and sequence evolution in simulations to evaluate different approaches to constructing fossil calibrations and their impact on Bayesian molecular clock dating, and the relative impact of fossil versus molecular sampling. We show that divergence time estimation is impacted by the model of fossil preservation, sampling intensity and tree shape. The addition of sequence data may improve molecular clock estimates, but accuracy and precision is dominated by the quality of the fossil calibrations. Posterior means and medians are poor representatives of true divergence times; posterior intervals provide a much more accurate estimate of divergence times, though they may be wide and often do not have high coverage probability. Our results highlight the importance of increased fossil sampling and improved statistical approaches to generating calibrations, which should incorporate the non-uniform nature of ecological and temporal fossil species distributions. © 2017 The Authors.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. Directed evolution of Gloeobacter violaceus rhodopsin spectral properties.

    PubMed

    Engqvist, Martin K M; McIsaac, R Scott; Dollinger, Peter; Flytzanis, Nicholas C; Abrams, Michael; Schor, Stanford; Arnold, Frances H

    2015-01-16

    Proton-pumping rhodopsins (PPRs) are photoactive retinal-binding proteins that transport ions across biological membranes in response to light. These proteins are interesting for light-harvesting applications in bioenergy production, in optogenetics applications in neuroscience, and as fluorescent sensors of membrane potential. Little is known, however, about how the protein sequence determines the considerable variation in spectral properties of PPRs from different biological niches or how to engineer these properties in a given PPR. Here we report a comprehensive study of amino acid substitutions in the retinal-binding pocket of Gloeobacter violaceus rhodopsin (GR) that tune its spectral properties. Directed evolution generated 70 GR variants with absorption maxima shifted by up to ±80nm, extending the protein's light absorption significantly beyond the range of known natural PPRs. While proton-pumping activity was disrupted in many of the spectrally shifted variants, we identified single tuning mutations that incurred blue and red shifts of 42nm and 22nm, respectively, that did not disrupt proton pumping. Blue-shifting mutations were distributed evenly along the retinal molecule while red-shifting mutations were clustered near the residue K257, which forms a covalent bond with retinal through a Schiff base linkage. Thirty eight of the identified tuning mutations are not found in known microbial rhodopsins. We discovered a subset of red-shifted GRs that exhibit high levels of fluorescence relative to the WT (wild-type) protein. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. Direct formic acid microfluidic fuel cell design and performance evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moreno-Zuria, A.; Dector, A.; Cuevas-Muñiz, F. M.; Esquivel, J. P.; Sabaté, N.; Ledesma-García, J.; Arriaga, L. G.; Chávez-Ramírez, A. U.

    2014-12-01

    This work reports the evolution of design, fabrication and testing of direct formic acid microfluidic fuel cells (DFAμFFC), the architecture and channel dimensions are miniaturized from a thousand to few cents of micrometers. Three generations of DFAμFFCs are presented, from the initial Y-shape configuration made by a hot pressing technique; evolving into a novel miniaturized fuel cell based on microfabrication technology using SU-8 photoresist as core material; to the last air-breathing μFFC with enhanced performance and built with low cost materials and processes. The three devices were evaluated in acidic media in the presence of formic acid as fuel and oxygen/air as oxidant. Commercial Pt/C (30 wt. % E-TEK) and Pd/C XC-72 (20 wt. %, E-TEK) were used as cathode and anode electrodes respectively. The air-breathing μFFC generation, delivered up to 27.3 mW cm-2 for at least 30 min, which is a competitive power density value at the lowest fuel flow of 200 μL min-1 reported to date.

  8. 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.

  9. Molecular evolution of mitochondrial introns in the liverwort Marchantia polymorpha.

    PubMed

    Ohyama, Kanji; Takemura, Miho

    2008-01-01

    We here describe in detail the characterization and molecular evolution of group II introns in the mitochondrial genome of the liverwort Marchantia polymorpha. We find that 18 introns of the 25 group II introns can be assigned by their similarities to six clusters, indicating an intra-genomic propagation of one ancestral intron each into the respective clusters in the liverwort mitochondrial genome. Interestingly, the intra-genomic propagation of some of these introns occurred only after the evolutionary separation of the bryophytes from the other clades of plants. Finally we report that the maturase-like sequences in the liverwort group II introns have further evolved by horizontal and independent transposition and substitution by analogous sequences from other fungal introns.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Bio++: efficient extensible libraries and tools for computational molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    Guéguen, Laurent; Gaillard, Sylvain; Boussau, Bastien; Gouy, Manolo; Groussin, Mathieu; Rochette, Nicolas C; Bigot, Thomas; Fournier, David; Pouyet, Fanny; Cahais, Vincent; Bernard, Aurélien; Scornavacca, Céline; Nabholz, Benoît; Haudry, Annabelle; Dachary, Loïc; Galtier, Nicolas; Belkhir, Khalid; Dutheil, Julien Y

    2013-08-01

    Efficient algorithms and programs for the analysis of the ever-growing amount of biological sequence data are strongly needed in the genomics era. The pace at which new data and methodologies are generated calls for the use of pre-existing, optimized-yet extensible-code, typically distributed as libraries or packages. This motivated the Bio++ project, aiming at developing a set of C++ libraries for sequence analysis, phylogenetics, population genetics, and molecular evolution. The main attractiveness of Bio++ is the extensibility and reusability of its components through its object-oriented design, without compromising the computer-efficiency of the underlying methods. We present here the second major release of the libraries, which provides an extended set of classes and methods. These extensions notably provide built-in access to sequence databases and new data structures for handling and manipulating sequences from the omics era, such as multiple genome alignments and sequencing reads libraries. More complex models of sequence evolution, such as mixture models and generic n-tuples alphabets, are also included.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Molecular cytogenetic and genomic insights into chromosomal evolution

    PubMed Central

    Ruiz-Herrera, A; Farré, M; Robinson, T J

    2012-01-01

    This review summarizes aspects of the extensive literature on the patterns and processes underpinning chromosomal evolution in vertebrates and especially placental mammals. It highlights the growing synergy between molecular cytogenetics and comparative genomics, particularly with respect to fully or partially sequenced genomes, and provides novel insights into changes in chromosome number and structure across deep division of the vertebrate tree of life. The examination of basal numbers in the deeper branches of the vertebrate tree suggest a haploid (n) chromosome number of 10–13 in an ancestral vertebrate, with modest increases in tetrapods and amniotes most probably by chromosomal fissioning. Information drawn largely from cross-species chromosome painting in the data-dense Placentalia permits the confident reconstruction of an ancestral karyotype comprising n=23 chromosomes that is similarly retained in Boreoeutheria. Using in silico genome-wide scans that include the newly released frog genome we show that of the nine ancient syntenies detected in conserved karyotypes of extant placentals (thought likely to reflect the structure of ancestral chromosomes), the human syntenic segmental associations 3p/21, 4pq/8p, 7a/16p, 14/15, 12qt/22q and 12pq/22qt predate the divergence of tetrapods. These findings underscore the enhanced quality of ancestral reconstructions based on the integrative molecular cytogenetic and comparative genomic approaches that collectively highlight a pattern of conserved syntenic associations that extends back ∼360 million years ago. PMID:22108627

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. Maximum directionality and systematic classification of molecular motors.

    PubMed

    Efremov, Artem; Wang, Zhisong

    2011-03-21

    Track-walking molecular motors are widely used in living cells for transport purposes, and artificial mimics are being vigorously pursued in engineered molecular systems. The defining character for a motor is its intrinsic capability to utilize energy input to rectify a sustained directional motion out of stochastic thermal motion. The energy injection can be coupled to a motor's mechanical steps in different ways, leading to different motor mechanisms. We derive here a formulation for maximum motor performance in terms of a new quantity called directionality based on a general representation of the track-walking motors. Compared to performance measures like velocity and processivity, directionality is a cleaner and more robust indicator of the rectification mechanism that amounts to a motor's inner design/working principles. Meaningful and distinctly different upper limits of directionality were found to exist for a wide variety of experimentally demonstrated and theoretically proposed motors and their biological counterparts. The maximum directionality provides a conceptual framework by which all of these different motors were quantitatively compared and systematically classified according to their mechanistic advancement. The results yield a series of guidelines for artificial motor development, and expose important evolutionary traits of biomotors.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Pangenome-wide and molecular evolution analyses of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa species.

    PubMed

    Mosquera-Rendón, Jeanneth; Rada-Bravo, Ana M; Cárdenas-Brito, Sonia; Corredor, Mauricio; Restrepo-Pineda, Eliana; Benítez-Páez, Alfonso

    2016-01-12

    Drug treatments and vaccine designs against the opportunistic human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa have multiple issues, all associated with the diverse genetic traits present in this pathogen, ranging from multi-drug resistant genes to the molecular machinery for the biosynthesis of biofilms. Several candidate vaccines against P. aeruginosa have been developed, which target the outer membrane proteins; however, major issues arise when attempting to establish complete protection against this pathogen due to its presumably genotypic variation at the strain level. To shed light on this concern, we proposed this study to assess the P. aeruginosa pangenome and its molecular evolution across multiple strains. The P. aeruginosa pangenome was estimated to contain more than 16,000 non-redundant genes, and approximately 15 % of these constituted the core genome. Functional analyses of the accessory genome indicated a wide presence of genetic elements directly associated with pathogenicity. An in-depth molecular evolution analysis revealed the full landscape of selection forces acting on the P. aeruginosa pangenome, in which purifying selection drives evolution in the genome of this human pathogen. We also detected distinctive positive selection in a wide variety of outer membrane proteins, with the data supporting the concept of substantial genetic variation in proteins probably recognized as antigens. Approaching the evolutionary information of genes under extremely positive selection, we designed a new Multi-Locus Sequencing Typing assay for an informative, rapid, and cost-effective genotyping of P. aeruginosa clinical isolates. We report the unprecedented pangenome characterization of P. aeruginosa on a large scale, which included almost 200 bacterial genomes from one single species and a molecular evolutionary analysis at the pangenome scale. Evolutionary information presented here provides a clear explanation of the issues associated with the use of protein

  7. 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

  8. Molecular evolution of the polyamine oxidase gene family in Metazoa.

    PubMed

    Polticelli, Fabio; Salvi, Daniele; Mariottini, Paolo; Amendola, Roberto; Cervelli, Manuela

    2012-06-20

    the SMOs and APAOs from vertebrates. The two vertebrate monophyletic clades clustered strictly mirroring the organismal phylogeny of fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Evidences from comparative genomic analysis, structural evolution and functional divergence in a phylogenetic framework across Metazoa suggested an evolutionary scenario where the ancestor PAO coding sequence, present in invertebrates as an orthologous gene, has been duplicated in the vertebrate branch to originate the paralogous SMO and APAO genes. A further genome evolution event concerns the SMO gene of placental, but not marsupial and monotremate, mammals which increased its functional variation following an alternative splicing (AS) mechanism. In this study the explicit integration in a phylogenomic framework of phylogenetic tree construction, structure prediction, and biochemical function data/prediction, allowed inferring the molecular evolutionary history of the PAO gene family and to disambiguate paralogous genes related by duplication event (SMO and APAO) and orthologous genes related by speciation events (PAOs, SMOs/APAOs). Further, while in vertebrates experimental data corroborate SMO and APAO molecular function predictions, in invertebrates the finding of a supported phylogenetic clusters of insect PAOs and the co-occurrence of two PAO variants in the amphioxus urgently claim the need for future structure-function studies.

  9. Molecular evolution of the polyamine oxidase gene family in Metazoa

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    , respectively, all the SMOs and APAOs from vertebrates. The two vertebrate monophyletic clades clustered strictly mirroring the organismal phylogeny of fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Evidences from comparative genomic analysis, structural evolution and functional divergence in a phylogenetic framework across Metazoa suggested an evolutionary scenario where the ancestor PAO coding sequence, present in invertebrates as an orthologous gene, has been duplicated in the vertebrate branch to originate the paralogous SMO and APAO genes. A further genome evolution event concerns the SMO gene of placental, but not marsupial and monotremate, mammals which increased its functional variation following an alternative splicing (AS) mechanism. Conclusions In this study the explicit integration in a phylogenomic framework of phylogenetic tree construction, structure prediction, and biochemical function data/prediction, allowed inferring the molecular evolutionary history of the PAO gene family and to disambiguate paralogous genes related by duplication event (SMO and APAO) and orthologous genes related by speciation events (PAOs, SMOs/APAOs). Further, while in vertebrates experimental data corroborate SMO and APAO molecular function predictions, in invertebrates the finding of a supported phylogenetic clusters of insect PAOs and the co-occurrence of two PAO variants in the amphioxus urgently claim the need for future structure-function studies. PMID:22716069

  10. Library selection and directed evolution approaches to engineering targeted viral vectors.

    PubMed

    Jang, Jae-Hyung; Lim, Kwang-il; Schaffer, David V

    2007-10-15

    Gene therapy, to delivery of genetic material to a patient for therapeutic benefit, has significant promise for translating basic knowledge of disease mechanism into biomedical treatments. The clinical development of the field has been slowed, however, by the need for improvements in the properties and capabilities of gene delivery vehicles. Vehicles based on viruses offer the potential for efficient gene delivery, but because viruses did not evolve to serve human therapeutic needs, many of their properties require significant improvement, including their safety, efficiency, and capacity for targeted gene delivery. Since viruses are highly complex biological entities, engineering such properties at the molecular level can be challenging. However, there has been significant progress in developing approaches that mimic the mechanisms by which viruses arose in the first place. In particular, library-based selection, the generation of one diverse genetic library and selection for new properties, and directed evolution, based on the multiple rounds of library generation and selection for iterative improvement of function, have strong potential in engineering novel properties into these complex biomolecular assemblies. This review will discuss progress in the application of peptide display, library selection, and directed evolution technologies toward engineering vectors based on retrovirus, adeno-associated virus, and adenovirus that are capable of targeted delivery to specific cell types. In addition to creating biomedically useful products, these approaches have future potential to yield novel insights into viral structure-function relationships. Copyright 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  11. The Coevolution of Phycobilisomes: Molecular Structure Adapting to Functional Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Shi, Fei; Qin, Song; Wang, Yin-Chu

    2011-01-01

    Phycobilisome is the major light-harvesting complex in cyanobacteria and red alga. It consists of phycobiliproteins and their associated linker peptides which play key role in absorption and unidirectional transfer of light energy and the stability of the whole complex system, respectively. Former researches on the evolution among PBPs and linker peptides had mainly focused on the phylogenetic analysis and selective evolution. Coevolution is the change that the conformation of one residue is interrupted by mutation and a compensatory change selected for in its interacting partner. Here, coevolutionary analysis of allophycocyanin, phycocyanin, and phycoerythrin and covariation analysis of linker peptides were performed. Coevolution analyses reveal that these sites are significantly correlated, showing strong evidence of the functional and structural importance of interactions among these residues. According to interprotein coevolution analysis, less interaction was found between PBPs and linker peptides. Our results also revealed the correlations between the coevolution and adaptive selection in PBS were not directly related, but probably demonstrated by the sites coupled under physical-chemical interactions. PMID:21904470

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

    PubMed Central

    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

    2014-01-01

    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. PMID:25473152

  14. 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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-10-01

    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 this paper, we describe modifications to the LAMMPS molecular dynamics code to enable concurrent calculations on a CPU and coprocessor. We 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 LAMMPS benchmarks and for production molecular dynamics simulations using the Stampede hybrid supercomputer with both Intel® Xeon Phi™ 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Quantum signatures of a molecular nanomagnet in direct magnetocaloric measurements.

    PubMed

    Sharples, Joseph W; Collison, David; McInnes, Eric J L; Schnack, Jürgen; Palacios, Elias; Evangelisti, Marco

    2014-10-22

    Geometric spin frustration in low-dimensional materials, such as the two-dimensional kagome or triangular antiferromagnetic nets, can significantly enhance the change of the magnetic entropy and adiabatic temperature following a change in the applied magnetic field, that is, the magnetocaloric effect. In principle, an equivalent outcome should also be observable in certain high-symmetry zero-dimensional, that is, molecular, structures with frustrated topologies. Here we report experimental realization of this in a heptametallic gadolinium molecule. Adiabatic demagnetization experiments reach ~200 mK, the first sub-Kelvin cooling with any molecular nanomagnet, and reveal isentropes (the constant entropy paths followed in the temperature-field plane) with a rich structure. The latter is shown to be a direct manifestation of the trigonal antiferromagnetic net structure, allowing study of frustration-enhanced magnetocaloric effects in a finite system.

  3. Erratic rates of molecular evolution and incongruence of fossil and molecular divergence time estimates in Ostracoda (Crustacea).

    PubMed

    Tinn, Oive; Oakley, Todd H

    2008-07-01

    Dating evolutionary origins of taxa is essential for understanding rates and timing of evolutionary events, often inciting intense debate when molecular estimates differ from first fossil appearances. For numerous reasons, ostracods present a challenging case study of rates of evolution and congruence of fossil and molecular divergence time estimates. On the one hand, ostracods have one of the densest fossil records of any metazoan group. However, taxonomy of fossil ostracods is controversial, owing at least in part to homoplasy of carapaces, the most commonly fossilized part. In addition, rates of evolution are variable in ostracods. Here, we report evidence of extreme variation in the rate of molecular evolution in different ostracod groups. This rate is significantly elevated in Halocyprid ostracods, a widespread planktonic group, consistent with previous observations that planktonic groups show elevated rates of molecular evolution. At the same time, the rate of molecular evolution is slow in the lineage leading to Manawa staceyi, a relict species that we estimate diverged approximately 500 million years ago from its closest known living relative. We also report multiple cases of significant incongruence between fossil and molecular estimates of divergence times in Ostracoda. Although relaxed clock methods improve the congruence of fossil and molecular divergence estimates over strict clock models, incongruence is present regardless of method. We hypothesize that this observed incongruence is driven largely by problems with taxonomy of fossil Ostracoda. Our results illustrate the difficulty in consistently estimating lineage divergence times, even in the presence of a voluminous fossil record.

  4. Molecular evolution and functional divergence of Vibrio cholerae.

    PubMed

    Das, Bhabatosh; Pazhani, Gururaja P; Sarkar, Anirban; Mukhopadhyay, Asish K; Nair, G Balakrish; Ramamurthy, Thandavarayan

    2016-10-01

    The purpose of this review is to synopsize and highlight the recent subtle genetic changes in cholera causing toxigenic Vibrio cholerae with special reference to their virulence, integrating and conjugative elements and toxin-antitoxin systems. It is not intended to cover issues on the whole genome sequence and epidemiology of cholera. Analyses have been made using major published works on genetic changes associated with potential virulence, integrating and conjugative elements and toxin-antitoxin systems of toxigenic V. cholerae. During the course of evolution, V. cholerae strains show evidence of genetic selection for the expression of additional virulence, better survival in the environment, colonization ability and antimicrobial resistance. Some of the critical modifications that occurred at the molecular level include CTXϕ genome, cholera toxin B-subunit, integrating and conjugative elements and toxin-antitoxin systems. Frequent changes in the genome of V. cholerae appear to be an ongoing dynamic process that is assisting the pathogen to subtly change during or after epidemics of cholera. Cholera is a reemerging public health problem. Continued basic research is important to understand the changing dynamics of bacterial virulence, survival strategies and disease pathogenesis for efficient therapeutic intervention and to abort transmission of the disease.

  5. Molecular evolution of the EGF-CFC protein family.

    PubMed

    Ravisankar, V; Singh, Taran P; Manoj, Narayanan

    2011-08-15

    The epidermal growth factor-Cripto-1/FRL-1/Cryptic (EGF-CFC) proteins, characterized by the highly conserved EGF and CFC domains, are extracellular membrane associated growth factor-like glycoproteins. These proteins are essential components of the Nodal signaling pathway during early vertebrate embryogenesis. Homologs of the EGF-CFC family have also been implicated in tumorigenesis in humans. Yet, little is known about the mode of molecular evolution in this family. Here we investigate the origin, extent of conservation and evolutionary relationships of EGF-CFC proteins across the metazoa. The results suggest that the first appearance of the EGF-CFC gene occurred in the ancestor of the deuterostomes. Phylogenetic analysis supports the classification of the family into distinct subfamilies that appear to have evolved through lineage-specific duplication and divergence. Site-specific analyses of evolutionary rate shifts between the two major mammalian paralogous subfamilies, Cripto and Cryptic, reveal critical amino acid sites that may account for the observed functional divergence. Furthermore, estimates of functional divergence suggest that rapid change of evolutionary rates at sites located mainly in the CFC domain may contribute towards distinct functional properties of the two paralogs. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  6. 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.

  7. Molecular Evolution of the Sorghum Maturity Gene Ma3

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:25961888

  8. Thermal fluctuations biased for directional motion in molecular motors.

    PubMed

    Ishii, Yoshiharu; Taniguchi, Yuichi; Iwaki, Mitsuhiro; Yanagida, Toshio

    2008-01-01

    Recently developed single molecule measurements have demonstrated that the mechanisms for numerous protein functions involve thermal fluctuation, or Brownian motion. Protein interactions bias the random thermal noise in a manner such that the protein can perform its given functions. This phenomenon has been observed in molecular motor unidirectional movement where Brownian motion is used to preferentially bind the motor heads in one direction causing directional motility. This is analogous to that used by proteins in which spontaneous structural fluctuations are used to switch function. Seeing that two very different systems implement similar mechanisms suggests there exists a general scheme applied by diverse proteins that exploits thermal fluctuations in order to achieve their respective functions.

  9. 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. © 2011 The Author(s). Evolution© 2011 The Society for the Study of Evolution.

  10. Cyclization and Catenation Directed by Molecular Self-Assembly

    SciTech Connect

    Wang, Wei; Wang, Li Q; Palmer, Bruce J; Exarhos, Gregory J; Li, Alexander D

    2006-08-30

    We report here that molecular self-assembly can effectively direct and enhance specific reaction pathways. Using perylene π-π stacking weak attractive forces, we succeeded in synthesizing perylene bisimide macrocyclic dimer and a concatenated dimer-dimer ring from dynamic self-assembly of monomeric bis-N, N’-(2-(2-(2-(2-thioacetyl ethoxy) ethoxy) ethoxy) ethyl) perylene tetracarboxylic diimide. The monocyclic ring closure and the dimer-dimer ring concatenation were accomplished through formation of disulfide bonds, which was readily triggered by air oxidization under basic deacetylation conditions. The perylene cyclic dimer and its concatenated tetramer were characterized using both structural methods (NMR, mass spectroscopy) and photophysical measurements (UV-vis spectroscopy). Kinetic analyses offer informative insights about reaction pathways and possible mechanisms, which lead to the formation of fascinating concatenated rings. Molecular dynamic behaviors of both the monocyclic dimer and the concatenated dimer-dimer ring were modeled with the NWChem molecular dynamics software module, which shows distinct stacking activities for the monocyclic dimer and the concatenated tetramer.

  11. Improving Glyphosate Oxidation Activity of Glycine Oxidase from Bacillus cereus by Directed Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Zhan, Tao; Zhang, Kai; Chen, Yangyan; Lin, Yongjun; Wu, Gaobing; Zhang, Lili; Yao, Pei; Shao, Zongze; Liu, Ziduo

    2013-01-01

    Glyphosate, a broad spectrum herbicide widely used in agriculture all over the world, inhibits 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase in the shikimate pathway, and glycine oxidase (GO) has been reported to be able to catalyze the oxidative deamination of various amines and cleave the C-N bond in glyphosate. Here, in an effort to improve the catalytic activity of the glycine oxidase that was cloned from a glyphosate-degrading marine strain of Bacillus cereus (BceGO), we used a bacteriophage T7 lysis-based method for high-throughput screening of oxidase activity and engineered the gene encoding BceGO by directed evolution. Six mutants exhibiting enhanced activity toward glyphosate were screened from two rounds of error-prone PCR combined with site directed mutagenesis, and the beneficial mutations of the six evolved variants were recombined by DNA shuffling. Four recombinants were generated and, when compared with the wild-type BceGO, the most active mutant B3S1 showed the highest activity, exhibiting a 160-fold increase in substrate affinity, a 326-fold enhancement in catalytic efficiency against glyphosate, with little difference between their pH and temperature stabilities. The role of these mutations was explored through structure modeling and molecular docking, revealing that the Arg51 mutation is near the active site and could be an important residue contributing to the stabilization of glyphosate binding, while the role of the remaining mutations is unclear. These results provide insight into the application of directed evolution in optimizing glycine oxidase function and have laid a foundation for the development of glyphosate-tolerant crops. PMID:24223901

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. Molecular evolution of the crustacean hyperglycemic hormone family in ecdysozoans

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Crustacean Hyperglycemic Hormone (CHH) family peptides are neurohormones known to regulate several important functions in decapod crustaceans such as ionic and energetic metabolism, molting and reproduction. The structural conservation of these peptides, together with the variety of functions they display, led us to investigate their evolutionary history. CHH family peptides exist in insects (Ion Transport Peptides) and may be present in all ecdysozoans as well. In order to extend the evolutionary study to the entire family, CHH family peptides were thus searched in taxa outside decapods, where they have been, to date, poorly investigated. Results CHH family peptides were characterized by molecular cloning in a branchiopod crustacean, Daphnia magna, and in a collembolan, Folsomia candida. Genes encoding such peptides were also rebuilt in silico from genomic sequences of another branchiopod, a chelicerate and two nematodes. These sequences were included in updated datasets to build phylogenies of the CHH family in pancrustaceans. These phylogenies suggest that peptides found in Branchiopoda and Collembola are more closely related to insect ITPs than to crustacean CHHs. Datasets were also used to support a phylogenetic hypothesis about pancrustacean relationships, which, in addition to gene structures, allowed us to propose two evolutionary scenarios of this multigenic family in ecdysozoans. Conclusions Evolutionary scenarios suggest that CHH family genes of ecdysozoans originate from an ancestral two-exon gene, and genes of arthropods from a three-exon one. In malacostracans, the evolution of the CHH family has involved several duplication, insertion or deletion events, leading to neuropeptides with a wide variety of functions, as observed in decapods. This family could thus constitute a promising model to investigate the links between gene duplications and functional divergence. PMID:20184761

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Choosing the right molecular genetic markers for studying biodiversity: from molecular evolution to practical aspects.

    PubMed

    Chenuil, Anne; Anne, Chenuil

    2006-05-01

    The use of molecular genetic markers (MGMs) has become widespread among evolutionary biologists, and the methods of analysis of genetic data improve rapidly, yet an organized framework in which scientists can work is lacking. Elements of molecular evolution are summarized to explain the origin of variation at the DNA level, its measures, and the relationships linking genetic variability to the biological parameters of the studied organisms. MGM are defined by two components: the DNA region(s) screened, and the technique used to reveal its variation. Criteria of choice belong to three categories: (1) the level of variability, (2) the nature of the information (e.g. dominance vs. codominance, ploidy, ... ) which must be determined according to the biological question and (3) some practical criteria which mainly depend on the equipment of the laboratory and experience of the scientist. A three-step procedure is proposed for drawing up MGMs suitable to answer given biological questions, and compiled data are organized to guide the choice at each step: (1) choice, determined by the biological question, of the level of variability and of the criteria of the nature of information, (2) choice of the DNA region and (3) choice of the technique.

  2. 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.

  3. Extracting evidence from forensic DNA analyses: future molecular biology directions.

    PubMed

    Budowle, Bruce; van Daal, Angela

    2009-04-01

    Molecular biology tools have enhanced the capability of the forensic scientist to characterize biological evidence to the point where it is feasible to analyze minute samples and achieve high levels of individualization. Even with the forensic DNA field's maturity, there still are a number of areas where improvements can be made. These include: enabling the typing of samples of limited quantity and quality; using genetic information and novel markers to provide investigative leads; enhancing automation with robotics, different chemistries, and better software tools; employing alternate platforms for typing DNA samples; developing integrated microfluidic/microfabrication devices to process DNA samples with higher throughput, faster turnaround times, lower risk of contamination, reduced labor, and less consumption of evidentiary samples; and exploiting high-throughput sequencing, particularly for attribution in microbial forensics cases. Knowledge gaps and new directions have been identified where molecular biology will likely guide the field of forensics. This review aims to provide a roadmap to guide those interested in contributing to the further development of forensic genetics.

  4. Deciphering Epigenetic Cytosine Modifications by Direct Molecular Recognition.

    PubMed

    Kubik, Grzegorz; Summerer, Daniel

    2015-07-17

    Epigenetic modification at the 5-position of cytosine is a key regulatory element of mammalian gene expression with important roles in genome stability, development, and disease. The repertoire of cytosine modifications has long been confined to only 5-methylcytosine (mC) but has recently been expanded by the discovery of 5-hydroxymethyl-, 5-formyl-, and 5-carboxylcytosine. These are key intermediates of active mC demethylation but may additionally represent new epigenetic marks with distinct biological roles. This leap in chemical complexity of epigenetic cytosine modifications has not only created a pressing need for analytical approaches that enable unraveling of their functions, it has also created new challenges for such analyses with respect to sensitivity and selectivity. The crucial step of any such approach that defines its analytic potential is the strategy used for the actual differentiation of the cytosine 5-modifications from one another, and this selectivity can in principle be provided either by chemoselective conversions or by selective, molecular recognition events. While the former strategy has been particularly successful for accurate genomic profiling of cytosine modifications in vitro, the latter strategy provides interesting perspectives for simplified profiling of natural, untreated DNA, as well as for emerging applications such as single cell analysis and the monitoring of cytosine modification in vivo. We here review analytical techniques for the deciphering of epigenetic cytosine modifications with an emphasis on approaches that are based on the direct molecular recognition of these modifications in DNA.

  5. TLR4-directed Molecular Strategies Targeting Skin Photodamage and Carcinogenesis.

    PubMed

    Dickinson, Sally E; Wondrak, Georg T

    2017-08-28

    Exposure to solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a causative factor in skin photodamage and carcinogenesis, and inflammatory dysregulation is a key mechanism underlying detrimental effects of acute and chronic UV exposure. The health and economic burden of skin cancer treatment is substantial, creating an increasingly urgent need for the development of improved molecular strategies for photoprotection and photochemoprevention. The role of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) as a key regulator of skin anti-microbial defense, wound healing, and cutaneous tumorigenic inflammation has now been recognized, and recently published evidence suggests that TLR4 represents a novel molecular target for skin photoprotection and cancer photochemoprevention. Specifically, it has been shown that pharmacological and genetic antagonism of TLR4 suppresses UV-induced inflammatory signaling involving the attenuation of cutaneous NF-κB and AP-1 stress signaling observable in vitro and in vivo. A number of TLR4-directed small molecule pharmacological antagonists [including eritoran, (+)-naloxone, ST2825, and resatorvid] have now been identified and are at various stages of preclinical and clinical development for the modulation of dysregulated TLR4-dependent inflammatory signaling. Copyright© Bentham Science Publishers; For any queries, please email at epub@benthamscience.org.

  6. 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.

  7. Hydrogen-bonding directed crystal engineering of some molecular solids

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xue, Feng

    2000-10-01

    The design of crystalline clathrates and microporous solids is a contemporary goal in crystal engineering, in which hydrogen bonds play a central role because of their strength, directionality and flexibility. We have constructed various layer- and channel-type host structures by using hydrogen-bonding interactions. A novel hydrogen-bonded supramolecular rosette structure is generated from guanidinium and hydrogen carbonate ions in (1) and ( 2). The rosettes are fused into linear ribbons, which are cross-linked by terephthalate or 4-nitrobenzoate ions functioning as hydrogen-bond acceptors, resulting in anionic host layers with tetra-n-butylammonium guest species sandwiched between them. In (3) ˜ (6), new crystalline adducts of tetraalkylammonium terephthalate/trimesate with urea and water molecules result from hydrogen-bond directed assembly of complementary acceptors and donors that generate anionic channel- and layer-type host lattices for the accommodation of bulky hydrophobic cations. Some 4,4'-disubstituted biphenyls manifest their robustness and flexibility as supramolecular building blocks to construct host structures. 4,4'-biphenyl dicarboxylate ion has a strong tendency in generating ladder-type structure in (7) ˜ (10) due to its rigidity and effectiveness as a bifunctional hydrogen-bond acceptor. In (11) ˜ (15), 4,4 '-dicyanobiphenyl, 4,4'-bipyridine-N,N '-dioxide and 4,4'-dinitrobiphenyl exhibit a constructive interplay of strong and weak hydrogen bond functionalities that generate robust synthons. 4-Tritylbenzoic acid crystallizes via the carboxyl dimer supramolecular synthon to produce a wheel-and-axle host lattice that includes different aromatic solvents in its microporous framework in (16) ˜ (25 ), in which the host architecture is robust and yet adaptive. Based on the trigonal symmetry of 2,4,6-tris-4-(halo-phenoxy)-1,3,5-triazines (halo = chloro, bromo) and the Br3 or Cl3 supramolecular synthon, a new hexagonal host lattice has been designed

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  13. MEvoLib v1.0: the first molecular evolution library for Python.

    PubMed

    Álvarez-Jarreta, Jorge; Ruiz-Pesini, Eduardo

    2016-10-28

    Molecular evolution studies involve many different hard computational problems solved, in most cases, with heuristic algorithms that provide a nearly optimal solution. Hence, diverse software tools exist for the different stages involved in a molecular evolution workflow. We present MEvoLib, the first molecular evolution library for Python, providing a framework to work with different tools and methods involved in the common tasks of molecular evolution workflows. In contrast with already existing bioinformatics libraries, MEvoLib is focused on the stages involved in molecular evolution studies, enclosing the set of tools with a common purpose in a single high-level interface with fast access to their frequent parameterizations. The gene clustering from partial or complete sequences has been improved with a new method that integrates accessible external information (e.g. GenBank's features data). Moreover, MEvoLib adjusts the fetching process from NCBI databases to optimize the download bandwidth usage. In addition, it has been implemented using parallelization techniques to cope with even large-case scenarios. MEvoLib is the first library for Python designed to facilitate molecular evolution researches both for expert and novel users. Its unique interface for each common task comprises several tools with their most used parameterizations. It has also included a method to take advantage of biological knowledge to improve the gene partition of sequence datasets. Additionally, its implementation incorporates parallelization techniques to enhance computational costs when handling very large input datasets.

  14. Trends in the sand: Directional evolution in the shell shape of recessing scallops (Bivalvia: Pectinidae).

    PubMed

    Sherratt, Emma; Alejandrino, Alvin; Kraemer, Andrew C; Serb, Jeanne M; Adams, Dean C

    2016-09-01

    Directional evolution is one of the most compelling evolutionary patterns observed in macroevolution. Yet, despite its importance, detecting such trends in multivariate data remains a challenge. In this study, we evaluate multivariate evolution of shell shape in 93 bivalved scallop species, combining geometric morphometrics and phylogenetic comparative methods. Phylomorphospace visualization described the history of morphological diversification in the group; revealing that taxa with a recessing life habit were the most distinctive in shell shape, and appeared to display a directional trend. To evaluate this hypothesis empirically, we extended existing methods by characterizing the mean directional evolution in phylomorphospace for recessing scallops. We then compared this pattern to what was expected under several alternative evolutionary scenarios using phylogenetic simulations. The observed pattern did not fall within the distribution obtained under multivariate Brownian motion, enabling us to reject this evolutionary scenario. By contrast, the observed pattern was more similar to, and fell within, the distribution obtained from simulations using Brownian motion combined with a directional trend. Thus, the observed data are consistent with a pattern of directional evolution for this lineage of recessing scallops. We discuss this putative directional evolutionary trend in terms of its potential adaptive role in exploiting novel habitats. © 2016 The Author(s). Evolution © 2016 The Society for the Study of Evolution.

  15. The evolution of recombinant thrombolytics: Current status and future directions

    PubMed Central

    Khasa, Yogender Pal

    2017-01-01

    ABSTRACT Cardiovascular disorders are on the rise worldwide due to alcohol abuse, obesity, hypertension, raised blood lipids, diabetes and age-related risks. The use of classical antiplatelet and anticoagulant therapies combined with surgical intervention helped to clear blood clots during the inceptive years. However, the discovery of streptokinase and urokinase ushered the way of using these enzymes as thrombolytic agents to degrade the fibrin network with an issue of systemic hemorrhage. The development of second generation plasminogen activators like anistreplase and tissue plasminogen activator partially controlled this problem. The third generation molecules, majorly t-PA variants, showed desirable properties of improved stability, safety and efficacy with enhanced fibrin specificity. Plasmin variants are produced as direct fibrinolytic agents as a futuristic approach with targeted delivery of these drugs using liposome technlogy. The novel molecules from microbial, plant and animal origin present the future of direct thrombolytics due to their safety and ease of administration. PMID:27696935

  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. 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…

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

    PubMed

    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.

  19. 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

  20. Directed evolution of a fluorogen-activating single chain antibody for function and enhanced brightness in the cytoplasm.

    PubMed

    Yates, Bradley P; Peck, Michelle A; Berget, Peter B

    2013-07-01

    Directed evolution is an exceptionally powerful tool that uses random mutant library generation and screening techniques to engineer or optimize functions of proteins. One class of proteins for which this process is particularly effective is antibodies, where properties such as antigen specificity and affinity can be selected to yield molecules with improved efficacy as molecular labels or in potential therapeutics. Typical antibody structure includes disulfide bonds that are required for stability and proper folding of the domains. However, these bonds are unable to form in the reducing environment of the cytoplasm, stymieing the effectiveness of optimized antibodies in many research applications. We have removed disulfide-forming cysteine residues in a single chain antibody fluorogen-activating protein (FAP), HL4, and employed directed evolution to select a derivative that is capable of activity in the cytoplasm. A subsequent round of directed evolution was targeted at increasing the overall brightness of the fluoromodule (FAP-fluorogen complex). Ultimately, this approach produced a novel FAP that exhibits strong activation of its cognate fluorogen in the reducing environment of the cytoplasm, significantly expanding the range of applications for which fluoromodule technology can be utilized.

  1. 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

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

    PubMed

    Amirjalayer, Saeed; Cnossen, Arjen; Browne, Wesley R; Feringa, Ben L; Buma, Wybren J; Woutersen, Sander

    2016-11-03

    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.

  3. Direct handling of sharp interfacial energy for microstructural evolution

    SciTech Connect

    Hernández–Rivera, Efraín; Tikare, Veena; Noirot, Laurence; Wang, Lumin

    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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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. © 2015 The Author(s). Evolution © 2015 The Society for the Study of Evolution.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. Selection is more intelligent than design: improving the affinity of a bivalent ligand through directed evolution.

    PubMed

    Ahmad, Kareem M; Xiao, Yi; Soh, H Tom

    2012-12-01

    Multivalent molecular interactions can be exploited to dramatically enhance the performance of an affinity reagent. The enhancement in affinity and specificity achieved with a multivalent construct depends critically on the effectiveness of the scaffold that joins the ligands, as this determines their positions and orientations with respect to the target molecule. Currently, no generalizable design rules exist for construction of an optimal multivalent ligand for targets with known structures, and the design challenge remains an insurmountable obstacle for the large number of proteins whose structures are not known. As an alternative to such design-based strategies, we report here a directed evolution-based method for generating optimal bivalent aptamers. To demonstrate this approach, we fused two thrombin aptamers with a randomized DNA sequence and used a microfluidic in vitro selection strategy to isolate scaffolds with exceptionally high affinities. Within five rounds of selection, we generated a bivalent aptamer that binds thrombin with an apparent dissociation constant (K(d)) <10 pM, representing a ∼200-fold improvement in binding affinity over the monomeric aptamers and a ∼15-fold improvement over the best designed bivalent construct. The process described here can be used to produce high-affinity multivalent aptamers and could potentially be adapted to other classes of biomolecules.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. "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)

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. "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)

  1. 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. © 2014 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

  2. Molecular Evolution and Functional Characterization of a Bifunctional Decarboxylase Involved in Lycopodium Alkaloid Biosynthesis.

    PubMed

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

    2016-08-01

    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. © 2016 American Society of Plant Biologists. All Rights Reserved.

  3. 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

  4. Understanding the reaction of nuclear graphite with molecular oxygen: Kinetics, transport, and structural evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kane, Joshua J.; Contescu, Cristian I.; Smith, Rebecca E.; Strydom, Gerhard; Windes, William E.

    2017-09-01

    For the next generation of nuclear reactors, HTGRs specifically, an unlikely air ingress warrants inclusion in the license applications of many international regulators. Much research on oxidation rates of various graphite grades under a number of conditions has been undertaken to address such an event. However, consequences to the reactor result from the microstructural changes to the graphite rather than directly from oxidation. The microstructure is inherent to a graphite's properties and ultimately degradation to the graphite's performance must be determined to establish the safety of reactor design. To understand the oxidation induced microstructural change and its corresponding impact on performance, a thorough understanding of the reaction system is needed. This article provides a thorough review of the graphite-molecular oxygen reaction in terms of kinetics, mass and energy transport, and structural evolution: all three play a significant role in the observed rate of graphite oxidation. These provide the foundations of a microstructurally informed model for the graphite-molecular oxygen reaction system, a model kinetically independent of graphite grade, and capable of describing both the observed and local oxidation rates under a wide range of conditions applicable to air-ingress.

  5. Molecular evolution of the Li/li chemical defence polymorphism in white clover (Trifolium repens L.).

    PubMed

    Olsen, K M; Sutherland, B L; Small, L L

    2007-10-01

    White clover (Trifolium repens) is naturally polymorphic for cyanogenesis (hydrogen cyanide release following tissue damage). The ecological factors favouring cyanogenic and acyanogenic plants have been examined in numerous studies over the last half century, making this one of the best-documented examples of an adaptive polymorphism in plants. White clover cyanogenesis is controlled by two, independently segregating Mendelian genes: Ac/ac controls the presence/absence of cyanogenic glucosides; and Li/li controls the presence/absence of their hydrolysing enzyme, linamarase. In this study, we examine the molecular evolution and population genetics of Li as it relates to the cyanogenesis polymorphism. We report here that Li exists as a single-copy gene in plants possessing linamarase activity, and that the absence of enzyme activity in li/li plants is correlated with the absence of much or all of the gene from the white clover genome. Consistent with this finding, we confirm by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction that Li gene expression is absent in plants lacking enzyme activity. In a molecular population genetic analysis of Li and three unlinked genes using a worldwide sample of clover plants, we find an absence of nucleotide variation and statistically significant deviations from neutrality at Li; these findings are consistent with recent positive directional selection at this cyanogenesis locus.

  6. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-09-24

    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.

  8. The evolution of trade-offs under directional and correlational selection.

    PubMed

    Roff, Derek A; Fairbairn, Daphne J

    2012-08-01

    Using quantitative genetic theory, we develop predictions for the evolution of trade-offs in response to directional and correlational selection. We predict that directional selection favoring an increase in one trait in a trade-off will result in change in the intercept but not the slope of the trade-off function, with the mean value of the selected trait increasing and that of the correlated trait decreasing. Natural selection will generally favor an increase in some combination of trait values, which can be represented as directional selection on an index value. Such selection induces both directional and correlational selection on the component traits. Theory predicts that selection on an index value will also change the intercept but not the slope of the trade-off function but because of correlational selection, the direction of change in component traits may be in the same or opposite directions. We test these predictions using artificial selection on the well-established trade-off between fecundity and flight capability in the cricket, Gryllus firmus and compare the empirical results with a priori predictions made using genetic parameters from a separate half-sibling experiment. Our results support the predictions and illustrate the complexity of trade-off evolution when component traits are subject to both directional and correlational selection. © 2012 The Author(s). Evolution© 2012 The Society for the Study of Evolution.

  9. Evolutionary relationships, interisland biogeography, and molecular evolution in the Hawaiian violets (Viola: Violaceae).

    PubMed

    Havran, J Christopher; Sytsma, Kenneth J; Ballard, Harvey E

    2009-11-01

    The endemic Hawaiian flora offers remarkable opportunities to study the patterns of plant morphological and molecular evolution. The Hawaiian violets are a monophyletic lineage of nine taxa distributed across six main islands of the Hawaiian archipelago. To describe the evolutionary relationships, biogeography, and molecular evolution rates of the Hawaiian violets, we conducted a phylogenetic study using nuclear rDNA internal transcribed spacer sequences from specimens of each species. Parsimony, maximum likelihood (ML), and Bayesian inference reconstructions of island colonization and radiation strongly suggest that the Hawaiian violets first colonized the Maui Nui Complex, quickly radiated to Kaua'i and O'ahu, and recently dispersed to Hawai'i. The lineage consists of "wet" and "dry" clades restricted to distinct precipitation regimes. The ML and Bayesian inference reconstructions of shifts in habitat, habit, and leaf shape indicate that ecologically analogous taxa have undergone parallel evolution in leaf morphology and habit. This parallel evolution correlates with shifts to specialized habitats. Relative rate tests showed that woody and herbaceous sister species possess equal molecular evolution rates. The incongruity of molecular evolution rates in taxa on younger islands suggests that these rates may not be determined by growth form (or lifespan) alone, but may be influenced by complex dispersal events.

  10. 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

  11. Molecular evolution of a Drosophila homolog of human BRCA2.

    PubMed

    Bennett, Sarah M; Noor, Mohamed A F

    2009-11-01

    The human cancer susceptibility gene, BRCA2, functions in double-strand break repair by homologous recombination, and it appears to function via interaction of a repetitive region ("BRC repeats") with RAD-51. A putatively simpler homolog, dmbrca2, was identified in Drosophila melanogaster recently and also affects mitotic and meiotic double-strand break repair. In this study, we examined patterns of repeat variation both within Drosophila pseudoobscura and among available Drosophila genome sequences. We identified extensive variation within and among closely related Drosophila species in BRC repeat number, to the extent that variation within this genus recapitulates the extent of variation found across the entire animal kingdom. We describe patterns of evolution across species by documenting recent repeat expansions (sometimes in tandem arrays) and homogenizations within available genome sequences. Overall, we have documented patterns and modes of evolution in a new model system of a gene which is important to human health.

  12. Evolution and Molecular Control of Hybrid Incompatibility in Plants.

    PubMed

    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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Genetic Diversity and Molecular Evolution of Chinese Waxy Maize Germplasm

    PubMed Central

    Zheng, Hongjian; Wang, Hui; Yang, Hua; Wu, Jinhong; Shi, Biao; Cai, Run; Xu, Yunbi; Wu, Aizhong; Luo, Lijun

    2013-01-01

    Waxy maize (Zea mays L. var. certaina Kulesh), with many excellent characters in terms of starch composition and economic value, has grown in China for a long history and its production has increased dramatically in recent decades. However, the evolution and origin of waxy maize still remains unclear. We studied the genetic diversity of Chinese waxy maize including typical landraces and inbred lines by SSR analysis and the results showed a wide genetic diversity in the Chinese waxy maize germplasm. We analyzed the origin and evolution of waxy maize by sequencing 108 samples, and downloading 52 sequences from GenBank for the waxy locus in a number of accessions from genus Zea. A sharp reduction of nucleotide diversity and significant neutrality tests (Tajima’s D and Fu and Li’s F*) were observed at the waxy locus in Chinese waxy maize but not in nonglutinous maize. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that Chinese waxy maize originated from the cultivated flint maize and most of the modern waxy maize inbred lines showed a distinct independent origin and evolution process compared with the germplasm from Southwest China. The results indicated that an agronomic trait can be quickly improved to meet production demand by selection. PMID:23818949

  1. The relative importance of directional change, random walks, and stasis in the evolution of fossil lineages.

    PubMed

    Hunt, Gene

    2007-11-20

    The nature of evolutionary changes recorded by the fossil record has long been controversial, with particular disagreement concerning the relative frequency of gradual change versus stasis within lineages. Here, I present a large-scale, statistical survey of evolutionary mode in fossil lineages. Over 250 sequences of evolving traits were fit by using maximum likelihood to three evolutionary models: directional change, random walk, and stasis. Evolution in these traits was rarely directional; in only 5% of fossil sequences was directional evolution the most strongly supported of the three modes of change. The remaining 95% of sequences were divided nearly equally between random walks and stasis. Variables related to body size were significantly less likely than shape traits to experience stasis. This finding is in accord with previous suggestions that size may be more evolutionarily labile than shape and is consistent with some but not all of the mechanisms proposed to explain evolutionary stasis. In general, similar evolutionary patterns are observed across other variables, such as clade membership and temporal resolution, but there is some evidence that directional change in planktonic organisms is more frequent than in benthic organisms. The rarity with which directional evolution was observed in this study corroborates a key claim of punctuated equilibria and suggests that truly directional evolution is infrequent or, perhaps more importantly, of short enough duration so as to rarely register in paleontological sampling.

  2. 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.

  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

    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.

  5. 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

  6. Directed evolution of carotenoid synthases for the production of unnatural carotenoids.

    PubMed

    Furubayashi, Maiko; Umeno, Daisuke

    2012-01-01

    Directed evolution is a well-established strategy to confer novel catalytic functions to the enzymes. Thanks to the relative ease of establishing color screening, carotenogenic enzymes can be rapidly evolved in the laboratory for novel functions. The combinatorial usages of the evolvants result in the creation of diverse set of novel, sometimes unnatural carotenoids. This chapter describes the directed evolution of diapophytoene (C(30) carotenoid) synthase CrtM to function in the foreign C(40) pathway, and the use of the CrtM variants thus obtained for the production of novel backbone structures.

  7. 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.

  8. A Simple, General Result for the Variance of Substitution Number in Molecular Evolution.

    PubMed

    Houchmandzadeh, Bahram; Vallade, Marcel

    2016-07-01

    The number of substitutions (of nucleotides, amino acids, etc.) that take place during the evolution of a sequence is a stochastic variable of fundamental importance in the field of molecular evolution. Although the mean number of substitutions during molecular evolution of a sequence can be estimated for a given substitution model, no simple solution exists for the variance of this random variable. We show in this article that the computation of the variance is as simple as that of the mean number of substitutions for both short and long times. Apart from its fundamental importance, this result can be used to investigate the dispersion index R, that is, the ratio of the variance to the mean substitution number, which is of prime importance in the neutral theory of molecular evolution. By investigating large classes of substitution models, we demonstrate that although [Formula: see text], to obtain R significantly larger than unity necessitates in general additional hypotheses on the structure of the substitution model. © The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.

  9. Molecular diffusion and latex film formation: An analysis of direct nonradiative energy transfer experiments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Yongcai; Zhao, Cheng-Le; Winnik, Mitchell A.

    1991-08-01

    The diffusion of polymer molecules across an interface is an important topic in polymer physics. Measuring this diffusion process requires a labeling experiment so that the mixing of otherwise identical molecules can be followed. Here we examine the use of nonradiative energy transfer to follow the interdiffusion of polymer molecules during the annealing of latex films. Those films are prepared from a mixture of phenanthrene (Phe, the donor)- and anthracene(An, the acceptor)-labeled poly(butyl methacrylate) (PBMA) latex particles. We examine in some detail the kinetics of direct energy transfer (DET) at an interface and the evolution of the DET kinetics as the components mix. Time resolved and steady state measurement approaches are compared, and the former is employed to examine molecular diffusion in a series PBMA latex films. Various diffusion models are considered. Diffusion coefficients are calculated by treating the data in terms of a Fickian spherical diffusion model. A film from one set of samples is similar in molecular weight to that studied by small angle neutron scattering (SANS) [K. Hahn, G. Ley, H. Schuller, and R. Oberthur, Colloid Polym. Sci. 264, 1029 (1986)]. Diffusion coefficients calculated from both sets of experiments using similar Fickian diffusion models are very similar in magnitude.

  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. The evolution of phenotypic integration: How directional selection reshapes covariation in mice.

    PubMed

    Penna, Anna; Melo, Diogo; Bernardi, Sandra; Oyarzabal, Maria Inés; Marroig, Gabriel

    2017-10-01

    Variation is the basis for evolution, and understanding how variation can evolve is a central question in biology. In complex phenotypes, covariation plays an even more important role, as genetic associations between traits can bias and alter evolutionary change. Covariation can be shaped by complex interactions between loci, and this genetic architecture can also change during evolution. In this article, we analyzed mouse lines experimentally selected for changes in size to address the question of how multivariate covariation changes under directional selection, as well as to identify the consequences of these changes to evolution. Selected lines showed a clear restructuring of covariation in their cranium and, instead of depleting their size variation, these lines increased their magnitude of integration and the proportion of variation associated with the direction of selection. This result is compatible with recent theoretical works on the evolution of covariation that take the complexities of genetic architecture into account. This result also contradicts the traditional view of the effects of selection on available covariation and suggests a much more complex view of how populations respond to selection. © 2017 The Author(s). Evolution published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of The Society for the Study of Evolution.

  12. 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

  13. Molecular Evolution of the TET Gene Family in Mammals.

    PubMed

    Akahori, Hiromichi; Guindon, Stéphane; Yoshizaki, Sumio; Muto, Yoshinori

    2015-12-01

    Ten-eleven translocation (TET) proteins, a family of Fe(2+)- and 2-oxoglutarate-dependent dioxygenases, are involved in DNA demethylation. They also help regulate various cellular functions. Three TET paralogs have been identified (TET1, TET2, and TET3) in humans. This study focuses on the evolution of mammalian TET genes. Distinct patterns in TET1 and TET2 vs. TET3 were revealed by codon-based tests of positive selection. Results indicate that TET1 and TET2 genes have experienced positive selection more frequently than TET3 gene, and that the majority of codon sites evolved under strong negative selection. These findings imply that the selective pressure on TET3 may have been relaxed in several lineages during the course of evolution. Our analysis of convergent amino acid substitutions also supports the different evolutionary dynamics among TET gene subfamily members. All of the five amino acid sites that are inferred to have evolved under positive selection in the catalytic domain of TET2 are localized at the protein's outer surface. The adaptive changes of these positively selected amino acid sites could be associated with dynamic interactions between other TET-interacting proteins, and positive selection thus appears to shift the regulatory scheme of TET enzyme function.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Time Evolution of the Giant Molecular Cloud Mass Functions across Galactic Disks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kobayashi, Masato I. N.; Inutsuka, Shu-Ichiro; Kobayashi, Hiroshi; Hasegawa, Kenji

    2017-01-01

    We formulate and conduct the time-integration of time evolution equation for the giant molecular cloud mass function (GMCMF) including the cloud-cloud collision (CCC) effect. Our results show that the CCC effect is only limited in the massive-end of the GMCMF and indicate that future high resolution and sensitivity radio observations may constrain giant molecular cloud (GMC) timescales by observing the GMCMF slope in the lower mass regime.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. The driving force for molecular evolution of translation

    PubMed Central

    NOLLER, HARRY F.

    2004-01-01

    It is widely argued that protein synthesis evolved out of an RNA world, in which catalytic and other biological functions now carried out by proteins were performed by RNAs. However, it is not clear what selective advantage would have provided the driving force for evolution of a primitive translation apparatus, because of the unlikelihood that rudimentary polypeptides would have contributed sufficiently useful biological functions. Here, I suggest that the availability of even simple peptides could have significantly enlarged the otherwise limited structure space of RNA. In other words, translation initially evolved not to create a protein world, but to extend the structural, and therefore the functional, capabilities of the RNA world. Observed examples of substantial structural rearrangements in RNA that are induced by binding of peptides and other small molecules support this possibility. PMID:15547132

  2. Molecular networks and the evolution of human cognitive specializations.

    PubMed

    Fontenot, Miles; Konopka, Genevieve

    2014-12-01

    Inroads into elucidating the origins of human cognitive specializations have taken many forms, including genetic, genomic, anatomical, and behavioral assays that typically compare humans to non-human primates. While the integration of all of these approaches is essential for ultimately understanding human cognition, here, we review the usefulness of coexpression network analysis for specifically addressing this question. An increasing number of studies have incorporated coexpression networks into brain expression studies comparing species, disease versus control tissue, brain regions, or developmental time periods. A clearer picture has emerged of the key genes driving brain evolution, as well as the developmental and regional contributions of gene expression patterns important for normal brain development and those misregulated in cognitive diseases. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. Molecular evolution of peste des petits ruminants virus.

    PubMed

    Muniraju, Murali; Munir, Muhammad; Parthiban, AravindhBabu R; Banyard, Ashley C; Bao, Jingyue; Wang, Zhiliang; Ayebazibwe, Chrisostom; Ayelet, Gelagay; El Harrak, Mehdi; Mahapatra, Mana; Libeau, Geneviève; Batten, Carrie; Parida, Satya

    2014-12-01

    Despite safe and efficacious vaccines against peste des petits ruminants virus (PPRV), this virus has emerged as the cause of a highly contagious disease with serious economic consequences for small ruminant agriculture across Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. We used complete and partial genome sequences of all 4 lineages of the virus to investigate evolutionary and epidemiologic dynamics of PPRV. A Bayesian phylogenetic analysis of all PPRV lineages mapped the time to most recent common ancestor and initial divergence of PPRV to a lineage III isolate at the beginning of 20th century. A phylogeographic approach estimated the probability for root location of an ancestral PPRV and individual lineages as being Nigeria for PPRV, Senegal for lineage I, Nigeria/Ghana for lineage II, Sudan for lineage III, and India for lineage IV. Substitution rates are critical parameters for understanding virus evolution because restrictions in genetic variation can lead to lower adaptability and pathogenicity.

  4. Molecular Evolution of Peste des Petits Ruminants Virus

    PubMed Central

    Muniraju, Murali; Munir, Muhammad; Parthiban, AravindhBabu R.; Banyard, Ashley C.; Bao, Jingyue; Wang, Zhiliang; Ayebazibwe, Chrisostom; Ayelet, Gelagay; El Harrak, Mehdi; Mahapatra, Mana; Libeau, Geneviève; Batten, Carrie

    2014-01-01

    Despite safe and efficacious vaccines against peste des petits ruminants virus (PPRV), this virus has emerged as the cause of a highly contagious disease with serious economic consequences for small ruminant agriculture across Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. We used complete and partial genome sequences of all 4 lineages of the virus to investigate evolutionary and epidemiologic dynamics of PPRV. A Bayesian phylogenetic analysis of all PPRV lineages mapped the time to most recent common ancestor and initial divergence of PPRV to a lineage III isolate at the beginning of 20th century. A phylogeographic approach estimated the probability for root location of an ancestral PPRV and individual lineages as being Nigeria for PPRV, Senegal for lineage I, Nigeria/Ghana for lineage II, Sudan for lineage III, and India for lineage IV. Substitution rates are critical parameters for understanding virus evolution because restrictions in genetic variation can lead to lower adaptability and pathogenicity. PMID:25418782

  5. 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.

  6. Molecular Imaging and Contrast Agent Database (MICAD): Evolution and Progress

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

    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 >1000 agents in MICAD is provided in a chapter format and can be accessed through PubMed. Lists containing >4250 unique MI probes and CAs published in peer-reviewed journals and agents approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as a CSV 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, preclinical 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 PMID:21989943

  7. 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.

  8. The rate of DNA evolution: effects of body size and temperature on the molecular clock.

    PubMed

    Gillooly, James F; Allen, Andrew P; West, Geoffrey B; Brown, James H

    2005-01-04

    Observations that rates of molecular evolution vary widely within and among lineages have cast doubts on the existence of a single "molecular clock." Differences in the timing of evolutionary events estimated from genetic and fossil evidence have raised further questions about the accuracy of molecular clocks. Here, we present a model of nucleotide substitution that combines theory on metabolic rate with the now-classic neutral theory of molecular evolution. The model quantitatively predicts rate heterogeneity and may reconcile differences in molecular- and fossil-estimated dates of evolutionary events. Model predictions are supported by extensive data from mitochondrial and nuclear genomes. By accounting for the effects of body size and temperature on metabolic rate, this model explains heterogeneity in rates of nucleotide substitution in different genes, taxa, and thermal environments. This model also suggests that there is indeed a single molecular clock, as originally proposed by Zuckerkandl and Pauling [Zuckerkandl, E. & Pauling, L. (1965) in Evolving Genes and Proteins, eds. Bryson, V. & Vogel, H. J. (Academic, New York), pp. 97-166], but that it "ticks" at a constant substitution rate per unit of mass-specific metabolic energy rather than per unit of time. This model therefore links energy flux and genetic change. More generally, the model suggests that body size and temperature combine to control the overall rate of evolution through their effects on metabolism.

  9. The chemokine and chemokine receptor superfamilies and their molecular evolution

    PubMed Central

    Zlotnik, Albert; Yoshie, Osamu; Nomiyama, Hisayuki

    2006-01-01

    The human chemokine superfamily currently includes at least 46 ligands, which bind to 18 functionally signaling G-protein-coupled receptors and two decoy or scavenger receptors. The chemokine ligands probably comprise one of the first completely known molecular superfamilies. The genomic organization of the chemokine ligand genes and a comparison of their sequences between species shows that tandem gene duplication has taken place independently in the mouse and human lineages of some chemokine families. This means that care needs to be taken when extrapolating experimental results on some chemokines from mouse to human. PMID:17201934

  10. [Molecular biology and prostate cancer: evolution or revolution?].

    PubMed

    Molinié, Vincent; Beuzeboc, Philippe; Mahjoub, Wafa K

    2008-10-01

    The identification of fusion genes provides new insights into the initial mechanisms of molecular events implicated in the tumorigenesis of prostate cancer. The presence of TEMPRSS2-ETS fusion in up to half of all human prostate cancers makes it perhaps the most common genetic rearrangement in human epithelial tumors. Some data suggest that TMPRSS2-ERG fusion prostate cancers have a more aggressive phenotype which may affect cancer progression and outcome in localized tumors treated with prostatectomy. This discovery should pave the way towards future targeted therapies.

  11. Directed evolution of a histone acetyltransferase--enhancing thermostability, whilst maintaining catalytic activity and substrate specificity.

    PubMed

    Leemhuis, Hans; Nightingale, Karl P; Hollfelder, Florian

    2008-11-01

    Histone acetylation plays an integral role in the epigenetic regulation of gene expression. Transcriptional activity reflects the recruitment of opposing classes of enzymes to promoter elements; histone acetyltransferases (EC 2.3.1.48) that deposit acetyl marks at a subset of histone residues and histone deacetylases that remove them. Many histone acetyltransferases are difficult to study in solution because of their limited stability once purified. We have developed a directed evolution protocol that allows the screening of hundreds of histone acetyltransferase mutants for histone acetylating activity, and used this to enhance the thermostability of the human P/CAF histone acetyltransferase. Two rounds of directed evolution significantly stabilized the enzyme without lowering the catalytic efficiency and substrate specificity of the enzyme. Twenty-four variants with higher thermostability were identified. Detailed analysis revealed twelve single amino acid mutants that were found to possess a higher thermostability. The residues affected are scattered over the entire protein structure, and are different from mutations predicted by sequence alignment approaches, suggesting that sequence comparison and directed evolution methods are complementary strategies in engineering increased protein thermostability. The stabilizing mutations are predominately located at surface of the enzyme, suggesting that the protein's surface is important for stability. The directed evolution approach described in the present study is easily adapted to other histone modifying enzymes, requiring only appropriate peptide substrates and antibodies, which are available from commercial suppliers.

  12. 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.

  13. Contrasting Rates of Molecular Evolution and Patterns of Selection among Gymnosperms and Flowering Plants

    PubMed Central

    Li, Zhen; Van de Peer, Yves; Ingvarsson, Pär K.

    2017-01-01

    Abstract The majority of variation in rates of molecular evolution among seed plants remains both unexplored and unexplained. Although some attention has been given to flowering plants, reports of molecular evolutionary rates for their sister plant clade (gymnosperms) are scarce, and to our knowledge differences in molecular evolution among seed plant clades have never been tested in a phylogenetic framework. Angiosperms and gymnosperms differ in a number of features, of which contrasting reproductive biology, life spans, and population sizes are the most prominent. The highly conserved morphology of gymnosperms evidenced by similarity of extant species to fossil records and the high levels of macrosynteny at the genomic level have led scientists to believe that gymnosperms are slow-evolving plants, although some studies have offered contradictory results. Here, we used 31,968 nucleotide sites obtained from orthologous genes across a wide taxonomic sampling that includes representatives of most conifers, cycads, ginkgo, and many angiosperms with a sequenced genome. Our results suggest that angiosperms and gymnosperms differ considerably in their rates of molecular evolution per unit time, with gymnosperm rates being, on average, seven times lower than angiosperm species. Longer generation times and larger genome sizes are some of the factors explaining the slow rates of molecular evolution found in gymnosperms. In contrast to their slow rates of molecular evolution, gymnosperms possess higher substitution rate ratios than angiosperm taxa. Finally, our study suggests stronger and more efficient purifying and diversifying selection in gymnosperm than in angiosperm species, probably in relation to larger effective population sizes. PMID:28333233

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. Molecular phylogenetic evidence for the evolution of specialization in anemonefishes.

    PubMed Central

    Elliott, J K; Lougheed, S C; Bateman, B; McPhee, L K; Boag, P T

    1999-01-01

    Anemonefishes (genera: Amphiprion and Premnas; family Pomacentridae) are a group of 28 species of coral reef fishes that are found in obligate symbiosis with large tropical sea anemones. A phylogenetic hypothesis based on morphological analyses of this group suggests that the ancestral anemonefish was a generalist with similar morphology to other pomacentrids, and that it gave rise to other anemonefish species that were more specialized for living with particular species of host anemones. To test this hypothesis we constructed a molecular phylogeny for the anemonefishes by sequencing 1140 base pairs of the cytochrome b gene and 522 base pairs of the 16S rRNA gene for six species of anemonefishes (representatives of all subgenera and species complexes) and two other pomacentrid species. Three methods of phylogenetic analysis all strongly supported the conclusion that anemonefishes are a monophyletic group. The molecular phylogeny differs from the tree based on morphological data in that the two species of specialized anemonefishes (Premnas biaculeatus and Amphiprion ocellaris) were assigned to a basal position within the clade, and the extreme host generalist (Amphiprion clarkii) to a more derived position. Thus, the initial anemonefish ancestors were probably host specialists and subsequent speciation events led to a combination of generalist and specialist groups. Further phylogenetic studies of additional anemonefish species are required to substantiate this hypothesis. PMID:10331288

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. Molecular complexes that direct rhodopsin transport to primary cilia

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Jing; Deretic, Dusanka

    2013-01-01

    Rhodopsin is a key molecular constituent of photoreceptor cells, yet understanding of how it regulates photoreceptor membrane trafficking and biogenesis of light-sensing organelles, the rod outer segments (ROS) is only beginning to emerge. Recently identified sequence of well-orchestrated molecular interactions of rhodopsin with the functional networks of Arf and Rab GTPases at multiple stages of intracellular targeting fits well into the complex framework of the biogenesis and maintenance of primary cilia, of which the ROS is one example. This review will discuss the latest progress in dissecting the molecular complexes that coordinate rhodopsin incorporation into ciliary-targeted carriers with the recruitment and activation of membrane tethering complexes and regulators of fusion with the periciliary plasma membrane. In addition to revealing the fundamental principals of ciliary membrane renewal, recent advances also provide molecular insight into the ways by which disruptions of the exquisitely orchestrated interactions lead to cilia dysfunction and result in human retinal dystrophies and syndromic diseases that affect multiple organs, including the eyes. PMID:24135424

  7. 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

  8. 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. © 2013 by The International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

  9. 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

  10. 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. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  11. Decoding the molecular evolution of human cognition using comparative genomics.

    PubMed

    Usui, Noriyoshi; Co, Marissa; Konopka, Genevieve

    2014-01-01

    Identification of genetic and molecular factors responsible for the specialized cognitive abilities of humans is expected to provide important insights into the mechanisms responsible for disorders of cognition such as autism, schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease. Here, we discuss the use of comparative genomics for identifying salient genes and gene networks that may underlie cognition. We focus on the comparison of human and non-human primate brain gene expression and the utility of building gene coexpression networks for prioritizing hundreds of genes that differ in expression among the species queried. We also discuss the importance of and methods for functional studies of the individual genes identified. Together, this integration of comparative genomics with cellular and animal models should provide improved systems for developing effective therapeutics for disorders of cognition. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.

  12. Molecular systematics and evolution of Regina and the thamnophiine snakes.

    PubMed

    Alfaro, M E; Arnold, S J

    2001-12-01

    Snakes of the tribe Thamnophiini represent an ecologically important component of the herpetofauna in a range of habitats across North America. Thamnophiines are the best-studied colubrids, yet little is known of their systematic relationships. A molecular phylogenetic study of 32 thamnophiine species using three complete mitochondrial genes (cytochrome b, NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2, and 12S ribosomal DNA) recovered a well-supported phylogeny with three major clades: a garter snake group, a water snake group, and a novel semifossorial group. The historically contentious genus Regina, which contains the crayfish-eating snakes, is polyphyletic. The phylogeographic pattern of Thamnophis is consistent with an hypothesis of at least one invasion of northern North America from Mexico.

  13. Decoding the molecular evolution of human cognition using comparative genomics

    PubMed Central

    Usui, Noriyoshi; Co, Marissa; Konopka, Genevieve

    2014-01-01

    Identification of genetic and molecular factors responsible for the specialized cognitive abilities of humans is expected to provide important insights into the mechanisms responsible for disorders of cognition such as autism, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s disease. Here, we discuss the use of comparative genomics for identifying salient genes and gene networks that may underlie cognition. We focus on the comparison of human and non-human primate brain gene expression and the utility of building gene co-expression networks for prioritizing hundreds of genes that differ in expression among the species queried. We also discuss the importance and methods for functional studies of individual genes identified. Together, this integration of comparative genomics with cellular and animal models should provide improved systems for developing effective therapeutics for disorders of cognition. PMID:25247723

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  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. Molecular evolution of PKD2 gene family in mammals.

    PubMed

    Ye, Chun; Sun, Huan; Guo, Wenhu; Wei, Yuquan; Zhou, Qin

    2009-09-01

    PKD2 gene encodes a critical cation channel protein that plays important roles in various developmental processes and is usually evolutionarily conserved. In the present study, we analyzed the evolutionary patterns of PKD2 and its homologous genes (PKD2L1, PKD2L2) from nine mammalian species. In this study, we demonstrated the orthologs of PKD2 gene family evolved under a dominant purifying selection force. Our results in combination with the reported evidences from functional researches suggested the entire PKD2 gene family are conserved and perform essential biological roles during mammalian evolution. In rodents, PKD2 gene family members appeared to have evolved more rapidly than other mammalian lineages, probably resulting from relaxation of purifying selection. However, positive selection imposed on synonymous sites also potentially contributed to this case. For the paralogs, our results implied that PKD2L2 genes evolved under a weaker purifying selection constraint than PKD2 and PKD2L1 genes. Interestingly, some loop regions of transmembrane domain of PKD2L2 exhibited higher P (N)/P (S) ratios than expected, suggesting these regions are more functional divergent in organisms and worthy of special attention.

  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 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Phylogeography and Molecular Evolution of Potato virus Y

    PubMed Central

    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 (PVYO, PVYN and PVYC) 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. PMID:22655074

  5. 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.

  6. [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.

  7. Molecular evolution of the capsid gene in human norovirus genogroup II

    PubMed Central

    Kobayashi, Miho; Matsushima, Yuki; Motoya, Takumi; Sakon, Naomi; Shigemoto, Naoki; Okamoto-Nakagawa, Reiko; Nishimura, Koichi; Yamashita, Yasutaka; Kuroda, Makoto; Saruki, Nobuhiro; Ryo, Akihide; Saraya, Takeshi; Morita, Yukio; Shirabe, Komei; Ishikawa, Mariko; Takahashi, Tomoko; Shinomiya, Hiroto; Okabe, Nobuhiko; Nagasawa, Koo; Suzuki, Yoshiyuki; Katayama, Kazuhiko; Kimura, Hirokazu

    2016-01-01

    Capsid protein of norovirus genogroup II (GII) plays crucial roles in host infection. Although studies on capsid gene evolution have been conducted for a few genotypes of norovirus, the molecular evolution of norovirus GII is not well understood. Here we report the molecular evolution of all GII genotypes, using various bioinformatics techniques. The time-scaled phylogenetic tree showed that the present GII strains diverged from GIV around 1630CE at a high evolutionary rate (around 10−3 substitutions/site/year), resulting in three lineages. The GII capsid gene had large pairwise distances (maximum > 0.39). The effective population sizes of the present GII strains were large (>102) for about 400 years. Positive (20) and negative (over 450) selection sites were estimated. Moreover, some linear and conformational B-cell epitopes were found in the deduced GII capsid protein. These results suggested that norovirus GII strains rapidly evolved with high divergence and adaptation to humans. PMID:27384324

  8. Mineralogical and transport controls on the evolution of porous media texture using direct numerical simulation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Molins, Sergi; Trebotich, David; Miller, Gregory H.; Steefel, Carl I.

    2017-05-01

    The evolution of porous media due to mineral dissolution and precipitation can change the bulk properties of subsurface materials. The pore-scale structure of the media, including its physical and mineralogical heterogeneity, exerts controls on porous media evolution via transport limitations to reactive surfaces and mineral accessibility. Here we explore how these controls affect the evolution of the texture in porous media at the pore scale. For this purpose, a pore-scale flow and reactive transport model is developed that explicitly tracks mineral surfaces as they evolve using a direct numerical simulation approach. Simulations of dissolution in single-mineral domains provide insights into the transport controls at the pore scale, while the simulation of a fracture surface composed of bands of faster-dissolving calcite and slower-dissolving dolomite provides insights into the mineralogical controls on evolution. Transport-limited conditions at the grain-pack scale may result in unstable evolution, a situation in which dissolution is focused in a fast-flowing, fast-dissolving path. Due to increasing velocities, the evolution in these regions is like that observed under conditions closer to strict surface control at the pore scale. That is, grains evolve to have oblong shapes with their long dimensions aligning with the local flow directions. Another example of an evolving reactive transport regime that affects local rates is seen in the evolution of the fracture surface. As calcite dissolves, the diffusive length between the fracture flow path and the receding calcite surfaces increases. Thus, the calcite dissolution reaction becomes increasingly limited by diffusion.

  9. 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.

  10. Homogeneous nucleation and microstructure evolution in million-atom molecular dynamics simulation.

    PubMed

    Shibuta, Yasushi; Oguchi, Kanae; Takaki, Tomohiro; Ohno, Munekazu

    2015-08-27

    Homogeneous nucleation from an undercooled iron melt is investigated by the statistical sampling of million-atom molecular dynamics (MD) simulations performed on a graphics processing unit (GPU). Fifty independent instances of isothermal MD calculations with one million atoms in a quasi-two-dimensional cell over a nanosecond reveal that the nucleation rate and the incubation time of nucleation as functions of temperature have characteristic shapes with a nose at the critical temperature. This indicates that thermally activated homogeneous nucleation occurs spontaneously in MD simulations without any inducing factor, whereas most previous studies have employed factors such as pressure, surface effect, and continuous cooling to induce nucleation. Moreover, further calculations over ten nanoseconds capture the microstructure evolution on the order of tens of nanometers from the atomistic viewpoint and the grain growth exponent is directly estimated. Our novel approach based on the concept of "melting pots in a supercomputer" is opening a new phase in computational metallurgy with the aid of rapid advances in computational environments.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Distribution and Molecular Evolution of Bacillus anthracis Genotypes in Namibia

    PubMed Central

    Beyer, Wolfgang; Bellan, Steve; Eberle, Gisela; Ganz, Holly H.; Getz, Wayne M.; Haumacher, Renate; Hilss, Karen A.; Kilian, Werner; Lazak, Judith; Turner, Wendy C.; Turnbull, Peter C. B.

    2012-01-01

    The recent development of genetic markers for Bacillus anthracis has made it possible to monitor the spread and distribution of this pathogen during and between anthrax outbreaks. In Namibia, anthrax outbreaks occur annually in the Etosha National Park (ENP) and on private game and livestock farms. We genotyped 384 B. anthracis isolates collected between 1983–2010 to identify the possible epidemiological correlations of anthrax outbreaks within and outside the ENP and to analyze genetic relationships between isolates from domestic and wild animals. The isolates came from 20 animal species and from the environment and were genotyped using a 31-marker multi-locus-VNTR-analysis (MLVA) and, in part, by twelve single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers and four single nucleotide repeat (SNR) markers. A total of 37 genotypes (GT) were identified by MLVA, belonging to four SNP-groups. All GTs belonged to the A-branch in the cluster- and SNP-analyses. Thirteen GTs were found only outside the ENP, 18 only within the ENP and 6 both inside and outside. Genetic distances between isolates increased with increasing time between isolations. However, genetic distance between isolates at the beginning and end of the study period was relatively small, indicating that while the majority of GTs were only found sporadically, three genetically close GTs, accounting for more than four fifths of all the ENP isolates, appeared dominant throughout the study period. Genetic distances among isolates were significantly greater for isolates from different host species, but this effect was small, suggesting that while species-specific ecological factors may affect exposure processes, transmission cycles in different host species are still highly interrelated. The MLVA data were further used to establish a model of the probable evolution of GTs within the endemic region of the ENP. SNR-analysis was helpful in correlating an isolate with its source but did not elucidate epidemiological

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. Molecular recognition directed self-assembly of supramolecular architectures

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Percec, C.; Heck, J.; Johansson, G.; Tomazos, D.; Kawasumi, M.

    1994-06-01

    This paper reviews some of our research on three classes of supramolecular architectures which are generated via various combinations of molecular, macromolecular and supramolecular chemistry. The ability of these supramolecular architectures to form liquid crystalline phases is determined by the shape of the self-assembled architecture and will be used to visualize it via various characterization techniques. The molecular design of selected examples of structural units containing taper shaped exo-receptors and crown-ether, oligooxyethylenic, and H-bonding based endo-receptors which self-assemble into cylindrical channel-like architectures via principles resembling those of tobacco mosaic virus (TMV), of macrocyclics which self-assemble into a willow-like architecture will be discussed. In the case of TMV-like supramolecular architectures a comparison between various supramolecular (generated via H-bonding, ionic and electrostatic interactions) and molecular 'polymer backbones' will be made. The present state of the art of the engineering of these supramolecular architectures and some possible novel material functions derived from them will be briefly mentioned.

  1. 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

  2. The rapid evolution of molecular genetic diagnostics in neuromuscular diseases.

    PubMed

    Volk, Alexander E; Kubisch, Christian

    2017-10-01

    The development of massively parallel sequencing (MPS) has revolutionized molecular genetic diagnostics in monogenic disorders. The present review gives a brief overview of different MPS-based approaches used in clinical diagnostics of neuromuscular disorders (NMDs) and highlights their advantages and limitations. MPS-based approaches like gene panel sequencing, (whole) exome sequencing, (whole) genome sequencing, and RNA sequencing have been used to identify the genetic cause in NMDs. Although gene panel sequencing has evolved as a standard test for heterogeneous diseases, it is still debated, mainly because of financial issues and unsolved problems of variant interpretation, whether genome sequencing (and to a lesser extent also exome sequencing) of single patients can already be regarded as routine diagnostics. However, it has been shown that the inclusion of parents and additional family members often leads to a substantial increase in the diagnostic yield in exome-wide/genome-wide MPS approaches. In addition, MPS-based RNA sequencing just enters the research and diagnostic scene. Next-generation sequencing increasingly enables the detection of the genetic cause in highly heterogeneous diseases like NMDs in an efficient and affordable way. Gene panel sequencing and family-based exome sequencing have been proven as potent and cost-efficient diagnostic tools. Although clinical validation and interpretation of genome sequencing is still challenging, diagnostic RNA sequencing represents a promising tool to bypass some hurdles of diagnostics using genomic DNA.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  7. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

    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. PMID:19289848

  9. 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.

  10. Improving the stability and catalyst lifetime of the halogenase RebH by directed evolution.

    PubMed

    Poor, Catherine B; Andorfer, Mary C; Lewis, Jared C

    2014-06-16

    We previously reported that the halogenase RebH catalyzes selective halogenation of several heterocycles and carbocycles, but product yields were limited by enzyme instability. Here, we use directed evolution to engineer an RebH variant, 3-LR, with a Topt over 5 °C higher than that of wild-type, and 3-LSR, with a Tm 18 °C higher than that of wild-type. These enzymes provided significantly improved conversion (up to fourfold) for halogenation of tryptophan and several non-natural substrates. This initial evolution of RebH not only provides improved enzymes for immediate synthetic applications, but also establishes a robust protocol for further halogenase evolution. © 2014 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-02-25

    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.

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. Dynamic Gradient Directed Molecular Transport and Concentration in Hydrogel Films.

    PubMed

    Tsai, Tsung-Han; Ali, Mohammad A; Jiang, Zhelong; Braun, Paul V

    2017-04-24

    Materials which selectively transport molecules along defined paths offer new opportunities for concentrating, processing and sensing chemical and biological agents. Here, we present the use of traveling ionic waves to drive molecular transport and concentration of hydrophilic molecules entrained within a hydrogel. The traveling ionic wave is triggered by the spatially localized introduction of ions, which through a dissipative ion exchange process, converts quaternary ammonium groups in the hydrogel from hydrophilic to hydrophobic. Through a reaction-diffusion process, the hydrophobic region expands with a sharp transition at the leading edge; it is this sharp gradient in hydrophilicity that drives the transport of hydrophilic molecules dispersed within the film. The traveling wave moved up to 450 μm within 30 min, while the gradient length remained 20 μm over this time. As an example of the potential of molecular concentration using this approach, a 70-fold concentration of a hydrophilic dye was demonstrated. © 2017 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. Interactions between the direct and indirect effects of predators determine life history evolution in a killifish.

    PubMed

    Walsh, Matthew R; Reznick, David N

    2008-01-15

    The ecological impacts of the indirect effects of predators are well established, but the evolutionary consequences are unknown. Predators often decrease prey density, which indirectly increases the resources available to surviving prey. This ecological effect could provide a link to evolution because it is generally assumed that resource availability influences life history evolution. Yet, predictions from theory that consider food availability are inconsistent, and evidence for an important role of resources in shaping life history evolution is absent. We compared life history traits in a Trinidadian killifish, Rivulus hartii, from fish communities that differ in predation intensity; predators are associated with lower population density and faster growth rates. To determine whether the indirect effects of predators influence evolutionary change, we reared second-generation-born fish under two food levels that approximated natural differences in resources between communities. Rivulus from sites with predators are younger and smaller at maturity. They have increased reproductive investment and produce many small eggs and smaller hatchlings. Such divergence is predicted as a direct effect of predation. We also found significant interactions between predator community and food level for age and size at maturity, fecundity, and egg size. These interactions, whereby the differences between communities were more pronounced at high-food levels, argue that evolution in Rivulus has been influenced by the indirect effects of predators mediated through resource availability. Rivulus from sites with predators better exploit the higher resources in those habitats. Therefore, both direct and indirect effects of predators have evolutionary consequences.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Phase field modeling of grain structure evolution during directional solidification of multi-crystalline silicon sheet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lin, H. K.; Lan, C. W.

    2017-10-01

    Evolution of grain structures and grain boundaries (GBs), especially the coincident site lattice GBs, during