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Sample records for evolutionary molecular engineering

  1. Functionalization of carbon nanomaterials by evolutionary molecular engineering: potential application in drug delivery systems.

    PubMed

    Shiba, Kiyotaka

    2006-01-01

    By virtue of the progress made in evolutionary molecular engineering, peptide aptamers that specifically recognize target molecules are now routinely created using a peptide phage display system. The system was originally developed for isolating peptides that specifically recognized biomacromolecules (e.g. proteinous receptors), but are now also being used to acquire peptide motifs that bind to inorganic materials, such as semiconductors, metals and carbon nanomaterials. We have created the peptide aptamer against carbon nanohorns, a vesicular carbon nanomaterial whose size is 80-100 nm in diameter. By combining the peptide motif that has affinity to the surfaces of carbon nanohorns with peptide aptamers that can target specific organs, we can functionalize the carbon nanomaterial to provide novel types of carriers for drug delivery systems. PMID:17046797

  2. EVOLUTIONARY FOUNDATIONS FOR MOLECULAR MEDICINE

    PubMed Central

    Nesse, Randolph M.; Ganten, Detlev; Gregory, T. Ryan; Omenn, Gilbert S.

    2015-01-01

    Evolution has long provided a foundation for population genetics, but many major advances in evolutionary biology from the 20th century are only now being applied in molecular medicine. They include the distinction between proximate and evolutionary explanations, kin selection, evolutionary models for cooperation, and new strategies for tracing phylogenies and identifying signals of selection. Recent advances in genomics are further transforming evolutionary biology and creating yet more opportunities for progress at the interface of evolution with genetics, medicine, and public health. This article reviews 15 evolutionary principles and their applications in molecular medicine in hopes that readers will use them and others to speed the development of evolutionary molecular medicine. PMID:22544168

  3. Evolutionary principles and synthetic biology: avoiding a molecular tragedy of the commons with an engineered phage

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background In prior work, adding a gene to phage T7 that degraded the host K1 capsule facilitated growth when plated on capsulated hosts. However, the transgenic protein (an endosialidase) is expressed as an exoenzyme, released from the cell at lysis but unattached to the phage particle. There is thus the possibility that the gene will be subject to a tragedy of the commons and be selected against, if the enzyme benefits other genomes. Results This evolutionary perspective was supported in short term experiments. The genome carrying the endosialidase gene was favored on a capsulated host if grown in physical isolation of control genomes (lacking the gene) but was selected against otherwise. Conclusions These results challenge efforts to engineer phages with exoenzymes that degrade biofilm polymers. If biofilms do not facilitate spatially structured phage growth, the transgenic enzymes may be rapidly eliminated from the phage population after release in the environment, even if the transgene benefits overall phage growth on the biofilm. PMID:22947166

  4. Evolutionary engineering for industrial microbiology.

    PubMed

    Vanee, Niti; Fisher, Adam B; Fong, Stephen S

    2012-01-01

    Superficially, evolutionary engineering is a paradoxical field that balances competing interests. In natural settings, evolution iteratively selects and enriches subpopulations that are best adapted to a particular ecological niche using random processes such as genetic mutation. In engineering desired approaches utilize rational prospective design to address targeted problems. When considering details of evolutionary and engineering processes, more commonality can be found. Engineering relies on detailed knowledge of the problem parameters and design properties in order to predict design outcomes that would be an optimized solution. When detailed knowledge of a system is lacking, engineers often employ algorithmic search strategies to identify empirical solutions. Evolution epitomizes this iterative optimization by continuously diversifying design options from a parental design, and then selecting the progeny designs that represent satisfactory solutions. In this chapter, the technique of applying the natural principles of evolution to engineer microbes for industrial applications is discussed to highlight the challenges and principles of evolutionary engineering.

  5. Lectin engineering, a molecular evolutionary approach to expanding the lectin utilities.

    PubMed

    Hu, Dan; Tateno, Hiroaki; Hirabayashi, Jun

    2015-01-01

    In the post genomic era, glycomics--the systematic study of all glycan structures of a given cell or organism--has emerged as an indispensable technology in various fields of biology and medicine. Lectins are regarded as "decipherers of glycans", being useful reagents for their structural analysis, and have been widely used in glycomic studies. However, the inconsistent activity and availability associated with the plant-derived lectins that comprise most of the commercially available lectins, and the limit in the range of glycan structures covered, have necessitated the development of innovative tools via engineering of lectins on existing scaffolds. This review will summarize the current state of the art of lectin engineering and highlight recent technological advances in this field. The key issues associated with the strategy of lectin engineering including selection of template lectin, construction of a mutagenesis library, and high-throughput screening methods are discussed.

  6. Evolutionary engineering by genome shuffling.

    PubMed

    Biot-Pelletier, Damien; Martin, Vincent J J

    2014-05-01

    An upsurge in the bioeconomy drives the need for engineering microorganisms with increasingly complex phenotypes. Gains in productivity of industrial microbes depend on the development of improved strains. Classical strain improvement programmes for the generation, screening and isolation of such mutant strains have existed for several decades. An alternative to traditional strain improvement methods, genome shuffling, allows the directed evolution of whole organisms via recursive recombination at the genome level. This review deals chiefly with the technical aspects of genome shuffling. It first presents the diversity of organisms and phenotypes typically evolved using this technology and then reviews available sources of genetic diversity and recombination methodologies. Analysis of the literature reveals that genome shuffling has so far been restricted to microorganisms, both prokaryotes and eukaryotes, with an overepresentation of antibiotics- and biofuel-producing microbes. Mutagenesis is the main source of genetic diversity, with few studies adopting alternative strategies. Recombination is usually done by protoplast fusion or sexual recombination, again with few exceptions. For both diversity and recombination, prospective methods that have not yet been used are also presented. Finally, the potential of genome shuffling for gaining insight into the genetic basis of complex phenotypes is also discussed. PMID:24595425

  7. Molecular selection in a unified evolutionary sequence

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fox, S. W.

    1986-01-01

    With guidance from experiments and observations that indicate internally limited phenomena, an outline of unified evolutionary sequence is inferred. Such unification is not visible for a context of random matrix and random mutation. The sequence proceeds from Big Bang through prebiotic matter, protocells, through the evolving cell via molecular and natural selection, to mind, behavior, and society.

  8. Engineering molecular machines

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Erman, Burak

    2016-04-01

    Biological molecular motors use chemical energy, mostly in the form of ATP hydrolysis, and convert it to mechanical energy. Correlated thermal fluctuations are essential for the function of a molecular machine and it is the hydrolysis of ATP that modifies the correlated fluctuations of the system. Correlations are consequences of the molecular architecture of the protein. The idea that synthetic molecular machines may be constructed by designing the proper molecular architecture is challenging. In their paper, Sarkar et al (2016 New J. Phys. 18 043006) propose a synthetic molecular motor based on the coarse grained elastic network model of proteins and show by numerical simulations that motor function is realized, ranging from deterministic to thermal, depending on temperature. This work opens up a new range of possibilities of molecular architecture based engine design.

  9. Molecular engineering of myosin.

    PubMed Central

    Manstein, Dietmar J

    2004-01-01

    Protein engineering and design provide excellent tools to investigate the principles by which particular structural features relate to the mechanisms that underlie the biological function of a protein. In addition to studies aimed at dissecting the communication pathways within enzymes, recent advances in protein engineering approaches make it possible to generate enzymes with increased catalytic efficiency and specifically altered or newly introduced functions. Here, two approaches using state-of-the-art protein design and engineering are described in detail to demonstrate how key features of the myosin motor can be changed in a specific and predictable manner. First, it is shown how replacement of an actin-binding surface loop with synthetic sequences, whose flexibility and charge density is varied, can be employed to manipulate the actin affinity, the catalytic activity and the efficiency of coupling between actin- and nucleotide-binding sites of myosin motor constructs. Then the use of pre-existing molecular building blocks, which are derived from unrelated proteins, is described for manipulating the velocity and even the direction of movement of recombinant myosins. PMID:15647166

  10. Evolutionary Forecast Engines for Solar Meteorology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Coimbra, C. F.

    2012-12-01

    A detailed comparison of non-stationary regression and stochastic learning methods based on k-Nearest Neighbor (kNN), Artificial Neural Networks (ANN) and Genetic Algorithm (GA) approaches is carried out in order to develop high-fidelity solar forecast engines for several time horizons of interest. A hybrid GA/ANN method emerges as the most robust stochastic learning candidate. The GA/ANN approach In general the following decisions need to be made when creating an ANN-based solar forecast model: the ANN architecture: number of layers, numbers of neurons per layer; the preprocessing scheme; the fraction and distribution between training and testing data, and the meteorological and radiometric inputs. ANNs are very well suited to handle multivariate forecasting models due to their overall flexibility and nonlinear pattern recognition abilities. However, the forecasting skill of ANNs depends on a new set of parameters to be optimized within the context of the forecast model, which is the selection of input variables that most directly impact the fidelity of the forecasts. In a data rich scenario where irradiation, meteorological, and cloud cover data are available, it is not always evident which variables to include in the model a priori. New variables can also arise from data preprocessing such as smoothing or spectral decomposition. One way to avoid time-consuming trial-and-error approaches that have limited chance to result in optimal ANN topology and input selection is to couple the ANN with some optimization algorithm that scans the solution space and "evolves" the ANN structure. Genetic Algorithms (GAs) are well suited for this task. Results and Discussion The models built upon the historical data of 2009 and 2010 are applied to the 2011 data without modifications or retraining. We consider 3 solar variability seasons or periods, which are subsets of the total error evaluation data set. The 3 periods are defined based on the solar variability study as: - a high

  11. The molecular origins of evolutionary innovations.

    PubMed

    Wagner, Andreas

    2011-10-01

    The history of life is a history of evolutionary innovations, qualitatively new phenotypic traits that endow their bearers with new, often game-changing abilities. We know many individual examples of innovations and their natural history, but we know little about the fundamental principles of phenotypic variability that permit new phenotypes to arise. Most phenotypic innovations result from changes in three classes of systems: metabolic networks, regulatory circuits, and macromolecules. I here highlight two important features that these classes of systems share. The first is the ubiquity of vast genotype networks - connected sets of genotypes with the same phenotype. The second is the great phenotypic diversity of small neighborhoods around different genotypes in genotype space. I here explain that both features are essential for the phenotypic variability that can bring forth qualitatively new phenotypes. Both features emerge from a common cause, the robustness of phenotypes to perturbations, whose origins are linked to life in changing environments. PMID:21872964

  12. Recent advances in the evolutionary engineering of industrial biocatalysts.

    PubMed

    Winkler, James D; Kao, Katy C

    2014-12-01

    Evolutionary engineering has been used to improve key industrial strain traits, such as carbon source utilization, tolerance to adverse environmental conditions, and resistance to chemical inhibitors, for many decades due to its technical simplicity and effectiveness. The lack of need for prior genetic knowledge underlying the phenotypes of interest makes this a powerful approach for strain development for even species with minimal genotypic information. While the basic experimental procedure for laboratory adaptive evolution has remained broadly similar for many years, a range of recent advances show promise for improving the experimental workflows for evolutionary engineering by accelerating the pace of evolution, simplifying the analysis of evolved mutants, and providing new ways of linking desirable phenotypes to selectable characteristics. This review aims to highlight some of these recent advances and discuss how they may be used to improve industrially relevant microbial phenotypes.

  13. Evolutionary engineering to enhance starter culture performance in food fermentations.

    PubMed

    Bachmann, Herwig; Pronk, Jack T; Kleerebezem, Michiel; Teusink, Bas

    2015-04-01

    Microbial starter cultures are essential for consistent product quality and functional properties such as flavor, texture, pH or the alcohol content of various fermented foods. Strain improvement programs to achieve desired properties in starter cultures are diverse, but developments in next-generation sequencing lead to an increased interest in evolutionary engineering of desired phenotypes. We here discuss recent developments of strain selection protocols and how computational approaches can assist such experimental design. Furthermore the analysis of evolved phenotypes and possibilities with complex consortia are highlighted. Studies carried out with mainly yeast and lactic acid bacteria demonstrate the power of evolutionary engineering to deliver strains with novel phenotypes as well as insight into underlying mechanisms.

  14. Chemical engineering of molecular qubits.

    PubMed

    Wedge, C J; Timco, G A; Spielberg, E T; George, R E; Tuna, F; Rigby, S; McInnes, E J L; Winpenny, R E P; Blundell, S J; Ardavan, A

    2012-03-01

    We show that the electron spin phase memory time, the most important property of a molecular nanomagnet from the perspective of quantum information processing, can be improved dramatically by chemically engineering the molecular structure to optimize the environment of the spin. We vary systematically each structural component of the class of antiferromagnetic Cr(7)Ni rings to identify the sources of decoherence. The optimal structure exhibits a phase memory time exceeding 15  μs.

  15. Chemical Engineering of Molecular Qubits

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wedge, C. J.; Timco, G. A.; Spielberg, E. T.; George, R. E.; Tuna, F.; Rigby, S.; McInnes, E. J. L.; Winpenny, R. E. P.; Blundell, S. J.; Ardavan, A.

    2012-03-01

    We show that the electron spin phase memory time, the most important property of a molecular nanomagnet from the perspective of quantum information processing, can be improved dramatically by chemically engineering the molecular structure to optimize the environment of the spin. We vary systematically each structural component of the class of antiferromagnetic Cr7Ni rings to identify the sources of decoherence. The optimal structure exhibits a phase memory time exceeding 15μs.

  16. Automatic Molecular Design using Evolutionary Techniques

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1998-01-01

    Molecular nanotechnology is the precise, three-dimensional control of materials and devices at the atomic scale. An important part of nanotechnology is the design of molecules for specific purposes. This paper describes early results using genetic software techniques to automatically design molecules under the control of a fitness function. The fitness function must be capable of determining which of two arbitrary molecules is better for a specific task. The software begins by generating a population of random molecules. The population is then evolved towards greater fitness by randomly combining parts of the better individuals to create new molecules. These new molecules then replace some of the worst molecules in the population. The unique aspect of our approach is that we apply genetic crossover to molecules represented by graphs, i.e., sets of atoms and the bonds that connect them. We present evidence suggesting that crossover alone, operating on graphs, can evolve any possible molecule given an appropriate fitness function and a population containing both rings and chains. Prior work evolved strings or trees that were subsequently processed to generate molecular graphs. In principle, genetic graph software should be able to evolve other graph representable systems such as circuits, transportation networks, metabolic pathways, computer networks, etc.

  17. Molecular-clock methods for estimating evolutionary rates and timescales.

    PubMed

    Ho, Simon Y W; Duchêne, Sebastián

    2014-12-01

    The molecular clock presents a means of estimating evolutionary rates and timescales using genetic data. These estimates can lead to important insights into evolutionary processes and mechanisms, as well as providing a framework for further biological analyses. To deal with rate variation among genes and among lineages, a diverse range of molecular-clock methods have been developed. These methods have been implemented in various software packages and differ in their statistical properties, ability to handle different models of rate variation, capacity to incorporate various forms of calibrating information and tractability for analysing large data sets. Choosing a suitable molecular-clock model can be a challenging exercise, but a number of model-selection techniques are available. In this review, we describe the different forms of evolutionary rate heterogeneity and explain how they can be accommodated in molecular-clock analyses. We provide an outline of the various clock methods and models that are available, including the strict clock, local clocks, discrete clocks and relaxed clocks. Techniques for calibration and clock-model selection are also described, along with methods for handling multilocus data sets. We conclude our review with some comments about the future of molecular clocks.

  18. Molecular evolutionary analyses of insect societies

    PubMed Central

    Fischman, Brielle J.; Woodard, S. Hollis; Robinson, Gene E.

    2011-01-01

    The social insects live in extraordinarily complex and cohesive societies, where many individuals sacrifice their personal reproduction to become helpers in the colony. Identifying adaptive molecular changes involved in eusocial evolution in insects is important for understanding the mechanisms underlying transitions from solitary to social living, as well as the maintenance and elaboration of social life. Here, we review recent advances made in this area of research in several insect groups: the ants, bees, wasps, and termites. Drawing from whole-genome comparisons, candidate gene approaches, and a genome-scale comparative analysis of protein-coding sequence, we highlight novel insights gained for five major biological processes: chemical signaling, brain development and function, immunity, reproduction, and metabolism and nutrition. Lastly, we make comparisons across these diverse approaches and social insect lineages and discuss potential common themes of eusocial evolution, as well as challenges and prospects for future research in the field. PMID:21690385

  19. Molecular evolutionary analyses of insect societies.

    PubMed

    Fischman, Brielle J; Woodard, S Hollis; Robinson, Gene E

    2011-06-28

    The social insects live in extraordinarily complex and cohesive societies, where many individuals sacrifice their personal reproduction to become helpers in the colony. Identifying adaptive molecular changes involved in eusocial evolution in insects is important for understanding the mechanisms underlying transitions from solitary to social living, as well as the maintenance and elaboration of social life. Here, we review recent advances made in this area of research in several insect groups: the ants, bees, wasps, and termites. Drawing from whole-genome comparisons, candidate gene approaches, and a genome-scale comparative analysis of protein-coding sequence, we highlight novel insights gained for five major biological processes: chemical signaling, brain development and function, immunity, reproduction, and metabolism and nutrition. Lastly, we make comparisons across these diverse approaches and social insect lineages and discuss potential common themes of eusocial evolution, as well as challenges and prospects for future research in the field.

  20. Molecular Evolutionary Consequences of Island Colonization

    PubMed Central

    James, Jennifer E.; Lanfear, Robert; Eyre-Walker, Adam

    2016-01-01

    Island endemics are expected to have low effective population sizes (Ne), first because some may experience population bottlenecks when they are founded, and second because they have restricted ranges. Therefore, we expect island species to have reduced genetic diversity, inefficient selection, and reduced adaptive potential compared with their mainland counterparts. We used both polymorphism and substitution data to address these predictions, improving on the approach of recent studies that only used substitution data. This allowed us to directly test the assumption that island species have small values of Ne. We found that island species had significantly less genetic diversity than mainland species; however, this pattern could be attributed to a subset of island species that appeared to have undergone a recent population bottleneck. When these species were excluded from the analysis, island and mainland species had similar levels of genetic diversity, despite island species occupying considerably smaller areas than their mainland counterparts. We also found no overall difference between island and mainland species in terms of the effectiveness of selection or the mutation rate. Our evidence suggests that island colonization has no lasting impact on molecular evolution. This surprising result highlights gaps in our knowledge of the relationship between census and effective population size. PMID:27358424

  1. Engineering Complex Systems: Multiscale Analysis and Evolutionary Engineering

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bar-Yam, Yaneer

    We describe an analytic approach, multiscale analysis, that can demonstrate the fundamental limitations of decomposition based engineering for the development of highly complex systems. The interdependence of components and communication between design teams limits any planning based process. Recognizing this limitation, we found that a new strategy for constructing many highly complex systems should be modeled after biological evolution, or market economies, where multiple design efforts compete in parallel for adoption through testing in actual use. Evolution is the only process that is known to create highly complex systems.

  2. Molecular engineering with bridged polysilsesquioxanes

    SciTech Connect

    LOY,DOUGLAS A.; SHEA,KENNETH J.

    2000-05-09

    Bridged polysilsesquioxanes are a class of hybrid organic-inorganic materials that permit molecular engineering of bulk properties including porosity. Prepared by sol-gel polymerization of monomers with two or more trialkoxysilyl groups, the materials are highly cross-linked amorphous polymers that are readily obtained as gels. The bridging configuration of the hydrocarbon group insures that network polymers are readily formed and that the organic functionality is homogeneously distributed throughout the polymeric scaffolding at the molecular level. This permits the bulk properties, including surface area, pore size, and dielectric constant to be engineered through the selection of the bridging organic group. Numerous bridging groups have been incorporated. This presentation will focus on the effects that the length, flexibility, and substitution geometry of the hydrocarbon bridging groups have on the properties of the resulting bridged polysilsesquioxanes. Details of the preparation, characterization, and some structure property relationships of these bridged polysilsesquioxanes will be given.

  3. Multiobjective Optimization of Rocket Engine Pumps Using Evolutionary Algorithm

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Oyama, Akira; Liou, Meng-Sing

    2001-01-01

    A design optimization method for turbopumps of cryogenic rocket engines has been developed. Multiobjective Evolutionary Algorithm (MOEA) is used for multiobjective pump design optimizations. Performances of design candidates are evaluated by using the meanline pump flow modeling method based on the Euler turbine equation coupled with empirical correlations for rotor efficiency. To demonstrate the feasibility of the present approach, a single stage centrifugal pump design and multistage pump design optimizations are presented. In both cases, the present method obtains very reasonable Pareto-optimal solutions that include some designs outperforming the original design in total head while reducing input power by one percent. Detailed observation of the design results also reveals some important design criteria for turbopumps in cryogenic rocket engines. These results demonstrate the feasibility of the EA-based design optimization method in this field.

  4. Burning phylogenies: fire, molecular evolutionary rates, and diversification.

    PubMed

    Verdú, Miguel; Pausas, Juli G; Segarra-Moragues, José Gabriel; Ojeda, Fernando

    2007-09-01

    Mediterranean-type ecosystems are among the most remarkable plant biodiversity "hot spots" on the earth, and fire has traditionally been invoked as one of the evolutionary forces explaining this exceptional diversity. In these ecosystems, adult plants of some species are able to survive after fire (resprouters), whereas in other species fire kills the adults and populations are only maintained by an effective post-fire recruitment (seeders). Seeders tend to have shorter generation times than resprouters, particularly under short fire return intervals, thus potentially increasing their molecular evolutionary rates and, ultimately, their diversification. We explored whether seeder lineages actually have higher rates of molecular evolution and diversification than resprouters. Molecular evolutionary rates in different DNA regions were compared in 45 phylogenetically paired congeneric taxa from fire-prone Mediterranean-type ecosystems with contrasting seeder and resprouter life histories. Differential diversification was analyzed with both topological and chronological approaches in five genera (Banksia, Daviesia, Lachnaea, Leucadendron, and Thamnochortus) from two fire-prone regions (Australia and South Africa). We found that seeders had neither higher molecular rates nor higher diversification than resprouters. Such lack of differences in molecular rates between seeders and resprouters-which did not agree with theoretical predictions-may occur if (1) the timing of the switch from seeding to resprouting (or vice versa) occurs near the branch tip, so that most of the branch length evolves under the opposite life-history form; (2) resprouters suffer more somatic mutations and therefore counterbalancing the replication-induced mutations of seeders; and (3) the rate of mutations is not related to shorter generation times because plants do not undergo determinate germ-line replication. The absence of differential diversification is to be expected if seeders and resprouters

  5. Molecular approaches for inferring evolutionary relationships among protistan parasites.

    PubMed

    Barta, J R

    2001-11-22

    Within the diverse group of parasites broadly recognized as protists, there are limited morphological characters that can be used to distinguish species and even fewer characters that can infer evolutionary relationships among species. For this reason, molecular data are commonly used to infer relationships among species and strains. These studies most commonly rely on sequences associated with the ribosomal RNA genes but increasingly other nuclear, mitochondrial or plastid genes are contributing data. Molecular systematics has been invaluable in expanding the range of characters that are available for inferring relationships among protistan taxa. As an adjunct to morphological characters, sequence data allow us to better understand the evolutionary history of this group of parasites and thereby erect a well-supported taxonomic framework that reflects these historical relationships. Importantly, the predictive nature of such a framework can aid the search for therapeutic compounds (e.g. via shared biochemical pathways) and highlight organisms that should be tested for cross-reactivity in immunological or molecular diagnostic methods (e.g. use of the closest relatives to assess test specificity). For emergent and poorly known parasites, molecular characterization and placement within the broader phylogenetic framework can help predict likely life history traits, including possible or likely definitive hosts.

  6. Automating the search of molecular motor templates by evolutionary methods.

    PubMed

    Fernández, Jose D; Vico, Francisco J

    2011-11-01

    Biological molecular motors are nanoscale devices capable of transforming chemical energy into mechanical work, which are being researched in many scientific disciplines. From a computational point of view, the characteristics and dynamics of these motors are studied at multiple time scales, ranging from very detailed and complex molecular dynamics simulations spanning a few microseconds, to extremely simple and coarse-grained theoretical models of their working cycles. However, this research is performed only in the (relatively few) instances known from molecular biology. In this work, results from elastic network analysis and behaviour-finding methods are applied to explore a subset of the configuration space of template molecular structures that are able to transform chemical energy into directed movement, for a fixed instance of working cycle. While using methods based on elastic networks limits the scope of our results, it enables the implementation of computationally lightweight methods, in a way that evolutionary search techniques can be applied to discover novel molecular motor templates. The results show that molecular motion can be attained from a variety of structural configurations, when a functional working cycle is provided. Additionally, these methods enable a new computational way to test hypotheses about molecular motors.

  7. Evolutionary swarm neural network game engine for Capture Go.

    PubMed

    Cai, Xindi; Venayagamoorthy, Ganesh K; Wunsch, Donald C

    2010-03-01

    Evaluation of the current board position is critical in computer game engines. In sufficiently complex games, such a task is too difficult for a traditional brute force search to accomplish, even when combined with expert knowledge bases. This motivates the investigation of alternatives. This paper investigates the combination of neural networks, particle swarm optimization (PSO), and evolutionary algorithms (EAs) to train a board evaluator from zero knowledge. By enhancing the survivors of an EA with PSO, the hybrid algorithm successfully trains the high-dimensional neural networks to provide an evaluation of the game board through self-play. Experimental results, on the benchmark game of Capture Go, demonstrate that the hybrid algorithm can be more powerful than its individual parts, with the system playing against EA and PSO trained game engines. Also, the winning results of tournaments against a Hill-Climbing trained game engine confirm that the improvement comes from the hybrid algorithm itself. The hybrid game engine is also demonstrated against a hand-coded defensive player and a web player.

  8. Comparative approaches in evolutionary psychology: molecular neuroscience meets the mind.

    PubMed

    Panksepp, Jaak; Moskal, Joseph R; Panksepp, Jules B; Kroes, Roger A

    2002-12-01

    Evolutionary psychologists often overlook a wealth of information existing between the proximate genotypic level and the ultimate phenotypic level. This commonly ignored level of biological organization is the ongoing activity of neurobiological systems. In this paper, we extend our previous arguments concerning strategic weaknesses of evolutionary psychology by advocating a foundational view that focuses on similarities in brain, behavior, and various basic psychological features across mammalian species. Such an approach offers the potential to link the emerging discipline of evolutionary psychology to its parent scientific disciplines such as biochemistry, physiology, molecular genetics, developmental biology and the neuroscientific analysis of animal behavior. We detail an example of this through our impending work using gene microarray technology to characterize gene expression patterns in rats during aggressive and playful social interactions. Through a focus on functional homologies and the experimental analysis of conserved, subcortical emotional and motivational brain systems, neuroevolutionary psychobiology can reveal ancient features of the human mind that are still shared with other animals. Claims regarding evolved, uniquely human, psychological constructs should be constrained by the rigorous evidentiary standards that are routine in other sciences.

  9. Comparative approaches in evolutionary psychology: molecular neuroscience meets the mind.

    PubMed

    Panksepp, Jaak; Moskal, Joseph R; Panksepp, Jules B; Kroes, Roger A

    2002-12-01

    Evolutionary psychologists often overlook a wealth of information existing between the proximate genotypic level and the ultimate phenotypic level. This commonly ignored level of biological organization is the ongoing activity of neurobiological systems. In this paper, we extend our previous arguments concerning strategic weaknesses of evolutionary psychology by advocating a foundational view that focuses on similarities in brain, behavior, and various basic psychological features across mammalian species. Such an approach offers the potential to link the emerging discipline of evolutionary psychology to its parent scientific disciplines such as biochemistry, physiology, molecular genetics, developmental biology and the neuroscientific analysis of animal behavior. We detail an example of this through our impending work using gene microarray technology to characterize gene expression patterns in rats during aggressive and playful social interactions. Through a focus on functional homologies and the experimental analysis of conserved, subcortical emotional and motivational brain systems, neuroevolutionary psychobiology can reveal ancient features of the human mind that are still shared with other animals. Claims regarding evolved, uniquely human, psychological constructs should be constrained by the rigorous evidentiary standards that are routine in other sciences. PMID:12496741

  10. Evolutionary molecular cytogenetics of catarrhine primates: past, present and future.

    PubMed

    Stanyon, R; Rocchi, M; Bigoni, F; Archidiacono, N

    2012-01-01

    The catarrhine primates were the first group of species studied with comparative molecular cytogenetics. Many of the fundamental techniques and principles of analysis were initially applied to comparisons in these primates, including interspecific chromosome painting, reciprocal chromosome painting and the extensive use of cloned DNA probes for evolutionary analysis. The definition and importance of chromosome syntenies and associations for a correct cladistics analysis of phylogenomic relationships were first applied to catarrhines. These early chromosome painting studies vividly illustrated a striking conservation of the genome between humans and macaques. Contemporarily, it also revealed profound differences between humans and gibbons, a group of species more closely related to humans, making it clear that chromosome evolution did not follow a molecular clock. Chromosome painting has now been applied to more that 60 primate species and the translocation history has been mapped onto the major taxonomic divisions in the tree of primate evolution. In situ hybridization of cloned DNA probes, primarily BAC-FISH, also made it possible to more precisely map breakpoints with spanning and flanking BACs. These studies established marker order and disclosed intrachromosomal rearrangements. When applied comparatively to a range of primate species, they led to the discovery of evolutionary new centromeres as an important new category of chromosome evolution. BAC-FISH studies are intimately connected to genome sequencing, and probes can usually be assigned to a precise location in the genome assembly. This connection ties molecular cytogenetics securely to genome sequencing, assuring that molecular cytogenetics will continue to have a productive future in the multidisciplinary science of phylogenomics. PMID:22710640

  11. GASEOUS CO ABUNDANCE-AN EVOLUTIONARY TRACER FOR MOLECULAR CLOUDS

    SciTech Connect

    Liu Tie; Wu Yuefang; Zhang Huawei E-mail: ywu@pku.edu.cn

    2013-09-20

    Planck cold clumps are among the most promising objects to investigate the initial conditions of the evolution of molecular clouds. In this work, by combing the dust emission data from the survey of the Planck satellite with the molecular data of {sup 12}CO/{sup 13}CO/C{sup 18}O (1-0) lines from observations with the Purple Mountain Observatory 13.7 m telescope, we investigate the CO abundance, CO depletion, and CO-to-H{sub 2} conversion factor of 674 clumps in the early cold cores sample. The median and mean values of the CO abundance are 0.89 Multiplication-Sign 10{sup -4} and 1.28 Multiplication-Sign 10{sup -4}, respectively. The mean and median of CO depletion factor are 1.7 and 0.9, respectively. The median value of X{sub CO-to-H{sub 2}} for the whole sample is 2.8 Multiplication-Sign 10{sup 20} cm{sup -2} K{sup -1} km{sup -1} s. The CO abundance, CO depletion factor, and CO-to-H{sub 2} conversion factor are strongly (anti-)correlated to other physical parameters (e.g., dust temperature, dust emissivity spectral index, column density, volume density, and luminosity-to-mass ratio). To conclude, the gaseous CO abundance can be used as an evolutionary tracer for molecular clouds.

  12. Molecular synapomorphies resolve evolutionary relationships of extant jawed vertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Venkatesh, Byrappa; Erdmann, Mark V.; Brenner, Sydney

    2001-01-01

    The evolutionary relationships of gnathostomes (jawed vertebrates), which comprise chondrichthyans (cartilaginous fishes), lobe-finned fishes (coelacanths and lungfishes), tetrapods, and actinopterygians (ray-finned fishes), have been debated for almost a century. Phylogenetic analyses based on fossils, morphology, and molecular sequences have generated different models of relationships that remain unresolved. We identified 13 derived shared molecular markers (synapomorphies) that define clades in the vertebrate lineage and used them to resolve the phylogenetic relationships of extant jawed vertebrates. Our markers include the presence or absence of insertions and deletions in coding sequences, nuclear introns, and alternatively spliced transcripts. The synapomorphies identified by us are congruent with each other and give rise to a single phylogenetic tree. This tree confirms that chondrichthyans are basal to all living gnathostomes, that lungfishes (Dipnoi) are the closest living relatives of tetrapods, and that bichirs (Cladistia) are the living members of the most ancient family of ray-finned fishes. Our study also provides molecular evidence to support the monophyly of living tetrapods and teleosts. PMID:11553795

  13. Improved xylose and arabinose utilization by an industrial recombinant Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain using evolutionary engineering

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Cost-effective fermentation of lignocellulosic hydrolysate to ethanol by Saccharomyces cerevisiae requires efficient mixed sugar utilization. Notably, the rate and yield of xylose and arabinose co-fermentation to ethanol must be enhanced. Results Evolutionary engineering was used to improve the simultaneous conversion of xylose and arabinose to ethanol in a recombinant industrial Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain carrying the heterologous genes for xylose and arabinose utilization pathways integrated in the genome. The evolved strain TMB3130 displayed an increased consumption rate of xylose and arabinose under aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Improved anaerobic ethanol production was achieved at the expense of xylitol and glycerol but arabinose was almost stoichiometrically converted to arabitol. Further characterization of the strain indicated that the selection pressure during prolonged continuous culture in xylose and arabinose medium resulted in the improved transport of xylose and arabinose as well as increased levels of the enzymes from the introduced fungal xylose pathway. No mutation was found in any of the genes from the pentose converting pathways. Conclusion To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report that characterizes the molecular mechanisms for improved mixed-pentose utilization obtained by evolutionary engineering of a recombinant S. cerevisiae strain. Increased transport of pentoses and increased activities of xylose converting enzymes contributed to the improved phenotype. PMID:20550651

  14. New faster CHARMM molecular dynamics engine

    PubMed Central

    Hynninen, Antti-Pekka; Crowley, Michael F

    2014-01-01

    We introduce a new faster molecular dynamics (MD) engine into the CHARMM software package. The new MD engine is faster both in serial (i.e., single CPU core) and parallel execution. Serial performance is approximately two times higher than in the previous version of CHARMM. The newly programmed parallelization method allows the MD engine to parallelize up to hundreds of CPU cores. PMID:24302199

  15. Magnetic engineering with molecular bricks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blundell, Stephen

    2013-03-01

    Magnetic materials can be constructed using molecular components to build up novel and unusual architectures. This approach provides an exciting opportunity for exploring the physics of magnetism. Gaining control of the building blocks of magnetic materials and thereby achieving particular characteristics will make possible the design and growth of bespoke magnetic devices. While progress in the synthesis of molecular materials, and especially coordination polymers, represents a significant step towards this goal, the ability to tune the magnetic interactions within a particular framework remains in its infancy but promising advances are being made, including the production of single molecule magnets and a variety of extended structures. We have recently found a chemical method which achieves dimensionality selection via preferential inhibition of the magnetic exchange in an S = 1/2 antiferromagnet along one crystal direction, switching the system from being quasi-two- to quasi-one-dimensional while effectively maintaining the nearest-neighbour coupling strength. We have also demonstrated that single molecule magnets can be used to store quantum information and have devised a strategy for extending the spin coherence time by chemical adjustment. Very recently we have found that introduction of a molecular spacer layer can produce a greater than fourfold enhancement in the superconducting transition temperature of iron selenide. The experimental techniques used in this work include ESR, muSR and high magnetic fields.

  16. Molecular Engineering of Acoustic Protein Nanostructures.

    PubMed

    Lakshmanan, Anupama; Farhadi, Arash; Nety, Suchita P; Lee-Gosselin, Audrey; Bourdeau, Raymond W; Maresca, David; Shapiro, Mikhail G

    2016-08-23

    Ultrasound is among the most widely used biomedical imaging modalities, but has limited ability to image specific molecular targets due to the lack of suitable nanoscale contrast agents. Gas vesicles-genetically encoded protein nanostructures isolated from buoyant photosynthetic microbes-have recently been identified as nanoscale reporters for ultrasound. Their unique physical properties give gas vesicles significant advantages over conventional microbubble contrast agents, including nanoscale dimensions and inherent physical stability. Furthermore, as a genetically encoded material, gas vesicles present the possibility that the nanoscale mechanical, acoustic, and targeting properties of an imaging agent can be engineered at the level of its constituent proteins. Here, we demonstrate that genetic engineering of gas vesicles results in nanostructures with new mechanical, acoustic, surface, and functional properties to enable harmonic, multiplexed, and multimodal ultrasound imaging as well as cell-specific molecular targeting. These results establish a biomolecular platform for the engineering of acoustic nanomaterials. PMID:27351374

  17. MEGA3: Integrated software for Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis and sequence alignment.

    PubMed

    Kumar, Sudhir; Tamura, Koichiro; Nei, Masatoshi

    2004-06-01

    With its theoretical basis firmly established in molecular evolutionary and population genetics, the comparative DNA and protein sequence analysis plays a central role in reconstructing the evolutionary histories of species and multigene families, estimating rates of molecular evolution, and inferring the nature and extent of selective forces shaping the evolution of genes and genomes. The scope of these investigations has now expanded greatly owing to the development of high-throughput sequencing techniques and novel statistical and computational methods. These methods require easy-to-use computer programs. One such effort has been to produce Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis (MEGA) software, with its focus on facilitating the exploration and analysis of the DNA and protein sequence variation from an evolutionary perspective. Currently in its third major release, MEGA3 contains facilities for automatic and manual sequence alignment, web-based mining of databases, inference of the phylogenetic trees, estimation of evolutionary distances and testing evolutionary hypotheses. This paper provides an overview of the statistical methods, computational tools, and visual exploration modules for data input and the results obtainable in MEGA.

  18. Evolutionary engineering of Saccharomyces cerevisiae for efficient aerobic xylose consumption.

    PubMed

    Scalcinati, Gionata; Otero, José Manuel; Van Vleet, Jennifer R H; Jeffries, Thomas W; Olsson, Lisbeth; Nielsen, Jens

    2012-08-01

    Industrial biotechnology aims to develop robust microbial cell factories, such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae, to produce an array of added value chemicals presently dominated by petrochemical processes. Xylose is the second most abundant monosaccharide after glucose and the most prevalent pentose sugar found in lignocelluloses. Significant research efforts have focused on the metabolic engineering of S. cerevisiae for fast and efficient xylose utilization. This study aims to metabolically engineer S. cerevisiae, such that it can consume xylose as the exclusive substrate while maximizing carbon flux to biomass production. Such a platform may then be enhanced with complementary metabolic engineering strategies that couple biomass production with high value-added chemical. Saccharomyces cerevisiae, expressing xylose reductase, xylitol dehydrogenase and xylulose kinase, from the native xylose-metabolizing yeast Pichia stipitis, was constructed, followed by a directed evolution strategy to improve xylose utilization rates. The resulting S. cerevisiae strain was capable of rapid growth and fast xylose consumption producing only biomass and negligible amount of byproducts. Transcriptional profiling of this strain was employed to further elucidate the observed physiology confirms a strongly up-regulated glyoxylate pathway enabling respiratory metabolism. The resulting strain is a desirable platform for the industrial production of biomass-related products using xylose as a sole carbon source. PMID:22487265

  19. Unraveling microalgal molecular interactions using evolutionary and structural bioinformatics.

    PubMed

    Vlachakis, Dimitrios; Pavlopoulou, Athanasia; Kazazi, Dorothea; Kossida, Sophia

    2013-10-10

    Microalgae are unicellular microorganisms indispensible for environmental stability and life on earth, because they produce approximately half of the atmospheric oxygen, with simultaneously feeding on the harmful greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. Using gene fusion analysis, a series of five fusion/fission events was identified, that provided the basis for critical insights to their evolutionary history. Moreover, the three-dimensional structures of both the fused and the component proteins were predicted, allowing us to envisage putative protein-protein interactions that are invaluable for the efficient usage, handling and exploitation of microalgae. Collectively, our proposed approach on the five fusion/fission alga protein events contributes towards the expansion of the microalgae knowledgebase, bridging protein evolution of the ancient microalgal species and the rapidly evolving, modern, bioinformatics field.

  20. A cross-disciplinary technology transfer for search-based evolutionary computing: from engineering design to software engineering design

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Simons, C. L.; Parmee, I. C.

    2007-07-01

    Although object-oriented conceptual software design is difficult to learn and perform, computational tool support for the conceptual software designer is limited. In conceptual engineering design, however, computational tools exploiting interactive evolutionary computation (EC) have shown significant utility. This article investigates the cross-disciplinary technology transfer of search-based EC from engineering design to software engineering design in an attempt to provide support for the conceptual software designer. Firstly, genetic operators inspired by genetic algorithms (GAs) and evolutionary programming are evaluated for their effectiveness against a conceptual software design representation using structural cohesion as an objective fitness function. Building on this evaluation, a multi-objective GA inspired by a non-dominated Pareto sorting approach is investigated for an industrial-scale conceptual design problem. Results obtained reveal a mass of interesting and useful conceptual software design solution variants of equivalent optimality—a typical characteristic of successful multi-objective evolutionary search techniques employed in conceptual engineering design. The mass of software design solution variants produced suggests that transferring search-based technology across disciplines has significant potential to provide computationally intelligent tool support for the conceptual software designer.

  1. Molecular cytogenetics of the california condor: evolutionary and conservation implications.

    PubMed

    Modi, W S; Romanov, M; Green, E D; Ryder, O

    2009-01-01

    Evolutionary cytogenetic comparisons involved 5 species of birds (California condor, chicken, zebra finch, collared flycatcher and black stork) belonging to divergent taxonomic orders. Seventy-four clones from a condor BAC library containing 80 genes were mapped to condor chromosomes using FISH, and 15 clones containing 16 genes were mapped to the stork Z chromosome. Maps for chicken and finch were derived from genome sequence databases, and that for flycatcher from the published literature. Gene content and gene order were highly conserved when individual condor, chicken, and zebra finch autosomes were compared, confirming that these species largely retain karyotypes close to the ancestral condition for neognathous birds. However, several differences were noted: zebra finch chromosomes 1 and 1A are homologous to condor and chicken chromosomes 1, the CHUNK1 gene appears to have transposed on condor chromosome 1, condor chromosomes 4 and 9 and zebra finch chromosomes 4 and 4A are homologous to chicken chromosome arms 4q and 4p, and novel inversions on chromosomes 4, 12 and 13 were found. Condor and stork Z chromosome gene orders are collinear and differentiated by a series of inversions/transpositions when compared to chicken, zebra finch, or flycatcher; phylogenetic analyses suggest independent rearrangement along the chicken, finch, and flycatcher lineages.

  2. Molecular cytogenetics of the california condor: evolutionary and conservation implications.

    PubMed

    Modi, W S; Romanov, M; Green, E D; Ryder, O

    2009-01-01

    Evolutionary cytogenetic comparisons involved 5 species of birds (California condor, chicken, zebra finch, collared flycatcher and black stork) belonging to divergent taxonomic orders. Seventy-four clones from a condor BAC library containing 80 genes were mapped to condor chromosomes using FISH, and 15 clones containing 16 genes were mapped to the stork Z chromosome. Maps for chicken and finch were derived from genome sequence databases, and that for flycatcher from the published literature. Gene content and gene order were highly conserved when individual condor, chicken, and zebra finch autosomes were compared, confirming that these species largely retain karyotypes close to the ancestral condition for neognathous birds. However, several differences were noted: zebra finch chromosomes 1 and 1A are homologous to condor and chicken chromosomes 1, the CHUNK1 gene appears to have transposed on condor chromosome 1, condor chromosomes 4 and 9 and zebra finch chromosomes 4 and 4A are homologous to chicken chromosome arms 4q and 4p, and novel inversions on chromosomes 4, 12 and 13 were found. Condor and stork Z chromosome gene orders are collinear and differentiated by a series of inversions/transpositions when compared to chicken, zebra finch, or flycatcher; phylogenetic analyses suggest independent rearrangement along the chicken, finch, and flycatcher lineages. PMID:20051671

  3. Engineering Superconductivity by Molecular Charge Transfer

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Khan, Sajida; Clark, K.; Hassesnien, A.; Braun, K.-F.; Tanaka, H.; Hla, S.-W.

    2010-03-01

    By mixing donor and acceptor molecular systems, different classes of materials such as insulators, metals, semiconductors and superconductors can be formed. Here we engineer nanoscale superconducting clusters by depositing donor BETS and acceptor GaCl4 on a Ag(111) surface. First, we probe the electronic properties of individual species, BETS and Et4N-GaCl4 on Ag(111) using tunneling spectroscopy at 5.4 K. Based on strong molecule-molecule interactions, both molecular species form clusters on the surface, and the corresponding tunneling spectroscopy data do not reveal any features around the Fermi level. A surprising structural transformation occurs when both molecular species are put together on this surface where the BETS start forming long chains. Tunneling spectroscopy data of the molecular clusters with mixed species shows formation of new HOMO-LUMO level. Most astoundingly, high resolution spectroscopy data reveal the existence of the superconducting gap within these clusters, thus opening a novel avenue of molecular superconductivity at the nanoscale spatial limit.

  4. Molecular engineering of polymersome surface topology

    PubMed Central

    Ruiz-Pérez, Lorena; Messager, Lea; Gaitzsch, Jens; Joseph, Adrian; Sutto, Ludovico; Gervasio, Francesco Luigi; Battaglia, Giuseppe

    2016-01-01

    Biological systems exploit self-assembly to create complex structures whose arrangements are finely controlled from the molecular to mesoscopic level. We report an example of using fully synthetic systems that mimic two levels of self-assembly. We show the formation of vesicles using amphiphilic copolymers whose chemical nature is chosen to control both membrane formation and membrane-confined interactions. We report polymersomes with patterns that emerge by engineering interfacial tension within the polymersome surface. This allows the formation of domains whose topology is tailored by chemical synthesis, paving the avenue to complex supramolecular designs functionally similar to those found in viruses and trafficking vesicles. PMID:27152331

  5. Molecular Biological Methods in Environmental Engineering.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Guocai; Wei, Li; Chang, Chein-Chi; Zhang, Yuhua; Wei, Dong

    2016-10-01

    Bacteria, acting as catalysts, perform the function of degrading pollutants. Molecular biological techniques play an important role in research on the community analysis, the composition and the functions of complex microbial communities. The development of secondary high-throughput pyrosequencing techiniques enhances the understanding of the composition of the microbial community. The literatures of 2015 indicated that 16S rDNA gene as genetic tag is still the important method for bacteria identification and classification. 454 high throughput sequencing and Illumina MiSeq sequencing have been the primary and widely recognized methods to analyze the microbial. This review will provide environmental engineers and microbiologists an overview of important advancements in molecular techniques and highlight the application of these methods in diverse environments. PMID:27620079

  6. Interferons and viruses: an evolutionary arms race of molecular interactions

    PubMed Central

    Hoffmann, Hans-Heinrich; Schneider, William M.; Rice, Charles M.

    2015-01-01

    Over half a century has passed since interferons (IFNs) were discovered and shown to inhibit virus infection in cultured cells. Since then, researchers have steadily brought to light the molecular details of IFN signaling, catalogued their pleiotropic effects on cells, and harnessed their therapeutic potential for a variety of maladies. While advances have been plentiful, several fundamental questions have yet to be answered and much complexity remains to be unraveled. We explore the current knowledge surrounding four main questions: are type I IFN subtypes differentially produced in response to distinct pathogens? How are IFN subtypes distinguished by cells? What are the mechanisms and consequences of viral antagonism? Lastly, how can the IFN response be harnessed to improve vaccine efficacy? PMID:25704559

  7. Ferric Enterochelin Transport in Yersinia enterocolitica: Molecular and Evolutionary Aspects

    PubMed Central

    Schubert, S.; Fischer, D.; Heesemann, J.

    1999-01-01

    Yersinia enterocolitica is well equipped for siderophore piracy, encompassing the utilization of siderophores such as ferrioxamine, ferrichrome, and ferrienterochelin. In this study, we report on the molecular and functional characterization of the Yersinia fep-fes gene cluster orthologous to the Escherichia coli ferrienterochelin transport genes (fepA, fepDGC, and fepB) and the esterase gene fes. In vitro transcription-translation analysis identified polypeptides of 30 and 35 kDa encoded by fepC and fes, respectively. A frameshift mutation within the fepA gene led to expression of a truncated polypeptide of 40 kDa. The fepD, fepG, and fes genes of Y. enterocolitica were shown to complement corresponding E. coli mutants. Insertional mutagenesis of fepD or fes genes abrogates enterochelin-supported growth of Y. enterocolitica on iron-chelated media. In contrast to E. coli, the fep-fes gene cluster in Y. enterocolitica consists solely of genes required for uptake and utilization of enterochelin (fep) and not of enterochelin synthesis genes such as entF. By Southern hybridization, fepDGC and fes sequences could be detected in Y. enterocolitica biotypes IB, IA, and II but not in biotype IV strains, Yersinia pestis, and Yersinia pseudotuberculosis strains. According to sequence alignment data and the coherent structure of the Yersinia fep-fes gene cluster, we suggest early genetic divergence of ferrienterochelin uptake determinants among species of the family Enterobacteriaceae. PMID:10515929

  8. Molecular evolutionary genetics of isozymes: pattern, theory, and application.

    PubMed

    Nevo, E

    1990-01-01

    Isozyme studies at the population genetics-ecology interface conducted at the Institute of Evolution, University of Haifa, during 15 years, 1974-1989, are reviewed in terms of the evidence, theoretical, and practical implications. These studies involve numerous individuals, populations, species, and higher taxa in nature of plants, animals, and humans tested for variation at 15 to 50 primary isozyme loci. The isozyme studies have been conducted mainly in individuals sampled in natural populations at the local, regional, and global levels. Two of the species studied were wild cereals, the progenitors of wheat and barley in the Near East Fertile Crescent. These studies have been complemented by laboratory controlled a priori experimentation of inorganic and organic pollution biology. The human genetics laboratory compared isozyme structure of Jewish and non-Jewish populations. Our results indicate that: (i) isozyme diversity in nature in abundant, at least partly adaptive, and is oriented and maintained primarily by ecological factors. (ii) Natural selection in action is highlighted by stresses involving among others thermal, chemical, and climatic factors. (iii) Speciation can occur with little change in isozyme diversity. (iv) Jews from diverse countries, and in spite of 2,000 years of Diaspora, retain in the frequencies of some isozymes their Near Eastern origins. (v) Wild cereals harbor rich genetic resources exploitable in breeding either directly as adaptive structures, or indirectly as genetic markers for genotypic production of elite agronomic traits. (vi) Isozymes have been utilized as genetic monitors of marine pollution thereby contributing to environmental quality and conservation. (vii) Isozymes can substantially contribute to conservation biology. (viii) Isozymes have been successfully utilized in constructing molecular phylogenies and in revealing new sibling species. (ix) Future theoretical and practical directions of isozyme studies at the protein

  9. Molecular evolutionary genetics of isozymes: pattern, theory, and application.

    PubMed

    Nevo, E

    1990-01-01

    Isozyme studies at the population genetics-ecology interface conducted at the Institute of Evolution, University of Haifa, during 15 years, 1974-1989, are reviewed in terms of the evidence, theoretical, and practical implications. These studies involve numerous individuals, populations, species, and higher taxa in nature of plants, animals, and humans tested for variation at 15 to 50 primary isozyme loci. The isozyme studies have been conducted mainly in individuals sampled in natural populations at the local, regional, and global levels. Two of the species studied were wild cereals, the progenitors of wheat and barley in the Near East Fertile Crescent. These studies have been complemented by laboratory controlled a priori experimentation of inorganic and organic pollution biology. The human genetics laboratory compared isozyme structure of Jewish and non-Jewish populations. Our results indicate that: (i) isozyme diversity in nature in abundant, at least partly adaptive, and is oriented and maintained primarily by ecological factors. (ii) Natural selection in action is highlighted by stresses involving among others thermal, chemical, and climatic factors. (iii) Speciation can occur with little change in isozyme diversity. (iv) Jews from diverse countries, and in spite of 2,000 years of Diaspora, retain in the frequencies of some isozymes their Near Eastern origins. (v) Wild cereals harbor rich genetic resources exploitable in breeding either directly as adaptive structures, or indirectly as genetic markers for genotypic production of elite agronomic traits. (vi) Isozymes have been utilized as genetic monitors of marine pollution thereby contributing to environmental quality and conservation. (vii) Isozymes can substantially contribute to conservation biology. (viii) Isozymes have been successfully utilized in constructing molecular phylogenies and in revealing new sibling species. (ix) Future theoretical and practical directions of isozyme studies at the protein

  10. Inspection planning development: An evolutionary approach using reliability engineering as a tool

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Graf, David A.; Huang, Zhaofeng

    1994-01-01

    This paper proposes an evolutionary approach for inspection planning which introduces various reliability engineering tools into the process and assess system trade-offs among reliability, engineering requirement, manufacturing capability and inspection cost to establish an optimal inspection plan. The examples presented in the paper illustrate some advantages and benefits of the new approach. Through the analysis, reliability and engineering impacts due to manufacturing process capability and inspection uncertainty are clearly understood; the most cost effective and efficient inspection plan can be established and associated risks are well controlled; some inspection reductions and relaxations are well justified; and design feedbacks and changes may be initiated from the analysis conclusion to further enhance reliability and reduce cost. The approach is particularly promising as global competitions and customer quality improvement expectations are rapidly increasing.

  11. Evolutionary reversion of live viral vaccines: Can genetic engineering subdue it?

    PubMed Central

    Bull, J. J.

    2016-01-01

    Attenuated, live viral vaccines have been extraordinarily successful in protecting against many diseases. The main drawbacks in their development and use have been reliance on an unpredictable method of attenuation and the potential for evolutionary reversion to high virulence. Methods of genetic engineering now provide many safer alternatives to live vaccines, so if live vaccines are to compete with these alternatives in the future, they must either have superior immunogenicity or they must be able to overcome these former disadvantages. Several live vaccine designs that were historically inaccessible are now feasible because of advances in genome synthesis. Some of those methods are addressed here, with an emphasis on whether they enable predictable levels of attenuation and whether they are stable against evolutionary reversion. These new designs overcome many of the former drawbacks and position live vaccines to be competitive with alternatives. Not only do new methods appear to retard evolutionary reversion enough to prevent vaccine-derived epidemics, but it may even be possible to permanently attenuate live vaccines that are transmissible but cannot evolve to higher virulence under prolonged adaptation. PMID:27034780

  12. Reconstruction of Ancestral Metabolic Enzymes Reveals Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Evolutionary Innovation through Gene Duplication

    PubMed Central

    Vanneste, Kevin; van der Zande, Elisa; Voet, Arnout; Maere, Steven; Verstrepen, Kevin J.

    2012-01-01

    Gene duplications are believed to facilitate evolutionary innovation. However, the mechanisms shaping the fate of duplicated genes remain heavily debated because the molecular processes and evolutionary forces involved are difficult to reconstruct. Here, we study a large family of fungal glucosidase genes that underwent several duplication events. We reconstruct all key ancestral enzymes and show that the very first preduplication enzyme was primarily active on maltose-like substrates, with trace activity for isomaltose-like sugars. Structural analysis and activity measurements on resurrected and present-day enzymes suggest that both activities cannot be fully optimized in a single enzyme. However, gene duplications repeatedly spawned daughter genes in which mutations optimized either isomaltase or maltase activity. Interestingly, similar shifts in enzyme activity were reached multiple times via different evolutionary routes. Together, our results provide a detailed picture of the molecular mechanisms that drove divergence of these duplicated enzymes and show that whereas the classic models of dosage, sub-, and neofunctionalization are helpful to conceptualize the implications of gene duplication, the three mechanisms co-occur and intertwine. PMID:23239941

  13. Ab initio NMR Confirmed Evolutionary Structure Prediction for Organic Molecular Crystals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pham, Cong-Huy; Kucukbenli, Emine; de Gironcoli, Stefano

    2015-03-01

    Ab initio crystal structure prediction of even small organic compounds is extremely challenging due to polymorphism, molecular flexibility and difficulties in addressing the dispersion interaction from first principles. We recently implemented vdW-aware density functionals and demonstrated their success in energy ordering of aminoacid crystals. In this work we combine this development with the evolutionary structure prediction method to study cholesterol polymorphs. Cholesterol crystals have paramount importance in various diseases, from cancer to atherosclerosis. The structure of some polymorphs (e.g. ChM, ChAl, ChAh) have already been resolved while some others, which display distinct NMR spectra and are involved in disease formation, are yet to be determined. Here we thoroughly assess the applicability of evolutionary structure prediction to address such real world problems. We validate the newly predicted structures with ab initio NMR chemical shift data using secondary referencing for an improved comparison with experiments.

  14. Time-dependent estimates of molecular evolutionary rates: evidence and causes.

    PubMed

    Ho, Simon Y W; Duchêne, Sebastián; Molak, Martyna; Shapiro, Beth

    2015-12-01

    We are writing in response to a recent critique by Emerson & Hickerson (2015), who challenge the evidence of a time-dependent bias in molecular rate estimates. This bias takes the form of a negative relationship between inferred evolutionary rates and the ages of the calibrations on which these estimates are based. Here, we present a summary of the evidence obtained from a broad range of taxa that supports a time-dependent bias in rate estimates, with a consideration of the potential causes of these observed trends. We also describe recent progress in improving the reliability of evolutionary rate estimation and respond to the concerns raised by Emerson & Hickerson (2015) about the validity of rates estimated from time-structured sequence data. In doing so, we hope to dispel some misconceptions and to highlight several research directions that will improve our understanding of time-dependent biases in rate estimates. PMID:26769402

  15. MEGA-MD: molecular evolutionary genetics analysis software with mutational diagnosis of amino acid variation.

    PubMed

    Stecher, Glen; Liu, Li; Sanderford, Maxwell; Peterson, Daniel; Tamura, Koichiro; Kumar, Sudhir

    2014-05-01

    Computational diagnosis of amino acid variants in the human exome is the first step in assessing the disruptive impacts of non-synonymous single nucleotide variants (nsSNVs) on human health and disease. The Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis software with mutational diagnosis (MEGA-MD) is a suite of tools developed to forecast the deleteriousness of nsSNVs using multiple methods and to explore nsSNVs in the context of the variability permitted in the long-term evolution of the affected position. In its graphical interface for use on desktops, it enables interactive computational diagnosis and evolutionary exploration of nsSNVs. As a web service, MEGA-MD is suitable for diagnosing variants on an exome scale. The MEGA-MD suite intends to serve the needs for conducting low- and high-throughput analysis of nsSNVs in diverse applications.

  16. Evolutionary and molecular aspects of Indian tomato leaf curl virus coat protein.

    PubMed

    Kumar, Sivakumar Prasanth; Patel, Saumya K; Kapopara, Ravi G; Jasrai, Yogesh T; Pandya, Himanshu A

    2012-01-01

    Tomato leaf curl disease (ToLCD) is manifested by yellowing of leaf lamina with upward leaf curl, leaf distortion, shrinking of the leaf surface, and stunted plant growth caused by tomato leaf curl virus (ToLCV). In the present study, using computational methods we explored the evolutionary and molecular prospects of viral coat protein derived from an isolate of Vadodara district, Gujarat (ToLCGV-[Vad]), India. We found that the amino acids in coat protein required for systemic infection, viral particle formation, and insect transmission to host cells were conserved amongst Indian strains. Phylogenetic studies on Indian ToLCV coat proteins showed evolutionary compatibility with other viral taxa. Modeling of coat protein revealed a topology similar to characteristic Geminate viral particle consisting of antiparallel β-barrel motif with N-terminus α-helix. The molecular interaction of coat protein with the viral DNA required for encapsidation and nuclear shuttling was investigated through sequence- and structure-based approaches. We further emphasized the role of loops in coat protein structure as molecular recognition interface.

  17. Application of hybrid evolutionary algorithms to low exhaust emission diesel engine design

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jeong, S.; Obayashi, S.; Minemura, Y.

    2008-01-01

    A hybrid evolutionary algorithm, consisting of a genetic algorithm (GA) and particle swarm optimization (PSO), is proposed. Generally, GAs maintain diverse solutions of good quality in multi-objective problems, while PSO shows fast convergence to the optimum solution. By coupling these algorithms, GA will compensate for the low diversity of PSO, while PSO will compensate for the high computational costs of GA. The hybrid algorithm was validated using standard test functions. The results showed that the hybrid algorithm has better performance than either a pure GA or pure PSO. The method was applied to an engineering design problem—the geometry of diesel engine combustion chamber reducing exhaust emissions such as NOx, soot and CO was optimized. The results demonstrated the usefulness of the present method to this engineering design problem. To identify the relation between exhaust emissions and combustion chamber geometry, data mining was performed with a self-organising map (SOM). The results indicate that the volume near the lower central part of the combustion chamber has a large effect on exhaust emissions and the optimum chamber geometry will vary depending on fuel injection angle.

  18. Extinction during evolutionary radiations: reconciling the fossil record with molecular phylogenies.

    PubMed

    Quental, Tiago B; Marshall, Charles R

    2009-12-01

    Recent application of time-varying birth-death models to molecular phylogenies suggests that a decreasing diversification rate can only be observed if there was a decreasing speciation rate coupled with extremely low or no extinction. However, from a paleontological perspective, zero extinction rates during evolutionary radiations seem unlikely. Here, with a more comprehensive set of computer simulations, we show that substantial extinction can occur without erasing the signal of decreasing diversification rate in a molecular phylogeny. We also find, in agreement with the previous work, that a decrease in diversification rate cannot be observed in a molecular phylogeny with an increasing extinction rate alone. Further, we find that the ability to observe decreasing diversification rates in molecular phylogenies is controlled (in part) by the ratio of the initial speciation rate (Lambda) to the extinction rate (Mu) at equilibrium (the LiMe ratio), and not by their absolute values. Here we show in principle, how estimates of initial speciation rates may be calculated using both the fossil record and the shape of lineage through time plots derived from molecular phylogenies. This is important because the fossil record provides more reliable estimates of equilibrium extinction rates than initial speciation rates.

  19. Molecular Clock of Neutral Mutations in a Fitness-Increasing Evolutionary Process.

    PubMed

    Kishimoto, Toshihiko; Ying, Bei-Wen; Tsuru, Saburo; Iijima, Leo; Suzuki, Shingo; Hashimoto, Tomomi; Oyake, Ayana; Kobayashi, Hisaka; Someya, Yuki; Narisawa, Dai; Yomo, Tetsuya

    2015-07-01

    The molecular clock of neutral mutations, which represents linear mutation fixation over generations, is theoretically explained by genetic drift in fitness-steady evolution or hitchhiking in adaptive evolution. The present study is the first experimental demonstration for the molecular clock of neutral mutations in a fitness-increasing evolutionary process. The dynamics of genome mutation fixation in the thermal adaptive evolution of Escherichia coli were evaluated in a prolonged evolution experiment in duplicated lineages. The cells from the continuously fitness-increasing evolutionary process were subjected to genome sequencing and analyzed at both the population and single-colony levels. Although the dynamics of genome mutation fixation were complicated by the combination of the stochastic appearance of adaptive mutations and clonal interference, the mutation fixation in the population was simply linear over generations. Each genome in the population accumulated 1.6 synonymous and 3.1 non-synonymous neutral mutations, on average, by the spontaneous mutation accumulation rate, while only a single genome in the population occasionally acquired an adaptive mutation. The neutral mutations that preexisted on the single genome hitchhiked on the domination of the adaptive mutation. The successive fixation processes of the 128 mutations demonstrated that hitchhiking and not genetic drift were responsible for the coincidence of the spontaneous mutation accumulation rate in the genome with the fixation rate of neutral mutations in the population. The molecular clock of neutral mutations to the fitness-increasing evolution suggests that the numerous neutral mutations observed in molecular phylogenetic trees may not always have been fixed in fitness-steady evolution but in adaptive evolution.

  20. Evolutionary engineering and transcriptomic analysis of nickel-resistant Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

    PubMed

    Küçükgöze, Gökhan; Alkım, Ceren; Yılmaz, Ülkü; Kısakesen, H İbrahim; Gündüz, Sema; Akman, Süleyman; Çakar, Z Petek

    2013-12-01

    Increased exposure to nickel compounds and alloys due to industrial development has resulted in nickel pollution and many pathological effects on human health. However, there is very limited information about nickel response, transport, and tolerance in eukaryotes. To investigate nickel resistance in the model eukaryote Saccharomyces cerevisiae, evolutionary engineering by batch selection under gradually increasing nickel stress levels was performed. Nickel hyper-resistant mutants that could resist up to 5.3 mM NiCl2 , a lethal level for the reference strain, were selected. The mutants were also cross-resistant against iron, cobalt, zinc, and manganese stresses and accumulated more than twofold higher nickel than the reference strain. Global transcriptomic analysis revealed that 640 upregulated genes were related to iron homeostasis, stress response, and oxidative damage, implying that nickel resistance may share common mechanisms with iron and cobalt resistance, general stress response, and oxidative damage.

  1. 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.

  2. 70% efficiency of bistate molecular machines explained by information theory, high dimensional geometry and evolutionary convergence

    PubMed Central

    Schneider, Thomas D.

    2010-01-01

    The relationship between information and energy is key to understanding biological systems. We can display the information in DNA sequences specifically bound by proteins by using sequence logos, and we can measure the corresponding binding energy. These can be compared by noting that one of the forms of the second law of thermodynamics defines the minimum energy dissipation required to gain one bit of information. Under the isothermal conditions that molecular machines function this is joules per bit ( is Boltzmann's constant and T is the absolute temperature). Then an efficiency of binding can be computed by dividing the information in a logo by the free energy of binding after it has been converted to bits. The isothermal efficiencies of not only genetic control systems, but also visual pigments are near 70%. From information and coding theory, the theoretical efficiency limit for bistate molecular machines is ln 2 = 0.6931. Evolutionary convergence to maximum efficiency is limited by the constraint that molecular states must be distinct from each other. The result indicates that natural molecular machines operate close to their information processing maximum (the channel capacity), and implies that nanotechnology can attain this goal. PMID:20562221

  3. Evolutionary dynamics of molecular markers during local adaptation: a case study in Drosophila subobscura

    PubMed Central

    2008-01-01

    Background Natural selection and genetic drift are major forces responsible for temporal genetic changes in populations. Furthermore, these evolutionary forces may interact with each other. Here we study the impact of an ongoing adaptive process at the molecular genetic level by analyzing the temporal genetic changes throughout 40 generations of adaptation to a common laboratory environment. Specifically, genetic variability, population differentiation and demographic structure were compared in two replicated groups of Drosophila subobscura populations recently sampled from different wild sources. Results We found evidence for a decline in genetic variability through time, along with an increase in genetic differentiation between all populations studied. The observed decline in genetic variability was higher during the first 14 generations of laboratory adaptation. The two groups of replicated populations showed overall similarity in variability patterns. Our results also revealed changing demographic structure of the populations during laboratory evolution, with lower effective population sizes in the early phase of the adaptive process. One of the ten microsatellites analyzed showed a clearly distinct temporal pattern of allele frequency change, suggesting the occurrence of positive selection affecting the region around that particular locus. Conclusion Genetic drift was responsible for most of the divergence and loss of variability between and within replicates, with most changes occurring during the first generations of laboratory adaptation. We also found evidence suggesting a selective sweep, despite the low number of molecular markers analyzed. Overall, there was a similarity of evolutionary dynamics at the molecular level in our laboratory populations, despite distinct genetic backgrounds and some differences in phenotypic evolution. PMID:18302790

  4. Phenotypic engineering of sperm-production rate confirms evolutionary predictions of sperm competition theory

    PubMed Central

    Sekii, Kiyono; Vizoso, Dita B.; Kuales, Georg; De Mulder, Katrien; Ladurner, Peter; Schärer, Lukas

    2013-01-01

    Sperm production is a key male reproductive trait and an important parameter in sperm competition theory. Under sperm competition, paternity success is predicted to depend strongly on male allocation to sperm production. Furthermore, because sperm production is inherently costly, individuals should economize in sperm expenditure, and conditional adjustment of the copulation frequency according to their sperm availability may be expected. However, experimental studies showing effects of sperm production on mating behaviour and paternity success have so far been scarce, mainly because sperm production is difficult to manipulate directly in animals. Here, we used phenotypic engineering to manipulate sperm-production rate, by employing dose-dependent RNA interference (RNAi) of a spermatogenesis-specific gene, macbol1, in the free-living flatworm Macrostomum lignano. We demonstrate (i) that our novel dose-dependent RNAi approach allows us to induce high variability in sperm-production rate; (ii) that a reduced sperm-production rate is associated with a decreased copulation frequency, suggesting conditional adjustment of mating behaviour; and (iii) that both sperm production and copulation frequency are important determinants of paternity success in a competitive situation, as predicted by sperm competition theory. Our study clearly documents the potential of phenotypic engineering via dose-dependent RNAi to test quantitative predictions of evolutionary theory. PMID:23446521

  5. B13+: Photodriven Molecular Wankel Engine

    SciTech Connect

    Zhang, Jin; Sergeeva, Alina P.; Sparta, Manuel; Alexandrova, Anastassia N.

    2012-07-09

    Synthetic molecular motors that are capable of delivering controlled movement upon energy input are one of the key building blocks in nanomachinery. The major energy sources of molecular motors are from chemical reactions, photon beams, or electric current, which are converted into mechanical forces through the excitation of the electronic states of the molecule. The energy scale of the electronic excitation is normally two orders of magnitude larger than the molecular vibrational frequencies. To reduce the heat dissipation and increase the energy utilization efficiency, a motor running purely on the electronic ground-state (GS) potential energy surfaces is highly desirable.

  6. Reconciling morphological and molecular classification of predatory ciliates: Evolutionary taxonomy of dileptids (Ciliophora, Litostomatea, Rhynchostomatia).

    PubMed

    Vd'ačný, Peter; Rajter, L'ubomír

    2015-09-01

    The order Dileptida is a small group of predatory ciliates characterized by a proboscis serving for prey capture. Although monophyly of the order is strongly supported, generic relationships between dileptid taxa were left mostly unresolved in 18S rRNA gene phylogenies. To overcome this problem, we applied the synergistic effect of combining multiple molecular markers with morphological data. Furthermore, we inferred dileptid evolutionary history by a multifaceted analysis strategy, including tree-building methods, phylogenetic networks, split spectrum analysis, quartet likelihood mapping, and reconstruction of ancestral morphologies. This complex approach revealed: (1) monophyly of the families Dimacrocaryonidae and Dileptidae; (2) polyphyly of Microdileptus, Pseudomonilicaryon, and Rimaleptus; and (3) homoplastic nature of several generic diagnostic features, viz., macronuclear pattern, size of oral bulge opening, and orientation of preoral kineties. Controversies in the internal phylogeny of the family Dimacrocaryonidae could be elucidated after reconstruction of ancestral morphologies at deeper nodes of phylogenetic trees in a combination with budding evolutionary processes. Moreover, we solved the "Rimaleptus" dilemma by splitting the family Dimacrocaryonidae into two new subfamilies, the Dimacrocaryoninae with two-rowed dorsal brush and the Rimaleptinae with multi-rowed brush as well as by establishing a new genus, Rurikoplites, from whose species several dimacrocaryonid genera very likely evolved by budding.

  7. An engine for global plant diversity: highest evolutionary turnover and emigration in the American tropics

    PubMed Central

    Antonelli, Alexandre; Zizka, Alexander; Silvestro, Daniele; Scharn, Ruud; Cascales-Miñana, Borja; Bacon, Christine D.

    2015-01-01

    Understanding the processes that have generated the latitudinal biodiversity gradient and the continental differences in tropical biodiversity remains a major goal of evolutionary biology. Here we estimate the timing and direction of range shifts of extant flowering plants (angiosperms) between tropical and non-tropical zones, and into and out of the major tropical regions of the world. We then calculate rates of speciation and extinction taking into account incomplete taxonomic sampling. We use a recently published fossil calibrated phylogeny and apply novel bioinformatic tools to code species into user-defined polygons. We reconstruct biogeographic history using stochastic character mapping to compute relative numbers of range shifts in proportion to the number of available lineages through time. Our results, based on the analysis of c. 22,600 species and c. 20 million geo-referenced occurrence records, show no significant differences between the speciation and extinction of tropical and non-tropical angiosperms. This suggests that at least in plants, the latitudinal biodiversity gradient primarily derives from other factors than differential rates of diversification. In contrast, the outstanding species richness found today in the American tropics (the Neotropics), as compared to tropical Africa and tropical Asia, is associated with significantly higher speciation and extinction rates. This suggests an exceedingly rapid evolutionary turnover, i.e., Neotropical species being formed and replaced by one another at unparalleled rates. In addition, tropical America stands out from other continents by having “pumped out” more species than it received through most of the last 66 million years. These results imply that the Neotropics have acted as an engine for global plant diversity. PMID:25904934

  8. An engine for global plant diversity: highest evolutionary turnover and emigration in the American tropics.

    PubMed

    Antonelli, Alexandre; Zizka, Alexander; Silvestro, Daniele; Scharn, Ruud; Cascales-Miñana, Borja; Bacon, Christine D

    2015-01-01

    Understanding the processes that have generated the latitudinal biodiversity gradient and the continental differences in tropical biodiversity remains a major goal of evolutionary biology. Here we estimate the timing and direction of range shifts of extant flowering plants (angiosperms) between tropical and non-tropical zones, and into and out of the major tropical regions of the world. We then calculate rates of speciation and extinction taking into account incomplete taxonomic sampling. We use a recently published fossil calibrated phylogeny and apply novel bioinformatic tools to code species into user-defined polygons. We reconstruct biogeographic history using stochastic character mapping to compute relative numbers of range shifts in proportion to the number of available lineages through time. Our results, based on the analysis of c. 22,600 species and c. 20 million geo-referenced occurrence records, show no significant differences between the speciation and extinction of tropical and non-tropical angiosperms. This suggests that at least in plants, the latitudinal biodiversity gradient primarily derives from other factors than differential rates of diversification. In contrast, the outstanding species richness found today in the American tropics (the Neotropics), as compared to tropical Africa and tropical Asia, is associated with significantly higher speciation and extinction rates. This suggests an exceedingly rapid evolutionary turnover, i.e., Neotropical species being formed and replaced by one another at unparalleled rates. In addition, tropical America stands out from other continents by having "pumped out" more species than it received through most of the last 66 million years. These results imply that the Neotropics have acted as an engine for global plant diversity.

  9. Molecular systematics and evolutionary biogeography of the genus Talpa (Soricomorpha: Talpidae).

    PubMed

    Colangelo, P; Bannikova, A A; Krystufek, B; Lebedev, V S; Annesi, F; Capanna, E; Loy, A

    2010-05-01

    The range of the genus Talpa covers almost all Europe up to Western Asia. This genus has never been the object of comprehensive systematic studies using molecular and genetic techniques, such that the evolutionary relationships among species remain unclear. Talpa shows high levels of endemism, and the influence of past glaciation cycles on the distribution pattern of several species has been hypothesized. In this work, we assessed the molecular systematics of the genus using the mitochondrial gene cytochrome b from eight of the nine extant species of Talpa moles. Furthermore, molecular clock estimations were used to hypothesize a biogeographic scenario in concordance with fossil data. Results suggest a monophyletic origin of the genus and a common ancestor for the western European moles T. europaea, T. caeca, T. romana and T. occidentalis. The eastern species T. altaica and T. caucasica are basally divergent. The estimated ages of divergence among lineages are in accordance with a Miocene origin of the extant moles. The genus likely originated in Asia, spreading into Europe during the Pliocene. The evolution of moles appears to have been driven by changes in moisture levels that influenced extinction and speciation events during the Miocene and the Pliocene. Pleistocene climatic oscillations likely caused the range shrinkages and expansions that led to the current distribution pattern of most Talpa species.

  10. MEGA7: Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis Version 7.0 for Bigger Datasets.

    PubMed

    Kumar, Sudhir; Stecher, Glen; Tamura, Koichiro

    2016-07-01

    We present the latest version of the Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis (Mega) software, which contains many sophisticated methods and tools for phylogenomics and phylomedicine. In this major upgrade, Mega has been optimized for use on 64-bit computing systems for analyzing larger datasets. Researchers can now explore and analyze tens of thousands of sequences in Mega The new version also provides an advanced wizard for building timetrees and includes a new functionality to automatically predict gene duplication events in gene family trees. The 64-bit Mega is made available in two interfaces: graphical and command line. The graphical user interface (GUI) is a native Microsoft Windows application that can also be used on Mac OS X. The command line Mega is available as native applications for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. They are intended for use in high-throughput and scripted analysis. Both versions are available from www.megasoftware.net free of charge.

  11. Improving the sampling efficiency of Monte Carlo molecular simulations: an evolutionary approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leblanc, Benoit; Braunschweig, Bertrand; Toulhoat, Hervé; Lutton, Evelyne

    We present a new approach in order to improve the convergence of Monte Carlo (MC) simulations of molecular systems belonging to complex energetic landscapes: the problem is redefined in terms of the dynamic allocation of MC move frequencies depending on their past efficiency, measured with respect to a relevant sampling criterion. We introduce various empirical criteria with the aim of accounting for the proper convergence in phase space sampling. The dynamic allocation is performed over parallel simulations by means of a new evolutionary algorithm involving 'immortal' individuals. The method is bench marked with respect to conventional procedures on a model for melt linear polyethylene. We record significant improvement in sampling efficiencies, thus in computational load, while the optimal sets of move frequencies are liable to allow interesting physical insights into the particular systems simulated. This last aspect should provide a new tool for designing more efficient new MC moves.

  12. MEGA7: Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis Version 7.0 for Bigger Datasets.

    PubMed

    Kumar, Sudhir; Stecher, Glen; Tamura, Koichiro

    2016-07-01

    We present the latest version of the Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis (Mega) software, which contains many sophisticated methods and tools for phylogenomics and phylomedicine. In this major upgrade, Mega has been optimized for use on 64-bit computing systems for analyzing larger datasets. Researchers can now explore and analyze tens of thousands of sequences in Mega The new version also provides an advanced wizard for building timetrees and includes a new functionality to automatically predict gene duplication events in gene family trees. The 64-bit Mega is made available in two interfaces: graphical and command line. The graphical user interface (GUI) is a native Microsoft Windows application that can also be used on Mac OS X. The command line Mega is available as native applications for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. They are intended for use in high-throughput and scripted analysis. Both versions are available from www.megasoftware.net free of charge. PMID:27004904

  13. Molecular phylogeny of the Indian Ocean Terpsiphone paradise flycatchers: undetected evolutionary diversity revealed amongst island populations.

    PubMed

    Bristol, Rachel M; Fabre, Pierre-Henri; Irestedt, Martin; Jønsson, Knud A; Shah, Nirmal J; Tatayah, Vikash; Warren, Ben H; Groombridge, Jim J

    2013-05-01

    We construct a molecular phylogeny of Terpsiphone flycatchers of the Indian Ocean and use this to investigate their evolutionary relationships. A total of 4.4 kb of mitochondrial (cyt-b, ND3, ND2, control region) and nuclear (G3PDH, MC1R) sequence data were obtained from all species, sub-species and island populations of the region. Colonisation of the western Indian Ocean has been within the last two million years and greatly postdates the formation of the older islands of the region. A minimum of two independent continent-island colonisation events must have taken place in order to explain the current distribution and phylogenetic placement of Terpsiphone in this region. While five well-diverged Indian Ocean clades are detected, the relationship between them is unclear. Short intermodal branches are indicative of rapid range expansion across the region, masking exact routes and chronology of colonisation. The Indian Ocean Terpsiphone taxa fall into five well supported clades, two of which (the Seychelles paradise flycatcher and the Mascarene paradise flycatcher) correspond with currently recognised species, whilst a further three (within the Madagascar paradise flycatcher) are not entirely predicted by taxonomy, and are neither consistent with distance-based nor island age-based models of colonisation. We identify the four non-Mascarene clades as Evolutionarily Significant Units (ESUs), while the Mascarene paradise flycatcher contains two ESUs corresponding to the Mauritius and Réunion subspecies. All six ESUs are sufficiently diverged to be worthy of management as if they were separate species. This phylogenetic reconstruction highlights the importance of sub-specific molecular phylogenetic reconstructions in complex island archipelago settings in clarifying phylogenetic history and ESUs that may otherwise be overlooked and inadvertently lost. Our phylogenetic reconstruction has identified hidden pockets of evolutionary distinctiveness, which provide a valuable

  14. Molecular phylogeny of echiuran worms (Phylum: Annelida) reveals evolutionary pattern of feeding mode and sexual dimorphism.

    PubMed

    Goto, Ryutaro; Okamoto, Tomoko; Ishikawa, Hiroshi; Hamamura, Yoichi; Kato, Makoto

    2013-01-01

    The Echiura, or spoon worms, are a group of marine worms, most of which live in burrows in soft sediments. This annelid-like animal group was once considered as a separate phylum because of the absence of segmentation, although recent molecular analyses have placed it within the annelids. In this study, we elucidate the interfamily relationships of echiuran worms and their evolutionary pattern of feeding mode and sexual dimorphism, by performing molecular phylogenetic analyses using four genes (18S, 28S, H3, and COI) of representatives of all extant echiuran families. Our results suggest that Echiura is monophyletic and comprises two unexpected groups: [Echiuridae+Urechidae+Thalassematidae] and [Bonelliidae+Ikedidae]. This grouping agrees with the presence/absence of marked sexual dimorphism involving dwarf males and the paired/non-paired configuration of the gonoducts (genital sacs). Furthermore, the data supports the sister group relationship of Echiuridae and Urechidae. These two families share the character of having anal chaetae rings around the posterior trunk as a synapomorphy. The analyses also suggest that deposit feeding is a basal feeding mode in echiurans and that filter feeding originated once in the common ancestor of Urechidae. Overall, our results contradict the currently accepted order-level classification, especially in that Echiuroinea is polyphyletic, and provide novel insights into the evolution of echiuran worms.

  15. Unraveling the evolutionary radiation of the families of the Zingiberales using morphological and molecular evidence.

    PubMed

    Kress, W J; Prince, L M; Hahn, W J; Zimmer, E A

    2001-01-01

    The Zingiberales are a tropical group of monocotyledons that includes bananas, gingers, and their relatives. The phylogenetic relationships among the eight families currently recognized are investigated here by using parsimony and maximum likelihood analyses of four character sets: morphological features (1), and sequence data of the (2) chloroplast rbcL gene, (3) chloroplast atpB gene, and (4) nuclear 18S rDNA gene. Outgroups for the analyses include the closely related Commelinaceae + Philydraceae + Haemodoraceae + Pontederiaceae + Hanguanaceae as well as seven more distantly related monocots and paleoherbs. Only slightly different estimates of evolutionary relationships result from the analysis of each character set. The morphological data yield a single fully resolved most-parsimonious tree. None of the molecular datasets alone completely resolves interfamilial relationships. The analyses of the combined molecular dataset provide more resolution than do those of individual genes, and the addition of the morphological data provides a well-supported estimate of phylogenetic relationships: (Musaceae ((Strelitziaceae, Lowiaceae) (Heliconiaceae ((Zingiberaceae, Costaceae) (Cannaceae, Marantaceae))))). Evidence from branch lengths in the parsimony analyses and from the fossil record suggests that the Zingiberales originated in the Early Cretaceous and underwent a rapid radiation in the mid-Cretaceous, by which time most extant family lineages had diverged. PMID:12116641

  16. From molecular genetics to phylodynamics: evolutionary relevance of mutation rates across viruses.

    PubMed

    Sanjuán, Rafael

    2012-01-01

    Although evolution is a multifactorial process, theory posits that the speed of molecular evolution should be directly determined by the rate at which spontaneous mutations appear. To what extent these two biochemical and population-scale processes are related in nature, however, is largely unknown. Viruses are an ideal system for addressing this question because their evolution is fast enough to be observed in real time, and experimentally-determined mutation rates are abundant. This article provides statistically supported evidence that the mutation rate determines molecular evolution across all types of viruses. Properties of the viral genome such as its size and chemical composition are identified as major determinants of these rates. Furthermore, a quantitative analysis reveals that, as expected, evolution rates increase linearly with mutation rates for slowly mutating viruses. However, this relationship plateaus for fast mutating viruses. A model is proposed in which deleterious mutations impose an evolutionary speed limit and set an extinction threshold in nature. The model is consistent with data from replication kinetics, selection strength and chemical mutagenesis studies.

  17. Unraveling the evolutionary radiation of the families of the Zingiberales using morphological and molecular evidence.

    PubMed

    Kress, W J; Prince, L M; Hahn, W J; Zimmer, E A

    2001-01-01

    The Zingiberales are a tropical group of monocotyledons that includes bananas, gingers, and their relatives. The phylogenetic relationships among the eight families currently recognized are investigated here by using parsimony and maximum likelihood analyses of four character sets: morphological features (1), and sequence data of the (2) chloroplast rbcL gene, (3) chloroplast atpB gene, and (4) nuclear 18S rDNA gene. Outgroups for the analyses include the closely related Commelinaceae + Philydraceae + Haemodoraceae + Pontederiaceae + Hanguanaceae as well as seven more distantly related monocots and paleoherbs. Only slightly different estimates of evolutionary relationships result from the analysis of each character set. The morphological data yield a single fully resolved most-parsimonious tree. None of the molecular datasets alone completely resolves interfamilial relationships. The analyses of the combined molecular dataset provide more resolution than do those of individual genes, and the addition of the morphological data provides a well-supported estimate of phylogenetic relationships: (Musaceae ((Strelitziaceae, Lowiaceae) (Heliconiaceae ((Zingiberaceae, Costaceae) (Cannaceae, Marantaceae))))). Evidence from branch lengths in the parsimony analyses and from the fossil record suggests that the Zingiberales originated in the Early Cretaceous and underwent a rapid radiation in the mid-Cretaceous, by which time most extant family lineages had diverged.

  18. Fossil and molecular evidence constrain scenarios for the early evolutionary and biogeographic history of hystricognathous rodents.

    PubMed

    Sallam, Hesham M; Seiffert, Erik R; Steiper, Michael E; Simons, Elwyn L

    2009-09-29

    The early evolutionary and paleobiogeographic history of the diverse rodent clade Hystricognathi, which contains Hystricidae (Old World porcupines), Caviomorpha (the endemic South American rodents), and African Phiomorpha (cane rats, dassie rats, and blesmols) is of great interest to students of mammalian evolution, but remains poorly understood because of a poor early fossil record. Here we describe the oldest well-dated hystricognathous rodents from an earliest late Eocene (approximately 37 Ma) fossil locality in the Fayum Depression of northern Egypt. These taxa exhibit a combination of primitive and derived features, the former shared with Asian "baluchimyine" rodents, and the latter shared with Oligocene phiomorphs and caviomorphs. Phylogenetic analysis incorporating morphological, temporal, geographic, and molecular information places the new taxa as successive sister groups of crown Hystricognathi, and supports an Asian origin for stem Hystricognathi and an Afro-Arabian origin for crown Hystricognathi, stem Hystricidae, and stem Caviomorpha. Molecular dating of early divergences within Hystricognathi, using a Bayesian "relaxed clock" approach and multiple fossil calibrations, suggests that the split between Hystricidae and the phiomorph-caviomorph clade occurred approximately 39 Ma, and that phiomorphs and caviomorphs diverged approximately 36 Ma. These results are remarkably congruent with our phylogenetic results and the fossil record of hystricognathous rodent evolution in Afro-Arabia and South America. PMID:19805363

  19. Molecular engineering of antibodies for therapeutic and diagnostic purposes

    PubMed Central

    Ducancel, Frédéric; Muller, Bruno H.

    2012-01-01

    During the past ten years, monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) have taken center stage in the field of targeted therapy and diagnosis. This increased interest in mAbs is due to their binding accuracy (affinity and specificity) together with the original molecular and structural rules that govern interactions with their cognate antigen. In addition, the effector properties of antibodies constitute a second major advantage associated with their clinical use. The development of molecular and structural engineering and more recently of in vitro evolution of antibodies has opened up new perspectives in the de novo design of antibodies more adapted to clinical and diagnostic use. Thus, efforts are regularly made by researchers to improve or modulate antibody recognition properties, to adapt their pharmacokinetics, engineer their stability, and control their immunogenicity. This review presents the latest molecular engineering results on mAbs with therapeutic and diagnostic applications. PMID:22684311

  20. Supramolecular Polymerization Engineered with Molecular Recognition.

    PubMed

    Haino, Takeharu

    2015-10-01

    Supramolecular polymeric assemblies represent an emerging, promising class of molecular assemblies with enormous versatility compared with their covalent polymeric counterparts. Although a large number of host-guest motifs have been produced over the history of supramolecular chemistry, only a limited number of recognition motifs have been utilized as supramolecular connections in polymeric assemblies. This account describes the molecular recognition of host molecules based on calix[5]arene and bisporphyrin that demonstrate unique guest encapsulations; subsequently, these host-guest motifs are applied to the synthesis of supramolecular polymers that display polymer-like properties in solution and solid states. In addition, new bisresorcinarenes are developed to form supramolecular polymers that are connected via a rim-to-rim hydrogen-bonded dimeric structure, which is composed of two resorcinarene moieties. PMID:26178364

  1. Cell engineering and molecular pharming for biopharmaceuticals.

    PubMed

    Abdullah, M A; Rahmah, Anisa Ur; Sinskey, A J; Rha, C K

    2008-05-14

    Biopharmaceuticals are often produced by recombinant E. coli or mammalian cell lines. This is usually achieved by the introduction of a gene or cDNA coding for the protein of interest into a well-characterized strain of producer cells. Naturally, each recombinant production system has its own unique advantages and disadvantages. This paper examines the current practices, developments, and future trends in the production of biopharmaceuticals. Platform technologies for rapid screening and analyses of biosystems are reviewed. Strategies to improve productivity via metabolic and integrated engineering are also highlighted.

  2. Cell engineering and molecular pharming for biopharmaceuticals.

    PubMed

    Abdullah, M A; Rahmah, Anisa Ur; Sinskey, A J; Rha, C K

    2008-01-01

    Biopharmaceuticals are often produced by recombinant E. coli or mammalian cell lines. This is usually achieved by the introduction of a gene or cDNA coding for the protein of interest into a well-characterized strain of producer cells. Naturally, each recombinant production system has its own unique advantages and disadvantages. This paper examines the current practices, developments, and future trends in the production of biopharmaceuticals. Platform technologies for rapid screening and analyses of biosystems are reviewed. Strategies to improve productivity via metabolic and integrated engineering are also highlighted. PMID:19662143

  3. Cell Engineering and Molecular Pharming for Biopharmaceuticals

    PubMed Central

    Abdullah, M.A; Rahmah, Anisa ur; Sinskey, A.J; Rha, C.K

    2008-01-01

    Biopharmaceuticals are often produced by recombinant E. coli or mammalian cell lines. This is usually achieved by the introduction of a gene or cDNA coding for the protein of interest into a well-characterized strain of producer cells. Naturally, each recombinant production system has its own unique advantages and disadvantages. This paper examines the current practices, developments, and future trends in the production of biopharmaceuticals. Platform technologies for rapid screening and analyses of biosystems are reviewed. Strategies to improve productivity via metabolic and integrated engineering are also highlighted. PMID:19662143

  4. A discussion of molecular biology methods for protein engineering.

    PubMed

    Zawaira, Alexander; Pooran, Anil; Barichievy, Samantha; Chopera, Denis

    2012-05-01

    A number of molecular biology techniques are available to generate variants from a particular start gene for eventual protein expression. We discuss the basic principles of these methods in a repertoire that may be used to achieve the elemental steps in protein engineering. These include site-directed, deletion and insertion mutagenesis. We provide detailed case studies, drawn from our own experiences, packaged together with conceptual discussions and include an analysis of the techniques presented with regards to their uses in protein engineering.

  5. Gate engineered performance of single molecular transistor

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ray, S. J.

    2016-05-01

    The operation, performance and electrostatics of multigated Single Molecular Transistor (SMT) devices are investigated using first-principles based density functional theory calculations for planar (pentacene) and non-planar (sucrose) molecules as islands. It has been found that the incorporation of larger numbers of gates allows enhanced electrostatic control in the SMT operation which has been quantified from the energy calculations and estimation of the gate capacitances. The effect of multiple gates is more dominant for a non-planar molecule than a planar molecule within an SMT which indicates the usefulness of such multi-gate architectures for future nanoelectronic devices.

  6. A molecular phylogeny of nephilid spiders: evolutionary history of a model lineage.

    PubMed

    Kuntner, Matjaž; Arnedo, Miquel A; Trontelj, Peter; Lokovšek, Tjaša; Agnarsson, Ingi

    2013-12-01

    The pantropical orb web spider family Nephilidae is known for the most extreme sexual size dimorphism among terrestrial animals. Numerous studies have made Nephilidae, particularly Nephila, a model lineage in evolutionary research. However, a poorly understood phylogeny of this lineage, relying only on morphology, has prevented thorough evolutionary syntheses of nephilid biology. We here use three nuclear and five mitochondrial genes for 28 out of 40 nephilid species to provide a more robust nephilid phylogeny and infer clade ages in a fossil-calibrated Bayesian framework. We complement the molecular analyses with total evidence analysis including morphology. All analyses find strong support for nephilid monophyly and exclusivity and the monophyly of the genera Herennia and Clitaetra. The inferred phylogenetic structure within Nephilidae is novel and conflicts with morphological phylogeny and traditional taxonomy. Nephilengys species fall into two clades, one with Australasian species (true Nephilengys) as sister to Herennia, and another with Afrotropical species (Nephilingis Kuntner new genus) as sister to a clade containing Clitaetra plus most currently described Nephila. Surprisingly, Nephila is also diphyletic, with true Nephila containing N. pilipes+N. constricta, and the second clade with all other species sister to Clitaetra; this "Nephila" clade is further split into an Australasian clade that also contains the South American N. sexpunctata and the Eurasian N. clavata, and an African clade that also contains the Panamerican N. clavipes. An approximately unbiased test constraining the monophyly of Nephilengys, Nephila, and Nephilinae (Nephila, Nephilengys, Herennia), respectively, rejected Nephilengys monophyly, but not that of Nephila and Nephilinae. Further data are therefore necessary to robustly test these two new, but inconclusive findings, and also to further test the precise placement of Nephilidae within the Araneoidea. For divergence date estimation

  7. A molecular phylogeny of nephilid spiders: evolutionary history of a model lineage.

    PubMed

    Kuntner, Matjaž; Arnedo, Miquel A; Trontelj, Peter; Lokovšek, Tjaša; Agnarsson, Ingi

    2013-12-01

    The pantropical orb web spider family Nephilidae is known for the most extreme sexual size dimorphism among terrestrial animals. Numerous studies have made Nephilidae, particularly Nephila, a model lineage in evolutionary research. However, a poorly understood phylogeny of this lineage, relying only on morphology, has prevented thorough evolutionary syntheses of nephilid biology. We here use three nuclear and five mitochondrial genes for 28 out of 40 nephilid species to provide a more robust nephilid phylogeny and infer clade ages in a fossil-calibrated Bayesian framework. We complement the molecular analyses with total evidence analysis including morphology. All analyses find strong support for nephilid monophyly and exclusivity and the monophyly of the genera Herennia and Clitaetra. The inferred phylogenetic structure within Nephilidae is novel and conflicts with morphological phylogeny and traditional taxonomy. Nephilengys species fall into two clades, one with Australasian species (true Nephilengys) as sister to Herennia, and another with Afrotropical species (Nephilingis Kuntner new genus) as sister to a clade containing Clitaetra plus most currently described Nephila. Surprisingly, Nephila is also diphyletic, with true Nephila containing N. pilipes+N. constricta, and the second clade with all other species sister to Clitaetra; this "Nephila" clade is further split into an Australasian clade that also contains the South American N. sexpunctata and the Eurasian N. clavata, and an African clade that also contains the Panamerican N. clavipes. An approximately unbiased test constraining the monophyly of Nephilengys, Nephila, and Nephilinae (Nephila, Nephilengys, Herennia), respectively, rejected Nephilengys monophyly, but not that of Nephila and Nephilinae. Further data are therefore necessary to robustly test these two new, but inconclusive findings, and also to further test the precise placement of Nephilidae within the Araneoidea. For divergence date estimation

  8. Engineering Molecular Transformations for Sustainable Energy Conversion

    SciTech Connect

    Neurock, Matthew

    2010-12-03

    Future strategies for sustainable energy production will undoubtedly require processes and materials that can efficiently convert renewable resources into fuels. Nature’s enzymes can exquisitely integrate highly active catalytic centers within flexible environments that can adaptively guide reactants to products with very high activities and selectivities. They are limited, however, by their stability and ability to integrate into large scale production processes. The design of more robust heterogeneous catalytic materials that mimic the performance of enzymes, however, has been hindered by our limited understanding of how such transformations proceed. The tremendous advances in ab initio quantum mechanical methods, atomistic simulations, and high performance computing that have occurred over the past two decades, however, provide unprecedented ability to track molecular transformations and how they proceed at specific sites and within particular environments. This information together with the advances in in situ spectroscopic methods that follow such transformations can begin to enable the design of atomic surface ensembles and nanoscale reaction environments. This paper provides the author’s perspective on how theory and simulation can be used to move from current onedimensional design efforts based on catalytic descriptors to the design of two-dimensional surfaces, threedimensional reaction environments, and proton-coupled electron transfer systems that mimic enzymes in the transformation of molecules.

  9. Molecular evolutionary signatures reveal the role of host ecological dynamics in viral disease emergence and spread

    PubMed Central

    Duke-Sylvester, Scott M.; Biek, Roman; Real, Leslie A.

    2013-01-01

    RNA viruses account for numerous emerging and perennial infectious diseases, and are characterized by rapid rates of molecular evolution. The ecological dynamics of most emerging RNA viruses are still poorly understood and difficult to ascertain. The availability of genome sequence data for many RNA viruses, in principle, could be used to infer ecological dynamics if changes in population numbers produced a lasting signature within the pattern of genome evolution. As a result, the rapidly emerging phylogeographic structure of a pathogen, shaped by the rise and fall in the number of infections and their spatial distribution, could be used as a surrogate for direct ecological assessments. Based on rabies virus as our example, we use a model combining ecological and evolutionary processes to test whether variation in the rate of host movement results in predictive diagnostic patterns of pathogen genetic structure. We identify several linearizable relationships between host dispersal rate and measures of phylogenetic structure suggesting genetic information can be used to directly infer ecological process. We also find phylogenetic structure may be more revealing than demography for certain ecological processes. Our approach extends the reach of current analytic frameworks for infectious disease dynamics by linking phylogeography back to underlying ecological processes. PMID:23382419

  10. Intrinsic disorder in pathogen effectors: protein flexibility as an evolutionary hallmark in a molecular arms race.

    PubMed

    Marín, Macarena; Uversky, Vladimir N; Ott, Thomas

    2013-09-01

    Effector proteins represent a refined mechanism of bacterial pathogens to overcome plants' innate immune systems. These modular proteins often manipulate host physiology by directly interfering with immune signaling of plant cells. Even if host cells have developed efficient strategies to perceive the presence of pathogenic microbes and to recognize intracellular effector activity, it remains an open question why only few effectors are recognized directly by plant resistance proteins. Based on in-silico genome-wide surveys and a reevaluation of published structural data, we estimated that bacterial effectors of phytopathogens are highly enriched in long-disordered regions (>50 residues). These structurally flexible segments have no secondary structure under physiological conditions but can fold in a stimulus-dependent manner (e.g., during protein-protein interactions). The high abundance of intrinsic disorder in effectors strongly suggests positive evolutionary selection of this structural feature and highlights the dynamic nature of these proteins. We postulate that such structural flexibility may be essential for (1) effector translocation, (2) evasion of the innate immune system, and (3) host function mimicry. The study of these dynamical regions will greatly complement current structural approaches to understand the molecular mechanisms of these proteins and may help in the prediction of new effectors.

  11. Molecular recognition in myxobacterial outer membrane exchange: Functional, social and evolutionary implications

    PubMed Central

    Wall, Daniel

    2014-01-01

    Summary Through cooperative interactions, bacteria can build multicellular communities. To ensure that productive interactions occur, bacteria must recognize their neighbors and respond accordingly. Molecular recognition between cells is thus a fundamental behavior, and in bacteria important discoveries have been made. This MicroReview focuses on a recently described recognition system in myxobacteria that is governed by a polymorphic cell surface receptor called TraA. TraA regulates outer membrane exchange (OME), whereby myxobacterial cells transiently fuse their OMs to efficiently transfer proteins and lipids between cells. Unlike other transport systems, OME is rather indiscriminate in what OM goods are transferred. In contrast, the recognition of partnering cells is discriminatory and only occurs between cells that bear identical or closely related TraA proteins. Therefore TraA functions in kin recognition and, in turn, OME helps regulate social interactions between myxobacteria. Here, I discuss and speculate on the social and evolutionary implications of OME and suggest it helps to guide their transition from free-living cells into coherent and functional populations. PMID:24261719

  12. Inside the Melanoplinae: new molecular evidence for the evolutionary history of the Eurasian Podismini (Orthoptera: Acrididae).

    PubMed

    Chintauan-Marquier, Ioana C; Amédégnato, Christiane; Nichols, Richard A; Pompanon, François; Grandcolas, Philippe; Desutter-Grandcolas, Laure

    2014-02-01

    The Podismini are melanopline grasshoppers with a Holarctic distribution and well represented in the Eurasian fauna. To investigate their controversial taxonomy and evolutionary history, we studied 86%, 78% and 33% respectively of the Eurasian, European and Asian Palaearctic genera (Otte, 1995; Eades et al., 2013). We reconstructed parsimony, maximum likelihood and Bayesian phylogenies using fragments of four genes (ITS1, 16S, 12S, CO2). We applied a Bayesian molecular clock to estimate the times of species divergence, and the event-based parsimony method to depict the biogeographic framework of the diversification. Our results suggest that the selected Eurasian Podismini constitute a monophyletic group inside the Melanoplinae, provided it includes the North American genus Phaulotettix. The clades proposed by the present study inside the Podismini do not fit the older morphological or cytological classifications, but are in agreement with more recent proposals. Furthermore, our results can be explained by a plausible biogeographic history in which the present geographical distribution of the Eurasian Podismini resulted from known changes, to the Cenozoic climate and vegetation, induced by major geological events including the genesis of high mountain chains (e.g., Himalayas, Altay, Alps) and large deserts (e.g., Gobi, Karakoum, Taklamakan), and the opening of marginal seas (e.g., Bering, Japanese and Yellow Seas).

  13. Exploiting Genomic Knowledge in Optimising Molecular Breeding Programmes: Algorithms from Evolutionary Computing

    PubMed Central

    O'Hagan, Steve; Knowles, Joshua; Kell, Douglas B.

    2012-01-01

    Comparatively few studies have addressed directly the question of quantifying the benefits to be had from using molecular genetic markers in experimental breeding programmes (e.g. for improved crops and livestock), nor the question of which organisms should be mated with each other to best effect. We argue that this requires in silico modelling, an approach for which there is a large literature in the field of evolutionary computation (EC), but which has not really been applied in this way to experimental breeding programmes. EC seeks to optimise measurable outcomes (phenotypic fitnesses) by optimising in silico the mutation, recombination and selection regimes that are used. We review some of the approaches from EC, and compare experimentally, using a biologically relevant in silico landscape, some algorithms that have knowledge of where they are in the (genotypic) search space (G-algorithms) with some (albeit well-tuned ones) that do not (F-algorithms). For the present kinds of landscapes, F- and G-algorithms were broadly comparable in quality and effectiveness, although we recognise that the G-algorithms were not equipped with any ‘prior knowledge’ of epistatic pathway interactions. This use of algorithms based on machine learning has important implications for the optimisation of experimental breeding programmes in the post-genomic era when we shall potentially have access to the full genome sequence of every organism in a breeding population. The non-proprietary code that we have used is made freely available (via Supplementary information). PMID:23185279

  14. Molecular phylogenetics and evolutionary history of ariid catfishes revisited: a comprehensive sampling

    PubMed Central

    Betancur-R, Ricardo

    2009-01-01

    Background Ariids or sea catfishes are one of the two otophysan fish families (out of about 67 families in four orders) that inhabit mainly marine and brackish waters (although some species occur strictly in fresh waters). The group includes over 150 species placed in ~29 genera and two subfamilies (Galeichthyinae and Ariinae). Despite their global distribution, ariids are largely restricted to the continental shelves due in part to their specialized reproductive behavior (i.e., oral incubation). Thus, among marine fishes, ariids offer an excellent opportunity for inferring historical biogeographic scenarios. Phylogenetic hypotheses available for ariids have focused on restricted geographic areas and comprehensive phylogenies are still missing. This study inferred phylogenetic hypotheses for 123 ariid species in 28 genera from different biogeographic provinces using both mitochondrial and nuclear sequences (up to ~4 kb). Results While the topologies obtained support the monophyly of basal groups, up to ten genera validated in previous morphological studies were incongruent with the molecular topologies. New World ariines were recovered as paraphyletic and Old World ariines were grouped into a well-supported clade that was further divided into subclades mainly restricted to major Gondwanan landmasses. A general area cladogram derived from the area cladograms of ariines and three other fish groups was largely congruent with the geological area cladogram of Gondwana. Nonetheless, molecular clock estimations provided variable results on the timing of ariine diversification (~105-41 mya). Conclusion This study provides the most comprehensive phylogeny of sea catfishes to date and highlights the need for re-assessment of their classification. While from a topological standpoint the evolutionary history of ariines is mostly congruent with vicariance associated with the sequence of events during Gondwanan fragmentation, ambiguous divergence time estimations hinders

  15. Beyond fossil calibrations: realities of molecular clock practices in evolutionary biology

    PubMed Central

    Hipsley, Christy A.; Müller, Johannes

    2014-01-01

    Molecular-based divergence dating methods, or molecular clocks, are the primary neontological tool for estimating the temporal origins of clades. While the appropriate use of vertebrate fossils as external clock calibrations has stimulated heated discussions in the paleontological community, less attention has been given to the quality and implementation of other calibration types. In lieu of appropriate fossils, many studies rely on alternative sources of age constraints based on geological events, substitution rates and heterochronous sampling, as well as dates secondarily derived from previous analyses. To illustrate the breadth and frequency of calibration types currently employed, we conducted a literature survey of over 600 articles published from 2007 to 2013. Over half of all analyses implemented one or more fossil dates as constraints, followed by geological events and secondary calibrations (15% each). Vertebrate taxa were subjects in nearly half of all studies, while invertebrates and plants together accounted for 43%, followed by viruses, protists and fungi (3% each). Current patterns in calibration practices were disproportionate to the number of discussions on their proper use, particularly regarding plants and secondarily derived dates, which are both relatively neglected in methodological evaluations. Based on our survey, we provide a comprehensive overview of the latest approaches in clock calibration, and outline strengths and weaknesses associated with each. This critique should serve as a call to action for researchers across multiple communities, particularly those working on clades for which fossil records are poor, to develop their own guidelines regarding selection and implementation of alternative calibration types. This issue is particularly relevant now, as time-calibrated phylogenies are used for more than dating evolutionary origins, but often serve as the backbone of investigations into biogeography, diversity dynamics and rates of

  16. Evolutionary and molecular facts link the WWC protein family to Hippo signaling.

    PubMed

    Wennmann, Dirk Oliver; Schmitz, Jürgen; Wehr, Michael C; Krahn, Michael P; Koschmal, Nora; Gromnitza, Sascha; Schulze, Ulf; Weide, Thomas; Chekuri, Anil; Skryabin, Boris V; Gerke, Volker; Pavenstädt, Hermann; Duning, Kerstin; Kremerskothen, Joachim

    2014-07-01

    The scaffolding protein KIBRA (also called WWC1) is involved in the regulation of important intracellular transport processes and the establishment of cell polarity. Furthermore, KIBRA/WWC1 is an upstream regulator of the Hippo signaling pathway that controls cell proliferation and organ size in animals. KIBRA/WWC1 represents only one member of the WWC protein family that also includes the highly similar proteins WWC2 and WWC3. Although the function of KIBRA/WWC1 was studied intensively in cells and animal models, the importance of WWC2 and WWC3 was not yet elucidated. Here, we describe evolutionary, molecular, and functional aspects of the WWC family. We show that the WWC genes arose in the ancestor of bilateral animals (clades such as insects and vertebrates) from a single founder gene most similar to the present KIBRA/WWC1-like sequence of Drosophila. This situation was still maintained until the common ancestor of lancelet and vertebrates. In fish, a progenitor-like sequence of mammalian KIBRA/WWC1 and WWC2 is expressed together with WWC3. Finally, in all tetrapods, the three family members, KIBRA/WWC1, WWC2, and WWC3, are found, except for a large genomic deletion including WWC3 in Mus musculus. At the molecular level, the highly conserved WWC proteins share a similar primary structure, the ability to form homo- and heterodimers and the interaction with a common set of binding proteins. Furthermore, all WWC proteins negatively regulate cell proliferation and organ growth due to a suppression of the transcriptional activity of YAP, the major effector of the Hippo pathway. PMID:24682284

  17. Beyond fossil calibrations: realities of molecular clock practices in evolutionary biology.

    PubMed

    Hipsley, Christy A; Müller, Johannes

    2014-01-01

    Molecular-based divergence dating methods, or molecular clocks, are the primary neontological tool for estimating the temporal origins of clades. While the appropriate use of vertebrate fossils as external clock calibrations has stimulated heated discussions in the paleontological community, less attention has been given to the quality and implementation of other calibration types. In lieu of appropriate fossils, many studies rely on alternative sources of age constraints based on geological events, substitution rates and heterochronous sampling, as well as dates secondarily derived from previous analyses. To illustrate the breadth and frequency of calibration types currently employed, we conducted a literature survey of over 600 articles published from 2007 to 2013. Over half of all analyses implemented one or more fossil dates as constraints, followed by geological events and secondary calibrations (15% each). Vertebrate taxa were subjects in nearly half of all studies, while invertebrates and plants together accounted for 43%, followed by viruses, protists and fungi (3% each). Current patterns in calibration practices were disproportionate to the number of discussions on their proper use, particularly regarding plants and secondarily derived dates, which are both relatively neglected in methodological evaluations. Based on our survey, we provide a comprehensive overview of the latest approaches in clock calibration, and outline strengths and weaknesses associated with each. This critique should serve as a call to action for researchers across multiple communities, particularly those working on clades for which fossil records are poor, to develop their own guidelines regarding selection and implementation of alternative calibration types. This issue is particularly relevant now, as time-calibrated phylogenies are used for more than dating evolutionary origins, but often serve as the backbone of investigations into biogeography, diversity dynamics and rates of

  18. Plant synthetic biology for molecular engineering of signalling and development.

    PubMed

    Nemhauser, Jennifer L; Torii, Keiko U

    2016-03-02

    Molecular genetic studies of model plants in the past few decades have identified many key genes and pathways controlling development, metabolism and environmental responses. Recent technological and informatics advances have led to unprecedented volumes of data that may uncover underlying principles of plants as biological systems. The newly emerged discipline of synthetic biology and related molecular engineering approaches is built on this strong foundation. Today, plant regulatory pathways can be reconstituted in heterologous organisms to identify and manipulate parameters influencing signalling outputs. Moreover, regulatory circuits that include receptors, ligands, signal transduction components, epigenetic machinery and molecular motors can be engineered and introduced into plants to create novel traits in a predictive manner. Here, we provide a brief history of plant synthetic biology and significant recent examples of this approach, focusing on how knowledge generated by the reference plant Arabidopsis thaliana has contributed to the rapid rise of this new discipline, and discuss potential future directions.

  19. Engineering and Assembly of Protein Modules into Functional Molecular Systems.

    PubMed

    Hirschi, Stephan; Stauffer, Mirko; Harder, Daniel; Müller, Daniel J; Meier, Wolfgang; Fotiadis, Dimitrios

    2016-01-01

    Synthetic biology approaches range from the introduction of unique features into organisms to the assembly of isolated biomacromolecules or synthetic building blocks into artificial biological systems with biomimetic or completely novel functionalities. Simple molecular systems can be based on containers on the nanoscale that are equipped with tailored functional modules for various applications in healthcare, industry or biological and medical research. The concept, or vision, of assembling native or engineered proteins and/or synthetic components as functional modules into molecular systems is discussed. The main focus is laid on the engineering of energizing modules generating chemical energy, transport modules using this energy to translocate molecules between compartments of a molecular system, and catalytic modules (bio-)chemically processing the molecules. Further key aspects of this discourse are possible approaches for the assembly of simple nanofactories and their applications in biotechnology and medical health. PMID:27363367

  20. Advances and trends in the molecular systematics of anisakid nematodes, with implications for their evolutionary ecology and host-parasite co-evolutionary processes.

    PubMed

    Mattiucci, Simonetta; Nascetti, Giuseppe

    2008-01-01

    The application of molecular systematics to the anisakid nematodes of the genera Anisakis, Pseudoterranova and Contracaecum, parasites of aquatic organisms, over the last two decades, has advanced the understanding of their systematics, taxonomy, ecology and phylogeny substantially. Here the results of this effort on this group of species from the early genetic works to the current status of their revised taxonomy, ecology and evolutionary aspects are reviewed for each of three parasitic groups. It has been shown that many anisakid morphospecies of Anisakis, Contracaecum and Pseudoterranova include a certain number of sibling species. Molecular genetic markers provided a rapid, precise means to screen and identify several species that serve as definitive and intermediate and or/paratenic hosts of the so far genetically characterized species. Patterns of differential distribution of anisakid nematodes in various definitive and intermediate hosts are presented. Differences in the life history of related species can be due both to differential host-parasite co-adaptation and co-evolution, and/or to interspecific competition, that can reduce the range of potential hosts in sympatric conditions. Phylogenetic hypotheses attempted for anisakid nematodes and the possible evolutionary scenarios that have been proposed inferred from molecular data, also with respect to the phylogeny of their hosts are presented for the parasite-host associations Anisakis-cetaceans and Contracaecum-pinnipeds, showing that codivergence and host-switching events could have accompanied the evolution of these groups of parasites. Finally, examples in which anisakid nematodes recognized genetically at the species level in definitive and intermediate/paratenic hosts from various geographical areas of the Boreal and Austral regions and their infection levels have been used as biological indicators of fish stocks and food-web integrity in areas at high versus low levels of habitat disturbance

  1. Molecular Evolutionary Dynamics of Respiratory Syncytial Virus Group A in Recurrent Epidemics in Coastal Kenya

    PubMed Central

    Agoti, Charles N.; Gitahi, Caroline W.; Bett, Ann; Ngama, Mwanajuma; Medley, Graham F.; Cane, Patricia A.; Nokes, D. James

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT The characteristic recurrent epidemics of human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) within communities may result from the genetic variability of the virus and associated evolutionary adaptation, reducing the efficiency of preexisting immune responses. We analyzed the molecular evolutionary changes in the attachment (G) glycoprotein of RSV-A viruses collected over 13 epidemic seasons (2000 to 2012) in Kilifi (n = 649), Kenya, and contemporaneous sequences (n = 1,131) collected elsewhere within Kenya and 28 other countries. Genetic diversity in the G gene in Kilifi was dynamic both within and between epidemics, characterized by frequent new variant introductions and limited variant persistence between consecutive epidemics. Four RSV-A genotypes were detected in Kilifi: ON1 (11.9%), GA2 (75.5%), GA5 (12.3%), and GA3 (0.3%), with predominant genotype replacement of GA5 by GA2 and then GA2 by ON1. Within these genotypes, there was considerable variation in potential N-glycosylation sites, with GA2 and ON1 viruses showing up to 15 different patterns involving eight possible sites. Further, we identified 15 positively selected and 34 genotype-distinguishing codon sites, with six of these sites exhibiting both characteristics. The mean substitution rate of the G ectodomain for the Kilifi data set was estimated at 3.58 × 10−3 (95% highest posterior density interval = 3.04 to 4.16) nucleotide substitutions/site/year. Kilifi viruses were interspersed in the global phylogenetic tree, clustering mostly with Kenyan and European sequences. Our findings highlight ongoing genetic evolution and high diversity of circulating RSV-A strains, locally and globally, with potential antigenic differences. Taken together, these provide a possible explanation on the nature of recurrent local RSV epidemics. IMPORTANCE The mechanisms underlying recurrent epidemics of RSV are poorly understood. We observe high genetic diversity in circulating strains within and between epidemics in

  2. Engineering controllable bidirectional molecular motors based on myosin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Lu; Nakamura, Muneaki; Schindler, Tony D.; Parker, David; Bryant, Zev

    2012-04-01

    Cytoskeletal motors drive the transport of organelles and molecular cargoes within cells and have potential applications in molecular detection and diagnostic devices. Engineering molecular motors with controllable properties will allow selective perturbation of mechanical processes in living cells and provide optimized device components for tasks such as molecular sorting and directed assembly. Biological motors have previously been modified by introducing activation/deactivation switches that respond to metal ions and other signals. Here, we show that myosin motors can be engineered to reversibly change their direction of motion in response to a calcium signal. Building on previous protein engineering studies and guided by a structural model for the redirected power stroke of myosin VI, we have constructed bidirectional myosins through the rigid recombination of structural modules. The performance of the motors was confirmed using gliding filament assays and single fluorophore tracking. Our strategy, in which external signals trigger changes in the geometry and mechanics of myosin lever arms, should make it possible to achieve spatiotemporal control over a range of motor properties including processivity, stride size and branchpoint turning.

  3. Engineering imaging probes and molecular machines for nanomedicine.

    PubMed

    Tong, Sheng; Cradick, Thomas J; Ma, Yan; Dai, Zhifei; Bao, Gang

    2012-10-01

    Nanomedicine is an emerging field that integrates nanotechnology, biomolecular engineering, life sciences and medicine; it is expected to produce major breakthroughs in medical diagnostics and therapeutics. Due to the size-compatibility of nano-scale structures and devices with proteins and nucleic acids, the design, synthesis and application of nanoprobes, nanocarriers and nanomachines provide unprecedented opportunities for achieving a better control of biological processes, and drastic improvements in disease detection, therapy, and prevention. Recent advances in nanomedicine include the development of functional nanoparticle based molecular imaging probes, nano-structured materials as drug/gene carriers for in vivo delivery, and engineered molecular machines for treating single-gene disorders. This review focuses on the development of molecular imaging probes and engineered nucleases for nanomedicine, including quantum dot bioconjugates, quantum dot-fluorescent protein FRET probes, molecular beacons, magnetic and gold nanoparticle based imaging contrast agents, and the design and validation of zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs) and TAL effector nucleases (TALENs) for gene targeting. The challenges in translating nanomedicine approaches to clinical applications are discussed.

  4. Current review of genetics of human obesity: from molecular mechanisms to an evolutionary perspective.

    PubMed

    Albuquerque, David; Stice, Eric; Rodríguez-López, Raquel; Manco, Licíno; Nóbrega, Clévio

    2015-08-01

    It is well-known that obesity is a complex multifactorial and heterogeneous condition with an important genetic component. Recently, major advances in obesity research emerged concerning the molecular mechanisms contributing to the obese condition. This review outlines several studies and data concerning the genetics and other important factors in the susceptibility risk to develop obesity. Based in the genetic etiology three main categories of obesity are considered: monogenic, syndromic, and common obesity. For the monogenic forms of obesity, the gene causing the phenotype is clearly identified, whereas for the common obesity the loci architecture underlying the phenotype is still being characterized. Given that, in this review we focus mainly in this obesity form, reviewing loci found until now by genome-wide association studies related with the susceptibility risk to develop obesity. Moreover, we also detail the obesity-related loci identified in children and in different ethnic groups, trying to highlight the complexity of the genetics underlying the common obese phenotype. Importantly, we also focus in the evolutionary hypotheses that have been proposed trying to explain how natural selection favored the spread of genes that increase the risk for an obese phenotype and how this predisposition to obesity evolved. Other factors are important in the obesity condition, and thus, we also discuss the epigenetic mechanisms involved in the susceptibility and development of obesity. Covering all these topics we expect to provide a complete and recent perspective about the underlying mechanisms involved in the development and origin of obesity. Only with a full understanding of the factors and mechanisms contributing to obesity, it will be possible to provide and allow the development of new therapeutic approaches to this condition.

  5. A Molecular and Co-Evolutionary Context for Grazer Induced Toxin Production in Alexandrium tamarense

    PubMed Central

    Wohlrab, Sylke; Iversen, Morten H.; John, Uwe

    2010-01-01

    Marine dinoflagellates of the genus Alexandrium are the proximal source of neurotoxins associated with Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning. The production of these toxins, the toxin biosynthesis and, thus, the cellular toxicity can be influenced by abiotic and biotic factors. There is, however, a lack of substantial evidence concerning the toxins' ecological function such as grazing defense. Waterborne cues from copepods have been previously found to induce a species-specific increase in toxin content in Alexandrium minutum. However, it remains speculative in which context these species-specific responses evolved and if it occurs in other Alexandrium species as well. In this study we exposed Alexandrium tamarense to three copepod species (Calanus helgolandicus, Acartia clausii, and Oithona similis) and their corresponding cues. We show that the species-specific response towards copepod-cues is not restricted to one Alexandrium species and that co-evolutionary processes might be involved in these responses, thus giving additional evidence for the defensive role of phycotoxins. Through a functional genomic approach we gained insights into the underlying molecular processes which could trigger the different outcomes of these species-specific responses and consequently lead to increased toxin content in Alexandrium tamarense. We propose that the regulation of serine/threonine kinase signaling pathways has a major influence in directing the external stimuli i.e. copepod-cues, into different intracellular cascades and networks in A. tamarense. Our results show that A. tamarense can sense potential predating copepods and respond to the received information by increasing its toxin production. Furthermore, we demonstrate how a functional genomic approach can be used to investigate species interactions within the plankton community. PMID:21124775

  6. Evolutionary Design of Low Molecular Weight Organic Anolyte Materials for Applications in Nonaqueous Redox Flow Batteries.

    PubMed

    Sevov, Christo S; Brooner, Rachel E M; Chénard, Etienne; Assary, Rajeev S; Moore, Jeffrey S; Rodríguez-López, Joaquín; Sanford, Melanie S

    2015-11-18

    The integration of renewable energy sources into the electric grid requires low-cost energy storage systems that mediate the variable and intermittent flux of energy associated with most renewables. Nonaqueous redox-flow batteries have emerged as a promising technology for grid-scale energy storage applications. Because the cost of the system scales with mass, the electroactive materials must have a low equivalent weight (ideally 150 g/(mol·e(-)) or less), and must function with low molecular weight supporting electrolytes such as LiBF4. However, soluble anolyte materials that undergo reversible redox processes in the presence of Li-ion supports are rare. We report the evolutionary design of a series of pyridine-based anolyte materials that exhibit up to two reversible redox couples at low potentials in the presence of Li-ion supporting electrolytes. A combination of cyclic voltammetry of anolyte candidates and independent synthesis of their corresponding charged-states was performed to rapidly screen for the most promising candidates. Results of this workflow provided evidence for possible decomposition pathways of first-generation materials and guided synthetic modifications to improve the stability of anolyte materials under the targeted conditions. This iterative process led to the identification of a promising anolyte material, N-methyl 4-acetylpyridinium tetrafluoroborate. This compound is soluble in nonaqueous solvents, is prepared in a single synthetic step, has a low equivalent weight of 111 g/(mol·e(-)), and undergoes two reversible 1e(-) reductions in the presence of LiBF4 to form reduced products that are stable over days in solution.

  7. Molecular Cloning, Functional Characterization, and Evolutionary Analysis of Vitamin D Receptors Isolated from Basal Vertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Kollitz, Erin M.; Zhang, Guozhu; Hawkins, Mary Beth; Whitfield, G. Kerr; Reif, David M.; Kullman, Seth W.

    2015-01-01

    The vertebrate genome is a result of two rapid and successive rounds of whole genome duplication, referred to as 1R and 2R. Furthermore, teleost fish have undergone a third whole genome duplication (3R) specific to their lineage, resulting in the retention of multiple gene paralogs. The more recent 3R event in teleosts provides a unique opportunity to gain insight into how genes evolve through specific evolutionary processes. In this study we compare molecular activities of vitamin D receptors (VDR) from basal species that diverged at key points in vertebrate evolution in order to infer derived and ancestral VDR functions of teleost paralogs. Species include the sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus), a 1R jawless fish; the little skate (Leucoraja erinacea), a cartilaginous fish that diverged after the 2R event; and the Senegal bichir (Polypterus senegalus), a primitive 2R ray-finned fish. Saturation binding assays and gel mobility shift assays demonstrate high affinity ligand binding and classic DNA binding characteristics of VDR has been conserved across vertebrate evolution. Concentration response curves in transient transfection assays reveal EC50 values in the low nanomolar range, however maximum transactivational efficacy varies significantly between receptor orthologs. Protein-protein interactions were investigated using co-transfection, mammalian 2-hybrid assays, and mutations of coregulator activation domains. We then combined these results with our previous study of VDR paralogs from 3R teleosts into a bioinformatics analysis. Our results suggest that 1, 25D3 acts as a partial agonist in basal species. Furthermore, our bioinformatics analysis suggests that functional differences between VDR orthologs and paralogs are influenced by differential protein interactions with essential coregulator proteins. We speculate that we may be observing a change in the pharmacodynamics relationship between VDR and 1, 25D3 throughout vertebrate evolution that may have been

  8. Molecular and chemical engineering of bacteriophages for potential medical applications.

    PubMed

    Hodyra, Katarzyna; Dąbrowska, Krystyna

    2015-04-01

    Recent progress in molecular engineering has contributed to the great progress of medicine. However, there are still difficult problems constituting a challenge for molecular biology and biotechnology, e.g. new generation of anticancer agents, alternative biosensors or vaccines. As a biotechnological tool, bacteriophages (phages) offer a promising alternative to traditional approaches. They can be applied as anticancer agents, novel platforms in vaccine design, or as target carriers in drug discovery. Phages also offer solutions for modern cell imaging, biosensor construction or food pathogen detection. Here we present a review of bacteriophage research as a dynamically developing field with promising prospects for further development of medicine and biotechnology.

  9. Molecular Engineering of Antiferromagnetic Rings for Quantum Computation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Troiani, F.; Ghirri, A.; Affronte, M.; Carretta, S.; Santini, P.; Amoretti, G.; Piligkos, S.; Timco, G.; Winpenny, R. E.

    2005-05-01

    The substitution of one metal ion in a Cr-based molecular ring with dominant antiferromagnetic couplings allows the engineering of its level structure and ground-state degeneracy. Here we characterize a Cr7Ni molecular ring by means of low-temperature specific-heat and torque-magnetometry measurements, thus determining the microscopic parameters of the corresponding spin Hamiltonian. The energy spectrum and the suppression of the leakage-inducing S mixing render the Cr7Ni molecule a suitable candidate for the qubit implementation, as further substantiated by our quantum-gate simulations.

  10. Molecular phylogeny and evolutionary history of the Eurasiatic orchid genus Himantoglossum s.l. (Orchidaceae)

    PubMed Central

    Sramkó, Gábor; Attila, Molnár V.; Hawkins, Julie A.; Bateman, Richard M.

    2014-01-01

    Background and Aims Lizard orchids of the genus Himantoglossum include many of Eurasia's most spectacular orchids, producing substantial spikes of showy flowers. However, until recently the genus had received only limited, and entirely traditional, systematic study. The aim of the current work was to provide a more robust molecular phylogeny in order to better understand the evolutionary relationships among species of particular conservation concern. Methods All putative species of Himantoglossum s.l. were sampled across its geographical range. A large subsample of the 153 populations studied contributed to an initial survey of nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (nrITS) ribotypes. Smaller subsets were then sequenced for four plastid regions and the first intron of the low-copy-number nuclear gene LEAFY. Rooted using Steveniella as outgroup, phylogenetic trees were generated using parsimony and Bayesian methods from each of the three datasets, supplemented with a ribotype network. Key Results The resulting trees collectively determined the order of branching of the early divergent taxa as Himantoglossum comperianum > H. robertianum group > H. formosum, events that also involved significant morphological divergence. Relaxed molecular clock dating suggested that these divergences preceded the Pleistocene glaciations (the origin of the H. robertianum group may have coincided with the Messinian salinity crisis) and occurred in Asia Minor and/or the Caucasus. Among more controversial taxa of the H. hircinum-jankae clade, which are only subtly morphologically divergent, topological resolution was poorer and topological incongruence between datasets was consequently greater. Conclusions Plastid sequence divergence is broadly consistent with prior, morphologically circumscribed taxa and indicates a division between H. hircinum–adriaticum to the west of the Carpathians and H. jankae–caprinum (plus local endemics) to the east, a distinction also suggested by nr

  11. Reverse engineering chemical structures from molecular descriptors : how many solutions?

    SciTech Connect

    Brown, William Michael; Martin, Shawn Bryan; Faulon, Jean-Loup Michel

    2005-06-01

    Physical, chemical and biological properties are the ultimate information of interest for chemical compounds. Molecular descriptors that map structural information to activities and properties are obvious candidates for information sharing. In this paper, we consider the feasibility of using molecular descriptors to safely exchange chemical information in such a way that the original chemical structures cannot be reverse engineered. To investigate the safety of sharing such descriptors, we compute the degeneracy (the number of structure matching a descriptor value) of several 2D descriptors, and use various methods to search for and reverse engineer structures. We examine degeneracy in the entire chemical space taking descriptors values from the alkane isomer series and the PubChem database. We further use a stochastic search to retrieve structures matching specific topological index values. Finally, we investigate the safety of exchanging of fragmental descriptors using deterministic enumeration.

  12. Simulational nanoengineering: Molecular dynamics implementation of an atomistic Stirling engine.

    PubMed

    Rapaport, D C

    2009-04-01

    A nanoscale-sized Stirling engine with an atomistic working fluid has been modeled using molecular dynamics simulation. The design includes heat exchangers based on thermostats, pistons attached to a flywheel under load, and a regenerator. Key aspects of the behavior, including the time-dependent flows, are described. The model is shown to be capable of stable operation while producing net work at a moderate level of efficiency.

  13. Simulational nanoengineering: Molecular dynamics implementation of an atomistic Stirling engine.

    PubMed

    Rapaport, D C

    2009-04-01

    A nanoscale-sized Stirling engine with an atomistic working fluid has been modeled using molecular dynamics simulation. The design includes heat exchangers based on thermostats, pistons attached to a flywheel under load, and a regenerator. Key aspects of the behavior, including the time-dependent flows, are described. The model is shown to be capable of stable operation while producing net work at a moderate level of efficiency. PMID:19518394

  14. Molecular engineering of glycosaminoglycan chemistry for biomolecule delivery

    PubMed Central

    Miller, Tobias; Goude, Melissa C.; McDevitt, Todd C.

    2013-01-01

    Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are linear, negatively charged polysaccharid es that interact with a variety of positively-charged growth factors. In this review article, the effects of engineering GAG chemistry for molecular delivery applications in regenerative medicine are presented. Three major areas of focus at the structure-function-property interface are discussed: 1) macromolecular properties of GAGs, 2) effects of chemical modifications on protein binding, and 3) degradation mechanisms of GAGs. GAG-protein interactions can be based on 1) GAG sulfation pattern, 2) GAG carbohydrate conformation, and 3) GAG polyelectrolyte behavior. Chemical modifications of GAGs, which are commonly performed to engineer molecular delivery systems, affect protein binding and are highly dependent on the site of modification on the GAG molecules. The rate and mode of degradation can determine the release of molecules as well as the length of GAG fragments to which the cargo is electrostatically coupled and eventually released from the delivery system. Overall, GAG-based polymers are a versatile biomaterial platform offering novel means to engineer molecular delivery systems with a high degree of control in order to better treat a range of degenerate or injured tissues. PMID:24121191

  15. Designing a Pedagogical Model for Web Engineering Education: An Evolutionary Perspective

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hadjerrouit, Said

    2005-01-01

    In contrast to software engineering, which relies on relatively well established development approaches, there is a lack of a proven methodology that guides Web engineers in building reliable and effective Web-based systems. Currently, Web engineering lacks process models, architectures, suitable techniques and methods, quality assurance, and a…

  16. The current status of REH theory. [Random Evolutionary Hits in biological molecular evolution

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Holmquist, R.; Jukes, T. H.

    1981-01-01

    A response is made to the evaluation of Fitch (1980) of REH (random evolutionary hits) theory for the evolutionary divergence of proteins and nucleic acids. Correct calculations for the beta hemoglobin mRNAs of the human, mouse and rabbit in the absence and presence of selective constraints are summarized, and it is shown that the alternative evolutionary analysis of Fitch underestimates the total fixed mutations. It is further shown that the model used by Fitch to test for the completeness of the count of total base substitutions is in fact a variant of REH theory. Considerations of the variance inherent in evolutionary estimations are also presented which show the REH model to produce no more variance than other evolutionary models. In the reply, it is argued that, despite the objections raised, REH theory applied to proteins gives inaccurate estimates of total gene substitutions. It is further contended that REH theory developed for nucleic sequences suffers from problems relating to the frequency of nucleotide substitutions, the identity of the codons accepting silent and amino acid-changing substitutions, and estimate uncertainties.

  17. SHARP's systems engineering challenge: rectifying integrated product team requirements with performance issues in an evolutionary spiral development acquisition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kuehl, C. Stephen

    2003-08-01

    Completing its final development and early deployment on the Navy's multi-role aircraft, the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet, the SHAred Reconnaissance Pod (SHARP) provides the war fighter with the latest digital tactical reconnaissance (TAC Recce) Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) sensor system. The SHARP program is an evolutionary acquisition that used a spiral development process across a prototype development phase tightly coupled into overlapping Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) and Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) phases. Under a tight budget environment with a highly compressed schedule, SHARP challenged traditional acquisition strategies and systems engineering (SE) processes. Adopting tailored state-of-the-art systems engineering process models allowd the SHARP program to overcome the technical knowledge transition challenges imposed by a compressed program schedule. The program's original goal was the deployment of digital TAC Recce mission capabilities to the fleet customer by summer of 2003. Hardware and software integration technical challenges resulted from requirements definition and analysis activities performed across a government-industry led Integrated Product Team (IPT) involving Navy engineering and test sites, Boeing, and RTSC-EPS (with its subcontracted hardware and government furnished equipment vendors). Requirements development from a bottoms-up approach was adopted using an electronic requirements capture environment to clarify and establish the SHARP EMD product baseline specifications as relevant technical data became available. Applying Earned-Value Management (EVM) against an Integrated Master Schedule (IMS) resulted in efficiently managing SE task assignments and product deliveries in a dynamically evolving customer requirements environment. Application of Six Sigma improvement methodologies resulted in the uncovering of root causes of errors in wiring interconnectivity drawings, pod manufacturing processes, and avionics

  18. Engineering molecular mechanics: an efficient static high temperature molecular simulation technique.

    PubMed

    Subramaniyan, Arun K; Sun, C T

    2008-07-16

    Inspired by the need for an efficient molecular simulation technique, we have developed engineering molecular mechanics (EMM) as an alternative molecular simulation technique to model high temperature (T>0 K) phenomena. EMM simulations are significantly more computationally efficient than conventional techniques such as molecular dynamics simulations. The advantage of EMM is achieved by converting the dynamic atomistic system at high temperature (T>0 K) into an equivalent static system. Fundamentals of the EMM methodology are derived using thermal expansion to modify the interatomic potential. Temperature dependent interatomic potentials are developed to account for the temperature effect. The efficiency of EMM simulations is demonstrated by simulating the temperature dependence of elastic constants of copper and nickel and the thermal stress developed in a confined copper system.

  19. Molecular engineering of polymer actuators for biomedical and industrial use

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Banister, Mark; Eichorst, Rebecca; Gurr, Amy; Schweitzer, Georgette; Geronov, Yordan; Rao, Pavalli; McGrath, Dominic

    2012-04-01

    Five key materials engineering components and how each component impacted the working performance of a polymer actuator material are investigated. In our research we investigated the change of actuation performance that occurred with each change we made to the material. We investigated polymer crosslink density, polymer chain length, polymer gelation, type and density of reactive units, as well as the addition of binders to the polymer matrix. All five play a significant role and need to be addressed at the molecular level to optimize a polymer gel for use as a practical actuator material for biomedical and industrial use.

  20. Light-driven DNA nanomachine with a photoresponsive molecular engine.

    PubMed

    Kamiya, Yukiko; Asanuma, Hiroyuki

    2014-06-17

    CONSPECTUS: DNA is regarded as an excellent nanomaterial due to its supramolecular property of duplex formation through A-T and G-C complementary pairs. By simply designing sequences, we can create any desired 2D or 3D nanoarchitecture with DNA. Based on these nanoarchitectures, motional DNA-based nanomachines have also been developed. Most of the nanomachines require molecular fuels to drive them. Typically, a toehold exchange reaction is applied with a complementary DNA strand as a fuel. However, repetitive operation of the machines accumulates waste DNA duplexes in the solution that gradually deteriorate the motional efficiency. Hence, we are facing an "environmental problem" even in the nanoworld. One of the direct solutions to this problem is to use clean energy, such as light. Since light does not contaminate the reaction system, a DNA nanomachine run by a photon engine can overcome the drawback of waste that is a problem with molecular-fueled engines. There are several photoresponsive molecules that convert light energy to mechanical motion through the change of geometry of the molecules; these include spiropyran, diarylethene, stilbene, and azobenzene. Although each molecule has both advantages and drawbacks, azobenzene derivatives are widely used as "molecular photon engines". In this Account, we review light-driven DNA nanomachines mainly focusing on the photoresponsive DNAs that we have developed for the past decade. The basis of our method is installation of an azobenzene into a DNA sequence through a d-threoninol scaffold. Reversible hybridization of the DNA duplex, triggered by trans-cis isomerization of azobenzene in the DNA sequences by irradiation with light, induces mechanical motion of the DNA nanomachine. Moreover we have successfully developed azobenzene derivatives that improve its photoisomerizaition properties. Use of these derivatives and techniques have allowed us to design various DNA machines that demonstrate sophisticated motion in

  1. Light-driven DNA nanomachine with a photoresponsive molecular engine.

    PubMed

    Kamiya, Yukiko; Asanuma, Hiroyuki

    2014-06-17

    CONSPECTUS: DNA is regarded as an excellent nanomaterial due to its supramolecular property of duplex formation through A-T and G-C complementary pairs. By simply designing sequences, we can create any desired 2D or 3D nanoarchitecture with DNA. Based on these nanoarchitectures, motional DNA-based nanomachines have also been developed. Most of the nanomachines require molecular fuels to drive them. Typically, a toehold exchange reaction is applied with a complementary DNA strand as a fuel. However, repetitive operation of the machines accumulates waste DNA duplexes in the solution that gradually deteriorate the motional efficiency. Hence, we are facing an "environmental problem" even in the nanoworld. One of the direct solutions to this problem is to use clean energy, such as light. Since light does not contaminate the reaction system, a DNA nanomachine run by a photon engine can overcome the drawback of waste that is a problem with molecular-fueled engines. There are several photoresponsive molecules that convert light energy to mechanical motion through the change of geometry of the molecules; these include spiropyran, diarylethene, stilbene, and azobenzene. Although each molecule has both advantages and drawbacks, azobenzene derivatives are widely used as "molecular photon engines". In this Account, we review light-driven DNA nanomachines mainly focusing on the photoresponsive DNAs that we have developed for the past decade. The basis of our method is installation of an azobenzene into a DNA sequence through a d-threoninol scaffold. Reversible hybridization of the DNA duplex, triggered by trans-cis isomerization of azobenzene in the DNA sequences by irradiation with light, induces mechanical motion of the DNA nanomachine. Moreover we have successfully developed azobenzene derivatives that improve its photoisomerizaition properties. Use of these derivatives and techniques have allowed us to design various DNA machines that demonstrate sophisticated motion in

  2. Remembering the Forest While Viewing the Trees: Evolutionary Thinking in the Teaching of Molecular Biology

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Saraswati, Sitaraman; Sitaraman, Ramakrishnan

    2014-01-01

    Given the centrality of evolutionary theory to the study of biology, we present a strategy for reinforcing its importance by appropriately recontextualizing classic and well-known experiments that are not explicitly linked with evolution in conventional texts. This exercise gives students an appreciation of the applicability of the theory of…

  3. Remembering the forest while viewing the trees: evolutionary thinking in the teaching of molecular biology.

    PubMed

    Saraswati, Sitaraman; Sitaraman, Ramakrishnan

    2014-01-01

    Given the centrality of evolutionary theory to the study of biology, we present a strategy for reinforcing its importance by appropriately recontextualizing classic and well-known experiments that are not explicitly linked with evolution in conventional texts. This exercise gives students an appreciation of the applicability of the theory of evolution in diverse contexts, including those where it is not explicitly mentioned.

  4. The Molecular Evolutionary Patterns of the Insulin/FOXO Signaling Pathway

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Minghui; Wang, Qishan; Wang, Zhen; Wang, Qingping; Zhang, Xiangzhe; Pan, Yuchun

    2013-01-01

    The insulin/insulin growth factor-1(IGF1)/FOXO (IIF) signal transduction pathway plays a core role in the endocrine system. Although the components of this pathway have been well characterized, the evolutionary pattern remains poorly understood. Here, we perform a comprehensive analysis to study whether the differences of signaling transduction elements exist as well as to determine whether the genes are subject to equivalent evolutionary forces and how natural selection shapes the evolution pattern of proteins in an interacting system. Our results demonstrate that most IIF pathway components are present throughout all animal phyla investigated here, and they are under strong selective constraint. Remarkably, we detect that the components in the middle of the pathway undergo stronger purifying selection, which is different from previous similar reports. We also find that the dN/dS may be influenced by quite complicated factors including codon bias, protein length among others. PMID:23362368

  5. Molecular evolutionary and structural analysis of the cytosolic DNA sensor cGAS and STING

    PubMed Central

    Wu, Xiaomei; Wu, Fei-Hua; Wang, Xiaoqiang; Wang, Lilin; Siedow, James N.; Zhang, Weiguo; Pei, Zhen-Ming

    2014-01-01

    Cyclic GMP-AMP (cGAMP) synthase (cGAS) is recently identified as a cytosolic DNA sensor and generates a non-canonical cGAMP that contains G(2′,5′)pA and A(3′,5′)pG phosphodiester linkages. cGAMP activates STING which triggers innate immune responses in mammals. However, the evolutionary functions and origins of cGAS and STING remain largely elusive. Here, we carried out comprehensive evolutionary analyses of the cGAS-STING pathway. Phylogenetic analysis of cGAS and STING families showed that their origins could be traced back to a choanoflagellate Monosiga brevicollis. Modern cGAS and STING may have acquired structural features, including zinc-ribbon domain and critical amino acid residues for DNA binding in cGAS as well as carboxy terminal tail domain for transducing signals in STING, only recently in vertebrates. In invertebrates, cGAS homologs may not act as DNA sensors. Both proteins cooperate extensively, have similar evolutionary characteristics, and thus may have co-evolved during metazoan evolution. cGAS homologs and a prokaryotic dinucleotide cyclase for canonical cGAMP share conserved secondary structures and catalytic residues. Therefore, non-mammalian cGAS may function as a nucleotidyltransferase and could produce cGAMP and other cyclic dinucleotides. Taken together, assembling signaling components of the cGAS-STING pathway onto the eukaryotic evolutionary map illuminates the functions and origins of this innate immune pathway. PMID:24981511

  6. The evolution and origin of animal Toll-like receptor signaling pathway revealed by network-level molecular evolutionary analyses.

    PubMed

    Song, Xiaojun; Jin, Ping; Qin, Sheng; Chen, Liming; Ma, Fei

    2012-01-01

    Genes carry out their biological functions through pathways in complex networks consisting of many interacting molecules. Studies on the effect of network architecture on the evolution of individual proteins will provide valuable information for understanding the origin and evolution as well as functional conservation of signaling pathways. However, the relationship between the network architecture and the individual protein sequence evolution is yet little known. In current study, we carried out network-level molecular evolution analysis on TLR (Toll-like receptor ) signaling pathway, which plays an important role in innate immunity in insects and mammals, and we found that: 1) The selection constraint of genes was negatively correlated with its position along TLR signaling pathway; 2) all genes in TLR signaling pathway were highly conserved and underwent strong purifying selection; 3) the distribution of selective pressure along the pathway was driven by differential nonsynonymous substitution levels; 4) The TLR signaling pathway might present in a common ancestor of sponges and eumetazoa, and evolve via the TLR, IKK, IκB and NF-κB genes underwent duplication events as well as adaptor molecular enlargement, and gene structure and conservation motif of NF-κB genes shifted in their evolutionary history. Our results will improve our understanding on the evolutionary history of animal TLR signaling pathway as well as the relationship between the network architecture and the sequences evolution of individual protein.

  7. Network-level molecular evolutionary analysis of the insulin/TOR signal transduction pathway across 12 Drosophila genomes

    PubMed Central

    Alvarez-Ponce, David; Aguadé, Montserrat; Rozas, Julio

    2009-01-01

    Biological function is based on complex networks consisting of large numbers of interacting molecules. The evolutionary properties of molecular networks and, in particular, the impact of network architecture on the sequence evolution of its individual components are, nonetheless, still poorly understood. Here, we conducted a fine-scale network-level molecular evolutionary analysis of the insulin/TOR pathway across 12 species of Drosophila. We found that the insulin/TOR pathway components are completely conserved across these species and that two genes located at major network branch points show evidence for positive selection. Remarkably, we detected a gradient in the strength of purifying selection along the pathway, increasing from the upstream to the downstream genes. We also found that physically interacting proteins tend to have more similar levels of selective constraint, even though this feature might represent a byproduct of the correlation between selective constraint and the pathway position. Our results clearly indicate that the levels of functional constraint do depend on the position of the proteins in the pathway and, consequently, the architecture of the pathway constrains gene sequence evolution. PMID:19141596

  8. The Evolution and Origin of Animal Toll-Like Receptor Signaling Pathway Revealed by Network-Level Molecular Evolutionary Analyses

    PubMed Central

    Qin, Sheng; Chen, Liming; Ma, Fei

    2012-01-01

    Genes carry out their biological functions through pathways in complex networks consisting of many interacting molecules. Studies on the effect of network architecture on the evolution of individual proteins will provide valuable information for understanding the origin and evolution as well as functional conservation of signaling pathways. However, the relationship between the network architecture and the individual protein sequence evolution is yet little known. In current study, we carried out network-level molecular evolution analysis on TLR (Toll-like receptor ) signaling pathway, which plays an important role in innate immunity in insects and mammals, and we found that: 1) The selection constraint of genes was negatively correlated with its position along TLR signaling pathway; 2) all genes in TLR signaling pathway were highly conserved and underwent strong purifying selection; 3) the distribution of selective pressure along the pathway was driven by differential nonsynonymous substitution levels; 4) The TLR signaling pathway might present in a common ancestor of sponges and eumetazoa, and evolve via the TLR, IKK, IκB and NF-κB genes underwent duplication events as well as adaptor molecular enlargement, and gene structure and conservation motif of NF-κB genes shifted in their evolutionary history. Our results will improve our understanding on the evolutionary history of animal TLR signaling pathway as well as the relationship between the network architecture and the sequences evolution of individual protein. PMID:23236523

  9. Molecular evolutionary analysis of the high-affinity K+ transporter gene family in angiosperms.

    PubMed

    Yang, P; Hua, C; Zhou, F; Zhang, B-J; Cai, X-N; Chen, Q-Z; Wang, R-L

    2016-07-15

    The high-affinity K(+) transporter (HKT) family comprises a group of multifunctional cation transporters widely distributed in organisms ranging from Bacteria to Eukarya. In angiosperms, the HKT family consists primarily of nine types, whose evolutionary relationships are not fully understood. The available sequences from 31 plant species were used to perform a comprehensive evolutionary analysis, including an examination of selection pressure and estimating phylogenetic tree and gene duplication events. Our results show that a gene duplication in the HKT1;5/HKT1;4 cluster might have led to the divergence of the HKT1;5 and HKT1;4 subfamilies. Additionally, maximum likelihood analysis revealed that the HKT family has undergone a strong purifying selection. An analysis of the amino acids provided strong statistical evidence for a functional divergence between subfamilies 1 and 2. Our study was the first to provide evidence of this functional divergence between these two subfamilies. Analysis of co-evolution in HKT identified 25 co-evolved groups. These findings expanded our understanding of the evolutionary mechanisms driving functional diversification of HKT proteins.

  10. Molecular evolutionary analysis of the high-affinity K+ transporter gene family in angiosperms.

    PubMed

    Yang, P; Hua, C; Zhou, F; Zhang, B-J; Cai, X-N; Chen, Q-Z; Wang, R-L

    2016-01-01

    The high-affinity K(+) transporter (HKT) family comprises a group of multifunctional cation transporters widely distributed in organisms ranging from Bacteria to Eukarya. In angiosperms, the HKT family consists primarily of nine types, whose evolutionary relationships are not fully understood. The available sequences from 31 plant species were used to perform a comprehensive evolutionary analysis, including an examination of selection pressure and estimating phylogenetic tree and gene duplication events. Our results show that a gene duplication in the HKT1;5/HKT1;4 cluster might have led to the divergence of the HKT1;5 and HKT1;4 subfamilies. Additionally, maximum likelihood analysis revealed that the HKT family has undergone a strong purifying selection. An analysis of the amino acids provided strong statistical evidence for a functional divergence between subfamilies 1 and 2. Our study was the first to provide evidence of this functional divergence between these two subfamilies. Analysis of co-evolution in HKT identified 25 co-evolved groups. These findings expanded our understanding of the evolutionary mechanisms driving functional diversification of HKT proteins. PMID:27525850

  11. MEGA4: Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis (MEGA) software version 4.0.

    PubMed

    Tamura, Koichiro; Dudley, Joel; Nei, Masatoshi; Kumar, Sudhir

    2007-08-01

    We announce the release of the fourth version of MEGA software, which expands on the existing facilities for editing DNA sequence data from autosequencers, mining Web-databases, performing automatic and manual sequence alignment, analyzing sequence alignments to estimate evolutionary distances, inferring phylogenetic trees, and testing evolutionary hypotheses. Version 4 includes a unique facility to generate captions, written in figure legend format, in order to provide natural language descriptions of the models and methods used in the analyses. This facility aims to promote a better understanding of the underlying assumptions used in analyses, and of the results generated. Another new feature is the Maximum Composite Likelihood (MCL) method for estimating evolutionary distances between all pairs of sequences simultaneously, with and without incorporating rate variation among sites and substitution pattern heterogeneities among lineages. This MCL method also can be used to estimate transition/transversion bias and nucleotide substitution pattern without knowledge of the phylogenetic tree. This new version is a native 32-bit Windows application with multi-threading and multi-user supports, and it is also available to run in a Linux desktop environment (via the Wine compatibility layer) and on Intel-based Macintosh computers under the Parallels program. The current version of MEGA is available free of charge at (http://www.megasoftware.net).

  12. Interface-engineered templates for molecular spin memory devices.

    PubMed

    Raman, Karthik V; Kamerbeek, Alexander M; Mukherjee, Arup; Atodiresei, Nicolae; Sen, Tamal K; Lazić, Predrag; Caciuc, Vasile; Michel, Reent; Stalke, Dietmar; Mandal, Swadhin K; Blügel, Stefan; Münzenberg, Markus; Moodera, Jagadeesh S

    2013-01-24

    The use of molecular spin state as a quantum of information for storage, sensing and computing has generated considerable interest in the context of next-generation data storage and communication devices, opening avenues for developing multifunctional molecular spintronics. Such ideas have been researched extensively, using single-molecule magnets and molecules with a metal ion or nitrogen vacancy as localized spin-carrying centres for storage and for realizing logic operations. However, the electronic coupling between the spin centres of these molecules is rather weak, which makes construction of quantum memory registers a challenging task. In this regard, delocalized carbon-based radical species with unpaired spin, such as phenalenyl, have shown promise. These phenalenyl moieties, which can be regarded as graphene fragments, are formed by the fusion of three benzene rings and belong to the class of open-shell systems. The spin structure of these molecules responds to external stimuli (such as light, and electric and magnetic fields), which provides novel schemes for performing spin memory and logic operations. Here we construct a molecular device using such molecules as templates to engineer interfacial spin transfer resulting from hybridization and magnetic exchange interaction with the surface of a ferromagnet; the device shows an unexpected interfacial magnetoresistance of more than 20 per cent near room temperature. Moreover, we successfully demonstrate the formation of a nanoscale magnetic molecule with a well-defined magnetic hysteresis on ferromagnetic surfaces. Owing to strong magnetic coupling with the ferromagnet, such independent switching of an adsorbed magnetic molecule has been unsuccessful with single-molecule magnets. Our findings suggest the use of chemically amenable phenalenyl-based molecules as a viable and scalable platform for building molecular-scale quantum spin memory and processors for technological development.

  13. DNA Aptamer Based Nanodrugs: Molecular Engineering for Efficiency

    PubMed Central

    Cansiz, Sena; Zhang, Liqin; Wu, Cuichen; Wu, Yuan; Teng, I-Ting; Hou, Weijia; Wang, Yanyue; Wan, Shuo; Cai, Ren; Jin, Chen; Liu, Qiaoling; Tan, Weihong

    2015-01-01

    In the past two decades, the study of cancer therapy has gradually advanced to the “Nano” era. Numerous novel nanomaterials armed with unique physical properties have been introduced into biomedical research. At the same time, functional nucleic acid molecules, especially aptamers, have aroused broad attention from the biomedical community. Benefiting from the advancement of molecular engineering strategies, it is now feasible to combine the cancer specific recognition capability of aptamers with various other special functions of nanomaterials to develop cancer specific drugs at the nanoscale. Nanodrugs are now offering an unprecedented opportunity to achieve the goal of efficient targeted delivery as well as controlled release. This review highlights some achievements of multiple aptamer-based nanodrug systems which have emerged in recent years, including studies in the infant stage of “proof-of-concept”. PMID:26177853

  14. Molecular engineering of porous silica using aryl templates

    DOEpatents

    Loy, D.A.; Shea, K.J.

    1994-06-14

    A process is described for manipulating the porosity of silica using a series of organic template groups covalently incorporated into the silicate matrix. The templates in the bridged polysilsesquioxanes are selectively removed from the material by oxidation with oxygen plasma or other means, leaving engineered voids or pores. The size of these pores is dependent upon the length or size of the template or spacer. The size of the templates is measured in terms of Si-Si distances which range from about 0.67 nm to 1.08 nm. Changes introduced by the loss of the templates result in a narrow range of micropores (i.e. <2 nm). Both aryl and alkyl template groups are used as spacers. Novel microporous silica materials useful as molecular sieves, desiccants, and catalyst supports are produced. 3 figs.

  15. Molecular engineering of porous silica using aryl templates

    DOEpatents

    Loy, Douglas A.; Shea, Kenneth J.

    1994-01-01

    A process for manipulating the porosity of silica using a series of organic template groups covalently incorporated into the silicate matrix. The templates in the bridged polysilsesquioxanes are selectively removed from the material by oxidation with oxygen plasma or other means, leaving engineered voids or pores. The size of these pores is dependent upon the length or size of the template or spacer. The size of the templates is measured in terms of Si-Si distances which range from about 0.67 nm to 1.08 nm. Changes introduced by the loss of the templates result in a narrow range of micropores (i.e. <2 nm). Both aryl and alkyl template groups are used as spacers. Novel microporous silica materials useful as molecular seives, dessicants, and catalyst supports are produced.

  16. Autosomal recessive primary microcephaly (MCPH): a review of clinical, molecular, and evolutionary findings.

    PubMed

    Woods, C Geoffrey; Bond, Jacquelyn; Enard, Wolfgang

    2005-05-01

    Autosomal recessive primary microcephaly (MCPH) is a neurodevelopmental disorder. It is characterized by two principal features, microcephaly present at birth and nonprogressive mental retardation. The microcephaly is the consequence of a small but architecturally normal brain, and it is the cerebral cortex that shows the greatest size reduction. There are at least seven MCPH loci, and four of the genes have been identified: MCPH1, encoding Microcephalin; MCPH3, encoding CDK5RAP2; MCPH5, encoding ASPM; and MCPH6, encoding CENPJ. These findings are starting to have an impact on the clinical management of families affected with MCPH. Present data suggest that MCPH is the consequence of deficient neurogenesis within the neurogenic epithelium. Evolutionary interest in MCPH has been sparked by the suggestion that changes in the MCPH genes might also be responsible for the increase in brain size during human evolution. Indeed, evolutionary analyses of Microcephalin and ASPM reveal evidence for positive selection during human and great ape evolution. So an understanding of this rare genetic disorder may offer us significant insights into neurogenic mitosis and the evolution of the most striking differences between us and our closest living relatives: brain size and cognitive ability. PMID:15806441

  17. Single nucleotide polymorphism screening, molecular characterization, and evolutionary aspects of chicken Piwi genes.

    PubMed

    Wang, H Z; Ma, T; Chang, G B; Wan, F; Liu, X P; Lu, L; Xu, L; Chen, J; Chen, G H

    2015-01-01

    The P-element-induced wimpy testis (Piwi) gene is involved in germline stem cell self-renewal, meiosis, RNA silencing, and transcriptional regulation. Piwi genes are relatively well conserved in many species, but their function in poultry species is unclear. In this study, Piwi genes were sequenced using a target-sequence capture assay in quail and 28 breeds of chicken. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and evolutionary aspects of these chicken breeds were then analyzed. We found that SNP sites existed mainly in the introns of a few chicken breeds, and we selected an SNP on intron 4 for further verification by Sanger sequencing, the results of which were similar to those obtained by the target-capture sequencing assay. The evolutionary analysis revealed that there were more mutations in the Chahua and Leghorn breeds than in the other breeds, and that the phylogenetic tree was divided into four main categories that suggested that Piwi is evolutionarily conserved, and mutations in the introns might be associated with gametogenesis. The screened SNPs can be used as candidate markers for Piwi, and our results provide basic information for the further study of Piwi function in poultry.

  18. Evolutionary mechanics: new engineering principles for the emergence of flexibility in a dynamic and uncertain world.

    PubMed

    Whitacre, James M; Rohlfshagen, Philipp; Bender, Axel; Yao, Xin

    2012-09-01

    Engineered systems are designed to deftly operate under predetermined conditions yet are notoriously fragile when unexpected perturbations arise. In contrast, biological systems operate in a highly flexible manner; learn quickly adequate responses to novel conditions, and evolve new routines and traits to remain competitive under persistent environmental change. A recent theory on the origins of biological flexibility has proposed that degeneracy-the existence of multi-functional components with partially overlapping functions-is a primary determinant of the robustness and adaptability found in evolved systems. While degeneracy's contribution to biological flexibility is well documented, there has been little investigation of degeneracy design principles for achieving flexibility in systems engineering. Actually, the conditions that can lead to degeneracy are routinely eliminated in engineering design. With the planning of transportation vehicle fleets taken as a case study, this article reports evidence that degeneracy improves the robustness and adaptability of a simulated fleet towards unpredicted changes in task requirements without incurring costs to fleet efficiency. We find that degeneracy supports faster rates of design adaptation and ultimately leads to better fleet designs. In investigating the limitations of degeneracy as a design principle, we consider decision-making difficulties that arise from degeneracy's influence on fleet complexity. While global decision-making becomes more challenging, we also find degeneracy accommodates rapid distributed decision-making leading to (near-optimal) robust system performance. Given the range of conditions where favorable short-term and long-term performance outcomes are observed, we propose that degeneracy may fundamentally alter the propensity for adaptation and is useful within different engineering and planning contexts.

  19. Molecular Response of Crop Plants to Engineered Nanomaterials.

    PubMed

    Pagano, Luca; Servin, Alia D; De La Torre-Roche, Roberto; Mukherjee, Arnab; Majumdar, Sanghamitra; Hawthorne, Joseph; Marmiroli, Marta; Maestri, Elena; Marra, Robert E; Isch, Susan M; Dhankher, Om Parkash; White, Jason C; Marmiroli, Nelson

    2016-07-01

    Functional toxicology has enabled the identification of genes involved in conferring tolerance and sensitivity to engineered nanomaterial (ENM) exposure in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh. Several genes were found to be involved in metabolic functions, stress response, transport, protein synthesis, and DNA repair. Consequently, analysis of physiological parameters, metal content (through ICP-MS quantification), and gene expression (by RT-qPCR) of A. thaliana orthologue genes were performed across different plant species of agronomic interest to highlight putative biomarkers of exposure and effect related to ENMs. This approach led to the identification of molecular markers in Solanum lycopersicum L. and Cucurbita pepo L. (tomato and zucchini) that might not only indicate exposure to ENMs (CuO, CeO2, and La2O3) but also provide mechanistic insight into response to these materials. Through Gene Ontology (GO) analysis, the target genes were mapped in complex interatomic networks representing molecular pathways, cellular components, and biological processes involved in ENM response. The transcriptional response of 38 (out of 204) candidate genes studied varied according to particle type, size, and plant species. Importantly, some of the genes studied showed potential as biomarkers of ENM exposure and effect and may be useful for risk assessment in foods and in the environment. PMID:27301997

  20. Molecular data and ecological niche modelling reveal a highly dynamic evolutionary history of the East Asian Tertiary relict Cercidiphyllum (Cercidiphyllaceae).

    PubMed

    Qi, Xin-Shuai; Chen, Chen; Comes, Hans Peter; Sakaguchi, Shota; Liu, Yi-Hui; Tanaka, Nobuyuki; Sakio, Hitoshi; Qiu, Ying-Xiong

    2012-10-01

    East Asia's temperate deciduous forests served as sanctuary for Tertiary relict trees, but their ages and response to past climate change remain largely unknown. To address this issue, we elucidated the evolutionary and population demographic history of Cercdiphyllum, comprising species in China/Japan (Cercdiphyllum japonicum) and central Japan (Cercdiphyllum magnificum). Fifty-three populations were genotyped using chloroplast and ribosomal DNA sequences and microsatellite loci to assess molecular structure and diversity in relation to past (Last Glacial Maximum) and present distributions based on ecological niche modelling. Late Tertiary climate cooling was reflected in a relatively recent speciation event, dated at the Mio-/Pliocene boundary. During glacials, the warm-temperate C. japonicum experienced massive habitat losses in some areas (north-central China/north Japan) but increases in others (southwest/-east China, East China Sea landbridge, south Japan). In China, the Sichuan Basin and/or the middle-Yangtze were source areas of postglacial northward recolonization; in Japan, this may have been facilitated through introgressive hybridization with the cool-temperate C. magnificum. Our findings challenge the notion of relative evolutionary and demographic stability of Tertiary relict trees, and may serve as a guideline for assessing the impact of Neogene climate change on the evolution and distribution of East Asian temperate plants. PMID:22845876

  1. Statistical and molecular analyses of evolutionary significance of red-green color vision and color blindness in vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Yokoyama, Shozo; Takenaka, Naomi

    2005-04-01

    Red-green color vision is strongly suspected to enhance the survival of its possessors. Despite being red-green color blind, however, many species have successfully competed in nature, which brings into question the evolutionary advantage of achieving red-green color vision. Here, we propose a new method of identifying positive selection at individual amino acid sites with the premise that if positive Darwinian selection has driven the evolution of the protein under consideration, then it should be found mostly at the branches in the phylogenetic tree where its function had changed. The statistical and molecular methods have been applied to 29 visual pigments with the wavelengths of maximal absorption at approximately 510-540 nm (green- or middle wavelength-sensitive [MWS] pigments) and at approximately 560 nm (red- or long wavelength-sensitive [LWS] pigments), which are sampled from a diverse range of vertebrate species. The results show that the MWS pigments are positively selected through amino acid replacements S180A, Y277F, and T285A and that the LWS pigments have been subjected to strong evolutionary conservation. The fact that these positively selected M/LWS pigments are found not only in animals with red-green color vision but also in those with red-green color blindness strongly suggests that both red-green color vision and color blindness have undergone adaptive evolution independently in different species.

  2. Molecular data and ecological niche modelling reveal a highly dynamic evolutionary history of the East Asian Tertiary relict Cercidiphyllum (Cercidiphyllaceae).

    PubMed

    Qi, Xin-Shuai; Chen, Chen; Comes, Hans Peter; Sakaguchi, Shota; Liu, Yi-Hui; Tanaka, Nobuyuki; Sakio, Hitoshi; Qiu, Ying-Xiong

    2012-10-01

    East Asia's temperate deciduous forests served as sanctuary for Tertiary relict trees, but their ages and response to past climate change remain largely unknown. To address this issue, we elucidated the evolutionary and population demographic history of Cercdiphyllum, comprising species in China/Japan (Cercdiphyllum japonicum) and central Japan (Cercdiphyllum magnificum). Fifty-three populations were genotyped using chloroplast and ribosomal DNA sequences and microsatellite loci to assess molecular structure and diversity in relation to past (Last Glacial Maximum) and present distributions based on ecological niche modelling. Late Tertiary climate cooling was reflected in a relatively recent speciation event, dated at the Mio-/Pliocene boundary. During glacials, the warm-temperate C. japonicum experienced massive habitat losses in some areas (north-central China/north Japan) but increases in others (southwest/-east China, East China Sea landbridge, south Japan). In China, the Sichuan Basin and/or the middle-Yangtze were source areas of postglacial northward recolonization; in Japan, this may have been facilitated through introgressive hybridization with the cool-temperate C. magnificum. Our findings challenge the notion of relative evolutionary and demographic stability of Tertiary relict trees, and may serve as a guideline for assessing the impact of Neogene climate change on the evolution and distribution of East Asian temperate plants.

  3. A computational kinematics and evolutionary approach to model molecular flexibility for bionanotechnology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brintaki, Athina N.

    Modeling molecular structures is critical for understanding the principles that govern the behavior of molecules and for facilitating the exploration of potential pharmaceutical drugs and nanoscale designs. Biological molecules are flexible bodies that can adopt many different shapes (or conformations) until they reach a stable molecular state that is usually described by the minimum internal energy. A major challenge in modeling flexible molecules is the exponential explosion in computational complexity as the molecular size increases and many degrees of freedom are considered to represent the molecules' flexibility. This research work proposes a novel generic computational geometric approach called enhanced BioGeoFilter (g.eBGF) that geometrically interprets inter-atomic interactions to impose geometric constraints during molecular conformational search to reduce the time for identifying chemically-feasible conformations. Two new methods called Kinematics-Based Differential Evolution ( kDE) and Biological Differential Evolution ( BioDE) are also introduced to direct the molecular conformational search towards low energy (stable) conformations. The proposed kDE method kinematically describes a molecule's deformation mechanism while it uses differential evolution to minimize the intra-molecular energy. On the other hand, the proposed BioDE utilizes our developed g.eBGF data structure as a surrogate approximation model to reduce the number of exact evaluations and to speed the molecular conformational search. This research work will be extremely useful in enabling the modeling of flexible molecules and in facilitating the exploration of nanoscale designs through the virtual assembly of molecules. Our research work can also be used in areas such as molecular docking, protein folding, and nanoscale computer-aided design where rapid collision detection scheme for highly deformable objects is essential.

  4. Phylogeny of Eutardigrada: new molecular data and their morphological support lead to the identification of new evolutionary lineages.

    PubMed

    Bertolani, Roberto; Guidetti, Roberto; Marchioro, Trevor; Altiero, Tiziana; Rebecchi, Lorena; Cesari, Michele

    2014-07-01

    An extensive study of the phylogeny of Eutardigrada, the largest class of Tardigrada, has been performed analyzing one hundred and forty sequences (eighty of which newly obtained) representative of one hundred and twenty-nine specimens belonging to all families (except Necopinatidae) of this class. The molecular (18S and 28S rRNA) results were compared with new and previous morphological data, allowing us to find new phylogenetic relationships, to identify new phylogenetic lineages, to erect new taxa for some lineages, and to find several morphological synapomorphies supporting the identified clusters. The class Eutardigrada has been confirmed and, within it, the orders Apochela and Parachela, the superfamilies Macrobiotoidea, Hypsibioidea, Isohypsibioidea, and Eohypsibioidea, and all the families and subfamilies considered, although with emended diagnoses in several cases. In addition, new taxa have been erected: the new subfamily Pilatobiinae (Hypsibiidae) with the new genus Pilatobius, as well as an upgrading of Diphascon and Adropion to genus level, previously considered subgenera of Diphascon. Our results demonstrate that while molecular analysis is an important tool for understanding phylogeny, an integrative and comparative approach using both molecular and morphological data is necessary to better elucidate evolutionary relationships.

  5. Phylogeny of Eutardigrada: new molecular data and their morphological support lead to the identification of new evolutionary lineages.

    PubMed

    Bertolani, Roberto; Guidetti, Roberto; Marchioro, Trevor; Altiero, Tiziana; Rebecchi, Lorena; Cesari, Michele

    2014-07-01

    An extensive study of the phylogeny of Eutardigrada, the largest class of Tardigrada, has been performed analyzing one hundred and forty sequences (eighty of which newly obtained) representative of one hundred and twenty-nine specimens belonging to all families (except Necopinatidae) of this class. The molecular (18S and 28S rRNA) results were compared with new and previous morphological data, allowing us to find new phylogenetic relationships, to identify new phylogenetic lineages, to erect new taxa for some lineages, and to find several morphological synapomorphies supporting the identified clusters. The class Eutardigrada has been confirmed and, within it, the orders Apochela and Parachela, the superfamilies Macrobiotoidea, Hypsibioidea, Isohypsibioidea, and Eohypsibioidea, and all the families and subfamilies considered, although with emended diagnoses in several cases. In addition, new taxa have been erected: the new subfamily Pilatobiinae (Hypsibiidae) with the new genus Pilatobius, as well as an upgrading of Diphascon and Adropion to genus level, previously considered subgenera of Diphascon. Our results demonstrate that while molecular analysis is an important tool for understanding phylogeny, an integrative and comparative approach using both molecular and morphological data is necessary to better elucidate evolutionary relationships. PMID:24657804

  6. Molecular phylogeny of Myriapoda provides insights into evolutionary patterns of the mode in post-embryonic development

    PubMed Central

    Miyazawa, Hideyuki; Ueda, Chiaki; Yahata, Kensuke; Su, Zhi-Hui

    2014-01-01

    Myriapoda, a subphylum of Arthropoda, comprises four classes, Chilopoda, Diplopoda, Pauropoda, and Symphyla. While recent molecular evidence has shown that Myriapoda is monophyletic, the internal phylogeny, which is pivotal for understanding the evolutionary history of myriapods, remains unresolved. Here we report the results of phylogenetic analyses and estimations of divergence time and ancestral state of myriapods. Phylogenetic analyses were performed based on three nuclear protein-coding genes determined from 19 myriapods representing the four classes (17 orders) and 11 outgroup species. The results revealed that Symphyla whose phylogenetic position has long been debated is the sister lineage to all other myriapods, and that the interordinal relationships within classes were consistent with traditional classifications. Ancestral state estimation based on the tree topology suggests that myriapods evolved from an ancestral state that was characterized by a hemianamorphic mode of post-embryonic development and had a relatively low number of body segments and legs. PMID:24535281

  7. Evolutionary diversification of retinoic acid receptor ligand-binding pocket structure by molecular tinkering

    PubMed Central

    Gutierrez-Mazariegos, Juliana; Nadendla, Eswar Kumar; Studer, Romain A.; Alvarez, Susana; de Lera, Angel R.; Kuraku, Shigehiro; Bourguet, William; Laudet, Vincent

    2016-01-01

    Whole genome duplications (WGDs) have been classically associated with the origin of evolutionary novelties and the so-called duplication–degeneration–complementation model describes the possible fates of genes after duplication. However, how sequence divergence effectively allows functional changes between gene duplicates is still unclear. In the vertebrate lineage, two rounds of WGDs took place, giving rise to paralogous gene copies observed for many gene families. For the retinoic acid receptors (RARs), for example, which are members of the nuclear hormone receptor (NR) superfamily, a unique ancestral gene has been duplicated resulting in three vertebrate paralogues: RARα, RARβ and RARγ. It has previously been shown that this single ancestral RAR was neofunctionalized to give rise to a larger substrate specificity range in the RARs of extant jawed vertebrates (also called gnathostomes). To understand RAR diversification, the members of the cyclostomes (lamprey and hagfish), jawless vertebrates representing the extant sister group of gnathostomes, provide an intermediate situation and thus allow the characterization of the evolutionary steps that shaped RAR ligand-binding properties following the WGDs. In this study, we assessed the ligand-binding specificity of cyclostome RARs and found that their ligand-binding pockets resemble those of gnathostome RARα and RARβ. In contrast, none of the cyclostome receptors studied showed any RARγ-like specificity. Together, our results suggest that cyclostome RARs cover only a portion of the specificity repertoire of the ancestral gnathostome RARs and indicate that the establishment of ligand-binding specificity was a stepwise event. This iterative process thus provides a rare example for the diversification of receptor–ligand interactions of NRs following WGDs. PMID:27069642

  8. Hidden diversity and evolutionary trends in malacosporean parasites (Cnidaria: Myxozoa) identified using molecular phylogenetics.

    PubMed

    Bartošová-Sojková, Pavla; Hrabcová, Martina; Pecková, Hana; Patra, Sneha; Kodádková, Alena; Jurajda, Pavel; Tyml, Tomáš; Holzer, Astrid Sibylle

    2014-07-01

    Malacosporeans represent a small fraction of myxozoan biodiversity with only two genera and three species described. They cycle between bryozoans and freshwater fish. In this study, we (i) microscopically examine and screen different freshwater/marine fish species from various geographic locations and habitats for the presence of malacosporeans using PCR; (ii) study the morphology, prevalence, host species/habitat preference and distribution of malacosporeans; (iii) perform small subunit/large subunit rDNA and Elongation factor 2 based phylogenetic analyses of newly gathered data, together with all available malacosporean data in GenBank; and (iv) investigate the evolutionary trends of malacosporeans by mapping the morphology of bryozoan-related stages, host species, habitat and geographic data on the small subunit rDNA-based phylogenetic tree. We reveal a high prevalence and diversity of malacosporeans in several fish hosts in European freshwater habitats by adding five new species of Buddenbrockia and Tetracapsuloides from cyprinid and perciform fishes. Comprehensive phylogenetic analyses revealed that, apart from Buddenbrockia and Tetracapsuloides clades, a novel malacosporean lineage (likely a new genus) exists. The fish host species spectrum was extended for Buddenbrockia plumatellae and Buddenbrockia sp. 2. Co-infections of up to three malacosporean species were found in individual fish. The significant increase in malacosporean species richness revealed in the present study points to a hidden biodiversity in this parasite group. This is most probably due to the cryptic nature of malacosporean sporogonic and presporogonic stages and mostly asymptomatic infections in the fish hosts. The potential existence of malacosporean life cycles in the marine environment as well as the evolution of worm- and sac-like morphology is discussed. This study improves the understanding of the biodiversity, prevalence, distribution, habitat and host preference of malacosporeans

  9. Evolutionary decay and the prospects for long-term disease intervention using engineered insect vectors

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    After a long history of applying the sterile insect technique to suppress populations of disease vectors and agricultural pests, there is growing interest in using genetic engineering both to improve old methods and to enable new methods. The two goals of interventions are to suppress populations, possibly eradicating a species altogether, or to abolish the vector’s competence to transmit a parasite. New methods enabled by genetic engineering include the use of selfish genes toward either goal as well as a variety of killer-rescue systems that could be used for vector competence reduction. This article reviews old and new methods with an emphasis on the potential for evolution of resistance to these strategies. Established methods of population suppression did not obviously face a problem from resistance evolution, but newer technologies might. Resistance to these newer interventions will often be mechanism-specific, and while it is too early to know where resistance evolution will become a problem, it is at least possible to propose properties of interventions that will be more or less effective in blocking resistance evolution. PMID:26160736

  10. Incorporating Molecular and Cellular Biology into a Chemical Engineering Degree Program

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    O'Connor, Kim C.

    2005-01-01

    There is a growing need for a workforce that can apply engineering principles to molecular based discovery and product development in the biological sciences. To this end, Tulane University established a degree program that incorporates molecular and cellular biology into the chemical engineering curriculum. In celebration of the tenth anniversary…

  11. Heterologous xylose isomerase pathway and evolutionary engineering improve xylose utilization in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

    PubMed Central

    Qi, Xin; Zha, Jian; Liu, Gao-Gang; Zhang, Weiwen; Li, Bing-Zhi; Yuan, Ying-Jin

    2015-01-01

    Xylose utilization is one key issue for the bioconversion of lignocelluloses. It is a promising approach to engineering heterologous pathway for xylose utilization in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Here, we constructed a xylose-fermenting yeast SyBE001 through combinatorial fine-tuning the expression of XylA and endogenous XKS1. Additional overexpression of genes RKI1, RPE1, TKL1, and TAL1 in the non-oxidative pentose phosphate pathway (PPP) in SyBE001 increased the xylose consumption rate by 1.19-fold. By repetitive adaptation, the xylose utilization rate was further increased by ∼10-fold in the resultant strain SyBE003. Gene expression analysis identified a variety of genes with significantly changed expression in the PPP, glycolysis and the tricarboxylic acid cycle in SyBE003. PMID:26539187

  12. [Evolutionary engineering in Salmonella: emergence of hybrid virulence-resistance plasmids in non-typhoid serotypes].

    PubMed

    Mendoza, María Del Carmen; Herrero, Ana; Rodicio, María Rosario

    2009-01-01

    An example of evolutive engineering in bacterial pathogens is the emergence of hybrid virulence-resistance (VR) plasmids in Salmonella enterica, resulting from an association between antimicrobial resistance determinants and specific virulence plasmids of the S. typhimurium and S. choleraesuis serotypes. VR plasmids all possess the spv (Salmonella plasmid virulence) operon, which is involved in systemic infection; however, they differ in the presence of other virulence determinants and in the resistance gene profile. VR plasmids of S. typhimurium have been found in Europe, and show resistance regions with different levels of complexity that can include class 1 integrons and various transposons. VR plasmids of S. choleraesuis, detected in strains isolated in Taiwan, only confer resistance to ampicillin and sulfonamides. Both serotypes are zoonotic and the presence of hybrid VR plasmids may confer an adaptive advantage under certain conditions, resulting in bacterial strains that are more difficult to treat and have a higher epidemic potential.

  13. Uncovering the evolutionary origin of plant molecular processes: comparison of Coleochaete (Coleochaetales) and Spirogyra (Zygnematales) transcriptomes

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background The large and diverse land plant lineage is nested within a clade of fresh water green algae, the charophytes. Collection of genome-scale data for land plants and other organisms over the past decade has invigorated the field of evolutionary biology. One of the core questions in the field asks: how did a colonization event by a green algae over 450 mya lead to one of the most successful lineages on the tree of life? This question can best be answered using the comparative method, the first step of which is to gather genome-scale data across closely related lineages to land plants. Before sequencing an entire genome it is useful to first gather transcriptome data: it is less expensive, it targets the protein coding regions of the genome, and provides support for gene models for future genome sequencing. We built Expressed Sequence Tag (EST) libraries for two charophyte species, Coleochaete orbicularis (Coleochaetales) and Spirogyra pratensis (Zygnematales). We used both Sanger sequencing and next generation 454 sequencing to cover as much of the transcriptome as possible. Results Our sequencing effort for Spirogyra pratensis yielded 9,984 5' Sanger reads plus 598,460 GS FLX Standard 454 sequences; Coleochaete orbicularis yielded 4,992 5' Sanger reads plus 673,811 GS FLX Titanium 454 sequences. After clustering S. pratensis yielded 12,000 unique transcripts, or unigenes, and C. orbicularis yielded 19,000. Both transcriptomes were very plant-like, i.e. most of the transcripts were more similar to streptophytes (land plants + charophyte green algae) than to other green algae in the sister group chlorophytes. BLAST results of several land plant genes hypothesized to be important in early land plant evolution resulted in high quality hits in both transcriptomes revealing putative orthologs ripe for follow-up studies. Conclusions Two main conclusions were drawn from this study. One illustrates the utility of next generation sequencing for transcriptome studies

  14. History of Molecular Beam Research: Personal Reminiscences of the Important Evolutionary Period 1919-1933

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Estermann, Immanuel

    1975-01-01

    Describes the early historical period of the molecular beam method, including the Stern-Gerlach experiment, the work of Davisson and Germer, and the magnetic moment determinations for the proton, neutron, and deuteron. Contains some amusing historical sidelights on the research personalities that dominated that period. (MLH)

  15. Molecular Signatures for the PVC Clade (Planctomycetes, Verrucomicrobia, Chlamydiae, and Lentisphaerae) of Bacteria Provide Insights into Their Evolutionary Relationships.

    PubMed

    Gupta, Radhey S; Bhandari, Vaibhav; Naushad, Hafiz Sohail

    2012-01-01

    The PVC superphylum is an amalgamation of species from the phyla Planctomycetes, Verrucomicrobia, and Chlamydiae, along with the Lentisphaerae, Poribacteria, and two other candidate divisions. The diverse species of this superphylum lack any significant marker that differentiates them from other bacteria. Recently, genome sequences for 37 species covering all of the main PVC groups of bacteria have become available. We have used these sequences to construct a phylogenetic tree based upon concatenated sequences for 16 proteins and identify molecular signatures in protein sequences that are specific for the species from these phyla or those providing molecular links among them. Of the useful molecular markers identified in the present work, six conserved signature indels (CSIs) in the proteins Cyt c oxidase, UvrD helicase, urease, and a helicase-domain containing protein are specific for the species from the Verrucomicrobia phylum; three other CSIs in an ABC transporter protein, cobyrinic acid ac-diamide synthase, and SpoVG protein are specific for the Planctomycetes species. Additionally, a 3 aa insert in the RpoB protein is uniquely present in all sequenced Chlamydiae, Verrucomicrobia, and Lentisphaerae species, providing evidence for the shared ancestry of the species from these three phyla. Lastly, we have also identified a conserved protein of unknown function that is exclusively found in all sequenced species from the phyla Chlamydiae, Verrucomicrobia, Lentisphaerae, and Planctomycetes suggesting a specific linkage among them. The absence of this protein in Poribacteria, which branches separately from other members of the PVC clade, indicates that it is not specifically related to the PVC clade of bacteria. The molecular markers described here in addition to clarifying the evolutionary relationships among the PVC clade of bacteria also provide novel tools for their identification and for genetic and biochemical studies on these organisms.

  16. Molecular Signatures for the PVC Clade (Planctomycetes, Verrucomicrobia, Chlamydiae, and Lentisphaerae) of Bacteria Provide Insights into Their Evolutionary Relationships

    PubMed Central

    Gupta, Radhey S.; Bhandari, Vaibhav; Naushad, Hafiz Sohail

    2012-01-01

    The PVC superphylum is an amalgamation of species from the phyla Planctomycetes, Verrucomicrobia, and Chlamydiae, along with the Lentisphaerae, Poribacteria, and two other candidate divisions. The diverse species of this superphylum lack any significant marker that differentiates them from other bacteria. Recently, genome sequences for 37 species covering all of the main PVC groups of bacteria have become available. We have used these sequences to construct a phylogenetic tree based upon concatenated sequences for 16 proteins and identify molecular signatures in protein sequences that are specific for the species from these phyla or those providing molecular links among them. Of the useful molecular markers identified in the present work, six conserved signature indels (CSIs) in the proteins Cyt c oxidase, UvrD helicase, urease, and a helicase-domain containing protein are specific for the species from the Verrucomicrobia phylum; three other CSIs in an ABC transporter protein, cobyrinic acid ac-diamide synthase, and SpoVG protein are specific for the Planctomycetes species. Additionally, a 3 aa insert in the RpoB protein is uniquely present in all sequenced Chlamydiae, Verrucomicrobia, and Lentisphaerae species, providing evidence for the shared ancestry of the species from these three phyla. Lastly, we have also identified a conserved protein of unknown function that is exclusively found in all sequenced species from the phyla Chlamydiae, Verrucomicrobia, Lentisphaerae, and Planctomycetes suggesting a specific linkage among them. The absence of this protein in Poribacteria, which branches separately from other members of the PVC clade, indicates that it is not specifically related to the PVC clade of bacteria. The molecular markers described here in addition to clarifying the evolutionary relationships among the PVC clade of bacteria also provide novel tools for their identification and for genetic and biochemical studies on these organisms. PMID:23060863

  17. Molecular phylogenetics unveils the ancient evolutionary origins of the enigmatic fairy armadillos.

    PubMed

    Delsuc, Frédéric; Superina, Mariella; Tilak, Marie-Ka; Douzery, Emmanuel J P; Hassanin, Alexandre

    2012-02-01

    Fairy armadillos or pichiciegos (Xenarthra, Dasypodidae) are among the most elusive mammals. Due to their subterranean and nocturnal lifestyle, their basic biology and evolutionary history remain virtually unknown. Two distinct species with allopatric distributions are recognized: Chlamyphorus truncatus is restricted to central Argentina, while Calyptophractus retusus occurs in the Gran Chaco of Argentina, Paraguay, and Bolivia. To test their monophyly and resolve their phylogenetic affinities within armadillos, we obtained sequence data from modern and museum specimens for two mitochondrial genes (12S RNA [MT-RNR1] and NADH dehydrogenase 1 [MT-ND1]) and two nuclear exons (breast cancer 1 early onset exon 11 [BRCA1] and von Willebrand factor exon 28 [VWF]). Phylogenetic analyses provided a reference phylogeny and timescale for living xenarthran genera. Our results reveal monophyletic pichiciegos as members of a major armadillo subfamily (Chlamyphorinae). Their strictly fossorial lifestyle probably evolved as a response to the Oligocene aridification that occurred in South America after their divergence from Tolypeutinae around 32 million years ago (Mya). The ancient divergence date (∼17Mya) for separation between the two species supports their taxonomic classification into distinct genera. The synchronicity with Middle Miocene marine incursions along the Paraná river basin suggests a vicariant origin for pichiciegos by the disruption of their ancestral range. Their phylogenetic distinctiveness and rarity in the wild argue in favor of high conservation priority.

  18. Surflex: fully automatic flexible molecular docking using a molecular similarity-based search engine.

    PubMed

    Jain, Ajay N

    2003-02-13

    Surflex is a fully automatic flexible molecular docking algorithm that combines the scoring function from the Hammerhead docking system with a search engine that relies on a surface-based molecular similarity method as a means to rapidly generate suitable putative poses for molecular fragments. Results are presented evaluating reliability and accuracy of dockings compared with crystallographic experimental results on 81 protein/ligand pairs of substantial structural diversity. In over 80% of the complexes, Surflex's highest scoring docked pose was within 2.5 A root-mean-square deviation (rmsd), with over 90% of the complexes having one of the top ranked poses within 2.5 A rmsd. Results are also presented assessing Surflex's utility as a screening tool on two protein targets (thymidine kinase and estrogen receptor) using data sets on which competing methods were run. Performance of Surflex was significantly better, with true positive rates of greater than 80% at false positive rates of less than 1%. Docking time was roughly linear in number of rotatable bonds, beginning with a few seconds for rigid molecules and adding approximately 10 s per rotatable bond.

  19. The evolutionary diversity of insect retinal mosaics: Common design principles and emerging molecular logic

    PubMed Central

    Wernet, Mathias F.; Perry, Michael W.; Desplan, Claude

    2015-01-01

    Independent evolution has resulted in a vast diversity of eyes. Despite the lack of a common Bauplan or ancestral structure, similar developmental strategies are used. For instance, different classes of photoreceptor cells (PRs) are distributed stochastically and/or localized in different regions of the retina. Here we focus on recent progress made towards understanding the molecular principles behind patterning retinal mosaics of insects, one of the most diverse groups of animals adapted to life on land, in the air, under water, or on the water surface. Morphological, physiological, and behavioral studies from many species provide detailed descriptions of the vast variation in retinal design and function. By integrating this knowledge with recent progress in the characterization of insect Rhodopsins as well as insight from the model organism Drosophila melanogaster, we seek to identify the molecular logic behind the adaptation of retinal mosaics to an animal’s habitat and way of life. PMID:26025917

  20. The evolutionary diversity of insect retinal mosaics: common design principles and emerging molecular logic.

    PubMed

    Wernet, Mathias F; Perry, Michael W; Desplan, Claude

    2015-06-01

    Independent evolution has resulted in a vast diversity of eyes. Despite the lack of a common Bauplan or ancestral structure, similar developmental strategies are used. For instance, different classes of photoreceptor cells (PRs) are distributed stochastically and/or localized in different regions of the retina. Here, we focus on recent progress made towards understanding the molecular principles behind patterning retinal mosaics of insects, one of the most diverse groups of animals adapted to life on land, in the air, under water, or on the water surface. Morphological, physiological, and behavioral studies from many species provide detailed descriptions of the vast variation in retinal design and function. By integrating this knowledge with recent progress in the characterization of insect Rhodopsins as well as insight from the model organism Drosophila melanogaster, we seek to identify the molecular logic behind the adaptation of retinal mosaics to the habitat and way of life of an animal.

  1. Molecular phylogeny, evolutionary rates, and divergence timing of the symbiotic dinoflagellate genus Symbiodinium.

    PubMed

    Pochon, Xavier; Montoya-Burgos, Juan I; Stadelmann, Benoit; Pawlowski, Jan

    2006-01-01

    Symbiotic dinoflagellates belonging to the genus Symbiodinium are found in association with a wide variety of shallow-water invertebrates and protists dwelling in tropical and subtropical coral-reef ecosystems. Molecular phylogeny of Symbiodinium, initially inferred using nuclear ribosomal genes, was recently confirmed by studies of chloroplastic and mitochondrial genes, but with limited taxon sampling and low resolution. Here, we present the first complete view of Symbiodinium phylogeny based on concatenated partial sequences of chloroplast 23S-rDNA (cp23S) and nuclear 28S-rDNA (nr28S) genes, including all known Symbiodinium lineages. Our data produced a well resolved phylogenetic tree and provide a strong statistical support for the eight distinctive clades (A-H) that form the major taxa of Symbiodinium. The relative-rate tests did not show particularly high differences between lineages and both analysed markers. However, maximum likelihood ratio tests rejected a global molecular clock. Therefore, we applied a relaxed molecular clock method to infer the divergence times of all extant lineages of Symbiodinium, calibrating its phylogenetic tree with the fossil record of soritid foraminifera. Our analysis suggests that Symbiodinium originated in early Eocene, and that the majority of extant lineages diversified since mid-Miocene, about 15 million years ago.

  2. A broad molecular phylogeny of ciliates: identification of major evolutionary trends and radiations within the phylum.

    PubMed Central

    Baroin-Tourancheau, A; Delgado, P; Perasso, R; Adoutte, A

    1992-01-01

    The cellular architecture of ciliates is one of the most complex known within eukaryotes. Detailed systematic schemes have thus been constructed through extensive comparative morphological and ultrastructural analysis of the ciliature and of its internal cytoskeletal derivatives (the infraciliature), as well as of the architecture of the oral apparatus. In recent years, a consensus was reached in which the phylum was divided in eight classes as defined by Lynn and Corliss [Lynn, D. H. & Corliss, J. O. (1991) in Microscopic Anatomy of Invertebrates: Protozoa (Wiley-Liss, New York), Vol. 1, pp. 333-467]. By comparing partial sequences of the large subunit rRNA molecule, and by using both distance-matrix and maximum-parsimony-tree construction methods (checked by boot-strapping), we examine the phylogenetic relationships of 22 species belonging to seven of these eight classes. At low taxonomic levels, the traditional grouping of the species is generally confirmed. At higher taxonomic levels, the branching pattern of these seven classes is resolved in several deeply separated major branches. Surprisingly, the first emerging one contains the heterotrichs and is strongly associated with a karyorelictid but deeply separated from hypotrichs. The litostomes, the oligohymenophorans, and the hypotrichs separate later in a bush-like topology hindering the resolution of their order of diversification. These results show a much more ancient origin of heterotrichs than was classically assumed, indicating that asymmetric, abundantly ciliated oral apparatuses do not correspond to "highly evolved" traits as previously thought. They also suggest the occurrence of a major radiative explosion in the evolutionary history of the ciliates, yielding five of the eight classes of the phylum. These classes appear to differ essentially according to the cytoskeletal architecture used to shape and sustain the cellular cortex (a process of essential adaptative and morphogenetic importance in

  3. Molecular markers based on LTR retrotransposons BARE-1 and Jeli uncover different strata of evolutionary relationships in diploid wheats.

    PubMed

    Konovalov, Fedor A; Goncharov, Nikolay P; Goryunova, Svetlana; Shaturova, Aleksandra; Proshlyakova, Tatyana; Kudryavtsev, Alexander

    2010-06-01

    Molecular markers based on retrotransposon insertions are widely used for various applications including phylogenetic analysis. Multiple cases were described where retrotransposon-based markers, namely sequence-specific amplification polymorphism (SSAP), were superior to other marker types in resolving the phylogenetic relationships due to their higher variability and informativeness. However, the patterns of evolutionary relationships revealed by SSAP may be dependent on the underlying retrotransposon activity in different periods of time. Hence, the proper choice of retrotransposon family is essential for obtaining significant results. We compared the phylogenetic trees for a diverse set of diploid A-genome wheat species (Triticum boeoticum, T. urartu and T. monococcum) based on two unrelated retrotransposon families, BARE-1 and Jeli. BARE-1 belongs to Copia class and has a uniform distribution between common wheat (T. aestivum) genomes of different origin (A, B and D), indicating similar activity in the respective diploid genome donors. Gypsy-class family Jeli was found by us to be an A-genome retrotransposon with >70% copies residing in A genome of hexaploid common wheat, suggesting a burst of transposition in the history of A-genome progenitors. The results indicate that a higher Jeli transpositional activity was associated with T. urartu versus T. boeoticum speciation, while BARE-1 produced more polymorphic insertions during subsequent intraspecific diversification; as an outcome, each retrotransposon provides more informative markers at the corresponding level of phylogenetic relationships. We conclude that multiple retroelement families should be analyzed for an image of evolutionary relationships to be solid and comprehensive. PMID:20407790

  4. A large-scale genomic approach affords unprecedented resolution for the molecular epidemiology and evolutionary history of contagious caprine pleuropneumonia.

    PubMed

    Dupuy, Virginie; Verdier, Axel; Thiaucourt, François; Manso-Silván, Lucía

    2015-01-01

    Contagious caprine pleuropneumonia (CCPP), caused by Mycoplasma capricolum subsp. capripneumoniae (Mccp), is a devastating disease of domestic goats and of some wild ungulate species. The disease is currently spreading in Africa and Asia and poses a serious threat to disease-free areas. A comprehensive view of the evolutionary history and dynamics of Mccp is essential to understand the epidemiology of CCPP. Yet, analysing the diversity of genetically monomorphic pathogens, such as Mccp, is complicated due to their low variability. In this study, the molecular epidemiology and evolution of CCPP was investigated using a large-scale genomic approach based on next-generation sequencing technologies, applied to a sample of strains representing the global distribution of this disease. A highly discriminatory multigene typing system was developed, allowing the differentiation of 24 haplotypes among 25 Mccp strains distributed in six genotyping groups, which showed some correlation with geographic origin. A Bayesian approach was used to infer the first robust phylogeny of the species and to date the principal events of its evolutionary history. The emergence of Mccp was estimated only at about 270 years ago, which explains the low genetic diversity of this species despite its high mutation rate, evaluated at 1.3 × 10(-6) substitutions per site per year. Finally, plausible scenarios were proposed to elucidate the evolution and dynamics of CCPP in Asia and Africa, though limited by the paucity of Mccp strains, particularly in Asia. This study shows how combining large-scale genomic data with spatial and temporal data makes it possible to obtain a comprehensive view of the epidemiology of CCPP, a precondition for the development of improved disease surveillance and control measures. PMID:26149260

  5. Housing helpful invaders: the evolutionary and molecular architecture underlying plant root-mutualist microbe interactions.

    PubMed

    Lagunas, B; Schäfer, P; Gifford, M L

    2015-04-01

    Plant root rhizosphere interactions with mutualistic microbes are diverse and numerous, having evolved over time in response to selective pressures on plants to attain anchorage and nutrients. These relationships can be considered to be formed through a combination of architectural connections: molecular architecture interactions that control root-microbe perception and regulate the balance between host and symbiont and developmental architecture interactions that enable the microbes to be 'housed' in the root and enable the exchange of compounds. Recent findings that help to understand the common architecture that exists between nodulation and mycorrhizal interactions, and how this architecture could be re-tuned to develop new symbioses, are discussed here.

  6. Evolutionary Genomics of Staphylococcus aureus Reveals Insights into the Origin and Molecular Basis of Ruminant Host Adaptation

    PubMed Central

    Guinane, Caitriona M.; Ben Zakour, Nouri L.; Tormo-Mas, Maria A.; Weinert, Lucy A.; Lowder, Bethan V.; Cartwright, Robyn A.; Smyth, Davida S.; Smyth, Cyril J.; Lindsay, Jodi A.; Gould, Katherine A.; Witney, Adam; Hinds, Jason; Bollback, Jonathan P.; Rambaut, Andrew; Penadés, José R.; Fitzgerald, J. Ross

    2010-01-01

    Phenotypic biotyping has traditionally been used to differentiate bacteria occupying distinct ecological niches such as host species. For example, the capacity of Staphylococcus aureus from sheep to coagulate ruminant plasma, reported over 60 years ago, led to the description of small ruminant and bovine S. aureus ecovars. The great majority of small ruminant isolates are represented by a single, widespread clonal complex (CC133) of S. aureus, but its evolutionary origin and the molecular basis for its host tropism remain unknown. Here, we provide evidence that the CC133 clone evolved as the result of a human to ruminant host jump followed by adaptive genome diversification. Comparative whole-genome sequencing revealed molecular evidence for host adaptation including gene decay and diversification of proteins involved in host–pathogen interactions. Importantly, several novel mobile genetic elements encoding virulence proteins with attenuated or enhanced activity in ruminants were widely distributed in CC133 isolates, suggesting a key role in its host-specific interactions. To investigate this further, we examined the activity of a novel staphylococcal pathogenicity island (SaPIov2) found in the great majority of CC133 isolates which encodes a variant of the chromosomally encoded von Willebrand-binding protein (vWbpSov2), previously demonstrated to have coagulase activity for human plasma. Remarkably, we discovered that SaPIov2 confers the ability to coagulate ruminant plasma suggesting an important role in ruminant disease pathogenesis and revealing the origin of a defining phenotype of the classical S. aureus biotyping scheme. Taken together, these data provide broad new insights into the origin and molecular basis of S. aureus ruminant host specificity. PMID:20624747

  7. Molecular signature of the D-loop in the brown pencilfish Nannostomus eques (Characiformes, Lebiasinidae) reveals at least two evolutionary units in the Rio Negro basin, Brazil.

    PubMed

    Terencio, M L; Schneider, C H; Porto, J I R

    2012-07-01

    The genetic variability of the brown pencilfish Nannostomus eques was studied, based on an analysis of sequences from the control region (1084 bp) of mitochondrial (mt)DNA in 125 individuals collected from eight tributaries along the upper (Açaituba, Miuá, Jaradi and Arixanã), middle (Demini), and lower (Jacundá, Maguari and Catalão) Rio Negro (Brazil). Phylogenetic inferences using mtDNA data from N. eques revealed two evolutionary units. Genetic distance between them ranged from 5.5 to 8.3% and differed by 8.5-11.8% from the sister species pencilfish Nannostomus unifasciatus. The time of divergence between the two evolutionary units was estimated to be the Middle Pliocene (c. 2.99 million years before present). Population genetic analysis (DNA polymorphism, AMOVA and Mantel test) showed high haplotype diversity (HD, >0.90) in each evolutionary unit, a strong population genetic structure in the Demini River that formed a monophyletic group and a correlation between genetic divergence and geographical distance in only one of these units (evolutionary unit 1). On the basis of molecular data, the rapids and waterfalls near São Gabriel da Cachoeira (Upper Rio Negro) were the main barriers to gene flow within evolutionary unit 1 in some localities. The emergences of the Branco River and the Anavilhanas Archipelago were apparently responsible for the discrepancy in distribution of the two evolutionary units, except at Jacundá, where the evolutionary units were sympatric. In view of the differences between the evolutionary units, N. eques cannot be treated as a single stock in the Rio Negro basin. These results may have important implications for the fishery management of this ornamental fish. PMID:22747807

  8. Molecular signature of the D-loop in the brown pencilfish Nannostomus eques (Characiformes, Lebiasinidae) reveals at least two evolutionary units in the Rio Negro basin, Brazil.

    PubMed

    Terencio, M L; Schneider, C H; Porto, J I R

    2012-07-01

    The genetic variability of the brown pencilfish Nannostomus eques was studied, based on an analysis of sequences from the control region (1084 bp) of mitochondrial (mt)DNA in 125 individuals collected from eight tributaries along the upper (Açaituba, Miuá, Jaradi and Arixanã), middle (Demini), and lower (Jacundá, Maguari and Catalão) Rio Negro (Brazil). Phylogenetic inferences using mtDNA data from N. eques revealed two evolutionary units. Genetic distance between them ranged from 5.5 to 8.3% and differed by 8.5-11.8% from the sister species pencilfish Nannostomus unifasciatus. The time of divergence between the two evolutionary units was estimated to be the Middle Pliocene (c. 2.99 million years before present). Population genetic analysis (DNA polymorphism, AMOVA and Mantel test) showed high haplotype diversity (HD, >0.90) in each evolutionary unit, a strong population genetic structure in the Demini River that formed a monophyletic group and a correlation between genetic divergence and geographical distance in only one of these units (evolutionary unit 1). On the basis of molecular data, the rapids and waterfalls near São Gabriel da Cachoeira (Upper Rio Negro) were the main barriers to gene flow within evolutionary unit 1 in some localities. The emergences of the Branco River and the Anavilhanas Archipelago were apparently responsible for the discrepancy in distribution of the two evolutionary units, except at Jacundá, where the evolutionary units were sympatric. In view of the differences between the evolutionary units, N. eques cannot be treated as a single stock in the Rio Negro basin. These results may have important implications for the fishery management of this ornamental fish.

  9. Evolutionary origins, molecular cloning and expression of carotenoid hydroxylases in eukaryotic photosynthetic algae

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Xanthophylls, oxygenated derivatives of carotenes, play critical roles in photosynthetic apparatus of cyanobacteria, algae, and higher plants. Although the xanthophylls biosynthetic pathway of algae is largely unknown, it is of particular interest because they have a very complicated evolutionary history. Carotenoid hydroxylase (CHY) is an important protein that plays essential roles in xanthophylls biosynthesis. With the availability of 18 sequenced algal genomes, we performed a comprehensive comparative analysis of chy genes and explored their distribution, structure, evolution, origins, and expression. Results Overall 60 putative chy genes were identified and classified into two major subfamilies (bch and cyp97) according to their domain structures. Genes in the bch subfamily were found in 10 green algae and 1 red alga, but absent in other algae. In the phylogenetic tree, bch genes of green algae and higher plants share a common ancestor and are of non-cyanobacterial origin, whereas that of red algae is of cyanobacteria. The homologs of cyp97a/c genes were widespread only in green algae, while cyp97b paralogs were seen in most of algae. Phylogenetic analysis on cyp97 genes supported the hypothesis that cyp97b is an ancient gene originated before the formation of extant algal groups. The cyp97a gene is more closely related to cyp97c in evolution than to cyp97b. The two cyp97 genes were isolated from the green alga Haematococcus pluvialis, and transcriptional expression profiles of chy genes were observed under high light stress of different wavelength. Conclusions Green algae received a β-xanthophylls biosynthetic pathway from host organisms. Although red algae inherited the pathway from cyanobacteria during primary endosymbiosis, it remains unclear in Chromalveolates. The α-xanthophylls biosynthetic pathway is a common feature in green algae and higher plants. The origination of cyp97a/c is most likely due to gene duplication before divergence of

  10. Evolutionary relationships of Metazoa within the eukaryotes based on molecular data from Porifera.

    PubMed Central

    Schütze, J; Krasko, A; Custodio, M R; Efremova, S M; Müller, I M; Müller, W E

    1999-01-01

    Recent molecular data provide strong support for the view that all metazoan phyla, including Porifera, are of monophyletic origin. The relationship of Metazoa, including the Porifera, to Plantae, Fungi and unicellular eukaryotes has only rarely been studied by using cDNAs coding for proteins. Sequence data from rDNA suggested a relationship of Porifera to unicellular eukaryotes (choanoflagellates). However, ultrastructural studies of choanocytes did not support these findings. In the present study, we compared amino acid sequences that are found in a variety of metazoans (including sponges) with those of Plantae, Fungi and unicellular eukaryotes, to obtain an answer to this question. We used the four sequences from 70 kDa heat-shock proteins, the serine-threonine kinase domain found in protein kinases, beta-tubulin and calmodulin. The latter two sequences were deduced from cDNAs, isolated from the sponge Geodia cydonium for the phylogenetic analyses presented. These revealed that the sponge molecules were grouped into the same branch as the Metazoa, which is statistically (significantly) separated from those branches that comprise the sequences from Fungi, Plantae and unicellular eukaryotes. From our molecular data it seems evident that the unicellular eukaryotes existed at an earlier stage of evolution, and the Plantae and especially the Fungi and the Metazoa only appeared later. PMID:10081159

  11. Molecular and evolutionary insights into the structural organization of cation chloride cotransporters

    PubMed Central

    Hartmann, Anna-Maria; Nothwang, Hans Gerd

    2015-01-01

    Cation chloride cotransporters (CCC) play an essential role for neuronal chloride homeostasis. K+-Cl− cotransporter (KCC2), is the principal Cl−-extruder, whereas Na+-K+-Cl− cotransporter (NKCC1), is the major Cl−-uptake mechanism in many neurons. As a consequence, the action of the inhibitory neurotransmitters gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glycine strongly depend on the activity of these two transporters. Knowledge of the mechanisms involved in ion transport and regulation is thus of great importance to better understand normal and disturbed brain function. Although no overall 3-dimensional crystal structures are yet available, recent molecular and phylogenetic studies and modeling have provided new and exciting insights into structure-function relationships of CCC. Here, we will summarize our current knowledge of the gross structural organization of the proteins, their functional domains, ion binding and translocation sites, and the established role of individual amino acids (aa). A major focus will be laid on the delineation of shared and distinct organizational principles between KCC2 and NKCC1. Exploiting the richness of recently generated genome data across the tree of life, we will also explore the molecular evolution of these features. PMID:25653592

  12. Evolutionary history of tall fescue morphotypes inferred from molecular phylogenetics of the Lolium-Festuca species complex

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background The agriculturally important pasture grass tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb. syn. Lolium arundinaceum (Schreb.) Darbysh.) is an outbreeding allohexaploid, that may be more accurately described as a species complex consisting of three major (Continental, Mediterranean and rhizomatous) morphotypes. Observation of hybrid infertility in some crossing combinations between morphotypes suggests the possibility of independent origins from different diploid progenitors. This study aims to clarify the evolutionary relationships between each tall fescue morphotype through phylogenetic analysis using two low-copy nuclear genes (encoding plastid acetyl-CoA carboxylase [Acc1] and centroradialis [CEN]), the nuclear ribosomal DNA internal transcribed spacer (rDNA ITS) and the chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) genome-located matK gene. Other taxa within the closely related Lolium-Festuca species complex were also included in the study, to increase understanding of evolutionary processes in a taxonomic group characterised by multiple inter-specific hybridisation events. Results Putative homoeologous sequences from both nuclear genes were obtained from each polyploid species and compared to counterparts from 15 diploid taxa. Phylogenetic reconstruction confirmed F. pratensis and F. arundinacea var. glaucescens as probable progenitors to Continental tall fescue, and these species are also likely to be ancestral to the rhizomatous morphotype. However, these two morphotypes are sufficiently distinct to be located in separate clades based on the ITS-derived data set. All four of the generated data sets suggest independent evolution of the Mediterranean and Continental morphotypes, with minimal affinity between cognate sequence haplotypes. No obvious candidate progenitor species for Mediterranean tall fescues were identified, and only two putative sub-genome-specific haplotypes were identified for this morphotype. Conclusions This study describes the first phylogenetic analysis of

  13. Molecular and Evolutionary History of Melanism in North American Gray Wolves

    PubMed Central

    Anderson, Tovi M.; vonHoldt, Bridgett M.; Candille, Sophie I.; Musiani, Marco; Greco, Claudia; Stahler, Daniel R.; Smith, Douglas W.; Padhukasahasram, Badri; Randi, Ettore; Leonard, Jennifer A.; Bustamante, Carlos D.; Ostrander, Elaine A.; Tang, Hua; Wayne, Robert K.; Barsh, Gregory S.

    2010-01-01

    Morphological diversity within closely related species is an essential aspect of evolution and adaptation. Mutations in the Melanocortin 1 receptor (Mc1r) gene contribute to pigmentary diversity in natural populations of fish, birds, and many mammals. However, melanism in the gray wolf, Canis lupus, is caused by a different melanocortin pathway component, the K locus, that encodes a beta-defensin protein that acts as an alternative ligand for Mc1r. We show that the melanistic K locus mutation in North American wolves derives from past hybridization with domestic dogs, has risen to high frequency in forested habitats, and exhibits a molecular signature of positive selection. The same mutation also causes melanism in the coyote, Canis latrans, and in Italian gray wolves, and hence our results demonstrate how traits selected in domesticated species can influence the morphological diversity of their wild relatives. PMID:19197024

  14. Molecular systematics and evolutionary origins of the genus Petaurus (Marsupialia: Petauridae) in Australia and New Guinea.

    PubMed

    Malekian, Mansoureh; Cooper, Steven J B; Norman, Janette A; Christidis, Les; Carthew, Susan M

    2010-01-01

    The glider genus Petaurus comprises a group of arboreal and nocturnal marsupial species from New Guinea and Australia. Molecular data were generated in order to examine phylogenetic relationships among species within the genus and explore the time-scale of diversification and biogeographic history of the genus in Australia and New Guinea. All known species and subspecies of Petaurus (with the exception of P. biacensis) were sequenced for two mitochondrial genes (ND2 and ND4) and one nuclear marker (omega-globin gene). Phylogenetic analyses confirmed the monophyly of the genus relative to other petaurids and showed a sister relationship of P. australis to the rest of Petaurus. The analyses revealed that currently recognised species of Petaurus formed distinct mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) clades. Considerable mtDNA diversity and seven distinct clades were identified within the species P. breviceps, with the distribution of each clade showing no correspondence with the distributional limits of known subspecies. Molecular dating analyses using BEAST suggested an early to mid-Miocene origin (18-24 mya) for the genus. Ancestral area reconstructions, using BayesTraits, did not resolve the location for the centre of origin of Petaurus, but provided evidence for at least one dispersal event from New Guinea to Australia that led to the evolution of extant Australian populations of P. breviceps, P. norfolcensis and P. gracilis. The timing of this dispersal event appears to pre-date the Pleistocene, adding to the growing number of studies that suggest faunal connections occurred between Australia and New Guinea in the Late Miocene to Pliocene period.

  15. Molecular insights into the evolutionary pathway of Vibrio cholerae O1 atypical El Tor variants.

    PubMed

    Kim, Eun Jin; Lee, Dokyung; Moon, Se Hoon; Lee, Chan Hee; Kim, Sang Jun; Lee, Jae Hyun; Kim, Jae Ouk; Song, Manki; Das, Bhabatosh; Clemens, John D; Pape, Jean William; Nair, G Balakrish; Kim, Dong Wook

    2014-09-01

    Pandemic V. cholerae strains in the O1 serogroup have 2 biotypes: classical and El Tor. The classical biotype strains of the sixth pandemic, which encode the classical type cholera toxin (CT), have been replaced by El Tor biotype strains of the seventh pandemic. The prototype El Tor strains that produce biotype-specific cholera toxin are being replaced by atypical El Tor variants that harbor classical cholera toxin. Atypical El Tor strains are categorized into 2 groups, Wave 2 and Wave 3 strains, based on genomic variations and the CTX phage that they harbor. Whole-genome analysis of V. cholerae strains in the seventh cholera pandemic has demonstrated gradual changes in the genome of prototype and atypical El Tor strains, indicating that atypical strains arose from the prototype strains by replacing the CTX phages. We examined the molecular mechanisms that effected the emergence of El Tor strains with classical cholera toxin-carrying phage. We isolated an intermediary V. cholerae strain that carried two different CTX phages that encode El Tor and classical cholera toxin, respectively. We show here that the intermediary strain can be converted into various Wave 2 strains and can act as the source of the novel mosaic CTX phages. These results imply that the Wave 2 and Wave 3 strains may have been generated from such intermediary strains in nature. Prototype El Tor strains can become Wave 3 strains by excision of CTX-1 and re-equipping with the new CTX phages. Our data suggest that inter-chromosomal recombination between 2 types of CTX phages is possible when a host bacterial cell is infected by multiple CTX phages. Our study also provides molecular insights into population changes in V. cholerae in the absence of significant changes to the genome but by replacement of the CTX prophage that they harbor.

  16. The dynamical evolution of molecular clouds near the Galactic Centre - I. Orbital structure and evolutionary timeline

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kruijssen, J. M. Diederik; Dale, James E.; Longmore, Steven N.

    2015-02-01

    We recently proposed that the star-forming potential of dense molecular clouds in the Central Molecular Zone (CMZ, i.e. the central few 100 pc) of the Milky Way is intimately linked to their orbital dynamics, potentially giving rise to an absolute-time sequence of star-forming clouds. In this paper, we present an orbital model for the gas stream(s) observed in the CMZ. The model is obtained by integrating orbits in the empirically constrained gravitational potential and represents a good fit (χ _red^2=2.0) to the observed position-velocity distribution of dense (n > several 103 cm-3) gas, reproducing all of its key properties. The orbit is also consistent with observational constraints not included in the fitting process, such as the 3D space velocities of Sgr B2 and the Arches and Quintuplet clusters. It differs from previous, parametric models in several respects: (1) the orbit is open rather than closed due to the extended mass distribution in the CMZ, (2) its orbital velocity (100-200 km s-1) is twice as high as in previous models, and (3) Sgr A* coincides with the focus of the (eccentric) orbit rather than being offset. Our orbital solution supports the recently proposed scenario in which the dust ridge between G0.253+0.016 (`the Brick') and Sgr B2 represents an absolute-time sequence of star-forming clouds, of which the condensation was triggered by the tidal compression during their most recent pericentre passage. We position the clouds on a common timeline and find that their pericentre passages occurred 0.30-0.74 Myr ago. Given their short free-fall times (tff ˜ 0.34 Myr), the quiescent cloud G0.253+0.016 and the vigorously star-forming complex Sgr B2 are separated by a single free-fall time of evolution, implying that star formation proceeds rapidly once collapse has been initiated. We provide the complete orbital solution, as well as several quantitative predictions of our model (e.g. proper motions and the positions of star formation `hotspots'). The

  17. Molecular systematics of Serrasalmidae: Deciphering the identities of piranha species and unraveling their evolutionary histories

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Freeman, B.; Nico, L.G.; Osentoski, M.; Jelks, H.L.; Collins, T.M.

    2007-01-01

    Piranhas and their relatives have proven to be a challenging group from a systematic perspective, with difficulties in identification of species, linking of juveniles to adults, diagnosis of genera, and recognition of higher-level clades. In this study we add new molecular data consisting of three mitochondrial regions for museum vouchered and photo-documented representatives of the Serrasalmidae. These are combined with existing serrasalmid sequences in GenBank to address species and higher-level questions within the piranhas using parsimony and Bayesian methods. We found robust support for the monophyly of Serrasalmus manueli, but not for Serrasalmus gouldingi when GenBank specimens identified as S. gouldingi were included in the analysis. "Serrasalmus gouldingi" sequences in GenBank may, however, be misidentified. Linking of juveniles to adults of the same species was greatly facilitated by the addition of sequence data. Based on our sampling and identifications, our data robustly reject the monophyly of the genera Serrasalmus and Pristobrycon. We found evidence for a well-supported clade comprised of Serrasalmus, Pygocentrus, and Pristobrycon (in part). This clade was robustly supported in separate and combined analyses of gene regions, and was also supported by a unique molecular character, the loss of a tandem repeat in the control region. Analysis of specimens and a literature review suggest this clade is also characterized by the presence of a pre-anal spine and ectopterygoid teeth. A persistent polytomy at the base of this clade was dated using an independent calibration as 1.8 million years old, corresponding to the beginning of the Pleistocene Epoch, and suggesting an origin for this clade more recent than dates cited in the recent literature. The sister group to this clade is also robustly supported, and consists of Catoprion, Pygopristis, and Pristobrycon striolatus. If the term piranha is to refer to a monophyletic clade, it should be restricted to

  18. Molecular cloning and evolutionary analysis of the GJA1 (connexin43) gene from bats (Chiroptera).

    PubMed

    Wang, Li; Li, Gang; Wang, Jinhong; Ye, Shaohui; Jones, Gareth; Zhang, Shuyi

    2009-04-01

    Gap junction protein connexin43 (Cx43), encoded by the GJA1 gene, is the most abundant connexin in the cardiovascular system and was reported as a crucial factor maintaining cardiac electrical conduction, as well as having a very important function in facilitating the recycling of potassium ions from hair cells in the cochlea back into the cochlear endolymph during auditory transduction processes. In mammals, bats are the only taxon possessing powered flight, placing exceptional demand on many organismal processes. To meet the demands of flying, the hearts of bats show many specialties. Moreover, ultrasonic echolocation allows bat species to orientate and often detect and locate food in darkness. In this study, we cloned the full-length coding region of GJA1 gene from 12 different species of bats and obtained orthologous sequences from other mammals. We used the maximum likelihood method to analyse the evolution of GJA1 gene in mammals and the lineage of bats. Our results showed this gene is much conserved in mammals, as well as in bats' lineage. Compared with other mammals, we found one private amino acid substitution shared by bats, which is located on the inner loop domain, as well as some species-specific amino acid substitutions. The evolution rate analyses showed the signature of purifying selection on not only different classification level lineages but also the different domains and amino acid residue sites of this gene. Also, we suggested that GJA1 gene could be used as a good molecular marker to do the phylogenetic reconstruction.

  19. DNA barcode and evolutionary relationship within Laemolyta Cope 1872 (Characiformes: Anostomidae) through molecular analyses.

    PubMed

    Ramirez, Jorge L; Galetti, Pedro M

    2015-12-01

    The Laemolyta genus is a monophyletic group with five valid species. Phylogenetic relationships among the species of this genus are unknown. We analyzed four nominal Laemolyta species. The COI gene for all individuals was amplified and the genetic distances were estimated. We performed genetic distance analyses to determine the different MOTUs. Two mitochondrial (COI and CytB) and three nuclear (Myh6, RAG1 and RAG2) markers were amplified for one individual of each identified MOTU. Maximum Parsimony and Maximum Likelihood were conducted using concatenate alignment. In addition, multilocus Bayesian species tree was carried out. By using DNA barcode, we identified six different MOTUs. The COI inter-MOTU distances ranged from 0.92% to 5.76%. The normalized mean intra-MOTU distance was 0.13%. The DNA barcode was useful to diagnose all species. Two clades showing distinct color patterns were recovered in all molecular phylogenetic trees. Clade A joined fishes with no vertical bars (L. garmani, L. taeniata 1 and L. taeniata 2) and clade B, fishes with vertical dark bars (L. fernandezi Araguaia, L. fernandezi Xingu, and L. proxima). The results were able to identify the cryptic biodiversity within the group and obtained the most complete Laemolyta phylogeny. PMID:26238459

  20. Molecular characterization and evolutionary study of spider tubuliform (eggcase) silk protein.

    PubMed

    Tian, Maozhen; Lewis, Randolph V

    2005-06-01

    As a result of hundreds of millions of years of evolution, orb-web-weaving spiders have developed the use of seven different silks produced by different abdominal glands for various functions. Tubuliform silk (eggcase silk) is unique among these spider silks due to its high serine and very low glycine content. In addition, tubuliform silk is the only silk produced just during a short period of time, the reproductive season, in the spider's life. To understand the molecular characteristics of the proteins composing this silk, we constructed tubuliform-gland-specific cDNA libraries from three different spider families, Nephila clavipes, Argiope aurantia, and Araneus gemmoides. Sequencing of tubuliform silk cDNAs reveals the repetitive architecture of its coding sequence and novel amino acid motifs. The inferred protein, tubuliform spidroin 1 (TuSp1), contains highly homogenized repeats in all three spiders. Amino acid composition comparison of the predicted tubuliform silk protein sequence to tubuliform silk indicates that TuSp1 is the major component of tubuliform silk. Repeat unit alignment of TuSp1 among three spider species shows high sequence conservation among tubuliform silk protein orthologue groups. Sequence comparison among TuSp1 repetitive units within species suggests intragenic concerted evolution, presumably through gene conversion and unequal crossover events. Comparative analysis demonstrates that TuSp1 represents a new orthologue in the spider silk gene family.

  1. Evolutionary relationships among the Scarabaeini (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) based on combined molecular and morphological data.

    PubMed

    Forgie, Shaun A; Kryger, Ute; Bloomer, Paulette; Scholtz, Clarke H

    2006-09-01

    The Scarabaeini is an old world tribe of ball-rolling dung beetles that have origins dating back to at least the mid-upper Miocene (19-8 million years ago). The tribe has received little to no attention in morphological or molecular phylogenetics. We obtained sequence data from the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I (1,197 bp) and 16S ribosomal RNA (461 bp) genes for 25 species of the Scarabaeini in an attempt to further resolve broad phylogenetic relationships within this tribe. Sequence data from both markers along with 216 morphological and 3 biological characters were analysed separately and combined. Independent analyses showed poorly resolved trees with many of the intermediate and basal nodes collapsed by low bootstrap values. Many sites in both genes exhibited strong A+T nucleotide bias and high interlineage divergences. The combined analysis revealed a number of well supported relationships such as the monophyly of the nocturnal species Scarabaeus satyrus, S. [Neateuchus] proboscideus, and S. zambesianus. Furthermore, the total evidence tree suggested to elevate S. (Pachysoma) to the status of an independent genus, Pachysoma, as a sister taxon to a clade containing Pachylomerus femoralis and Scarabaeus sensu lato. Within the latter, the following subgenera were maintained by the combination of data sets: S. (Scarabaeolus), S. (Sceliages), and S. (Kheper). Both, feeding specialisation and food relocation behaviour, were inferred to be polyphyletic in the Scarabaeini. Total evidence analysis found no support for common ancestry of Scarabaeini and Eucraniini.

  2. Evolutionary history of the PER3 variable number of tandem repeats (VNTR): idiosyncratic aspect of primate molecular circadian clock.

    PubMed

    Sabino, Flávia Cal; Ribeiro, Amanda Oliveira; Tufik, Sérgio; Torres, Laila Brito; Oliveira, José Américo; Mello, Luiz Eugênio Araújo Moraes; Cavalcante, Jeferson Souza; Pedrazzoli, Mario

    2014-01-01

    The PER3 gene is one of the clock genes, which function in the core mammalian molecular circadian system. A variable number of tandem repeats (VNTR) locus in the 18th exon of this gene has been strongly associated to circadian rhythm phenotypes and sleep organization in humans, but it has not been identified in other mammals except primates. To better understand the evolution and the placement of the PER3 VNTR in a phylogenetical context, the present study enlarges the investigation about the presence and the structure of this variable region in a large sample of primate species and other mammals. The analysis of the results has revealed that the PER3 VNTR occurs exclusively in simiiforme primates and that the number of copies of the primitive unit ranges from 2 to 11 across different primate species. Two transposable elements surrounding the 18th exon of PER3 were found in primates with published genome sequences, including the tarsiiforme Tarsius syrichta, which lacks the VNTR. These results suggest that this VNTR may have evolved in a common ancestor of the simiiforme branch and that the evolutionary copy number differentiation of this VNTR may be associated with primate simiiformes sleep and circadian phenotype patterns.

  3. Is the rate of insertion and deletion mutation male biased?: Molecular evolutionary analysis of avian and primate sex chromosome sequences.

    PubMed Central

    Sundström, Hannah; Webster, Matthew T; Ellegren, Hans

    2003-01-01

    The rate of mutation for nucleotide substitution is generally higher among males than among females, likely owing to the larger number of DNA replications in spermatogenesis than in oogenesis. For insertion and deletion (indel) mutations, data from a few human genetic disease loci indicate that the two sexes may mutate at similar rates, possibly because such mutations arise in connection with meiotic crossing over. To address origin- and sex-specific rates of indel mutation we have conducted the first large-scale molecular evolutionary analysis of indels in noncoding DNA sequences from sex chromosomes. The rates are similar on the X and Y chromosomes of primates but about twice as high on the avian Z chromosome as on the W chromosome. The fact that indels are not uncommon on the nonrecombining Y and W chromosomes excludes meiotic crossing over as the main cause of indel mutation. On the other hand, the similar rates on X and Y indicate that the number of DNA replications (higher for Y than for X) is also not the main factor. Our observations are therefore consistent with a role of both DNA replication and recombination in the generation of short insertion and deletion mutations. A significant excess of deletion compared to insertion events is observed on the avian W chromosome, consistent with gradual DNA loss on a nonrecombining chromosome. PMID:12750337

  4. Elucidating the evolutionary conserved DNA-binding specificities of WRKY transcription factors by molecular dynamics and in vitro binding assays

    PubMed Central

    Brand, Luise H.; Fischer, Nina M.; Harter, Klaus; Kohlbacher, Oliver; Wanke, Dierk

    2013-01-01

    WRKY transcription factors constitute a large protein family in plants that is involved in the regulation of developmental processes and responses to biotic or abiotic stimuli. The question arises how stimulus-specific responses are mediated given that the highly conserved WRKY DNA-binding domain (DBD) exclusively recognizes the ‘TTGACY’ W-box consensus. We speculated that the W-box consensus might be more degenerate and yet undetected differences in the W-box consensus of WRKYs of different evolutionary descent exist. The phylogenetic analysis of WRKY DBDs suggests that they evolved from an ancestral group IIc-like WRKY early in the eukaryote lineage. A direct descent of group IIc WRKYs supports a monophyletic origin of all other group II and III WRKYs from group I by loss of an N-terminal DBD. Group I WRKYs are of paraphyletic descent and evolved multiple times independently. By homology modeling, molecular dynamics simulations and in vitro DNA–protein interaction-enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay with AtWRKY50 (IIc), AtWRKY33 (I) and AtWRKY11 (IId) DBDs, we revealed differences in DNA-binding specificities. Our data imply that other components are essentially required besides the W-box-specific binding to DNA to facilitate a stimulus-specific WRKY function. PMID:23975197

  5. Evolutionary History of the PER3 Variable Number of Tandem Repeats (VNTR): Idiosyncratic Aspect of Primate Molecular Circadian Clock

    PubMed Central

    Sabino, Flávia Cal; Ribeiro, Amanda Oliveira; Tufik, Sérgio; Torres, Laila Brito; Oliveira, José Américo; Mello, Luiz Eugênio Araújo Moraes; Cavalcante, Jeferson Souza; Pedrazzoli, Mario

    2014-01-01

    The PER3 gene is one of the clock genes, which function in the core mammalian molecular circadian system. A variable number of tandem repeats (VNTR) locus in the 18th exon of this gene has been strongly associated to circadian rhythm phenotypes and sleep organization in humans, but it has not been identified in other mammals except primates. To better understand the evolution and the placement of the PER3 VNTR in a phylogenetical context, the present study enlarges the investigation about the presence and the structure of this variable region in a large sample of primate species and other mammals. The analysis of the results has revealed that the PER3 VNTR occurs exclusively in simiiforme primates and that the number of copies of the primitive unit ranges from 2 to 11 across different primate species. Two transposable elements surrounding the 18th exon of PER3 were found in primates with published genome sequences, including the tarsiiforme Tarsius syrichta, which lacks the VNTR. These results suggest that this VNTR may have evolved in a common ancestor of the simiiforme branch and that the evolutionary copy number differentiation of this VNTR may be associated with primate simiiformes sleep and circadian phenotype patterns. PMID:25222750

  6. Are pharmaceuticals with evolutionary conserved molecular drug targets more potent to cause toxic effects in non-target organisms?

    PubMed

    Furuhagen, Sara; Fuchs, Anne; Lundström Belleza, Elin; Breitholtz, Magnus; Gorokhova, Elena

    2014-01-01

    The ubiquitous use of pharmaceuticals has resulted in a continuous discharge into wastewater and pharmaceuticals and their metabolites are found in the environment. Due to their design towards specific drug targets, pharmaceuticals may be therapeutically active already at low environmental concentrations. Several human drug targets are evolutionary conserved in aquatic organisms, raising concerns about effects of these pharmaceuticals in non-target organisms. In this study, we hypothesized that the toxicity of a pharmaceutical towards a non-target invertebrate depends on the presence of the human drug target orthologs in this species. This was tested by assessing toxicity of pharmaceuticals with (miconazole and promethazine) and without (levonorgestrel) identified drug target orthologs in the cladoceran Daphnia magna. The toxicity was evaluated using general toxicity endpoints at individual (immobility, reproduction and development), biochemical (RNA and DNA content) and molecular (gene expression) levels. The results provide evidence for higher toxicity of miconazole and promethazine, i.e. the drugs with identified drug target orthologs. At the individual level, miconazole had the lowest effect concentrations for immobility and reproduction (0.3 and 0.022 mg L-1, respectively) followed by promethazine (1.6 and 0.18 mg L-1, respectively). At the biochemical level, individual RNA content was affected by miconazole and promethazine already at 0.0023 and 0.059 mg L-1, respectively. At the molecular level, gene expression for cuticle protein was significantly suppressed by exposure to both miconazole and promethazine; moreover, daphnids exposed to miconazole had significantly lower vitellogenin expression. Levonorgestrel did not have any effects on any endpoints in the concentrations tested. These results highlight the importance of considering drug target conservation in environmental risk assessments of pharmaceuticals.

  7. EVOLUTIONARY STATUS OF BRIGHTEST AND YOUNGEST SOURCE IN THE ORION MOLECULAR CLOUD -3 REGION

    SciTech Connect

    Takahashi, Satoko; Ho, Paul T. P.; Tang, Ya-Wen; Kawabe, Ryohei; Saito, Masao

    2009-10-20

    The brightest continuum source in the Orion molecular cloud-3 region (OMC-3), MMS 6, was observed with the Very Large Array (VLA), the Nobeyama Millimeter Array (NMA), and the Submillimeter Array (SMA). Our data were supplemented by near- to mid-infrared archival data taken by Spitzer Space Telescope. The compact continuum source, MMS 6-main, was detected with an H{sub 2} mass of 3.0 M {sub sun} with a size of 510 AU. Despite its compact and well-condensed appearance, neither clear CO outflow, radio jet, nor infrared sources (at a wavelength shorter than 8 mum) were detected at MMS 6-main even with the present high angular resolution and high-sensitivity observations. The derived H{sub 2} column density, 2.6 x 10{sup 25} cm{sup -2}, corresponds to a visual extinction of A{sub v} approx 15, 000 mag, and the derived number density is at least two orders of magnitude higher than for the other OMC-2/3 continuum sources. The volume density profile of the source was estimated to have a power-law index of 2 or steeper down to a radius of approx450 AU. The timescale to form a protostar at the center or the timescale elapsed after its formation is estimated to be 830 to 7600 yr. This is much shorter than the typical lifetime of the Class 0/I protostars, which is approx10{sup 4}-10{sup 5} yr, suggesting that MMS 6-main is probably in either the earliest stage of the protostellar core or in the latest stage of the prestellar phase.

  8. Phylogeny, evolutionary trends and classification of the Spathelia–Ptaeroxylon clade: morphological and molecular insights

    PubMed Central

    Appelhans, M. S.; Smets, E.; Razafimandimbison, S. G.; Haevermans, T.; van Marle, E. J.; Couloux, A.; Rabarison, H.; Randrianarivelojosia, M.; Keßler, P. J. A.

    2011-01-01

    Background and Aims The Spathelia–Ptaeroxylon clade is a group of morphologically diverse plants that have been classified together as a result of molecular phylogenetic studies. The clade is currently included in Rutaceae and recognized at a subfamilial level (Spathelioideae) despite the fact that most of its genera have traditionally been associated with other families and that there are no obvious morphological synapomorphies for the clade. The aim of the present study is to construct phylogenetic trees for the Spathelia–Ptaeroxylon clade and to investigate anatomical characters in order to decide whether it should be kept in Rutaceae or recognized at the familial level. Anatomical characters were plotted on a cladogram to help explain character evolution within the group. Moreover, phylogenetic relationships and generic limits within the clade are also addressed. Methods A species-level phylogenetic analysis of the Spathelia–Ptaeroxylon clade based on five plastid DNA regions (rbcL, atpB, trnL–trnF, rps16 and psbA–trnH) was conducted using Bayesian, maximum parsimony and maximum likelihood methods. Leaf and seed anatomical characters of all genera were (re)investigated by light and scanning electron microscopy. Key Results With the exception of Spathelia, all genera of the Spathelila–Ptaeroxylon clade are monophyletic. The typical leaf and seed anatomical characters of Rutaceae were found. Further, the presence of oil cells in the leaves provides a possible synapomorphy for the clade. Conclusions The Spathelia–Ptaeroxylon clade is well placed in Rutaceae and it is reasonable to unite the genera into one subfamily (Spathelioideae). We propose a new tribal classification of Spathelioideae. A narrow circumscription of Spathelia is established to make the genus monophyletic, and Sohnreyia is resurrected to accommodate the South American species of Spathelia. The most recent common ancestor of Spathelioideae probably had leaves with secretory cavities

  9. Evolutionary, behavioural and molecular ecology must meet to achieve long-term conservation goals.

    PubMed

    Keogh, J Scott

    2009-09-01

    Founder populations in reintroduction programmes can experience a genetic bottleneck simply because of their small size. The influence of reproductive skew brought on by polygynous or polyandrous mating systems in these populations can exacerbate already difficult conservation genetic problems, such as inbreeding depression and loss of adaptive potential. Without an understanding of reproductive skew in a target species, and the effect it can have on genetic diversity retained over generations, long-term conservation goals will be compromised. In this issue of Molecular Ecology, Miller et al. (2009a) test how founder group size and variance in male reproductive success influence the maintenance of genetic diversity following reintroduction on a long-term scale. They evaluated genetic diversity in two wild populations of the iconic New Zealand tuatara (Fig. 1), which differ greatly in population size and genetic diversity, and compared this to genetic diversity in multiple founder populations sourced from both populations. Population viability analysis on the maintenance of genetic diversity over 400 years (10 generations) demonstrated that while the loss of heterozygosity was low when compared with both source populations (1-14%), the greater the male reproductive skew, the greater the predicted losses of genetic diversity. Importantly however, the loss of genetic diversity was ameliorated after population size exceeded 250 animals, regardless of the level of reproductive skew. This study demonstrates that highly informed conservation decisions could be made when you build on a solid foundation of demographic, natural history and behavioural ecology data. These data, when informed by modern population and genetic analysis, mean that fundamental applied conservation questions (how many animals should make up a founder population?) can be answered accurately and with an eye to the long-term consequences of management decisions.

  10. Morphological and molecular evidence for a stepwise evolutionary transition from teeth to baleen in mysticete whales.

    PubMed

    Deméré, Thomas A; McGowen, Michael R; Berta, Annalisa; Gatesy, John

    2008-02-01

    The origin of baleen in mysticete whales represents a major transition in the phylogenetic history of Cetacea. This key specialization, a keratinous sieve that enables filter-feeding, permitted exploitation of a new ecological niche and heralded the evolution of modern baleen-bearing whales, the largest animals on Earth. To date, all formally described mysticete fossils conform to two types: toothed species from Oligocene-age rocks ( approximately 24 to 34 million years old) and toothless species that presumably utilized baleen to feed (Recent to approximately 30 million years old). Here, we show that several Oligocene toothed mysticetes have nutrient foramina and associated sulci on the lateral portions of their palates, homologous structures in extant mysticetes house vessels that nourish baleen. The simultaneous occurrence of teeth and nutrient foramina implies that both teeth and baleen were present in these early mysticetes. Phylogenetic analyses of a supermatrix that includes extinct taxa and new data for 11 nuclear genes consistently resolve relationships at the base of Mysticeti. The combined data set of 27,340 characters supports a stepwise transition from a toothed ancestor, to a mosaic intermediate with both teeth and baleen, to modern baleen whales that lack an adult dentition but retain developmental and genetic evidence of their ancestral toothed heritage. Comparative sequence data for ENAM (enamelin) and AMBN (ameloblastin) indicate that enamel-specific loci are present in Mysticeti but have degraded to pseudogenes in this group. The dramatic transformation in mysticete feeding anatomy documents an apparently rare, stepwise mode of evolution in which a composite phenotype bridged the gap between primitive and derived morphologies; a combination of fossil and molecular evidence provides a multifaceted record of this macroevolutionary pattern.

  11. From evolutionary computation to the evolution of things.

    PubMed

    Eiben, Agoston E; Smith, Jim

    2015-05-28

    Evolution has provided a source of inspiration for algorithm designers since the birth of computers. The resulting field, evolutionary computation, has been successful in solving engineering tasks ranging in outlook from the molecular to the astronomical. Today, the field is entering a new phase as evolutionary algorithms that take place in hardware are developed, opening up new avenues towards autonomous machines that can adapt to their environment. We discuss how evolutionary computation compares with natural evolution and what its benefits are relative to other computing approaches, and we introduce the emerging area of artificial evolution in physical systems.

  12. [Molecular engineering of cellulase catalytic domain based on glycoside hydrolase family].

    PubMed

    Zhang, Xiaomei; Li, Dandan; Wang, Lushan; Zhao, Yue; Chen, Guanjun

    2013-04-01

    Molecular engineering of cellulases can improve enzymatic activity and efficiency. Recently, the Carbohydrate-Active enZYmes Database (CAZy), including glycoside hydrolase (GH) families, has been established with the development of Omics and structural measurement technologies. Molecular engineering based on GH families can obviously decrease the probing space of target sequences and structures, and increase the odds of experimental success. Besides, the study of cellulase active-site architecture paves the way toward the explanation of catalytic mechanism. This review focuses on the main GH families and the latest progresses in molecular engineering of catalytic domain. Based on the combination of analysis of a large amount of data in the same GH family and their conservative active-site architecture information, rational design will be an important direction for molecular engineering and promote the rapid development of the conversion of biomass. PMID:23894816

  13. Introducing Molecular Biology to Environmental Engineers through Development of a New Course.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Oerther, Daniel B.

    2002-01-01

    Introduces a molecular biology course designed for environmental engineering majors using 16S ribosomal ribonucleic acid-targeted technology that allows students to identify and study microorganisms in bioreactor environments. (Contains 17 references.) (YDS)

  14. Molecular Modeling as a Self-Taught Component of a Conventional Undergraduate Chemical Reaction Engineering Course

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rothe, Erhard W.; Zygmunt, William E.

    2016-01-01

    We inserted a self-taught molecular modeling project into an otherwise conventional undergraduate chemical-reaction-engineering course. Our objectives were that students should (a) learn with minimal instructor intervention, (b) gain an appreciation for the relationship between molecular structure and, first, macroscopic state functions in…

  15. Teaching Applied Genetics and Molecular Biology to Agriculture Engineers. Application of the European Credit Transfer System

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Weiss, J.; Egea-Cortines, M.

    2008-01-01

    We have been teaching applied molecular genetics to engineers and adapted the teaching methodology to the European Credit Transfer System. We teach core principles of genetics that are universal and form the conceptual basis of most molecular technologies. The course then teaches widely used techniques and finally shows how different techniques…

  16. Evolutionary History of the Grey-Faced Sengi, Rhynchocyon udzungwensis, from Tanzania: A Molecular and Species Distribution Modelling Approach

    PubMed Central

    Ricci, Silvia; Rovero, Francesco

    2013-01-01

    Rhynchocyon udzungwensis is a recently described and poorly understood sengi (giant elephant-shrew) endemic to two small montane forests in Southern Tanzania, and surrounded in lower forests by R. cirnei reichardi. In this study, we investigate the molecular genetic relationship between R. udzungwensis and R. c. reichardi, and the possible role that shifting species distributions in response to climate fluctuations may have played in shaping their evolutionary history. Rhynchocyon udzungwensis and R. c. reichardi individuals were sampled from five localities for genetic analyses. Three mitochondrial and two nuclear loci were used to construct species trees for delimitation and to determine whether introgression was detectable either from ancient or ongoing hybridization. All species-tree results show R. udzungwensis and R. c. reichardi as distinct lineages, though mtDNA shows evidence of introgression in some populations. Nuclear loci of each species were monophyletic, implying introgression is exclusively historical. Because we found evidence of introgression, we used distribution data and species distribution modelling for present, glacial, and interglacial climate cycles to predict how shifting species distributions may have facilitated hybridization in some populations. Though interpretations are affected by the limited range of these species, a likely scenario is that the mtDNA introgression found in eastern mid-elevation populations was facilitated by low numbers of R. udzungwensis that expanded into lowland heavily occupied R. c. reichardi areas during interglacial climate cycles. These results imply that relationships within the genus Rhynchocyon may be confounded by porous species boundaries and introgression, even if species are not currently sympatric. PMID:24015252

  17. Molecular Engineering of Functional Materials for Energy and Opto-Electronic Applications.

    PubMed

    Gao, Peng; Domanski, Konrad; Konrad, Domanski; Aghazada, Sadig; Rakstys, Kasparas; Paek, Sanghyun; Nazeeruddin, Mohammad Khaja

    2015-01-01

    This review presents an overview of the dedicated research directions of the Group for Molecular Engineering of Functional Materials (GMF). This includes molecular engineering aspects of sensitizers constructed from ruthenium complexes, organic molecules, porphyrins and phthalocyanines. Manipulation of organometal trihalide perovskites, and charge transporting materials for high performance perovskite solar cells and photo-detectors are also described. Controlling phosphorescence color, and quantum yields in iridium complexes by tailoring ligands for organic light emitting diodes are demonstrated. Efficient reduction of CO(2) to CO using molecular catalyst on a protected Cu(2)O photocathode, and cost-effective water-splitting cell using a high efficiency perovskite solar cell are presented.

  18. [Evolution of evolutionary physiology].

    PubMed

    Natochin, Iu V

    2008-09-01

    In 19th century and at the beginning 20th century, reports appeared in the field of comparative and ontogenetic physiology and the value of these methods for understanding of evolution of functions. The term "evolutionary physiology" was suggested by A. N. Severtsov in 1914. In the beginning of 30s, in the USSR, laboratories for researches in problems of evolutionary physiology were created, the results of these researches having been published. In 1956 in Leningrad, the Institute of Evolutionary Physiology was founded by L. A. Orbeli. He formulates the goals and methods of evolutionary physiology. In the following half a century, the evolutionary physiology was actively developed. The evolutionary physiology solves problems of evolution of function of functions evolution, often involving methods of adjacent sciences, including biochemistry, morphology, molecular biology.

  19. Molecular and evolutionary bases of within-patient genotypic and phenotypic diversity in Escherichia coli extraintestinal infections.

    PubMed

    Levert, Maxime; Zamfir, Oana; Clermont, Olivier; Bouvet, Odile; Lespinats, Sylvain; Hipeaux, Marie Claire; Branger, Catherine; Picard, Bertrand; Saint-Ruf, Claude; Norel, Françoise; Balliau, Thierry; Zivy, Michel; Le Nagard, Hervé; Cruveiller, Stéphane; Cruvellier, Stéphane; Chane-Woon-Ming, Béatrice; Nilsson, Susanna; Gudelj, Ivana; Phan, Katherine; Ferenci, Thomas; Tenaillon, Olivier; Denamur, Erick

    2010-09-30

    Although polymicrobial infections, caused by combinations of viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites, are being recognised with increasing frequency, little is known about the occurrence of within-species diversity in bacterial infections and the molecular and evolutionary bases of this diversity. We used multiple approaches to study the genomic and phenotypic diversity among 226 Escherichia coli isolates from deep and closed visceral infections occurring in 19 patients. We observed genomic variability among isolates from the same site within 11 patients. This diversity was of two types, as patients were infected either by several distinct E. coli clones (4 patients) or by members of a single clone that exhibit micro-heterogeneity (11 patients); both types of diversity were present in 4 patients. A surprisingly wide continuum of antibiotic resistance, outer membrane permeability, growth rate, stress resistance, red dry and rough morphotype characteristics and virulence properties were present within the isolates of single clones in 8 of the 11 patients showing genomic micro-heterogeneity. Many of the observed phenotypic differences within clones affected the trade-off between self-preservation and nutritional competence (SPANC). We showed in 3 patients that this phenotypic variability was associated with distinct levels of RpoS in co-existing isolates. Genome mutational analysis and global proteomic comparisons in isolates from a patient revealed a star-like relationship of changes amongst clonally diverging isolates. A mathematical model demonstrated that multiple genotypes with distinct RpoS levels can co-exist as a result of the SPANC trade-off. In the cases involving infection by a single clone, we present several lines of evidence to suggest diversification during the infectious process rather than an infection by multiple isolates exhibiting a micro-heterogeneity. Our results suggest that bacteria are subject to trade-offs during an infectious process and that

  20. Spin-dependent Otto quantum heat engine based on a molecular substance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hübner, Wolfgang; Lefkidis, Georgios; Dong, Chuanding; Chaudhuri, Debapriya; Chotorlishvili, Levan; Berakdar, Jamal

    2015-03-01

    We explore the potential of single molecules for thermodynamic cycles. To this end we propose two molecular heat engines based on the realistic Ni2 dimer: a quantum Otto engine and a modified quantum Otto engine for which laser-induced optical excitations substitute for one of the heat-exchange points. For reliable predictions and to inspect the role of spin and electronic correlations we perform fully correlated ab initio calculations of the electronic structure and the excited states. We analyze the efficiency and the word output of the derived engines and find an enhancement when the spin degree of freedom is included. We also use the von Neumann entropy to describe correlations and entanglement of the engines during the cycles. Furthermore, we link our results to previous results regarding an isobaric stroke and a magnetic quantum Diesel engine on the same substance.

  1. Engineering nanomaterials with a combined electrochemical and molecular biomimetic approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dai, Haixia

    Biocomposite materials, such as bones, teeth, and shells, are created using mild aqueous solution-based processes near room temperature. Proteins add flexibility to these processes by facilitating the nucleation, growth, and ordering of specific inorganic materials into hierarchical structures. We aim to develop a biomimetic strategy for engineering technologically relevant inorganic materials with controlled compositions and structures, as Nature does, using proteins to orchestrate material formation and assembly. This approach involves three basic steps: (i) preparation of inorganic substrates compatible with combinatorial polypeptide screening; (ii) identification of inorganic-binding polypeptides and their engineering into inorganic-binding proteins; and (iii) protein-mediated inorganic nucleation and organization. Cuprous oxide (Cu2O), a p-type semiconductor, has been used to demonstrate all three steps. Zinc oxide (ZnO), an n-type semiconductor, has been used to show the generality of selected steps. Step (i), preparation of high quality inorganic substrates to select inorganic-binding polypeptides, was accomplished using electrochemical microfabrication to grow and pattern Cu2O and ZnO. Raman spectroscopy and x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy were used to verify phase purity and compositional stability of these surfaces during polypeptide screening. Step (ii), accomplished in collaboration with personnel in Prof Baneyx' lab at the University of Washington, involved incubating the inorganic substrates with the FliTrx(TM) random peptide library to identify cysteine-constrained dodecapeptides that bind the targeted inorganic. Insertion of a Cu2O-binding dodecapeptide into the DNA-binding protein TraI endowed the engineered TraI with strong affinity for Cu2O (Kd ≈ 10 -8 M). Finally, step (iii) involved nonequilibrium synthesis and organization of Cu2O nanoparticles, taking advantage of the inorganic and DNA recognition properties of the engineered TraI. The

  2. Spin-dependent Otto quantum heat engine based on a molecular substance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hübner, W.; Lefkidis, G.; Dong, C. D.; Chaudhuri, D.; Chotorlishvili, L.; Berakdar, J.

    2014-07-01

    We explore the potential of single molecules for thermodynamic cycles. To this end we propose two molecular heat engines based on the Ni2 dimer in the presence of a static magnetic field: (a) a quantum Otto engine and (b) a modified quantum Otto engine for which optical excitations induced by a laser pulse substitute for one of the heat-exchange points. For reliable predictions and to inspect the role of spin and electronic correlations we perform fully correlated ab initio calculations of the molecular electronic structure including spin-orbital effects. We analyze the efficiency of the engines in dependence of the electronic level scheme and the entanglement and find a significant possible enhancement connected to the quantum nature and the heat capacity of the dimer, as well as to the zero-field triplet states splitting.

  3. New molecular engineering approaches for crystallographic studies of large RNAs.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Jinwei; Ferré-D'Amaré, Adrian R

    2014-06-01

    Crystallization of RNAs with complex three-dimensional architectures remains a formidable experimental challenge. We review a number of successful heuristics involving engineering of the target RNAs to facilitate crystal contact formation, such as those that enabled the crystallization and structure determination of the cognate tRNA complexes of RNase P holoenzyme and the Stem I domain of the T-box riboswitch. Recently, RNA-targeted antibody Fab fragments and Kink-turn binding proteins have joined the ranks of successful chaperones for RNA crystallization. Lastly, we review the use of structured RNAs to facilitate crystallization of RNA-binding proteins and other RNAs. PMID:24607443

  4. Identification of sequence similarity between 60 kDa and 70 kDa molecular chaperones: evidence for a common evolutionary background?

    PubMed Central

    Flores, A I; Cuezva, J M

    1997-01-01

    Recent findings support the premise that chaperonins (60 kDa stress-proteins) and alpha-subunits of F-type ATPases (alpha-ATPase) are evolutionary related protein families. Two-dimensional gel patterns of synthesized proteins in unstressed and heat-shocked embryonic Drosophila melanogaster SL2 cells revealed that antibodies raised against the alpha-subunit of the F1-ATPase complex from rat liver recognize an inducible p71 member of the 70 kDa stress-responsive protein family. Molecular recognition of this stress-responsive 70 kDa protein by antibodies raised against the F1-ATPase alpha-subunit suggests the possibility of partial sequence similarity within these ATP-binding protein families. A multiple sequence alignment between alpha-ATPases and 60 kDa and 70 kDa molecular chaperones is presented. Statistical evaluation of sequence similarity reveals a significant degree of sequence conservation within the three protein families. The finding suggests a common evolutionary origin for the ATPases and molecular chaperone protein families of 60 kDa and 70 kDa, despite the lack of obvious structural resemblance between them. PMID:9065788

  5. Molecular/cell engineering approach to autocrine ligand control of cell function.

    PubMed

    Lauffenburger, D A; Forsten, K E; Will, B; Wiley, H S

    1995-01-01

    Tissue engineering, along with other modern cell- and tissue-based health care technologies, depends on successful regulation of cell function by molecular means, including pharmacological agents, materials, and genetics. This regulation is generally mediated by cell receptor/ligand interactions providing primary targets for molecular intervention. While regulatory ligands may often be exogenous in nature, in the categories of endocrine and paracrine hormone systems, they are being increasingly appreciated as crucial in local control of cell and tissue function. Improvements in design of health care technologies involving autocrine ligand interactions with cell receptors should benefit from increased qualitative and quantitative understanding of the kinetic and transport processes governing these interactions. In this symposium paper we offer a concise overview of our recent efforts combining molecular cell biology and engineering approaches to increase the understanding of how molecular and cellular parameters may be manipulated for improved control of cell and tissue function regulated by autocrine ligands.

  6. The molecular evolutionary dynamics of the vomeronasal receptor (class 1) genes in primates: a gene family on the verge of a functional breakdown

    PubMed Central

    Yoder, Anne D.; Larsen, Peter A.

    2014-01-01

    Olfaction plays a critical role in both survival of the individual and in the propagation of species. Studies from across the mammalian clade have found a remarkable correlation between organismal lifestyle and molecular evolutionary properties of receptor genes in both the main olfactory system (MOS) and the vomeronasal system (VNS). When a large proportion of intact (and putatively functional) copies is observed, the inference is made that a particular mode of chemoreception is critical for an organism’s fit to its environment and is thus under strong positive selection. Conversely, when the receptors in question show a disproportionately large number of pseudogene copies, this contraction is interpreted as evidence of relaxed selection potentially leading to gene family extinction. Notably, it appears that a risk factor for gene family extinction is a high rate of nonsynonymous substitution. A survey of intact vs. pseudogene copies among primate vomeronasal receptor Class one genes (V1Rs) appears to substantiate this hypothesis. Molecular evolutionary complexities in the V1R gene family combine rapid rates of gene duplication, gene conversion, lineage-specific expansions, deletions, and/or pseudogenization. An intricate mix of phylogenetic footprints and current adaptive landscapes have left their mark on primate V1Rs suggesting that the primate clade offers an ideal model system for exploring the molecular evolutionary and functional properties of the VNS of mammals. Primate V1Rs tell a story of ancestral function and divergent selection as species have moved into ever diversifying adaptive regimes. The sensitivity to functional collapse in these genes, consequent to their precariously high rates of nonsynonymous substitution, confer a remarkable capacity to reveal the lifestyles of the genomes that they presently occupy as well as those of their ancestors. PMID:25565978

  7. Quantum engineering of spin and anisotropy in magnetic molecular junctions.

    PubMed

    Jacobson, Peter; Herden, Tobias; Muenks, Matthias; Laskin, Gennadii; Brovko, Oleg; Stepanyuk, Valeri; Ternes, Markus; Kern, Klaus

    2015-01-01

    Single molecule magnets and single spin centres can be individually addressed when coupled to contacts forming an electrical junction. To control and engineer the magnetism of quantum devices, it is necessary to quantify how the structural and chemical environment of the junction affects the spin centre. Metrics such as coordination number or symmetry provide a simple method to quantify the local environment, but neglect the many-body interactions of an impurity spin coupled to contacts. Here, we utilize a highly corrugated hexagonal boron nitride monolayer to mediate the coupling between a cobalt spin in CoHx (x=1,2) complexes and the metal contact. While hydrogen controls the total effective spin, the corrugation smoothly tunes the Kondo exchange interaction between the spin and the underlying metal. Using scanning tunnelling microscopy and spectroscopy together with numerical simulations, we quantitatively demonstrate how the Kondo exchange interaction mimics chemical tailoring and changes the magnetic anisotropy. PMID:26456084

  8. Chemically engineered graphene-based 2D organic molecular magnet.

    PubMed

    Hong, Jeongmin; Bekyarova, Elena; de Heer, Walt A; Haddon, Robert C; Khizroev, Sakhrat

    2013-11-26

    Carbon-based magnetic materials and structures of mesoscopic dimensions may offer unique opportunities for future nanomagnetoelectronic/spintronic devices. To achieve their potential, carbon nanosystems must have controllable magnetic properties. We demonstrate that nitrophenyl functionalized graphene can act as a room-temperature 2D magnet. We report a comprehensive study of low-temperature magnetotransport, vibrating sample magnetometry (VSM), and superconducting quantum interference (SQUID) measurements before and after radical functionalization. Following nitrophenyl (NP) functionalization, epitaxially grown graphene systems can become organic molecular magnets with ferromagnetic and antiferromagnetic ordering that persists at temperatures above 400 K. The field-dependent, surface magnetoelectric properties were studied using scanning probe microscopy (SPM) techniques. The results indicate that the NP-functionalization orientation and degree of coverage directly affect the magnetic properties of the graphene surface. In addition, graphene-based organic magnetic nanostructures were found to demonstrate a pronounced magneto-optical Kerr effect (MOKE). The results were consistent across different characterization techniques and indicate room-temperature magnetic ordering along preferred graphene orientations in the NP-functionalized samples. Chemically isolated graphene nanoribbons (CINs) were observed along the preferred functionality directions. These results pave the way for future magnetoelectronic/spintronic applications based on promising concepts such as current-induced magnetization switching, magnetoelectricity, half-metallicity, and quantum tunneling of magnetization.

  9. Engineering responsive polymer building blocks with host-guest molecular recognition for functional applications.

    PubMed

    Hu, Jinming; Liu, Shiyong

    2014-07-15

    CONSPECTUS: All living organisms and soft matter are intrinsically responsive and adaptive to external stimuli. Inspired by this fact, tremendous effort aiming to emulate subtle responsive features exhibited by nature has spurred the invention of a diverse range of responsive polymeric materials. Conventional stimuli-responsive polymers are constructed via covalent bonds and can undergo reversible or irreversible changes in chemical structures, physicochemical properties, or both in response to a variety of external stimuli. They have been imparted with a variety of emerging applications including drug and gene delivery, optical sensing and imaging, diagnostics and therapies, smart coatings and textiles, and tissue engineering. On the other hand, in comparison with molecular chemistry held by covalent bonds, supramolecular chemistry built on weak and reversible noncovalent interactions has emerged as a powerful and versatile strategy for materials fabrication due to its facile accessibility, extraordinary reversibility and adaptivity, and potent applications in diverse fields. Typically involving more than one type of noncovalent interactions (e.g., hydrogen bonding, metal coordination, hydrophobic association, electrostatic interactions, van der Waals forces, and π-π stacking), host-guest recognition refers to the formation of supramolecular inclusion complexes between two or more entities connected together in a highly controlled and cooperative manner. The inherently reversible and adaptive nature of host-guest molecular recognition chemistry, stemming from multiple noncovalent interactions, has opened up a new platform to construct novel types of stimuli-responsive materials. The introduction of host-guest chemistry not only enriches the realm of responsive materials but also confers them with promising new applications. Most intriguingly, the integration of responsive polymer building blocks with host-guest recognition motifs will endow the former with

  10. Engineering responsive polymer building blocks with host-guest molecular recognition for functional applications.

    PubMed

    Hu, Jinming; Liu, Shiyong

    2014-07-15

    CONSPECTUS: All living organisms and soft matter are intrinsically responsive and adaptive to external stimuli. Inspired by this fact, tremendous effort aiming to emulate subtle responsive features exhibited by nature has spurred the invention of a diverse range of responsive polymeric materials. Conventional stimuli-responsive polymers are constructed via covalent bonds and can undergo reversible or irreversible changes in chemical structures, physicochemical properties, or both in response to a variety of external stimuli. They have been imparted with a variety of emerging applications including drug and gene delivery, optical sensing and imaging, diagnostics and therapies, smart coatings and textiles, and tissue engineering. On the other hand, in comparison with molecular chemistry held by covalent bonds, supramolecular chemistry built on weak and reversible noncovalent interactions has emerged as a powerful and versatile strategy for materials fabrication due to its facile accessibility, extraordinary reversibility and adaptivity, and potent applications in diverse fields. Typically involving more than one type of noncovalent interactions (e.g., hydrogen bonding, metal coordination, hydrophobic association, electrostatic interactions, van der Waals forces, and π-π stacking), host-guest recognition refers to the formation of supramolecular inclusion complexes between two or more entities connected together in a highly controlled and cooperative manner. The inherently reversible and adaptive nature of host-guest molecular recognition chemistry, stemming from multiple noncovalent interactions, has opened up a new platform to construct novel types of stimuli-responsive materials. The introduction of host-guest chemistry not only enriches the realm of responsive materials but also confers them with promising new applications. Most intriguingly, the integration of responsive polymer building blocks with host-guest recognition motifs will endow the former with

  11. The methionine-rich low-molecular-weight chloroplast heat-shock protein: evolutionary conservation and accumulation in relation to thermotolerance.

    PubMed

    Downs, C; Heckathorn, S; Bryan, J; Coleman, J

    1998-02-01

    The evolutionary conservation of the low-molecular-weight chloroplast-localized heat-shock protein (LMW chlpHsp) in vascular plants was examined using immunological methods. An antibody (Abmet) specific to the LMW chlpHsp was produced using a synthetic 28-residue peptide containing the most conserved elements of its unique "methionine-rich domain" as an antigen. This antibody detected a heat-inducible low-molecular-weight chloroplast protein in plants of six divergent Anthophyta species, including C3, C4, CAM, monocot, and dicot species. Abmet also detected a LMW chlpHsp in species from the Divisions Psilotophyta, Equisetophyta, Polypodiophyta, and Ginkgophyta. A preliminary examination of the relationship between accumulation of the LMW chlpHsp and habitat was also conducted. Seven Anthophyta species originating from both warm- and cool-temperature habitats were grown at 28C and then heat stressed at 40C. A positive qualitative relationship between the accumulation of the LMW chlpHsp and organismal thermotolerance in these species was observed; similar results were obtained separately with four nonAnthophyta species. The strong evolutionary conservation of this LMW Hsp and its localization to the chloroplast, and the correlation between production of this protein and plant thermotolerance, suggest that the LMW chlpHsp plays an important role in adaptation to heat stress.

  12. Evolutionary history of larval skeletal morphology in sea urchin Echinometridae (Echinoidea: Echinodermata) as deduced from mitochondrial DNA molecular phylogeny.

    PubMed

    Kinjo, Sonoko; Shirayama, Yoshihisa; Wada, Hiroshi

    2008-01-01

    The larval skeletons of sea urchins show considerable morphological diversity, even between closely related species, although the evolutionary history and functional significance of this diversity are poorly understood. To infer the evolutionary history of the skeletal morphology, we focused on echinometrid species for which the morphological variation in larval skeletons had been investigated qualitatively and quantitatively. We reconstructed the phylogenetic relationships among 14 echinometrid species based on mitochondrial ND1 and ND2 genes and mapped the morphological characters onto the resultant trees. The monophyly of each genus in the Echinometridae was well supported by our results, as was the close affinity between Colobocentrotus, Heterocentrotus, and Echinometra. The mapping of the morphological characters of the larval skeletons indicated that the length, direction, and density of spines on the postoral rods was well conserved in each group of Echinometridae and that the abundance of spines and the size and shape of the body skeleton changed relatively frequently and hence were less conserved. In Echinometrid species, morphological variation in relatively unconserved features tends to be associated with latitudinal distributions, rather than phylogenetic relationships, indicating that the morphological diversity of larval skeletons could have been caused by adaptation to the habitat environment. Some morphological differences, however, seem to be nonfunctional and generated by the constraints on larval skeletogenesis. Thus, echinometrid species can be a good model with which to study the evolutionary history from both ecological and developmental standpoints. PMID:18803780

  13. Evolutionary development of tensegrity structures.

    PubMed

    Lobo, Daniel; Vico, Francisco J

    2010-09-01

    Contributions from the emerging fields of molecular genetics and evo-devo (evolutionary developmental biology) are greatly benefiting the field of evolutionary computation, initiating a promise of renewal in the traditional methodology. While direct encoding has constituted a dominant paradigm, indirect ways to encode the solutions have been reported, yet little attention has been paid to the benefits of the proposed methods to real problems. In this work, we study the biological properties that emerge by means of using indirect encodings in the context of form-finding problems. A novel indirect encoding model for artificial development has been defined and applied to an engineering structural-design problem, specifically to the discovery of tensegrity structures. This model has been compared with a direct encoding scheme. While the direct encoding performs similarly well to the proposed method, indirect-based results typically outperform the direct-based results in aspects not directly linked to the nature of the problem itself, but to the emergence of properties found in biological organisms, like organicity, generalization capacity, or modularity aspects which are highly valuable in engineering. PMID:20619314

  14. Evolutionary development of tensegrity structures.

    PubMed

    Lobo, Daniel; Vico, Francisco J

    2010-09-01

    Contributions from the emerging fields of molecular genetics and evo-devo (evolutionary developmental biology) are greatly benefiting the field of evolutionary computation, initiating a promise of renewal in the traditional methodology. While direct encoding has constituted a dominant paradigm, indirect ways to encode the solutions have been reported, yet little attention has been paid to the benefits of the proposed methods to real problems. In this work, we study the biological properties that emerge by means of using indirect encodings in the context of form-finding problems. A novel indirect encoding model for artificial development has been defined and applied to an engineering structural-design problem, specifically to the discovery of tensegrity structures. This model has been compared with a direct encoding scheme. While the direct encoding performs similarly well to the proposed method, indirect-based results typically outperform the direct-based results in aspects not directly linked to the nature of the problem itself, but to the emergence of properties found in biological organisms, like organicity, generalization capacity, or modularity aspects which are highly valuable in engineering.

  15. Parallel and Divergent Evolutionary Solutions for the Optimization of an Engineered Central Metabolism in Methylobacterium extorquens AM1

    PubMed Central

    Carroll, Sean Michael; Chubiz, Lon M.; Agashe, Deepa; Marx, Christopher J.

    2015-01-01

    Bioengineering holds great promise to provide fast and efficient biocatalysts for methanol-based biotechnology, but necessitates proven methods to optimize physiology in engineered strains. Here, we highlight experimental evolution as an effective means for optimizing an engineered Methylobacterium extorquens AM1. Replacement of the native formaldehyde oxidation pathway with a functional analog substantially decreased growth in an engineered Methylobacterium, but growth rapidly recovered after six hundred generations of evolution on methanol. We used whole-genome sequencing to identify the basis of adaptation in eight replicate evolved strains, and examined genomic changes in light of other growth and physiological data. We observed great variety in the numbers and types of mutations that occurred, including instances of parallel mutations at targets that may have been “rationalized” by the bioengineer, plus other “illogical” mutations that demonstrate the ability of evolution to expose unforeseen optimization solutions. Notably, we investigated mutations to RNA polymerase, which provided a massive growth benefit but are linked to highly aberrant transcriptional profiles. Overall, we highlight the power of experimental evolution to present genetic and physiological solutions for strain optimization, particularly in systems where the challenges of engineering are too many or too difficult to overcome via traditional engineering methods.

  16. Recent advances in developing molecular tools for targeted genome engineering of mammalian cells.

    PubMed

    Lim, Kwang-il

    2015-01-01

    Various biological molecules naturally existing in diversified species including fungi, bacteria, and bacteriophage have functionalities for DNA binding and processing. The biological molecules have been recently actively engineered for use in customized genome editing of mammalian cells as the molecule-encoding DNA sequence information and the underlying mechanisms how the molecules work are unveiled. Excitingly, multiple novel methods based on the newly constructed artificial molecular tools have enabled modifications of specific endogenous genetic elements in the genome context at efficiencies that are much higher than that of the conventional homologous recombination based methods. This minireview introduces the most recently spotlighted molecular genome engineering tools with their key features and ongoing modifications for better performance. Such ongoing efforts have mainly focused on the removal of the inherent DNA sequence recognition rigidity from the original molecular platforms, the addition of newly tailored targeting functions into the engineered molecules, and the enhancement of their targeting specificity. Effective targeted genome engineering of mammalian cells will enable not only sophisticated genetic studies in the context of the genome, but also widely-applicable universal therapeutics based on the pinpointing and correction of the disease-causing genetic elements within the genome in the near future.

  17. Recent advances in developing molecular tools for targeted genome engineering of mammalian cells.

    PubMed

    Lim, Kwang-il

    2015-01-01

    Various biological molecules naturally existing in diversified species including fungi, bacteria, and bacteriophage have functionalities for DNA binding and processing. The biological molecules have been recently actively engineered for use in customized genome editing of mammalian cells as the molecule-encoding DNA sequence information and the underlying mechanisms how the molecules work are unveiled. Excitingly, multiple novel methods based on the newly constructed artificial molecular tools have enabled modifications of specific endogenous genetic elements in the genome context at efficiencies that are much higher than that of the conventional homologous recombination based methods. This minireview introduces the most recently spotlighted molecular genome engineering tools with their key features and ongoing modifications for better performance. Such ongoing efforts have mainly focused on the removal of the inherent DNA sequence recognition rigidity from the original molecular platforms, the addition of newly tailored targeting functions into the engineered molecules, and the enhancement of their targeting specificity. Effective targeted genome engineering of mammalian cells will enable not only sophisticated genetic studies in the context of the genome, but also widely-applicable universal therapeutics based on the pinpointing and correction of the disease-causing genetic elements within the genome in the near future. PMID:25104401

  18. Molecular bandgap engineering of bottom-up synthesized graphene nanoribbon heterojunctions.

    PubMed

    Chen, Yen-Chia; Cao, Ting; Chen, Chen; Pedramrazi, Zahra; Haberer, Danny; de Oteyza, Dimas G; Fischer, Felix R; Louie, Steven G; Crommie, Michael F

    2015-02-01

    Bandgap engineering is used to create semiconductor heterostructure devices that perform processes such as resonant tunnelling and solar energy conversion. However, the performance of such devices degrades as their size is reduced. Graphene-based molecular electronics has emerged as a candidate to enable high performance down to the single-molecule scale. Graphene nanoribbons, for example, can have widths of less than 2 nm and bandgaps that are tunable via their width and symmetry. It has been predicted that bandgap engineering within a single graphene nanoribbon may be achieved by varying the width of covalently bonded segments within the nanoribbon. Here, we demonstrate the bottom-up synthesis of such width-modulated armchair graphene nanoribbon heterostructures, obtained by fusing segments made from two different molecular building blocks. We study these heterojunctions at subnanometre length scales with scanning tunnelling microscopy and spectroscopy, and identify their spatially modulated electronic structure, demonstrating molecular-scale bandgap engineering, including type I heterojunction behaviour. First-principles calculations support these findings and provide insight into the microscopic electronic structure of bandgap-engineered graphene nanoribbon heterojunctions.

  19. Molecular bandgap engineering of bottom-up synthesized graphene nanoribbon heterojunctions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Yen-Chia; Cao, Ting; Chen, Chen; Pedramrazi, Zahra; Haberer, Danny; de Oteyza, Dimas G.; Fischer, Felix R.; Louie, Steven G.; Crommie, Michael F.

    2015-02-01

    Bandgap engineering is used to create semiconductor heterostructure devices that perform processes such as resonant tunnelling and solar energy conversion. However, the performance of such devices degrades as their size is reduced. Graphene-based molecular electronics has emerged as a candidate to enable high performance down to the single-molecule scale. Graphene nanoribbons, for example, can have widths of less than 2 nm and bandgaps that are tunable via their width and symmetry. It has been predicted that bandgap engineering within a single graphene nanoribbon may be achieved by varying the width of covalently bonded segments within the nanoribbon. Here, we demonstrate the bottom-up synthesis of such width-modulated armchair graphene nanoribbon heterostructures, obtained by fusing segments made from two different molecular building blocks. We study these heterojunctions at subnanometre length scales with scanning tunnelling microscopy and spectroscopy, and identify their spatially modulated electronic structure, demonstrating molecular-scale bandgap engineering, including type I heterojunction behaviour. First-principles calculations support these findings and provide insight into the microscopic electronic structure of bandgap-engineered graphene nanoribbon heterojunctions.

  20. Theoretical-physics approach to selected problems in engineering electromagnetics: Evolutionary optimization and low-dimensional nanostructures

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mikki, Said M.

    Although electromagnetism was developed originally as a branch of theoretical physics, the wide spread proliferation of wireless communications and other applications since the turn of the 20th century quickly transformed the field into a well-defined discipline standing by itself as an autonomous part of engineering. This in turn accelerated the growth of both numerical techniques and practical designs aiming all to improve technology. However, one negative drawback was the increasing isolation between the practicality of engineering electromagnetism and the depth and sophistication of the tools that had been developed solely within electromagnetic theory as a branch of theoretical physics. In this dissertation, we propose a new look to engineering electromagnetism from the perspective of theoretical physics. We show that techniques usually associated with abstract physical models in theoretical physics can be successfully employed to enhance our understanding of problems in engineering electromagnetism. Also, such adaptations of theoretical methods allow for new kinds of applications to be invented. This dissertation is organized in two main parts. Part I is concerned with the particle swarm optimization (PSO) method. We first construct a physical theory for the particle swarm optimization and show how this could open the door not just for deeper understanding of the algorithm itself, but also for new techniques to improve the performance of the method when applied to engineering electromagnetics problems. Inspired by the wider perspective derived from physics, we apply quantum effects to the basic (classical) PSO and derive a new general quantum PSO (QPSO) algorithm suitable for engineering electromagnetism. The new method will be shown to be superior to the classical counterpart when applied to some practical problems. A detailed case study that was formulated extensively in our work is the infinitesimal dipole model (IDM), which can simulate arbitrary antennas

  1. Molecular Engineering of Trifunctional Supported Catalysts for the Aerobic Oxidation of Alcohols.

    PubMed

    Fernandes, Antony E; Riant, Olivier; Jensen, Klavs F; Jonas, Alain M

    2016-09-01

    We describe a simple and general method for the preparation and molecular engineering of supported trifunctional catalysts and their application in the representative Cu/TEMPO/NMI-catalyzed aerobic oxidation of benzyl alcohol. The methodology allows in one single step to immobilize, with precise control of surface composition, both pyta, Cu(I) , TEMPO, and NMI sites on azide-functionalized silica particles. To optimize the performance of the heterogeneous trifunctional catalysts, synergistic interactions are finely engineered through modulating the degree of freedom of the imidazole site as well as tuning the relative surface composition, leading to catalysts with an activity significantly superior to the corresponding homogeneous catalytic system.

  2. Molecular Engineering of Trifunctional Supported Catalysts for the Aerobic Oxidation of Alcohols.

    PubMed

    Fernandes, Antony E; Riant, Olivier; Jensen, Klavs F; Jonas, Alain M

    2016-09-01

    We describe a simple and general method for the preparation and molecular engineering of supported trifunctional catalysts and their application in the representative Cu/TEMPO/NMI-catalyzed aerobic oxidation of benzyl alcohol. The methodology allows in one single step to immobilize, with precise control of surface composition, both pyta, Cu(I) , TEMPO, and NMI sites on azide-functionalized silica particles. To optimize the performance of the heterogeneous trifunctional catalysts, synergistic interactions are finely engineered through modulating the degree of freedom of the imidazole site as well as tuning the relative surface composition, leading to catalysts with an activity significantly superior to the corresponding homogeneous catalytic system. PMID:27430481

  3. Proteomics in evolutionary ecology.

    PubMed

    Baer, B; Millar, A H

    2016-03-01

    Evolutionary ecologists are traditionally gene-focused, as genes propagate phenotypic traits across generations and mutations and recombination in the DNA generate genetic diversity required for evolutionary processes. As a consequence, the inheritance of changed DNA provides a molecular explanation for the functional changes associated with natural selection. A direct focus on proteins on the other hand, the actual molecular agents responsible for the expression of a phenotypic trait, receives far less interest from ecologists and evolutionary biologists. This is partially due to the central dogma of molecular biology that appears to define proteins as the 'dead-end of molecular information flow' as well as technical limitations in identifying and studying proteins and their diversity in the field and in many of the more exotic genera often favored in ecological studies. Here we provide an overview of a newly forming field of research that we refer to as 'Evolutionary Proteomics'. We point out that the origins of cellular function are related to the properties of polypeptide and RNA and their interactions with the environment, rather than DNA descent, and that the critical role of horizontal gene transfer in evolution is more about coopting new proteins to impact cellular processes than it is about modifying gene function. Furthermore, post-transcriptional and post-translational processes generate a remarkable diversity of mature proteins from a single gene, and the properties of these mature proteins can also influence inheritance through genetic and perhaps epigenetic mechanisms. The influence of post-transcriptional diversification on evolutionary processes could provide a novel mechanistic underpinning for elements of rapid, directed evolutionary changes and adaptations as observed for a variety of evolutionary processes. Modern state-of the art technologies based on mass spectrometry are now available to identify and quantify peptides, proteins, protein

  4. Molecular engineering of polymer alloys: A final report of results obtained on CRADA No. 1078

    SciTech Connect

    Curro, J.G.; Schweizer, K.S.; Honeycutt, J.D.

    1995-12-01

    This report summarizes the technical progress made in the past three years on CRADA No. 1078, Molecular Engineering of Polymer Alloys. The thrust of this CRADA was to start with the basic ideas of PRISM theory and develop it to the point where it could be applied to modeling of polymer alloys. In this program, BIOSYM, Sandia and the University of Illinois worked jointly to develop the theoretical techniques and numerical formalisms necessary to implement the theoretical ideas into commercial software aimed at molecular engineering of polymer alloys. This CRADA focused on developing the techniques required to make the transition from theory to practice. These techniques were then used by BIOSYM to incorporate PRISM theory and other new developments into their commercial software.

  5. Nonlinear optical molecular imaging enables metabolic redox sensing in tissue-engineered constructs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Leng-Chun; Lloyd, William R.; Wilson, Robert H.; Kuo, Shiuhyang; Marcelo, Cynthia L.; Feinberg, Stephen E.; Mycek, Mary-Ann

    2011-07-01

    Tissue-engineered constructs require noninvasive monitoring of cellular viability prior to implantation. In a preclinical study on human Ex Vivo Produced Oral Mucosa Equivalent (EVPOME) constructs, nonlinear optical molecular imaging was employed to extract morphological and functional information from intact constructs. Multiphoton excitation fluorescence images were acquired using endogenous fluorescence from cellular nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate [NAD(P)H] and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD). The images were analyzed to report quantitatively on tissue structure and metabolism (redox ratio). Both thickness variations over time and cell distribution variations with depth were identified, while changes in redox were quantified. Our results show that nonlinear optical molecular imaging has the potential to visualize and quantitatively monitor the growth and viability of a tissue-engineered construct over time.

  6. Molecular Engineering Combined with Cosensitization Leads to Record Photovoltaic Efficiency for Non-ruthenium Solar Cells.

    PubMed

    Hill, Jonathan P

    2016-02-24

    Here comes the sun: By using a combined strategy of molecular engineering and cosensitization, impressively high Jsc and Voc values were achieved for porphyrin dyes, resulting in high photovoltaic efficiencies up to 11.5 %, a record for non-ruthenium dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) with the I(-) /I3 (-) electrolyte. The results provide insight into furthering the development of efficient DSSCs through synergistically enhanced photovoltage and photocurrent.

  7. Effects of oxygen on growth and size: synthesis of molecular, organismal, and evolutionary studies with Drosophila melanogaster.

    PubMed

    Harrison, Jon F; Haddad, Gabriel G

    2011-01-01

    Drosophila melanogaster is a model genetic organism with an exceptional hypoxia tolerance relative to mammals. Forward genetic, microarray, and P-element manipulations and selection experiments have revealed multiple mechanisms of severe hypoxia tolerance, including RNA editing, downregulation of metabolism, and prevention of protein unfolding. Drosophila live in microbe-rich, semiliquid food in which hypoxia likely indicates deteriorating environments. Hypoxia reduces growth and size by multiple mechanisms, influencing larval feeding rates, protein synthesis, imaginal cell size, and control of molting. In moderate hypoxia, these effects appear to occur without ATP limitation and are instead mediated by signaling systems, including hypoxia-inducible factor and atypical guanyl cyclase sensing of oxygen, with downstream actions on behavior, anabolism, and the cell cycle. In hypoxia, flies develop smaller sizes, but size does not evolve, whereas in hyperoxia, flies evolve larger sizes without exhibiting developmental size plasticity, suggesting differential evolutionary responses to natural versus novel directions of oxygen change.

  8. Evolutionary and Biogeographic Insights on the Macaronesian Beta-Patellifolia Species (Amaranthaceae) from a Time-Scaled Molecular Phylogeny.

    PubMed

    Romeiras, Maria M; Vieira, Ana; Silva, Diogo N; Moura, Monica; Santos-Guerra, Arnoldo; Batista, Dora; Duarte, Maria Cristina; Paulo, Octávio S

    2016-01-01

    The Western Mediterranean Region and Macaronesian Islands are one of the top biodiversity hotspots of Europe, containing a significant native genetic diversity of global value among the Crop Wild Relatives (CWR). Sugar beet is the primary crop of the genus Beta (subfamily Betoideae, Amaranthaceae) and despite the great economic importance of this genus, and of the close relative Patellifolia species, a reconstruction of their evolutionary history is still lacking. We analyzed nrDNA (ITS) and cpDNA gene (matK, trnH-psbA, trnL intron, rbcL) sequences to: (i) investigate the phylogenetic relationships within the Betoideae subfamily, and (ii) elucidate the historical biogeography of wild beet species in the Western Mediterranean Region, including the Macaronesian Islands. The results support the Betoideae as a monophyletic group (excluding the Acroglochin genus) and provide a detailed inference of relationships within this subfamily, revealing: (i) a deep genetic differentiation between Beta and Patellifolia species, which may have occurred in Late Oligocene; and (ii) the occurrence of a West-East genetic divergence within Beta, indicating that the Mediterranean species probably differentiated by the end of the Miocene. This was interpreted as a signature of species radiation induced by dramatic habitat changes during the Messinian Salinity Crisis (MSC, 5.96-5.33 Mya). Moreover, colonization events during the Pleistocene also played a role in shaping the current diversity patterns among and within the Macaronesian Islands. The origin and number of these events could not be revealed due to insufficient phylogenetic resolution, suggesting that the diversification was quite recent in these archipelagos, and unravelling potential complex biogeographic patterns with hybridization and gene flow playing an important role. Finally, three evolutionary lineages were identified corresponding to major gene pools of sugar beet wild relatives, which provide useful information for

  9. Evolutionary and Biogeographic Insights on the Macaronesian Beta-Patellifolia Species (Amaranthaceae) from a Time-Scaled Molecular Phylogeny

    PubMed Central

    Romeiras, Maria M.; Vieira, Ana; Silva, Diogo N.; Moura, Monica; Santos-Guerra, Arnoldo; Batista, Dora; Duarte, Maria Cristina; Paulo, Octávio S.

    2016-01-01

    The Western Mediterranean Region and Macaronesian Islands are one of the top biodiversity hotspots of Europe, containing a significant native genetic diversity of global value among the Crop Wild Relatives (CWR). Sugar beet is the primary crop of the genus Beta (subfamily Betoideae, Amaranthaceae) and despite the great economic importance of this genus, and of the close relative Patellifolia species, a reconstruction of their evolutionary history is still lacking. We analyzed nrDNA (ITS) and cpDNA gene (matK, trnH-psbA, trnL intron, rbcL) sequences to: (i) investigate the phylogenetic relationships within the Betoideae subfamily, and (ii) elucidate the historical biogeography of wild beet species in the Western Mediterranean Region, including the Macaronesian Islands. The results support the Betoideae as a monophyletic group (excluding the Acroglochin genus) and provide a detailed inference of relationships within this subfamily, revealing: (i) a deep genetic differentiation between Beta and Patellifolia species, which may have occurred in Late Oligocene; and (ii) the occurrence of a West-East genetic divergence within Beta, indicating that the Mediterranean species probably differentiated by the end of the Miocene. This was interpreted as a signature of species radiation induced by dramatic habitat changes during the Messinian Salinity Crisis (MSC, 5.96–5.33 Mya). Moreover, colonization events during the Pleistocene also played a role in shaping the current diversity patterns among and within the Macaronesian Islands. The origin and number of these events could not be revealed due to insufficient phylogenetic resolution, suggesting that the diversification was quite recent in these archipelagos, and unravelling potential complex biogeographic patterns with hybridization and gene flow playing an important role. Finally, three evolutionary lineages were identified corresponding to major gene pools of sugar beet wild relatives, which provide useful information for

  10. On the Brink of Shifting Paradigms, Molecular Systems Engineering Ethics Needs to Take a Proactive Approach.

    PubMed

    Heidari, Raheleh; Elger, Bernice S; Stutzki, Ralf

    2016-01-01

    Molecular Systems Engineering (MSE) is a paradigm shift in both engineering and life sciences. While the field is still in its infancy the perspectives of MSE in revolutionising technology is promising. MSE will offer a wide range of applications in clinical, biotechnological and engineering fields while simultaneously posing serious questions on the ethical and societal aspects of such technology. The moral and societal aspects of MSE need systematic investigation from scientific and social perspectives. In a democratic setting, the societal outcomes of MSE's cutting-edge technology need to be consulted and influenced by society itself. For this purpose MSE needs inclusive public engagement strategies that bring together the public, ethicists, scientists and policy makers for optimum flow of information that maximizes the impact of public engagement. In this report we present an MSE consortium and its ethics framework for establishing a proactive approach in the study of the ethics of MSE technology.

  11. On the Brink of Shifting Paradigms, Molecular Systems Engineering Ethics Needs to Take a Proactive Approach.

    PubMed

    Heidari, Raheleh; Elger, Bernice S; Stutzki, Ralf

    2016-01-01

    Molecular Systems Engineering (MSE) is a paradigm shift in both engineering and life sciences. While the field is still in its infancy the perspectives of MSE in revolutionising technology is promising. MSE will offer a wide range of applications in clinical, biotechnological and engineering fields while simultaneously posing serious questions on the ethical and societal aspects of such technology. The moral and societal aspects of MSE need systematic investigation from scientific and social perspectives. In a democratic setting, the societal outcomes of MSE's cutting-edge technology need to be consulted and influenced by society itself. For this purpose MSE needs inclusive public engagement strategies that bring together the public, ethicists, scientists and policy makers for optimum flow of information that maximizes the impact of public engagement. In this report we present an MSE consortium and its ethics framework for establishing a proactive approach in the study of the ethics of MSE technology. PMID:27363376

  12. GPBG: A Framework for Evolutionary Design of Multi-domain Engineering Systems Using Genetic Programming and Bond Graphs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hu, Jianjun; Fan, Zhun; Wang, Jiachuan; Li, Shaobo; Seo, Kisung; Peng, Xiangdong; Terpenny, Janis; Rosenberg, Ronald; Goodman, Erik

    Current engineering design is a multi-step process proceeding from conceptual design to detailed design and to evaluation and testing. It is estimated that 60-70% of design decisions and most innovation occur in the conceptual design stage, which may include conceptual design of function, operating principles, lavout, shape, and structure. However, few computational tools are available to help designers to explore the design space and stimulate the product innovation process. As a result, product innovation is strongly constrained by the designer's ingenuity and experience, and a systmatic approach to product innovation is strongly needed.

  13. Molecularly defined plasmonic engineering to visualize antibody binding events by eye

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Clark, A. W.; Cooper, J. M.

    2013-02-01

    We report a novel plasmonic tuning technique which allows colorimetric, naked-eye detection of protein-protein binding at extreme sensitivities. Utilizing an engineered approach to molecularly-driven plasmonic-coupling, we construct three-part plasmonic "bowtie" structures within protein nanoarrays using single biomolecular binding events. Precise molecular positioning of single gold nanaoparticles inside plasmonic bowties allows us to shape the plasmon supported by each array element in order to engineer a visible color-shift. By ensuring that only a single binding site is available inside each feature, we ensure plasmon homogeneity across the array, a unique technological solution which is essential to providing the sensitivity and observability we demonstrate here. This work represents a step-change in molecularly-mediated plasmonics and colorimetric biosensing, enabling biologically-controlled nanoengineering at single-protein resolutions. The potential applications of this powerful technique are not limited to biosensing and point-of-care diagnostics, and will also impact the emerging fields of molecularly driven nanoengineering and electronics.

  14. Engineering hybrid polymer/metal-oxide interfaces by self-assembled molecular interlayers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mattoni, Alessandro

    2014-03-01

    Hybrid organic heterojunctions are of great technological interest as both optically active layers as well as hole blocking interfaces in organic or hybrid solar cells. Despite the potential of combining processable organic polymers with inorganic components, they have not yet demonstrated high efficiencies. promising approach towards more efficient systems consists in engineering the interface by self-assembled molecular interlayers that can selectively affect the interactions of the donor and acceptor components. a combination of molecular dynamics and electronic structure calculations we study thermodynamic and optoelectronic properties of polymer/metaloxide interfaces in presence of several molecular interlayers such as metal-organic macrocyclic complexes or pyridine derivatives. The theoretical results are tested on specifically designed hybrid solar cells providing evidence of impressive enhancement of interface properties.

  15. Template engineered biopotent macrocyclic complexes involving furan moiety: Molecular modeling and molecular docking

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rathi, Parveen; Singh, D. P.

    2015-08-01

    Bioactive cobalt(II), nickel(II), copper(II) and zinc(II) complexes of octaazamacrocycle, 19, 20-dioxa-2,3,5,6,11,12,14,15-octaazatricyclo[14.2.1.1]icosa-1,6,8,10,15,17-hexaene-4,13-dithione, derived from furan-2,5-dione and thiocarbonohydrazide in the mole ratio 2:2:1 have been engineered via template methodology. The synthesized metal complexes have also been structurally characterized in the light of various physicochemical techniques and evaluated for antimicrobial and antioxidant activities. All these studies point toward the formation of divalent macrocyclic complexes possessing distorted octahedral geometry and having significant antimicrobial and antioxidant properties as compared to the starting precursors. Virtual screening of a representative complex was done through docking to the binding site of COX-2 to evaluate the anti-inflammatory activity of the series. Non-electrolytic nature of the complexes has been predicted on the basis of low value of molar conductivity in DMSO. All the complexes were having notable activities against pathogenic microbes as compared to precursors-thiocarbonohydrazide and furan-2,5-dione however, the complex 5, [Ni (C10H8N8O2S2) (NO3)2], shows the best antimicrobial activity.

  16. Army ants: an evolutionary bestseller?

    PubMed

    Berghoff, Stefanie M

    2003-09-01

    Army ants are characterized by a complex combination of behavioral and morphological traits. Molecular data now indicate that army ant behavior has a unique evolutionary origin and has been conserved for over more than 100 million years.

  17. Homoplasy in genome-wide analysis of rare amino acid replacements: the molecular-evolutionary basis for Vavilov's law of homologous series

    PubMed Central

    Rogozin, Igor B; Thomson, Karen; Csürös, Miklós; Carmel, Liran; Koonin, Eugene V

    2008-01-01

    Background Rare genomic changes (RGCs) that are thought to comprise derived shared characters of individual clades are becoming an increasingly important class of markers in genome-wide phylogenetic studies. Recently, we proposed a new type of RGCs designated RGC_CAMs (after Conserved Amino acids-Multiple substitutions) that were inferred using genome-wide identification of amino acid replacements that were: i) located in unambiguously aligned regions of orthologous genes, ii) shared by two or more taxa in positions that contain a different, conserved amino acid in a much broader range of taxa, and iii) require two or three nucleotide substitutions. When applied to animal phylogeny, the RGC_CAM approach supported the coelomate clade that unites deuterostomes with arthropods as opposed to the ecdysozoan (molting animals) clade. However, a non-negligible level of homoplasy was detected. Results We provide a direct estimate of the level of homoplasy caused by parallel changes and reversals among the RGC_CAMs using 462 alignments of orthologous genes from 19 eukaryotic species. It is shown that the impact of parallel changes and reversals on the results of phylogenetic inference using RGC_CAMs cannot explain the observed support for the Coelomata clade. In contrast, the evidence in support of the Ecdysozoa clade, in large part, can be attributed to parallel changes. It is demonstrated that parallel changes are significantly more common in internal branches of different subtrees that are separated from the respective common ancestor by relatively short times than in terminal branches separated by longer time intervals. A similar but much weaker trend was detected for reversals. The observed evolutionary trend of parallel changes is explained in terms of the covarion model of molecular evolution. As the overlap between the covarion sets in orthologous genes from different lineages decreases with time after divergence, the likelihood of parallel changes decreases as well

  18. Deep sequencing revealed molecular signature of horizontal gene transfer of plant like transcripts in the mosquito Anopheles culicifacies: an evolutionary puzzle

    PubMed Central

    Sharma, Punita; Das De, Tanwee; Sharma, Swati; Kumar Mishra, Ashwani; Thomas, Tina; Verma, Sonia; Kumari, Vandana; Lata, Suman; Singh, Namita; Valecha, Neena; Chand Pandey, Kailash; Dixit, Rajnikant

    2015-01-01

    In prokaryotes, horizontal gene transfer (HGT) has been regarded as an important evolutionary drive to acquire and retain beneficial genes for their survival in diverse ecologies. However, in eukaryotes, the functional role of HGTs remains questionable, although current genomic tools are providing increased evidence of acquisition of novel traits within non-mating metazoan species. Here, we provide another transcriptomic evidence for the acquisition of massive plant genes in the mosquito, Anopheles culicifacies. Our multiple experimental validations including genomic PCR, RT-PCR, real-time PCR, immuno-blotting and immuno-florescence microscopy, confirmed that plant like transcripts (PLTs) are of mosquito origin and may encode functional proteins. A comprehensive molecular analysis of the PLTs and ongoing metagenomic analysis of salivary microbiome provide initial clues that mosquitoes may have survival benefits through the acquisition of nuclear as well as chloroplast encoded plant genes. Our findings of PLTs further support the similar questionable observation of HGTs in other higher organisms, which is still a controversial and debatable issue in the community of evolutionists. We believe future understanding of the underlying mechanism of the feeding associated molecular responses may shed new insights in the functional role of PLTs in the mosquito. PMID:26998230

  19. "The Environment is Everything That Isn't Me": Molecular Mechanisms and Evolutionary Dynamics of Insect Clocks in Variable Surroundings.

    PubMed

    Rivas, Gustavo B S; Bauzer, Luiz G S da R; Meireles-Filho, Antonio C A

    2015-01-01

    Circadian rhythms are oscillations in behavior, metabolism and physiology that have a period close to 24 h. These rhythms are controlled by an internal pacemaker that evolved under strong selective pressures imposed by environmental cyclical changes, mainly of light and temperature. The molecular nature of the circadian pacemaker was extensively studied in a number of organisms under controlled laboratory conditions. But although these studies were fundamental to our understanding of the circadian clock, most of the environmental conditions used resembled rather crudely the relatively constant situation at lower latitudes. At higher latitudes light-dark and temperature cycles vary considerably across different seasons, with summers having long and hot days and winters short and cold ones. Considering these differences and other external cues, such as moonlight, recent studies in more natural and semi-natural situations revealed unexpected features at both molecular and behavioral levels, highlighting the dramatic influence of multiple environmental variables in the molecular clockwork. This emphasizes the importance of studying the circadian clock in the wild, where seasonal environmental changes fine-tune the underlying circadian mechanism, affecting population dynamics and impacting the geographical variation in clock genes. Indeed, latitudinal clines in clock gene frequencies suggest that natural selection and demography shape the circadian clock over wide geographical ranges. In this review we will discuss the recent advances in understanding the molecular underpinnings of the circadian clock, how it resonates with the surrounding variables (both in the laboratory and in semi-natural conditions) and its impact on population dynamics and evolution. In addition, we will elaborate on how next-generation sequencing technologies will complement classical reductionist approaches by identifying causal variants in natural populations that will link genetic variation to

  20. Molecular structure of photosynthetic microbial biofuels for improved engine combustion and emissions characteristics.

    PubMed

    Hellier, Paul; Purton, Saul; Ladommatos, Nicos

    2015-01-01

    The metabolic engineering of photosynthetic microbes for production of novel hydrocarbons presents an opportunity for development of advanced designer biofuels. These can be significantly more sustainable, throughout the production-to-consumption lifecycle, than the fossil fuels and crop-based biofuels they might replace. Current biofuels, such as bioethanol and fatty acid methyl esters, have been developed primarily as drop-in replacements for existing fossil fuels, based on their physical properties and autoignition characteristics under specific combustion regimes. However, advances in the genetic engineering of microalgae and cyanobacteria, and the application of synthetic biology approaches offer the potential of designer strains capable of producing hydrocarbons and oxygenates with specific molecular structures. Furthermore, these fuel molecules can be designed for higher efficiency of energy release and lower exhaust emissions during combustion. This paper presents a review of potential fuel molecules from photosynthetic microbes and the performance of these possible fuels in modern internal combustion engines, highlighting which modifications to the molecular structure of such fuels may enhance their suitability for specific combustion regimes. PMID:25941673

  1. Molecular structure of photosynthetic microbial biofuels for improved engine combustion and emissions characteristics.

    PubMed

    Hellier, Paul; Purton, Saul; Ladommatos, Nicos

    2015-01-01

    The metabolic engineering of photosynthetic microbes for production of novel hydrocarbons presents an opportunity for development of advanced designer biofuels. These can be significantly more sustainable, throughout the production-to-consumption lifecycle, than the fossil fuels and crop-based biofuels they might replace. Current biofuels, such as bioethanol and fatty acid methyl esters, have been developed primarily as drop-in replacements for existing fossil fuels, based on their physical properties and autoignition characteristics under specific combustion regimes. However, advances in the genetic engineering of microalgae and cyanobacteria, and the application of synthetic biology approaches offer the potential of designer strains capable of producing hydrocarbons and oxygenates with specific molecular structures. Furthermore, these fuel molecules can be designed for higher efficiency of energy release and lower exhaust emissions during combustion. This paper presents a review of potential fuel molecules from photosynthetic microbes and the performance of these possible fuels in modern internal combustion engines, highlighting which modifications to the molecular structure of such fuels may enhance their suitability for specific combustion regimes.

  2. Molecular Structure of Photosynthetic Microbial Biofuels for Improved Engine Combustion and Emissions Characteristics

    PubMed Central

    Hellier, Paul; Purton, Saul; Ladommatos, Nicos

    2015-01-01

    The metabolic engineering of photosynthetic microbes for production of novel hydrocarbons presents an opportunity for development of advanced designer biofuels. These can be significantly more sustainable, throughout the production-to-consumption lifecycle, than the fossil fuels and crop-based biofuels they might replace. Current biofuels, such as bioethanol and fatty acid methyl esters, have been developed primarily as drop-in replacements for existing fossil fuels, based on their physical properties and autoignition characteristics under specific combustion regimes. However, advances in the genetic engineering of microalgae and cyanobacteria, and the application of synthetic biology approaches offer the potential of designer strains capable of producing hydrocarbons and oxygenates with specific molecular structures. Furthermore, these fuel molecules can be designed for higher efficiency of energy release and lower exhaust emissions during combustion. This paper presents a review of potential fuel molecules from photosynthetic microbes and the performance of these possible fuels in modern internal combustion engines, highlighting which modifications to the molecular structure of such fuels may enhance their suitability for specific combustion regimes. PMID:25941673

  3. Enhanced expression of genes involved in initial xylose metabolism and the oxidative pentose phosphate pathway in the improved xylose-utilizing Saccharomyces cerevisiae through evolutionary engineering.

    PubMed

    Zha, Jian; Shen, Minghua; Hu, Menglong; Song, Hao; Yuan, Yingjin

    2014-01-01

    Fermentation of xylose in lignocellulosic hydrolysates by Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been achieved through heterologous expression of the xylose reductase (XR)-xylitol dehydrogenase (XDH) pathway. However, the fermentation efficiency is far from the requirement for industrial application due to high yield of the byproduct xylitol, low ethanol yield, and low xylose consumption rate. Through evolutionary engineering, an improved xylose-utilizing strain SyBE005 was obtained with 78.3 % lower xylitol production and a 2.6-fold higher specific ethanol production rate than those of the parent strain SyBE004, which expressed an engineered NADP(+)-preferring XDH. The transcriptional differences between SyBE005 and SyBE004 were investigated by quantitative RT-PCR. Genes including XYL1, XYL2, and XKS1 in the initial xylose metabolic pathway showed the highest up-regulation in SyBE005. The increased expression of XYL1 and XYL2 correlated with enhanced enzymatic activities of XR and XDH. In addition, the expression level of ZWF1 in the oxidative pentose phosphate pathway increased significantly in SyBE005, indicating an elevated demand for NADPH from XR. Genes involved in the TCA cycle (LAT1, CIT1, CIT2, KGD1, KGD, SDH2) and gluconeogenesis (ICL1, PYC1) were also up-regulated in SyBE005. Genomic analysis revealed that point mutations in transcriptional regulators CYC8 and PHD1 might be responsible for the altered expression. In addition, a mutation (Y89S) in ZWF1 was identified which might improve NADPH production in SyBE005. Our results suggest that increasing the expression of XYL1, XYL2, XKS1, and enhancing NADPH supply are promising strategies to improve xylose fermentation in recombinant S. cerevisiae.

  4. Molecular Mechanisms and Evolutionary Processes Contributing to Accelerated Divergence of Gene Expression on the Drosophila X Chromosome.

    PubMed

    Coolon, Joseph D; Stevenson, Kraig R; McManus, C Joel; Yang, Bing; Graveley, Brenton R; Wittkopp, Patricia J

    2015-10-01

    In species with a heterogametic sex, population genetics theory predicts that DNA sequences on the X chromosome can evolve faster than comparable sequences on autosomes. Both neutral and nonneutral evolutionary processes can generate this pattern. Complex traits like gene expression are not predicted to have accelerated evolution by these theories, yet a "faster-X" pattern of gene expression divergence has recently been reported for both Drosophila and mammals. Here, we test the hypothesis that accelerated adaptive evolution of cis-regulatory sequences on the X chromosome is responsible for this pattern by comparing the relative contributions of cis- and trans-regulatory changes to patterns of faster-X expression divergence observed between strains and species of Drosophila with a range of divergence times. We find support for this hypothesis, especially among male-biased genes, when comparing different species. However, we also find evidence that trans-regulatory differences contribute to a faster-X pattern of expression divergence both within and between species. This contribution is surprising because trans-acting regulators of X-linked genes are generally assumed to be randomly distributed throughout the genome. We found, however, that X-linked transcription factors appear to preferentially regulate expression of X-linked genes, providing a potential mechanistic explanation for this result. The contribution of trans-regulatory variation to faster-X expression divergence was larger within than between species, suggesting that it is more likely to result from neutral processes than positive selection. These data show how accelerated evolution of both coding and noncoding sequences on the X chromosome can lead to accelerated expression divergence on the X chromosome relative to autosomes.

  5. Evolutionary processes in a continental island system: molecular phylogeography of the Aegean Nigella arvensis alliance (Ranunculaceae) inferred from chloroplast DNA.

    PubMed

    Bittkau, C; Comes, H P

    2005-11-01

    Continental shelf island systems, created by rising sea levels, provide a premier setting for studying the effects of past fragmentation, dispersal, and genetic drift on taxon diversification. We used phylogeographical (nested clade) and population genetic analyses to elucidate the relative roles of these processes in the evolutionary history of the Aegean Nigella arvensis alliance (= 'coenospecies'). We surveyed chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) variation in 455 individuals from 47 populations (nine taxa) of the alliance throughout its core range in the Aegean Archipelago and surrounding mainland areas of Greece and Turkey. The study revealed the presence of three major lineages, with largely nonoverlapping distributions in the Western, Central, and Eastern Aegean. There is evidence supporting the idea that these major lineages evolved in situ from a widespread (pan-Aegean) ancestral stock as a result of multiple fragmentation events, possibly due to the influence of post-Messinian sea flooding, Pleistocene eustatic changes and corresponding climate fluctuations. Over-sea dispersal and founder events appear to have played a rather insignificant role in the group's history. Rather, all analytical approaches identified the alliance as an organism group with poor seed dispersal capabilities and a susceptibility to genetic drift. In particular, we inferred that the observed level of cpDNA differentiation between Kikladian island populations of Nigella degenii largely reflects population history, (viz. Holocene island fragmentation) and genetic drift in the near absence of seed flow since their time of common ancestry. Overall, our cpDNA data for the N. arvensis alliance in general, and N. degenii in particular, indicate that historical events were important in determining the phylogeographical patterns seen, and that genetic drift has historically been relatively more influential on population structure than has cytoplasmic gene flow.

  6. Molecular Mechanisms and Evolutionary Processes Contributing to Accelerated Divergence of Gene Expression on the Drosophila X Chromosome

    PubMed Central

    Coolon, Joseph D.; Stevenson, Kraig R.; McManus, C. Joel; Yang, Bing; Graveley, Brenton R.; Wittkopp, Patricia J.

    2015-01-01

    In species with a heterogametic sex, population genetics theory predicts that DNA sequences on the X chromosome can evolve faster than comparable sequences on autosomes. Both neutral and nonneutral evolutionary processes can generate this pattern. Complex traits like gene expression are not predicted to have accelerated evolution by these theories, yet a “faster-X” pattern of gene expression divergence has recently been reported for both Drosophila and mammals. Here, we test the hypothesis that accelerated adaptive evolution of cis-regulatory sequences on the X chromosome is responsible for this pattern by comparing the relative contributions of cis- and trans-regulatory changes to patterns of faster-X expression divergence observed between strains and species of Drosophila with a range of divergence times. We find support for this hypothesis, especially among male-biased genes, when comparing different species. However, we also find evidence that trans-regulatory differences contribute to a faster-X pattern of expression divergence both within and between species. This contribution is surprising because trans-acting regulators of X-linked genes are generally assumed to be randomly distributed throughout the genome. We found, however, that X-linked transcription factors appear to preferentially regulate expression of X-linked genes, providing a potential mechanistic explanation for this result. The contribution of trans-regulatory variation to faster-X expression divergence was larger within than between species, suggesting that it is more likely to result from neutral processes than positive selection. These data show how accelerated evolution of both coding and noncoding sequences on the X chromosome can lead to accelerated expression divergence on the X chromosome relative to autosomes. PMID:26041937

  7. Molecular insights into the historic demography of bowhead whales: understanding the evolutionary basis of contemporary management practices

    PubMed Central

    Phillips, C D; Hoffman, J I; George, J C; Suydam, R S; Huebinger, R M; Patton, J C; Bickham, J W

    2013-01-01

    Patterns of genetic variation observed within species reflect evolutionary histories that include signatures of past demography. Understanding the demographic component of species' history is fundamental to informed management because changes in effective population size affect response to environmental change and evolvability, the strength of genetic drift, and maintenance of genetic variability. Species experiencing anthropogenic population reductions provide valuable case studies for understanding the genetic response to demographic change because historic changes in the census size are often well documented. A classic example is the bowhead whale, Balaena mysticetus, which experienced dramatic population depletion due to commercial whaling in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Consequently, we analyzed a large multi-marker dataset of bowhead whales using a variety of analytical methods, including extended Bayesian skyline analysis and approximate Bayesian computation, to characterize genetic signatures of both ancient and contemporary demographic histories. No genetic signature of recent population depletion was recovered through any analysis incorporating realistic mutation assumptions, probably due to the combined influences of long generation time, short bottleneck duration, and the magnitude of population depletion. In contrast, a robust signal of population expansion was detected around 70,000 years ago, followed by a population decline around 15,000 years ago. The timing of these events coincides to a historic glacial period and the onset of warming at the end of the last glacial maximum, respectively. By implication, climate driven long-term variation in Arctic Ocean productivity, rather than recent anthropogenic disturbance, appears to have been the primary driver of historic bowhead whale demography. PMID:23403722

  8. Production of specific-molecular-weight hyaluronan by metabolically engineered Bacillus subtilis 168.

    PubMed

    Jin, Peng; Kang, Zhen; Yuan, Panhong; Du, Guocheng; Chen, Jian

    2016-05-01

    Low-molecular-weight hyaluronan (LMW-HA) has attracted much attention because of its many potential applications. Here, we efficiently produced specific LMW-HAs from sucrose in Bacillus subtilis. By coexpressing the identified committed genes (tuaD, gtaB, glmU, glmM, and glmS) and downregulating the glycolytic pathway, HA production was significantly increased from 1.01gL(-1) to 3.16gL(-1), with a molecular weight range of 1.40×10(6)-1.83×10(6)Da. When leech hyaluronidase was actively expressed after N-terminal engineering (1.62×10(6)UmL(-1)), the production of HA was substantially increased from 5.96gL(-1) to 19.38gL(-1). The level of hyaluronidase was rationally regulated with a ribosome-binding site engineering strategy, allowing the production of LMW-HAs with a molecular weight range of 2.20×10(3)-1.42×10(6)Da. Our results confirm that this strategy for the controllable expression of hyaluronidase, together with the optimization of the HA synthetic pathway, effectively produces specific LMW-HAs, and could also be used to produce other LMW polysaccharides. PMID:26851304

  9. Production of specific-molecular-weight hyaluronan by metabolically engineered Bacillus subtilis 168.

    PubMed

    Jin, Peng; Kang, Zhen; Yuan, Panhong; Du, Guocheng; Chen, Jian

    2016-05-01

    Low-molecular-weight hyaluronan (LMW-HA) has attracted much attention because of its many potential applications. Here, we efficiently produced specific LMW-HAs from sucrose in Bacillus subtilis. By coexpressing the identified committed genes (tuaD, gtaB, glmU, glmM, and glmS) and downregulating the glycolytic pathway, HA production was significantly increased from 1.01gL(-1) to 3.16gL(-1), with a molecular weight range of 1.40×10(6)-1.83×10(6)Da. When leech hyaluronidase was actively expressed after N-terminal engineering (1.62×10(6)UmL(-1)), the production of HA was substantially increased from 5.96gL(-1) to 19.38gL(-1). The level of hyaluronidase was rationally regulated with a ribosome-binding site engineering strategy, allowing the production of LMW-HAs with a molecular weight range of 2.20×10(3)-1.42×10(6)Da. Our results confirm that this strategy for the controllable expression of hyaluronidase, together with the optimization of the HA synthetic pathway, effectively produces specific LMW-HAs, and could also be used to produce other LMW polysaccharides.

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

    PubMed

    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

  11. 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

  12. Evolutionary thinking

    PubMed Central

    Hunt, Tam

    2014-01-01

    Evolution as an idea has a lengthy history, even though the idea of evolution is generally associated with Darwin today. Rebecca Stott provides an engaging and thoughtful overview of this history of evolutionary thinking in her 2013 book, Darwin's Ghosts: The Secret History of Evolution. Since Darwin, the debate over evolution—both how it takes place and, in a long war of words with religiously-oriented thinkers, whether it takes place—has been sustained and heated. A growing share of this debate is now devoted to examining how evolutionary thinking affects areas outside of biology. How do our lives change when we recognize that all is in flux? What can we learn about life more generally if we study change instead of stasis? Carter Phipps’ book, Evolutionaries: Unlocking the Spiritual and Cultural Potential of Science's Greatest Idea, delves deep into this relatively new development. Phipps generally takes as a given the validity of the Modern Synthesis of evolutionary biology. His story takes us into, as the subtitle suggests, the spiritual and cultural implications of evolutionary thinking. Can religion and evolution be reconciled? Can evolutionary thinking lead to a new type of spirituality? Is our culture already being changed in ways that we don't realize by evolutionary thinking? These are all important questions and Phipps book is a great introduction to this discussion. Phipps is an author, journalist, and contributor to the emerging “integral” or “evolutionary” cultural movement that combines the insights of Integral Philosophy, evolutionary science, developmental psychology, and the social sciences. He has served as the Executive Editor of EnlightenNext magazine (no longer published) and more recently is the co-founder of the Institute for Cultural Evolution, a public policy think tank addressing the cultural roots of America's political challenges. What follows is an email interview with Phipps. PMID:26478766

  13. Reverse engineering the mechanical and molecular pathways in stem cell morphogenesis.

    PubMed

    Lu, Kai; Gordon, Richard; Cao, Tong

    2015-03-01

    The formation of relevant biological structures poses a challenge for regenerative medicine. During embryogenesis, embryonic cells differentiate into somatic tissues and undergo morphogenesis to produce three-dimensional organs. Using stem cells, we can recapitulate this process and create biological constructs for therapeutic transplantation. However, imperfect imitation of nature sometimes results in in vitro artifacts that fail to recapitulate the function of native organs. It has been hypothesized that developing cells may self-organize into tissue-specific structures given a correct in vitro environment. This proposition is supported by the generation of neo-organoids from stem cells. We suggest that morphogenesis may be reverse engineered to uncover its interacting mechanical pathway and molecular circuitry. By harnessing the latent architecture of stem cells, novel tissue-engineering strategies may be conceptualized for generating self-organizing transplants.

  14. Open Issues in Evolutionary Robotics.

    PubMed

    Silva, Fernando; Duarte, Miguel; Correia, Luís; Oliveira, Sancho Moura; Christensen, Anders Lyhne

    2016-01-01

    One of the long-term goals in evolutionary robotics is to be able to automatically synthesize controllers for real autonomous robots based only on a task specification. While a number of studies have shown the applicability of evolutionary robotics techniques for the synthesis of behavioral control, researchers have consistently been faced with a number of issues preventing the widespread adoption of evolutionary robotics for engineering purposes. In this article, we review and discuss the open issues in evolutionary robotics. First, we analyze the benefits and challenges of simulation-based evolution and subsequent deployment of controllers versus evolution on real robotic hardware. Second, we discuss specific evolutionary computation issues that have plagued evolutionary robotics: (1) the bootstrap problem, (2) deception, and (3) the role of genomic encoding and genotype-phenotype mapping in the evolution of controllers for complex tasks. Finally, we address the absence of standard research practices in the field. We also discuss promising avenues of research. Our underlying motivation is the reduction of the current gap between evolutionary robotics and mainstream robotics, and the establishment of evolutionary robotics as a canonical approach for the engineering of autonomous robots.

  15. Type I interferon receptors in goose: molecular cloning, structural identification, evolutionary analysis and age-related tissue expression profile.

    PubMed

    Zhou, Hao; Chen, Shun; Qi, Yulin; Zhou, Qin; Wang, Mingshu; Jia, Renyong; Zhu, Dekang; Liu, Mafeng; Sun, Kunfeng; Liu, Fei; Chen, Xiaoyue; Cheng, Anchun

    2015-04-25

    The cDNAs encoding two distinct type I interferon receptors were firstly cloned from the spleen of white goose (the Chinese goose, Anser cygnoides). The cDNA of goose IFNAR1 consisted of 1616 bp and encoded 406 amino acids with a predicted molecular weight of 46.4 kDa, while the cDNA of goose IFNAR2 consisted of 1525 bp and encoded 294 amino acids with a predicted molecular weight of 32.6 kDa. The IFNAR1 shared 85.4% identity in deduced amino acid sequence with duck IFNAR1, while IFNAR2 amino acid sequence showed 86% identity with that of duck IFNAR2. The age-related analysis of gene expression revealed that goose IFNα and IFNARs were all highly transcribed in pancreas, which may due to a reasonable amount of dendritic cells aggregated in pancreas. And goose IFNα and its cognate receptors had different structural features and tissue expression patterns during the period from embryonic goose to adult goose, suggesting that IFNα and IFNARs may maintain a developmental dynamic immune competence in unstimulated states. The data provided in this study may contribute to future understanding of the interaction between interferon and interferon receptors in immune mechanism. And it also helps us to understand the age-related susceptibility to pathogens in birds better.

  16. Magnetically engineered smart thin films: toward lab-on-chip ultra-sensitive molecular imaging.

    PubMed

    Hassan, Muhammad A; Saqib, Mudassara; Shaikh, Haseeb; Ahmad, Nasir M; Elaissari, Abdelhamid

    2013-03-01

    Magnetically responsive engineered smart thin films of nanoferrites as contrast agent are employed to develop surface based magnetic resonance imaging to acquire simple yet fast molecular imaging. The work presented here can be of significant potential for future lab-on-chip point-of-care diagnostics from the whole blood pool on almost any substrates to reduce or even prevent clinical studies involve a living organism to enhance the non-invasive imaging to advance the '3Rs' of work in animals-replacement, refinement and reduction.

  17. Molecular Basis of Clay Mineral Structure and Dynamics in Subsurface Engineering Applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cygan, R. T.

    2015-12-01

    Clay minerals and their interfaces play an essential role in many geochemical, environmental, and subsurface engineering applications. Adsorption, dissolution, precipitation, nucleation, and growth mechanisms, in particular, are controlled by the interplay of structure, thermodynamics, kinetics, and transport at clay mineral-water interfaces. Molecular details of these processes are typically beyond the sensitivity of experimental and analytical methods, and therefore require accurate models and simulations. Also, basal surfaces and interlayers of clay minerals provide constrained interfacial environments to facilitate the evaluation of these complex processes. We have developed and used classical molecular and quantum methods to examine the complex behavior of clay mineral-water interfaces and dynamics of interlayer species. Bulk structures, swelling behavior, diffusion, and adsorption processes are evaluated and compared to experimental and spectroscopic findings. Analysis of adsorption mechanisms of radionuclides on clay minerals provides a scientific basis for predicting the suitability of engineered barriers associated with nuclear waste repositories and the fate of contaminants in the environment. Similarly, the injection of supercritical carbon dioxide into geological reservoirs—to mitigate the impact of climate change—is evaluated by molecular models of multi-fluid interactions with clay minerals. Molecular dynamics simulations provide insights into the wettability of different fluids—water, electrolyte solutions, and supercritical carbon dioxide—on clay surfaces, and which ultimately affects capillary fluid flow and the integrity of shale caprocks. This work is supported as part of Center for Frontiers of Subsurface Energy Security, an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science and by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Geosciences Research Program

  18. Molecular modeling of directed self-assembly of block copolymers: Fundamental studies of processing conditions and evolutionary pattern design

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Khaira, Gurdaman Singh

    Rapid progress in the semi-conductor industry has pushed for smaller feature sizes on integrated electronic circuits. Current photo-lithographic techniques for nanofabrication have reached their technical limit and are problematic when printing features small enough to meet future industrial requirements. "Bottom-up'' techniques, such as the directed self-assembly (DSA) of block copolymers (BCP), are the primary contenders to compliment current "top-down'' photo-lithography ones. For industrial requirements, the defect density from DSA needs to be less than 1 defect per 10 cm by 10 cm. Knowledge of both material synthesis and the thermodynamics of the self-assembly process are required before optimal operating conditions can be found to produce results adequate for industry. The work present in this thesis is divided into three chapters, each discussing various aspects of DSA as studied via a molecular model that contains the essential physics of BCP self-assembly. Though there are various types of guiding fields that can be used to direct BCPs over large wafer areas with minimum defects, this study focuses only on chemically patterned substrates. The first chapter addresses optimal pattern design by describing a framework where molecular simulations of various complexities are coupled with an advanced optimization technique to find a pattern that directs a target morphology. It demonstrates the first ever study where BCP self-assembly on a patterned substrate is optimized using a three-dimensional description of the block-copolymers. For problems pertaining to DSA, the methodology is shown to converge much faster than the traditional random search approach. The second chapter discusses the metrology of BCP thin films using TEM tomography and X-ray scattering techniques, such as CDSAXS and GISAXS. X-ray scattering has the advantage of being able to quickly probe the average structure of BCP morphologies over large wafer areas; however, deducing the BCP morphology

  19. A molecular phylogeny of the Littorininae (Gastropoda: Littorinidae): unequal evolutionary rates, morphological parallelism, and biogeography of the Southern Ocean.

    PubMed

    Williams, S T; Reid, D G; Littlewood, D T J

    2003-07-01

    A molecular phylogeny is presented for the subfamily Littorininae (including representatives of all subgeneric taxa and all members of a group of southern-temperate species formerly classified as 'Nodilittorina'), based on sequence data from two nuclear (18S rRNA, 28S rRNA) and two mitochondrial (12S rRNA, CO1) genes. The phylogeny shows considerable disagreement with earlier hypotheses derived from morphological data. In particular, 'Nodilittorina' is polyphyletic and is here divided into four genera (Echinolittorina, Austrolittorina, Afrolittorina new genus, and the monotypic Nodilittorina s.s.). The phylogenetic relationships of 'Littorina' striata have been controversial and it is here transferred to the genus Tectarius, a surprising relationship for which there is little morphological support. The relationships of the enigmatic Mainwaringia remain poorly resolved, but it is not a basal member of the subfamily. The two living species of Mainwaringia are remarkable for a greatly elevated rate of evolution in all four genes examined; it is suggested that this may be connected with their protandrous hermaphroditism, which is unique in the family. The molecular phylogeny provides a new framework for the adaptive radiation of the Littorininae, showing more frequent shifts between habitats and climatic regimes than previously suspected, and striking parallelism of morphological characters. The fossil record of littorinids is poor, but ages of clades are estimated using a calibration based on a Lower Eocene age of the genus Littoraria. Using these estimates, the antitropical distribution of Littorina and Afrolittorina is an ancient pattern of possibly Cretaceous age. The five members of Austrolittorina show a Gondwanan distribution in Australia, New Zealand, and South America. Based on the morphological uniformity within this clade, relatively recent (Plio-Pleistocene) trans-Pacific dispersal events seemed a likely explanation, as proposed for numerous other

  20. A molecular phylogeny of the Littorininae (Gastropoda: Littorinidae): unequal evolutionary rates, morphological parallelism, and biogeography of the Southern Ocean.

    PubMed

    Williams, S T; Reid, D G; Littlewood, D T J

    2003-07-01

    A molecular phylogeny is presented for the subfamily Littorininae (including representatives of all subgeneric taxa and all members of a group of southern-temperate species formerly classified as 'Nodilittorina'), based on sequence data from two nuclear (18S rRNA, 28S rRNA) and two mitochondrial (12S rRNA, CO1) genes. The phylogeny shows considerable disagreement with earlier hypotheses derived from morphological data. In particular, 'Nodilittorina' is polyphyletic and is here divided into four genera (Echinolittorina, Austrolittorina, Afrolittorina new genus, and the monotypic Nodilittorina s.s.). The phylogenetic relationships of 'Littorina' striata have been controversial and it is here transferred to the genus Tectarius, a surprising relationship for which there is little morphological support. The relationships of the enigmatic Mainwaringia remain poorly resolved, but it is not a basal member of the subfamily. The two living species of Mainwaringia are remarkable for a greatly elevated rate of evolution in all four genes examined; it is suggested that this may be connected with their protandrous hermaphroditism, which is unique in the family. The molecular phylogeny provides a new framework for the adaptive radiation of the Littorininae, showing more frequent shifts between habitats and climatic regimes than previously suspected, and striking parallelism of morphological characters. The fossil record of littorinids is poor, but ages of clades are estimated using a calibration based on a Lower Eocene age of the genus Littoraria. Using these estimates, the antitropical distribution of Littorina and Afrolittorina is an ancient pattern of possibly Cretaceous age. The five members of Austrolittorina show a Gondwanan distribution in Australia, New Zealand, and South America. Based on the morphological uniformity within this clade, relatively recent (Plio-Pleistocene) trans-Pacific dispersal events seemed a likely explanation, as proposed for numerous other

  1. An evolutionary model for collapsing molecular clouds and their star formation activity. II. Mass dependence of the star formation rate

    SciTech Connect

    Zamora-Avilés, Manuel; Vázquez-Semadeni, Enrique

    2014-10-01

    We discuss the evolution and dependence on cloud mass of the star formation rate (SFR) and efficiency (SFE) of star-forming molecular clouds (MCs) within the scenario that clouds are undergoing global collapse and that the SFR is controlled by ionization feedback. We find that low-mass clouds (M {sub max} ≲ 10{sup 4} M {sub ☉}) spend most of their evolution at low SFRs, but end their lives with a mini-burst, reaching a peak SFR ∼10{sup 4} M {sub ☉} Myr{sup –1}, although their time-averaged SFR is only (SFR) ∼ 10{sup 2} M {sub ☉} Myr{sup –1}. The corresponding efficiencies are SFE{sub final} ≲ 60% and (SFE) ≲ 1%. For more massive clouds (M {sub max} ≳ 10{sup 5} M {sub ☉}), the SFR first increases and then reaches a plateau because the clouds are influenced by stellar feedback since earlier in their evolution. As a function of cloud mass, (SFR) and (SFE) are well represented by the fits (SFR) ≈ 100(1 + M {sub max}/1.4 × 10{sup 5} M {sub ☉}){sup 1.68} M {sub ☉} Myr{sup –1} and (SFE) ≈ 0.03(M {sub max}/2.5 × 10{sup 5} M {sub ☉}){sup 0.33}, respectively. Moreover, the SFR of our model clouds follows closely the SFR-dense gas mass relation recently found by Lada et al. during the epoch when their instantaneous SFEs are comparable to those of the clouds considered by those authors. Collectively, a Monte Carlo integration of the model-predicted SFR(M) over a Galactic giant molecular cloud mass spectrum yields values for the total Galactic SFR that are within half an order of magnitude of the relation obtained by Gao and Solomon. Our results support the scenario that star-forming MCs may be in global gravitational collapse and that the low observed values of the SFR and SFE are a result of the interruption of each SF episode, caused primarily by the ionizing feedback from massive stars.

  2. Molecular-level engineering of THz/IR-sensitive materials for future biological sensing application

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Woolard, Dwight; Recine, Gregory; Bykhovski, Alexei; Zhang, Weidong

    2010-08-01

    While the unique spectral information associated with chemical and biological molecules within the terahertz frequency regime (~ 3.0-3.0 millimeters) motivates its use for practical sensing applications, limiting factors at the macroscale (weak spectral absorption, broad line widths and masking geometrical effects introduced by the samples) provides motivation for man-engineered sensing materials that allow for the transduction of the spectral information about target molecules from the nanoscale. This brief letter will overview work being performed by our research group to define molecular-level functionality that will be useful for realizing "THz/IR-sensitive" materials. Here the goal is to define switchable molecular components that when incorporated into larger DNA-based nanoscaffolds lead to THz and/or IR regime electronic and/or photonic material properties that are dictated in a predictable manner by novel functionality paradigms. In particular, theoretical modeling and design studies are being performed to engineer organic and biological switches that can be incorporated into DNA-based architectures that enable the precise extraction of nanoscale information (e.g., composition, dynamics, conformation) through electronic/photonic transformations to the macroscale. Hence, these studies seek to define new spectral-based sensing modalities useful for characterizing bio-molecules

  3. Epitope engineering and molecular metrics of immunogenicity: a computational approach to VLP-based vaccine design.

    PubMed

    Joshi, Harshad; Lewis, Kristen; Singharoy, Abhishek; Ortoleva, Peter J

    2013-10-01

    Developing antiviral vaccines is increasingly challenging due to associated time and cost of production as well as emerging drug-resistant strains. A computer-aided vaccine design strategy is presented that could greatly accelerate the discovery process and yield vaccines with high immunogenicity and thermal stability. Our strategy is based on foreign viral epitopes engineered onto well-established virus-like particles (VLPs) and demonstrates that such constructs present similar affinity for antibodies as does a native virus. This binding affinity serves as one molecular metric of immunogenicity. As a demonstration, we engineered a preS1 epitope of hepatitis B virus (HBV) onto the EF loop of human papillomavirus VLP (HPV-VLP). HBV-associated HzKR127 antibody displayed binding affinity for this structure at distances and strengths similar to those for the complex of the antibody with the full HBV (PDBID: 2EH8). This antibody binding affinity assessment, along with other molecular immunogenicity metrics, could be a key component of a computer-aided vaccine design strategy.

  4. Discovery of gigantic molecular nanostructures using a flow reaction array as a search engine.

    PubMed

    Zang, Hong-Ying; de la Oliva, Andreu Ruiz; Miras, Haralampos N; Long, De-Liang; McBurney, Roy T; Cronin, Leroy

    2014-04-28

    The discovery of gigantic molecular nanostructures like coordination and polyoxometalate clusters is extremely time-consuming since a vast combinatorial space needs to be searched, and even a systematic and exhaustive exploration of the available synthetic parameters relies on a great deal of serendipity. Here we present a synthetic methodology that combines a flow reaction array and algorithmic control to give a chemical 'real-space' search engine leading to the discovery and isolation of a range of new molecular nanoclusters based on [Mo(2)O(2)S(2)](2+)-based building blocks with either fourfold (C4) or fivefold (C5) symmetry templates and linkers. This engine leads us to isolate six new nanoscale cluster compounds: 1, {Mo(10)(C5)}; 2, {Mo(14)(C4)4(C5)2}; 3, {Mo(60)(C4)10}; 4, {Mo(48)(C4)6}; 5, {Mo(34)(C4)4}; 6, {Mo(18)(C4)9}; in only 200 automated experiments from a parameter space spanning ~5 million possible combinations.

  5. Discovery of gigantic molecular nanostructures using a flow reaction array as a search engine

    PubMed Central

    Zang, Hong-Ying; de la Oliva, Andreu Ruiz; Miras, Haralampos N.; Long, De-Liang; McBurney, Roy T.; Cronin, Leroy

    2014-01-01

    The discovery of gigantic molecular nanostructures like coordination and polyoxometalate clusters is extremely time-consuming since a vast combinatorial space needs to be searched, and even a systematic and exhaustive exploration of the available synthetic parameters relies on a great deal of serendipity. Here we present a synthetic methodology that combines a flow reaction array and algorithmic control to give a chemical ‘real-space’ search engine leading to the discovery and isolation of a range of new molecular nanoclusters based on [Mo2O2S2]2+-based building blocks with either fourfold (C4) or fivefold (C5) symmetry templates and linkers. This engine leads us to isolate six new nanoscale cluster compounds: 1, {Mo10(C5)}; 2, {Mo14(C4)4(C5)2}; 3, {Mo60(C4)10}; 4, {Mo48(C4)6}; 5, {Mo34(C4)4}; 6, {Mo18(C4)9}; in only 200 automated experiments from a parameter space spanning ~5 million possible combinations. PMID:24770632

  6. Discovery of gigantic molecular nanostructures using a flow reaction array as a search engine.

    PubMed

    Zang, Hong-Ying; de la Oliva, Andreu Ruiz; Miras, Haralampos N; Long, De-Liang; McBurney, Roy T; Cronin, Leroy

    2014-01-01

    The discovery of gigantic molecular nanostructures like coordination and polyoxometalate clusters is extremely time-consuming since a vast combinatorial space needs to be searched, and even a systematic and exhaustive exploration of the available synthetic parameters relies on a great deal of serendipity. Here we present a synthetic methodology that combines a flow reaction array and algorithmic control to give a chemical 'real-space' search engine leading to the discovery and isolation of a range of new molecular nanoclusters based on [Mo(2)O(2)S(2)](2+)-based building blocks with either fourfold (C4) or fivefold (C5) symmetry templates and linkers. This engine leads us to isolate six new nanoscale cluster compounds: 1, {Mo(10)(C5)}; 2, {Mo(14)(C4)4(C5)2}; 3, {Mo(60)(C4)10}; 4, {Mo(48)(C4)6}; 5, {Mo(34)(C4)4}; 6, {Mo(18)(C4)9}; in only 200 automated experiments from a parameter space spanning ~5 million possible combinations. PMID:24770632

  7. Discovery of gigantic molecular nanostructures using a flow reaction array as a search engine

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zang, Hong-Ying; de La Oliva, Andreu Ruiz; Miras, Haralampos N.; Long, De-Liang; McBurney, Roy T.; Cronin, Leroy

    2014-04-01

    The discovery of gigantic molecular nanostructures like coordination and polyoxometalate clusters is extremely time-consuming since a vast combinatorial space needs to be searched, and even a systematic and exhaustive exploration of the available synthetic parameters relies on a great deal of serendipity. Here we present a synthetic methodology that combines a flow reaction array and algorithmic control to give a chemical ‘real-space’ search engine leading to the discovery and isolation of a range of new molecular nanoclusters based on [Mo2O2S2]2+-based building blocks with either fourfold (C4) or fivefold (C5) symmetry templates and linkers. This engine leads us to isolate six new nanoscale cluster compounds: 1, {Mo10(C5)}; 2, {Mo14(C4)4(C5)2}; 3, {Mo60(C4)10}; 4, {Mo48(C4)6}; 5, {Mo34(C4)4}; 6, {Mo18(C4)9}; in only 200 automated experiments from a parameter space spanning ~5 million possible combinations.

  8. When electrons meet molecular ions and what happens next: dissociative recombination from interstellar molecular clouds to internal combustion engines.

    PubMed

    Thomas, Richard D

    2008-01-01

    The interaction of matter with its environment is the driving force behind the evolution of 99% of the observed matter in the universe. The majority of the visible universe exists in a state of weak ionization, the so called fourth state of matter: plasma. Plasmas are ubiquitous, from those occurring naturally; interstellar molecular clouds, cometary comae, circumstellar shells, to those which are anthropic in origin; flames, combustion engines and fusion reactors. The evolution of these plasmas is driven by the interaction of the plasma constituents, the ions, and the electrons. One of the most important subsets of these reactions is electron-molecular ion recombination. This process is significant for two very important reasons. It is an ionization reducing reaction, removing two ionised species and producing neutral products. Furthermore, these products may themselves be reactive radical species which can then further drive the evolution of the plasma. The rate at which the electron reacts with the ion depends on many parameters, for examples the collision energy, the internal energy of the ion, and the structure of the ion itself. Measuring these properties together with the manner in which the system breaks up is therefore critical if the evolution of the environment is to be understood at all. Several techniques have been developed to study just such reactions to obtain the necessary information on the parameters. In this paper the focus will be on one the most recently developed of these, the Ion Storage Ring, together with the detection tools and techniques used to extract the necessary information from the reaction.

  9. When electrons meet molecular ions and what happens next: dissociative recombination from interstellar molecular clouds to internal combustion engines.

    PubMed

    Thomas, Richard D

    2008-01-01

    The interaction of matter with its environment is the driving force behind the evolution of 99% of the observed matter in the universe. The majority of the visible universe exists in a state of weak ionization, the so called fourth state of matter: plasma. Plasmas are ubiquitous, from those occurring naturally; interstellar molecular clouds, cometary comae, circumstellar shells, to those which are anthropic in origin; flames, combustion engines and fusion reactors. The evolution of these plasmas is driven by the interaction of the plasma constituents, the ions, and the electrons. One of the most important subsets of these reactions is electron-molecular ion recombination. This process is significant for two very important reasons. It is an ionization reducing reaction, removing two ionised species and producing neutral products. Furthermore, these products may themselves be reactive radical species which can then further drive the evolution of the plasma. The rate at which the electron reacts with the ion depends on many parameters, for examples the collision energy, the internal energy of the ion, and the structure of the ion itself. Measuring these properties together with the manner in which the system breaks up is therefore critical if the evolution of the environment is to be understood at all. Several techniques have been developed to study just such reactions to obtain the necessary information on the parameters. In this paper the focus will be on one the most recently developed of these, the Ion Storage Ring, together with the detection tools and techniques used to extract the necessary information from the reaction. PMID:18618616

  10. Structural Characterization and Evolutionary Relationship of High-Molecular-Weight Glutenin Subunit Genes in Roegneria nakaii and Roegneria alashanica

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Lujun; Li, Zhixin; Fan, Renchun; Wei, Bo; Zhang, Xiangqi

    2016-01-01

    The Roegneria of Triticeae is a large genus including about 130 allopolyploid species. Little is known about its high-molecular-weight glutenin subunits (HMW-GSs). Here, we reported six novel HMW-GS genes from R. nakaii and R. alashanica. Sequencing indicated that Rny1, Rny3, and Ray1 possessed intact open reading frames (ORFs), whereas Rny2, Rny4, and Ray2 harbored in-frame stop codons. All of the six genes possessed a similar primary structure to known HMW-GS, while showing some unique characteristics. Their coding regions were significantly shorter than Glu-1 genes in wheat. The amino acid sequences revealed that all of the six genes were intermediate towards the y-type. The phylogenetic analysis showed that the HMW-GSs from species with St, StY, or StH genome(s) clustered in an independent clade, varying from the typical x- and y-type clusters. Thus, the Glu-1 locus in R. nakaii and R. alashanica is a very primitive glutenin locus across evolution. The six genes were phylogenetically split into two groups clustered to different clades, respectively, each of the two clades included the HMW-GSs from species with St (diploid and tetraploid species), StY, and StH genomes. Hence, it is concluded that the six Roegneria HMW-GS genes are from two St genomes undergoing slight differentiation. PMID:27447615

  11. Molecular evolutionary dynamics of cytochrome P450 monooxygenases across kingdoms: Special focus on mycobacterial P450s

    PubMed Central

    Parvez, Mohammad; Qhanya, Lehlohonolo Benedict; Mthakathi, Ntsane Trevor; Kgosiemang, Ipeleng Kopano Rosinah; Bamal, Hans Denis; Pagadala, Nataraj Sekhar; Xie, Ting; Yang, Haoran; Chen, Hengye; Theron, Chrispian William; Monyaki, Richie; Raselemane, Seiso Caiphus; Salewe, Vuyani; Mongale, Bogadi Lorato; Matowane, Retshedisitswe Godfrey; Abdalla, Sara Mohamed Hasaan; Booi, Wool Isaac; van Wyk, Mari; Olivier, Dedré; Boucher, Charlotte E.; Nelson, David R.; Tuszynski, Jack A.; Blackburn, Jonathan Michael; Yu, Jae-Hyuk; Mashele, Samson Sitheni; Chen, Wanping; Syed, Khajamohiddin

    2016-01-01

    Since the initial identification of cytochrome P450 monooxygenases (CYPs/P450s), great progress has been made in understanding their structure-function relationship, diversity and application in producing compounds beneficial to humans. However, the molecular evolution of P450s in terms of their dynamics both at protein and DNA levels and functional conservation across kingdoms still needs investigation. In this study, we analyzed 17 598 P450s belonging to 113 P450 families (bacteria −42; fungi −19; plant −28; animal −22; plant and animal −1 and common P450 family −1) and found highly conserved and rapidly evolving P450 families. Results suggested that bacterial P450s, particularly P450s belonging to mycobacteria, are highly conserved both at protein and DNA levels. Mycobacteria possess the highest P450 diversity percentage compared to other microbes and have a high coverage of P450s (≥1%) in their genomes, as found in fungi and plants. Phylogenetic and functional analyses revealed the functional conservation of P450s despite belonging to different biological kingdoms, suggesting the adherence of P450s to their innate function such as their involvement in either generation or oxidation of steroids and structurally related molecules, fatty acids and terpenoids. This study’s results offer new understanding of the dynamic structural nature of P450s. PMID:27616185

  12. Molecular evolutionary dynamics of cytochrome P450 monooxygenases across kingdoms: Special focus on mycobacterial P450s.

    PubMed

    Parvez, Mohammad; Qhanya, Lehlohonolo Benedict; Mthakathi, Ntsane Trevor; Kgosiemang, Ipeleng Kopano Rosinah; Bamal, Hans Denis; Pagadala, Nataraj Sekhar; Xie, Ting; Yang, Haoran; Chen, Hengye; Theron, Chrispian William; Monyaki, Richie; Raselemane, Seiso Caiphus; Salewe, Vuyani; Mongale, Bogadi Lorato; Matowane, Retshedisitswe Godfrey; Abdalla, Sara Mohamed Hasaan; Booi, Wool Isaac; van Wyk, Mari; Olivier, Dedré; Boucher, Charlotte E; Nelson, David R; Tuszynski, Jack A; Blackburn, Jonathan Michael; Yu, Jae-Hyuk; Mashele, Samson Sitheni; Chen, Wanping; Syed, Khajamohiddin

    2016-01-01

    Since the initial identification of cytochrome P450 monooxygenases (CYPs/P450s), great progress has been made in understanding their structure-function relationship, diversity and application in producing compounds beneficial to humans. However, the molecular evolution of P450s in terms of their dynamics both at protein and DNA levels and functional conservation across kingdoms still needs investigation. In this study, we analyzed 17 598 P450s belonging to 113 P450 families (bacteria -42; fungi -19; plant -28; animal -22; plant and animal -1 and common P450 family -1) and found highly conserved and rapidly evolving P450 families. Results suggested that bacterial P450s, particularly P450s belonging to mycobacteria, are highly conserved both at protein and DNA levels. Mycobacteria possess the highest P450 diversity percentage compared to other microbes and have a high coverage of P450s (≥1%) in their genomes, as found in fungi and plants. Phylogenetic and functional analyses revealed the functional conservation of P450s despite belonging to different biological kingdoms, suggesting the adherence of P450s to their innate function such as their involvement in either generation or oxidation of steroids and structurally related molecules, fatty acids and terpenoids. This study's results offer new understanding of the dynamic structural nature of P450s. PMID:27616185

  13. Molecular analysis of the amphioxus frontal eye unravels the evolutionary origin of the retina and pigment cells of the vertebrate eye.

    PubMed

    Vopalensky, Pavel; Pergner, Jiri; Liegertova, Michaela; Benito-Gutierrez, Elia; Arendt, Detlev; Kozmik, Zbynek

    2012-09-18

    The origin of vertebrate eyes is still enigmatic. The "frontal eye" of amphioxus, our most primitive chordate relative, has long been recognized as a candidate precursor to the vertebrate eyes. However, the amphioxus frontal eye is composed of simple ciliated cells, unlike vertebrate rods and cones, which display more elaborate, surface-extended cilia. So far, the only evidence that the frontal eye indeed might be sensitive to light has been the presence of a ciliated putative sensory cell in the close vicinity of dark pigment cells. We set out to characterize the cell types of the amphioxus frontal eye molecularly, to test their possible relatedness to the cell types of vertebrate eyes. We show that the cells of the frontal eye specifically coexpress a combination of transcription factors and opsins typical of the vertebrate eye photoreceptors and an inhibitory Gi-type alpha subunit of the G protein, indicating an off-responding phototransductory cascade. Furthermore, the pigmented cells match the retinal pigmented epithelium in melanin content and regulatory signature. Finally, we reveal axonal projections of the frontal eye that resemble the basic photosensory-motor circuit of the vertebrate forebrain. These results support homology of the amphioxus frontal eye and the vertebrate eyes and yield insights into their evolutionary origin.

  14. Evolutionary awareness.

    PubMed

    Gorelik, Gregory; Shackelford, Todd K

    2014-08-27

    In this article, we advance the concept of "evolutionary awareness," a metacognitive framework that examines human thought and emotion from a naturalistic, evolutionary perspective. We begin by discussing the evolution and current functioning of the moral foundations on which our framework rests. Next, we discuss the possible applications of such an evolutionarily-informed ethical framework to several domains of human behavior, namely: sexual maturation, mate attraction, intrasexual competition, culture, and the separation between various academic disciplines. Finally, we discuss ways in which an evolutionary awareness can inform our cross-generational activities-which we refer to as "intergenerational extended phenotypes"-by helping us to construct a better future for ourselves, for other sentient beings, and for our environment.

  15. Molecular cloning and evolutionary analysis of captive forest musk deer bitter taste receptor gene T2R16.

    PubMed

    Zhao, G J; Wu, N; Li, D Y; Zeng, D J; Chen, Q; Lu, L; Feng, X L; Zhang, C L; Zheng, C L; Jie, H

    2015-12-08

    Sensing bitter tastes is crucial for most animals because it can prevent them from ingesting harmful food. This process is mainly mediated by the bitter taste receptors (T2R) that are largely expressed in the taste buds. Previous studies have identified some T2R gene repertoires. Marked variation in repertoire size has been noted among species. However, research on T2Rs is still limited and the mechanisms underlying the evolution of vertebrate T2Rs remain poorly understood. In the present study, we analyzed the structure and features of the protein encoded by the forest musk deer (Moschus berezovskii) T2R16 and submitted the gene sequence to NCBI GenBank. The results showed that the full coding DNA sequence (CDS) of musk deer T2R16 (GenBank accession No. KP677279) was 906 bp, encoding 301 amino acids, which contained ATG start codon and TGA stop codon, with a calculated molecular weight of 35.03 kDa and an isoelectric point of 9.56. The T2R16 protein receptor had seven conserved transmembrane regions. Hydrophobicity analysis showed that most amino acid residues in T2R16 protein were hydrophobic, and the grand average of hydrophobicity (GRAVY) was 0.657. Phylogenetic analysis based on this gene revealed that forest musk deer had the closest association with sheep (Ovis aries), as compared to cow (Bos taurus), Tursiops truncatus, and other species, whereas it was genetically farthest from humans (Homo sapiens). We hope these results would complement the existing data on T2R16 and encourage further research in this respect.

  16. Catalytically active polymers obtained by molecular imprinting and their application in chemical reaction engineering.

    PubMed

    Brüggemann, O

    2001-08-01

    Molecular imprinting is a way of creating polymers bearing artificial receptors. It allows the fabrication of highly selective plastics by polymerizing monomers in the presence of a template. This technique primarily had been developed for the generation of biomimetic materials to be used in chromatographic separation, in extraction approaches and in sensors and assays. Beyond these applications, in the past few years molecular imprinting has become a tool for producing new kinds of catalysts. For catalytic applications, the template must be chosen, so that it is structurally comparable with the transition state (a transition state analogue, TSA) of a reaction, or with the product or substrate. The advantage of using these polymeric catalysts is obvious: the backbone withstands more aggressive conditions than a bio material could ever survive. Results are presented showing the applicability of a molecularly imprinted catalyst in different kinds of chemical reactors. It is demonstrated that the catalysts can be utilized not only in batch but also in continuously driven reactors and that their performance can be improved by means of chemical reaction engineering. PMID:11429307

  17. Gene discovery, evolutionary affinity and molecular detection of Oxyspirura petrowi, an eye worm parasite of game birds

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Oxyspirura petrowi appears to be emerging as a nematode parasite that could negatively impact Northern Bobwhite quail individuals and populations within Texas and other regions of the United States. Despite this eye worm's potential importance in the conservation of wild quail, little is known about the general biology and genome composition of O. petrowi. To fill the knowledge gap, we performed a small scale random genome sequence survey, sequenced its 18S rRNA and the intergenic region between the 18S and 28S rRNA genes, studied its phylogenetic affinity, and developed a PCR protocol for the detection of this eye worm. Results We have generated ~240 kb of genome sequence data derived from 348 clones by a random genome survey of an O. petrowi genomic library. The eye worm genome is AT-rich (i.e., 62.2% AT-content), and contains a high number of microsatellite sequences. The discovered genes encode a wide-range of proteins including hypothetical proteins, enzymes, nematode-specific proteins. Phylogenetic analysis based on 18S rRNA sequences indicate that the Spiruroidea is paraphyletic, in which Oxyspirura and its closely related species are sisters to the filarial nematodes. We have also developed a PCR protocol based on the ITS2 sequence that allows sensitive and specific detection of eye worm DNA in feces. Using this newly developed protocol, we have determined that ~28% to 33% of the fecal samples collected from Northern Bobwhites and Scaled Quail in Texas in the spring of 2013 are O. petrowi positive. Conclusions The O. petrowi genome is rich in microsatellite sequences that may be used in future genotyping and molecular fingerprinting analysis. This eye worm is evolutionarily close to the filarial nematodes, implying that therapeutic strategies for filariasis such as Loa loa would be referential in developing treatments for the Thelazoidea parasites. Our qPCR-based survey has confirmed that O. petrowi infection is of potential concern to quail

  18. Evolutionary medicine.

    PubMed

    Swynghedauw, B

    2004-04-01

    Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution. Evolutionary, or darwinian, medicine takes the view that contemporary diseases result from incompatibility between the conditions under which the evolutionary pressure had modified our genetic endowment and the lifestyle and dietary habits in which we are currently living, including the enhanced lifespan, the changes in dietary habits and the lack of physical activity. An evolutionary trait express a genetic polymorphism which finally improve fitness, it needs million years to become functional. A limited genetic diversity is a necessary prerequisite for evolutionary medicine. Nevertheless, search for a genetic endowment would become nearly impossible if the human races were genetically different. From a genetic point of view, homo sapiens, is homogeneous, and the so-called human races have only a socio-economic definition. Historically, Heart Failure, HF, had an infectious origin and resulted from mechanical overload which triggered mechanoconversion by using phylogenically ancient pleiotropic pathways. Adaptation was mainly caused by negative inotropism. Recently, HF was caused by a complex remodelling caused by the trophic effects of mechanics, ischemia, senescence, diabetes and, neurohormones. The generally admitted hypothesis is that cancers were largely caused by a combination of modern reproductive and dietary lifestyles mismatched with genotypic traits, plus the longer time available for a confrontation. Such a concept is illustrated for skin and breast cancers, and also for the link between cancer risk and dietary habits.

  19. Surface engineering on mesoporous silica chips for enriching low molecular weight phosphorylated proteins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hu, Ye; Peng, Yang; Lin, Kevin; Shen, Haifa; Brousseau, Louis C., III; Sakamoto, Jason; Sun, Tong; Ferrari, Mauro

    2011-02-01

    Phosphorylated peptides and proteins play an important role in normal cellular activities, e.g., gene expression, mitosis, differentiation, proliferation, and apoptosis, as well as tumor initiation, progression and metastasis. However, technical hurdles hinder the use of common fractionation methods to capture phosphopeptides from complex biological fluids such as human sera. Herein, we present the development of a dual strategy material that offers enhanced capture of low molecular weight phosphoproteins: mesoporous silica thin films with precisely engineered pore sizes that sterically select for molecular size combined with chemically selective surface modifications (i.e. Ga3+, Ti4+ and Zr4+) that target phosphoroproteins. These materials provide high reproducibility (CV = 18%) and increase the stability of the captured proteins by excluding degrading enzymes, such as trypsin. The chemical and physical properties of the composite mesoporous thin films were characterized by X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy and ellipsometry. Using mass spectroscopy and biostatistics analysis, the enrichment efficiency of different metal ions immobilized on mesoporous silica chips was investigated. The novel technology reported provides a platform capable of efficiently profiling the serum proteome for biomarker discovery, forensic sampling, and routine diagnostic applications.Phosphorylated peptides and proteins play an important role in normal cellular activities, e.g., gene expression, mitosis, differentiation, proliferation, and apoptosis, as well as tumor initiation, progression and metastasis. However, technical hurdles hinder the use of common fractionation methods to capture phosphopeptides from complex biological fluids such as human sera. Herein, we present the development of a dual strategy material that offers enhanced capture of low molecular weight phosphoproteins: mesoporous

  20. Molecular Kinetic Analysis of a Finite-Time Carnot Heat Engine

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Izumida, Yuki; Okuda, Koji

    2009-03-01

    We show the first derivation of the efficiency at the maximum power for a finite-time Carnot heat engine of a weakly interacting gas which we can regard as a nearly ideal gas. Using this simple model, we check the celebrated Curzon-Ahlborn (CA) efficiency by performing the event-driven MD simulation as a numerical experiment for the first time[1,2]. This numerical experiment reveals that the CA efficiency is realized only in the limit of the small temperature difference Tc -> Th where Th and Tc are the temperatures of the hot and cold heat reservoirs, respectively. Our molecular kinetic analysis can explain the numerical results theoretically. [1] F. Curzon and B. Ahlborn, Am. J. Phys. 43, 22 (1975). [2] Y. Izumida and K. Okuda, Europhys. Lett. 83, 60003 (2008).

  1. Molecularly engineered poly(ortho ester) microspheres for enhanced delivery of DNA vaccines

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Chun; Ge, Qing; Ting, David; Nguyen, David; Shen, Hui-Rong; Chen, Jianzhu; Eisen, Herman N.; Heller, Jorge; Langer, Robert; Putnam, David

    2004-03-01

    Genetic vaccination using plasmid DNA presents a unique opportunity for achieving potent immune responses without the potential limitations of many conventional vaccines. Here we report the design of synthetic biodegradable polymers specifically for enhancing DNA vaccine efficacy in vivo. We molecularly engineered poly(ortho ester) microspheres that are non-toxic to cells, protect DNA from degradation, enable uptake by antigen-presenting cells, and release DNA rapidly in response to phagosomal pH. One type of microsphere of poly(ortho esters) that releases DNA vaccines in synchrony with the natural development of adaptive immunity, elicited distinct primary and secondary humoral and cellular immune responses in mice, and suppressed the growth of tumour cells bearing a model antigen. This polymer microparticulate system could, with further study, have implications for advancing the clinical utility of DNA vaccines as well as other nucleic-acid-based therapeutics against viral infections and cancer.

  2. Molecular basis of glyphosate resistance-different approaches through protein engineering.

    PubMed

    Pollegioni, Loredano; Schonbrunn, Ernst; Siehl, Daniel

    2011-08-01

    Glyphosate (N-phosphonomethyl-glycine) is the most widely used herbicide in the world: glyphosate-based formulations exhibit broad-spectrum herbicidal activity with minimal human and environmental toxicity. The extraordinary success of this simple, small molecule is mainly attributable to the high specificity of glyphosate for the plant enzyme enolpyruvyl shikimate-3-phosphate synthase in the shikimate pathway, leading to the biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids. Starting in 1996, transgenic glyphosate-resistant plants were introduced, thus allowing application of the herbicide to the crop (post-emergence) to remove emerged weeds without crop damage. This review focuses on mechanisms of resistance to glyphosate as obtained through natural diversity, the gene-shuffling approach to molecular evolution, and a rational, structure-based approach to protein engineering. In addition, we offer a rationale for the means by which the modifications made have had their intended effect.

  3. Dye-sensitized solar cells with 13% efficiency achieved through the molecular engineering of porphyrin sensitizers.

    PubMed

    Mathew, Simon; Yella, Aswani; Gao, Peng; Humphry-Baker, Robin; Curchod, Basile F E; Ashari-Astani, Negar; Tavernelli, Ivano; Rothlisberger, Ursula; Nazeeruddin, Md Khaja; Grätzel, Michael

    2014-03-01

    Dye-sensitized solar cells have gained widespread attention in recent years because of their low production costs, ease of fabrication and tunable optical properties, such as colour and transparency. Here, we report a molecularly engineered porphyrin dye, coded SM315, which features the prototypical structure of a donor-π-bridge-acceptor and both maximizes electrolyte compatibility and improves light-harvesting properties. Linear-response, time-dependent density functional theory was used to investigate the perturbations in the electronic structure that lead to improved light harvesting. Using SM315 with the cobalt(II/III) redox shuttle resulted in dye-sensitized solar cells that exhibit a high open-circuit voltage VOC of 0.91 V, short-circuit current density JSC of 18.1 mA cm(-2), fill factor of 0.78 and a power conversion efficiency of 13%.

  4. Dye-sensitized solar cells with 13% efficiency achieved through the molecular engineering of porphyrin sensitizers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mathew, Simon; Yella, Aswani; Gao, Peng; Humphry-Baker, Robin; Curchod, Basile F. E.; Ashari-Astani, Negar; Tavernelli, Ivano; Rothlisberger, Ursula; Nazeeruddin, Md. Khaja; Grätzel, Michael

    2014-03-01

    Dye-sensitized solar cells have gained widespread attention in recent years because of their low production costs, ease of fabrication and tunable optical properties, such as colour and transparency. Here, we report a molecularly engineered porphyrin dye, coded SM315, which features the prototypical structure of a donor-π-bridge-acceptor and both maximizes electrolyte compatibility and improves light-harvesting properties. Linear-response, time-dependent density functional theory was used to investigate the perturbations in the electronic structure that lead to improved light harvesting. Using SM315 with the cobalt(II/III) redox shuttle resulted in dye-sensitized solar cells that exhibit a high open-circuit voltage VOC of 0.91 V, short-circuit current density JSC of 18.1 mA cm-2, fill factor of 0.78 and a power conversion efficiency of 13%.

  5. Residue contacts predicted by evolutionary covariance extend the application of ab initio molecular replacement to larger and more challenging protein folds

    PubMed Central

    Simkovic, Felix; Thomas, Jens M. H.; Keegan, Ronan M.; Winn, Martyn D.; Mayans, Olga; Rigden, Daniel J.

    2016-01-01

    For many protein families, the deluge of new sequence information together with new statistical protocols now allow the accurate prediction of contacting residues from sequence information alone. This offers the possibility of more accurate ab initio (non-homology-based) structure prediction. Such models can be used in structure solution by molecular replacement (MR) where the target fold is novel or is only distantly related to known structures. Here, AMPLE, an MR pipeline that assembles search-model ensembles from ab initio structure predictions (‘decoys’), is employed to assess the value of contact-assisted ab initio models to the crystallographer. It is demonstrated that evolutionary covariance-derived residue–residue contact predictions improve the quality of ab initio models and, consequently, the success rate of MR using search models derived from them. For targets containing β-structure, decoy quality and MR performance were further improved by the use of a β-strand contact-filtering protocol. Such contact-guided decoys achieved 14 structure solutions from 21 attempted protein targets, compared with nine for simple Rosetta decoys. Previously encountered limitations were superseded in two key respects. Firstly, much larger targets of up to 221 residues in length were solved, which is far larger than the previously benchmarked threshold of 120 residues. Secondly, contact-guided decoys significantly improved success with β-sheet-rich proteins. Overall, the improved performance of contact-guided decoys suggests that MR is now applicable to a significantly wider range of protein targets than were previously tractable, and points to a direct benefit to structural biology from the recent remarkable advances in sequencing. PMID:27437113

  6. Residue contacts predicted by evolutionary covariance extend the application of ab initio molecular replacement to larger and more challenging protein folds.

    PubMed

    Simkovic, Felix; Thomas, Jens M H; Keegan, Ronan M; Winn, Martyn D; Mayans, Olga; Rigden, Daniel J

    2016-07-01

    For many protein families, the deluge of new sequence information together with new statistical protocols now allow the accurate prediction of contacting residues from sequence information alone. This offers the possibility of more accurate ab initio (non-homology-based) structure prediction. Such models can be used in structure solution by molecular replacement (MR) where the target fold is novel or is only distantly related to known structures. Here, AMPLE, an MR pipeline that assembles search-model ensembles from ab initio structure predictions ('decoys'), is employed to assess the value of contact-assisted ab initio models to the crystallographer. It is demonstrated that evolutionary covariance-derived residue-residue contact predictions improve the quality of ab initio models and, consequently, the success rate of MR using search models derived from them. For targets containing β-structure, decoy quality and MR performance were further improved by the use of a β-strand contact-filtering protocol. Such contact-guided decoys achieved 14 structure solutions from 21 attempted protein targets, compared with nine for simple Rosetta decoys. Previously encountered limitations were superseded in two key respects. Firstly, much larger targets of up to 221 residues in length were solved, which is far larger than the previously benchmarked threshold of 120 residues. Secondly, contact-guided decoys significantly improved success with β-sheet-rich proteins. Overall, the improved performance of contact-guided decoys suggests that MR is now applicable to a significantly wider range of protein targets than were previously tractable, and points to a direct benefit to structural biology from the recent remarkable advances in sequencing. PMID:27437113

  7. Guided Cell Patterning On Gold-Silicon Dioxide Substrates by Surface Molecular Engineering

    SciTech Connect

    Veiseh, Mandana; Wickes, Bronwyn; Castner, David G.; Zhang, Miqin

    2004-07-01

    We report an effective approach to patterning cells on a gold-silicon substrate with high precision, selectivity, stability, and reproducibility. This technique is based on photolithography and surface molecular engineering and does not involve a cell positioning or delivery device, thus reducing potential damage to cells. Cell patterning is achieved by activating the gold regions with functionalized thiols that covalently bind proteins to guide the subsequent cell adhesion and passivating the silicon regions with polyethylene glycol (PEG) to resist cell adhesion. Time-of-light secondary ion mass spectrometry (TOF-SIMS), a powerful surface chemical state imaging technique that allows simultaneous chemical and spatial characterization, was used to characterize the chemistry of the cell-adhesive and cell-resistant regions of the surface at key stages in the device fabrication. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) reflectance spectroscopy was used to verify the immobilization of proteins on model surfaces. Proteins were tagged with Rhodamine fluorescent probes to characterize patterned surfaces by fluorescence microscopy. Finally, the ability of the engineered surfaces to guide cell adhesion was illustrated by differential interference contrast (DIC) reflectance microscopy. The cell patterning technique introduced in this study is compatible with micro- and photo- electronics, and may have numerous medical, environmental, and defense applications.

  8. Development of naturally selected and molecularly engineered intrachain and competitive FRET-aptamers and aptamer beacons.

    PubMed

    Bruno, John G; Zuniga, Miguel A; Carrillo, Maria P; Phillips, Taylor

    2011-08-01

    Several different approaches have been taken to development of homogeneous fluorescent aptamer assays including end-labeled beacons and signaling aptamers which are intrinsically quenched by nucleotides. Two new strategies dubbed "intrachain" and "competitive" FRET-aptamer assays are summarized in this review. Intrachain and competitive FRET-aptamers can be engineered on the molecular level through a series exploratory experiments involving prior knowledge of aptamer secondary or tertiary structures and hypotheses about aptamer conformational changes. However, there is an intrinsic risk of altering aptamer affinity or specificity associated with chemical modifications of an aptamer. Natural selection methods for FRET-aptamers have also been devised to potentially obviate the chemical modification problem. The naturally selected aptamers are subjected to fluorophore (F)- and or quencher (Q)-conjugated nucleotide triphosphate (NTP) incorporation by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with permissive polymerases such as Deep Vent exo-, but still demonstrate sensitive and specific assay performance despite modified bases, because they are ultimately selected after decoration with F and Q. This paper summarizes work in this area and presents some new examples of the engineered and naturally selected FRET-aptamers for detection of vitamin D.

  9. Intervertebral disc regeneration: from the degenerative cascade to molecular therapy and tissue engineering.

    PubMed

    Vadalà, Gianluca; Russo, Fabrizio; Di Martino, Alberto; Denaro, Vincenzo

    2015-06-01

    Low back pain is one of the major health problems in industrialized countries, as a leading source of disability in the working population. Intervertebral disc degeneration has been identified as its main cause, being a progressive process mainly characterized by alteration of extracellular matrix composition and water content. Many factors are involved in the degenerative cascade, such as anabolism/catabolism imbalance, reduction of nutrition supply and progressive cell loss. Currently available treatments are symptomatic, and surgical procedures consisting of disc removal are often necessary. Recent advances in our understanding of intervertebral disc biology led to an increased interest in the development of novel biological treatments aimed at disc regeneration. Growth factors, gene therapy, stem cell transplantation and biomaterials-based tissue engineering might support intervertebral disc regeneration by overcoming the limitation of the self-renewal mechanism. The aim of this paper is to overview the literature discussing the current status of our knowledge from the degenerative cascade of the intervertebral disc to the latest molecular, cell-based therapies and tissue-engineering strategies for disc regeneration.

  10. Molecular Engineering of Ghfp, the Gonococcal Orthologue of Neisseria meningitidis Factor H Binding Protein.

    PubMed

    Rippa, Valentina; Santini, Laura; Lo Surdo, Paola; Cantini, Francesca; Veggi, Daniele; Gentile, Maria Antonietta; Grassi, Eva; Iannello, Giulia; Brunelli, Brunella; Ferlicca, Francesca; Palmieri, Emiliano; Pallaoro, Michele; Aricò, Beatrice; Banci, Lucia; Pizza, Mariagrazia; Scarselli, Maria

    2015-07-01

    Knowledge of the sequences and structures of proteins produced by microbial pathogens is continuously increasing. Besides offering the possibility of unraveling the mechanisms of pathogenesis at the molecular level, structural information provides new tools for vaccine development, such as the opportunity to improve viral and bacterial vaccine candidates by rational design. Structure-based rational design of antigens can optimize the epitope repertoire in terms of accessibility, stability, and variability. In the present study, we used epitope mapping information on the well-characterized antigen of Neisseria meningitidis factor H binding protein (fHbp) to engineer its gonococcal homologue, Ghfp. Meningococcal fHbp is typically classified in three distinct antigenic variants. We introduced epitopes of fHbp variant 1 onto the surface of Ghfp, which is naturally able to protect against meningococcal strains expressing fHbp of variants 2 and 3. Heterologous epitopes were successfully transplanted, as engineered Ghfp induced functional antibodies against all three fHbp variants. These results confirm that structural vaccinology represents a successful strategy for modulating immune responses, and it is a powerful tool for investigating the extension and localization of immunodominant epitopes.

  11. Evolutionary theory, psychiatry, and psychopharmacology.

    PubMed

    Stein, Dan J

    2006-07-01

    Darwin's seminal publications in the nineteenth century laid the foundation for an evolutionary approach to psychology and psychiatry. Advances in 20th century evolutionary theory facilitated the development of evolutionary psychology and psychiatry as recognized areas of scientific investigation. In this century, advances in understanding the molecular basis of evolution, of the mind, and of psychopathology, offer the possibility of an integrated approach to understanding the proximal (psychobiological) and distal (evolutionary) mechanisms of interest to psychiatry and psychopharmacology. There is, for example, growing interest in the question of whether specific genetic variants mediate psychobiological processes that have evolutionary value in specific contexts, and of the implications of this for understanding the vulnerability to psychopathology and for considering the advantages and limitations of pharmacotherapy. The evolutionary value, and gene-environmental mediation, of early life programming is potentially a particularly rich area of investigation. Although evolutionary approaches to psychology and to medicine face important conceptual and methodological challenges, current work is increasingly sophisticated, and may prove to be an important foundational discipline for clinicians and researchers in psychiatry and psychopharmacology.

  12. A thermosensitive low molecular weight hydrogel as scaffold for tissue engineering.

    PubMed

    Ziane, Sophia; Schlaubitz, Silke; Miraux, Sylvain; Patwa, Amit; Lalande, Charlotte; Bilem, Ibrahim; Lepreux, Sébastien; Rousseau, Benoît; Le Meins, Jean-François; Latxague, Laurent; Barthélémy, Philippe; Chassande, Olivier

    2012-02-23

    Hydrogels that are non-toxic, easy to use, cytocompatible, injectable and degradable are valuable biomaterials for tissue engineering and tissue repair. However, few compounds currently fulfil these requirements. In this study, we describe the biological properties of a new type of thermosensitive hydrogel based on low-molecular weight glycosyl-nucleosyl-fluorinated (GNF) compound. This gel forms within 25 min by self-assembly of monomers as temperature decreases. It degrades slowly in vitro and in vivo. It induces moderate chronic inflammation and is progressively invaded by host cells and vessels, suggesting good integration to the host environment. Although human adult mesenchymal stem cells derived from adipose tissue (ASC) cannot adhere on the gel surface or within a 3D gel scaffold, cell aggregates grow and differentiate normally when entrapped in the GNF-based gel. Moreover, this hydrogel stimulates osteoblast differentiation of ASC in the absence of osteogenic factors. When implanted in mice, gel-entrapped cell aggregates survive for several weeks in contrast with gel-free spheroids. They are maintained in their original site of implantation where they interact with the host tissue and adhere on the extracellular matrix. They can differentiate in situ into alkaline phosphatase positive osteoblasts, which deposit a calcium phosphate-rich matrix. When injected into subcutaneous sites, gel-encapsulated cells show similar biological properties as implanted gel-cells complexes. These data point GNF-based gels as a novel class of hydrogels with original properties, in particular osteogenic potential, susceptible of providing new therapeutic solutions especially for bone tissue engineering applications.

  13. Evolutionary Design in Biology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wiese, Kay C.

    Much progress has been achieved in recent years in molecular biology and genetics. The sheer volume of data in the form of biological sequences has been enormous and efficient methods for dealing with these huge amounts of data are needed. In addition, the data alone does not provide information on the workings of biological systems; hence much research effort has focused on designing mathematical and computational models to address problems from molecular biology. Often, the terms bioinformatics and computational biology are used to refer to the research fields concerning themselves with designing solutions to molecular problems in biology. However, there is a slight distinction between bioinformatics and computational biology: the former is concerned with managing the enormous amounts of biological data and extracting information from it, while the latter is more concerned with the design and development of new algorithms to address problems such as protein or RNA folding. However, the boundary is blurry, and there is no consistent usage of the terms. We will use the term bioinformatics to encompass both fields. To cover all areas of research in bioinformatics is beyond the scope of this section and we refer the interested reader to [2] for a general introduction. A large part of what bioinformatics is concerned about is evolution and function of biological systems on a molecular level. Evolutionary computation and evolutionary design are concerned with developing computational systems that "mimic" certain aspects of natural evolution (mutation, crossover, selection, fitness). Much of the inner workings of natural evolutionary systems have been copied, sometimes in modified format into evolutionary computation systems. Artificial neural networks mimic the functioning of simple brain cell clusters. Fuzzy systems are concerned with the "fuzzyness" in decision making, similar to a human expert. These three computational paradigms fall into the category of

  14. [Molecular cloning, tissue distribution and expression in engineered cells of human orphan receptor GPR81].

    PubMed

    Wu, Fang-Ming; Huang, Huo-Gao; Hu, Ming; Gao, Yue; Liu, Yong-Xue

    2006-05-01

    The gpr81 was amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using human fetus kidney cDNA and whole blood genome DNA as template, respectively. The expression profile of gpr81 in human fetus was analyzed by RT-PCR and the result indicated GPR81 mRNA was most abundant in fetus liver and heart. In addition, the deduced amino acid of GPR81 was compared with other related molecules by Clustal w/x software, and a molecular phylogenetic tree was constructed with Treeview software. It was showed that GPR81 had the highest homology with nicotinic acid receptor in amino acids. After sequence identification, gpr81 was inserted into the plasmid pcDNA3. 1 (-)/his-mycA and then transfected into Chinese hamster ovary cell (CHO-K1). With the selection of G418, an engineered cell line which could stably express gpr81 was obtained by the indication of RT-PCR and Western-blot detection. The establishment of the cell line will serve as means for further study of GPR81.

  15. Molecular engineering of nanoscale quadrupolar chromophores for two-photon absorption

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Porres, Laurent; Mongin, Olivier; Blanchard-Desce, Mireille H.; Ventelon, Lionel; Barzoukas, Marguerite; Moreaux, Laurent; Pons, Thomas; Mertz, Jerome

    2003-02-01

    Our aim has been the design of optimized NLO-phores with very high two-photon absorption (TPA) cross-sections (s2) in the red-NIR region, while maintaining high linear transparency and high fluorescence quantum yield. Our molecular engineering strategy is based on the push-push or pull-pull functionalization of semi-rigid nanoscale conjugated systems. The central building blocks were selected as rigid units that may assist quadrupolar intramolecular charge transfer by acting either as a (weak) donor or acceptor core. Quadrupolar molecules derived either from a phenyl unit, a rigidified biphenyl moiety or a fused bithiophene unit have been considered. Conjugated oligomers made of phenylene-vinylene and/or phenylene-ethynylene units were selected as connecting spacers between the core and the electroactive end groups to ensure effective electronic conjugation while maintaining suitable transparency/fluorescence. The TPA cross-sections were determined by investigating the two-photon-excited fluorescence properties using a Ti:sapphire laser delivering fs pulses. Both the nature of the end groups and of the core moiety play an important role in determining the TPA spectra. In addition, by adjusting the length and nature of the conjugated extensor, both amplification and spectral tuning of TPA cross-sections can be achieved. As a result, push-push fluorophores which demonstrate giant TPA cross-sections (up to 3000 GM) in the visible red, high fluorescence quantum yields and good transparency in the visible range have been obtained.

  16. Lipid-shelled vehicles: engineering for ultrasound molecular imaging and drug delivery.

    PubMed

    Ferrara, Katherine W; Borden, Mark A; Zhang, Hua

    2009-07-21

    Ultrasound pressure waves can map the location of lipid-stabilized gas micro-bubbles after their intravenous administration in the body, facilitating an estimate of vascular density and microvascular flow rate. Microbubbles are currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration as ultrasound contrast agents for visualizing opacification of the left ventricle in echocardiography. However, the interaction of ultrasound waves with intravenously-injected lipid-shelled particles, including both liposomes and microbubbles, is a far richer field. Particles can be designed for molecular imaging and loaded with drugs or genes; the mechanical and thermal properties of ultrasound can then effect localized drug release. In this Account, we provide an overview of the engineering of lipid-shelled microbubbles (typical diameter 1000-10 000 nm) and liposomes (typical diameter 65-120 nm) for ultrasound-based applications in molecular imaging and drug delivery. The chemistries of the shell and core can be optimized to enhance stability, circulation persistence, drug loading and release, targeting to and fusion with the cell membrane, and therapeutic biological effects. To assess the biodistribution and pharmacokinetics of these particles, we incorporated positron emission tomography (PET) radioisotopes on the shell. The radionuclide (18)F (half-life approximately 2 h) was covalently coupled to a dipalmitoyl lipid, followed by integration of the labeled lipid into the shell, facilitating short-term analysis of particle pharmacokinetics and metabolism of the lipid molecule. Alternately, labeling a formed particle with (64)Cu (half-life 12.7 h), after prior covalent incorporation of a copper-chelating moiety onto the lipid shell, permits pharmacokinetic study of particles over several days. Stability and persistence in circulation of both liposomes and microbubbles are enhanced by long acyl chains and a poly(ethylene glycol) coating. Vascular targeting has been demonstrated with

  17. Engineering Agatoxin, a Cystine-Knot Peptide from Spider Venom, as a Molecular Probe for In Vivo Tumor Imaging

    PubMed Central

    Norton, Heidi K.; Cochran, Jennifer R.

    2013-01-01

    Background Cystine-knot miniproteins, also known as knottins, have shown great potential as molecular scaffolds for the development of targeted therapeutics and diagnostic agents. For this purpose, previous protein engineering efforts have focused on knottins based on the Ecballium elaterium trypsin inhibitor (EETI) from squash seeds, the Agouti-related protein (AgRP) neuropeptide from mammals, or the Kalata B1 uterotonic peptide from plants. Here, we demonstrate that Agatoxin (AgTx), an ion channel inhibitor found in spider venom, can be used as a molecular scaffold to engineer knottins that bind with high-affinity to a tumor-associated integrin receptor. Methodology/Principal Findings We used a rational loop-grafting approach to engineer AgTx variants that bound to αvβ3 integrin with affinities in the low nM range. We showed that a disulfide-constrained loop from AgRP, a structurally-related knottin, can be substituted into AgTx to confer its high affinity binding properties. In parallel, we identified amino acid mutations required for efficient in vitro folding of engineered integrin-binding AgTx variants. Molecular imaging was used to evaluate in vivo tumor targeting and biodistribution of an engineered AgTx knottin compared to integrin-binding knottins based on AgRP and EETI. Knottin peptides were chemically synthesized and conjugated to a near-infrared fluorescent dye. Integrin-binding AgTx, AgRP, and EETI knottins all generated high tumor imaging contrast in U87MG glioblastoma xenograft models. Interestingly, EETI-based knottins generated significantly lower non-specific kidney imaging signals compared to AgTx and AgRP-based knottins. Conclusions/Significance In this study, we demonstrate that AgTx, a knottin from spider venom, can be engineered to bind with high affinity to a tumor-associated receptor target. This work validates AgTx as a viable molecular scaffold for protein engineering, and further demonstrates the promise of using tumor

  18. Molecular characterization and phylogenetic analysis of Eimeria from turkeys and gamebirds, and the implication on the evolutionary relationships OF Eimeria FROM galliforme birds

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    In order to evaluate the evolutionary relationships of Eimeria that infect galliforme birds, the 18s rDNA gene, and a portion of the cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (cox-1) were amplified from Eimeria that infect turkeys, chukars, and pheasants. The phylogenetic analysis of these sequences suggests th...

  19. A predictive model of intein insertion site for use in the engineering of molecular switches.

    PubMed

    Apgar, James; Ross, Mary; Zuo, Xiao; Dohle, Sarah; Sturtevant, Derek; Shen, Binzhang; de la Vega, Humberto; Lessard, Philip; Lazar, Gabor; Raab, R Michael

    2012-01-01

    Inteins are intervening protein domains with self-splicing ability that can be used as molecular switches to control activity of their host protein. Successfully engineering an intein into a host protein requires identifying an insertion site that permits intein insertion and splicing while allowing for proper folding of the mature protein post-splicing. By analyzing sequence and structure based properties of native intein insertion sites we have identified four features that showed significant correlation with the location of the intein insertion sites, and therefore may be useful in predicting insertion sites in other proteins that provide native-like intein function. Three of these properties, the distance to the active site and dimer interface site, the SVM score of the splice site cassette, and the sequence conservation of the site showed statistically significant correlation and strong predictive power, with area under the curve (AUC) values of 0.79, 0.76, and 0.73 respectively, while the distance to secondary structure/loop junction showed significance but with less predictive power (AUC of 0.54). In a case study of 20 insertion sites in the XynB xylanase, two features of native insertion sites showed correlation with the splice sites and demonstrated predictive value in selecting non-native splice sites. Structural modeling of intein insertions at two sites highlighted the role that the insertion site location could play on the ability of the intein to modulate activity of the host protein. These findings can be used to enrich the selection of insertion sites capable of supporting intein splicing and hosting an intein switch.

  20. A Predictive Model of Intein Insertion Site for Use in the Engineering of Molecular Switches

    PubMed Central

    Apgar, James; Ross, Mary; Zuo, Xiao; Dohle, Sarah; Sturtevant, Derek; Shen, Binzhang; de la Vega, Humberto; Lessard, Philip; Lazar, Gabor; Raab, R. Michael

    2012-01-01

    Inteins are intervening protein domains with self-splicing ability that can be used as molecular switches to control activity of their host protein. Successfully engineering an intein into a host protein requires identifying an insertion site that permits intein insertion and splicing while allowing for proper folding of the mature protein post-splicing. By analyzing sequence and structure based properties of native intein insertion sites we have identified four features that showed significant correlation with the location of the intein insertion sites, and therefore may be useful in predicting insertion sites in other proteins that provide native-like intein function. Three of these properties, the distance to the active site and dimer interface site, the SVM score of the splice site cassette, and the sequence conservation of the site showed statistically significant correlation and strong predictive power, with area under the curve (AUC) values of 0.79, 0.76, and 0.73 respectively, while the distance to secondary structure/loop junction showed significance but with less predictive power (AUC of 0.54). In a case study of 20 insertion sites in the XynB xylanase, two features of native insertion sites showed correlation with the splice sites and demonstrated predictive value in selecting non-native splice sites. Structural modeling of intein insertions at two sites highlighted the role that the insertion site location could play on the ability of the intein to modulate activity of the host protein. These findings can be used to enrich the selection of insertion sites capable of supporting intein splicing and hosting an intein switch. PMID:22649521

  1. The Best and the Worst of Times for Evolutionary Biology.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Avise, John C.

    2003-01-01

    Discusses opportunities and challenges for the field of evolutionary biology, particularly in areas related to molecular genetic technologies, the environment, biodiversity, and public education. (Author/KHR)

  2. Density functional theory based study of molecular interactions, recognition, engineering, and quantum transport in π molecular systems.

    PubMed

    Cho, Yeonchoo; Cho, Woo Jong; Youn, Il Seung; Lee, Geunsik; Singh, N Jiten; Kim, Kwang S

    2014-11-18

    CONSPECTUS: In chemical and biological systems, various interactions that govern the chemical and physical properties of molecules, assembling phenomena, and electronic transport properties compete and control the microscopic structure of materials. The well-controlled manipulation of each component can allow researchers to design receptors or sensors, new molecular architectures, structures with novel morphology, and functional molecules or devices. In this Account, we describe the structures and electronic and spintronic properties of π-molecular systems that are important for controlling the architecture of a variety of carbon-based systems. Although DFT is an important tool for describing molecular interactions, the inability of DFT to accurately represent dispersion interactions has made it difficult to properly describe π-interactions. However, the recently developed dispersion corrections for DFT have allowed us to include these dispersion interactions cost-effectively. We have investigated noncovalent interactions of various π-systems including aromatic-π, aliphatic-π, and non-π systems based on dispersion-corrected DFT (DFT-D). In addition, we have addressed the validity of DFT-D compared with the complete basis set (CBS) limit values of coupled cluster theory with single, double, and perturbative triple excitations [CCSD(T)] and Møller-Plesset second order perturbation theory (MP2). The DFT-D methods are still unable to predict the correct ordering in binding energies within the benzene dimer and the cyclohexane dimer. Nevertheless, the overall DFT-D predicted binding energies are in reasonable agreement with the CCSD(T) results. In most cases, results using the B97-D3 method closely reproduce the CCSD(T) results with the optimized energy-fitting parameters. On the other hand, vdW-DF2 and PBE0-TS methods estimate the dispersion energies from the calculated electron density. In these approximations, the interaction energies around the equilibrium

  3. Molecular geometry directed Kagomé and honeycomb networks: toward two-dimensional crystal engineering.

    PubMed

    Furukawa, Shuhei; Uji-i, Hiroshi; Tahara, Kazukuni; Ichikawa, Tomoyuki; Sonoda, Motohiro; De Schryver, Frans C; Tobe, Yoshito; De Feyter, Steven

    2006-03-22

    We present here the formation of a molecular Kagomé network within a two-dimensional (2D) crystal on a surface. This system provides a clear example of how, by design, molecular geometry can be expressed at the level of the 2D crystal lattice, leading to the formation of open networks. Key elements to control molecular network formation are core symmetry, location and orientation of interacting and connecting substituents, as well as symmetry matching between the networks and the surface.

  4. Biotechnology and genetic engineering in the new drug development. Part III. Biocatalysis, metabolic engineering and molecular modelling.

    PubMed

    Stryjewska, Agnieszka; Kiepura, Katarzyna; Librowski, Tadeusz; Lochyński, Stanisław

    2013-01-01

    Industrial biotechnology has been defined as the use and application of biotechnology for the sustainable processing and production of chemicals, materials and fuels. It makes use of biocatalysts such as microbial communities, whole-cell microorganisms or purified enzymes. In the review these processes are described. Drug design is an iterative process which begins when a chemist identifies a compound that displays an interesting biological profile and ends when both the activity profile and the chemical synthesis of the new chemical entity are optimized. Traditional approaches to drug discovery rely on a stepwise synthesis and screening program for large numbers of compounds to optimize activity profiles. Over the past ten to twenty years, scientists have used computer models of new chemical entities to help define activity profiles, geometries and relativities. This article introduces inter alia the concepts of molecular modelling and contains references for further reading.

  5. Biotechnology and genetic engineering in the new drug development. Part III. Biocatalysis, metabolic engineering and molecular modelling.

    PubMed

    Stryjewska, Agnieszka; Kiepura, Katarzyna; Librowski, Tadeusz; Lochyński, Stanisław

    2013-01-01

    Industrial biotechnology has been defined as the use and application of biotechnology for the sustainable processing and production of chemicals, materials and fuels. It makes use of biocatalysts such as microbial communities, whole-cell microorganisms or purified enzymes. In the review these processes are described. Drug design is an iterative process which begins when a chemist identifies a compound that displays an interesting biological profile and ends when both the activity profile and the chemical synthesis of the new chemical entity are optimized. Traditional approaches to drug discovery rely on a stepwise synthesis and screening program for large numbers of compounds to optimize activity profiles. Over the past ten to twenty years, scientists have used computer models of new chemical entities to help define activity profiles, geometries and relativities. This article introduces inter alia the concepts of molecular modelling and contains references for further reading. PMID:24399706

  6. Environmental changes bridge evolutionary valleys

    PubMed Central

    Steinberg, Barrett; Ostermeier, Marc

    2016-01-01

    In the basic fitness landscape metaphor for molecular evolution, evolutionary pathways are presumed to follow uphill steps of increasing fitness. How evolution can cross fitness valleys is an open question. One possibility is that environmental changes alter the fitness landscape such that low-fitness sequences reside on a hill in alternate environments. We experimentally test this hypothesis on the antibiotic resistance gene TEM-15 β-lactamase by comparing four evolutionary strategies shaped by environmental changes. The strategy that included initial steps of selecting for low antibiotic resistance (negative selection) produced superior alleles compared with the other three strategies. We comprehensively examined possible evolutionary pathways leading to one such high-fitness allele and found that an initially deleterious mutation is key to the allele’s evolutionary history. This mutation is an initial gateway to an otherwise relatively inaccessible area of sequence space and participates in higher-order, positive epistasis with a number of neutral to slightly beneficial mutations. The ability of negative selection and environmental changes to provide access to novel fitness peaks has important implications for natural evolutionary mechanisms and applied directed evolution. PMID:26844293

  7. Molecular cloning, sequencing and tissue expression of vasotocin and isotocin precursor genes from Ostariophysian catfishes: phylogeny and evolutionary considerations in teleosts

    PubMed Central

    Banerjee, Putul; Chaube, Radha; Joy, Keerikkattil P.

    2015-01-01

    Basic and neutral neurohypophyseal (NH) nonapeptides have evolved from vasotocin (VT) by a gene duplication at the base of the gnathostome lineage. In teleosts, VT and IT are the basic and neutral peptides, respectively. In the present study, VT and IT precursor genes of Heteropneustes fossilis and Clarias batrachus (Siluriformes, Ostariophysi) were cloned and sequenced. The channel catfish Icatalurus punctatus NH precursor sequences were obtained from EST database. The catfish NH sequences were used along with the available Acanthopterygii and other vertebrate NH precursor sequences to draw phylogenetic inference on the evolutionary history of the teleost NH peptides. Synteny analysis of the NH gene loci in various teleost species was done to complement the phylogenetic analysis. In H. fossilis, the NH transcripts were also sequenced from the ovary. The cloned genes and the deduced precursor proteins showed conserved characteristics of the NH nonapeptide precursors. The genes are expressed in brain and ovary (follicular envelope) of H. fossilis with higher transcript abundance in the brain. The addition of the catfish sequences in the phylogenetic analysis revealed that the VT and IT precursors of the species-rich superorders of teleosts have a distinct phylogenetic history with the Acanthopterygii VT and IT precursors sharing a less evolutionary distance and the Ostariophysi VT and IT having a greater evolutionary distance. The genomic location of VT and IT precursors, and synteny analysis of the NH loci lend support to the phylogenetic inference and suggest a footprint of fish- specific whole genome duplication (3R) and subsequent diploidization in the NH loci. The VT and IT precursor genes are most likely lineage-specific paralogs resulting from differential losses of the 3R NH paralogs in the two superorders. The independent yet consistent retention of VT and IT in the two superorders might be directed by a stringent ligand-receptor selectivity. PMID:26029040

  8. Precise and global identification of phospholipid molecular species by an Orbitrap mass spectrometer and automated search engine Lipid Search.

    PubMed

    Taguchi, Ryo; Ishikawa, Masaki

    2010-06-18

    In the present research, we have established a new lipidomics approach for the comprehensive and precise identification of molecular species in a crude lipid mixture using a LTQ Orbitrap mass spectrometer (MS) and reverse-phase liquid chromatography (RPLC) combination with our newly developed lipid search engine "Lipid Search". LTQ Orbitrap provides high mass accuracy MS spectra by Fourier-transform (FT) mass spectrometer mode and can perform rapid MS(n) by ion trap (IT) mass spectrometer mode. In this study, the negative ion mode was selected to detect fragment ions from phospholipids, such as fatty acid anions, by MS2 or MS3. We selected the specific detection approach by neutral loss survey-dependent MS3, for the identification of molecular species of phosphatidylcholine, sphingomyelin and phosphatidylserine. Identification of molecular species was performed by using both the high mass accuracy of the mass spectrometric data obtained from FT mode and structural data obtained from fragments in IT mode. Some alkylacyl and alkenylacyl species have the same m/z value as molecular-related ions and fragment ions, thus, direct acid hydrolysis analysis was performed to identify alkylacyl and alkenylacyl species, and then the RPLC-LTQ Orbitrap method was applied. As a result, 290 species from mouse liver and 248 species from mouse brain were identified within six different classes of phospholipid, only those in manually detected and confirmed. Most of all manually detected mass peaks were also automatically detected by "Lipid Search". Adding to differences in molecular species in different classes of phospholipids, many characteristic differences in molecular species were detected in mouse liver and brain. More variable number of saturated and monounsaturated fatty acid-containing molecular species were detected in mouse brain than liver.

  9. Quantification of extracellular matrix proteins from a rat lung scaffold to provide a molecular readout for tissue engineering.

    PubMed

    Hill, Ryan C; Calle, Elizabeth A; Dzieciatkowska, Monika; Niklason, Laura E; Hansen, Kirk C

    2015-04-01

    The use of extracellular matrix (ECM) scaffolds, derived from decellularized tissues for engineered organ generation, holds enormous potential in the field of regenerative medicine. To support organ engineering efforts, we developed a targeted proteomics method to extract and quantify extracellular matrix components from tissues. Our method provides more complete and accurate protein characterization than traditional approaches. This is accomplished through the analysis of both the chaotrope-soluble and -insoluble protein fractions and using recombinantly generated stable isotope labeled peptides for endogenous protein quantification. Using this approach, we have generated 74 peptides, representing 56 proteins to quantify protein in native (nondecellularized) and decellularized lung matrices. We have focused on proteins of the ECM and additional intracellular proteins that are challenging to remove during the decellularization procedure. Results indicate that the acellular lung scaffold is predominantly composed of structural collagens, with the majority of these proteins found in the insoluble ECM, a fraction that is often discarded using widely accepted proteomic methods. The decellularization procedure removes over 98% of intracellular proteins evaluated and retains, to varying degrees, proteoglycans and glycoproteins of the ECM. Accurate characterization of ECM proteins from tissue samples will help advance organ engineering efforts by generating a molecular readout that can be correlated with functional outcome to drive the next generation of engineered organs.

  10. Quantification of Extracellular Matrix Proteins from a Rat Lung Scaffold to Provide a Molecular Readout for Tissue Engineering*

    PubMed Central

    Hill, Ryan C.; Calle, Elizabeth A.; Dzieciatkowska, Monika; Niklason, Laura E.; Hansen, Kirk C.

    2015-01-01

    The use of extracellular matrix (ECM)1 scaffolds, derived from decellularized tissues for engineered organ generation, holds enormous potential in the field of regenerative medicine. To support organ engineering efforts, we developed a targeted proteomics method to extract and quantify extracellular matrix components from tissues. Our method provides more complete and accurate protein characterization than traditional approaches. This is accomplished through the analysis of both the chaotrope-soluble and -insoluble protein fractions and using recombinantly generated stable isotope labeled peptides for endogenous protein quantification. Using this approach, we have generated 74 peptides, representing 56 proteins to quantify protein in native (nondecellularized) and decellularized lung matrices. We have focused on proteins of the ECM and additional intracellular proteins that are challenging to remove during the decellularization procedure. Results indicate that the acellular lung scaffold is predominantly composed of structural collagens, with the majority of these proteins found in the insoluble ECM, a fraction that is often discarded using widely accepted proteomic methods. The decellularization procedure removes over 98% of intracellular proteins evaluated and retains, to varying degrees, proteoglycans and glycoproteins of the ECM. Accurate characterization of ECM proteins from tissue samples will help advance organ engineering efforts by generating a molecular readout that can be correlated with functional outcome to drive the next generation of engineered organs. PMID:25660013

  11. Spectrally programmable light engine for in vitro or in vivo molecular imaging and spectroscopy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacKinnon, Nicholas; Stange, Ulrich; Lane, Pierre; Macaulay, Calum; Quatrevalet, Mathieu

    2005-04-01

    A spectrally and temporally programmable light engine can create any spectral profile for hyperspectral, fluorescence, or principal-component imaging or with medical photonics devices employing spectroscopy, microscopy, and endoscopy. Multispectral imaging feasibility was demonstrated by capturing nine images at wavelengths from 450 to 650 mm (25-nm FWHM) with a CCD-camera-equipped bronchoscope coupled to the light engine. Selected wavelength regions were combined to produce a color endoscopy image.

  12. Quality control of automotive engine oils with mass-sensitive chemical sensors--QCMs and molecularly imprinted polymers.

    PubMed

    Dickert, F L; Forth, P; Lieberzeit, P A; Voigt, G

    2000-04-01

    Molecularly imprinted polyurethanes were used as sensor materials for monitoring the degradation of automotive engine oils. Imprinting with characteristic oils permits the analysis of these complex mixtures without accurately knowing their composition. Mass-sensitive quartz crystal microbalances (QCMs) coated with such layers exhibit mass effects in addition to frequency shifts caused by viscosity, which can be compensated by an uncoated quartz or a non-imprint layer. Incorporation of degradation products into the imprinted coatings is a bulk phenomenon, which is proven by variation of the sensor layer height. Therefore, the resulting sensor effects are determined by the degradation products in the oil. PMID:11227411

  13. Physical properties and band structure of reactive molecular beam epitaxy grown oxygen engineered HfO{sub 2{+-}x}

    SciTech Connect

    Hildebrandt, Erwin; Kurian, Jose; Alff, Lambert

    2012-12-01

    We have conducted a detailed thin film growth structure of oxygen engineered monoclinic HfO{sub 2{+-}x} grown by reactive molecular beam epitaxy. The oxidation conditions induce a switching between (111) and (002) texture of hafnium oxide. The band gap of oxygen deficient hafnia decreases with increasing amount of oxygen vacancies by more than 1 eV. For high oxygen vacancy concentrations, defect bands form inside the band gap that induce optical transitions and p-type conductivity. The resistivity changes by several orders of magnitude as a function of oxidation conditions. Oxygen vacancies do not give rise to ferromagnetic behavior.

  14. Quality control of automotive engine oils with mass-sensitive chemical sensors--QCMs and molecularly imprinted polymers.

    PubMed

    Dickert, F L; Forth, P; Lieberzeit, P A; Voigt, G

    2000-04-01

    Molecularly imprinted polyurethanes were used as sensor materials for monitoring the degradation of automotive engine oils. Imprinting with characteristic oils permits the analysis of these complex mixtures without accurately knowing their composition. Mass-sensitive quartz crystal microbalances (QCMs) coated with such layers exhibit mass effects in addition to frequency shifts caused by viscosity, which can be compensated by an uncoated quartz or a non-imprint layer. Incorporation of degradation products into the imprinted coatings is a bulk phenomenon, which is proven by variation of the sensor layer height. Therefore, the resulting sensor effects are determined by the degradation products in the oil.

  15. RNA based evolutionary optimization.

    PubMed

    Schuster, P

    1993-12-01

    The notion of an RNA world has been introduced for a prebiotic scenario that is dominated by RNA molecules and their properties, in particular their capabilities to act as templates for reproduction and as catalysts for several cleavage and ligation reactions of polynucleotides and polypeptides. This notion is used here also for simple experimental assays which are well suited to study evolution in the test tube. In molecular evolution experiments fitness is determined in essence by the molecular structures of RNA molecules. Evidence is presented for adaptation to environment in cell-free media. RNA based molecular evolution experiments have led to interesting spin-offs in biotechnology, commonly called 'applied molecular evolution', which make use of Darwinian trial-and-error strategies in order to synthesize new pharmacological compounds and other advanced materials on a biological basis. Error-propagation in RNA replication leads to formation of mutant spectra called 'quasispecies'. An increase in the error rate broadens the mutant spectrum. There exists a sharply defined threshold beyond which heredity breaks down and evolutionary adaptation becomes impossible. Almost all RNA viruses studied so far operate at conditions close to this error threshold. Quasispecies and error thresholds are important for an understanding of RNA virus evolution, and they may help to develop novel antiviral strategies. Evolution of RNA molecules can be studied and interpreted by considering secondary structures. The notion of sequence space introduces a distance between pairs of RNA sequences which is tantamount to counting the minimal number of point mutations required to convert the sequences into each other. The mean sensitivity of RNA secondary structures to mutation depends strongly on the base pairing alphabet: structures from sequences which contain only one base pair (GC or AU are much less stable against mutation than those derived from the natural (AUGC) sequences

  16. Molecular evolutionary analyses of nuclear-encoded small subunit ribosomal RNA identify an independent rhizopod lineage containing the Euglyphina and the Chlorarachniophyta.

    PubMed

    Bhattacharya, D; Helmchen, T; Melkonian, M

    1995-01-01

    The Rhizopoda comprise a diverse assemblage of protists which depend on lobose or filose pseudopodia for locomotion. The biochemical and morphological diversity of rhizopods has led to an uncertain taxonomy. Ribosomal RNA sequence comparisons offer a measure of evolutionary relatedness that is independent of morphology and has been used to demonstrate a polyphyletic origin of the Lobosea. We sequenced complete small subunit ribosomal RNA coding regions from the filose amoebae, Euglypha rotunda and Paulinella chromatophora (Euglyphina) to position these taxa in the eukaryote phylogeny. The neighbor-joining analyses show that E. rotunda and P. chromatophora share a monophyletic origin and are not closely related to any lobose amoebae in our analyses. Instead, the Euglyphina form a robust sister group to the Chlorarachniophyta. These results provide further evidence for the polyphyly of the Rhizopoda and support the creation of a new amoeboid lineage which includes the Euglyphina and the chlorarachniophyte algae; taxa with tubular mitochondrial cristae and filose or reticulate pseudopodia.

  17. Evolutionary history of the Afro-Madagascan Ixora species (Rubiaceae): species diversification and distribution of key morphological traits inferred from dated molecular phylogenetic trees

    PubMed Central

    Tosh, J.; Dessein, S.; Buerki, S.; Groeninckx, I.; Mouly, A.; Bremer, B.; Smets, E. F.; De Block, P.

    2013-01-01

    Background and Aims Previous work on the pantropical genus Ixora has revealed an Afro-Madagascan clade, but as yet no study has focused in detail on the evolutionary history and morphological trends in this group. Here the evolutionary history of Afro-Madagascan Ixora spp. (a clade of approx. 80 taxa) is investigated and the phylogenetic trees compared with several key morphological traits in taxa occurring in Madagascar. Methods Phylogenetic relationships of Afro-Madagascan Ixora are assessed using sequence data from four plastid regions (petD, rps16, rpoB-trnC and trnL-trnF) and nuclear ribosomal external transcribed spacer (ETS) and internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions. The phylogenetic distribution of key morphological characters is assessed. Bayesian inference (implemented in BEAST) is used to estimate the temporal origin of Ixora based on fossil evidence. Key Results Two separate lineages of Madagascan taxa are recovered, one of which is nested in a group of East African taxa. Divergence in Ixora is estimated to have commenced during the mid Miocene, with extensive cladogenesis occurring in the Afro-Madagascan clade during the Pliocene onwards. Conclusions Both lineages of Madagascan Ixora exhibit morphological innovations that are rare throughout the rest of the genus, including a trend towards pauciflorous inflorescences and a trend towards extreme corolla tube length, suggesting that the same ecological and selective pressures are acting upon taxa from both Madagascan lineages. Novel ecological opportunities resulting from climate-induced habitat fragmentation and corolla tube length diversification are likely to have facilitated species radiation on Madagascar. PMID:24142919

  18. The complex evolutionary history of seeing red: molecular phylogeny and the evolution of an adaptive visual system in deep-sea dragonfishes (Stomiiformes: Stomiidae).

    PubMed

    Kenaley, Christopher P; Devaney, Shannon C; Fjeran, Taylor T

    2014-04-01

    The vast majority of deep-sea fishes have retinas composed of only rod cells sensitive to only shortwave blue light, approximately 480-490 nm. A group of deep-sea dragonfishes, the loosejaws (family Stomiidae), possesses far-red emitting photophores and rhodopsins sensitive to long-wave emissions greater than 650 nm. In this study, the rhodopsin diversity within the Stomiidae is surveyed based on an analysis of rod opsin-coding sequences from representatives of 23 of the 28 genera. Using phylogenetic inference, fossil-calibrated estimates of divergence times, and a comparative approach scanning the stomiid phylogeny for shared genotypes and substitution histories, we explore the evolution and timing of spectral tuning in the family. Our results challenge both the monophyly of the family Stomiidae and the loosejaws. Despite paraphyly of the loosejaws, we infer for the first time that far-red visual systems have a single evolutionary origin within the family and that this shift in phenotype occurred at approximately 15.4 Ma. In addition, we found strong evidence that at approximately 11.2 Ma the most recent common ancestor of two dragonfish genera reverted to a primitive shortwave visual system during its evolution from a far-red sensitive dragonfish. According to branch-site tests for adaptive evolution, we hypothesize that positive selection may be driving spectral tuning in the Stomiidae. These results indicate that the evolutionary history of visual systems in deep-sea species is complex and a more thorough understanding of this system requires an integrative comparative approach.

  19. Overview of regulatory strategies and molecular elements in metabolic engineering of bacteria.

    PubMed

    Wang, Tianwen; Ma, Xingyuan; Du, Guocheng; Chen, Jian

    2012-11-01

    From a viewpoint of biotechnology, metabolic engineering mainly aims to change the natural status of a pathway in a microorganism towards the overproduction of certain bioproducts. The biochemical nature of a pathway implies us that changed pathway is often the collective results of altered behavior of the metabolic enzymes encoded by corresponding genes. By finely modulating the expression of these genes or the properties of the enzyme, we can gain efficient control on the pathway. In this article, we reviewed the typical methods that have been applied to regulate the expression of genes in metabolic engineering. These methods are grouped according to the operation targets in a typical gene. The transcription of a gene is controlled by an indispensable promoter. By utilizing promoters with different strengths, expected levels of expression can be easily achieved, and screening a promoter library may find suitable mutant promoters that can provide tunable expression of a gene. Auto-responsive promoter (quorum sensing (QS)-based or oxygen-inducible) simplifies the induction process by driving the expression of a gene in an automated manner. Light responsive promoter enables reversible and noninvasive control on gene activity, providing a promising method in controlling gene expression with time and space resolution in metabolic engineering involving complicated genetic circuits. Through directed evolution and/or rational design, the encoding sequences of a gene can be altered, leading to the possibly most profound changes in properties of a metabolic enzyme. Introducing an engineered riboswitch in mRNA can make it a regulatory molecule at the same time; ribosomal binding site is commonly engineered to be more attractive for a ribosome through design. Terminator of a gene will affect the stability of an mRNA, and intergenic region will influence the expression of many related genes. Improving the performance of these elements are generally the main activities in

  20. Engine

    SciTech Connect

    Shin, H.B.

    1984-02-28

    An internal combustion engine has a piston rack depending from each piston. This rack is connected to a power output shaft through a mechanical rectifier so that the power output shaft rotates in only one direction. A connecting rod is pivotally connected at one end to the rack and at the other end to the crank of a reduced function crankshaft so that the crankshaft rotates at the same angular velocity as the power output shaft and at the same frequency as the pistons. The crankshaft has a size, weight and shape sufficient to return the pistons back into the cylinders in position for the next power stroke.

  1. Molecularly Engineered Organic-Inorganic Hybrid Perovskite with Multiple Quantum Well Structure for Multicolored Light-Emitting Diodes.

    PubMed

    Hu, Hongwei; Salim, Teddy; Chen, Bingbing; Lam, Yeng Ming

    2016-01-01

    Organic-inorganic hybrid perovskites have the potential to be used as a new class of emitters with tunable emission, high color purity and good ease of fabrication. Recent studies have so far been focused on three-dimensional (3D) perovskites, such as CH3NH3PbBr3 and CH3NH3PbI3 for green and infrared emission. Here, we explore a new series of hybrid perovskite emitters with a general formula of (C4H9NH3)2(CH3NH3)n-1PbnI3n+1 (where n = 1, 2, 3), which possesses a multiple quantum well structure. The quantum well thickness of these materials is adjustable through simple molecular engineering which results in a continuously tunable bandgap and emission spectra. Deep saturated red emission was obtained with a peak external quantum efficiency of 2.29% and a maximum luminance of 214 cd/m(2). Green and blue LEDs were also demonstrated through halogen substitutions in these hybrid perovskites. We expect these results to open up the way towards high performance perovskite LEDs through molecular-structure engineering of these perovskite emitters. PMID:27633084

  2. Molecularly Engineered Organic-Inorganic Hybrid Perovskite with Multiple Quantum Well Structure for Multicolored Light-Emitting Diodes

    PubMed Central

    Hu, Hongwei; Salim, Teddy; Chen, Bingbing; Lam, Yeng Ming

    2016-01-01

    Organic-inorganic hybrid perovskites have the potential to be used as a new class of emitters with tunable emission, high color purity and good ease of fabrication. Recent studies have so far been focused on three-dimensional (3D) perovskites, such as CH3NH3PbBr3 and CH3NH3PbI3 for green and infrared emission. Here, we explore a new series of hybrid perovskite emitters with a general formula of (C4H9NH3)2(CH3NH3)n−1PbnI3n+1 (where n = 1, 2, 3), which possesses a multiple quantum well structure. The quantum well thickness of these materials is adjustable through simple molecular engineering which results in a continuously tunable bandgap and emission spectra. Deep saturated red emission was obtained with a peak external quantum efficiency of 2.29% and a maximum luminance of 214 cd/m2. Green and blue LEDs were also demonstrated through halogen substitutions in these hybrid perovskites. We expect these results to open up the way towards high performance perovskite LEDs through molecular-structure engineering of these perovskite emitters. PMID:27633084

  3. Molecularly Engineered Organic-Inorganic Hybrid Perovskite with Multiple Quantum Well Structure for Multicolored Light-Emitting Diodes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hu, Hongwei; Salim, Teddy; Chen, Bingbing; Lam, Yeng Ming

    2016-09-01

    Organic-inorganic hybrid perovskites have the potential to be used as a new class of emitters with tunable emission, high color purity and good ease of fabrication. Recent studies have so far been focused on three-dimensional (3D) perovskites, such as CH3NH3PbBr3 and CH3NH3PbI3 for green and infrared emission. Here, we explore a new series of hybrid perovskite emitters with a general formula of (C4H9NH3)2(CH3NH3)n‑1PbnI3n+1 (where n = 1, 2, 3), which possesses a multiple quantum well structure. The quantum well thickness of these materials is adjustable through simple molecular engineering which results in a continuously tunable bandgap and emission spectra. Deep saturated red emission was obtained with a peak external quantum efficiency of 2.29% and a maximum luminance of 214 cd/m2. Green and blue LEDs were also demonstrated through halogen substitutions in these hybrid perovskites. We expect these results to open up the way towards high performance perovskite LEDs through molecular-structure engineering of these perovskite emitters.

  4. Molecularly Engineered Organic-Inorganic Hybrid Perovskite with Multiple Quantum Well Structure for Multicolored Light-Emitting Diodes.

    PubMed

    Hu, Hongwei; Salim, Teddy; Chen, Bingbing; Lam, Yeng Ming

    2016-09-16

    Organic-inorganic hybrid perovskites have the potential to be used as a new class of emitters with tunable emission, high color purity and good ease of fabrication. Recent studies have so far been focused on three-dimensional (3D) perovskites, such as CH3NH3PbBr3 and CH3NH3PbI3 for green and infrared emission. Here, we explore a new series of hybrid perovskite emitters with a general formula of (C4H9NH3)2(CH3NH3)n-1PbnI3n+1 (where n = 1, 2, 3), which possesses a multiple quantum well structure. The quantum well thickness of these materials is adjustable through simple molecular engineering which results in a continuously tunable bandgap and emission spectra. Deep saturated red emission was obtained with a peak external quantum efficiency of 2.29% and a maximum luminance of 214 cd/m(2). Green and blue LEDs were also demonstrated through halogen substitutions in these hybrid perovskites. We expect these results to open up the way towards high performance perovskite LEDs through molecular-structure engineering of these perovskite emitters.

  5. Specificity of Furanoside–Protein Recognition through Antibody Engineering and Molecular Modeling

    PubMed Central

    Lak, Parnian; Makeneni, Spandana; Woods, Robert J.

    2014-01-01

    Recognition of furanosides (five-membered ring sugars) by proteins plays important roles in host–pathogen interactions. In comparison to their six-membered ring counterparts (pyranosides), detailed studies of the molecular motifs involved in the recognition of furanosides by proteins are scarce. Here the first in-depth molecular characterization of a furanoside–protein interaction system, between an antibody (CS-35) and cell wall polysaccharides of mycobacteria, including the organism responsible for tuberculosis is reported. The approach was centered on the generation of the single chain variable fragment of CS-35 and a rational library of its mutants. Investigating the interaction from various aspects revealed the structural motifs that govern the interaction, as well as the relative contribution of molecular forces involved in the recognition. The specificity of the recognition was shown to originate mainly from multiple CH–π interactions and, to a lesser degree, hydrogen bonds formed in critical distances and geometries. PMID:25413161

  6. L-Tryptophan on Cu(111): engineering a molecular labyrinth driven by indole groups

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yitamben, E. N.; Clayborne, A.; Darling, Seth B.; Guisinger, N. P.

    2015-06-01

    The present article investigates the adsorption and molecular orientation of L-Tryptophan, which is both an essential amino acid important for protein synthesis and of particular interest for the development of chiral molecular electronics and biocompatible processes and devices, on Cu(111) using scanning tunneling microscopy and spectroscopy at 55 K and at room temperature. The arrangement of chemisorbed L-Tryptophan on the copper surface varies with both temperature and surface coverage. At low coverage, small clusters form on the surface irrespective of temperature, while at high coverage an ordered chain structure emerges at room temperature, and a tightly packed structure forms a molecular labyrinth at low temperature. The dominating superstructure of the adsorbates arises from intermolecular hydrogen bonding, and π-bonding interactions between the indole groups of neighboring molecules and the Cu surface.

  7. 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

  8. An engineering assessment of gas/surface interactions in free-molecular aerodynamics

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Knox, E. C.; Liver, Peter A.; Collins, Frank G.

    1991-01-01

    Data available on the gas/surface interaction (GSI) phenomenon, particularly in the rarefied to near-free-molecular flow regime are collected, categorized, and analyzed with a purpose of developing a GSI model that could be used as a guide to spacecraft designers. The study shows that there are not enough useful data for building a high-confidence GSI model. However, sufficient results are obtained to suggest that continued reliance on the diffuse GSI model is inappropriate, particularly in the near-free-molecular regime.

  9. Engineering of a novel Ca{sup 2+}-regulated kinesin molecular motor using a calmodulin dimer linker

    SciTech Connect

    Shishido, Hideki; Maruta, Shinsaku

    2012-06-29

    Highlights: Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Engineered kinesin-M13 and calmodulin involving single cysteine were prepared. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer CaM mutant was cross-linked to dimer by bifunctional thiol reactive reagent. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Kinesin-M13 was dimerized via CaM dimer in the presence of calcium. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Function of the engineered kinesin was regulated by a Ca{sup 2+}-calmodulin dimer linker. -- Abstract: The kinesin-microtubule system holds great promise as a molecular shuttle device within biochips. However, one current barrier is that such shuttles do not have 'on-off' control of their movement. Here we report the development of a novel molecular motor powered by an accelerator and brake system, using a kinesin monomer and a calmodulin (CaM) dimer. The kinesin monomer, K355, was fused with a CaM target peptide (M13 peptide) at the C-terminal part of the neck region (K355-M13). We also prepared CaM dimers using CaM mutants (Q3C), (R86C), or (A147C) and crosslinkers that react with cysteine residues. Following induction of K355-M13 dimerization with CaM dimers, we measured K355-M13 motility and found that it can be reversibly regulated in a Ca{sup 2+}-dependent manner. We also found that velocities of K355-M13 varied depending on the type and crosslink position of the CaM dimer used; crosslink length also had a moderate effect on motility. These results suggest Ca{sup 2+}-dependent dimerization of K355-M13 could be used as a novel molecular shuttle, equipped with an accelerator and brake system, for biochip applications.

  10. Molecular characterization and evolutionary insights into potential sex-determination genes in the western orchard predatory mite Metaseiulus occidentalis (Chelicerata: Arachnida: Acari: Phytoseiidae).

    PubMed

    Pomerantz, Aaron F; Hoy, Marjorie A; Kawahara, Akito Y

    2015-01-01

    Little is known about the process of sex determination at the molecular level in species belonging to the subclass Acari, a taxon of arachnids that contains mites and ticks. The recent sequencing of the transcriptome and genome of the western orchard predatory mite Metaseiulus occidentalis allows investigation of molecular mechanisms underlying the biological processes of sex determination in this predator of phytophagous pest mites. We identified four doublesex-and-mab-3-related transcription factor (dmrt) genes, one transformer-2 gene, one intersex gene, and two fruitless-like genes in M. occidentalis. Phylogenetic analyses were conducted to infer the molecular relationships to sequences from species of arthropods, including insects, crustaceans, acarines, and a centipede, using available genomic data. Comparative analyses revealed high sequence identity within functional domains and confirmed that the architecture for certain sex-determination genes is conserved in arthropods. This study provides a framework for identifying potential target genes that could be implicated in the process of sex determination in M. occidentalis and provides insight into the conservation and change of the molecular components of sex determination in arthropods. PMID:25077523

  11. Genetic engineered molecular imaging probes for applications in cell therapy: emphasis on MRI approach

    PubMed Central

    Cho, In K; Wang, Silun; Mao, Hui; Chan, Anthony WS

    2016-01-01

    Recent advances in stem cell-based regenerative medicine, cell replacement therapy, and genome editing technologies (i.e. CRISPR-Cas 9) have sparked great interest in in vivo cell monitoring. Molecular imaging promises a unique approach to noninvasively monitor cellular and molecular phenomena, including cell survival, migration, proliferation, and even differentiation at the whole organismal level. Several imaging modalities and strategies have been explored for monitoring cell grafts in vivo. We begin this review with an introduction describing the progress in stem cell technology, with a perspective toward cell replacement therapy. The importance of molecular imaging in reporting and assessing the status of cell grafts and their relation to the local microenvironment is highlighted since the current knowledge gap is one of the major obstacles in clinical translation of stem cell therapy. Based on currently available imaging techniques, we provide a brief discussion on the pros and cons of each imaging modality used for monitoring cell grafts with particular emphasis on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and the reporter gene approach. Finally, we conclude with a comprehensive discussion of future directions of applying molecular imaging in regenerative medicine to emphasize further the importance of correlating cell graft conditions and clinical outcomes to advance regenerative medicine. PMID:27766183

  12. Molecular Engineering of Host Materials for Blue Phosphorescent OLEDs: Past, Present and Future

    SciTech Connect

    Cosimbescu, Lelia; Koech, Phillip K.; Polikarpov, Evgueni; Swensen, James S.; Von Ruden, Amber L.; Rainbolt, James E.; Padmaperuma, Asanga B.

    2010-04-15

    We report molecular design considerations for blue phosphorescent host materials, as well as propose design rules necessary to build ambipolar hosts and thus reach charge balance in a device. Our beginning developments are presented followed by the evolution of the original design to our state-of-the-art, with the help of computational modeling.

  13. Combination of molecular, morphological, and interfacial engineering to achieve highly efficient and stable plastic solar cells.

    PubMed

    Chang, Chih-Yu; Cheng, Yen-Ju; Hung, Shih-Hsiu; Wu, Jhong-Sian; Kao, Wei-Shun; Lee, Chia-Hao; Hsu, Chain-Shu

    2012-01-24

    A flexible solar device showing exceptional air and mechanical stability is produced by simultaneously optimizing molecular structure, active layer morphology, and interface characteristics. The PFDCTBT-C8-based devices with inverted architecture exhibited excellent power conversion efficiencies of 7.0% and 6.0% on glass and flexible substrates, respectively.

  14. Engineering of an ultra-thin molecular superconductor by charge transfer

    DOEpatents

    Hla, Saw Wai; Hassanien, Abdelrahim; Kendal, Clark

    2016-06-07

    A method of forming a superconductive device of a single layer of (BETS).sub.2GaCl.sub.4 molecules on a substrate surface which displays a superconducting gap that increases exponentially with the length of the molecular chain is provided.

  15. A molecular mechanism for the origin of a key evolutionary innovation, the bird beak and palate, revealed by an integrative approach to major transitions in vertebrate history.

    PubMed

    Bhullar, Bhart-Anjan S; Morris, Zachary S; Sefton, Elizabeth M; Tok, Atalay; Tokita, Masayoshi; Namkoong, Bumjin; Camacho, Jasmin; Burnham, David A; Abzhanov, Arhat

    2015-07-01

    The avian beak is a key evolutionary innovation whose flexibility has permitted birds to diversify into a range of disparate ecological niches. We approached the problem of the mechanism behind this innovation using an approach bridging paleontology, comparative anatomy, and experimental developmental biology. First, we used fossil and extant data to show the beak is distinctive in consisting of fused premaxillae that are geometrically distinct from those of ancestral archosaurs. To elucidate underlying developmental mechanisms, we examined candidate gene expression domains in the embryonic face: the earlier frontonasal ectodermal zone (FEZ) and the later midfacial WNT-responsive region, in birds and several reptiles. This permitted the identification of an autapomorphic median gene expression region in Aves. To test the mechanism, we used inhibitors of both pathways to replicate in chicken the ancestral amniote expression. Altering the FEZ altered later WNT responsiveness to the ancestral pattern. Skeletal phenotypes from both types of experiments had premaxillae that clustered geometrically with ancestral fossil forms instead of beaked birds. The palatal region was also altered to a more ancestral phenotype. This is consistent with the fossil record and with the tight functional association of avian premaxillae and palate in forming a kinetic beak.

  16. “The Environment is Everything That Isn't Me”: Molecular Mechanisms and Evolutionary Dynamics of Insect Clocks in Variable Surroundings

    PubMed Central

    Rivas, Gustavo B. S.; Bauzer, Luiz G. S. da R.; Meireles-Filho, Antonio C. A.

    2016-01-01

    Circadian rhythms are oscillations in behavior, metabolism and physiology that have a period close to 24 h. These rhythms are controlled by an internal pacemaker that evolved under strong selective pressures imposed by environmental cyclical changes, mainly of light and temperature. The molecular nature of the circadian pacemaker was extensively studied in a number of organisms under controlled laboratory conditions. But although these studies were fundamental to our understanding of the circadian clock, most of the environmental conditions used resembled rather crudely the relatively constant situation at lower latitudes. At higher latitudes light-dark and temperature cycles vary considerably across different seasons, with summers having long and hot days and winters short and cold ones. Considering these differences and other external cues, such as moonlight, recent studies in more natural and semi-natural situations revealed unexpected features at both molecular and behavioral levels, highlighting the dramatic influence of multiple environmental variables in the molecular clockwork. This emphasizes the importance of studying the circadian clock in the wild, where seasonal environmental changes fine-tune the underlying circadian mechanism, affecting population dynamics and impacting the geographical variation in clock genes. Indeed, latitudinal clines in clock gene frequencies suggest that natural selection and demography shape the circadian clock over wide geographical ranges. In this review we will discuss the recent advances in understanding the molecular underpinnings of the circadian clock, how it resonates with the surrounding variables (both in the laboratory and in semi-natural conditions) and its impact on population dynamics and evolution. In addition, we will elaborate on how next-generation sequencing technologies will complement classical reductionist approaches by identifying causal variants in natural populations that will link genetic variation to

  17. Engineering molecularly-active nanoplasmonic surfaces for DNA detection via colorimetry and Raman scattering

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Heydari, Esmaeil; Mabbott, Samuel; Thompson, David; Graham, Duncan; Cooper, Jonathan M.; Clark, Alasdair W.

    2016-03-01

    We report a novel nanophotonic biosensor surface capable of both colorimetric detection and Raman-scattered detection of DNA infection markers at extreme sensitivities. Combining direct-write lithography, dip-pen nanolithography based DNA patterning, and molecular self-assembly, we create molecularly-active plasmonic nanostructures onto which metallic nanoparticles are located via DNA-hybridization. Arraying these structures enables optical surfaces that change state when contacted by specific DNA sequences; shifting the surface color while simultaneously generating strong Raman-scattering signals. Patterning the DNA markers onto the plasmonic surface as micro-scale symbols results in easily identifiable color shifts, making this technique applicable to multiplexed lab-on-a-chip and point-of-care diagnostic applications.

  18. Evidence for entanglement at high temperatures in an engineered molecular magnet

    SciTech Connect

    Reis, Mario S; Soriano, Stephane; Moreira Dos Santos, Antonio F; Sales, Brian C; Soares-Pinto, D O; Brandao, Paula

    2012-01-01

    The molecular compound [Fe-2(mu(2)-oxo)(C3H4N2)(6)(C2O4)(2)] was designed and synthesized for the first time and its structure was determined using single-crystal X-ray diffraction. The magnetic susceptibility of this compound was measured from 2 to 300 K. The analysis of the susceptibility data using protocols developed for other spin singlet ground-state systems indicates that the quantum entanglement would remain at temperatures up to 732 K, significantly above the highest entanglement temperature reported to date. The large gap between the ground state and the first-excited state (282 K) suggests that the spin system may be somewhat immune to decohering mechanisms. Our measurements strongly suggest that molecular magnets are promising candidate platforms for quantum information processing.

  19. Plant progesterone 5beta-reductase is not homologous to the animal enzyme. Molecular evolutionary characterization of P5betaR from Digitalis purpurea.

    PubMed

    Gavidia, Isabel; Tarrío, Rosa; Rodríguez-Trelles, Francisco; Pérez-Bermúdez, Pedro; Seitz, H Ulrich

    2007-03-01

    Plants of the genus Digitalis produce cardiac glycosides, i.e. digoxin, which are widely used for congestive heart failure. Progesterone 5beta-reductase (P5betaR) is a key enzyme in the biosynthesis of these natural products. Here, we have carried out the purification and partial amino acid sequencing of the native P5betaR from foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), and isolated a cDNA encoding this enzyme. Similarly to other steroid 5beta-reductases, the recombinant P5betaR catalyzes the stereospecific reduction of the Delta(4)-double bond of several steroids with a 3-oxo,Delta(4,5) structure. The gene encoding P5betaR is expressed in all plant organs, and maximally transcribed in leaves and mature flowers. P5betaR belongs to the short-chain dehydrogenase/reductase (SDR) superfamily, bearing no structural homology to its mammalian counterpart, which is a member of the aldo-keto reductase (AKR) superfamily. A similar situation occurs with 3beta-hydroxy-Delta(5)-steroid dehydrogenase (3betaHSD), the gene immediately preceding P5betaR in the cardenolide pathway, which suggests that the entire route has evolved independently in animals and plants. P5betaR is retained only in plants, where it is ubiquitous, and a few distantly related bacterial lineages after its diversification from the last universal common ancestor. Evolutionary conserved changes in its putative active site suggest that plant P5betaR is a member of a novel subfamily of extended SDRs, or a new SDR family.

  20. Evolutionary engineering of a glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase-negative, acetate-reducing Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain enables anaerobic growth at high glucose concentrations

    PubMed Central

    Guadalupe-Medina, Víctor; Metz, Benjamin; Oud, Bart; van Der Graaf, Charlotte M; Mans, Robert; Pronk, Jack T; van Maris, Antonius J A

    2014-01-01

    Glycerol production by Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is required for redox-cofactor balancing in anaerobic cultures, causes yield reduction in industrial bioethanol production. Recently, glycerol formation in anaerobic S. cerevisiae cultures was eliminated by expressing Escherichia coli (acetylating) acetaldehyde dehydrogenase (encoded by mhpF) and simultaneously deleting the GPD1 and GPD2 genes encoding glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, thus coupling NADH reoxidation to reduction of acetate to ethanol. Gpd– strains are, however, sensitive to high sugar concentrations, which complicates industrial implementation of this metabolic engineering concept. In this study, laboratory evolution was used to improve osmotolerance of a Gpd– mhpF-expressing S. cerevisiae strain. Serial batch cultivation at increasing osmotic pressure enabled isolation of an evolved strain that grew anaerobically at 1 M glucose, at a specific growth rate of 0.12 h−1. The evolved strain produced glycerol at low concentrations (0.64 ± 0.33 g l−1). However, these glycerol concentrations were below 10% of those observed with a Gpd+ reference strain. Consequently, the ethanol yield on sugar increased from 79% of the theoretical maximum in the reference strain to 92% for the evolved strains. Genetic analysis indicated that osmotolerance under aerobic conditions required a single dominant chromosomal mutation, and one further mutation in the plasmid-borne mhpF gene for anaerobic growth. PMID:24004455

  1. Molecular beam epitaxy engineered III-V semiconductor structures for low-power optically addressed spatial light modulators

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Larsson, Anders G.; Maserjian, Joseph

    1992-01-01

    Device approaches are investigated for optically addressed SLMs based on molecular-beam epitaxy (MBE) engineered III-V materials and structures. Strong photooptic effects can be achieved in periodically delta-doped multiple-quantum-well structures, but are still insufficient for high-contrast modulation with only single- or double-pass absorption through active layers of practical thickness. The asymmetric Fabry-Perot cavity approach is employed to permit extinction of light due to interference of light reflected from the front and back surfaces of the cavity. This approach is realized with an all-MBE-grown structure consisting of GaAs/AlAs quarter-wave stack reflector grown over the GaAs substrate as the high reflectance mirror and the GaAs surface as the low reflectance mirror. High-contrast modulation is achieved using a low-power InGaAs/GaAs quantum well laser for the control signal.

  2. Integrated Testing of a 4-Bed Molecular Sieve, Air-Cooled Temperature Swing Adsorption Compressor, and Sabatier Engineering Development Unit

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Knox, James C.; Miller, Lee; Campbell, Melissa; Mulloth, Lila; Varghese, Mini

    2006-01-01

    Accumulation and subsequent compression of carbon dioxide that is removed from the space cabin are two important processes involved in a closed-loop air revitalization scheme of the International Space Station (ISS). The 4-Bed Molecular Sieve (4BMS) of ISS currently operates in an open loop mode without a compressor. The Sabatier Engineering Development Unit (EDU) processes waste CO2 to provide water to the crew. This paper reports the integrated 4BMS, air-cooled Temperature Swing Adsorption Compressor (TSAC), and Sabatier EDU testing. The TSAC prototype was developed at NASA Ames Research Center (ARC). The 4BMS was modified to a functionally flight-like condition at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). Testing was conducted at MSFC. The paper provides details of the TSAC operation at various CO2 loadings and corresponding performance of the 4BMS and Sabatier.

  3. Genetic Engineering: A Promising Tool to Engender Physiological, Biochemical, and Molecular Stress Resilience in Green Microalgae.

    PubMed

    Guihéneuf, Freddy; Khan, Asif; Tran, Lam-Son P

    2016-01-01

    As we march into the 21st century, the prevailing scenario of depleting energy resources, global warming and ever increasing issues of human health and food security will quadruple. In this context, genetic and metabolic engineering of green microalgae complete the quest toward a continuum of environmentally clean fuel and food production. Evolutionarily related, but unlike land plants, microalgae need nominal land or water, and are best described as unicellular autotrophs using light energy to fix atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) into algal biomass, mitigating fossil CO2 pollution in the process. Remarkably, a feature innate to most microalgae is synthesis and accumulation of lipids (60-65% of dry weight), carbohydrates and secondary metabolites like pigments and vitamins, especially when grown under abiotic stress conditions. Particularly fruitful, such an application of abiotic stress factors such as nitrogen starvation, salinity, heat shock, etc., can be used in a biorefinery concept for production of multiple valuable products. The focus of this mini-review underlies metabolic reorientation practices and tolerance mechanisms as applied to green microalgae under specific stress stimuli for a sustainable pollution-free future. Moreover, we entail current progress on genetic engineering as a promising tool to grasp adaptive processes for improving strains with potential biotechnological interests. PMID:27066043

  4. GoSynthetic database tool to analyse natural and engineered molecular processes

    PubMed Central

    Liang, Chunguang; Krüger, Beate; Dandekar, Thomas

    2013-01-01

    An essential topic for synthetic biologists is to understand the structure and function of biological processes and involved proteins and plan experiments accordingly. Remarkable progress has been made in recent years towards this goal. However, efforts to collect and present all information on processes and functions are still cumbersome. The database tool GoSynthetic provides a new, simple and fast way to analyse biological processes applying a hierarchical database. Four different search modes are implemented. Furthermore, protein interaction data, cross-links to organism-specific databases (17 organisms including six model organisms and their interactions), COG/KOG, GO and IntAct are warehoused. The built in connection to technical and engineering terms enables a simple switching between biological concepts and concepts from engineering, electronics and synthetic biology. The current version of GoSynthetic covers more than one million processes, proteins, COGs and GOs. It is illustrated by various application examples probing process differences and designing modifications. Database URL: http://gosyn.bioapps.biozentrum.uni-wuerzburg.de. PMID:23813641

  5. Genetic Engineering: A Promising Tool to Engender Physiological, Biochemical, and Molecular Stress Resilience in Green Microalgae

    PubMed Central

    Guihéneuf, Freddy; Khan, Asif; Tran, Lam-Son P.

    2016-01-01

    As we march into the 21st century, the prevailing scenario of depleting energy resources, global warming and ever increasing issues of human health and food security will quadruple. In this context, genetic and metabolic engineering of green microalgae complete the quest toward a continuum of environmentally clean fuel and food production. Evolutionarily related, but unlike land plants, microalgae need nominal land or water, and are best described as unicellular autotrophs using light energy to fix atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) into algal biomass, mitigating fossil CO2 pollution in the process. Remarkably, a feature innate to most microalgae is synthesis and accumulation of lipids (60–65% of dry weight), carbohydrates and secondary metabolites like pigments and vitamins, especially when grown under abiotic stress conditions. Particularly fruitful, such an application of abiotic stress factors such as nitrogen starvation, salinity, heat shock, etc., can be used in a biorefinery concept for production of multiple valuable products. The focus of this mini-review underlies metabolic reorientation practices and tolerance mechanisms as applied to green microalgae under specific stress stimuli for a sustainable pollution-free future. Moreover, we entail current progress on genetic engineering as a promising tool to grasp adaptive processes for improving strains with potential biotechnological interests. PMID:27066043

  6. Electrospinning of gelatin for tissue engineering--molecular conformation as one of the overlooked problems.

    PubMed

    Sajkiewicz, P; Kołbuk, D

    2014-01-01

    Gelatin is one of the most promising materials in tissue engineering as a scaffold component. This biopolymer indicates biocompatibility and bioactivity caused by the existence of specific amino acid sequences, being preferred sites for interactions with cells, with high similarity to natural extracellular matrix. The present paper does not aspire to be a full review of electrospinning of gelatin and gelatin containing nanofibers as scaffolds in tissue engineering. It is focused on the still open question of the role of the higher order structures of gelatin in scaffold's bioactivity/functionality. Gelatin molecules can adopt various conformations depending on temperature, solvent, pH, etc. Our review indicates the potential ways for formation of α-helix conformation during electrospinning and the methods of further structure stabilization. It is intuitively expected that the native α-helix conformation appearing as a result of partial renaturation of gelatin can be beneficial from the viewpoint of bioactivity of scaffolds, providing thus a much cheaper alternative approach as opposed to expensive electrospinning of native collagen.

  7. Using Engineered Single-Chain Antibodies to Correlate Molecular Binding Properties and Nanoparticle Adhesion Dynamics

    PubMed Central

    Haun, Jered B.; Pepper, Lauren R.; Boder, Eric T.; Hammer, Daniel A.

    2011-01-01

    Elucidation of the relationship between targeting molecule binding properties and the adhesive behavior of therapeutic or diagnostic nanocarriers would aid in the design of optimized vectors and lead to improved efficacy. We measured the adhesion of 200 nm diameter particles under fluid flow that was mediated by a diverse array of molecular interactions, including recombinant single-chain antibodies (scFvs), full antibodies, and the avidin/biotin interaction. Within the panel of scFvs, we used a family of mutants that display a spectrum of binding kinetics, allowing us to compare nanoparticle adhesion to bond chemistry. In addition, we explored the effect of molecular size by inserting a protein linker into the scFv fusion construct and by employing scFvs that are specific for targets with vastly different sizes. Using computational models we extracted multivalent kinetic rate constants for particle attachment and detachment from the adhesion data and correlated the results to molecular binding properties. Our results indicate that the factors that increase encounter probability, such as adhesion molecule valency and size, directly enhance the rate of nanoparticle attachment. Bond kinetics had no influence on scFv-mediated nanoparticle attachment within the kinetic range tested however, but did appear to effect antibody/antigen and avidin/biotin mediated adhesion. We attribute this finding to a combination of multivalent binding and differences in bond mechanical strength between recombinant scFvs and the other adhesion molecules. Nanoparticle detachment probability correlated directly with adhesion molecule valency and size, as well as the logarithm of the affinity for all molecules tested. Based on this work, scFvs can serve as viable targeting receptors for nanoparticles, but improvements to their bond mechanical strength would likely be required to fully exploit their tunable kinetic properties and maximize the adhesion efficiency of nanoparticles that bear

  8. Using engineered single-chain antibodies to correlate molecular binding properties and nanoparticle adhesion dynamics.

    PubMed

    Haun, Jered B; Pepper, Lauren R; Boder, Eric T; Hammer, Daniel A

    2011-11-15

    Elucidation of the relationship between targeting molecule binding properties and the adhesive behavior of therapeutic or diagnostic nanocarriers would aid in the design of optimized vectors and lead to improved efficacy. We measured the adhesion of 200-nm-diameter particles under fluid flow that was mediated by a diverse array of molecular interactions, including recombinant single-chain antibodies (scFvs), full antibodies, and the avidin/biotin interaction. Within the panel of scFvs, we used a family of mutants that display a spectrum of binding kinetics, allowing us to compare nanoparticle adhesion to bond chemistry. In addition, we explored the effect of molecular size by inserting a protein linker into the scFv fusion construct and by employing scFvs that are specific for targets with vastly different sizes. Using computational models, we extracted multivalent kinetic rate constants for particle attachment and detachment from the adhesion data and correlated the results to molecular binding properties. Our results indicate that the factors that increase encounter probability, such as adhesion molecule valency and size, directly enhance the rate of nanoparticle attachment. Bond kinetics had no influence on scFv-mediated nanoparticle attachment within the kinetic range tested, however, but did appear to affect antibody/antigen and avidin/biotin mediated adhesion. We attribute this finding to a combination of multivalent binding and differences in bond mechanical strength between recombinant scFvs and the other adhesion molecules. Nanoparticle detachment probability correlated directly with adhesion molecule valency and size, as well as the logarithm of the affinity for all molecules tested. On the basis of this work, scFvs can serve as viable targeting receptors for nanoparticles, but improvements to their bond mechanical strength would likely be required to fully exploit their tunable kinetic properties and maximize the adhesion efficiency of nanoparticles that

  9. Four- and five-component molecular solids: crystal engineering strategies based on structural inequivalence.

    PubMed

    Mir, Niyaz A; Dubey, Ritesh; Desiraju, Gautam R

    2016-03-01

    A synthetic strategy is described for the co-crystallization of four- and five-component molecular crystals, based on the fact that if any particular chemical constituent of a lower cocrystal is found in two different structural environments, these differences may be exploited to increase the number of components in the solid. 2-Methylresorcinol and tetramethylpyrazine are basic template molecules that allow for further supramolecular homologation. Ten stoichiometric quaternary cocrystals and one quintinary cocrystal with some solid solution character are reported. Cocrystals that do not lend themselves to such homologation are termed synthetic dead ends.

  10. Comparison of wear of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene acetabular cups against surface-engineered femoral heads.

    PubMed

    Galvin, A; Brockett, C; Williams, S; Hatto, P; Burton, A; Isaac, G; Stone, M; Ingham, E; Fisher, J

    2008-10-01

    Alumina ceramic heads have been previously shown to reduce polyethylene wear in comparison to cobalt chrome (CoCr) heads in artificial hip joints. However, there are concerns about the brittle nature of ceramics. It is therefore of interest to investigate ceramic-like coatings on metallic heads. The aim of this study was to compare the friction and wear of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) against alumina ceramic, CoCr, and surface-engineered ceramic-like coatings in a friction simulator and a hip joint simulator. All femoral heads tested were 28 mm diameter and included: Biolox Forte alumina, CoCr, arc evaporative physical vapour deposition (AEPVD) chromium nitride (CrN) coated CoCr, plasma-assisted chemical vapour deposition (PACVD) amorphous diamond-like carbon (aDLC) coated CoCr, sputter CrN coated CoCr, reactive gas controlled arc (RGCA) AEPVD titanium nitride (TiN) coated CoCr, and Graphit-iC coated CoCr. These were articulated against UHMWPE acetabular cups in a friction simulator and a hip joint simulator. Alumina and CoCr gave the lowest wear volumes whereas the sputter coated CrN gave the highest. Alumina also had the lowest friction factor. There was an association between surface parameters and wear. This study indicates that surface topography of surface-engineered femoral heads is more important than friction and wettability in controlling UHMWPE wear.

  11. Tuning the electrical properties of Si nanowire field-effect transistors by molecular engineering.

    PubMed

    Bashouti, Muhammad Y; Tung, Raymond T; Haick, Hossam

    2009-12-01

    Exposed facets of n-type silicon nanowires (Si NWs) fabricated by a top-down approach are successfully terminated with different organic functionalities, including 1,3-dioxan-2-ethyl, butyl, allyl, and propyl-alcohol, using a two-step chlorination/alkylation method. X-ray photoemission spectroscopy and spectroscopic ellipsometry establish the bonding and the coverage of these molecular layers. Field-effect transistors fabricated from these Si NWs displayed characteristics that depended critically on the type of molecular termination. Without molecules the source-drain conduction is unable to be turned off by negative gate voltages as large as -20 V. Upon adsorption of organic molecules there is an observed increase in the "on" current at large positive gate voltages and also a reduction, by several orders of magnitude, of the "off" current at large negative gate voltages. The zero-gate voltage transconductance of molecule-terminated Si NW correlates with the type of organic molecule. Adsorption of butyl and 1,3-dioxan-2-ethyl molecules improves the channel conductance over that of the original SiO(2)-Si NW, while adsorption of molecules with propyl-alcohol leads to a reduction. It is shown that a simple assumption based on the possible creation of surface states alongside the attachment of molecules may lead to a qualitative explanation of these electrical characteristics. The possibility and potential implications of modifying semiconductor devices by tuning the distribution of surface states via the functionality of attached molecules are discussed.

  12. Spatiotemporal control of cell-cell reversible interactions using molecular engineering

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shi, Peng; Ju, Enguo; Yan, Zhengqing; Gao, Nan; Wang, Jiasi; Hou, Jianwen; Zhang, Yan; Ren, Jinsong; Qu, Xiaogang

    2016-10-01

    Manipulation of cell-cell interactions has potential applications in basic research and cell-based therapy. Herein, using a combination of metabolic glycan labelling and bio-orthogonal click reaction, we engineer cell membranes with β-cyclodextrin and subsequently manipulate cell behaviours via photo-responsive host-guest recognition. With this methodology, we demonstrate reversible manipulation of cell assembly and disassembly. The method enables light-controllable reversible assembly of cell-cell adhesion, in contrast with previously reported irreversible effects, in which altered structure could not be reused. We also illustrate the utility of the method by designing a cell-based therapy. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells modified with aptamer are effectively redirected towards target cells, resulting in enhanced cell apoptosis. Our approach allows precise control of reversible cell-cell interactions and we expect that it will promote further developments of cell-based therapy.

  13. Spatiotemporal control of cell–cell reversible interactions using molecular engineering

    PubMed Central

    Shi, Peng; Ju, Enguo; Yan, Zhengqing; Gao, Nan; Wang, Jiasi; Hou, Jianwen; Zhang, Yan; Ren, Jinsong; Qu, Xiaogang

    2016-01-01

    Manipulation of cell–cell interactions has potential applications in basic research and cell-based therapy. Herein, using a combination of metabolic glycan labelling and bio-orthogonal click reaction, we engineer cell membranes with β-cyclodextrin and subsequently manipulate cell behaviours via photo-responsive host-guest recognition. With this methodology, we demonstrate reversible manipulation of cell assembly and disassembly. The method enables light-controllable reversible assembly of cell–cell adhesion, in contrast with previously reported irreversible effects, in which altered structure could not be reused. We also illustrate the utility of the method by designing a cell-based therapy. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells modified with aptamer are effectively redirected towards target cells, resulting in enhanced cell apoptosis. Our approach allows precise control of reversible cell–cell interactions and we expect that it will promote further developments of cell-based therapy. PMID:27708265

  14. Sinapate esters in brassicaceous plants: biochemistry, molecular biology, evolution and metabolic engineering.

    PubMed

    Milkowski, Carsten; Strack, Dieter

    2010-06-01

    Brassicaceous plants are characterized by a pronounced metabolic flux toward sinapate, produced by the shikimate/phenylpropanoid pathway, which is converted into a broad spectrum of O-ester conjugates. The abundant sinapate esters in Brassica napus and Arabidopsis thaliana reflect a well-known metabolic network, including UDP-glucose:sinapate glucosyltransferase (SGT), sinapoylglucose:choline sinapoyltransferase (SCT), sinapoylglucose:L-malate sinapoyltransferase (SMT) and sinapoylcholine (sinapine) esterase (SCE). 1-O-Sinapoylglucose, produced by SGT during seed development, is converted to sinapine by SCT and hydrolyzed by SCE in germinating seeds. The released sinapate feeds via sinapoylglucose into the biosynthesis of sinapoylmalate in the seedlings catalyzed by SMT. Sinapoylmalate is involved in protecting the leaves against the deleterious effects of UV-B radiation. Sinapine might function as storage vehicle for ready supply of choline for phosphatidylcholine biosynthesis in young seedlings. The antinutritive character of sinapine and related sinapate esters hamper the use of the valuable seed protein of the oilseed crop B. napus for animal feed and human nutrition. Due to limited variation in seed sinapine content within the assortment of B. napus cultivars, low sinapine lines cannot be generated by conventional breeding giving rise to genetic engineering of sinapate ester metabolism as a promising means. In this article we review the progress made throughout the last decade in identification of genes involved in sinapate ester metabolism and characterization of the encoded enzymes. Based on gene structures and enzyme recruitment, evolution of sinapate ester metabolism is discussed. Strategies of targeted metabolic engineering, designed to generate low-sinapate ester lines of B. napus, are evaluated.

  15. Evolutionary medicine: its scope, interest and potential

    PubMed Central

    Stearns, Stephen C.

    2012-01-01

    This review is aimed at readers seeking an introductory overview, teaching courses and interested in visionary ideas. It first describes the range of topics covered by evolutionary medicine, which include human genetic variation, mismatches to modernity, reproductive medicine, degenerative disease, host–pathogen interactions and insights from comparisons with other species. It then discusses priorities for translational research, basic research and health management. Its conclusions are that evolutionary thinking should not displace other approaches to medical science, such as molecular medicine and cell and developmental biology, but that evolutionary insights can combine with and complement established approaches to reduce suffering and save lives. Because we are on the cusp of so much new research and innovative insights, it is hard to estimate how much impact evolutionary thinking will have on medicine, but it is already clear that its potential is enormous. PMID:22933370

  16. A Total Molecular Gas Mass Census in Z ˜ 2-3 Star-forming Galaxies: Low-J CO Excitation Probes of Galaxies’ Evolutionary States

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sharon, Chelsea E.; Riechers, Dominik A.; Hodge, Jacqueline; Carilli, Chris L.; Walter, Fabian; Weiß, Axel; Knudsen, Kirsten K.; Wagg, Jeff

    2016-08-01

    We present CO(1-0) observations obtained at the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array for 14 z˜ 2 galaxies with existing CO(3-2) measurements, including 11 galaxies that contain active galactic nuclei (AGNs) and three submillimeter galaxies (SMGs). We combine this sample with an additional 15 z˜ 2 galaxies from the literature that have both CO(1-0) and CO(3-2) measurements in order to evaluate differences in CO excitation between SMGs and AGN host galaxies, to measure the effects of CO excitation on the derived molecular gas properties of these populations, and to look for correlations between the molecular gas excitation and other physical parameters. With our expanded sample of CO(3-2)/CO(1-0) line ratio measurements, we do not find a statistically significant difference in the mean line ratio between SMGs and AGN host galaxies as can be found in the literature; we instead find {r}{3,1}=1.03+/- 0.50 for AGN host galaxies and {r}{3,1}=0.78+/- 0.27 for SMGs (or {r}{3,1}=0.90+/- 0.40 for both populations combined). We also do not measure a statistically significant difference between the distributions of the line ratios for these populations at the p = 0.05 level, although this result is less robust. We find no excitation dependence on the index or offset of the integrated Schmidt-Kennicutt relation for the two CO lines, and we obtain indices consistent with N = 1 for the various subpopulations. However, including low-z “normal” galaxies increases our best-fit Schmidt-Kennicutt index to N˜ 1.2. While we do not reproduce correlations between the CO line width and luminosity, we do reproduce correlations between CO excitation and star-formation efficiency.

  17. On evolutionary causes and evolutionary processes.

    PubMed

    Laland, Kevin N

    2015-08-01

    In this essay I consider how biologists understand 'causation' and 'evolutionary process', drawing attention to some idiosyncrasies in the use of these terms. I suggest that research within the evolutionary sciences has been channeled in certain directions and not others by scientific conventions, many of which have now become counterproductive. These include the views (i) that evolutionary processes are restricted to those phenomena that directly change gene frequencies, (ii) that understanding the causes of both ecological change and ontogeny is beyond the remit of evolutionary biology, and (iii) that biological causation can be understood by a dichotomous proximate-ultimate distinction, with developmental processes perceived as solely relevant to proximate causation. I argue that the notion of evolutionary process needs to be broadened to accommodate phenomena such as developmental bias and niche construction that bias the course of evolution, but do not directly change gene frequencies, and that causation in biological systems is fundamentally reciprocal in nature. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: In Honor of Jerry Hogan.

  18. Engineered Molecular Layers For Organic Electronic Applications: A Confocal Scanning Raman Spectroscopy (CSRS) Investigation

    SciTech Connect

    Paez-Sierra, Beynor-Antonio; Kolotovska, Viktoriia; Rangel-Kuoppa, Victor-Tapio

    2011-12-23

    We present CSRS maps of magnetically modified vanadyl phthalocyanine (VOPc) thin films forming conduction channels in organic field-effect transistors (OFETs). The VOPc films with a nominal thickness of about 100 nm were produced by organic molecular beam deposition in high vacuum. During the growth conditions the substrates were exposed to a magnetic field (B) from a bar magnet. The CSRS maps revealed significant changes of the organic fields upon preparation conditions. The highest field effect mobility, electrical current and anisotropy of the CSRS-topography is achieved in layers grown with B parallel to the substrate plane, while intermediate and lowest values are achieved in devices grown with B perpendicular to the substrate and without, respectively.

  19. Remembering the evolutionary Freud.

    PubMed

    Young, Allan

    2006-03-01

    Throughout his career as a writer, Sigmund Freud maintained an interest in the evolutionary origins of the human mind and its neurotic and psychotic disorders. In common with many writers then and now, he believed that the evolutionary past is conserved in the mind and the brain. Today the "evolutionary Freud" is nearly forgotten. Even among Freudians, he is regarded to be a red herring, relevant only to the extent that he diverts attention from the enduring achievements of the authentic Freud. There are three ways to explain these attitudes. First, the evolutionary Freud's key work is the "Overview of the Transference Neurosis" (1915). But it was published at an inopportune moment, forty years after the author's death, during the so-called "Freud wars." Second, Freud eventually lost interest in the "Overview" and the prospect of a comprehensive evolutionary theory of psychopathology. The publication of The Ego and the Id (1923), introducing Freud's structural theory of the psyche, marked the point of no return. Finally, Freud's evolutionary theory is simply not credible. It is based on just-so stories and a thoroughly discredited evolutionary mechanism, Lamarckian use-inheritance. Explanations one and two are probably correct but also uninteresting. Explanation number three assumes that there is a fundamental difference between Freud's evolutionary narratives (not credible) and the evolutionary accounts of psychopathology that currently circulate in psychiatry and mainstream journals (credible). The assumption is mistaken but worth investigating.

  20. Molecular Characterization of the 14-3-3 Gene Family in Brachypodium distachyon L. Reveals High Evolutionary Conservation and Diverse Responses to Abiotic Stresses.

    PubMed

    Cao, Hui; Xu, Yuxing; Yuan, Linlin; Bian, Yanwei; Wang, Lihui; Zhen, Shoumin; Hu, Yingkao; Yan, Yueming

    2016-01-01

    The 14-3-3 gene family identified in all eukaryotic organisms is involved in a wide range of biological processes, particularly in resistance to various abiotic stresses. Here, we performed the first comprehensive study on the molecular characterization, phylogenetics, and responses to various abiotic stresses of the 14-3-3 gene family in Brachypodium distachyon L. A total of seven 14-3-3 genes from B. distachyon and 120 from five main lineages among 12 species were identified, which were divided into five well-conserved subfamilies. The molecular structure analysis showed that the plant 14-3-3 gene family is highly evolutionarily conserved, although certain divergence had occurred in different subfamilies. The duplication event investigation revealed that segmental duplication seemed to be the predominant form by which the 14-3-3 gene family had expanded. Moreover, seven critical amino acids were detected, which may contribute to functional divergence. Expression profiling analysis showed that BdGF14 genes were abundantly expressed in the roots, but showed low expression in the meristems. All seven BdGF14 genes showed significant expression changes under various abiotic stresses, including heavy metal, phytohormone, osmotic, and temperature stresses, which might play important roles in responses to multiple abiotic stresses mainly through participating in ABA-dependent signaling and reactive oxygen species-mediated MAPK cascade signaling pathways. In particular, BdGF14 genes generally showed upregulated expression in response to multiple stresses of high temperature, heavy metal, abscisic acid (ABA), and salicylic acid (SA), but downregulated expression under H2O2, NaCl, and polyethylene glycol (PEG) stresses. Meanwhile, dynamic transcriptional expression analysis of BdGF14 genes under longer treatments with heavy metals (Cd(2+), Cr(3+), Cu(2+), and Zn(2+)) and phytohormone (ABA) and recovery revealed two main expression trends in both roots and leaves: up

  1. Molecular Characterization of the 14-3-3 Gene Family in Brachypodium distachyon L. Reveals High Evolutionary Conservation and Diverse Responses to Abiotic Stresses

    PubMed Central

    Cao, Hui; Xu, Yuxing; Yuan, Linlin; Bian, Yanwei; Wang, Lihui; Zhen, Shoumin; Hu, Yingkao; Yan, Yueming

    2016-01-01

    The 14-3-3 gene family identified in all eukaryotic organisms is involved in a wide range of biological processes, particularly in resistance to various abiotic stresses. Here, we performed the first comprehensive study on the molecular characterization, phylogenetics, and responses to various abiotic stresses of the 14-3-3 gene family in Brachypodium distachyon L. A total of seven 14-3-3 genes from B. distachyon and 120 from five main lineages among 12 species were identified, which were divided into five well-conserved subfamilies. The molecular structure analysis showed that the plant 14-3-3 gene family is highly evolutionarily conserved, although certain divergence had occurred in different subfamilies. The duplication event investigation revealed that segmental duplication seemed to be the predominant form by which the 14-3-3 gene family had expanded. Moreover, seven critical amino acids were detected, which may contribute to functional divergence. Expression profiling analysis showed that BdGF14 genes were abundantly expressed in the roots, but showed low expression in the meristems. All seven BdGF14 genes showed significant expression changes under various abiotic stresses, including heavy metal, phytohormone, osmotic, and temperature stresses, which might play important roles in responses to multiple abiotic stresses mainly through participating in ABA-dependent signaling and reactive oxygen species-mediated MAPK cascade signaling pathways. In particular, BdGF14 genes generally showed upregulated expression in response to multiple stresses of high temperature, heavy metal, abscisic acid (ABA), and salicylic acid (SA), but downregulated expression under H2O2, NaCl, and polyethylene glycol (PEG) stresses. Meanwhile, dynamic transcriptional expression analysis of BdGF14 genes under longer treatments with heavy metals (Cd2+, Cr3+, Cu2+, and Zn2+) and phytohormone (ABA) and recovery revealed two main expression trends in both roots and leaves: up-down and up

  2. The Molecular Epidemiology and Evolutionary Dynamics of Influenza B Virus in Two Italian Regions during 2010-2015: The Experience of Sicily and Liguria.

    PubMed

    Tramuto, Fabio; Orsi, Andrea; Maida, Carmelo Massimo; Costantino, Claudio; Trucchi, Cecilia; Alicino, Cristiano; Vitale, Francesco; Ansaldi, Filippo

    2016-01-01

    Molecular epidemiology of influenza B virus remained poorly studied in Italy, despite representing a major contributor to seasonal epidemics. This study aimed to reconstruct the phylogenetic relationships and genetic diversity of the hemagglutinin gene sequences of 197 influenza B strains circulating in both Southern (Sicily) and Northern (Liguria) Italy between 2010 and 2015. Upper respiratory tract specimens of patients displaying symptoms of influenza-like illness were screened by real-time RT-PCR assay for the presence of influenza B virus. PCR-positive influenza B samples were further analyzed by sequencing. Neighbor-joining phylogenetic trees were constructed and the amino-acid alignments were analyzed. Phylogenetic analysis showed clusters in B/Victoria clade 1A/1B (n = 29, 14.7%), and B/Yamagata clades 2 (n = 112, 56.8%) and 3 (n = 56, 28.4%). Both influenza B lineages were found to co-circulate during the study period, although a lineage swap from B/Victoria to B/Yamagata occurred in Italy between January 2011 and January 2013. The most represented amino-acid substitutions were N116K in the 120-loop (83.9% of B/Yamagata clade 3 strains) and I146V in the 150-loop (89.6% of B/Victoria clade 1 strains). D197N in 190-helix was found in almost all viruses collected. Our findings provide further evidence to support the adoption of quadrivalent influenza vaccines in our country.

  3. The Molecular Epidemiology and Evolutionary Dynamics of Influenza B Virus in Two Italian Regions during 2010-2015: The Experience of Sicily and Liguria.

    PubMed

    Tramuto, Fabio; Orsi, Andrea; Maida, Carmelo Massimo; Costantino, Claudio; Trucchi, Cecilia; Alicino, Cristiano; Vitale, Francesco; Ansaldi, Filippo

    2016-01-01

    Molecular epidemiology of influenza B virus remained poorly studied in Italy, despite representing a major contributor to seasonal epidemics. This study aimed to reconstruct the phylogenetic relationships and genetic diversity of the hemagglutinin gene sequences of 197 influenza B strains circulating in both Southern (Sicily) and Northern (Liguria) Italy between 2010 and 2015. Upper respiratory tract specimens of patients displaying symptoms of influenza-like illness were screened by real-time RT-PCR assay for the presence of influenza B virus. PCR-positive influenza B samples were further analyzed by sequencing. Neighbor-joining phylogenetic trees were constructed and the amino-acid alignments were analyzed. Phylogenetic analysis showed clusters in B/Victoria clade 1A/1B (n = 29, 14.7%), and B/Yamagata clades 2 (n = 112, 56.8%) and 3 (n = 56, 28.4%). Both influenza B lineages were found to co-circulate during the study period, although a lineage swap from B/Victoria to B/Yamagata occurred in Italy between January 2011 and January 2013. The most represented amino-acid substitutions were N116K in the 120-loop (83.9% of B/Yamagata clade 3 strains) and I146V in the 150-loop (89.6% of B/Victoria clade 1 strains). D197N in 190-helix was found in almost all viruses collected. Our findings provide further evidence to support the adoption of quadrivalent influenza vaccines in our country. PMID:27089319

  4. The Molecular Epidemiology and Evolutionary Dynamics of Influenza B Virus in Two Italian Regions during 2010–2015: The Experience of Sicily and Liguria

    PubMed Central

    Tramuto, Fabio; Orsi, Andrea; Maida, Carmelo Massimo; Costantino, Claudio; Trucchi, Cecilia; Alicino, Cristiano; Vitale, Francesco; Ansaldi, Filippo

    2016-01-01

    Molecular epidemiology of influenza B virus remained poorly studied in Italy, despite representing a major contributor to seasonal epidemics. This study aimed to reconstruct the phylogenetic relationships and genetic diversity of the hemagglutinin gene sequences of 197 influenza B strains circulating in both Southern (Sicily) and Northern (Liguria) Italy between 2010 and 2015. Upper respiratory tract specimens of patients displaying symptoms of influenza-like illness were screened by real-time RT-PCR assay for the presence of influenza B virus. PCR-positive influenza B samples were further analyzed by sequencing. Neighbor-joining phylogenetic trees were constructed and the amino-acid alignments were analyzed. Phylogenetic analysis showed clusters in B/Victoria clade 1A/1B (n = 29, 14.7%), and B/Yamagata clades 2 (n = 112, 56.8%) and 3 (n = 56, 28.4%). Both influenza B lineages were found to co-circulate during the study period, although a lineage swap from B/Victoria to B/Yamagata occurred in Italy between January 2011 and January 2013. The most represented amino-acid substitutions were N116K in the 120-loop (83.9% of B/Yamagata clade 3 strains) and I146V in the 150-loop (89.6% of B/Victoria clade 1 strains). D197N in 190-helix was found in almost all viruses collected. Our findings provide further evidence to support the adoption of quadrivalent influenza vaccines in our country. PMID:27089319

  5. Software Engineering Guidebook

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Connell, John; Wenneson, Greg

    1993-01-01

    The Software Engineering Guidebook describes SEPG (Software Engineering Process Group) supported processes and techniques for engineering quality software in NASA environments. Three process models are supported: structured, object-oriented, and evolutionary rapid-prototyping. The guidebook covers software life-cycles, engineering, assurance, and configuration management. The guidebook is written for managers and engineers who manage, develop, enhance, and/or maintain software under the Computer Software Services Contract.

  6. Cancer research meets evolutionary biology

    PubMed Central

    Pepper, John W; Scott Findlay, C; Kassen, Rees; Spencer, Sabrina L; Maley, Carlo C

    2009-01-01

    There is increasing evidence that Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection provides insights into the etiology and treatment of cancer. On a microscopic scale, neoplastic cells meet the conditions for evolution by Darwinian selection: cell reproduction with heritable variability that affects cell survival and replication. This suggests that, like other areas of biological and biomedical research, Darwinian theory can provide a general framework for understanding many aspects of cancer, including problems of great clinical importance. With the availability of raw molecular data increasing rapidly, this theory may provide guidance in translating data into understanding and progress. Several conceptual and analytical tools from evolutionary biology can be applied to cancer biology. Two clinical problems may benefit most from the application of Darwinian theory: neoplastic progression and acquired therapeutic resistance. The Darwinian theory of cancer has especially profound implications for drug development, both in terms of explaining past difficulties, and pointing the way toward new approaches. Because cancer involves complex evolutionary processes, research should incorporate both tractable (simplified) experimental systems, and also longitudinal observational studies of the evolutionary dynamics of cancer in laboratory animals and in human patients. Cancer biology will require new tools to control the evolution of neoplastic cells. PMID:25567847

  7. Exploring Evolutionary Patterns in Genetic Sequence: A Computer Exercise

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Shumate, Alice M.; Windsor, Aaron J.

    2010-01-01

    The increase in publications presenting molecular evolutionary analyses and the availability of comparative sequence data through resources such as NCBI's GenBank underscore the necessity of providing undergraduates with hands-on sequence analysis skills in an evolutionary context. This need is particularly acute given that students have been…

  8. Strain-Engineered Graphene Grown on Hexagonal Boron Nitride by Molecular Beam Epitaxy.

    PubMed

    Summerfield, Alex; Davies, Andrew; Cheng, Tin S; Korolkov, Vladimir V; Cho, YongJin; Mellor, Christopher J; Foxon, C Thomas; Khlobystov, Andrei N; Watanabe, Kenji; Taniguchi, Takashi; Eaves, Laurence; Novikov, Sergei V; Beton, Peter H

    2016-01-01

    Graphene grown by high temperature molecular beam epitaxy on hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) forms continuous domains with dimensions of order 20 μm, and exhibits moiré patterns with large periodicities, up to ~30 nm, indicating that the layers are highly strained. Topological defects in the moiré patterns are observed and attributed to the relaxation of graphene islands which nucleate at different sites and subsequently coalesce. In addition, cracks are formed leading to strain relaxation, highly anisotropic strain fields, and abrupt boundaries between regions with different moiré periods. These cracks can also be formed by modification of the layers with a local probe resulting in the contraction and physical displacement of graphene layers. The Raman spectra of regions with a large moiré period reveal split and shifted G and 2D peaks confirming the presence of strain. Our work demonstrates a new approach to the growth of epitaxial graphene and a means of generating and modifying strain in graphene.

  9. Plant immunity triggered by engineered in vivo release of oligogalacturonides, damage-associated molecular patterns.

    PubMed

    Benedetti, Manuel; Pontiggia, Daniela; Raggi, Sara; Cheng, Zhenyu; Scaloni, Flavio; Ferrari, Simone; Ausubel, Frederick M; Cervone, Felice; De Lorenzo, Giulia

    2015-04-28

    Oligogalacturonides (OGs) are fragments of pectin that activate plant innate immunity by functioning as damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs). We set out to test the hypothesis that OGs are generated in planta by partial inhibition of pathogen-encoded polygalacturonases (PGs). A gene encoding a fungal PG was fused with a gene encoding a plant polygalacturonase-inhibiting protein (PGIP) and expressed in transgenic Arabidopsis plants. We show that expression of the PGIP-PG chimera results in the in vivo production of OGs that can be detected by mass spectrometric analysis. Transgenic plants expressing the chimera under control of a pathogen-inducible promoter are more resistant to the phytopathogens Botrytis cinerea, Pectobacterium carotovorum, and Pseudomonas syringae. These data provide strong evidence for the hypothesis that OGs released in vivo act as a DAMP signal to trigger plant immunity and suggest that controlled release of these molecules upon infection may be a valuable tool to protect plants against infectious diseases. On the other hand, elevated levels of expression of the chimera cause the accumulation of salicylic acid, reduced growth, and eventually lead to plant death, consistent with the current notion that trade-off occurs between growth and defense.

  10. Plant immunity triggered by engineered in vivo release of oligogalacturonides, damage-associated molecular patterns

    PubMed Central

    Benedetti, Manuel; Pontiggia, Daniela; Raggi, Sara; Cheng, Zhenyu; Scaloni, Flavio; Ferrari, Simone; Ausubel, Frederick M.; Cervone, Felice; De Lorenzo, Giulia

    2015-01-01

    Oligogalacturonides (OGs) are fragments of pectin that activate plant innate immunity by functioning as damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs). We set out to test the hypothesis that OGs are generated in planta by partial inhibition of pathogen-encoded polygalacturonases (PGs). A gene encoding a fungal PG was fused with a gene encoding a plant polygalacturonase-inhibiting protein (PGIP) and expressed in transgenic Arabidopsis plants. We show that expression of the PGIP–PG chimera results in the in vivo production of OGs that can be detected by mass spectrometric analysis. Transgenic plants expressing the chimera under control of a pathogen-inducible promoter are more resistant to the phytopathogens Botrytis cinerea, Pectobacterium carotovorum, and Pseudomonas syringae. These data provide strong evidence for the hypothesis that OGs released in vivo act as a DAMP signal to trigger plant immunity and suggest that controlled release of these molecules upon infection may be a valuable tool to protect plants against infectious diseases. On the other hand, elevated levels of expression of the chimera cause the accumulation of salicylic acid, reduced growth, and eventually lead to plant death, consistent with the current notion that trade-off occurs between growth and defense. PMID:25870275

  11. Strain-Engineered Graphene Grown on Hexagonal Boron Nitride by Molecular Beam Epitaxy

    PubMed Central

    Summerfield, Alex; Davies, Andrew; Cheng, Tin S.; Korolkov, Vladimir V.; Cho, YongJin; Mellor, Christopher J.; Foxon, C. Thomas; Khlobystov, Andrei N.; Watanabe, Kenji; Taniguchi, Takashi; Eaves, Laurence; Novikov, Sergei V.; Beton, Peter H.

    2016-01-01

    Graphene grown by high temperature molecular beam epitaxy on hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) forms continuous domains with dimensions of order 20 μm, and exhibits moiré patterns with large periodicities, up to ~30 nm, indicating that the layers are highly strained. Topological defects in the moiré patterns are observed and attributed to the relaxation of graphene islands which nucleate at different sites and subsequently coalesce. In addition, cracks are formed leading to strain relaxation, highly anisotropic strain fields, and abrupt boundaries between regions with different moiré periods. These cracks can also be formed by modification of the layers with a local probe resulting in the contraction and physical displacement of graphene layers. The Raman spectra of regions with a large moiré period reveal split and shifted G and 2D peaks confirming the presence of strain. Our work demonstrates a new approach to the growth of epitaxial graphene and a means of generating and modifying strain in graphene. PMID:26928710

  12. Evolution on a volcanic conveyor belt: using phylogeographic reconstructions and K-Ar-based ages of the Hawaiian Islands to estimate molecular evolutionary rates.

    PubMed

    Fleischer, R C; McIntosh, C E; Tarr, C L

    1998-04-01

    The Hawaiian Islands form as the Pacific Plate moves over a 'hot spot' in the earth's mantle where magma extrudes through the crust to build huge shield volcanos. The islands subside and erode as the plate carries them to the north-west, eventually to become coral atolls and seamounts. Thus islands are ordered linearly by age, with the oldest islands in the north-west (e.g. Kauai at 5.1 Ma) and the youngest in the south-east (e.g. Hawaii at 0.43 Ma). K-Ar estimates of the date of an island's formation provide a maximum age for the taxa inhabiting the island. These ages can be used to calibrate rates of molecular change under the following assumptions: (i) K-Ar dates are accurate; (ii) tree topologies show that derivation of taxa parallels the timing of island formation; (iii) populations do not colonize long after island emergence; (iv) the coalescent point for sister taxa does not greatly predate the formation of the colonized younger island; (v) saturation effects and (vi) among-lineage rate variation are minimal or correctable; and (vii) unbiased standard errors of distances and regressions can be estimated from multiple pairwise comparisons. We use the approach to obtain overall corrected rate calibrations for: (i) part of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene in Hawaiian drepanidines (0.016 sequence divergence/Myr); (ii) the Yp1 gene in Hawaiian Drosophila (0.019/Myr Kambysellis et al. 1995); and (iii) parts of the mitochondrial 12S and 16S rRNA and tRNAval in Laupala crickets (0.024-0.102/Myr, Shaw 1996). We discuss the reliability of the estimates given the assumptions (i-vii) above and contrast the results with previous calibrations of Adh in Hawaiian Drosophila and chloroplast DNA in lobeliods. PMID:9628004

  13. Evolution on a volcanic conveyor belt: using phylogeographic reconstructions and K-Ar-based ages of the Hawaiian Islands to estimate molecular evolutionary rates.

    PubMed

    Fleischer, R C; McIntosh, C E; Tarr, C L

    1998-04-01

    The Hawaiian Islands form as the Pacific Plate moves over a 'hot spot' in the earth's mantle where magma extrudes through the crust to build huge shield volcanos. The islands subside and erode as the plate carries them to the north-west, eventually to become coral atolls and seamounts. Thus islands are ordered linearly by age, with the oldest islands in the north-west (e.g. Kauai at 5.1 Ma) and the youngest in the south-east (e.g. Hawaii at 0.43 Ma). K-Ar estimates of the date of an island's formation provide a maximum age for the taxa inhabiting the island. These ages can be used to calibrate rates of molecular change under the following assumptions: (i) K-Ar dates are accurate; (ii) tree topologies show that derivation of taxa parallels the timing of island formation; (iii) populations do not colonize long after island emergence; (iv) the coalescent point for sister taxa does not greatly predate the formation of the colonized younger island; (v) saturation effects and (vi) among-lineage rate variation are minimal or correctable; and (vii) unbiased standard errors of distances and regressions can be estimated from multiple pairwise comparisons. We use the approach to obtain overall corrected rate calibrations for: (i) part of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene in Hawaiian drepanidines (0.016 sequence divergence/Myr); (ii) the Yp1 gene in Hawaiian Drosophila (0.019/Myr Kambysellis et al. 1995); and (iii) parts of the mitochondrial 12S and 16S rRNA and tRNAval in Laupala crickets (0.024-0.102/Myr, Shaw 1996). We discuss the reliability of the estimates given the assumptions (i-vii) above and contrast the results with previous calibrations of Adh in Hawaiian Drosophila and chloroplast DNA in lobeliods.

  14. Polymorphic Evolutionary Games.

    PubMed

    Fishman, Michael A

    2016-06-01

    In this paper, I present an analytical framework for polymorphic evolutionary games suitable for explicitly modeling evolutionary processes in diploid populations with sexual reproduction. The principal aspect of the proposed approach is adding diploid genetics cum sexual recombination to a traditional evolutionary game, and switching from phenotypes to haplotypes as the new game׳s pure strategies. Here, the relevant pure strategy׳s payoffs derived by summing the payoffs of all the phenotypes capable of producing gametes containing that particular haplotype weighted by the pertinent probabilities. The resulting game is structurally identical to the familiar Evolutionary Games with non-linear pure strategy payoffs (Hofbauer and Sigmund, 1998. Cambridge University Press), and can be analyzed in terms of an established analytical framework for such games. And these results can be translated into the terms of genotypic, and whence, phenotypic evolutionary stability pertinent to the original game.

  15. Molecular evolution of GH in primates: characterisation of the GH genes from slow loris and marmoset defines an episode of rapid evolutionary change.

    PubMed

    Wallis, O C; Zhang, Y P; Wallis, M

    2001-06-01

    Pituitary growth hormone (GH), like several other protein hormones, shows an unusual episodic pattern of molecular evolution in which sustained bursts of rapid change are imposed on long periods of very slow evolution (near-stasis). A marked period of rapid change occurred in the evolution of GH in primates or a primate ancestor, and gave rise to the species specificity that is characteristic of human GH. We have defined more precisely the position of this burst by cloning and sequencing the GH genes for a prosimian, the slow loris (Nycticebus pygmaeus) and a New World monkey, marmoset (Callithrix jacchus). Slow loris GH is very similar in sequence to pig GH, demonstrating that the period of rapid change occurred during primate evolution, after the separation of lines leading to prosimians and higher primates. The putative marmoset GH is similar in sequence to human GH, demonstrating that 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 for mature GH, and is not marked in other components of the gene sequence including signal peptide, 5' upstream region and introns. A number of factors support the idea that this episode of rapid change was due to positive adaptive selection. Thus (1) there is no apparent loss of function of GH in man compared with non-primates, (2) after the episode of rapid change the rate of evolution fell towards the slow basal level that is seen for most mammalian GHs, (3) the accelerated rate of substitution for the exons of the GH gene significantly exceeds that for introns, and (4) the amino acids contributing to the hydrophobic core of GH are strongly conserved when higher primate and other GH sequences are compared, and for coding sequences other than that coding for hydrophobic core residues the rate of substitution for non-synonymous sites (K(A)) is significantly greater than that for synonymous sites (K(S)). In slow loris, as

  16. Unraveling the evolutionary radiation of the thoracican barnacles using molecular and morphological evidence: a comparison of several divergence time estimation approaches.

    PubMed

    Pérez-Losada, Marcos; Høeg, Jens T; Crandall, Keith A

    2004-04-01

    The Thoracica includes the ordinary barnacles found along the sea shore and is the most diverse and well-studied superorder of Cirripedia. However, although the literature abounds with scenarios explaining the evolution of these barnacles, very few studies have attempted to test these hypotheses in a phylogenetic context. The few attempts at phylogenetic analyses have suffered from a lack of phylogenetic signal and small numbers of taxa. We collected DNA sequences from the nuclear 18S, 28S, and histone H3 genes and the mitochondrial 12S and 16S genes (4,871 bp total) and data for 37 adult and 53 larval morphological characters from 43 taxa representing all the extant thoracican suborders (except the monospecific Brachylepadomorpha). Four Rhizocephala (highly modified parasitic barnacles) taxa and a Rhizocephala + Acrothoracica (burrowing barnacles) hypothetical ancestor were used as the outgroup for the molecular and morphological analyses, respectively. We analyzed these data separately and combined using maximum likelihood (ML) under "hill-climbing" and genetic algorithm heuristic searches, maximum parsimony procedures, and Bayesian inference coupled with Markov chain Monte Carlo techniques under mixed and homogeneous models of nucleotide substitution. The resulting phylogenetic trees answered key questions in barnacle evolution. The four-plated Iblomorpha were shown as the most primitive thoracican, and the plateless Heteralepadomorpha were placed as the sister group of the Lepadomorpha. These relationships suggest for the first time in an invertebrate that exoskeleton biomineralization may have evolved from phosphatic to calcitic. Sessilia (nonpedunculate) barnacles were depicted as monophyletic and appear to have evolved from a stalked (pedunculate) multiplated (5+) scalpelloidlike ancestor rather than a five-plated lepadomorphan ancestor. The Balanomorpha (symmetric sessile barnacles) appear to have the following relationship: (Chthamaloidea

  17. A time-calibrated molecular phylogeny of the precious corals: reconciling discrepancies in the taxonomic classification and insights into their evolutionary history

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    were congruent with the general mixed Yule-coalescent (GMYC) model. A multilocus species-tree approach also identified the same two well-supported clades, being Clade I-B more recent in the species tree (18.0-15.9 mya) than in the gene tree (35.2-15.9 mya). In contrast, the diversification times for Clade II were more ancient in the species tree (136.4-41.7 mya) than in the gene tree (66.3-16.9 mya). Conclusions Our results provide no support for the taxonomic status of the two currently recognized genera in the family Coralliidae. Given that Paracorallium species were all nested within Corallium, we recognize the coralliid genus Corallium, which includes the type species of the family, and thus consider Paracorallium a junior synonym of Corallium. We propose the use of the genus Hemicorallium Gray for clade I-B (species with long rod sclerites, cylindrical autozooids and smooth axis). Species delimitation in clade I-B remains unclear and the molecular resolution for Coralliidae species is inconsistent in the two main clades. Some species have wide distributions, recent diversification times and low mtDNA divergence whereas other species exhibit narrower allopatric distributions, older diversification times and greater levels of mtDNA resolution. PMID:23249327

  18. Molluscan Evolutionary Genomics

    SciTech Connect

    Simison, W. Brian; Boore, Jeffrey L.

    2005-12-01

    In the last 20 years there have been dramatic advances in techniques of high-throughput DNA sequencing, most recently accelerated by the Human Genome Project, a program that has determined the three billion base pair code on which we are based. Now this tremendous capability is being directed at other genome targets that are being sampled across the broad range of life. This opens up opportunities as never before for evolutionary and organismal biologists to address questions of both processes and patterns of organismal change. We stand at the dawn of a new 'modern synthesis' period, paralleling that of the early 20th century when the fledgling field of genetics first identified the underlying basis for Darwin's theory. We must now unite the efforts of systematists, paleontologists, mathematicians, computer programmers, molecular biologists, developmental biologists, and others in the pursuit of discovering what genomics can teach us about the diversity of life. Genome-level sampling for mollusks to date has mostly been limited to mitochondrial genomes and it is likely that these will continue to provide the best targets for broad phylogenetic sampling in the near future. However, we are just beginning to see an inroad into complete nuclear genome sequencing, with several mollusks and other eutrochozoans having been selected for work about to begin. Here, we provide an overview of the state of molluscan mitochondrial genomics, highlight a few of the discoveries from this research, outline the promise of broadening this dataset, describe upcoming projects to sequence whole mollusk nuclear genomes, and challenge the community to prepare for making the best use of these data.

  19. Probing molecular packing at engineered interfaces in organic field effect transistor and its correlation with charge carrier mobility.

    PubMed

    Maheshwari, Priya; Mukherjee, Saurabh; Bhattacharya, Debarati; Sen, Shashwati; Tokas, Raj Bahadur; Honda, Yoshihide; Basu, Saibal; Padma, Narayanan; Pujari, Pradeep Kumar

    2015-05-20

    Surface engineering of SiO2 dielectric using different self-assembled monolayer (SAM) has been carried out, and its effect on the molecular packing and growth behavior of copper phthalocyanine (CuPc) has been studied. A correlation between the growth behavior and performance of organic field effect transistors is examined. Depth profiling using positron annihilation and X-ray reflectivity techniques has been employed to characterize the interface between CuPc and the modified and/or unmodified dielectric. We observe the presence of structural defects or disorder due to disorientation of CuPc molecules on the unmodified dielectric and ordered arrangement on the modified dielectrics, consistent with the high charge carrier mobility in organic field effect transistors in the latter. The study also highlights the sensitivity of these techniques to the packing of CuPc molecules on SiO2 modified using different SAMs. Our study also signifies the sensitivity and utility of these two techniques in the characterization of buried interfaces in organic devices. PMID:25922969

  20. Ultrahigh-throughput exfoliation of graphite into pristine 'single-layer' graphene using microwaves and molecularly engineered ionic liquids.

    PubMed

    Matsumoto, Michio; Saito, Yusuke; Park, Chiyoung; Fukushima, Takanori; Aida, Takuzo

    2015-09-01

    Graphene has shown much promise as an organic electronic material but, despite recent achievements in the production of few-layer graphene, the quantitative exfoliation of graphite into pristine single-layer graphene has remained one of the main challenges in developing practical devices. Recently, reduced graphene oxide has been recognized as a non-feasible alternative to graphene owing to variable defect types and levels, and attention is turning towards reliable methods for the high-throughput exfoliation of graphite. Here we report that microwave irradiation of graphite suspended in molecularly engineered oligomeric ionic liquids allows for ultrahigh-efficiency exfoliation (93% yield) with a high selectivity (95%) towards 'single-layer' graphene (that is, with thicknesses <1 nm) in a short processing time (30 minutes). The isolated graphene sheets show negligible structural deterioration. They are also readily redispersible in oligomeric ionic liquids up to ~100 mg ml(-1), and form physical gels in which an anisotropic orientation of graphene sheets, once induced by a magnetic field, is maintained.

  1. Enzyme promiscuity: engine of evolutionary innovation.

    PubMed

    Pandya, Chetanya; Farelli, Jeremiah D; Dunaway-Mariano, Debra; Allen, Karen N

    2014-10-31

    Catalytic promiscuity and substrate ambiguity are keys to evolvability, which in turn is pivotal to the successful acquisition of novel biological functions. Action on multiple substrates (substrate ambiguity) can be harnessed for performance of functions in the cell that supersede catalysis of a single metabolite. These functions include proofreading, scavenging of nutrients, removal of antimetabolites, balancing of metabolite pools, and establishing system redundancy. In this review, we present examples of enzymes that perform these cellular roles by leveraging substrate ambiguity and then present the structural features that support both specificity and ambiguity. We focus on the phosphatases of the haloalkanoate dehalogenase superfamily and the thioesterases of the hotdog fold superfamily.

  2. Evolutionary tree reconstruction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cheeseman, Peter; Kanefsky, Bob

    1990-01-01

    It is described how Minimum Description Length (MDL) can be applied to the problem of DNA and protein evolutionary tree reconstruction. If there is a set of mutations that transform a common ancestor into a set of the known sequences, and this description is shorter than the information to encode the known sequences directly, then strong evidence for an evolutionary relationship has been found. A heuristic algorithm is described that searches for the simplest tree (smallest MDL) that finds close to optimal trees on the test data. Various ways of extending the MDL theory to more complex evolutionary relationships are discussed.

  3. Evolutionary biology of language.

    PubMed Central

    Nowak, M A

    2000-01-01

    Language is the most important evolutionary invention of the last few million years. It was an adaptation that helped our species to exchange information, make plans, express new ideas and totally change the appearance of the planet. How human language evolved from animal communication is one of the most challenging questions for evolutionary biology The aim of this paper is to outline the major principles that guided language evolution in terms of mathematical models of evolutionary dynamics and game theory. I will discuss how natural selection can lead to the emergence of arbitrary signs, the formation of words and syntactic communication. PMID:11127907

  4. Evolutionary Genomics of Life in (and from) the Sea

    SciTech Connect

    Boore, Jeffrey L.; Dehal, Paramvir; Fuerstenberg, Susan I.

    2006-01-09

    High throughput genome sequencing centers that were originally built for the Human Genome Project (Lander et al., 2001; Venter et al., 2001) have now become an engine for comparative genomics. The six largest centers alone are now producing over 150 billion nucleotides per year, more than 50 times the amount of DNA in the human genome, and nearly all of this is directed at projects that promise great insights into the pattern and processes of evolution. Unfortunately, this data is being produced at a pace far exceeding the capacity of the scientific community to provide insightful analysis, and few scientists with training and experience in evolutionary biology have played prominent roles to date. One of the consequences is that poor quality analyses are typical; for example, orthology among genes is generally determined by simple measures of sequence similarity, when this has been discredited by molecular evolutionary biologists decades ago. Here we discuss the how genomes are chosen for sequencing and how the scientific community can have input. We describe the PhIGs database and web tools (Dehal and Boore 2005a; http://PhIGs.org), which provide phylogenetic analysis of all gene families for all completely sequenced genomes and the associated 'Synteny Viewer', which allows comparisons of the relative positions of orthologous genes. This is the best tool available for inferring gene function across multiple genomes. We also describe how we have used the PhIGs methods with the whole genome sequences of a tunicate, fish, mouse, and human to conclusively demonstrate that two rounds of whole genome duplication occurred at the base of vertebrates (Dehal and Boore 2005b). This evidence is found in the large scale structure of the positions of paralogous genes that arose from duplications inferred by evolutionary analysis to have occurred at the base of vertebrates.

  5. Ancient hyaenas highlight the old problem of estimating evolutionary rates.

    PubMed

    Shapiro, Beth; Ho, Simon Y W

    2014-02-01

    Phylogenetic analyses of ancient DNA data can provide a timeline for evolutionary change even in the absence of fossils. The power to infer the evolutionary rate is, however, highly dependent on the number and age of samples, the information content of the sequence data and the demographic history of the sampled population. In this issue of Molecular Ecology, Sheng et al. (2014) analysed mitochondrial DNA sequences isolated from a combination of ancient and present-day hyaenas, including three Pleistocene samples from China. Using an evolutionary rate inferred from the ages of the ancient sequences, they recalibrated the timing of hyaena diversification and suggest a much more recent evolutionary history than was believed previously. Their results highlight the importance of accurately estimating the evolutionary rate when inferring timescales of geographical and evolutionary diversification. PMID:24450980

  6. Ancient hyaenas highlight the old problem of estimating evolutionary rates.

    PubMed

    Shapiro, Beth; Ho, Simon Y W

    2014-02-01

    Phylogenetic analyses of ancient DNA data can provide a timeline for evolutionary change even in the absence of fossils. The power to infer the evolutionary rate is, however, highly dependent on the number and age of samples, the information content of the sequence data and the demographic history of the sampled population. In this issue of Molecular Ecology, Sheng et al. (2014) analysed mitochondrial DNA sequences isolated from a combination of ancient and present-day hyaenas, including three Pleistocene samples from China. Using an evolutionary rate inferred from the ages of the ancient sequences, they recalibrated the timing of hyaena diversification and suggest a much more recent evolutionary history than was believed previously. Their results highlight the importance of accurately estimating the evolutionary rate when inferring timescales of geographical and evolutionary diversification.

  7. Evolutionary genetics of insect innate immunity

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    Patterns of evolution in immune defense genes help to understand the evolutionary dynamics between hosts and pathogens. Multiple insect genomes have been sequenced, with many of them having annotated immune genes, which paves the way for a comparative genomic analysis of insect immunity. In this review, I summarize the current state of comparative and evolutionary genomics of insect innate immune defense. The focus is on the conserved and divergent components of immunity with an emphasis on gene family evolution and evolution at the sequence level; both population genetics and molecular evolution frameworks are considered. PMID:25750410

  8. Genomes, Phylogeny, and Evolutionary Systems Biology

    SciTech Connect

    Medina, Monica

    2005-03-25

    With the completion of the human genome and the growing number of diverse genomes being sequenced, a new age of evolutionary research is currently taking shape. The myriad of technological breakthroughs in biology that are leading to the unification of broad scientific fields such as molecular biology, biochemistry, physics, mathematics and computer science are now known as systems biology. Here I present an overview, with an emphasis on eukaryotes, of how the postgenomics era is adopting comparative approaches that go beyond comparisons among model organisms to shape the nascent field of evolutionary systems biology.

  9. Evolutionary Mechanisms for Loneliness

    PubMed Central

    Cacioppo, John T.; Cacioppo, Stephanie; Boomsma, Dorret I.

    2013-01-01

    Robert Weiss (1973) conceptualized loneliness as perceived social isolation, which he described as a gnawing, chronic disease without redeeming features. On the scale of everyday life, it is understandable how something as personally aversive as loneliness could be regarded as a blight on human existence. However, evolutionary time and evolutionary forces operate at such a different scale of organization than we experience in everyday life that personal experience is not sufficient to understand the role of loneliness in human existence. Research over the past decade suggests a very different view of loneliness than suggested by personal experience, one in which loneliness serves a variety of adaptive functions in specific habitats. We review evidence on the heritability of loneliness and outline an evolutionary theory of loneliness, with an emphasis on its potential adaptive value in an evolutionary timescale. PMID:24067110

  10. Evolutionary behavioral genetics

    PubMed Central

    Zietsch, Brendan P.; de Candia, Teresa R; Keller, Matthew C.

    2014-01-01

    We describe the scientific enterprise at the intersection of evolutionary psychology and behavioral genetics—a field that could be termed Evolutionary Behavioral Genetics—and how modern genetic data is revolutionizing our ability to test questions in this field. We first explain how genetically informative data and designs can be used to investigate questions about the evolution of human behavior, and describe some of the findings arising from these approaches. Second, we explain how evolutionary theory can be applied to the investigation of behavioral genetic variation. We give examples of how new data and methods provide insight into the genetic architecture of behavioral variation and what this tells us about the evolutionary processes that acted on the underlying causal genetic variants. PMID:25587556

  11. Rethinking evolutionary individuality

    PubMed Central

    Ereshefsky, Marc; Pedroso, Makmiller

    2015-01-01

    This paper considers whether multispecies biofilms are evolutionary individuals. Numerous multispecies biofilms have characteristics associated with individuality, such as internal integrity, division of labor, coordination among parts, and heritable adaptive traits. However, such multispecies biofilms often fail standard reproductive criteria for individuality: they lack reproductive bottlenecks, are comprised of multiple species, do not form unified reproductive lineages, and fail to have a significant division of reproductive labor among their parts. If such biofilms are good candidates for evolutionary individuals, then evolutionary individuality is achieved through other means than frequently cited reproductive processes. The case of multispecies biofilms suggests that standard reproductive requirements placed on individuality should be reconsidered. More generally, the case of multispecies biofilms indicates that accounts of individuality that focus on single-species eukaryotes are too restrictive and that a pluralistic and open-ended account of evolutionary individuality is needed. PMID:26039982

  12. The major evolutionary transitions.

    PubMed

    Szathmáry, E; Smith, J M

    1995-03-16

    There is no theoretical reason to expect evolutionary lineages to increase in complexity with time, and no empirical evidence that they do so. Nevertheless, eukaryotic cells are more complex than prokaryotic ones, animals and plants are more complex than protists, and so on. This increase in complexity may have been achieved as a result of a series of major evolutionary transitions. These involved changes in the way information is stored and transmitted.

  13. Evolutionary software for autonomous path planning

    SciTech Connect

    Couture, S; Hage, M

    1999-02-10

    This research project demonstrated the effectiveness of using evolutionary software techniques in the development of path-planning algorithms and control programs for mobile vehicles in radioactive environments. The goal was to take maximum advantage of the programmer's intelligence by tasking the programmer with encoding the measures of success for a path-planning algorithm, rather than developing the path-planning algorithms themselves. Evolutionary software development techniques could then be used to develop algorithms most suitable to the particular environments of interest. The measures of path-planning success were encoded in the form of a fitness function for an evolutionary software development engine. The task for the evolutionary software development engine was to evaluate the performance of individual algorithms, select the best performers for the population based on the fitness function, and breed them to evolve the next generation of algorithms. The process continued for a set number of generations or until the algorithm converged to an optimal solution. The task environment was the navigation of a rover from an initial location to a goal, then to a processing point, in an environment containing physical and radioactive obstacles. Genetic algorithms were developed for a variety of environmental configurations. Algorithms were simple and non-robust strings of behaviors, but they could be evolved to be nearly optimal for a given environment. In addition, a genetic program was evolved in the form of a control algorithm that operates at every motion of the robot. Programs were more complex than algorithms and less optimal in a given environment. However, after training in a variety of different environments, they were more robust and could perform acceptably in environments they were not trained in. This paper describes the evolutionary software development engine and the performance of algorithms and programs evolved by it for the chosen task.

  14. Transposable elements as a molecular evolutionary force

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fedoroff, N. V.

    1999-01-01

    This essay addresses the paradoxes of the complex and highly redundant genomes. The central theses developed are that: (1) the distinctive feature of complex genomes is the existence of epigenetic mechanisms that permit extremely high levels of both tandem and dispersed redundancy; (2) the special contribution of transposable elements is to modularize the genome; and (3) the labilizing forces of recombination and transposition are just barely contained, giving a dynamic genetic system of ever increasing complexity that verges on the chaotic.

  15. Evolutionary-thinking in agricultural weed management.

    PubMed

    Neve, Paul; Vila-Aiub, Martin; Roux, Fabrice

    2009-12-01

    Agricultural weeds evolve in response to crop cultivation. Nevertheless, the central importance of evolutionary ecology for understanding weed invasion, persistence and management in agroecosystems is not widely acknowledged. This paper calls for more evolutionarily-enlightened weed management, in which management principles are informed by evolutionary biology to prevent or minimize weed adaptation and spread. As a first step, a greater knowledge of the extent, structure and significance of genetic variation within and between weed populations is required to fully assess the potential for weed adaptation. The evolution of resistance to herbicides is a classic example of weed adaptation. Even here, most research focuses on describing the physiological and molecular basis of resistance, rather than conducting studies to better understand the evolutionary dynamics of selection for resistance. We suggest approaches to increase the application of evolutionary-thinking to herbicide resistance research. Weed population dynamics models are increasingly important tools in weed management, yet these models often ignore intrapopulation and interpopulation variability, neglecting the potential for weed adaptation in response to management. Future agricultural weed management can benefit from greater integration of ecological and evolutionary principles to predict the long-term responses of weed populations to changing weed management, agricultural environments and global climate.

  16. Evolutionary dynamics on random structures

    SciTech Connect

    Fraser, S.M.; Reidys, C.M. |

    1997-04-01

    In this paper the authors consider the evolutionary dynamics of populations of sequences, under a process of selection at the phenotypic level of structures. They use a simple graph-theoretic representation of structures which captures well the properties of the mapping between RNA sequences and their molecular structure. Each sequence is assigned to a structure by means of a sequence-to-structure mapping. The authors make the basic assumption that every fitness landscape can be factorized through the structures. The set of all sequences that map into a particular random structure can then be modeled as a random graph in sequence space, the so-called neutral network. They analyze in detail how an evolving population searches for new structures, in particular how they switch from one neutral network to another. They verify that transitions occur directly between neutral networks, and study the effects of different population sizes and the influence of the relatedness of the structures on these transitions. In fitness landscapes where several structures exhibit high fitness, the authors then study evolutionary paths on the structural level taken by the population during its search. They present a new way of expressing structural similarities which are shown to have relevant implications for the time evolution of the population.

  17. DED: Database of Evolutionary Distances.

    PubMed

    Veeramachaneni, Vamsi; Makalowski, Wojciech

    2005-01-01

    A large database of homologous sequence alignments with good estimates of evolutionary distances can be a valuable resource for molecular evolutionary studies and phylogenetic research in particular. We recently created a database containing 159,921 transcripts from human, mouse, rat, zebrafish and fugu species. Approximately 1,000 homology groups were identified with the help of Ensembl homology evidence. At the macro-level, the database allows us to answer queries of the form: 1. What is the average k-distance between 5' untranslated regions of human and mouse? 2. List the 10 groups with the highest K(a)/K(s) ratio between mouse and rat. 3. List all identical proteins between human and rat. Researchers interested in specific proteins can use a simple web interface to retrieve the homology groups of interest, examine all pairwise distances between members of the group and study the conservation of exon-intron gene structures using a graphical interface. The database is available at http://warta.bio.psu.edu/DED/.

  18. Applying evolutionary anthropology.

    PubMed

    Gibson, Mhairi A; Lawson, David W

    2015-01-01

    Evolutionary anthropology provides a powerful theoretical framework for understanding how both current environments and legacies of past selection shape human behavioral diversity. This integrative and pluralistic field, combining ethnographic, demographic, and sociological methods, has provided new insights into the ultimate forces and proximate pathways that guide human adaptation and variation. Here, we present the argument that evolutionary anthropological studies of human behavior also hold great, largely untapped, potential to guide the design, implementation, and evaluation of social and public health policy. Focusing on the key anthropological themes of reproduction, production, and distribution we highlight classic and recent research demonstrating the value of an evolutionary perspective to improving human well-being. The challenge now comes in transforming relevance into action and, for that, evolutionary behavioral anthropologists will need to forge deeper connections with other applied social scientists and policy-makers. We are hopeful that these developments are underway and that, with the current tide of enthusiasm for evidence-based approaches to policy, evolutionary anthropology is well positioned to make a strong contribution.

  19. Paleoanthropology and evolutionary theory.

    PubMed

    Tattersall, Ian

    2012-01-01

    Paleoanthropologists of the first half of the twentieth century were little concerned either with evolutionary theory or with the technicalities and broader implications of zoological nomenclature. In consequence, the paleoanthropological literature of the period consisted largely of a series of descriptions accompanied by authoritative pronouncements, together with a huge excess of hominid genera and species. Given the intellectual flimsiness of the resulting paleoanthropological framework, it is hardly surprising that in 1950 the ornithologist Ernst Mayr met little resistance when he urged the new postwar generation of paleoanthropologists to accept not only the elegant reductionism of the Evolutionary Synthesis but a vast oversimplification of hominid phylogenetic history and nomenclature. Indeed, the impact of Mayr's onslaught was so great that even when developments in evolutionary biology during the last quarter of the century brought other paleontologists to the realization that much more has been involved in evolutionary histories than the simple action of natural selection within gradually transforming lineages, paleoanthropologists proved highly reluctant to follow. Even today, paleoanthropologists are struggling to reconcile an intuitive realization that the burgeoning hominid fossil record harbors a substantial diversity of species (bringing hominid evolutionary patterns into line with that of other successful mammalian families), with the desire to cram a huge variety of morphologies into an unrealistically minimalist systematic framework. As long as this theoretical ambivalence persists, our perception of events in hominid phylogeny will continue to be distorted.

  20. Applying Evolutionary Anthropology

    PubMed Central

    Gibson, Mhairi A; Lawson, David W

    2015-01-01

    Evolutionary anthropology provides a powerful theoretical framework for understanding how both current environments and legacies of past selection shape human behavioral diversity. This integrative and pluralistic field, combining ethnographic, demographic, and sociological methods, has provided new insights into the ultimate forces and proximate pathways that guide human adaptation and variation. Here, we present the argument that evolutionary anthropological studies of human behavior also hold great, largely untapped, potential to guide the design, implementation, and evaluation of social and public health policy. Focusing on the key anthropological themes of reproduction, production, and distribution we highlight classic and recent research demonstrating the value of an evolutionary perspective to improving human well-being. The challenge now comes in transforming relevance into action and, for that, evolutionary behavioral anthropologists will need to forge deeper connections with other applied social scientists and policy-makers. We are hopeful that these developments are underway and that, with the current tide of enthusiasm for evidence-based approaches to policy, evolutionary anthropology is well positioned to make a strong contribution. PMID:25684561

  1. Genomic clocks and evolutionary timescales

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Blair Hedges, S.; Kumar, Sudhir

    2003-01-01

    For decades, molecular clocks have helped to illuminate the evolutionary timescale of life, but now genomic data pose a challenge for time estimation methods. It is unclear how to integrate data from many genes, each potentially evolving under a different model of substitution and at a different rate. Current methods can be grouped by the way the data are handled (genes considered separately or combined into a 'supergene') and the way gene-specific rate models are applied (global versus local clock). There are advantages and disadvantages to each of these approaches, and the optimal method has not yet emerged. Fortunately, time estimates inferred using many genes or proteins have greater precision and appear to be robust to different approaches.

  2. Ecological and evolutionary traps

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Schlaepfer, Martin A.; Runge, M.C.; Sherman, P.W.

    2002-01-01

    Organisms often rely on environmental cues to make behavioral and life-history decisions. However, in environments that have been altered suddenly by humans, formerly reliable cues might no longer be associated with adaptive outcomes. In such cases, organisms can become 'trapped' by their evolutionary responses to the cues and experience reduced survival or reproduction. Ecological traps occur when organisms make poor habitat choices based on cues that correlated formerly with habitat quality. Ecological traps are part of a broader phenomenon, evolutionary traps, involving a dissociation between cues that organisms use to make any behavioral or life-history decision and outcomes normally associated with that decision. A trap can lead to extinction if a population falls below a critical size threshold before adaptation to the novel environment occurs. Conservation and management protocols must be designed in light of, rather than in spite of, the behavioral mechanisms and evolutionary history of populations and species to avoid 'trapping' them.

  3. Evolutionary Debunking Arguments

    PubMed Central

    Kahane, Guy

    2011-01-01

    Evolutionary debunking arguments (EDAs) are arguments that appeal to the evolutionary origins of evaluative beliefs to undermine their justification. This paper aims to clarify the premises and presuppositions of EDAs—a form of argument that is increasingly put to use in normative ethics. I argue that such arguments face serious obstacles. It is often overlooked, for example, that they presuppose the truth of metaethical objectivism. More importantly, even if objectivism is assumed, the use of EDAs in normative ethics is incompatible with a parallel and more sweeping global evolutionary debunking argument that has been discussed in recent metaethics. After examining several ways of responding to this global debunking argument, I end by arguing that even if we could resist it, this would still not rehabilitate the current targeted use of EDAs in normative ethics given that, if EDAs work at all, they will in any case lead to a truly radical revision of our evaluative outlook. PMID:21949447

  4. Human nutrition: evolutionary perspectives.

    PubMed

    Barnicot, N A

    2005-01-01

    In recent decades, much new evidence relating to the ape forerunners of modern humans has come to hand and diet appears to be an important factor. At some stage, there must have been a transition from a largely vegetarian ape diet to a modern human hunting economy providing significant amounts of meat. On an even longer evolutionary time scale the change was more complex. The mechanisms of evolutionary change are now better understood than they were in Darwin's time, thanks largely to great advances in genetics, both experimental and theoretical. It is virtually certain that diet, as a major component of the human environment, must have exerted evolutionary effects, but researchers still have little good evidence. PMID:17393680

  5. Applying Evolutionary Genetics to Schistosome Epidemiology

    PubMed Central

    Steinauer, Michelle L.; Blouin, Michael S.; Criscione, Charles D.

    2010-01-01

    We review how molecular markers and evolutionary analysis have been applied to the study of schistosome parasites, important pathogens that infect over 200 million people worldwide. Topics reviewed include phylogenetics and biogeography, hybridization, infection within snails, mating systems, and genetic structure. Some interesting generalizations include that schistosome species hybridize frequently and have switched definitive hosts repeatedly in evolutionary time. We show that molecular markers can be used to infer epidemiologically-relevant processes such as spatial variation in transmission, or to reveal complex patterns of mate choice. Analysis of genetic structure data shows that transmission foci can be structured by watershed boundaries, habitat types, and host species. We also discuss sampling and analytical problems that arise when using larvae to estimate genetic parameters of adult schistosome populations. Finally, we review pitfalls in methodologies such as genotyping very small individuals, statistical methods for identifying clonemates or for identifying sibling groups, and estimating allele frequencies from pooled egg samples. PMID:20176142

  6. Investigating human evolutionary history

    PubMed Central

    WOOD, BERNARD

    2000-01-01

    We rely on fossils for the interpretation of more than 95% of our evolutionary history. Fieldwork resulting in the recovery of fresh fossil evidence is an important component of reconstructing human evolutionary history, but advances can also be made by extracting additional evidence for the existing fossil record, and by improving the methods used to interpret the fossil evidence. This review shows how information from imaging and dental microstructure has contributed to improving our understanding of the hominin fossil record. It also surveys recent advances in the use of the fossil record for phylogenetic inference. PMID:10999269

  7. The fastest evolutionary trajectory

    PubMed Central

    Traulsen, Arne; Iwasa, Yoh; Nowak, Martin A.

    2008-01-01

    Given two mutants, A and B, separated by n mutational steps, what is the evolutionary trajectory which allows a homogeneous population of A to reach B in the shortest time? We show that the optimum evolutionary trajectory (fitness landscape) has the property that the relative fitness increase between any two consecutive steps is constant. Hence, the optimum fitness landscape between A and B is given by an exponential function. Our result is precise for small mutation rates and excluding back mutations. We discuss deviations for large mutation rates and including back mutations. For very large mutation rates, the optimum fitness landscape is flat and has a single peak at type B. PMID:17900629

  8. Hybridization facilitates evolutionary rescue

    PubMed Central

    Stelkens, Rike B; Brockhurst, Michael A; Hurst, Gregory D D; Greig, Duncan

    2014-01-01

    The resilience of populations to rapid environmental degradation is a major concern for biodiversity conservation. When environments deteriorate to lethal levels, species must evolve to adapt to the new conditions to avoid extinction. Here, we test the hypothesis that evolutionary rescue may be enabled by hybridization, because hybridization increases genetic variability. Using experimental evolution, we show that interspecific hybrid populations of Saccharomyces yeast adapt to grow in more highly degraded environments than intraspecific and parental crosses, resulting in survival rates far exceeding those of their ancestors. We conclude that hybridization can increase evolutionary responsiveness and that taxa able to exchange genes with distant relatives may better survive rapid environmental change. PMID:25558281

  9. Molecular Engineering of Fungal GH5 and GH26 Beta-(1,4)-Mannanases toward Improvement of Enzyme Activity

    PubMed Central

    Couturier, Marie; Féliu, Julia; Bozonnet, Sophie; Roussel, Alain; Berrin, Jean-Guy

    2013-01-01

    Microbial mannanases are biotechnologically important enzymes since they target the hydrolysis of hemicellulosic polysaccharides of softwood biomass into simple molecules like manno-oligosaccharides and mannose. In this study, we have implemented a strategy of molecular engineering in the yeast Yarrowia lipolytica to improve the specific activity of two fungal endo-mannanases, PaMan5A and PaMan26A, which belong to the glycoside hydrolase (GH) families GH5 and GH26, respectively. Following random mutagenesis and two steps of high-throughput enzymatic screening, we identified several PaMan5A and PaMan26A mutants that displayed improved kinetic constants for the hydrolysis of galactomannan. Examination of the three-dimensional structures of PaMan5A and PaMan26A revealed which of the mutated residues are potentially important for enzyme function. Among them, the PaMan5A-G311S single mutant, which displayed an impressive 8.2-fold increase in kcat/KM due to a significant decrease of KM, is located within the core of the enzyme. The PaMan5A-K139R/Y223H double mutant revealed modification of hydrolysis products probably in relation to an amino-acid substitution located nearby one of the positive subsites. The PaMan26A-P140L/D416G double mutant yielded a 30% increase in kcat/KM compared to the parental enzyme. It displayed a mutation in the linker region (P140L) that may confer more flexibility to the linker and another mutation (D416G) located at the entrance of the catalytic cleft that may promote the entrance of the substrate into the active site. Taken together, these results show that the directed evolution strategy implemented in this study was very pertinent since a straightforward round of random mutagenesis yielded significantly improved variants, in terms of catalytic efiiciency (kcat/KM). PMID:24278180

  10. A framework for evolutionary systems biology

    PubMed Central

    Loewe, Laurence

    2009-01-01

    Background Many difficult problems in evolutionary genomics are related to mutations that have weak effects on fitness, as the consequences of mutations with large effects are often simple to predict. Current systems biology has accumulated much data on mutations with large effects and can predict the properties of knockout mutants in some systems. However experimental methods are too insensitive to observe small effects. Results Here I propose a novel framework that brings together evolutionary theory and current systems biology approaches in order to quantify small effects of mutations and their epistatic interactions in silico. Central to this approach is the definition of fitness correlates that can be computed in some current systems biology models employing the rigorous algorithms that are at the core of much work in computational systems biology. The framework exploits synergies between the realism of such models and the need to understand real systems in evolutionary theory. This framework can address many longstanding topics in evolutionary biology by defining various 'levels' of the adaptive landscape. Addressed topics include the distribution of mutational effects on fitness, as well as the nature of advantageous mutations, epistasis and robustness. Combining corresponding parameter estimates with population genetics models raises the possibility of testing evolutionary hypotheses at a new level of realism. Conclusion EvoSysBio is expected to lead to a more detailed understanding of the fundamental principles of life by combining knowledge about well-known biological systems from several disciplines. This will benefit both evolutionary theory and current systems biology. Understanding robustness by analysing distributions of mutational effects and epistasis is pivotal for drug design, cancer research, responsible genetic engineering in synthetic biology and many other practical applications. PMID:19239699

  11. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology of Arabidopsis

    PubMed Central

    Pigliucci, Massimo

    2002-01-01

    Arabidopsis thaliana is now widely used as a model system in molecular and developmental biology, as well as in physiology and cell biology. However, ecologists and evolutionary biologists have turned their attention to the mouse ear cress only much more recently and almost reluctantly. The reason for this is the perception that A. thaliana is not particularly interesting ecologically and that it represents an oddity from an evolutionary standpoint. While there is some truth in both these attitudes, similar criticisms apply to other model systems such as the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, which has been extensively studied from an organismal perspective. Furthermore, the shortcomings of A. thaliana in terms of its restricted ecological niche are counterbalanced by the wealth of information on the molecular and developmental biology of this species, which makes possible to address evolutionary questions that can rarely be pursued in other species. This chapter reviews the history of the use of A. thaliana in organismal biology and discusses some of the recent work and future perspectives of research on a variety of field including life history evolution, phenotypic plasticity, natural selection and quantitative genetics. I suggest that the future of both molecular and especially organismal biology lies into expanding our knowledge from limited and idiosyncratic model systems to their phylogenetic neighborhood, which is bound to be more varied and biologically interesting. PMID:22303188

  12. Ecology and evolutionary biology of Arabidopsis.

    PubMed

    Pigliucci, Massimo

    2002-01-01

    Arabidopsis thaliana is now widely used as a model system in molecular and developmental biology, as well as in physiology and cell biology. However, ecologists and evolutionary biologists have turned their attention to the mouse ear cress only much more recently and almost reluctantly. The reason for this is the perception that A. thaliana is not particularly interesting ecologically and that it represents an oddity from an evolutionary standpoint. While there is some truth in both these attitudes, similar criticisms apply to other model systems such as the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, which has been extensively studied from an organismal perspective. Furthermore, the shortcomings of A. thaliana in terms of its restricted ecological niche are counterbalanced by the wealth of information on the molecular and developmental biology of this species, which makes possible to address evolutionary questions that can rarely be pursued in other species. This chapter reviews the history of the use of A. thaliana in organismal biology and discusses some of the recent work and future perspectives of research on a variety of field including life history evolution, phenotypic plasticity, natural selection and quantitative genetics. I suggest that the future of both molecular and especially organismal biology lies into expanding our knowledge from limited and idiosyncratic model systems to their phylogenetic neighborhood, which is bound to be more varied and biologically interesting. PMID:22303188

  13. Evolutionary game based control for biological systems with applications in drug delivery.

    PubMed

    Li, Xiaobo; Lenaghan, Scott C; Zhang, Mingjun

    2013-06-01

    Control engineering and analysis of biological systems have become increasingly important for systems and synthetic biology. Unfortunately, no widely accepted control framework is currently available for these systems, especially at the cell and molecular levels. This is partially due to the lack of appropriate mathematical models to describe the unique dynamics of biological systems, and the lack of implementation techniques, such as ultra-fast and ultra-small devices and corresponding control algorithms. This paper proposes a control framework for biological systems subject to dynamics that exhibit adaptive behavior under evolutionary pressures. The control framework was formulated based on evolutionary game based modeling, which integrates both the internal dynamics and the population dynamics. In the proposed control framework, the adaptive behavior was characterized as an internal dynamic, and the external environment was regarded as an external control input. The proposed open-interface control framework can be integrated with additional control algorithms for control of biological systems. To demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed framework, an optimal control strategy was developed and validated for drug delivery using the pathogen Giardia lamblia as a test case. In principle, the proposed control framework can be applied to any biological system exhibiting adaptive behavior under evolutionary pressures.

  14. Using Carbon-14 Isotope Tracing to Investigate Molecular Structure Effects of the Oxygenate Dibutyl Maleate on Soot Emissions from a DI Diesel Engine

    SciTech Connect

    Buchholz, B A; Mueller, C J; Upatnieks, A; Martin, G C; Pitz, W J; Westbrook, C K

    2004-01-07

    The effect of oxygenate molecular structure on soot emissions from a DI diesel engine was examined using carbon-14 ({sup 14}C) isotope tracing. Carbon atoms in three distinct chemical structures within the diesel oxygenate dibutyl maleate (DBM) were labeled with {sup 14}C. The {sup 14}C from the labeled DBM was then detected in engine-out particulate matter (PM), in-cylinder deposits, and CO{sub 2} emissions using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). The results indicate that molecular structure plays an important role in determining whether a specific carbon atom either does or does not form soot. Chemical-kinetic modeling results indicate that structures that produce CO{sub 2} directly from the fuel are less effective at reducing soot than structures that produce CO before producing CO{sub 2}. Because they can follow individual carbon atoms through a real combustion process, {sup 14}C isotope tracing studies help strengthen the connection between actual engine emissions and chemical-kinetic models of combustion and soot formation/oxidation processes.

  15. Origins of evolutionary transitions.

    PubMed

    Clarke, Ellen

    2014-04-01

    An 'evolutionary transition in individuality' or 'major transition' is a transformation in the hierarchical level at which natural selection operates on a population. In this article I give an abstract (i.e. level-neutral and substrate-neutral) articulation of the transition process in order to precisely understand how such processes can happen, especially how they can get started. PMID:24736161

  16. Evolutionary Developmental Psychology.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Geary, David C.; Bjorklund, David F.

    2000-01-01

    Describes evolutionary developmental psychology as the study of the genetic and ecological mechanisms that govern the development of social and cognitive competencies common to all human beings and the epigenetic (gene-environment interactions) processes that adapt these competencies to local conditions. Outlines basic assumptions and domains of…

  17. Evolutionary developmental psychology.

    PubMed

    King, Ashley C; Bjorklund, David F

    2010-02-01

    The field of evolutionary developmental psychology can potentially broaden the horizons of mainstream evolutionary psychology by combining the principles of Darwinian evolution by natural selection with the study of human development, focusing on the epigenetic effects that occur between humans and their environment in a way that attempts to explain how evolved psychological mechanisms become expressed in the phenotypes of adults. An evolutionary developmental perspective includes an appreciation of comparative research and we, among others, argue that contrasting the cognition of humans with that of nonhuman primates can provide a framework with which to understand how human cognitive abilities and intelligence evolved. Furthermore, we argue that several aspects of childhood (e.g., play and immature cognition) serve both as deferred adaptations as well as imparting immediate benefits. Intense selection pressure was surely exerted on childhood over human evolutionary history and, as a result, neglecting to consider the early developmental period of children when studying their later adulthood produces an incomplete picture of the evolved adaptations expressed through human behavior and cognition.

  18. Learning: An Evolutionary Analysis

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Swann, Joanna

    2009-01-01

    This paper draws on the philosophy of Karl Popper to present a descriptive evolutionary epistemology that offers philosophical solutions to the following related problems: "What happens when learning takes place?" and "What happens in human learning?" It provides a detailed analysis of how learning takes place without any direct transfer of…

  19. Evolutionary pattern search algorithms

    SciTech Connect

    Hart, W.E.

    1995-09-19

    This paper defines a class of evolutionary algorithms called evolutionary pattern search algorithms (EPSAs) and analyzes their convergence properties. This class of algorithms is closely related to evolutionary programming, evolutionary strategie and real-coded genetic algorithms. EPSAs are self-adapting systems that modify the step size of the mutation operator in response to the success of previous optimization steps. The rule used to adapt the step size can be used to provide a stationary point convergence theory for EPSAs on any continuous function. This convergence theory is based on an extension of the convergence theory for generalized pattern search methods. An experimental analysis of the performance of EPSAs demonstrates that these algorithms can perform a level of global search that is comparable to that of canonical EAs. We also describe a stopping rule for EPSAs, which reliably terminated near stationary points in our experiments. This is the first stopping rule for any class of EAs that can terminate at a given distance from stationary points.

  20. Evolutionary Theories of Detection

    SciTech Connect

    Fitch, J P

    2005-04-29

    Current, mid-term and long range technologies for detection of pathogens and toxins are briefly described in the context of performance metrics and operational scenarios. Predictive (evolutionary) and speculative (revolutionary) assessments are given with trade-offs identified, where possible, among competing performance goals.

  1. [Schizophrenia and evolutionary psychopathology].

    PubMed

    Kelemen, Oguz; Kéri, Szabolcs

    2007-01-01

    Evolution can shape any characteristic appearing as a phenotype that is genetically rooted and possesses a long history. The stress-diathesis model suggests that psychiatric disorders have some genetic roots, and therefore the theory of evolution may be relevant for psychiatry. Schizophrenia is present in every human culture with approximately the same incidence. The great evolutionary paradox is: how can such illness persist despite fundamental reproductive disadvantages? Since the 1960s, several evolutionary explanations have been raised to explain the origins of schizophrenia. This article reviews all the major evolutionary theories about the possible origins of this disease. On the one hand, some researchers have proposed that schizophrenia is an evolutionary disadvantageous byproduct of human brain evolution (e.g. the evolution of hemispheric specialization, social brain or language skills). On the other hand, others have suggested that a compensatory advantage must exist either in the biological system of patients with schizophrenia (e.g. resistance against infectious diseases), or within the social domain (e.g. greater creativity of the relatives). According to some theories, shamanism and religion demonstrate some similarities to psychosis and provide clues regarding the origins of schizophrenia. At the end of this article we discuss this last theory in detail listing arguments for and against.

  2. Evolutionary Theory under Fire.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lewin, Roger

    1980-01-01

    Summarizes events of a conference on evolutionary biology in Chicago entitled: "Macroevolution." Reviews the theory of modern synthesis, a term used to explain Darwinism in terms of population biology and genetics. Issues presented at the conference are discussed in detail. (CS)

  3. The potential of label-free nonlinear optical molecular microscopy to non-invasively characterize the viability of engineered human tissue constructs

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Leng-Chun; Lloyd, William R.; Kuo, Shiuhyang; Kim, Hyungjin Myra; Marcelo, Cynthia L.; Feinberg, Stephen E.; Mycek, Mary-Ann

    2014-01-01

    Nonlinear optical molecular imaging and quantitative analytic methods were developed to non-invasively assess the viability of tissue-engineered constructs manufactured from primary human cells. Label-free optical measures of local tissue structure and biochemistry characterized morphologic and functional differences between controls and stressed constructs. Rigorous statistical analysis accounted for variability between human patients. Fluorescence intensity-based spatial assessment and metabolic sensing differentiated controls from thermally-stressed and from metabolically-stressed constructs. Fluorescence lifetime-based sensing differentiated controls from thermally-stressed constructs. Unlike traditional histological (found to be generally reliable, but destructive) and biochemical (non-invasive, but found to be unreliable) tissue analyses, label-free optical assessments had the advantages of being both non-invasive and reliable. Thus, such optical measures could serve as reliable manufacturing release criteria for cell-based tissue-engineered constructs prior to human implantation, thereby addressing a critical regulatory need in regenerative medicine. PMID:24854093

  4. Automated Antenna Design with Evolutionary Algorithms

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Linden, Derek; Hornby, Greg; Lohn, Jason; Globus, Al; Krishunkumor, K.

    2006-01-01

    Current methods of designing and optimizing antennas by hand are time and labor intensive, and limit complexity. Evolutionary design techniques can overcome these limitations by searching the design space and automatically finding effective solutions. In recent years, evolutionary algorithms have shown great promise in finding practical solutions in large, poorly understood design spaces. In particular, spacecraft antenna design has proven tractable to evolutionary design techniques. Researchers have been investigating evolutionary antenna design and optimization since the early 1990s, and the field has grown in recent years as computer speed has increased and electromagnetic simulators have improved. Two requirements-compliant antennas, one for ST5 and another for TDRS-C, have been automatically designed by evolutionary algorithms. The ST5 antenna is slated to fly this year, and a TDRS-C phased array element has been fabricated and tested. Such automated evolutionary design is enabled by medium-to-high quality simulators and fast modern computers to evaluate computer-generated designs. Evolutionary algorithms automate cut-and-try engineering, substituting automated search though millions of potential designs for intelligent search by engineers through a much smaller number of designs. For evolutionary design, the engineer chooses the evolutionary technique, parameters and the basic form of the antenna, e.g., single wire for ST5 and crossed-element Yagi for TDRS-C. Evolutionary algorithms then search for optimal configurations in the space defined by the engineer. NASA's Space Technology 5 (ST5) mission will launch three small spacecraft to test innovative concepts and technologies. Advanced evolutionary algorithms were used to automatically design antennas for ST5. The combination of wide beamwidth for a circularly-polarized wave and wide impedance bandwidth made for a challenging antenna design problem. From past experience in designing wire antennas, we chose to

  5. Evolutionary biology of cancer.

    PubMed

    Crespi, Bernard; Summers, Kyle

    2005-10-01

    Cancer is driven by the somatic evolution of cell lineages that have escaped controls on replication and by the population-level evolution of genes that influence cancer risk. We describe here how recent evolutionary ecological studies have elucidated the roles of predation by the immune system and competition among normal and cancerous cells in the somatic evolution of cancer. Recent analyses of the evolution of cancer at the population level show how rapid changes in human environments have augmented cancer risk, how strong selection has frequently led to increased cancer risk as a byproduct, and how anticancer selection has led to tumor-suppression systems, tissue designs that slow somatic evolution, constraints on morphological evolution and even senescence itself. We discuss how applications of the tools of ecology and evolutionary biology are poised to revolutionize our understanding and treatment of this disease.

  6. Evolutionary Determinants of Cancer

    PubMed Central

    Greaves, Mel

    2015-01-01

    ‘Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution’ Th. Dobzhansky, 1973 Our understanding of cancer is being transformed by exploring clonal diversity, drug resistance and causation within an evolutionary framework. The therapeutic resilience of advanced cancer is a consequence of its character as complex, dynamic and adaptive ecosystem engendering robustness, underpinned by genetic diversity and epigenetic plasticity. The risk of mutation-driven escape by self-renewing cells is intrinsic to multicellularity but is countered by multiple restraints facilitating increasing complexity and longevity of species. But our own has disrupted this historical narrative by rapidly escalating intrinsic risk. Evolutionary principles illuminate these challenges and provide new avenues to explore for more effective control. PMID:26193902

  7. Evolutionary game theory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, John Maynard

    1986-10-01

    It is often the case that the best thing for an animal or plant to do depends on what other members of the population are doing. In more technical language, the fitnesses of different phenotypes are frequency-dependent. Evolutionary game theory has been developed to analyse such cases. In this paper I aim to do three things. First, I describe the concepts of evolutionary game theory in the context of a simple game, the Hawk-Dove game, and compare them with the concepts of classical game theory originating with Von Neumann and Morgenstern (1953) [1]. Second, I list some of the applications of the theory. Finally, I suggest how the theory can tell us something about the evolution of learning.

  8. Predicting evolutionary dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Balazsi, Gabor

    We developed an ordinary differential equation-based model to predict the evolutionary dynamics of yeast cells carrying a synthetic gene circuit. The predicted aspects included the speed at which the ancestral genotype disappears from the population; as well as the types of mutant alleles that establish in each environmental condition. We validated these predictions by experimental evolution. The agreement between our predictions and experimental findings suggests that cellular and population fitness landscapes can be useful to predict short-term evolution.

  9. Evolutionary theory of cancer.

    PubMed

    Attolini, Camille Stephan-Otto; Michor, Franziska

    2009-06-01

    As Theodosius Dobzhansky famously noted in 1973, "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution," and cancer is no exception to this rule. Our understanding of cancer initiation, progression, treatment, and resistance has advanced considerably by regarding cancer as the product of evolutionary processes. Here we review the literature of mathematical models of cancer evolution and provide a synthesis and discussion of the field.

  10. Product Mix Selection Using AN Evolutionary Technique

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tsoulos, Ioannis G.; Vasant, Pandian

    2009-08-01

    This paper proposes an evolutionary technique for the solution of a real—life industrial problem and particular for the product mix selection problem. The evolutionary technique is a combination of a genetic algorithm that preserves the feasibility of the trial solutions with penalties and some local optimization method. The goal of this paper has been achieved in finding the best near optimal solution for the profit fitness function respect to vagueness factor and level of satisfaction. The findings of the profit values will be very useful for the decision makers in the industrial engineering sector for the implementation purpose. It's possible to improve the solutions obtained in this study by employing other meta-heuristic methods such as simulated annealing, tabu Search, ant colony optimization, particle swarm optimization and artificial immune systems.

  11. Evolutionary theory and teleology.

    PubMed

    O'Grady, R T

    1984-04-21

    The order within and among living systems can be explained rationally by postulating a process of descent with modification, effected by factors which are extrinsic or intrinsic to the organisms. Because at the time Darwin proposed his theory of evolution there was no concept of intrinsic factors which could evolve, he postulated a process of extrinsic effects--natural selection. Biological order was thus seen as an imposed, rather than an emergent, property. Evolutionary change was seen as being determined by the functional efficiency (adaptedness) of the organism in its environment, rather than by spontaneous changes in intrinsically generated organizing factors. The initial incompleteness of Darwin's explanatory model, and the axiomatization of its postulates in neo-Darwinism, has resulted in a theory of functionalism, rather than structuralism. As such, it introduces an unnecessary teleology which confounds evolutionary studies and reduces the usefulness of the theory. This problem cannot be detected from within the neo-Darwinian paradigm because the different levels of end-directed activity--teleomatic, teleonomic, and teleological--are not recognized. They are, in fact, considered to influence one another. The theory of nonequilibrium evolution avoids these problems by returning to the basic principles of biological order and developing a structuralist explanation of intrinsically generated change. Extrinsic factors may affect the resultant evolutionary pattern, but they are neither necessary nor sufficient for evolution to occur.

  12. Evolutionary mysteries in meiosis.

    PubMed

    Lenormand, Thomas; Engelstädter, Jan; Johnston, Susan E; Wijnker, Erik; Haag, Christoph R

    2016-10-19

    Meiosis is a key event of sexual life cycles in eukaryotes. Its mechanistic details have been uncovered in several model organisms, and most of its essential features have received various and often contradictory evolutionary interpretations. In this perspective, we present an overview of these often 'weird' features. We discuss the origin of meiosis (origin of ploidy reduction and recombination, two-step meiosis), its secondary modifications (in polyploids or asexuals, inverted meiosis), its importance in punctuating life cycles (meiotic arrests, epigenetic resetting, meiotic asymmetry, meiotic fairness) and features associated with recombination (disjunction constraints, heterochiasmy, crossover interference and hotspots). We present the various evolutionary scenarios and selective pressures that have been proposed to account for these features, and we highlight that their evolutionary significance often remains largely mysterious. Resolving these mysteries will likely provide decisive steps towards understanding why sex and recombination are found in the majority of eukaryotes.This article is part of the themed issue 'Weird sex: the underappreciated diversity of sexual reproduction'.

  13. Asymmetric Evolutionary Games

    PubMed Central

    McAvoy, Alex; Hauert, Christoph

    2015-01-01

    Evolutionary game theory is a powerful framework for studying evolution in populations of interacting individuals. A common assumption in evolutionary game theory is that interactions are symmetric, which means that the players are distinguished by only their strategies. In nature, however, the microscopic interactions between players are nearly always asymmetric due to environmental effects, differing baseline characteristics, and other possible sources of heterogeneity. To model these phenomena, we introduce into evolutionary game theory two broad classes of asymmetric interactions: ecological and genotypic. Ecological asymmetry results from variation in the environments of the players, while genotypic asymmetry is a consequence of the players having differing baseline genotypes. We develop a theory of these forms of asymmetry for games in structured populations and use the classical social dilemmas, the Prisoner’s Dilemma and the Snowdrift Game, for illustrations. Interestingly, asymmetric games reveal essential differences between models of genetic evolution based on reproduction and models of cultural evolution based on imitation that are not apparent in symmetric games. PMID:26308326

  14. Evolutionary consequences of autopolyploidy.

    PubMed

    Parisod, Christian; Holderegger, Rolf; Brochmann, Christian

    2010-04-01

    Autopolyploidy is more common in plants than traditionally assumed, but has received little attention compared with allopolyploidy. Hence, the advantages and disadvantages of genome doubling per se compared with genome doubling coupled with hybridizations in allopolyploids remain unclear. Autopolyploids are characterized by genomic redundancy and polysomic inheritance, increasing effective population size. To shed light on the evolutionary consequences of autopolyploidy, we review a broad range of studies focusing on both synthetic and natural autopolyploids encompassing levels of biological organization from genes to evolutionary lineages. The limited evidence currently available suggests that autopolyploids neither experience strong genome restructuring nor wide reorganization of gene expression during the first generations following genome doubling, but that these processes may become more important in the longer term. Biogeographic and ecological surveys point to an association between the formation of autopolyploid lineages and environmental change. We thus hypothesize that polysomic inheritance may provide a short-term evolutionary advantage for autopolyploids compared to diploid relatives when environmental change enforces range shifts. In addition, autopolyploids should possess increased genome flexibility, allowing them to adapt and persist across heterogeneous landscapes in the long run. PMID:20070540

  15. Evolutionary mysteries in meiosis.

    PubMed

    Lenormand, Thomas; Engelstädter, Jan; Johnston, Susan E; Wijnker, Erik; Haag, Christoph R

    2016-10-19

    Meiosis is a key event of sexual life cycles in eukaryotes. Its mechanistic details have been uncovered in several model organisms, and most of its essential features have received various and often contradictory evolutionary interpretations. In this perspective, we present an overview of these often 'weird' features. We discuss the origin of meiosis (origin of ploidy reduction and recombination, two-step meiosis), its secondary modifications (in polyploids or asexuals, inverted meiosis), its importance in punctuating life cycles (meiotic arrests, epigenetic resetting, meiotic asymmetry, meiotic fairness) and features associated with recombination (disjunction constraints, heterochiasmy, crossover interference and hotspots). We present the various evolutionary scenarios and selective pressures that have been proposed to account for these features, and we highlight that their evolutionary significance often remains largely mysterious. Resolving these mysteries will likely provide decisive steps towards understanding why sex and recombination are found in the majority of eukaryotes.This article is part of the themed issue 'Weird sex: the underappreciated diversity of sexual reproduction'. PMID:27619705

  16. The evolutionary conservation of DNA polymerase. alpha

    SciTech Connect

    Miller, M.A.; Korn, D.; Wang, T.S.F. )

    1988-08-25

    The evolutionary conservation of DNA polymerase {alpha} was assessed by immunological and molecular genetic approaches. Four anti-human KB cell DNA polymerase {alpha} monoclonal antibodies were tested for their ability to recognize a phylogenetically broad array of eukaryotic DNA polymerases. While the single non-neutralizing antibody used in this study recognizes higher mammalian (human, simian, canine, and bovine) polymerases only, three neutralizing antibodies exhibit greater, but variable, extents of cross-reactivity among vertebrate species. Genomic Southern hybridization studies with the cDNA of the human DNA polymerase {alpha} catalytic polypeptide identify the existence of many consensus DNA sequences within the DNA polymerase genes of vertebrate, invertebrate, plant and unicellular organisms. These findings illustrate the differential evolutionary conservation of four unique epitopes on DNA sequences, presumably reflective of critical functional domains, in the DNA polymerase genes from a broad diversity of living forms.

  17. Ultrasound Molecular Imaging of the Breast Cancer Neovasculature using Engineered Fibronectin Scaffold Ligands: A Novel Class of Targeted Contrast Ultrasound Agent

    PubMed Central

    Abou-Elkacem, Lotfi; Wilson, Katheryne E.; Johnson, Sadie M.; Chowdhury, Sayan M.; Bachawal, Sunitha; Hackel, Benjamin J.; Tian, Lu; Willmann, Jürgen K.

    2016-01-01

    Molecularly-targeted microbubbles (MBs) are increasingly being recognized as promising contrast agents for oncological molecular imaging with ultrasound. With the detection and validation of new molecular imaging targets, novel binding ligands are needed that bind to molecular imaging targets with high affinity and specificity. In this study we assessed a novel class of potentially clinically translatable MBs using an engineered 10th type III domain of human-fibronectin (MB-FN3VEGFR2) scaffold-ligand to image VEGFR2 on the neovasculature of cancer. The in vitro binding of MB-FN3VEGFR2 to a soluble VEGFR2 was assessed by flow-cytometry (FACS) and binding to VEGFR2-expressing cells was assessed by flow-chamber cell attachment studies under flow shear stress conditions. In vivo binding of MB-FN3VEGFR2 was tested in a transgenic mouse model (FVB/N Tg(MMTV/PyMT634Mul) of breast cancer and control litter mates with normal mammary glands. In vitro FACS and flow-chamber cell attachment studies showed significantly (P<0.01) higher binding to VEGFR2 using MB-FN3VEGFR2 than control agents. In vivo ultrasound molecular imaging (USMI) studies using MB-FN3VEGFR2 demonstrated specific binding to VEGFR2 and was significantly higher (P<0.01) in breast cancer compared to normal breast tissue. Ex vivo immunofluorescence-analysis showed significantly (P<0.01) increased VEGFR2-expression in breast cancer compared to normal mammary tissue. Our results suggest that MBs coupled to FN3-scaffolds can be designed and used for USMI of breast cancer neoangiogenesis. Due to their small size, stability, solubility, the lack of glycosylation and disulfide bonds, FN3-scaffolds can be recombinantly produced with the advantage of generating small, high affinity ligands in a cost efficient way for USMI. PMID:27570547

  18. Ultrasound Molecular Imaging of the Breast Cancer Neovasculature using Engineered Fibronectin Scaffold Ligands: A Novel Class of Targeted Contrast Ultrasound Agent.

    PubMed

    Abou-Elkacem, Lotfi; Wilson, Katheryne E; Johnson, Sadie M; Chowdhury, Sayan M; Bachawal, Sunitha; Hackel, Benjamin J; Tian, Lu; Willmann, Jürgen K

    2016-01-01

    Molecularly-targeted microbubbles (MBs) are increasingly being recognized as promising contrast agents for oncological molecular imaging with ultrasound. With the detection and validation of new molecular imaging targets, novel binding ligands are needed that bind to molecular imaging targets with high affinity and specificity. In this study we assessed a novel class of potentially clinically translatable MBs using an engineered 10(th) type III domain of human-fibronectin (MB-FN3VEGFR2) scaffold-ligand to image VEGFR2 on the neovasculature of cancer. The in vitro binding of MB-FN3VEGFR2 to a soluble VEGFR2 was assessed by flow-cytometry (FACS) and binding to VEGFR2-expressing cells was assessed by flow-chamber cell attachment studies under flow shear stress conditions. In vivo binding of MB-FN3VEGFR2 was tested in a transgenic mouse model (FVB/N Tg(MMTV/PyMT634Mul) of breast cancer and control litter mates with normal mammary glands. In vitro FACS and flow-chamber cell attachment studies showed significantly (P<0.01) higher binding to VEGFR2 using MB-FN3VEGFR2 than control agents. In vivo ultrasound molecular imaging (USMI) studies using MB-FN3VEGFR2 demonstrated specific binding to VEGFR2 and was significantly higher (P<0.01) in breast cancer compared to normal breast tissue. Ex vivo immunofluorescence-analysis showed significantly (P<0.01) increased VEGFR2-expression in breast cancer compared to normal mammary tissue. Our results suggest that MBs coupled to FN3-scaffolds can be designed and used for USMI of breast cancer neoangiogenesis. Due to their small size, stability, solubility, the lack of glycosylation and disulfide bonds, FN3-scaffolds can be recombinantly produced with the advantage of generating small, high affinity ligands in a cost efficient way for USMI. PMID:27570547

  19. Evolutionary Computational Methods for Identifying Emergent Behavior in Autonomous Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Terrile, Richard J.; Guillaume, Alexandre

    2011-01-01

    A technique based on Evolutionary Computational Methods (ECMs) was developed that allows for the automated optimization of complex computationally modeled systems, such as autonomous systems. The primary technology, which enables the ECM to find optimal solutions in complex search spaces, derives from evolutionary algorithms such as the genetic algorithm and differential evolution. These methods are based on biological processes, particularly genetics, and define an iterative process that evolves parameter sets into an optimum. Evolutionary computation is a method that operates on a population of existing computational-based engineering models (or simulators) and competes them using biologically inspired genetic operators on large parallel cluster computers. The result is the ability to automatically find design optimizations and trades, and thereby greatly amplify the role of the system engineer.

  20. A Decade of Molecular Understanding of Withanolide Biosynthesis and In vitro Studies in Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal: Prospects and Perspectives for Pathway Engineering

    PubMed Central

    Dhar, Niha; Razdan, Sumeer; Rana, Satiander; Bhat, Wajid W.; Vishwakarma, Ram; Lattoo, Surrinder K.

    2015-01-01

    Withania somnifera, a multipurpose medicinal plant is a rich reservoir of pharmaceutically active triterpenoids that are steroidal lactones known as withanolides. Though the plant has been well-characterized in terms of phytochemical profiles as well as pharmaceutical activities, limited attempts have been made to decipher the biosynthetic route and identification of key regulatory genes involved in withanolide biosynthesis. This scenario limits biotechnological interventions for enhanced production of bioactive compounds. Nevertheless, recent emergent trends vis-à-vis, the exploration of genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic, metabolomics, and in vitro studies have opened new vistas regarding pathway engineering of withanolide production. During recent years, various strategic pathway genes have been characterized with significant amount of regulatory studies which allude toward development of molecular circuitries for production of key intermediates or end products in heterologous hosts. Another pivotal aspect covering redirection of metabolic flux for channelizing the precursor pool toward enhanced withanolide production has also been attained by deciphering decisive branch point(s) as robust targets for pathway modulation. With these perspectives, the current review provides a detailed overview of various studies undertaken by the authors and collated literature related to molecular and in vitro approaches employed in W. somnifera for understanding various molecular network interactions in entirety. PMID:26640469

  1. Polymer Physics Prize Lecture: Self-assemblies of Giant Molecular Shape Amphiphiles as a New Platform for Engineering Structures with Sub-Nanometer Feature Sizes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cheng, Stephen Z. D.

    2013-03-01

    Utilizing nano-building blocks rather than atoms to construct and engineer new structures is a fresh approach to design and develop functional materials for the purpose of transferring and amplifying microscopic functionality to macroscopic materials' property. As one of the important elements of these nano-building blocks, giant molecular shape amphiphiles (GMSAs) provide a latest platform for generating self-assembled ordered structures at nanometer scale, which are stabilized by collective physical bonds (such as collective hydrogen bonding). In this talk, two topics will be focused on. First, composed of functionalized hydrophilic molecular nanoparticles as the heads with rigid shape and fixed volume, and tethered polymer chains as the tails (such as giant molecular surfactants and lipids and other topologies), these GMSAs of various architectures can self-assemble into highly diversified, thermodynamically stable microstructures at sub-10 nm length scale in the bulk, thin film and solution states. Second, GMSAs could also be constructed solely from nanoparticles interconnected via different numbers of the rigid linkages in specific symmetry, simulating the overall shapes of small molecules but with sizes that are one-order of magnitude larger in length and three-order of magnitude larger in volume. Giant crystal structures can then be obtained from this class of ``giant molecules'' via supramolecular crystallization. These findings are not only scientifically intriguing in understanding the physical principles underlying their self-assembly, but also technologically relevant in industrial applications.

  2. Sociobiology for Social Scientists: A Critical Introduction to E.O. Wilson's Evolutionary Paradigm.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dugger, William M.

    1981-01-01

    Reviews recent works of E.O. Wilson on sociobiology (the evolutionary and comparative study of social animals, including humans). Topics discussed include the nature of sociobiology, explanatory hypotheses in sociobiology, subdisciplines, biological individualism and altruism, costs of social engineering, and evolutionary perspectives. (DB)

  3. Liquid Rocket Engine Testing Overview

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rahman, Shamim

    2005-01-01

    Contents include the following: Objectives and motivation for testing. Technology, Research and Development Test and Evaluation (RDT&E), evolutionary. Representative Liquid Rocket Engine (LRE) test compaigns. Apollo, shuttle, Expandable Launch Vehicles (ELV) propulsion. Overview of test facilities for liquid rocket engines. Boost, upper stage (sea-level and altitude). Statistics (historical) of Liquid Rocket Engine Testing. LOX/LH, LOX/RP, other development. Test project enablers: engineering tools, operations, processes, infrastructure.

  4. On evolutionary systems.

    PubMed

    Alvarez de Lorenzana, J M; Ward, L M

    1987-01-01

    This paper develops a metatheoretical framework for understanding evolutionary systems (systems that develop in ways that increase their own variety). The framework addresses shortcomings seen in other popular systems theories. It concerns both living and nonliving systems, and proposes a metahierarchy of hierarchical systems. Thus, it potentially addresses systems at all descriptive levels. We restrict our definition of system to that of a core system whose parts have a different ontological status than the system, and characterize the core system in terms of five global properties: minimal length interval, minimal time interval, system cycle, total receptive capacity, and system potential. We propose two principles through the interaction of which evolutionary systems develop. The Principle of Combinatorial Expansion describes how a core system realizes its developmental potential through a process of progressive differentiation of the single primal state up to a limit stage. The Principle of Generative Condensation describes how the components of the last stage of combinatorial expansion condense and become the environment for and components of new, enriched systems. The early evolution of the Universe after the "big bang" is discussed in light of these ideas as an example of the application of the framework.

  5. On evolutionary systems.

    PubMed

    Alvarez de Lorenzana, J M; Ward, L M

    1987-01-01

    This paper develops a metatheoretical framework for understanding evolutionary systems (systems that develop in ways that increase their own variety). The framework addresses shortcomings seen in other popular systems theories. It concerns both living and nonliving systems, and proposes a metahierarchy of hierarchical systems. Thus, it potentially addresses systems at all descriptive levels. We restrict our definition of system to that of a core system whose parts have a different ontological status than the system, and characterize the core system in terms of five global properties: minimal length interval, minimal time interval, system cycle, total receptive capacity, and system potential. We propose two principles through the interaction of which evolutionary systems develop. The Principle of Combinatorial Expansion describes how a core system realizes its developmental potential through a process of progressive differentiation of the single primal state up to a limit stage. The Principle of Generative Condensation describes how the components of the last stage of combinatorial expansion condense and become the environment for and components of new, enriched systems. The early evolution of the Universe after the "big bang" is discussed in light of these ideas as an example of the application of the framework. PMID:3689299

  6. Evolutionary models of binaries

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Rensbergen, Walter; Mennekens, Nicki; de Greve, Jean-Pierre; Jansen, Kim; de Loore, Bert

    2011-07-01

    We have put on CDS a catalog containing 561 evolutionary models of binaries: J/A+A/487/1129 (Van Rensbergen+, 2008). The catalog covers a grid of binaries with a B-type primary at birth, different values for the initial mass ratio and a wide range of initial orbital periods. The evolution was calculated with the Brussels code in which we introduced the spinning up and the creation of a hot spot on the gainer or its accretion disk, caused by impacting mass coming from the donor. When the kinetic energy of fast rotation added to the radiative energy of the hot spot exceeds the binding energy, a fraction of the transferred matter leaves the system: the evolution is liberal during a short lasting era of rapid mass transfer. The spin-up of the gainer was modulated using both strong and weak tides. The catalog shows the results for both types. For comparison, we included the evolutionary tracks calculated with the conservative assumption. Binaries with an initial primary below 6 Msolar show hardly any mass loss from the system and thus evolve conservatively. Above this limit differences between liberal and conservative evolution grow with increasing initial mass of the primary star.

  7. Evolutionary status of Polaris

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fadeyev, Yu. A.

    2015-05-01

    Hydrodynamic models of short-period Cepheids were computed to determine the pulsation period as a function of evolutionary time during the first and third crossings of the instability strip. The equations of radiation hydrodynamics and turbulent convection for radial stellar pulsations were solved with the initial conditions obtained from the evolutionary models of Population I stars (X = 0.7, Z = 0.02) with masses from 5.2 to 6.5 M⊙ and the convective core overshooting parameter 0.1 ≤ αov ≤ 0.3. In Cepheids with period of 4 d the rate of pulsation period change during the first crossing of the instability strip is over 50 times larger than that during the third crossing. Polaris is shown to cross the instability strip for the first time and to be the fundamental mode pulsator. The best agreement between the predicted and observed rates of period change was obtained for the model with mass of 5.4 M⊙ and the overshooting parameter αov = 0.25. The bolometric luminosity and radius are L = 1.26 × 103 L⊙ and R = 37.5 R⊙, respectively. In the HR diagram, Polaris is located at the red edge of the instability strip.

  8. Automated Hardware Design via Evolutionary Search

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lohn, Jason D.; Colombano, Silvano P.

    2000-01-01

    The goal of this research is to investigate the application of evolutionary search to the process of automated engineering design. Evolutionary search techniques involve the simulation of Darwinian mechanisms by computer algorithms. In recent years, such techniques have attracted much attention because they are able to tackle a wide variety of difficult problems and frequently produce acceptable solutions. The results obtained are usually functional, often surprising, and typically "messy" because the algorithms are told to concentrate on the overriding objective and not elegance or simplicity. advantages. First, faster design cycles translate into time and, hence, cost savings. Second, automated design techniques can be made to scale well and hence better deal with increasing amounts of design complexity. Third, design quality can increase because design properties can be specified a priori. For example, size and weight specifications of a device, smaller and lighter than the best known design, might be optimized by the automated design technique. The domain of electronic circuit design is an advantageous platform in which to study automated design techniques because it is a rich design space that is well understood, permitting human-created designs to be compared to machine- generated designs. developed for circuit design was to automatically produce high-level integrated electronic circuit designs whose properties permit physical implementation in silicon. This process entailed designing an effective evolutionary algorithm and solving a difficult multiobjective optimization problem. FY 99 saw many accomplishments in this effort.

  9. Molecular dynamics simulations and docking enable to explore the biophysical factors controlling the yields of engineered nanobodies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Soler, Miguel A.; De Marco, Ario; Fortuna, Sara

    2016-10-01

    Nanobodies (VHHs) have proved to be valuable substitutes of conventional antibodies for molecular recognition. Their small size represents a precious advantage for rational mutagenesis based on modelling. Here we address the problem of predicting how Camelidae nanobody sequences can tolerate mutations by developing a simulation protocol based on all-atom molecular dynamics and whole-molecule docking. The method was tested on two sets of nanobodies characterized experimentally for their biophysical features. One set contained point mutations introduced to humanize a wild type sequence, in the second the CDRs were swapped between single-domain frameworks with Camelidae and human hallmarks. The method resulted in accurate scoring approaches to predict experimental yields and enabled to identify the structural modifications induced by mutations. This work is a promising tool for the in silico development of single-domain antibodies and opens the opportunity to customize single functional domains of larger macromolecules.

  10. Fueling the central engine of radio galaxies. III. Molecular gas and star formation efficiency of 3C 293

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Labiano, A.; García-Burillo, S.; Combes, F.; Usero, A.; Soria-Ruiz, R.; Piqueras López, J.; Fuente, A.; Hunt, L.; Neri, R.

    2014-04-01

    Context. Powerful radio galaxies show evidence of ongoing active galactic nuclei (AGN) feedback, mainly in the form of fast, massive outflows. But it is not clear how these outflows affect the star formation of their hosts. Aims: We investigate the different manifestations of AGN feedback in the evolved, powerful radio source 3C 293 and their impact on the molecular gas of its host galaxy, which harbors young star-forming regions and fast outflows of H i and ionized gas. Methods: We study the distribution and kinematics of the molecular gas of 3C 293 using high spatial resolution observations of the 12CO(1-0) and 12CO(2-1) lines, and the 3 mm and 1 continuum taken with the IRAM Plateau de Bure interferometer. We mapped the molecular gas of 3C 293 and compared it with the dust and star-formation images of the host. We searched for signatures of outflow motions in the CO kinematics, and re-examined the evidence of outflowing gas in the H i spectra. We also derived the star formation rate (SFR) and star formation efficiency (SFE) of the host with all available SFR tracers from the literature, and compared them with the SFE of young and evolved radio galaxies and normal star-forming galaxies. Results: The 12CO(1-0) emission line shows that the molecular gas in 3C 293 is distributed along a massive (M(H2) ~ 2.2 × 1010M⊙) ~24″(21 kpc-) diameter warped disk, that rotates around the AGN. Our data show that the dust and the star formation are clearly associated with the CO disk. The 12CO(2-1) emission is located in the inner 7 kpc (diameter) region around the AGN, coincident with the inner part of the 12CO(1-0) disk. Both the 12CO(1-0) and 12CO(2-1) spectra reveal the presence of an absorber against the central regions of 3C 293 that is associated with the disk. We do not detect any fast (≳500 km s-1) outflow motions in the cold molecular gas. The host of 3C 293 shows an SFE consistent with the Kennicutt-Schmidt law of normal galaxies and young radio galaxies, and it

  11. Molecular dynamics simulations and docking enable to explore the biophysical factors controlling the yields of engineered nanobodies

    PubMed Central

    Soler, Miguel A.; de Marco, Ario; Fortuna, Sara

    2016-01-01

    Nanobodies (VHHs) have proved to be valuable substitutes of conventional antibodies for molecular recognition. Their small size represents a precious advantage for rational mutagenesis based on modelling. Here we address the problem of predicting how Camelidae nanobody sequences can tolerate mutations by developing a simulation protocol based on all-atom molecular dynamics and whole-molecule docking. The method was tested on two sets of nanobodies characterized experimentally for their biophysical features. One set contained point mutations introduced to humanize a wild type sequence, in the second the CDRs were swapped between single-domain frameworks with Camelidae and human hallmarks. The method resulted in accurate scoring approaches to predict experimental yields and enabled to identify the structural modifications induced by mutations. This work is a promising tool for the in silico development of single-domain antibodies and opens the opportunity to customize single functional domains of larger macromolecules. PMID:27721441

  12. Molecular strategies to engineer transgenic rice seed compartments for large-scale production of plant-made pharmaceuticals.

    PubMed

    Greenham, Trevor; Altosaar, Illimar

    2013-01-01

    The use of plants as bioreactors for the large-scale production of recombinant proteins has emerged as an exciting area of research. The current shortages in protein therapeutics due to the capacity and economic bottlenecks faced with modern protein production platforms (microbial, yeast, mammalian) has driven considerable attention towards molecular pharming. Utilizing plants for the large-scale production of recombinant proteins is estimated to be 2-10% the cost of microbial platforms, and up to 1,000-fold more cost effective than mammalian platforms (Twyman et al. Trends Biotechnol 21:570-578, 2003; Sharma and Sharma, Biotechnol Adv 27:811-832, 2009). In order to achieve an economically feasible plant production host, protein expression and accumulation must be optimized. The seed, and more specifically the rice seed has emerged as an ideal candidate in molecular pharming due to its low protease activity, low water content, stable protein storage environment, relatively high biomass, and the molecular tools available for manipulation (Lau and Sun, Biotechnol Adv 27:1015-1022, 2009).

  13. Molecular strategies to engineer transgenic rice seed compartments for large-scale production of plant-made pharmaceuticals.

    PubMed

    Greenham, Trevor; Altosaar, Illimar

    2013-01-01

    The use of plants as bioreactors for the large-scale production of recombinant proteins has emerged as an exciting area of research. The current shortages in protein therapeutics due to the capacity and economic bottlenecks faced with modern protein production platforms (microbial, yeast, mammalian) has driven considerable attention towards molecular pharming. Utilizing plants for the large-scale production of recombinant proteins is estimated to be 2-10% the cost of microbial platforms, and up to 1,000-fold more cost effective than mammalian platforms (Twyman et al. Trends Biotechnol 21:570-578, 2003; Sharma and Sharma, Biotechnol Adv 27:811-832, 2009). In order to achieve an economically feasible plant production host, protein expression and accumulation must be optimized. The seed, and more specifically the rice seed has emerged as an ideal candidate in molecular pharming due to its low protease activity, low water content, stable protein storage environment, relatively high biomass, and the molecular tools available for manipulation (Lau and Sun, Biotechnol Adv 27:1015-1022, 2009). PMID:23135861

  14. Molecular dynamics study of chemically engineered green fluorescent protein mutants: comparison of intramolecular fluorescence resonance energy transfer rate.

    PubMed

    Mitchell, Felicity L; Frank, Filipp; Marks, Gabriel E; Suzuki, Miho; Douglas, Kenneth T; Bryce, Richard A

    2009-04-01

    Because of its unusual spectroscopic properties, green fluorescent protein (GFP) has become a useful tool in molecular genetics, biochemistry and cell biology. Here, we computationally characterize the behavior of two GFP constructs, designed as bioprobes for enzymatic triggering using intramolecular fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET). These constructs differ in the location of an intramolecular FRET partner, an attached chemical chromophore (either near an N-terminal or C-terminal site). We apply the temperature replica exchange molecular dynamics method to the two flexible constructs in conjunction with a generalized Born implicit solvent model. The calculated rate of FRET was derived from the interchromophore distance, R, and orientational factor, kappa(2). In agreement with experiment, the construct with the C-terminally attached dye was predicted to have higher energy transfer rate than observed for the N-terminal construct. The molecular basis for this observation is discussed. In addition, we find that the orientational factor, kappa(2), deviates from the commonly assumed value, the implications of which are also considered.

  15. Protein Structure Prediction with Evolutionary Algorithms

    SciTech Connect

    Hart, W.E.; Krasnogor, N.; Pelta, D.A.; Smith, J.

    1999-02-08

    Evolutionary algorithms have been successfully applied to a variety of molecular structure prediction problems. In this paper we reconsider the design of genetic algorithms that have been applied to a simple protein structure prediction problem. Our analysis considers the impact of several algorithmic factors for this problem: the confirmational representation, the energy formulation and the way in which infeasible conformations are penalized, Further we empirically evaluated the impact of these factors on a small set of polymer sequences. Our analysis leads to specific recommendations for both GAs as well as other heuristic methods for solving PSP on the HP model.

  16. Itegrated Test and Evaluation of a 4-Bed Molecular Sieve (4BMS) Carbon Dioxide Removtal System (CDRA), Mechanical Compressor Engineering Development Unit (EDU), and Sabitier Engineering Development Unit (EDU)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Knox, James C.; Campbell, Melissa; Murdoch, Karen; Miller, Lee A.; Jeng, Frank

    2005-01-01

    Currently on the International Space Station s (ISS) U.S. Segment, carbon dioxide (CO2) scrubbed from the cabin by a 4-Bed Molecular Sieve (4BMS) Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA) is vented overboard as a waste product. Likewise, the product hydrogen (H2) that will be generated by the Oxygen Generation Assembly (OGA) planned for installation will also be vented. A flight experiment has been proposed that will take the waste CO2 removed from the cabin, and via the catalytic Sabatier process, reduce it with waste H2 to generate water and methane. The water produced may provide cost and logistics savings for ISS by reducing the amount of water periodically re-supplied to orbit. To make this concept viable, a mechanical piston compressor and accumulator were developed for collecting and storing the CO2 from the CDRA. The compressor, accumulator and Sabatier system would be packaged together as one unit and referred to as the Carbon Dioxide Reduction Assembly (CRA). Testing was required to evaluate the performance of a 4BMS CDRA, compressor, accumulator, and Sabatier performance along with their operating rules when integrated together. This had been numerically modeled and simulated; however, testing was necessary to verify the results from the engineering analyses. Testing also allowed a better understanding of the practical inefficiencies and control issues involved in a fully integrated system versus the theoretical ideals in the model. This paper presents and discusses the results of an integrated engineering development unit test.

  17. Band-gap engineering by molecular mechanical strain-induced giant tuning of the luminescence in colloidal amorphous porous silicon nanostructures.

    PubMed

    Mughal, A; El Demellawi, J K; Chaieb, Sahraoui

    2014-12-14

    Nano-silicon is a nanostructured material in which quantum or spatial confinement is the origin of the material's luminescence. When nano-silicon is broken into colloidal crystalline nanoparticles, its luminescence can be tuned across the visible spectrum only when the sizes of the nanoparticles, which are obtained via painstaking filtration methods that are difficult to scale up because of low yield, vary. Bright and tunable colloidal amorphous porous silicon nanostructures have not yet been reported. In this letter, we report on a 100 nm modulation in the emission of freestanding colloidal amorphous porous silicon nanostructures via band-gap engineering. The mechanism responsible for this tunable modulation, which is independent of the size of the individual particles and their distribution, is the distortion of the molecular orbitals by a strained silicon-silicon bond angle. This mechanism is also responsible for the amorphous-to-crystalline transformation of silicon.

  18. Rerooting the evolutionary tree of malaria parasites.

    PubMed

    Outlaw, Diana C; Ricklefs, Robert E

    2011-08-01

    Malaria parasites (Plasmodium spp.) have plagued humans for millennia. Less well known are related parasites (Haemosporida), with diverse life cycles and dipteran vectors that infect other vertebrates. Understanding the evolution of parasite life histories, including switches between hosts and vectors, depends on knowledge of evolutionary relationships among parasite lineages. In particular, inferences concerning time of origin and trait evolution require correct placement of the root of the evolutionary tree. Phylogenetic reconstructions of the diversification of malaria parasites from DNA sequences have suffered from uncertainty concerning outgroup taxa, limited taxon sampling, and selection on genes used to assess relationships. As a result, inferred relationships among the Haemosporida have been unstable, and questions concerning evolutionary diversification and host switching remain unanswered. A recent phylogeny placed mammalian malaria parasites, as well as avian/reptilian Plasmodium, in a derived position relative to the avian parasite genera Leucocytozoon and Haemoproteus, implying that the ancestral forms lacked merogony in the blood and that their vectors were non-mosquito dipterans. Bayesian, outgroup-free phylogenetic reconstruction using relaxed molecular clocks with uncorrelated rates instead suggested that mammalian and avian/reptilian Plasmodium parasites, spread by mosquito vectors, are ancestral sister taxa, from which a variety of specialized parasite lineages with modified life histories have evolved.

  19. Virulence in malaria: an evolutionary viewpoint.

    PubMed Central

    Mackinnon, Margaret J; Read, Andrew F

    2004-01-01

    Malaria parasites cause much morbidity and mortality to their human hosts. From our evolutionary perspective, this is because virulence is positively associated with parasite transmission rate. Natural selection therefore drives virulence upwards, but only to the point where the cost to transmission caused by host death begins to outweigh the transmission benefits. In this review, we summarize data from the laboratory rodent malaria model, Plasmodium chabaudi, and field data on the human malaria parasite, P. falciparum, in relation to this virulence trade-off hypothesis. The data from both species show strong positive correlations between asexual multiplication, transmission rate, infection length, morbidity and mortality, and therefore support the underlying assumptions of the hypothesis. Moreover, the P. falciparum data show that expected total lifetime transmission of the parasite is maximized in young children in whom the fitness cost of host mortality balances the fitness benefits of higher transmission rates and slower clearance rates, thus exhibiting the hypothesized virulence trade-off. This evolutionary explanation of virulence appears to accord well with the clinical and molecular explanations of pathogenesis that involve cytoadherence, red cell invasion and immune evasion, although direct evidence of the fitness advantages of these mechanisms is scarce. One implication of this evolutionary view of virulence is that parasite populations are expected to evolve new levels of virulence in response to medical interventions such as vaccines and drugs. PMID:15306410

  20. Evolutionary game theory: cells as players.

    PubMed

    Hummert, Sabine; Bohl, Katrin; Basanta, David; Deutsch, Andreas; Werner, Sarah; Theissen, Günter; Schroeter, Anja; Schuster, Stefan

    2014-12-01

    In two papers we review game theory applications in biology below the level of cognitive living beings. It can be seen that evolution and natural selection replace the rationality of the actors appropriately. Even in these micro worlds, competing situations and cooperative relationships can be found and modeled by evolutionary game theory. Also those units of the lowest levels of life show different strategies for different environmental situations or different partners. We give a wide overview of evolutionary game theory applications to microscopic units. In this first review situations on the cellular level are tackled. In particular metabolic problems are discussed, such as ATP-producing pathways, secretion of public goods and cross-feeding. Further topics are cyclic competition among more than two partners, intra- and inter-cellular signalling, the struggle between pathogens and the immune system, and the interactions of cancer cells. Moreover, we introduce the theoretical basics to encourage scientists to investigate problems in cell biology and molecular biology by evolutionary game theory.

  1. Cryptic Genetic Variation in Evolutionary Developmental Genetics

    PubMed Central

    Paaby, Annalise B.; Gibson, Greg

    2016-01-01

    Evolutionary developmental genetics has traditionally been conducted by two groups: Molecular evolutionists who emphasize divergence between species or higher taxa, and quantitative geneticists who study variation within species. Neither approach really comes to grips with the complexities of evolutionary transitions, particularly in light of the realization from genome-wide association studies that most complex traits fit an infinitesimal architecture, being influenced by thousands of loci. This paper discusses robustness, plasticity and lability, phenomena that we argue potentiate major evolutionary changes and provide a bridge between the conceptual treatments of macro- and micro-evolution. We offer cryptic genetic variation and conditional neutrality as mechanisms by which standing genetic variation can lead to developmental system drift and, sheltered within canalized processes, may facilitate developmental transitions and the evolution of novelty. Synthesis of the two dominant perspectives will require recognition that adaptation, divergence, drift and stability all depend on similar underlying quantitative genetic processes—processes that cannot be fully observed in continuously varying visible traits. PMID:27304973

  2. The assistance of molecular vibrations on coherent energy transfer in photosynthesis from the view of quantum heat engine

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Zhedong; Wang, Jin

    2015-05-01

    Recently the quantum nature in the energy transport in solar cell and light-harvesting complexes have attracted much attention, by being triggered by the experimental observations. We model the light-harvesting complex (i.e., PEB50 dimer) as a quantum heat engine and study the effect of the undamped intra-molecule vibrational modes on the coherent energy transfer and quantum transport. Possibly this system can be artificially simulated by atom-cavity setup. We find that the exciton-vibration interaction has non-trivial contribution to the promotion of quantum yield as well as transport properties of the quantum heat engine at steady state, by enhancing the quantum coherence quantified by entanglement entropy. The perfect quantum yield over 90% has been obtained, assisted by exciton-vibration coupling. We attribute these improvements to the renormalization of the electronic couplings effectively induced by exciton-vibration interaction and the subsequent delocalization of excitons. Finally we demonstrate that the thermal relaxation and dephasing can help the excitation energy transfer in PEB50 dimer.

  3. Spore: Spawning Evolutionary Misconceptions?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bean, Thomas E.; Sinatra, Gale M.; Schrader, P. G.

    2010-10-01

    The use of computer simulations as educational tools may afford the means to develop understanding of evolution as a natural, emergent, and decentralized process. However, special consideration of developmental constraints on learning may be necessary when using these technologies. Specifically, the essentialist (biological forms possess an immutable essence), teleological (assignment of purpose to living things and/or parts of living things that may not be purposeful), and intentionality (assumption that events are caused by an intelligent agent) biases may be reinforced through the use of computer simulations, rather than addressed with instruction. We examine the video game Spore for its depiction of evolutionary content and its potential to reinforce these cognitive biases. In particular, we discuss three pedagogical strategies to mitigate weaknesses of Spore and other computer simulations: directly targeting misconceptions through refutational approaches, targeting specific principles of scientific inquiry, and directly addressing issues related to models as cognitive tools.

  4. ABB Combustion Engineering`s nuclear experience and technologies

    SciTech Connect

    Matzie, R.A.

    1994-12-31

    ABB Combustion Engineering`s nuclear experience and technologies are outlined. The following topics are discussed: evolutionary approach using proven technology, substantial improvement to plant safety, utility perspective up front in developing design, integrated design, competitive plant cost, operability and maintainability, standardization, and completion of US NRC technical review.

  5. Child Development and Evolutionary Psychology.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bjorklund, David F.; Pellegrini, Anthony D.

    2000-01-01

    Argues that an evolutionary account provides insight into developmental function and individual differences. Outlines some assumptions of evolutionary psychology related to development. Introduces the developmental systems approach, differential influence of natural selection at different points in ontogeny, and development of evolved…

  6. Observability in dynamic evolutionary models.

    PubMed

    López, I; Gámez, M; Carreño, R

    2004-02-01

    In the paper observability problems are considered in basic dynamic evolutionary models for sexual and asexual populations. Observability means that from the (partial) knowledge of certain phenotypic characteristics the whole evolutionary process can be uniquely recovered. Sufficient conditions are given to guarantee observability for both sexual and asexual populations near an evolutionarily stable state.

  7. The great opportunity: Evolutionary applications to medicine and public health

    PubMed Central

    Nesse, Randolph M; Stearns, Stephen C

    2008-01-01

    Abstract Evolutionary biology is an essential basic science for medicine, but few doctors and medical researchers are familiar with its most relevant principles. Most medical schools have geneticists who understand evolution, but few have even one evolutionary biologist to suggest other possible applications. The canyon between evolutionary biology and medicine is wide. The question is whether they offer each other enough to make bridge building worthwhile. What benefits could be expected if evolution were brought fully to bear on the problems of medicine? How would studying medical problems advance evolutionary research? Do doctors need to learn evolution, or is it valuable mainly for researchers? What practical steps will promote the application of evolutionary biology in the areas of medicine where it offers the most? To address these questions, we review current and potential applications of evolutionary biology to medicine and public health. Some evolutionary technologies, such as population genetics, serial transfer production of live vaccines, and phylogenetic analysis, have been widely applied. Other areas, such as infectious disease and aging research, illustrate the dramatic recent progress made possible by evolutionary insights. In still other areas, such as epidemiology, psychiatry, and understanding the regulation of bodily defenses, applying evolutionary principles remains an open opportunity. In addition to the utility of specific applications, an evolutionary perspective fundamentally challenges the prevalent but fundamentally incorrect metaphor of the body as a machine designed by an engineer. Bodies are vulnerable to disease – and remarkably resilient – precisely because they are not machines built from a plan. They are, instead, bundles of compromises shaped by natural selection in small increments to maximize reproduction, not health. Understanding the body as a product of natural selection, not design, offers new research questions and a

  8. Fluorescent thermometers for dual-emission-wavelength measurements: molecular engineering and application to thermal imaging in a microsystem.

    PubMed

    Barilero, T; Le Saux, T; Gosse, C; Jullien, L

    2009-10-01

    To facilitate thermal imaging, particularly in microdevices, one has to favor molecular thermometers in which the response is independent of the probe concentration and of the observation setup imperfections. Hence, this paper introduces two temperature fluorescent probes for ratiometric dual-emission-wavelength measurements in aqueous solutions. They are based on a nonathermal chemical reaction, either a conformational transition or a protonation, that induces a modification of their emission spectra as the temperature changes. Relying on both a straightforward theoretical analysis and thorough photophysical, thermodynamic, and kinetic investigations, we demonstrate how the flexible design of these two thermometers can be optimized to face applications with various requirements in terms of operating temperature and wavelength ranges as well as temporal resolution. For instance, the present molecules, which can be used between 5 and 35 degrees C, provide a relative sensitivity up to approximately 9 x 10(-2) K(-1) and milli- to microsecond response times. Finally, we utilize a two-color molecular beacon, a probe belonging to the first series of thermometers, to image temperature profiles in a microfluidic cell heated by a resistive strip. The ratiometric analysis of the fluorescence emission at two different wavelengths is performed on a widely available dual-view microscope, illustrating both the simplicity and reliability of the thermal mapping protocol.

  9. How competition affects evolutionary rescue

    PubMed Central

    Osmond, Matthew Miles; de Mazancourt, Claire

    2013-01-01

    Populations facing novel environments can persist by adapting. In nature, the ability to adapt and persist will depend on interactions between coexisting individuals. Here we use an adaptive dynamic model to assess how the potential for evolutionary rescue is affected by intra- and interspecific competition. Intraspecific competition (negative density-dependence) lowers abundance, which decreases the supply rate of beneficial mutations, hindering evolutionary rescue. On the other hand, interspecific competition can aid evolutionary rescue when it speeds adaptation by increasing the strength of selection. Our results clarify this point and give an additional requirement: competition must increase selection pressure enough to overcome the negative effect of reduced abundance. We therefore expect evolutionary rescue to be most likely in communities which facilitate rapid niche displacement. Our model, which aligns to previous quantitative and population genetic models in the absence of competition, provides a first analysis of when competitors should help or hinder evolutionary rescue. PMID:23209167

  10. Assistance of molecular vibrations on coherent energy transfer in photosynthesis from the view of a quantum heat engine.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Zhedong; Wang, Jin

    2015-04-01

    Recently, the quantum nature in the energy transport in solar cells and light-harvesting complexes has attracted much attention as being triggered by the experimental observations. We model the light-harvesting complex (i.e., PEB50 dimer) as a quantum heat engine (QHE) and study the effect of the undamped intramolecule vibrational modes on the coherent energy-transfer process and quantum transport. We find that the exciton-vibration interaction has nontrivial contribution to the promotion of quantum yield as well as transport properties of the QHE at steady state by enhancing the quantum coherence quantified by entanglement entropy. The perfect quantum yield over 90% has been obtained, with the exciton-vibration coupling. We attribute these improvements to the renormalization of the electronic couplings effectively induced by exciton-vibration interaction and the subsequent delocalization of excitons. Finally, we demonstrate that the thermal relaxation and dephasing can help the excitation energy transfer in the PEB50 dimer.

  11. Molecular engineering of high affinity single-chain antibody fragment for endothelial targeting of proteins and nanocarriers in rodents and humans.

    PubMed

    Greineder, Colin F; Hood, Elizabeth D; Yao, Anning; Khoshnejad, Makan; Brenner, Jake S; Johnston, Ian H; Poncz, Mortimer; Gottstein, Claudia; Muzykantov, Vladimir R

    2016-03-28

    Endothelial cells (EC) represent an important target for pharmacologic intervention, given their central role in a wide variety of human pathophysiologic processes. Studies in lab animal species have established that conjugation of drugs and carriers with antibodies directed to surface targets like the Platelet Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 (PECAM-1, a highly expressed endothelial transmembrane protein) help to achieve specific therapeutic interventions in ECs. To translate such "vascular immunotargeting" to clinical practice, it is necessary to replace antibodies by advanced ligands that are more amenable to use in humans. We report the molecular design of a single chain variable antibody fragment (scFv) that binds with high affinity to human PECAM-1 and cross-reacts with its counterpart in rats and other animal species, allowing parallel testing in vivo and in human endothelial cells in microfluidic model. Site-specific modification of the scFv allows conjugation of protein cargo and liposomes, enabling their endothelial targeting in these models. This study provides a template for molecular engineering of ligands, enabling studies of drug targeting in animal species and subsequent use in humans. PMID:26855052

  12. A conceptual evolutionary aseismic decision support framework for hospitals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hu, Yufeng; Dargush, Gary F.; Shao, Xiaoyun

    2012-12-01

    In this paper, aconceptual evolutionary framework for aseismic decision support for hospitalsthat attempts to integrate a range of engineering and sociotechnical models is presented. Genetic algorithms are applied to find the optimal decision sets. A case study is completed to demonstrate how the frameworkmay applytoa specific hospital.The simulations show that the proposed evolutionary decision support framework is able to discover robust policy sets in either uncertain or fixed environments. The framework also qualitatively identifies some of the characteristicbehavior of the critical care organization. Thus, by utilizing the proposedframework, the decision makers are able to make more informed decisions, especially toenhance the seismic safety of the hospitals.

  13. PACE4-based molecular targeting of prostate cancer using an engineered ⁶⁴Cu-radiolabeled peptide inhibitor.

    PubMed

    Couture, Frédéric; Levesque, Christine; Dumulon-Perreault, Véronique; Ait-Mohand, Samia; D'Anjou, François; Day, Robert; Guérin, Brigitte

    2014-08-01

    The potential of PACE4 as a pharmacological target in prostate cancer has been demonstrated as this proprotein convertase is strongly overexpressed in human prostate cancer tissues and its inhibition, using molecular or pharmacological approaches, results in reduced cell proliferation and tumor progression in mouse tumor xenograft models. We developed a PACE4 high-affinity peptide inhibitor, namely, the multi-leucine (ML), and sought to determine whether this peptide could be exploited for the targeting of prostate cancer for diagnostic or molecular imaging purposes. We conjugated a bifunctional chelator 1,4,7-triazacyclononane-1,4,7- triacetic acid (NOTA) to the ML peptide for copper-64 ((64)Cu) labeling and positron emission tomography (PET)- based prostate cancer detection. Enzyme kinetic assays against recombinant PACE4 showed that the NOTA-modified ML peptide displays identical inhibitory properties compared to the unmodified peptide. In vivo biodistribution of the (64)Cu/NOTA-ML peptide evaluated in athymic nude mice bearing xenografts of two human prostate carcinoma cell lines showed a rapid and high uptake in PACE4-expressing LNCaP tumor at an early time point and in PACE4-rich organs. Co-injection of unlabeled peptide confirmed that tumor uptake was target-specific. PACE4-negative tumors displayed no tracer uptake 15 minutes after injection, while the kidneys, demonstrated high uptake due to rapid renal clearance of the peptide. The present study supports the feasibility of using a (64)Cu/NOTA-ML peptide for PACE4-targeted prostate cancer detection and PACE4 status determination by PET imaging but also provides evidence that ML inhibitor-based drugs would readily reach tumor sites under in vivo conditions for pharmacological intervention or targeted radiation therapy.

  14. Molecular dynamics-based triangulation algorithm of free-form parametric surfaces for computer-aided engineering

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zheleznyakova, A. L.

    2015-05-01

    A new computational approach for automated triangulation of Computer-Aided Design (CAD) surface models, applicable to various CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) problems of practical interest is proposed. The complex shaped product configurations are represented by a set of Non-Uniform Rational B-Splines (NURBS) surface patches. The suggested technique is based on the molecular dynamics method. The main idea of the approach is that the mesh nodes are considered as similarly charged interacting particles which move within the region to be meshed under the influence of internal (such as particle-particle interaction forces) and external forces as well as optional additional forces. Moreover, the particles experience a medium resistance due to which the system comes to equilibrium within a relatively short period of time. The proposed 3D surface mesh generation algorithm uses a parametric NURBS representation as initial definition of the domain boundary. This method first distributes the interacting nodes into optimal locations in the parametric domain of the NURBS surface patch using molecular dynamics simulation. Then, the well-shaped triangles can be created after connecting the nodes by Delaunay triangulation. Finally, the mapping from parametric space to 3D physical space is performed. Since the presented interactive algorithm allows to control the distance between a pair of nodes depending on the curvature of the NURBS surface, the method generates high quality triangular mesh. The algorithm enables to produce uniform mesh, as well as anisotropic adaptive mesh with refinement in the large gradient regions. The mesh generation approach has the abilities to preserve the representation accuracy of the input geometry model, create a close relationship between geometry modeling and grid generation process, be automated to a large degree. Some examples are considered in order to illustrate the method's ability to generate a surface mesh for a complicated CAD model.

  15. Review. Do hormonal control systems produce evolutionary inertia?

    PubMed

    Adkins-Regan, Elizabeth

    2008-05-12

    Hormonal control systems are complex in design and well integrated. Concern has been raised that these systems might act as evolutionary constraints when animals are subject to anthropogenic environmental change. Three systems are examined in vertebrates, especially birds, that are important for assessing this possibility: (i) the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis, (ii) the activational effects of sex steroids on mating effort behaviour, and (iii) sexual differentiation. Consideration of how these systems actually work that takes adequate account of the brain's role and mechanisms suggests that the first two are unlikely to be impediments to evolution. The neural and molecular networks that regulate the HPG provide both phenotypic and evolutionary flexibility, and rapid evolutionary responses to selection have been documented in several species. The neuroendocrine and molecular cascades for behaviour provide many avenues for evolutionary change without requiring a change in peripheral hormone levels. Sexual differentiation has some potential to be a source of evolutionary inertia in birds and could contribute to the lack of diversity in certain reproductive (including life history) traits. It is unclear, however, whether that lack of diversity would impede adaptation to rapid environmental change given the role of behavioural flexibility in avian reproduction.

  16. Human genomic disease variants: A neutral evolutionary explanation

    PubMed Central

    Dudley, Joel T.; Kim, Yuseob; Liu, Li; Markov, Glenn J.; Gerold, Kristyn; Chen, Rong; Butte, Atul J.; Kumar, Sudhir

    2012-01-01

    Many perspectives on the role of evolution in human health include nonempirical assumptions concerning the adaptive evolutionary origins of human diseases. Evolutionary analyses of the increasing wealth of clinical and population genomic data have begun to challenge these presumptions. In order to systematically evaluate such claims, the time has come to build a common framework for an empirical and intellectual unification of evolution and modern medicine. We review the emerging evidence and provide a supporting conceptual framework that establishes the classical neutral theory of molecular evolution (NTME) as the basis for evaluating disease- associated genomic variations in health and medicine. For over a decade, the NTME has already explained the origins and distribution of variants implicated in diseases and has illuminated the power of evolutionary thinking in genomic medicine. We suggest that a majority of disease variants in modern populations will have neutral evolutionary origins (previously neutral), with a relatively smaller fraction exhibiting adaptive evolutionary origins (previously adaptive). This pattern is expected to hold true for common as well as rare disease variants. Ultimately, a neutral evolutionary perspective will provide medicine with an informative and actionable framework that enables objective clinical assessment beyond convenient tendencies to invoke past adaptive events in human history as a root cause of human disease. PMID:22665443

  17. Molecular beacons.

    PubMed

    Tan, Weihong; Wang, Kemim; Drake, Timothy J

    2004-10-01

    This opinion covers the field of molecular beacons (MBs), in which nucleic acids are molecularly engineered to have unique functions for the investigation of biomolecules. Molecular beacons have been used in a variety of formats, and this review discusses four: first, in vitro RNA and DNA monitoring; second, biosensors and biochips based on MBs; third, real-time monitoring of genes and gene expression in living systems; and finally, the next generation of molecular beacons that will be highly useful for studies with proteins, molecular beacon aptamers. These unique applications have shown that MBs holds great potential in genomics and proteomics where real-time molecular recognition with high sensitivity and excellent specificity is critical.

  18. The Molecular Engineering of an Anti-Idiotypic Antibody for Pharmacokinetic Analysis of a Fully Human Anti-Infective.

    PubMed

    Lim, She Yah; Chan, Conrad E Z; Lisowska, Malgorzata M; Hanson, Brendon J; MacAry, Paul A

    2015-01-01

    Anti-idiotype monoclonal antibodies represent a class of reagents that are potentially optimal for analyzing the pharmacokinetics of fully human, anti-infective antibodies that have been developed as therapeutic candidates. This is particularly important where direct pathogen binding assays are complicated by requirements for biosafety level III or IV for pathogen handling. In this study, we describe the development of a recombinant, anti-idiotype monoclonal antibody termed E1 for the detection of a fully human, serotype-specific, therapeutic antibody candidate for the BSLIII pathogen Dengue virus termed 14c10 hG1. E1 was generated by naïve human Fab phage library panning technology and subsequently engineered as a monoclonal antibody. We show that E1 is highly specific for the fully-folded form of 14c10 hG1 and can be employed for the detection of this antibody in healthy human subjects' serum by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. In addition, we show that E1 is capable of blocking the binding of 14c10 hG1 to dengue virus serotype 1. Finally, we show that E1 can detect 14c10 hG1 in mouse serum after the administration of the therapeutic antibody in vivo. E1 represents an important new form of ancillary reagent that can be utilized in the clinical development of a therapeutic human antibody candidate. PMID:26700297

  19. Enhancing dye-sensitized solar cell performances by molecular engineering: highly efficient π-extended organic sensitizers.

    PubMed

    Grisorio, Roberto; De Marco, Luisa; Agosta, Rita; Iacobellis, Rosabianca; Giannuzzi, Roberto; Manca, Michele; Mastrorilli, Piero; Gigli, Giuseppe; Suranna, Gian Paolo

    2014-09-01

    This study deals with the synthesis and characterization of two π-extended organic sensitizers (G1 and G2) for applications in dye-sensitized solar cells. The materials are designed with a D-A-π-A structure constituted by i) a triarylamine group as the donor part, ii) a dithienyl-benzothiadiazole chromophore followed by iii) a further ethynylene-thiophene (G1) or ethynylene-benzene (G2) π-spacer and iv) a cyano-acrylic moiety as acceptor and anchoring part. An unusual structural extension of the π-bridge characterizes these structures. The so-configured sensitizers exhibit a broad absorption profile, the origin of which is supported by density functional theory. The absence of hypsochromic shifts as a consequence of deprotonation as well as notable optical and electrochemical stabilities are also observed. Concerning the performances in devices, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy indicates that the structural modification of the π-spacer mainly increases the electron lifetime of G2 with respect to G1. In devices, this feature translates into a superior power conversion efficiency of G2, reaching 8.1%. These results are comparable to those recorded for N719 and are higher with respect to literature congeners, supporting further structural engineering of the π-bridge extension in the search for better performing π-extended organic sensitizers.

  20. Assistance of molecular vibrations on coherent energy transfer in photosynthesis from the view of a quantum heat engine.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Zhedong; Wang, Jin

    2015-04-01

    Recently, the quantum nature in the energy transport in solar cells and light-harvesting complexes has attracted much attention as being triggered by the experimental observations. We model the light-harvesting complex (i.e., PEB50 dimer) as a quantum heat engine (QHE) and study the effect of the undamped intramolecule vibrational modes on the coherent energy-transfer process and quantum transport. We find that the exciton-vibration interaction has nontrivial contribution to the promotion of quantum yield as well as transport properties of the QHE at steady state by enhancing the quantum coherence quantified by entanglement entropy. The perfect quantum yield over 90% has been obtained, with the exciton-vibration coupling. We attribute these improvements to the renormalization of the electronic couplings effectively induced by exciton-vibration interaction and the subsequent delocalization of excitons. Finally, we demonstrate that the thermal relaxation and dephasing can help the excitation energy transfer in the PEB50 dimer. PMID:25776946

  1. In-cylinder sampling of high molecular weight hydrocarbons from a D. I. light duty diesel engine

    SciTech Connect

    Barbella, R.; Bertoli, C.; Ciajolo, A.; D'Anna, A.; Masi, S.

    1989-01-01

    The formation and oxidation of soot, light and heavy hydrocarbons, CO, CO/sub 2/ and NO/sub chi/ in a D.I. diesel engine have been studied by means of direct fast sampling and chemical analysis of the combustion products collected during the combustion cycle. Particular attention hs been paid to the histories of each fuel hydrocarbon class analyzing the chemical transformations that the paraffins, and monoaromatic and polyaromatic compounds, contained in a diesel fuel oil, undergo during the combustion cycle. The concentration of the heavy hydrocarbons decreases during the early stages of the combustion cycle and their profile corresponds roughly to the fuel disappearance rate because of the chemical similarity with the fuel compounds. Paraffinic and aromatic fuel compounds undergo a rapid destruction at the time of injection of the fuel and, concurrent, the formation of oxygenated compounds has been found. The concentration of the total PAH decreases during the early stages of the combustion cycle and a preferential conversion of light alkylated PAH has been found.

  2. Biosilica: Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Function in Demosponges as well as its Applied Aspects for Tissue Engineering.

    PubMed

    Wang, Xiaohong; Schröder, Heinz C; Wiens, Matthias; Schloßmacher, Ute; Müller, Werner E G

    2012-01-01

    Biomineralization, biosilicification in particular (i.e. the formation of biogenic silica, SiO(2)), has become an exciting source of inspiration for the development of novel bionic approaches following 'nature as model'. Siliceous sponges are unique among silica-forming organisms in their ability to catalyze silica formation using a specific enzyme termed silicatein. In this study, we review the present state of knowledge on silicatein-mediated 'biosilica' formation in marine demosponges, the involvement of further molecules in silica metabolism and their potential applications in nano-biotechnology and bio-medicine. While most forms of multicellular life have developed a calcium-based skeleton, a few specialized organisms complement their body plan with silica. Only sponges (phylum Porifera) are able to polymerize silica enzymatically mediated in order to generate massive siliceous skeletal elements (spicules) during a unique reaction, at ambient temperature and pressure. During this biomineralization process (i.e. biosilicification), hydrated, amorphous silica is deposited within highly specialized sponge cells, ultimately resulting in structures that range in size from micrometres to metres. This peculiar phenomenon has been comprehensively studied in recent years, and in several approaches, the molecular background was explored to create tools that might be employed for novel bioinspired biotechnological and biomedical applications. Thus, it was discovered that spiculogenesis is mediated by the enzyme silicatein and starts intracellularly. The resulting silica nanoparticles fuse and subsequently form concentric lamellar layers around a central protein filament, consisting of silicatein and the scaffold protein silintaphin-1. Once the growing spicule is extruded into the extracellular space, it obtains final size and shape. Again, this process is mediated by silicatein and silintaphin-1/silintaphin-1, in combination with other molecules such as galectin and

  3. Molecular clocks.

    PubMed

    Lee, Michael S Y; Ho, Simon Y W

    2016-05-23

    In the 1960s, several groups of scientists, including Emile Zuckerkandl and Linus Pauling, had noted that proteins experience amino acid replacements at a surprisingly consistent rate across very different species. This presumed single, uniform rate of genetic evolution was subsequently described using the term 'molecular clock'. Biologists quickly realised that such a universal pacemaker could be used as a yardstick for measuring the timescale of evolutionary divergences: estimating the rate of amino acid exchanges per unit of time and applying it to protein differences across a range of organisms would allow deduction of the divergence times of their respective lineages (Figure 1). PMID:27218841

  4. Molecular simulation workflows as parallel algorithms: the execution engine of Copernicus, a distributed high-performance computing platform.

    PubMed

    Pronk, Sander; Pouya, Iman; Lundborg, Magnus; Rotskoff, Grant; Wesén, Björn; Kasson, Peter M; Lindahl, Erik

    2015-06-01

    Computational chemistry and other simulation fields are critically dependent on computing resources, but few problems scale efficiently to the hundreds of thousands of processors available in current supercomputers-particularly for molecular dynamics. This has turned into a bottleneck as new hardware generations primarily provide more processing units rather than making individual units much faster, which simulation applications are addressing by increasingly focusing on sampling with algorithms such as free-energy perturbation, Markov state modeling, metadynamics, or milestoning. All these rely on combining results from multiple simulations into a single observation. They are potentially powerful approaches that aim to predict experimental observables directly, but this comes at the expense of added complexity in selecting sampling strategies and keeping track of dozens to thousands of simulations and their dependencies. Here, we describe how the distributed execution framework Copernicus allows the expression of such algorithms in generic workflows: dataflow programs. Because dataflow algorithms explicitly state dependencies of each constituent part, algorithms only need to be described on conceptual level, after which the execution is maximally parallel. The fully automated execution facilitates the optimization of these algorithms with adaptive sampling, where undersampled regions are automatically detected and targeted without user intervention. We show how several such algorithms can be formulated for computational chemistry problems, and how they are executed efficiently with many loosely coupled simulations using either distributed or parallel resources with Copernicus. PMID:26575558

  5. Molecular simulation workflows as parallel algorithms: the execution engine of Copernicus, a distributed high-performance computing platform.

    PubMed

    Pronk, Sander; Pouya, Iman; Lundborg, Magnus; Rotskoff, Grant; Wesén, Björn; Kasson, Peter M; Lindahl, Erik

    2015-06-01

    Computational chemistry and other simulation fields are critically dependent on computing resources, but few problems scale efficiently to the hundreds of thousands of processors available in current supercomputers-particularly for molecular dynamics. This has turned into a bottleneck as new hardware generations primarily provide more processing units rather than making individual units much faster, which simulation applications are addressing by increasingly focusing on sampling with algorithms such as free-energy perturbation, Markov state modeling, metadynamics, or milestoning. All these rely on combining results from multiple simulations into a single observation. They are potentially powerful approaches that aim to predict experimental observables directly, but this comes at the expense of added complexity in selecting sampling strategies and keeping track of dozens to thousands of simulations and their dependencies. Here, we describe how the distributed execution framework Copernicus allows the expression of such algorithms in generic workflows: dataflow programs. Because dataflow algorithms explicitly state dependencies of each constituent part, algorithms only need to be described on conceptual level, after which the execution is maximally parallel. The fully automated execution facilitates the optimization of these algorithms with adaptive sampling, where undersampled regions are automatically detected and targeted without user intervention. We show how several such algorithms can be formulated for computational chemistry problems, and how they are executed efficiently with many loosely coupled simulations using either distributed or parallel resources with Copernicus.

  6. Molecular engineering of a TBET-based two-photon fluorescent probe for ratiometric imaging of living cells and tissues.

    PubMed

    Zhou, Liyi; Zhang, Xiaobing; Wang, Qianqian; Lv, Yifan; Mao, Guojiang; Luo, Aili; Wu, Yongxiang; Wu, Yuan; Zhang, Jing; Tan, Weihong

    2014-07-16

    In contrast to one-photon microscopy, two-photon probe-based fluorescent imaging can provide improved three-dimensional spatial localization and increased imaging depth. Consequently, it has become one of the most attractive techniques for studying biological events in living cells and tissues. However, the quantitation of these probes is primarily based on single-emission intensity change, which tends to be affected by a variety of environmental factors. Ratiometric probes, on the other hand, can eliminate these interferences by the built-in correction of the dual emission bands, resulting in a more favorable system for imaging living cells and tissues. Herein, for the first time, we adopted a through-bond energy transfer (TBET) strategy to design and synthesize a small molecular ratiometric two-photon fluorescent probe for imaging living cells and tissues in real time. Specifically, a two-photon fluorophore (D-π-A-structured naphthalene derivative) and a rhodamine B fluorophore are directly connected by electronically conjugated bond to form a TBET probe, or Np-Rh, which shows a target-modulated ratiometric two-photon fluorescence response with highly efficient energy transfer (93.7%) and two well-resolved emission peaks separated by 100 nm. This novel probe was then applied for two-photon imaging of living cells and tissues and showed high ratiometric imaging resolution and deep-tissue imaging depth of 180 μm, thus demonstrating its practical application in biological systems.

  7. Deconstructing a Plant Macromolecular Assembly: Chemical Architecture, Molecular Flexibility, And Mechanical Performance of Natural and Engineered Potato Suberins

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    Periderms present in plant barks are essential protective barriers to water diffusion, mechanical breakdown, and pathogenic invasion. They consist of densely packed layers of dead cells with cell walls that are embedded with suberin. Understanding the interplay of molecular structure, dynamics, and biomechanics in these cell wall-associated insoluble amorphous polymeric assemblies presents substantial investigative challenges. We report solid-state NMR coordinated with FT-IR and tensile strength measurements for periderms from native and wound-healing potatoes and from potatoes with genetically modified suberins. The analyses include the intact suberin aromatic–aliphatic polymer and cell-wall polysaccharides, previously reported soluble depolymerized transmethylation products, and undegraded residues including suberan. Wound-healing suberized potato cell walls, which are 2 orders of magnitude more permeable to water than native periderms, display a strikingly enhanced hydrophilic–hydrophobic balance, a degradation-resistant aromatic domain, and flexibility suggestive of an altered supramolecular organization in the periderm. Suppression of ferulate ester formation in suberin and associated wax remodels the periderm with more flexible aliphatic chains and abundant aromatic constituents that can resist transesterification, attenuates cooperative hydroxyfatty acid motions, and produces a mechanically compromised and highly water-permeable periderm. PMID:24502663

  8. A preliminary engineering design of intravascular dual-frequency transducers for contrast-enhanced acoustic angiography and molecular imaging.

    PubMed

    Ma, Jianguo; Martin, K; Dayton, Paul A; Jiang, Xiaoning

    2014-05-01

    Current intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) probes are not optimized for contrast detection because of their design for high-frequency fundamental-mode imaging. However, data from transcutaneous contrast imaging suggests the possibility of utilizing contrast ultrasound for molecular imaging or vasa vasorum assessment to further elucidate atherosclerotic plaque deposition. This paper presents the design, fabrication, and characterization of a small-aperture (0.6 × 3 mm) IVUS probe optimized for high-frequency contrast imaging. The design utilizes a dual-frequency (6.5 MHz/30 MHz) transducer arrangement for exciting microbubbles at low frequencies (near their resonance) and detecting their broadband harmonics at high frequencies, minimizing detected tissue backscatter. The prototype probe is able to generate nonlinear microbubble response with more than 1.2 MPa of rarefractional pressure (mechanical index: 0.48) at 6.5 MHz, and is also able to detect microbubble response with a broadband receiving element (center frequency: 30 MHz, -6-dB fractional bandwidth: 58.6%). Nonlinear super-harmonics from microbubbles flowing through a 200-μm-diameter micro-tube were clearly detected with a signal-to-noise ratio higher than 12 dB. Preliminary phantom imaging at the fundamental frequency (30 MHz) and dual-frequency super-harmonic imaging results suggest the promise of small aperture, dual-frequency IVUS transducers for contrast-enhanced IVUS imaging. PMID:24801226

  9. Development of Direct and Optical Polarized Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Methods for Characterization and Engineering of Mesophased Molecular Structures

    SciTech Connect

    Maxwell, R; Baumann, T; Taylor, B

    2002-01-29

    The development of NMR methods for the characterization of structure and dynamics in mesophase composite systems was originally proposed in this LDRD. Mesophase systems are organic/inorganic hybrid materials whose size and motional properties span the definition of liquids and solids, such as highly viscous gels or colloidal suspensions. They are often composite, ill defined, macromolecular structures that prove difficult to characterize. Mesophase materials are of broad scientific and programmatic interest and include composite load bearing foams, aerogels, optical coatings, silicate oligomers, porous heterogeneous catalysts, and nanostructured materials such as semiconductor quantum dot superlattices. Since mesophased materials and precursors generally lack long-range order they have proven to be difficult to characterize beyond local, shortrange order. NMR methods are optimal for such a task since NMR observables are sensitive to wide ranges of length (0-30{angstrom}) and time (10{sup -9}-10{sup 0}sec) scales. We have developed a suit of NMR methods to measure local, intermediate, and long range structure in a series of mesophase systems and have constructed correlations between NMR observables and molecular size, topology, and network structure. The goal of this research was the development of a strong LLNL capability in the characterization of mesophased materials by NMR spectroscopy that will lead to a capability in rational synthesis of such materials and a fundamental understanding of their structure-property relationships. We demonstrate our progress towards attaining this goal by presenting NMR results on four mesophased model systems.

  10. A Preliminary Engineering Design of Intravascular Dual-Frequency Transducers for Contrast-Enhanced Acoustic Angiography and Molecular Imaging

    PubMed Central

    Ma, Jianguo; Martin, K. Heath; Dayton, Paul A.; Jiang, Xiaoning

    2014-01-01

    Current intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) probes are not optimized for contrast detection because of their design for high-frequency fundamental-mode imaging. However, data from transcutaneous contrast imaging suggests the possibility of utilizing contrast ultrasound for molecular imaging or vasa vasorum assessment to further elucidate atherosclerotic plaque deposition. This paper presents the design, fabrication, and characterization of a small-aperture (0.6 × 3 mm) IVUS probe optimized for high-frequency contrast imaging. The design utilizes a dual-frequency (6.5 MHz/30 MHz) transducer arrangement for exciting microbubbles at low frequencies (near their resonance) and detecting their broadband harmonics at high frequencies, minimizing detected tissue backscatter. The prototype probe is able to generate nonlinear microbubble response with more than 1.2 MPa of rarefractional pressure (mechanical index: 0.48) at 6.5 MHz, and is also able to detect microbubble response with a broadband receiving element (center frequency: 30 MHz, −6-dB fractional bandwidth: 58.6%). Nonlinear super-harmonics from microbubbles flowing through a 200-μm-diameter micro-tube were clearly detected with a signal-to-noise ratio higher than 12 dB. Preliminary phantom imaging at the fundamental frequency (30 MHz) and dual-frequency super-harmonic imaging results suggest the promise of small aperture, dual-frequency IVUS transducers for contrast-enhanced IVUS imaging. PMID:24801226

  11. Crystal engineering rescues a solution organic synthesis in a cocrystallization that confirms the configuration of a molecular ladder

    PubMed Central

    Atkinson, Manza B. J.; Mariappan, S. V. Santhana; Bučar, Dejan-Krešimir; Baltrusaitis, Jonas; Friščić, Tomislav; Sinada, Naif G.; MacGillivray, Leonard R.

    2011-01-01

    Treatment of an achiral molecular ladder of C2h symmetry composed of five edge-sharing cyclobutane rings, or a [5]-ladderane, with acid results in cis- to trans-isomerization of end pyridyl groups. Solution NMR spectroscopy and quantum chemical calculations support the isomerization to generate two diastereomers. The NMR data, however, could not lead to unambiguous configurational assignments of the two isomers. Single-crystal X-ray diffraction was employed to determine each configuration. One isomer readily crystallized as a pure form and X-ray diffraction revealed the molecule as being achiral based on Ci symmetry. The second isomer resisted crystallization under a variety of conditions. Consequently, a strategy based on a cocrystallization was developed to generate single crystals of the second isomer. Cocrystallization of the isomer with a carboxylic acid readily afforded single crystals that confirmed a chiral ladderane based on C2 symmetry. The chiral ladderane and acid self-assembled to generate a five-component hydrogen-bonded complex that packs to form large solvent-filled homochiral channels of nanometer-scale dimensions. Whereas cocrystallizations are frequently applied to structure determinations of proteins, our study represents the first application of a cocrystallization to confirm the relative configuration of a small-molecule diastereomer generated in a solution-phase organic synthesis. PMID:21690362

  12. M118--a rationally engineered low-molecular-weight heparin designed specifically for the treatment of acute coronary syndromes.

    PubMed

    Kishimoto, Takashi Kei; Qi, Yi Wei; Long, Alison; Capila, Ishan; Sasisekharan, Ram; Guerrero, Luis; Fier, Ian; Roach, James; Venkataraman, Ganesh

    2009-11-01

    The initial choice of anticoagulant therapy administered in emergency departments for acute coronary syndromes (ACS) has important consequences for subsequent patient care, as neither unfractionated heparin (UFH) nor low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) are ideally suited for all potential clinical treatment pathways. UFH remains widely used for surgical interventions because of the ability to rapidly reverse its anticoagulant activity. However, the unpredictable pharmacokinetic profile of UFH presents safety issues, and the low subcutaneous bioavailability limits the utility of UFH for patients who are medically managed. LMWH has superior pharmacokinetic properties, but its anticoagulant activity cannot be effectively monitored or reversed during surgery. There is an unmet medical need for a baseline anticoagulant therapy that addresses these shortcomings while retaining the beneficial properties of both UFH and LMWH. We describe here M118, a novel LMWH designed specifically for use in the treatment of ACS. M118 shows broad anticoagulant activity, including potent activity against both factor Xa (~240 IU/mg) and thrombin (factor IIa; ~170 IU/mg), low polydispersity, high (78%) subcutaneous bioavailability in rabbits, and predictable subcutaneous and intravenous pharmacokinetics. Additionally, the anticoagulant activity of M118 is monitorable by standard coagulation assays and is reversible with protamine. M118 demonstrates superior activity to conventional LMWH in a rabbit model of abdominal arterial thrombosis without increasing bleeding risk, and is currently being evaluated in a phase II clinical trial evaluating efficacy and safety in patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention. PMID:19888526

  13. Molecular imaging to monitor repair of myocardial infarction using genetically engineered bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells.

    PubMed

    Shi, Shuo; Zhang, Min; Guo, Rui; Miao, Ying; Zhang, Xiangming; Li, Biao

    2015-01-01

    Heart tissue has a diminished ability to repair after myocardial infarction (MI). Bone marrow- derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) have been used effectively to heal damaged tissue after MI. Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) can induce transcription of numerous pro-angiogenic genes and enhance stem cell survival. Here, we investigated whether HIF-1α-transduced BMSCs could enhance tissue repair after MI, and compared the value of micro-PET/CT and echocardiography for evaluation of therapeutic effects. Rat BMSCs were transduced with a lentivirus expressing HIF-1α and NIS (Lenti-HIF-1α-NIS). Sodium iodide symporter (NIS) functioned as effective reporter gene, allowing monitoring of BMSCs transplanted into the rat heart for up to 2 weeks using micro-SPECT/CT imaging. In a rat MI model, after transplantation of HIF-1α-NIS-transduced BMSCs to the MI zone, more expression of HIF-1α,VEGF and Ang-4, more improvement of metabolism, less fibrotic tissue and cardiomyocyte apoptosis were detected in the MI zone. Moreover, we found that most of the transplanted HIF-1α-NIS-transduced BMSCs differentiated into endothelial cells, and engineered new blood vessels in MI zone. Metabolic activity significantly increased at an early time point (2 weeks after transplantation) and lead to a sustained increase (4 weeks), as indicated by (18)F-FDG uptake in micro-PET/CT imaging. Echocardiography indicated no improvement in cardiac function at 2 weeks and small improvement at 4 weeks. This study indicated that (18)F-FDG micro-PET/CT was more useful for evaluating early therapeutic effects than echocardiography. PMID:25892408

  14. Human Germline Mutation and the Erratic Evolutionary Clock

    PubMed Central

    Przeworski, Molly

    2016-01-01

    Our understanding of the chronology of human evolution relies on the “molecular clock” provided by the steady accumulation of substitutions on an evolutionary lineage. Recent analyses of human pedigrees have called this understanding into question by revealing unexpectedly low germline mutation rates, which imply that substitutions accrue more slowly than previously believed. Translating mutation rates estimated from pedigrees into substitution rates is not as straightforward as it may seem, however. We dissect the steps involved, emphasizing that dating evolutionary events requires not “a mutation rate” but a precise characterization of how mutations accumulate in development in males and females—knowledge that remains elusive. PMID:27760127

  15. Quantitative analysis of RNA-protein interactions on a massively parallel array for mapping biophysical and evolutionary landscapes

    PubMed Central

    Buenrostro, Jason D.; Chircus, Lauren M.; Araya, Carlos L.; Layton, Curtis J.; Chang, Howard Y.; Snyder, Michael P.; Greenleaf, William J.

    2015-01-01

    RNA-protein interactions drive fundamental biological processes and are targets for molecular engineering, yet quantitative and comprehensive understanding of the sequence determinants of affinity remains limited. Here we repurpose a high-throughput sequencing instrument to quantitatively measure binding and dissociation of MS2 coat protein to >107 RNA targets generated on a flow-cell surface by in situ transcription and inter-molecular tethering of RNA to DNA. We decompose the binding energy contributions from primary and secondary RNA structure, finding that differences in affinity are often driven by sequence-specific changes in association rates. By analyzing the biophysical constraints and modeling mutational paths describing the molecular evolution of MS2 from low- to high-affinity hairpins, we quantify widespread molecular epistasis, and a long-hypothesized structure-dependent preference for G:U base pairs over C:A intermediates in evolutionary trajectories. Our results suggest that quantitative analysis of RNA on a massively parallel array (RNAMaP) relationships across molecular variants. PMID:24727714

  16. Molecular Characterization of the Gas-Particle Interface of Soot Sampled from a Diesel Engine Using a Titration Method.

    PubMed

    Tapia, A; Salgado, M S; Martín, María Pilar; Lapuerta, M; Rodríguez-Fernández, J; Rossi, M J; Cabañas, B

    2016-03-15

    Surface functional groups of two different types of combustion aerosols, a conventional diesel (EN 590) and a hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) soot, have been investigated using heterogeneous chemistry (i.e., gas-particle surface reactions). A commercial sample of amorphous carbon (Printex XE2-B) was analyzed as a reference substrate. A Knudsen flow reactor was used to carry out the experiments under molecular flow conditions. The selected gases for the titration experiments were: N(CH3)3 for the identification of acidic sites, NH2OH for the presence of carbonyl groups, CF3COOH and HCl for basic sites of different strength, and O3 and NO2 for reducing groups. Reactivity with N(CH3)3 indicates a lower density of acidic functionalities for Printex XE2-B in relation to diesel and HVO soot. Results for NH2OH experiments indicates that commercial amorphous carbon exhibits a lower abundance of available carbonyl groups at the interface compared to the results from diesel and HVO soot, the latter being the one with the largest abundance of carbonyl functions. Reactions with acids indicate the presence of weak basic oxides on the particle surface that preferentially interact with the strong acid CF3COOH. Finally, reactions with O3 and NO2 reveal that diesel and especially HVO have a significantly higher reactivity with both oxidizers compared to that of Printex XE2-B because they have more reducing sites by roughly a factor of 10 and 30, respectively. The kinetics of titration reactions have also been investigated.

  17. Molecular Characterization of the Gas-Particle Interface of Soot Sampled from a Diesel Engine Using a Titration Method.

    PubMed

    Tapia, A; Salgado, M S; Martín, María Pilar; Lapuerta, M; Rodríguez-Fernández, J; Rossi, M J; Cabañas, B

    2016-03-15

    Surface functional groups of two different types of combustion aerosols, a conventional diesel (EN 590) and a hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) soot, have been investigated using heterogeneous chemistry (i.e., gas-particle surface reactions). A commercial sample of amorphous carbon (Printex XE2-B) was analyzed as a reference substrate. A Knudsen flow reactor was used to carry out the experiments under molecular flow conditions. The selected gases for the titration experiments were: N(CH3)3 for the identification of acidic sites, NH2OH for the presence of carbonyl groups, CF3COOH and HCl for basic sites of different strength, and O3 and NO2 for reducing groups. Reactivity with N(CH3)3 indicates a lower density of acidic functionalities for Printex XE2-B in relation to diesel and HVO soot. Results for NH2OH experiments indicates that commercial amorphous carbon exhibits a lower abundance of available carbonyl groups at the interface compared to the results from diesel and HVO soot, the latter being the one with the largest abundance of carbonyl functions. Reactions with acids indicate the presence of weak basic oxides on the particle surface that preferentially interact with the strong acid CF3COOH. Finally, reactions with O3 and NO2 reveal that diesel and especially HVO have a significantly higher reactivity with both oxidizers compared to that of Printex XE2-B because they have more reducing sites by roughly a factor of 10 and 30, respectively. The kinetics of titration reactions have also been investigated. PMID:26886850

  18. Current Understanding of Cu-Exchanged Chabazite Molecular Sieves for Use as Commercial Diesel Engine DeNOx Catalysts

    SciTech Connect

    Gao, Feng; Kwak, Ja Hun; Szanyi, Janos; Peden, Charles HF

    2013-11-03

    Selective catalytic reduction (SCR) of NOx with ammonia using metal-exchanged molecular sieves with a chabazite (CHA) structure has recently been commercialized on diesel vehicles. One of the commercialized catalysts, i.e., Cu-SSZ-13, has received much attention for both practical and fundamental studies. For the latter, the particularly well-defined structure of this zeolite is allowing long-standing issues of the catalytically active site for SCR in metal-exchanged zeolites to be addressed. In this review, recent progress is summarized with a focus on two areas. First, the technical significance of Cu-SSZ-13 as compared to other Cu-ion exchanged zeolites (e.g., Cu-ZSM-5 and Cu-beta) is highlighted. Specifically, the much enhanced hydrothermal stability for Cu-SSZ-13 compared to other zeolite catalysts is addressed via performance measurements and catalyst characterization using several techniques. The enhanced stability of Cu-SSZ-13 is rationalized in terms of the unique small pore structure of this zeolite catalyst. Second, the fundamentals of the catalytically active center; i.e., the chemical nature and locations within the SSZ-13 framework are presented with an emphasis on understanding structure-function relationships. For the SCR reaction, traditional kinetic studies are complicated by intra-particle diffusion limitations. However, a major side reaction, nonselective ammonia oxidation by oxygen, does not suffer from mass-transfer limitations at relatively low temperatures due to significantly lower reaction rates. This allows structure-function relationships that are rather well understood in terms of Cu ion locations and redox properties. Finally, some aspects of the SCR reaction mechanism are addressed on the basis of in-situ spectroscopic studies.

  19. On the evolutionary relationship between chondrocytes and osteoblasts

    PubMed Central

    Gómez-Picos, Patsy; Eames, B. Frank

    2015-01-01

    Vertebrates are the only animals that produce bone, but the molecular genetic basis for this evolutionary novelty remains obscure. Here, we synthesize information from traditional evolutionary and modern molecular genetic studies in order to generate a working hypothesis on the evolution of the gene regulatory network (GRN) underlying bone formation. Since transcription factors are often core components of GRNs (i.e., kernels), we focus our analyses on Sox9 and Runx2. Our argument centers on three skeletal tissues that comprise the majority of the vertebrate skeleton: immature cartilage, mature cartilage, and bone. Immature cartilage is produced during early stages of cartilage differentiation and can persist into adulthood, whereas mature cartilage undergoes additional stages of differentiation, including hypertrophy and mineralization. Functionally, histologically, and embryologically, these three skeletal tissues are very similar, yet unique, suggesting that one might have evolved from another. Traditional studies of the fossil record, comparative anatomy and embryology demonstrate clearly that immature cartilage evolved before mature cartilage or bone. Modern molecular approaches show that the GRNs regulating differentiation of these three skeletal cell fates are similar, yet unique, just like the functional and histological features of the tissues themselves. Intriguingly, the Sox9 GRN driving cartilage formation appears to be dominant to the Runx2 GRN of bone. Emphasizing an embryological and evolutionary transcriptomic view, we hypothesize that the Runx2 GRN underlying bone formation was co-opted from mature cartilage. We discuss how modern molecular genetic experiments, such as comparative transcriptomics, can test this hypothesis directly, meanwhile permitting levels of constraint and adaptation to be evaluated quantitatively. Therefore, comparative transcriptomics may revolutionize understanding of not only the clade-specific evolution of skeletal cells

  20. Evolutionary rescue beyond the models

    PubMed Central

    Gomulkiewicz, Richard; Shaw, Ruth G.

    2013-01-01

    Laboratory model systems and mathematical models have shed considerable light on the fundamental properties and processes of evolutionary rescue. But it remains to determine the extent to which these model-based findings can help biologists predict when evolution will fail or succeed in rescuing natural populations that are facing novel conditions that threaten their persistence. In this article, we present a prospectus for transferring our basic understanding of evolutionary rescue to wild and other non-laboratory populations. Current experimental and theoretical results emphasize how the interplay between inheritance processes and absolute fitness in changed environments drive population dynamics and determine prospects of extinction. We discuss the challenge of inferring these elements of the evolutionary rescue process in field and natural settings. Addressing this challenge will contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of population persistence that combines processes of evolutionary rescue with developmental and ecological mechanisms. PMID:23209173