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Sample records for fossil calibrations codon

  1. Synthesizing and databasing fossil calibrations: divergence dating and beyond.

    PubMed

    Ksepka, Daniel T; Benton, Michael J; Carrano, Matthew T; Gandolfo, Maria A; Head, Jason J; Hermsen, Elizabeth J; Joyce, Walter G; Lamm, Kristin S; Patané, José S L; Phillips, Matthew J; Polly, P David; Van Tuinen, Marcel; Ware, Jessica L; Warnock, Rachel C M; Parham, James F

    2011-12-23

    Divergence dating studies, which combine temporal data from the fossil record with branch length data from molecular phylogenetic trees, represent a rapidly expanding approach to understanding the history of life. National Evolutionary Synthesis Center hosted the first Fossil Calibrations Working Group (3-6 March, 2011, Durham, NC, USA), bringing together palaeontologists, molecular evolutionists and bioinformatics experts to present perspectives from disciplines that generate, model and use fossil calibration data. Presentations and discussions focused on channels for interdisciplinary collaboration, best practices for justifying, reporting and using fossil calibrations and roadblocks to synthesis of palaeontological and molecular data. Bioinformatics solutions were proposed, with the primary objective being a new database for vetted fossil calibrations with linkages to existing resources, targeted for a 2012 launch.

  2. Evaluating fossil calibrations for dating phylogenies in light of rates of molecular evolution: a comparison of three approaches.

    PubMed

    Lukoschek, Vimoksalehi; Scott Keogh, J; Avise, John C

    2012-01-01

    severely compressed basal branch lengths obtained from mitochondrial DNA compared with nuclear DNA. The effects of mitochondrial saturation were not ameliorated by analyzing a combined nuclear and mitochondrial data set. Although removing the third codon positions from the mitochondrial coding regions did not ameliorate saturation effects in the single-fossil cross-validations, it did in the Bayesian multicalibration analyses. Saturation significantly influenced the fossils that were selected as most reliable for all three methods evaluated. Our findings highlight the need to critically evaluate the fossils selected by data with different rates of nucleotide substitution and how data with different evolutionary rates affect the results of each method for evaluating fossils. Our empirical evaluation demonstrates that the advantages of using multiple independent fossil calibrations significantly outweigh any disadvantages.

  3. Assessing calibration uncertainty in molecular dating: the assignment of fossils to alternative calibration points.

    PubMed

    Rutschmann, Frank; Eriksson, Torsten; Salim, Kamariah Abu; Conti, Elena

    2007-08-01

    Although recent methodological advances have allowed the incorporation of rate variation in molecular dating analyses, the calibration procedure, performed mainly through fossils, remains resistant to improvements. One source of uncertainty pertains to the assignment of fossils to specific nodes in a phylogeny, especially when alternative possibilities exist that can be equally justified on morphological grounds. Here we expand on a recently developed fossil cross-validation method to evaluate whether alternative nodal assignments of multiple fossils produce calibration sets that differ in their internal consistency. We use an enlarged Crypteroniaceae-centered phylogeny of Myrtales, six fossils, and 72 combinations of calibration points, termed calibration sets, to identify (i) the fossil assignments that produce the most internally consistent calibration sets and (ii) the mean ages, derived from these calibration sets, for the split of the Southeast Asian Crypteroniaceae from their West Gondwanan sister clade (node X). We found that a correlation exists between s values, devised to measure the consistency among the calibration points of a calibration set (Near and Sanderson, 2004), and nodal distances among calibration points. By ranking all sets according to the percent deviation of s from the regression line with nodal distance, we identified the sets with the highest level of corrected calibration-set consistency. These sets generated lower standard deviations associated with the ages of node X than sets characterized by lower corrected consistency. The three calibration sets with the highest corrected consistencies produced mean age estimates for node X of 79.70, 79.14, and 78.15 My. These timeframes are most compatible with the hypothesis that the Crypteroniaceae stem lineage dispersed from Africa to the Deccan plate as it drifted northward during the Late Cretaceous.

  4. Early penguin fossils, plus mitochondrial genomes, calibrate avian evolution.

    PubMed

    Slack, Kerryn E; Jones, Craig M; Ando, Tatsuro; Harrison, G L Abby; Fordyce, R Ewan; Arnason, Ulfur; Penny, David

    2006-06-01

    Testing models of macroevolution, and especially the sufficiency of microevolutionary processes, requires good collaboration between molecular biologists and paleontologists. We report such a test for events around the Late Cretaceous by describing the earliest penguin fossils, analyzing complete mitochondrial genomes from an albatross, a petrel, and a loon, and describe the gradual decline of pterosaurs at the same time modern birds radiate. The penguin fossils comprise four naturally associated skeletons from the New Zealand Waipara Greensand, a Paleocene (early Tertiary) formation just above a well-known Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary site. The fossils, in a new genus (Waimanu), provide a lower estimate of 61-62 Ma for the divergence between penguins and other birds and thus establish a reliable calibration point for avian evolution. Combining fossil calibration points, DNA sequences, maximum likelihood, and Bayesian analysis, the penguin calibrations imply a radiation of modern (crown group) birds in the Late Cretaceous. This includes a conservative estimate that modern sea and shorebird lineages diverged at least by the Late Cretaceous about 74 +/- 3 Ma (Campanian). It is clear that modern birds from at least the latest Cretaceous lived at the same time as archaic birds including Hesperornis, Ichthyornis, and the diverse Enantiornithiformes. Pterosaurs, which also coexisted with early crown birds, show notable changes through the Late Cretaceous. There was a decrease in taxonomic diversity, and small- to medium-sized species disappeared well before the end of the Cretaceous. A simple reading of the fossil record might suggest competitive interactions with birds, but much more needs to be understood about pterosaur life histories. Additional fossils and molecular data are still required to help understand the role of biotic interactions in the evolution of Late Cretaceous birds and thus to test that the mechanisms of microevolution are sufficient to explain

  5. Early penguin fossils, plus mitochondrial genomes, calibrate avian evolution.

    PubMed

    Slack, Kerryn E; Jones, Craig M; Ando, Tatsuro; Harrison, G L Abby; Fordyce, R Ewan; Arnason, Ulfur; Penny, David

    2006-06-01

    Testing models of macroevolution, and especially the sufficiency of microevolutionary processes, requires good collaboration between molecular biologists and paleontologists. We report such a test for events around the Late Cretaceous by describing the earliest penguin fossils, analyzing complete mitochondrial genomes from an albatross, a petrel, and a loon, and describe the gradual decline of pterosaurs at the same time modern birds radiate. The penguin fossils comprise four naturally associated skeletons from the New Zealand Waipara Greensand, a Paleocene (early Tertiary) formation just above a well-known Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary site. The fossils, in a new genus (Waimanu), provide a lower estimate of 61-62 Ma for the divergence between penguins and other birds and thus establish a reliable calibration point for avian evolution. Combining fossil calibration points, DNA sequences, maximum likelihood, and Bayesian analysis, the penguin calibrations imply a radiation of modern (crown group) birds in the Late Cretaceous. This includes a conservative estimate that modern sea and shorebird lineages diverged at least by the Late Cretaceous about 74 +/- 3 Ma (Campanian). It is clear that modern birds from at least the latest Cretaceous lived at the same time as archaic birds including Hesperornis, Ichthyornis, and the diverse Enantiornithiformes. Pterosaurs, which also coexisted with early crown birds, show notable changes through the Late Cretaceous. There was a decrease in taxonomic diversity, and small- to medium-sized species disappeared well before the end of the Cretaceous. A simple reading of the fossil record might suggest competitive interactions with birds, but much more needs to be understood about pterosaur life histories. Additional fossils and molecular data are still required to help understand the role of biotic interactions in the evolution of Late Cretaceous birds and thus to test that the mechanisms of microevolution are sufficient to explain

  6. Assessing the quality of molecular divergence time estimates by fossil calibrations and fossil-based model selection.

    PubMed Central

    Near, Thomas J; Sanderson, Michael J

    2004-01-01

    Estimates of species divergence times using DNA sequence data are playing an increasingly important role in studies of evolution, ecology and biogeography. Most work has centred on obtaining appropriate kinds of data and developing optimal estimation procedures, whereas somewhat less attention has focused on the calibration of divergences using fossils. Case studies with multiple fossil calibration points provide important opportunities to examine the divergence time estimation problem in new ways. We discuss two cross-validation procedures that address different aspects of inference in divergence time estimation. 'Fossil cross-validation' is a procedure used to identify the impact of different individual calibrations on overall estimation. This can identify fossils that have an exceptionally large error effect and may warrant further scrutiny. 'Fossil-based model cross-validation' is an entirely different procedure that uses fossils to identify the optimal model of molecular evolution in the context of rate smoothing or other inference methods. Both procedures were applied to two recent studies: an analysis of monocot angiosperms with eight fossil calibrations and an analysis of placental mammals with nine fossil calibrations. In each case, fossil calibrations could be ranked from most to least influential, and in one of the two studies, the fossils provided decisive evidence about the optimal molecular evolutionary model. PMID:15519966

  7. The Fossil Calibration Database-A New Resource for Divergence Dating.

    PubMed

    Ksepka, Daniel T; Parham, James F; Allman, James F; Benton, Michael J; Carrano, Matthew T; Cranston, Karen A; Donoghue, Philip C J; Head, Jason J; Hermsen, Elizabeth J; Irmis, Randall B; Joyce, Walter G; Kohli, Manpreet; Lamm, Kristin D; Leehr, Dan; Patané, Josés L; Polly, P David; Phillips, Matthew J; Smith, N Adam; Smith, Nathan D; Van Tuinen, Marcel; Ware, Jessica L; Warnock, Rachel C M

    2015-09-01

    Fossils provide the principal basis for temporal calibrations, which are critical to the accuracy of divergence dating analyses. Translating fossil data into minimum and maximum bounds for calibrations is the most important-often least appreciated-step of divergence dating. Properly justified calibrations require the synthesis of phylogenetic, paleontological, and geological evidence and can be difficult for nonspecialists to formulate. The dynamic nature of the fossil record (e.g., new discoveries, taxonomic revisions, updates of global or local stratigraphy) requires that calibration data be updated continually lest they become obsolete. Here, we announce the Fossil Calibration Database (http://fossilcalibrations.org), a new open-access resource providing vetted fossil calibrations to the scientific community. Calibrations accessioned into this database are based on individual fossil specimens and follow best practices for phylogenetic justification and geochronological constraint. The associated Fossil Calibration Series, a calibration-themed publication series at Palaeontologia Electronica, will serve as a key pipeline for peer-reviewed calibrations to enter the database.

  8. The Fossil Calibration Database-A New Resource for Divergence Dating.

    PubMed

    Ksepka, Daniel T; Parham, James F; Allman, James F; Benton, Michael J; Carrano, Matthew T; Cranston, Karen A; Donoghue, Philip C J; Head, Jason J; Hermsen, Elizabeth J; Irmis, Randall B; Joyce, Walter G; Kohli, Manpreet; Lamm, Kristin D; Leehr, Dan; Patané, Josés L; Polly, P David; Phillips, Matthew J; Smith, N Adam; Smith, Nathan D; Van Tuinen, Marcel; Ware, Jessica L; Warnock, Rachel C M

    2015-09-01

    Fossils provide the principal basis for temporal calibrations, which are critical to the accuracy of divergence dating analyses. Translating fossil data into minimum and maximum bounds for calibrations is the most important-often least appreciated-step of divergence dating. Properly justified calibrations require the synthesis of phylogenetic, paleontological, and geological evidence and can be difficult for nonspecialists to formulate. The dynamic nature of the fossil record (e.g., new discoveries, taxonomic revisions, updates of global or local stratigraphy) requires that calibration data be updated continually lest they become obsolete. Here, we announce the Fossil Calibration Database (http://fossilcalibrations.org), a new open-access resource providing vetted fossil calibrations to the scientific community. Calibrations accessioned into this database are based on individual fossil specimens and follow best practices for phylogenetic justification and geochronological constraint. The associated Fossil Calibration Series, a calibration-themed publication series at Palaeontologia Electronica, will serve as a key pipeline for peer-reviewed calibrations to enter the database. PMID:25922515

  9. Corrected placement of Mus-Rattus fossil calibration forces precision in the molecular tree of rodents.

    PubMed

    Kimura, Yuri; Hawkins, Melissa T R; McDonough, Molly M; Jacobs, Louis L; Flynn, Lawrence J

    2015-09-28

    Time calibration derived from the fossil record is essential for molecular phylogenetic and evolutionary studies. Fossil mice and rats, discovered in the Siwalik Group of Pakistan, have served as one of the best-known fossil calibration points in molecular phylogenic studies. Although these fossils have been widely used as the 12 Ma date for the Mus/Rattus split or a more basal split, conclusive paleontological evidence for the nodal assignments has been absent. This study analyzes newly recognized characters that demonstrate lineage separation in the fossil record of Siwalik murines and examines the most reasonable nodal placement of the diverging lineages in a molecular phylogenetic tree by ancestral state reconstruction. Our specimen-based approach strongly indicates that Siwalik murines of the Karnimata clade are fossil members of the Arvicanthini-Otomyini-Millardini clade, which excludes Rattus and its relatives. Combining the new interpretation with the widely accepted hypothesis that the Progonomys clade includes Mus, the lineage separation event in the Siwalik fossil record represents the Mus/Arvicanthis split. Our test analysis on Bayesian age estimates shows that this new calibration point provides more accurate estimates of murine divergence than previous applications. Thus, we define this fossil calibration point and refine two other fossil-based points for molecular dating.

  10. The fossilized birth–death process for coherent calibration of divergence-time estimates

    PubMed Central

    Heath, Tracy A.; Huelsenbeck, John P.; Stadler, Tanja

    2014-01-01

    Time-calibrated species phylogenies are critical for addressing a wide range of questions in evolutionary biology, such as those that elucidate historical biogeography or uncover patterns of coevolution and diversification. Because molecular sequence data are not informative on absolute time, external data—most commonly, fossil age estimates—are required to calibrate estimates of species divergence dates. For Bayesian divergence time methods, the common practice for calibration using fossil information involves placing arbitrarily chosen parametric distributions on internal nodes, often disregarding most of the information in the fossil record. We introduce the “fossilized birth–death” (FBD) process—a model for calibrating divergence time estimates in a Bayesian framework, explicitly acknowledging that extant species and fossils are part of the same macroevolutionary process. Under this model, absolute node age estimates are calibrated by a single diversification model and arbitrary calibration densities are not necessary. Moreover, the FBD model allows for inclusion of all available fossils. We performed analyses of simulated data and show that node age estimation under the FBD model results in robust and accurate estimates of species divergence times with realistic measures of statistical uncertainty, overcoming major limitations of standard divergence time estimation methods. We used this model to estimate the speciation times for a dataset composed of all living bears, indicating that the genus Ursus diversified in the Late Miocene to Middle Pliocene. PMID:25009181

  11. Local molecular clocks in three nuclear genes: divergence times for rodents and other mammals and incompatibility among fossil calibrations.

    PubMed

    Douzery, Emmanuel J P; Delsuc, Frédéric; Stanhope, Michael J; Huchon, Dorothée

    2003-01-01

    Reconstructing the chronology of mammalian evolution is a debated issue between molecule- and fossil-based inferences. A methodological limitation of molecules is the evolutionary rate variation among lineages, precluding the application of the global molecular clock. We considered 2422 first and second codon positions of the combined ADRA2B, IRBP, and vWF nuclear genes for a well-documented set of placentals including an extensive sampling of rodents. Using seven independent calibration points and a maximum-likelihood framework, we evaluated whether molecular and paleontological estimates of mammalian divergence dates may be reconciled by the local molecular clocks approach, allowing local constancy of substitution rates with variations at larger phylogenetic scales. To handle the difficulty of choosing among all possible rate assignments for various lineages, local molecular clocks were based on the results of branch-length and two-cluster tests. Extensive lineage-specific variation of evolutionary rates was detected, even among rodents. Cross-calibrations indicated some incompatibilities between divergence dates based on different paleontological references. To decrease the impact of a single calibration point, estimates derived from independent calibrations displaying only slight reciprocal incompatibility were averaged. The divergence dates inferred for the split between mice and rats (approximately 13-19 Myr) was younger than previously published molecular estimates. The most recent common ancestors of rodents, primates and rodents, boreoeutherians, and placentals were estimated to be, respectively, approximately 60, 70, 75, and 78 Myr old. Global clocks, local clocks, and quartet dating analyses suggested a Late Cretaceous origin of the crown placental clades followed by a Tertiary radiation of some placental orders like rodents.

  12. Genomic fossils calibrate the long-term evolution of hepadnaviruses.

    PubMed

    Gilbert, Clément; Feschotte, Cédric

    2010-09-28

    Because most extant viruses mutate rapidly and lack a true fossil record, their deep evolution and long-term substitution rates remain poorly understood. In addition to retroviruses, which rely on chromosomal integration for their replication, many other viruses replicate in the nucleus of their host's cells and are therefore prone to endogenization, a process that involves integration of viral DNA into the host's germline genome followed by long-term vertical inheritance. Such endogenous viruses are highly valuable as they provide a molecular fossil record of past viral invasions, which may be used to decipher the origins and long-term evolutionary characteristics of modern pathogenic viruses. Hepadnaviruses (Hepadnaviridae) are a family of small, partially double-stranded DNA viruses that include hepatitis B viruses. Here we report the discovery of endogenous hepadnaviruses in the genome of the zebra finch. We used a combination of cross-species analysis of orthologous insertions, molecular dating, and phylogenetic analyses to demonstrate that hepadnaviruses infiltrated repeatedly the germline genome of passerine birds. We provide evidence that some of the avian hepadnavirus integration events are at least 19 My old, which reveals a much deeper ancestry of Hepadnaviridae than could be inferred based on the coalescence times of modern hepadnaviruses. Furthermore, the remarkable sequence similarity between endogenous and extant avian hepadnaviruses (up to 75% identity) suggests that long-term substitution rates for these viruses are on the order of 10(-8) substitutions per site per year, which is a 1,000-fold slower than short-term rates estimated based on the sequences of circulating hepadnaviruses. Together, these results imply a drastic shift in our understanding of the time scale of hepadnavirus evolution, and suggest that the rapid evolutionary dynamics characterizing modern avian hepadnaviruses do not reflect their mode of evolution on a deep time scale.

  13. Genomic Fossils Calibrate the Long-Term Evolution of Hepadnaviruses

    PubMed Central

    Gilbert, Clément; Feschotte, Cédric

    2010-01-01

    Because most extant viruses mutate rapidly and lack a true fossil record, their deep evolution and long-term substitution rates remain poorly understood. In addition to retroviruses, which rely on chromosomal integration for their replication, many other viruses replicate in the nucleus of their host's cells and are therefore prone to endogenization, a process that involves integration of viral DNA into the host's germline genome followed by long-term vertical inheritance. Such endogenous viruses are highly valuable as they provide a molecular fossil record of past viral invasions, which may be used to decipher the origins and long-term evolutionary characteristics of modern pathogenic viruses. Hepadnaviruses (Hepadnaviridae) are a family of small, partially double-stranded DNA viruses that include hepatitis B viruses. Here we report the discovery of endogenous hepadnaviruses in the genome of the zebra finch. We used a combination of cross-species analysis of orthologous insertions, molecular dating, and phylogenetic analyses to demonstrate that hepadnaviruses infiltrated repeatedly the germline genome of passerine birds. We provide evidence that some of the avian hepadnavirus integration events are at least 19 My old, which reveals a much deeper ancestry of Hepadnaviridae than could be inferred based on the coalescence times of modern hepadnaviruses. Furthermore, the remarkable sequence similarity between endogenous and extant avian hepadnaviruses (up to 75% identity) suggests that long-term substitution rates for these viruses are on the order of 10−8 substitutions per site per year, which is a 1,000-fold slower than short-term rates estimated based on the sequences of circulating hepadnaviruses. Together, these results imply a drastic shift in our understanding of the time scale of hepadnavirus evolution, and suggest that the rapid evolutionary dynamics characterizing modern avian hepadnaviruses do not reflect their mode of evolution on a deep time scale. PMID

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. Are pollen fossils useful for calibrating relaxed molecular clock dating of phylogenies? A comparative study using Myrtaceae.

    PubMed

    Thornhill, Andrew H; Popple, Lindsay W; Carter, Richard J; Ho, Simon Y W; Crisp, Michael D

    2012-04-01

    The identification and application of reliable fossil calibrations represents a key component of many molecular studies of evolutionary timescales. In studies of plants, most paleontological calibrations are associated with macrofossils. However, the pollen record can also inform age calibrations if fossils matching extant pollen groups are found. Recent work has shown that pollen of the myrtle family, Myrtaceae, can be classified into a number of morphological groups that are synapomorphic with molecular groups. By assembling a data matrix of pollen morphological characters from extant and fossil Myrtaceae, we were able to measure the fit of 26 pollen fossils to a molecular phylogenetic tree using parsimony optimisation of characters. We identified eight Myrtaceidites fossils as appropriate for calibration based on the most parsimonious placements of these fossils on the tree. These fossils were used to inform age constraints in a Bayesian phylogenetic analysis of a sequence alignment comprising two sequences from the chloroplast genome (matK and ndhF) and one nuclear locus (ITS), sampled from 106 taxa representing 80 genera. Three additional analyses were calibrated by placing pollen fossils using geographic and morphological information (eight calibrations), macrofossils (five calibrations), and macrofossils and pollen fossils in combination (12 calibrations). The addition of new fossil pollen calibrations led to older crown ages than have previously been found for tribes such as Eucalypteae and Myrteae. Estimates of rate variation among lineages were affected by the choice of calibrations, suggesting that the use of multiple calibrations can improve estimates of rate heterogeneity among lineages. This study illustrates the potential of including pollen-based calibrations in molecular studies of divergence times.

  17. Xenopus in Space and Time: Fossils, Node Calibrations, Tip-Dating, and Paleobiogeography.

    PubMed

    Cannatella, David

    2015-01-01

    Published data from DNA sequences, morphology of 11 extant and 15 extinct frog taxa, and stratigraphic ranges of fossils were integrated to open a window into the deep-time evolution of Xenopus. The ages and morphological characters of fossils were used as independent datasets to calibrate a chronogram. We found that DNA sequences, either alone or in combination with morphological data and fossils, tended to support a close relationship between Xenopus and Hymenochirus, although in some analyses this topology was not significantly better than the Pipa + Hymenochirus topology. Analyses that excluded DNA data found strong support for the Pipa + Hymenochirus tree. The criterion for selecting the maximum age of the calibration prior influenced the age estimates, and our age estimates of early divergences in the tree of frogs are substantially younger than those of published studies. Node-dating and tip-dating calibrations, either alone or in combination, yielded older dates for nodes than did a root calibration alone. Our estimates of divergence times indicate that overwater dispersal, rather than vicariance due to the splitting of Africa and South America, may explain the presence of Xenopus in Africa and its closest fossil relatives in South America.

  18. Testing the impact of calibration on molecular divergence times using a fossil-rich group: the case of Nothofagus (Fagales).

    PubMed

    Sauquet, Hervé; Ho, Simon Y W; Gandolfo, Maria A; Jordan, Gregory J; Wilf, Peter; Cantrill, David J; Bayly, Michael J; Bromham, Lindell; Brown, Gillian K; Carpenter, Raymond J; Lee, Daphne M; Murphy, Daniel J; Sniderman, J M Kale; Udovicic, Frank

    2012-03-01

    Although temporal calibration is widely recognized as critical for obtaining accurate divergence-time estimates using molecular dating methods, few studies have evaluated the variation resulting from different calibration strategies. Depending on the information available, researchers have often used primary calibrations from the fossil record or secondary calibrations from previous molecular dating studies. In analyses of flowering plants, primary calibration data can be obtained from macro- and mesofossils (e.g., leaves, flowers, and fruits) or microfossils (e.g., pollen). Fossil data can vary substantially in accuracy and precision, presenting a difficult choice when selecting appropriate calibrations. Here, we test the impact of eight plausible calibration scenarios for Nothofagus (Nothofagaceae, Fagales), a plant genus with a particularly rich and well-studied fossil record. To do so, we reviewed the phylogenetic placement and geochronology of 38 fossil taxa of Nothofagus and other Fagales, and we identified minimum age constraints for up to 18 nodes of the phylogeny of Fagales. Molecular dating analyses were conducted for each scenario using maximum likelihood (RAxML + r8s) and Bayesian (BEAST) approaches on sequence data from six regions of the chloroplast and nuclear genomes. Using either ingroup or outgroup constraints, or both, led to similar age estimates, except near strongly influential calibration nodes. Using "early but risky" fossil constraints in addition to "safe but late" constraints, or using assumptions of vicariance instead of fossil constraints, led to older age estimates. In contrast, using secondary calibration points yielded drastically younger age estimates. This empirical study highlights the critical influence of calibration on molecular dating analyses. Even in a best-case situation, with many thoroughly vetted fossils available, substantial uncertainties can remain in the estimates of divergence times. For example, our estimates for

  19. A multi-calibrated mitochondrial phylogeny of extant Bovidae (Artiodactyla, Ruminantia) and the importance of the fossil record to systematics

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Molecular phylogenetics has provided unprecedented resolution in the ruminant evolutionary tree. However, molecular age estimates using only one or a few (often misapplied) fossil calibration points have produced a diversity of conflicting ages for important evolutionary events within this clade. I here identify 16 fossil calibration points of relevance to the phylogeny of Bovidae and Ruminantia and use these, individually and together, to construct a dated molecular phylogeny through a reanalysis of the full mitochondrial genome of over 100 ruminant species. Results The new multi-calibrated tree provides ages that are younger overall than found in previous studies. Among these are young ages for the origin of crown Ruminantia (39.3–28.8 Ma), and crown Bovidae (17.3–15.1 Ma). These are argued to be reasonable hypotheses given that many basal fossils assigned to these taxa may in fact lie on the stem groups leading to the crown clades, thus inflating previous age estimates. Areas of conflict between molecular and fossil dates do persist, however, especially with regard to the base of the rapid Pecoran radiation and the sister relationship of Moschidae to Bovidae. Results of the single-calibrated analyses also show that a very wide range of molecular age estimates are obtainable using different calibration points, and that the choice of calibration point can influence the topology of the resulting tree. Compared to the single-calibrated trees, the multi-calibrated tree exhibits smaller variance in estimated ages and better reflects the fossil record. Conclusions The use of a large number of vetted fossil calibration points with soft bounds is promoted as a better approach than using just one or a few calibrations, or relying on internal-congruency metrics to discard good fossil data. This study also highlights the importance of considering morphological and ecological characteristics of clades when delimiting higher taxa. I also illustrate how

  20. A simple method for estimating informative node age priors for the fossil calibration of molecular divergence time analyses.

    PubMed

    Nowak, Michael D; Smith, Andrew B; Simpson, Carl; Zwickl, Derrick J

    2013-01-01

    Molecular divergence time analyses often rely on the age of fossil lineages to calibrate node age estimates. Most divergence time analyses are now performed in a Bayesian framework, where fossil calibrations are incorporated as parametric prior probabilities on node ages. It is widely accepted that an ideal parameterization of such node age prior probabilities should be based on a comprehensive analysis of the fossil record of the clade of interest, but there is currently no generally applicable approach for calculating such informative priors. We provide here a simple and easily implemented method that employs fossil data to estimate the likely amount of missing history prior to the oldest fossil occurrence of a clade, which can be used to fit an informative parametric prior probability distribution on a node age. Specifically, our method uses the extant diversity and the stratigraphic distribution of fossil lineages confidently assigned to a clade to fit a branching model of lineage diversification. Conditioning this on a simple model of fossil preservation, we estimate the likely amount of missing history prior to the oldest fossil occurrence of a clade. The likelihood surface of missing history can then be translated into a parametric prior probability distribution on the age of the clade of interest. We show that the method performs well with simulated fossil distribution data, but that the likelihood surface of missing history can at times be too complex for the distribution-fitting algorithm employed by our software tool. An empirical example of the application of our method is performed to estimate echinoid node ages. A simulation-based sensitivity analysis using the echinoid data set shows that node age prior distributions estimated under poor preservation rates are significantly less informative than those estimated under high preservation rates.

  1. An evaluation of fossil tip-dating versus node-age calibrations in tetraodontiform fishes (Teleostei: Percomorphaceae).

    PubMed

    Arcila, Dahiana; Alexander Pyron, R; Tyler, James C; Ortí, Guillermo; Betancur-R, Ricardo

    2015-01-01

    Time-calibrated phylogenies based on molecular data provide a framework for comparative studies. Calibration methods to combine fossil information with molecular phylogenies are, however, under active development, often generating disagreement about the best way to incorporate paleontological data into these analyses. This study provides an empirical comparison of the most widely used approach based on node-dating priors for relaxed clocks implemented in the programs BEAST and MrBayes, with two recently proposed improvements: one using a new fossilized birth-death process model for node dating (implemented in the program DPPDiv), and the other using a total-evidence or tip-dating method (implemented in MrBayes and BEAST). These methods are applied herein to tetraodontiform fishes, a diverse group of living and extinct taxa that features one of the most extensive fossil records among teleosts. Previous estimates of time-calibrated phylogenies of tetraodontiforms using node-dating methods reported disparate estimates for their age of origin, ranging from the late Jurassic to the early Paleocene (ca. 150-59Ma). We analyzed a comprehensive dataset with 16 loci and 210 morphological characters, including 131 taxa (95 extant and 36 fossil species) representing all families of fossil and extant tetraodontiforms, under different molecular clock calibration approaches. Results from node-dating methods produced consistently younger ages than the tip-dating approaches. The older ages inferred by tip dating imply an unlikely early-late Jurassic (ca. 185-119Ma) origin for this order and the existence of extended ghost lineages in their fossil record. Node-based methods, by contrast, produce time estimates that are more consistent with the stratigraphic record, suggesting a late Cretaceous (ca. 86-96Ma) origin. We show that the precision of clade age estimates using tip dating increases with the number of fossils analyzed and with the proximity of fossil taxa to the node under

  2. An evaluation of fossil tip-dating versus node-age calibrations in tetraodontiform fishes (Teleostei: Percomorphaceae).

    PubMed

    Arcila, Dahiana; Alexander Pyron, R; Tyler, James C; Ortí, Guillermo; Betancur-R, Ricardo

    2015-01-01

    Time-calibrated phylogenies based on molecular data provide a framework for comparative studies. Calibration methods to combine fossil information with molecular phylogenies are, however, under active development, often generating disagreement about the best way to incorporate paleontological data into these analyses. This study provides an empirical comparison of the most widely used approach based on node-dating priors for relaxed clocks implemented in the programs BEAST and MrBayes, with two recently proposed improvements: one using a new fossilized birth-death process model for node dating (implemented in the program DPPDiv), and the other using a total-evidence or tip-dating method (implemented in MrBayes and BEAST). These methods are applied herein to tetraodontiform fishes, a diverse group of living and extinct taxa that features one of the most extensive fossil records among teleosts. Previous estimates of time-calibrated phylogenies of tetraodontiforms using node-dating methods reported disparate estimates for their age of origin, ranging from the late Jurassic to the early Paleocene (ca. 150-59Ma). We analyzed a comprehensive dataset with 16 loci and 210 morphological characters, including 131 taxa (95 extant and 36 fossil species) representing all families of fossil and extant tetraodontiforms, under different molecular clock calibration approaches. Results from node-dating methods produced consistently younger ages than the tip-dating approaches. The older ages inferred by tip dating imply an unlikely early-late Jurassic (ca. 185-119Ma) origin for this order and the existence of extended ghost lineages in their fossil record. Node-based methods, by contrast, produce time estimates that are more consistent with the stratigraphic record, suggesting a late Cretaceous (ca. 86-96Ma) origin. We show that the precision of clade age estimates using tip dating increases with the number of fossils analyzed and with the proximity of fossil taxa to the node under

  3. The effects of fossil placement and calibration on divergence times and rates: an example from the termites (Insecta: Isoptera).

    PubMed

    Ware, Jessica L; Grimaldi, David A; Engel, Michael S

    2010-01-01

    Among insects, eusocial behavior occurs in termites, ants, some bees and wasps. Isoptera and Hymenoptera convergently share social behavior, and for both taxa its evolution remains poorly understood. While dating analyses provide researchers with the opportunity to date the origin of eusociality, fossil calibration methodology may mislead subsequent ecological interpretations. Using a comprehensive termite dataset, we explored the effect of fossil placement and calibration methodology. A combined molecular and morphological dataset for 42 extant termite lineages was used, and a second dataset including these 42 taxa, plus an additional 39 fossil lineages for which we had only morphological data. MrBayes doublet-model analyses recovered similar topologies, with one minor exception (Stolotermitidae is sister to the Hodotermitidae, s.s., in the 42-taxon analysis but is in a polytomy with Hodotermitidae and (Kalotermitidae + Neoisoptera) in the 81-taxon analysis). Analyses using the r8s program on these topologies were run with either minimum/maximum constraints (analysis a = 42-taxon and analysis c = 81-taxon analyses) or with the fossil taxon ages fixed (ages fixed to be the geological age of the deposit from which they came, analysis b = 81-taxon analysis). Confidence intervals were determined for the resulting ultrametric trees, and for most major clades there was significant overlap between dates recovered for analyses A and C (with exceptions, such as the nodes Neoisoptera, and Euisoptera). With the exception of isopteran and eusiopteran node ages, however, none of the major clade ages overlapped when analysis B is compared with either analysis A or C. Future studies on Dictyoptera should note that the age of Kalotermitidae was underestimated in absence of kalotermitid fossils with fixed ages.

  4. Phylogenetic Analysis of Pelecaniformes (Aves) Based on Osteological Data: Implications for Waterbird Phylogeny and Fossil Calibration Studies

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Nathan D.

    2010-01-01

    Background Debate regarding the monophyly and relationships of the avian order Pelecaniformes represents a classic example of discord between morphological and molecular estimates of phylogeny. This lack of consensus hampers interpretation of the group's fossil record, which has major implications for understanding patterns of character evolution (e.g., the evolution of wing-propelled diving) and temporal diversification (e.g., the origins of modern families). Relationships of the Pelecaniformes were inferred through parsimony analyses of an osteological dataset encompassing 59 taxa and 464 characters. The relationships of the Plotopteridae, an extinct family of wing-propelled divers, and several other fossil pelecaniforms (Limnofregata, Prophaethon, Lithoptila, ?Borvocarbo stoeffelensis) were also assessed. The antiquity of these taxa and their purported status as stem members of extant families makes them valuable for studies of higher-level avian diversification. Methodology/Principal Findings Pelecaniform monophyly is not recovered, with Phaethontidae recovered as distantly related to all other pelecaniforms, which are supported as a monophyletic Steganopodes. Some anatomical partitions of the dataset possess different phylogenetic signals, and partitioned analyses reveal that these discrepancies are localized outside of Steganopodes, and primarily due to a few labile taxa. The Plotopteridae are recovered as the sister taxon to Phalacrocoracoidea, and the relationships of other fossil pelecaniforms representing key calibration points are well supported, including Limnofregata (sister taxon to Fregatidae), Prophaethon and Lithoptila (successive sister taxa to Phaethontidae), and ?Borvocarbo stoeffelensis (sister taxon to Phalacrocoracidae). These relationships are invariant when ‘backbone’ constraints based on recent avian phylogenies are imposed. Conclusions/Significance Relationships of extant pelecaniforms inferred from morphology are more congruent with

  5. A reappraisal of the evolution of Asian snakehead fishes (Pisces, Channidae) using molecular data from multiple genes and fossil calibration.

    PubMed

    Adamson, Eleanor A S; Hurwood, David A; Mather, Peter B

    2010-08-01

    Freshwater snakehead fishes (Channidae) provide an interesting target for phylogenetic analysis for the following reasons, their unusual biology, potential for cryptic diversity and availability of a good fossil record. Here, a multi-locus molecular phylogeny was constructed and calibrated using two fossil dates to estimate divergence times within the family. Sampling aimed to explore interspecific divergence of Channa species across Southeast Asia and intra-specific variation where species possessed natural geographical ranges that were extensive. Results contradict divergence times estimated previously independently from single locus mitochondrial data or the fossil record and suggest that after divergence from African taxa 40-50 Ma, evolution of Asian snakeheads has been heavily influenced by multiple broad scale dispersal events across India and Southeast Asia. A similar pattern of divergence within multiple clades suggests that west-east dispersal was limited for many taxa during the Miocene. Deep intra-specific divergence was inferred for C. striata, indicating that long historical periods of isolation ( approximately 8Ma) have not resulted in the evolution of reproductive isolation within this species. Results support suggestions that C. marulia like fishes in northern Cambodia may constitute an undescribed species, and that Indian C. diplogramma warrants taxonomic recognition as being distinct from Southeast Asian C. micropeltes, with the two taxa last sharing a common ancestor in the mid- to late-Miocene. PMID:20359539

  6. A reappraisal of the evolution of Asian snakehead fishes (Pisces, Channidae) using molecular data from multiple genes and fossil calibration.

    PubMed

    Adamson, Eleanor A S; Hurwood, David A; Mather, Peter B

    2010-08-01

    Freshwater snakehead fishes (Channidae) provide an interesting target for phylogenetic analysis for the following reasons, their unusual biology, potential for cryptic diversity and availability of a good fossil record. Here, a multi-locus molecular phylogeny was constructed and calibrated using two fossil dates to estimate divergence times within the family. Sampling aimed to explore interspecific divergence of Channa species across Southeast Asia and intra-specific variation where species possessed natural geographical ranges that were extensive. Results contradict divergence times estimated previously independently from single locus mitochondrial data or the fossil record and suggest that after divergence from African taxa 40-50 Ma, evolution of Asian snakeheads has been heavily influenced by multiple broad scale dispersal events across India and Southeast Asia. A similar pattern of divergence within multiple clades suggests that west-east dispersal was limited for many taxa during the Miocene. Deep intra-specific divergence was inferred for C. striata, indicating that long historical periods of isolation ( approximately 8Ma) have not resulted in the evolution of reproductive isolation within this species. Results support suggestions that C. marulia like fishes in northern Cambodia may constitute an undescribed species, and that Indian C. diplogramma warrants taxonomic recognition as being distinct from Southeast Asian C. micropeltes, with the two taxa last sharing a common ancestor in the mid- to late-Miocene.

  7. Colonization and diversification in the African 'sky islands': insights from fossil-calibrated molecular dating of Lychnis (Caryophyllaceae).

    PubMed

    Gizaw, Abel; Brochmann, Christian; Nemomissa, Sileshi; Wondimu, Tigist; Masao, Catherine Aloyce; Tusiime, Felly Mugizi; Abdi, Ahmed Abdikadir; Oxelman, Bengt; Popp, Magnus; Dimitrov, Dimitar

    2016-07-01

    The flora on the isolated high African mountains or 'sky islands' is remarkable for its peculiar adaptations, local endemism and striking biogeographical connections to remote parts of the world. Ages of the plant lineages and the timing of their radiations have frequently been debated but remain contentious as there are few estimates based on explicit models and fossil-calibrated molecular clocks. We used the plastid region maturaseK (matK) and a Caryophylloflora paleogenica fossil to infer the age of the genus Lychnis, and constructed a data set of three plastid (matK; a ribosomal protein S16 (rps16); and an intergenic spacer (psbE-petL)) and two nuclear (internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and a region spanning exon 18-24 in the second largest subunit of RNA polymerase II (RPB2)) loci for joint estimation of the species tree and divergence time of the African representatives. The time of divergence of the African high-altitude Lychnis was placed in the late Miocene to early Pliocene. A single speciation event was inferred in the early Pliocene; subsequent speciation took place sporadically from the late Pliocene to the middle Pleistocene. We provide further support for a Eurasian origin of the African 'sky islands' floral elements, which seem to have been recruited via dispersals at different times: some old, as in Lychnis, and others very recent. We show that dispersal and diversification within Africa play an important role in shaping these isolated plant communities. PMID:27037925

  8. Bayesian inference of sampled ancestor trees for epidemiology and fossil calibration.

    PubMed

    Gavryushkina, Alexandra; Welch, David; Stadler, Tanja; Drummond, Alexei J

    2014-12-01

    Phylogenetic analyses which include fossils or molecular sequences that are sampled through time require models that allow one sample to be a direct ancestor of another sample. As previously available phylogenetic inference tools assume that all samples are tips, they do not allow for this possibility. We have developed and implemented a Bayesian Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) algorithm to infer what we call sampled ancestor trees, that is, trees in which sampled individuals can be direct ancestors of other sampled individuals. We use a family of birth-death models where individuals may remain in the tree process after sampling, in particular we extend the birth-death skyline model [Stadler et al., 2013] to sampled ancestor trees. This method allows the detection of sampled ancestors as well as estimation of the probability that an individual will be removed from the process when it is sampled. We show that even if sampled ancestors are not of specific interest in an analysis, failing to account for them leads to significant bias in parameter estimates. We also show that sampled ancestor birth-death models where every sample comes from a different time point are non-identifiable and thus require one parameter to be known in order to infer other parameters. We apply our phylogenetic inference accounting for sampled ancestors to epidemiological data, where the possibility of sampled ancestors enables us to identify individuals that infected other individuals after being sampled and to infer fundamental epidemiological parameters. We also apply the method to infer divergence times and diversification rates when fossils are included along with extant species samples, so that fossilisation events are modelled as a part of the tree branching process. Such modelling has many advantages as argued in the literature. The sampler is available as an open-source BEAST2 package (https://github.com/CompEvol/sampled-ancestors). PMID:25474353

  9. Bayesian Inference of Sampled Ancestor Trees for Epidemiology and Fossil Calibration

    PubMed Central

    Gavryushkina, Alexandra; Welch, David; Stadler, Tanja; Drummond, Alexei J.

    2014-01-01

    Phylogenetic analyses which include fossils or molecular sequences that are sampled through time require models that allow one sample to be a direct ancestor of another sample. As previously available phylogenetic inference tools assume that all samples are tips, they do not allow for this possibility. We have developed and implemented a Bayesian Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) algorithm to infer what we call sampled ancestor trees, that is, trees in which sampled individuals can be direct ancestors of other sampled individuals. We use a family of birth-death models where individuals may remain in the tree process after sampling, in particular we extend the birth-death skyline model [Stadler et al., 2013] to sampled ancestor trees. This method allows the detection of sampled ancestors as well as estimation of the probability that an individual will be removed from the process when it is sampled. We show that even if sampled ancestors are not of specific interest in an analysis, failing to account for them leads to significant bias in parameter estimates. We also show that sampled ancestor birth-death models where every sample comes from a different time point are non-identifiable and thus require one parameter to be known in order to infer other parameters. We apply our phylogenetic inference accounting for sampled ancestors to epidemiological data, where the possibility of sampled ancestors enables us to identify individuals that infected other individuals after being sampled and to infer fundamental epidemiological parameters. We also apply the method to infer divergence times and diversification rates when fossils are included along with extant species samples, so that fossilisation events are modelled as a part of the tree branching process. Such modelling has many advantages as argued in the literature. The sampler is available as an open-source BEAST2 package (https://github.com/CompEvol/sampled-ancestors). PMID:25474353

  10. A rich fossil record yields calibrated phylogeny for Acanthaceae (Lamiales) and evidence for marked biases in timing and directionality of intercontinental disjunctions.

    PubMed

    Tripp, Erin A; McDade, Lucinda A

    2014-09-01

    More than a decade of phylogenetic research has yielded a well-sampled, strongly supported hypothesis of relationships within the large ( > 4000 species) plant family Acanthaceae. This hypothesis points to intriguing biogeographic patterns and asymmetries in sister clade diversity but, absent a time-calibrated estimate for this evolutionary history, these patterns have remained unexplored. Here, we reconstruct divergence times within Acanthaceae using fossils as calibration points and experimenting with both fossil selection and effects of invoking a maximum age prior related to the origin of Eudicots. Contrary to earlier reports of a paucity of fossils of Lamiales (an order of ∼ 23,000 species that includes Acanthaceae) and to the expectation that a largely herbaceous to soft-wooded and tropical lineage would have few fossils, we recovered 51 reports of fossil Acanthaceae. Rigorous evaluation of these for accurate identification, quality of age assessment and utility in dating yielded eight fossils judged to merit inclusion in analyses. With nearly 10 kb of DNA sequence data, we used two sets of fossils as constraints to reconstruct divergence times. We demonstrate differences in age estimates depending on fossil selection and that enforcement of maximum age priors substantially alters estimated clade ages, especially in analyses that utilize a smaller rather than larger set of fossils. Our results suggest that long-distance dispersal events explain present-day distributions better than do Gondwanan or northern land bridge hypotheses. This biogeographical conclusion is for the most part robust to alternative calibration schemes. Our data support a minimum of 13 Old World (OW) to New World (NW) dispersal events but, intriguingly, only one in the reverse direction. Eleven of these 13 were among Acanthaceae s.s., which comprises > 90% of species diversity in the family. Remarkably, if minimum age estimates approximate true history, these 11 events occurred within

  11. Multi-locus fossil-calibrated phylogeny, biogeography and a subgeneric revision of the Margaritiferidae (Mollusca: Bivalvia: Unionoida).

    PubMed

    Bolotov, Ivan N; Vikhrev, Ilya V; Bespalaya, Yulia V; Gofarov, Mikhail Y; Kondakov, Alexander V; Konopleva, Ekaterina S; Bolotov, Nikita N; Lyubas, Artyom A

    2016-10-01

    The taxonomy and biogeographic history of the bivalve family Margaritiferidae are controversial because previous molecular studies did not provide a well-resolved phylogenetic framework for these enigmatic freshwater mussels that have extensive but disjunct distribution in North America, Eurasia and North Africa. In this study, we present a new, fossil-calibrated phylogenetic hypothesis based on five molecular markers (∼4kb of total length) for ten species. Our results indicate that all recent margaritiferids are in the single genus, Margaritifera Schumacher, 1816. Additionally, we identified three relatively well-supported phylogenetic clades that are valid subgenera, i.e., Margaritifera s. str. (Holarctic), Margaritanopsis (=Cumberlandia) (southeast North America-southeast Asia disjunct) and Pseudunio (Mediterranean). We suggest that the crown lineage of the Margaritiferidae most likely originated in the Cretaceous (mean age 93Ma, 95% CI 66-126Ma). The combined results of ancestral area reconstructions based on the three different approaches (S-DIVA, DEC and S-DEC) showed that ancient vicariance events could have played an important role in speciation within the family. The rates of mitochondrial evolution of margaritiferids are notably slow, which may be associated with their longevity, long generation time and low metabolic rates. Our findings highlight the complex biogeographic history of the Margaritiferidae as an intermixing of ancient vicariance and dispersal events, which were most likely associated with some inland barriers, continental movements and a sea level dynamic.

  12. Multi-locus fossil-calibrated phylogeny, biogeography and a subgeneric revision of the Margaritiferidae (Mollusca: Bivalvia: Unionoida).

    PubMed

    Bolotov, Ivan N; Vikhrev, Ilya V; Bespalaya, Yulia V; Gofarov, Mikhail Y; Kondakov, Alexander V; Konopleva, Ekaterina S; Bolotov, Nikita N; Lyubas, Artyom A

    2016-10-01

    The taxonomy and biogeographic history of the bivalve family Margaritiferidae are controversial because previous molecular studies did not provide a well-resolved phylogenetic framework for these enigmatic freshwater mussels that have extensive but disjunct distribution in North America, Eurasia and North Africa. In this study, we present a new, fossil-calibrated phylogenetic hypothesis based on five molecular markers (∼4kb of total length) for ten species. Our results indicate that all recent margaritiferids are in the single genus, Margaritifera Schumacher, 1816. Additionally, we identified three relatively well-supported phylogenetic clades that are valid subgenera, i.e., Margaritifera s. str. (Holarctic), Margaritanopsis (=Cumberlandia) (southeast North America-southeast Asia disjunct) and Pseudunio (Mediterranean). We suggest that the crown lineage of the Margaritiferidae most likely originated in the Cretaceous (mean age 93Ma, 95% CI 66-126Ma). The combined results of ancestral area reconstructions based on the three different approaches (S-DIVA, DEC and S-DEC) showed that ancient vicariance events could have played an important role in speciation within the family. The rates of mitochondrial evolution of margaritiferids are notably slow, which may be associated with their longevity, long generation time and low metabolic rates. Our findings highlight the complex biogeographic history of the Margaritiferidae as an intermixing of ancient vicariance and dispersal events, which were most likely associated with some inland barriers, continental movements and a sea level dynamic. PMID:27444710

  13. Resolving and dating the phylogeny of Cornales--Effects of taxon sampling, data partitions, and fossil calibrations.

    PubMed

    Xiang, Qiu-Yun Jenny; Thomas, David T; Xiang, Qiao Ping

    2011-04-01

    The order Cornales descends from the earliest split in the Asterid clade of flowering plants. Despite a few phylogenetic studies, relationships among families within Cornales remain unclear. In the present study, we increased taxon and character sampling to further resolve the relationships and to date the early diversification events of the order. We conducted phylogenetic analyses of sequence data from 26S rDNA and six chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) regions using parsimony (MP), maximum likelihood (ML), and Bayesian inference (BI) methods with different partition models and different data sets. We employed relaxed, uncorrelated molecular clocks on BEAST to date the phylogeny and examined the effects of different taxon sampling, fossil calibration, and data partitions. Our results from ML and BI analyses of the combined cpDNA sequences and combined cpDNA and 26S rDNA data suggested the monophyly of each family and the following familial relationships ((Cornaceae-Alangiaceae)-(Curtisiaceae-Grubbiaceae))-(((Nyssaceae-Davidiaceae)-Mastixiaceae)-((Hydrostachyaceae-(Hydrangeaceae-Loasaceae))). These relationships were strongly supported by posterior probability and bootstrap values, except for the sister relationship between the N-D-M and H-H-L clades. The 26S rDNA data and some MP trees from cpDNA and total evidence suggested some alternative alignments for Hydrostachyaceae within Cornales, but results of SH tests indicated that these trees were significantly worse explanations of the total data. Phylogenetic dating with simultaneous calibration of multiple nodes suggested that the crown group of Cornales originated around the middle Cretaceous and rapidly radiated into several major clades. The origins of most families dated back to the late Cretaceous except for Curtisiaceae and Grubbiaceae which may have diverged in the very early Tertiary. We found that reducing sampling density within families and analyzing partitioned data sets from coding and noncoding cpDNA, 26S r

  14. New Eocene Coleoid (Cephalopoda) Diversity from Statolith Remains: Taxonomic Assignation, Fossil Record Analysis, and New Data for Calibrating Molecular Phylogenies

    PubMed Central

    Neige, Pascal; Lapierre, Hervé; Merle, Didier

    2016-01-01

    New coleoid cephalopods are described from statolith remains from the Middle Eocene (Middle Lutetian) of the Paris Basin. Fifteen fossil statoliths are identified and assigned to the Sepiidae (Sepia boletzkyi sp. nov.,? Sepia pira sp. nov.), Loliginidae (Loligo clarkei sp. nov.), and Ommastrephidae (genus indet.) families. The sediments containing these fossils indicate permanent aquatic settings in the infralittoral domain. These sediments range in age from 46 Mya to 43 Mya. Analysis of the fossil record of statoliths (from findings described here, together with a review of previously published data) indicates marked biases in our knowledge. Fossil statoliths are known from as far back as the Early Jurassic (199.3 to 190.8 Mya) but surprisingly, to the best of our knowledge, no record occurs in the Cretaceous. This is a “knowledge bias” and clearly calls for further studies. Finally, we attempt to compare findings described here with fossils previously used to constrain divergence and/or diversification ages of some coleoid subclades in molecular phylogenies. This comparison clearly indicates that the new records detailed here will challenge some estimated divergence times of coleoid cephalopod subclades. PMID:27192490

  15. New Eocene Coleoid (Cephalopoda) Diversity from Statolith Remains: Taxonomic Assignation, Fossil Record Analysis, and New Data for Calibrating Molecular Phylogenies.

    PubMed

    Neige, Pascal; Lapierre, Hervé; Merle, Didier

    2016-01-01

    New coleoid cephalopods are described from statolith remains from the Middle Eocene (Middle Lutetian) of the Paris Basin. Fifteen fossil statoliths are identified and assigned to the Sepiidae (Sepia boletzkyi sp. nov.,? Sepia pira sp. nov.), Loliginidae (Loligo clarkei sp. nov.), and Ommastrephidae (genus indet.) families. The sediments containing these fossils indicate permanent aquatic settings in the infralittoral domain. These sediments range in age from 46 Mya to 43 Mya. Analysis of the fossil record of statoliths (from findings described here, together with a review of previously published data) indicates marked biases in our knowledge. Fossil statoliths are known from as far back as the Early Jurassic (199.3 to 190.8 Mya) but surprisingly, to the best of our knowledge, no record occurs in the Cretaceous. This is a "knowledge bias" and clearly calls for further studies. Finally, we attempt to compare findings described here with fossils previously used to constrain divergence and/or diversification ages of some coleoid subclades in molecular phylogenies. This comparison clearly indicates that the new records detailed here will challenge some estimated divergence times of coleoid cephalopod subclades.

  16. New Eocene Coleoid (Cephalopoda) Diversity from Statolith Remains: Taxonomic Assignation, Fossil Record Analysis, and New Data for Calibrating Molecular Phylogenies.

    PubMed

    Neige, Pascal; Lapierre, Hervé; Merle, Didier

    2016-01-01

    New coleoid cephalopods are described from statolith remains from the Middle Eocene (Middle Lutetian) of the Paris Basin. Fifteen fossil statoliths are identified and assigned to the Sepiidae (Sepia boletzkyi sp. nov.,? Sepia pira sp. nov.), Loliginidae (Loligo clarkei sp. nov.), and Ommastrephidae (genus indet.) families. The sediments containing these fossils indicate permanent aquatic settings in the infralittoral domain. These sediments range in age from 46 Mya to 43 Mya. Analysis of the fossil record of statoliths (from findings described here, together with a review of previously published data) indicates marked biases in our knowledge. Fossil statoliths are known from as far back as the Early Jurassic (199.3 to 190.8 Mya) but surprisingly, to the best of our knowledge, no record occurs in the Cretaceous. This is a "knowledge bias" and clearly calls for further studies. Finally, we attempt to compare findings described here with fossils previously used to constrain divergence and/or diversification ages of some coleoid subclades in molecular phylogenies. This comparison clearly indicates that the new records detailed here will challenge some estimated divergence times of coleoid cephalopod subclades. PMID:27192490

  17. The δ44Ca-temperature calibration on fossil and cultured Globigerinoides sacculifer: New tool for reconstruction of past sea surface temperatures

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    NäGler, T. F.; Eisenhauer, A.; Müller, A.; Hemleben, C.; Kramers, J.

    2000-09-01

    We report direct δ44Ca-temperature calibration on cultured and fossil calcite foraminifera, showing that Ca isotopes are potentially a new proxy for past sea surface temperatures (SST). Samples have been analyzed using a 43Ca-48Ca double spike and thermal ionization mass spectrometry (TIMS). In order to avoid species-dependent isotope fractionation we focused our investigations on a single foraminifera species (Globigerinoides sacculifer), which is known to inhabit shallow euphotic waters in tropical and subtropical oceans. Ca isotope measurements were performed on cultured G. sacculifer that grew in seawater kept at temperatures of 19.5°, 26.5°, and 29.5°C. A δ44Ca change of 0.24 ± 0.02 per 1°C is defined by the weighted linear regression through reproduced δ44Ca data of the three temperatures (95% confidence level). Application of this new method to fossil G. sacculifer of an Equatorial East Atlantic sediment core (GeoB1112; 5°46.7'S, 10°45.0'W, 3125 m) indicates that the δ44Ca difference between marine isotope stage 1 (MIS-1) and MIS-2 is 0.71 ± 0.24. According to the current δ44Ca-temperature calibration this value corresponds to a temperature difference between MIS-1 and MIS-2 of ˜3.0 ± 1.0°C.

  18. Age Estimates for the Buckwheat Family Polygonaceae Based on Sequence Data Calibrated by Fossils and with a Focus on the Amphi-Pacific Muehlenbeckia

    PubMed Central

    Kron, Kathleen A.

    2013-01-01

    The buckwheat family Polygonaceae is a diverse group of plants and is a good model for investigating biogeography, breeding systems, coevolution with symbionts such as ants and fungi, functional trait evolution, hybridization, invasiveness, morphological plasticity, pollen morphology and wood anatomy. The main goal of this study was to obtain age estimates for Polygonaceae by calibrating a Bayesian phylogenetic analysis, using a relaxed molecular clock with fossil data. Based on the age estimates, we also develop hypotheses about the historical biogeography of the Southern Hemisphere group Muehlenbeckia. We are interested in addressing whether vicariance or dispersal could account for the diversification of Muehlenbeckia, which has a “Gondwanan” distribution. Eighty-one species of Polygonaceae were analysed with MrBayes to infer species relationships. One nuclear (nrITS) and three chloroplast markers (the trnL-trnF spacer region, matK and ndhF genes) were used. The molecular data were also analysed with Beast to estimate divergence times. Seven calibration points including fossil pollen and a leaf fossil of Muehlenbeckia were used to infer node ages. Results of the Beast analyses indicate an age of 110.9 (exponential/lognormal priors)/118.7 (uniform priors) million years (Myr) with an uncertainty interval of (90.7–125.0) Myr for the stem age of Polygonaceae. This age is older than previously thought (Maastrichtian, approximately 65.5–70.6 Myr). The estimated divergence time for Muehlenbeckia is 41.0/41.6 (39.6–47.8) Myr and its crown clade is 20.5/22.3 (14.2–33.5) Myr old. Because the breakup of Gondwana occurred from 95–30 Myr ago, diversification of Muehlenbeckia is best explained by oceanic long-distance and maybe stepping-stone dispersal rather than vicariance. This study is the first to give age estimates for clades of Polygonaceae and functions as a jumping-off point for future studies on the historical biogeography of the family. PMID:23585884

  19. Codon Adaptation of Plastid Genes

    PubMed Central

    Suzuki, Haruo; Morton, Brian R.

    2016-01-01

    Codon adaptation is codon usage bias that results from selective pressure to increase the translation efficiency of a gene. Codon adaptation has been studied across a wide range of genomes and some early analyses of plastids have shown evidence for codon adaptation in a limited set of highly expressed plastid genes. Here we study codon usage bias across all fully sequenced plastid genomes which includes representatives of the Rhodophyta, Alveolata, Cryptophyta, Euglenozoa, Glaucocystophyceae, Rhizaria, Stramenopiles and numerous lineages within the Viridiplantae, including Chlorophyta and Embryophyta. We show evidence that codon adaptation occurs in all genomes except for two, Theileria parva and Heicosporidium sp., both of which have highly reduced gene contents and no photosynthesis genes. We also show evidence that selection for codon adaptation increases the representation of the same set of codons, which we refer to as the adaptive codons, across this wide range of taxa, which is probably due to common features descended from the initial endosymbiont. We use various measures to estimate the relative strength of selection in the different lineages and show that it appears to be fairly strong in certain Stramenopiles and Chlorophyta lineages but relatively weak in many members of the Rhodophyta, Euglenozoa and Embryophyta. Given these results we propose that codon adaptation in plastids is widespread and displays the same general features as adaptation in eubacterial genomes. PMID:27196606

  20. Codon Adaptation of Plastid Genes.

    PubMed

    Suzuki, Haruo; Morton, Brian R

    2016-01-01

    Codon adaptation is codon usage bias that results from selective pressure to increase the translation efficiency of a gene. Codon adaptation has been studied across a wide range of genomes and some early analyses of plastids have shown evidence for codon adaptation in a limited set of highly expressed plastid genes. Here we study codon usage bias across all fully sequenced plastid genomes which includes representatives of the Rhodophyta, Alveolata, Cryptophyta, Euglenozoa, Glaucocystophyceae, Rhizaria, Stramenopiles and numerous lineages within the Viridiplantae, including Chlorophyta and Embryophyta. We show evidence that codon adaptation occurs in all genomes except for two, Theileria parva and Heicosporidium sp., both of which have highly reduced gene contents and no photosynthesis genes. We also show evidence that selection for codon adaptation increases the representation of the same set of codons, which we refer to as the adaptive codons, across this wide range of taxa, which is probably due to common features descended from the initial endosymbiont. We use various measures to estimate the relative strength of selection in the different lineages and show that it appears to be fairly strong in certain Stramenopiles and Chlorophyta lineages but relatively weak in many members of the Rhodophyta, Euglenozoa and Embryophyta. Given these results we propose that codon adaptation in plastids is widespread and displays the same general features as adaptation in eubacterial genomes. PMID:27196606

  1. Codon usage in plant genes.

    PubMed Central

    Murray, E E; Lotzer, J; Eberle, M

    1989-01-01

    We have examined codon bias in 207 plant gene sequences collected from Genbank and the literature. When this sample was further divided into 53 monocot and 154 dicot genes, the pattern of relative use of synonymous codons was shown to differ between these taxonomic groups, primarily in the use of G + C in the degenerate third base. Maize and soybean codon bias were examined separately and followed the monocot and dicot codon usage patterns respectively. Codon preference in ribulose 1,5 bisphosphate and chlorophyll a/b binding protein, two of the most abundant proteins in leaves was investigated. These highly expressed are more restricted in their codon usage than plant genes in general. PMID:2644621

  2. A Complete Fossil-Calibrated Phylogeny of Seed Plant Families as a Tool for Comparative Analyses: Testing the ‘Time for Speciation’ Hypothesis

    PubMed Central

    Harris, Liam W.; Davies, T. Jonathan

    2016-01-01

    Explaining the uneven distribution of species richness across the branches of the tree of life has been a major challenge for evolutionary biologists. Advances in phylogenetic reconstruction, allowing the generation of large, well-sampled, phylogenetic trees have provided an opportunity to contrast competing hypotheses. Here, we present a new time-calibrated phylogeny of seed plant families using Bayesian methods and 26 fossil calibrations. While there are various published phylogenetic trees for plants which have a greater density of species sampling, we are still a long way from generating a complete phylogeny for all ~300,000+ plants. Our phylogeny samples all seed plant families and is a useful tool for comparative analyses. We use this new phylogenetic hypothesis to contrast two alternative explanations for differences in species richness among higher taxa: time for speciation versus ecological limits. We calculated net diversification rate for each clade in the phylogeny and assessed the relationship between clade age and species richness. We then fit models of speciation and extinction to individual branches in the tree to identify major rate-shifts. Our data suggest that the majority of lineages are diversifying very slowly while a few lineages, distributed throughout the tree, are diversifying rapidly. Diversification is unrelated to clade age, no matter the age range of the clades being examined, contrary to both the assumption of an unbounded lineage increase through time, and the paradigm of fixed ecological limits. These findings are consistent with the idea that ecology plays a role in diversification, but rather than imposing a fixed limit, it may have variable effects on per lineage diversification rates through time. PMID:27706173

  3. "Fossil" Forecasting.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Brody, Michael J.; deOnis, Ann

    2001-01-01

    Presents a density study in which students calculate the density of limestone substrate to determine if the specimen contains any fossils. Explains how to make fossils and addresses national standards. (YDS)

  4. Fossil Explorers

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Moran, Sean; McLaughlin, Cheryl; MacFadden, Bruce; Jacobbe, Elizabeth; Poole, Michael

    2015-01-01

    Many young learners are fascinated with fossils, particularly charismatic forms such as dinosaurs and giant sharks. Fossils provide tangible, objective evidence of life that lived millions of years ago. They also provide a timescale of evolution not typically appreciated by young learners. Fossils and the science of paleontology can, therefore,…

  5. Marquee Fossils

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Clary, Renee; Wandersee, James

    2008-01-01

    Professors of an online graduate-level paleontology class developed the concept of marquee fossils--fossils that have one or more unique characteristics that capture the attention and direct observation of students. In the classroom, Marquee fossils integrate the geology, biology, and environmental science involved in the study of fossilized…

  6. Probable relationship between partitions of the set of codons and the origin of the genetic code.

    PubMed

    Salinas, Dino G; Gallardo, Mauricio O; Osorio, Manuel I

    2014-03-01

    Here we study the distribution of randomly generated partitions of the set of amino acid-coding codons. Some results are an application from a previous work, about the Stirling numbers of the second kind and triplet codes, both to the cases of triplet codes having four stop codons, as in mammalian mitochondrial genetic code, and hypothetical doublet codes. Extending previous results, in this work it is found that the most probable number of blocks of synonymous codons, in a genetic code, is similar to the number of amino acids when there are four stop codons, as well as it could be for a primigenious doublet code. Also it is studied the integer partitions associated to patterns of synonymous codons and it is shown, for the canonical code, that the standard deviation inside an integer partition is one of the most probable. We think that, in some early epoch, the genetic code might have had a maximum of the disorder or entropy, independent of the assignment between codons and amino acids, reaching a state similar to "code freeze" proposed by Francis Crick. In later stages, maybe deterministic rules have reassigned codons to amino acids, forming the natural codes, such as the canonical code, but keeping the numerical features describing the set partitions and the integer partitions, like a "fossil numbers"; both kinds of partitions about the set of amino acid-coding codons.

  7. Are synonymous codons indeed synonymous?

    PubMed

    Venetianer, Pál

    2012-02-01

    Abstract It has long been known that the distribution and frequency of occurence of synonymous codons can vary greatly among different species, and that the abundance of isoaccepting tRNA species could also be very different. The interaction of these two factors may influence the rate and efficiency of protein synthesis and therefore synonymous mutations might influence the fitness of the organism and cannot be treated generally as 'neutral' in an evolutionary sense. These general effects of synonymous mutations, and their possible role in evolution, have been discussed in several recent papers. This review, however, will only deal with the influence of synonymous codon replacements on the expression of individual genes. It will describe the possible mechanisms of such effects and will present examples demonstrating the existence and effects of each of these mechanisms.

  8. Comparative Analysis of Codon Usage Bias and Codon Context Patterns between Dipteran and Hymenopteran Sequenced Genomes

    PubMed Central

    Behura, Susanta K.; Severson, David W.

    2012-01-01

    Background Codon bias is a phenomenon of non-uniform usage of codons whereas codon context generally refers to sequential pair of codons in a gene. Although genome sequencing of multiple species of dipteran and hymenopteran insects have been completed only a few of these species have been analyzed for codon usage bias. Methods and Principal Findings Here, we use bioinformatics approaches to analyze codon usage bias and codon context patterns in a genome-wide manner among 15 dipteran and 7 hymenopteran insect species. Results show that GAA is the most frequent codon in the dipteran species whereas GAG is the most frequent codon in the hymenopteran species. Data reveals that codons ending with C or G are frequently used in the dipteran genomes whereas codons ending with A or T are frequently used in the hymenopteran genomes. Synonymous codon usage orders (SCUO) vary within genomes in a pattern that seems to be distinct for each species. Based on comparison of 30 one-to-one orthologous genes among 17 species, the fruit fly Drosophila willistoni shows the least codon usage bias whereas the honey bee (Apis mellifera) shows the highest bias. Analysis of codon context patterns of these insects shows that specific codons are frequently used as the 3′- and 5′-context of start and stop codons, respectively. Conclusions Codon bias pattern is distinct between dipteran and hymenopteran insects. While codon bias is favored by high GC content of dipteran genomes, high AT content of genes favors biased usage of synonymous codons in the hymenopteran insects. Also, codon context patterns vary among these species largely according to their phylogeny. PMID:22912801

  9. Fossil Fuels.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Crank, Ron

    This instructional unit is one of 10 developed by students on various energy-related areas that deals specifically with fossil fuels. Some topics covered are historic facts, development of fuels, history of oil production, current and future trends of the oil industry, refining fossil fuels, and environmental problems. Material in each unit may…

  10. Ediacara Fossils

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Science Teacher, 2005

    2005-01-01

    Now, a research team from Virginia Tech and Nanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology has discovered uniquely well-preserved fossil forms from 550-million-year-old rocks of the Ediacaran Period. The research appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The discovery of these unusually preserved fossils reveals unprecedented…

  11. Fossil spiders.

    PubMed

    Selden, Paul A; Penney, David

    2010-02-01

    Over the last three decades, the fossil record of spiders has increased from being previously biased towards Tertiary ambers and a few dubious earlier records, to one which reveals a much greater diversity in the Mesozoic, with many of the modern families present in that era, and with clearer evidence of the evolutionary history of the group. We here record the history of palaeoarachnology and the major breakthroughs which form the basis of studies on fossil spiders. Understanding the preservation and taphonomic history of spider fossils is crucial to interpretation of fossil spider morphology. We also review the more recent descriptions of fossil spiders and the effect these discoveries have had on the phylogenetic tree of spiders. We discuss some features of the evolutionary history of spiders and present ideas for future work.

  12. Codon compression algorithms for saturation mutagenesis.

    PubMed

    Pines, Gur; Pines, Assaf; Garst, Andrew D; Zeitoun, Ramsey I; Lynch, Sean A; Gill, Ryan T

    2015-05-15

    Saturation mutagenesis is employed in protein engineering and genome-editing efforts to generate libraries that span amino acid design space. Traditionally, this is accomplished by using degenerate/compressed codons such as NNK (N = A/C/G/T, K = G/T), which covers all amino acids and one stop codon. These solutions suffer from two types of redundancy: (a) different codons for the same amino acid lead to bias, and (b) wild type amino acid is included within the library. These redundancies increase library size and downstream screening efforts. Here, we present a dynamic approach to compress codons for any desired list of amino acids, taking into account codon usage. This results in a unique codon collection for every amino acid to be mutated, with the desired redundancy level. Finally, we demonstrate that this approach can be used to design precise oligo libraries amendable to recombineering and CRISPR-based genome editing to obtain a diverse population with high efficiency.

  13. Codon usage in Tetrahymena and other ciliates.

    PubMed

    Martindale, D W

    1989-01-01

    Codon usage in ciliates was examined by analyzing the coding regions of 22 ciliate genes corresponding to a total of 26,142 nucleotides (8,714 codons). It was found that Tetrahymena, Paramecium and the hypotrichs (Oxytricha and Stylonychia) differed in which synonymous codons were used most frequently by their genes. In fact, the codon choices in highly expressed Tetrahymena genes were more similar to those of yeast genes than those of Paramecium genes. The ciliates do not appear to have unusually strong biases in codon usage frequency when compared to other protists such as yeast. The analysis of the Tetrahymena genes indicated that genes which are highly expressed during normal cell growth have a stronger bias towards using the "preferred" codons than those expressed at lower levels during growth or for brief periods during processes such as conjugation. This conforms to what is found in other protists.

  14. Fossil Horses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacFadden, Bruce J.

    1994-06-01

    The family Equidae have an extensive fossil record spanning the past 58 million years, and the evolution of the horse has frequently been used as a classic example of long-term evolution. In recent years, however, there have been many important discoveries of fossil horses, and these, in conjunction with such new methods as cladistics, and techniques such as precise geochronology, have allowed us to achieve a much greater understanding of the evolution and biology of this important group. This book synthesizes the large body of data and research relevant to an understanding of fossil horses from several disciplines including biology, geology and paleontology. Using horses as the central theme, the author weaves together in the text such topics as modern geochronology, paleobiogeography, climate change, evolution and extinction, functional morphology, and population biology during the Cenozoic period. This book will be exciting reading for researchers and graduate students in vertebrate paleontology, evolution, and zoology.

  15. Studying Codon Usage: From sequence to function

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hwa, Terry; Klumpp, Stefan; Dong, Jiajia

    2007-03-01

    Protein coding sequences exhibit strong variances in the use of codons. Highly expressed genes such as those encoding ribosomal proteins use codons corresponding to the highly abundant tRNAs (``optimized codons''). High expression of heterologous genes also requires codon optimization, but even the codon usage of very weakly expressed genes tends to be far from random. To understand this biased choice of codon usage, we develop a theory based on the concept of ``ribosomal load.'' Ribosome is the key limiting commodity for rapidly growing organisms so that the use of ``non-optimal'' codons in any gene prolongs the translational elongation time, thus reducing the effective ribosome concentration. This presents a fitness cost, the magnitude of which depends on the amount of that protein being translated. We formulated and solved an evolution equation based on the above ingredients. This provides a quantitative relation between codon usage and protein abundance, which is found to be in good agreement with the available data for E.coli. This result suggests a convenient way to quantitatively predict protein abundances based on genome sequence data.

  16. A Web Interface for Codon Compression.

    PubMed

    Halweg-Edwards, Andrea L; Pines, Gur; Winkler, James D; Pines, Assaf; Gill, Ryan T

    2016-09-16

    Saturation mutagenesis is widely used in protein engineering and other experiments. A common practice is to utilize the single degenerate codon NNK. However, this approach suffers from amino acid bias and the presence of a stop codon and of the wild type amino acid. These extra features needlessly increase library size and consequently downstream screening load. Recently, we developed the DYNAMCC algorithms for codon compression that find the minimal set of degenerate codons, covering any defined set of amino acids, with no off-target codons and with redundancy control. Additionally, we experimentally demonstrated the advantages of this approach over the standard NNK method. While the code is freely available from our Web site, we have now made this method more accessible to a broader audience without any computational background by building a user-friendly web-based interface for those algorithms. The Web site can be accessed through: www.dynamcc.com .

  17. A Web Interface for Codon Compression.

    PubMed

    Halweg-Edwards, Andrea L; Pines, Gur; Winkler, James D; Pines, Assaf; Gill, Ryan T

    2016-09-16

    Saturation mutagenesis is widely used in protein engineering and other experiments. A common practice is to utilize the single degenerate codon NNK. However, this approach suffers from amino acid bias and the presence of a stop codon and of the wild type amino acid. These extra features needlessly increase library size and consequently downstream screening load. Recently, we developed the DYNAMCC algorithms for codon compression that find the minimal set of degenerate codons, covering any defined set of amino acids, with no off-target codons and with redundancy control. Additionally, we experimentally demonstrated the advantages of this approach over the standard NNK method. While the code is freely available from our Web site, we have now made this method more accessible to a broader audience without any computational background by building a user-friendly web-based interface for those algorithms. The Web site can be accessed through: www.dynamcc.com . PMID:27169595

  18. Codon information value and codon transition-probability distributions in short-term evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jiménez-Montaño, M. A.; Coronel-Brizio, H. F.; Hernández-Montoya, A. R.; Ramos-Fernández, A.

    2016-07-01

    To understand the way the Genetic Code and the physical-chemical properties of coded amino acids affect accepted amino acid substitutions in short-term protein evolution, taking into account only overall amino acid conservation, we consider an underlying codon-level model. This model employs codon pair-substitution frequencies from an empirical matrix in the literature, modified for single-base mutations only. Ordering the degenerated codons according to their codon information value (Volkenstein, 1979), we found that three-fold and most of four-fold degenerated codons, which have low codon values, were best fitted to rank-frequency distributions with constant failure rate (exponentials). In contrast, almost all two-fold degenerated codons, which have high codon values, were best fitted to rank-frequency distributions with variable failure rate (inverse power-laws). Six-fold degenerated codons are considered to be doubly assigned. The exceptional behavior of some codons, including non-degenerate codons, is discussed.

  19. Mud fossils

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    ,

    1997-01-01

    At the close of the 18th century, the haze of fantasy and mysticism that tended to obscure the true nature of the Earth was being swept away. Careful studies by scientists showed that rocks had diverse origins. Some rock layers, containing clearly identifiable fossil remains of fish and other forms of aquatic animal and plant life, originally formed in the ocean. Other layers, consisting of sand grains winnowed clean by the pounding surf, obviously formed as beach deposits that marked the shorelines of ancient seas.

  20. Codon compression algorithms for saturation mutagenesis.

    PubMed

    Pines, Gur; Pines, Assaf; Garst, Andrew D; Zeitoun, Ramsey I; Lynch, Sean A; Gill, Ryan T

    2015-05-15

    Saturation mutagenesis is employed in protein engineering and genome-editing efforts to generate libraries that span amino acid design space. Traditionally, this is accomplished by using degenerate/compressed codons such as NNK (N = A/C/G/T, K = G/T), which covers all amino acids and one stop codon. These solutions suffer from two types of redundancy: (a) different codons for the same amino acid lead to bias, and (b) wild type amino acid is included within the library. These redundancies increase library size and downstream screening efforts. Here, we present a dynamic approach to compress codons for any desired list of amino acids, taking into account codon usage. This results in a unique codon collection for every amino acid to be mutated, with the desired redundancy level. Finally, we demonstrate that this approach can be used to design precise oligo libraries amendable to recombineering and CRISPR-based genome editing to obtain a diverse population with high efficiency. PMID:25303315

  1. Stop codon recognition in ciliates: Euplotes release factor does not respond to reassigned UGA codon

    PubMed Central

    Kervestin, Stéphanie; Frolova, Ludmila; Kisselev, Lev; Jean-Jean, Olivier

    2001-01-01

    In eukaryotes, the polypeptide release factor 1 (eRF1) is involved in translation termination at all three stop codons. However, the mechanism for decoding stop codons remains unknown. A direct interaction of eRF1 with the stop codons has been postulated. Recent studies focus on eRF1 from ciliates in which some stop codons are reassigned to sense codons. Using an in vitro assay based on mammalian ribosomes, we show that eRF1 from the ciliate Euplotes aediculatus responds to UAA and UAG as stop codons and lacks the capacity to decipher the UGA codon, which encodes cysteine in this organism. This result strongly suggests that in ciliates with variant genetic codes eRF1 does not recognize the reassigned codons. Recent hypotheses describing stop codon discrimination by eRF1 are not fully consistent with the set of eRF1 sequences available so far and require direct experimental testing. PMID:11463747

  2. Emergent rules for codon choice elucidated by editing rare arginine codons in Escherichia coli.

    PubMed

    Napolitano, Michael G; Landon, Matthieu; Gregg, Christopher J; Lajoie, Marc J; Govindarajan, Lakshmi; Mosberg, Joshua A; Kuznetsov, Gleb; Goodman, Daniel B; Vargas-Rodriguez, Oscar; Isaacs, Farren J; Söll, Dieter; Church, George M

    2016-09-20

    The degeneracy of the genetic code allows nucleic acids to encode amino acid identity as well as noncoding information for gene regulation and genome maintenance. The rare arginine codons AGA and AGG (AGR) present a case study in codon choice, with AGRs encoding important transcriptional and translational properties distinct from the other synonymous alternatives (CGN). We created a strain of Escherichia coli with all 123 instances of AGR codons removed from all essential genes. We readily replaced 110 AGR codons with the synonymous CGU codons, but the remaining 13 "recalcitrant" AGRs required diversification to identify viable alternatives. Successful replacement codons tended to conserve local ribosomal binding site-like motifs and local mRNA secondary structure, sometimes at the expense of amino acid identity. Based on these observations, we empirically defined metrics for a multidimensional "safe replacement zone" (SRZ) within which alternative codons are more likely to be viable. To evaluate synonymous and nonsynonymous alternatives to essential AGRs further, we implemented a CRISPR/Cas9-based method to deplete a diversified population of a wild-type allele, allowing us to evaluate exhaustively the fitness impact of all 64 codon alternatives. Using this method, we confirmed the relevance of the SRZ by tracking codon fitness over time in 14 different genes, finding that codons that fall outside the SRZ are rapidly depleted from a growing population. Our unbiased and systematic strategy for identifying unpredicted design flaws in synthetic genomes and for elucidating rules governing codon choice will be crucial for designing genomes exhibiting radically altered genetic codes.

  3. Emergent rules for codon choice elucidated by editing rare arginine codons in Escherichia coli.

    PubMed

    Napolitano, Michael G; Landon, Matthieu; Gregg, Christopher J; Lajoie, Marc J; Govindarajan, Lakshmi; Mosberg, Joshua A; Kuznetsov, Gleb; Goodman, Daniel B; Vargas-Rodriguez, Oscar; Isaacs, Farren J; Söll, Dieter; Church, George M

    2016-09-20

    The degeneracy of the genetic code allows nucleic acids to encode amino acid identity as well as noncoding information for gene regulation and genome maintenance. The rare arginine codons AGA and AGG (AGR) present a case study in codon choice, with AGRs encoding important transcriptional and translational properties distinct from the other synonymous alternatives (CGN). We created a strain of Escherichia coli with all 123 instances of AGR codons removed from all essential genes. We readily replaced 110 AGR codons with the synonymous CGU codons, but the remaining 13 "recalcitrant" AGRs required diversification to identify viable alternatives. Successful replacement codons tended to conserve local ribosomal binding site-like motifs and local mRNA secondary structure, sometimes at the expense of amino acid identity. Based on these observations, we empirically defined metrics for a multidimensional "safe replacement zone" (SRZ) within which alternative codons are more likely to be viable. To evaluate synonymous and nonsynonymous alternatives to essential AGRs further, we implemented a CRISPR/Cas9-based method to deplete a diversified population of a wild-type allele, allowing us to evaluate exhaustively the fitness impact of all 64 codon alternatives. Using this method, we confirmed the relevance of the SRZ by tracking codon fitness over time in 14 different genes, finding that codons that fall outside the SRZ are rapidly depleted from a growing population. Our unbiased and systematic strategy for identifying unpredicted design flaws in synthetic genomes and for elucidating rules governing codon choice will be crucial for designing genomes exhibiting radically altered genetic codes. PMID:27601680

  4. Emergent rules for codon choice elucidated by editing rare arginine codons in Escherichia coli

    PubMed Central

    Napolitano, Michael G.; Landon, Matthieu; Gregg, Christopher J.; Lajoie, Marc J.; Govindarajan, Lakshmi; Mosberg, Joshua A.; Kuznetsov, Gleb; Goodman, Daniel B.; Vargas-Rodriguez, Oscar; Isaacs, Farren J.; Söll, Dieter; Church, George M.

    2016-01-01

    The degeneracy of the genetic code allows nucleic acids to encode amino acid identity as well as noncoding information for gene regulation and genome maintenance. The rare arginine codons AGA and AGG (AGR) present a case study in codon choice, with AGRs encoding important transcriptional and translational properties distinct from the other synonymous alternatives (CGN). We created a strain of Escherichia coli with all 123 instances of AGR codons removed from all essential genes. We readily replaced 110 AGR codons with the synonymous CGU codons, but the remaining 13 “recalcitrant” AGRs required diversification to identify viable alternatives. Successful replacement codons tended to conserve local ribosomal binding site-like motifs and local mRNA secondary structure, sometimes at the expense of amino acid identity. Based on these observations, we empirically defined metrics for a multidimensional “safe replacement zone” (SRZ) within which alternative codons are more likely to be viable. To evaluate synonymous and nonsynonymous alternatives to essential AGRs further, we implemented a CRISPR/Cas9-based method to deplete a diversified population of a wild-type allele, allowing us to evaluate exhaustively the fitness impact of all 64 codon alternatives. Using this method, we confirmed the relevance of the SRZ by tracking codon fitness over time in 14 different genes, finding that codons that fall outside the SRZ are rapidly depleted from a growing population. Our unbiased and systematic strategy for identifying unpredicted design flaws in synthetic genomes and for elucidating rules governing codon choice will be crucial for designing genomes exhibiting radically altered genetic codes. PMID:27601680

  5. SENCA: A Multilayered Codon Model to Study the Origins and Dynamics of Codon Usage

    PubMed Central

    Pouyet, Fanny; Bailly-Bechet, Marc; Mouchiroud, Dominique; Guéguen, Laurent

    2016-01-01

    Gene sequences are the target of evolution operating at different levels, including the nucleotide, codon, and amino acid levels. Disentangling the impact of those different levels on gene sequences requires developing a probabilistic model with three layers. Here we present SENCA (site evolution of nucleotides, codons, and amino acids), a codon substitution model that separately describes 1) nucleotide processes which apply on all sites of a sequence such as the mutational bias, 2) preferences between synonymous codons, and 3) preferences among amino acids. We argue that most synonymous substitutions are not neutral and that SENCA provides more accurate estimates of selection compared with more classical codon sequence models. We study the forces that drive the genomic content evolution, intraspecifically in the core genome of 21 prokaryotes and interspecifically for five Enterobacteria. We retrieve the existence of a universal mutational bias toward AT, and that taking into account selection on synonymous codon usage has consequences on the measurement of selection on nonsynonymous substitutions. We also confirm that codon usage bias is mostly driven by selection on preferred codons. We propose new summary statistics to measure the relative importance of the different evolutionary processes acting on sequences. PMID:27401173

  6. SENCA: A Multilayered Codon Model to Study the Origins and Dynamics of Codon Usage.

    PubMed

    Pouyet, Fanny; Bailly-Bechet, Marc; Mouchiroud, Dominique; Guéguen, Laurent

    2016-01-01

    Gene sequences are the target of evolution operating at different levels, including the nucleotide, codon, and amino acid levels. Disentangling the impact of those different levels on gene sequences requires developing a probabilistic model with three layers. Here we present SENCA (site evolution of nucleotides, codons, and amino acids), a codon substitution model that separately describes 1) nucleotide processes which apply on all sites of a sequence such as the mutational bias, 2) preferences between synonymous codons, and 3) preferences among amino acids. We argue that most synonymous substitutions are not neutral and that SENCA provides more accurate estimates of selection compared with more classical codon sequence models. We study the forces that drive the genomic content evolution, intraspecifically in the core genome of 21 prokaryotes and interspecifically for five Enterobacteria. We retrieve the existence of a universal mutational bias toward AT, and that taking into account selection on synonymous codon usage has consequences on the measurement of selection on nonsynonymous substitutions. We also confirm that codon usage bias is mostly driven by selection on preferred codons. We propose new summary statistics to measure the relative importance of the different evolutionary processes acting on sequences.

  7. SENCA: A Multilayered Codon Model to Study the Origins and Dynamics of Codon Usage.

    PubMed

    Pouyet, Fanny; Bailly-Bechet, Marc; Mouchiroud, Dominique; Guéguen, Laurent

    2016-01-01

    Gene sequences are the target of evolution operating at different levels, including the nucleotide, codon, and amino acid levels. Disentangling the impact of those different levels on gene sequences requires developing a probabilistic model with three layers. Here we present SENCA (site evolution of nucleotides, codons, and amino acids), a codon substitution model that separately describes 1) nucleotide processes which apply on all sites of a sequence such as the mutational bias, 2) preferences between synonymous codons, and 3) preferences among amino acids. We argue that most synonymous substitutions are not neutral and that SENCA provides more accurate estimates of selection compared with more classical codon sequence models. We study the forces that drive the genomic content evolution, intraspecifically in the core genome of 21 prokaryotes and interspecifically for five Enterobacteria. We retrieve the existence of a universal mutational bias toward AT, and that taking into account selection on synonymous codon usage has consequences on the measurement of selection on nonsynonymous substitutions. We also confirm that codon usage bias is mostly driven by selection on preferred codons. We propose new summary statistics to measure the relative importance of the different evolutionary processes acting on sequences. PMID:27401173

  8. A Major Controversy in Codon-Anticodon Adaptation Resolved by a New Codon Usage Index

    PubMed Central

    Xia, Xuhua

    2015-01-01

    Two alternative hypotheses attribute different benefits to codon-anticodon adaptation. The first assumes that protein production is rate limited by both initiation and elongation and that codon-anticodon adaptation would result in higher elongation efficiency and more efficient and accurate protein production, especially for highly expressed genes. The second claims that protein production is rate limited only by initiation efficiency but that improved codon adaptation and, consequently, increased elongation efficiency have the benefit of increasing ribosomal availability for global translation. To test these hypotheses, a recent study engineered a synthetic library of 154 genes, all encoding the same protein but differing in degrees of codon adaptation, to quantify the effect of differential codon adaptation on protein production in Escherichia coli. The surprising conclusion that “codon bias did not correlate with gene expression” and that “translation initiation, not elongation, is rate-limiting for gene expression” contradicts the conclusion reached by many other empirical studies. In this paper, I resolve the contradiction by reanalyzing the data from the 154 sequences. I demonstrate that translation elongation accounts for about 17% of total variation in protein production and that the previous conclusion is due to the use of a codon adaptation index (CAI) that does not account for the mutation bias in characterizing codon adaptation. The effect of translation elongation becomes undetectable only when translation initiation is unrealistically slow. A new index of translation elongation ITE is formulated to facilitate studies on the efficiency and evolution of the translation machinery. PMID:25480780

  9. CodonExplorer: an interactive online database for the analysis of codon usage and sequence composition.

    PubMed

    Zaneveld, Jesse; Hamady, Micah; Sueoka, Noboru; Knight, Rob

    2009-01-01

    The analysis of DNA composition and codon usage reveals many factors that influence the evolution of genes and genomes. In this chapter, we show how to use CodonExplorer, a web tool and interactive database that contains millions of genes, to better understand the principles governing evolution at the single gene and whole-genome level. We present principles and practical procedures for using analyses of GC content and codon usage frequency to identify highly expressed or horizontally transferred genes and to study the relative contribution of different types of mutation to gene and genome composition. CodonExplorer's combination of a user-friendly web interface and a comprehensive genomic database makes these diverse analyses fast and straightforward to perform. CodonExplorer is thus a powerful tool that facilitates and automates a wide range of compositional analyses.

  10. Are the oldest 'fossils', fossils

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schopf, J. W.

    1976-01-01

    A comparative statistical study has been carried out on populations of modern algae, Precambrian algal microfossils, the 'organized elements' of the Orgueil carbonaceous meteorite, and the oldest microfossil-like objects now known (spheroidal bodies from the Fig Tree and Onverwacht Groups of the Swaziland Supergroup, South Africa). The distribution patterns exhibited by the more than 3000 m.y.-old Swaziland microstructures bear considerable resemblance to those of the abiotic 'organized elements' but differ rather markedly from those exhibited by younger, assuredly biogenic, populations. Based on these comparisons, it is concluded that the Swaziland spheroids could be, at least in part, of nonbiologic origin; these oldest known fossil-like microstructures should not be regarded as constituting firm evidence of Archean life.

  11. Hand gesture recognition by analysis of codons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ramachandra, Poornima; Shrikhande, Neelima

    2007-09-01

    The problem of recognizing gestures from images using computers can be approached by closely understanding how the human brain tackles it. A full fledged gesture recognition system will substitute mouse and keyboards completely. Humans can recognize most gestures by looking at the characteristic external shape or the silhouette of the fingers. Many previous techniques to recognize gestures dealt with motion and geometric features of hands. In this thesis gestures are recognized by the Codon-list pattern extracted from the object contour. All edges of an image are described in terms of sequence of Codons. The Codons are defined in terms of the relationship between maxima, minima and zeros of curvature encountered as one traverses the boundary of the object. We have concentrated on a catalog of 24 gesture images from the American Sign Language alphabet (Letter J and Z are ignored as they are represented using motion) [2]. The query image given as an input to the system is analyzed and tested against the Codon-lists, which are shape descriptors for external parts of a hand gesture. We have used the Weighted Frequency Indexing Transform (WFIT) approach which is used in DNA sequence matching for matching the Codon-lists. The matching algorithm consists of two steps: 1) the query sequences are converted to short sequences and are assigned weights and, 2) all the sequences of query gestures are pruned into match and mismatch subsequences by the frequency indexing tree based on the weights of the subsequences. The Codon sequences with the most weight are used to determine the most precise match. Once a match is found, the identified gesture and corresponding interpretation are shown as output.

  12. Will My Fossil Float?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Riesser, Sharon; Airey, Linda

    1993-01-01

    Explains how young students can be introduced to fossils. Suggests books to read and science activities including "Fossils to Eat" where students make fossils from peanut butter, honey, and powdered milk. (PR)

  13. Discrepancy among the synonymous codons with respect to their selection as optimal codon in bacteria

    PubMed Central

    Satapathy, Siddhartha Sankar; Powdel, Bhesh Raj; Buragohain, Alak Kumar; Ray, Suvendra Kumar

    2016-01-01

    The different triplets encoding the same amino acid, termed as synonymous codons, are not equally abundant in a genome. Factors such as G + C% and tRNA are known to influence their abundance in a genome. However, the order of the nucleotide in each codon per se might also be another factor impacting on its abundance values. Of the synonymous codons for specific amino acids, some are preferentially used in the high expression genes that are referred to as the ‘optimal codons’ (OCs). In this study, we compared OCs of the 18 amino acids in 221 species of bacteria. It is observed that there is amino acid specific influence for the selection of OCs. There is also influence of phylogeny in the choice of OCs for some amino acids such as Glu, Gln, Lys and Leu. The phenomenon of codon bias is also supported by the comparative studies of the abundance values of the synonymous codons with same G + C. It is likely that the order of the nucleotides in the triplet codon is also perhaps involved in the phenomenon of codon usage bias in organisms. PMID:27426467

  14. Synthetic Gene Design Using Codon Optimization On-Line (COOL).

    PubMed

    Yu, Kai; Ang, Kok Siong; Lee, Dong-Yup

    2017-01-01

    Codon optimization has been widely used for designing native or synthetic genes to enhance their expression in heterologous host organisms. We recently developed Codon Optimization On-Line (COOL) which is a web-based tool to provide multi-objective codon optimization functionality for synthetic gene design. COOL provides a simple and flexible interface for customizing codon optimization based on several design parameters such as individual codon usage, codon pairing, and codon adaptation index. User-defined sequences can also be compared against the COOL optimized ones to show the extent by which the user's sequences can be evaluated and further improved. The utility of COOL is demonstrated via a case study where the codon optimized sequence of an invertase enzyme is generated for the enhanced expression in E. coli. PMID:27671929

  15. Stop Codon Reassignment in the Wild

    SciTech Connect

    Ivanova, Natalia; Schwientek, Patrick; Tripp, H. James; Rinke, Christian; Pati, Amrita; Huntemann, Marcel; Visel, Axel; Woyke, Tanja; Kyrpides, Nikos; Rubin, Edward

    2014-03-21

    Since the discovery of the genetic code and protein translation mechanisms (1), a limited number of variations of the standard assignment between unique base triplets (codons) and their encoded amino acids and translational stop signals have been found in bacteria and phages (2-3). Given the apparent ubiquity of the canonical genetic code, the design of genomically recoded organisms with non-canonical codes has been suggested as a means to prevent horizontal gene transfer between laboratory and environmental organisms (4). It is also predicted that genomically recoded organisms are immune to infection by viruses, under the assumption that phages and their hosts must share a common genetic code (5). This paradigm is supported by the observation of increased resistance of genomically recoded bacteria to phages with a canonical code (4). Despite these assumptions and accompanying lines of evidence, it remains unclear whether differential and non-canonical codon usage represents an absolute barrier to phage infection and genetic exchange between organisms. Our knowledge of the diversity of genetic codes and their use by viruses and their hosts is primarily derived from the analysis of cultivated organisms. Advances in single-cell sequencing and metagenome assembly technologies have enabled the reconstruction of genomes of uncultivated bacterial and archaeal lineages (6). These initial findings suggest that large scale systematic studies of uncultivated microorganisms and viruses may reveal the extent and modes of divergence from the canonical genetic code operating in nature. To explore alternative genetic codes, we carried out a systematic analysis of stop codon reassignments from the canonical TAG amber, TGA opal, and TAA ochre codons in assembled metagenomes from environmental and host-associated samples, single-cell genomes of uncultivated bacteria and archaea, and a collection of phage sequences

  16. The non-uniformity of fossil preservation.

    PubMed

    Holland, Steven M

    2016-07-19

    The fossil record provides the primary source of data for calibrating the origin of clades. Although minimum ages of clades are given by the oldest preserved fossil, these underestimate the true age, which must be bracketed by probabilistic methods based on multiple fossil occurrences. Although most of these methods assume uniform preservation rates, this assumption is unsupported over geological timescales. On geologically long timescales (more than 10 Myr), the origin and cessation of sedimentary basins, and long-term variations in tectonic subsidence, eustatic sea level and sedimentation rate control the availability of depositional facies that preserve the environments in which species lived. The loss of doomed sediments, those with a low probability of preservation, imparts a secular trend to fossil preservation. As a result, the fossil record is spatially and temporally non-uniform. Models of fossil preservation should reflect this non-uniformity by using empirical estimates of fossil preservation that are spatially and temporally partitioned, or by using indirect proxies of fossil preservation. Geologically, realistic models of preservation will provide substantially more reliable estimates of the origination of clades.This article is part of the themed issue 'Dating species divergences using rocks and clocks'. PMID:27325828

  17. The non-uniformity of fossil preservation.

    PubMed

    Holland, Steven M

    2016-07-19

    The fossil record provides the primary source of data for calibrating the origin of clades. Although minimum ages of clades are given by the oldest preserved fossil, these underestimate the true age, which must be bracketed by probabilistic methods based on multiple fossil occurrences. Although most of these methods assume uniform preservation rates, this assumption is unsupported over geological timescales. On geologically long timescales (more than 10 Myr), the origin and cessation of sedimentary basins, and long-term variations in tectonic subsidence, eustatic sea level and sedimentation rate control the availability of depositional facies that preserve the environments in which species lived. The loss of doomed sediments, those with a low probability of preservation, imparts a secular trend to fossil preservation. As a result, the fossil record is spatially and temporally non-uniform. Models of fossil preservation should reflect this non-uniformity by using empirical estimates of fossil preservation that are spatially and temporally partitioned, or by using indirect proxies of fossil preservation. Geologically, realistic models of preservation will provide substantially more reliable estimates of the origination of clades.This article is part of the themed issue 'Dating species divergences using rocks and clocks'.

  18. A critical analysis of codon optimization in human therapeutics.

    PubMed

    Mauro, Vincent P; Chappell, Stephen A

    2014-11-01

    Codon optimization describes gene engineering approaches that use synonymous codon changes to increase protein production. Applications for codon optimization include recombinant protein drugs and nucleic acid therapies, including gene therapy, mRNA therapy, and DNA/RNA vaccines. However, recent reports indicate that codon optimization can affect protein conformation and function, increase immunogenicity, and reduce efficacy. We critically review this subject, identifying additional potential hazards including some unique to nucleic acid therapies. This analysis highlights the evolved complexity of codon usage and challenges the scientific bases for codon optimization. Consequently, codon optimization may not provide the optimal strategy for increasing protein production and may decrease the safety and efficacy of biotech therapeutics. We suggest that the use of this approach is reconsidered, particularly for in vivo applications.

  19. Codon usage bias in prokaryotic pyrimidine-ending codons is associated with the degeneracy of the encoded amino acids

    PubMed Central

    Wald, Naama; Alroy, Maya; Botzman, Maya; Margalit, Hanah

    2012-01-01

    Synonymous codons are unevenly distributed among genes, a phenomenon termed codon usage bias. Understanding the patterns of codon bias and the forces shaping them is a major step towards elucidating the adaptive advantage codon choice can confer at the level of individual genes and organisms. Here, we perform a large-scale analysis to assess codon usage bias pattern of pyrimidine-ending codons in highly expressed genes in prokaryotes. We find a bias pattern linked to the degeneracy of the encoded amino acid. Specifically, we show that codon-pairs that encode two- and three-fold degenerate amino acids are biased towards the C-ending codon while codons encoding four-fold degenerate amino acids are biased towards the U-ending codon. This codon usage pattern is widespread in prokaryotes, and its strength is correlated with translational selection both within and between organisms. We show that this bias is associated with an improved correspondence with the tRNA pool, avoidance of mis-incorporation errors during translation and moderate stability of codon–anticodon interaction, all consistent with more efficient translation. PMID:22581775

  20. Codon optimization of genes for efficient protein expression in mammalian cells by selection of only preferred human codons.

    PubMed

    Inouye, Satoshi; Sahara-Miura, Yuiko; Sato, Jun-ichi; Suzuki, Takahiro

    2015-05-01

    A simple design method for codon optimization of genes to express a heterologous protein in mammalian cells is described. Codon optimization was performed by choosing only codons preferentially used in humans and with over 60% GC content, and the method was named the "preferred human codon-optimized method." To test our simple rule for codon optimization, the preferred human codon-optimized genes for six proteins containing photoproteins (aequorin and clytin II) and luciferases (Gaussia luciferase, Renilla luciferase, and firefly luciferases from Photinus pyralis and Luciola cruciata) were chemically synthesized and transiently expressed in Chinese hamster ovary-K1 cells. All preferred human codon-optimized genes showed higher luminescence activity than the corresponding wild-type genes. Our simple design method could be used to improve protein expression in mammalian cells efficiently.

  1. The Mechanisms of Codon Reassignments in Mitochondrial Genetic Codes

    PubMed Central

    Sengupta, Supratim; Yang, Xiaoguang

    2007-01-01

    Many cases of nonstandard genetic codes are known in mitochondrial genomes. We carry out analysis of phylogeny and codon usage of organisms for which the complete mitochondrial genome is available, and we determine the most likely mechanism for codon reassignment in each case. Reassignment events can be classified according to the gain-loss framework. The “gain” represents the appearance of a new tRNA for the reassigned codon or the change of an existing tRNA such that it gains the ability to pair with the codon. The “loss” represents the deletion of a tRNA or the change in a tRNA so that it no longer translates the codon. One possible mechanism is codon disappearance (CD), where the codon disappears from the genome prior to the gain and loss events. In the alternative mechanisms the codon does not disappear. In the unassigned codon mechanism, the loss occurs first, whereas in the ambiguous intermediate mechanism, the gain occurs first. Codon usage analysis gives clear evidence of cases where the codon disappeared at the point of the reassignment and also cases where it did not disappear. CD is the probable explanation for stop to sense reassignments and a small number of reassignments of sense codons. However, the majority of sense-to-sense reassignments cannot be explained by CD. In the latter cases, by analysis of the presence or absence of tRNAs in the genome and of the changes in tRNA sequences, it is sometimes possible to distinguish between the unassigned codon and the ambiguous intermediate mechanisms. We emphasize that not all reassignments follow the same scenario and that it is necessary to consider the details of each case carefully. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00239-006-0284-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users. PMID:17541678

  2. A common periodic table of codons and amino acids.

    PubMed

    Biro, J C; Benyó, B; Sansom, C; Szlávecz, A; Fördös, G; Micsik, T; Benyó, Z

    2003-06-27

    A periodic table of codons has been designed where the codons are in regular locations. The table has four fields (16 places in each) one with each of the four nucleotides (A, U, G, C) in the central codon position. Thus, AAA (lysine), UUU (phenylalanine), GGG (glycine), and CCC (proline) were placed into the corners of the fields as the main codons (and amino acids) of the fields. They were connected to each other by six axes. The resulting nucleic acid periodic table showed perfect axial symmetry for codons. The corresponding amino acid table also displaced periodicity regarding the biochemical properties (charge and hydropathy) of the 20 amino acids and the position of the stop signals. The table emphasizes the importance of the central nucleotide in the codons and predicts that purines control the charge while pyrimidines determine the polarity of the amino acids. This prediction was experimentally tested.

  3. Synonymous codon usage is subject to selection in thermophilic bacteria

    PubMed Central

    Lynn, David J.; Singer, Gregory A. C.; Hickey, Donal A.

    2002-01-01

    The patterns of synonymous codon usage, both within and among genomes, have been extensively studied over the past two decades. Despite the accumulating evidence that natural selection can shape codon usage, it has not been possible to link a particular pattern of codon usage to a specific external selective force. Here, we have analyzed the patterns of synonymous codon usage in 40 completely sequenced prokaryotic genomes. By combining the genes from several genomes (more than 80 000 genes in all) into a single dataset for this analysis, we were able to investigate variations in codon usage, both within and between genomes. The results show that synonymous codon usage is affected by two major factors: (i) the overall G+C content of the genome and (ii) growth at high temperature. This study focused on the relationship between synonymous codon usage and the ability to grow at high temperature. We have been able to eliminate both phylogenetic history and lateral gene transfer as possible explanations for the characteristic pattern of codon usage among the thermophiles. Thus, these results demonstrate a clear link between a particular pattern of codon usage and an external selective force. PMID:12364606

  4. The accuracy of codon recognition by polypeptide release factors

    PubMed Central

    Freistroffer, David V.; Kwiatkowski, Marek; Buckingham, Richard H.; Ehrenberg, Måns

    2000-01-01

    The precision with which individual termination codons in mRNA are recognized by protein release factors (RFs) has been measured and compared with the decoding of sense codons by tRNA. An Escherichia coli system for protein synthesis in vitro with purified components was used to study the accuracy of termination by RF1 and RF2 in the presence or absence of RF3. The efficiency of factor-dependent termination at all sense codons differing from any of the three stop codons by a single mutation was measured and compared with the efficiency of termination at the three stop codons. RF1 and RF2 discriminate against sense codons related to stop codons by between 3 and more than 6 orders of magnitude. This high level of accuracy is obtained without energy-driven error correction (proofreading), in contrast to codon-dependent aminoacyl-tRNA recognition by ribosomes. Two codons, UAU and UGG, stand out as hotspots for RF-dependent premature termination. PMID:10681447

  5. Stop codons in bacteria are not selectively equivalent

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background The evolution and genomic stop codon frequencies have not been rigorously studied with the exception of coding of non-canonical amino acids. Here we study the rate of evolution and frequency distribution of stop codons in bacterial genomes. Results We show that in bacteria stop codons evolve slower than synonymous sites, suggesting the action of weak negative selection. However, the frequency of stop codons relative to genomic nucleotide content indicated that this selection regime is not straightforward. The frequency of TAA and TGA stop codons is GC-content dependent, with TAA decreasing and TGA increasing with GC-content, while TAG frequency is independent of GC-content. Applying a formal, analytical model to these data we found that the relationship between stop codon frequencies and nucleotide content cannot be explained by mutational biases or selection on nucleotide content. However, with weak nucleotide content-dependent selection on TAG, -0.5 < Nes < 1.5, the model fits all of the data and recapitulates the relationship between TAG and nucleotide content. For biologically plausible rates of mutations we show that, in bacteria, TAG stop codon is universally associated with lower fitness, with TAA being the optimal for G-content < 16% while for G-content > 16% TGA has a higher fitness than TAG. Conclusions Our data indicate that TAG codon is universally suboptimal in the bacterial lineage, such that TAA is likely to be the preferred stop codon for low GC content while the TGA is the preferred stop codon for high GC content. The optimization of stop codon usage may therefore be useful in genome engineering or gene expression optimization applications. Reviewers This article was reviewed by Michail Gelfand, Arcady Mushegian and Shamil Sunyaev. For the full reviews, please go to the Reviewers’ Comments section. PMID:22974057

  6. Codon Optimization to Enhance Expression Yields Insights into Chloroplast Translation.

    PubMed

    Kwon, Kwang-Chul; Chan, Hui-Ting; León, Ileana R; Williams-Carrier, Rosalind; Barkan, Alice; Daniell, Henry

    2016-09-01

    Codon optimization based on psbA genes from 133 plant species eliminated 105 (human clotting factor VIII heavy chain [FVIII HC]) and 59 (polio VIRAL CAPSID PROTEIN1 [VP1]) rare codons; replacement with only the most highly preferred codons decreased transgene expression (77- to 111-fold) when compared with the codon usage hierarchy of the psbA genes. Targeted proteomic quantification by parallel reaction monitoring analysis showed 4.9- to 7.1-fold or 22.5- to 28.1-fold increase in FVIII or VP1 codon-optimized genes when normalized with stable isotope-labeled standard peptides (or housekeeping protein peptides), but quantitation using western blots showed 6.3- to 8-fold or 91- to 125-fold increase of transgene expression from the same batch of materials, due to limitations in quantitative protein transfer, denaturation, solubility, or stability. Parallel reaction monitoring, to our knowledge validated here for the first time for in planta quantitation of biopharmaceuticals, is especially useful for insoluble or multimeric proteins required for oral drug delivery. Northern blots confirmed that the increase of codon-optimized protein synthesis is at the translational level rather than any impact on transcript abundance. Ribosome footprints did not increase proportionately with VP1 translation or even decreased after FVIII codon optimization but is useful in diagnosing additional rate-limiting steps. A major ribosome pause at CTC leucine codons in the native gene of FVIII HC was eliminated upon codon optimization. Ribosome stalls observed at clusters of serine codons in the codon-optimized VP1 gene provide an opportunity for further optimization. In addition to increasing our understanding of chloroplast translation, these new tools should help to advance this concept toward human clinical studies. PMID:27465114

  7. Modes of fossil preservation

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Schopf, J.M.

    1975-01-01

    The processes of geologic preservation are important for understanding the organisms represented by fossils. Some fossil differences are due to basic differences in organization of animals and plants, but the interpretation of fossils has also tended to be influenced by modes of preservation. Four modes of preservation generally can be distinguished: (1) Cellular permineralization ("petrifaction") preserves anatomical detail, and, occasionally, even cytologic structures. (2) Coalified compression, best illustrated by structures from coal but characteristic of many plant fossils in shale, preserves anatomical details in distorted form and produces surface replicas (impressions) on enclosing matrix. (3) Authigenic preservation replicates surface form or outline (molds and casts) prior to distortion by compression and, depending on cementation and timing, may intergrade with fossils that have been subject to compression. (4) Duripartic (hard part) preservation is characteristic of fossil skeletal remains, predominantly animal. Molds, pseudomorphs, or casts may form as bulk replacements following dissolution of the original fossil material, usually by leaching. Classification of the kinds of preservation in fossils will aid in identifying the processes responsible for modifying the fossil remains of both animals and plants. ?? 1975.

  8. Synonymous codon usage pattern in glycoprotein gene of rabies virus.

    PubMed

    Morla, Sudhir; Makhija, Aditi; Kumar, Sachin

    2016-06-10

    Rabies virus (RABV) is the causative agent of a fatal nervous system ailment. The disease is zoonotic and prevalent in many developing countries. The glycoprotein (G) of RABV is the major antigenic determinant of the virus and plays a pivotal role in its neurovirulence. Various aspects of 'G' protein biology have been explored, but the factors affecting the nucleotide choice and synonymous codon usage have never been reported. In the present study, we have analyzed the relative synonymous codon usage and effective number of codons (Nc) using 132 'G' protein genes of RABV. Corresponding analysis was used to calculate major trends in codon usage. The correlation between base composition and codon usage as well as the plot between Nc and GC3 suggest that mutational pressure is the major factor that influences the codon usage in the G gene of RABV. In addition, factors like aromaticity, aliphatic index and hydropathy have shown slight correlation suggesting that natural selection also contributes to the codon usage variations of the 'G' gene. In conclusion, codon usage bias in 'G' gene of RABV is mainly by mutational pressure and natural selection. PMID:26945626

  9. Two new beta0-thalassemic mutations: a deletion (-CC) at codon 142 or overlapping codons 142-143, and an insertion (+T) at codon 45 or overlapping codons 44-45/45-46 of the beta-globin gene.

    PubMed

    Lacan, Philippe; Aubry, Martine; Couprie, Nicole; Francina, Alain

    2007-01-01

    We report here two new beta(0)-thalassemic mutations. In the first case, a deletion of two nucleotides (-CC) at codon 142 was found in a French Caucasian woman. In the second case, an insertion of a single nucleotide (+T) at codon 45 was found in a Turkish girl. In both cases, no dominant thalassemia-like phenotype was observed.

  10. Codon Bias Patterns of E. coli’s Interacting Proteins

    PubMed Central

    Dilucca, Maddalena; Cimini, Giulio; Semmoloni, Andrea; Deiana, Antonio; Giansanti, Andrea

    2015-01-01

    Synonymous codons, i.e., DNA nucleotide triplets coding for the same amino acid, are used differently across the variety of living organisms. The biological meaning of this phenomenon, known as codon usage bias, is still controversial. In order to shed light on this point, we propose a new codon bias index, CompAI, that is based on the competition between cognate and near-cognate tRNAs during translation, without being tuned to the usage bias of highly expressed genes. We perform a genome-wide evaluation of codon bias for E.coli, comparing CompAI with other widely used indices: tAI, CAI, and Nc. We show that CompAI and tAI capture similar information by being positively correlated with gene conservation, measured by the Evolutionary Retention Index (ERI), and essentiality, whereas, CAI and Nc appear to be less sensitive to evolutionary-functional parameters. Notably, the rate of variation of tAI and CompAI with ERI allows to obtain sets of genes that consistently belong to specific clusters of orthologous genes (COGs). We also investigate the correlation of codon bias at the genomic level with the network features of protein-protein interactions in E.coli. We find that the most densely connected communities of the network share a similar level of codon bias (as measured by CompAI and tAI). Conversely, a small difference in codon bias between two genes is, statistically, a prerequisite for the corresponding proteins to interact. Importantly, among all codon bias indices, CompAI turns out to have the most coherent distribution over the communities of the interactome, pointing to the significance of competition among cognate and near-cognate tRNAs for explaining codon usage adaptation. Notably, CompAI may potentially correlate with translation speed measurements, by accounting for the specific delay induced by wobble-pairing between codons and anticodons. PMID:26566157

  11. Structural basis for stop codon recognition in eukaryotes

    PubMed Central

    Murray, Jason; Hegde, Ramanujan S.; Ramakrishnan, V.

    2015-01-01

    Termination of protein synthesis occurs when a translating ribosome encounters one of three universally conserved stop codons: UGA, UAA, or UAG. Release factors recognise stop codons in the ribosomal A site to mediate release of the nascent chain and recycling of the ribosome. Bacteria decode stop codons using two separate release factors with differing specificities for the second and third bases1. By contrast, eukaryotes rely on an evolutionarily unrelated omnipotent release factor (eRF1) to recognise all three stop codons2. The molecular basis of eRF1 discrimination for stop codons over sense codons is not known. Here, we present electron cryo-microscopy (cryo-EM) structures at 3.5 – 3.8 Å resolution of mammalian ribosomal complexes containing eRF1 interacting with each of the three stop codons in the A site. Binding of eRF1 flips nucleotide A1825 of 18S rRNA so that it stacks on the second and third stop codon bases. This configuration pulls the fourth position base into the A site, where it is stabilised by stacking against G626 of 18S rRNA. Thus, eRF1 exploits two rRNA nucleotides also used during tRNA selection to drive mRNA compaction. Stop codons are favoured in this compacted mRNA conformation by a hydrogen-bonding network with essential eRF1 residues that constrains the identity of the bases. These results provide a molecular framework for eukaryotic stop codon recognition and have implications for future studies on the mechanisms of canonical and premature translation termination3,4. PMID:26245381

  12. Structural basis for stop codon recognition in eukaryotes.

    PubMed

    Brown, Alan; Shao, Sichen; Murray, Jason; Hegde, Ramanujan S; Ramakrishnan, V

    2015-08-27

    Termination of protein synthesis occurs when a translating ribosome encounters one of three universally conserved stop codons: UAA, UAG or UGA. Release factors recognize stop codons in the ribosomal A-site to mediate release of the nascent chain and recycling of the ribosome. Bacteria decode stop codons using two separate release factors with differing specificities for the second and third bases. By contrast, eukaryotes rely on an evolutionarily unrelated omnipotent release factor (eRF1) to recognize all three stop codons. The molecular basis of eRF1 discrimination for stop codons over sense codons is not known. Here we present cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) structures at 3.5-3.8 Å resolution of mammalian ribosomal complexes containing eRF1 interacting with each of the three stop codons in the A-site. Binding of eRF1 flips nucleotide A1825 of 18S ribosomal RNA so that it stacks on the second and third stop codon bases. This configuration pulls the fourth position base into the A-site, where it is stabilized by stacking against G626 of 18S rRNA. Thus, eRF1 exploits two rRNA nucleotides also used during transfer RNA selection to drive messenger RNA compaction. In this compacted mRNA conformation, stop codons are favoured by a hydrogen-bonding network formed between rRNA and essential eRF1 residues that constrains the identity of the bases. These results provide a molecular framework for eukaryotic stop codon recognition and have implications for future studies on the mechanisms of canonical and premature translation termination.

  13. Recent synchronous radiation of a living fossil.

    PubMed

    Nagalingum, N S; Marshall, C R; Quental, T B; Rai, H S; Little, D P; Mathews, S

    2011-11-11

    Modern survivors of previously more diverse lineages are regarded as living fossils, particularly when characterized by morphological stasis. Cycads are often cited as a classic example, reaching their greatest diversity during the Jurassic-Cretaceous (199.6 to 65.5 million years ago) then dwindling to their present diversity of ~300 species as flowering plants rose to dominance. Using fossil-calibrated molecular phylogenies, we show that cycads underwent a near synchronous global rediversification beginning in the late Miocene, followed by a slowdown toward the Recent. Although the cycad lineage is ancient, our timetrees indicate that living cycad species are not much older than ~12 million years. These data reject the hypothesized role of dinosaurs in generating extant diversity and the designation of today's cycad species as living fossils. PMID:22021670

  14. Recent synchronous radiation of a living fossil.

    PubMed

    Nagalingum, N S; Marshall, C R; Quental, T B; Rai, H S; Little, D P; Mathews, S

    2011-11-11

    Modern survivors of previously more diverse lineages are regarded as living fossils, particularly when characterized by morphological stasis. Cycads are often cited as a classic example, reaching their greatest diversity during the Jurassic-Cretaceous (199.6 to 65.5 million years ago) then dwindling to their present diversity of ~300 species as flowering plants rose to dominance. Using fossil-calibrated molecular phylogenies, we show that cycads underwent a near synchronous global rediversification beginning in the late Miocene, followed by a slowdown toward the Recent. Although the cycad lineage is ancient, our timetrees indicate that living cycad species are not much older than ~12 million years. These data reject the hypothesized role of dinosaurs in generating extant diversity and the designation of today's cycad species as living fossils.

  15. Restoring Fossil Creek

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Flaccus, Kathleen; Vlieg, Julie; Marks, Jane C.; LeRoy, Carri J.

    2004-01-01

    Fossil Creek had been dammed for the past 90 years, and plans were underway to restore the stream. The creek runs through Central Arizona and flows from the high plateaus to the desert, cutting through the same formations that form the Grand Canyon. This article discusses the Fossil Creek monitoring project. In this project, students and teachers…

  16. Novel Ciliate Genetic Code Variants Including the Reassignment of All Three Stop Codons to Sense Codons in Condylostoma magnum

    PubMed Central

    Heaphy, Stephen M.; Mariotti, Marco; Gladyshev, Vadim N.; Atkins, John F.; Baranov, Pavel V.

    2016-01-01

    mRNA translation in many ciliates utilizes variant genetic codes where stop codons are reassigned to specify amino acids. To characterize the repertoire of ciliate genetic codes, we analyzed ciliate transcriptomes from marine environments. Using codon substitution frequencies in ciliate protein-coding genes and their orthologs, we inferred the genetic codes of 24 ciliate species. Nine did not match genetic code tables currently assigned by NCBI. Surprisingly, we identified a novel genetic code where all three standard stop codons (TAA, TAG, and TGA) specify amino acids in Condylostoma magnum. We provide evidence suggesting that the functions of these codons in C. magnum depend on their location within mRNA. They are decoded as amino acids at internal positions, but specify translation termination when in close proximity to an mRNA 3′ end. The frequency of stop codons in protein coding sequences of closely related Climacostomum virens suggests that it may represent a transitory state. PMID:27501944

  17. An Unprecedented Non-canonical Nuclear Genetic Code with All Three Termination Codons Reassigned as Sense Codons.

    PubMed

    Záhonová, Kristína; Kostygov, Alexei Y; Ševčíková, Tereza; Yurchenko, Vyacheslav; Eliáš, Marek

    2016-09-12

    A limited number of non-canonical genetic codes have been described in eukaryotic nuclear genomes. Most involve reassignment of one or two termination codons as sense ones [1-4], but no code variant is known that would have reassigned all three termination codons. Here, we describe such a variant that we discovered in a clade of trypanosomatids comprising nominal Blastocrithidia species. In these protists, UGA has been reassigned to encode tryptophan, while UAG and UAA (UAR) have become glutamate encoding. Strikingly, UAA and, less frequently, UAG also serve as bona fide termination codons. The release factor eRF1 in Blastocrithidia contains a substitution of a conserved serine residue predicted to decrease its affinity to UGA, which explains why this triplet can be read as a sense codon. However, the molecular basis for the dual interpretation of UAR codons remains elusive. Our findings expand the limits of comprehension of one of the fundamental processes in molecular biology.

  18. An Unprecedented Non-canonical Nuclear Genetic Code with All Three Termination Codons Reassigned as Sense Codons.

    PubMed

    Záhonová, Kristína; Kostygov, Alexei Y; Ševčíková, Tereza; Yurchenko, Vyacheslav; Eliáš, Marek

    2016-09-12

    A limited number of non-canonical genetic codes have been described in eukaryotic nuclear genomes. Most involve reassignment of one or two termination codons as sense ones [1-4], but no code variant is known that would have reassigned all three termination codons. Here, we describe such a variant that we discovered in a clade of trypanosomatids comprising nominal Blastocrithidia species. In these protists, UGA has been reassigned to encode tryptophan, while UAG and UAA (UAR) have become glutamate encoding. Strikingly, UAA and, less frequently, UAG also serve as bona fide termination codons. The release factor eRF1 in Blastocrithidia contains a substitution of a conserved serine residue predicted to decrease its affinity to UGA, which explains why this triplet can be read as a sense codon. However, the molecular basis for the dual interpretation of UAR codons remains elusive. Our findings expand the limits of comprehension of one of the fundamental processes in molecular biology. PMID:27593378

  19. Structural Basis for Translation Termination on a Pseudouridylated Stop Codon.

    PubMed

    Svidritskiy, Egor; Madireddy, Rohini; Korostelev, Andrei A

    2016-05-22

    Pseudouridylation of messenger RNA emerges as an abundant modification involved in gene expression regulation. Pseudouridylation of stop codons in eukaryotic and bacterial cells results in stop-codon read through. The structural mechanism of this phenomenon is not known. Here we present a 3.1-Å crystal structure of Escherichia coli release factor 1 (RF1) bound to the 70S ribosome in response to the ΨAA codon. The structure reveals that recognition of a modified stop codon does not differ from that of a canonical stop codon. Our in vitro biochemical results support this finding by yielding nearly identical rates for peptide release from E. coli ribosomes programmed with pseudouridylated and canonical stop codons. The crystal structure also brings insight into E. coli RF1-specific interactions and suggests involvement of L27 in bacterial translation termination. Our results are consistent with a mechanism in which read through of a pseudouridylated stop codon in bacteria results from increased decoding by near-cognate tRNAs (miscoding) rather than from decreased efficiency of termination. PMID:27107638

  20. Premature termination codons in modern human genomes

    PubMed Central

    Fujikura, Kohei

    2016-01-01

    The considerable range of genetic variation in human populations may partly reflect distinctive processes of adaptation to variable environmental conditions. However, the adaptive genomic signatures remain to be completely elucidated. This research explores candidate loci under selection at the population level by characterizing recently arisen premature termination codons (PTCs), some of which indicate a human knockout. From a total of 7595 participants from two population exome projects, 246 PTCs were found where natural selection has resulted in new alleles with a high frequency (from 1% to 96%) of derived alleles and various levels of population differentiation (FST = 0.00139–0.626). The PTC genes formed protein and regulatory networks limited to 15 biological processes or gene families, of which seven categories were previously unreported. PTC mutations have a strong tendency to be introduced into members of the same gene family, even during modern human evolution, although the exact nature of the selection is not fully known. The findings here suggest the ongoing evolutionary plasticity of modern humans at the genetic level and also partly provide insights into common human knockouts. PMID:26932450

  1. Analysis of amino acid and codon usage in Paramecium bursaria.

    PubMed

    Dohra, Hideo; Fujishima, Masahiro; Suzuki, Haruo

    2015-10-01

    The ciliate Paramecium bursaria harbors the green-alga Chlorella symbionts. We reassembled the P. bursaria transcriptome to minimize falsely fused transcripts, and investigated amino acid and codon usage using the transcriptome data. Surface proteins preferentially use smaller amino acid residues like cysteine. Unusual synonymous codon and amino acid usage in highly expressed genes can reflect a balance between translational selection and other factors. A correlation of gene expression level with synonymous codon or amino acid usage is emphasized in genes down-regulated in symbiont-bearing cells compared to symbiont-free cells. Our results imply that the selection is associated with P. bursaria-Chlorella symbiosis. PMID:26341535

  2. Analysis of amino acid and codon usage in Paramecium bursaria.

    PubMed

    Dohra, Hideo; Fujishima, Masahiro; Suzuki, Haruo

    2015-10-01

    The ciliate Paramecium bursaria harbors the green-alga Chlorella symbionts. We reassembled the P. bursaria transcriptome to minimize falsely fused transcripts, and investigated amino acid and codon usage using the transcriptome data. Surface proteins preferentially use smaller amino acid residues like cysteine. Unusual synonymous codon and amino acid usage in highly expressed genes can reflect a balance between translational selection and other factors. A correlation of gene expression level with synonymous codon or amino acid usage is emphasized in genes down-regulated in symbiont-bearing cells compared to symbiont-free cells. Our results imply that the selection is associated with P. bursaria-Chlorella symbiosis.

  3. Fossil fuels -- future fuels

    SciTech Connect

    1998-03-01

    Fossil fuels -- coal, oil, and natural gas -- built America`s historic economic strength. Today, coal supplies more than 55% of the electricity, oil more than 97% of the transportation needs, and natural gas 24% of the primary energy used in the US. Even taking into account increased use of renewable fuels and vastly improved powerplant efficiencies, 90% of national energy needs will still be met by fossil fuels in 2020. If advanced technologies that boost efficiency and environmental performance can be successfully developed and deployed, the US can continue to depend upon its rich resources of fossil fuels.

  4. Human alpha and beta papillomaviruses use different synonymous codon profiles.

    PubMed

    Cladel, Nancy M; Bertotto, Alex; Christensen, Neil D

    2010-06-01

    Human papillomaviruses use rare codons relative to their hosts. It has been theorized that this is a mechanism to allow the virus to escape immune surveillance. In the present study, we examined the codings of four major genes of 21 human alpha (mucosatropic) viruses and 16 human beta (cutaneous-tropic) viruses. We compared the codon usage of different genes from a given papillomavirus and also the same genes from different papillomaviruses. Our data showed that codon usage was not always uniform between two genes of a given papillomavirus or between the same genes of papillomaviruses from different genera. We speculate as to why this might be and conclude that codon usage in the papillomaviruses may not only play a role in facilitating escape from immune surveillance but may also underlie some of the unanswered questions in the papillomavirus field.

  5. 20. WEST CONFEDERATE AVENUE BRIDGE SPANNING CODON'S RUN, ARCH DETAIL ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    20. WEST CONFEDERATE AVENUE BRIDGE SPANNING CODON'S RUN, ARCH DETAIL SHOWING BRICK ARCH FOR MAIN SPAN AND STONE VOUSSOIRS. VIEW W. - Gettysburg National Military Park Tour Roads, Gettysburg, Adams County, PA

  6. Tooth Enamel Oxygen and Carbon Isotope Variations in Modern Central Asian Horses: Development of a Calibration Database for the Interpretation of Stable Isotope Signals Preserved in Fossil Horse Remains from Archaeological Sites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sikora, M. T.; Rosenmeier, M. F.; Allard, F.; Olsen, S. L.

    2005-12-01

    Recent studies of early nomadic pastoralism within Central Asia have focused on the rich archaeological history of Mongolia and specifically the examination of so-called khirigsuur sites. These monumental Bronze Age (first and second millennium B.C.) structures consist of stone constructions that contain abundant horse remains (typically skulls) and occasionally human burials. Isotopic analysis of horse remains preserved within these sites may provide a wealth of paleoclimatic information. However, the accuracy of climate reconstructions from fossil teeth collected at archaeological sites in Mongolia is currently limited by insufficient knowledge of the relationship between local environmental conditions and tooth enamel isotope ratios as well as uncertainties attributed to intra-population variability. In this study we measured the oxygen and carbon isotope (δ18O and δ13C) values of enamel samples from modern horse teeth collected along a nearly 550 km latitudinal (northwest-southeast) transect within central Mongolia. Preliminary results suggest that modern tooth enamel records local environmental conditions, although δ18O and δ13C values are not always a direct proxy for climate and vegetation cover. The modern samples serve as a baseline for interpreting isotope signals preserved in fossil horses and thereby increase the accuracy of paleoclimatic reconstructions. Approximately one-hundred individuals were examined from highly varied geographic zones (forest steppe, grassland steppe, dry steppe, and semi-desert) and compared with the δ18O of meteoric waters and δ13C values of local vegetation. Oxygen isotope ratios of bulk enamel samples (spanning the entire vertical axis of tooth growth) parallel spatial trends observed in isotopic composition of meteoric waters and major north-south gradients in temperature and precipitation. Average δ13C values similarly increase with decreasing geographic latitude and likely correspond to documented increases in the

  7. Codon Usage Bias and Determining Forces in Taenia solium Genome.

    PubMed

    Yang, Xing; Ma, Xusheng; Luo, Xuenong; Ling, Houjun; Zhang, Xichen; Cai, Xuepeng

    2015-12-01

    The tapeworm Taenia solium is an important human zoonotic parasite that causes great economic loss and also endangers public health. At present, an effective vaccine that will prevent infection and chemotherapy without any side effect remains to be developed. In this study, codon usage patterns in the T. solium genome were examined through 8,484 protein-coding genes. Neutrality analysis showed that T. solium had a narrow GC distribution, and a significant correlation was observed between GC12 and GC3. Examination of an NC (ENC vs GC3s)-plot showed a few genes on or close to the expected curve, but the majority of points with low-ENC (the effective number of codons) values were detected below the expected curve, suggesting that mutational bias plays a major role in shaping codon usage. The Parity Rule 2 plot (PR2) analysis showed that GC and AT were not used proportionally. We also identified 26 optimal codons in the T. solium genome, all of which ended with either a G or C residue. These optimal codons in the T. solium genome are likely consistent with tRNAs that are highly expressed in the cell, suggesting that mutational and translational selection forces are probably driving factors of codon usage bias in the T. solium genome. PMID:26797435

  8. Codon Usage Bias and Determining Forces in Taenia solium Genome.

    PubMed

    Yang, Xing; Ma, Xusheng; Luo, Xuenong; Ling, Houjun; Zhang, Xichen; Cai, Xuepeng

    2015-12-01

    The tapeworm Taenia solium is an important human zoonotic parasite that causes great economic loss and also endangers public health. At present, an effective vaccine that will prevent infection and chemotherapy without any side effect remains to be developed. In this study, codon usage patterns in the T. solium genome were examined through 8,484 protein-coding genes. Neutrality analysis showed that T. solium had a narrow GC distribution, and a significant correlation was observed between GC12 and GC3. Examination of an NC (ENC vs GC3s)-plot showed a few genes on or close to the expected curve, but the majority of points with low-ENC (the effective number of codons) values were detected below the expected curve, suggesting that mutational bias plays a major role in shaping codon usage. The Parity Rule 2 plot (PR2) analysis showed that GC and AT were not used proportionally. We also identified 26 optimal codons in the T. solium genome, all of which ended with either a G or C residue. These optimal codons in the T. solium genome are likely consistent with tRNAs that are highly expressed in the cell, suggesting that mutational and translational selection forces are probably driving factors of codon usage bias in the T. solium genome.

  9. Codon Usage Bias and Determining Forces in Taenia solium Genome

    PubMed Central

    Yang, Xing; Ma, Xusheng; Luo, Xuenong; Ling, Houjun; Zhang, Xichen; Cai, Xuepeng

    2015-01-01

    The tapeworm Taenia solium is an important human zoonotic parasite that causes great economic loss and also endangers public health. At present, an effective vaccine that will prevent infection and chemotherapy without any side effect remains to be developed. In this study, codon usage patterns in the T. solium genome were examined through 8,484 protein-coding genes. Neutrality analysis showed that T. solium had a narrow GC distribution, and a significant correlation was observed between GC12 and GC3. Examination of an NC (ENC vs GC3s)-plot showed a few genes on or close to the expected curve, but the majority of points with low-ENC (the effective number of codons) values were detected below the expected curve, suggesting that mutational bias plays a major role in shaping codon usage. The Parity Rule 2 plot (PR2) analysis showed that GC and AT were not used proportionally. We also identified 26 optimal codons in the T. solium genome, all of which ended with either a G or C residue. These optimal codons in the T. solium genome are likely consistent with tRNAs that are highly expressed in the cell, suggesting that mutational and translational selection forces are probably driving factors of codon usage bias in the T. solium genome. PMID:26797435

  10. Fossil Simulation in the Classroom

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hoehn, Robert G.

    1977-01-01

    Describes classroom science demonstrations and experiments that simulate the process of fossil formation. Lists materials, procedures and suggestions for successful activities. Includes ten student activities (coral fossils, leaf fossils, leaf scars, carbonization, etc.). Describes a fossil game in which students work in pairs. (CS)

  11. Fossilization of feathers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davis, Paul G.; Briggs, Derek E. G.

    1995-09-01

    Scanning electron microscopy of feathers has revealed evidence that a bacterial glycocalyx (a network of exocellular polysaccharide fibers) played a role in promoting their fossilization in some cases. This mode of preservation has not been reported in other soft tissues. The majority of fossil feathers are preserved as carbonized traces. More rarely, bacteria on the surface are replicated by authigenic minerals (bacterial autolithification). The feathers of Archaeopteryx are preserved mainly by imprintation following early lithification of the substrate and decay of the feather. Lacustrine settings provide the most important taphonomic window for feather preservation. Preservation in terrestrial and normal-marine settings involves very different processes (in amber and in authigenically mineralized coprolites, respectively). Therefore, there may be a significant bias in the avian fossil record in favor of inland water habitats.

  12. Genome-Wide Analysis of Codon Usage Bias in Epichloë festucae.

    PubMed

    Li, Xiuzhang; Song, Hui; Kuang, Yu; Chen, Shuihong; Tian, Pei; Li, Chunjie; Nan, Zhibiao

    2016-01-01

    Analysis of codon usage data has both practical and theoretical applications in understanding the basics of molecular biology. Differences in codon usage patterns among genes reflect variations in local base compositional biases and the intensity of natural selection. Recently, there have been several reports related to codon usage in fungi, but little is known about codon usage bias in Epichloë endophytes. The present study aimed to assess codon usage patterns and biases in 4870 sequences from Epichloë festucae, which may be helpful in revealing the constraint factors such as mutation or selection pressure and improving the bioreactor on the cloning, expression, and characterization of some special genes. The GC content with 56.41% is higher than the AT content (43.59%) in E. festucae. The results of neutrality and effective number of codons plot analyses showed that both mutational bias and natural selection play roles in shaping codon usage in this species. We found that gene length is strongly correlated with codon usage and may contribute to the codon usage patterns observed in genes. Nucleotide composition and gene expression levels also shape codon usage bias in E. festucae. E. festucae exhibits codon usage bias based on the relative synonymous codon usage (RSCU) values of 61 sense codons, with 25 codons showing an RSCU larger than 1. In addition, we identified 27 optimal codons that end in a G or C. PMID:27428961

  13. Genome-Wide Analysis of Codon Usage Bias in Epichloë festucae

    PubMed Central

    Li, Xiuzhang; Song, Hui; Kuang, Yu; Chen, Shuihong; Tian, Pei; Li, Chunjie; Nan, Zhibiao

    2016-01-01

    Analysis of codon usage data has both practical and theoretical applications in understanding the basics of molecular biology. Differences in codon usage patterns among genes reflect variations in local base compositional biases and the intensity of natural selection. Recently, there have been several reports related to codon usage in fungi, but little is known about codon usage bias in Epichloë endophytes. The present study aimed to assess codon usage patterns and biases in 4870 sequences from Epichloë festucae, which may be helpful in revealing the constraint factors such as mutation or selection pressure and improving the bioreactor on the cloning, expression, and characterization of some special genes. The GC content with 56.41% is higher than the AT content (43.59%) in E. festucae. The results of neutrality and effective number of codons plot analyses showed that both mutational bias and natural selection play roles in shaping codon usage in this species. We found that gene length is strongly correlated with codon usage and may contribute to the codon usage patterns observed in genes. Nucleotide composition and gene expression levels also shape codon usage bias in E. festucae. E. festucae exhibits codon usage bias based on the relative synonymous codon usage (RSCU) values of 61 sense codons, with 25 codons showing an RSCU larger than 1. In addition, we identified 27 optimal codons that end in a G or C. PMID:27428961

  14. An Engineered Rare Codon Device for Optimization of Metabolic Pathways

    PubMed Central

    Wang, You; Li, Chunying; Khan, Md. Rezaul Islam; Wang, Yushu; Ruan, Yunfeng; Zhao, Bin; Zhang, Bo; Ma, Xiaopan; Zhang, Kaisi; Zhao, Xiwen; Ye, Guanhao; Guo, Xizhi; Feng, Guoyin; He, Lin; Ma, Gang

    2016-01-01

    Rare codons generally arrest translation due to rarity of their cognate tRNAs. This property of rare codons can be utilized to regulate protein expression. In this study, a linear relationship was found between expression levels of genes and copy numbers of rare codons inserted within them. Based on this discovery, we constructed a molecular device in Escherichia coli using the rare codon AGG, its cognate tRNA (tRNAArg (CCU)), modified tRNAAsp (GUC → CCU), and truncated aspartyl-tRNA synthetase (TDRS) to switch the expression of reporter genes on or off as well as to precisely regulate their expression to various intermediate levels. To underscore the applicability of our work, we used the rare codon device to alter the expression levels of four genes of the fatty acid synthesis II (FASII) pathway (i.e. fabZ, fabG, fabI, and tesA’) in E. coli to optimize steady-state kinetics, which produced nearly two-fold increase in fatty acid yield. Thus, the proposed method has potential applications in regulating target protein expression at desired levels and optimizing metabolic pathways by precisely tuning in vivo molar ratio of relevant enzymes. PMID:26852704

  15. Fossil-Fired Boilers

    1993-09-23

    Boiler Performance Model (BPM 3.0S) is a set of computer programs developed to analyze the performance of fossil-fired utility boilers. The programs can model a wide variety of boiler designs, and can model coal, oil, or natural gas firing. The programs are intended for use by engineers performing analyses of alternative fuels, alternative operating modes, or boiler modifications.

  16. Advanced fossil energy utilization

    SciTech Connect

    Shekhawat, D.; Berry, D.; Spivey, J.; Pennline, H.; Granite, E.

    2010-01-01

    This special issue of Fuel is a selection of papers presented at the symposium ‘Advanced Fossil Energy Utilization’ co-sponsored by the Fuels and Petrochemicals Division and Research and New Technology Committee in the 2009 American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Spring National Meeting Tampa, FL, on April 26–30, 2009.

  17. Design, synthesis, and testing toward a 57-codon genome.

    PubMed

    Ostrov, Nili; Landon, Matthieu; Guell, Marc; Kuznetsov, Gleb; Teramoto, Jun; Cervantes, Natalie; Zhou, Minerva; Singh, Kerry; Napolitano, Michael G; Moosburner, Mark; Shrock, Ellen; Pruitt, Benjamin W; Conway, Nicholas; Goodman, Daniel B; Gardner, Cameron L; Tyree, Gary; Gonzales, Alexandra; Wanner, Barry L; Norville, Julie E; Lajoie, Marc J; Church, George M

    2016-08-19

    Recoding--the repurposing of genetic codons--is a powerful strategy for enhancing genomes with functions not commonly found in nature. Here, we report computational design, synthesis, and progress toward assembly of a 3.97-megabase, 57-codon Escherichia coli genome in which all 62,214 instances of seven codons were replaced with synonymous alternatives across all protein-coding genes. We have validated 63% of recoded genes by individually testing 55 segments of 50 kilobases each. We observed that 91% of tested essential genes retained functionality with limited fitness effect. We demonstrate identification and correction of lethal design exceptions, only 13 of which were found in 2229 genes. This work underscores the feasibility of rewriting genomes and establishes a framework for large-scale design, assembly, troubleshooting, and phenotypic analysis of synthetic organisms. PMID:27540174

  18. Model for Codon Position Bias in RNA Editing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Tsunglin; Bundschuh, Ralf

    2005-08-01

    RNA editing can be crucial for the expression of genetic information via inserting, deleting, or substituting a few nucleotides at specific positions in an RNA sequence. Within coding regions in an RNA sequence, editing usually occurs with a certain bias in choosing the positions of the editing sites. In the mitochondrial genes of Physarum polycephalum, many more editing events have been observed at the third codon position than at the first and second, while in some plant mitochondria the second codon position dominates. Here we propose an evolutionary model that explains this bias as the basis of selection at the protein level. The model predicts a distribution of the three positions rather close to the experimental observation in Physarum. This suggests that the codon position bias in Physarum is mainly a consequence of selection at the protein level.

  19. A model for codon position bias in RNA editing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bundschuh, Ralf; Liu, Tsunglin

    2006-03-01

    RNA editing can be crucial for the expression of genetic information via inserting, deleting, or substituting a few nucleotides at specific positions in an RNA sequence. Within coding regions in an RNA sequence, editing usually occurs with a certain bias in choosing the positions of the editing sites. In the mitochondrial genes of Physarum polycephalum, many more editing events have been observed at the third codon position than at the first and second, while in some plant mitochondria the second codon position dominates. Here we propose an evolutionary model that explains this bias as the basis of selection at the protein level. The model predicts a distribution of the three positions rather close to the experimental observation in Physarum. This suggests that the codon position bias in Physarum is mainly a consequence of selection at the protein level.

  20. Codon-reading specificities of mitochondrial release factors and translation termination at non-standard stop codons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lind, Christoffer; Sund, Johan; Åqvist, Johan

    2013-12-01

    A key feature of mitochondrial translation is the reduced number of transfer RNAs and reassignment of codons. For human mitochondria, a major unresolved problem is how the set of stop codons are decoded by the release factors mtRF1a and mtRF1. Here we present three-dimensional structural models of human mtRF1a and mtRF1 based on their homology to bacterial RF1 in the codon recognition domain, and the strong conservation between mitochondrial and bacterial ribosomal RNA in the decoding region. Sequence changes in the less homologous mtRF1 appear to be correlated with specific features of the mitochondrial rRNA. Extensive computer simulations of the complexes with the ribosomal decoding site show that both mitochondrial factors have similar specificities and that neither reads the putative vertebrate stop codons AGA and AGG. Instead, we present a structural model for a mechanism by which the ICT1 protein causes termination by sensing the presence of these codons in the A-site of stalled ribosomes.

  1. Codon Optimizing for Increased Membrane Protein Production: A Minimalist Approach.

    PubMed

    Mirzadeh, Kiavash; Toddo, Stephen; Nørholm, Morten H H; Daley, Daniel O

    2016-01-01

    Reengineering a gene with synonymous codons is a popular approach for increasing production levels of recombinant proteins. Here we present a minimalist alternative to this method, which samples synonymous codons only at the second and third positions rather than the entire coding sequence. As demonstrated with two membrane-embedded transporters in Escherichia coli, the method was more effective than optimizing the entire coding sequence. The method we present is PCR based and requires three simple steps: (1) the design of two PCR primers, one of which is degenerate; (2) the amplification of a mini-library by PCR; and (3) screening for high-expressing clones. PMID:27485329

  2. Sustainability of Fossil Fuels

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lackner, K. S.

    2002-05-01

    For a sustainable world economy, energy is a bottleneck. Energy is at the basis of a modern, technological society, but unlike materials it cannot be recycled. Energy or more precisely "negentropy" (the opposite of entropy) is always consumed. Thus, one either accepts the use of large but finite resources or must stay within the limits imposed by dilute but self-renewing resources like sunlight. The challenge of sustainable energy is exacerbated by likely growth in world energy demand due to increased population and increased wealth. Most of the world still has to undergo the transition to a wealthy, stable society with the near zero population growth that characterizes a modern industrial society. This represents a huge unmet demand. If ten billion people were to consume energy like North Americans do today, world energy demand would be ten times higher. In addition, technological advances while often improving energy efficiency tend to raise energy demand by offering more opportunity for consumption. Energy consumption still increases at close to the 2.3% per year that would lead to a tenfold increase over the course of the next century. Meeting future energy demands while phasing out fossil fuels appears extremely difficult. Instead, the world needs sustainable or nearly sustainable fossil fuels. I propose the following definition of sustainable under which fossil fuels would well qualify: The use of a technology or resource is sustainable if the intended and unintended consequences will not force its abandonment within a reasonable planning horizon. Of course sustainable technologies must not be limited by resource depletion but this is only one of many concerns. Environmental impacts, excessive land use, and other constraints can equally limit the use of a technology and thus render it unsustainable. In the foreseeable future, fossil fuels are not limited by resource depletion. However, environmental concerns based on climate change and other environmental

  3. Differential Codon Adaptation between dsDNA and ssDNA Phages in Escherichia coli

    PubMed Central

    Chithambaram, Shivapriya; Prabhakaran, Ramanandan; Xia, Xuhua

    2014-01-01

    Because phages use their host translation machinery, their codon usage should evolve toward that of highly expressed host genes. We used two indices to measure codon adaptation of phages to their host, rRSCU (the correlation in relative synonymous codon usage [RSCU] between phages and their host) and Codon Adaptation Index (CAI) computed with highly expressed host genes as the reference set (because phage translation depends on host translation machinery). These indices used for this purpose are appropriate only when hosts exhibit little mutation bias, so only phages parasitizing Escherichia coli were included in the analysis. For double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) phages, both rRSCU and CAI decrease with increasing number of transfer RNA genes encoded by the phage genome. rRSCU is greater for dsDNA phages than for single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) phages, and the low rRSCU values are mainly due to poor concordance in RSCU values for Y-ending codons between ssDNA phages and the E. coli host, consistent with the predicted effect of C→T mutation bias in the ssDNA phages. Strong C→T mutation bias would improve codon adaptation in codon families (e.g., Gly) where U-ending codons are favored over C-ending codons (“U-friendly” codon families) by highly expressed host genes but decrease codon adaptation in other codon families where highly expressed host genes favor C-ending codons against U-ending codons (“U-hostile” codon families). It is remarkable that ssDNA phages with increasing C→T mutation bias also increased the usage of codons in the “U-friendly” codon families, thereby achieving CAI values almost as large as those of dsDNA phages. This represents a new type of codon adaptation. PMID:24586046

  4. Ants and the fossil record.

    PubMed

    LaPolla, John S; Dlussky, Gennady M; Perrichot, Vincent

    2013-01-01

    The dominance of ants in the terrestrial biosphere has few equals among animals today, but this was not always the case. The oldest ants appear in the fossil record 100 million years ago, but given the scarcity of their fossils, it is presumed they were relatively minor components of Mesozoic insect life. The ant fossil record consists of two primary types of fossils, each with inherent biases: as imprints in rock and as inclusions in fossilized resins (amber). New imaging technology allows ancient ant fossils to be examined in ways never before possible. This is particularly helpful because it can be difficult to distinguish true ants from non-ants in Mesozoic fossils. Fossil discoveries continue to inform our understanding of ancient ant morphological diversity, as well as provide insights into their paleobiology.

  5. The largest fossil rodent

    PubMed Central

    Rinderknecht, Andrés; Blanco, R. Ernesto

    2008-01-01

    The discovery of an exceptionally well-preserved skull permits the description of the new South American fossil species of the rodent, Josephoartigasia monesi sp. nov. (family: Dinomyidae; Rodentia: Hystricognathi: Caviomorpha). This species with estimated body mass of nearly 1000 kg is the largest yet recorded. The skull sheds new light on the anatomy of the extinct giant rodents of the Dinomyidae, which are known mostly from isolated teeth and incomplete mandible remains. The fossil derives from San José Formation, Uruguay, usually assigned to the Pliocene–Pleistocene (4–2 Myr ago), and the proposed palaeoenvironment where this rodent lived was characterized as an estuarine or deltaic system with forest communities. PMID:18198140

  6. Gene classification using codon usage and support vector machines.

    PubMed

    Ma, Jianmin; Nguyen, Minh N; Rajapakse, Jagath C

    2009-01-01

    A novel approach for gene classification, which adopts codon usage bias as input feature vector for classification by support vector machines (SVM) is proposed. The DNA sequence is first converted to a 59-dimensional feature vector where each element corresponds to the relative synonymous usage frequency of a codon. As the input to the classifier is independent of sequence length and variance, our approach is useful when the sequences to be classified are of different lengths, a condition that homology-based methods tend to fail. The method is demonstrated by using 1,841 Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) sequences which are classified into two major classes: HLA-I and HLA-II; each major class is further subdivided into sub-groups of HLA-I and HLA-II molecules. Using codon usage frequencies, binary SVM achieved accuracy rate of 99.3% for HLA major class classification and multi-class SVM achieved accuracy rates of 99.73% and 98.38% for sub-class classification of HLA-I and HLA-II molecules, respectively. The results show that gene classification based on codon usage bias is consistent with the molecular structures and biological functions of HLA molecules. PMID:19179707

  7. Anemometer calibrator

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bate, T.; Calkins, D. E.; Price, P.; Veikins, O.

    1971-01-01

    Calibrator generates accurate flow velocities over wide range of gas pressure, temperature, and composition. Both pressure and flow velocity can be maintained within 0.25 percent. Instrument is essentially closed loop hydraulic system containing positive displacement drive.

  8. Expression of a Chimeric Allergen with High Rare Codons Content in Codon Bias-Adjusted Escherichia coli: Escherichia coli BL21 (DE3)-Codon Plus RIL as an Efficient Host.

    PubMed

    Nouri, Hamid Reza; Karkhah, Ahmad; Varasteh, Abdolreza; Sankian, Mojtaba

    2016-07-01

    The expression of heterologous proteins in Escherichia coli (E. coli) is importantly affected by codon bias. Hence, the aim of the current study was to determine which codon bias-adjusted E. coli strain is sufficient for expression of a chimeric allergen coded by high rare codon content. To investigate the expression level, a chimeric protein of Chenopodium album (C. album) was used as an appropriate model. An expression construct was assembled and was transformed to four strains of codon bias-adjusted E. coli including origami, BL21 (DE3), BL21 (DE3)-codon plus RIL, and Rosetta. The level of expression and solubility of the chimeric allergen was analyzed by SDS-PAGE. In addition, the allergenicity of chimeric allergen was determined using immunoblotting. Our results showed that the chimeric allergen was expressed at high level in E. coli BL21 (DE3)-codon plus RIL and Rosetta. In detail, this recombinant allergen was isolated from soluble fraction in the codon bias-adjusted strains of E. coli BL21 (DE3)-codon plus RIL and Rosetta. Moreover, some lower molecular weight proteins were observed in Rosetta, which could be related to inappropriate expression or broken compartments of the chimeric allergen. The immunoblotting assay confirmed that the IgE-specific immune reactivity of our chimeric allergen expressed in BL21 (DE3)-codon plus RIL was significantly higher than the other strains. Our results showed that the expression of the chimeric allergen with high rare codons content in a codon bias-adjusted strain E. coli BL21 (DE3)-codon plus RIL improves the quality and solubility of the heterologous protein production. PMID:27040822

  9. Expression of a Chimeric Allergen with High Rare Codons Content in Codon Bias-Adjusted Escherichia coli: Escherichia coli BL21 (DE3)-Codon Plus RIL as an Efficient Host.

    PubMed

    Nouri, Hamid Reza; Karkhah, Ahmad; Varasteh, Abdolreza; Sankian, Mojtaba

    2016-07-01

    The expression of heterologous proteins in Escherichia coli (E. coli) is importantly affected by codon bias. Hence, the aim of the current study was to determine which codon bias-adjusted E. coli strain is sufficient for expression of a chimeric allergen coded by high rare codon content. To investigate the expression level, a chimeric protein of Chenopodium album (C. album) was used as an appropriate model. An expression construct was assembled and was transformed to four strains of codon bias-adjusted E. coli including origami, BL21 (DE3), BL21 (DE3)-codon plus RIL, and Rosetta. The level of expression and solubility of the chimeric allergen was analyzed by SDS-PAGE. In addition, the allergenicity of chimeric allergen was determined using immunoblotting. Our results showed that the chimeric allergen was expressed at high level in E. coli BL21 (DE3)-codon plus RIL and Rosetta. In detail, this recombinant allergen was isolated from soluble fraction in the codon bias-adjusted strains of E. coli BL21 (DE3)-codon plus RIL and Rosetta. Moreover, some lower molecular weight proteins were observed in Rosetta, which could be related to inappropriate expression or broken compartments of the chimeric allergen. The immunoblotting assay confirmed that the IgE-specific immune reactivity of our chimeric allergen expressed in BL21 (DE3)-codon plus RIL was significantly higher than the other strains. Our results showed that the expression of the chimeric allergen with high rare codons content in a codon bias-adjusted strain E. coli BL21 (DE3)-codon plus RIL improves the quality and solubility of the heterologous protein production.

  10. Biogeographic calibrations for the molecular clock

    PubMed Central

    Ho, Simon Y. W.; Tong, K. Jun; Foster, Charles S. P.; Ritchie, Andrew M.; Lo, Nathan; Crisp, Michael D.

    2015-01-01

    Molecular estimates of evolutionary timescales have an important role in a range of biological studies. Such estimates can be made using methods based on molecular clocks, including models that are able to account for rate variation across lineages. All clock models share a dependence on calibrations, which enable estimates to be given in absolute time units. There are many available methods for incorporating fossil calibrations, but geological and climatic data can also provide useful calibrations for molecular clocks. However, a number of strong assumptions need to be made when using these biogeographic calibrations, leading to wide variation in their reliability and precision. In this review, we describe the nature of biogeographic calibrations and the assumptions that they involve. We present an overview of the different geological and climatic events that can provide informative calibrations, and explain how such temporal information can be incorporated into dating analyses. PMID:26333662

  11. Biogeographic calibrations for the molecular clock.

    PubMed

    Ho, Simon Y W; Tong, K Jun; Foster, Charles S P; Ritchie, Andrew M; Lo, Nathan; Crisp, Michael D

    2015-09-01

    Molecular estimates of evolutionary timescales have an important role in a range of biological studies. Such estimates can be made using methods based on molecular clocks, including models that are able to account for rate variation across lineages. All clock models share a dependence on calibrations, which enable estimates to be given in absolute time units. There are many available methods for incorporating fossil calibrations, but geological and climatic data can also provide useful calibrations for molecular clocks. However, a number of strong assumptions need to be made when using these biogeographic calibrations, leading to wide variation in their reliability and precision. In this review, we describe the nature of biogeographic calibrations and the assumptions that they involve. We present an overview of the different geological and climatic events that can provide informative calibrations, and explain how such temporal information can be incorporated into dating analyses.

  12. Codon usage patterns in Chinese bayberry (Myrica rubra) based on RNA-Seq data

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Codon usage analysis has been a classical topic for decades and has significances for studies of evolution, mRNA translation, and new gene discovery, etc. While the codon usage varies among different members of the plant kingdom, indicating the necessity for species-specific study, this work has mostly been limited to model organisms. Recently, the development of deep sequencing, especial RNA-Seq, has made it possible to carry out studies in non-model species. Result RNA-Seq data of Chinese bayberry was analyzed to investigate the bias of codon usage and codon pairs. High frequency codons (AGG, GCU, AAG and GAU), as well as low frequency ones (NCG and NUA codons) were identified, and 397 high frequency codon pairs were observed. Meanwhile, 26 preferred and 141 avoided neighboring codon pairs were also identified, which showed more significant bias than the same pairs with one or more intervening codons. Codon patterns were also analyzed at the plant kingdom, organism and gene levels. Changes during plant evolution were evident using RSCU (relative synonymous codon usage), which was even more significant than GC3s (GC content of 3rd synonymous codons). Nine GO categories were differentially and independently influenced by CAI (codon adaptation index) or GC3s, especially in 'Molecular function’ category. Within a gene, the average CAI increased from 0.720 to 0.785 in the first 50 codons, and then more slowly thereafter. Furthermore, the preferred as well as avoided codons at the position just following the start codon AUG were identified and discussed in relation to the key positions in Kozak sequences. Conclusion A comprehensive codon usage Table and number of high-frequency codon pairs were established. Bias in codon usage as well as in neighboring codon pairs was observed, and the significance of this in avoiding DNA mutation, increasing protein production and regulating protein synthesis rate was proposed. Codon usage patterns at three levels were

  13. Molecular decay of the tooth gene Enamelin (ENAM) mirrors the loss of enamel in the fossil record of placental mammals.

    PubMed

    Meredith, Robert W; Gatesy, John; Murphy, William J; Ryder, Oliver A; Springer, Mark S

    2009-09-01

    Vestigial structures occur at both the anatomical and molecular levels, but studies documenting the co-occurrence of morphological degeneration in the fossil record and molecular decay in the genome are rare. Here, we use morphology, the fossil record, and phylogenetics to predict the occurrence of "molecular fossils" of the enamelin (ENAM) gene in four different orders of placental mammals (Tubulidentata, Pholidota, Cetacea, Xenarthra) with toothless and/or enamelless taxa. Our results support the "molecular fossil" hypothesis and demonstrate the occurrence of frameshift mutations and/or stop codons in all toothless and enamelless taxa. We then use a novel method based on selection intensity estimates for codons (omega) to calculate the timing of iterated enamel loss in the fossil record of aardvarks and pangolins, and further show that the molecular evolutionary history of ENAM predicts the occurrence of enamel in basal representatives of Xenarthra (sloths, anteaters, armadillos) even though frameshift mutations are ubiquitous in ENAM sequences of living xenarthrans. The molecular decay of ENAM parallels the morphological degeneration of enamel in the fossil record of placental mammals and provides manifest evidence for the predictive power of Darwin's theory. PMID:19730686

  14. Clustering of classical swine fever virus isolates by codon pair bias

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background The genetic code consists of non-random usage of synonymous codons for the same amino acids, termed codon bias or codon usage. Codon juxtaposition is also non-random, referred to as codon context bias or codon pair bias. The codon and codon pair bias vary among different organisms, as well as with viruses. Reasons for these differences are not completely understood. For classical swine fever virus (CSFV), it was suggested that the synonymous codon usage does not significantly influence virulence, but the relationship between variations in codon pair usage and CSFV virulence is unknown. Virulence can be related to the fitness of a virus: Differences in codon pair usage influence genome translation efficiency, which may in turn relate to the fitness of a virus. Accordingly, the potential of the codon pair bias for clustering CSFV isolates into classes of different virulence was investigated. Results The complete genomic sequences encoding the viral polyprotein of 52 different CSFV isolates were analyzed. This included 49 sequences from the GenBank database (NCBI) and three newly sequenced genomes. The codon usage did not differ among isolates of different virulence or genotype. In contrast, a clustering of isolates based on their codon pair bias was observed, clearly discriminating highly virulent isolates and vaccine strains on one side from moderately virulent strains on the other side. However, phylogenetic trees based on the codon pair bias and on the primary nucleotide sequence resulted in a very similar genotype distribution. Conclusion Clustering of CSFV genomes based on their codon pair bias correlate with the genotype rather than with the virulence of the isolates. PMID:22126254

  15. Biodesulfurization of fossil fuels.

    PubMed

    Gray, Kevin A; Mrachko, Gregory T; Squires, Charles H

    2003-06-01

    Biotechnological techniques enabling the specific removal of sulfur from fossil fuels have been developed. In the past three years there have been important advances in the elucidation of the mechanisms of biodesulfurization; some of the most significant relate to the role of a flavin reductase, DszD, in the enzymology of desulfurization, and to the use of new tools that enable enzyme enhancement via DNA manipulation to influence both the rate and the substrate range of Dsz. Also, a clearer understanding of the unique desulfinase step in the pathway has begun to emerge.

  16. Cycles in fossil diversity

    SciTech Connect

    Rohde, Robert A.; Muller, Richard A.

    2004-10-20

    It is well-known that the diversity of life appears to fluctuate during the course the Phanerozoic, the eon during which hard shells and skeletons left abundant fossils (0-542 Ma). Using Sepkoski's compendium of the first and last stratigraphic appearances of 36380 marine genera, we report a strong 62 {+-} 3 Myr cycle, which is particularly strong in the shorter-lived genera. The five great extinctions enumerated by Raup and Sepkoski may be an aspect of this cycle. Because of the high statistical significance, we also consider contributing environmental factors and possible causes.

  17. Codon usage bias in phylum Actinobacteria: relevance to environmental adaptation and host pathogenicity.

    PubMed

    Lal, Devi; Verma, Mansi; Behura, Susanta K; Lal, Rup

    2016-10-01

    Actinobacteria are Gram-positive bacteria commonly found in soil, freshwater and marine ecosystems. In this investigation, bias in codon usages of ninety actinobacterial genomes was analyzed by estimating different indices of codon bias such as Nc (effective number of codons), SCUO (synonymous codon usage order), RSCU (relative synonymous codon usage), as well as sequence patterns of codon contexts. The results revealed several characteristic features of codon usage in Actinobacteria, as follows: 1) C- or G-ending codons are used frequently in comparison with A- and U ending codons; 2) there is a direct relationship of GC content with use of specific amino acids such as alanine, proline and glycine; 3) there is an inverse relationship between GC content and Nc estimates, 4) there is low SCUO value (<0.5) for most genes; and 5) GCC-GCC, GCC-GGC, GCC-GAG and CUC-GAC are the frequent context sequences among codons. This study highlights the fact that: 1) in Actinobacteria, extreme GC content and codon bias are driven by mutation rather than natural selection; (2) traits like aerobicity are associated with effective natural selection and therefore low GC content and low codon bias, demonstrating the role of both mutational bias and translational selection in shaping the habitat and phenotype of actinobacterial species.

  18. Problem-Solving Test: The Effect of Synonymous Codons on Gene Expression

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Szeberenyi, Jozsef

    2009-01-01

    Terms to be familiar with before you start to solve the test: the genetic code, codon, degenerate codons, protein synthesis, aminoacyl-tRNA, anticodon, antiparallel orientation, wobble, unambiguous codons, ribosomes, initiation, elongation and termination of translation, peptidyl transferase, translocation, degenerate oligonucleotides, green…

  19. Evolutionary timescale of monocots determined by the fossilized birth-death model using a large number of fossil records.

    PubMed

    Eguchi, Satoshi; Tamura, Minoru N

    2016-05-01

    Although the phylogenetic relationships between monocot orders are sufficiently understood, a timescale of their evolution is needed. Several studies on molecular clock dating are available, but their results have been biased by their calibration schemes. Recently, the fossilized birth-death model, a type of Bayesian dating method, was proposed, and it does not require prior calibration and allows the use all available fossils. Using this model, we conducted divergence-time estimations of monocots to explore their evolutionary timeline without calibration bias. This is the first application of this model to seed plants. The dataset contained the matK and rbcL chloroplast genes of 118 monocot genera covering all extant orders. We employed information from 247 monocot fossils, which exceeded previous dating analyses that used a maximum of 12 monocot fossils. The crown group of monocots was dated to approximately the Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous periods, and most extant monocot orders were estimated to diverge throughout the Early Cretaceous. Our results overlapped with the divergence time of insect lineages, such as beetles and flies, suggesting an association with pollinators in early monocot evolution. In addition, we proposed three new orders based on divergence time: Orchidales separated from Asparagales and Tofieldiales and Arales separated from Aslimatales. PMID:27061096

  20. Fossil Microorganisms in Archaean

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Astafleva, Marina; Hoover, Richard; Rozanov, Alexei; Vrevskiy, A.

    2006-01-01

    Ancient Archean and Proterozoic rocks are the model objects for investigation of rocks comprising astromaterials. The first of Archean fossil microorganisms from Baltic shield have been reported at the last SPIE Conference in 2005. Since this confeence biomorphic structures have been revealed in Archean rocks of Karelia. It was determined that there are 3 types of such bion structures: 1. structures found in situ, in other words microorganisms even-aged with rock matrix, that is real Archean fossils biomorphic structures, that is to say forms inhabited early formed rocks, and 3. younger than Archean-Protherozoic minerali microorganisms, that is later contamination. We made attempt to differentiate these 3 types of findings and tried to understand of burial of microorganisms. The structures belongs (from our point of view) to the first type, or real Archean, forms were under examination. Practical investigation of ancient microorganisms from Green-Stone-Belt of Northern Karelia turns to be very perspective. It shows that even in such ancient time as Archean ancient diverse world existed. Moreover probably such relatively highly organized cyanobacteria and perhaps eukaryotic formes existed in Archean world.

  1. Optimizing the codon usage of synthetic gene with QPSO algorithm.

    PubMed

    Cai, Yujie; Sun, Jun; Wang, Jie; Ding, Yanrui; Tian, Na; Liao, Xiangru; Xu, Wenbo

    2008-09-01

    Molecular Biology makes it possible to express foreign genes in microorganism, plants and animals. To improve the heterologous expression, it is important that the codon usage of sequence be optimized to make it adaptive to host organism. In this paper, a novel method based on Quantum-behaved Particle Swarm Optimization (QPSO) algorithm is developed to optimize the codon usage of synthetic gene. Compared to the existing probability methods, QPSO is able to generate better results when DNA/RNA sequence length is less than 6Kb which is the commonly used range. While the software or web service based on probability method may not exclude all defined restriction sites when there are many undesired sites in the sequence, our proposed method can remove the undesired site efficiently during the optimization process.

  2. Multiple Evolutionary Selections Involved in Synonymous Codon Usages in the Streptococcus agalactiae Genome

    PubMed Central

    Ma, Yan-Ping; Ke, Hao; Liang, Zhi-Ling; Liu, Zhen-Xing; Hao, Le; Ma, Jiang-Yao; Li, Yu-Gu

    2016-01-01

    Streptococcus agalactiae is an important human and animal pathogen. To better understand the genetic features and evolution of S. agalactiae, multiple factors influencing synonymous codon usage patterns in S. agalactiae were analyzed in this study. A- and U-ending rich codons were used in S. agalactiae function genes through the overall codon usage analysis, indicating that Adenine (A)/Thymine (T) compositional constraints might contribute an important role to the synonymous codon usage pattern. The GC3% against the effective number of codon (ENC) value suggested that translational selection was the important factor for codon bias in the microorganism. Principal component analysis (PCA) showed that (i) mutational pressure was the most important factor in shaping codon usage of all open reading frames (ORFs) in the S. agalactiae genome; (ii) strand specific mutational bias was not capable of influencing the codon usage bias in the leading and lagging strands; and (iii) gene length was not the important factor in synonymous codon usage pattern in this organism. Additionally, the high correlation between tRNA adaptation index (tAI) value and codon adaptation index (CAI), frequency of optimal codons (Fop) value, reinforced the role of natural selection for efficient translation in S. agalactiae. Comparison of synonymous codon usage pattern between S. agalactiae and susceptible hosts (human and tilapia) showed that synonymous codon usage of S. agalactiae was independent of the synonymous codon usage of susceptible hosts. The study of codon usage in S. agalactiae may provide evidence about the molecular evolution of the bacterium and a greater understanding of evolutionary relationships between S. agalactiae and its hosts. PMID:26927064

  3. Image Calibration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Peay, Christopher S.; Palacios, David M.

    2011-01-01

    Calibrate_Image calibrates images obtained from focal plane arrays so that the output image more accurately represents the observed scene. The function takes as input a degraded image along with a flat field image and a dark frame image produced by the focal plane array and outputs a corrected image. The three most prominent sources of image degradation are corrected for: dark current accumulation, gain non-uniformity across the focal plane array, and hot and/or dead pixels in the array. In the corrected output image the dark current is subtracted, the gain variation is equalized, and values for hot and dead pixels are estimated, using bicubic interpolation techniques.

  4. Flow Calibration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1983-01-01

    Flow Technology Inc. worked with Lewis Research Center to develop a system for monitoring two different propellants being supplied to a spacecraft rocket thruster. They then commercialized the technology in the Microtrack, an extremely precise low-flow calibration system. Moog Inc., one of the device's primary users, measures the flow rate or the speed at which hydraulic oil flows through pin sized holes in disc shaped sapphires with the Microtrack. Using this data, two orifices with exactly the same flow rate can be matched as a pair and used as masters in servovalve production. The microtrack can also be used to calibrate other equipment.

  5. The Fungus Candida albicans Tolerates Ambiguity at Multiple Codons

    PubMed Central

    Simões, João; Bezerra, Ana R.; Moura, Gabriela R.; Araújo, Hugo; Gut, Ivo; Bayes, Mónica; Santos, Manuel A. S.

    2016-01-01

    The ascomycete Candida albicans is a normal resident of the gastrointestinal tract of humans and other warm-blooded animals. It occurs in a broad range of body sites and has high capacity to survive and proliferate in adverse environments with drastic changes in oxygen, carbon dioxide, pH, osmolarity, nutrients, and temperature. Its biology is unique due to flexible reassignment of the leucine CUG codon to serine and synthesis of statistical proteins. Under standard growth conditions, CUG sites incorporate leucine (3% of the times) and serine (97% of the times) on a proteome wide scale, but leucine incorporation fluctuates in response to environmental stressors and can be artificially increased up to 98%. In order to determine whether such flexibility also exists at other codons, we have constructed several serine tRNAs that decode various non-cognate codons. Expression of these tRNAs had minor effects on fitness, but growth of the mistranslating strains at different temperatures, in medium with different pH and nutrients composition was often enhanced relatively to the wild type (WT) strain, supporting our previous data on adaptive roles of CUG ambiguity in variable growth conditions. Parallel evolution of the recombinant strains (100 generations) followed by full genome resequencing identified various strain specific single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) and one SNP in the deneddylase (JAB1) gene in all strains. Since JAB1 is a subunit of the COP9 signalosome complex, which interacts with cullin (Cdc53p) to mediate degradation of a variety of cellular proteins, our data suggest that neddylation plays a key role in tolerance and adaptation to codon ambiguity in C. albicans. PMID:27065968

  6. Codon Distribution in Error-Detecting Circular Codes.

    PubMed

    Fimmel, Elena; Strüngmann, Lutz

    2016-03-15

    In 1957, Francis Crick et al. suggested an ingenious explanation for the process of frame maintenance. The idea was based on the notion of comma-free codes. Although Crick's hypothesis proved to be wrong, in 1996, Arquès and Michel discovered the existence of a weaker version of such codes in eukaryote and prokaryote genomes, namely the so-called circular codes. Since then, circular code theory has invariably evoked great interest and made significant progress. In this article, the codon distributions in maximal comma-free, maximal self-complementary C³ and maximal self-complementary circular codes are discussed, i.e., we investigate in how many of such codes a given codon participates. As the main (and surprising) result, it is shown that the codons can be separated into very few classes (three, or five, or six) with respect to their frequency. Moreover, the distribution classes can be hierarchically ordered as refinements from maximal comma-free codes via maximal self-complementary C(3) codes to maximal self-complementary circular codes.

  7. Codon Distribution in Error-Detecting Circular Codes.

    PubMed

    Fimmel, Elena; Strüngmann, Lutz

    2016-01-01

    In 1957, Francis Crick et al. suggested an ingenious explanation for the process of frame maintenance. The idea was based on the notion of comma-free codes. Although Crick's hypothesis proved to be wrong, in 1996, Arquès and Michel discovered the existence of a weaker version of such codes in eukaryote and prokaryote genomes, namely the so-called circular codes. Since then, circular code theory has invariably evoked great interest and made significant progress. In this article, the codon distributions in maximal comma-free, maximal self-complementary C³ and maximal self-complementary circular codes are discussed, i.e., we investigate in how many of such codes a given codon participates. As the main (and surprising) result, it is shown that the codons can be separated into very few classes (three, or five, or six) with respect to their frequency. Moreover, the distribution classes can be hierarchically ordered as refinements from maximal comma-free codes via maximal self-complementary C(3) codes to maximal self-complementary circular codes. PMID:26999215

  8. Tracing specific synonymous codon-secondary structure correlations through evolution.

    PubMed

    Oresic, Matej; Dehn, Michael; Korenblum, Daniel; Shalloway, David

    2003-04-01

    We previously showed that GAU codons are preferred (relative to synonymous GAC codons) for encoding aspartates specifically at the N-termini of alpha-helices in human, but not in E. coli, proteins. To test if this difference reflected a general difference between eucaryotes and procaryotes, we now extended the analysis to include the proteins and coding sequences of mammals, vertebrates, S. cerevisiae, and plants. We found that the GAU-alpha-helix correlation is also strong in non-human mammalian and vertebrate proteins but is much weaker or insignificant in S. cerevisiae and plants. The vertebrate correlations are of sufficient strength to enhance alpha-helix N-terminus prediction. Additional results, including the observation that the correlation is significantly enhanced when proteins that are known to be correctly expressed in recombinant procaryotic systems are excluded, suggest that the correlation is induced at the level of protein translation and folding and not at the nucleic acid level. To the best of our knowledge, it is not explicable by the canonical picture of protein expression and folding, suggesting the existence of a novel evolutionary selection mechanism. One possible explanation is that some alpha-helix N-terminal GAU codons may facilitate correct co-translational folding in vertebrates.

  9. Codon Distribution in Error-Detecting Circular Codes

    PubMed Central

    Fimmel, Elena; Strüngmann, Lutz

    2016-01-01

    In 1957, Francis Crick et al. suggested an ingenious explanation for the process of frame maintenance. The idea was based on the notion of comma-free codes. Although Crick’s hypothesis proved to be wrong, in 1996, Arquès and Michel discovered the existence of a weaker version of such codes in eukaryote and prokaryote genomes, namely the so-called circular codes. Since then, circular code theory has invariably evoked great interest and made significant progress. In this article, the codon distributions in maximal comma-free, maximal self-complementary C3 and maximal self-complementary circular codes are discussed, i.e., we investigate in how many of such codes a given codon participates. As the main (and surprising) result, it is shown that the codons can be separated into very few classes (three, or five, or six) with respect to their frequency. Moreover, the distribution classes can be hierarchically ordered as refinements from maximal comma-free codes via maximal self-complementary C3 codes to maximal self-complementary circular codes. PMID:26999215

  10. Nucleotide sequence conservation in paramyxoviruses; the concept of codon constellation.

    PubMed

    Rima, Bert K

    2015-05-01

    The stability and conservation of the sequences of RNA viruses in the field and the high error rates measured in vitro are paradoxical. The field stability indicates that there are very strong selective constraints on sequence diversity. The nature of these constraints is discussed. Apart from constraints on variation in cis-acting RNA and the amino acid sequences of viral proteins, there are other ones relating to the presence of specific dinucleotides such CpG and UpA as well as the importance of RNA secondary structures and RNA degradation rates. Recent other constraints identified in other RNA viruses, such as effects of secondary RNA structure on protein folding or modification of cellular tRNA complements, are also discussed. Using the family Paramyxoviridae, I show that the codon usage pattern (CUP) is (i) specific for each virus species and (ii) that it is markedly different from the host - it does not vary even in vaccine viruses that have been derived by passage in a number of inappropriate host cells. The CUP might thus be an additional constraint on variation, and I propose the concept of codon constellation to indicate the informational content of the sequences of RNA molecules relating not only to stability and structure but also to the efficiency of translation of a viral mRNA resulting from the CUP and the numbers and position of rare codons.

  11. Synonymous codon usage, accuracy of translation, and gene length in Caenorhabditis elegans.

    PubMed

    Marais, G; Duret, L

    2001-03-01

    In many unicellular organisms, invertebrates, and plants, synonymous codon usage biases result from a coadaptation between codon usage and tRNAs abundance to optimize the efficiency of protein synthesis. However, it remains unclear whether natural selection acts at the level of the speed or the accuracy of mRNAs translation. Here we show that codon usage can improve the fidelity of protein synthesis in multicellular species. As predicted by the model of selection for translational accuracy, we find that the frequency of codons optimal for translation is significantly higher at codons encoding for conserved amino acids than at codons encoding for nonconserved amino acids in 548 genes compared between Caenorhabditis elegans and Homo sapiens. Although this model predicts that codon bias correlates positively with gene length, a negative correlation between codon bias and gene length has been observed in eukaryotes. This suggests that selection for fidelity of protein synthesis is not the main factor responsible for codon biases. The relationship between codon bias and gene length remains unexplained. Exploring the differences in gene expression process in eukaryotes and prokaryotes should provide new insights to understand this key question of codon usage. PMID:11428464

  12. Revelation of Influencing Factors in Overall Codon Usage Bias of Equine Influenza Viruses

    PubMed Central

    Bhatia, Sandeep; Sood, Richa; Selvaraj, Pavulraj

    2016-01-01

    Equine influenza viruses (EIVs) of H3N8 subtype are culprits of severe acute respiratory infections in horses, and are still responsible for significant outbreaks worldwide. Adaptability of influenza viruses to a particular host is significantly influenced by their codon usage preference, due to an absolute dependence on the host cellular machinery for their replication. In the present study, we analyzed genome-wide codon usage patterns in 92 EIV strains, including both H3N8 and H7N7 subtypes by computing several codon usage indices and applying multivariate statistical methods. Relative synonymous codon usage (RSCU) analysis disclosed bias of preferred synonymous codons towards A/U-ended codons. The overall codon usage bias in EIVs was slightly lower, and mainly affected by the nucleotide compositional constraints as inferred from the RSCU and effective number of codon (ENc) analysis. Our data suggested that codon usage pattern in EIVs is governed by the interplay of mutation pressure, natural selection from its hosts and undefined factors. The H7N7 subtype was found less fit to its host (horse) in comparison to H3N8, by possessing higher codon bias, lower mutation pressure and much less adaptation to tRNA pool of equine cells. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report describing the codon usage analysis of the complete genomes of EIVs. The outcome of our study is likely to enhance our understanding of factors involved in viral adaptation, evolution, and fitness towards their hosts. PMID:27119730

  13. Genome-wide analysis of synonymous codon usage in Huaiyangshan virus and other bunyaviruses.

    PubMed

    Luo, Xuelian; Liu, Qingzhen; Xiong, Yanwen; Ye, Changyun; Jin, Dong; Xu, Jianguo

    2015-12-01

    Huaiyangshan virus (HYSV) is a newly discovered bunyavirus, which is transmitted by ticks and causes hemorrhagic fever-like illness in human. The interplay of codon usage among viruses and their hosts is expected to affect viral survival, evasion from host's immune system and evolution. However, little is known about the codon usage in HYSV genome. In the present study, we analyzed synonymous codon usage in 120 available full-length HYSV sequences and performed a comparative analysis of synonymous codon usage patterns in HYSV and 42 other bunyaviruses. The relative synonymous codon usage (RSCU) analysis showed that the preferred synonymous codons were G/C-ended. A comparative analysis of RSCU between HYSV and its hosts reflected that codon usage patterns of HYSV were mostly coincident with that of its hosts. Our data suggested that although mutational bias dominated codon usage, patterns of codon usage in HYSV were also under the influence of nature selection. Phylogenetic analysis based on RSCU values across different HYSV strains and 42 other bunyaviruses suggested that codon usage pattern in HYSV was the most similar with that of Uukuniemi virus among these bunyaviruses and that viruses belonged to Phlebovirus showed a diversity of codon usage patterns. PMID:26173646

  14. Radioactivity in fossils at the Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument.

    PubMed

    Farmer, C Neal; Kathren, Ronald L; Christensen, Craig

    2008-08-01

    Since 1996, higher than background levels of naturally occurring radioactivity have been documented in both fossil and mineral deposits at Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument in south-central Idaho. Radioactive fossil sites occur primarily within an elevation zone of 900-1000 m above sea level and are most commonly found associated with ancient river channels filled with sand. Fossils found in clay rich deposits do not exhibit discernable levels of radioactivity. Out of 300 randomly selected fossils, approximately three-fourths exhibit detectable levels of natural radioactivity ranging from 1 to 2 orders of magnitude above ambient background levels when surveyed with a portable hand held Geiger-Muller survey instrument. Mineral deposits in geologic strata also show above ambient background levels of radioactivity. Radiochemical lab analysis has documented the presence of numerous natural radioactive isotopes. It is postulated that ancient groundwater transported radioactive elements through sand bodies containing fossils which precipitated out of solution during the fossilization process. The elevated levels of natural radioactivity in fossils may require special precautions to ensure that exposures to personnel from stored or displayed items are kept as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA).

  15. Local slowdown of translation by nonoptimal codons promotes nascent-chain recognition by SRP in vivo

    PubMed Central

    Pechmann, Sebastian; Chartron, Justin W; Frydman, Judith

    2015-01-01

    The genetic code allows most amino acids a choice of optimal and nonoptimal codons. We report that synonymous codon choice is tuned to promote interaction of nascent polypeptides with the signal recognition particle (SRP), which assists in protein translocation across membranes. Cotranslational recognition by the SRP in vivo is enhanced when mRNAs contain nonoptimal codon clusters 35–40 codons downstream of the SRP-binding site, the distance that spans the ribosomal polypeptide exit tunnel. A local translation slowdown upon ribosomal exit of SRP-binding elements in mRNAs containing these nonoptimal codon clusters is supported experimentally by ribosome profiling analyses in yeast. Modulation of local elongation rates through codon choice appears to kinetically enhance recognition by ribosome-associated factors. We propose that cotranslational regulation of nascent-chain fate may be a general constraint shaping codon usage in the genome. PMID:25420103

  16. Local slowdown of translation by nonoptimal codons promotes nascent-chain recognition by SRP in vivo.

    PubMed

    Pechmann, Sebastian; Chartron, Justin W; Frydman, Judith

    2014-12-01

    The genetic code allows most amino acids a choice of optimal and nonoptimal codons. We report that synonymous codon choice is tuned to promote interaction of nascent polypeptides with the signal recognition particle (SRP), which assists in protein translocation across membranes. Cotranslational recognition by the SRP in vivo is enhanced when mRNAs contain nonoptimal codon clusters 35-40 codons downstream of the SRP-binding site, the distance that spans the ribosomal polypeptide exit tunnel. A local translation slowdown upon ribosomal exit of SRP-binding elements in mRNAs containing these nonoptimal codon clusters is supported experimentally by ribosome profiling analyses in yeast. Modulation of local elongation rates through codon choice appears to kinetically enhance recognition by ribosome-associated factors. We propose that cotranslational regulation of nascent-chain fate may be a general constraint shaping codon usage in the genome. PMID:25420103

  17. Giving the early fossil record of sponges a squeeze.

    PubMed

    Antcliffe, Jonathan B; Callow, Richard H T; Brasier, Martin D

    2014-11-01

    Twenty candidate fossils with claim to be the oldest representative of the Phylum Porifera have been re-analysed. Three criteria are used to assess each candidate: (i) the diagnostic criteria needed to categorize sponges in the fossil record; (ii) the presence, or absence, of such diagnostic features in the putative poriferan fossils; and (iii) the age constraints for the candidate fossils. All three criteria are critical to the correct interpretation of any fossil and its placement within an evolutionary context. Our analysis shows that no Precambrian fossil candidate yet satisfies all three of these criteria to be a reliable sponge fossil. The oldest widely accepted candidate, Mongolian silica hexacts from c. 545 million years ago (Ma), are here shown to be cruciform arsenopyrite crystals. The oldest reliable sponge remains are siliceous spicules from the basal Cambrian (Protohertzina anabarica Zone) Soltanieh Formation, Iran, which are described and analysed here in detail for the first time. Extensive archaeocyathan sponge reefs emerge and radiate as late as the middle of the Fortunian Stage of the Cambrian and demonstrate a gradual assembly of their skeletal structure through this time coincident with the evolution of other metazoan groups. Since the Porifera are basal in the Metazoa, their presence within the late Proterozoic has been widely anticipated. Molecular clock calibration for the earliest Porifera and Metazoa should now be based on the Iranian hexactinellid material dated to c. 535 Ma. The earliest convincing fossil sponge remains appeared at around the time of the Precambrian-Cambrian boundary, associated with the great radiation events of that interval.

  18. Giving the early fossil record of sponges a squeeze.

    PubMed

    Antcliffe, Jonathan B; Callow, Richard H T; Brasier, Martin D

    2014-11-01

    Twenty candidate fossils with claim to be the oldest representative of the Phylum Porifera have been re-analysed. Three criteria are used to assess each candidate: (i) the diagnostic criteria needed to categorize sponges in the fossil record; (ii) the presence, or absence, of such diagnostic features in the putative poriferan fossils; and (iii) the age constraints for the candidate fossils. All three criteria are critical to the correct interpretation of any fossil and its placement within an evolutionary context. Our analysis shows that no Precambrian fossil candidate yet satisfies all three of these criteria to be a reliable sponge fossil. The oldest widely accepted candidate, Mongolian silica hexacts from c. 545 million years ago (Ma), are here shown to be cruciform arsenopyrite crystals. The oldest reliable sponge remains are siliceous spicules from the basal Cambrian (Protohertzina anabarica Zone) Soltanieh Formation, Iran, which are described and analysed here in detail for the first time. Extensive archaeocyathan sponge reefs emerge and radiate as late as the middle of the Fortunian Stage of the Cambrian and demonstrate a gradual assembly of their skeletal structure through this time coincident with the evolution of other metazoan groups. Since the Porifera are basal in the Metazoa, their presence within the late Proterozoic has been widely anticipated. Molecular clock calibration for the earliest Porifera and Metazoa should now be based on the Iranian hexactinellid material dated to c. 535 Ma. The earliest convincing fossil sponge remains appeared at around the time of the Precambrian-Cambrian boundary, associated with the great radiation events of that interval. PMID:24779547

  19. The Rare Codon AGA Is Involved in Regulation of Pyoluteorin Biosynthesis in Pseudomonas protegens Pf-5

    PubMed Central

    Yan, Qing; Philmus, Benjamin; Hesse, Cedar; Kohen, Max; Chang, Jeff H.; Loper, Joyce E.

    2016-01-01

    The soil bacterium Pseudomonas protegens Pf-5 can colonize root and seed surfaces of many plants, protecting them from infection by plant pathogenic fungi and oomycetes. The capacity to suppress disease is attributed to Pf-5's production of a large spectrum of antibiotics, which is controlled by complex regulatory circuits operating at the transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels. In this study, we analyzed the genomic sequence of Pf-5 for codon usage patterns and observed that the six rarest codons in the genome are present in all seven known antibiotic biosynthesis gene clusters. In particular, there is an abundance of rare codons in pltR, which encodes a member of the LysR transcriptional regulator family that controls the expression of pyoluteorin biosynthetic genes. To test the hypothesis that rare codons in pltR influence pyoluteorin production, we generated a derivative of Pf-5 in which 23 types of rare codons in pltR were substituted with synonymous preferred codons. The resultant mutant produced pyoluteorin at levels 15 times higher than that of the wild-type Pf-5. Accordingly, the promoter activity of the pyoluteorin biosynthetic gene pltL was 20 times higher in the codon-modified stain than in the wild-type. pltR has six AGA codons, which is the rarest codon in the Pf-5 genome. Substitution of all six AGA codons with preferred Arg codons resulted in a variant of pltR that conferred increased pyoluteorin production and pltL promoter activity. Furthermore, overexpression of tRNAUCUArg, the cognate tRNA for the AGA codon, significantly increased pyoluteorin production by Pf-5. A bias in codon usage has been linked to the regulation of many phenotypes in eukaryotes and prokaryotes but, to our knowledge, this is the first example of the role of a rare codon in the regulation of antibiotic production by a Gram-negative bacterium. PMID:27148187

  20. The Rare Codon AGA Is Involved in Regulation of Pyoluteorin Biosynthesis in Pseudomonas protegens Pf-5.

    PubMed

    Yan, Qing; Philmus, Benjamin; Hesse, Cedar; Kohen, Max; Chang, Jeff H; Loper, Joyce E

    2016-01-01

    The soil bacterium Pseudomonas protegens Pf-5 can colonize root and seed surfaces of many plants, protecting them from infection by plant pathogenic fungi and oomycetes. The capacity to suppress disease is attributed to Pf-5's production of a large spectrum of antibiotics, which is controlled by complex regulatory circuits operating at the transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels. In this study, we analyzed the genomic sequence of Pf-5 for codon usage patterns and observed that the six rarest codons in the genome are present in all seven known antibiotic biosynthesis gene clusters. In particular, there is an abundance of rare codons in pltR, which encodes a member of the LysR transcriptional regulator family that controls the expression of pyoluteorin biosynthetic genes. To test the hypothesis that rare codons in pltR influence pyoluteorin production, we generated a derivative of Pf-5 in which 23 types of rare codons in pltR were substituted with synonymous preferred codons. The resultant mutant produced pyoluteorin at levels 15 times higher than that of the wild-type Pf-5. Accordingly, the promoter activity of the pyoluteorin biosynthetic gene pltL was 20 times higher in the codon-modified stain than in the wild-type. pltR has six AGA codons, which is the rarest codon in the Pf-5 genome. Substitution of all six AGA codons with preferred Arg codons resulted in a variant of pltR that conferred increased pyoluteorin production and pltL promoter activity. Furthermore, overexpression of tRNA[Formula: see text], the cognate tRNA for the AGA codon, significantly increased pyoluteorin production by Pf-5. A bias in codon usage has been linked to the regulation of many phenotypes in eukaryotes and prokaryotes but, to our knowledge, this is the first example of the role of a rare codon in the regulation of antibiotic production by a Gram-negative bacterium. PMID:27148187

  1. Using more than the oldest fossils: dating osmundaceae with three Bayesian clock approaches.

    PubMed

    Grimm, Guido W; Kapli, Paschalia; Bomfleur, Benjamin; McLoughlin, Stephen; Renner, Susanne S

    2015-05-01

    A major concern in molecular clock dating is how to use information from the fossil record to calibrate genetic distances from DNA sequences. Here we apply three Bayesian dating methods that differ in how calibration is achieved-"node dating" (ND) in BEAST, "total evidence" (TE) dating in MrBayes, and the "fossilized birth-death" (FBD) in FDPPDiv-to infer divergence times in the royal ferns. Osmundaceae have 16-17 species in four genera, two mainly in the Northern Hemisphere and two in South Africa and Australasia; they are the sister clade to the remaining leptosporangiate ferns. Their fossil record consists of at least 150 species in ∼17 genera. For ND, we used the five oldest fossils, whereas for TE and FBD dating, which do not require forcing fossils to nodes and thus can use more fossils, we included up to 36 rhizomes and frond compression/impression fossils, which for TE dating were scored for 33 morphological characters. We also subsampled 10%, 25%, and 50% of the 36 fossils to assess model sensitivity. FBD-derived divergence ages were generally greater than those inferred from ND; two of seven TE-derived ages agreed with FBD-obtained ages, the others were much younger or much older than ND or FBD ages. We prefer the FBD-derived ages because they best fit the Osmundales fossil record (including Triassic fossils not used in our study). Under the preferred model, the clade encompassing extant Osmundaceae (and many fossils) dates to the latest Paleozoic to Early Triassic; divergences of the extant species occurred during the Neogene. Under the assumption of constant speciation and extinction rates, the FBD approach yielded speciation and extinction rates that overlapped those obtained from just neontological data. However, FBD estimates of speciation and extinction are sensitive to violations in the assumption of continuous fossil sampling; therefore, these estimates should be treated with caution.

  2. Diversification of Neoaves: integration of molecular sequence data and fossils

    PubMed Central

    Ericson, Per G.P; Anderson, Cajsa L; Britton, Tom; Elzanowski, Andrzej; Johansson, Ulf S; Källersjö, Mari; Ohlson, Jan I; Parsons, Thomas J; Zuccon, Dario; Mayr, Gerald

    2006-01-01

    Patterns of diversification and timing of evolution within Neoaves, which includes almost 95% of all bird species, are virtually unknown. On the other hand, molecular data consistently indicate a Cretaceous origin of many neoavian lineages and the fossil record seems to support an Early Tertiary diversification. Here, we present the first well-resolved molecular phylogeny for Neoaves, together with divergence time estimates calibrated with a large number of stratigraphically and phylogenetically well-documented fossils. Our study defines several well-supported clades within Neoaves. The calibration results suggest that Neoaves, after an initial split from Galloanseres in Mid-Cretaceous, diversified around or soon after the K/T boundary. Our results thus do not contradict palaeontological data and show that there is no solid molecular evidence for an extensive pre-Tertiary radiation of Neoaves. PMID:17148284

  3. Characterization of Codon usage bias in the newly identified DEV UL18 gene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Xiwen; Cheng, Anchun; Wang, Mingshu; Xiang, Jun

    2011-10-01

    In this study, Codon usage bias (CUB) of DEV UL18 gene was analyzed, the results showed that codon usage bias in the DEV UL18 gene was strong bias towards the synonymous codons with A and T at the third codon position. Phylogenetic tree based on the amino acid sequences of the DEV UL18 gene and the 27 other herpesviruses revealed that UL18 gene of the DEV CHv strain and some fowl herpesviruses such as MeHV-1, GaHV-2 and GaHV-3 were clustered within a monophyletic clade and grouped within alphaherpesvirinae. The ENC-GC3S plot indicated that codon usage bias has strong species-specificity between DEV and 27 reference herpesviruses, and suggests that factors other than gene composition, such as translational selection leading to the codon usage variation among genes in different organisms, contribute to the codon usage among the different herpesviruses. Comparison of codon preferences of DEV UL18 gene with those of E. coli , yeast and humans showed that there were 20 codons showing distinct usage differences between DEV UL18 and yeast, 22 between DEV UL18 and humans, 23 between DEV UL18 and E.coli, which indicated the codon usage bias pattern in the DEV UL18 gene was similar to that of yeast. It is infered that the yeast expression system may be more suitable for the DEV UL18 expression.

  4. A detailed comparative analysis of codon usage bias in Zika virus.

    PubMed

    Cristina, Juan; Fajardo, Alvaro; Soñora, Martín; Moratorio, Gonzalo; Musto, Héctor

    2016-09-01

    Zika virus (ZIKV) is a member of the family Flaviviridae and its genome consists of a single-stranded positive sense RNA molecule with 10,794 nucleotides. Clinical manifestations of disease caused by ZIKV infection range from asymptomatic cases to an influenza-like syndrome. There is an increasing concern about the possible relation among microcephaly and ZIKV infection. To get insight into the relation of codon usage among viruses and their hosts is extremely important to understand virus survival, fitness, evasion from host's immune system and evolution. In this study, we performed a comprehensive analysis of codon usage and composition of ZIKV. The overall codon usage among ZIKV strains is similar and slightly biased. Different codon preferences in ZIKV genes in relation to codon usage of human, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus genes were found. Most of the highly frequent codons are A-ending, which strongly suggests that mutational bias is the main force shaping codon usage in this virus. G+C compositional constraint as well as dinucleotide composition also influence the codon usage of ZIKV. The results of these studies suggest that the emergence of ZIKV outside Africa, in the Pacific and the Americas may also be reflected in ZIKV codon usage. No significant differences were found in codon usage among strains isolated from microcephaly cases and the rest of strains from the Asian cluster enrolled in these studies.

  5. A detailed comparative analysis of codon usage bias in Zika virus.

    PubMed

    Cristina, Juan; Fajardo, Alvaro; Soñora, Martín; Moratorio, Gonzalo; Musto, Héctor

    2016-09-01

    Zika virus (ZIKV) is a member of the family Flaviviridae and its genome consists of a single-stranded positive sense RNA molecule with 10,794 nucleotides. Clinical manifestations of disease caused by ZIKV infection range from asymptomatic cases to an influenza-like syndrome. There is an increasing concern about the possible relation among microcephaly and ZIKV infection. To get insight into the relation of codon usage among viruses and their hosts is extremely important to understand virus survival, fitness, evasion from host's immune system and evolution. In this study, we performed a comprehensive analysis of codon usage and composition of ZIKV. The overall codon usage among ZIKV strains is similar and slightly biased. Different codon preferences in ZIKV genes in relation to codon usage of human, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus genes were found. Most of the highly frequent codons are A-ending, which strongly suggests that mutational bias is the main force shaping codon usage in this virus. G+C compositional constraint as well as dinucleotide composition also influence the codon usage of ZIKV. The results of these studies suggest that the emergence of ZIKV outside Africa, in the Pacific and the Americas may also be reflected in ZIKV codon usage. No significant differences were found in codon usage among strains isolated from microcephaly cases and the rest of strains from the Asian cluster enrolled in these studies. PMID:27449601

  6. Analysis of synonymous codon usage patterns in seven different citrus species.

    PubMed

    Xu, Chen; Dong, Jing; Tong, Chunfa; Gong, Xindong; Wen, Qiang; Zhuge, Qiang

    2013-01-01

    We used large samples of expressed sequence tags to characterize the patterns of codon usage bias (CUB) in seven different Citrus species and to analyze their evolutionary effect on selection and base composition. We found that A- and T-ending codons are predominant in Citrus species. Next, we identified 21 codons for 18 different amino acids that were considered preferred codons in all seven species. We then performed correspondence analysis and constructed plots for the effective number of codons (ENCs) to analyze synonymous codon usage. Multiple regression analysis showed that gene expression in each species had a constant influence on the frequency of optional codons (FOP). Base composition differences between the proportions were large. Finally, positive selection was detected during the evolutionary process of the different Citrus species. Overall, our results suggest that codon usages were the result of positive selection. Codon usage variation among Citrus genes is influenced by translational selection, mutational bias, and gene length. CUB is strongly affected by selection pressure at the translational level, and gene length plays only a minor role. One possible explanation for this is that the selection-mediated codon bias is consistently strong in Citrus, which is one of the most widely cultivated fruit trees. PMID:23761955

  7. Organic molecules as chemical fossils - The molecular fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Eglinton, G.

    1983-01-01

    The study of biochemical clues to the early earth and the origin of life is discussed. The methods used in such investigation are described, including the extraction, fractionation, and analysis of geolipids and the analysis of kerogen. The occurrence of molecular fossils in the geological record is examined, discussing proposed precursor-product relationships and the molecular assessment of deep sea sediments, ancient sediments, and crude petroleums. Alterations in the molecular record due to diagenesis and catagenesis are considered, and the use of microbial lipids as molecular fossils is discussed. The results of searches for molecular fossils in Precambrian sediments are assessed.

  8. Codon bias and gene ontology in holometabolous and hemimetabolous insects.

    PubMed

    Carlini, David B; Makowski, Matthew

    2015-12-01

    The relationship between preferred codon use (PCU), developmental mode, and gene ontology (GO) was investigated in a sample of nine insect species with sequenced genomes. These species were selected to represent two distinct modes of insect development, holometabolism and hemimetabolism, with an aim toward determining whether the differences in developmental timing concomitant with developmental mode would be mirrored by differences in PCU in their developmental genes. We hypothesized that the developmental genes of holometabolous insects should be under greater selective pressure for efficient translation, manifest as increased PCU, than those of hemimetabolous insects because holometabolism requires abundant protein expression over shorter time intervals than hemimetabolism, where proteins are required more uniformly in time. Preferred codon sets were defined for each species, from which the frequency of PCU for each gene was obtained. Although there were substantial differences in the genomic base composition of holometabolous and hemimetabolous insects, both groups exhibited a general preference for GC-ending codons, with the former group having higher PCU averaged across all genes. For each species, the biological process GO term for each gene was assigned that of its Drosophila homolog(s), and PCU was calculated for each GO term category. The top two GO term categories for PCU enrichment in the holometabolous insects were anatomical structure development and cell differentiation. The increased PCU in the developmental genes of holometabolous insects may reflect a general strategy to maximize the protein production of genes expressed in bursts over short time periods, e.g., heat shock proteins. J. Exp. Zool. (Mol. Dev. Evol.) 324B: 686-698, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. PMID:26498580

  9. Synthetic approach to stop-codon scanning mutagenesis.

    PubMed

    Nie, Lihua; Lavinder, Jason J; Sarkar, Mohosin; Stephany, Kimberly; Magliery, Thomas J

    2011-04-27

    A general combinatorial mutagenesis strategy using common dimethoxytrityl-protected mononucleotide phosphoramidites and a single orthogonally protected trinucleotide phosphoramidite (Fmoc-TAG; Fmoc = 9-fluorenylmethoxycarbonyl) was developed to scan a gene with the TAG amber stop codon with complete synthetic control. In combination with stop-codon suppressors that insert natural (e.g., alanine) or unnatural (e.g., p-benzoylphenylalanine, Bpa) amino acids, a single DNA library can be used to incorporate different amino acids for diverse purposes. Here, we scanned TAG codons through part of the gene for a model four-helix bundle protein, Rop, which regulates the copy number of ColE1 plasmids. Alanine was incorporated into Rop for mapping its binding site using an in vivo activity screen, and subtle but important differences from in vitro gel-shift studies of Rop function are evident. As a test, Bpa was incorporated using a Phe14 amber mutant isolated from the scanning library. Surprisingly, Phe14Bpa-Rop is weakly active, despite the critical role of Phe14 in Rop activity. Bpa is a photoaffinity label unnatural amino acid that can form covalent bonds with adjacent molecules upon UV irradiation. Irradiation of Phe14Bpa-Rop, which is a dimer in solution like wild-type Rop, results in covalent dimers, trimers, and tetramers. This suggests that Phe14Bpa-Rop weakly associates as a tetramer in solution and highlights the use of Bpa cross-linking as a means of trapping weak and transient interactions. PMID:21452871

  10. Fossil fuel furnace reactor

    DOEpatents

    Parkinson, William J.

    1987-01-01

    A fossil fuel furnace reactor is provided for simulating a continuous processing plant with a batch reactor. An internal reaction vessel contains a batch of shale oil, with the vessel having a relatively thin wall thickness for a heat transfer rate effective to simulate a process temperature history in the selected continuous processing plant. A heater jacket is disposed about the reactor vessel and defines a number of independent controllable temperature zones axially spaced along the reaction vessel. Each temperature zone can be energized to simulate a time-temperature history of process material through the continuous plant. A pressure vessel contains both the heater jacket and the reaction vessel at an operating pressure functionally selected to simulate the continuous processing plant. The process yield from the oil shale may be used as feedback information to software simulating operation of the continuous plant to provide operating parameters, i.e., temperature profiles, ambient atmosphere, operating pressure, material feed rates, etc., for simulation in the batch reactor.

  11. FOSSIL2 energy policy model documentation: FOSSIL2 documentation

    SciTech Connect

    1980-10-01

    This report discusses the structure, derivations, assumptions, and mathematical formulation of the FOSSIL2 model. Each major facet of the model - supply/demand interactions, industry financing, and production - has been designed to parallel closely the actual cause/effect relationships determining the behavior of the United States energy system. The data base for the FOSSIL2 program is large, as is appropriate for a system dynamics simulation model. When possible, all data were obtained from sources well known to experts in the energy field. Cost and resource estimates are based on DOE data whenever possible. This report presents the FOSSIL2 model at several levels. Volumes II and III of this report list the equations that comprise the FOSSIL2 model, along with variable definitions and a cross-reference list of the model variables. Volume III lists the model equations and a one line definition for equations, in a short, readable format.

  12. ALTEA calibration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zaconte, V.; Altea Team

    The ALTEA project is aimed at studying the possible functional damages to the Central Nervous System (CNS) due to particle radiation in space environment. The project is an international and multi-disciplinary collaboration. The ALTEA facility is an helmet-shaped device that will study concurrently the passage of cosmic radiation through the brain, the functional status of the visual system and the electrophysiological dynamics of the cortical activity. The basic instrumentation is composed by six active particle telescopes, one ElectroEncephaloGraph (EEG), a visual stimulator and a pushbutton. The telescopes are able to detect the passage of each particle measuring its energy, trajectory and released energy into the brain and identifying nuclear species. The EEG and the Visual Stimulator are able to measure the functional status of the visual system, the cortical electrophysiological activity, and to look for a correlation between incident particles, brain activity and Light Flash perceptions. These basic instruments can be used separately or in any combination, permitting several different experiments. ALTEA is scheduled to fly in the International Space Station (ISS) in November, 15th 2004. In this paper the calibration of the Flight Model of the silicon telescopes (Silicon Detector Units - SDUs) will be shown. These measures have been taken at the GSI heavy ion accelerator in Darmstadt. First calibration has been taken out in November 2003 on the SDU-FM1 using C nuclei at different energies: 100, 150, 400 and 600 Mev/n. We performed a complete beam scan of the SDU-FM1 to check functionality and homogeneity of all strips of silicon detector planes, for each beam energy we collected data to achieve good statistics and finally we put two different thickness of Aluminium and Plexiglas in front of the detector in order to study fragmentations. This test has been carried out with a Test Equipment to simulate the Digital Acquisition Unit (DAU). We are scheduled to

  13. Translational readthrough potential of natural termination codons in eucaryotes – The impact of RNA sequence

    PubMed Central

    Dabrowski, Maciej; Bukowy-Bieryllo, Zuzanna; Zietkiewicz, Ewa

    2015-01-01

    Termination of protein synthesis is not 100% efficient. A number of natural mechanisms that suppress translation termination exist. One of them is STOP codon readthrough, the process that enables the ribosome to pass through the termination codon in mRNA and continue translation to the next STOP codon in the same reading frame. The efficiency of translational readthrough depends on a variety of factors, including the identity of the termination codon, the surrounding mRNA sequence context, and the presence of stimulating compounds. Understanding the interplay between these factors provides the necessary background for the efficient application of the STOP codon suppression approach in the therapy of diseases caused by the presence of premature termination codons. PMID:26176195

  14. Codon volatility as an indicator of positive selection: data from eukaryotic genome comparisons.

    PubMed

    Friedman, Robert; Hughes, Austin L

    2005-03-01

    It has been suggested that codon volatility (the proportion of the point-mutation neighbors of a codon that encode different amino acids) can be used as an index of past positive selection. We compared codon volatility with patterns of synonymous and nonsynonymous nucleotide substitution in genome-wide comparisons of orthologous genes between three pairs of related genomes: (1) the protists Plasmodium falciparum and P. yoelii, (2) the fungi Saccharomyces cerevisiae and S. paradoxus, and (3) the mammals mouse and rat. Codon volatility was not consistently associated with an elevated rate of nonsynonymous substitution, as would be expected under positive selection. Rather, the most consistent and powerful correlate of elevated codon volatility was nucleotide content at the second codon position, as expected, given the nature of the genetic code.

  15. Fossilized bioelectric wire – the trace fossil Trichichnus

    PubMed Central

    Kędzierski, M.; Uchman, A.; Sawlowicz, Z.; Briguglio, A.

    2015-01-01

    The trace fossil Trichichnus is proposed as an indicator of fossil bioelectric bacterial activity at the oxic–anoxic interface zone of marine sediments. This fulfils the idea that such processes, commonly found in the modern realm, should be also present in the geological past. Trichichnus is an exceptional trace fossil due to its very thin diameter (mostly less than 1 mm) and common pyritic filling. It is ubiquitous in some fine-grained sediments, where it has been interpreted as a burrow formed deeper than any other trace fossils, below the redox boundary. Trichichnus, formerly referred to as deeply burrowed invertebrates, has been found as remnant of a fossilized intrasediment bacterial mat that is pyritized. As visualized in 3-D by means of X-ray computed microtomography scanner, Trichichnus forms dense filamentous fabric, which reflects that it is produced by modern large, mat-forming, sulfide-oxidizing bacteria, belonging mostly to Thioploca-related taxa, which are able to house a complex bacterial consortium. Several stages of Trichichnus formation, including filamentous, bacterial mat and its pyritization, are proposed to explain an electron exchange between oxic and suboxic/anoxic layers in the sediment. Therefore, Trichichnus can be considered a fossilized “electric wire”. PMID:26290671

  16. Selection at the amino acid level can influence synonymous codon usage: implications for the study of codon adaptation in plastid genes.

    PubMed Central

    Morton, B R

    2001-01-01

    A previously employed method that uses the composition of noncoding DNA as the basis of a test for selection between synonymous codons in plastid genes is reevaluated. The test requires the assumption that in the absence of selective differences between synonymous codons the composition of silent sites in coding sequences will match the composition of noncoding sites. It is demonstrated here that this assumption is not necessarily true and, more generally, that using compositional properties to draw inferences about selection on silent changes in coding sequences is much more problematic than commonly assumed. This is so because selection on nonsynonymous changes can influence the composition of synonymous sites (i.e., codon usage) in a complex manner, meaning that the composition biases of different silent sites, including neutral noncoding DNA, are not comparable. These findings also draw into question the commonly utilized method of investigating how selection to increase translation accuracy influences codon usage. The work then focuses on implications for studies that assess codon adaptation, which is selection on codon usage to enhance translation rate, in plastid genes. A new test that does not require the use of noncoding DNA is proposed and applied. The results of this test suggest that far fewer plastid genes display codon adaptation than previously thought. PMID:11560910

  17. Codes in the codons: construction of a codon/amino acid periodic table and a study of the nature of specific nucleic acid-protein interactions.

    PubMed

    Benyo, B; Biro, J C; Benyo, Z

    2004-01-01

    The theory of "codon-amino acid coevolution" was first proposed by Woese in 1967. It suggests that there is a stereochemical matching - that is, affinity - between amino acids and certain of the base triplet sequences that code for those amino acids. We have constructed a common periodic table of codons and amino acids, where the nucleic acid table showed perfect axial symmetry for codons and the corresponding amino acid table also displayed periodicity regarding the biochemical properties (charge and hydrophobicity) of the 20 amino acids and the position of the stop signals. The table indicates that the middle (2/sup nd/) amino acid in the codon has a prominent role in determining some of the structural features of the amino acids. The possibility that physical contact between codons and amino acids might exist was tested on restriction enzymes. Many recognition site-like sequences were found in the coding sequences of these enzymes and as many as 73 examples of codon-amino acid co-location were observed in the 7 known 3D structures (December 2003) of endonuclease-nucleic acid complexes. These results indicate that the smallest possible units of specific nucleic acid-protein interaction are indeed the stereochemically compatible codons and amino acids.

  18. Exploring codon context bias for synthetic gene design of a thermostable invertase in Escherichia coli.

    PubMed

    Pek, Han Bin; Klement, Maximilian; Ang, Kok Siong; Chung, Bevan Kai-Sheng; Ow, Dave Siak-Wei; Lee, Dong-Yup

    2015-01-01

    Various isoforms of invertases from prokaryotes, fungi, and higher plants has been expressed in Escherichia coli, and codon optimisation is a widely-adopted strategy for improvement of heterologous enzyme expression. Successful synthetic gene design for recombinant protein expression can be done by matching its translational elongation rate against heterologous host organisms via codon optimization. Amongst the various design parameters considered for the gene synthesis, codon context bias has been relatively overlooked compared to individual codon usage which is commonly adopted in most of codon optimization tools. In addition, matching the rates of transcription and translation based on secondary structure may lead to enhanced protein folding. In this study, we evaluated codon context fitness as design criterion for improving the expression of thermostable invertase from Thermotoga maritima in Escherichia coli and explored the relevance of secondary structure regions for folding and expression. We designed three coding sequences by using (1) a commercial vendor optimized gene algorithm, (2) codon context for the whole gene, and (3) codon context based on the secondary structure regions. Then, the codon optimized sequences were transformed and expressed in E. coli. From the resultant enzyme activities and protein yield data, codon context fitness proved to have the highest activity as compared to the wild-type control and other criteria while secondary structure-based strategy is comparable to the control. Codon context bias was shown to be a relevant parameter for enhancing enzyme production in Escherichia coli by codon optimization. Thus, we can effectively design synthetic genes within heterologous host organisms using this criterion. PMID:26047917

  19. Dating Fossil Pollen: A Simulation.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sheridan, Philip

    1992-01-01

    Describes a hands-on simulation in which students determine the age of "fossil" pollen samples based on the pollen types present when examined microscopically. Provides instructions for the preparation of pollen slides. (MDH)

  20. Prevalent Accumulation of Non-Optimal Codons through Somatic Mutations in Human Cancers

    PubMed Central

    Wu, Xudong; Li, Guohui

    2016-01-01

    Cancer is characterized by uncontrolled cell growth, and the cause of different cancers is generally attributed to checkpoint dysregulation of cell proliferation and apoptosis. Recent studies have shown that non-optimal codons were preferentially adopted by genes to generate cell cycle-dependent oscillations in protein levels. This raises the intriguing question of how dynamic changes of codon usage modulate the cancer genome to cope with a non-controlled proliferative cell cycle. In this study, we comprehensively analyzed the somatic mutations of codons in human cancers, and found that non-optimal codons tended to be accumulated through both synonymous and non-synonymous mutations compared with other types of genomic substitution. We further demonstrated that non-optimal codons were prevalently accumulated across different types of cancers, amino acids, and chromosomes, and genes with accumulation of non-optimal codons tended to be involved in protein interaction/signaling networks and encoded important enzymes in metabolic networks that played roles in cancer-related pathways. This study provides insights into the dynamics of codons in the cancer genome and demonstrates that accumulation of non-optimal codons may be an adaptive strategy for cancerous cells to win the competition with normal cells. This deeper interpretation of the patterns and the functional characterization of somatic mutations of codons will help to broaden the current understanding of the molecular basis of cancers. PMID:27513638

  1. Analysis of synonymous codon usage in spike protein gene of infectious bronchitis virus.

    PubMed

    Makhija, Aditi; Kumar, Sachin

    2015-12-01

    Infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) is responsible for causing respiratory, renal, and urogenital diseases in poultry. IBV infection in poultry leads to high mortality rates in affected flocks and to severe economic losses due to a drop in egg production and a reduced gain in live weight of the broiler birds. IBV-encoded spike protein (S) is the major protective immunogen for the host. Although the functions of the S protein have been well studied, the factors shaping synonymous codon usage bias and nucleotide composition in the S gene have not been reported yet. In the present study, we analyzed the relative synonymous codon usage and effective number of codons (Nc) using the 53 IBV S genes. The major trend in codon usage variation was studied using correspondence analysis. The plot of Nc values against GC3 as well as the correlation between base composition and codon usage bias suggest that mutational pressure rather than natural selection is the main factor that determines the codon usage bias in the S gene. Interestingly, no association of aromaticity, degree of hydrophobicity, and aliphatic index was observed with the codon usage variation in IBV S genes. The study represents a comprehensive analysis of IBV S gene codon usage patterns and provides a basic understanding of the codon usage bias. PMID:26452019

  2. Are stop codons recognized by base triplets in the large ribosomal RNA subunit?

    PubMed

    Liang, Han; Landweber, Laura F; Fresco, Jacques R

    2005-10-01

    The precise mechanism of stop codon recognition in translation termination is still unclear. A previously published study by Ivanov and colleagues proposed a new model for stop codon recognition in which 3-nucleotide Ter-anticodons within the loops of hairpin helices 69 (domain IV) and 89 (domain V) in large ribosomal subunit (LSU) rRNA recognize stop codons to terminate protein translation in eubacteria and certain organelles. We evaluated this model by extensive bioinformatic analysis of stop codons and their putative corresponding Ter-anticodons across a much wider range of species, and found many cases for which it cannot explain the stop codon usage without requiring the involvement of one or more of the eight possible noncomplementary base pairs. Involvement of such base pairs may not be structurally or thermodynamically damaging to the model. However, if, according to the model, Ter-anticodon interaction with stop codons occurs within the ribosomal A-site, the structural stringency which that site imposes on sense codon.tRNA anticodon interaction should also extend to stop codon.Ter-anticodon interactions. Moreover, with Ter-tRNA in place of an aminoacyl-tRNA, for each of the various Ter-anticodons there is a sense codon that can interact with it preferentially by complementary and wobble base-pairing. Both these considerations considerably weaken the arguments put forth previously.

  3. Analysis of codon usage pattern evolution in avian rotaviruses and their preferred host.

    PubMed

    Kattoor, Jobin Jose; Malik, Yashpal Singh; Sasidharan, Aravind; Rajan, Vishnuraj Mangalathu; Dhama, Kuldeep; Ghosh, Souvik; Bányai, Krisztián; Kobayashi, Nobumichi; Singh, Raj Kumar

    2015-08-01

    Rotavirus infection is a worldwide problem, with occurrence of highly divergent viruses classified in 8 species (A-H). We report here the evolution assessment of codon usage patterns in virus-host system in avian rotavirus (AvRV) of species RVA, RVD, RVF and RVG (preferentially affecting birds). The nucleotide contents, codon usage bias (CUB), relative synonymous codon usage (RSCU), and effective number of codons (ENCs) values were investigated targeting overexpressing major inner capsid viral protein (VP6) of these AvRV species. The results confirm that the evolutionary characteristics influences the rotavirus (RV) genetic diversity and impact of host's natural selection on the AvRVs codons. Synonymous codon usage patterns were evaluated following multivariate statistical procedures on all available AvRV coding gene sequences. RSCU trees accommodated all AvRV species and preferred host sequences in one topology confirming greater imminence of AvRVs with the host chicken cell genes. Similarly, the codon adaptation index (CAI) results also displayed a higher adaptation of AvRVs to its chicken host. The codon preference analysis of RVs revealed that VP6 gene express more proficiently in the yeast system, whereas, codon optimization might be required for the effectual expression in Escherichia coli and Homo sapiens. The findings provide basic evidence on the dynamics of AvRV evolution and its host adaptation, which could be exploited for additional research on avian species in future. PMID:26086995

  4. Prevalent Accumulation of Non-Optimal Codons through Somatic Mutations in Human Cancers.

    PubMed

    Wu, Xudong; Li, Guohui

    2016-01-01

    Cancer is characterized by uncontrolled cell growth, and the cause of different cancers is generally attributed to checkpoint dysregulation of cell proliferation and apoptosis. Recent studies have shown that non-optimal codons were preferentially adopted by genes to generate cell cycle-dependent oscillations in protein levels. This raises the intriguing question of how dynamic changes of codon usage modulate the cancer genome to cope with a non-controlled proliferative cell cycle. In this study, we comprehensively analyzed the somatic mutations of codons in human cancers, and found that non-optimal codons tended to be accumulated through both synonymous and non-synonymous mutations compared with other types of genomic substitution. We further demonstrated that non-optimal codons were prevalently accumulated across different types of cancers, amino acids, and chromosomes, and genes with accumulation of non-optimal codons tended to be involved in protein interaction/signaling networks and encoded important enzymes in metabolic networks that played roles in cancer-related pathways. This study provides insights into the dynamics of codons in the cancer genome and demonstrates that accumulation of non-optimal codons may be an adaptive strategy for cancerous cells to win the competition with normal cells. This deeper interpretation of the patterns and the functional characterization of somatic mutations of codons will help to broaden the current understanding of the molecular basis of cancers. PMID:27513638

  5. Codon-specific and general inhibition of protein synthesis by the tRNA-sequestering minigenes.

    PubMed

    Delgado-Olivares, Luis; Zamora-Romo, Efraín; Guarneros, Gabriel; Hernandez-Sanchez, Javier

    2006-07-01

    The expression of minigenes in bacteria inhibits protein synthesis and cell growth. Presumably, the translating ribosomes, harboring the peptides as peptidyl-tRNAs, pause at the last sense codon of the minigene directed mRNAs. Eventually, the peptidyl-tRNAs drop off and, under limiting activity of peptidyl-tRNA hydrolase, accumulate in the cells reducing the concentration of specific aminoacylable tRNA. Therefore, the extent of inhibition is associated with the rate of starvation for a specific tRNA. Here, we used minigenes harboring various last sense codons that sequester specific tRNAs with different efficiency, to inhibit the translation of reporter genes containing, or not, these codons. A prompt inhibition of the protein synthesis directed by genes containing the codons starved for their cognate tRNA (hungry codons) was observed. However, a non-specific in vitro inhibition of protein synthesis, irrespective of the codon composition of the gene, was also evident. The degree of inhibition correlated directly with the number of hungry codons in the gene. Furthermore, a tRNA(Arg4)-sequestering minigene promoted the production of an incomplete beta-galactosidase polypeptide interrupted, during bacterial polypeptide chain elongation at sites where AGA codons were inserted in the lacZ gene suggesting ribosome pausing at the hungry codons.

  6. Control of ribosome traffic by position-dependent choice of synonymous codons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mitarai, Namiko; Pedersen, Steen

    2013-10-01

    Messenger RNA (mRNA) encodes a sequence of amino acids by using codons. For most amino acids, there are multiple synonymous codons that can encode the amino acid. The translation speed can vary from one codon to another, thus there is room for changing the ribosome speed while keeping the amino acid sequence and hence the resulting protein. Recently, it has been noticed that the choice of the synonymous codon, via the resulting distribution of slow- and fast-translated codons, affects not only on the average speed of one ribosome translating the mRNA but also might have an effect on nearby ribosomes by affecting the appearance of ‘traffic jams’ where multiple ribosomes collide and form queues. To test this ‘context effect’ further, we here investigate the effect of the sequence of synonymous codons on the ribosome traffic by using a ribosome traffic model with codon-dependent rates, estimated from experiments. We compare the ribosome traffic on wild-type (WT) sequences and sequences where the synonymous codons were swapped randomly. By simulating translation of 87 genes, we demonstrate that the WT sequences, especially those with a high bias in codon usage, tend to have the ability to reduce ribosome collisions, hence optimizing the cellular investment in the translation apparatus. The magnitude of such reduction of the translation time might have a significant impact on the cellular growth rate and thereby have importance for the survival of the species.

  7. Codon optimality is a major determinant of mRNA stability

    PubMed Central

    Presnyak, Vladimir; Alhusaini, Najwa; Chen, Ying-Hsin; Martin, Sophie; Morris, Nathan; Kline, Nicholas; Olson, Sara; Weinberg, David; Baker, Kristian E.; Graveley, Brenton R.; Coller, Jeff

    2015-01-01

    Messenger RNA degradation represents a critical regulated step in gene expression. While the major pathways in turnover have been identified, accounting for disparate half-lives has been elusive. We show that codon optimality is one feature that contributes greatly to mRNA stability. Genome-wide RNA decay analysis revealed that stable mRNAs are enriched in codons designated optimal, whereas unstable mRNAs contain predominately non-optimal codons. Substitution of optimal codons with synonymous, non-optimal codons results in dramatic mRNA destabilization, while the converse substitution significantly increases stability. Further, we demonstrate that codon optimality impacts ribosome translocation, connecting the processes of translation elongation and decay through codon optimality. Finally, we show that optimal codon content accounts for the similar stabilities observed in mRNAs encoding proteins with coordinated physiological function. This work demonstrates that codon optimization exists as an mechanism to finely tune levels of mRNAs, and ultimately, proteins. PMID:25768907

  8. Codon 219 polymorphism of PRNP in healthy caucasians and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease patients

    SciTech Connect

    Petraroli, R.; Pocchiari, M.

    1996-04-01

    A number of point and insert mutations of the PrP gene (PRNP) have been linked to familial Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) and Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker disease (GSS). Moreover, the methionine/valine homozygosity at the polymorphic codon 129 of PRNP may cause a predisposition to sporadic and iatrogenic CJD or may control the age at onset of familial cases carrying either the 144-bp insertion or codon 178, codon 198, and codon 210 pathogenic mutations in PRNP. In addition, the association of methionine or valine at codon 129 and the point mutation at codon 178 on the same allele seem to play an important role in determining either fatal familial insomnia or CJD. However, it is noteworthy that a relationship between codon 129 polymorphism and accelerated pathogenesis (early age at onset or shorter duration of the disease) has not been seen in familial CJD patients with codon 200 mutation or in GSS patients with codon 102 mutation, arguing that other, as yet unidentified, gene products or environmental factors, or both, may influence the clinical expression of these diseases. 17 refs.

  9. Mapping codon usage of the translation initiation region in porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus genome

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Porcine reproductive and respitatory syndrome virus (PRRSV) is a recently emerged pathogen and severely affects swine populations worldwide. The replication of PRRSV is tightly controlled by viral gene expression and the codon usage of translation initiation region within each gene could potentially regulate the translation rate. Therefore, a better understanding of the codon usage pattern of the initiation translation region would shed light on the regulation of PRRSV gene expression. Results In this study, the codon usage in the translation initiation region and in the whole coding sequence was compared in PRRSV ORF1a and ORFs2-7. To investigate the potential role of codon usage in affecting the translation initiation rate, we established a codon usage model for PRRSV translation initiation region. We observed that some non-preferential codons are preferentially used in the translation initiation region in particular ORFs. Although some positions vary with codons, they intend to use codons with negative CUB. Furthermore, our model of codon usage showed that the conserved pattern of CUB is not directly consensus with the conserved sequence, but shaped under the translation selection. Conclusions The non-variation pattern with negative CUB in the PRRSV translation initiation region scanned by ribosomes is considered the rate-limiting step in the translation process. PMID:22014033

  10. The legacy of fossil fuels.

    PubMed

    Armaroli, Nicola; Balzani, Vincenzo

    2011-03-01

    Currently, over 80% of the energy used by mankind comes from fossil fuels. Harnessing coal, oil and gas, the energy resources contained in the store of our spaceship, Earth, has prompted a dramatic expansion in energy use and a substantial improvement in the quality of life of billions of individuals in some regions of the world. Powering our civilization with fossil fuels has been very convenient, but now we know that it entails severe consequences. We treat fossil fuels as a resource that anyone anywhere can extract and use in any fashion, and Earth's atmosphere, soil and oceans as a dump for their waste products, including more than 30 Gt/y of carbon dioxide. At present, environmental legacy rather than consistence of exploitable reserves, is the most dramatic problem posed by the relentless increase of fossil fuel global demand. Harmful effects on the environment and human health, usually not incorporated into the pricing of fossil fuels, include immediate and short-term impacts related to their discovery, extraction, transportation, distribution, and burning as well as climate change that are spread over time to future generations or over space to the entire planet. In this essay, several aspects of the fossil fuel legacy are discussed, such as alteration of the carbon cycle, carbon dioxide rise and its measurement, greenhouse effect, anthropogenic climate change, air pollution and human health, geoengineering proposals, land and water degradation, economic problems, indirect effects on the society, and the urgent need of regulatory efforts and related actions to promote a gradual transition out of the fossil fuel era. While manufacturing sustainable solar fuels appears to be a longer-time perspective, alternatives energy sources already exist that have the potential to replace fossil fuels as feedstocks for electricity production.

  11. Prion protein gene analysis in three kindreds with fatal familial insomnia (FFI): codon 178 mutation and codon 129 polymorphism.

    PubMed Central

    Medori, R; Tritschler, H J

    1993-01-01

    Fatal familial insomnia (FFI) is a disease linked to a GAC(Asp)-->AAC(Asn) mutation in codon 178 of the prion protein (PrP) gene. FFI is characterized clinically by untreatable progressive insomnia, dysautonomia, and motor dysfunctions and is characterized pathologically by selective thalamic atrophy. We confirmed the 178Asn mutation in the PrP gene of a third FFI family of French ancestry. Three family members who are under 40 years of age and who inherited the mutation showed only reduced perfusion in the basal ganglia on single photon emission computerized tomography. Some FFI features differ from the clinical and neuropathologic findings associated with 178Asn reported elsewhere. However, additional intragenic mutations accounting for the phenotypic differences were not observed in two affected individuals. In other sporadic and familial forms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and Gerstmann-Sträussler syndrome, Met or Val homozygosity at polymorphic codon 129 is associated with a more severe phenotype, younger age at onset, and faster progression. In FFI, young and old individuals at disease onset had 129Met/Val. Moreover, of five 178Asn individuals who are above age-at-onset range and who are well, two have 129Met and three have 129Met/Val, suggesting that polymorphic site 129 does not modulate FFI phenotypic expression. Genetic heterogeneity and environment may play an important role in inter- and intrafamilial variability of the 178Asn mutation. Images Figure 2 Figure 3 Figure 4 Figure 5 PMID:8105681

  12. Prion protein gene analysis in three kindreds with fatal familial insomnia (FFI): Codon 178 mutation and codon 129 polymorphism

    SciTech Connect

    Medori, R.; Tritschler, H.J. )

    1993-10-01

    Fatal familial insomnia (FFI) is a disease linked to a GAC(Asp) [yields] AAC(Asn) mutation in codon 178 of the prion protein (PrP) gene. FFI is characterized clinically by untreatable progressive insomnia, dysautonomia, and motor dysfunctions and is characterized pathologically by selective thalamic atrophy. The authors confirmed the 178[sup Asn] mutation in the PrP gene of a third FFI family of French ancestry. Three family members who are under 40 years of age and who inherited the mutation showed only reduced perfusion in the basal ganglia on single photon emission computerized tomography. Some FFI features differ from the clinical and neuropathologic findings associated with 178[sup Asn] reported elsewhere. However, additional intragenic mutations accounting for the phenotypic differences were not observed in two affected individuals. In other sporadic and familial forms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and Gerstmann-Straeussler syndrome, Met or Val homozygosity at polymorphic codon 129 is associated with a more severe phenotype, younger age at onset, and faster progression. In FFI, young and old individuals at disease onset had 129[sup Met/Val]. Moreover, of five 178[sup Asn] individuals who are above age-at-onset range and who are well, two have 129[sup Met] and three have 129[sup Met/Val], suggesting that polymorphic site 129 does not modulate FFI phenotypic expression. Genetic heterogeneity and environment may play an important role in inter- and intrafamilial variability of the 178[sup Asn] mutation. 32 refs., 5 figs., 1 tab.

  13. A revised checklist of Nepticulidae fossils (Lepidoptera) indicates an Early Cretaceous origin.

    PubMed

    Doorenweerd, Camiel; Nieukerken, Erik J Van; Sohn, Jae-Cheon; Labandeira, Conrad C

    2015-01-01

    With phylogenetic knowledge of Lepidoptera rapidly increasing, catalysed by increasingly powerful molecular techniques, the demand for fossil calibration points to estimate an evolutionary timeframe for the order is becoming an increasingly pressing issue. The family Nepticulidae is a species rich, basal branch within the phylogeny of the Lepidoptera, characterized by larval leaf-mining habits, and thereby represents a potentially important lineage whose evolutionary history can be established more thoroughly with the potential use of fossil calibration points. Using our experience with extant global Nepticulidae, we discuss a list of characters that may be used to assign fossil leaf mines to Nepticulidae, and suggest useful methods for classifying relevant fossil material. We present a checklist of 79 records of Nepticulidae representing adult and leaf-mine fossils mentioned in literature, often with multiple exemplars constituting a single record. We provide our interpretation of these fossils. Two species now are included in the collective generic name Stigmellites: Stigmellites resupinata (Krassilov, 2008) comb. nov. (from Ophiheliconoma) and Stigmellites almeidae (Martins-Neto, 1989) comb. nov. (from Nepticula). Eleven records are for the first time attributed to Nepticulidae. After discarding several dubious records, including one possibly placing the family at a latest Jurassic position, we conclude that the oldest fossils likely attributable to Nepticulidae are several exemplars representing a variety of species from the Dakota Formation (USA). The relevant strata containing these earliest fossils are now dated at 102 Ma (million years ago) in age, corresponding to the latest Albian Stage of the Early Cretaceous. Integration of all records in the checklist shows that a continuous presence of nepticulid-like leaf mines preserved as compression-impression fossils and by amber entombment of adults have a fossil record extending to the latest Early Cretaceous

  14. A revised checklist of Nepticulidae fossils (Lepidoptera) indicates an Early Cretaceous origin.

    PubMed

    Doorenweerd, Camiel; Nieukerken, Erik J Van; Sohn, Jae-Cheon; Labandeira, Conrad C

    2015-05-27

    With phylogenetic knowledge of Lepidoptera rapidly increasing, catalysed by increasingly powerful molecular techniques, the demand for fossil calibration points to estimate an evolutionary timeframe for the order is becoming an increasingly pressing issue. The family Nepticulidae is a species rich, basal branch within the phylogeny of the Lepidoptera, characterized by larval leaf-mining habits, and thereby represents a potentially important lineage whose evolutionary history can be established more thoroughly with the potential use of fossil calibration points. Using our experience with extant global Nepticulidae, we discuss a list of characters that may be used to assign fossil leaf mines to Nepticulidae, and suggest useful methods for classifying relevant fossil material. We present a checklist of 79 records of Nepticulidae representing adult and leaf-mine fossils mentioned in literature, often with multiple exemplars constituting a single record. We provide our interpretation of these fossils. Two species now are included in the collective generic name Stigmellites: Stigmellites resupinata (Krassilov, 2008) comb. nov. (from Ophiheliconoma) and Stigmellites almeidae (Martins-Neto, 1989) comb. nov. (from Nepticula). Eleven records are for the first time attributed to Nepticulidae. After discarding several dubious records, including one possibly placing the family at a latest Jurassic position, we conclude that the oldest fossils likely attributable to Nepticulidae are several exemplars representing a variety of species from the Dakota Formation (USA). The relevant strata containing these earliest fossils are now dated at 102 Ma (million years ago) in age, corresponding to the latest Albian Stage of the Early Cretaceous. Integration of all records in the checklist shows that a continuous presence of nepticulid-like leaf mines preserved as compression-impression fossils and by amber entombment of adults have a fossil record extending to the latest Early Cretaceous.

  15. Codon Optimization to Enhance Expression Yields Insights into Chloroplast Translation1[OPEN

    PubMed Central

    Chan, Hui-Ting; Williams-Carrier, Rosalind; Barkan, Alice

    2016-01-01

    Codon optimization based on psbA genes from 133 plant species eliminated 105 (human clotting factor VIII heavy chain [FVIII HC]) and 59 (polio VIRAL CAPSID PROTEIN1 [VP1]) rare codons; replacement with only the most highly preferred codons decreased transgene expression (77- to 111-fold) when compared with the codon usage hierarchy of the psbA genes. Targeted proteomic quantification by parallel reaction monitoring analysis showed 4.9- to 7.1-fold or 22.5- to 28.1-fold increase in FVIII or VP1 codon-optimized genes when normalized with stable isotope-labeled standard peptides (or housekeeping protein peptides), but quantitation using western blots showed 6.3- to 8-fold or 91- to 125-fold increase of transgene expression from the same batch of materials, due to limitations in quantitative protein transfer, denaturation, solubility, or stability. Parallel reaction monitoring, to our knowledge validated here for the first time for in planta quantitation of biopharmaceuticals, is especially useful for insoluble or multimeric proteins required for oral drug delivery. Northern blots confirmed that the increase of codon-optimized protein synthesis is at the translational level rather than any impact on transcript abundance. Ribosome footprints did not increase proportionately with VP1 translation or even decreased after FVIII codon optimization but is useful in diagnosing additional rate-limiting steps. A major ribosome pause at CTC leucine codons in the native gene of FVIII HC was eliminated upon codon optimization. Ribosome stalls observed at clusters of serine codons in the codon-optimized VP1 gene provide an opportunity for further optimization. In addition to increasing our understanding of chloroplast translation, these new tools should help to advance this concept toward human clinical studies. PMID:27465114

  16. The relationship between third-codon position nucleotide content, codon bias, mRNA secondary structure and gene expression in the drosophilid alcohol dehydrogenase genes Adh and Adhr.

    PubMed Central

    Carlini, D B; Chen, Y; Stephan, W

    2001-01-01

    To gain insights into the relationship between codon bias, mRNA secondary structure, third-codon position nucleotide distribution, and gene expression, we predicted secondary structures in two related drosophilid genes, Adh and Adhr, which differ in degree of codon bias and level of gene expression. Individual structural elements (helices) were inferred using the comparative method. For each gene, four types of randomization simulations were performed to maintain/remove codon bias and/or to maintain or alter third-codon position nucleotide composition (N3). In the weakly expressed, weakly biased gene Adhr, the potential for secondary structure formation was found to be much stronger than in the highly expressed, highly biased gene Adh. This is consistent with the observation of approximately equal G and C percentages in Adhr ( approximately 31% across species), whereas in Adh the N3 distribution is shifted toward C (42% across species). Perturbing the N3 distribution to approximately equal amounts of A, G, C, and T increases the potential for secondary structure formation in Adh, but decreases it in Adhr. On the other hand, simulations that reduce codon bias without changing N3 content indicate that codon bias per se has only a weak effect on the formation of secondary structures. These results suggest that, for these two drosophilid genes, secondary structure is a relatively independent, negative regulator of gene expression. Whereas the degree of codon bias is positively correlated with level of gene expression, strong individual secondary structural elements may be selected for to retard mRNA translation and to decrease gene expression. PMID:11606539

  17. Fatal insomnia in a case of familial Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease with the codon 200(Lys) mutation.

    PubMed

    Chapman, J; Arlazoroff, A; Goldfarb, L G; Cervenakova, L; Neufeld, M Y; Werber, E; Herbert, M; Brown, P; Gajdusek, D C; Korczyn, A D

    1996-03-01

    Fatal familial insomnia (FFI) has been exclusively associated with a pathogenic mutation at codon 178 in the PRNP gene coupled with methionine (Met) at codon 129. We now describe a subject with familial Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, heterozygous for the pathogenic lysine (Lys) mutation at codon 200 and homozygous for Met at codon 129 of the PRNP gene, who was affected by severe insomnia. At autopsy the patient had significant involvement of the thalamus, as previously described in subjects affected by FFI with the codon 178 mutation. This case demonstrates the wide variability of the clinical expressions in patients with the codon 200 mutation, that may include insomnia and thalamic pathology.

  18. Short spacing between the Shine-Dalgarno sequence and P codon destabilizes codon-anticodon pairing in the P site to promote +1 programmed frameshifting

    PubMed Central

    Devaraj, Aishwarya; Fredrick, Kurt

    2010-01-01

    Summary Programmed frameshifting in the RF2 gene (prfB) involves an intragenic Shine-Dalgarno (SD) sequence. To investigate the role of SD-ASD pairing in the mechanism of frameshifting, we have analyzed the effect of spacing between the SD sequence and P codon on P-site tRNA binding and RF2-dependent termination. When the spacing between an extended SD sequence and the P codon is decreased from 4 to 1 nucleotides (nt), the dissociation rate (koff) for P-site tRNA increases by >100-fold. Toeprinting analysis shows that pretranslocation complexes cannot be formed when the spacer sequence is ≤ 2 nt. Instead, the tRNA added secondarily to fill the A site and its corresponding codon move spontaneously into the P site, resulting in a complex with a 3-nt longer spacer between the SD-ASD helix and the P codon. While close proximity of the SD clearly destabilizes P-site tRNA, RF2-dependent termination and EF-Tu-dependent decoding are largely unaffected in analogous complexes. These data support a model in which formation of the SD-ASD helix in ribosomes stalled at the in-frame UGA codon of prfB generates tension on the mRNA that destabilizes codon-anticodon pairing in the P site and promotes slippage of the mRNA in the 5′ direction. PMID:21143320

  19. Avian coronavirus spike glycoprotein ectodomain shows a low codon adaptation to Gallus gallus with virus-exclusive codons in strategic amino acids positions.

    PubMed

    Brandão, Paulo E

    2012-08-01

    This is a study on the Avian coronavirus IBV and chicken host-relationship from the codon usage point of view based on fifty-nine non-redundant IBV S1 sequences (nt 1-507) from strains detected worldwide and chicken tissue-specific protein genes sequences from IBV-replicating sites. The effective number of codons (ENC) values ranged from 36 to 47.8, indicating a high-to-moderate codon usage bias. The highest IBV codon adaptation index (CAI) value was 0.7, indicating a distant virus versus host synonymous codons usage. The ENC × GC3 % curve indicates that both mutational pressure and natural selection are the driving forces on codon usage pattern in S1. The low CAI values agree with a low S protein expression and considering that S protein is a determinant for attachment and neutralization, this could be a further mechanism besides mRNA transcription attenuation for a low expression of this protein leading to an immune camouflage.

  20. The early eukaryotic fossil record.

    PubMed

    Javaux, Emmanuelle J

    2007-01-01

    The Precambrian era records the evolution of the domain Eucarya. Although the taxonomy of fossils is often impossible to resolve beyond the level of domain, their morphology and chemistry indicate the evolution of major biological innovations. The late Archean record for eukaryotes is limited to trace amounts of biomarkers. Morphological evidence appears in late Paleoproterozoic and early Mesoproterozoic (1800-1300 Ma) rocks. The moderate diversity of preservable eukaryotic organisms includes cell walls without surface ornament (but with complex ultrastructure), with regularly distributed surface ornamentation, and with irregularly or regularly arranged processes. Collectively, these fossils suggest that eukaryotes with flexible membranes and cytoskeletons existed in mid-Proterozoic oceans. The late Mesoproterozoic-early Neoproterozoic (1300-750 Ma) is a time of diversification and evolution when direct evidence for important biological innovations occurs in the fossil record such as multicellularity, sex, photosynthesis, biomineralization, predation, and heterotrophy. Members of extant clades can be recognized and include bangiophyte red algae, xanthophyte algae, cladophorale green algae, euglyphid, lobose, and filose amoebae and possible fungi. In the late Neoproterozoic, besides more diversification of ornamented fossils, florideophyte red algae and brown algae diversify, and animals take the stage. The record of biological innovations documented by the fossils shows that eukaryotes had evolved most cytological and molecular complexities very early in the Proterozoic but environmental conditions delayed their diversification within clades until oxygen level and predation pressure increased significantly. PMID:17977455

  1. Travels with the Fossil Hunters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Whybrow, Peter J.

    2000-04-01

    Whether dodging bullets in West Africa, or rabid dogs in Pakistan, surviving yak-butter tea in Tibet, or eating raw fish in China, the life of a globe-trotting fossil hunter is often hazardous and always filled with surprises. Travels with the Fossil Hunters lets readers share the wonder, joys of discovery, and excitement of these intrepid scientists. Packed with more than 100 beautiful, full-color photographs, the volume takes readers on twelve expeditions to remote parts of the world in search of diverse fossil remains, from those of dinosaurs to human ancestors. Each expedition by paleontologists from London's Natural History Museum reveals the problems and challenges of working in extreme conditions, from the deserts of the Sahara and Yemen to the frozen wastes of Antarctica, from the mountains of India to the forests of Latvia. Along the way they also describe the paleontology and geology of the countries they visit and the scientific reasons for their expeditions. With a foreword from Sir David Attenborough and an introduction from Richard Fortey, this fascinating book will appeal to amateur and professional fossil hunters alike and to readers interested in accounts of exotic locales. Peter Whybrow is a research scientist at the Natural History Museum, London. His research interests include Arabian Miocene vertebrates, paleoclimates, paleogeography, and biotic diversity. He is senior editor with A. Hill of Fossil Vertebrates of Arabia (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1999).

  2. [Analysis of codon use features of CBF gene in Camellia sinensis].

    PubMed

    Guo, Xiu-Li; Wang, Yu; Yang, Lu-Cheng; Ding, Zhao-Tang

    2012-12-01

    CBF (C-repeat-binding factor) transcription factor exists widely in all kinds of plants. It is an important regulative factor in the process of plant resistance adversity. In this paper, Camellia sinensis CBF1 gene sequence was analyzed by Codon W, CHIPS, and CUSP programs online, and then compared with C. sinensis genes, genomes in other species, and CBF genes from 39 plant species. It is important to identify the codon usage of CsCBF1 gene and select appropriate expression systems. The results showed that CsCBF1 gene and selected 70 C. sinensis genes had distinct usage differences. CsCBF1 gene was bias toward the synonymous codons with G and C at the third codon position, but 70 C. sinensis genes were bias toward the synonymous codons with A and T. The differences in codon usage frequency between CsCBF1 gene and dicotyledons such as Arabidopsis thaliana and Nicotiana tobacum were less than monocotyledons such as wheat (Triticum aestivum) and corn (Zea mays). Therefore, A. thaliana and N. tobacum expression systems may be more suitable for the expression of CsCBF1 gene. The analysis results of CBF genes from 40 plant species also showed that most of the CBF genes were bias toward the synonymous codons with G and C at the third codon position. The reason of this phenomenon is possible due to special functions of these genes.

  3. Codon optimization of the adenoviral fiber negatively impacts structural protein expression and viral fitness.

    PubMed

    Villanueva, Eneko; Martí-Solano, Maria; Fillat, Cristina

    2016-01-01

    Codon usage adaptation of lytic viruses to their hosts is determinant for viral fitness. In this work, we analyzed the codon usage of adenoviral proteins by principal component analysis and assessed their codon adaptation to the host. We observed a general clustering of adenoviral proteins according to their function. However, there was a significant variation in the codon preference between the host-interacting fiber protein and the rest of structural late phase proteins, with a non-optimal codon usage of the fiber. To understand the impact of codon bias in the fiber, we optimized the Adenovirus-5 fiber to the codon usage of the hexon structural protein. The optimized fiber displayed increased expression in a non-viral context. However, infection with adenoviruses containing the optimized fiber resulted in decreased expression of the fiber and of wild-type structural proteins. Consequently, this led to a drastic reduction in viral release. The insertion of an exogenous optimized protein as a late gene in the adenovirus with the optimized fiber further interfered with viral fitness. These results highlight the importance of balancing codon usage in viral proteins to adequately exploit cellular resources for efficient infection and open new opportunities to regulate viral fitness for virotherapy and vaccine development.

  4. Codon optimization of the adenoviral fiber negatively impacts structural protein expression and viral fitness.

    PubMed

    Villanueva, Eneko; Martí-Solano, Maria; Fillat, Cristina

    2016-01-01

    Codon usage adaptation of lytic viruses to their hosts is determinant for viral fitness. In this work, we analyzed the codon usage of adenoviral proteins by principal component analysis and assessed their codon adaptation to the host. We observed a general clustering of adenoviral proteins according to their function. However, there was a significant variation in the codon preference between the host-interacting fiber protein and the rest of structural late phase proteins, with a non-optimal codon usage of the fiber. To understand the impact of codon bias in the fiber, we optimized the Adenovirus-5 fiber to the codon usage of the hexon structural protein. The optimized fiber displayed increased expression in a non-viral context. However, infection with adenoviruses containing the optimized fiber resulted in decreased expression of the fiber and of wild-type structural proteins. Consequently, this led to a drastic reduction in viral release. The insertion of an exogenous optimized protein as a late gene in the adenovirus with the optimized fiber further interfered with viral fitness. These results highlight the importance of balancing codon usage in viral proteins to adequately exploit cellular resources for efficient infection and open new opportunities to regulate viral fitness for virotherapy and vaccine development. PMID:27278133

  5. Codon optimization of the adenoviral fiber negatively impacts structural protein expression and viral fitness

    PubMed Central

    Villanueva, Eneko; Martí-Solano, Maria; Fillat, Cristina

    2016-01-01

    Codon usage adaptation of lytic viruses to their hosts is determinant for viral fitness. In this work, we analyzed the codon usage of adenoviral proteins by principal component analysis and assessed their codon adaptation to the host. We observed a general clustering of adenoviral proteins according to their function. However, there was a significant variation in the codon preference between the host-interacting fiber protein and the rest of structural late phase proteins, with a non-optimal codon usage of the fiber. To understand the impact of codon bias in the fiber, we optimized the Adenovirus-5 fiber to the codon usage of the hexon structural protein. The optimized fiber displayed increased expression in a non-viral context. However, infection with adenoviruses containing the optimized fiber resulted in decreased expression of the fiber and of wild-type structural proteins. Consequently, this led to a drastic reduction in viral release. The insertion of an exogenous optimized protein as a late gene in the adenovirus with the optimized fiber further interfered with viral fitness. These results highlight the importance of balancing codon usage in viral proteins to adequately exploit cellular resources for efficient infection and open new opportunities to regulate viral fitness for virotherapy and vaccine development. PMID:27278133

  6. Codon optimization of the adenoviral fiber negatively impacts structural protein expression and viral fitness

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Villanueva, Eneko; Martí-Solano, Maria; Fillat, Cristina

    2016-06-01

    Codon usage adaptation of lytic viruses to their hosts is determinant for viral fitness. In this work, we analyzed the codon usage of adenoviral proteins by principal component analysis and assessed their codon adaptation to the host. We observed a general clustering of adenoviral proteins according to their function. However, there was a significant variation in the codon preference between the host-interacting fiber protein and the rest of structural late phase proteins, with a non-optimal codon usage of the fiber. To understand the impact of codon bias in the fiber, we optimized the Adenovirus-5 fiber to the codon usage of the hexon structural protein. The optimized fiber displayed increased expression in a non-viral context. However, infection with adenoviruses containing the optimized fiber resulted in decreased expression of the fiber and of wild-type structural proteins. Consequently, this led to a drastic reduction in viral release. The insertion of an exogenous optimized protein as a late gene in the adenovirus with the optimized fiber further interfered with viral fitness. These results highlight the importance of balancing codon usage in viral proteins to adequately exploit cellular resources for efficient infection and open new opportunities to regulate viral fitness for virotherapy and vaccine development.

  7. Selective Factors Associated with the Evolution of Codon Usage in Natural Populations of Arboviruses.

    PubMed

    Velazquez-Salinas, Lauro; Zarate, Selene; Eschbaumer, Michael; Pereira Lobo, Francisco; Gladue, Douglas P; Arzt, Jonathan; Novella, Isabel S; Rodriguez, Luis L

    2016-01-01

    Arboviruses (arthropod borne viruses) have life cycles that include both vertebrate and invertebrate hosts with substantial differences in vector and host specificity between different viruses. Most arboviruses utilize RNA for their genetic material and are completely dependent on host tRNAs for their translation, suggesting that virus codon usage could be a target for selection. In the current study we analyzed the relative synonymous codon usage (RSCU) patterns of 26 arboviruses together with 25 vectors and hosts, including 8 vertebrates and 17 invertebrates. We used hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA) and principal component analysis (PCA) to identify trends in codon usage. HCA demonstrated that the RSCU of arboviruses reflects that of their natural hosts, but not that of dead-end hosts. Of the two major components identified by PCA, the first accounted for 62.1% of the total variance, and among the 59 codons analyzed in this study, the leucine codon CTG had the highest correlation with the first principal component, however isoleucine had the highest correlation during amino acid analysis. Nucleotide and dinucleotide composition were the variables that explained most of the total codon usage variance. The results suggest that the main factors driving the evolution of codon usage in arboviruses is based on the nucleotide and dinucleotide composition present in the host. Comparing codon usage of arboviruses and potential vector hosts can help identifying potential vectors for emerging arboviruses. PMID:27455096

  8. Analysis of the synonymous codon usage bias in recently emerged enterovirus D68 strains.

    PubMed

    Karniychuk, Uladzimir U

    2016-09-01

    Understanding the codon usage pattern of a pathogen and relationship between pathogen and host's codon usage patterns has fundamental and applied interests. Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) is an emerging pathogen with a potentially high public health significance. In the present study, the synonymous codon usage bias of 27 recently emerged, and historical EV-D68 strains was analyzed. In contrast to previously studied enteroviruses (enterovirus 71 and poliovirus), EV-D68 and human host have a high discrepancy between favored codons. Analysis of viral synonymous codon usage bias metrics, viral nucleotide/dinucleotide compositional parameters, and viral protein properties showed that mutational pressure is more involved in shaping the synonymous codon usage bias of EV-D68 than translation selection. Computation of codon adaptation indices allowed to estimate expression potential of the EV-D68 genome in several commonly used laboratory animals. This approach requires experimental validation and may provide an auxiliary tool for the rational selection of laboratory animals to model emerging viral diseases. Enterovirus D68 genome compositional and codon usage data can be useful for further pathogenesis, animal model, and vaccine design studies. PMID:27364082

  9. Selective Factors Associated with the Evolution of Codon Usage in Natural Populations of Arboviruses

    PubMed Central

    Velazquez-Salinas, Lauro; Zarate, Selene; Eschbaumer, Michael; Pereira Lobo, Francisco; Gladue, Douglas P.; Arzt, Jonathan; Novella, Isabel S.; Rodriguez, Luis L.

    2016-01-01

    Arboviruses (arthropod borne viruses) have life cycles that include both vertebrate and invertebrate hosts with substantial differences in vector and host specificity between different viruses. Most arboviruses utilize RNA for their genetic material and are completely dependent on host tRNAs for their translation, suggesting that virus codon usage could be a target for selection. In the current study we analyzed the relative synonymous codon usage (RSCU) patterns of 26 arboviruses together with 25 vectors and hosts, including 8 vertebrates and 17 invertebrates. We used hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA) and principal component analysis (PCA) to identify trends in codon usage. HCA demonstrated that the RSCU of arboviruses reflects that of their natural hosts, but not that of dead-end hosts. Of the two major components identified by PCA, the first accounted for 62.1% of the total variance, and among the 59 codons analyzed in this study, the leucine codon CTG had the highest correlation with the first principal component, however isoleucine had the highest correlation during amino acid analysis. Nucleotide and dinucleotide composition were the variables that explained most of the total codon usage variance. The results suggest that the main factors driving the evolution of codon usage in arboviruses is based on the nucleotide and dinucleotide composition present in the host. Comparing codon usage of arboviruses and potential vector hosts can help identifying potential vectors for emerging arboviruses. PMID:27455096

  10. Selective Factors Associated with the Evolution of Codon Usage in Natural Populations of Arboviruses.

    PubMed

    Velazquez-Salinas, Lauro; Zarate, Selene; Eschbaumer, Michael; Pereira Lobo, Francisco; Gladue, Douglas P; Arzt, Jonathan; Novella, Isabel S; Rodriguez, Luis L

    2016-01-01

    Arboviruses (arthropod borne viruses) have life cycles that include both vertebrate and invertebrate hosts with substantial differences in vector and host specificity between different viruses. Most arboviruses utilize RNA for their genetic material and are completely dependent on host tRNAs for their translation, suggesting that virus codon usage could be a target for selection. In the current study we analyzed the relative synonymous codon usage (RSCU) patterns of 26 arboviruses together with 25 vectors and hosts, including 8 vertebrates and 17 invertebrates. We used hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA) and principal component analysis (PCA) to identify trends in codon usage. HCA demonstrated that the RSCU of arboviruses reflects that of their natural hosts, but not that of dead-end hosts. Of the two major components identified by PCA, the first accounted for 62.1% of the total variance, and among the 59 codons analyzed in this study, the leucine codon CTG had the highest correlation with the first principal component, however isoleucine had the highest correlation during amino acid analysis. Nucleotide and dinucleotide composition were the variables that explained most of the total codon usage variance. The results suggest that the main factors driving the evolution of codon usage in arboviruses is based on the nucleotide and dinucleotide composition present in the host. Comparing codon usage of arboviruses and potential vector hosts can help identifying potential vectors for emerging arboviruses.

  11. The Effect of Mutation and Selection on Codon Adaptation in Escherichia coli Bacteriophage

    PubMed Central

    Chithambaram, Shivapriya; Prabhakaran, Ramanandan; Xia, Xuhua

    2014-01-01

    Studying phage codon adaptation is important not only for understanding the process of translation elongation, but also for reengineering phages for medical and industrial purposes. To evaluate the effect of mutation and selection on phage codon usage, we developed an index to measure selection imposed by host translation machinery, based on the difference in codon usage between all host genes and highly expressed host genes. We developed linear and nonlinear models to estimate the C→T mutation bias in different phage lineages and to evaluate the relative effect of mutation and host selection on phage codon usage. C→T-biased mutations occur more frequently in single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) phages than in double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) phages and affect not only synonymous codon usage, but also nonsynonymous substitutions at second codon positions, especially in ssDNA phages. The host translation machinery affects codon adaptation in both dsDNA and ssDNA phages, with a stronger effect on dsDNA phages than on ssDNA phages. Strand asymmetry with the associated local variation in mutation bias can significantly interfere with codon adaptation in both dsDNA and ssDNA phages. PMID:24583580

  12. Vertebrate codon bias indicates a highly GC-rich ancestral genome.

    PubMed

    Nabiyouni, Maryam; Prakash, Ashwin; Fedorov, Alexei

    2013-04-25

    Two factors are thought to have contributed to the origin of codon usage bias in eukaryotes: 1) genome-wide mutational forces that shape overall GC-content and create context-dependent nucleotide bias, and 2) positive selection for codons that maximize efficient and accurate translation. Particularly in vertebrates, these two explanations contradict each other and cloud the origin of codon bias in the taxon. On the one hand, mutational forces fail to explain GC-richness (~60%) of third codon positions, given the GC-poor overall genomic composition among vertebrates (~40%). On the other hand, positive selection cannot easily explain strict regularities in codon preferences. Large-scale bioinformatic assessment, of nucleotide composition of coding and non-coding sequences in vertebrates and other taxa, suggests a simple possible resolution for this contradiction. Specifically, we propose that the last common vertebrate ancestor had a GC-rich genome (~65% GC). The data suggest that whole-genome mutational bias is the major driving force for generating codon bias. As the bias becomes prominent, it begins to affect translation and can result in positive selection for optimal codons. The positive selection can, in turn, significantly modulate codon preferences. PMID:23376453

  13. Enhanced expression of codon optimized Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis antigens in Lactobacillus salivarius

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    We have previously identified the mycobacterial high G+C codon usage bias as a limiting factor in heterologous expression of MAP proteins from Lb.salivarius, and demonstrated that codon optimisation of a synthetic coding gene greatly enhances MAP protein production. Here, we effectively demonstrate ...

  14. Codon Usage Patterns in Corynebacterium glutamicum: Mutational Bias, Natural Selection and Amino Acid Conservation.

    PubMed

    Liu, Guiming; Wu, Jinyu; Yang, Huanming; Bao, Qiyu

    2010-01-01

    The alternative synonymous codons in Corynebacterium glutamicum, a well-known bacterium used in industry for the production of amino acid, have been investigated by multivariate analysis. As C. glutamicum is a GC-rich organism, G and C are expected to predominate at the third position of codons. Indeed, overall codon usage analyses have indicated that C and/or G ending codons are predominant in this organism. Through multivariate statistical analysis, apart from mutational selection, we identified three other trends of codon usage variation among the genes. Firstly, the majority of highly expressed genes are scattered towards the positive end of the first axis, whereas the majority of lowly expressed genes are clustered towards the other end of the first axis. Furthermore, the distinct difference in the two sets of genes was that the C ending codons are predominate in putatively highly expressed genes, suggesting that the C ending codons are translationally optimal in this organism. Secondly, the majority of the putatively highly expressed genes have a tendency to locate on the leading strand, which indicates that replicational and transciptional selection might be invoked. Thirdly, highly expressed genes are more conserved than lowly expressed genes by synonymous and nonsynonymous substitutions among orthologous genes fromthe genomes of C. glutamicum and C. diphtheriae. We also analyzed other factors such as the length of genes and hydrophobicity that might influence codon usage and found their contributions to be weak. PMID:20445740

  15. The effect of mutation and selection on codon adaptation in Escherichia coli bacteriophage.

    PubMed

    Chithambaram, Shivapriya; Prabhakaran, Ramanandan; Xia, Xuhua

    2014-05-01

    Studying phage codon adaptation is important not only for understanding the process of translation elongation, but also for reengineering phages for medical and industrial purposes. To evaluate the effect of mutation and selection on phage codon usage, we developed an index to measure selection imposed by host translation machinery, based on the difference in codon usage between all host genes and highly expressed host genes. We developed linear and nonlinear models to estimate the C→T mutation bias in different phage lineages and to evaluate the relative effect of mutation and host selection on phage codon usage. C→T-biased mutations occur more frequently in single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) phages than in double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) phages and affect not only synonymous codon usage, but also nonsynonymous substitutions at second codon positions, especially in ssDNA phages. The host translation machinery affects codon adaptation in both dsDNA and ssDNA phages, with a stronger effect on dsDNA phages than on ssDNA phages. Strand asymmetry with the associated local variation in mutation bias can significantly interfere with codon adaptation in both dsDNA and ssDNA phages. PMID:24583580

  16. Codon usage affects the structure and function of the Drosophila circadian clock protein PERIOD.

    PubMed

    Fu, Jingjing; Murphy, Katherine A; Zhou, Mian; Li, Ying H; Lam, Vu H; Tabuloc, Christine A; Chiu, Joanna C; Liu, Yi

    2016-08-01

    Codon usage bias is a universal feature of all genomes, but its in vivo biological functions in animal systems are not clear. To investigate the in vivo role of codon usage in animals, we took advantage of the sensitivity and robustness of the Drosophila circadian system. By codon-optimizing parts of Drosophila period (dper), a core clock gene that encodes a critical component of the circadian oscillator, we showed that dper codon usage is important for circadian clock function. Codon optimization of dper resulted in conformational changes of the dPER protein, altered dPER phosphorylation profile and stability, and impaired dPER function in the circadian negative feedback loop, which manifests into changes in molecular rhythmicity and abnormal circadian behavioral output. This study provides an in vivo example that demonstrates the role of codon usage in determining protein structure and function in an animal system. These results suggest a universal mechanism in eukaryotes that uses a codon usage "code" within genetic codons to regulate cotranslational protein folding. PMID:27542830

  17. Codon Usage Patterns in Corynebacterium glutamicum: Mutational Bias, Natural Selection and Amino Acid Conservation.

    PubMed

    Liu, Guiming; Wu, Jinyu; Yang, Huanming; Bao, Qiyu

    2010-01-01

    The alternative synonymous codons in Corynebacterium glutamicum, a well-known bacterium used in industry for the production of amino acid, have been investigated by multivariate analysis. As C. glutamicum is a GC-rich organism, G and C are expected to predominate at the third position of codons. Indeed, overall codon usage analyses have indicated that C and/or G ending codons are predominant in this organism. Through multivariate statistical analysis, apart from mutational selection, we identified three other trends of codon usage variation among the genes. Firstly, the majority of highly expressed genes are scattered towards the positive end of the first axis, whereas the majority of lowly expressed genes are clustered towards the other end of the first axis. Furthermore, the distinct difference in the two sets of genes was that the C ending codons are predominate in putatively highly expressed genes, suggesting that the C ending codons are translationally optimal in this organism. Secondly, the majority of the putatively highly expressed genes have a tendency to locate on the leading strand, which indicates that replicational and transciptional selection might be invoked. Thirdly, highly expressed genes are more conserved than lowly expressed genes by synonymous and nonsynonymous substitutions among orthologous genes fromthe genomes of C. glutamicum and C. diphtheriae. We also analyzed other factors such as the length of genes and hydrophobicity that might influence codon usage and found their contributions to be weak.

  18. Codon Usage Influences the Local Rate of Translation Elongation to Regulate Co-translational Protein Folding.

    PubMed

    Yu, Chien-Hung; Dang, Yunkun; Zhou, Zhipeng; Wu, Cheng; Zhao, Fangzhou; Sachs, Matthew S; Liu, Yi

    2015-09-01

    Codon usage bias is a universal feature of eukaryotic and prokaryotic genomes and has been proposed to regulate translation efficiency, accuracy, and protein folding based on the assumption that codon usage affects translation dynamics. The roles of codon usage in translation, however, are not clear and have been challenged by recent ribosome profiling studies. Here we used a Neurospora cell-free translation system to directly monitor the velocity of mRNA translation. We demonstrated that the preferred codons enhance the rate of translation elongation, whereas non-optimal codons slow elongation. Codon usage also controls ribosome traffic on mRNA. These conclusions were supported by ribosome profiling results in vitro and in vivo with template mRNAs designed to increase the signal-to-noise ratio. Finally, we demonstrate that codon usage regulates protein function by affecting co-translational protein folding. These results resolve a long-standing fundamental question and suggest the existence of a codon usage code for protein folding. PMID:26321254

  19. Synonymous codon usage and its potential link with optimal growth temperature in prokaryotes.

    PubMed

    Lobry, J R; Necşulea, A

    2006-12-30

    The relationship between codon usage in prokaryotes and their ability to grow at extreme temperatures has been given much attention over the past years. Previous studies have suggested that the difference in synonymous codon usage between (hyper)thermophiles and mesophiles is a consequence of a selective pressure linked to growth temperature. Here, we performed an updated analysis of the variation in synonymous codon usage with growth temperature; our study includes a large number of species from a wide taxonomic and growth temperature range. The presence of psychrophilic species in our study allowed us to test whether the same selective pressure acts on synonymous codon usage at very low growth temperature. Our results show that the synonymous codon usage for Arg (through the AGG, AGA and CGT codons) is the most discriminating factor between (hyper)thermophilic and non-thermophilic species, thus confirming previous studies. We report the unusual clustering of an Archaeal psychrophile with the thermophilic and hyperthermophilic species on the synonymous codon usage factorial map; the other psychrophiles in our study cluster with the mesophilic species. Our conclusion is that the difference in synonymous codon usage between (hyper)thermophilic and non-thermophilic species cannot be clearly attributed to a selective pressure linked to growth at high temperatures.

  20. A total-evidence approach to dating with fossils, applied to the early radiation of the hymenoptera.

    PubMed

    Ronquist, Fredrik; Klopfstein, Seraina; Vilhelmsen, Lars; Schulmeister, Susanne; Murray, Debra L; Rasnitsyn, Alexandr P

    2012-12-01

    Phylogenies are usually dated by calibrating interior nodes against the fossil record. This relies on indirect methods that, in the worst case, misrepresent the fossil information. Here, we contrast such node dating with an approach that includes fossils along with the extant taxa in a Bayesian total-evidence analysis. As a test case, we focus on the early radiation of the Hymenoptera, mostly documented by poorly preserved impression fossils that are difficult to place phylogenetically. Specifically, we compare node dating using nine calibration points derived from the fossil record with total-evidence dating based on 343 morphological characters scored for 45 fossil (4--20 complete) and 68 extant taxa. In both cases we use molecular data from seven markers (∼5 kb) for the extant taxa. Because it is difficult to model speciation, extinction, sampling, and fossil preservation realistically, we develop a simple uniform prior for clock trees with fossils, and we use relaxed clock models to accommodate rate variation across the tree. Despite considerable uncertainty in the placement of most fossils, we find that they contribute significantly to the estimation of divergence times in the total-evidence analysis. In particular, the posterior distributions on divergence times are less sensitive to prior assumptions and tend to be more precise than in node dating. The total-evidence analysis also shows that four of the seven Hymenoptera calibration points used in node dating are likely to be based on erroneous or doubtful assumptions about the fossil placement. With respect to the early radiation of Hymenoptera, our results suggest that the crown group dates back to the Carboniferous, ∼309 Ma (95% interval: 291--347 Ma), and diversified into major extant lineages much earlier than previously thought, well before the Triassic. [Bayesian inference; fossil dating; morphological evolution; relaxed clock; statistical phylogenetics.].

  1. A Total-Evidence Approach to Dating with Fossils, Applied to the Early Radiation of the Hymenoptera

    PubMed Central

    Ronquist, Fredrik; Klopfstein, Seraina; Vilhelmsen, Lars; Schulmeister, Susanne; Murray, Debra L.; Rasnitsyn, Alexandr P.

    2012-01-01

    Phylogenies are usually dated by calibrating interior nodes against the fossil record. This relies on indirect methods that, in the worst case, misrepresent the fossil information. Here, we contrast such node dating with an approach that includes fossils along with the extant taxa in a Bayesian total-evidence analysis. As a test case, we focus on the early radiation of the Hymenoptera, mostly documented by poorly preserved impression fossils that are difficult to place phylogenetically. Specifically, we compare node dating using nine calibration points derived from the fossil record with total-evidence dating based on 343 morphological characters scored for 45 fossil (4--20 complete) and 68 extant taxa. In both cases we use molecular data from seven markers (∼5 kb) for the extant taxa. Because it is difficult to model speciation, extinction, sampling, and fossil preservation realistically, we develop a simple uniform prior for clock trees with fossils, and we use relaxed clock models to accommodate rate variation across the tree. Despite considerable uncertainty in the placement of most fossils, we find that they contribute significantly to the estimation of divergence times in the total-evidence analysis. In particular, the posterior distributions on divergence times are less sensitive to prior assumptions and tend to be more precise than in node dating. The total-evidence analysis also shows that four of the seven Hymenoptera calibration points used in node dating are likely to be based on erroneous or doubtful assumptions about the fossil placement. With respect to the early radiation of Hymenoptera, our results suggest that the crown group dates back to the Carboniferous, ∼309 Ma (95% interval: 291--347 Ma), and diversified into major extant lineages much earlier than previously thought, well before the Triassic. [Bayesian inference; fossil dating; morphological evolution; relaxed clock; statistical phylogenetics.] PMID:22723471

  2. A Galactic Fossil

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    2007-05-01

    How old are the oldest stars? Using ESO's VLT, astronomers recently measured the age of a star located in our Galaxy. The star, a real fossil, is found to be 13.2 billion years old, not very far from the 13.7 billion years age of the Universe. The star, HE 1523-0901, was clearly born at the dawn of time. "Surprisingly, it is very hard to pin down the age of a star", the lead author of the paper reporting the results, Anna Frebel, explains. "This requires measuring very precisely the abundance of the radioactive elements thorium or uranium, a feat only the largest telescopes such as ESO's VLT can achieve." ESO PR Photo 23a/07 ESO PR Photo 23a/07 The 'Cosmic Clock' This technique is analogous to the carbon-14 dating method that has been so successful in archaeology over time spans of up to a few tens of thousands of years. In astronomy, however, this technique must obviously be applied to vastly longer timescales. For the method to work well, the right choice of radioactive isotope is critical. Unlike other, stable elements that formed at the same time, the abundance of a radioactive (unstable) isotope decreases all the time. The faster the decay, the less there will be left of the radioactive isotope after a certain time, so the greater will be the abundance difference when compared to a stable isotope, and the more accurate is the resulting age. Yet, for the clock to remain useful, the radioactive element must not decay too fast - there must still be enough left of it to allow an accurate measurement, even after several billion years. "Actual age measurements are restricted to the very rare objects that display huge amounts of the radioactive elements thorium or uranium," says Norbert Christlieb, co-author of the report. ESO PR Photo 23b/07 ESO PR Photo 23b/07 Uranium Line in the Spectrum of an Old Star Large amounts of these elements have been found in the star HE 1523-0901, an old, relatively bright star that was discovered within the Hamburg/ESO survey [1]. The

  3. Importance of codon usage for the temporal regulation of viral gene expression.

    PubMed

    Shin, Young C; Bischof, Georg F; Lauer, William A; Desrosiers, Ronald C

    2015-11-10

    The glycoproteins of herpesviruses and of HIV/SIV are made late in the replication cycle and are derived from transcripts that use an unusual codon usage that is quite different from that of the host cell. Here we show that the actions of natural transinducers from these two different families of persistent viruses (Rev of SIV and ORF57 of the rhesus monkey rhadinovirus) are dependent on the nature of the skewed codon usage. In fact, the transinducibility of expression of these glycoproteins by Rev and by ORF57 can be flipped simply by changing the nature of the codon usage. Even expression of a luciferase reporter could be made Rev dependent or ORF57 dependent by distinctive changes to its codon usage. Our findings point to a new general principle in which different families of persisting viruses use a poor codon usage that is skewed in a distinctive way to temporally regulate late expression of structural gene products. PMID:26504241

  4. Importance of codon usage for the temporal regulation of viral gene expression

    PubMed Central

    Shin, Young C.; Bischof, Georg F.; Lauer, William A.; Desrosiers, Ronald C.

    2015-01-01

    The glycoproteins of herpesviruses and of HIV/SIV are made late in the replication cycle and are derived from transcripts that use an unusual codon usage that is quite different from that of the host cell. Here we show that the actions of natural transinducers from these two different families of persistent viruses (Rev of SIV and ORF57 of the rhesus monkey rhadinovirus) are dependent on the nature of the skewed codon usage. In fact, the transinducibility of expression of these glycoproteins by Rev and by ORF57 can be flipped simply by changing the nature of the codon usage. Even expression of a luciferase reporter could be made Rev dependent or ORF57 dependent by distinctive changes to its codon usage. Our findings point to a new general principle in which different families of persisting viruses use a poor codon usage that is skewed in a distinctive way to temporally regulate late expression of structural gene products. PMID:26504241

  5. Evolutionary conservation of codon optimality reveals hidden signatures of cotranslational folding.

    PubMed

    Pechmann, Sebastian; Frydman, Judith

    2013-02-01

    The choice of codons can influence local translation kinetics during protein synthesis. Whether codon preference is linked to cotranslational regulation of polypeptide folding remains unclear. Here, we derive a revised translational efficiency scale that incorporates the competition between tRNA supply and demand. Applying this scale to ten closely related yeast species, we uncover the evolutionary conservation of codon optimality in eukaryotes. This analysis reveals universal patterns of conserved optimal and nonoptimal codons, often in clusters, which associate with the secondary structure of the translated polypeptides independent of the levels of expression. Our analysis suggests an evolved function for codon optimality in regulating the rhythm of elongation to facilitate cotranslational polypeptide folding, beyond its previously proposed role of adapting to the cost of expression. These findings establish how mRNA sequences are generally under selection to optimize the cotranslational folding of corresponding polypeptides.

  6. Evidence for Stabilizing Selection on Codon Usage in Chromosomal Rearrangements of Drosophila pseudoobscura

    PubMed Central

    Fuller, Zachary L.; Haynes, Gwilym D.; Zhu, Dianhui; Batterton, Matthew; Chao, Hsu; Dugan, Shannon; Javaid, Mehwish; Jayaseelan, Joy C.; Lee, Sandra; Li, Mingmei; Ongeri, Fiona; Qi, Sulan; Han, Yi; Doddapaneni, Harshavardhan; Richards, Stephen; Schaeffer, Stephen W.

    2014-01-01

    There has been a renewed interest in investigating the role of stabilizing selection acting on genome-wide traits such as codon usage bias. Codon bias, when synonymous codons are used at unequal frequencies, occurs in a wide variety of taxa. Standard evolutionary models explain the maintenance of codon bias through a balance of genetic drift, mutation and weak purifying selection. The efficacy of selection is expected to be reduced in regions of suppressed recombination. Contrary to observations in Drosophila melanogaster, some recent studies have failed to detect a relationship between the recombination rate, intensity of selection acting at synonymous sites, and the magnitude of codon bias as predicted under these standard models. Here, we examined codon bias in 2798 protein coding loci on the third chromosome of D. pseudoobscura using whole-genome sequences of 47 individuals, representing five common third chromosome gene arrangements. Fine-scale recombination maps were constructed using more than 1 million segregating sites. As expected, recombination was demonstrated to be significantly suppressed between chromosome arrangements, allowing for a direct examination of the relationship between recombination, selection, and codon bias. As with other Drosophila species, we observe a strong mutational bias away from the most frequently used codons. We find the rate of synonymous and nonsynonymous polymorphism is variable between different amino acids. However, we do not observe a reduction in codon bias or the strength of selection in regions of suppressed recombination as expected. Instead, we find that the interaction between weak stabilizing selection and mutational bias likely plays a role in shaping the composition of synonymous codons across the third chromosome in D. pseudoobscura. PMID:25326424

  7. Evolutionary characterization of Tembusu virus infection through identification of codon usage patterns.

    PubMed

    Zhou, Hao; Yan, Bing; Chen, Shun; Wang, Mingshu; Jia, Renyong; Cheng, Anchun

    2015-10-01

    Tembusu virus (TMUV) is a single-stranded, positive-sense RNA virus. As reported, TMUV infection has resulted in significant poultry losses, and the virus may also pose a threat to public health. To characterize TMUV evolutionarily and to understand the factors accounting for codon usage properties, we performed, for the first time, a comprehensive analysis of codon usage bias for the genomes of 60 TMUV strains. The most recently published TMUV strains were found to be widely distributed in coastal cities of southeastern China. Codon preference among TMUV genomes exhibits a low bias (effective number of codons (ENC)=53.287) and is maintained at a stable level. ENC-GC3 plots and the high correlation between composition constraints and principal component factor analysis of codon usage demonstrated that mutation pressure dominates over natural selection pressure in shaping the TMUV coding sequence composition. The high correlation between the major components of the codon usage pattern and hydrophobicity (Gravy) or aromaticity (Aromo) was obvious, indicating that properties of viral proteins also account for the observed variation in TMUV codon usage. Principal component analysis (PCA) showed that CQW1 isolated from Chongqing may have evolved from GX2013H or GX2013G isolated from Guangxi, thus indicating that TMUV likely disseminated from southeastern China to the mainland. Moreover, the preferred codons encoding eight amino acids were consistent with the optimal codons for human cells, indicating that TMUV may pose a threat to public health due to possible cross-species transmission (birds to birds or birds to humans). The results of this study not only have theoretical value for uncovering the characteristics of synonymous codon usage patterns in TMUV genomes but also have significant meaning with regard to the molecular evolutionary tendencies of TMUV. PMID:26205688

  8. Palaeobiology: Argentinian unhatched pterosaur fossil.

    PubMed

    Chiappe, Luis M; Codorniú, Laura; Grellet-Tinner, Gerald; Rivarola, David

    2004-12-01

    Our knowledge of the eggs and embryos of pterosaurs, the Mesozoic flying reptiles, is sparse. Until now, the recent discovery of an ornithocheirid embryo from 121-million-year-old rocks in China constituted the only reliable evidence of an unhatched pterosaur. Here we describe an embryonic fossil of a different pterosaur from the Early Cretaceous lacustrine deposits of Loma del Pterodaustro (the Lagarcito Formation, which is about 100 million years old) in central Argentina. This new fossil provides insight into the eggshell morphology, early growth and nesting environments of pterosaurs.

  9. Fossil Groups in the Local Universe

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    OSullivan, Ewan

    2005-01-01

    The two galaxies observed as part of this project were originally selected as fossil group candidates because of their isolation from other galaxies and their apparent high X-ray luminosity and extended X-ray emission. However, the X-ray data available was minimal, being drawn from the ROSAT All-Sky Survey. We have performed an initial analysis of the XMM data from both galaxies and found that their gaseous halos are smaller, cooler, and less luminous than expected. In the case of NGC 57, the RASS estimate of extent and luminosity was biased because of a previously unidentified background group which is visible in the XMM data to one side of the galaxy. In the case of IC 153 1, the contribution from background point sources near the galaxy appears to be to blame. This suggests that both galaxies should be reclassified as isolated ellipticals. Such systems are very rare, and currently poorly understood; for comparison, there are now 6-10 known fossil groups, but only one isolated elliptical with useful X-ray data. We are currently re-analyzing the data for the two galaxies to take advantage of the calibration improvements of SAS 6.1, and to include calculations of the mass profiles of the two systems. A paper is currently in preparation dealing with the X-ray properties and environment of the galaxies, and we expect to submit this to the Astrophysical Journal within the next two months. Multi-band optical imaging of the field surrounding NGC 57 has been acquired to confirm its isolated status and provide more information on the background group. IC 1531 was accepted as a target in Chandra cycle 6 as part of a related proposal, and we intend to add this new observation to our XMM data when it becomes available. A second paper is planned to include the results of this combined analysis.

  10. Combining fossil and molecular data to date the diversification of New World Primates.

    PubMed

    Schrago, C G; Mello, B; Soares, A E R

    2013-11-01

    Recent methodological advances in molecular dating associated with the growing availability of sequence data have prompted the study of the evolution of New World Anthropoidea in recent years. Motivated by questions regarding historical biogeography or the mode of evolution, these works aimed to obtain a clearer scenario of Platyrrhini origins and diversification. Although some consensus was found, disputed issues, especially those relating to the evolutionary affinities of fossil taxa, remain. The use of fossil taxa for divergence time analysis is traditionally restricted to the provision of calibration priors. However, new analytical approaches have been developed that incorporate fossils as terminals and, thus, directly assign ages to the fossil tips. In this study, we conducted a combined analysis of molecular and morphological data, including fossils, to derive the timescale of New World anthropoids. Differently from previous studies that conducted total-evidence analysis of molecules and morphology, our approach investigated the morphological clock alone. Our results corroborate the hypothesis that living platyrrhines diversified in the last 20 Ma and that Miocene Patagonian fossils compose an independent evolutionary radiation that diversified in the late Oligocene. When compared to the node ages inferred from the molecular timescale, the inclusion of fossils augmented the precision of the estimates for nodes constrained by the fossil tips. We show that morphological data can be analysed using the same methodological framework applied in relaxed molecular clock studies.

  11. Calibration of sound calibrators: an overview

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Milhomem, T. A. B.; Soares, Z. M. D.

    2016-07-01

    This paper presents an overview of calibration of sound calibrators. Initially, traditional calibration methods are presented. Following, the international standard IEC 60942 is discussed emphasizing parameters, target measurement uncertainty and criteria for conformance to the requirements of the standard. Last, Regional Metrology Organizations comparisons are summarized.

  12. Asc1, homolog of human RACK1, prevents frameshifting in yeast by ribosomes stalled at CGA codon repeats.

    PubMed

    Wolf, Andrew S; Grayhack, Elizabeth J

    2015-05-01

    Quality control systems monitor and stop translation at some ribosomal stalls, but it is unknown if halting translation at such stalls actually prevents synthesis of abnormal polypeptides. In yeast, ribosome stalling occurs at Arg CGA codon repeats, with even two consecutive CGA codons able to reduce translation by up to 50%. The conserved eukaryotic Asc1 protein limits translation through internal Arg CGA codon repeats. We show that, in the absence of Asc1 protein, ribosomes continue translating at CGA codons, but undergo substantial frameshifting with dramatically higher levels of frameshifting occurring with additional repeats of CGA codons. Frameshifting depends upon the slow or inefficient decoding of these codons, since frameshifting is suppressed by increased expression of the native tRNA(Arg(ICG)) that decodes CGA codons by wobble decoding. Moreover, the extent of frameshifting is modulated by the position of the CGA codon repeat relative to the translation start site. Thus, translation fidelity depends upon Asc1-mediated quality control.

  13. Fossils of big bang turbulence

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gibson, C. H.

    2004-12-01

    A model is proposed connecting turbulence, fossil turbulence, and the big bang origin of the universe. While details are incomplete, the model is consistent with our knowledge of these processes and is supported by observations. Turbulence arises in a hot-big-bang quantum-gravitational-dynamics scenario at Planck scales. Chaotic, eddy-like-motions produce an exothermic Planck particle cascade from 10-35 m at 1032 K to 108 larger, 104 cooler, quark-gluon scales. A Planck-Kerr instability gives high-Reynolds-number (Re 106) turbulent combustion, space-time-energy-entropy and turbulent mixing. Batchelor-Obukhov-Corrsin turbulent-temperature fluctuations are preserved as the first fossil-turbulence by inflation stretching the patterns beyond the horizon ct of causal connection faster than light speed c in time t 10-33 seconds. Fossil-big-bang-temperature-turbulence re-enters the horizon and imprints nucleosynthesis of H-He densities that seed fragmentation by gravity at 1012 s in the low Reynolds number plasma before its transition to gas at t 1013 s and T 3000 K. Multi-scaling coefficients of the cosmic-microwave-background (CMB) temperature anisotropies closely match those for high Reynolds number turbulence, Bershadskii and Sreenivasan 2002, 2003. CMB spectra support the interpretation that big-bang-turbulence-fossils triggered fragmentation of the viscous plasma at supercluster to galaxy mass scales from 1046 to 1042 kg, Gibson 1996, 2000, 2004ab.

  14. The colour of fossil feathers.

    PubMed

    Vinther, Jakob; Briggs, Derek E G; Prum, Richard O; Saranathan, Vinodkumar

    2008-10-23

    Feathers are complex integumentary appendages of birds and some other theropod dinosaurs. They are frequently coloured and function in camouflage and display. Previous investigations have concluded that fossil feathers are preserved as carbonized traces composed of feather-degrading bacteria. Here, an investigation of a colour-banded feather from the Lower Cretaceous Crato Formation of Brazil revealed that the dark bands are preserved as elongate, oblate carbonaceous bodies 1-2 microm long, whereas the light bands retain only relief traces on the rock matrix. Energy dispersive X-ray analysis showed that the dark bands preserve a substantial amount of carbon, whereas the light bands show no carbon residue. Comparison of these oblate fossil bodies with the structure of black feathers from a living bird indicates that they are the eumelanin-containing melanosomes. We conclude that most fossil feathers are preserved as melanosomes, and that the distribution of these structures in fossil feathers can preserve the colour pattern in the original feather. The discovery of preserved melanosomes opens up the possibility of interpreting the colour of extinct birds and other dinosaurs.

  15. Mitochondrial genomes as living 'fossils'.

    PubMed

    Small, Ian

    2013-04-15

    The huge variation between mitochondrial genomes makes untangling their evolutionary histories difficult. Richardson et al. report on the remarkably unaltered 'fossil' genome of the tulip tree, giving us many clues as to how the mitochondrial genomes of flowering plants have evolved over the last 150 million years, and raising questions about how such extraordinary sequence conservation can be maintained.

  16. Fossil power plant systems description

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1984-01-01

    This single-volume, looseleaf text presents the functions and relationships between each major component and its auxiliaries within a system. The text also describes the relationships between systems. All major components are addressed, and system boundaries are defined for a generic fossil power plant.

  17. Progress of fossil fuel science

    SciTech Connect

    Demirbas, M.F.

    2007-07-01

    Coal is the most abundant and widely distributed fossil fuel. More than 45% of the world's electricity is generated from coal, and it is the major fuel for generating electricity worldwide. The known coal reserves in the world are enough for more than 215 years of consumption, while the known oil reserves are only about 39 times of the world's consumption and the known natural gas reserves are about 63 times of the world's consumption level in 1998. In recent years, there have been effective scientific investigations on Turkish fossil fuels, which are considerable focused on coal resources. Coal is a major fossil fuel source for Turkey. Turkish coal consumption has been stable over the past decade and currently accounts for about 24% of the country's total energy consumption. Lignite coal has had the biggest share in total fossil fuel production, at 43%, in Turkey. Turkish researchers may investigate ten broad pathways of coal species upgrading, such as desulfurization and oxydesulfurization, pyrolysis and hydropyrolysis, liquefaction and hydroliquefaction, extraction and supercritical fluid extraction, gasification, oxidation, briquetting, flotation, and structure identification.

  18. Fossil Energy: Drivers and Challenges.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Friedmann, Julio

    2007-04-01

    Concerns about rapid economic growth, energy security, and global climate change have created a new landscape for fossil energy exploration, production, and utilization. Since 85% of primary energy supply comes from fossil fuels, and 85% of greenhouse gas emissions come from fossil fuel consumption, new and difficult technical and political challenges confront commercial, governmental, and public stakeholders. As such, concerns over climate change are explicitly weighed against security of international and domestic energy supplies, with economic premiums paid for either or both. Efficiency improvements, fuel conservation, and deployment of nuclear and renewable supplies will help both concerns, but are unlikely to offset growth in the coming decades. As such, new technologies and undertakings must both provide high quality fossil energy with minimal environmental impacts. The largest and most difficult of these undertakings is carbon management, wherein CO2 emissions are sequestered indefinitely at substantial incremental cost. Geological formations provide both high confidence and high capacity for CO2 storage, but present scientific and technical challenges. Oil and gas supply can be partially sustained and replaced through exploitation of unconventional fossil fuels such as tar-sands, methane hydrates, coal-to-liquids, and oil shales. These fuels provide enormous reserves that can be exploited at current costs, but generally require substantial energy to process. In most cases, the energy return on investment (EROI) is dropping, and unconventional fuels are generally more carbon intensive than conventional, presenting additional carbon management challenges. Ultimately, a large and sustained science and technology program akin to the Apollo project will be needed to address these concerns. Unfortunately, real funding in energy research has dropped dramatically (75%) in the past three decades, and novel designs in fission and fusion are not likely to provide any

  19. Analysis of Codon Usage Patterns in Herbaceous Peony (Paeonia lactiflora Pall.) Based on Transcriptome Data.

    PubMed

    Wu, Yanqing; Zhao, Daqiu; Tao, Jun

    2015-10-22

    Codon usage bias, which exists in many genomes, is mainly determined by mutation and selection. To elucidate the genetic features and evolutionary history of herbaceous peony (Paeonia lactiflora), a well-known symbol of prosperity in China, we examined synonymous codon usage in 24,216 reconstructed genes from the P. lactiflora transcriptome. The mean GC content was 44.4%, indicating that the nucleotide content of P. lactiflora genes is slightly AT rich and GC poor. The P. lactiflora genome has a wide range of GC3 (GC content at the third synonymous codon position) distribution, with a significant correlation between GC12 and GC3. ENC (effective number of codons) analysis suggested that mutational bias played a major role in shaping codon usage. Parity Rule 2 (PR2) analysis revealed that GC and AU were not used proportionally. We identified 22 "optimal codons", most ending with an A or U. Our results suggested that nucleotide composition mutation bias and translational selection were the main driving factors of codon usage bias in P. lactiflora. These results lay the foundation for exploring the evolutionary mechanisms and heterologous expression of functionally-important proteins in P. lactiflora.

  20. Comparison of Correspondence Analysis Methods for Synonymous Codon Usage in Bacteria

    PubMed Central

    Suzuki, Haruo; Brown, Celeste J.; Forney, Larry J.; Top, Eva M.

    2008-01-01

    Synonymous codon usage varies both between organisms and among genes within a genome, and arises due to differences in G + C content, replication strand skew, or gene expression levels. Correspondence analysis (CA) is widely used to identify major sources of variation in synonymous codon usage among genes and provides a way to identify horizontally transferred or highly expressed genes. Four methods of CA have been developed based on three kinds of input data: absolute codon frequency, relative codon frequency, and relative synonymous codon usage (RSCU) as well as within-group CA (WCA). Although different CA methods have been used in the past, no comprehensive comparative study has been performed to evaluate their effectiveness. Here, the four CA methods were evaluated by applying them to 241 bacterial genome sequences. The results indicate that WCA is more effective than the other three methods in generating axes that reflect variations in synonymous codon usage. Furthermore, WCA reveals sources that were previously unnoticed in some genomes; e.g. synonymous codon usage related to replication strand skew was detected in Rickettsia prowazekii. Though CA based on RSCU is widely used, our evaluation indicates that this method does not perform as well as WCA. PMID:18940873

  1. A Comparative Analysis of Synonymous Codon Usage Bias Pattern in Human Albumin Superfamily

    PubMed Central

    Mirsafian, Hoda; Mat Ripen, Adiratna; Singh, Aarti; Teo, Phaik Hwan; Merican, Amir Feisal; Mohamad, Saharuddin Bin

    2014-01-01

    Synonymous codon usage bias is an inevitable phenomenon in organismic taxa across the three domains of life. Though the frequency of codon usage is not equal across species and within genome in the same species, the phenomenon is non random and is tissue-specific. Several factors such as GC content, nucleotide distribution, protein hydropathy, protein secondary structure, and translational selection are reported to contribute to codon usage preference. The synonymous codon usage patterns can be helpful in revealing the expression pattern of genes as well as the evolutionary relationship between the sequences. In this study, synonymous codon usage bias patterns were determined for the evolutionarily close proteins of albumin superfamily, namely, albumin, α-fetoprotein, afamin, and vitamin D-binding protein. Our study demonstrated that the genes of the four albumin superfamily members have low GC content and high values of effective number of codons (ENC) suggesting high expressivity of these genes and less bias in codon usage preferences. This study also provided evidence that the albumin superfamily members are not subjected to mutational selection pressure. PMID:24707212

  2. Genome-Wide Analysis of the Synonymous Codon Usage Patterns in Riemerella anatipestifer.

    PubMed

    Liu, Jibin; Zhu, Dekang; Ma, Guangpeng; Liu, Mafeng; Wang, Mingshu; Jia, Renyong; Chen, Shun; Sun, Kunfeng; Yang, Qiao; Wu, Ying; Chen, Xiaoyue; Cheng, Anchun

    2016-01-01

    Riemerella anatipestifer (RA) belongs to the Flavobacteriaceae family and can cause a septicemia disease in poultry. The synonymous codon usage patterns of bacteria reflect a series of evolutionary changes that enable bacteria to improve tolerance of the various environments. We detailed the codon usage patterns of RA isolates from the available 12 sequenced genomes by multiple codon and statistical analysis. Nucleotide compositions and relative synonymous codon usage (RSCU) analysis revealed that A or U ending codons are predominant in RA. Neutrality analysis found no significant correlation between GC12 and GC₃ (p > 0.05). Correspondence analysis and ENc-plot results showed that natural selection dominated over mutation in the codon usage bias. The tree of cluster analysis based on RSCU was concordant with dendrogram based on genomic BLAST by neighbor-joining method. By comparative analysis, about 50 highly expressed genes that were orthologs across all 12 strains were found in the top 5% of high CAI value. Based on these CAI values, we infer that RA contains a number of predicted highly expressed coding sequences, involved in transcriptional regulation and metabolism, reflecting their requirement for dealing with diverse environmental conditions. These results provide some useful information on the mechanisms that contribute to codon usage bias and evolution of RA. PMID:27517915

  3. Mutation and Selection Cause Codon Usage and Bias in Mitochondrial Genomes of Ribbon Worms (Nemertea)

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Haixia; Sun, Shichun; Norenburg, Jon L.; Sundberg, Per

    2014-01-01

    The phenomenon of codon usage bias is known to exist in many genomes and it is mainly determined by mutation and selection. To understand the patterns of codon usage in nemertean mitochondrial genomes, we use bioinformatic approaches to analyze the protein-coding sequences of eight nemertean species. Neutrality analysis did not find a significant correlation between GC12 and GC3. ENc-plot showed a few genes on or close to the expected curve, but the majority of points with low-ENc values are below it. ENc-plot suggested that mutational bias plays a major role in shaping codon usage. The Parity Rule 2 plot (PR2) analysis showed that GC and AT were not used proportionally and we propose that codons containing A or U at third position are used preferentially in nemertean species, regardless of whether corresponding tRNAs are encoded in the mitochondrial DNA. Context-dependent analysis indicated that the nucleotide at the second codon position slightly affects synonymous codon choices. These results suggested that mutational and selection forces are probably acting to codon usage bias in nemertean mitochondrial genomes. PMID:24454907

  4. Mutation and selection cause codon usage and bias in mitochondrial genomes of ribbon worms (Nemertea).

    PubMed

    Chen, Haixia; Sun, Shichun; Norenburg, Jon L; Sundberg, Per

    2014-01-01

    The phenomenon of codon usage bias is known to exist in many genomes and it is mainly determined by mutation and selection. To understand the patterns of codon usage in nemertean mitochondrial genomes, we use bioinformatic approaches to analyze the protein-coding sequences of eight nemertean species. Neutrality analysis did not find a significant correlation between GC12 and GC3. ENc-plot showed a few genes on or close to the expected curve, but the majority of points with low-ENc values are below it. ENc-plot suggested that mutational bias plays a major role in shaping codon usage. The Parity Rule 2 plot (PR2) analysis showed that GC and AT were not used proportionally and we propose that codons containing A or U at third position are used preferentially in nemertean species, regardless of whether corresponding tRNAs are encoded in the mitochondrial DNA. Context-dependent analysis indicated that the nucleotide at the second codon position slightly affects synonymous codon choices. These results suggested that mutational and selection forces are probably acting to codon usage bias in nemertean mitochondrial genomes.

  5. Codon usage and tRNA content in unicellular and multicellular organisms.

    PubMed

    Ikemura, T

    1985-01-01

    Choices of synonymous codons in unicellular organisms are here reviewed, and differences in synonymous codon usages between Escherichia coli and the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae are attributed to differences in the actual populations of isoaccepting tRNAs. There exists a strong positive correlation between codon usage and tRNA content in both organisms, and the extent of this correlation relates to the protein production levels of individual genes. Codon-choice patterns are believed to have been well conserved during the course of evolution. Examination of silent substitutions and tRNA populations in Enterobacteriaceae revealed that the evolutionary constraint imposed by tRNA content on codon usage decelerated rather than accelerated the silent-substitution rate, at least insofar as pairs of taxonomically related organisms were examined. Codon-choice patterns of multicellular organisms are briefly reviewed, and diversity in G+C percentage at the third position of codons in vertebrate genes--as well as a possible causative factor in the production of this diversity--is discussed. PMID:3916708

  6. Codon-Driven Translational Efficiency Is Stable across Diverse Mammalian Cell States

    PubMed Central

    Villar, Diego; White, Robert J.; Marioni, John C.; Kutter, Claudia

    2016-01-01

    Whether codon usage fine-tunes mRNA translation in mammals remains controversial, with recent papers suggesting that production of proteins in specific Gene Ontological (GO) pathways can be regulated by actively modifying the codon and anticodon pools in different cellular conditions. In this work, we compared the sequence content of genes in specific GO categories with the exonic genome background. Although a substantial fraction of variability in codon usage could be explained by random sampling, almost half of GO sets showed more variability in codon usage than expected by chance. Nevertheless, by quantifying translational efficiency in healthy and cancerous tissues in human and mouse, we demonstrated that a given tRNA pool can equally well translate many different sets of mRNAs, irrespective of their cell-type specificity. This disconnect between variations in codon usage and the stability of translational efficiency is best explained by differences in GC content between gene sets. GC variation across the mammalian genome is most likely a result of the interplay between genome repair and gene duplication mechanisms, rather than selective pressures caused by codon-driven translational rates. Consequently, codon usage differences in mammalian transcriptomes are most easily explained by well-understood mutational biases acting on the underlying genome. PMID:27166679

  7. Expanding the amino acid repertoire of ribosomal polypeptide synthesis via the artificial division of codon boxes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Iwane, Yoshihiko; Hitomi, Azusa; Murakami, Hiroshi; Katoh, Takayuki; Goto, Yuki; Suga, Hiroaki

    2016-04-01

    In ribosomal polypeptide synthesis the library of amino acid building blocks is limited by the manner in which codons are used. Of the proteinogenic amino acids, 18 are coded for by multiple codons and therefore many of the 61 sense codons can be considered redundant. Here we report a method to reduce the redundancy of codons by artificially dividing codon boxes to create vacant codons that can then be reassigned to non-proteinogenic amino acids and thereby expand the library of genetically encoded amino acids. To achieve this, we reconstituted a cell-free translation system with 32 in vitro transcripts of transfer RNASNN (tRNASNN) (S = G or C), assigning the initiator and 20 elongator amino acids. Reassignment of three redundant codons was achieved by replacing redundant tRNASNNs with tRNASNNs pre-charged with non-proteinogenic amino acids. As a demonstration, we expressed a 32-mer linear peptide that consists of 20 proteinogenic and three non-proteinogenic amino acids, and a 14-mer macrocyclic peptide that contains more than four non-proteinogenic amino acids.

  8. The Code of Silence: Widespread Associations Between Synonymous Codon Biases and Gene Function.

    PubMed

    Supek, Fran

    2016-01-01

    Some mutations in gene coding regions exchange one synonymous codon for another, and thus do not alter the amino acid sequence of the encoded protein. Even though they are often called 'silent,' these mutations may exhibit a plethora of effects on the living cell. Therefore, they are often selected during evolution, causing synonymous codon usage biases in genomes. Comparative analyses of bacterial, archaeal, fungal, and human cancer genomes have found many links between a gene's biological role and the accrual of synonymous mutations during evolution. In particular, highly expressed genes in certain functional categories are enriched with optimal codons, which are decoded by the abundant tRNAs, thus enhancing the speed and accuracy of the translating ribosome. The set of genes exhibiting codon adaptation differs between genomes, and these differences show robust associations to organismal phenotypes. In addition to selection for translation efficiency, other distinct codon bias patterns have been found in: amino acid starvation genes, cyclically expressed genes, tissue-specific genes in animals and plants, oxidative stress response genes, cellular differentiation genes, and oncogenes. In addition, genomes of organisms harboring tRNA modifications exhibit particular codon preferences. The evolutionary trace of codon bias patterns across orthologous genes may be examined to learn about a gene's relevance to various phenotypes, or, more generally, its function in the cell. PMID:26538122

  9. A bacterial strain with a unique quadruplet codon specifying non-native amino acids.

    PubMed

    Chatterjee, Abhishek; Lajoie, Marc J; Xiao, Han; Church, George M; Schultz, Peter G

    2014-08-18

    The addition of noncanonical amino acids to the genetic code requires unique codons not assigned to the 20 canonical amino acids. Among the 64 triplet codons, only the three nonsense "stop" codons have been used to encode non-native amino acids. Use of quadruplet "frame-shift" suppressor codons provides an abundant alternative but suffers from low suppression efficiency as a result of competing recognition of their first three bases by endogenous host tRNAs or release factors. Deletion of release factor 1 in a genomically recoded strain of E. coli (E. coli C321), in which all endogenous amber stop codons (UAG) are replaced with UAA, abolished UAG mediated translation termination. Here we show that a Methanocaldococcus jannaschii-derived frame-shift suppressor tRNA/aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase pair enhanced UAGN suppression efficiency in this recoded bacterial strain. These results demonstrate that efficient quadruplet codons for encoding non-native amino acids can be generated by eliminating competing triplet codon recognition at the ribosome.

  10. Analysis of Codon Usage Patterns in Herbaceous Peony (Paeonia lactiflora Pall.) Based on Transcriptome Data.

    PubMed

    Wu, Yanqing; Zhao, Daqiu; Tao, Jun

    2015-01-01

    Codon usage bias, which exists in many genomes, is mainly determined by mutation and selection. To elucidate the genetic features and evolutionary history of herbaceous peony (Paeonia lactiflora), a well-known symbol of prosperity in China, we examined synonymous codon usage in 24,216 reconstructed genes from the P. lactiflora transcriptome. The mean GC content was 44.4%, indicating that the nucleotide content of P. lactiflora genes is slightly AT rich and GC poor. The P. lactiflora genome has a wide range of GC3 (GC content at the third synonymous codon position) distribution, with a significant correlation between GC12 and GC3. ENC (effective number of codons) analysis suggested that mutational bias played a major role in shaping codon usage. Parity Rule 2 (PR2) analysis revealed that GC and AU were not used proportionally. We identified 22 "optimal codons", most ending with an A or U. Our results suggested that nucleotide composition mutation bias and translational selection were the main driving factors of codon usage bias in P. lactiflora. These results lay the foundation for exploring the evolutionary mechanisms and heterologous expression of functionally-important proteins in P. lactiflora. PMID:26506393

  11. Genome-Wide Analysis of the Synonymous Codon Usage Patterns in Riemerella anatipestifer

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Jibin; Zhu, Dekang; Ma, Guangpeng; Liu, Mafeng; Wang, Mingshu; Jia, Renyong; Chen, Shun; Sun, Kunfeng; Yang, Qiao; Wu, Ying; Chen, Xiaoyue; Cheng, Anchun

    2016-01-01

    Riemerella anatipestifer (RA) belongs to the Flavobacteriaceae family and can cause a septicemia disease in poultry. The synonymous codon usage patterns of bacteria reflect a series of evolutionary changes that enable bacteria to improve tolerance of the various environments. We detailed the codon usage patterns of RA isolates from the available 12 sequenced genomes by multiple codon and statistical analysis. Nucleotide compositions and relative synonymous codon usage (RSCU) analysis revealed that A or U ending codons are predominant in RA. Neutrality analysis found no significant correlation between GC12 and GC3 (p > 0.05). Correspondence analysis and ENc-plot results showed that natural selection dominated over mutation in the codon usage bias. The tree of cluster analysis based on RSCU was concordant with dendrogram based on genomic BLAST by neighbor-joining method. By comparative analysis, about 50 highly expressed genes that were orthologs across all 12 strains were found in the top 5% of high CAI value. Based on these CAI values, we infer that RA contains a number of predicted highly expressed coding sequences, involved in transcriptional regulation and metabolism, reflecting their requirement for dealing with diverse environmental conditions. These results provide some useful information on the mechanisms that contribute to codon usage bias and evolution of RA. PMID:27517915

  12. The unfolded protein response affects readthrough of premature termination codons

    PubMed Central

    Oren, Yifat S; McClure, Michelle L; Rowe, Steven M; Sorscher, Eric J; Bester, Assaf C; Manor, Miriam; Kerem, Eitan; Rivlin, Joseph; Zahdeh, Fouad; Mann, Matthias; Geiger, Tamar; Kerem, Batsheva

    2014-01-01

    One-third of monogenic inherited diseases result from premature termination codons (PTCs). Readthrough of in-frame PTCs enables synthesis of full-length functional proteins. However, extended variability in the response to readthrough treatment is found among patients, which correlates with the level of nonsense transcripts. Here, we aimed to reveal cellular pathways affecting this inter-patient variability. We show that activation of the unfolded protein response (UPR) governs the response to readthrough treatment by regulating the levels of transcripts carrying PTCs. Quantitative proteomic analyses showed substantial differences in UPR activation between patients carrying PTCs, correlating with their response. We further found a significant inverse correlation between the UPR and nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD), suggesting a feedback loop between these homeostatic pathways. We uncovered and characterized the mechanism underlying this NMD-UPR feedback loop, which augments both UPR activation and NMD attenuation. Importantly, this feedback loop enhances the response to readthrough treatment, highlighting its clinical importance. Altogether, our study demonstrates the importance of the UPR and its regulatory network for genetic diseases caused by PTCs and for cell homeostasis under normal conditions. PMID:24705877

  13. Suppression of Premature Termination Codons as a Therapeutic Approach

    PubMed Central

    Keeling, Kim M.; Wang, Dan; Conard, Sara E.; Bedwell, David M.

    2012-01-01

    In this review, we describe our current understanding of translation termination and pharmacological agents that influence the accuracy of this process. A number of drugs have been identified that induce suppression of translation termination at in-frame premature termination codons (PTCs; also known as nonsense mutations) in mammalian cells. We discuss efforts to utilize these drugs to suppress disease-causing PTCs that result in the loss of protein expression and function. In-frame PTCs represent a genotypic subset of mutations that make up ~11% of all known mutations that cause genetic diseases, and millions of patients have diseases attributable to PTCs. Current approaches aimed at reducing the efficiency of translation termination at PTCs (referred to as PTC suppression therapy) have the goal of alleviating the phenotypic consequences of a wide range of genetic diseases. Suppression therapy is currently in clinical trials for treatment of several genetic diseases caused by PTCs, and preliminary results suggest that some patients have shown clinical improvements. While current progress is promising, we discuss various approaches that may further enhance the efficiency of this novel therapeutic approach. PMID:22672057

  14. Tryptophan Codon-Dependent Transcription in Chlamydia pneumoniae during Gamma Interferon-Mediated Tryptophan Limitation.

    PubMed

    Ouellette, Scot P; Rueden, Kelsey J; Rucks, Elizabeth A

    2016-09-01

    In evolving to an obligate intracellular niche, Chlamydia has streamlined its genome by eliminating superfluous genes as it relies on the host cell for a variety of nutritional needs like amino acids. However, Chlamydia can experience amino acid starvation when the human host cell in which the bacteria reside is exposed to interferon gamma (IFN-γ), which leads to a tryptophan (Trp)-limiting environment via induction of the enzyme indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase (IDO). The stringent response is used to respond to amino acid starvation in most bacteria but is missing from Chlamydia Thus, how Chlamydia, a Trp auxotroph, responds to Trp starvation in the absence of a stringent response is an intriguing question. We previously observed that C. pneumoniae responds to this stress by globally increasing transcription while globally decreasing translation, an unusual response. Here, we sought to understand this and hypothesized that the Trp codon content of a given gene would determine its transcription level. We quantified transcripts from C. pneumoniae genes that were either rich or poor in Trp codons and found that Trp codon-rich transcripts were increased, whereas those that lacked Trp codons were unchanged or even decreased. There were exceptions, and these involved operons or large genes with multiple Trp codons: downstream transcripts were less abundant after Trp codon-rich sequences. These data suggest that ribosome stalling on Trp codons causes a negative polar effect on downstream sequences. Finally, reassessing previous C. pneumoniae microarray data based on codon content, we found that upregulated transcripts were enriched in Trp codons, thus supporting our hypothesis. PMID:27400720

  15. Efficient Reassignment of a Frequent Serine Codon in Wild-Type Escherichia coli.

    PubMed

    Ho, Joanne M; Reynolds, Noah M; Rivera, Keith; Connolly, Morgan; Guo, Li-Tao; Ling, Jiqiang; Pappin, Darryl J; Church, George M; Söll, Dieter

    2016-02-19

    Expansion of the genetic code through engineering the translation machinery has greatly increased the chemical repertoire of the proteome. This has been accomplished mainly by read-through of UAG or UGA stop codons by the noncanonical aminoacyl-tRNA of choice. While stop codon read-through involves competition with the translation release factors, sense codon reassignment entails competition with a large pool of endogenous tRNAs. We used an engineered pyrrolysyl-tRNA synthetase to incorporate 3-iodo-l-phenylalanine (3-I-Phe) at a number of different serine and leucine codons in wild-type Escherichia coli. Quantitative LC-MS/MS measurements of amino acid incorporation yields carried out in a selected reaction monitoring experiment revealed that the 3-I-Phe abundance at the Ser208AGU codon in superfolder GFP was 65 ± 17%. This method also allowed quantification of other amino acids (serine, 33 ± 17%; phenylalanine, 1 ± 1%; threonine, 1 ± 1%) that compete with 3-I-Phe at both the aminoacylation and decoding steps of translation for incorporation at the same codon position. Reassignments of different serine (AGU, AGC, UCG) and leucine (CUG) codons with the matching tRNA(Pyl) anticodon variants were met with varying success, and our findings provide a guideline for the choice of sense codons to be reassigned. Our results indicate that the 3-iodo-l-phenylalanyl-tRNA synthetase (IFRS)/tRNA(Pyl) pair can efficiently outcompete the cellular machinery to reassign select sense codons in wild-type E. coli.

  16. Advanced thermometrics for fossil power plant process improvement

    SciTech Connect

    Shepard, R.L.; Weiss, J.M.; Holcomb, D.E.

    1996-04-30

    Improved temperature measurements in fossil power plants can reduce heat rate and uncertainties in power production efficiencies, extend the life of plant components, reduce maintenance costs, and lessen emissions. Conventional instruments for measurement of combustion temperatures, steam temperatures, and structural component temperatures can be improved by better specification, in situ calibration, signal processing, and performance monitoring. Innovative instruments can enhance, augment, or replace conventional instruments. Several critical temperatures can be accessed using new methods that were impossible with conventional instruments. Such instruments include high temperature resistance temperature detectors (RTDs), thermometric phosphors, inductive thermometry, and ultrasonic thermometry.

  17. A more elaborative way to check codon quality: an open source program.

    PubMed

    Shardiwal, Rakesh Kumar; Sohrab, S S

    2010-01-01

    Relative Synonymous Codon Usage (RSCU) and Relative Adaptiveness of a Codon (RAC) table bias importance in gene expression are well documented in the literature. However, to improve the gene expression we need to figure out which codons are optimal for the expression in order to synthesise an appropriate DNA sequence. An alternative to the manual approach, which is obviously a tedious task, is to set up software on your computer to perform this. Though such kinds of programs are available on the internet, none of them are open-source libraries. Here, one can use our Perl program to do his or her task more easily and efficiently. It is free for everyone.

  18. Aminoacyl-tRNAs from Physarum polycephalum: patterns of codon recognition.

    PubMed Central

    Hatfield, D; Rice, M; Hession, C A; Melera, P W

    1982-01-01

    Isoacceptors of Physarum polycephalum Ala-, Arg-, Glu-, Gln-, Gly-, Ile-, Leu-, Lys-, Ser-, Thr-, and Val-tRNAs were resolved by reverse-phase chromatography and isolated, and their codon recognition properties were determined in a ribosomal binding assay. Codon assignments were made to most isoacceptors, and they are summarized along with those determined in other studies from Escherichia coli, yeasts, wheat germ, hymenoptera, Xenopus, and mammals. The patterns of codon recognition by isoacceptors from P. polycephalum are more similar to those of animals than to those of plants or lower fungi. PMID:7047488

  19. Fossil groups of galaxies: Are they groups? Are they fossils?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dupke, Renato de Alencar; Miller, Eric; de Oliveira, Claudia Mendes; Sodre, Laerte; Rykoff, Eli; de Oliveira, Raimundo Lopes; Proctor, Rob

    2010-11-01

    Fossil groups present a puzzle to current theories of structure formation. Despite the low number of bright galaxies, their high velocity dispersions and high TX indicate cluster-like potential wells. Measured concentration parameters seem very high indicating early formation epochs in contradiction with the observed lack of large and well defined cooling cores. There are very few fossil groups with good quality X-ray data and their idiosyncrasies may enhance these apparent contradictions. The standard explanation for their formation suggests that bright galaxies within half the virial radii of these systems were wiped out by cannibalism forming the central galaxy. Since dry mergers, typically invoked to explain the formation of the central galaxies, are not expected to change the IGM energetics significantly, thus not preventing the formation of cooling cores, we investigate the scenario where recent gaseous (wet) mergers formed the central galaxy injecting energy and changing the chemistry of the IGM in fossil groups. We show a test for this scenario using fossil groups with enough X-ray flux in the Chandra X-ray Observatory archive by looking at individual metal abundance ratio distributions near the core. Secondary SN II powered winds would tend to erase the dominance of SN IA ejecta in the core of these systems and would help to erase previously existing cold cores. Strong SN II-powered galactic winds resulting from galaxy merging would be trapped by their deep potential wells reducing the central enhancement of SN Ia/SN II iron mass fraction ratio. The results indicate that there is a decrement in the ratio of SN Ia to SN II iron mass fraction in the central regions of the systems analyzed, varying from 99±1% in the outer regions to 85±2% within the cooling radius (Figure 1) and would inject enough energy into the IGM preventing central gas cooling. The results are consistent with a scenario of later formation epoch for fossil groups, as they are defined

  20. Comparative analysis of codon usage bias in Crenarchaea and Euryarchaea genome reveals differential preference of synonymous codons to encode highly expressed ribosomal and RNA polymerase proteins.

    PubMed

    Baruah, Vishwa Jyoti; Satapathy, Siddhartha Sankar; Powdel, Bhesh Raj; Konwarh, Rocktotpal; Buragohain, Alak Kumar; Ray, Suvendra Kumar

    2016-09-01

    The present study was undertaken to investigate the pattern of optimal codon usage in Archaea. Comparative analysis was executed to understand the pattern of codon usage bias between the high expression genes (HEG) and the whole genomes in two Archaeal phyla, Crenarchaea and Euryarchaea. The G+C% of the HEG was found to be less in comparison to the genome G+C% in Crenarchaea, whereas reverse was the case in Euryarchaea. The preponderance of U/A ending codons that code for HEG in Crenarchaea was in sharp contrast to the C/G ended ones in Euryarchaea. The analysis revealed prevalence of Uending codons even within theWWY(nucleotide ambiguity code) families in Crenarchaea vis-à-vis Euryarchaea, bacteria and Eukarya. No plausible interpretation of the observed disparity could be made either in the context of tRNA gene composition or genome G+C%. The results in this study attested that the preferential biasness for codons in HEG of Crenarchaea might be different from Euryarchaea. The main highlights are (i) varied CUB in the HEG and in the whole genomes in Euryarchaea and Crenarchaea. (ii) Crenarchaea was found to have some unusual optimal codons (OCs) compared to other organisms. (iii) G+C% (and GC3) of the HEG were different from the genome G+C% in the two phyla. (iv) Genome G+C% and tRNA gene number failed to explain CUB in Crenarchaea. (v) Translational selection is possibly responsible for A+T rich OCs in Crenarchaea. PMID:27659324

  1. Looking at Fossils in New Ways

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Flannery, Maura C.

    2005-01-01

    Existing fossils could be studied from a different prospective with the use of new methods of analysis for gathering more information. The new techniques of studying fossils binds the new and the old techniques and information and provides another way to look at fossils.

  2. Cycads: fossil evidence of late paleozoic origin.

    PubMed

    Mamay, S H

    1969-04-18

    Plant fossils from Lower Permian strata of the southwestern United States have been interpreted as cycadalean megasporophylls. They are evidently descended from spermopterid elements of the Pennsylvanian Taeniopteris complex; thus the known fossil history of the cycads is extended from the Late Triassic into the late Paleozoic. Possible implications of the Permian fossils toward evolution of the angiosperm carpel are considered.

  3. Cycads: Fossil evidence of late paleozoic origin

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mamay, S.H.

    1969-01-01

    Plant fossils from Lower Permian strata of the southwestern United States have been interpreted as cycadalean megasporophylls. They are evidently descended from spermopterid elements of the Pennsylvanian Taeniopteris complex; thus the known fossil history of the cycads is extended from the Late Triassic into the late Paleozoic. Possible implications of the Permian fossils toward evolution of the angiosperm carpel are considered.

  4. FOSSIL SPRINGS ROADLESS AREA, ARIZONA.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Beard, L.S.; Ellis, C.E.

    1984-01-01

    Based on field studies, the Fossil Springs Roadless Area in central Arizona is concluded to have little promise for the occurrence of mineral or energy resources. Rocks in the Supai Formation (Pennsylvanian-Permian) near the central part of the roadless area contain widespread but spotty copper mineralization and trace amounts of uranium. Analyses obtained during the study define geochemical anomalies in two portions of the area that remain unexplained. The suites of anomalous metals suggest the possibility of hydrothermal veins and the presence of ultramafic rocks; neither were found in the field. Although there is little promise for the occurrence of mineral resources in the Fossil Springs Roadless Area, studies to identify the source of the geochemical anomalies could have valuable implications for regional studies and mineral exploration in the surrounding area.

  5. Amino Acid Deletion at Codon 67 and Thr-to-Gly Change at Codon 69 of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Reverse Transcriptase Confer Novel Drug Resistance Profiles

    PubMed Central

    Imamichi, Tomozumi; Murphy, Michael A.; Imamichi, Hiromi; Lane, H. Clifford

    2001-01-01

    The potential roles of an amino acid deletion at codon 67 (Δ67) and a Thr-to-Gly change at codon 69 (T69G) in the reverse transcriptase of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1 in drug sensitivity and relative replication fitness were studied. Our results suggest that the Δ67 and T69G changes can be categorized as mutations associated with multidrug resistance. The combination of both mutations with an L74I change (Δ67+T69G/L74I) leads to a novel 3′-azido-3′-deoxythymidine resistance motif and compensates for impaired HIV replication. PMID:11264389

  6. Extinction and the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sepkoski, J. J. Jr; Sepkoski JJ, ,. J. r. (Principal Investigator)

    1994-01-01

    The author examines evidence of mass extinctions in the fossil record and searches for reasons for such large extinctions. Five major mass extinctions eliminated at least 40 percent of animal genera in the oceans and from 65 to 95 percent of ocean species. Questions include the occurrence of gradual or catastrophic extinctions, causes, environment, the capacity of a perturbation to cause extinctions each time it happens, and the possibility and identification of complex events leading to a mass extinction.

  7. Microbial denitrogenation of fossil fuels.

    PubMed

    Benedik, M J; Gibbs, P R; Riddle, R R; Willson, R C

    1998-09-01

    The microbial degradation of nitrogen compounds from fossil fuels is important because of the contribution these contaminants make to the formation of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and hence to air pollution and acid rain. They also contribute to catalyst poisoning during the refining of crude oil, thus reducing process yields. We review the current status of microbial degradation of aromatic nitrogen compounds and discuss the potential of microbial processes to alleviate these problems.

  8. Multi-omics data driven analysis establishes reference codon biases for synthetic gene design in microbial and mammalian cells.

    PubMed

    Ang, Kok Siong; Kyriakopoulos, Sarantos; Li, Wei; Lee, Dong-Yup

    2016-06-01

    In this study, we analyzed multi-omics data and subsets thereof to establish reference codon usage biases for codon optimization in synthetic gene design. Specifically, publicly available genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic and translatomic data for microbial and mammalian expression hosts, Escherichia coli, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Pichia pastoris and Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells, were compiled to derive their individual codon and codon pair frequencies. Then, host dependent and -omics specific codon biases were generated and compared by principal component analysis and hierarchical clustering. Interestingly, our results indicated the similar codon bias patterns of the highly expressed transcripts, highly abundant proteins, and efficiently translated mRNA in microbial cells, despite the general lack of correlation between mRNA and protein expression levels. However, for CHO cells, the codon bias patterns among various -omics subsets are not distinguishable, forming one cluster. Thus, we further investigated the effect of different input codon biases on codon optimized sequences using the codon context (CC) and individual codon usage (ICU) design parameters, via in silico case study on the expression of human IFNγ sequence in CHO cells. The results supported that CC is more robust design parameter than ICU for improved heterologous gene design. PMID:26850284

  9. OmniChange: The Sequence Independent Method for Simultaneous Site-Saturation of Five Codons

    PubMed Central

    Marienhagen, Jan; Schwaneberg, Ulrich

    2011-01-01

    Focused mutant library generation methods have been developed to improve mainly “localizable” enzyme properties such as activity and selectivity. Current multi-site saturation methods are restricted by the gene sequence, require subsequent PCR steps and/or additional enzymatic modifications. Here we report, a multiple site saturation mutagenesis method, OmniChange, which simultaneously and efficiently saturates five independent codons. As proof of principle, five chemically cleaved DNA fragments, each carrying one NNK-degenerated codon, were generated and assembled to full gene length in a one-pot-reaction without additional PCR-amplification or use of restriction enzymes or ligases. Sequencing revealed the presence of up to 27 different codons at individual positions, corresponding to 84.4% of the theoretical diversity offered by NNK-degeneration. OmniChange is absolutely sequence independent, does not require a minimal distance between mutated codons and can be accomplished within a day. PMID:22039444

  10. 18. WEST CONFEDERATE AVENUE BRIDGE SPANNING CODON'S RUN, BUILT 189x. ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    18. WEST CONFEDERATE AVENUE BRIDGE SPANNING CODON'S RUN, BUILT 189x. NOTE STRAIGHT ASHLAR COURSING AND RAISED KEYSTONES. VIEW NW. - Gettysburg National Military Park Tour Roads, Gettysburg, Adams County, PA

  11. Three-dimensional eukaryotic genomic organization is strongly correlated with codon usage expression and function.

    PubMed

    Diament, Alon; Pinter, Ron Y; Tuller, Tamir

    2014-01-01

    It has been shown that the distribution of genes in eukaryotic genomes is not random; however, formerly reported relations between gene function and genomic organization were relatively weak. Previous studies have demonstrated that codon usage bias is related to all stages of gene expression and to protein function. Here we apply a novel tool for assessing functional relatedness, codon usage frequency similarity (CUFS), which measures similarity between genes in terms of codon and amino acid usage. By analyzing chromosome conformation capture data, describing the three-dimensional (3D) conformation of the DNA, we show that the functional similarity between genes captured by CUFS is directly and very strongly correlated with their 3D distance in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, Arabidopsis thaliana, mouse and human. This emphasizes the importance of three-dimensional genomic localization in eukaryotes and indicates that codon usage is tightly linked to genome architecture. PMID:25510862

  12. Selection on synonymous codons in mammalian rhodopsins: a possible role in optimizing translational processes

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background Synonymous codon usage can affect many cellular processes, particularly those associated with translation such as polypeptide elongation and folding, mRNA degradation/stability, and splicing. Highly expressed genes are thought to experience stronger selection pressures on synonymous codons. This should result in codon usage bias even in species with relatively low effective population sizes, like mammals, where synonymous site selection is thought to be weak. Here we use phylogenetic codon-based likelihood models to explore patterns of codon usage bias in a dataset of 18 mammalian rhodopsin sequences, the protein mediating the first step in vision in the eye, and one of the most highly expressed genes in vertebrates. We use these patterns to infer selection pressures on key translational mechanisms including polypeptide elongation, protein folding, mRNA stability, and splicing. Results Overall, patterns of selection in mammalian rhodopsin appear to be correlated with post-transcriptional and translational processes. We found significant evidence for selection at synonymous sites using phylogenetic mutation-selection likelihood models, with C-ending codons found to have the highest relative fitness, and to be significantly more abundant at conserved sites. In general, these codons corresponded with the most abundant tRNAs in mammals. We found significant differences in codon usage bias between rhodopsin loops versus helices, though there was no significant difference in mean synonymous substitution rate between these motifs. We also found a significantly higher proportion of GC-ending codons at paired sites in rhodopsin mRNA secondary structure, and significantly lower synonymous mutation rates in putative exonic splicing enhancer (ESE) regions than in non-ESE regions. Conclusions By focusing on a single highly expressed gene we both distinguish synonymous codon selection from mutational effects and analytically explore underlying functional mechanisms

  13. Molecular Phylogeny of Sequenced Saccharomycetes Reveals Polyphyly of the Alternative Yeast Codon Usage

    PubMed Central

    Mühlhausen, Stefanie; Kollmar, Martin

    2014-01-01

    The universal genetic code defines the translation of nucleotide triplets, called codons, into amino acids. In many Saccharomycetes a unique alteration of this code affects the translation of the CUG codon, which is normally translated as leucine. Most of the species encoding CUG alternatively as serine belong to the Candida genus and were grouped into a so-called CTG clade. However, the “Candida genus” is not a monophyletic group and several Candida species are known to use the standard CUG translation. The codon identity could have been changed in a single branch, the ancestor of the Candida, or to several branches independently leading to a polyphyletic alternative yeast codon usage (AYCU). In order to resolve the monophyly or polyphyly of the AYCU, we performed a phylogenomics analysis of 26 motor and cytoskeletal proteins from 60 sequenced yeast species. By investigating the CUG codon positions with respect to sequence conservation at the respective alignment positions, we were able to unambiguously assign the standard code or AYCU. Quantitative analysis of the highly conserved leucine and serine alignment positions showed that 61.1% and 17% of the CUG codons coding for leucine and serine, respectively, are at highly conserved positions, whereas only 0.6% and 2.3% of the CUG codons, respectively, are at positions conserved in the respective other amino acid. Plotting the codon usage onto the phylogenetic tree revealed the polyphyly of the AYCU with Pachysolen tannophilus and the CTG clade branching independently within a time span of 30–100 Ma. PMID:25646540

  14. Codon and Amino Acid Usage Are Shaped by Selection Across Divergent Model Organisms of the Pancrustacea.

    PubMed

    Whittle, Carrie A; Extavour, Cassandra G

    2015-11-01

    In protein-coding genes, synonymous codon usage and amino acid composition correlate to expression in some eukaryotes, and may result from translational selection. Here, we studied large-scale RNA-seq data from three divergent arthropod models, including cricket (Gryllus bimaculatus), milkweed bug (Oncopeltus fasciatus), and the amphipod crustacean Parhyale hawaiensis, and tested for optimization of codon and amino acid usage relative to expression level. We report strong signals of AT3 optimal codons (those favored in highly expressed genes) in G. bimaculatus and O. fasciatus, whereas weaker signs of GC3 optimal codons were found in P. hawaiensis, suggesting selection on codon usage in all three organisms. Further, in G. bimaculatus and O. fasciatus, high expression was associated with lowered frequency of amino acids with large size/complexity (S/C) scores in favor of those with intermediate S/C values; thus, selection may favor smaller amino acids while retaining those of moderate size for protein stability or conformation. In P. hawaiensis, highly transcribed genes had elevated frequency of amino acids with large and small S/C scores, suggesting a complex dynamic in this crustacean. In all species, the highly transcribed genes appeared to favor short proteins, high optimal codon usage, specific amino acids, and were preferentially involved in cell-cycling and protein synthesis. Together, based on examination of 1,680,067, 1,667,783, and 1,326,896 codon sites in G. bimaculatus, O. fasciatus, and P. hawaiensis, respectively, we conclude that translational selection shapes codon and amino acid usage in these three Pancrustacean arthropods. PMID:26384771

  15. Accumulation of a mRNA decay intermediate by ribosomal pausing at a stop codon.

    PubMed Central

    Björnsson, A; Isaksson, L A

    1996-01-01

    A RNA fragment which is protected from degradation by ribosome pausing at a stop codon has been identified in growing Escherichia coli. The fragment is 261 nt long and corresponds to the 3'-end of the mRNA expressed from a semi-synthetic model gene. The 5'-end of the RNA fragment, denoted rpRNA (ribosomal pause RNA), is located 13 bases upstream of the stop codon. In vivo decay of the complete mRNA and accumulation of rpRNA are dependent on the nature of the stop codon and its codon context. The data indicate that the rpRNA fragment arises from interrupted decay of the S3A'mRNA in the 5'-->m3'direction, in connection with a ribosomal pause at the stop codon. RF-2 decoding of UGA is less efficient than RF-1 decoding of UAG in identical codon contexts, as judged from rpRNA steady-state levels. The half-life of UGA-containing rpRNAs is at least 5 min, indicating that ribosomal pausing can be a major factor in stabilising downstream regions of messenger RNAs. PMID:8649996

  16. Codon usage bias analysis for the spermidine synthase gene from Camellia sinensis (L.) O. Kuntze.

    PubMed

    You, E; Wang, Y; Ding, Z T; Zhang, X F; Pan, L L; Zheng, C

    2015-07-03

    The spermidine synthase (SPDS) gene exists widely in all types of plants. In this paper, the codon usage of the SPDS gene from Camellia sinensis (CsSPDS) was analyzed. The results showed that the codon usage of the CsSPDS gene is biased towards the T-ended or A-ended codons, which is similar to that observed in 73 genes selected from the C. sinensis genome. An ENC-plot for 15 SPDS genes from various plant species suggested that mutational bias was the major factor in shaping codon usage in these genes. Codon usage frequency analysis indicated that there was little difference between the CsSPDS gene and dicot genomes, such as Arabidopsis thaliana and Nicotiana tabacum, but significant differences in codon usage were observed between the CsSPDS gene and monocot genomes, such as Triticum aestivum and Zea mays. Therefore, A. thaliana and N. tabacum expression systems may be more suitable for the expression of the CsSPDS gene.

  17. Cotranslational insertion of selenocysteine into formate dehydrogenase from Escherichia coli directed by a UGA codon

    SciTech Connect

    Zinoni, F.; Birkmann, A.; Leinfelder, W.; Boeck, A.

    1987-05-01

    The structural gene (fdhF) for the 80-kDa selenopolypeptide of formate dehydrogenase from Escherichia coli contains an in-frame UGA codon at amino acid position 140 that is translated. Translation of gene fusions between N-terminal parts of fdhF with lacZ depends on the availability of selenium in the medium when the hybrid gene contains the UGA codon; it is independent of the presence of selenium when an fdhF portion upstream of the UGA position is fused to lacZ. Transcription does not require the presence of selenium in either case. By localized mutagenesis, the UGA codon was converted into serine (UCA) and cysteine (UGC and UGU) codons. Each mutagion relieved the selenium dependency of fdhF mRNA translation. Selenium incorporation was completely abolished in the case of the UCA insertion and was reduced to about 10% when the UGA was replaced by a cysteine codon. Insertion of UCA yielded an inactive fdhF gene product, while insertion of UGC and UGU resulted in polypeptides with lowered activities as components in the system formerly known as formate hydrogenlyase. Altogether the results indicate that the UGA codon at position 140 directs the cotranslational insertion of selenocysteine into the fdhF polypeptide chain.

  18. DHX29 reduces leaky scanning through an upstream AUG codon regardless of its nucleotide context

    PubMed Central

    Pisareva, Vera P.; Pisarev, Andrey V.

    2016-01-01

    During eukaryotic translation initiation, the 43S preinitiation complex (43S PIC), consisting of the 40S ribosomal subunit, eukaryotic initiation factors (eIFs) and initiator tRNA scans mRNA to find an appropriate start codon. Key roles in the accuracy of initiation codon selection belong to eIF1 and eIF1A, whereas the mammalian-specific DHX29 helicase substantially contributes to ribosomal scanning of structured mRNAs. Here, we show that DHX29 stimulates the recognition of the AUG codon but not the near-cognate CUG codon regardless of its nucleotide context during ribosomal scanning. The stimulatory effect depends on the contact between DHX29 and eIF1A. The unique DHX29 N-terminal domain binds to the ribosomal site near the mRNA entrance, where it contacts the eIF1A OB domain. UV crosslinking assays revealed that DHX29 may rearrange eIF1A and eIF2α in key nucleotide context positions of ribosomal complexes. Interestingly, DHX29 impedes the 48S initiation complex formation in the absence of eIF1A perhaps due to forming a physical barrier that prevents the 43S PIC from loading onto mRNA. Mutational analysis allowed us to split the mRNA unwinding and codon selection activities of DHX29. Thus, DHX29 is another example of an initiation factor contributing to start codon selection. PMID:27067542

  19. Decoding Mechanisms by which Silent Codon Changes Influence Protein Biogenesis and Function

    PubMed Central

    Bali, Vedrana; Bebok, Zsuzsanna

    2015-01-01

    Scope Synonymous codon usage has been a focus of investigation since the discovery of the genetic code and its redundancy. The occurrences of synonymous codons vary between species and within genes of the same genome, known as codon usage bias. Today, bioinformatics and experimental data allow us to compose a global view of the mechanisms by which the redundancy of the genetic code contributes to the complexity of biological systems from affecting survival in prokaryotes, to fine tuning the structure and function of proteins in higher eukaryotes. Studies analyzing the consequences of synonymous codon changes in different organisms have revealed that they impact nucleic acid stability, protein levels, structure and function without altering amino acid sequence. As such, synonymous mutations inevitably contribute to the pathogenesis of complex human diseases. Yet, fundamental questions remain unresolved regarding the impact of silent mutations in human disorders. In the present review we describe developments in this area concentrating on mechanisms by which synonymous mutations may affect protein function and human health. Purpose This synopsis illustrates the significance of synonymous mutations in disease pathogenesis. We review the different steps of gene expression affected by silent mutations, and assess the benefits and possible harmful effects of codon optimization applied in the development of therapeutic biologics. Physiological and medical relevance Understanding mechanisms by which synonymous mutations contribute to complex diseases such as cancer, neurodegeneration and genetic disorders, including the limitations of codon-optimized biologics, provides insight concerning interpretation of silent variants and future molecular therapies. PMID:25817479

  20. Analysis of Codon Usage Patterns in Herbaceous Peony (Paeonia lactiflora Pall.) Based on Transcriptome Data

    PubMed Central

    Wu, Yanqing; Zhao, Daqiu; Tao, Jun

    2015-01-01

    Codon usage bias, which exists in many genomes, is mainly determined by mutation and selection. To elucidate the genetic features and evolutionary history of herbaceous peony (Paeonia lactiflora), a well-known symbol of prosperity in China, we examined synonymous codon usage in 24,216 reconstructed genes from the P. lactiflora transcriptome. The mean GC content was 44.4%, indicating that the nucleotide content of P. lactiflora genes is slightly AT rich and GC poor. The P. lactiflora genome has a wide range of GC3 (GC content at the third synonymous codon position) distribution, with a significant correlation between GC12 and GC3. ENC (effective number of codons) analysis suggested that mutational bias played a major role in shaping codon usage. Parity Rule 2 (PR2) analysis revealed that GC and AU were not used proportionally. We identified 22 “optimal codons”, most ending with an A or U. Our results suggested that nucleotide composition mutation bias and translational selection were the main driving factors of codon usage bias in P. lactiflora. These results lay the foundation for exploring the evolutionary mechanisms and heterologous expression of functionally-important proteins in P. lactiflora. PMID:26506393

  1. Codon usage biases of transposable elements and host nuclear genes in Arabidopsis thaliana and Oryza sativa.

    PubMed

    Jia, Jia; Xue, Qingzhong

    2009-12-01

    Transposable elements (TEs) are mobile genetic entities ubiquitously distributed in nearly all genomes. High frequency of codons ending in A/T in TEs has been previously observed in some species. In this study, the biases in nucleotide composition and codon usage of TE transposases and host nuclear genes were investigated in the AT-rich genome of Arabidopsis thaliana and the GC-rich genome of Oryza sativa. Codons ending in A/T are more frequently used by TEs compared with their host nuclear genes. A remarkable positive correlation between highly expressed nuclear genes and C/G-ending codons were detected in O. sativa (r=0.944 and 0.839, respectively, P<0.0001) but not in A. thaliana, indicating a close association between the GC content and gene expression level in monocot species. In both species, TE codon usage biases are similar to that of weakly expressed genes. The expression and activity of TEs may be strictly controlled in plant genomes. Mutation bias and selection pressure have simultaneously acted on the TE evolution in A. thaliana and O. sativa. The consistently observed biases of nucleotide composition and codon usage of TEs may also provide a useful clue to accurately detect TE sequences in different species. PMID:20172490

  2. Codon usage biases of transposable elements and host nuclear genes in Arabidopsis thaliana and Oryza sativa.

    PubMed

    Jia, Jia; Xue, Qingzhong

    2009-12-01

    Transposable elements (TEs) are mobile genetic entities ubiquitously distributed in nearly all genomes. High frequency of codons ending in A/T in TEs has been previously observed in some species. In this study, the biases in nucleotide composition and codon usage of TE transposases and host nuclear genes were investigated in the AT-rich genome of Arabidopsis thaliana and the GC-rich genome of Oryza sativa. Codons ending in A/T are more frequently used by TEs compared with their host nuclear genes. A remarkable positive correlation between highly expressed nuclear genes and C/G-ending codons were detected in O. sativa (r=0.944 and 0.839, respectively, P<0.0001) but not in A. thaliana, indicating a close association between the GC content and gene expression level in monocot species. In both species, TE codon usage biases are similar to that of weakly expressed genes. The expression and activity of TEs may be strictly controlled in plant genomes. Mutation bias and selection pressure have simultaneously acted on the TE evolution in A. thaliana and O. sativa. The consistently observed biases of nucleotide composition and codon usage of TEs may also provide a useful clue to accurately detect TE sequences in different species.

  3. Translation initiation factor eIF3 promotes programmed stop codon readthrough

    PubMed Central

    Beznosková, Petra; Wagner, Susan; Jansen, Myrte Esmeralda; von der Haar, Tobias; Valášek, Leoš Shivaya

    2015-01-01

    Programmed stop codon readthrough is a post-transcription regulatory mechanism specifically increasing proteome diversity by creating a pool of C-terminally extended proteins. During this process, the stop codon is decoded as a sense codon by a near-cognate tRNA, which programs the ribosome to continue elongation. The efficiency of competition for the stop codon between release factors (eRFs) and near-cognate tRNAs is largely dependent on its nucleotide context; however, the molecular mechanism underlying this process is unknown. Here, we show that it is the translation initiation (not termination) factor, namely eIF3, which critically promotes programmed readthrough on all three stop codons. In order to do so, eIF3 must associate with pre-termination complexes where it interferes with the eRF1 decoding of the third/wobble position of the stop codon set in the unfavorable termination context, thus allowing incorporation of near-cognate tRNAs with a mismatch at the same position. We clearly demonstrate that efficient readthrough is enabled by near-cognate tRNAs with a mismatch only at the third/wobble position. Importantly, the eIF3 role in programmed readthrough is conserved between yeast and humans. PMID:25925566

  4. Improving self-calibration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Enßlin, Torsten A.; Junklewitz, Henrik; Winderling, Lars; Greiner, Maksim; Selig, Marco

    2014-10-01

    Response calibration is the process of inferring how much the measured data depend on the signal one is interested in. It is essential for any quantitative signal estimation on the basis of the data. Here, we investigate self-calibration methods for linear signal measurements and linear dependence of the response on the calibration parameters. The common practice is to augment an external calibration solution using a known reference signal with an internal calibration on the unknown measurement signal itself. Contemporary self-calibration schemes try to find a self-consistent solution for signal and calibration by exploiting redundancies in the measurements. This can be understood in terms of maximizing the joint probability of signal and calibration. However, the full uncertainty structure of this joint probability around its maximum is thereby not taken into account by these schemes. Therefore, better schemes, in sense of minimal square error, can be designed by accounting for asymmetries in the uncertainty of signal and calibration. We argue that at least a systematic correction of the common self-calibration scheme should be applied in many measurement situations in order to properly treat uncertainties of the signal on which one calibrates. Otherwise, the calibration solutions suffer from a systematic bias, which consequently distorts the signal reconstruction. Furthermore, we argue that nonparametric, signal-to-noise filtered calibration should provide more accurate reconstructions than the common bin averages and provide a new, improved self-calibration scheme. We illustrate our findings with a simplistic numerical example.

  5. Implicit Spacecraft Gyro Calibration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Harman, Richard; Bar-Itzhack, Itzhack Y.

    2003-01-01

    This paper presents an implicit algorithm for spacecraft onboard instrument calibration, particularly to onboard gyro calibration. This work is an extension of previous work that was done where an explicit gyro calibration algorithm was applied to the AQUA spacecraft gyros. The algorithm presented in this paper was tested using simulated data and real data that were downloaded from the Microwave Anisotropy Probe (MAP) spacecraft. The calibration tests gave very good results. A comparison between the use of the implicit calibration algorithm used here with the explicit algorithm used for AQUA spacecraft indicates that both provide an excellent estimation of the gyro calibration parameters with similar accuracies.

  6. Forced Ambiguity of the Leucine Codons for Multiple-Site-Specific Incorporation of a Noncanonical Amino Acid

    PubMed Central

    Kwon, Inchan; Choi, Eun Sil

    2016-01-01

    Multiple-site-specific incorporation of a noncanonical amino acid into a recombinant protein would be a very useful technique to generate multiple chemical handles for bioconjugation and multivalent binding sites for the enhanced interaction. Previously combination of a mutant yeast phenylalanyl-tRNA synthetase variant and the yeast phenylalanyl-tRNA containing the AAA anticodon was used to incorporate a noncanonical amino acid into multiple UUU phenylalanine (Phe) codons in a site-specific manner. However, due to the less selective codon recognition of the AAA anticodon, there was significant misincorporation of a noncanonical amino acid into unwanted UUC Phe codons. To enhance codon selectivity, we explored degenerate leucine (Leu) codons instead of Phe degenerate codons. Combined use of the mutant yeast phenylalanyl-tRNA containing the CAA anticodon and the yPheRS_naph variant allowed incorporation of a phenylalanine analog, 2-naphthylalanine, into murine dihydrofolate reductase in response to multiple UUG Leu codons, but not to other Leu codon sites. Despite the moderate UUG codon occupancy by 2-naphthylalaine, these results successfully demonstrated that the concept of forced ambiguity of the genetic code can be achieved for the Leu codons, available for multiple-site-specific incorporation. PMID:27028506

  7. Automated Camera Calibration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chen, Siqi; Cheng, Yang; Willson, Reg

    2006-01-01

    Automated Camera Calibration (ACAL) is a computer program that automates the generation of calibration data for camera models used in machine vision systems. Machine vision camera models describe the mapping between points in three-dimensional (3D) space in front of the camera and the corresponding points in two-dimensional (2D) space in the camera s image. Calibrating a camera model requires a set of calibration data containing known 3D-to-2D point correspondences for the given camera system. Generating calibration data typically involves taking images of a calibration target where the 3D locations of the target s fiducial marks are known, and then measuring the 2D locations of the fiducial marks in the images. ACAL automates the analysis of calibration target images and greatly speeds the overall calibration process.

  8. Synonymous codon usage affects the expression of wild type and F508del CFTR.

    PubMed

    Shah, Kalpit; Cheng, Yi; Hahn, Brian; Bridges, Robert; Bradbury, Neil A; Mueller, David M

    2015-03-27

    The cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) is an anion channel composed of 1480 amino acids. The major mutation responsible for cystic fibrosis results in loss of amino acid residue, F508 (F508del). Loss of F508 in CFTR alters the folding pathway resulting in endoplasmic-reticulum-associated degradation. This study investigates the role of synonymous codon in the expression of CFTR and CFTR F508del in human HEK293 cells. DNA encoding the open reading frame (ORF) for CFTR containing synonymous codon replacements was expressed using a heterologous vector integrated into the genome. The results indicate that the codon usage greatly affects the expression of CFTR. While the promoter strength driving expression of the ORFs was largely unchanged and the mRNA half-lives were unchanged, the steady-state levels of the mRNA varied by as much as 30-fold. Experiments support that this apparent inconsistency is attributed to nonsense mediated decay independent of exon junction complex. The ratio of CFTR/mRNA indicates that mRNA containing native codons was more efficient in expressing mature CFTR as compared to mRNA containing synonymous high-expression codons. However, when F508del CFTR was expressed after codon optimization, a greater percentage of the protein escaped endoplasmic-reticulum-associated degradation resulting in considerable levels of mature F508del CFTR on the plasma membrane, which showed channel activity. These results indicate that codon usage has an effect on mRNA levels and protein expression, for CFTR, and likely on chaperone-assisted folding pathway, for F508del CFTR.

  9. Synonymous Codon Usage Affects the Expression of Wild Type and F508del CFTR

    PubMed Central

    Shah, Kalpit; Cheng, Yi; Hahn, Brian; Bridges, Robert; Bradbury, Neil; Mueller, David M.

    2015-01-01

    The cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) is an anion channel composed of 1480 amino acids. The major mutation responsible for cystic fibrosis results in loss of amino acid residue, F508, (F508del). Loss of F508 in CFTR alters the folding pathway resulting in endoplasmic reticulum associated degradation (ERAD). This study investigates the role of synonymous codon in the expression of CFTR and CFTR F508del in human HEK293 cells. DNA encoding the open reading frame (ORF) for CFTR containing synonymous codon replacements, were expressed using a heterologous vector integrated into the genome. The results indicate that the codon usage greatly affects the expression of CFTR. While the promoter strength driving expression of the ORFs was largely unchanged and the mRNA half-lives were unchanged, the steady state levels of the mRNA varied by as much as 30 fold. Experiments support that this apparent inconsistency is attributed to exon junction complex independent nonsense mediated decay. The ratio of CFTR/mRNA indicates that mRNA containing native codons was more efficient in expressing mature CFTR as compared to mRNA containing synonymous high expression codons. However, when F508del CFTR was expressed after codon optimization, a greater percentage of the protein escaped ERAD resulting in considerable levels of mature F508del CFTR on the plasma membrane, which showed channel activity. These results indicate that for CFTR, codon usage has an effect on mRNA levels, protein expression and likely, for F508del CFTR, chaperone assisted folding pathway. PMID:25676312

  10. Analytical multicollimator camera calibration

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Tayman, W.P.

    1978-01-01

    Calibration with the U.S. Geological survey multicollimator determines the calibrated focal length, the point of symmetry, the radial distortion referred to the point of symmetry, and the asymmetric characteristiecs of the camera lens. For this project, two cameras were calibrated, a Zeiss RMK A 15/23 and a Wild RC 8. Four test exposures were made with each camera. Results are tabulated for each exposure and averaged for each set. Copies of the standard USGS calibration reports are included. ?? 1978.

  11. Fossil energy program. Summary document

    SciTech Connect

    1980-05-01

    This program summary document presents a comprehensive overview of the research, development, and demonstration (RD and D) activities that will be performed in FY 1981 by the Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy (ASFE), US Department of Energy (DOE). The ASFE technology programs for the fossil resources of coal, petroleum (including oil shale) and gas have been established with the goal of making substantive contributions to the nation's future supply and efficienty use of energy. On April 29, 1977, the Administration submitted to Congress the National Energy Plan (NEP) and accompanying legislative proposals designed to establish a coherent energy policy structure for the United States. Congress passed the National Energy Act (NEA) on October 15, 1978, which allows implementation of the vital parts of the NEP. The NEP was supplemented by additional energy policy statements culminating in the President's address on July 15, 1979, presenting a program to further reduce dependence on imported petroleum. The passage of the NEA-related energy programs represent specific steps by the Administration and Congress to reorganize, redirect, and clarify the role of the Federal Government in the formulation and execution of national energy policy and programs. The energy technology RD and D prog4rams carried out by ASFE are an important part of the Federal Government's effort to provide the combination and amounts of energy resources needed to ensure national security and continued economic growth.

  12. Codon usage in highly expressed genes of Haemophillus influenzae and Mycobacterium tuberculosis: translational selection versus mutational bias.

    PubMed

    Pan, A; Dutta, C; Das, J

    1998-07-30

    Biases in the codon usage and base compositions at three codon sites in different genes of A+T-rich Gram-negative bacterium Haemophillus influenzae and G+C-rich Gram-positive bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis have been examined to address the following questions: (1) whether the synonymous codon usage in organisms having highly skewed base compositions is totally dictated by the mutational bias as reported previously (Sharp, P.M., Devine, K.M., 1989. Codon usage and gene expression level in Dictyostelium discoideum: highly expressed genes do 'prefer' optimal codons. Nucleic Acids Res. 17, 5029-5039), or is also controlled by translational selection; (2) whether preference of G in the first codon positions by highly expressed genes, as reported in Escherichia coli (Gutierrez, G., Marquez, L., Marin, A., 1996. Preference for guanosine at first codon position in highly expressed Escherichia coli genes. A relationship with translational efficiency. Nucleic Acids Res. 24, 2525-2527), is true in other bacteria; and (3) whether the usage of bases in three codon positions is species-specific. Result presented here show that even in organisms with high mutational bias, translational selection plays an important role in dictating the synonymous codon usage, though the set of optimal codons is chosen in accordance with the mutational pressure. The frequencies of G-starting codons are positively correlated to the level of expression of genes, as estimated by their Codon Adaptation Index (CAI) values, in M. tuberculosis as well as in H. influenzae in spite of having an A+T-rich genome. The present study on the codon preferences of two organisms with oppositely skewed base compositions thus suggests that the preference of G-starting codons by highly expressed genes might be a general feature of bacteria, irrespective of their overall G+C contents. The ranges of variations in the frequencies of individual bases at the first and second codon positions of genes of both H

  13. Fossil energy biotechnology: A research needs assessment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    1993-11-01

    The Office of Program Analysis of the U.S. Department of Energy commissioned this study to evaluate and prioritize research needs in fossil energy biotechnology. The objectives were to identify research initiatives in biotechnology that offer timely and strategic options for the more efficient and effective uses of the Nation's fossil resource base, particularly the early identification of new and novel applications of biotechnology for the use or conversion of domestic fossil fuels. Fossil energy biotechnology consists of a number of diverse and distinct technologies, all related by the common denominator -- biocatalysis. The expert panel organized 14 technical subjects into three interrelated biotechnology programs: (1) upgrading the fuel value of fossil fuels; (2) bioconversion of fossil feedstocks and refined products to added value chemicals; and (3) the development of environmental management strategies to minimize and mitigate the release of toxic and hazardous petrochemical wastes.

  14. Experimental taphonomy and the anatomy and diversity of the earliest fossil vertebrates (Chengjiang Biota, Cambrian, China)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Purnell, Mark; Gabbott, Sarah; Murdock, Duncan; Cong, Peiyun

    2016-04-01

    The oldest fossil vertebrates are from the Lower Cambrian Chengjiang biota of China, which contains four genera of fish-like, primitive vertebrates: Haikouichthys, Myllokunmingia, Zhongjianichthys and Zhongxiniscus. These fossils play key roles in calibrating molecular clocks and informing our view of the anatomy of animals close to the origin of vertebrates, potentially including transitional forms between vertebrates and their nearest relatives. Despite the evident importance of these fossils, the degree to which taphonomic processes have affected their anatomical completeness has not been investigated. For example, some or all might have been affected by stemward slippage - the pattern observed in experimental decay of non-biomineralised chordates in which preferential decay of synapomorphies and retention of plesiomorphic characters would cause fossil taxa to erroneously occupy more basal positions than they should. This hypothesis is based on experimental data derived from decay of non-biomineralised chordates under laboratory conditions. We have expanded this analysis to include a broader range of potentially significant environmental variables; we have also compared and combined the results of experiments from several taxa to identify general patterns of chordate decay. Examination of the Chengjiang vertebrates in the light of these results demonstrates that, contrary to some assertions, experimentally derived models of phylogenetic bias are applicable to fossils. Anatomical and phylogenetic interpretations of early vertebrates that do not take taphonomic biases into account risk overestimating diversity and the evolutionary significance of differences between fossil specimens.

  15. In vivo introduction of unpreferred synonymous codons into the Drosophila Adh gene results in reduced levels of ADH protein.

    PubMed Central

    Carlini, David B; Stephan, Wolfgang

    2003-01-01

    The evolution of codon bias, the unequal usage of synonymous codons, is thought to be due to natural selection for the use of preferred codons that match the most abundant species of isoaccepting tRNA, resulting in increased translational efficiency and accuracy. We examined this hypothesis by introducing 1, 6, and 10 unpreferred codons into the Drosophila alcohol dehydrogenase gene (Adh). We observed a significant decrease in ADH protein production with number of unpreferred codons, confirming the importance of natural selection as a mechanism leading to codon bias. We then used this empirical relationship to estimate the selection coefficient (s) against unpreferred synonymous mutations and found the value (s >or= 10(-5)) to be approximately one order of magnitude greater than previous estimates from population genetics theory. The observed differences in protein production appear to be too large to be consistent with current estimates of the strength of selection on synonymous sites in D. melanogaster. PMID:12586711

  16. The preferential codon usages in variable and constant regions of immunoglobulin genes are quite distinct from each other.

    PubMed

    Miyata, T; Hayashida, H; Yasunaga, T; Hasegawa, M

    1979-12-20

    The pattern of codon utilization in the variable and constant regions of immunoglobulin genes are compared. It is shown that, in these regions, codon utilizations are quite distinct from one another: For most degenerate codons, there is a selective bias that prefers C and/or G ending codons to U and/or A ending codons in the constant region compared with the bias in the variable region. This would strongly suggest that, in immunoglobulin genes, the bias in code word usage is determined by other factors than those concerning with the translational mechanism such as tRNA availability and codon-anticodon interaction. A possibility is also suggested that this differance of code word usage between them is due to the existence of secondary structure in the constant region but not in the variable region.

  17. SUMS calibration test report

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Robertson, G.

    1982-01-01

    Calibration was performed on the shuttle upper atmosphere mass spectrometer (SUMS). The results of the calibration and the as run test procedures are presented. The output data is described, and engineering data conversion factors, tables and curves, and calibration on instrument gauges are included. Static calibration results which include: instrument sensitive versus external pressure for N2 and O2, data from each scan of calibration, data plots from N2 and O2, and sensitivity of SUMS at inlet for N2 and O2, and ratios of 14/28 for nitrogen and 16/32 for oxygen are given.

  18. Standalone Calibration Toolset

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cooper, M.

    2013-12-01

    Radioxenon measurements require a well calibrated nuclear detector, which typically requires several weeks to perform a complex analysis of the resulting data to determine the detection efficiencies. To reduce the need to have an expert in nuclear physics, PNNL has developed a Standalone Calibration Toolset (SCT), which will aid an analyst in B-y nuclear detector calibration. SCT takes data generated from measurement of isotopically pure calibration samples: Xe-135, Xe-133, Xe-133m and Xe-131m, and generates nuclear detector configuration files. This will result in a simplified calibration and will make verification and corrections to b-g detectors routine.

  19. X-linked genes evolve higher codon bias in Drosophila and Caenorhabditis.

    PubMed

    Singh, Nadia D; Davis, Jerel C; Petrov, Dmitri A

    2005-09-01

    Comparing patterns of molecular evolution between autosomes and sex chromosomes (such as X and W chromosomes) can provide insight into the forces underlying genome evolution. Here we investigate patterns of codon bias evolution on the X chromosome and autosomes in Drosophila and Caenorhabditis. We demonstrate that X-linked genes have significantly higher codon bias compared to autosomal genes in both Drosophila and Caenorhabditis. Furthermore, genes that become X-linked evolve higher codon bias gradually, over tens of millions of years. We provide several lines of evidence that this elevation in codon bias is due exclusively to their chromosomal location and not to any other property of X-linked genes. We present two possible explanations for these observations. One possibility is that natural selection is more efficient on the X chromosome due to effective haploidy of the X chromosomes in males and persistently low effective numbers of reproducing males compared to that of females. Alternatively, X-linked genes might experience stronger natural selection for higher codon bias as a result of maladaptive reduction of their dosage engendered by the loss of the Y-linked homologs.

  20. An overabundance of phase 0 introns immediately after the start codon in eukaryotic genes

    PubMed Central

    Nielsen, Henrik; Wernersson, Rasmus

    2006-01-01

    Background A knowledge of the positions of introns in eukaryotic genes is important for understanding the evolution of introns. Despite this, there has been relatively little focus on the distribution of intron positions in genes. Results In proteins with signal peptides, there is an overabundance of phase 1 introns around the region of the signal peptide cleavage site. This has been described before. But in proteins without signal peptides, a novel phenomenon is observed: There is a sharp peak of phase 0 intron positions immediately following the start codon, i.e. between codons 1 and 2. This effect is seen in a wide range of eukaryotes: Vertebrates, arthropods, fungi, and flowering plants. Proteins carrying this start codon intron are found to comprise a special class of relatively short, lysine-rich and conserved proteins with an overrepresentation of ribosomal proteins. In addition, there is a peak of phase 0 introns at position 5 in Drosophila genes with signal peptides, predominantly representing cuticle proteins. Conclusion There is an overabundance of phase 0 introns immediately after the start codon in eukaryotic genes, which has been described before only for human ribosomal proteins. We give a detailed description of these start codon introns and the proteins that contain them. PMID:17034638

  1. Codon influence on protein expression in E. coli correlates with mRNA levels

    PubMed Central

    Boël, Grégory; Wong, Kam-Ho; Su, Min; Luff, Jon; Valecha, Mayank; Everett, John K.; Acton, Thomas B.; Xiao, Rong; Montelione, Gaetano T.; Aalberts, Daniel P.; Hunt, John F.

    2016-01-01

    Degeneracy in the genetic code, which enables a single protein to be encoded by a multitude of synonymous gene sequences, has an important role in regulating protein expression, but substantial uncertainty exists concerning the details of this phenomenon. Here we analyze the sequence features influencing protein expression levels in 6,348 experiments using bacteriophage T7 polymerase to synthesize messenger RNA in Escherichia coli. Logistic regression yields a new codon-influence metric that correlates only weakly with genomic codon-usage frequency, but strongly with global physiological protein concentrations and also mRNA concentrations and lifetimes in vivo. Overall, the codon content influences protein expression more strongly than mRNA-folding parameters, although the latter dominate in the initial ~16 codons. Genes redesigned based on our analyses are transcribed with unaltered efficiency but translated with higher efficiency in vitro. The less efficiently translated native sequences show greatly reduced mRNA levels in vivo. Our results suggest that codon content modulates a kinetic competition between protein elongation and mRNA degradation that is a central feature of the physiology and also possibly the regulation of translation in E. coli. PMID:26760206

  2. Analysis of synonymous codon usage patterns in sixty-four different bivalve species

    PubMed Central

    De Moro, Gianluca; Venier, Paola; Pallavicini, Alberto

    2015-01-01

    Synonymous codon usage bias (CUB) is a defined as the non-random usage of codons encoding the same amino acid across different genomes. This phenomenon is common to all organisms and the real weight of the many factors involved in its shaping still remains to be fully determined. So far, relatively little attention has been put in the analysis of CUB in bivalve mollusks due to the limited genomic data available. Taking advantage of the massive sequence data generated from next generation sequencing projects, we explored codon preferences in 64 different species pertaining to the six major evolutionary lineages in Bivalvia. We detected remarkable differences across species, which are only partially dependent on phylogeny. While the intensity of CUB is mild in most organisms, a heterogeneous group of species (including Arcida and Mytilida, among the others) display higher bias and a strong preference for AT-ending codons. We show that the relative strength and direction of mutational bias, selection for translational efficiency and for translational accuracy contribute to the establishment of synonymous codon usage in bivalves. Although many aspects underlying bivalve CUB still remain obscure, we provide for the first time an overview of this phenomenon in this large, commercially and environmentally important, class of marine invertebrates. PMID:26713259

  3. The effect of tRNA levels on decoding times of mRNA codons

    PubMed Central

    Dana, Alexandra; Tuller, Tamir

    2014-01-01

    The possible effect of transfer ribonucleic acid (tRNA) concentrations on codons decoding time is a fundamental biomedical research question; however, due to a large number of variables affecting this process and the non-direct relation between them, a conclusive answer to this question has eluded so far researchers in the field. In this study, we perform a novel analysis of the ribosome profiling data of four organisms which enables ranking the decoding times of different codons while filtering translational phenomena such as experimental biases, extreme ribosomal pauses and ribosome traffic jams. Based on this filtering, we show for the first time that there is a significant correlation between tRNA concentrations and the codons estimated decoding time both in prokaryotes and in eukaryotes in natural conditions (−0.38 to −0.66, all P values <0.006); in addition, we show that when considering tRNA concentrations, codons decoding times are not correlated with aminoacyl-tRNA levels. The reported results support the conjecture that translation efficiency is directly influenced by the tRNA levels in the cell. Thus, they should help to understand the evolution of synonymous aspects of coding sequences via the adaptation of their codons to the tRNA pool. PMID:25056313

  4. Codon usage, amino acid usage, transfer RNA and amino-acyl-tRNA synthetases in Mimiviruses.

    PubMed

    Colson, Philippe; Fournous, Ghislain; Diene, Seydina M; Raoult, Didier

    2013-01-01

    Mimiviruses are giant viruses that infect phagocytic protists, including Acanthamoebae spp., which were discovered during the past decade. They are the current record holder among viruses for their large particle and genome sizes. One group is composed of three lineages, referred to as A, B and C, which include the vast majority of the Mimiviridae members. Cafeteria roenbergensis virus represents a second group, though the Mimiviridae family is still expanding. We analyzed the codon and amino acid usages in mimiviruses, as well as both the transfer RNA (tRNA) and amino acyl-tRNA synthetases. We confirmed that the codon and amino acid usages of these giant viruses are highly dissimilar to those in their amoebal host Acanthamoeba castellanii and are instead correlated with the high adenine and thymine (AT) content of Mimivirus genomes. We further describe that the set of tRNAs and amino acyl-tRNA synthetases in mimiviruses is globally not adapted to the codon and amino acid usages of these viruses. Notwithstanding, Leu(TAA)tRNA, present in several Mimivirus genomes and in multiple copies in some viral genomes, may complement the amoebal tRNA pool and may contribute to accommodate the viral AT-rich codons. In addition, we found that the genes most highly expressed at the beginning of the Mimivirus replicative cycle have a nucleotide content more adapted to the codon usage in A.castellanii.

  5. Two-step model of stop codon recognition by eukaryotic release factor eRF1

    PubMed Central

    Kryuchkova, Polina; Grishin, Alexander; Eliseev, Boris; Karyagina, Anna; Frolova, Ludmila; Alkalaeva, Elena

    2013-01-01

    Release factor eRF1 plays a key role in the termination of protein synthesis in eukaryotes. The eRF1 consists of three domains (N, M and C) that perform unique roles in termination. Previous studies of eRF1 point mutants and standard/variant code eRF1 chimeras unequivocally demonstrated a direct involvement of the highly conserved N-domain motifs (NIKS, YxCxxxF and GTx) in stop codon recognition. In the current study, we extend this work by investigating the role of the 41 invariant and conserved N-domain residues in stop codon decoding by human eRF1. Using a combination of the conservative and non-conservative amino acid substitutions, we measured the functional activity of >80 mutant eRF1s in an in vitro reconstituted eukaryotic translation system and selected 15 amino acid residues essential for recognition of different stop codon nucleotides. Furthermore, toe-print analyses provide evidence of a conformational rearrangement of ribosomal complexes that occurs during binding of eRF1 to messenger RNA and reflects stop codon decoding activity of eRF1. Based on our experimental data and molecular modelling of the N-domain at the ribosomal A site, we propose a two-step model of stop codon decoding in the eukaryotic ribosome. PMID:23435318

  6. Sequence Architecture Downstream of the Initiator Codon Enhances Gene Expression and Protein Stability in Plants1

    PubMed Central

    Sawant, Samir V.; Kiran, Kanti; Singh, Pradhyumna K.; Tuli, Rakesh

    2001-01-01

    Nucleotide positions conserved on the 3′ side of the initiator codon ATG and the corresponding N-terminal amino acid residues in a number of highly abundant plant proteins were identified by computational analysis of a dataset of highly expressed plant genes. The reporter genes uidA and gfp were modified to introduce these features. Insertion of GCT TCC TCC after the initiator codon ATG augmented expression for both the reporter genes. The insertion of each successive codon improved the expression of β-glucuronidase (GUS) in an incremental fashion in transient transformation of tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) leaves. The insertion of alanine-serine (Ser)-Ser resulted in about a 2-fold increase in the stability of GUS. However, this did not account for the 30- to 40-fold increase in GUS activity between the constructs coding for methionine-alanine-Ser-Ser-GUS and the native enzyme. Substitution of the codon for Ser at the third amino acid residue with synonymous codons reduced GUS expression. The results suggest a role for the conserved nucleotides in the +4 to +11 region in augmenting posttranscriptional events in the expression of genes in plants. PMID:11500561

  7. DNA repair gene XRCC4 codon 247 polymorphism modified diffusely infiltrating astrocytoma risk and prognosis.

    PubMed

    Lin, Zhong-Hui; Chen, Jin-Chun; Wang, Yun-Sun; Huang, Teng-Jiao; Wang, Jin; Long, Xi-Dai

    2013-12-27

    The DNA repair gene X-ray cross-complementary group 4 (XRCC4), an important caretaker of the overall genome stability, is thought to play a major role in human tumorigenesis. We investigated the association between an important polymorphic variant of this gene at codon 247 (rs373409) and diffusely infiltrating astrocytoma (DIA) risk and prognosis. This hospital-based case-control study investigated this association in the Guangxi population. In total, 242 cases with DIA and 358 age-, sex-, and race-matched healthy controls were genotyped using TaqMan-PCR technique. We found a significant difference in the frequency of XRCC4 genotypes between cases and controls. Compared with the homozygote of XRCC4 codon 247 Ala alleles (XRCC4-AA), the genotypes of XRCC4 codon 247 Ser alleles (namely XRCC4-AS or -SS) increased DIA risk (odds ratios [OR], 1.82 and 2.89, respectively). Furthermore, XRCC4 polymorphism was correlated with tumor dedifferentiation of DIA (r = 0.261, p < 0.01). Additionally, this polymorphism modified the overall survival of DIA patients (the median survival times were 26, 14, and 8 months for patients with XRCC4-AA, -AS, and -SS, respectively). Like tumor grade, XRCC4 codon 247 polymorphism was an independent prognostic factor influencing the survival of DIA. These results suggest that XRCC4 codon 247 polymorphism may be associated with DIA risk and prognosis among the Guangxi population.

  8. Identification of eRF1 residues that play critical and complementary roles in stop codon recognition

    PubMed Central

    Conard, Sara E.; Buckley, Jessica; Dang, Mai; Bedwell, Gregory J.; Carter, Richard L.; Khass, Mohamed; Bedwell, David M.

    2012-01-01

    The initiation and elongation stages of translation are directed by codon–anticodon interactions. In contrast, a release factor protein mediates stop codon recognition prior to polypeptide chain release. Previous studies have identified specific regions of eukaryotic release factor one (eRF1) that are important for decoding each stop codon. The cavity model for eukaryotic stop codon recognition suggests that three binding pockets/cavities located on the surface of eRF1's domain one are key elements in stop codon recognition. Thus, the model predicts that amino acid changes in or near these cavities should influence termination in a stop codon-dependent manner. Previous studies have suggested that the TASNIKS and YCF motifs within eRF1 domain one play important roles in stop codon recognition. These motifs are highly conserved in standard code organisms that use UAA, UAG, and UGA as stop codons, but are more divergent in variant code organisms that have reassigned a subset of stop codons to sense codons. In the current study, we separately introduced TASNIKS and YCF motifs from six variant code organisms into eRF1 of Saccharomyces cerevisiae to determine their effect on stop codon recognition in vivo. We also examined the consequences of additional changes at residues located between the TASNIKS and YCF motifs. Overall, our results indicate that changes near cavities two and three frequently mediated significant effects on stop codon selectivity. In particular, changes in the YCF motif, rather than the TASNIKS motif, correlated most consistently with variant code stop codon selectivity. PMID:22543865

  9. Residual gas analyzer calibration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lilienkamp, R. H.

    1972-01-01

    A technique which employs known gas mixtures to calibrate the residual gas analyzer (RGA) is described. The mass spectra from the RGA are recorded for each gas mixture. This mass spectra data and the mixture composition data each form a matrix. From the two matrices the calibration matrix may be computed. The matrix mathematics requires the number of calibration gas mixtures be equal to or greater than the number of gases included in the calibration. This technique was evaluated using a mathematical model of an RGA to generate the mass spectra. This model included shot noise errors in the mass spectra. Errors in the gas concentrations were also included in the valuation. The effects of these errors was studied by varying their magnitudes and comparing the resulting calibrations. Several methods of evaluating an actual calibration are presented. The effects of the number of gases in then, the composition of the calibration mixture, and the number of mixtures used are discussed.

  10. Fossilization Processes in Thermal Springs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Farmer, Jack D.; Cady, Sherry; Desmarais, David J.; Chang, Sherwood (Technical Monitor)

    1995-01-01

    To create a comparative framework for the study of ancient examples, we have been carrying out parallel studies of the microbial biosedimentology, taphonomy and geochemistry of modem and sub-Recent thermal spring deposits. One goal of the research is the development of integrated litho- and taphofacies models for siliceous and travertline sinters. Thermal springs are regarded as important environments for the origin and early evolution of life on Earth, and we seek to utilize information from the fossil record to reconstruct the evolution of high temperature ecosystems. Microbial contributions to the fabric of thermal spring sinters occur when population growth rates keep pace with, or exceed rates of inorganic precipitation, allowing for the development of continuous biofilms or mats. In siliceous thermal springs, microorganisms are typically entombed while viable. Modes of preservation reflect the balance between rates of organic matter degradation, silica precipitation and secondary infilling. Subaerial sinters are initially quite porous and permeable and at temperatures higher than about 20 C, organic materials are usually degraded prior to secondary infilling of sinter frameworks. Thus, organically-preserved microfossils are rare and fossil information consists of characteristic biofabrics formed by the encrustation and underplating of microbial mat surfaces. This probably accounts for the typically low total organic carbon values observed in thermal spring deposits. In mid-temperature, (approx. 35 - 59 C) ponds and outflows, the surface morphology of tufted Phormidium mats is preserved through mat underplating by thin siliceous: crusts. Microbial taxes lead to clumping of ceils and/or preferred filament orientations that together define higher order composite fabrics in thermal spring stromatolites (e.g. network, coniform, and palisade). At lower temperatures (less than 35 C), Calothrix mats cover shallow terracette pools forming flat carpets or pustular

  11. Codon Usage in Signal Sequences Affects Protein Expression and Secretion Using Baculovirus/Insect Cell Expression System

    PubMed Central

    Tao, Shiheng; Chen, Hongying

    2015-01-01

    By introducing synonymous mutations into the coding sequences of GP64sp and FibHsp signal peptides, the influences of mRNA secondary structure and codon usage of signal sequences on protein expression and secretion were investigated using baculovirus/insect cell expression system. The results showed that mRNA structural stability of the signal sequences was not correlated with the protein production and secretion levels, and FibHsp was more tolerable to codon changes than GP64sp. Codon bias analyses revealed that codons for GP64sp were well de-optimized and contained more non-optimal codons than FibHsp. Synonymous mutations in GP64sp sufficiently increased its average codon usage frequency and resulted in dramatic reduction of the activity and secretion of luciferase. Protein degradation inhibition assay with MG-132 showed that higher codon usage frequency in the signal sequence increased the production as well as the degradation of luciferase protein, indicating that the synonymous codon substitutions in the signal sequence caused misfolding of luciferase instead of slowing down the protein production. Meanwhile, we found that introduction of more non-optimal codons into FibHsp could increase the production and secretion levels of luciferase, which suggested a new strategy to improve the production of secretory proteins in insect cells. PMID:26697848

  12. Fossil diatoms and neogene paleolimnology

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Platt, Bradbury J.

    1988-01-01

    Diatoms have played an important role in the development of Neogene continental biostratigraphy and paleolimnology since the mid-19th Century. The history of progress in Quaternary diatom biostratigraphy has developed as a result of improved coring techniques that enable sampling sediments beneath existing lakes coupled with improved chronological control (including radiometric dating and varve enumeration), improved statistical treatment of fossil diatom assemblages (from qualitative description to influx calculations of diatom numbers or volumes), and improved ecological information about analogous living diatom associations. The last factor, diatom ecology, is the most critical in many ways, but progresses slowly. Fortunately, statistical comparison of modern diatom assemblages and insightful studies of the nutrient requirements of some common freshwater species are enabling diatom paleolimnologists to make more detailed interpretations of the Quaternary record than had been possible earlier, and progress in the field of diatom biology and ecology will continue to refine paleolimnological studies. The greater age and geologic setting of Tertiary diatomaceous deposits has prompted their study in the contexts of geologic history, biochronology and evolution. The distribution of diatoms of marine affinities in continental deposits has given geologists insights about tectonism and sea-level change, and the distribution of distinctive (extinct?) diatoms has found utilization both in making stratigraphic correlations between outcrops of diatomaceous deposits and in various types of biochronological studies that involve dating deposits in different areas. A continental diatom biochronologic scheme will rely upon evolution, such as the appearance of new genera within a family, in combination with regional environmental changes that are responsible for the wide distribution of distinctive diatom species. The increased use of the scanning electron microscope for the

  13. Translational selection frequently overcomes genetic drift in shaping synonymous codon usage patterns in vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Doherty, Aoife; McInerney, James O

    2013-10-01

    Synonymous codon usage patterns are shaped by a balance between mutation, drift, and natural selection. To date, detection of translational selection in vertebrates has proven to be a challenging task, obscured by small long-term effective population sizes in larger animals and the existence of isochores in some species. The consensus is that, in such species, natural selection is either completely ineffective at overcoming mutational pressures and genetic drift or perhaps is effective but so weak that it is not detectable. The aim of this research is to understand the interplay between mutation, selection, and genetic drift in vertebrates. We observe that although variation in mutational bias is undoubtedly the dominant force influencing codon usage, translational selection acts as a weak additional factor influencing synonymous codon usage. These observations indicate that translational selection is a widespread phenomenon in vertebrates and is not limited to a few species.

  14. Codon-optimized antibiotic resistance gene improves efficiency of transient transformation in Frankia.

    PubMed

    Kucho, Ken-Ichi; Kakoi, Kentaro; Yamaura, Masatoshi; Iwashita, Mari; Abe, Mikiko; Uchiumi, Toshiki

    2013-11-01

    Frankia is a unique actinobacterium having abilities to fix atmospheric dinitrogen and to establish endosymbiosis with trees, but molecular bases underlying these interesting characteristics are poorly understood because of a lack of stable transformation system. Extremely high GC content of Frankia genome (more than 70 percent) can be a hindrance to successful transformation. We generated a synthetic gentamicin resistance gene whose codon usage is optimized to Frankia (fgmR) and evaluated its usefulness as a selection marker using a transient transformation system. Success rate of transient transformation and cell growth in selective culture were significantly increased by use of fgmR instead of a native gentamicin resistance gene, suggesting that codon optimization improved translation efficiency of the marker gene and increased antibiotic resistance. Our result shows that similarity in codon usage pattern is an important factor to be taken into account when exogenous transgenes are expressed in Frankia cells. PMID:24287650

  15. Combinatorial codon scrambling enables scalable gene synthesis and amplification of repetitive proteins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tang, Nicholas C.; Chilkoti, Ashutosh

    2016-04-01

    Most genes are synthesized using seamless assembly methods that rely on the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). However, PCR of genes encoding repetitive proteins either fails or generates nonspecific products. Motivated by the need to efficiently generate new protein polymers through high-throughput gene synthesis, here we report a codon-scrambling algorithm that enables the PCR-based gene synthesis of repetitive proteins by exploiting the codon redundancy of amino acids and finding the least-repetitive synonymous gene sequence. We also show that the codon-scrambling problem is analogous to the well-known travelling salesman problem, and obtain an exact solution to it by using De Bruijn graphs and a modern mixed integer linear programme solver. As experimental proof of the utility of this approach, we use it to optimize the synthetic genes for 19 repetitive proteins, and show that the gene fragments are amenable to PCR-based gene assembly and recombinant expression.

  16. Combinatorial codon scrambling enables scalable gene synthesis and amplification of repetitive proteins.

    PubMed

    Tang, Nicholas C; Chilkoti, Ashutosh

    2016-04-01

    Most genes are synthesized using seamless assembly methods that rely on the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). However, PCR of genes encoding repetitive proteins either fails or generates nonspecific products. Motivated by the need to efficiently generate new protein polymers through high-throughput gene synthesis, here we report a codon-scrambling algorithm that enables the PCR-based gene synthesis of repetitive proteins by exploiting the codon redundancy of amino acids and finding the least-repetitive synonymous gene sequence. We also show that the codon-scrambling problem is analogous to the well-known travelling salesman problem, and obtain an exact solution to it by using De Bruijn graphs and a modern mixed integer linear programme solver. As experimental proof of the utility of this approach, we use it to optimize the synthetic genes for 19 repetitive proteins, and show that the gene fragments are amenable to PCR-based gene assembly and recombinant expression.

  17. ANT: Software for Generating and Evaluating Degenerate Codons for Natural and Expanded Genetic Codes.

    PubMed

    Engqvist, Martin K M; Nielsen, Jens

    2015-08-21

    The Ambiguous Nucleotide Tool (ANT) is a desktop application that generates and evaluates degenerate codons. Degenerate codons are used to represent DNA positions that have multiple possible nucleotide alternatives. This is useful for protein engineering and directed evolution, where primers specified with degenerate codons are used as a basis for generating libraries of protein sequences. ANT is intuitive and can be used in a graphical user interface or by interacting with the code through a defined application programming interface. ANT comes with full support for nonstandard, user-defined, or expanded genetic codes (translation tables), which is important because synthetic biology is being applied to an ever widening range of natural and engineered organisms. The Python source code for ANT is freely distributed so that it may be used without restriction, modified, and incorporated in other software or custom data pipelines.

  18. GC constituents and relative codon expressed amino acid composition in cyanobacterial phycobiliproteins.

    PubMed

    Kannaujiya, Vinod K; Rastogi, Rajesh P; Sinha, Rajeshwar P

    2014-08-10

    The genomic as well as structural relationship of phycobiliproteins (PBPs) in different cyanobacterial species are determined by nucleotides as well as amino acid composition. The genomic GC constituents influence the amino acid variability and codon usage of particular subunit of PBPs. We have analyzed 11 cyanobacterial species to explore the variation of amino acids and causal relationship between GC constituents and codon usage. The study at the first, second and third levels of GC content showed relatively more amino acid variability on the levels of G3+C3 position in comparison to the first and second positions. The amino acid encoded GC rich level including G rich and C rich or both correlate the codon variability and amino acid availability. The fluctuation in amino acids such as Arg, Ala, His, Asp, Gly, Leu and Glu in α and β subunits was observed at G1C1 position; however, fluctuation in other amino acids such as Ser, Thr, Cys and Trp was observed at G2C2 position. The coding selection pressure of amino acids such as Ala, Thr, Tyr, Asp, Gly, Ile, Leu, Asn, and Ser in α and β subunits of PBPs was more elaborated at G3C3 position. In this study, we observed that each subunit of PBPs is codon specific for particular amino acid. These results suggest that genomic constraint linked with GC constituents selects the codon for particular amino acids and furthermore, the codon level study may be a novel approach to explore many problems associated with genomics and proteomics of cyanobacteria.

  19. Treating fossils as terminal taxa in divergence time estimation reveals ancient vicariance patterns in the palpimanoid spiders.

    PubMed

    Wood, Hannah Marie; Matzke, Nicholas J; Gillespie, Rosemary G; Griswold, Charles E

    2013-03-01

    Incorporation of fossils into biogeographic studies can have a profound effect on the conclusions that result, particularly when fossil ranges are nonoverlapping with extant ranges. This is the case in archaeid spiders, where there are known fossils from the Northern Hemisphere, yet all living members are restricted to the Southern Hemisphere. To better understand the biogeographic patterns of archaeid spiders and their palpimanoid relatives, we estimate a dated phylogeny using a relaxed clock on a combined molecular and morphological data set. Dating information is compared with treating the archaeid fossil taxa as both node calibrations and as noncontemporaneous terminal tips, both with and without additional calibration points. Estimation of ancestral biogeographic ranges is then performed, using likelihood and Bayesian methods to take into account uncertainty in phylogeny and in dating. We find that treating the fossils as terminal tips within a Bayesian framework, as opposed to dating the phylogeny based only on molecular data with the dates coming from node calibrations, removes the subjectivity involved in assigning priors, which has not been possible with previous methods. Our analyses suggest that the diversification of the northern and southern archaeid lineages was congruent with the breakup of Pangaea into Laurasia and Gondwanaland. This analysis provides a rare example, and perhaps the most strongly supported, where a dated phylogeny confirms a biogeographical hypothesis based on vicariance due to the breakup of the ancient continental plates.

  20. Sense codon emancipation for proteome-wide incorporation of noncanonical amino acids: rare isoleucine codon AUA as a target for genetic code expansion

    PubMed Central

    Bohlke, Nina; Budisa, Nediljko

    2014-01-01

    One of the major challenges in contemporary synthetic biology is to find a route to engineer synthetic organisms with altered chemical constitution. In terms of core reaction types, nature uses an astonishingly limited repertoire of chemistries when compared with the exceptionally rich and diverse methods of organic chemistry. In this context, the most promising route to change and expand the fundamental chemistry of life is the inclusion of amino acid building blocks beyond the canonical 20 (i.e. expanding the genetic code). This strategy would allow the transfer of numerous chemical functionalities and reactions from the synthetic laboratory into the cellular environment. Due to limitations in terms of both efficiency and practical applicability, state-of-the-art nonsense suppression- or frameshift suppression-based methods are less suitable for such engineering. Consequently, we set out to achieve this goal by sense codon emancipation, that is, liberation from its natural decoding function – a prerequisite for the reassignment of degenerate sense codons to a new 21st amino acid. We have achieved this by redesigning of several features of the post-transcriptional modification machinery which are directly involved in the decoding process. In particular, we report first steps towards the reassignment of 5797 AUA isoleucine codons in Escherichia coli using efficient tools for tRNA nucleotide modification pathway engineering. PMID:24433543

  1. Iberian Plio-Pleistocene biochronology: micromammalian evidence for MNs and ELMAs calibration in southwestern Europe

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hernández Fernández, Manuel; Azanza, Beatriz; Ángeles Álvarez Sierra, María

    2004-09-01

    A multivariate biochronological analysis of the Plio-Pleistocene Iberian rodent fossil record is presented. Among more than 300 fossil sites, 49 sites have been selected. The ordination of the fossil sites selected from the Iberian Peninsula has been achieved by the appearance event ordination method. After calibration of this ordination with geochronological dates at some of the localities, numerical dates are proposed for all the localities studied. Hence, mammal fossil sites non-datable by other means (palaeomagnetism, radiometric dating, etc.) have been dated with a relatively high degree of confidence. Final results allow dating of boundaries between the Plio-Pleistocene European Land Mammal Ages (ELMAS) or the Mammal Neogene (MN) units. These boundaries agree with previous studies using magnetostratigraphical calibration of these scales. Copyright

  2. The Importance of Fossils in Understanding the Evolution of Parasites and Their Vectors.

    PubMed

    De Baets, Kenneth; Littlewood, D Timothy J

    2015-01-01

    Knowledge concerning the diversity of parasitism and its reach across our current understanding of the tree of life has benefitted considerably from novel molecular phylogenetic methods. However, the timing of events and the resolution of the nature of the intimate relationships between parasites and their hosts in deep time remain problematic. Despite its vagaries, the fossil record provides the only direct evidence of parasites and parasitism in the fossil record of extant and extinct lineages. Here, we demonstrate the potential of the fossil record and other lines of geological evidence to calibrate the origin and evolution of parasitism by combining different kinds of dating evidence with novel molecular clock methodologies. Other novel methods promise to provide additional evidence for the presence or the life habit of pathogens and their vectors, including the discovery and analysis of ancient DNA and other biomolecules, as well as computed tomographic methods.

  3. Premature termination codon at the sterol 27-hydroxylase gene causes cerebrotendinous xanthomatosis in a French family.

    PubMed

    Segev, H; Reshef, A; Clavey, V; Delbart, C; Routier, G; Leitersdorf, E

    1995-02-01

    Cerebrotendinous xanthomatosis (CTX) is an autosomal recessive lipid-storage disease caused by mutations in the sterol 27-hydroxylase gene (CYP27). So far several mutations causing CTX have been identified and characterized. A new mutation creating an insertion of cytosine at position 6 in the cDNA, which is expected to result in a frameshift and a premature termination codon at codon 179, has been identified in a French family. The mutation creates a new site for the restriction endonuclease HaeIII.

  4. Precambrian biota: protistan origin of trace fossils?

    PubMed

    Pawlowski, Jan; Gooday, Andrew J

    2009-01-13

    Some Precambrian trace fossils have been presented as evidence for the early origin of bilaterians; the recent finding that large amoeboid protists leave macroscopic traces at the bottom of the deep ocean questions the metazoan nature of early trace fossils, stressing the importance of single-cell organisms in Precambrian biota.

  5. Do alternative energy sources displace fossil fuels?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    York, Richard

    2012-06-01

    A fundamental, generally implicit, assumption of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports and many energy analysts is that each unit of energy supplied by non-fossil-fuel sources takes the place of a unit of energy supplied by fossil-fuel sources. However, owing to the complexity of economic systems and human behaviour, it is often the case that changes aimed at reducing one type of resource consumption, either through improvements in efficiency of use or by developing substitutes, do not lead to the intended outcome when net effects are considered. Here, I show that the average pattern across most nations of the world over the past fifty years is one where each unit of total national energy use from non-fossil-fuel sources displaced less than one-quarter of a unit of fossil-fuel energy use and, focusing specifically on electricity, each unit of electricity generated by non-fossil-fuel sources displaced less than one-tenth of a unit of fossil-fuel-generated electricity. These results challenge conventional thinking in that they indicate that suppressing the use of fossil fuel will require changes other than simply technical ones such as expanding non-fossil-fuel energy production.

  6. Forty Years Later: Updating the Fossilization Hypothesis

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Han, ZhaoHong

    2013-01-01

    A founding concept in second language acquisition (SLA) research, fossilization has been fundamental to understanding second language (L2) development. The Fossilization Hypothesis, introduced in Selinker's seminal text (1972), has thus been one of the most influential theories, guiding a significant bulk of SLA research for four decades; 2012…

  7. Species-specific proteins in fossils

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lowenstein, Jerold M.

    1980-07-01

    With a solid-phase radioimmunoassay it has been possible to detect species-specific collagen and albumin in fossils as old as 1.9 million years. This technique may provide new data on the genetic relations of fossil species to each other and to living forms.

  8. Precambrian biota: protistan origin of trace fossils?

    PubMed

    Pawlowski, Jan; Gooday, Andrew J

    2009-01-13

    Some Precambrian trace fossils have been presented as evidence for the early origin of bilaterians; the recent finding that large amoeboid protists leave macroscopic traces at the bottom of the deep ocean questions the metazoan nature of early trace fossils, stressing the importance of single-cell organisms in Precambrian biota. PMID:19138588

  9. Error in estimation of rate and time inferred from the early amniote fossil record and avian molecular clocks.

    PubMed

    van Tuinen, Marcel; Hadly, Elizabeth A

    2004-08-01

    The best reconstructions of the history of life will use both molecular time estimates and fossil data. Errors in molecular rate estimation typically are unaccounted for and no attempts have been made to quantify this uncertainty comprehensively. Here, focus is primarily on fossil calibration error because this error is least well understood and nearly universally disregarded. Our quantification of errors in the synapsid-diapsid calibration illustrates that although some error can derive from geological dating of sedimentary rocks, the absence of good stem fossils makes phylogenetic error the most critical. We therefore propose the use of calibration ages that are based on the first undisputed synapsid and diapsid. This approach yields minimum age estimates and standard errors of 306.1 +/- 8.5 MYR for the divergence leading to birds and mammals. Because this upper bound overlaps with the recent use of 310 MYR, we do not support the notion that several metazoan divergence times are significantly overestimated because of serious miscalibration (sensuLee 1999). However, the propagation of relevant errors reduces the statistical significance of the pre-K-T boundary diversification of many bird lineages despite retaining similar point time estimates. Our results demand renewed investigation into suitable loci and fossil calibrations for constructing evolutionary timescales.

  10. Wireless Inclinometer Calibration System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2008-01-01

    A special system was fabricated to properly calibrate the wireless inclinometer, a new device that will measure the Orbiter s hang angle. The wireless inclinometer has a unique design and method of attachment to the Orbiter that will improve the accuracy of the measurements, as well as the safety and ease of the operation. The system properly calibrates the four attached inclinometers, in both the horizontal and vertical axes, without needing to remove any of the component parts. The Wireless Inclinometer Calibration System combines (1) a calibration fixture that emulates the point of attachment to the Orbiter in both the horizontal and vertical axes and the measurement surfaces, (2) an application-specific software program that accepts calibration data such as dates, zero functions, or offsets and tables, and (3) a wireless interface module that enables the wireless inclinometer to communicate with a calibration PC.

  11. SAR calibration technology review

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Walker, J. L.; Larson, R. W.

    1981-01-01

    Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) calibration technology including a general description of the primary calibration techniques and some of the factors which affect the performance of calibrated SAR systems are reviewed. The use of reference reflectors for measurement of the total system transfer function along with an on-board calibration signal generator for monitoring the temporal variations of the receiver to processor output is a practical approach for SAR calibration. However, preliminary error analysis and previous experimental measurements indicate that reflectivity measurement accuracies of better than 3 dB will be difficult to achieve. This is not adequate for many applications and, therefore, improved end-to-end SAR calibration techniques are required.

  12. Optimal codons in Tremella fuciformis end in C/G, a strong difference with known Tremella species.

    PubMed

    Deng, Youjin; Huang, Xiaoxing; Ruan, Banzhan; Xie, Baogui; van Peer, Arend Frans; Jiang, Yuji

    2015-11-01

    Tremella fuciformis is a popular edible fungus with fruiting bodies that can be produced in large quantities at low costs, while it is easy to transform and cultivate as yeast. This makes it an attractive potential bioreactor. Enhanced heterologous gene expression through codon optimization would be useful, but until now codon usage preferences in T. fuciformis remain unknown. To precisely determine the preferred codon usage of T. fuciformis we sequenced the genome of strain Tr26 resulting in a 24.2 Mb draft genome with 10,040 predicted genes. 3288 of the derived predicted proteins matched the UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot databases with 40% or more similarity. Corresponding gene models of this subset were subsequently optimized through repetitive comparison of alternative start codons and selection of best length matching gene models. For experimental confirmation of gene models, 96 random clones from an existing T. fuciformis cDNA library were sequenced, generating 80 complete CDSs. Calculated optimal codons for the 3288 predicted and the 80 cloned CDSs were highly similar, indicating sufficient accuracy of predicted gene models for codon usage analysis. T. fuciformis showed a strong preference for C and then G at the third base pair position of used codons, while average GC content of predicted genes was slightly higher than the total genome sequence average. Most optimal codons ended in C or G except for one, and an increased frequency of C ending codons was observed in genes with higher expression levels. Surprisingly, the preferred codon usage in T. fuciformis strongly differed from T. mesenterica and C. neoformans. Instead, optimal codon usage was similar to more distant related species such as Ustilago maydis and Neurospora crassa. Despite much higher overall sequence homology between T. fuciformis and T. mesenterica, only 7 out of 21 optimal codons were equal, whereas T. fuciformis shared up to 20 out of 21 optimal codons with other species. Clearly, codon usage in

  13. Exploring uncertainty in the calibration of the molecular clock.

    PubMed

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

    2012-02-23

    Calibration is a critical step in every molecular clock analysis but it has been the least considered. Bayesian approaches to divergence time estimation make it possible to incorporate the uncertainty in the degree to which fossil evidence approximates the true time of divergence. We explored the impact of different approaches in expressing this relationship, using arthropod phylogeny as an example for which we established novel calibrations. We demonstrate that the parameters distinguishing calibration densities have a major impact upon the prior and posterior of the divergence times, and it is critically important that users evaluate the joint prior distribution of divergence times used by their dating programmes. We illustrate a procedure for deriving calibration densities in Bayesian divergence dating through the use of soft maximum constraints.

  14. Atomic force microscopy of Precambrian microscopic fossils.

    PubMed

    Kempe, André; Schopf, J William; Altermann, Wladyslaw; Kudryavtsev, Anatoliy B; Heckl, Wolfgang M

    2002-07-01

    Atomic force microscopy (AFM) is a technique used routinely in material science to image substances at a submicron (including nm) scale. We apply this technique to analysis of the fine structure of organic-walled Precambrian fossils, microscopic sphaeromorph acritarchs (cysts of planktonic unicellular protists) permineralized in approximately 650-million-year-old cherts of the Chichkan Formation of southern Kazakhstan. AFM images, backed by laser-Raman spectroscopic analysis of individual specimens, demonstrate that the walls of these petrified fossils are composed of stacked arrays of approximately 200-nm-sized angular platelets of polycyclic aromatic kerogen. Together, AFM and laser-Raman spectroscopy provide means by which to elucidate the submicron-scale structure of individual microscopic fossils, investigate the geochemical maturation of ancient organic matter, and, potentially, distinguish true fossils from pseudofossils and probe the mechanisms of fossil preservation by silica permineralization.

  15. Radio properties of fossil galaxy groups

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miraghaei, H.; Khosroshahi, H. G.

    2016-09-01

    We study 1.4 GHz radio properties of a sample of fossil galaxy groups using GMRT radio observations and the FIRST survey catalog. Fossil galaxy groups, having no recent major mergers in their dominant galaxies and also group scale mergers, give us the opportunity to investigate the effect of galaxy merger on AGN activity. In this work, we compare the radio properties of a rich sample of fossil groups with a sample of normal galaxy groups and clusters and show that the brightest group galaxies in fossil groups are under luminous at 1.4 GHz, relative to the general population of the brightest group galaxies, indicating that the dynamically relaxed nature of fossil groups has influenced the AGN activity in their dominant galaxy.

  16. Radiometer Calibration and Characterization

    1994-12-31

    The Radiometer Calibration and Characterization (RCC) software is a data acquisition and data archival system for performing Broadband Outdoor Radiometer Calibrations (BORCAL). RCC provides a unique method of calibrating solar radiometers using techniques that reduce measurement uncertainty and better characterize a radiometer’s response profile. The RCC software automatically monitors and controls many of the components that contribute to uncertainty in an instrument’s responsivity.

  17. Estimating the Phanerozoic history of the Ascomycota lineages: combining fossil and molecular data.

    PubMed

    Beimforde, Christina; Feldberg, Kathrin; Nylinder, Stephan; Rikkinen, Jouko; Tuovila, Hanna; Dörfelt, Heinrich; Gube, Matthias; Jackson, Daniel J; Reitner, Joachim; Seyfullah, Leyla J; Schmidt, Alexander R

    2014-09-01

    The phylum Ascomycota is by far the largest group in the fungal kingdom. Ecologically important mutualistic associations such as mycorrhizae and lichens have evolved in this group, which are regarded as key innovations that supported the evolution of land plants. Only a few attempts have been made to date the origin of Ascomycota lineages by using molecular clock methods, which is primarily due to the lack of satisfactory fossil calibration data. For this reason we have evaluated all of the oldest available ascomycete fossils from amber (Albian to Miocene) and chert (Devonian and Maastrichtian). The fossils represent five major ascomycete classes (Coniocybomycetes, Dothideomycetes, Eurotiomycetes, Laboulbeniomycetes, and Lecanoromycetes). We have assembled a multi-gene data set (18SrDNA, 28SrDNA, RPB1 and RPB2) from a total of 145 taxa representing most groups of the Ascomycota and utilized fossil calibration points solely from within the ascomycetes to estimate divergence times of Ascomycota lineages with a Bayesian approach. Our results suggest an initial diversification of the Pezizomycotina in the Ordovician, followed by repeated splits of lineages throughout the Phanerozoic, and indicate that this continuous diversification was unaffected by mass extinctions. We suggest that the ecological diversity within each lineage ensured that at least some taxa of each group were able to survive global crises and rapidly recovered.

  18. The Science of Calibration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kent, S. M.

    2016-05-01

    This paper presents a broad overview of the many issues involved in calibrating astronomical data, covering the full electromagnetic spectrum from radio waves to gamma rays, and considering both ground-based and space-based missions. These issues include the science drivers for absolute and relative calibration, the physics behind calibration and the mechanisms used to transfer it from the laboratory to an astronomical source, the need for networks of calibrated astronomical standards, and some of the challenges faced by large surveys and missions.

  19. Methods for the quantitative comparison of molecular estimates of clade age and the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Clarke, Julia A; Boyd, Clint A

    2015-01-01

    together to describe the relationship between time trees and a set of fossil data, which we recommend be phylogenetically vetted and referred on the basis of apomorphy. Differences from previously proposed metrics and the utility of MDI and DIG range are illustrated in three empirical case studies from angiosperms, ostracods, and birds. These case studies also illustrate the ways in which MDI and DIG range may be used to assess time trees resultant from analyses varying in calibration regime, divergence dating approach or molecular sequence data analyzed.

  20. Cycling operation of fossil plants

    SciTech Connect

    Bhatnagar, U.S.; Weiss, M.D.; White, W.H. ); Buchanan, T.L.; Harvey, L.E.; Shewchuk, P.K.; Weinstein, R.E. )

    1991-05-01

    This report presents a methodology for examining the economic feasibility of converting fossil power plants from baseload to cycling service. It employs this approach to examine a proposed change of Pepco's Potomac River units 3, 4, and 5 from baseload operation of two-shift cycling. The project team first reviewed all components and listed potential cycling effects involved in the conversion of Potomac River units 3, 4, and 5. They developed general cycling plant screening criteria including the number of hot, warm, or cold restart per year and desired load ramp rates. In addition, they evaluated specific limitations on the boiler, turbine, and the balance of plant. They estimated the remaining life of the facility through component evaluation and boiler testing and also identified and prioritized potential component deficiencies by their impact on key operational factors: safety, heat rate, turn down, startup/shutdown time, and plant availability. They developed solutions to these problems; and, since many solutions mitigate more than one problem, they combined and reprioritized these synergistic solutions. Economic assessments were performed on all solutions. 13 figs., 20 tabs.

  1. Genes adopt non-optimal codon usage to generate cell cycle-dependent oscillations in protein levels.

    PubMed

    Frenkel-Morgenstern, Milana; Danon, Tamar; Christian, Thomas; Igarashi, Takao; Cohen, Lydia; Hou, Ya-Ming; Jensen, Lars Juhl

    2012-02-28

    The cell cycle is a temporal program that regulates DNA synthesis and cell division. When we compared the codon usage of cell cycle-regulated genes with that of other genes, we discovered that there is a significant preference for non-optimal codons. Moreover, genes encoding proteins that cycle at the protein level exhibit non-optimal codon preferences. Remarkably, cell cycle-regulated genes expressed in different phases display different codon preferences. Here, we show empirically that transfer RNA (tRNA) expression is indeed highest in the G2 phase of the cell cycle, consistent with the non-optimal codon usage of genes expressed at this time, and lowest toward the end of G1, reflecting the optimal codon usage of G1 genes. Accordingly, protein levels of human glycyl-, threonyl-, and glutamyl-prolyl tRNA synthetases were found to oscillate, peaking in G2/M phase. In light of our findings, we propose that non-optimal (wobbly) matching codons influence protein synthesis during the cell cycle. We describe a new mathematical model that shows how codon usage can give rise to cell-cycle regulation. In summary, our data indicate that cells exploit wobbling to generate cell cycle-dependent dynamics of proteins.

  2. PCR-RFLP to Detect Codon 248 Mutation in Exon 7 of "p53" Tumor Suppressor Gene

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ouyang, Liming; Ge, Chongtao; Wu, Haizhen; Li, Suxia; Zhang, Huizhan

    2009-01-01

    Individual genome DNA was extracted fast from oral swab and followed up with PCR specific for codon 248 of "p53" tumor suppressor gene. "Msp"I restriction mapping showed the G-C mutation in codon 248, which closely relates to cancer susceptibility. Students learn the concepts, detection techniques, and research significance of point mutations or…

  3. Pangenome Evidence for Higher Codon Usage Bias and Stronger Translational Selection in Core Genes of Escherichia coli.

    PubMed

    Sun, Shixiang; Xiao, Jingfa; Zhang, Huiyong; Zhang, Zhang

    2016-01-01

    Codon usage bias, as a combined interplay from mutation and selection, has been intensively studied in Escherichia coli. However, codon usage analysis in an E. coli pangenome remains unexplored and the relative importance of mutation and selection acting on core genes and strain-specific genes is unknown. Here we perform comprehensive codon usage analyses based on a collection of multiple complete genome sequences of E. coli. Our results show that core genes that are present in all strains have higher codon usage bias than strain-specific genes that are unique to single strains. We further explore the forces in influencing codon usage and investigate the difference of the major force between core and strain-specific genes. Our results demonstrate that although mutation may exert genome-wide influences on codon usage acting similarly in different gene sets, selection dominates as an important force to shape biased codon usage as genes are present in an increased number of strains. Together, our results provide important insights for better understanding genome plasticity and complexity as well as evolutionary mechanisms behind codon usage bias. PMID:27536275

  4. Pangenome Evidence for Higher Codon Usage Bias and Stronger Translational Selection in Core Genes of Escherichia coli

    PubMed Central

    Sun, Shixiang; Xiao, Jingfa; Zhang, Huiyong; Zhang, Zhang

    2016-01-01

    Codon usage bias, as a combined interplay from mutation and selection, has been intensively studied in Escherichia coli. However, codon usage analysis in an E. coli pangenome remains unexplored and the relative importance of mutation and selection acting on core genes and strain-specific genes is unknown. Here we perform comprehensive codon usage analyses based on a collection of multiple complete genome sequences of E. coli. Our results show that core genes that are present in all strains have higher codon usage bias than strain-specific genes that are unique to single strains. We further explore the forces in influencing codon usage and investigate the difference of the major force between core and strain-specific genes. Our results demonstrate that although mutation may exert genome-wide influences on codon usage acting similarly in different gene sets, selection dominates as an important force to shape biased codon usage as genes are present in an increased number of strains. Together, our results provide important insights for better understanding genome plasticity and complexity as well as evolutionary mechanisms behind codon usage bias. PMID:27536275

  5. The fossil record of evolution: Data on diversification and extinction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sepkoski, J. J., Jr.

    1991-01-01

    Understanding of the evolution of complex life, and of the roles that changing terrestrial and extraterrestrial environments played in life's history, is dependent upon synthetic knowledge of the fossil record. Paleontologists have been describing fossils for more that two centuries. However, much of this information is dispersed in monographs and journal articles published throughout the world. Over the past several years, this literature was surveyed, and a data base on times of origination and extinction of fossil genera was compiled. The data base, which now holds approximately 32,000 genera, covers all taxonomic groups of marine animals, incorporates the most recent taxonomic assignments, and uses a detailed global time framework that can resolve originations and extinctions to intervals averaging three million years in duration. These data can be used to compile patterns of global biodiversity, measure rates of taxic evolution, and test hypotheses concerning adaptive radiations, mass extinctions, etc. Thus far, considerable effort was devoted to using the data to test the hypothesis of periodicity of mass extinction. Rates of extinction measured from the data base have also been used to calibrate models of evolutionary radiations in marine environments. It was observed that new groups, or clades of animals (i.e., orders and classes) tend to reach appreciable diversity first in nearshore environments and then to radiate in more offshore environments; during decline, these clades may disappear from the nearshore while persisting in offshore, deep water habitats. These observations have led to suggestions that there is something special about stressful or perturbed environments that promotes the evolution of novel kinds of animals that can rapidly replace their predecessors. The numerical model that is being investigated to study this phenomenon treats environments along onshore-offshore gradients as if they were discrete habitats. Other aspects of this

  6. MACSE: Multiple Alignment of Coding SEquences Accounting for Frameshifts and Stop Codons

    PubMed Central

    Ranwez, Vincent; Harispe, Sébastien; Delsuc, Frédéric; Douzery, Emmanuel J. P.

    2011-01-01

    Until now the most efficient solution to align nucleotide sequences containing open reading frames was to use indirect procedures that align amino acid translation before reporting the inferred gap positions at the codon level. There are two important pitfalls with this approach. Firstly, any premature stop codon impedes using such a strategy. Secondly, each sequence is translated with the same reading frame from beginning to end, so that the presence of a single additional nucleotide leads to both aberrant translation and alignment. We present an algorithm that has the same space and time complexity as the classical Needleman-Wunsch algorithm while accommodating sequencing errors and other biological deviations from the coding frame. The resulting pairwise coding sequence alignment method was extended to a multiple sequence alignment (MSA) algorithm implemented in a program called MACSE (Multiple Alignment of Coding SEquences accounting for frameshifts and stop codons). MACSE is the first automatic solution to align protein-coding gene datasets containing non-functional sequences (pseudogenes) without disrupting the underlying codon structure. It has also proved useful in detecting undocumented frameshifts in public database sequences and in aligning next-generation sequencing reads/contigs against a reference coding sequence. MACSE is distributed as an open-source java file executable with freely available source code and can be used via a web interface at: http://mbb.univ-montp2.fr/macse. PMID:21949676

  7. Effective population size does not predict codon usage bias in mammals

    PubMed Central

    Kessler, Michael D; Dean, Matthew D

    2014-01-01

    Synonymous codons are not used at equal frequency throughout the genome, a phenomenon termed codon usage bias (CUB). It is often assumed that interspecific variation in the intensity of CUB is related to species differences in effective population sizes (Ne), with selection on CUB operating less efficiently in species with small Ne. Here, we specifically ask whether variation in Ne predicts differences in CUB in mammals and report two main findings. First, across 41 mammalian genomes, CUB was not correlated with two indirect proxies of Ne (body mass and generation time), even though there was statistically significant evidence of selection shaping CUB across all species. Interestingly, autosomal genes showed higher codon usage bias compared to X-linked genes, and high-recombination genes showed higher codon usage bias compared to low recombination genes, suggesting intraspecific variation in Ne predicts variation in CUB. Second, across six mammalian species with genetic estimates of Ne (human, chimpanzee, rabbit, and three mouse species: Mus musculus, M. domesticus, and M. castaneus), Ne and CUB were weakly and inconsistently correlated. At least in mammals, interspecific divergence in Ne does not strongly predict variation in CUB. One hypothesis is that each species responds to a unique distribution of selection coefficients, confounding any straightforward link between Ne and CUB. PMID:25505518

  8. New LIC Vectors For Production of Proteins from Genes Containing Rare Codons

    PubMed Central

    Eschenfeldt, William H.; Makowska-Grzyska, Magdalena; Stols, Lucy; Donnelly, Mark; Jedrzejczak, Robert; Joachimiak, Andrzej

    2014-01-01

    In the effort to produce proteins coded by diverse genomes, structural genomics projects often must express genes containing codons that are rare in the production strain. To address this problem, genes expressing tRNAs corresponding to those codons are typically coexpressed from a second plasmid in the host strain, or from genes incorporated into production plasmids. Here we describe the modification of a series of LIC pMCSG vectors currently used in the high-throughput production of proteins to include crucial tRNA genes covering rare codons for Arg (AGG/AGA) and Ile (AUA). We also present variants of these new vectors that allow analysis of ligand binding or co-expression of multiple proteins introduced through two independent LIC steps. Additionally, to accommodate the cloning of multiple large proteins, the size of the plasmids was reduced by approximately one kilobase through the removal of non-essential DNA from the base vector. Production of proteins from core vectors of this series validated the desired enhanced capabilities: higher yields of proteins expressed from genes with rare codons occurred in most cases, biotinylated derivatives enabled detailed automated ligand binding analysis, and multiple proteins introduced by dual LIC cloning were expressed successfully and in near balanced stoichiometry, allowing tandem purification of interacting proteins. PMID:24057978

  9. Codon Usage and 3' UTR Length Determine Maternal mRNA Stability in Zebrafish.

    PubMed

    Mishima, Yuichiro; Tomari, Yukihide

    2016-03-17

    The control of mRNA stability plays a central role in regulating gene expression. In metazoans, the earliest stages of development are driven by maternally supplied mRNAs. The degradation of these maternal mRNAs is critical for promoting the maternal-to-zygotic transition of developmental programs, although the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood in vertebrates. Here, we characterized maternal mRNA degradation pathways in zebrafish using a transcriptome analysis and systematic reporter assays. Our data demonstrate that ORFs enriched with uncommon codons promote deadenylation by the CCR4-NOT complex in a translation-dependent manner. This codon-mediated mRNA decay is conditional on the context of the 3' UTR, with long 3' UTRs conferring resistance to deadenylation. These results indicate that the combined effect of codon usage and 3' UTR length determines the stability of maternal mRNAs in zebrafish embryos. Our study thus highlights the codon-mediated mRNA decay as a conserved regulatory mechanism in eukaryotes. PMID:26990990

  10. Suppression of galactocerebrosidase premature termination codon and rescue of galactocerebrosidase activity in twitcher cells.

    PubMed

    Luddi, Alice; Crifasi, Laura; Capaldo, Angela; Piomboni, Paola; Costantino-Ceccarini, Elvira

    2016-11-01

    Krabbe's disease (KD) is a degenerative lysosomal storage disease resulting from deficiency of β-galactocerebrosidase activity. Over 100 mutations are known to cause the disease, and these usually occur in compound heterozygote patterns. In affected patients, nonsense mutations leading to a nonfunctional enzyme are often found associated with other mutations. The twitcher mouse is a naturally occurring model of KD, containing in β-galactocerebrosidase a premature stop codon, W339X. Recent studies have shown that selected compounds may induce the ribosomal bypass of premature stop codons without affecting the normal termination codons. The rescue of β-galactocerebrosidase activity induced by treatment with premature termination codon (PTC) 124, a well-characterized compound known to induce ribosomal read-through, was investigated on oligodendrocytes prepared from twitcher mice and on human fibroblasts from patients bearing nonsense mutations. The effectiveness of the nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) inhibitor 1 (NMDI1), a newly identified inhibitor of NMD, was also tested. Incubation of these cell lines with PTC124 and NMDI1 increased the levels of mRNA and rescued galactocerebrosidase enzymatic activity in a dose-dependent manner. The low but sustained expression of β-galactocerebrosidase in oligodendrocytes was sufficient to improve the morphology of the differentiated cells. Our in vitro approach provides the basis for further investigation of ribosomal read-through as an alternative therapeutic strategy to ameliorate the quality of life in selected KD patients. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. PMID:27638609

  11. Conservation of CFTR codon frequency through primates suggests synonymous mutations could have a functional effect.

    PubMed

    Pizzo, Lucilla; Iriarte, Andrés; Alvarez-Valin, Fernando; Marín, Mónica

    2015-05-01

    Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system, with a prevalence of about 1:3000 people. Cystic fibrosis is caused by mutations in CFTR gene, which lead to a defective function of the chloride channel, the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR). Up-to-date, more than 1900 mutations have been reported in CFTR. However for an important proportion of them, their functional effects and the relation to disease are still not understood. Many of these mutations are silent (or synonymous), namely they do not alter the encoded amino acid. These synonymous mutations have been considered as neutral to protein function. However, more recent evidence in bacterial and human proteins has put this concept under revision. With the aim of understanding possible functional effects of synonymous mutations in CFTR, we analyzed human and primates CFTR codon usage and divergence patterns. We report the presence of regions enriched in rare and frequent codons. This spatial pattern of codon preferences is conserved in primates, but this cannot be explained by sequence conservation alone. In sum, the results presented herein suggest a functional implication of these regions of the gene that may be maintained by purifying selection acting to preserve a particular codon usage pattern along the sequence. Overall these results support the idea that several synonymous mutations in CFTR may have functional importance, and could be involved in the disease.

  12. Screening for the APP codon 670/671 mutations in Alzheimer's disease.

    PubMed

    Houlden, H; Crawford, F; Rossor, M; Mullan, M

    1993-05-14

    A mutation at codons 670 and 671 of exon 16 of the amyloid precursor protein has recently been identified as a cause of early onset familial Alzheimer's disease. Using restriction enzyme digestion, screening failed to reveal the occurrence of this mutation in 43 families with early onset, 31 families with late onset, 30 cases of sporadic Alzheimer's disease or 30 clinically normal individuals.

  13. Selection on GGU and CGU codons in the high expression genes in bacteria.

    PubMed

    Satapathy, Siddhartha Sankar; Powdel, Bhesh Raj; Dutta, Malay; Buragohain, Alak Kumar; Ray, Suvendra Kumar

    2014-01-01

    The fourfold degenerate site (FDS) in coding sequences is important for studying the effect of any selection pressure on codon usage bias (CUB) because nucleotide substitution per se is not under any such pressure at the site due to the unaltered amino acid sequence in a protein. We estimated the frequency variation of nucleotides at the FDS across the eight family boxes (FBs) defined as Um(g), the unevenness measure of a gene g. The study was made in 545 species of bacteria. In many bacteria, the Um(g) correlated strongly with Nc'-a measure of the CUB. Analysis of the strongly correlated bacteria revealed that the U-ending codons (GGU, CGU) were preferred to the G-ending codons (GGG, CGG) in Gly and Arg FBs even in the genomes with G+C % higher than 65.0. Further evidence suggested that these codons can be used as a good indicator of selection pressure on CUB in genomes with higher G+C %. PMID:24271854

  14. A model of protein translation including codon bias, nonsense errors, and ribosome recycling.

    PubMed

    Gilchrist, Michael A; Wagner, Andreas

    2006-04-21

    We present and analyse a model of protein translation at the scale of an individual messenger RNA (mRNA) transcript. The model we develop is unique in that it incorporates the phenomena of ribosome recycling and nonsense errors. The model conceptualizes translation as a probabilistic wave of ribosome occupancy traveling down a heterogeneous medium, the mRNA transcript. Our results show that the heterogeneity of the codon translation rates along the mRNA results in short-scale spikes and dips in the wave. Nonsense errors attenuate this wave on a longer scale while ribosome recycling reinforces it. We find that the combination of nonsense errors and codon usage bias can have a large effect on the probability that a ribosome will completely translate a transcript. We also elucidate how these forces interact with ribosome recycling to determine the overall translation rate of an mRNA transcript. We derive a simple cost function for nonsense errors using our model and apply this function to the yeast (Saccharomyces cervisiae) genome. Using this function we are able to detect position dependent selection on codon bias which correlates with gene expression levels as predicted a priori. These results indirectly validate our underlying model assumptions and confirm that nonsense errors can play an important role in shaping codon usage bias. PMID:16171830

  15. System analysis of synonymous codon usage biases in archaeal virus genomes.

    PubMed

    Li, Sen; Yang, Jie

    2014-08-21

    Recent studies of geothermally heated aquatic ecosystems have found widely divergent viruses with unusual morphotypes. Archaeal viruses isolated from these hot habitats usually have double-stranded DNA genomes, linear or circular, and can infect members of the Archaea domain. In this study, the synonymous codon usage bias (SCUB) and dinucleotide composition in the available complete archaeal virus genome sequences have been investigated. It was found that there is a significant variation in SCUB among different Archaeal virus species, which is mainly determined by the base composition. The outcome of correspondence analysis (COA) and Spearman׳s rank correlation analysis shows that codon usage of selected archaeal virus genes depends mainly on GC richness of genome, and the gene׳s function, albeit with smaller effects, also contributes to codon usage in this virus. Furthermore, this investigation reveals that aromaticity of each protein is also critical in affecting SCUB of these viral genes although it was less important than that of the mutational bias. Especially, mutational pressure may influence SCUB in SIRV1, SIRV2, ARV1, AFV1, and PhiCh1 viruses, whereas translational selection could play a leading role in HRPV1׳s SCUB. These conclusions not only can offer an insight into the codon usage biases of archaeal virus and subsequently the possible relationship between archaeal viruses and their host, but also may help in understanding the evolution of archaeal viruses and their gene classification, and more helpful to explore the origin of life and the evolution of biology.

  16. Selective Preservation of Fossil Ghost Fish

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meacham, Amanda

    2016-04-01

    A unique type of fossil fish preservation has been discovered in the Angelo Member (Fossil Lake) of the Green River Formation. The Angelo Member is a predominately evaporative deposit dominated by dolomite, but contains facies of fossiliferous laminated calcimicrite. Fossil fish occurring in two beds conspicuously lack bones. Fish in the lower bed are only preserved as organic material, including skin, pigments, and eyes. Fish in the upper bed have three-dimensional etching where bones once existed but also contain skin, pigments, and eyes. The top third of the upper bed often contains calcite crystals that are pseudomorphs after trona and possibly halite. Preliminary mineralogical analysis and mapping of evaporate facies suggests that this unique preservation may be related to lake geochemical conditions, such as high pH and alkalinity. To our knowledge, this is the first time this type of preservation has been observed and studied. Fossils and sediments within these beds are being studied both vertically and laterally through the one-meter thick sequence containing the fossil fish using XRD, isotopic, SEM, thin section, and total organic carbon analysis. Nine quarries, 0.5-1 meter square, were excavated for both fossils and rock samples along with 17 additional rock sample locations across an approximately 25-kilometer square region. This investigation has the capability of reconstructing the paleoenvironment and lake chemistry of Fossil Lake during the deposition of the "ghost-fish" beds and solving the mystery of the "missing bones" and the unusual process of preservation.

  17. Influenza A Virus Attenuation by Codon Deoptimization of the NS Gene for Vaccine Development

    PubMed Central

    Nogales, Aitor; Baker, Steven F.; Ortiz-Riaño, Emilio; Dewhurst, Stephen; Topham, David J.

    2014-01-01

    ABSTRACT Influenza viral infection represents a serious public health problem that causes contagious respiratory disease, which is most effectively prevented through vaccination to reduce transmission and future infection. The nonstructural (NS) gene of influenza A virus encodes an mRNA transcript that is alternatively spliced to express two viral proteins, the nonstructural protein 1 (NS1) and the nuclear export protein (NEP). The importance of the NS gene of influenza A virus for viral replication and virulence has been well described and represents an attractive target to generate live attenuated influenza viruses with vaccine potential. Considering that most amino acids can be synthesized from several synonymous codons, this study employed the use of misrepresented mammalian codons (codon deoptimization) for the de novo synthesis of a viral NS RNA segment based on influenza A/Puerto Rico/8/1934 (H1N1) (PR8) virus. We generated three different recombinant influenza PR8 viruses containing codon-deoptimized synonymous mutations in coding regions comprising the entire NS gene or the mRNA corresponding to the individual viral protein NS1 or NEP, without modifying the respective splicing and packaging signals of the viral segment. The fitness of these synthetic viruses was attenuated in vivo, while they retained immunogenicity, conferring both homologous and heterologous protection against influenza A virus challenges. These results indicate that influenza viruses can be effectively attenuated by synonymous codon deoptimization of the NS gene and open the possibility of their use as a safe vaccine to prevent infections with these important human pathogens. IMPORTANCE Vaccination serves as the best therapeutic option to protect humans against influenza viral infections. However, the efficacy of current influenza vaccines is suboptimal, and novel approaches are necessary for the prevention of disease cause by this important human respiratory pathogen. The nonstructural

  18. Photogrammetric camera calibration

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Tayman, W.P.; Ziemann, H.

    1984-01-01

    Section 2 (Calibration) of the document "Recommended Procedures for Calibrating Photogrammetric Cameras and Related Optical Tests" from the International Archives of Photogrammetry, Vol. XIII, Part 4, is reviewed in the light of recent practical work, and suggestions for changes are made. These suggestions are intended as a basis for a further discussion. ?? 1984.

  19. Calibration and validation areas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Menard, Y.

    1984-08-01

    Difficulties in calibrating the SEASAT altimeter using the Bermuda laser site are recalled, and the use of Dakar (Senegal) for altimeter calibration is discussed. The site is flat, has clear skies for 200 to 250 days per year, and a local tide model is available. Atmospheric parameters can be studied using existing facilities with two additional weather stations.

  20. OLI Radiometric Calibration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Markham, Brian; Morfitt, Ron; Kvaran, Geir; Biggar, Stuart; Leisso, Nathan; Czapla-Myers, Jeff

    2011-01-01

    Goals: (1) Present an overview of the pre-launch radiance, reflectance & uniformity calibration of the Operational Land Imager (OLI) (1a) Transfer to orbit/heliostat (1b) Linearity (2) Discuss on-orbit plans for radiance, reflectance and uniformity calibration of the OLI

  1. Bayesian phylogenetic estimation of fossil ages

    PubMed Central

    Drummond, Alexei J.; Stadler, Tanja

    2016-01-01

    Recent advances have allowed for both morphological fossil evidence and molecular sequences to be integrated into a single combined inference of divergence dates under the rule of Bayesian probability. In particular, the fossilized birth–death tree prior and the Lewis-Mk model of discrete morphological evolution allow for the estimation of both divergence times and phylogenetic relationships between fossil and extant taxa. We exploit this statistical framework to investigate the internal consistency of these models by producing phylogenetic estimates of the age of each fossil in turn, within two rich and well-characterized datasets of fossil and extant species (penguins and canids). We find that the estimation accuracy of fossil ages is generally high with credible intervals seldom excluding the true age and median relative error in the two datasets of 5.7% and 13.2%, respectively. The median relative standard error (RSD) was 9.2% and 7.2%, respectively, suggesting good precision, although with some outliers. In fact, in the two datasets we analyse, the phylogenetic estimate of fossil age is on average less than 2 Myr from the mid-point age of the geological strata from which it was excavated. The high level of internal consistency found in our analyses suggests that the Bayesian statistical model employed is an adequate fit for both the geological and morphological data, and provides evidence from real data that the framework used can accurately model the evolution of discrete morphological traits coded from fossil and extant taxa. We anticipate that this approach will have diverse applications beyond divergence time dating, including dating fossils that are temporally unconstrained, testing of the ‘morphological clock', and for uncovering potential model misspecification and/or data errors when controversial phylogenetic hypotheses are obtained based on combined divergence dating analyses. This article is part of the themed issue ‘Dating species divergences

  2. Bayesian phylogenetic estimation of fossil ages.

    PubMed

    Drummond, Alexei J; Stadler, Tanja

    2016-07-19

    Recent advances have allowed for both morphological fossil evidence and molecular sequences to be integrated into a single combined inference of divergence dates under the rule of Bayesian probability. In particular, the fossilized birth-death tree prior and the Lewis-Mk model of discrete morphological evolution allow for the estimation of both divergence times and phylogenetic relationships between fossil and extant taxa. We exploit this statistical framework to investigate the internal consistency of these models by producing phylogenetic estimates of the age of each fossil in turn, within two rich and well-characterized datasets of fossil and extant species (penguins and canids). We find that the estimation accuracy of fossil ages is generally high with credible intervals seldom excluding the true age and median relative error in the two datasets of 5.7% and 13.2%, respectively. The median relative standard error (RSD) was 9.2% and 7.2%, respectively, suggesting good precision, although with some outliers. In fact, in the two datasets we analyse, the phylogenetic estimate of fossil age is on average less than 2 Myr from the mid-point age of the geological strata from which it was excavated. The high level of internal consistency found in our analyses suggests that the Bayesian statistical model employed is an adequate fit for both the geological and morphological data, and provides evidence from real data that the framework used can accurately model the evolution of discrete morphological traits coded from fossil and extant taxa. We anticipate that this approach will have diverse applications beyond divergence time dating, including dating fossils that are temporally unconstrained, testing of the 'morphological clock', and for uncovering potential model misspecification and/or data errors when controversial phylogenetic hypotheses are obtained based on combined divergence dating analyses.This article is part of the themed issue 'Dating species divergences using

  3. Bayesian phylogenetic estimation of fossil ages.

    PubMed

    Drummond, Alexei J; Stadler, Tanja

    2016-07-19

    Recent advances have allowed for both morphological fossil evidence and molecular sequences to be integrated into a single combined inference of divergence dates under the rule of Bayesian probability. In particular, the fossilized birth-death tree prior and the Lewis-Mk model of discrete morphological evolution allow for the estimation of both divergence times and phylogenetic relationships between fossil and extant taxa. We exploit this statistical framework to investigate the internal consistency of these models by producing phylogenetic estimates of the age of each fossil in turn, within two rich and well-characterized datasets of fossil and extant species (penguins and canids). We find that the estimation accuracy of fossil ages is generally high with credible intervals seldom excluding the true age and median relative error in the two datasets of 5.7% and 13.2%, respectively. The median relative standard error (RSD) was 9.2% and 7.2%, respectively, suggesting good precision, although with some outliers. In fact, in the two datasets we analyse, the phylogenetic estimate of fossil age is on average less than 2 Myr from the mid-point age of the geological strata from which it was excavated. The high level of internal consistency found in our analyses suggests that the Bayesian statistical model employed is an adequate fit for both the geological and morphological data, and provides evidence from real data that the framework used can accurately model the evolution of discrete morphological traits coded from fossil and extant taxa. We anticipate that this approach will have diverse applications beyond divergence time dating, including dating fossils that are temporally unconstrained, testing of the 'morphological clock', and for uncovering potential model misspecification and/or data errors when controversial phylogenetic hypotheses are obtained based on combined divergence dating analyses.This article is part of the themed issue 'Dating species divergences using

  4. Assessing the fidelity of the fossil record by using marine bivalves

    PubMed Central

    Valentine, James W.; Jablonski, David; Kidwell, Susan; Roy, Kaustuv

    2006-01-01

    Taxa that fail to become incorporated into the fossil record can reveal much about the biases of this record and provide the information needed to correct such biases in empirical analyses of the history of life. Yet little is known about the characteristics of taxa missing from the fossil record. For the marine Bivalvia, which have become a model system for macroevolutionary and macroecological analysis in the fossil record, 308 of the 1,292 living genera and subgenera (herein termed “taxa”) are not recorded as fossils. These missing taxa are not a random sample of the clade, but instead tend to have small body size, reactive shell structures, commensal or parasitic habit, deep-sea distribution, narrow geographic range, restriction to regions exposing few Neogene marine sediments, or recent date of formal taxonomic description in the neontological literature. Most missing taxa show two or more of these features and tend to be concentrated in particular families. When we exclude the smallest taxa (<1 cm) and deep-sea endemics, date of published description and geographic range become the strongest predictors of the missing taxa; other factors are statistically insignificant or have relatively small effects. These biases might influence a variety of analyses including the use of fossil data in support of phylogenetic analyses, molecular clock calibrations, and analyses of spatial and temporal dynamics of clades and biotas. Clade inventories such as these can be used to develop protocols that minimize the biases imposed by sampling and preservation. PMID:16617108

  5. Structural characterization of eRF1 mutants indicate a complex mechanism of stop codon recognition

    PubMed Central

    Pillay, Shubhadra; Li, Yan; Wong, Leo E; Pervushin, Konstantin

    2016-01-01

    Eukarya translation termination requires the stop codon recognizing protein eRF1. In contrast to the multiple proteins required for translation termination in Bacteria, eRF1 retains the ability to recognize all three of the stop codons. The details of the mechanism that eRF1 uses to recognize stop codons has remained elusive. This study describes the structural effects of mutations in the eRF1 N-domain that have previously been shown to alter stop codon recognition specificity. Here, we propose a model of eRF1 binding to the pre-translation termination ribosomal complex that is based in part on our solution NMR structures of the wild-type and mutant eRF1 N-domains. Since structural perturbations induced by these mutations were spread throughout the protein structure, residual dipolar coupling (RDC) data were recorded to establish the long-range effects of the specific mutations, E55Q, Y125F, Q122FM(Y)F126. RDCs were recorded on 15N-labeled eRF1 N-domain weakly aligned in either 5% w/v n-octyl-penta (ethylene glycol)/octanol (C8E5) or the filamentous phage Pf1. These data indicate that the mutations alter the conformation and dynamics of the GTS loop that is distant from the mutation sites. We propose that the GTS loop forms a switch that is key for the multiple codon recognition capability of eRF1. PMID:26725946

  6. p53 codon 72 polymorphism and human papillomavirus associated skin cancer

    PubMed Central

    O'Connor, D; Kay, E; Leader, M; Atkins, G; Murphy, G; Mabruk, M

    2001-01-01

    Background/Aims—Non-melanoma skin cancers frequently harbour multiple human papillomavirus (HPV) types. A recent report suggests that a polymorphism of the p53 tumour suppressor gene that results in the substitution of a proline residue with an arginine residue at position 72 of the p53 protein might act as a risk factor in HPV associated malignancies. This study aimed to determine the following: (1) the relation between HPV infection and the development of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and (2) whether there is a correlation between p53 codon 72 polymorphism and the development of SCC. Methods—Blood samples were taken from 55 patients with skin cancer (both renal transplant recipients and immunocompetent patients with skin cancer) and 115 ethnically matched volunteers. A polymerase chain reaction based assay was used to determine p53 codon 72 genotypes. In addition, 49 benign and malignant lesions from 34 of the patients with skin cancer and 20 normal human skin samples from 20 of the control volunteers were examined for HPV. Results—The proportions of p53 codon 72 genotypes found were 78% arginine homozygous, 2% proline homozygous, and 20% heterozygous among patients with skin cancer and 79% arginine homozygous, 3.5% proline homozygous, and 17.5% heterozygous among the control population. Statistical analysis showed no significant differences in the distribution of the two p53 isoforms between the patients with skin cancer and the control population. The predominant viral types detected in both the patients and the control group were EV associated HPVs, although the incidence was lower in normal skin samples than in malignant lesions or viral warts. Conclusions—These results suggest that in a Celtic population there is no correlation between the presence of HPV, the p53 codon 72 arginine polymorphism, and the development of skin cancer. Key Words: p53 codon 72 polymorphism • human papillomavirus • skin cancer PMID:11429426

  7. Association between p53 polymorphism at codon 72 and recurrent spontaneous abortion.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Ying; Wu, Yuan-Yuan; Qiao, Fu-Yuan; Zeng, Wan-Jiang

    2016-06-01

    p53 gene plays an important role in apoptosis, which is necessary for successful invasion of trophoblast cells. The change from an arginine (Arg) to a proline (Pro) at codon 72 can influence the biological activity of p53, which predisposes to an increased risk of recurrent spontaneous abortion (RSA). In order to investigate the association between p53 polymorphism at codon 72 and RSA, we conducted this meta-analysis. Pubmed, Embase and Web of science were used to identify the eligible studies. Odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence interval (CI) was used to evaluate the strength of the association. Six studies containing 937 cases of RSA and 830 controls were included, and there was one study deviated from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium (HWE). There was a significant association between p53 polymorphism at codon 72 and RSA in recessive model (Pro/Pro vs. Pro/Arg+Arg/Arg; OR=1.60, 95% CI: 1.14-2.24) and co-dominant model (Pro/Pro vs. Arg/Arg; OR=1.47, 95% CI: 1.02-2.12) whether the study that was deviated from HWE was eliminated or not. A significant association was observed in allelic model (Pro vs. Arg; OR=1.28, 95% CI: 1.04-1.57) after exclusion of the study that was deviated from HWE. No association was noted in recessive model (Pro/Pro+Pro/Arg vs. Arg/Arg; OR=1.05, 95% CI: 0.86-1.30) and co-dominant model (Pro/Arg vs. Arg/Arg; OR=0.96, 95% CI: 0.77-1.19). Subgroup analysis by ethnicity also indicated a significant association between p53 polymorphism at codon 72 and RSA in Caucasian group. No heterogeneity and publication bias were found. Our meta-analysis implied that p53 polymorphism at codon 72 carries high maternal risk of RSA. PMID:27376811

  8. Coevolution between Stop Codon Usage and Release Factors in Bacterial Species

    PubMed Central

    Wei, Yulong; Wang, Juan; Xia, Xuhua

    2016-01-01

    Three stop codons in bacteria represent different translation termination signals, and their usage is expected to depend on their differences in translation termination efficiency, mutation bias, and relative abundance of release factors (RF1 decoding UAA and UAG, and RF2 decoding UAA and UGA). In 14 bacterial species (covering Proteobacteria, Firmicutes, Cyanobacteria, Actinobacteria and Spirochetes) with cellular RF1 and RF2 quantified, UAA is consistently over-represented in highly expressed genes (HEGs) relative to lowly expressed genes (LEGs), whereas UGA usage is the opposite even in species where RF2 is far more abundant than RF1. UGA usage relative to UAG increases significantly with PRF2 [=RF2/(RF1 + RF2)] as expected from adaptation between stop codons and their decoders. PRF2 is > 0.5 over a wide range of AT content (measured by PAT3 as the proportion of AT at third codon sites), but decreases rapidly toward zero at the high range of PAT3. This explains why bacterial lineages with high PAT3 often have UGA reassigned because of low RF2. There is no indication that UAG is a minor stop codon in bacteria as claimed in a recent publication. The claim is invalid because of the failure to apply the two key criteria in identifying a minor codon: (1) it is least preferred by HEGs (or most preferred by LEGs) and (2) it corresponds to the least abundant decoder. Our results suggest a more plausible explanation for why UAA usage increases, and UGA usage decreases, with PAT3, but UAG usage remains low over the entire PAT3 range. PMID:27297468

  9. UGA is an additional glycine codon in uncultured SR1 bacteria from the human microbiota.

    PubMed

    Campbell, James H; O'Donoghue, Patrick; Campbell, Alisha G; Schwientek, Patrick; Sczyrba, Alexander; Woyke, Tanja; Söll, Dieter; Podar, Mircea

    2013-04-01

    The composition of the human microbiota is recognized as an important factor in human health and disease. Many of our cohabitating microbes belong to phylum-level divisions for which there are no cultivated representatives and are only represented by small subunit rRNA sequences. For one such taxon (SR1), which includes bacteria with elevated abundance in periodontitis, we provide a single-cell genome sequence from a healthy oral sample. SR1 bacteria use a unique genetic code. In-frame TGA (opal) codons are found in most genes (85%), often at loci normally encoding conserved glycine residues. UGA appears not to function as a stop codon and is in equilibrium with the canonical GGN glycine codons, displaying strain-specific variation across the human population. SR1 encodes a divergent tRNA(Gly)UCA with an opal-decoding anticodon. SR1 glycyl-tRNA synthetase acylates tRNA(Gly)UCA with glycine in vitro with similar activity compared with normal tRNA(Gly)UCC. Coexpression of SR1 glycyl-tRNA synthetase and tRNA(Gly)UCA in Escherichia coli yields significant β-galactosidase activity in vivo from a lacZ gene containing an in-frame TGA codon. Comparative genomic analysis with Human Microbiome Project data revealed that the human body harbors a striking diversity of SR1 bacteria. This is a surprising finding because SR1 is most closely related to bacteria that live in anoxic and thermal environments. Some of these bacteria share common genetic and metabolic features with SR1, including UGA to glycine reassignment and an archaeal-type ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase (RubisCO) involved in AMP recycling. UGA codon reassignment renders SR1 genes untranslatable by other bacteria, which impacts horizontal gene transfer within the human microbiota.

  10. Sandia WIPP calibration traceability

    SciTech Connect

    Schuhen, M.D.; Dean, T.A.

    1996-05-01

    This report summarizes the work performed to establish calibration traceability for the instrumentation used by Sandia National Laboratories at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) during testing from 1980-1985. Identifying the calibration traceability is an important part of establishing a pedigree for the data and is part of the qualification of existing data. In general, the requirement states that the calibration of Measuring and Test equipment must have a valid relationship to nationally recognized standards or the basis for the calibration must be documented. Sandia recognized that just establishing calibration traceability would not necessarily mean that all QA requirements were met during the certification of test instrumentation. To address this concern, the assessment was expanded to include various activities.

  11. Spitzer Digs Up Galactic Fossil

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Figure 1

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Figure 2

    This false-color image taken by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows a globular cluster previously hidden in the dusty plane of our Milky Way galaxy. Globular clusters are compact bundles of old stars that date back to the birth of our galaxy, 13 or so billion years ago. Astronomers use these galactic 'fossils' as tools for studying the age and formation of the Milky Way.

    Most clusters orbit around the center of the galaxy well above its dust-enshrouded disc, or plane, while making brief, repeated passes through the plane that each last about a million years. Spitzer, with infrared eyes that can see into the dusty galactic plane, first spotted the newfound cluster during its current pass. A visible-light image (inset of Figure 1) shows only a dark patch of sky.

    The red streak behind the core of the cluster is a dust cloud, which may indicate the cluster's interaction with the Milky Way. Alternatively, this cloud may lie coincidentally along Spitzer's line of sight.

    Follow-up observations with the University of Wyoming Infrared Observatory helped set the distance of the new cluster at about 9,000 light-years from Earth - closer than most clusters - and set the mass at the equivalent of 300,000 Suns. The cluster's apparent size, as viewed from Earth, is comparable to a grain of rice held at arm's length. It is located in the constellation Aquila.

    Astronomers believe that this cluster may be one of the last in our galaxy to be uncovered.

    This image composite was taken on April 21, 2004, by Spitzer's infrared array camera. It is composed of images obtained at four wavelengths: 3.6 microns (blue), 4.5 microns (green), 5.8 microns (orange) and 8 microns (red).

    Galactic Fossil Found Behind Curtain of Dust In Figure 2, the image mosaic shows the same patch of sky in various wavelengths of light. While the

  12. A Fossil Group in Formation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miller, Eric D.; Rappaport, Saul A.; McDonald, Michael; Bautz, Mark W.; Grant, Catherine E.; Veilleux, Sylvain

    2016-04-01

    In the current picture of hierarchical structure formation, galaxy groups play a vital role as the seeds from which large assemblies of matter form. Compact groups are also important environments in which to watch the fueling of star formation and AGN activity, as the conditions are ideal for galaxy-galaxy interactions. We have identified a galaxy system that may represent an intermediate or transition stage in group evolution. Shakhbazyan 1 (or SHK 1) is a remarkably compact collection of about ten massive, red-sequence galaxies within a region 100 kpc across. Several of these galaxies show signs of AGN activity, and new, deep optical observations with the Discovery Channel Telescope reveal an extended stellar envelope surrounding the galaxies. This envelope is much more extended than what would be expected from a superposition of normal galaxy envelopes, and it indicates a large amount of intra-group starlight, evidence that the galaxies in SHK 1 are dynamically interacting.We here present new Chandra spectral imaging observations of this unusual system that confirm the presence of an X-ray-emitting diffuse intra-group medium (IGM), with a temperature of 1.5 keV and X-ray luminosity of 1043 erg/s. Assuming hydrostatic equilibrium, the system is about 1/3 as massive as expected from the optical richness. In addition, three of the ten central galaxies exhibit signatures of X-ray AGN. The under-luminous IGM, high density of bright galaxies, and evidence for galaxy-galaxy interaction indicate that this system may be in a transition stage of galaxy merging, similar to that expected in the formation of a fossil group. Alternatively, SHK 1 may consist of multiple poor groups in the final stages of merging along our line of sight. We explore these scenarios and outline paths of future study for this enigmatic system.

  13. Calibration method for spectroscopic systems

    DOEpatents

    Sandison, David R.

    1998-01-01

    Calibration spots of optically-characterized material placed in the field of view of a spectroscopic system allow calibration of the spectroscopic system. Response from the calibration spots is measured and used to calibrate for varying spectroscopic system operating parameters. The accurate calibration achieved allows quantitative spectroscopic analysis of responses taken at different times, different excitation conditions, and of different targets.

  14. Calibration method for spectroscopic systems

    DOEpatents

    Sandison, D.R.

    1998-11-17

    Calibration spots of optically-characterized material placed in the field of view of a spectroscopic system allow calibration of the spectroscopic system. Response from the calibration spots is measured and used to calibrate for varying spectroscopic system operating parameters. The accurate calibration achieved allows quantitative spectroscopic analysis of responses taken at different times, different excitation conditions, and of different targets. 3 figs.

  15. Mammalian expression levels of cellulase and xylanase genes optimised by human codon usage are not necessarily higher than those optimised by the extremely biased approach.

    PubMed

    Liu, Zhiguo; Sun, Yanxia; Feng, Tao; Ji, Qianqian; Cong, Peiqing; Chen, Yaosheng; He, Zuyong

    2014-11-01

    Xylanase gene xynB, cellulase genes egxA and bgl4 were subjected to codon optimisation using two opposing strategies. One was designated the 'one amino acid-one codon' approach, which employs only the codon most used by humans for each amino acid. The other one is referred to as the "humanised" codon usage method, which selects synonymous codons for each amino acid according to the human codon usage table to mimic patterns used in humans. Protein expression levels in mammalian cell lines from each sequence were measured using fluorescence-activated cell sorting, western blotting and enzymatic activity assay. The results indicate that compared with the humanised codon usage method, the relatively simple 'one amino acid-one codon' approach could enhance heterologous protein expression in mammalian cells without apparent drawbacks.

  16. Fossil energy program. Progress report, July 1980

    SciTech Connect

    McNeese, L. E.

    1980-10-01

    This report - the seventy-second of a series - is a compendium of monthly progress reports for the ORNL research and development programs that are in support of the increased utilization of coal and other fossil fuel alternatives to oil and gas as sources of clean energy. The projects reported this month include those for coal conversion development, chemical research and development, materials technology, component development and process evaluation, technical support to major liquefaction projects, process and program analysis, fossil energy environmental analysis, coal preparation and waste utilization, coal preparation plant automation, atmospheric fluidized bed coal combustor for cogeneration, technical support to the TVA fluidized bed combustion demonstration plant program, fossil energy applications assessments, performance assurance system support for fossil energy projects, international assessment of atmospheric fluidized bed combustion technology, and PFBC systems analysis.

  17. Fossil Finds Expand Early Hominid Anatomy.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bower, B.

    1991-01-01

    Hominid fossils found in late 1990 in Ethiopia are reported. A controversy surrounding these remains and those of earlier expeditions, including Lucy, over whether more than one species of hominid are represented is discussed. (CW)

  18. Microbial Fossils Detected in Desert Varnish

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Flood, B. E.; Allen, C.; Longazo, T.

    2003-03-01

    Desert varnish, a mixture of clays, Mn-oxides, and Fe-oxides, is a potential terrestrial analogue to Martian hematite. A scanning electron microscopic examination of samples from Pilbara, Australia revealed evidence of microbial fossilization.

  19. Evolution: Fossil Ears and Underwater Sonar.

    PubMed

    Lambert, Olivier

    2016-08-22

    A key innovation in the history of whales was the evolution of a sonar system together with high-frequency hearing. Fossils of an archaic toothed whale's inner ear bones provide clues for a stepwise emergence of underwater echolocation ability.

  20. Development incentives for fossil fuel subsidy reform

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jakob, Michael; Chen, Claudine; Fuss, Sabine; Marxen, Annika; Edenhofer, Ottmar

    2015-08-01

    Reforming fossil fuel subsidies could free up enough funds to finance universal access to water, sanitation, and electricity in many countries, as well as helping to cut global greenhouse-gas emissions.

  1. Gemini facility calibration unit

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ramsay-Howat, Suzanne K.; Harris, John W.; Gostick, David C.; Laidlaw, Ken; Kidd, Norrie; Strachan, Mel; Wilson, Ken

    2000-08-01

    High-quality, efficient calibration instruments is a pre- requisite for the modern observatory. Each of the Gemini telescopes will be equipped with identical facility calibration units (GCALs) designed to provide wavelength and flat-field calibrations for the suite of instruments. The broad range of instrumentation planned for the telescopes heavily constrains the design of GCAL. Short calibration exposures are required over wavelengths from 0.3micrometers to 5micrometers , field sizes up to 7 arcminutes and spectral resolution from R-5 to 50,000. The output from GCAL must mimic the f-16 beam of the telescope and provide a uniform illumination of the focal plane. The calibration units are mounted on the Gemini Instrument Support Structure, two meters from the focal pane, necessitating the use of large optical components. We will discuss the opto-mechanical design of the Gemini calibration unit, with reference to those feature which allow these stringent requirements to be met. A novel reflector/diffuser unit replaces the integration sphere more normally found in calibration systems. The efficiency of this system is an order of magnitude greater than for an integration sphere. A system of two off-axis mirrors reproduces the telescope pupil and provides the 7 foot focal plane. The results of laboratory test of the uniformity and throughput of the GCAL will be presented.

  2. Fossil fuels in the 21st century.

    PubMed

    Lincoln, Stephen F

    2005-12-01

    An overview of the importance of fossil fuels in supplying the energy requirements of the 21st century, their future supply, and the impact of their use on global climate is presented. Current and potential alternative energy sources are considered. It is concluded that even with substantial increases in energy derived from other sources, fossil fuels will remain a major energy source for much of the 21st century and the sequestration of CO2 will be an increasingly important requirement.

  3. Fossil facies of the Greater Caspian region

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Svitoch, A. A.

    2015-05-01

    The Pliocene-Pleistocene marine sediments of the Great Caspian region host various lithological fossil facies, which reflect specific sedimentation conditions caused by different structural-geomorphologic settings, tectonic regimes, climates, and hydrologies. The facies of shelf, epicontinental basins, ingression gulfs and estuaries, intermontane and mountainous basins, and deep-sea depressions form a hierarchy of geological bodies from types to subtypes. Paragenetic associations of fossil facies, which form various series in space and along the section, are typical of marine sediments.

  4. The Paleogene fossil record of birds in Europe.

    PubMed

    Mayr, Gerald

    2005-11-01

    The Paleogene (Paleocene-Oligocene) fossil record of birds in Europe is reviewed and recent and fossil taxa are placed into a phylogenetic framework, based on published cladistic analyses. The pre-Oligocene European avifauna is characterized by the complete absence of passeriform birds, which today are the most diverse and abundant avian taxon. Representatives of small non-passeriform perching birds thus probably had similar ecological niches before the Oligocene to those filled by modern passerines. The occurrence of passerines towards the Lower Oligocene appears to have had a major impact on these birds, and the surviving crown-group members of many small arboreal Eocene taxa show highly specialized feeding strategies not found or rare in passeriform birds. It is detailed that no crown-group members of modern 'families' are known from pre-Oligocene deposits of Europe, or anywhere else. The phylogenetic position of Paleogene birds thus indicates that diversification of the crown-groups of modern avian 'families' did not take place before the Oligocene, irrespective of their relative position within Neornithes (crown-group birds). The Paleogene fossil record of birds does not even support crown-group diversification of Galliformes, one of the most basal taxa of neognathous birds, before the Oligocene, and recent molecular studies that dated diversification of galliform crown-group taxa into the Middle Cretaceous are shown to be based on an incorrect interpretation of the fossil taxa used for molecular clock calibrations. Several taxa that occur in the Paleogene of Europe have a very different distribution than their closest extant relatives. The modern survivors of these Paleogene lineages are not evenly distributed over the continents, and especially the great number of taxa that are today restricted to South and Central America is noteworthy. The occurrence of stem-lineage representatives of many taxa that today have a restricted Southern Hemisphere distribution

  5. Calibration of acoustic transients.

    PubMed

    Burkard, Robert

    2006-05-26

    This article reviews the appropriate stimulus parameters (click duration, toneburst envelope) that should be used when eliciting auditory brainstem responses from mice. Equipment specifications required to calibrate these acoustic transients are discussed. Several methods of calibrating the level of acoustic transients are presented, including the measurement of peak equivalent sound pressure level (peSPL) and peak sound pressure level (pSPL). It is hoped that those who collect auditory brainstem response thresholds in mice will begin to use standardized methods of acoustic calibration, so that hearing thresholds across mouse strains obtained in different laboratories can more readily be compared.

  6. Dynamic Pressure Calibration Standard

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schutte, P. C.; Cate, K. H.; Young, S. D.

    1986-01-01

    Vibrating columns of fluid used to calibrate transducers. Dynamic pressure calibration standard developed for calibrating flush diaphragm-mounted pressure transducers. Pressures up to 20 kPa (3 psi) accurately generated over frequency range of 50 to 1,800 Hz. System includes two conically shaped aluminum columns one 5 cm (2 in.) high for low pressures and another 11 cm (4.3 in.) high for higher pressures, each filled with viscous fluid. Each column mounted on armature of vibration exciter, which imparts sinusoidally varying acceleration to fluid column. Signal noise low, and waveform highly dependent on quality of drive signal in vibration exciter.

  7. Lidar Calibration Centre

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pappalardo, Gelsomina; Freudenthaler, Volker; Nicolae, Doina; Mona, Lucia; Belegante, Livio; D'Amico, Giuseppe

    2016-06-01

    This paper presents the newly established Lidar Calibration Centre, a distributed infrastructure in Europe, whose goal is to offer services for complete characterization and calibration of lidars and ceilometers. Mobile reference lidars, laboratories for testing and characterization of optics and electronics, facilities for inspection and debugging of instruments, as well as for training in good practices are open to users from the scientific community, operational services and private sector. The Lidar Calibration Centre offers support for trans-national access through the EC HORIZON2020 project ACTRIS-2.

  8. Airdata Measurement and Calibration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Haering, Edward A., Jr.

    1995-01-01

    This memorandum provides a brief introduction to airdata measurement and calibration. Readers will learn about typical test objectives, quantities to measure, and flight maneuvers and operations for calibration. The memorandum informs readers about tower-flyby, trailing cone, pacer, radar-tracking, and dynamic airdata calibration maneuvers. Readers will also begin to understand how some data analysis considerations and special airdata cases, including high-angle-of-attack flight, high-speed flight, and nonobtrusive sensors are handled. This memorandum is not intended to be all inclusive; this paper contains extensive reference and bibliography sections.

  9. Compact radiometric microwave calibrator

    SciTech Connect

    Fixsen, D. J.; Wollack, E. J.; Kogut, A.; Limon, M.; Mirel, P.; Singal, J.; Fixsen, S. M.

    2006-06-15

    The calibration methods for the ARCADE II instrument are described and the accuracy estimated. The Steelcast coated aluminum cones which comprise the calibrator have a low reflection while maintaining 94% of the absorber volume within 5 mK of the base temperature (modeled). The calibrator demonstrates an absorber with the active part less than one wavelength thick and only marginally larger than the mouth of the largest horn and yet black (less than -40 dB or 0.01% reflection) over five octaves in frequency.

  10. DIRBE External Calibrator (DEC)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wyatt, Clair L.; Thurgood, V. Alan; Allred, Glenn D.

    1987-01-01

    Under NASA Contract No. NAS5-28185, the Center for Space Engineering at Utah State University has produced a calibration instrument for the Diffuse Infrared Background Experiment (DIRBE). DIRBE is one of the instruments aboard the Cosmic Background Experiment Observatory (COBE). The calibration instrument is referred to as the DEC (Dirbe External Calibrator). DEC produces a steerable, infrared beam of controlled spectral content and intensity and with selectable point source or diffuse source characteristics, that can be directed into the DIRBE to map fields and determine response characteristics. This report discusses the design of the DEC instrument, its operation and characteristics, and provides an analysis of the systems capabilities and performance.

  11. Reconciling molecular phylogenies with the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Morlon, Hélène; Parsons, Todd L; Plotkin, Joshua B

    2011-09-27

    Historical patterns of species diversity inferred from phylogenies typically contradict the direct evidence found in the fossil record. According to the fossil record, species frequently go extinct, and many clades experience periods of dramatic diversity loss. However, most analyses of molecular phylogenies fail to identify any periods of declining diversity, and they typically infer low levels of extinction. This striking inconsistency between phylogenies and fossils limits our understanding of macroevolution, and it undermines our confidence in phylogenetic inference. Here, we show that realistic extinction rates and diversity trajectories can be inferred from molecular phylogenies. To make this inference, we derive an analytic expression for the likelihood of a phylogeny that accommodates scenarios of declining diversity, time-variable rates, and incomplete sampling; we show that this likelihood expression reliably detects periods of diversity loss using simulation. We then study the cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises), a group for which standard phylogenetic inferences are strikingly inconsistent with fossil data. When the cetacean phylogeny is considered as a whole, recently radiating clades, such as the Balaneopteridae, Delphinidae, Phocoenidae, and Ziphiidae, mask the signal of extinctions. However, when isolating these groups, we infer diversity dynamics that are consistent with the fossil record. These results reconcile molecular phylogenies with fossil data, and they suggest that most extant cetaceans arose from four recent radiations, with a few additional species arising from clades that have been in decline over the last ~10 Myr. PMID:21930899

  12. Calibration Fixture For Anemometer Probes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lewis, Charles R.; Nagel, Robert T.

    1993-01-01

    Fixture facilitates calibration of three-dimensional sideflow thermal anemometer probes. With fixture, probe oriented at number of angles throughout its design range. Readings calibrated as function of orientation in airflow. Calibration repeatable and verifiable.

  13. On the age of eukaryotes: evaluating evidence from fossils and molecular clocks.

    PubMed

    Eme, Laura; Sharpe, Susan C; Brown, Matthew W; Roger, Andrew J

    2014-08-01

    Our understanding of the phylogenetic relationships among eukaryotic lineages has improved dramatically over the few past decades thanks to the development of sophisticated phylogenetic methods and models of evolution, in combination with the increasing availability of sequence data for a variety of eukaryotic lineages. Concurrently, efforts have been made to infer the age of major evolutionary events along the tree of eukaryotes using fossil-calibrated molecular clock-based methods. Here, we review the progress and pitfalls in estimating the age of the last eukaryotic common ancestor (LECA) and major lineages. After reviewing previous attempts to date deep eukaryote divergences, we present the results of a Bayesian relaxed-molecular clock analysis of a large dataset (159 proteins, 85 taxa) using 19 fossil calibrations. We show that for major eukaryote groups estimated dates of divergence, as well as their credible intervals, are heavily influenced by the relaxed molecular clock models and methods used, and by the nature and treatment of fossil calibrations. Whereas the estimated age of LECA varied widely, ranging from 1007 (943-1102) Ma to 1898 (1655-2094) Ma, all analyses suggested that the eukaryotic supergroups subsequently diverged rapidly (i.e., within 300 Ma of LECA). The extreme variability of these and previously published analyses preclude definitive conclusions regarding the age of major eukaryote clades at this time. As more reliable fossil data on eukaryotes from the Proterozoic become available and improvements are made in relaxed molecular clock modeling, we may be able to date the age of extant eukaryotes more precisely.

  14. On the Age of Eukaryotes: Evaluating Evidence from Fossils and Molecular Clocks

    PubMed Central

    Eme, Laura; Sharpe, Susan C.; Brown, Matthew W.; Roger, Andrew J.

    2014-01-01

    Our understanding of the phylogenetic relationships among eukaryotic lineages has improved dramatically over the few past decades thanks to the development of sophisticated phylogenetic methods and models of evolution, in combination with the increasing availability of sequence data for a variety of eukaryotic lineages. Concurrently, efforts have been made to infer the age of major evolutionary events along the tree of eukaryotes using fossil-calibrated molecular clock-based methods. Here, we review the progress and pitfalls in estimating the age of the last eukaryotic common ancestor (LECA) and major lineages. After reviewing previous attempts to date deep eukaryote divergences, we present the results of a Bayesian relaxed-molecular clock analysis of a large dataset (159 proteins, 85 taxa) using 19 fossil calibrations. We show that for major eukaryote groups estimated dates of divergence, as well as their credible intervals, are heavily influenced by the relaxed molecular clock models and methods used, and by the nature and treatment of fossil calibrations. Whereas the estimated age of LECA varied widely, ranging from 1007 (943–1102) Ma to 1898 (1655–2094) Ma, all analyses suggested that the eukaryotic supergroups subsequently diverged rapidly (i.e., within 300 Ma of LECA). The extreme variability of these and previously published analyses preclude definitive conclusions regarding the age of major eukaryote clades at this time. As more reliable fossil data on eukaryotes from the Proterozoic become available and improvements are made in relaxed molecular clock modeling, we may be able to date the age of extant eukaryotes more precisely. PMID:25085908

  15. AT2-AT3-profiling: a new look at synonymous codon usage.

    PubMed

    Pluhar, Wolfgang

    2006-12-01

    The teleology of synonymous codon usage (SCU) still awaits a unifying concept. Here the 2nd codon letter of human mRNA-codons was graphically, aided by a computer program, put in relation to the 3rd codon letter, the carrier of SCU: AT2, the density of A+T in 2nd codon position, behaves to AT3, the analogous density of the 3rd codon position, mostly in an inverse fashion that can be expressed as typical figures: mRNAs with an overall AT-density below 50% have a tendency to produce bulky figures called "red dragons" (when redness is attributed to graph-areas, where AT3< AT2), while mRNAs with an AT-density above 50% produce a pattern called "harlequin" consisting of alternating red and blue (blueness, in analogy, when AT3>AT2) diamonds. With more diversion of AT3 from AT2, the harlequin patterns can assume the pattern of a "blue dragon". By analysing the mRNA of known proteins, these patterns can be correlated with certain functional regions: proteins with multiple transmembrane passages show bulky "red dragons", structural proteins with a high glycine- and proline content such as collagen result in "blue dragons". Non-coding mRNAs tend to show a balance between AT2 and AT3 and hence "harlequin patterns". Signal peptides usually code red due to a low AT3 with an AT2-density at the expectance level. With this technique DNA-sequences of as yet unknown functional meaning were scanned. When stretches of harlequin patterns appear interrupted by red or blue dragons, closer scrutiny of these stretches can reveal ORFs which deserve to be looked at more closely for their protein-informational content. At least in humans, SCU appears to follow protein-dependent AT2-density in a reciprocal fashion and does not seem to serve the purpose of influencing mRNA secondary structure which is discussed in depth. PMID:16930630

  16. Fossil group origins - VI. Global X-ray scaling relations of fossil galaxy clusters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kundert, A.; Gastaldello, F.; D'Onghia, E.; Girardi, M.; Aguerri, J. A. L.; Barrena, R.; Corsini, E. M.; De Grandi, S.; Jiménez-Bailón, E.; Lozada-Muñoz, M.; Méndez-Abreu, J.; Sánchez-Janssen, R.; Wilcots, E.; Zarattini, S.

    2015-11-01

    We present the first pointed X-ray observations of 10 candidate fossil galaxy groups and clusters. With these Suzaku observations, we determine global temperatures and bolometric X-ray luminosities of the intracluster medium (ICM) out to r500 for six systems in our sample. The remaining four systems show signs of significant contamination from non-ICM sources. For the six objects with successfully determined r500 properties, we measure global temperatures in the range 2.8 ≤ TX ≤ 5.3 keV, bolometric X-ray luminosities of 0.8 × 1044 ≤ LX, bol ≤ 7.7 × 1044 erg s-1, and estimate masses, as derived from TX, of M500 ≳ 1014 M⊙. Fossil cluster scaling relations are constructed for a sample that combines our Suzaku observed fossils with fossils in the literature. Using measurements of global X-ray luminosity, temperature, optical luminosity, and velocity dispersion, scaling relations for the fossil sample are then compared with a control sample of non-fossil systems. We find the fits of our fossil cluster scaling relations are consistent with the relations for normal groups and clusters, indicating fossil clusters have global ICM X-ray properties similar to those of comparable mass non-fossil systems.

  17. Fossil group origins. IV. Characterization of the sample and observational properties of fossil systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zarattini, S.; Barrena, R.; Girardi, M.; Castro-Rodriguez, N.; Boschin, W.; Aguerri, J. A. L.; Méndez-Abreu, J.; Sánchez-Janssen, R.; Catalán-Torrecilla, C.; Corsini, E. M.; del Burgo, C.; D'Onghia, E.; Herrera-Ruiz, N.; Iglesias-Páramo, J.; Jimenez Bailon, E.; Lozada Muoz, M.; Napolitano, N.; Vilchez, J. M.

    2014-05-01

    Context. Virialized halos grow by the accretion of smaller ones in the cold dark matter scenario. The rate of accretion depends on the different properties of the host halo. Those halos for which this accretion rate was very fast and efficient resulted in systems dominated by a central galaxy surrounded by smaller galaxies that were at least two magnitudes fainter. These galaxy systems are called fossil systems, and they can be the fossil relics of ancient galaxy structures. Aims: We started an extensive observational program to characterize a sample of 34 fossil group candidates spanning a broad range of physical properties. Methods: Deep r-band images were obtained with the 2.5-m Isaac Newton Telescope and Nordic Optic Telescope. Optical spectroscopic observations were performed at the 3.5-m Telescopio Nazionale Galileo for ~1200 galaxies. This new dataset was completed with Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 7 archival data to obtain robust cluster membership and global properties of each fossil group candidate. For each system, we recomputed the magnitude gaps between the two brightest galaxies (Δm12) and the first and fourth ranked galaxies (Δm14) within 0.5 R200. We consider fossil systems to be those with Δm12 ≥ 2 mag or Δm14 ≥ 2.5 mag within the errors. Results: We find that 15 candidates turned out to be fossil systems. Their observational properties agree with those of non-fossil systems. Both follow the same correlations, but the fossil systems are always extreme cases. In particular, they host the brightest central galaxies, and the fraction of total galaxy light enclosed in the brightest group galaxy is larger in fossil than in non-fossil systems. Finally, we confirm the existence of genuine fossil clusters. Conclusions: Combining our results with others in the literature, we favor the merging scenario in which fossil systems formed from mergers of L∗ galaxies. The large magnitude gap is a consequence of the extreme merger ratio within

  18. Antagonistic relationships between intron content and codon usage bias of genes in three mosquito species: functional and evolutionary implications

    PubMed Central

    Behura, Susanta K; Singh, Brajendra K; Severson, David W

    2013-01-01

    Genome biology of mosquitoes holds potential in developing knowledge-based control strategies against vectorborne diseases such as malaria, dengue, West Nile, and others. Although the genomes of three major vector mosquitoes have been sequenced, attempts to elucidate the relationship between intron and codon usage bias across species in phylogenetic contexts are limited. In this study, we investigated the relationship between intron content and codon bias of orthologous genes among three vector mosquito species. We found an antagonistic relationship between codon usage bias and the intron number of genes in each mosquito species. The pattern is further evident among the intronless and the intron-containing orthologous genes associated with either low or high codon bias among the three species. Furthermore, the covariance between codon bias and intron number has a directional component associated with the species phylogeny when compared with other nonmosquito insects. By applying a maximum likelihood–based continuous regression method, we show that codon bias and intron content of genes vary among the insects in a phylogeny-dependent manner, but with no evidence of adaptive radiation or species-specific adaptation. We discuss the functional and evolutionary significance of antagonistic relationships between intron content and codon bias. PMID:24187589

  19. Expression of varied GFPs in Saccharomyces cerevisiae: codon optimization yields stronger than expected expression and fluorescence intensity

    PubMed Central

    Kaishima, Misato; Ishii, Jun; Matsuno, Toshihide; Fukuda, Nobuo; Kondo, Akihiko

    2016-01-01

    Green fluorescent protein (GFP), which was originally isolated from jellyfish, is a widely used tool in biological research, and homologs from other organisms are available. However, researchers must determine which GFP is the most suitable for a specific host. Here, we expressed GFPs from several sources in codon-optimized and non-codon-optimized forms in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which represents an ideal eukaryotic model. Surprisingly, codon-optimized mWasabi and mNeonGreen, which are typically the brightest GFPs, emitted less green fluorescence than did the other five codon-optimized GFPs tested in S. cerevisiae. Further, commercially available GFPs that have been optimized for mammalian codon usage (e.g., EGFP, AcGFP1 and TagGFP2) unexpectedly exhibited extremely low expression levels in S. cerevisiae. In contrast, codon-optimization of the GFPs for S. cerevisiae markedly increased their expression levels, and the fluorescence intensity of the cells increased by a maximum of 101-fold. Among the tested GFPs, the codon-optimized monomeric mUkG1 from soft coral showed the highest levels of both expression and fluorescence. Finally, the expression of this protein as a fusion-tagged protein successfully improved the reporting system’s ability to sense signal transduction and protein–protein interactions in S. cerevisiae and increased the detection rates of target cells using flow cytometry. PMID:27782154

  20. Association of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease with homozygous genotypes at PRNP codons 129 and 219 in the Korean population.

    PubMed

    Jeong, Byung-Hoon; Lee, Kyung-Hee; Kim, Nam-Ho; Jin, Jae-Kwang; Kim, Jae-Il; Carp, Richard I; Kim, Yong-Sun

    2005-12-01

    Human prion protein gene (PRNP) is considered an important gene in determining the incidence of human transmissible spongiform encephalopathies or prion diseases. Polymorphisms of PRNP at codon 129 in Europeans and codon 219 in Japanese may play an important role in the susceptibility to sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD); data regarding codon 129 in the Japanese population have led to divergent interpretations. In order to determine which, if any, of the PRNP genotypes in Korean people are associated with sporadic CJD, we examined the genotype and allelic distributions of human PRNP polymorphisms in 150 patients with sporadic CJD. All Korean sporadic CJD patients were Met/Met at codon 129, Glu/Glu at codon 219 and undeleted at the octarepeat region of PRNP. Our study showed significant differences in genotype frequency of PRNP at codon 129 (chi 2=8.8998, P=0.0117) or 219 (chi 2=12.6945, P=0.0004) between sporadic CJD and normal controls. Furthermore, the genotype frequency of the heterozygotes for codons 129 and/or 219 showed a significant difference between the normal population and sporadic CJD patients (chi 2=21.0780, P<0.0001).

  1. Numeral series hidden in the distribution of atomic mass of amino acids to codon domains in the genetic code.

    PubMed

    Wohlin, Åsa

    2015-03-21

    The distribution of codons in the nearly universal genetic code is a long discussed issue. At the atomic level, the numeral series 2x(2) (x=5-0) lies behind electron shells and orbitals. Numeral series appear in formulas for spectral lines of hydrogen. The question here was if some similar scheme could be found in the genetic code. A table of 24 codons was constructed (synonyms counted as one) for 20 amino acids, four of which have two different codons. An atomic mass analysis was performed, built on common isotopes. It was found that a numeral series 5 to 0 with exponent 2/3 times 10(2) revealed detailed congruency with codon-grouped amino acid side-chains, simultaneously with the division on atom kinds, further with main 3rd base groups, backbone chains and with codon-grouped amino acids in relation to their origin from glycolysis or the citrate cycle. Hence, it is proposed that this series in a dynamic way may have guided the selection of amino acids into codon domains. Series with simpler exponents also showed noteworthy correlations with the atomic mass distribution on main codon domains; especially the 2x(2)-series times a factor 16 appeared as a conceivable underlying level, both for the atomic mass and charge distribution. Furthermore, it was found that atomic mass transformations between numeral systems, possibly interpretable as dimension degree steps, connected the atomic mass of codon bases with codon-grouped amino acids and with the exponent 2/3-series in several astonishing ways. Thus, it is suggested that they may be part of a deeper reference system.

  2. Mutations to Less-Preferred Synonymous Codons in a Highly Expressed Gene of Escherichia coli: Fitness and Epistatic Interactions

    PubMed Central

    Hauber, David J.; Grogan, Dennis W.; DeBry, Ronald W.

    2016-01-01

    Codon-tRNA coevolution to maximize protein production has been, until recently, the dominant hypothesis to explain codon-usage bias in highly expressed bacterial genes. Two predictions of this hypothesis are 1) selection is weak; and 2) similar silent replacements at different codons should have similar fitness consequence. We used an allele-replacement strategy to change five specific 3rd-codon-position (silent) sites in the highly expressed Escherichia coli ribosomal protein gene rplQ from the wild type to a less-preferred alternative. We introduced the five mutations within a 10-codon region. Four of the silent sites were chosen to test the second prediction, with a CTG to CTA mutation being introduced at two closely linked leucine codons and an AAA to AAG mutation being introduced at two closely linked lysine codons. We also introduced a fifth silent mutation, a GTG to GTA mutation at a valine codon in the same genic region. We measured the fitness effect of the individual mutations by competing each single-mutant strain against the parental wild-type strain, using a disrupted form of the araA gene as a selectively neutral phenotypic marker to distinguish between strains in direct competition experiments. Three of the silent mutations had a fitness effect of |s| > 0.02, which is contradictory to the prediction that selection will be weak. The two leucine mutations had significantly different fitness effects, as did the two lysine mutations, contradictory to the prediction that similar mutations at different codons should have similar fitness effects. We also constructed a strain carrying all five silent mutations in combination. Its fitness effect was greater than that predicted from the individual fitness values, suggesting that negative synergistic epistasis acts on the combination allele. PMID:26727272

  3. Modulation of Poliovirus Replicative Fitness in HeLa Cells by Deoptimization of Synonymous Codon Usage in the Capsid Region

    PubMed Central

    Burns, Cara Carthel; Shaw, Jing; Campagnoli, Ray; Jorba, Jaume; Vincent, Annelet; Quay, Jacqueline; Kew, Olen

    2006-01-01

    We replaced degenerate codons for nine amino acids within the capsid region of the Sabin type 2 oral poliovirus vaccine strain with corresponding nonpreferred synonymous codons. Codon replacements were introduced into four contiguous intervals spanning 97% of the capsid region. In the capsid region of the most highly modified virus construct, the effective number of codons used (NC) fell from 56.2 to 29.8, the number of CG dinucleotides rose from 97 to 302, and the G+C content increased from 48.4% to 56.4%. Replicative fitness in HeLa cells, measured by plaque areas and virus yields in single-step growth experiments, decreased in proportion to the number of replacement codons. Plaque areas decreased over an ∼10-fold range, and virus yields decreased over an ∼65-fold range. Perhaps unexpectedly, the synthesis and processing of viral proteins appeared to be largely unaltered by the restriction in codon usage. In contrast, total yields of viral RNA in infected cells were reduced ∼3-fold and specific infectivities of purified virions (measured by particle/PFU ratios) decreased ∼18-fold in the most highly modified virus. The replicative fitness of both codon replacement viruses and unmodified viruses increased with the passage number in HeLa cells. After 25 serial passages (∼50 replication cycles), most codon replacements were retained, and the relative fitness of the modified viruses remained well below that of the unmodified virus. The increased replicative fitness of high-passage modified virus was associated with the elimination of several CG dinucleotides. Potential applications for the systematic modulation of poliovirus replicative fitness by deoptimization of codon usage are discussed. PMID:16537593

  4. Numeral series hidden in the distribution of atomic mass of amino acids to codon domains in the genetic code.

    PubMed

    Wohlin, Åsa

    2015-03-21

    The distribution of codons in the nearly universal genetic code is a long discussed issue. At the atomic level, the numeral series 2x(2) (x=5-0) lies behind electron shells and orbitals. Numeral series appear in formulas for spectral lines of hydrogen. The question here was if some similar scheme could be found in the genetic code. A table of 24 codons was constructed (synonyms counted as one) for 20 amino acids, four of which have two different codons. An atomic mass analysis was performed, built on common isotopes. It was found that a numeral series 5 to 0 with exponent 2/3 times 10(2) revealed detailed congruency with codon-grouped amino acid side-chains, simultaneously with the division on atom kinds, further with main 3rd base groups, backbone chains and with codon-grouped amino acids in relation to their origin from glycolysis or the citrate cycle. Hence, it is proposed that this series in a dynamic way may have guided the selection of amino acids into codon domains. Series with simpler exponents also showed noteworthy correlations with the atomic mass distribution on main codon domains; especially the 2x(2)-series times a factor 16 appeared as a conceivable underlying level, both for the atomic mass and charge distribution. Furthermore, it was found that atomic mass transformations between numeral systems, possibly interpretable as dimension degree steps, connected the atomic mass of codon bases with codon-grouped amino acids and with the exponent 2/3-series in several astonishing ways. Thus, it is suggested that they may be part of a deeper reference system. PMID:25623487

  5. Roundness calibration standard

    DOEpatents

    Burrus, Brice M.

    1984-01-01

    A roundness calibration standard is provided with a first arc constituting the major portion of a circle and a second arc lying between the remainder of the circle and the chord extending between the ends of said first arc.

  6. Calibrated Properties Model

    SciTech Connect

    C.F. Ahlers, H.H. Liu

    2001-12-18

    The purpose of this Analysis/Model Report (AMR) is to document the Calibrated Properties Model that provides calibrated parameter sets for unsaturated zone (UZ) flow and transport process models for the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project (YMP). This work was performed in accordance with the AMR Development Plan for U0035 Calibrated Properties Model REV00 (CRWMS M&O 1999c). These calibrated property sets include matrix and fracture parameters for the UZ Flow and Transport Model (UZ Model), drift seepage models, drift-scale and mountain-scale coupled-processes models, and Total System Performance Assessment (TSPA) models as well as Performance Assessment (PA) and other participating national laboratories and government agencies. These process models provide the necessary framework to test conceptual hypotheses of flow and transport at different scales and predict flow and transport behavior under a variety of climatic and thermal-loading conditions.

  7. Calibrated Properties Model

    SciTech Connect

    C. Ahlers; H. Liu

    2000-03-12

    The purpose of this Analysis/Model Report (AMR) is to document the Calibrated Properties Model that provides calibrated parameter sets for unsaturated zone (UZ) flow and transport process models for the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project (YMP). This work was performed in accordance with the ''AMR Development Plan for U0035 Calibrated Properties Model REV00. These calibrated property sets include matrix and fracture parameters for the UZ Flow and Transport Model (UZ Model), drift seepage models, drift-scale and mountain-scale coupled-processes models, and Total System Performance Assessment (TSPA) models as well as Performance Assessment (PA) and other participating national laboratories and government agencies. These process models provide the necessary framework to test conceptual hypotheses of flow and transport at different scales and predict flow and transport behavior under a variety of climatic and thermal-loading conditions.

  8. Radar altimeter calibration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Francis, C. R.

    1983-02-01

    The operating principles and design of a radar altimeter representative of those proposed of ERS-1 are described and geophysical influences on the measurements are discussed. General aspects of calibration are examined, and the critical areas of time and frequency resolution pointed out. A method of internal calibration of delay and backscatter coefficient, by rerouting the tramsitter signal, is described. External prelaunch calibration can be carried out by airborne trials, or using a return signal simulator. It is established that airborne calibration requires high altitudes and high speeds, and is likely to be difficult and expensive. The design of a return signal simulator is shown to be very difficult. No feasible design is identified.

  9. Amino-acid substitutions at codon 13 of the N-ras oncogene in human acute myeloid leukaemia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bos, Johannes L.; Toksoz, Deniz; Marshall, Christopher J.; Verlaan-de Vries, Matty; Veeneman, Gerrit H.; van der Eb, Alex J.; van Boom, Jacques H.; Janssen, Johannes W. G.; Steenvoorden, Ada C. M.

    1985-06-01

    DNAs from four out of five patients with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) tested by an in vivo selection assay in nude mice using transfected mouse NIH 3T3 cells were found to contain an activated N-ras oncogene. Using a set of synthetic oligonucleotide probes, we have detected a mutation at codon 13 in all four genes. The same codon is mutated in an additional AML DNA that is positive in the focus-formation assay on 3T3 cells. DNA from the peripheral blood of one patient in remission does not contain a codon 13 mutation.

  10. Preparation of an ochre suppressor tRNA recognizing exclusively UAA codon by using the molecular surgery technique.

    PubMed

    Yokogawa, Takashi; Hassan, Hanim Munirah Binti Che; Yokota, Yukiko; Ohno, Satoshi; Nishikawa, Kazuya

    2009-01-01

    In order to create an ochre suppressor tRNA which exclusively recognizes UAA codon, we replaced the G34 at the first position of yeast tRNA(Tyr)[GPsiA] anticodon with pseudouridine34 (Psi34) by using the molecular surgery technique. This tRNA(Tyr)[PsiPsiA] recognized only the UAA codon as expectedly, but tRNA(Tyr)[UPsiA] made as a control also behaved similarly. This result may suggest that U34 must be somehow modified to facilitate the wobble-pairing to G at the third position of codon. PMID:19749377

  11. Lack of IRS-1 codon 513 and 972 polymorphism in Pima Indians

    SciTech Connect

    Celi, F.S.; Silver, K.; Walston, J.

    1995-09-01

    Insulin receptor substrate-1 (IRS-1), a 1242 amino acid protein, an endogenous substrate for the insulin receptor tyrosine kinase, mediates many or all of the metabolic actions of insulin. Recently, polymorphism at codons 513 and 972 of the IRS-1 gene resulting in 2 amino acid substitutions that were associated with type II diabetes were found in a Caucasian population. Using allele specific oligonucleotide (ASO) hybridization, we screened 242 diabetic and 190 nondiabetic Pima Indians, a population with a very high prevalence of type II diabetes. Neither of the two mutations was present in either diabetic or nondiabetic subjects. We conclude that polymorphism at codons 513 and 972 of the IRS-1 gene observed in certain Caucasian populations is very rare or absent in Pima Indians. 20 refs., 2 figs., 1 tab.

  12. Big Data, Evolution, and Metagenomes: Predicting Disease from Gut Microbiota Codon Usage Profiles.

    PubMed

    Fabijanić, Maja; Vlahoviček, Kristian

    2016-01-01

    Metagenomics projects use next-generation sequencing to unravel genetic potential in microbial communities from a wealth of environmental niches, including those associated with human body and relevant to human health. In order to understand large datasets collected in metagenomics surveys and interpret them in context of how a community metabolism as a whole adapts and interacts with the environment, it is necessary to extend beyond the conventional approaches of decomposing metagenomes into microbial species' constituents and performing analysis on separate components. By applying concepts of translational optimization through codon usage adaptation on entire metagenomic datasets, we demonstrate that a bias in codon usage present throughout the entire microbial community can be used as a powerful analytical tool to predict for community lifestyle-specific metabolism. Here we demonstrate this approach combined with machine learning, to classify human gut microbiome samples according to the pathological condition diagnosed in the human host. PMID:27115650

  13. Maximum-Likelihood Tree Estimation Using Codon Substitution Models with Multiple Partitions

    PubMed Central

    Zoller, Stefan; Boskova, Veronika; Anisimova, Maria

    2015-01-01

    Many protein sequences have distinct domains that evolve with different rates, different selective pressures, or may differ in codon bias. Instead of modeling these differences by more and more complex models of molecular evolution, we present a multipartition approach that allows maximum-likelihood phylogeny inference using different codon models at predefined partitions in the data. Partition models can, but do not have to, share free parameters in the estimation process. We test this approach with simulated data as well as in a phylogenetic study of the origin of the leucin-rich repeat regions in the type III effector proteins of the pythopathogenic bacteria Ralstonia solanacearum. Our study does not only show that a simple two-partition model resolves the phylogeny better than a one-partition model but also gives more evidence supporting the hypothesis of lateral gene transfer events between the bacterial pathogens and its eukaryotic hosts. PMID:25911229

  14. Sequence coding for the alphavirus nonstructural proteins is interrupted by an opal termination codon.

    PubMed Central

    Strauss, E G; Rice, C M; Strauss, J H

    1983-01-01

    We have obtained the nucleotide sequence of the genomic RNAs of two alphaviruses, Sindbis virus and Middelburg virus, over an extensive region encoding the nonstructural (replicase) proteins. In both viruses in an equivalent position an opal (UGA) termination codon punctuates a long otherwise open reading frame. The nonstructural proteins are translated as polyprotein precursors that are processed by posttranslational cleavage into four polypeptide chains; the sequence data presented here indicate that the COOH-terminal polypeptide, ns72, may be produced by read-through of this opal codon. The high degree of amino acid homology between the ns72 polypeptides of the two viruses, in contrast to the lack of conserved sequence upstream from the read-through site, suggests that ns72 plays an important role in viral replication, possibly modulating the action of other replicase components. PMID:6577423

  15. When cells stop making sense: effects of nonsense codons on RNA metabolism in vertebrate cells.

    PubMed Central

    Maquat, L E

    1995-01-01

    It appears that no organism is immune to the effects of nonsense codons on mRNA abundance. The study of how nonsense codons alter RNA metabolism is still at an early stage, and our current understanding derives more from incidental vignettes than from experimental undertakings that address molecular mechanisms. Challenges for the future include identifying the gene products and RNA sequences that function in nonsense mediated RNA loss, resolving the cause and consequences of there apparently being more than one cellular site and mechanism for nonsense-mediated RNA loss, and understanding how these sites and mechanisms are related to both constitutive and specialized pathways of pre-mRNA processing and mRNA decay. PMID:7489507

  16. Dental development in living and fossil orangutans.

    PubMed

    Smith, Tanya M

    2016-05-01

    Numerous studies have investigated molar development in extant and fossil hominoids, yet relatively little is known about orangutans, the only great ape with an extensive fossil record. This study characterizes aspects of dental development, including cuspal enamel daily secretion rate, long-period line periodicities, cusp-specific molar crown formation times and extension rates, and initiation and completion ages in living and fossil orangutan postcanine teeth. Daily secretion rate and periodicities in living orangutans are similar to previous reports, while crown formation times often exceed published values, although direct comparisons are limited. One wild Bornean individual died at 4.5 years of age with fully erupted first molars (M1s), while a captive individual and a wild Sumatran individual likely erupted their M1s around five or six years of age. These data underscore the need for additional samples of orangutans of known sex, species, and developmental environment to explore potential sources of variation in molar emergence and their relationship to life history variables. Fossil orangutans possess larger crowns than living orangutans, show similarities in periodicities, and have faster daily secretion rate, longer crown formation times, and slower extension rates. Molar crown formation times exceed reported values for other fossil apes, including Gigantopithecus blacki. When compared to African apes, both living and fossil orangutans show greater cuspal enamel thickness values and periodicities, resulting in longer crown formation times and slower extension rates. Several of these variables are similar to modern humans, representing examples of convergent evolution. Molar crown formation does not appear to be equivalent among extant great apes or consistent within living and fossil members of Pongo or Homo. PMID:27178461

  17. The properties of fossil groups of galaxies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eigenthaler, P.; Zeilinger, W. W.

    2009-12-01

    Numerical simulations as well as optical and X-ray observations over the last few years have shown that poor groups of galaxies can evolve to what is called a fossil group. Dynamical friction as the driving process leads to the coalescence of individual galaxies in ordinary poor groups leaving behind nothing more than a central, massive elliptical galaxy supposed to contain the merger history of the whole group. Due to merging timescales for less-massive galaxies and gas cooling timescales of the X-ray intragroup medium exceeding a Hubble time, a surrounding faint-galaxy population having survived this galactic cannibalism as well as an extended X-ray halo similar to that found in ordinary groups, is expected. Recent studies suggest that fossil groups are very abundant and could be the progenitors of brightest cluster galaxies (BCGs) in the centers of rich galaxy clusters. However, only a few objects are known to the literature. This article aims to summarize the results of observational fossil group research over the last few years and presents ongoing work by the authors. Complementary to previous research, the SDSS and RASS surveys have been cross-correlated to identify new fossil structures yielding 34 newly detected fossil group candidates. Observations with ISIS at the 4.2 m William Herschel Telescope on La Palma have been carried out to study the stellar populations of the central ellipticals of 6 fossil groups. In addition multi-object spectroscopy with VLTs VIMOS has been performed to study the shape of the OLF of one fossil system.

  18. African fossil tali: further multivariate morphometric studies.

    PubMed

    Lisowski, F P; Albrecht, G H

    1976-07-01

    Analysis of measurements from the tali of 21 individual fossil primates from Africa shows that the specimens fall into five clearly defined groups. Accordingly, these specimens have been included as groups along with extant species in a subsequent canonical analysis thus allowing the fossils to play their part in the determination of the canonical separations. The results of this procedure show that the five fossil groups lie in a part of the canonical space not occupied by any extant African primate. Their positions are between the envelope of Asiatic apes (Hylobates and Pongo) and the envelope of African forms near the edge which contains Pan and Papio. One fossil group is so similar to Hylobates that its talus may have functioned in locomotion in a parallel manner. Others lie near to Pongo in directions proceeding towards Pan and Papio and it is possible that this similarity may indicate remnants of morphological adaptation for climbing in these fossils. At the same time, however, individual specimens are closer to one or another of the extant groups and this considerable spread suggests that the locomotor adaptations as evidenced by talar morphology, of the primate fauna in Africa, may have been very different from those of the present day. This would not the inconsistent with the different habitats, floras and non-primate faunas that may have characterized the East African scene at these earlier times. Particular fossils from Olduvai and Kromdraai that are supposed to be australopithecine and therefore bipeds, are confirmed (Oxnard, '72; Lisowski et al., '74) as being totally different from man in their talar morphology and essentially rather similar to the majority of the other fossil tali examined. PMID:961834

  19. Factors impacting the aminoglycoside-induced UGA stop codon readthrough in selenoprotein translation.

    PubMed

    Martitz, Janine; Hofmann, Peter Josef; Johannes, Jörg; Köhrle, Josef; Schomburg, Lutz; Renko, Kostja

    2016-09-01

    Aminoglycosides (AG) are oligosaccharide antibiotics that interfere with the small ribosomal subunit in aerobic, Gram-negative bacteria, causing pathogen-destructing error rates in their protein biosynthesis. Aminoglycosides also induce mRNA misinterpretation in eukaryotic cells, especially of the UGA (Opal)-stop codon, albeit to a lower extent. UGA recoding is essentially required for the incorporation of selenocysteine (Sec) into growing selenoproteins during translation. Selenocysteine incorporation requires the presence of a selenoprotein-specific stem-loop structure within the 3'-untranslated region of the mRNA, the so-called Sec-insertion sequence (SECIS) element. Interestingly, selenoprotein genes differ in their SECIS-element sequence and in their UGA base context. We hypothesized that the SECIS-element and the specific codon context synergize in controlling the effects of AG on stop codon readthrough. To this end, the SECIS-elements of glutathione peroxidase 1, glutathione peroxidase 4 and selenoprotein P transcripts were cloned into a reporter system and analyzed in combination with different UGA codon contexts. Our results indicate that a cytosine in position 4 (directly downstream of UGA) confers strongest effects on both the Se- and AG-dependent readthrough. Overall selenoprotein biosynthesis rate depends on the Se-status, AG concentration and the specific SECIS-element present in the transcript. These findings help to get a better understanding for the susceptibility of different transcripts towards AG-mediated interference with the biosynthesis of functional Se-containing selenoproteins, and highlight the importance of the Se-status for successful selenoprotein biosynthesis under antibiotic therapy. PMID:27157664

  20. Codon Size Reduction as the Origin of the Triplet Genetic Code

    PubMed Central

    Baranov, Pavel V.; Venin, Maxime; Provan, Gregory

    2009-01-01

    The genetic code appears to be optimized in its robustness to missense errors and frameshift errors. In addition, the genetic code is near-optimal in terms of its ability to carry information in addition to the sequences of encoded proteins. As evolution has no foresight, optimality of the modern genetic code suggests that it evolved from less optimal code variants. The length of codons in the genetic code is also optimal, as three is the minimal nucleotide combination that can encode the twenty standard amino acids. The apparent impossibility of transitions between codon sizes in a discontinuous manner during evolution has resulted in an unbending view that the genetic code was always triplet. Yet, recent experimental evidence on quadruplet decoding, as well as the discovery of organisms with ambiguous and dual decoding, suggest that the possibility of the evolution of triplet decoding from living systems with non-triplet decoding merits reconsideration and further exploration. To explore this possibility we designed a mathematical model of the evolution of primitive digital coding systems which can decode nucleotide sequences into protein sequences. These coding systems can evolve their nucleotide sequences via genetic events of Darwinian evolution, such as point-mutations. The replication rates of such coding systems depend on the accuracy of the generated protein sequences. Computer simulations based on our model show that decoding systems with codons of length greater than three spontaneously evolve into predominantly triplet decoding systems. Our findings suggest a plausible scenario for the evolution of the triplet genetic code in a continuous manner. This scenario suggests an explanation of how protein synthesis could be accomplished by means of long RNA-RNA interactions prior to the emergence of the complex decoding machinery, such as the ribosome, that is required for stabilization and discrimination of otherwise weak triplet codon-anticodon interactions

  1. Nearly neutrality and the evolution of codon usage bias in eukaryotic genomes.

    PubMed

    Subramanian, Sankar

    2008-04-01

    Here I show that the mean codon usage bias of a genome, and of the lowly expressed genes in a genome, is largely similar across eukaryotes ranging from unicellular protists to vertebrates. Conversely, this bias in housekeeping genes and in highly expressed genes has a remarkable inverse relationship with species generation time that varies by more than four orders of magnitude. The relevance of these results to the nearly neutral theory of molecular evolution is discussed.

  2. HER2 codon 655 polymorphism and breast cancer risk: a meta-analysis.

    PubMed

    Tao, Weiyang; Wang, Chunyang; Han, Ruifa; Jiang, Hongchi

    2009-03-01

    To evaluate the association between HER2 codon 655 polymorphism and breast cancer risk in this meta-analysis. A comprehensive search was performed to identify all case-control studies investigating such association. Statistical analyses were conducted with software MIX 1.54. Twenty eligible reports, including 10,642 cases/11,259 controls, were identified. In overall analysis, the Val allele frequency in cases was significantly higher than that in controls (OR = 1.0921, 95% CI: 1.0013-1.191, P = 0.0466), while no associations were found in both recessive and dominant models. In subgroup analysis, HER2 codon 655 polymorphism was weakly associated with breast cancer risk in recessive (OR = 2.4624, 95% CI: 1.0619-5.7104, P = 0.0357), dominant (OR = 1.2781, 95% CI: 1.0353-1.5779, P = 0.0225), and co-dominant genetic models (OR = 1.2947, 95% CI: 1.0682-1.5693, P = 0.0085) in Asian population, respectively. Meanwhile, the susceptibility to breast cancer in people aged < or =45 was significantly increased in both recessive (OR = 2.2408; 95% CI: 1.2876-3.8998, P = 0.0043), and dominant models (OR = 1.2902, 95% CI: 1.1035-1.5085, P = 0.0014). No significant associations were observed in Caucasian, European, and Family history subgroups. So our analyses suggest HER2 codon 655 Val allele is weakly associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, and SNP at HER2 codon 655 could be considered as a susceptibility biomarker for breast cancer for Asian females or women age 45 years or younger. PMID:18438707

  3. Integrated calibration sphere and calibration step fixture for improved coordinate measurement machine calibration

    DOEpatents

    Clifford, Harry J.

    2011-03-22

    A method and apparatus for mounting a calibration sphere to a calibration fixture for Coordinate Measurement Machine (CMM) calibration and qualification is described, decreasing the time required for such qualification, thus allowing the CMM to be used more productively. A number of embodiments are disclosed that allow for new and retrofit manufacture to perform as integrated calibration sphere and calibration fixture devices. This invention renders unnecessary the removal of a calibration sphere prior to CMM measurement of calibration features on calibration fixtures, thereby greatly reducing the time spent qualifying a CMM.

  4. Codon usage bias and base composition of nuclear genes in Drosophila.

    PubMed

    Moriyama, E N; Hartl, D L

    1993-07-01

    The nuclear genes of Drosophila evolve at various rates. This variation seems to correlate with codon-usage bias. In order to elucidate the determining factors of the various evolutionary rates and codon-usage bias in the Drosophila nuclear genome, we compared patterns of codon-usage bias with base compositions of exons and introns. Our results clearly show the existence of selective constraints at the translational level for synonymous (silent) sites and, on the other hand, the neutrality or near neutrality of long stretches of nucleotide sequence within noncoding regions. These features were found for comparisons among nuclear genes in a particular species (Drosophila melanogaster, Drosophila pseudoobscura and Drosophila virilis) as well as in a particular gene (alcohol dehydrogenase) among different species in the genus Drosophila. The patterns of evolution of synonymous sites in Drosophila are more similar to those in the prokaryotes than they are to those in mammals. If a difference in the level of expression of each gene is a main reason for the difference in the degree of selective constraint, the evolution of synonymous sites of Drosophila genes would be sensitive to the level of expression among genes and would change as the level of expression becomes altered in different species. Our analysis verifies these predictions and also identifies additional selective constraints at the translational level in Drosophila.

  5. General trends in selectively driven codon usage biases in the domain archaea.

    PubMed

    Iriarte, Andrés; Jara, Eugenio; Leytón, Lucía; Diana, Leticia; Musto, Héctor

    2014-10-01

    Since the advent of rapid techniques for sequencing DNA in the mid 70's, it became clear that all codons coding for the same amino acid are not used according to neutral expectations. In the last 30 years, several theories were proposed for explaining this fact. However, the most important concepts were the result of analyses carried out in Bacteria, and unicellular and multicellular eukaryotes like mammals (in other words, in two of the three Domains of life). In this communication, we study the main forces that shape codon usage in Archaeae under an evolutionary perspective. This is important because, as known, the orthologous genes related with the informational system in this Domain (replication, transcription and translation) are more similar to eukaryotes than to Bacteria. Our results show that the effect of selection acting at the level of translation is present in the Domain but mainly restricted to only a phylum (Euryarchaeota) and therefore is not as extended as in Bacteria. Besides, we describe the phylogenetic distribution of translational optimal codons and estimate the effect of selection acting at the level of accuracy. Finally, we discuss these results under some peculiarities that characterize this Domain.

  6. Mutational and Selective Pressures on Codon and Amino Acid Usage in Buchnera, Endosymbiotic Bacteria of Aphids

    PubMed Central

    Rispe, Claude; Delmotte, François; van Ham, Roeland C.H.J.; Moya, Andres

    2004-01-01

    We have explored compositional variation at synonymous (codon usage) and nonsynonymous (amino acid usage) positions in three complete genomes of Buchnera, endosymbiotic bacteria of aphids, and also in their orthologs in Escherichia coli, a close free-living relative. We sought to discriminate genes of variable expression levels in order to weigh the relative contributions of mutational bias and selection in the genomic changes following symbiosis. We identified clear strand asymmetries, distribution biases (putative high-expression genes were found more often on the leading strand), and a residual slight codon bias within each strand. Amino acid usage was strongly biased in putative high-expression genes, characterized by avoidance of aromatic amino acids, but above all by greater conservation and resistance to AT enrichment. Despite the almost complete loss of codon bias and heavy mutational pressure, selective forces are still strong at nonsynonymous sites of a fraction of the genome. However, Buchnera from Baizongia pistaciae appears to have suffered a stronger symbiotic syndrome than the two other species. PMID:14672975

  7. Recognition of the amber UAG stop codon by release factor RF1

    SciTech Connect

    Korostelev, Andrei; Zhu, Jianyu; Asahara, Haruichi; Noller, Harry F.

    2010-08-23

    We report the crystal structure of a termination complex containing release factor RF1 bound to the 70S ribosome in response to an amber (UAG) codon at 3.6-{angstrom} resolution. The amber codon is recognized in the 30S subunit-decoding centre directly by conserved elements of domain 2 of RF1, including T186 of the PVT motif. Together with earlier structures, the mechanisms of recognition of all three stop codons by release factors RF1 and RF2 can now be described. Our structure confirms that the backbone amide of Q230 of the universally conserved GGQ motif is positioned to contribute directly to the catalysis of the peptidyl-tRNA hydrolysis reaction through stabilization of the leaving group and/or transition state. We also observe synthetic-negative interactions between mutations in the switch loop of RF1 and in helix 69 of 23S rRNA, revealing that these structural features interact functionally in the termination process. These findings are consistent with our proposal that structural rearrangements of RF1 and RF2 are critical to accurate translation termination.

  8. Trm9-Catalyzed tRNA Modifications Regulate Global Protein Expression by Codon-Biased Translation

    PubMed Central

    Deng, Wenjun; Babu, I. Ramesh; Su, Dan; Yin, Shanye; Begley, Thomas J.; Dedon, Peter C.

    2015-01-01

    Post-transcriptional modifications of transfer RNAs (tRNAs) have long been recognized to play crucial roles in regulating the rate and fidelity of translation. However, the extent to which they determine global protein production remains poorly understood. Here we use quantitative proteomics to show a direct link between wobble uridine 5-methoxycarbonylmethyl (mcm5) and 5-methoxy-carbonyl-methyl-2-thio (mcm5s2) modifications catalyzed by tRNA methyltransferase 9 (Trm9) in tRNAArg(UCU) and tRNAGlu(UUC) and selective translation of proteins from genes enriched with their cognate codons. Controlling for bias in protein expression and alternations in mRNA expression, we find that loss of Trm9 selectively impairs expression of proteins from genes enriched with AGA and GAA codons under both normal and stress conditions. Moreover, we show that AGA and GAA codons occur with high frequency in clusters along the transcripts, which may play a role in modulating translation. Consistent with these results, proteins subject to enhanced ribosome pausing in yeast lacking mcm5U and mcm5s2U are more likely to be down-regulated and contain a larger number of AGA/GAA clusters. Together, these results suggest that Trm9-catalyzed tRNA modifications play a significant role in regulating protein expression within the cell. PMID:26670883

  9. Comparison of two codon optimization strategies enhancing recombinant Sus scrofa lysozyme production in Pichia pastoris.

    PubMed

    Zhu, D; Cai, G; Wu, D; Lu, J

    2015-01-01

    Lysozyme has played an important role in animal feed additive industry, food additive industry and biological engineering. For improving expression efficiency of recombinant lysozyme from Sus scrofa, two genes respectively designed by the most used codon optimization strategies, "one amino acid one codon" and "codon randomization", were synthesized and expressed in Pichia pastoris X—33. At shaking flask level, Sus scrofa lysozyme (SSL) under two conditions had a highest activity of 153.33±10.41 and 538.33±15.18 U/mL after a 5 days induction of 1% methanol, with secreted protein concentration 80.03±1.94 and 239.60±4.16 mg/L, respectively. Compared with the original SSL gene, the expression of optimized SSL gene by the second strategy showed a 2.6 fold higher level, while the first method had no obvious improvement in production. In total secreted protein, the proportions of recombinant SSL encoded by the original gene, first method optimized gene and the second—strategy optimized one were 75.06±0.25%, 74.56±0.14% and 79.00±0.14%, respectively, with the same molecular weight about 18 kDa, optimum acidity pH 6.0 and optimum temperature 35degC. PMID:26025401

  10. Enhanced expression of codon optimized Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis antigens in Lactobacillus salivarius

    PubMed Central

    Johnston, Christopher D.; Bannantine, John P.; Govender, Rodney; Endersen, Lorraine; Pletzer, Daniel; Weingart, Helge; Coffey, Aidan; O'Mahony, Jim; Sleator, Roy D.

    2014-01-01

    It is well documented that open reading frames containing high GC content show poor expression in A+T rich hosts. Specifically, G+C-rich codon usage is a limiting factor in heterologous expression of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) proteins using Lactobacillus salivarius. However, re-engineering opening reading frames through synonymous substitutions can offset codon bias and greatly enhance MAP protein production in this host. In this report, we demonstrate that codon-usage manipulation of MAP2121c can enhance the heterologous expression of the major membrane protein (MMP), analogous to the form in which it is produced natively by MAP bacilli. When heterologously over-expressed, antigenic determinants were preserved in synthetic MMP proteins as shown by monoclonal antibody mediated ELISA. Moreover, MMP is a membrane protein in MAP, which is also targeted to the cellular surface of recombinant L. salivarius at levels comparable to MAP. Additionally, we previously engineered MAP3733c (encoding MptD) and show herein that MptD displays the tendency to associate with the cytoplasmic membrane boundary under confocal microscopy and the intracellularly accumulated protein selectively adheres to the MptD-specific bacteriophage fMptD. This work demonstrates there is potential for L. salivarius as a viable antigen delivery vehicle for MAP, which may provide an effective mucosal vaccine against Johne's disease. PMID:25237653

  11. Diversity of preferred nucleotide sequences around the translation initiation codon in eukaryote genomes.

    PubMed

    Nakagawa, So; Niimura, Yoshihito; Gojobori, Takashi; Tanaka, Hiroshi; Miura, Kin-ichiro

    2008-02-01

    Understanding regulatory mechanisms of protein synthesis in eukaryotes is essential for the accurate annotation of genome sequences. Kozak reported that the nucleotide sequence GCCGCC(A/G)CCAUGG (AUG is the initiation codon) was frequently observed in vertebrate genes and that this 'consensus' sequence enhanced translation initiation. However, later studies using invertebrate, fungal and plant genes reported different 'consensus' sequences. In this study, we conducted extensive comparative analyses of nucleotide sequences around the initiation codon by using genomic data from 47 eukaryote species including animals, fungi, plants and protists. The analyses revealed that preferred nucleotide sequences are quite diverse among different species, but differences between patterns of nucleotide bias roughly reflect the evolutionary relationships of the species. We also found strong biases of A/G at position -3, A/C at position -2 and C at position +5 that were commonly observed in all species examined. Genes with higher expression levels showed stronger signals, suggesting that these nucleotides are responsible for the regulation of translation initiation. The diversity of preferred nucleotide sequences around the initiation codon might be explained by differences in relative contributions from two distinct patterns, GCCGCCAUG and AAAAAAAUG, which implies the presence of multiple molecular mechanisms for controlling translation initiation.

  12. Mismatch repair at stop codons is directed independent of GATC methylation on the Escherichia coli chromosome

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sneppen, Kim; Semsey, Szabolcs

    2014-12-01

    The mismatch repair system (MMR) corrects replication errors that escape proofreading. Previous studies on extrachromosomal DNA in Escherichia coli suggested that MMR uses hemimethylated GATC sites to identify the newly synthesized strand. In this work we asked how the distance of GATC sites and their methylation status affect the occurrence of single base substitutions on the E. coli chromosome. As a reporter system we used a lacZ gene containing an early TAA stop codon. We found that occurrence of point mutations at this stop codon is unaffected by GATC sites located more than 115 base pairs away. However, a GATC site located about 50 base pairs away resulted in a decreased mutation rate. This effect was independent of Dam methylation. The reversion rate of the stop codon increased only slightly in dam mutants compared to mutL and mutS mutants. We suggest that unlike on extrachromosomal DNA, GATC methylation is not the only strand discrimination signal for MMR on the E. coli chromosome.

  13. Relationship between p53 gene codon-72 polymorphisms and hypertrophic scar formation following caesarean section.

    PubMed

    Gao, Jianhua; Chen, Ying; Liao, Nong; Zhao, Wei; Zeng, Weisen; Li, Yingtao; Wang, Shaojing; Lu, Feng

    2014-05-01

    The aim of the present study was to determine the relationship between p53 gene codon-72 polymorphisms and hypertrophic scar formation following caesarean section (CS). Blood samples from 260 female patients were collected one week following a CS for the detection of p53 gene polymorphisms using a molecular beacon-coupled quantitative polymerase chain reaction technique. Patients had follow-ups for 12-18 months to observe the scar formation. From these observations, the relationship between the p53 codon-72 polymorphisms and hypertrophic scar formation occurrence was investigated. Among the patients with the CCC/CCC genotype, nine patients had hypertrophic scars and 46 patients showed normal healing, which is a ratio of 0.19. However, the follow-up investigations indicated that the presence of a homozygous or heterozygous C-to-G alteration at the codon-72 site in gene p53 resulted in 13 patients with hypertrophic scars and 192 patients with normal healing, which is a ratio of 0.07. Therefore, these results indicate that patients with the CCC/CCC genotype had a higher risk of developing hypertrophic scars compared with that for patients with the CCC/CGC or CGC/CGC genotypes.

  14. Major Radiations in the Evolution of Caviid Rodents: Reconciling Fossils, Ghost Lineages, and Relaxed Molecular Clocks

    PubMed Central

    Pérez, María Encarnación; Pol, Diego

    2012-01-01

    Background Caviidae is a diverse group of caviomorph rodents that is broadly distributed in South America and is divided into three highly divergent extant lineages: Caviinae (cavies), Dolichotinae (maras), and Hydrochoerinae (capybaras). The fossil record of Caviidae is only abundant and diverse since the late Miocene. Caviids belongs to Cavioidea sensu stricto (Cavioidea s.s.) that also includes a diverse assemblage of extinct taxa recorded from the late Oligocene to the middle Miocene of South America (“eocardiids”). Results A phylogenetic analysis combining morphological and molecular data is presented here, evaluating the time of diversification of selected nodes based on the calibration of phylogenetic trees with fossil taxa and the use of relaxed molecular clocks. This analysis reveals three major phases of diversification in the evolutionary history of Cavioidea s.s. The first two phases involve two successive radiations of extinct lineages that occurred during the late Oligocene and the early Miocene. The third phase consists of the diversification of Caviidae. The initial split of caviids is dated as middle Miocene by the fossil record. This date falls within the 95% higher probability distribution estimated by the relaxed Bayesian molecular clock, although the mean age estimate ages are 3.5 to 7 Myr older. The initial split of caviids is followed by an obscure period of poor fossil record (refered here as the Mayoan gap) and then by the appearance of highly differentiated modern lineages of caviids, which evidentially occurred at the late Miocene as indicated by both the fossil record and molecular clock estimates. Conclusions The integrated approach used here allowed us identifying the agreements and discrepancies of the fossil record and molecular clock estimates on the timing of the major events in cavioid evolution, revealing evolutionary patterns that would not have been possible to gather using only molecular or paleontological data alone. PMID

  15. Fossil fuels in a trillion tonne world

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Scott, Vivian; Haszeldine, R. Stuart; Tett, Simon F. B.; Oschlies, Andreas

    2015-05-01

    The useful energy services and energy density value of fossil carbon fuels could be retained for longer timescales into the future if their combustion is balanced by CO2 recapture and storage. We assess the global balance between fossil carbon supply and the sufficiency (size) and capability (technology, security) of candidate carbon stores. A hierarchy of value for extraction-to-storage pairings is proposed, which is augmented by classification of CO2 containment as temporary (<1,000 yr) or permanent (>100,000 yr). Using temporary stores is inefficient and defers an intergenerational problem. Permanent storage capacity is adequate to technically match current fossil fuel reserves. However, rates of storage creation cannot balance current and expected rates of fossil fuel extraction and CO2 consequences. Extraction of conventional natural gas is uniquely holistic because it creates the capacity to re-inject an equivalent tonnage of carbon for storage into the same reservoir and can re-use gas-extraction infrastructure for storage. By contrast, balancing the extraction of coal, oil, biomass and unconventional fossil fuels requires the engineering and validation of additional carbon storage. Such storage is, so far, unproven in sufficiency.

  16. A fungal analog for newfoundland ediacaran fossils?

    PubMed

    Peterson, Kevin J; Waggoner, Ben; Hagadorn, James W

    2003-02-01

    We propose that some of the more conspicuous Ediacaran fossils from the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland, including Aspidella, Charnia, and Charniodiscus, were biologically similar to members of the Kingdom Fungi. These organisms were multicellular or multinuclear, lived below the photic zone, could not move or defoul themselves, did not exhibit taphonomic shrinkage, and were not transported or moved. Aspidella, in particular, appears to exhibit indeterminate growth without a maximum size constraint, and appears to show growth zonations similar to modern mycelia. Other fossils from this deposit exhibit a fractal-like growth pattern. Together, these features falsify algal, lichen, and metazoan interpretations of these fossils, yet reflect characteristics of modern fungal mycelia. We emphasize that although no Mistaken Point fossil appears to be a metazoan, not all of the Mistaken Point taxa, and not all of the Ediacaran organisms in general, can reasonably be interpreted using a fungal analogy. Furthermore, the hypothesis that these fossils were functionally fungus-like need not imply that the organisms were members of the crown-group Fungi. We propose further tests for evaluating both this functional hypothesis and the phylogenetic hypothesis that these organisms were members of the total-group Fungi.

  17. Macroevolutionary developmental biology: Embryos, fossils, and phylogenies.

    PubMed

    Organ, Chris L; Cooper, Lisa Noelle; Hieronymus, Tobin L

    2015-10-01

    The field of evolutionary developmental biology is broadly focused on identifying the genetic and developmental mechanisms underlying morphological diversity. Connecting the genotype with the phenotype means that evo-devo research often considers a wide range of evidence, from genetics and morphology to fossils. In this commentary, we provide an overview and framework for integrating fossil ontogenetic data with developmental data using phylogenetic comparative methods to test macroevolutionary hypotheses. We survey the vertebrate fossil record of preserved embryos and discuss how phylogenetic comparative methods can integrate data from developmental genetics and paleontology. Fossil embryos provide limited, yet critical, developmental data from deep time. They help constrain when developmental innovations first appeared during the history of life and also reveal the order in which related morphologies evolved. Phylogenetic comparative methods provide a powerful statistical approach that allows evo-devo researchers to infer the presence of nonpreserved developmental traits in fossil species and to detect discordant evolutionary patterns and processes across levels of biological organization.

  18. Mineralogy of fossil resins in Northern Eurasia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bogdasarov, M. A.

    2007-12-01

    The investigation is focused on identification and origin of fossil resins from the Cretaceous, Tertiary, and Quaternary sediments of Northern Eurasia on the basis of detailed study of their physical and chemical characteristics: morphology; size; mass; density; optical, mechanical, and thermal properties; chemical composition; etc. The composition of amorphous organic minerals with polymeric structure, fossil resins included, is studied with IR spectrometry, the EPR method, derivatography at low heating rates, XRD, chemical analysis, emission spectrometry, etc. The results of investigation summarized for the Baltic-Dnieper, North Siberian, and Far East amber-bearing provinces show some similarity of fossil resins in combination with specific features inherent to each province. Resins from the Baltic-Dnieper province should be termed as amber (succinite). Their variety is the most characteristic of Northern and Eastern Europe. Amber-like fossil resins from the North Siberian and Far East provinces are irrelevant to succinite. They usually occur as brittle resins, namely, retinite and gedanite, without jewelry value. Viscous fossil resin rumänite with an expected high economic value occurs in the Far East, on the shore of Sakhalin Island.

  19. Macroevolutionary developmental biology: Embryos, fossils, and phylogenies.

    PubMed

    Organ, Chris L; Cooper, Lisa Noelle; Hieronymus, Tobin L

    2015-10-01

    The field of evolutionary developmental biology is broadly focused on identifying the genetic and developmental mechanisms underlying morphological diversity. Connecting the genotype with the phenotype means that evo-devo research often considers a wide range of evidence, from genetics and morphology to fossils. In this commentary, we provide an overview and framework for integrating fossil ontogenetic data with developmental data using phylogenetic comparative methods to test macroevolutionary hypotheses. We survey the vertebrate fossil record of preserved embryos and discuss how phylogenetic comparative methods can integrate data from developmental genetics and paleontology. Fossil embryos provide limited, yet critical, developmental data from deep time. They help constrain when developmental innovations first appeared during the history of life and also reveal the order in which related morphologies evolved. Phylogenetic comparative methods provide a powerful statistical approach that allows evo-devo researchers to infer the presence of nonpreserved developmental traits in fossil species and to detect discordant evolutionary patterns and processes across levels of biological organization. PMID:26250386

  20. The impact of fossils and taxon sampling on ancient molecular dating analyses.

    PubMed

    Hug, Laura A; Roger, Andrew J

    2007-08-01

    The number and complexity of molecular dating studies has increased over the past decade. Along with a broadening acceptance of their utility has come significant controversy over the methods and models that are appropriate, as well as the accuracy of the estimates yielded by molecular clock analyses. Radically different age estimates have been published for the same divergences from analyses of different datasets with different fossil constraints obtained with different methods, and the underlying explanation for these differences is often unclear. Here we utilize two previously published datasets to examine the effect of fossil calibrations and taxon sampling on the age estimates for two deep eukaryote divergences in an attempt to discern the relative impact of these factors. Penalized likelihood, non-parametric rate smoothing, and Bayesian methods were utilized to generate age estimates for the origin of the Metazoa from a 7-gene dataset and for the divergence of Eukaryotes from a 129-gene dataset. From these analyses, it is clear that the fossil calibrations chosen and the method for applying constraints to these nodes have a large impact on age estimates, while the degree of taxon sampling within a dataset is less important in terms of the resulting age estimates. Concerns and recommendations for addressing these two factors when initiating a dating analysis are discussed.

  1. Experimentally Increased Codon Bias in the Drosophila Adh Gene Leads to an Increase in Larval, But Not Adult, Alcohol Dehydrogenase Activity

    PubMed Central

    Hense, Winfried; Anderson, Nathan; Hutter, Stephan; Stephan, Wolfgang; Parsch, John; Carlini, David B.

    2010-01-01

    Although most amino acids can be encoded by more than one codon, the synonymous codons are not used with equal frequency. This phenomenon is known as codon bias and appears to be a universal feature of genomes. The translational selection hypothesis posits that the use of optimal codons, which match the most abundant species of isoaccepting tRNAs, results in increased translational efficiency and accuracy. Previous work demonstrated that the experimental reduction of codon bias in the Drosophila alcohol dehydrogenase (Adh) gene led to a significant decrease in ADH protein expression. In this study we performed the converse experiment: we replaced seven suboptimal leucine codons that occur naturally in the Drosophila melanogaster Adh gene with the optimal codon. We then compared the in vivo ADH activities imparted by the wild-type and mutant alleles. The introduction of optimal leucine codons led to an increase in ADH activity in third-instar larvae. In adult flies, however, the introduction of optimal codons led to a decrease in ADH activity. There is no evidence that other selectively constrained features of the Adh gene, or its rate of transcription, were altered by the synonymous replacements. These results are consistent with translational selection for codon bias being stronger in the larval stage and suggest that there may be a selective conflict over optimal codon usage between different developmental stages. PMID:19966063

  2. Experimentally increased codon bias in the Drosophila Adh gene leads to an increase in larval, but not adult, alcohol dehydrogenase activity.

    PubMed

    Hense, Winfried; Anderson, Nathan; Hutter, Stephan; Stephan, Wolfgang; Parsch, John; Carlini, David B

    2010-02-01

    Although most amino acids can be encoded by more than one codon, the synonymous codons are not used with equal frequency. This phenomenon is known as codon bias and appears to be a universal feature of genomes. The translational selection hypothesis posits that the use of optimal codons, which match the most abundant species of isoaccepting tRNAs, results in increased translational efficiency and accuracy. Previous work demonstrated that the experimental reduction of codon bias in the Drosophila alcohol dehydrogenase (Adh) gene led to a significant decrease in ADH protein expression. In this study we performed the converse experiment: we replaced seven suboptimal leucine codons that occur naturally in the Drosophila melanogaster Adh gene with the optimal codon. We then compared the in vivo ADH activities imparted by the wild-type and mutant alleles. The introduction of optimal leucine codons led to an increase in ADH activity in third-instar larvae. In adult flies, however, the introduction of optimal codons led to a decrease in ADH activity. There is no evidence that other selectively constrained features of the Adh gene, or its rate of transcription, were altered by the synonymous replacements. These results are consistent with translational selection for codon bias being stronger in the larval stage and suggest that there may be a selective conflict over optimal codon usage between different developmental stages.

  3. Phylogeny, historical biogeography, and patterns of diversification for Pinus (Pinaceae): phylogenetic tests of fossil-based hypotheses.

    PubMed

    Eckert, Andrew J; Hall, Benjamin D

    2006-07-01

    Pines comprise one of the largest coniferous genera, are distributed throughout the Northern Hemisphere, and have an abundant fossil record. Distributions of fossils have been used to derive a three-step hypothesis of early pine evolution, which postulates a Mesozoic origin for the genus, east-west expansions across Laurasia, and retraction into Eocene refugia. Here, we present phylogenetic tests of this hypothesis using chloroplast sequence data from four loci for 83 pine species. We used the fossil-based hypothesis to derive null expectations concerning monophyly of taxonomic groups, dates of cladogenesis, and patterns of diversification. Phylogenetic analyses using several algorithms subsequently provided rigorous tests of these expectations. Our inferred phylogenies illustrated broad congruence with taxonomic groups, but highlighted consistent problems within subgenus Strobus. Estimated minimum dates of divergence derived from relaxed clock methods were largely consistent with the fossil record and yielded a date for the ingroup node of Pinus of 128+/-4 mya, depending upon the calibration used for subgenus Pinus. Ancestral area reconstructions showed Pinus to have most likely originated in Eurasia. Major clades differed in biogeographic patterns, but were consistent with the fossil-based hypothesis. We found weak support, however, for a change in diversification rate in the Eocene as interpretations of fossil distributions would have predicted.

  4. Does the clinical phenotype of fatal familial insomnia depend on PRNP codon 129 methionine-valine polymorphism?

    PubMed

    Rupprecht, Sven; Grimm, Alexander; Schultze, Torsten; Zinke, Jan; Karvouniari, Panagiota; Axer, Hubertus; Witte, Otto W; Schwab, Matthias

    2013-12-15

    Fatal familial insomnia (FFI) is a rare, hereditary prion-protein disease. Methionine-valine polymorphism at codon 129 of the prion-protein gene (PRNP) determines the phenotype in other hereditary prion-protein diseases, but association with the clinical phenotype in FFI remains uncertain. Early clinical findings in FFI comprise disturbances of the sleep-wake cycle and mild neuropsychiatric changes which typically emerge during middle to late adulthood. Here we describe an unusually early onset and rapid progression of FFI associated with dorsal midbrain involvement in a female patient with PRNP mutation at codon 178 and homozygote methionine polymorphism at codon 129. Early dorsal midbrain involvement became apparent by total loss of REM sleep and isolated bilateral trochlear nerve palsy. Early onset and rapid progression disease type associated with dorsal midbrain involvement may indicate a different spatiotemporal distribution of the neurodegenerative process in FFI patients with PRNP mutation and codon 129 methionine homozygosity compared to methioninevaline heterozygosity.

  5. Self-catalytic DNA depurination underlies human β-globin gene mutations at codon 6 that cause anemias and thalassemias.

    PubMed

    Alvarez-Dominguez, Juan R; Amosova, Olga; Fresco, Jacques R

    2013-04-19

    The human β-globin gene contains an 18-nucleotide coding strand sequence centered at codon 6 and capable of forming a stem-loop structure that can self-catalyze depurination of the 5'G residue of that codon. The resultant apurinic lesion is subject to error-prone repair, consistent with the occurrence about this codon of mutations responsible for 6 anemias and β-thalassemias and additional substitutions without clinical consequences. The 4-residue loop of this stem-loop-forming sequence shows the highest incidence of mutation across the gene. The loop and first stem base pair-forming residues appeared early in the mammalian clade. The other stem-forming segments evolved more recently among primates, thereby conferring self-depurination capacity at codon 6. These observations indicate a conserved molecular mechanism leading to β-globin variants underlying phenotypic diversity and disease.

  6. Near-cognate suppression of amber, opal and quadruplet codons competes with aminoacyl-tRNAPyl for genetic code expansion

    PubMed Central

    O’Donoghue, Patrick; Prat, Laure; Heinemann, Ilka U.; Ling, Jiqiang; Odoi, Keturah; Liu, Wenshe R.; Söll, Dieter

    2012-01-01

    Over 300 amino acids are found in proteins in nature, yet typically only 20 are genetically encoded. Reassigning stop codons and use of quadruplet codons emerged as the main avenues for genetically encoding non-canonical amino acids (NCAAs). Canonical aminoacyl-tRNAs with near-cognate anticodons also read these codons to some extent. This background suppression leads to ‘statistical protein’ that contains some natural amino acid(s) at a site intended for NCAA. We characterize near-cognate suppression of amber, opal and a quadruplet codon in common Escherichia coli laboratory strains and find that the PylRS/tRNAPyl orthogonal pair cannot completely outcompete contamination by natural amino acids. PMID:23036644

  7. Downregulating viral gene expression: codon usage bias manipulation for the generation of novel influenza A virus vaccines

    PubMed Central

    Baker, Steven F; Nogales, Aitor; Martínez-Sobrido, Luis

    2015-01-01

    Vaccination represents the best option to protect humans against influenza virus. However, improving the effectiveness of current vaccines could better stifle the health burden caused by viral infection. Protein synthesis from individual genes can be downregulated by synthetically deoptimizing a gene’s codon usage. With more rapid and affordable nucleotide synthesis, generating viruses that contain genes with deoptimized codons is now feasible. Attenuated, vaccine-candidate viruses can thus be engineered with hitherto uncharacterized properties. With eight gene segments, influenza A viruses with variably recoded genomes can produce a spectrum of attenuation that is contingent on the gene segment targeted and the number of codon changes. This review summarizes different targets and approaches to deoptimize influenza A virus codons for novel vaccine generation. PMID:26213563

  8. Psychophysical contrast calibration

    PubMed Central

    To, Long; Woods, Russell L; Goldstein, Robert B; Peli, Eli

    2013-01-01

    Electronic displays and computer systems offer numerous advantages for clinical vision testing. Laboratory and clinical measurements of various functions and in particular of (letter) contrast sensitivity require accurately calibrated display contrast. In the laboratory this is achieved using expensive light meters. We developed and evaluated a novel method that uses only psychophysical responses of a person with normal vision to calibrate the luminance contrast of displays for experimental and clinical applications. Our method combines psychophysical techniques (1) for detection (and thus elimination or reduction) of display saturating nonlinearities; (2) for luminance (gamma function) estimation and linearization without use of a photometer; and (3) to measure without a photometer the luminance ratios of the display’s three color channels that are used in a bit-stealing procedure to expand the luminance resolution of the display. Using a photometer we verified that the calibration achieved with this procedure is accurate for both LCD and CRT displays enabling testing of letter contrast sensitivity to 0.5%. Our visual calibration procedure enables clinical, internet and home implementation and calibration verification of electronic contrast testing. PMID:23643843

  9. Polarimetric Palsar Calibration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Touzi, R.; Shimada, M.

    2008-11-01

    Polarimetric PALSAR system parameters are assessed using data sets collected over various calibration sites. The data collected over the Amazonian forest permits validating the zero Faraday rotation hypotheses near the equator. The analysis of the Amazonian forest data and the response of the corner reflectors deployed during the PALSAR acquisitions lead to the conclusion that the antenna is highly isolated (better than -35 dB). Theses results are confirmed using data collected over the Sweden and Ottawa calibration sites. The 5-m height trihedrals deployed in the Sweden calibration site by the Chalmers University of technology permits accurate measurement of antenna parameters, and detection of 2-3 degree Faraday rotation during day acquisition, whereas no Faraday rotation was noted during night acquisition. Small Faraday rotation angles (2-3 degree) have been measured using acquisitions over the DLR Oberpfaffenhofen and the Ottawa calibration sites. The presence of small but still significant Faraday rotation (2-3 degree) induces a CR return at the cross-polarization HV and VH that should not be interpreted as the actual antenna cross-talk. PALSAR antenna is highly isolated (better than -35 dB), and diagonal antenna distortion matrices (with zero cross-talk terms) can be used for accurate calibration of PALSAR polarimetric data.

  10. Calibration Under Uncertainty.

    SciTech Connect

    Swiler, Laura Painton; Trucano, Timothy Guy

    2005-03-01

    This report is a white paper summarizing the literature and different approaches to the problem of calibrating computer model parameters in the face of model uncertainty. Model calibration is often formulated as finding the parameters that minimize the squared difference between the model-computed data (the predicted data) and the actual experimental data. This approach does not allow for explicit treatment of uncertainty or error in the model itself: the model is considered the %22true%22 deterministic representation of reality. While this approach does have utility, it is far from an accurate mathematical treatment of the true model calibration problem in which both the computed data and experimental data have error bars. This year, we examined methods to perform calibration accounting for the error in both the computer model and the data, as well as improving our understanding of its meaning for model predictability. We call this approach Calibration under Uncertainty (CUU). This talk presents our current thinking on CUU. We outline some current approaches in the literature, and discuss the Bayesian approach to CUU in detail.

  11. POLCAL - POLARIMETRIC RADAR CALIBRATION

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Vanzyl, J.

    1994-01-01

    Calibration of polarimetric radar systems is a field of research in which great progress has been made over the last few years. POLCAL (Polarimetric Radar Calibration) is a software tool intended to assist in the calibration of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) systems. In particular, POLCAL calibrates Stokes matrix format data produced as the standard product by the NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) airborne imaging synthetic aperture radar (AIRSAR). POLCAL was designed to be used in conjunction with data collected by the NASA/JPL AIRSAR system. AIRSAR is a multifrequency (6 cm, 24 cm, and 68 cm wavelength), fully polarimetric SAR system which produces 12 x 12 km imagery at 10 m resolution. AIRSTAR was designed as a testbed for NASA's Spaceborne Imaging Radar program. While the images produced after 1991 are thought to be calibrated (phase calibrated, cross-talk removed, channel imbalance removed, and absolutely calibrated), POLCAL can and should still be used to check the accuracy of the calibration and to correct it if necessary. Version 4.0 of POLCAL is an upgrade of POLCAL version 2.0 released to AIRSAR investigators in June, 1990. New options in version 4.0 include automatic absolute calibration of 89/90 data, distributed target analysis, calibration of nearby scenes with calibration parameters from a scene with corner reflectors, altitude or roll angle corrections, and calibration of errors introduced by known topography. Many sources of error can lead to false conclusions about the nature of scatterers on the surface. Errors in the phase relationship between polarization channels result in incorrect synthesis of polarization states. Cross-talk, caused by imperfections in the radar antenna itself, can also lead to error. POLCAL reduces cross-talk and corrects phase calibration without the use of ground calibration equipment. Removing the antenna patterns during SAR processing also forms a very important part of the calibration of SAR data. Errors in the

  12. A miniature remote deadweight calibrator

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Supplee, Frank H., Jr.; Tcheng, Ping

    A miniature, computer-controlled, deadweight calibrator was developed to remotely calibrate a force transducer mounted in a cryogenic chamber. This simple mechanism allows automatic loading and unloading of deadweights placed onto a skin friction balance during calibrations. Equipment for the calibrator includes a specially designed set of five interlocking 200-milligram weights, a motorized lifting platform, and a controller box taking commands from a microcomputer on an IEEE interface. The computer is also used to record and reduce the calibration data and control other calibration parameters. The full-scale load for this device is 1,000 milligrams; however, the concept can be extended to accommodate other calibration ranges.

  13. Fossil mammoths from Santa Cruz Island, California

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cushing, John; Daily, Marla; Noble, Elmer; Louise Roth, V.; Wenner, Adrian

    1984-05-01

    Mammoth remains on Santa Cruz Island, one of the four Northern Channel Islands of California, are very sparse, in marked contrast to those reported from Santa Rosa and San Miguel Islands of the same island group. A probable major reason for this scarcity is that Quaternary deposits are greatly restricted on Santa Cruz Island. It is proposed, contrary to popular opinion, that fossils found on Santa Cruz Island were derived from animals which died on the island, and were not transported there by humans. Reasons for this conclusion are that the size and geological context of the fossils are similar to those of the largest mammoth fossils of Santa Rosa Island, and that, in spite of extensive investigations by many persons, mammoth remains have not been found in middens, either on the islands or on the adjacent mainland.

  14. Eumetazoan fossils in terminal proterozoic phosphorites?

    PubMed

    Xiao, S; Yuan, X; Knoll, A H

    2000-12-01

    Phosphatic sedimentary rocks preserve a record of early animal life different from and complementary to that provided by Ediacaran fossils in terminal Proterozoic sandstones and shales. Phosphorites of the Doushantuo Formation, South China, contain eggs, egg cases, and stereoblastulae that document animals of unspecified phylogenetic position; small fossils containing putative spicules may specifically record the presence of sponges. Microfossils recently interpreted as the preserved gastrulae of cnidarian and bilaterian metazoans can alternatively be interpreted as conventional algal cysts and/or egg cases modified by diagenetic processes known to have had a pervasive influence on Doushantuo phosphorites. Regardless of this interpretation, evidence for Doushantuo eumetazoans is provided by millimeter-scale tubes that display tabulation and apical budding characteristic of some Cnidaria, especially the extinct tabulates. Like some Ediacaran remains, these small, benthic, colonial fossils may represent stem-group eumetazoans or stem-group cnidarians that lived in the late Proterozoic ocean. PMID:11095754

  15. Education Program on Fossil Resources Including Coal

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Usami, Masahiro

    Fossil fuels including coal play a key role as crucial energies in contributing to economic development in Asia. On the other hand, its limited quantity and the environmental problems causing from its usage have become a serious global issue and a countermeasure to solve such problems is very much demanded. Along with the pursuit of sustainable development, environmentally-friendly use of highly efficient fossil resources should be therefore, accompanied. Kyushu-university‧s sophisticated research through long years of accumulated experience on the fossil resources and environmental sectors together with the advanced large-scale commercial and empirical equipments will enable us to foster cooperative research and provide internship program for the future researchers. Then, this program is executed as a consignment business from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry from 2007 fiscal year to 2009 fiscal year. The lecture that uses the textbooks developed by this program is scheduled to be started a course in fiscal year 2010.

  16. Fossil evidence of the zygomycetous fungi.

    PubMed

    Krings, M; Taylor, T N; Dotzler, N

    2013-06-01

    Molecular clock data indicate that the first zygomycetous fungi occurred on Earth during the Precambrian, however, fossil evidence of these organisms has been slow to accumulate. In this paper, the fossil record of the zygomycetous fungi is compiled, with a focus on structurally preserved Carboniferous and Triassic fossils interpreted as zygosporangium-gametangia complexes and resembling those of modern Endogonales. Enigmatic microfossils from the Precambrian to Cenozoic that have variously been interpreted as, or compared to, zygomycetous fungi are also discussed. Among these, the spherical structures collectively termed 'sporocarps' are especially interesting because of their complex investments and abundance in certain Carboniferous and Triassic rocks. Circumstantial evidence suggests that at least some 'sporocarp' types represent mantled zygosporangia. Zygomycetous fungi probably were an important element in terrestrial paleoecosystems at least by the Carboniferous. PMID:24027344

  17. Eumetazoan fossils in terminal proterozoic phosphorites?

    PubMed

    Xiao, S; Yuan, X; Knoll, A H

    2000-12-01

    Phosphatic sedimentary rocks preserve a record of early animal life different from and complementary to that provided by Ediacaran fossils in terminal Proterozoic sandstones and shales. Phosphorites of the Doushantuo Formation, South China, contain eggs, egg cases, and stereoblastulae that document animals of unspecified phylogenetic position; small fossils containing putative spicules may specifically record the presence of sponges. Microfossils recently interpreted as the preserved gastrulae of cnidarian and bilaterian metazoans can alternatively be interpreted as conventional algal cysts and/or egg cases modified by diagenetic processes known to have had a pervasive influence on Doushantuo phosphorites. Regardless of this interpretation, evidence for Doushantuo eumetazoans is provided by millimeter-scale tubes that display tabulation and apical budding characteristic of some Cnidaria, especially the extinct tabulates. Like some Ediacaran remains, these small, benthic, colonial fossils may represent stem-group eumetazoans or stem-group cnidarians that lived in the late Proterozoic ocean.

  18. Cerium anomaly at microscale in fossils.

    PubMed

    Gueriau, Pierre; Mocuta, Cristian; Bertrand, Loïc

    2015-09-01

    Patterns in rare earth element (REE) concentrations are essential instruments to assess geochemical processes in Earth and environmental sciences. Excursions in the "cerium anomaly" are widely used to inform on past redox conditions in sediments. This proxy resources to the specificity of cerium to adopt both the +III and +IV oxidation states, while most rare earths are purely trivalent and share very similar reactivity and transport properties. In practical terms, the level of cerium anomaly is established through elemental point quantification and profiling. All these models rely on a supposed homogeneity of the cerium oxidation state within the samples. However, this has never been demonstrated, whereas the cerium concentration can significantly vary within a sample, as shown for fossils, which would vastly complicate interpretation of REE patterns. Here, we report direct micrometric mapping of Ce speciation through synchrotron X-ray absorption spectroscopy and production of local rare earth patterns in paleontological fossil tissues through X-ray fluorescence mapping. The sensitivity of the approach is demonstrated on well-preserved fishes and crustaceans from the Late Cretaceous (ca. 95 million years (Myr) old). The presence of Ce under the +IV form within the fossil tissues is attributed to slightly oxidative local conditions of burial and agrees well with the limited negative cerium anomaly observed in REE patterns. The [Ce(IV)]/[Ce(tot)] ratio appears remarkably stable at the microscale within each fossil and is similar between fossils from the locality. Speciation maps were obtained from an original combination of synchrotron microbeam X-ray fluorescence, absorption spectroscopy, and diffraction, together with light and electron microscopy. This work also highlights the need for more systematic studies of cerium geochemistry at the microscale in paleontological contexts, in particular across fossil histologies.

  19. Cerium anomaly at microscale in fossils.

    PubMed

    Gueriau, Pierre; Mocuta, Cristian; Bertrand, Loïc

    2015-09-01

    Patterns in rare earth element (REE) concentrations are essential instruments to assess geochemical processes in Earth and environmental sciences. Excursions in the "cerium anomaly" are widely used to inform on past redox conditions in sediments. This proxy resources to the specificity of cerium to adopt both the +III and +IV oxidation states, while most rare earths are purely trivalent and share very similar reactivity and transport properties. In practical terms, the level of cerium anomaly is established through elemental point quantification and profiling. All these models rely on a supposed homogeneity of the cerium oxidation state within the samples. However, this has never been demonstrated, whereas the cerium concentration can significantly vary within a sample, as shown for fossils, which would vastly complicate interpretation of REE patterns. Here, we report direct micrometric mapping of Ce speciation through synchrotron X-ray absorption spectroscopy and production of local rare earth patterns in paleontological fossil tissues through X-ray fluorescence mapping. The sensitivity of the approach is demonstrated on well-preserved fishes and crustaceans from the Late Cretaceous (ca. 95 million years (Myr) old). The presence of Ce under the +IV form within the fossil tissues is attributed to slightly oxidative local conditions of burial and agrees well with the limited negative cerium anomaly observed in REE patterns. The [Ce(IV)]/[Ce(tot)] ratio appears remarkably stable at the microscale within each fossil and is similar between fossils from the locality. Speciation maps were obtained from an original combination of synchrotron microbeam X-ray fluorescence, absorption spectroscopy, and diffraction, together with light and electron microscopy. This work also highlights the need for more systematic studies of cerium geochemistry at the microscale in paleontological contexts, in particular across fossil histologies. PMID:26239283

  20. Divergence time estimation using fossils as terminal taxa and the origins of Lissamphibia.

    PubMed

    Pyron, R Alexander

    2011-07-01

    Were molecular data available for extinct taxa, questions regarding the origins of many groups could be settled in short order. As this is not the case, various strategies have been proposed to combine paleontological and neontological data sets. The use of fossil dates as node age calibrations for divergence time estimation from molecular phylogenies is commonplace. In addition, simulations suggest that the addition of morphological data from extinct taxa may improve phylogenetic estimation when combined with molecular data for extant species, and some studies have merged morphological and molecular data to estimate combined evidence phylogenies containing both extinct and extant taxa. However, few, if any, studies have attempted to estimate divergence times using phylogenies containing both fossil and living taxa sampled for both molecular and morphological data. Here, I infer both the phylogeny and the time of origin for Lissamphibia and a number of stem tetrapods using Bayesian methods based on a data set containing morphological data for extinct taxa, molecular data for extant taxa, and molecular and morphological data for a subset of extant taxa. The results suggest that Lissamphibia is monophyletic, nested within Lepospondyli, and originated in the late Carboniferous at the earliest. This research illustrates potential pitfalls for the use of fossils as post hoc age constraints on internal nodes and highlights the importance of explicit phylogenetic analysis of extinct taxa. These results suggest that the application of fossils as minima or maxima on molecular phylogenies should be supplemented or supplanted by combined evidence analyses whenever possible.

  1. 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

  2. Phylogeny and Divergence Times of Lemurs Inferred with Recent and Ancient Fossils in the Tree.

    PubMed

    Herrera, James P; Dávalos, Liliana M

    2016-09-01

    Paleontological and neontological systematics seek to answer evolutionary questions with different data sets. Phylogenies inferred for combined extant and extinct taxa provide novel insights into the evolutionary history of life. Primates have an extensive, diverse fossil record and molecular data for living and extinct taxa are rapidly becoming available. We used two models to infer the phylogeny and divergence times for living and fossil primates, the tip-dating (TD) and fossilized birth-death process (FBD). We collected new morphological data, especially on the living and extinct endemic lemurs of Madagascar. We combined the morphological data with published DNA sequences to infer near-complete (88% of lemurs) time-calibrated phylogenies. The results suggest that primates originated around the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, slightly earlier than indicated by the fossil record and later than previously inferred from molecular data alone. We infer novel relationships among extinct lemurs, and strong support for relationships that were previously unresolved. Dates inferred with TD were significantly older than those inferred with FBD, most likely related to an assumption of a uniform branching process in the TD compared with a birth-death process assumed in the FBD. This is the first study to combine morphological and DNA sequence data from extinct and extant primates to infer evolutionary relationships and divergence times, and our results shed new light on the tempo of lemur evolution and the efficacy of combined phylogenetic analyses. PMID:27113475

  3. Fossil generation restructuring in the Ukraine

    SciTech Connect

    Galambas, J.W.

    1996-12-31

    This paper describes the Ukrainian electrical system as it was in 1991, defines the need for restructuring, outlines the restructuring process, identifies a number of major obstacles that are hindering the implementation of the fossil generation, restructuring process, and points out major problems in the coal procurement system. It describes the visits to several Ukrainian power plants, defines restructuring success to date, makes suggestions for improved restructuring progress, highlights lessons learned, and enlightens the audience on the opportunities of investing in the Ukrainian power generation industry. The primary focus is on the Fossil Generator Advisor task, which was carried out under the direction of Hagler Bailly Consulting, Inc. (Hagler Bailly).

  4. Insect diversity in the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Labandeira, C. C.; Sepkoski, J. J. Jr; Sepkoski JJ, J. r. (Principal Investigator)

    1993-01-01

    Insects possess a surprisingly extensive fossil record. Compilation of the geochronologic ranges of insect families demonstrates that their diversity exceeds that of preserved vertebrate tetrapods through 91 percent of their evolutionary history. The great diversity of insects was achieved not by high origination rates but rather by low extinction rates comparable to the low rates of slowly evolving marine invertebrate groups. The great radiation of modern insects began 245 million years ago and was not accelerated by the expansion of angiosperms during the Cretaceous period. The basic trophic machinery of insects was in place nearly 100 million years before angiosperms appeared in the fossil record.

  5. Microbial Fossils Detected in Desert Varnish

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Flood, B. E.; Allen, C.; Longazo, T.

    2003-01-01

    Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer data indicate regions with significant levels of hematite (_Fe2O3). Fe-oxides, like hematite, can form as aqueous mineral precipitates and as such may preserve microscopic fossils or other biosignatures. Several potential terrestrial analogues to martian hematite like hydrothermal vents have preserved microfossils. Microbial fossilization in Fe-oxides is often a function of biomineralization. For example, goethite (FeO2H) encrustation of fungal mycelia from the mid-Tertiary preserved fungal morphologies such that their genera could be determined.

  6. Fossils, Genes and The Origin of Organs

    SciTech Connect

    Shubin, Neil

    2011-04-20

    A toolkit of experimental and comparative biology can be applied to understand the great transformations in the history of life. Expeditionary paleontology can be used to target key nodes of the tree of life for which new fossils can provide insights into major morphological transformations. These fossils often have intermediate conditions that allow extant creatures to be compared in new ways. The tools of developmental genetics can then be used to explore these new comparisons to understand the genetic basis for macroevolutionary change. These different approaches can be used to predict new discoveries and this is only possible because of the empirical content of the tree of life.

  7. Insect diversity in the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Labandeira, C C; Sepkoski, J J

    1993-07-16

    Insects possess a surprisingly extensive fossil record. Compilation of the geochronologic ranges of insect families demonstrates that their diversity exceeds that of preserved vertebrate tetrapods through 91 percent of their evolutionary history. The great diversity of insects was achieved not by high origination rates but rather by low extinction rates comparable to the low rates of slowly evolving marine invertebrate groups. The great radiation of modern insects began 245 million years ago and was not accelerated by the expansion of angiosperms during the Cretaceous period. The basic trophic machinery of insects was in place nearly 100 million years before angiosperms appeared in the fossil record.

  8. Aquatic ape theory and fossil hominids.

    PubMed

    Verhaegen, M J

    1991-06-01

    While most older palaeo-anthropological studies emphasise the similarities of the fossil hominids with modern man, recent studies often stress the unique and the apelike features of the australopithecine dentitions, skulls and postcranial bones. It is worth reconsidering the features of Australopithecus, Homo erectus and Homo neanderthalensis in the light of the so-called Aquatic Ape Theory (AAT) of Hardy and Morgan, and to compare the skeletal parts of our fossil relatives with those of (semi)aquatic animals. Possible convergences are observed with proboscis monkeys, beavers, sea-otters, hippopotamuses, seals, sea-lions, walruses, sea-cows, whales, dolphins, porpoises, penguins and crocodiles. PMID:1909768

  9. Scatological origin of microvertebrate fossil accumulations.

    PubMed

    Mellett, J S

    1974-07-26

    Small-mammal bone found in Recent carnivore droppings (scat) is identical in appearance with that in many Mesozoic and Tertiary microvertebrate fossil collections. Such fossil specimens passed into or through the digestive tracts of carnivores before being left as scat that was later reworked into sedimentary rocks. The term "coprocoenosis" is proposed for such an assemblage. Caution is urged in drawing conclusions about the composition of paleocommunities because carnivores can catch prey representing several different communities and leave a mixed assemblage in a particular depositional environment.

  10. Calibration Systems Final Report

    SciTech Connect

    Myers, Tanya L.; Broocks, Bryan T.; Phillips, Mark C.

    2006-02-01

    The Calibration Systems project at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is aimed towards developing and demonstrating compact Quantum Cascade (QC) laser-based calibration systems for infrared imaging systems. These on-board systems will improve the calibration technology for passive sensors, which enable stand-off detection for the proliferation or use of weapons of mass destruction, by replacing on-board blackbodies with QC laser-based systems. This alternative technology can minimize the impact on instrument size and weight while improving the quality of instruments for a variety of missions. The potential of replacing flight blackbodies is made feasible by the high output, stability, and repeatability of the QC laser spectral radiance.

  11. A facile and efficient transposon mutagenesis method for generation of multi-codon deletions in protein sequences.

    PubMed

    Liu, Shu-Su; Wei, Xuan; Ji, Qun; Xin, Xiu; Jiang, Biao; Liu, Jia

    2016-06-10

    Substitutions, insertions and deletions are all important mutation events in natural and laboratory protein evolution. However, protein engineering using insertions and deletions (indels) is hindered by the lack of a convenient mutagenesis method. Here, we describe a general transposon mutagenesis method that allows for removal of up to five consecutive in-frame codons from a random position of a target protein. This method, referred to as codon deletion mutagenesis (CDM), relies on an engineered Mu transposon that carries asymmetric terminal sequences flanking the MuA transposase recognition sites. CDM requires minimal DNA manipulations, and can generate multi-codon deletions with high efficiency (>90%). As a proof of principle, we constructed five libraries of green fluorescent protein (GFP) containing one to five random codon deletions, respectively. Several variants with multi-codon deletions remained fluorescent, none of which could be easily identified using traditional mutagenesis method. CDM provides a facile and efficient approach to sampling a protein sequence with multi-codon deletions. It will not only facilitate our understanding of the effects of amino acid deletions on protein function but also expedite protein engineering using deletion mutagenesis. PMID:27071724

  12. Evaluation of codon biology in citrus and Poncirus trifoliata based on genomic features and frame corrected expressed sequence tags.

    PubMed

    Ahmad, Touqeer; Sablok, Gaurav; Tatarinova, Tatiana V; Xu, Qiang; Deng, Xiu-Xin; Guo, Wen-Wu

    2013-04-01

    Citrus, as one of the globally important fruit trees, has been an object of interest for understanding genetics and evolutionary process in fruit crops. Meta-analyses of 19 Citrus species, including 4 globally and economically important Citrus sinensis, Citrus clementina, Citrus reticulata, and 1 Citrus relative Poncirus trifoliata, were performed. We observed that codons ending with A- or T- at the wobble position were preferred in contrast to C- or G- ending codons, indicating a close association with AT richness of Citrus species and P. trifoliata. The present study postulates a large repertoire of a set of optimal codons for the Citrus genus and P. trifoliata and demonstrates that GCT and GGT are evolutionary conserved optimal codons. Our observation suggested that mutational bias is the dominating force in shaping the codon usage bias (CUB) in Citrus and P. trifoliata. Correspondence analysis (COA) revealed that the principal axis [axis 1; COA/relative synonymous codon usage (RSCU)] contributes only a minor portion (∼10.96%) of the recorded variance. In all analysed species, except P. trifoliata, Gravy and aromaticity played minor roles in resolving CUB. Compositional constraints were found to be strongly associated with the amino acid signatures in Citrus species and P. trifoliata. Our present analysis postulates compositional constraints in Citrus species and P. trifoliata and plausible role of the stress with GC3 and coevolution pattern of amino acid.

  13. Genome-wide survey of codons under diversifying selection in a highly recombining bacterial species, Helicobacter pylori

    PubMed Central

    Yahara, Koji; Furuta, Yoshikazu; Morimoto, Shinpei; Kikutake, Chie; Komukai, Sho; Matelska, Dorota; Dunin-Horkawicz, Stanisław; Bujnicki, Janusz M.; Uchiyama, Ikuo; Kobayashi, Ichizo

    2016-01-01

    Selection has been a central issue in biology in eukaryotes as well as prokaryotes. Inference of selection in recombining bacterial species, compared with clonal ones, has been a challenge. It is not known how codons under diversifying selection are distributed along the chromosome or among functional categories or how frequently such codons are subject to mutual homologous recombination. Here, we explored these questions by analysing genes present in >90% among 29 genomes of Helicobacter pylori, one of the bacterial species with the highest mutation and recombination rates. By a method for recombining sequences, we identified codons under diversifying selection (dN/dS > 1), which were widely distributed and accounted for ∼0.2% of all the codons of the genome. The codons were enriched in genes of host interaction/cell surface and genome maintenance (DNA replication, recombination, repair, and restriction modification system). The encoded amino acid residues were sometimes found adjacent to critical catalytic/binding residues in protein structures. Furthermore, by estimating the intensity of homologous recombination at a single nucleotide level, we found that these codons appear to be more frequently subject to recombination. We expect that the present study provides a new approach to population genomics of selection in recombining prokaryotes. PMID:26961370

  14. Codon optimisation to improve expression of a Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis-specific membrane-associated antigen by Lactobacillus salivarius.

    PubMed

    Johnston, Christopher; Douarre, Pierre E; Soulimane, Tewfik; Pletzer, Daniel; Weingart, Helge; MacSharry, John; Coffey, Aidan; Sleator, Roy D; O'Mahony, Jim

    2013-06-01

    Subunit and DNA-based vaccines against Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis (MAP) attempt to overcome inherent issues associated with whole-cell formulations. However, these vaccines can be hampered by poor expression of recombinant antigens from a number of disparate hosts. The high G+C content of MAP invariably leads to a codon bias throughout gene expression. To investigate if the codon bias affects recombinant MAP antigen expression, the open reading frame of a MAP-specific antigen MptD (MAP3733c) was codon optimised for expression against a Lactobacillus salivarius host. Of the total 209 codons which constitute MAP3733c, 172 were modified resulting in a reduced G+C content from 61% for the native gene to 32.7% for the modified form. Both genes were placed under the transcriptional control of the PnisA promoter; allowing controlled heterologous expression in L. salivarius. Expression was monitored using fluorescence microscopy and microplate fluorometry via GFP tags translationally fused to the C-termini of the two MptD genes. A > 37-fold increase in expression was observed for the codon-optimised MAP3733synth variant over the native gene. Due to the low cost and improved expression achieved, codon optimisation significantly improves the potential of L. salivarius as an oral vaccine stratagem against Johne's disease. PMID:23620276

  15. Evaluation of codon biology in citrus and Poncirus trifoliata based on genomic features and frame corrected expressed sequence tags.

    PubMed

    Ahmad, Touqeer; Sablok, Gaurav; Tatarinova, Tatiana V; Xu, Qiang; Deng, Xiu-Xin; Guo, Wen-Wu

    2013-04-01

    Citrus, as one of the globally important fruit trees, has been an object of interest for understanding genetics and evolutionary process in fruit crops. Meta-analyses of 19 Citrus species, including 4 globally and economically important Citrus sinensis, Citrus clementina, Citrus reticulata, and 1 Citrus relative Poncirus trifoliata, were performed. We observed that codons ending with A- or T- at the wobble position were preferred in contrast to C- or G- ending codons, indicating a close association with AT richness of Citrus species and P. trifoliata. The present study postulates a large repertoire of a set of optimal codons for the Citrus genus and P. trifoliata and demonstrates that GCT and GGT are evolutionary conserved optimal codons. Our observation suggested that mutational bias is the dominating force in shaping the codon usage bias (CUB) in Citrus and P. trifoliata. Correspondence analysis (COA) revealed that the principal axis [axis 1; COA/relative synonymous codon usage (RSCU)] contributes only a minor portion (∼10.96%) of the recorded variance. In all analysed species, except P. trifoliata, Gravy and aromaticity played minor roles in resolving CUB. Compositional constraints were found to be strongly associated with the amino acid signatures in Citrus species and P. trifoliata. Our present analysis postulates compositional constraints in Citrus species and P. trifoliata and plausible role of the stress with GC3 and coevolution pattern of amino acid. PMID:23315666

  16. Synonymous codon bias and functional constraint on GC3-related DNA backbone dynamics in the prokaryotic nucleoid

    PubMed Central

    Babbitt, Gregory A.; Alawad, Mohammed A.; Schulze, Katharina V.; Hudson, André O.

    2014-01-01

    While mRNA stability has been demonstrated to control rates of translation, generating both global and local synonymous codon biases in many unicellular organisms, this explanation cannot adequately explain why codon bias strongly tracks neighboring intergene GC content; suggesting that structural dynamics of DNA might also influence codon choice. Because minor groove width is highly governed by 3-base periodicity in GC, the existence of triplet-based codons might imply a functional role for the optimization of local DNA molecular dynamics via GC content at synonymous sites (≈GC3). We confirm a strong association between GC3-related intrinsic DNA flexibility and codon bias across 24 different prokaryotic multiple whole-genome alignments. We develop a novel test of natural selection targeting synonymous sites and demonstrate that GC3-related DNA backbone dynamics have been subject to moderate selective pressure, perhaps contributing to our observation that many genes possess extreme DNA backbone dynamics for their given protein space. This dual function of codons may impose universal functional constraints affecting the evolution of synonymous and non-synonymous sites. We propose that synonymous sites may have evolved as an ‘accessory’ during an early expansion of a primordial genetic code, allowing for multiplexed protein coding and structural dynamic information within the same molecular context. PMID:25200075

  17. Accuracy of initial codon selection by aminoacyl-tRNAs on the mRNA-programmed bacterial ribosome

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Jingji; Ieong, Ka-Weng; Johansson, Magnus; Ehrenberg, Måns

    2015-01-01

    We used a cell-free system with pure Escherichia coli components to study initial codon selection of aminoacyl-tRNAs in ternary complex with elongation factor Tu and GTP on messenger RNA-programmed ribosomes. We took advantage of the universal rate-accuracy trade-off for all enzymatic selections to determine how the efficiency of initial codon readings decreased linearly toward zero as the accuracy of discrimination against near-cognate and wobble codon readings increased toward the maximal asymptote, the d value. We report data on the rate-accuracy variation for 7 cognate, 7 wobble, and 56 near-cognate codon readings comprising about 15% of the genetic code. Their d values varied about 400-fold in the 200–80,000 range depending on type of mismatch, mismatch position in the codon, and tRNA isoacceptor type. We identified error hot spots (d = 200) for U:G misreading in second and U:U or G:A misreading in third codon position by His-tRNAHis and, as also seen in vivo, Glu-tRNAGlu. We suggest that the proofreading mechanism has evolved to attenuate error hot spots in initial selection such as those found here. PMID:26195797

  18. Evaluation of Codon Biology in Citrus and Poncirus trifoliata Based on Genomic Features and Frame Corrected Expressed Sequence Tags

    PubMed Central

    Ahmad, Touqeer; Sablok, Gaurav; Tatarinova, Tatiana V.; Xu, Qiang; Deng, Xiu-Xin; Guo, Wen-Wu

    2013-01-01

    Citrus, as one of the globally important fruit trees, has been an object of interest for understanding genetics and evolutionary process in fruit crops. Meta-analyses of 19 Citrus species, including 4 globally and economically important Citrus sinensis, Citrus clementina, Citrus reticulata, and 1 Citrus relative Poncirus trifoliata, were performed. We observed that codons ending with A- or T- at the wobble position were preferred in contrast to C- or G- ending codons, indicating a close association with AT richness of Citrus species and P. trifoliata. The present study postulates a large repertoire of a set of optimal codons for the Citrus genus and P. trifoliata and demonstrates that GCT and GGT are evolutionary conserved optimal codons. Our observation suggested that mutational bias is the dominating force in shaping the codon usage bias (CUB) in Citrus and P. trifoliata. Correspondence analysis (COA) revealed that the principal axis [axis 1; COA/relative synonymous codon usage (RSCU)] contributes only a minor portion (∼10.96%) of the recorded variance. In all analysed species, except P. trifoliata, Gravy and aromaticity played minor roles in resolving CUB. Compositional constraints were found to be strongly associated with the amino acid signatures in Citrus species and P. trifoliata. Our present analysis postulates compositional constraints in Citrus species and P. trifoliata and plausible role of the stress with GC3 and coevolution pattern of amino acid. PMID:23315666

  19. Contrasts in codon usage of latent versus productive genes of Epstein-Barr virus: data and hypotheses.

    PubMed Central

    Karlin, S; Blaisdell, B E; Schachtel, G A

    1990-01-01

    Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) has two different modes of existence: latent and productive. There are eight known genes expressed during latency (and hardly at all during the productive phase) and about 70 other ("productive") genes. It is shown that the EBV genes known to be expressed during latency display codon usage strikingly different from that of genes that are expressed during lytic growth. In particular, the percentage of S3 (G or C in codon site 3) is persistently lower (about 20%) in all latent genes than in nonlatent genes. Moreover, S3 is lower in each multicodon amino acid form. Also, the percentage of S in silent codon sites 1 of leucine and arginine is lower in latent than in nonlatent genes. The largest absolute differences in amino acid usage between latent and nonlatent genes emphasize codon types SSN and WWN (W means nucleotide A or T and N is any nucleotide). Two principal explanations to account for the EBV latent versus productive gene codon disparity are proposed. Latent genes have codon usage substantially different from that of host cell genes to minimize the deleterious consequences to the host of viral gene expression during latency. (Productive genes are not so constrained.) It is also proposed that the latency genes of EBV were acquired recently by the viral genome. Evidence and arguments for these proposals are presented. PMID:2166815

  20. Convergence and constraint in eukaryotic release factor 1 (eRF1) domain 1: the evolution of stop codon specificity

    PubMed Central

    Inagaki, Yuji; Blouin, Christian; Doolittle, W. Ford; Roger, Andrew J.

    2002-01-01

    Class 1 release factor in eukaryotes (eRF1) recognizes stop codons and promotes peptide release from the ribosome. The ‘molecular mimicry’ hypothesis suggests that domain 1 of eRF1 is analogous to the tRNA anticodon stem–loop. Recent studies strongly support this hypothesis and several models for specific interactions between stop codons and residues in domain 1 have been proposed. In this study we have sequenced and identified novel eRF1 sequences across a wide diversity of eukaryotes and re-evaluated the codon-binding site by bioinformatic analyses of a large eRF1 dataset. Analyses of the eRF1 structure combined with estimates of evolutionary rates at amino acid sites allow us to define the residues that are under structural (i.e. those involved in intramolecular interactions) versus non-structural selective constraints. Furthermore, we have re-assessed convergent substitutions in the ciliate variant code eRF1s using maximum likelihood-based phylogenetic approaches. Our results favor the model proposed by Bertram et al. that stop codons bind to three ‘cavities’ on the protein surface, although we suggest that the stop codon may bind in the opposite orientation to the original model. We assess the feasibility of this alternative binding orientation with a triplet stop codon and the eRF1 domain 1 structures using molecular modeling techniques. PMID:11788716

  1. Nonsense-codon mutations of the ornithine aminotransferase gene with decreased levels of mutant mRNA in gyrate atrophy.

    PubMed

    Mashima, Y; Murakami, A; Weleber, R G; Kennaway, N G; Clarke, L; Shiono, T; Inana, G

    1992-07-01

    A generalized deficiency of the mitochondrial matrix enzyme ornithine aminotransferase (OAT) is the inborn error in gyrate atrophy (GA), an autosomal recessive degenerative disease of the retina and choroid of the eye. Mutations in the OAT gene show a high degree of molecular heterogeneity in GA, reflecting the genetic heterogeneity in this disease. Using the combined techniques of PCR, denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis, and direct sequencing, we have identified three nonsense-codon mutations and one nonsense codon-generating mutation of the OAT gene in GA pedigrees. Three of them are single-base substitutions, and one is a 2-bp deletion resulting in a reading frameshift. A nonsense codon created at position 79 (TGA) by a frameshift and nonsense mutations at codons 209 (TAT----TAA) and 299 (TAC----TAG) result in abnormally low levels of OAT mRNA in the patient's skin fibroblasts. A nonsense mutation at codon 426 (CGA----TGA) in the last exon, however, has little effect on the mRNA level. Thus, the mRNA level can be reduced by nonsense-codon mutations, but the position of the mutation may be important, with earlier premature-translation termination having a greater effect than a later mutation.

  2. The DEAD-Box Protein Dhh1p Couples mRNA Decay and Translation by Monitoring Codon Optimality.

    PubMed

    Radhakrishnan, Aditya; Chen, Ying-Hsin; Martin, Sophie; Alhusaini, Najwa; Green, Rachel; Coller, Jeff

    2016-09-22

    A major determinant of mRNA half-life is the codon-dependent rate of translational elongation. How the processes of translational elongation and mRNA decay communicate is unclear. Here, we establish that the DEAD-box protein Dhh1p is a sensor of codon optimality that targets an mRNA for decay. First, we find mRNAs whose translation elongation rate is slowed by inclusion of non-optimal codons are specifically degraded in a Dhh1p-dependent manner. Biochemical experiments show Dhh1p is preferentially associated with mRNAs with suboptimal codon choice. We find these effects on mRNA decay are sensitive to the number of slow-moving ribosomes on an mRNA. Moreover, we find Dhh1p overexpression leads to the accumulation of ribosomes specifically on mRNAs (and even codons) of low codon optimality. Lastly, Dhh1p physically interacts with ribosomes in vivo. Together, these data argue that Dhh1p is a sensor for ribosome speed, targeting an mRNA for repression and subsequent decay. PMID:27641505

  3. Deviation from major codons in the Toll-like receptor genes is associated with low Toll-like receptor expression

    PubMed Central

    Zhong, Fei; Cao, Weiping; Chan, Edmund; Tay, Puei Nam; Cahya, Florence Feby; Zhang, Haifeng; Lu, Jinhua

    2005-01-01

    Microbial structures activate Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and TLR-mediated cell signalling elicits and regulates host immunity. Most TLRs are poorly expressed but the underlying expression mechanism is not clear. Examination TLR sequences revealed that most human TLR genes deviated from using major human codons. CD14 resembles TLRs in sequence but its gene preferentially uses major codons. Indeed, CD14 expression on monocytes was higher than expression of TLR1 and TLR2. The TLR9 gene is abundant in major codons and it also showed higher expression than TLR1, TLR2 and TLR7 in transfected 293T cells. Change of the 5′-end 302 base pairs of the TLR2 sequence into major human codons markedly increased TLR2 expression, which led to increased TLR2-mediated constitutive nuclear factor-κB activation. Change of the 5′-end 381 base pairs of the CD14 sequence into prevalent TLR codons markedly reduced CD14 expression. These results collectively show that the deviation of TLR sequences from using major codons dictates the low TLR expression and this may protect the host against excessive inflammation and tissue damages. PMID:15606798

  4. Iterative Magnetometer Calibration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sedlak, Joseph

    2006-01-01

    This paper presents an iterative method for three-axis magnetometer (TAM) calibration that makes use of three existing utilities recently incorporated into the attitude ground support system used at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. The method combines attitude-independent and attitude-dependent calibration algorithms with a new spinning spacecraft Kalman filter to solve for biases, scale factors, nonorthogonal corrections to the alignment, and the orthogonal sensor alignment. The method is particularly well-suited to spin-stabilized spacecraft, but may also be useful for three-axis stabilized missions given sufficient data to provide observability.

  5. Dating placentalia: Morphological clocks fail to close the molecular fossil gap

    PubMed Central

    Puttick, Mark N.; Thomas, Gavin H.; Benton, Michael J.

    2016-01-01

    Dating the origin of Placentalia has been a contentious issue for biologists and paleontologists. Although it is likely that crown‐group placentals originated in the Late Cretaceous, nearly all molecular clock estimates point to a deeper Cretaceous origin. An approach with the potential to reconcile this discrepancy could be the application of a morphological clock. This would permit the direct incorporation of fossil data in node dating, and would break long internal branches of the tree, so leading to improved estimates of node ages. Here, we use a large morphological dataset and the tip‐calibration approach of MrBayes. We find that the estimated date for the origin of crown mammals is much older, ∼130–145 million years ago (Ma), than fossil and molecular clock data (∼80–90 Ma). Our results suggest that tip calibration may result in estimated dates that are more ancient than those obtained from other sources of data. This can be partially overcome by constraining the ages of internal nodes on the tree; however, when this was applied to our dataset, the estimated dates were still substantially more ancient than expected. We recommend that results obtained using tip calibration, and possibly morphological dating more generally, should be treated with caution. PMID:26990798

  6. Constraining the Deep Origin of Parasitic Flatworms and Host-Interactions with Fossil Evidence.

    PubMed

    De Baets, Kenneth; Dentzien-Dias, Paula; Upeniece, Ieva; Verneau, Olivier; Donoghue, Philip C J

    2015-01-01

    Novel fossil discoveries have contributed to our understanding of the evolutionary appearance of parasitism in flatworms. Furthermore, genetic analyses with greater coverage have shifted our views on the coevolution of parasitic flatworms and their hosts. The putative record of parasitic flatworms is consistent with extant host associations and so can be used to put constraints on the evolutionary origin of the parasites themselves. The future lies in new molecular clock analyses combined with additional discoveries of exceptionally preserved flatworms associated with hosts and coprolites. Besides direct evidence, the host fossil record and biogeography have the potential to constrain their evolutionary history, albeit with caution needed to avoid circularity, and a need for calibrations to be implemented in the most conservative way. This might result in imprecise, but accurate divergence estimates for the evolution of parasitic flatworms.

  7. A new African fossil caprin and a combined molecular and morphological Bayesian phylogenetic analysis of caprini (Mammalia: Bovidae).

    PubMed

    Bibi, F; Vrba, E; Fack, F

    2012-09-01

    Given that most species that have ever existed on Earth are extinct, no evolutionary history can ever be complete without the inclusion of fossil taxa. Bovids (antelopes and relatives) are one of the most diverse clades of large mammals alive today, with over a hundred living species and hundreds of documented fossil species. With the advent of molecular phylogenetics, major advances have been made in the phylogeny of this clade; however, there has been little attempt to integrate the fossil record into the developing phylogenetic picture. We here describe a new large fossil caprin species from ca. 1.9-Ma deposits from the Middle Awash, Ethiopia. To place the new species phylogenetically, we perform a Bayesian analysis of a combined molecular (cytochrome b) and morphological (osteological) character supermatrix. We include all living species of Caprini, the new fossil species, a fossil takin from the Pliocene of Ethiopia (Budorcas churcheri), and the insular subfossil Myotragus balearicus. The combined analysis demonstrates successful incorporation of both living and fossil species within a single phylogeny based on both molecular and morphological evidence. Analysis of the combined supermatrix produces superior resolution than with either the molecular or morphological data sets considered alone. Parsimony and Bayesian analyses of the data set are also compared and shown to produce similar results. The combined phylogenetic analysis indicates that the new fossil species is nested within Capra, making it one of the earliest representatives of this clade, with implications for molecular clock calibration. Geographical optimization indicates no less than four independent dispersals into Africa by caprins since the Pliocene.

  8. Consequences of Secondary Calibrations on Divergence Time Estimates

    PubMed Central

    Schenk, John J.

    2016-01-01

    Secondary calibrations (calibrations based on the results of previous molecular dating studies) are commonly applied in divergence time analyses in groups that lack fossil data; however, the consequences of applying secondary calibrations in a relaxed-clock approach are not fully understood. I tested whether applying the posterior estimate from a primary study as a prior distribution in a secondary study results in consistent age and uncertainty estimates. I compared age estimates from simulations with 100 randomly replicated secondary trees. On average, the 95% credible intervals of node ages for secondary estimates were significantly younger and narrower than primary estimates. The primary and secondary age estimates were significantly different in 97% of the replicates after Bonferroni corrections. Greater error in magnitude was associated with deeper than shallower nodes, but the opposite was found when standardized by median node age, and a significant positive relationship was determined between the number of tips/age of secondary trees and the total amount of error. When two secondary calibrated nodes were analyzed, estimates remained significantly different, and although the minimum and median estimates were associated with less error, maximum age estimates and credible interval widths had greater error. The shape of the prior also influenced error, in which applying a normal, rather than uniform, prior distribution resulted in greater error. Secondary calibrations, in summary, lead to a false impression of precision and the distribution of age estimates shift away from those that would be inferred by the primary analysis. These results suggest that secondary calibrations should not be applied as the only source of calibration in divergence time analyses that test time-dependent hypotheses until the additional error associated with secondary calibrations is more properly modeled to take into account increased uncertainty in age estimates. PMID:26824760

  9. Can extinction rates be estimated without fossils?

    PubMed

    Paradis, Emmanuel

    2004-07-01

    There is considerable interest in the possibility of using molecular phylogenies to estimate extinction rates. The present study aims at assessing the statistical performance of the birth-death model fitting approach to estimate speciation and extinction rates by comparison to the approach considering fossil data. A simulation-based approach was used. The diversification of a large number of lineages was simulated under a wide range of speciation and extinction rate values. The estimators obtained with fossils performed better than those without fossils. In the absence of fossils (e.g. with a molecular phylogeny), the speciation rate was correctly estimated in a wide range of situations; the bias of the corresponding estimator was close to zero for the largest trees. However, this estimator was substantially biased when the simulated extinction rate was high. On the other hand the estimator of extinction rate was biased in a wide range of situations. Surprisingly, this bias was lesser with medium-sized trees. Some recommendations for interpreting results from a diversification analysis are given.

  10. Evolution: Fossil Ears and Underwater Sonar.

    PubMed

    Lambert, Olivier

    2016-08-22

    A key innovation in the history of whales was the evolution of a sonar system together with high-frequency hearing. Fossils of an archaic toothed whale's inner ear bones provide clues for a stepwise emergence of underwater echolocation ability. PMID:27554653

  11. Fossil Crustaceans as Parasites and Hosts.

    PubMed

    Klompmaker, Adiël A; Boxshall, Geoff A

    2015-01-01

    Numerous crustacean lineages have independently moved into parasitism as a mode of life. In modern marine ecosystems, parasitic crustaceans use representatives from many metazoan phyla as hosts. Crustaceans also serve as hosts to a rich diversity of parasites, including other crustaceans. Here, we show that the fossil record of such parasitic interactions is sparse, with only 11 examples, one dating back to the Cambrian. This may be due to the limited preservation potential and small size of parasites, as well as to problems with ascribing traces to parasitism with certainty, and to a lack of targeted research. Although the confirmed stratigraphic ranges are limited for nearly every example, evidence of parasitism related to crustaceans has become increasingly more complete for isopod-induced swellings in decapods so that quantitative analyses can be carried out. Little attention has yet been paid to the origin of parasitism in deep time, but insight can be generated by integrating data on fossils with molecular studies on modern parasites. In addition, there are other traces left by parasites that could fossilize, but have not yet been recognized in the fossil record.

  12. The Fascinating Story of Fossil Fuels

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Asimov, Isaac

    1973-01-01

    How this energy source was created, its meaning to mankind, our drastically reduced supply, and why we cannot wait for nature to make more are considered. Today fossil fuels supply 96 percent of the energy used but we must find alternate energy options if we are to combat the energy crisis. (BL)

  13. Thermal dissolution of solid fossil fuels

    SciTech Connect

    E.G. Gorlov

    2007-10-15

    The use of oil shales and coals in the processes of thermal dissolution is considered. It is shown that thermal dissolution is a mode of liquefaction of solid fossil fuels and can be used both independently and in combination with liquefaction of coals and processing of heavy petroleum residues.

  14. Fundamentals of fossil simulator instructor training

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1984-01-01

    This single-volume, looseleaf text introduces the beginning instructor to fundamental instructor training principles, and then shows how to apply those principles to fossil simulator training. Topics include the fundamentals of classroom instruction, the learning process, course development, and the specifics of simulator training program development.

  15. Fossil Cores In The Kepler Data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jackson, Brian

    Most gas giant exoplanets with orbital periods < few days are unstable against tidal decay and may be tidally disrupted before their host stars leave the main sequence. These gas giants probably contain rocky/icy cores, and so their cores will be stranded near their progenitor's Roche limit (few hours orbital period). These fossil cores will evade the Kepler mission's transit search because it is focused on periods > 0.5 days, but finding these fossil cores would provide unprecedented insights into planetary interiors and formation ? e.g., they would be a smoking gun favoring formation of gas giants via core accretion. We propose to search for and characterize fossil cores in the Kepler dataset. We will vet candidates using the Kepler photometry and auxiliary data, collect ground-based spectra of the host stars and radial-velocity (RV) and adaptive optics (AO) data to corroborate candidates. We will also constrain stellar tidal dissipation efficiencies (parameterized by Q) by determining our survey's completeness, elucidating dynamical origins and evolution of exoplanets even if we find no fossil cores. Our preliminary search has already found several dozen candidates, so the proposed survey has a high likelihood of success.

  16. From Fossils to Facts to Stories.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hungerford, Harold R.; Steinruck, Yvonne Siv

    1978-01-01

    Eight steps are outlined for presenting a combined science/language experience unit to primary students, in which the children observe and discuss a phenomenon and dictate a group report. Sample projects with fossils, magnets, and air pressure are described. (SJL)

  17. Fossil Energy Materials Program conference proceedings

    SciTech Connect

    Judkins, R.R.

    1987-08-01

    The US Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy has recognized the need for materials research and development to assure the adequacy of materials of construction for advanced fossil energy systems. The principal responsibility for identifying needed materials research and for establishing a program to address these needs resides within the Office of Technical Coordination. That office has established the Advanced Research and Technology Development (AR and TD) Fossil Energy Materials Program to fulfill that responsibility. In addition to the AR and TD Materials Program, which is designed to address in a generic way the materials needs of fossil energy systems, specific materials support activities are also sponsored by the various line organizations such as the Office of Coal Gasification. A conference was held at Oak Ridge, Tennessee on May 19-21, 1987, to present and discuss the results of program activities during the past year. The conference program was organized in accordance with the research thrust areas we have established. These research thrust areas include structural ceramics (particularly fiber-reinforced ceramic composites), corrosion and erosion, and alloy development and mechanical properties. Eighty-six people attended the conference. Papers have been entered individually into EDB and ERA. (LTN)

  18. Fossil fuels supplies modeling and research

    SciTech Connect

    Leiby, P.N.

    1996-06-01

    The fossil fuel supplies modeling and research effort focuses on models for US Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) planning and management. Topics covered included new SPR oil valuation models, updating models for SPR risk analysis, and fill-draw planning. Another task in this program area is the development of advanced computational tools for three-dimensional seismic analysis.

  19. Improved Regression Calibration

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Skrondal, Anders; Kuha, Jouni

    2012-01-01

    The likelihood for generalized linear models with covariate measurement error cannot in general be expressed in closed form, which makes maximum likelihood estimation taxing. A popular alternative is regression calibration which is computationally efficient at the cost of inconsistent estimation. We propose an improved regression calibration…

  20. Thermistor mount efficiency calibration

    SciTech Connect

    Cable, J.W.

    1980-05-01

    Thermistor mount efficiency calibration is accomplished by use of the power equation concept and by complex signal-ratio measurements. A comparison of thermistor mounts at microwave frequencies is made by mixing the reference and the reflected signals to produce a frequency at which the amplitude and phase difference may be readily measured.