Science.gov

Sample records for fossil calibrations codon

  1. Calibrating the Tree of Life: fossils, molecules and evolutionary timescales

    PubMed Central

    Forest, Félix

    2009-01-01

    Background Molecular dating has gained ever-increasing interest since the molecular clock hypothesis was proposed in the 1960s. Molecular dating provides detailed temporal frameworks for divergence events in phylogenetic trees, allowing diverse evolutionary questions to be addressed. The key aspect of the molecular clock hypothesis, namely that differences in DNA or protein sequence between two species are proportional to the time elapsed since they diverged, was soon shown to be untenable. Other approaches were proposed to take into account rate heterogeneity among lineages, but the calibration process, by which relative times are transformed into absolute ages, has received little attention until recently. New methods have now been proposed to resolve potential sources of error associated with the calibration of phylogenetic trees, particularly those involving use of the fossil record. Scope and Conclusions The use of the fossil record as a source of independent information in the calibration process is the main focus of this paper; other sources of calibration information are also discussed. Particularly error-prone aspects of fossil calibration are identified, such as fossil dating, the phylogenetic placement of the fossil and the incompleteness of the fossil record. Methods proposed to tackle one or more of these potential error sources are discussed (e.g. fossil cross-validation, prior distribution of calibration points and confidence intervals on the fossil record). In conclusion, the fossil record remains the most reliable source of information for the calibration of phylogenetic trees, although associated assumptions and potential bias must be taken into account. PMID:19666901

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

    PubMed Central

    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.

    2011-01-01

    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. PMID:21525049

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Fossil butterflies, calibration points and the molecular clock (Lepidoptera: Papilionoidea).

    PubMed

    Jong, Rienk DE

    2017-05-25

    Fossil butterflies are extremely rare. Yet, they are the only direct evidence of the first appearance of particular characters and as such, they are crucial for calibrating a molecular clock, from which divergence ages are estimated. In turn, these estimates, in combination with paleogeographic information, are most important in paleobiogeographic considerations. The key issue here is the correct allocation of fossils on the phylogenetic tree from which the molecular clock is calibrated.The allocation of a fossil on a tree should be based on an apomorphic character found in a tree based on extant species, similar to the allocation of a new extant species. In practice, the latter is not done, at least not explicitly, on the basis of apomorphy, but rather on overall similarity or on a phylogenetic analysis, which is not possible for most butterfly fossils since they usually are very fragmentary. Characters most often preserved are in the venation of the wings. Therefore, special attention is given to possible apomorphies in venational characters in extant butterflies. For estimation of divergence times, not only the correct allocation of the fossil on the tree is important, but also the tree itself influences the outcome as well as the correct determination of the age of the fossil. These three aspects are discussed.        All known butterfly fossils, consisting of 49 taxa, are critically reviewed and their relationship to extant taxa is discussed as an aid for correctly calibrating a molecular clock for papilionoid Lepidoptera. In this context some aspects of age estimation and biogeographic conclusions are briefly mentioned in review. Specific information has been summarized in four appendices.

  6. 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

  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. © The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press, on behalf of the Society of Systematic Biologists. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  8. Fossil calibrations and molecular divergence time estimates in centrarchid fishes (Teleostei: Centrarchidae).

    PubMed

    Near, Thomas J; Bolnick, Daniel I; Wainwright, Peter C

    2005-08-01

    Molecular clock methods allow biologists to estimate divergence times, which in turn play an important role in comparative studies of many evolutionary processes. It is well known that molecular age estimates can be biased by heterogeneity in rates of molecular evolution, but less attention has been paid to the issue of potentially erroneous fossil calibrations. In this study we estimate the timing of diversification in Centrarchidae, an endemic major lineage of the diverse North American freshwater fish fauna, through a new approach to fossil calibration and molecular evolutionary model selection. Given a completely resolved multi-gene molecular phylogeny and a set of multiple fossil-inferred age estimates, we tested for potentially erroneous fossil calibrations using a recently developed fossil cross-validation. We also used fossil information to guide the selection of the optimal molecular evolutionary model with a new fossil jackknife method in a fossil-based model cross-validation. The centrarchid phylogeny resulted from a mixed-model Bayesian strategy that included 14 separate data partitions sampled from three mtDNA and four nuclear genes. Ten of the 31 interspecific nodes in the centrarchid phylogeny were assigned a minimal age estimate from the centrarchid fossil record. Our analyses identified four fossil dates that were inconsistent with the other fossils, and we removed them from the molecular dating analysis. Using fossil-based model cross-validation to determine the optimal smoothing value in penalized likelihood analysis, and six mutually consistent fossil calibrations, the age of the most recent common ancestor of Centrarchidae was 33.59 million years ago (mya). Penalized likelihood analyses of individual data partitions all converged on a very similar age estimate for this node, indicating that rate heterogeneity among data partitions is not confounding our analyses. These results place the origin of the centrarchid radiation at a time of major

  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. Integrating fossil preservation biases in the selection of calibrations for molecular divergence time estimation.

    PubMed

    Dornburg, Alex; Beaulieu, Jeremy M; Oliver, Jeffrey C; Near, Thomas J

    2011-07-01

    The selection of fossil data to use as calibration age priors in molecular divergence time estimates inherently links neontological methods with paleontological theory. However, few neontological studies have taken into account the possibility of a taphonomic bias in the fossil record when developing approaches to fossil calibration selection. The Sppil-Rongis effect may bias the first appearance of a lineage toward the recent causing most objective calibration selection approaches to erroneously exclude appropriate calibrations or to incorporate multiple calibrations that are too young to accurately represent the divergence times of target lineages. Using turtles as a case study, we develop a Bayesian extension to the fossil selection approach developed by Marshall (2008. A simple method for bracketing absolute divergence times on molecular phylogenies using multiple fossil calibrations points. Am. Nat. 171:726-742) that takes into account this taphonomic bias. Our method has the advantage of identifying calibrations that may bias age estimates to be too recent while incorporating uncertainty in phylogenetic parameter estimates such as tree topology and branch lengths. Additionally, this method is easily adapted to assess the consistency of potential calibrations to any one calibration in the candidate pool.

  11. 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

  12. Fossil calibration of molecular divergence infers a moderate mutation rate and recent radiations for pinus.

    PubMed

    Willyard, Ann; Ann, Willyard; Syring, John; Gernandt, David S; Liston, Aaron; Cronn, Richard

    2007-01-01

    Silent mutation rate estimates for Pinus vary 50-fold, ranging from angiosperm-like to among the slowest reported for plants. These differences either reflect extraordinary genomic processes or inconsistent fossil calibration, and they have important consequences for population and biogeographical inferences. Here we estimate mutation rates from 4 Pinus species that represent the major lineages using 11 nuclear and 4 chloroplast loci. Calibration was tested at the divergence of Pinus subgenera with the oldest leaf fossil from subg. Strobus (Eocene; 45 MYA) or a recently published subg. Strobus wood fossil (Cretaceous; 85 MYA). These calibrations place the origin of Pinus 190-102 MYA and give absolute silent rate estimates of 0.70-1.31x10(-9) and 0.22-0.42x10(-9).site-1.year-1 for the nuclear and chloroplast genomes, respectively. These rates are approximately 4- to 20-fold slower than angiosperms, but unlike many previous estimates, they are more consistent with the high per-generation deleterious mutation rates observed in pines. Chronograms from nuclear and chloroplast genomes show that the divergence of subgenera accounts for about half of the time since Pinus diverged from Picea, with subsequent radiations occurring more recently. By extending the sampling to encompass the phylogenetic diversity of Pinus, we predict that most extant subsections diverged during the Miocene. Moreover, subsect. Australes, Ponderosae, and Contortae, containing over 50 extant species, radiated within a 5 Myr time span starting as recently as 18 MYA. An Eocene divergence of pine subgenera (using leaf fossils) does not conflict with fossil-based estimates of the Pinus-Picea split, but a Cretaceous divergence using wood fossils accommodates Oligocene fossils that may represent modern subsections. Because homoplasy and polarity of character states have not been tested for fossil pine assignments, the choice of fossil and calibration node represents a significant source of uncertainty

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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

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

    PubMed

    Bibi, Faysal

    2013-08-08

    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. 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. 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 phylogeographic and paleoenvironmental

  20. Calibration of Biosignatures in Microbial Ca:Mg Carbonates: Fossilized Evidence for Ancient Life

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McKenzie, J. A.; Bontognali, T. R.; Vasconcelos, C.

    2008-12-01

    Ca carbonate minerals, such as calcite or aragonite, are known to precipitate by both abiologically and biologically produced processes. The abundant sedimentary mineral dolomite (CaMgCO3), however, precipitates exclusively as a microbial induced product under Earth surface conditions. Thus, the study of microbial dolomite precipitation in natural environments and laboratory culture experiments provides the potential to calibrate and evaluate the range of microbial biosignatures that may become fossilized in the carbonate rock record. Structural biosignatures associated with microbial dolomite, which are microscopically observable, include characteristic shapes, such as dumbbell, spheroid or cruciform structures, and pervasive exopolymeric substance (EPS) matrices within which the mineral nucleates. The occurrence of these biostructures fossilized in geologic dolomite samples provides unambiguous evidence for the past presence of microorganisms. Identification of comparable biostructures associated with other more ambiguous biominerals may be significant physical evidence for the activity of microorganisms in a variety of terrestrial and planetary environments. Furthermore, the study of microbial dolomite precipitation provides valuable information on relevant environmental conditions that can be extrapolated to interpret paleoenvironments. In particular, microbial dolomite forms under hypersaline conditions often associated with a range of anaerobic microbial processes, such as bacterial sulfate reduction and/or anaerobic methane oxidation. The interactions of these complex microbial communities lead to the incorporation of characteristic carbon-isotope signatures reflecting the various metabolisms involved in the biomineralization. Additionally, the specific organic functional groups of metabolically produced organic molecules, which are included in modern and ancient biominerals, can be quantitatively compared using Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy (EELS

  1. 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.

  2. Multi-locus fossil-calibrated phylogeny of Atheriniformes (Teleostei, Ovalentaria).

    PubMed

    Campanella, Daniela; Hughes, Lily C; Unmack, Peter J; Bloom, Devin D; Piller, Kyle R; Ortí, Guillermo

    2015-05-01

    Phylogenetic relationships among families within the order Atheriniformes have been difficult to resolve on the basis of morphological evidence. Molecular studies so far have been fragmentary and based on a small number taxa and loci. In this study, we provide a new phylogenetic hypothesis based on sequence data collected for eight molecular markers for a representative sample of 103 atheriniform species, covering 2/3 of the genera in this order. The phylogeny is calibrated with six carefully chosen fossil taxa to provide an explicit timeframe for the diversification of this group. Our results support the subdivision of Atheriniformes into two suborders (Atherinopsoidei and Atherinoidei), the nesting of Notocheirinae within Atherinopsidae, and the monophyly of tribe Menidiini, among others. We propose taxonomic changes for Atherinopsoidei, but a few weakly supported nodes in our phylogeny suggests that further study is necessary to support a revised taxonomy of Atherinoidei. The time-calibrated phylogeny was used to infer ancestral habitat reconstructions to explain the current distribution of marine and freshwater taxa. Based on these results, the current distribution of Atheriniformes is likely due to widespread marine dispersal along the margins of continents, infrequent trans-oceanic dispersal, and repeated invasion of freshwater habitats. This conclusion is supported by post-Gondwanan divergence times among families within the order, and a high probability of a marine ancestral habitat. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  3. Fossil-calibrated phylogeny and historical biogeography of Southeast Asian water monitors (Varanus salvator Complex).

    PubMed

    Welton, Luke J; Wood, Perry L; Oaks, Jamie R; Siler, Cameron D; Brown, Rafe M

    2014-05-01

    We utilize robust geographical genetic sampling, a multilocus dataset, a new synthesis of numerous fossil calibration points, a time-calibrated phylogeny, and the Dispersal-Extinction-Cladogenesis model to test the prediction that widespread Southeast Asian water monitor species initially diversified on the Asian mainland and subsequently invaded the island archipelagos of the Philippines, Sundaland, and Wallacea. Our results strongly contradict these expectations and instead infer an initial water monitor radiation of range-restricted but highly divergent evolutionary lineages (now recognized as endemic species) in one archipelago around 3.6 mya, followed by an out-of-the-Philippines reinvasion of the mainland (2.2 mya), resulting in a few, widespread species that now inhabit most the islands of the Sunda Shelf and the Southeast Asian mainland as far north as Myanmar, as well as an out-of-the-Philippines invasion of Sulawesi (2.1 mya). Our analyses both confirm the importance of island archipelagos as drivers of diversification for mainland biodiversity and emphasize the global evolutionary significance and conservation priority of the Philippines for understanding processes of diversification in island archipelagos. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  4. Conserved residues in yeast initiator tRNA calibrate initiation accuracy by regulating preinitiation complex stability at the start codon.

    PubMed

    Dong, Jinsheng; Munoz, Antonio; Kolitz, Sarah E; Saini, Adesh K; Chiu, Wen-ling; Rahman, Hafsa; Lorsch, Jon R; Hinnebusch, Alan G

    2014-03-01

    Eukaryotic initiator tRNA (tRNAi) contains several highly conserved unique sequence features, but their importance in accurate start codon selection was unknown. Here we show that conserved bases throughout tRNAi, from the anticodon stem to acceptor stem, play key roles in ensuring the fidelity of start codon recognition in yeast cells. Substituting the conserved G31:C39 base pair in the anticodon stem with different pairs reduces accuracy (the Sui(-) [suppressor of initiation codon] phenotype), whereas eliminating base pairing increases accuracy (the Ssu(-) [suppressor of Sui(-)] phenotype). The latter defect is fully suppressed by a Sui(-) substitution of T-loop residue A54. These genetic data are paralleled by opposing effects of Sui(-) and Ssu(-) substitutions on the stability of methionylated tRNAi (Met-tRNA(i)) binding (in the ternary complex [TC] with eIF2-GTP) to reconstituted preinitiation complexes (PICs). Disrupting the C3:G70 base pair in the acceptor stem produces a Sui(-) phenotype and also reduces the rate of TC binding to 40S subunits in vitro and in vivo. Both defects are suppressed by an Ssu(-) substitution in eIF1A that stabilizes the open/P(OUT) conformation of the PIC that exists prior to start codon recognition. Our data indicate that these signature sequences of tRNA(i) regulate accuracy by distinct mechanisms, promoting the open/P(OUT) conformation of the PIC (for C3:G70) or destabilizing the closed/P(IN) state (for G31:C39 and A54) that is critical for start codon recognition.

  5. Comparison of different strategies for using fossil calibrations to generate the time prior in Bayesian molecular clock dating.

    PubMed

    Barba-Montoya, Jose; Dos Reis, Mario; Yang, Ziheng

    2017-09-01

    Fossil calibrations are the utmost source of information for resolving the distances between molecular sequences into estimates of absolute times and absolute rates in molecular clock dating analysis. The quality of calibrations is thus expected to have a major impact on divergence time estimates even if a huge amount of molecular data is available. In Bayesian molecular clock dating, fossil calibration information is incorporated in the analysis through the prior on divergence times (the time prior). Here, we evaluate three strategies for converting fossil calibrations (in the form of minimum- and maximum-age bounds) into the prior on times, which differ according to whether they borrow information from the maximum age of ancestral nodes and minimum age of descendent nodes to form constraints for any given node on the phylogeny. We study a simple example that is analytically tractable, and analyze two real datasets (one of 10 primate species and another of 48 seed plant species) using three Bayesian dating programs: MCMCTree, MrBayes and BEAST2. We examine how different calibration strategies, the birth-death process, and automatic truncation (to enforce the constraint that ancestral nodes are older than descendent nodes) interact to determine the time prior. In general, truncation has a great impact on calibrations so that the effective priors on the calibration node ages after the truncation can be very different from the user-specified calibration densities. The different strategies for generating the effective prior also had considerable impact, leading to very different marginal effective priors. Arbitrary parameters used to implement minimum-bound calibrations were found to have a strong impact upon the prior and posterior of the divergence times. Our results highlight the importance of inspecting the joint time prior used by the dating program before any Bayesian dating analysis. Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. Phylogenetic analysis of pelecaniformes (aves) based on osteological data: implications for waterbird phylogeny and fossil calibration studies.

    PubMed

    Smith, Nathan D

    2010-10-14

    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. 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. Relationships of extant pelecaniforms inferred from morphology are more congruent with molecular phylogenies than previously assumed, though notable conflicts

  10. 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.

  11. Arrival and diversification of mabuyine skinks (Squamata: Scincidae) in the Neotropics based on a fossil-calibrated timetree

    PubMed Central

    Pereira, Anieli Guirro

    2017-01-01

    Background The evolution of South American Mabuyinae skinks holds significant biogeographic interest because its sister lineage is distributed across the African continent and adjacent islands. Moreover, at least one insular species, Trachylepis atlantica, has independently reached the New World through transoceanic dispersal. To clarify the evolutionary history of both Neotropical lineages, this study aimed to infer an updated timescale using the largest species and gene sampling dataset ever assembled for this group. By extending the analysis to the Scincidae family, we could employ fossil information to estimate mabuyinae divergence times and carried out a formal statistical biogeography analysis. To unveil macroevolutionary patterns, we also inferred diversification rates for this lineage and evaluated whether the colonization of South American continent significantly altered the mode of Mabuyinae evolution. Methods A time-calibrated phylogeny was inferred under the Bayesian framework employing fossil information. This timetree was used to (i) evaluate the historical biogeography of mabuiyines using the statistical approach implemented in BioGeoBEARS; (ii) estimate macroevolutionary diversification rates of the South American Mabuyinae lineages and the patterns of evolution of selected traits, namely, the mode of reproduction, body mass and snout–vent length; (iii) test the hypothesis of differential macroevolutionary patterns in South American lineages in BAMM and GeoSSE; and (iv) re-evaluate the ancestral state of the mode of reproduction of mabuyines. Results Our results corroborated the hypothesis that the occupation of the South American continent by Mabuyinae consisted of two independent dispersion events that occurred between the Oligocene and the Miocene. We found significant differences in speciation rates between the New World and the remaining Mabuyinae clades only in GeoSSE. The influence of phenotypic traits on diversification rates was not

  12. 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

  13. Growth-Dependent Calibration of Coral Sr/Ca-SST From Multiple Colonies Provides Potential for Long SST Records from Fossil Corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goodkin, N. F.

    2005-12-01

    Extended reconstructions of sea surface temperature (SST) are critical to examining long-term climate variability not captured in instrumental records. Coral skeleton, which continuously accretes in annual density bands, preserves unique, multi-century archives of sub-annual resolution SST. Despite the promise of coral proxies, however, SSTs derived from corals are often several degrees cooler than those derived from other archives. Here we present strontium to calcium ratios (Sr/Ca) for four brain corals (Diploria labyrinthiformis) collected from the south shore of Bermuda that are strongly correlated with both instrumental SST (Hydrostation S, 30km southeast) and annual skeletal extension rate. High Sr/Ca ratios correspond with cold SSTs and slow skeletal growth rate, and vice versa. Over a ~25 year calibration period, the four corals have distinct average growth rates (2.57, 2.68, 3.55 and 4.03 mm/yr). For each colony, we provide a quantitative calibration of annual Sr/Ca to annual extension rate and annual SST along the axis of maximum growth and derive an individual growth dependent Sr/Ca-SST calibration equation: Sr/Ca = m*(SST) + n*(annual growth rate)*(SST) + b The slopes and intercepts of the four equations are found to be linearly related to the average growth-rate during the calibration periods of each colony, and a final multi-variant regression is performed to establish one final Sr/Ca-Growth Rate-SST calibration, in the form: Sr/Ca = m*(SST) + n*(annual growth rate)*(SST) + o*(average colony growth rate)*(SST) + b This growth-dependent calibration is shown to be applicable to a fossil coral of the same species in order to reconstruct SSTs at Bermuda for 223 years. A reconstruction excluding the influence of growth yields SSTs that exaggerate both cool and warm periods. SST anomalies near the end of the Little Ice Age (~1850) that are derived using a non-growth dependent calibration are exaggerated by a factor of two relative to those from a growth

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. Age estimates for the buckwheat family Polygonaceae based on sequence data calibrated by fossils and with a focus on the amphi-Pacific Muehlenbeckia.

    PubMed

    Schuster, Tanja M; Setaro, Sabrina D; 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.

  17. 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

  18. Unmixing the young fossil record using radiocarbon-calibrated amino-acid racemization (Gulf of Trieste, northern Adriatic Sea)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tomašových, Adam; Gallmetzer, Ivo; Haselmair, Alex; Kaufman, Darrell S.; Vidović, Jelena; Zuschin, Martin

    2017-04-01

    Marine coastal habitats globally have been affected by eutrophication, hypoxia, habitat alteration, overfishing, and resource exploitation over recent decades. However, reconstruction of past natural ecosystem states is compromised by short-term archives and biotic surveys limited to the past decades and/or by low stratigraphic resolution of fossil assemblages in sedimentary cores due to slow sedimentation and bioturbation. In the northern Adriatic Sea, which was affected by eutrophication, algal blooms and mucilage blooms, and hypoxia during the second half of the 20th century, the composition of natural baseline states of benthic ecosystems and their responses to natural and anthropogenic disturbances over longer, centennial scales are poorly known. In this study, we evaluate the timing and forcing of past hypoxia events in the northern Adriatic Sea (Gulf of Trieste) based on the production history of the opportunistic, hypoxia-tolerant bivalve Corbula gibba, using 210Pb data, radiocarbon dating, amino acid racemization, and distribution of foraminifers in 1.5-m-thick sediment cores that capture the past 500 yr. Corbula gibba tolerates eutrophied and polluted conditions and survives seasonal hypoxic and mass mortality events affecting most of the benthic macrofauna in the northern Adriatic Sea. In the aftermath of such events, it can achieve density of thousands of individuals/1 m2 and can contribute with more than 80% of individuals to the bivalve assemblage. Unmixing the stratigraphic record of cores on the basis of 311 shells of C. gibba, we show that production of this species underwent major decadal-scale fluctuations since the 18th century, with outbreaks corresponding to density of more than 1000 individuals per square meter. A positive correlation between abundances of hypoxia-tolerant foraminifers and C. gibba, the temporal coincidence between the peak in abundance at 1980 and several hypoxic crises in the Gulf of Trieste in 1974, 1980, and 1983, and the

  19. Numerical dating of the Eckfeld maar fossil site, Eifel, Germany: a calibration mark for the Eocene time scale.

    PubMed

    Mertz, D F; Swisher, C C; Franzen, J L; Neuffer, F O; Lutz, H

    2000-06-01

    Sediments of the Eckfeld maar (Eifel, Germany) bear a well-preserved Eocene fauna and flora. Biostratigraphically, Eckfeld corresponds to the Middle Eocene mammal reference level MP (Mammals Paleogene) 13 of the ELMA (European Land Mammal Age) Geiseltalian. In the maar crater, basalt fragments were drilled, representing explosion crater eruption products. By 40Ar/39Ar dating of the basalt, for the first time a direct numerical calibration mark for an Eocene European mammal locality has been established. The Eckfeld basalt inverse isochron date of 44.3 +/- 0.4 Ma suggests an age for the Geiseltalian/Robiacian boundary at 44 Ma and, together with the 1995 time scale of Berggren et al., a time span ranging from 49 to 44 Ma for the Geiseltalian and from 44 to 37 Ma for the Robiacian, respectively. Additional 40Ar/39Ar dating on a genetically related basalt occurrence close to the maar confirms a period of volcanism of ca. 0.6 m.y. in the Eckfeld area, matching the oldest Eocene volcanic activity of the Hocheifel volcanic field.

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

    PubMed

    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.

  1. 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

  2. "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)

  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. 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

  5. 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,…

  6. 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…

  7. 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…

  8. 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,…

  9. A generalized mechanistic codon model.

    PubMed

    Zaheri, Maryam; Dib, Linda; Salamin, Nicolas

    2014-09-01

    Models of codon evolution have attracted particular interest because of their unique capabilities to detect selection forces and their high fit when applied to sequence evolution. We described here a novel approach for modeling codon evolution, which is based on Kronecker product of matrices. The 61 × 61 codon substitution rate matrix is created using Kronecker product of three 4 × 4 nucleotide substitution matrices, the equilibrium frequency of codons, and the selection rate parameter. The entities of the nucleotide substitution matrices and selection rate are considered as parameters of the model, which are optimized by maximum likelihood. Our fully mechanistic model allows the instantaneous substitution matrix between codons to be fully estimated with only 19 parameters instead of 3,721, by using the biological interdependence existing between positions within codons. We illustrate the properties of our models using computer simulations and assessed its relevance by comparing the AICc measures of our model and other models of codon evolution on simulations and a large range of empirical data sets. We show that our model fits most biological data better compared with the current codon models. Furthermore, the parameters in our model can be interpreted in a similar way as the exchangeability rates found in empirical codon models. © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.

  10. 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…

  11. 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…

  12. 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…

  13. 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…

  14. Fossil Crinoids

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hess, Hans; Ausich, William I.; Brett, Carlton E.; Simms, Michael J.

    2003-01-01

    Crinoids have graced the oceans for more than 500 million years. Among the most attractive fossils, crinoids had a key role in the ecology of marine communities through much of the fossil record, and their remains are prominent rock forming constituents of many limestones. This is the first comprehensive volume to bring together their form and function, classification, evolutionary history, occurrence, preservation and ecology. The main part of the book is devoted to assemblages of intact fossil crinoids, which are described in their geological setting in twenty-three chapters ranging from the Ordovician to the Tertiary. The final chapter deals with living sea lilies and feather stars. The volume is exquisitely illustrated with abundant photographs and line drawings of crinoids from sites around the world. This authoritative account recreates a fascinating picture of fossil crinoids for paleontologists, geologists, evolutionary and marine biologists, ecologists and amateur fossil collectors.

  15. Fossil Crinoids

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hess, Hans; Ausich, William I.; Brett, Carlton E.; Simms, Michael J.

    1999-10-01

    Crinoids have graced the oceans for more than 500 million years. Among the most attractive fossils, crinoids had a key role in the ecology of marine communities through much of the fossil record, and their remains are prominent rock forming constituents of many limestones. This is the first comprehensive volume to bring together their form and function, classification, evolutionary history, occurrence, preservation and ecology. The main part of the book is devoted to assemblages of intact fossil crinoids, which are described in their geological setting in twenty-three chapters ranging from the Ordovician to the Tertiary. The final chapter deals with living sea lilies and feather stars. The volume is exquisitely illustrated with abundant photographs and line drawings of crinoids from sites around the world. This authoritative account recreates a fascinating picture of fossil crinoids for paleontologists, geologists, evolutionary and marine biologists, ecologists and amateur fossil collectors.

  16. 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.

  17. Emergent Rules for Codon Choice Elucidated by Editing Rare Arginine Codons in Escherichia coli

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2016-09-20

    alternatives. Using this method, we confirmed the relevance of the SRZ by tracking codon fitness over time in 14 different genes, finding that codons...codes. codon choice | genome editing | recoded genomes The genetic code possesses inherent redundancy (1), with up tosix different codons specifying a...strong preference for certain codons over synonymous alternatives (5, 6). Although different species have evolved to prefer different codons, codon

  18. 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.

  19. 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. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

  20. Divergence in codon usage of Lactobacillus species.

    PubMed Central

    Pouwels, P H; Leunissen, J A

    1994-01-01

    We have analyzed codon usage patterns of 70 sequenced genes from different Lactobacillus species. Codon usage in lactobacilli is highly biased. Both inter-species and intra-species heterogeneity of codon usage bias was observed. Codon usage in L. acidophilus is similar to that in L. helveticus, but dissimilar to that in L. bulgaricus, L. casei, L. pentosus and L. plantarum. Codon usage in the latter three organisms is not significantly different, but is different from that in L. bulgaricus. Inter-species differences in codon usage can, at least in part, be explained by differences in mutational drift. L. bulgaricus shows GC drift, whereas all other species show AT drift. L. acidophilus and L. helveticus rarely use NNG in family-box (a set of synonymous) codons, in contrast to all other species. This result may be explained by assuming that L. acidophilus and L. helveticus, but not other species examined, use a single tRNA species for translation of family-box codons. Differences in expression level of genes are positively correlated with codon usage bias. Highly expressed genes show highly biased codon usage, whereas weakly expressed genes show much less biased codon usage. Codon usage patterns at the 5'-end of Lactobacillus genes is not significantly different from that of entire genes. The GC content of codons 2-6 is significantly reduced compared with that of the remainder of the gene. The possible implications of a reduced GC content for the control of translation efficiency are discussed. PMID:8152923

  1. What drives codon choices in human genes?

    PubMed

    Karlin, S; Mrázek, J

    1996-10-04

    Synonymous codon usage is based and the bias seems to be different in different organisms. Factors with proposed roles in causing codon bias include degree and timing of gene expression, codon-anticodon interactions, transcription and translation rate and fidelity, codon context, and global and local G + C content. We offer a new perspective and new methods for elucidating codon choices applied especially to the human genome. We present data supporting the thesis that codon choices for human genes are largely a consequence of two factors: (1) amino acid constraints, (2) maintaining DNA structures dependent on base-step conformational tendencies consistent with the organism's genome signature that is determined by genome-wide processes of DNA modification, replication and repair. The related codon signature defined as the dinucleotide relative abundances at the distinct codon positions (1,2), (2,3), and (3,4) (4 = 1 of the next codon) accommodates both the global genome signature and amino acid constraints. In human genes, codon positions (2,3) and (3,4) containing the silent site have similar codon signatures reflecting DNA symmetry. Strong CG and TA dinucleotide underrepresentation is observed at all codon positions as well as in non-coding regions. Estimates of synonymous codon usage based on codon signatures are in excellent agreement with the actual codon usage in human and general vertebrate genes. These properties are largely independent of the isochore compartment (G + C content), gene size, and transcriptional and translational constraints. We hypothesize that major influences on codon usage in human genes result from residue preferences and diresidue associations in proteins coupled to biases on the DNA level, related to replication and repair processes and/or DNA structural requirements.

  2. CodonO: codon usage bias analysis within and across genomes

    PubMed Central

    Angellotti, Michael C.; Bhuiyan, Shafquat B.; Chen, Guorong; Wan, Xiu-Feng

    2007-01-01

    Synonymous codon usage biases are associated with various biological factors, such as gene expression level, gene length, gene translation initiation signal, protein amino acid composition, protein structure, tRNA abundance, mutation frequency and patterns, and GC compositions. Quantification of codon usage bias helps understand evolution of living organisms. A codon usage bias pipeline is demanding for codon usage bias analyses within and across genomes. Here we present a CodonO webserver service as a user-friendly tool for codon usage bias analyses across and within genomes in real time. The webserver is available at http//www.sysbiology.org/CodonO. Contact: wanhenry@yahoo.com. PMID:17537810

  3. 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.

  4. Age estimation for the genus Cymbidium (Orchidaceae: Epidendroideae) with implementation of fossil data calibration using molecular markers (ITS2 & matK) and phylogeographic inference from ancestral area reconstruction.

    PubMed

    Konhar, Ruchishree; Debnath, Manish; Marbaniang, Jean Valrie; Biswal, Devendra Kumar; Tandon, Pramod

    2016-12-01

    Intercontinental dislocations between tropical regions harboring two-thirds of the flowering plants have always drawn attention from taxonomists and biogeographers. One such family belonging to angiosperms is Orchidaceae with an herbaceous habit and high species diversity in the tropics. Here, we investigate the evolutionary and biogeographical history of the genus Cymbidium, which represents a monophyletic subfamily (Epidendroideae) of the orchids and comprises 50 odd species that are distinctly distributed in tropical to temperate regions. Much is not known about correlations among the level of CAM activity (one of the photosynthetic pathways often regarded as an adaptation to water stress in land plants), habitat, life forms, and phylogenetic relationships of orchids from an evolutionary perspective. A relatively well-resolved and highly supported phylogeny for Cymbidium orchids is reconstructed based on sequence analysis of ITS2 and matK regions from the chloroplast DNA available in public repositories viz. GenBank at NCBI. This study examines a genus level analysis by integrating different molecular matrices to existing fossil data on orchids in a molecular Bayesian relaxed clock employed in BEAST and assessed divergence times for the genus Cymbidium with a focus on evolutionary history of photosynthetic characters. Our study has enabled age estimations (45Ma) as well as ancestral area reconstruction for the genus Cymbidium using BEAST by addition of previously analyzed two internal calibration points.

  5. Balanced Codon Usage Optimizes Eukaryotic Translational Efficiency

    PubMed Central

    Qian, Wenfeng; Yang, Jian-Rong; Pearson, Nathaniel M.; Maclean, Calum; Zhang, Jianzhi

    2012-01-01

    Cellular efficiency in protein translation is an important fitness determinant in rapidly growing organisms. It is widely believed that synonymous codons are translated with unequal speeds and that translational efficiency is maximized by the exclusive use of rapidly translated codons. Here we estimate the in vivo translational speeds of all sense codons from the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Surprisingly, preferentially used codons are not translated faster than unpreferred ones. We hypothesize that this phenomenon is a result of codon usage in proportion to cognate tRNA concentrations, the optimal strategy in enhancing translational efficiency under tRNA shortage. Our predicted codon–tRNA balance is indeed observed from all model eukaryotes examined, and its impact on translational efficiency is further validated experimentally. Our study reveals a previously unsuspected mechanism by which unequal codon usage increases translational efficiency, demonstrates widespread natural selection for translational efficiency, and offers new strategies to improve synthetic biology. PMID:22479199

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Site-specific codon bias in bacteria

    SciTech Connect

    Smith, J.M.; Smith, N.H.

    1996-03-01

    Sequences of the gapA and ompA genes from 10 genera of enterobacteria have been analyzed. There is strong bias in codon usage, but different synonymous codons are preferred at different sites in the same gene. Site-specific preference for unfavored codons is not confined to the first 100 codons and is usually manifest between two codons utilizing the same tRNA. Statistical analyses, based on conclusions reached in an accompanying paper, show that the use of an unfavored codon at a given site in different genera is not due to common descent and must therefore be caused either by sequence-specific mutation or sequence-specific selection. Reasons are given for thinking that sequence-specific mutation cannot be responsible. We are unable to explain the preference between synonymous codons ending in C or T, but synonymous choice between A and G at third sites is largely explained by avoidance of AG-G (where the hyphen indicates the boundary between codons). We also observed that the preferred codon for proline in Enterobacter cloacea has changed from CCG to CCA. 27 refs., 7 tabs.

  9. 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)

  10. 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)

  11. Minigene-like inhibition of protein synthesis mediated by hungry codons near the start codon

    PubMed Central

    Jacinto-Loeza, Eva; Vivanco-Domínguez, Serafín; Guarneros, Gabriel; Hernández-Sánchez, Javier

    2008-01-01

    Rare AGA or AGG codons close to the initiation codon inhibit protein synthesis by a tRNA-sequestering mechanism as toxic minigenes do. To further understand this mechanism, a parallel analysis of protein synthesis and peptidyl-tRNA accumulation was performed using both a set of lacZ constructs where AGAAGA codons were moved codon by codon from +2, +3 up to +7, +8 positions and a series of 3–8 codon minigenes containing AGAAGA codons before the stop codon. β-Galactosidase synthesis from the AGAAGA lacZ constructs (in a Pth defective in vitro system without exogenous tRNA) diminished as the AGAAGA codons were closer to AUG codon. Likewise, β-galactosidase expression from the reporter +7 AGA lacZ gene (plus tRNA, 0.25 μg/μl) waned as the AGAAGAUAA minigene shortened. Pth counteracted both the length-dependent minigene effect on the expression of β-galactosidase from the +7 AGA lacZ reporter gene and the positional effect from the AGAAGA lacZ constructs. The +2, +3 AGAAGA lacZ construct and the shortest +2, +3 AGAAGAUAA minigene accumulated the highest percentage of peptidyl-tRNAArg4. These observations lead us to propose that hungry codons at early positions, albeit with less strength, inhibit protein synthesis by a minigene-like mechanism involving accumulation of peptidyl-tRNA. PMID:18583364

  12. 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.

  13. The oldest fossil mushroom.

    PubMed

    Heads, Sam W; Miller, Andrew N; Crane, J Leland; Thomas, M Jared; Ruffatto, Danielle M; Methven, Andrew S; Raudabaugh, Daniel B; Wang, Yinan

    2017-01-01

    A new fossil mushroom is described and illustrated from the Lower Cretaceous Crato Formation of northeast Brazil. Gondwanagaricites magnificus gen. et sp. nov. is remarkable for its exceptional preservation as a mineralized replacement in laminated limestone, as all other fossil mushrooms are known from amber inclusions. Gondwanagaricites represents the oldest fossil mushroom to date and the first fossil mushroom from Gondwana.

  14. The oldest fossil mushroom

    PubMed Central

    Miller, Andrew N.; Crane, J. Leland; Thomas, M. Jared; Ruffatto, Danielle M.; Methven, Andrew S.; Raudabaugh, Daniel B.; Wang, Yinan

    2017-01-01

    A new fossil mushroom is described and illustrated from the Lower Cretaceous Crato Formation of northeast Brazil. Gondwanagaricites magnificus gen. et sp. nov. is remarkable for its exceptional preservation as a mineralized replacement in laminated limestone, as all other fossil mushrooms are known from amber inclusions. Gondwanagaricites represents the oldest fossil mushroom to date and the first fossil mushroom from Gondwana. PMID:28591180

  15. Codon Constraints on Closed 2D Shapes,

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2014-09-26

    19843$ CODON CONSTRAINTS ON CLOSED 2D SHAPES Go Whitman Richards "I Donald D. Hoffman’ D T 18 Abstract: Codons are simple primitives for describing plane...RSONAL AUT"ORtIS) Richards, Whitman & Hoffman, Donald D. 13&. TYPE OF REPORT 13b. TIME COVERED N/A P8 AT F RRrT t~r. Ago..D,) is, PlE COUNT Reprint...outlines, if figure and ground are ignored. Later, we will address the problem of indexing identical codon descriptors that have different figure

  16. Universality and Shannon entropy of codon usage

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Frappat, L.; Minichini, C.; Sciarrino, A.; Sorba, P.

    2003-12-01

    The distribution functions of codon usage probabilities, computed over all the available GenBank data for 40 eukaryotic biological species and five chloroplasts, are best fitted by the sum of a constant, an exponential, and a linear function in the rank of usage. For mitochondria the analysis is not conclusive. These functions are characterized by parameters that strongly depend on the total guanine and cytosine (GC) content of the coding regions of biological species. It is predicted that the codon usage is the same in all exonic genes with the same GC content. The Shannon entropy for codons, also strongly dependent on the exonic GC content, is computed.

  17. Translation efficiencies of synonymous codons are not always correlated with codon usage in tobacco chloroplasts.

    PubMed

    Nakamura, Masayuki; Sugiura, Masahiro

    2007-01-01

    Codon usage in chloroplasts is different from that in prokaryotic and eukaryotic nuclear genomes. However, no experimental approach has been made to analyse the translation efficiency of individual codons in chloroplasts. We devised an in vitro assay for translation efficiencies using synthetic mRNAs, and measured the translation efficiencies of five synonymous codon groups in tobacco chloroplasts. Among four alanine codons (GCN, where N is U, C, A or G), GCU was the most efficient for translation, whereas the chloroplast genome lacks tRNA genes corresponding to GCU. Phenylalanine and tyrosine are each encoded by two codons (UUU/C and UAU/C, respectively). Phenylalanine UUC and tyrosine UAC were translated more than twice as efficiently than UUU and UAU, respectively, contrary to their codon usage, whereas translation efficiencies of synonymous codons for alanine, aspartic acid and asparagine were parallel to their codon usage. These observations indicate that translation efficiencies of individual codons are not always correlated with codon usage in vitro in chloroplasts. This raises an important issue for foreign gene expression in chloroplasts.

  18. 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'. © 2016 The Author(s).

  19. The non-uniformity of fossil preservation

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    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

  20. Evolutionary Dynamics of Abundant Stop Codon Readthrough

    PubMed Central

    Jungreis, Irwin; Kellis, Manolis

    2016-01-01

    Translational stop codon readthrough emerged as a major regulatory mechanism affecting hundreds of genes in animal genomes, based on recent comparative genomics and ribosomal profiling evidence, but its evolutionary properties remain unknown. Here, we leverage comparative genomic evidence across 21 Anopheles mosquitoes to systematically annotate readthrough genes in the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae, and to provide the first study of abundant readthrough evolution, by comparison with 20 Drosophila species. Using improved comparative genomics methods for detecting readthrough, we identify evolutionary signatures of conserved, functional readthrough of 353 stop codons in the malaria vector, Anopheles gambiae, and of 51 additional Drosophila melanogaster stop codons, including several cases of double and triple readthrough and of readthrough of two adjacent stop codons. We find that most differences between the readthrough repertoires of the two species arose from readthrough gain or loss in existing genes, rather than birth of new genes or gene death; that readthrough-associated RNA structures are sometimes gained or lost while readthrough persists; that readthrough is more likely to be lost at TAA and TAG stop codons; and that readthrough is under continued purifying evolutionary selection in mosquito, based on population genetic evidence. We also determine readthrough-associated gene properties that predate readthrough, and identify differences in the characteristic properties of readthrough genes between clades. We estimate more than 600 functional readthrough stop codons in mosquito and 900 in fruit fly, provide evidence of readthrough control of peroxisomal targeting, and refine the phylogenetic extent of abundant readthrough as following divergence from centipede. PMID:27604222

  1. Codon optimization underpins generalist parasitism in fungi

    PubMed Central

    Badet, Thomas; Peyraud, Remi; Mbengue, Malick; Navaud, Olivier; Derbyshire, Mark; Oliver, Richard P; Barbacci, Adelin; Raffaele, Sylvain

    2017-01-01

    The range of hosts that parasites can infect is a key determinant of the emergence and spread of disease. Yet, the impact of host range variation on the evolution of parasite genomes remains unknown. Here, we show that codon optimization underlies genome adaptation in broad host range parasites. We found that the longer proteins encoded by broad host range fungi likely increase natural selection on codon optimization in these species. Accordingly, codon optimization correlates with host range across the fungal kingdom. At the species level, biased patterns of synonymous substitutions underpin increased codon optimization in a generalist but not a specialist fungal pathogen. Virulence genes were consistently enriched in highly codon-optimized genes of generalist but not specialist species. We conclude that codon optimization is related to the capacity of parasites to colonize multiple hosts. Our results link genome evolution and translational regulation to the long-term persistence of generalist parasitism. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.22472.001 PMID:28157073

  2. 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

  3. The usage of codons which are similar to stop codons in the genomes of Xylella fastidiosa and Xanthomonas citri.

    PubMed

    Galves-dos-Santos, Dilermando P; Martins-de-Souza, Daniel

    2011-03-01

    During the evolution of living organisms, a natural selection event occurs toward the optimization of their genomes regarding the usage of codons. During this process which is known as codon bias, a set of preferred codons is naturally defined in the genome of a given organism, since there are 61 possible codons (plus 3 stop codons) to 20 amino acids. Such event leads to optimization of metabolic cellular processes such as translational efficiency, RNA stability and energy saving. Although we know why, we do not know how exactly a set of preferred codons for each amino acid is defined for a given genome considering that the usage frequency of each synonymous codons is peculiar to each organism. In order to help answering this question, we analyzed the usage frequency of codons which are similar to stop codons, since a minor mutation on these codons may lead to a stop codon into the open reading frame compromising the protein expression as a result. We found a reduced use of those codons in Xanthomomas axonopodis pv. citri which presents an optimized genome regarding codon usage. On the other hand, such codons are more often used in Xylella fastidiosa, which does not seem to have established codon preferences as previously shown. Our results support that a set of preferred codons is not randomly selected and propose new ideas to the field warranting further experiments in this regard.

  4. 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

  5. A major controversy in codon-anticodon adaptation resolved by a new codon usage index.

    PubMed

    Xia, Xuhua

    2015-02-01

    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.

  6. Fossilized bioelectric wire - the trace fossil Trichichnus

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-12-01

    The trace fossil Trichichnus is proposed as an indicator of fossil bioelectric bacterial activity at the interface oxic - anoxic 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 produced by modern large, mat-forming, sulphide-oxidizing bacteria, belonging mostly to Trichichnus-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".

  7. Fossilized bioelectric wire - the trace fossil Trichichnus

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-04-01

    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".

  8. Fossilized bioelectric wire - the trace fossil Trichichnus.

    PubMed

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

    2015-04-16

    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".

  9. Analysis of synonymous codon usage patterns in the genus Rhizobium.

    PubMed

    Wang, Xinxin; Wu, Liang; Zhou, Ping; Zhu, Shengfeng; An, Wei; Chen, Yu; Zhao, Lin

    2013-11-01

    The codon usage patterns of rhizobia have received increasing attention. However, little information is available regarding the conserved features of the codon usage patterns in a typical rhizobial genus. The codon usage patterns of six completely sequenced strains belonging to the genus Rhizobium were analysed as model rhizobia in the present study. The relative neutrality plot showed that selection pressure played a role in codon usage in the genus Rhizobium. Spearman's rank correlation analysis combined with correspondence analysis (COA) showed that the codon adaptation index and the effective number of codons (ENC) had strong correlation with the first axis of the COA, which indicated the important role of gene expression level and the ENC in the codon usage patterns in this genus. The relative synonymous codon usage of Cys codons had the strongest correlation with the second axis of the COA. Accordingly, the usage of Cys codons was another important factor that shaped the codon usage patterns in Rhizobium genomes and was a conserved feature of the genus. Moreover, the comparison of codon usage between highly and lowly expressed genes showed that 20 unique preferred codons were shared among Rhizobium genomes, revealing another conserved feature of the genus. This is the first report of the codon usage patterns in the genus Rhizobium.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. Codon catalog usage and the genome hypothesis.

    PubMed Central

    Grantham, R; Gautier, C; Gouy, M; Mercier, R; Pavé, A

    1980-01-01

    Frequencies for each of the 61 amino acid codons have been determined in every published mRNA sequence of 50 or more codons. The frequencies are shown for each kind of genome and for each individual gene. A surprising consistency of choices exists among genes of the same or similar genomes. Thus each genome, or kind of genome, appears to possess a "system" for choosing between codons. Frameshift genes, however, have widely different choice strategies from normal genes. Our work indicates that the main factors distinguishing between mRNA sequences relate to choices among degenerate bases. These systematic third base choices can therefore be used to establish a new kind of genetic distance, which reflects differences in coding strategy. The choice patterns we find seem compatible with the idea that the genome and not the individual gene is the unit of selection. Each gene in a genome tends to conform to its species' usage of the codon catalog; this is our genome hypothesis. PMID:6986610

  13. Nucleotide composition and codon usage bias of SRY gene.

    PubMed

    Choudhury, M N; Uddin, A; Chakraborty, S

    2017-01-26

    The SRY gene is present within the sex-determining region of the Y chromosome which is responsible for maleness in mammals. The nonuniform usage of synonymous codons in the mRNA transcript for encoding a particular amino acid is the codon usage bias (CUB). Analysis of codon usage pattern is important to understand the genetic and molecular organisation of a gene. It also helps in heterologous gene expression, design of primer and synthetic gene. However, the analysis of codon usage bias of SRY gene was not yet studied. We have used bioinformatic tools to analyse codon usage bias of SRY gene across mammals. Codon bias index (CBI) indicated that the overall extent of codon usage bias was weak. The relative synonymous codon usage (RSCU) analysis suggested that most frequently used codons had an A or C at the third codon position. Compositional constraint played an important role in codon usage pattern as evident from correspondence analysis (CA). Significant correlation among nucleotides constraints indicated that both mutation pressure and natural selection affect the codon usage pattern. Neutrality plot suggested that natural selection might play a major role, while mutation pressure might play a minor role in codon usage pattern in SRY gene in different species of mammals.

  14. Efficient expression of gene variants that harbour AGA codons next to the initiation codon

    PubMed Central

    Zamora-Romo, Efraín; Cruz-Vera, Luis Rogelio; Vivanco-Domínguez, Serafín; Magos-Castro, Marco Antonio; Guarneros, Gabriel

    2007-01-01

    In an effort to improve the knowledge about the rules which direct the effect of the early ORF sequences on translation efficiency, we have analyzed the effect of pairs of the six arginine codons at the second and third positions on the expression of lacZ variants. Whereas the pairs of identical AGA or AGG codons were favorable for the gene expression, identical pairs of each of the four CGN codons were very inefficient. This result was unexpected because tandems of AGA or AGG codons located in more internal gene positions provoke deficient expression whilst internally located CGU and CGC are the most abundant and efficiently translated arginine codons. The mixed combinations of AGA and each of the CGN codons usually resulted in efficient rates of lacZ expression independently of the peptidyl-tRNA propensity to dissociate from the ribosome. Thus, the variant harboring the pair of AGA codons was expressed as efficiently as the variant carrying a pair of AAA codons in the same positions, a configuration reported as one of the most common and efficient for gene expression. We explain these results assuming that the presence of adenines in these early positions enhance gene expression. As expected, specific mRNA levels correlated with the intensity of lacZ expression for each variant. However, the induction of lacZ AGA AGA gene in pth cells accumulated peptidyl-tRNAArg4 as well as a short 5′-proximal lacZ mRNA fragment suggesting ribosome stalling due to depletion of aminoacylated-tRNAArg4. PMID:17726048

  15. 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.

  16. 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…

  17. 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…

  18. 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.

  19. Stop codon reassignments in the wild.

    PubMed

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

    2014-05-23

    The canonical genetic code is assumed to be deeply conserved across all domains of life with very few exceptions. By scanning 5.6 trillion base pairs of metagenomic data for stop codon reassignment events, we detected recoding in a substantial fraction of the >1700 environmental samples examined. We observed extensive opal and amber stop codon reassignments in bacteriophages and of opal in bacteria. Our data indicate that bacteriophages can infect hosts with a different genetic code and demonstrate phage-host antagonism based on code differences. The abundance and diversity of genetic codes present in environmental organisms should be considered in the design of engineered organisms with altered genetic codes in order to preclude the exchange of genetic information with naturally occurring species.

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. Natural Product Molecular Fossils.

    PubMed

    Falk, Heinz; Wolkenstein, Klaus

    2017-01-01

    The natural products synthesized by organisms that were living a long time ago gave rise to their molecular fossils. These can consist of either the original unchanged compounds or they may undergo peripheral transformations in which their skeletons remain intact. In cases when molecular fossils can be traced to their organismic source, they are termed "geological biomarkers".This contribution describes apolar and polar molecular fossils and, in particular biomarkers, along the lines usually followed in organic chemistry textbooks, and points to their bioprecursors when available. Thus, the apolar compounds are divided in linear and branched alkanes followed by alicyclic compounds and aromatic and heterocyclic molecules, and, in particular, the geoporphyrins. The polar molecular fossils contain as functional groups or constituent units ethers, alcohols, phenols, carbonyl groups, flavonoids, quinones, and acids, or are polymers like kerogen, amber, melanin, proteins, or nucleic acids. The final sections discuss the methodology used and the fundamental processes encountered by the biomolecules described, including diagenesis, catagenesis, and metagenesis.

  4. Infrared Spectra of Fossils,

    DTIC Science & Technology

    fossil’s surface is accessible to the analyzing beams. The technique is potentially valuable for the examination of special samples of palaeontological and archaeological interest. Keywords include: Photothermal effect.

  5. Fossil power plant rehabilitation

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1989-01-01

    These proceedings discuss the papers presented at the conference on the subject of fossil power plants management. Some of the topics discussed were: Creep cavitation assessment using field replication; a remnant life assessment technique based on local strain measurements; a new lease on life for turbine rotors subject to low-cycle fatigue at elevated temperature; creep-fatigue crack growth behaviour of a 1CrMoV Rotor steel; data collection and monitoring; detection of high temperature fossil boiler tube degradation; metallographic studies of degenerative mechanism in fossil fuel fired boiler tubes; eddy current inspection of ferromagnetic materials using pulsed magnetic saturation; cause and prevention of fatigue failures in boiler tubing; design/operator feedback; and on-line monitors for creep and fatigue damage in fossil power plants.

  6. 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. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  7. 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)

  8. 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)

  9. Evaluating Sense Codon Reassignment with a Simple Fluorescence Screen.

    PubMed

    Biddle, Wil; Schmitt, Margaret A; Fisk, John D

    2015-12-22

    Understanding the interactions that drive the fidelity of the genetic code and the limits to which modifications can be made without breaking the translational system has practical implications for understanding the molecular mechanisms of evolution as well as expanding the set of encodable amino acids, particularly those with chemistries not provided by Nature. Because 61 sense codons encode 20 amino acids, reassigning the meaning of sense codons provides an avenue for biosynthetic modification of proteins, furthering both fundamental and applied biochemical research. We developed a simple screen that exploits the absolute requirement for fluorescence of an active site tyrosine in green fluorescent protein (GFP) to probe the pliability of the degeneracy of the genetic code. Our screen monitors the restoration of the fluorophore of GFP by incorporation of a tyrosine in response to a sense codon typically assigned another meaning in the genetic code. We evaluated sense codon reassignment at four of the 21 sense codons read through wobble interactions in Escherichia coli using the Methanocaldococcus jannaschii orthogonal tRNA/aminoacyl tRNA synthetase pair originally developed and commonly used for amber stop codon suppression. By changing only the anticodon of the orthogonal tRNA, we achieved sense codon reassignment efficiencies between 1% (Phe UUU) and 6% (Lys AAG). Each of the orthogonal tRNAs preferentially decoded the codon traditionally read via a wobble interaction in E. coli with the exception of the orthogonal tRNA with an AUG anticodon, which incorporated tyrosine in response to both the His CAU and His CAC codons with approximately equal frequencies. We applied our screen in a high-throughput manner to evaluate a 10(9)-member combined tRNA/aminoacyl tRNA synthetase library to identify improved sense codon reassigning variants for the Lys AAG codon. A single rapid screen with the ability to broadly evaluate reassignable codons will facilitate

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

    PubMed Central

    2017-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-06-28

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

  12. First fossil chimpanzee.

    PubMed

    McBrearty, Sally; Jablonski, Nina G

    2005-09-01

    There are thousands of fossils of hominins, but no fossil chimpanzee has yet been reported. The chimpanzee (Pan) is the closest living relative to humans. Chimpanzee populations today are confined to wooded West and central Africa, whereas most hominin fossil sites occur in the semi-arid East African Rift Valley. This situation has fuelled speculation regarding causes for the divergence of the human and chimpanzee lineages five to eight million years ago. Some investigators have invoked a shift from wooded to savannah vegetation in East Africa, driven by climate change, to explain the apparent separation between chimpanzee and human ancestral populations and the origin of the unique hominin locomotor adaptation, bipedalism. The Rift Valley itself functions as an obstacle to chimpanzee occupation in some scenarios. Here we report the first fossil chimpanzee. These fossils, from the Kapthurin Formation, Kenya, show that representatives of Pan were present in the East African Rift Valley during the Middle Pleistocene, where they were contemporary with an extinct species of Homo. Habitats suitable for both hominins and chimpanzees were clearly present there during this period, and the Rift Valley did not present an impenetrable barrier to chimpanzee occupation.

  13. 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

  14. eCodonOpt: a systematic computational framework for optimizing codon usage in directed evolution experiments

    PubMed Central

    Moore, Gregory L.; Maranas, Costas D.

    2002-01-01

    We present a systematic computational framework, eCodonOpt, for designing parental DNA sequences for directed evolution experiments through codon usage optimization. Given a set of homologous parental proteins to be recombined at the DNA level, the optimal DNA sequences encoding these proteins are sought for a given diversity objective. We find that the free energy of annealing between the recombining DNA sequences is a much better descriptor of the extent of crossover formation than sequence identity. Three different diversity targets are investigated for the DNA shuffling protocol to showcase the utility of the eCodonOpt framework: (i) maximizing the average number of crossovers per recombined sequence; (ii) minimizing bias in family DNA shuffling so that each of the parental sequence pair contributes a similar number of crossovers to the library; and (iii) maximizing the relative frequency of crossovers in specific structural regions. Each one of these design challenges is formulated as a constrained optimization problem that utilizes 0–1 binary variables as on/off switches to model the selection of different codon choices for each residue position. Computational results suggest that many-fold improvements in the crossover frequency, location and specificity are possible, providing valuable insights for the engineering of directed evolution protocols. PMID:12034828

  15. Codon usage patterns in Nematoda: analysis based on over 25 million codons in thirty-two species

    PubMed Central

    2006-01-01

    Background Codon usage has direct utility in molecular characterization of species and is also a marker for molecular evolution. To understand codon usage within the diverse phylum Nematoda, we analyzed a total of 265,494 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) from 30 nematode species. The full genomes of Caenorhabditis elegans and C. briggsae were also examined. A total of 25,871,325 codons were analyzed and a comprehensive codon usage table for all species was generated. This is the first codon usage table available for 24 of these organisms. Results Codon usage similarity in Nematoda usually persists over the breadth of a genus but then rapidly diminishes even within each clade. Globodera, Meloidogyne, Pristionchus, and Strongyloides have the most highly derived patterns of codon usage. The major factor affecting differences in codon usage between species is the coding sequence GC content, which varies in nematodes from 32% to 51%. Coding GC content (measured as GC3) also explains much of the observed variation in the effective number of codons (R = 0.70), which is a measure of codon bias, and it even accounts for differences in amino acid frequency. Codon usage is also affected by neighboring nucleotides (N1 context). Coding GC content correlates strongly with estimated noncoding genomic GC content (R = 0.92). On examining abundant clusters in five species, candidate optimal codons were identified that may be preferred in highly expressed transcripts. Conclusion Evolutionary models indicate that total genomic GC content, probably the product of directional mutation pressure, drives codon usage rather than the converse, a conclusion that is supported by examination of nematode genomes. PMID:26271136

  16. Codon usage patterns in Nematoda: analysis based on over 25 million codons in thirty-two species.

    PubMed

    Mitreva, Makedonka; Wendl, Michael C; Martin, John; Wylie, Todd; Yin, Yong; Larson, Allan; Parkinson, John; Waterston, Robert H; McCarter, James P

    2006-01-01

    Codon usage has direct utility in molecular characterization of species and is also a arker for molecular evolution. To understand codon usage within the diverse phylum Nematoda,we analyzed a total of 265,494 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) from 30 nematode species. The full genomes of Caenorhabditis elegans and C. briggsae were also examined. A total of 25,871,325 codons ere analyzed and a comprehensive codon usage table for all species was generated. This is the first codon usage table available for 24 of these organisms. Codon usage similarity in Nematoda usually persists over the breadth of a genus but thenrapidly diminishes even within each clade. Globodera, Meloidogyne, Pristionchus, and Strongyloides have the most highly derived patterns of codon usage. The major factor affecting differences in codon usage between species is the coding sequence GC content, which varies in nematodes from 32%to 51%. Coding GC content (measured as GC3) also explains much of the observed variation in the effective number of codons (R = 0.70), which is a measure of codon bias, and it even accounts for differences in amino acid frequency. Codon usage is also affected by neighboring nucleotides(N1 context). Coding GC content correlates strongly with estimated noncoding genomic GC content (R = 0.92). On examining abundant clusters in five species, candidate optimal codons were identified that may be preferred in highly expressed transcripts. Evolutionary models indicate that total genomic GC content, probably the product of directional mutation pressure, drives codon usage rather than the converse, a conclusion that is supported by examination of nematode genomes.

  17. 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.

  18. Codon reassignment and amino acid composition in hemichordate mitochondria

    PubMed Central

    Castresana, Jose; Feldmaier-Fuchs, Gertraud; Pääbo, Svante

    1998-01-01

    In the mitochondrial genome of the hemichordate Balanoglossus carnosus, the codon AAA, which is assigned to lysine in most metazoans but to asparagine in echinoderms, is absent. Furthermore, the lysine tRNA gene carries an anticodon substitution that renders its gene product unable to decode AAA codons, whereas the asparagine tRNA gene has not changed to encode a tRNA with the ability to recognize AAA codons. Thus, the hemichordate mitochondrial genome can be regarded as an intermediate in the process of reassignment of mitochondrial AAA codons, where most metazoans represent the ancestral situation and the echinoderms the derived situation. This lends support to the codon capture hypothesis. We also show that the reassignment of the AAA codon is associated with a reduction in the relative abundance of lysine residues in mitochondrial proteins. PMID:9520430

  19. Synonymous codon usage patterns in different parasitic platyhelminth mitochondrial genomes.

    PubMed

    Chen, L; Yang, D Y; Liu, T F; Nong, X; Huang, X; Xie, Y; Fu, Y; Zheng, W P; Zhang, R H; Wu, X H; Gu, X B; Wang, S X; Peng, X R; Yang, G Y

    2013-02-27

    We analyzed synonymous codon usage patterns of the mitochondrial genomes of 43 parasitic platyhelminth species. The relative synonymous codon usage, the effective number of codons (NC) and the frequency of G+C at the third synonymously variable coding position were calculated. Correspondence analysis was used to determine the major variation trends shaping the codon usage patterns. Among the mitochondrial genomes of 19 trematode species, the GC content of third codon positions varied from 0.151 to 0.592, with a mean of 0.295 ± 0.116. In cestodes, the mean GC content of third codon positions was 0.254 ± 0.044. A comparison of the nucleotide composition at 4-fold synonymous sites revealed that, on average, there was a greater abundance of codons ending on U (51.9%) or A (22.7%) than on C (6.3%) or G (19.14%). Twenty-two codons, including UUU, UUA and UUG, were frequently used. In the NC-plot, most of points were distributed well below or around the expected NC curve. In addition to compositional constraints, the degree of hydrophobicity and the aromatic amino acids also influenced codon usage in the mitochondrial genomes of these 43 parasitic platyhelminth species.

  20. Kinetics of Stop Codon Recognition by Release Factor 1

    PubMed Central

    Hetrick, Byron; Lee, Kristin; Joseph, Simpson

    2009-01-01

    Recognition of stop codons by class I release factors is a fundamental step in the termination phase of protein synthesis. Since premature termination is costly to the cell, release factors have to efficiently discriminate between stop and sense codons. In order to understand the mechanism of discrimination between stop and sense codons, we developed a new, pre-steady state kinetic assay to monitor the interaction of RF1 with the ribosome. Our results show that RF1 associates with similar association rate constants to ribosomes programmed with a stop or sense codons. However, dissociation of RF1 from sense codons is as much as three orders of magnitude faster than from stop codons. Interestingly, the affinity of RF1 for ribosomes programmed with different sense codons does not correlate with the defects in peptide release. Thus, discrimination against sense codons is achieved, both, by increasing the dissociation rates and by decreasing the rate of peptide release. These results suggest that sense codons inhibit conformational changes necessary for RF1 to stably bind to the ribosome and catalyze peptide release. PMID:19874047

  1. A new and updated resource for codon usage tables.

    PubMed

    Athey, John; Alexaki, Aikaterini; Osipova, Ekaterina; Rostovtsev, Alexandre; Santana-Quintero, Luis V; Katneni, Upendra; Simonyan, Vahan; Kimchi-Sarfaty, Chava

    2017-09-02

    Due to the degeneracy of the genetic code, most amino acids can be encoded by multiple synonymous codons. Synonymous codons naturally occur with different frequencies in different organisms. The choice of codons may affect protein expression, structure, and function. Recombinant gene technologies commonly take advantage of the former effect by implementing a technique termed codon optimization, in which codons are replaced with synonymous ones in order to increase protein expression. This technique relies on the accurate knowledge of codon usage frequencies. Accurately quantifying codon usage bias for different organisms is useful not only for codon optimization, but also for evolutionary and translation studies: phylogenetic relations of organisms, and host-pathogen co-evolution relationships, may be explored through their codon usage similarities. Furthermore, codon usage has been shown to affect protein structure and function through interfering with translation kinetics, and cotranslational protein folding. Despite the obvious need for accurate codon usage tables, currently available resources are either limited in scope, encompassing only organisms from specific domains of life, or greatly outdated. Taking advantage of the exponential growth of GenBank and the creation of NCBI's RefSeq database, we have developed a new database, the High-performance Integrated Virtual Environment-Codon Usage Tables (HIVE-CUTs), to present and analyse codon usage tables for every organism with publicly available sequencing data. Compared to existing databases, this new database is more comprehensive, addresses concerns that limited the accuracy of earlier databases, and provides several new functionalities, such as the ability to view and compare codon usage between individual organisms and across taxonomical clades, through graphical representation or through commonly used indices. In addition, it is being routinely updated to keep up with the continuous flow of new data in

  2. Selective forces and mutational biases drive stop codon usage in the human genome: a comparison with sense codon usage.

    PubMed

    Trotta, Edoardo

    2016-05-17

    The three stop codons UAA, UAG, and UGA signal the termination of mRNA translation. As a result of a mechanism that is not adequately understood, they are normally used with unequal frequencies. In this work, we showed that selective forces and mutational biases drive stop codon usage in the human genome. We found that, in respect to sense codons, stop codon usage was affected by stronger selective forces but was less influenced by neutral mutational biases. UGA is the most frequent termination codon in human genome. However, UAA was the preferred stop codon in genes with high breadth of expression, high level of expression, AT-rich coding sequences, housekeeping functions, and in gene ontology categories with the largest deviation from expected stop codon usage. Selective forces associated with the breadth and the level of expression favoured AT-rich sequences in the mRNA region including the stop site and its proximal 3'-UTR, but acted with scarce effects on sense codons, generating two regions, upstream and downstream of the stop codon, with strongly different base composition. By favouring low levels of GC-content, selection promoted labile local secondary structures at the stop site and its proximal 3'-UTR. The compositional and structural context favoured by selection was surprisingly emphasized in the class of ribosomal proteins and was consistent with sequence elements that increase the efficiency of translational termination. Stop codons were also heterogeneously distributed among chromosomes by a mechanism that was strongly correlated with the GC-content of coding sequences. In human genome, the nucleotide composition and the thermodynamic stability of stop codon site and its proximal 3'-UTR are correlated with the GC-content of coding sequences and with the breadth and the level of gene expression. In highly expressed genes stop codon usage is compositionally and structurally consistent with highly efficient translation termination signals.

  3. Transitional fossils and the origin of turtles.

    PubMed

    Lyson, Tyler R; Bever, Gabe S; Bhullar, Bhart-Anjan S; Joyce, Walter G; Gauthier, Jacques A

    2010-12-23

    The origin of turtles is one of the most contentious issues in systematics with three currently viable hypotheses: turtles as the extant sister to (i) the crocodile-bird clade, (ii) the lizard-tuatara clade, or (iii) Diapsida (a clade composed of (i) and (ii)). We reanalysed a recent dataset that allied turtles with the lizard-tuatara clade and found that the inclusion of the stem turtle Proganochelys quenstedti and the 'parareptile' Eunotosaurus africanus results in a single overriding morphological signal, with turtles outside Diapsida. This result reflects the importance of transitional fossils when long branches separate crown clades, and highlights unexplored issues such as the role of topological congruence when using fossils to calibrate molecular clocks.

  4. Trace Fossil Analysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hasiotis, Stephen T.

    2009-05-01

    Today, the study of trace fossils—ichnology—is an important subdiscipline of geology at the interface of paleontology and sedimentology, mostly because of the efforts of Adolf Seilacher. His ability to synthesize various aspects of ichnology and produce a hierarchy of marine ichna and sedimentary facies has made ichnology useful worldwide in interpreting paleodiversity, rates of sedimentation, oxygenation of bottom water and sediment pore water, and depositional energy. Seilacher's book Trace Fossil Analysis provides a glimpse into the mind, methodology, and insights of the father of modern ichnology, generated from his course notes as a professor and a guest lecturer. The title sounds misleading—readers looking for up-to-date principles and approaches to trace fossil analysis in marine and continental strata will be disappointed. In his preface, however, Seilacher clearly gives direction for the use of his text: “This is a course book—meaning that it is intended to confer not knowledge, but skill.” Thus, it is not meant as a total compilation of all trace fossils, ichnotaxonomy, ichnological interpretations, applications, or the most relevant and up-to-date references. Rather, it takes the reader on a personal journey, explaining how trace fossils are understood in the context of their three-dimensional (3-D) morphology and sedimentary facies.

  5. 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.

  6. Therapeutics Based on Stop Codon Readthrough

    PubMed Central

    Keeling, Kim M.; Xue, Xiaojiao; Gunn, Gwen; Bedwell, David M.

    2017-01-01

    Nonsense suppression therapy encompasses approaches aimed at suppressing translation termination at in-frame premature termination codons (PTCs, also known as nonsense mutations) to restore deficient protein function. In this review, we examine the current status of PTC suppression as a therapy for genetic diseases caused by nonsense mutations. We discuss what is currently known about the mechanism of PTC suppression as well as therapeutic approaches under development to suppress PTCs. The approaches considered include readthrough drugs, suppressor tRNAs, PTC pseudouridylation, and inhibition of nonsense-mediated mRNA decay. We also discuss the barriers that currently limit the clinical application of nonsense suppression therapy and suggest how some of these difficulties may be overcome. Finally, we consider how PTC suppression may play a role in the clinical treatment of genetic diseases caused by nonsense mutations. PMID:24773318

  7. Centering on Fossils and Dinosaurs.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Coble, Charles R.; McCall, Gregory K.

    1986-01-01

    Describes a set of 10 activities which introduce mainstreamed junior high school students to concepts relating to fossils and dinosaurs. Provides students with opportunities for learning the concepts of change and adaptation, as well as fossil facts and terminology. (TW)

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. Partial attenuation of Marek's disease virus by manipulation of Di-codon bias

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    All species studied to date demonstrate a preference for certain codons over other synonymous codons (codon bias), a preference which is also observed for pairs of codons (di-codon bias). Previous studies using poliovirus and influenza virus as models have demonstrated the ability to cause attenuat...

  12. Protein Synthesis in E. coli: Dependence of Codon-Specific Elongation on tRNA Concentration and Codon Usage.

    PubMed

    Rudorf, Sophia; Lipowsky, Reinhard

    2015-01-01

    To synthesize a protein, a ribosome moves along a messenger RNA (mRNA), reads it codon by codon, and takes up the corresponding ternary complexes which consist of aminoacylated transfer RNAs (aa-tRNAs), elongation factor Tu (EF-Tu), and GTP. During this process of translation elongation, the ribosome proceeds with a codon-specific rate. Here, we present a general theoretical framework to calculate codon-specific elongation rates and error frequencies based on tRNA concentrations and codon usages. Our theory takes three important aspects of in-vivo translation elongation into account. First, non-cognate, near-cognate and cognate ternary complexes compete for the binding sites on the ribosomes. Second, the corresponding binding rates are determined by the concentrations of free ternary complexes, which must be distinguished from the total tRNA concentrations as measured in vivo. Third, for each tRNA species, the difference between total tRNA and ternary complex concentration depends on the codon usages of the corresponding cognate and near-cognate codons. Furthermore, we apply our theory to two alternative pathways for tRNA release from the ribosomal E site and show how the mechanism of tRNA release influences the concentrations of free ternary complexes and thus the codon-specific elongation rates. Using a recently introduced method to determine kinetic rates of in-vivo translation from in-vitro data, we compute elongation rates for all codons in Escherichia coli. We show that for some tRNA species only a few tRNA molecules are part of ternary complexes and, thus, available for the translating ribosomes. In addition, we find that codon-specific elongation rates strongly depend on the overall codon usage in the cell, which could be altered experimentally by overexpression of individual genes.

  13. Codon usage in bacteria: correlation with gene expressivity.

    PubMed Central

    Gouy, M; Gautier, C

    1982-01-01

    The nucleic acid sequence bank now contains over 600 protein coding genes of which 107 are from prokaryotic organisms. Codon frequencies in each new prokaryotic gene are given. Analysis of genetic code usage in the 83 sequenced genes of the Escherichia coli genome (chromosome, transposons and plasmids) is presented, taking into account new data on gene expressivity and regulation as well as iso-tRNA specificity and cellular concentration. The codon composition of each gene is summarized using two indexes: one is based on the differential usage of iso-tRNA species during gene translation, the other on choice between Cytosine and Uracil for third base. A strong relationship between codon composition and mRNA expressivity is confirmed, even for genes transcribed in the same operon. The influence of codon use of peptide elongation rate and protein yield is discussed. Finally, the evolutionary aspect of codon selection in mRNA sequences is studied. PMID:6760125

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. The largest fossil rodent.

    PubMed

    Rinderknecht, Andrés; Blanco, R Ernesto

    2008-04-22

    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 1000kg 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 (4-2Myr ago), and the proposed palaeoenvironment where this rodent lived was characterized as an estuarine or deltaic system with forest communities.

  18. Efficient translation initiation dictates codon usage at gene start

    PubMed Central

    Bentele, Kajetan; Saffert, Paul; Rauscher, Robert; Ignatova, Zoya; Blüthgen, Nils

    2013-01-01

    The genetic code is degenerate; thus, protein evolution does not uniquely determine the coding sequence. One of the puzzles in evolutionary genetics is therefore to uncover evolutionary driving forces that result in specific codon choice. In many bacteria, the first 5–10 codons of protein-coding genes are often codons that are less frequently used in the rest of the genome, an effect that has been argued to arise from selection for slowed early elongation to reduce ribosome traffic jams. However, genome analysis across many species has demonstrated that the region shows reduced mRNA folding consistent with pressure for efficient translation initiation. This raises the possibility that unusual codon usage is a side effect of selection for reduced mRNA structure. Here we discriminate between these two competing hypotheses, and show that in bacteria selection favours codons that reduce mRNA folding around the translation start, regardless of whether these codons are frequent or rare. Experiments confirm that primarily mRNA structure, and not codon usage, at the beginning of genes determines the translation rate. PMID:23774758

  19. Trends in the codon usage patterns of Chromohalobacter salexigens genes

    PubMed Central

    Sanjukta, Rajkumari; Farooqi, Mohammad Samir; Sharma, Naveen; Rai, Anil; Mishra, Dwijesh Chandra; Singh, Dhananjaya P

    2012-01-01

    Chromohalobacter salexigens, a Gammaproteobacterium belonging to the family Halomonadaceae, shows a broad salinity range for growth. In order to reveal the factors influencing architecture of protein coding genes in C. salexigens, pattern of synonymous codon usage bias has been investigated. Overall codon usage analysis of the microorganism revealed that C and G ending codons are predominantly used in all the genes which are indicative of mutational bias. Multivariate statistical analysis showed that the genes are separated along the first major explanatory axis according to their expression levels and their genomic GC content at the synonymous third positions of the codons. Both NC plot and correspondence analysis on Relative Synonymous Codon Usage (RSCU) indicates that the variation in codon usage among the genes may be due to mutational bias at the DNA level and natural selection acting at the level of mRNA translation. Gene length and the hydrophobicity of the encoded protein also influence the codon usage variation of genes to some extent. A comparison of the relative synonymous codon usage between 10% each of highly and lowly expressed genes determines 23 optimal codons, which are statistically over represented in the former group of genes and may provide useful information for salt-stressed gene prediction and gene-transformation. Furthermore, genes for regulatory functions; mobile and extrachromosomal element functions; and cell envelope are observed to be highly expressed. The study could provide insight into the gene expression response of halophilic bacteria and facilitate establishment of effective strategies to develop salt-tolerant crops of agronomic value. PMID:23251043

  20. Determinants of Initiation Codon Selection during Translation in Mammalian Cells

    PubMed Central

    Matsuda, Daiki; Mauro, Vincent P.

    2010-01-01

    Factors affecting translation of mRNA contribute to the complexity of eukaryotic proteomes. In some cases, translation of a particular mRNA can generate multiple proteins. However, the factors that determine whether ribosomes initiate translation from the first AUG codon in the transcript, from a downstream codon, or from multiple sites are not completely understood. Various mRNA properties, including AUG codon-accessibility and 5′ leader length have been proposed as potential determinants that affect where ribosomes initiate translation. To explore this issue, we performed studies using synthetic mRNAs with two in-frame AUG codons−both in excellent context. Open reading frames initiating at AUG1 and AUG2 encode large and small isoforms of a reporter protein, respectively. Translation of such an mRNA in COS-7 cells was shown to be 5′ cap-dependent and to occur efficiently from both AUG codons. AUG codon-accessibility was modified by using two different elements: an antisense locked nucleic acid oligonucleotide and an exon-junction complex. When either element was used to mask AUG1, the ratio of the proteins synthesized changed, favoring the smaller (AUG2-initiated) protein. In addition, we observed that increased leader length by itself changed the ratio of the proteins and favored initiation at AUG1. These observations demonstrate that initiation codon selection is affected by various factors, including AUG codon-accessibility and 5′ leader length, and is not necessarily determined by the order of AUG codons (5′→3′). The modulation of AUG codon accessibility may provide a powerful means of translation regulation in eukaryotic cells. PMID:21124832

  1. Codon engineering for improved antibody expression in mammalian cells.

    PubMed

    Carton, Jill M; Sauerwald, Tina; Hawley-Nelson, Pam; Morse, Barry; Peffer, Nancy; Beck, Heena; Lu, Jin; Cotty, Adam; Amegadzie, Bernard; Sweet, Ray

    2007-10-01

    While well established in bacterial hosts, the effect of coding sequence variation on protein expression in mammalian systems is poorly characterized outside of viral proteins or proteins from distant phylogenetic families. The potential impact is substantial given the extensive use of mammalian expression systems in research and manufacturing of protein biotherapeutics. We are studying the effect of codon engineering on expression of recombinant antibodies with an emphasis on developing manufacturing cell lines. CNTO 888, a human mAb specific for human MCP-1, was obtained by antibody phage display in collaboration with MorphoSys AG. The isolated DNA sequence of the antibody was biased towards bacterial codons, reflecting the engineering of the Fab library for phage display expression in Escherichia coli. We compared the expression of CNTO 888 containing the parental V-region sequences with two engineered coding variants. In the native codon exchanged (NCE) variant, the V-region codons were replaced with those used in naturally derived human antibody genes. In the human codon optimized (HCO) variant the V-region codons were those used at the highest frequency based on a human codon usage table. The antibody expression levels from stable transfections in mammalian host cells were measured. The HCO codon variant of CNTO 888 yielded the highest expressing cell lines and the highest average expression for the screened populations. This had a significant positive effect on the process to generate a CNTO 888 production cell line and indicates the potential to improve antibody expression in mammalian expression systems by codon engineering.

  2. The Undead: Fossil Galaxy Alive Again

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Berglund, Kallan; Wilcots, Eric M.

    2015-01-01

    This project investigates the formation and evolution of fossil galaxies, specifically the history of active galactic nucleus (AGN) activity as it relates to galaxy mergers. We used low-frequency radio data from the J-VLA radio telescope's new P-band receivers [300-350MHz] to observe fossil galaxy J171811.93+563956.1 (referenced as FG30) at a red-shift of z=0.114. This galaxy was selected for its strong X-ray emission from the surrounding IGM, because it is indicative of an AGN. After cleaning and calibrating the data using CASA, images were generated to map the intensity of radio emission, revealing that FG30 is nearly a point source and lacks any prominent AGN jets. Analysis of the SDSS optical spectrum of FG30 revealed strong evidence of shocks. We believe that past AGN activity heated the intergalactic medium (IGM) to produce the strong X-ray emission, though the jets have been dormant for long enough that the IGM filled in the regions previously cleared by jets. The density of new material is now causing strong shocks when hit by newly restarted jets. This implies the start of a new epoch of AGN activity for FG30, which was most likely caused by a recent galaxy merger. This observation demonstrates that not all fossil groups have been quiescent, as the dominant theories suggested.*This work was supported by the National Science Foundation's REU program through NSF Award AST-1004881.

  3. DNA G+C content of the third codon position and codon usage biases of human genes.

    PubMed

    Sueoka, N; Kawanishi, Y

    2000-12-30

    The human genome, as in other eukaryotes, has a wide heterogeneity in the DNA base composition. The evolutionary basis for this heterogeneity has been unknown. A previous study of the human genome (846 genes analyzed) has shown that, in the major range of the G+C content in the third codon position (0.25-0.75), biases from the Parity Rule 2 (PR2) among the synonymous codons of the four-codon amino acids are similar except in the highest G+C range (Sueoka, N., 1999. Translation-coupled violation of Parity Rule 2 in human genes is not the cause of heterogeneity of the DNA G+C content of third codon position. Gene 238, 53-58.). PR2 is an intra-strand rule where A=T and G=C are expected when there are no biases between the two complementary strands of DNA in mutation and selection rates (substitution rates). In this study, 14,026 human genes were analyzed. In addition, the third codon positions of two-codon amino acids were analyzed. New results show the following: (a) The G+C contents of the third codon position of human genes are scattered in the G+C range of 0.22-0.96 in the third codon position. (b) The PR2 biases are similar in the range of 0.25-0.75, whereas, in the high G+C range (0.75-0.96; 13% of the genes), the PR2-bias fingerprints are different from those of the major range. (c) Unlike the PR2 biases, the G+C contents of the third codon position for both four-codon and two-codon amino acids are all correlated almost perfectly with the G+C content of the third codon position over the total G+C ranges. These results support the notion that the directional mutation pressure, rather than the directional selection pressure, is mainly responsible for the heterogeneity of the G+C content of the third codon position.

  4. A thermodynamic theory of codon bias in viral genes.

    PubMed

    Rowe, G W; Trainor, L E

    1983-03-21

    The relationship between degeneracy in the genetic code and the occurrence of a strong codon bias is examined, with particular reference to a group of viral genomes. The present paper shows how codon bias may have been imposed by thermodynamic considerations at the time the primitive DNA first formed in the primordial soup. Using a four-state Ising-like model with stacking interactions between successive base pairs, we show how primeval periodic DNA polymers could have arisen the remnants of which are still observed in codon biases today.

  5. Improving large-scale groundwater models by considering fossil gradients

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schulz, Stephan; Walther, Marc; Michelsen, Nils; Rausch, Randolf; Dirks, Heiko; Al-Saud, Mohammed; Merz, Ralf; Kolditz, Olaf; Schüth, Christoph

    2017-05-01

    Due to limited availability of surface water, many arid to semi-arid countries rely on their groundwater resources. Despite the quasi-absence of present day replenishment, some of these groundwater bodies contain large amounts of water, which was recharged during pluvial periods of the Late Pleistocene to Early Holocene. These mostly fossil, non-renewable resources require different management schemes compared to those which are usually applied in renewable systems. Fossil groundwater is a finite resource and its withdrawal implies mining of aquifer storage reserves. Although they receive almost no recharge, some of them show notable hydraulic gradients and a flow towards their discharge areas, even without pumping. As a result, these systems have more discharge than recharge and hence are not in steady state, which makes their modelling, in particular the calibration, very challenging. In this study, we introduce a new calibration approach, composed of four steps: (i) estimating the fossil discharge component, (ii) determining the origin of fossil discharge, (iii) fitting the hydraulic conductivity with a pseudo steady-state model, and (iv) fitting the storage capacity with a transient model by reconstructing head drawdown induced by pumping activities. Finally, we test the relevance of our approach and evaluated the effect of considering or ignoring fossil gradients on aquifer parameterization for the Upper Mega Aquifer (UMA) on the Arabian Peninsula.

  6. How tRNAs dictate nuclear codon reassignments: Only a few can capture non-cognate codons.

    PubMed

    Kollmar, Martin; Mühlhausen, Stefanie

    2017-03-04

    mRNA decoding by tRNAs and tRNA charging by aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases are biochemically separated processes that nevertheless in general involve the same nucleotides. The combination of charging and decoding determines the genetic code. Codon reassignment happens when a differently charged tRNA replaces a former cognate tRNA. The recent discovery of the polyphyly of the yeast CUG sense codon reassignment challenged previous mechanistic considerations and led to the proposal of the so-called tRNA loss driven codon reassignment hypothesis. Accordingly, codon capture is caused by loss of a tRNA or by mutations in the translation termination factor, subsequent reduction of the codon frequency through reduced translation fidelity and final appearance of a new cognate tRNA. Critical for codon capture are sequence and structure of the new tRNA, which must be compatible with recognition regions of aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases. The proposed hypothesis applies to all reported nuclear and organellar codon reassignments.

  7. Cycles in fossil diversity.

    PubMed

    Rohde, Robert A; Muller, Richard A

    2005-03-10

    It is well known that the diversity of life appears to fluctuate during the course of the Phanerozoic, the eon during which hard shells and skeletons left abundant fossils (0-542 million years ago). Here we show, using Sepkoski's compendium of the first and last stratigraphic appearances of 36,380 marine genera, a strong 62 +/- 3-million-year cycle, which is particularly evident 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 the contributions of environmental factors, and possible causes.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. On the fossil record of the Gekkota.

    PubMed

    Daza, Juan D; Bauer, Aaron M; Snively, Eric D

    2014-03-01

    Gekkota is often interpreted as sister to all remaining squamates, exclusive of dibamids, or as sister to Autarchoglossa. It is the only diverse lineage of primarily nocturnal lizards and includes some of the smallest amniotes. The skeleton of geckos has often been interpreted as paedomorphic and/or "primitive" but these lizards also display a wide range of structural specializations of the postcranium, including modifications associated with both scansorial locomotion and limb reduction. Although the concept of "Gekkota" has been variously applied by different authors, we here apply a rigorous apomorphy based definition, recent advances in gekkotan morphology and phylogenetics, and diverse comparative material to provide a comprehensive assessment of 28 known pre-Quaternary geckos, updating the last such review, published three decades ago. Fossils evaluated include both sedimentary fossils and amber-embedded specimens. Known Cretaceous geckos are exclusively Asian and exhibit character combinations not seen in any living forms. Cenozoic gekkotans derive from sites around the world, although Europe is especially well represented. Paleogene geckos are largely known from disarticulated remains and show similarities to Sphaerodactylidae and Diplodactylidae, although resemblances may be plesiomorphic in some cases. Many Neogene gekkotans are referable to living families or even genera, but their geographic occurrences are often extralimital to those of modern groups, as is consistent with paleoclimatic conditions. The phylogenetic placement of fossil gekkotans has important repercusions for timetree calibration, but at present only a small number of fossils can be confidently assigned to even family level groupings, limiting their utility in this regard. Copyright © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  11. Human Alpha and Beta Papillomaviruses Use Different Synonymous Codon Profiles

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

    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. PMID:20157772

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. GPI Calibrations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rantakyrö, Fredrik T.

    2017-09-01

    "The Gemini Planet Imager requires a large set of Calibrations. These can be split into two major sets, one set associated with each observation and one set related to biweekly calibrations. The observation set is to optimize the correction of miscroshifts in the IFU spectra and the latter set is for correction of detector and instrument cosmetics."

  16. Properties and determinants of codon decoding time distributions

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background Codon decoding time is a fundamental property of mRNA translation believed to affect the abundance, function, and properties of proteins. Recently, a novel experimental technology--ribosome profiling--was developed to measure the density, and thus the speed, of ribosomes at codon resolution. Specifically, this method is based on next-generation sequencing, which theoretically can provide footprint counts that correspond to the probability of observing a ribosome in this position for each nucleotide in each transcript. Results In this study, we report for the first time various novel properties of the distribution of codon footprint counts in five organisms, based on large-scale analysis of ribosomal profiling data. We show that codons have distinctive footprint count distributions. These tend to be preserved along the inner part of the ORF, but differ at the 5' and 3' ends of the ORF, suggesting that the translation-elongation stage actually includes three biophysical sub-steps. In addition, we study various basic properties of the codon footprint count distributions and show that some of them correlate with the abundance of the tRNA molecule types recognizing them. Conclusions Our approach emphasizes the advantages of analyzing ribosome profiling and similar types of data via a comparative genomic codon-distribution-centric view. Thus, our methods can be used in future studies related to translation and even transcription elongation. PMID:25572668

  17. Synonymous codon usage influences the local protein structure observed

    PubMed Central

    Saunders, Rhodri; Deane, Charlotte M.

    2010-01-01

    Translation of mRNA into protein is a unidirectional information flow process. Analysing the input (mRNA) and output (protein) of translation, we find that local protein structure information is encoded in the mRNA nucleotide sequence. The Coding Sequence and Structure (CSandS) database developed in this work provides a detailed mapping between over 4000 solved protein structures and their mRNA. CSandS facilitates a comprehensive analysis of codon usage over many organisms. In assigning translation speed, we find that relative codon usage is less informative than tRNA concentration. For all speed measures, no evidence was found that domain boundaries are enriched with slow codons. In fact, genes seemingly avoid slow codons around structurally defined domain boundaries. Translation speed, however, does decrease at the transition into secondary structure. Codons are identified that have structural preferences significantly different from the amino acid they encode. However, each organism has its own set of ‘significant codons’. Our results support the premise that codons encode more information than merely amino acids and give insight into the role of translation in protein folding. PMID:20530529

  18. The Effect of Codon Mismatch on the Protein Translation System.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Dinglin; Chen, Danfeng; Cao, Liaoran; Li, Guohui; Cheng, Hong

    2016-01-01

    Incorrect protein translation, caused by codon mismatch, is an important problem of living cells. In this work, a computational model was introduced to quantify the effects of codon mismatch and the model was used to study the protein translation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. According to simulation results, the probability of codon mismatch will increase when the supply of amino acids is unbalanced, and the longer is the codon sequence, the larger is the probability for incorrect translation to occur, making the synthesis of long peptide chain difficult. By comparing to simulation results without codon mismatch effects taken into account, the fraction of mRNAs with bound ribosome decrease faster along the mRNAs, making the 5' ramp phenomenon more obvious. It was also found in our work that the premature mechanism resulted from codon mismatch can reduce the proportion of incorrect translation when the amino acid supply is extremely unbalanced, which is one possible source of high fidelity protein synthesis after peptidyl transfer.

  19. Principles of start codon recognition in eukaryotic translation initiation

    PubMed Central

    Lind, Christoffer; Åqvist, Johan

    2016-01-01

    Selection of the correct start codon during initiation of translation on the ribosome is a key event in protein synthesis. In eukaryotic initiation, several factors have to function in concert to ensure that the initiator tRNA finds the cognate AUG start codon during mRNA scanning. The two initiation factors eIF1 and eIF1A are known to provide important functions for the initiation process and codon selection. Here, we have used molecular dynamics free energy calculations to evaluate the energetics of initiator tRNA binding to different near-cognate codons on the yeast 40S ribosomal subunit, in the presence and absence of these two initiation factors. The results show that eIF1 and eIF1A together cause a relatively uniform and high discrimination against near-cognate codons. This works such that eIF1 boosts the discrimination against a first position near-cognate G-U mismatch, and also against a second position A-A base pair, while eIF1A mainly acts on third codon position. The computer simulations further reveal the structural basis of the increased discriminatory effect caused by binding of eIF1 and eIF1A to the 40S ribosomal subunit. PMID:27280974

  20. Measure of synonymous codon usage diversity among genes in bacteria.

    PubMed

    Suzuki, Haruo; Saito, Rintaro; Tomita, Masaru

    2009-06-01

    In many bacteria, intragenomic diversity in synonymous codon usage among genes has been reported. However, no quantitative attempt has been made to compare the diversity levels among different genomes. Here, we introduce a mean dissimilarity-based index (Dmean) for quantifying the level of diversity in synonymous codon usage among all genes within a genome. The application of Dmean to 268 bacterial genomes shows that in bacteria with extremely biased genomic G+C compositions there is little diversity in synonymous codon usage among genes. Furthermore, our findings contradict previous reports. For example, a low level of diversity in codon usage among genes has been reported for Helicobacter pylori, but based on Dmean, the diversity level of this species is higher than those of more than half of bacteria tested here. The discrepancies between our findings and previous reports are probably due to differences in the methods used for measuring codon usage diversity. We recommend that Dmean be used to measure the diversity level of codon usage among genes. This measure can be applied to other compositional features such as amino acid usage and dinucleotide relative abundance as a genomic signature.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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).

  4. 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. © 2014 The Authors. Biological Reviews © 2014 Cambridge Philosophical Society.

  5. Likelihood of tree topologies with fossils and diversification rate estimation.

    PubMed

    Didier, Gilles; Fau, Marine; Laurin, Michel

    2017-04-18

    Since the diversification process cannot be directly observed at the human scale, it has to be studied from the information available, namely the extant taxa and the fossil record. In this sense, phylogenetic trees including both extant taxa and fossils are the most complete representations of the diversification process that one can get. Such phylogenetic trees can be reconstructed from molecular and morphological data, to some extent. Among the temporal information of such phylogenetic trees, fossil ages are by far the most precisely known (divergence times are inferences calibrated mostly with fossils). We propose here a method to compute the likelihood of a phylogenetic tree with fossils in which the only considered time information is the fossil ages, and apply it to the estimation of the diversification rates from such data. Since it is required in our computation, we provide a method for determining the probability of a tree topology under the standard diversification model.Testing 21 our approach on simulated data shows that the maximum likelihood rate estimates from the phylogenetic tree topology and the fossil dates are almost as accurate as those obtained by taking into account all the data, including the divergence times. Moreover, they are substantially more accurate than the estimates obtained only from the exact divergence times (without taking into account the fossil record).We also provide an empirical example composed of 50 Permo-carboniferous eupelycosaur (early synapsid) taxa ranging in age from about 315 Ma (Late Carboniferous) to 270 Ma (shortly after the end of the Early Permian). Our analyses suggest a speciation (cladogenesis, or birth) rate of about 0.1 per lineage and per My, a marginally lower extinction rate, and a considerable hidden paleobiodiversity of early synapsids. © The Author(s) 2017. Published by Oxford University Press, on behalf of the Society of Systematic Biologists. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email

  6. 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

  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. 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

  9. Molecules and fossils reveal punctuated diversification in Caribbean "faviid" corals.

    PubMed

    Schwartz, Sonja A; Budd, Ann F; Carlon, David B

    2012-07-25

    Even with well-known sampling biases, the fossil record is key to understanding macro-evolutionary patterns. During the Miocene to Pleistocene in the Caribbean Sea, the fossil record of scleractinian corals shows a remarkable period of rapid diversification followed by massive extinction. Here we combine a time-calibrated molecular phylogeny based on three nuclear introns with an updated fossil stratigraphy to examine patterns of radiation and extinction in Caribbean corals within the traditional family Faviidae. Concatenated phylogenetic analysis showed most species of Caribbean faviids were monophyletic, with the exception of two Manicina species. The time-calibrated tree revealed the stem group originated around the closure of the Tethys Sea (17.0 Ma), while the genus Manicina diversified during the Late Miocene (8.20 Ma), when increased sedimentation and productivity may have favored free-living, heterotrophic species. Reef and shallow water specialists, represented by Diploria and Favia, originate at the beginning of the Pliocene (5 - 6 Ma) as the Isthmus of Panama shoaled and regional productivity declined. Later origination of the stem group than predicted from the fossil record corroborates the hypothesis of morphological convergence in Diploria and Favia genera. Our data support the rapid evolution of morphological and life-history traits among faviid corals that can be linked to Mio-Pliocene environmental changes.

  10. Codon Preference Optimization Increases Prokaryotic Cystatin C Expression

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Qing; Mei, Cui; Zhen, Honghua; Zhu, Jess

    2012-01-01

    Gene expression is closely related to optimal vector-host system pairing in many prokaryotes. Redesign of the human cystatin C (cysC) gene using the preferred codons of the prokaryotic system may significantly increase cysC expression in Escherichia coli (E. coli). Specifically, cysC expression may be increased by removing unstable sequences and optimizing GC content. According to E. coli expression system codon preferences, the gene sequence was optimized while the amino acid sequence was maintained. The codon-optimized cysC (co-cysC) and wild-type cysC (wt-cysC) were expressed by cloning the genes into a pET-30a plasmid, thus transforming the recombinant plasmid into E. coli BL21. Before and after the optimization process, the prokaryotic expression vector and host bacteria were examined for protein expression and biological activation of CysC. The recombinant proteins in the lysate of the transformed bacteria were purified using Ni2+-NTA resin. Recombinant protein expression increased from 10% to 46% based on total protein expression after codon optimization. Recombinant CysC purity was above 95%. The significant increase in cysC expression in E. coli expression produced by codon optimization techniques may be applicable to commercial production systems. PMID:23093857

  11. Role of premature stop codons in bacterial evolution.

    PubMed

    Wong, Tit-Yee; Fernandes, Sanjit; Sankhon, Naby; Leong, Patrick P; Kuo, Jimmy; Liu, Jong-Kang

    2008-10-01

    When the stop codons TGA, TAA, and TAG are found in the second and third reading frames of a protein-encoding gene, they are considered premature stop codons (PSC). Deinococcus radiodurans disproportionately favored TGA more than the other two triplets as a PSC. The TGA triplet was also found more often in noncoding regions and as a stop codon, though the bias was less pronounced. We investigated this phenomenon in 72 bacterial species with widely differing chromosomal GC contents. Although TGA and TAG were compositionally similar, we found a great variation in use of TGA but a very limited range of use of TAG. The frequency of use of TGA in the gene sequences generally increased with the GC content of the chromosome, while the frequency of use of TAG, like that of TAA, was inversely proportional to the GC content of the chromosome. The patterns of use of TAA, TGA and TAG as real stop codons were less biased and less influenced by the GC content of the chromosome. Bacteria with higher chromosomal GC contents often contained fewer PSC trimers in their genes. Phylogenetically related bacteria often exhibited similar PSC ratios. In addition, metabolically versatile bacteria have significantly fewer PSC trimers in their genes. The bias toward TGA but against TAG as a PSC could not be explained either by the preferential usage of specific codons or by the GC contents of individual chromosomes. We proposed that the quantity and the quality of the PSC in the genome might be important in bacterial evolution.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Clustering of low usage codons in the translation initiation region of hepatitis C virus.

    PubMed

    Zhou, Jian-hua; Su, Jun-hong; Chen, Hao-tai; Zhang, Jie; Ma, Li-na; Ding, Yao-zhong; Stipkovits, Laszlo; Szathmary, Susan; Pejsak, Zygmunt; Liu, Yong-sheng

    2013-08-01

    The adaptation of the overall codon usage pattern of hepatitis C virus (HCV) to that of human is estimated by the synonymous codon usage value (RSCU). The synonymous codon usage biases for the translation initiation region (TIR) of this virus are also analyzed by calculation of usage fluctuation of each synonymous codon along the TIR (the first 30 codon sites of the whole coding sequence of HCV). As for the overall codon usage pattern of HCV, this virus has a significant tendency to delete the codons with CpG or TpA dinucleotides. Turning to the adaptation of the overall codon usage of HCV to that of human, over half part of codons has a similar usage pattern between this virus and human, suggesting that the host cellular environment of the overall codon usage pattern influences the formation of codon usage for HCV. In addition, there is no obvious phenomenon that the codons with relatively low energy tend to be highly selected in the TIR of HCV, suggesting that the synonymous codon usage patterns for the TIR of HCV might be not affected by the secondary structure of nucleotide sequence, however, the formation of synonymous codons usage in the TIR of HCV is influenced by the overall codon usage patterns of human to some degree.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. Fossilization of melanosomes via sulfurization.

    PubMed

    McNamara, Maria E; van Dongen, Bart E; Lockyer, Nick P; Bull, Ian D; Orr, Patrick J

    2016-05-01

    Fossil melanin granules (melanosomes) are an important resource for inferring the evolutionary history of colour and its functions in animals. The taphonomy of melanin and melanosomes, however, is incompletely understood. In particular, the chemical processes responsible for melanosome preservation have not been investigated. As a result, the origins of sulfur-bearing compounds in fossil melanosomes are difficult to resolve. This has implications for interpretations of original colour in fossils based on potential sulfur-rich phaeomelanosomes. Here we use pyrolysis gas chromatography mass spectrometry (Py-GCMS), fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and time of flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) to assess the mode of preservation of fossil microstructures, confirmed as melanosomes based on the presence of melanin, preserved in frogs from the Late Miocene Libros biota (NE Spain). Our results reveal a high abundance of organosulfur compounds and non-sulfurized fatty acid methyl esters in both the fossil tissues and host sediment; chemical signatures in the fossil tissues are inconsistent with preservation of phaeomelanin. Our results reflect preservation via the diagenetic incorporation of sulfur, i.e. sulfurization (natural vulcanization), and other polymerization processes. Organosulfur compounds and/or elevated concentrations of sulfur have been reported from melanosomes preserved in various invertebrate and vertebrate fossils and depositional settings, suggesting that preservation through sulfurization is likely to be widespread. Future studies of sulfur-rich fossil melanosomes require that the geochemistry of the host sediment is tested for evidence of sulfurization in order to constrain interpretations of potential phaeomelanosomes and thus of original integumentary colour in fossils.

  18. 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. Copyright © 2016, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  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. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Dohra, Hideo; Fujishima, Masahiro; Suzuki, Haruo

    2015-10-07

    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. Copyright © 2015 Federation of European Biochemical Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  2. Aeromonas phages encode tRNAs for their overused codons.

    PubMed

    Prabhakaran, Ramanandan; Chithambaram, Shivapriya; Xia, Xuhua

    2014-01-01

    The GC-rich bacterial species, Aeromonas salmonicida, is parasitised by both GC-rich phages (Aeromonas phages - phiAS7 and vB_AsaM-56) and GC-poor phages (Aeromonas phages - 25, 31, 44RR2.8t, 65, Aes508, phiAS4 and phiAS5). Both the GC-rich Aeromonas phage phiAS7 and Aeromonas phage vB_AsaM-56 have nearly identical codon usage bias as their host. While all the remaining seven GC-poor Aeromonas phages differ dramatically in codon usage from their GC-rich host. Here, we investigated whether tRNA encoded in the genome of Aeromonas phages facilitate the translation of phage proteins. We found that tRNAs encoded in the phage genome correspond to synonymous codons overused in the phage genes but not in the host genes.

  3. Why is start codon selection so precise in eukaryotes?

    PubMed Central

    Asano, Katsura

    2014-01-01

    Translation generally initiates with the AUG codon. While initiation at GUG and UUG is permitted in prokaryotes (Archaea and Bacteria), cases of CUG initiation were recently reported in human cells. The varying stringency in translation initiation between eukaryotic and prokaryotic domains largely stems from a fundamental problem for the ribosome in recognizing a codon at the peptidyl-tRNA binding site. Initiation factors specific to each domain of life evolved to confer stringent initiation by the ribosome. The mechanistic basis for high accuracy in eukaryotic initiation is described based on recent findings concerning the role of the multifactor complex (MFC) in this process. Also discussed are whether non-AUG initiation plays any role in translational control and whether start codon accuracy is regulated in eukaryotes. PMID:26779403

  4. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-11-01

    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. © The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.

  6. 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.

  7. Estimating selection on synonymous codon usage from noisy experimental data.

    PubMed

    Wallace, Edward W J; Airoldi, Edoardo M; Drummond, D Allan

    2013-06-01

    A key goal in molecular evolution is to extract mechanistic insights from signatures of selection. A case study is codon usage, where despite many recent advances and hypotheses, two longstanding problems remain: the relative contribution of selection and mutation in determining codon frequencies and the relative contribution of translational speed and accuracy to selection. The relevant targets of selection--the rate of translation and of mistranslation of a codon per unit time in the cell--can only be related to mechanistic properties of the translational apparatus if the number of transcripts per cell is known, requiring use of gene expression measurements. Perhaps surprisingly, different gene-expression data sets yield markedly different estimates of selection. We show that this is largely due to measurement noise, notably due to differences between studies rather than instrument error or biological variability. We develop an analytical framework that explicitly models noise in expression in the context of the population-genetic model. Estimates of mutation and selection strength in budding yeast produced by this method are robust to the expression data set used and are substantially higher than estimates using a noise-blind approach. We introduce per-gene selection estimates that correlate well with previous scoring systems, such as the codon adaptation index, while now carrying an evolutionary interpretation. On average, selection for codon usage in budding yeast is weak, yet our estimates show that genes range from virtually unselected to average per-codon selection coefficients above the inverse population size. Our analytical framework may be generally useful for distinguishing biological signals from measurement noise in other applications that depend upon measurements of gene expression.

  8. Calibration Techniques

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wurz, Peter; Balogh, Andre; Coffey, Victoria; Dichter, Bronislaw K.; Kasprzak, Wayne T.; Lazarus, Alan J.; Lennartsson, Walter; McFadden, James P.

    Calibration and characterization of particle instruments with supporting flight electronics is necessary for the correct interpretation of the returned data. Generally speaking, the instrument will always return a measurement value (typically in form of a digital number), for example a count rate, for the measurement of an external quantity, which could be an ambient neutral gas density, an ion composition (species measured and amount), or electron density. The returned values are used then to derive parameters associated with the distribution such as temperature, bulk flow speed, differential energy flux and others. With the calibration of the instrument the direct relationship between the external quantity and the returned measurement value has to be established so that the data recorded during flight can be correctly interpreted. While calibration and characterization of an instrument are usually done in ground-based laboratories prior to integration of the instrument in the spacecraft, it can also be done in space.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. A detailed analysis of codon usage patterns and influencing factors in Zika virus.

    PubMed

    Singh, Niraj K; Tyagi, Anuj

    2017-03-21

    Recent outbreaks of Zika virus (ZIKV) in Africa, Latin America, Europe, and Southeast Asia have resulted in serious health concerns. To understand more about evolution and transmission of ZIKV, detailed codon usage analysis was performed for all available strains. A high effective number of codons (ENC) value indicated the presence of low codon usage bias in ZIKV. The effect of mutational pressure on codon usage bias was confirmed by significant correlations between nucleotide compositions at third codon positions and ENCs. Correlation analysis between Gravy values, Aroma values and nucleotide compositions at third codon positions also indicated some influence of natural selection. However, the low codon adaptation index (CAI) value of ZIKV with reference to human and mosquito indicated poor adaptation of ZIKV codon usage towards its hosts, signifying that natural selection has a weaker influence than mutational pressure. Additionally, relative dinucleotide frequencies, geographical distribution, and evolutionary processes also influenced the codon usage pattern to some extent.

  12. Fossil records of volcanism

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bell, Peter M.

    Greenland glacial ice contains a fossil record of volcanic emissions transported in the stratosphere. C. V. Hammer, H. B. Clausen and W. Dansgaard (Nature, 288, 230, 1980) and M. W. Herron (Journal of Geophysical Research, 87, 3052, 1982) noted peaks of relatively high acidity in the Greenland glacial stratigraphic record that are assumed to be due to precipitation of sulfuric acid aerosols after major volcanic eruptions. R. B. Stothers and M. R. Rampino of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York recently did a search of historical records and found an unexpected correlation of European volcano activity in the period 1500 B.C. to A.D. 1500 with dated acid maxima in Greenland ice (Science, 222, 411-412, 1983).Stothers and Rampino's soon-to-be-reported search (Journal of Geophysical Research, in press) included examination of “about one quarter of a million pages of modern English test” (Science). In their analysis they took into account the statistical uncertainty of the icecore dates and the time lags that would be expected to delay the arrival of acid rain from distant European volcano sources. Of course the problem of the analysis is that whereas there are extensive records of European volcanos, there is precious little information on volcano activity that must have occurred during the same period in the western Pacific and in the western hemisphere. Beginning with the volcano in Thera, Greece, set at about 1450 B.C. (the volcano date having been determined from “archeology and legend”) and its Greenland ice acid peak date set at about 1390 B.C. (± 50, by radiocarbon methods), Stothers and Rampino correlate historical data through Vesuvius (217-216 B.C), Etna (44 B.C.), and others. There seems to be an acid peak to correlate in each instance in the data of Hammer et al.

  13. In Arabidopsis thaliana codon volatility scores reflect GC3 composition rather than selective pressure

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background Synonymous codon usage bias has typically been correlated with, and attributed to translational efficiency. However, there are other pressures on genomic sequence composition that can affect codon usage patterns such as mutational biases. This study provides an analysis of the codon usage patterns in Arabidopsis thaliana in relation to gene expression levels, codon volatility, mutational biases and selective pressures. Results We have performed synonymous codon usage and codon volatility analyses for all genes in the A. thaliana genome. In contrast to reports for species from other kingdoms, we find that neither codon usage nor volatility are correlated with selection pressure (as measured by dN/dS), nor with gene expression levels on a genome wide level. Our results show that codon volatility and usage are not synonymous, rather that they are correlated with the abundance of G and C at the third codon position (GC3). Conclusions Our results indicate that while the A. thaliana genome shows evidence for synonymous codon usage bias, this is not related to the expression levels of its constituent genes. Neither codon volatility nor codon usage are correlated with expression levels or selective pressures but, because they are directly related to the composition of G and C at the third codon position, they are the result of mutational bias. Therefore, in A. thaliana codon volatility and usage do not result from selection for translation efficiency or protein functional shift as measured by positive selection. PMID:22805311

  14. Gene expression, nucleotide composition and codon usage bias of genes associated with human Y chromosome.

    PubMed

    Choudhury, Monisha Nath; Uddin, Arif; Chakraborty, Supriyo

    2017-06-01

    Analysis of codon usage pattern is important to understand the genetic and evolutionary characteristics of genomes. We have used bioinformatic approaches to analyze the codon usage bias (CUB) of the genes located in human Y chromosome. Codon bias index (CBI) indicated that the overall extent of codon usage bias was low. The relative synonymous codon usage (RSCU) analysis suggested that approximately half of the codons out of 59 synonymous codons were most frequently used, and possessed a T or G at the third codon position. The codon usage pattern was different in different genes as revealed from correspondence analysis (COA). A significant correlation between effective number of codons (ENC) and various GC contents suggests that both mutation pressure and natural selection affect the codon usage pattern of genes located in human Y chromosome. In addition, Y-linked genes have significant difference in GC contents at the second and third codon positions, expression level, and codon usage pattern of some codons like the SPANX genes in X chromosome.

  15. 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)

  16. An Introduction to Fossil Plants

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Thomas, B. A.

    1976-01-01

    Introduces methods of studying fossil plants and of teaching palaeobotany. Brief accounts are given of different types of preservation and where to find specimens. An annotated bibliography is provided. (Author/SL)

  17. Widespread position-specific conservation of synonymous rare codons within coding sequences

    PubMed Central

    Steele, Aaron; Carmichael, Rory; Rodriguez, Anabel; Specht, Alicia T.; Ngo, Kim; Emrich, Scott

    2017-01-01

    Synonymous rare codons are considered to be sub-optimal for gene expression because they are translated more slowly than common codons. Yet surprisingly, many protein coding sequences include large clusters of synonymous rare codons. Rare codons at the 5’ terminus of coding sequences have been shown to increase translational efficiency. Although a general functional role for synonymous rare codons farther within coding sequences has not yet been established, several recent reports have identified rare-to-common synonymous codon substitutions that impair folding of the encoded protein. Here we test the hypothesis that although the usage frequencies of synonymous codons change from organism to organism, codon rarity will be conserved at specific positions in a set of homologous coding sequences, for example to tune translation rate without altering a protein sequence. Such conservation of rarity–rather than specific codon identity–could coordinate co-translational folding of the encoded protein. We demonstrate that many rare codon cluster positions are indeed conserved within homologous coding sequences across diverse eukaryotic, bacterial, and archaeal species, suggesting they result from positive selection and have a functional role. Most conserved rare codon clusters occur within rather than between conserved protein domains, challenging the view that their primary function is to facilitate co-translational folding after synthesis of an autonomous structural unit. Instead, many conserved rare codon clusters separate smaller protein structural motifs within structural domains. These smaller motifs typically fold faster than an entire domain, on a time scale more consistent with translation rate modulation by synonymous codon usage. While proteins with conserved rare codon clusters are structurally and functionally diverse, they are enriched in functions associated with organism growth and development, suggesting an important role for synonymous codon usage in

  18. 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. Copyright © 2011 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

  19. 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.

  20. Genome-wide prediction of stop codon readthrough during translation in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae

    PubMed Central

    Williams, I.; Richardson, J.; Starkey, A.; Stansfield, I.

    2004-01-01

    In-frame stop codons normally signal termination during mRNA translation, but they can be read as ‘sense’ (readthrough) depending on their context, comprising the 6 nt preceding and following the stop codon. To identify novel contexts directing readthrough, under-represented 5′ and 3′ stop codon contexts from Saccharomyces cerevisiae were identified by genome-wide survey in silico. In contrast with the nucleotide bias 3′ of the stop codon, codon bias in the two codon positions 5′ of the termination codon showed no correlation with known effects on stop codon readthrough. However, individually, poor 5′ and 3′ context elements were equally as effective in promoting stop codon readthrough in vivo, readthrough which in both cases responded identically to changes in release factor concentration. A novel method analysing specific nucleotide combinations in the 3′ context region revealed positions +1,2,3,5 and +1,2,3,6 after the stop codon were most predictive of termination efficiency. Downstream of yeast open reading frames (ORFs), further in-frame stop codons were significantly over-represented at the +1, +2 and +3 codon positions after the ORF, acting to limit readthrough. Thus selection against stop codon readthrough is a dominant force acting on 3′, but not on 5′, nucleotides, with detectable selection on nucleotides as far downstream as +6 nucleotides. The approaches described can be employed to define potential readthrough contexts for any genome. PMID:15602002

  1. SNLS calibrations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Regnault, N.

    2015-08-01

    The Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Legacy Survey (CFHTLS) is a massive imaging survey, conducted between 2003 and 2008, with the MegaCam instrument, mounted on the CFHT-3.6-m telescope. With a 1 degree wide focal plane, made of 36 2048 × 4612 sensors totalling 340 megapixels, MegaCam was at the time the largest imager on the sky. The Supernova Legacy Survey (SNLS) uses the cadenced observations of the 4 deg2 wide "DEEP" layer of the CFHTLS to search and follow-up Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) and study the acceleration of the cosmic expansion. The reduction and calibration of the CFHTLS/SNLS datasets has posed a series of challenges. In what follows, we give a brief account of the photometric calibration work that has been performed on the SNLS data over the last decade.

  2. Temperature Calibration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, A. L.

    2013-12-01

    Accuracy of temperature measurements is vital to many experiments. In this project, we design an algorithm to calibrate thermocouples' temperature measurements. To collect data, we rely on incremental heating to calculate the diffusion coefficients of argon through sanidine glasses. These coefficients change according to an arrhenius equation that depends on temperature, time, and the size and geometry of the glass; thus by fixing the type of glass and the time of each heating step, we obtain many data points by varying temperature. Because the dimension of temperature is continuous, obtaining data is simpler in noble gas diffusion experiments than in measuring the discrete melting points of various metals. Due to the nature of electrical connections, the need to reference to the freezing point of ice, thermal gradients in the sample, the time dependent dissipation of heat into the surroundings, and other inaccuracies with thermocouple temperature measurements, it is necessary to calibrate the experimental measurements with the expected or theoretical measurements. Since the diffusion constant equation is exponential with the inverse of temperature, we transform the exponential D vs T graph into a linear log(D) vs 1/T graph. Then a simple linear regression yields the equation of the line, and we find a mapping function from the experimental temperature to the expected temperature. By relying on the accuracy of the diffusion constant measurement, the mapping function provides the temperature calibration. Theoretical (Temperature, Diffusion Coefficient, Fractional Loss, Zeta)

  3. Measurements of translation initiation from all 64 codons in E. coli

    PubMed Central

    Hecht, Ariel; Glasgow, Jeff; Bawazer, Lukmaan A.; Munson, Matthew S.; Cochran, Jennifer R.

    2017-01-01

    Abstract Our understanding of translation underpins our capacity to engineer living systems. The canonical start codon (AUG) and a few near-cognates (GUG, UUG) are considered as the ‘start codons’ for translation initiation in Escherichia coli. Translation is typically not thought to initiate from the 61 remaining codons. Here, we quantified translation initiation of green fluorescent protein and nanoluciferase in E. coli from all 64 triplet codons and across a range of DNA copy number. We detected initiation of protein synthesis above measurement background for 47 codons. Translation from non-canonical start codons ranged from 0.007 to 3% relative to translation from AUG. Translation from 17 non-AUG codons exceeded the highest reported rates of non-cognate codon recognition. Translation initiation from non-canonical start codons may contribute to the synthesis of peptides in both natural and synthetic biological systems. PMID:28334756

  4. 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).

  5. 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.

  6. 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.].

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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. Copyright © 2016 Institut Pasteur. Published by Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.

  11. Variation in global codon usage bias among prokaryotic organisms is associated with their lifestyles

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background It is widely acknowledged that synonymous codons are used unevenly among genes in a genome. In organisms under translational selection, genes encoding highly expressed proteins are enriched with specific codons. This phenomenon, termed codon usage bias, is common to many organisms and has been recognized as influencing cellular fitness. This suggests that the global extent of codon usage bias of an organism might be associated with its phenotypic traits. Results To test this hypothesis we used a simple measure for assessing the extent of codon bias of an organism, and applied it to hundreds of sequenced prokaryotes. Our analysis revealed a large variability in this measure: there are organisms showing very high degrees of codon usage bias and organisms exhibiting almost no differential use of synonymous codons among different genes. Remarkably, we found that the extent of codon usage bias corresponds to the lifestyle of the organism. Especially, organisms able to live in a wide range of habitats exhibit high extents of codon usage bias, consistent with their need to adapt efficiently to different environments. Pathogenic prokaryotes also demonstrate higher extents of codon usage bias than non-pathogenic prokaryotes, in accord with the multiple environments that many pathogens occupy. Our results show that the previously observed correlation between growth rate and metabolic variability is attributed to their individual associations with codon usage bias. Conclusions Our results suggest that the extent of codon usage bias of an organism plays a role in the adaptation of prokaryotes to their environments. PMID:22032172

  12. 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…

  13. Comparative characterization analysis of synonymous codon usage bias in classical swine fever virus.

    PubMed

    Xu, Xin; Fei, Dongliang; Han, Huansheng; Liu, Honggui; Zhang, Jiayong; Zhou, Yulong; Xu, Chuang; Wang, Hongbin; Cao, Hongwei; Zhang, Hua

    2017-06-01

    Classical swine fever virus (CSFV) is responsible for the highly contagious viral disease of swine, and causes great economic loss in the swine-raising industry. Considering the significance of CSFV, a systemic analysis was performed to study its codon usage patterns. In this study, using the complete genome sequences of 76 CSFV representing three genotypes, we firstly analyzed the relative nucleotide composition, effective number of codon (ENC) and synonymous codon usage in CSFV genomes. The results showed that CSFV is GC-moderate genome and the third-ended codons are not preferentially used. Every ENC values in CSFV genomes are >50, indicating that the codon usage bias is comparatively slight. Subsequently, we performed the correspondence analysis (COA) to investigate synonymous codon usage variation among all of the CSFV genomes. We found that codon usage bias in these CSFV genomes is greatly influenced by G + C mutation, which suggests that mutational pressure may be the main factor determining the codon usage biases. Moreover, most of the codon usage bias among different CSFV ORFs is directly related to the nucleotide composition. Other factors, such as hydrophobicity and aromaticity, also influence the codon usage variation among CSFV genomes. Our study represents the most comprehensive analysis of codon usage patterns in CSFV genome and provides a basic understanding of the mechanisms for its codon usage bias. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  14. Genome-Wide Analysis of Codon Usage and Influencing Factors in Chikungunya Viruses

    PubMed Central

    Tong, Yigang

    2014-01-01

    Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an arthropod-borne virus of the family Togaviridae that is transmitted to humans by Aedes spp. mosquitoes. Its genome comprises a 12 kb single-strand positive-sense RNA. In the present study, we report the patterns of synonymous codon usage in 141 CHIKV genomes by calculating several codon usage indices and applying multivariate statistical methods. Relative synonymous codon usage (RSCU) analysis showed that the preferred synonymous codons were G/C and A-ended. A comparative analysis of RSCU between CHIKV and its hosts showed that codon usage patterns of CHIKV are a mixture of coincidence and antagonism. Similarity index analysis showed that the overall codon usage patterns of CHIKV have been strongly influenced by Pan troglodytes and Aedes albopictus during evolution. The overall codon usage bias was low in CHIKV genomes, as inferred from the analysis of effective number of codons (ENC) and codon adaptation index (CAI). Our data suggested that although mutation pressure dominates codon usage in CHIKV, patterns of codon usage in CHIKV are also under the influence of natural selection from its hosts and geography. To the best of our knowledge, this is first report describing codon usage analysis in CHIKV genomes. The findings from this study are expected to increase our understanding of factors involved in viral evolution, and fitness towards hosts and the environment. PMID:24595095

  15. Looking into the genome of Thermosynechococcus elongatus (thermophilic cyanobacteria) with codon selection and usage perspective.

    PubMed

    Prabha, Ratna; Singh, Dhananjaya P; Rai, Anil

    2015-01-01

    Genome analysis of thermophilic cyanobacterium, Thermosynechococcus elongatus BP-1 revealed factors ruling choices of codons in this organism. Multiple parameters like Nc, GC3s, RSCU, Codon Adaptation Index (CAI), optimal and rare codons, codon-pair context and amino acid usage were analysed and compositional constraint was identified as major factor. Wide range of Nc values for the same GC3 content suggested the role of translational selection. Mutational bias is suggested at synonymous position. Among optimal codons for translation, most were GC-ending. Seven codons (AGA, AGG, AUA, UAA, UAG, UCA and UGA) were found to have least occurrence in the entire genome and except stop codons all were A-ending (exception AGG). Most widely used codon-pair in the genome are G-ending or C-ending and A-ending or U-ending codons make pair with G-ending or C-ending codons. Amino acids which are largely distributed in T. elongatus tend to use G-ending or C-ending codons most frequently. Findings showed cumulative role of translational selection, translational accuracy and gene expression levels with mutational bias as key player in codon selection pattern of this organism.

  16. 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…

  17. Transcriptome Analysis of Core Dinoflagellates Reveals a Universal Bias towards “GC” Rich Codons

    PubMed Central

    Williams, Ernest; Place, Allen; Bachvaroff, Tsvetan

    2017-01-01

    Although dinoflagellates are a potential source of pharmaceuticals and natural products, the mechanisms for regulating and producing these compounds are largely unknown because of extensive post-transcriptional control of gene expression. One well-documented mechanism for controlling gene expression during translation is codon bias, whereby specific codons slow or even terminate protein synthesis. Approximately 10,000 annotatable genes from fifteen “core” dinoflagellate transcriptomes along a range of overall guanine and cytosine (GC) content were used for codonW analysis to determine the relative synonymous codon usage (RSCU) and the GC content at each codon position. GC bias in the analyzed dataset and at the third codon position varied from 51% and 54% to 66% and 88%, respectively. Codons poor in GC were observed to be universally absent, but bias was most pronounced for codons ending in uracil followed by adenine (UA). GC bias at the third codon position was able to explain low abundance codons as well as the low effective number of codons. Thus, we propose that a bias towards codons rich in GC bases is a universal feature of core dinoflagellates, possibly relating to their unique chromosome structure, and not likely a major mechanism for controlling gene expression. PMID:28448468

  18. 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. © 2013 The Authors. Journal of Evolutionary Biology © 2013 European Society For Evolutionary Biology.

  19. Palaeobiology: Argentinian unhatched pterosaur fossil.

    PubMed

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

    2004-12-02

    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.

  20. 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

  1. The identities of stop codon reassignments support ancestral tRNA stop codon decoding activity as a facilitator of gene duplication and evolution of novel function.

    PubMed

    Massey, Steven E

    2017-03-27

    Stop codon reassignments are widely distributed in prokaryotic, eukaryotic and organellar genomes, but are remarkably convergent in terms of the stop codons and amino acids reassigned. Strikingly, the identities of stop codon reassignments are closely matched to the properties of naturally occurring nonsense suppressor (NONS) tRNAs, suggesting that pre-existing nonsense suppression in an ancestral tRNA facilitated the occurrence of stop codon reassignments. Here this idea is expanded, by exploring the mechanism by which the gene duplication of tRNAs has occurred, leading to the reassignment of stop codons. Two types of stop codon reassignment are identified: those that necessitate a tRNA gene duplication, and those that do not because a single tRNA can recognize the reassigned stop codon and the canonical codon(s) for the cognate amino acid. Where tRNA gene duplication has occurred, this implies a multi-functional ancestral NONS tRNA, followed by adaptive mutation in the anticodon of one of the gene duplicates to become complementary to the stop codon, constituting a clear example of escape from adaptive conflict. The best exemplar is the UAA+UAG - >gln reassignment, which has occurred 9 times independently in a diverse range of genomes, and appears to reflect the widespread occurrence of naturally occurring nonsense suppression of the UAA+UAG stop codons by glutamine tRNAs. Consideration of pre-existing tRNA functionality and the mechanism of gene duplication provide new insights into the process of stop codon reassignment.

  2. Reduced Protein Expression in a Virus Attenuated by Codon Deoptimization

    PubMed Central

    Jack, Benjamin R.; Boutz, Daniel R.; Paff, Matthew L.; Smith, Bartram L.; Bull, James J.; Wilke, Claus O.

    2017-01-01

    A general means of viral attenuation involves the extensive recoding of synonymous codons in the viral genome. The mechanistic underpinnings of this approach remain unclear, however. Using quantitative proteomics and RNA sequencing, we explore the molecular basis of attenuation in a strain of bacteriophage T7 whose major capsid gene was engineered to carry 182 suboptimal codons. We do not detect transcriptional effects from recoding. Proteomic observations reveal that translation is halved for the recoded major capsid gene, and a more modest reduction applies to several coexpressed downstream genes. We observe no changes in protein abundances of other coexpressed genes that are encoded upstream. Viral burst size, like capsid protein abundance, is also decreased by half. Together, these observations suggest that, in this virus, reduced translation of an essential polycistronic transcript and diminished virion assembly form the molecular basis of attenuation. PMID:28698233

  3. 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.

  4. Molecular Decay of the Tooth Gene Enamelin (ENAM) Mirrors the Loss of Enamel in the Fossil Record of Placental Mammals

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

    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 (ω) 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

  5. The Fungus Candida albicans Tolerates Ambiguity at Multiple Codons.

    PubMed

    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.

  6. 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

  7. Effect of replication on the third base of codons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cebrat, S.; Dudek, M. R.; Gierlik, A.; Kowalczuk, M.; Mackiewicz, P.

    We have analyzed third position in codons and have observed strong long-range correlations along DNA sequence. We have shown that the correlations are caused mostly by asymmetric replication. In the analysis, we have used a DNA walk (spider analysis Cebrat et al., Microbial Comparative Genomics 2(4) (1997) 259-268) in two-dimensional space [A-T,G-C]. The particular case of the E.coli sequence has been studied in detail.

  8. 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

  9. Synonymous codon usage pattern in mitochondrial CYB gene in pisces, aves, and mammals.

    PubMed

    Uddin, Arif; Chakraborty, Supriyo

    2017-03-01

    Cytochrome b (CYB) protein plays an important role in complex III of the mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation. Codon usage is the phenomenon of non-uniform usage of synonymous codons. In the present study, we report the pattern of codon usage in MT-CYB gene using various codon usage parameters. Nucleotide composition such as % of C and T was higher than A and G in pisces. In aves, % of A and C was higher than T and G but in mammals, A and T was higher than C and G. Heat map shows that AT-ending codons were mostly negative and GC-ending codons were mostly positive. From the heat map based on RSCU values, it is evident that codon usage prefers A/C at the third codon position and it was less towards T/G in its third codon position. The codons absent in pisces were AGT (except Toxotes chatareus), TGT, and CAG (except Elasma zonatum). The codons such as AGT (except Falco peregrinus), CGT (except Vidua chalybeata), and ACG (except Aythya americana) were absent in aves whereas, in mammals, the absent codons were namely CAG (except Canis familiaris) and ACG (except Rattus norvegicus). Codon usage bias was low in pisces, aves, and mammals. The frequency of leucine was the highest in the amino acid and cysteine was the lowest. Correlation analysis further suggests that mutation pressure is mainly responsible for codon usage pattern. Natural selection might also play a vital role in codon usage pattern but it was weaker than mutation pressure.

  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. Computational codon optimization of synthetic gene for protein expression

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background The construction of customized nucleic acid sequences allows us to have greater flexibility in gene design for recombinant protein expression. Among the various parameters considered for such DNA sequence design, individual codon usage (ICU) has been implicated as one of the most crucial factors affecting mRNA translational efficiency. However, previous works have also reported the significant influence of codon pair usage, also known as codon context (CC), on the level of protein expression. Results In this study, we have developed novel computational procedures for evaluating the relative importance of optimizing ICU and CC for enhancing protein expression. By formulating appropriate mathematical expressions to quantify the ICU and CC fitness of a coding sequence, optimization procedures based on genetic algorithm were employed to maximize its ICU and/or CC fitness. Surprisingly, the in silico validation of the resultant optimized DNA sequences for Escherichia coli, Lactococcus lactis, Pichia pastoris and Saccharomyces cerevisiae suggests that CC is a more relevant design criterion than the commonly considered ICU. Conclusions The proposed CC optimization framework can complement and enhance the capabilities of current gene design tools, with potential applications to heterologous protein production and even vaccine development in synthetic biotechnology. PMID:23083100

  12. Inducible suppression of global translation by overuse of rare codons.

    PubMed

    Kobayashi, Hideki

    2015-04-01

    Recently, artificial gene networks have been developed in synthetic biology to control gene expression and make organisms as controllable as robots. Here, I present an artificial posttranslational gene-silencing system based on the codon usage bias and low tRNA content corresponding to minor codons. I engineered the green fluorescent protein (GFP) gene to inhibit translation indirectly with the lowest-usage codons to monopolize various minor tRNAs (lgfp). The expression of lgfp interfered nonspecifically with the growth of Escherichia coli, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, human HeLa cervical cancer cells, MCF7 breast cancer cells, and HEK293 kidney cells, as well as phage and adenovirus expansion. Furthermore, insertion of lgfp downstream of a phage response promoter conferred phage resistance on E. coli. Such engineered gene silencers could act as components of biological networks capable of functioning with suitable promoters in E. coli, S. cerevisiae, and human cells to control gene expression. The results presented here show general suppressor artificial genes for live cells and viruses. This robust system provides a gene expression or cell growth control device for artificially synthesized gene networks.

  13. 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

  14. A Synthetic Approach to Stop-Codon Scanning Mutagenesis

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

    A general combinatorial mutagenesis strategy using common DMT-protected mononucleotide phosphoramidites and a single orthogonally-protected trinucleotide phosphoramidite (Fmoc-TAG) 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 or 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 crosslinking as a means of trapping weak and transient interactions. PMID:21452871

  15. Selection of AUG initiation codons differs in plants and animals.

    PubMed Central

    Lütcke, H A; Chow, K C; Mickel, F S; Moss, K A; Kern, H F; Scheele, G A

    1987-01-01

    The influence of the nucleotide at position -3 relative to the AUG initiation codon on the initiation of protein synthesis was studied in two different in vitro translation systems using synthetic mRNAs. The four mRNAs, transcribed from cDNAs directed by an SP6 promoter, were identical except for mutations at nucleotide -3. In each case, translation of mRNAs produced a single protein of Mr = 12,600. Relative translational efficiencies showed a hierarchy in the reticulocyte lysate system (100, 85, 61 and 38% for A, G, U and C in position -3, respectively) but no differences in the wheat germ system. Differential mRNA degradation or polypeptide chain elongation were excluded as causes of the differences observed in translation in the reticulocyte lysate. mRNA competition increased the differences observed in translational efficiencies in reticulocyte lysate but showed no effect in wheat germ. Analysis of 61 plant and 209 animal mRNA sequences revealed qualitative and quantitative differences between the consensus sequences surrounding AUG initiation codons. Whereas the consensus sequence for animals was CACCAUG that for plants was AACAAUGGC. Both the structural and functional findings suggest that the factors which select AUG initiation codons in plants and animals differ significantly. Images Fig. 2. Fig. 3. Fig. 4. Fig. 5. PMID:3556162

  16. 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.

  17. Analysis of synonymous codon usage in Zika virus.

    PubMed

    Hussain, Snawar; Rasool, Sahibzada Tasleem

    2017-09-01

    Zika virus is a zoonotic pathogen, which have made frequent incursion into the human population in Africa and South East Asia over the course of several decades but never reached to the pandemic proportions until the most recent outbreak. Viruses are solely dependent on host synthetic machinery for their replication cycle; therefore, replication and persistence in a host species of different genetic background requires certain degree of adaptation. These adaptations are necessary to avoid detection from host immune surveillance and maximize the utilization of available resources for efficient viral replication. Study of genomic composition and codon usage pattern not only offer an insight into the adaptation of viruses to their new host, but may also provide some information about pathogenesis and spread of the virus. To elucidate the genetic features and synonymous codon usage bias in ZIKV genome, a comprehensive analysis was performed on 80 full-length ZIKV sequences. Our analyses shows that the overall extent of codon usage bias in ZIKV genome is low and affected by nucleotide composition, protein properties, natural selection, and gene expression level. Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier B.V.

  18. Translational Redefinition of UGA Codons Is Regulated by Selenium Availability*

    PubMed Central

    Howard, Michael T.; Carlson, Bradley A.; Anderson, Christine B.; Hatfield, Dolph L.

    2013-01-01

    Incorporation of selenium into ∼25 mammalian selenoproteins occurs by translational recoding whereby in-frame UGA codons are redefined to encode the selenium containing amino acid, selenocysteine (Sec). Here we applied ribosome profiling to examine the effect of dietary selenium levels on the translational mechanisms controlling selenoprotein synthesis in mouse liver. Dietary selenium levels were shown to control gene-specific selenoprotein expression primarily at the translation level by differential regulation of UGA redefinition and Sec incorporation efficiency, although effects on translation initiation and mRNA abundance were also observed. Direct evidence is presented that increasing dietary selenium causes a vast increase in ribosome density downstream of UGA-Sec codons for a subset of selenoprotein mRNAs and that the selenium-dependent effects on Sec incorporation efficiency are mediated in part by the degree of Sec-tRNA[Ser]Sec Um34 methylation. Furthermore, we find evidence for translation in the 5′-UTRs for a subset of selenoproteins and for ribosome pausing near the UGA-Sec codon in those mRNAs encoding the selenoproteins most affected by selenium availability. These data illustrate how dietary levels of the trace element selenium can alter the readout of the genetic code to affect the expression of an entire class of proteins. PMID:23696641

  19. Novel small molecules potentiate premature termination codon readthrough by aminoglycosides

    PubMed Central

    Baradaran-Heravi, Alireza; Balgi, Aruna D.; Zimmerman, Carla; Choi, Kunho; Shidmoossavee, Fahimeh S.; Tan, Jason S.; Bergeaud, Célia; Krause, Alexandra; Flibotte, Stéphane; Shimizu, Yoko; Anderson, Hilary J.; Mouly, Vincent; Jan, Eric; Pfeifer, Tom; Jaquith, James B.; Roberge, Michel

    2016-01-01

    Nonsense mutations introduce premature termination codons and underlie 11% of genetic disease cases. High concentrations of aminoglycosides can restore gene function by eliciting premature termination codon readthrough but with low efficiency. Using a high-throughput screen, we identified compounds that potentiate readthrough by aminoglycosides at multiple nonsense alleles in yeast. Chemical optimization generated phthalimide derivative CDX5-1 with activity in human cells. Alone, CDX5-1 did not induce readthrough or increase TP53 mRNA levels in HDQ-P1 cancer cells with a homozygous TP53 nonsense mutation. However, in combination with aminoglycoside G418, it enhanced readthrough up to 180-fold over G418 alone. The combination also increased readthrough at all three nonsense codons in cancer cells with other TP53 nonsense mutations, as well as in cells from rare genetic disease patients with nonsense mutations in the CLN2, SMARCAL1 and DMD genes. These findings open up the possibility of treating patients across a spectrum of genetic diseases caused by nonsense mutations. PMID:27407112

  20. Standard Codon Substitution Models Overestimate Purifying Selection for Nonstationary Data

    PubMed Central

    Yap, Von Bing; Huttley, Gavin A.

    2017-01-01

    Estimation of natural selection on protein-coding sequences is a key comparative genomics approach for de novo prediction of lineage-specific adaptations. Selective pressure is measured on a per-gene basis by comparing the rate of nonsynonymous substitutions to the rate of synonymous substitutions. All published codon substitution models have been time-reversible and thus assume that sequence composition does not change over time. We previously demonstrated that if time-reversible DNA substitution models are applied in the presence of changing sequence composition, the number of substitutions is systematically biased towards overestimation. We extend these findings to the case of codon substitution models and further demonstrate that the ratio of nonsynonymous to synonymous rates of substitution tends to be underestimated over three data sets of mammals, vertebrates, and insects. Our basis for comparison is a nonstationary codon substitution model that allows sequence composition to change. Goodness-of-fit results demonstrate that our new model tends to fit the data better. Direct measurement of nonstationarity shows that bias in estimates of natural selection and genetic distance increases with the degree of violation of the stationarity assumption. Additionally, inferences drawn under time-reversible models are systematically affected by compositional divergence. As genomic sequences accumulate at an accelerating rate, the importance of accurate de novo estimation of natural selection increases. Our results establish that our new model provides a more robust perspective on this fundamental quantity. PMID:28175284

  1. Rule Fossilization: A Tentative Model

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Vigil, Neddy A.; Oller, John W.

    1976-01-01

    A cybernetic model of factors involved in the fossilization of grammatical and lexical forms in learner grammars is offered. A distinction is made between affective and cognitive dimensions of a multidimensional channel of human communication; and the effect of expected and unexpected feedback on these two dimensions is discussed. (Author/POP)

  2. 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.

  3. Rule Fossilization: A Tentative Model

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Vigil, Neddy A.; Oller, John W.

    1976-01-01

    A cybernetic model of factors involved in the fossilization of grammatical and lexical forms in learner grammars is offered. A distinction is made between affective and cognitive dimensions of a multidimensional channel of human communication; and the effect of expected and unexpected feedback on these two dimensions is discussed. (Author/POP)

  4. Codon usage in mammalian genes is biased by sequence slippage mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Bains, W

    1993-01-01

    The codons for some conserved amino acids are found to be the same between homologous genes from different species when the statistics of codon usage would suggest that they should be different. I examine whether this 'coincidence' of codon usage could be due to genetic mechanisms homogenising the DNA around specific sites. This paper describes the further analysis of the coincident codons in 19 genes (a total of 96 homologues) for slippage. Coincident codons arise in contexts of increased sequence simplicity, and have a high chance of occurring within sequences similar to the recombination-prone minisatellite 'core' sequence. This suggests a role of genetic homogenisation in their generation.

  5. DNA and Morphology Unite Two Species and 10 Million Year Old Fossils

    PubMed Central

    Hills, Simon F. K.; Crampton, James S.; Trewick, Steven A.; Morgan-Richards, Mary

    2012-01-01

    Species definition and delimitation is a non-trivial problem in evolutionary biology that is particularly problematic for fossil organisms. This is especially true when considering the continuity of past and present species, because species defined in the fossil record are not necessarily equivalent to species defined in the living fauna. Correctly assigned fossil species are critical for sensitive downstream analysis (e.g., diversification studies and molecular-clock calibration). The marine snail genus Alcithoe exemplifies many of the problems with species identification. The paucity of objective diagnostic characters, prevalence of morphological convergence between species and considerable variability within species that are observed in Alcithoe are typical of a broad range of fossilised organisms. Using a synthesis of molecular and morphometric approaches we show that two taxa currently recognised as distinct are morphological variants of a single species. Furthermore, we validate the fossil record for one of these morphotypes by finding a concordance between the palaeontological record and divergence time of the lineage inferred using molecular-clock analysis. This work demonstrates the utility of living species represented in the fossil record as candidates for molecular-clock calibration, as the veracity of fossil species assignment can be more rigorously tested. PMID:23284880

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. Analysis of synonymous codon usage in porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus.

    PubMed

    Liu, Yong-sheng; Zhou, Jian-hua; Chen, Hao-tai; Ma, Li-na; Ding, Yao-zhong; Wang, Meng; Zhang, Jie

    2010-08-01

    In this study, we calculated the relative synonymous codon usage (RSCU) values and codon usage bias (CUB) values to implement a comparative analysis of codon usage pattern of open reading frames (ORFs) which belong to the two main genotypes of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV). By analysis of synonymous codon usage values in each ORF of PRRSV, the optimal codons for most amino acids were all C or G-ended codons except GAU for Asp, CAU for His, UUU for Phe and CCU for Pro. The synonymous codon usage patterns in different ORFs of PRRSV were different and genetically conserved. Among them, ORF1a, ORF4, ORF5 and ORF7 could cluster these strains into the two main serotypes (EU and US). Due to mutational pressure, compositional constraint played an important role in shaping the synonymous codon usage pattern in different ORFs, and the synonymous codon usage diversity in ORFs was correlated with gene function. The degree of CUB for some particular amino acids under strong selection pressure probably served as a potential genetic marker for each ORF in PRRSV. However, gene length and translational selection in nature had no effect on the synonymous codon usage pattern in PRRSV. These conclusions could not only offer an insight into the synonymous codon usage pattern and differentiation of gene function, but also assist in understanding the discrepancy of evolution among ORFs in PRRSV. Copyright 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  9. Species-Specific Codon Context Rules Unveil Non-Neutrality Effects of Synonymous Mutations

    PubMed Central

    Moura, Gabriela R.; Pinheiro, Miguel; Freitas, Adelaide; Oliveira, José L.; Frommlet, Jörg C.; Carreto, Laura; Soares, Ana R.; Bezerra, Ana R.; Santos, Manuel A. S.

    2011-01-01

    Background Codon pair usage (codon context) is a species specific gene primary structure feature whose evolutionary and functional roles are poorly understood. The data available show that codon-context has direct impact on both translation accuracy and efficiency, but one does not yet understand how it affects these two translation variables or whether context biases shape gene evolution. Methodologies/Principal Findings Here we study codon-context biases using a set of 72 orthologous highly conserved genes from bacteria, archaea, fungi and high eukaryotes to identify 7 distinct groups of codon context rules. We show that synonymous mutations, i.e., neutral mutations that occur in synonymous codons of codon-pairs, are selected to maintain context biases and that non-synonymous mutations, i.e., non-neutral mutations that alter protein amino acid sequences, are also under selective pressure to preserve codon-context biases. Conclusions Since in vivo studies provide evidence for a role of codon context on decoding fidelity in E. coli and for decoding efficiency in mammalian cells, our data support the hypothesis that, like codon usage, codon context modulates the evolution of gene primary structure and fine tunes the structure of open reading frames for high genome translational fidelity and efficiency in the 3 domains of life. PMID:22046369

  10. 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

  11. Analyses of clinicopathological, molecular, and prognostic associations of KRAS codon 61 and codon 146 mutations in colorectal cancer: cohort study and literature review

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background KRAS mutations in codons 12 and 13 are established predictive biomarkers for anti-EGFR therapy in colorectal cancer. Previous studies suggest that KRAS codon 61 and 146 mutations may also predict resistance to anti-EGFR therapy in colorectal cancer. However, clinicopathological, molecular, and prognostic features of colorectal carcinoma with KRAS codon 61 or 146 mutation remain unclear. Methods We utilized a molecular pathological epidemiology database of 1267 colon and rectal cancers in the Nurse’s Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. We examined KRAS mutations in codons 12, 13, 61 and 146 (assessed by pyrosequencing), in relation to clinicopathological features, and tumor molecular markers, including BRAF and PIK3CA mutations, CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP), LINE-1 methylation, and microsatellite instability (MSI). Survival analyses were performed in 1067 BRAF-wild-type cancers to avoid confounding by BRAF mutation. Cox proportional hazards models were used to compute mortality hazard ratio, adjusting for potential confounders, including disease stage, PIK3CA mutation, CIMP, LINE-1 hypomethylation, and MSI. Results KRAS codon 61 mutations were detected in 19 cases (1.5%), and codon 146 mutations in 40 cases (3.2%). Overall KRAS mutation prevalence in colorectal cancers was 40% (=505/1267). Of interest, compared to KRAS-wild-type, overall, KRAS-mutated cancers more frequently exhibited cecal location (24% vs. 12% in KRAS-wild-type; P < 0.0001), CIMP-low (49% vs. 32% in KRAS-wild-type; P < 0.0001), and PIK3CA mutations (24% vs. 11% in KRAS-wild-type; P < 0.0001). These trends were evident irrespective of mutated codon, though statistical power was limited for codon 61 mutants. Neither KRAS codon 61 nor codon 146 mutation was significantly associated with clinical outcome or prognosis in univariate or multivariate analysis [colorectal cancer-specific mortality hazard ratio (HR) = 0.81, 95% confidence

  12. Analyses of clinicopathological, molecular, and prognostic associations of KRAS codon 61 and codon 146 mutations in colorectal cancer: cohort study and literature review.

    PubMed

    Imamura, Yu; Lochhead, Paul; Yamauchi, Mai; Kuchiba, Aya; Qian, Zhi Rong; Liao, Xiaoyun; Nishihara, Reiko; Jung, Seungyoun; Wu, Kana; Nosho, Katsuhiko; Wang, Yaoyu E; Peng, Shouyong; Bass, Adam J; Haigis, Kevin M; Meyerhardt, Jeffrey A; Chan, Andrew T; Fuchs, Charles S; Ogino, Shuji

    2014-05-31

    KRAS mutations in codons 12 and 13 are established predictive biomarkers for anti-EGFR therapy in colorectal cancer. Previous studies suggest that KRAS codon 61 and 146 mutations may also predict resistance to anti-EGFR therapy in colorectal cancer. However, clinicopathological, molecular, and prognostic features of colorectal carcinoma with KRAS codon 61 or 146 mutation remain unclear. We utilized a molecular pathological epidemiology database of 1267 colon and rectal cancers in the Nurse's Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. We examined KRAS mutations in codons 12, 13, 61 and 146 (assessed by pyrosequencing), in relation to clinicopathological features, and tumor molecular markers, including BRAF and PIK3CA mutations, CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP), LINE-1 methylation, and microsatellite instability (MSI). Survival analyses were performed in 1067 BRAF-wild-type cancers to avoid confounding by BRAF mutation. Cox proportional hazards models were used to compute mortality hazard ratio, adjusting for potential confounders, including disease stage, PIK3CA mutation, CIMP, LINE-1 hypomethylation, and MSI. KRAS codon 61 mutations were detected in 19 cases (1.5%), and codon 146 mutations in 40 cases (3.2%). Overall KRAS mutation prevalence in colorectal cancers was 40% (=505/1267). Of interest, compared to KRAS-wild-type, overall, KRAS-mutated cancers more frequently exhibited cecal location (24% vs. 12% in KRAS-wild-type; P < 0.0001), CIMP-low (49% vs. 32% in KRAS-wild-type; P < 0.0001), and PIK3CA mutations (24% vs. 11% in KRAS-wild-type; P < 0.0001). These trends were evident irrespective of mutated codon, though statistical power was limited for codon 61 mutants. Neither KRAS codon 61 nor codon 146 mutation was significantly associated with clinical outcome or prognosis in univariate or multivariate analysis [colorectal cancer-specific mortality hazard ratio (HR) = 0.81, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.29-2.26 for

  13. Fossil group origins. VII. Galaxy substructures in fossil systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zarattini, S.; Girardi, M.; Aguerri, J. A. L.; Boschin, W.; Barrena, R.; del Burgo, C.; Castro-Rodriguez, N.; Corsini, E. M.; D'Onghia, E.; Kundert, A.; Méndez-Abreu, J.; Sánchez-Janssen, R.

    2016-02-01

    Context. Fossil groups (FG) are expected to be the final product of galaxy merging within galaxy groups. In simulations, they are predicted to assemble their mass at high redshift. This early formation allows for the innermost M∗ galaxies to merge into a massive central galaxy. Then, they are expected to maintain their fossil status because of the few interactions with the large-scale structure. In this context, the magnitude gap between the two brightest galaxies of the system is considered a good indicator of its dynamical status. As a consequence, the systems with the largest gaps should be dynamically relaxed. Aims: In order to examine the dynamical status of these systems, we systematically analyze, for the first time, the presence of galaxy substructures in a sample of 12 spectroscopically-confirmed fossil systems with redshift z ≤ 0.25. Methods: We apply a number of tests to investigate the substructure in fossil systems in the two-dimensional space of projected positions out to R200. Moreover, for a subsample of five systems with at least 30 spectroscopically-confirmed members we also analyze the substructure in the velocity and in the three-dimensional velocity-position spaces. Additionally, we look for signs of recent mergers in the regions around the central galaxies. Results: We find that an important fraction of fossil systems show substructure. The fraction depends critically on the adopted test, since each test is more sensitive to a particular type of substructure. Conclusions: Our interpretation of the results is that fossil systems are not, in general, as relaxed as expected from simulations. Our sample of 12 spectroscopically-confirmed fossil systems need to be extended to compute an accurate fraction, but our conclusion is that this fraction is similar to the fraction of substructure detected in nonfossil clusters. This result points out that the magnitude gap alone is not a good indicator of the dynamical status of a system. However, the

  14. Mutation Bias is the Driving Force of Codon Usage in the Gallus gallus genome

    PubMed Central

    Rao, Yousheng; Wu, Guozuo; Wang, Zhangfeng; Chai, Xuewen; Nie, Qinghua; Zhang, Xiquan

    2011-01-01

    Synonymous codons are used with different frequencies both among species and among genes within the same genome and are controlled by neutral processes (such as mutation and drift) as well as by selection. Up to now, a systematic examination of the codon usage for the chicken genome has not been performed. Here, we carried out a whole genome analysis of the chicken genome by the use of the relative synonymous codon usage (RSCU) method and identified 11 putative optimal codons, all of them ending with uracil (U), which is significantly departing from the pattern observed in other eukaryotes. Optimal codons in the chicken genome are most likely the ones corresponding to highly expressed transfer RNA (tRNAs) or tRNA gene copy numbers in the cell. Codon bias, measured as the frequency of optimal codons (Fop), is negatively correlated with the G + C content, recombination rate, but positively correlated with gene expression, protein length, gene length and intron length. The positive correlation between codon bias and protein, gene and intron length is quite different from other multi-cellular organism, as this trend has been only found in unicellular organisms. Our data displayed that regional G + C content explains a large proportion of the variance of codon bias in chicken. Stepwise selection model analyses indicate that G + C content of coding sequence is the most important factor for codon bias. It appears that variation in the G + C content of CDSs accounts for over 60% of the variation of codon bias. This study suggests that both mutation bias and selection contribute to codon bias. However, mutation bias is the driving force of the codon usage in the Gallus gallus genome. Our data also provide evidence that the negative correlation between codon bias and recombination rates in G. gallus is determined mostly by recombination-dependent mutational patterns. PMID:22039174

  15. Energy: Analysing fossil-fuel displacement

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jorgenson, Andrew K.

    2012-06-01

    It is commonly assumed that fossil fuels can be replaced by alternative forms of energy. Now research challenges this assumption, and highlights the role of non-technological solutions to reduce fossil-fuel consumption.

  16. A Biological Time Capsule. Fossil Fish.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dolph, Gary E.; Dolph, Laura L.

    1990-01-01

    Described is an activity where students prepare high-quality fossil specimens to demonstrate the theory of evolution. The technique needed for fossil removal, the geologic and paleoclimatic setting, and the fish morphology are discussed. (KR)

  17. A Biological Time Capsule. Fossil Fish.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dolph, Gary E.; Dolph, Laura L.

    1990-01-01

    Described is an activity where students prepare high-quality fossil specimens to demonstrate the theory of evolution. The technique needed for fossil removal, the geologic and paleoclimatic setting, and the fish morphology are discussed. (KR)

  18. 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.

  19. Fossilization causes organisms to appear erroneously primitive by distorting evolutionary trees

    PubMed Central

    Sansom, Robert S.; Wills, Matthew A.

    2013-01-01

    Fossils are vital for calibrating rates of molecular and morphological change through geological time, and are the only direct source of data documenting macroevolutionary transitions. Many evolutionary studies therefore require the robust phylogenetic placement of extinct organisms. Here, we demonstrate that the inevitable bias of the fossil record to preserve just hard, skeletal morphology systemically distorts phylogeny. Removal of soft part characters from 78 modern vertebrate and invertebrate morphological datasets resulted in significant changes to phylogenetic signal; it caused individual taxa to drift from their original position, predominately downward toward the root of their respective trees. This last bias could systematically inflate evolutionary rates inferred from molecular data because first fossil occurrences will not be recognised as such. Stem-ward slippage, whereby fundamental taphonomic biases cause fossils to be interpreted as erroneously primitive, is therefore a ubiquitous problem for all biologists attempting to infer macroevolutionary rates or sequences. PMID:23985991

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  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. 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.

  4. A Hierarchical Bayesian Model for Calibrating Estimates of Species Divergence Times

    PubMed Central

    Heath, Tracy A.

    2012-01-01

    In Bayesian divergence time estimation methods, incorporating calibrating information from the fossil record is commonly done by assigning prior densities to ancestral nodes in the tree. Calibration prior densities are typically parametric distributions offset by minimum age estimates provided by the fossil record. Specification of the parameters of calibration densities requires the user to quantify his or her prior knowledge of the age of the ancestral node relative to the age of its calibrating fossil. The values of these parameters can, potentially, result in biased estimates of node ages if they lead to overly informative prior distributions. Accordingly, determining parameter values that lead to adequate prior densities is not straightforward. In this study, I present a hierarchical Bayesian model for calibrating divergence time analyses with multiple fossil age constraints. This approach applies a Dirichlet process prior as a hyperprior on the parameters of calibration prior densities. Specifically, this model assumes that the rate parameters of exponential prior distributions on calibrated nodes are distributed according to a Dirichlet process, whereby the rate parameters are clustered into distinct parameter categories. Both simulated and biological data are analyzed to evaluate the performance of the Dirichlet process hyperprior. Compared with fixed exponential prior densities, the hierarchical Bayesian approach results in more accurate and precise estimates of internal node ages. When this hyperprior is applied using Markov chain Monte Carlo methods, the ages of calibrated nodes are sampled from mixtures of exponential distributions and uncertainty in the values of calibration density parameters is taken into account. PMID:22334343

  5. A hierarchical Bayesian model for calibrating estimates of species divergence times.

    PubMed

    Heath, Tracy A

    2012-10-01

    In Bayesian divergence time estimation methods, incorporating calibrating information from the fossil record is commonly done by assigning prior densities to ancestral nodes in the tree. Calibration prior densities are typically parametric distributions offset by minimum age estimates provided by the fossil record. Specification of the parameters of calibration densities requires the user to quantify his or her prior knowledge of the age of the ancestral node relative to the age of its calibrating fossil. The values of these parameters can, potentially, result in biased estimates of node ages if they lead to overly informative prior distributions. Accordingly, determining parameter values that lead to adequate prior densities is not straightforward. In this study, I present a hierarchical Bayesian model for calibrating divergence time analyses with multiple fossil age constraints. This approach applies a Dirichlet process prior as a hyperprior on the parameters of calibration prior densities. Specifically, this model assumes that the rate parameters of exponential prior distributions on calibrated nodes are distributed according to a Dirichlet process, whereby the rate parameters are clustered into distinct parameter categories. Both simulated and biological data are analyzed to evaluate the performance of the Dirichlet process hyperprior. Compared with fixed exponential prior densities, the hierarchical Bayesian approach results in more accurate and precise estimates of internal node ages. When this hyperprior is applied using Markov chain Monte Carlo methods, the ages of calibrated nodes are sampled from mixtures of exponential distributions and uncertainty in the values of calibration density parameters is taken into account.

  6. Fossil nutlets of Boraginaceae from the continental Eocene of Hamada of Méridja (southwestern Algeria): The first fossil of the Borage family in Africa.

    PubMed

    Hammouda, Sid Ahmed; Weigend, Maximilian; Mebrouk, Fateh; Chacón, Juliana; Bensalah, Mustapha; Ensikat, Hans-Jürgen; Adaci, Mohammed

    2015-12-01

    The Paleogene deposits of the Hamada of Méridja, southwestern Algeria, are currently dated as lower-to-middle Eocene in age based on fossil gastropods and charophytes. Here we report the presence of fruits that can be assigned to the Boraginaceae s.str., apparently representing the first fossil record for this family in Africa, shedding new light on the historical biogeography of this group. Microscopic studies of the fossil nutlets were carried out and compared to extant Boraginaceae nutlets, and to types reported in the literature for this family. The fossils are strikingly similar in general size and morphology, particularly in the finer details of the attachment scar and ornamentation, to nutlets of extant representatives of the Boraginaceae tribe Echiochileae, and especially the genus Ogastemma. We believe that these nutlets represent an extinct member of this lineage. The Ogastemma-like fossils indicate that the Echiochileae, which are most diverse in northern Africa and southwestern Asia, have a long history in this region, dating back to the Eocene. This tribe corresponds to the basal-most clade in Boraginaceae s.str., and the fossils described here agree well with an assumed African origin of the family and the Boraginales I, providing an important additional calibration point for dating the phylogenies of this clade. © 2015 Botanical Society of America.

  7. 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.

  8. Clustering fossils in solid inflation

    SciTech Connect

    Akhshik, Mohammad

    2015-05-01

    In solid inflation the single field non-Gaussianity consistency condition is violated. As a result, the long tenor perturbation induces observable clustering fossils in the form of quadrupole anisotropy in large scale structure power spectrum. In this work we revisit the bispectrum analysis for the scalar-scalar-scalar and tensor-scalar-scalar bispectrum for the general parameter space of solid. We consider the parameter space of the model in which the level of non-Gaussianity generated is consistent with the Planck constraints. Specializing to this allowed range of model parameter we calculate the quadrupole anisotropy induced from the long tensor perturbations on the power spectrum of the scalar perturbations. We argue that the imprints of clustering fossil from primordial gravitational waves on large scale structures can be detected from the future galaxy surveys.

  9. 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. © The Author(s) 2014. Published by Oxford University Press

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  13. Comparison of two codon optimization strategies to enhance recombinant protein production in Escherichia coli

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Variations in codon usage between species are one of the major causes affecting recombinant protein expression levels, with a significant impact on the economy of industrial enzyme production processes. The use of codon-optimized genes may overcome this problem. However, designing a gene for optimal expression requires choosing from a vast number of possible DNA sequences and different codon optimization methods have been used in the past decade. Here, a comparative study of the two most common methods is presented using calf prochymosin as a model. Results Seven sequences encoding calf prochymosin have been designed, two using the "one amino acid-one codon" method and five using a "codon randomization" strategy. When expressed in Escherichia coli, the variants optimized by the codon randomization approach produced significantly more proteins than the native sequence including one gene that produced an increase of 70% in the amount of prochymosin accumulated. On the other hand, no significant improvement in protein expression was observed for the variants designed with the one amino acid-one codon method. The use of codon-optimized sequences did not affect the quality of the recovered inclusion bodies. Conclusions The results obtained in this study indicate that the codon randomization method is a superior strategy for codon optimization. A significant improvement in protein expression was obtained for the largely established process of chymosin production, showing the power of this strategy to reduce production costs of industrial enzymes in microbial hosts. PMID:21371320

  14. Codon usage analysis of photolyase encoding genes of cyanobacteria inhabiting diverse habitats.

    PubMed

    Rajneesh; Pathak, Jainendra; Kannaujiya, Vinod K; Singh, Shailendra P; Sinha, Rajeshwar P

    2017-07-01

    Nucleotide and amino acid compositions were studied to determine the genomic and structural relationship of photolyase gene in freshwater, marine and hot spring cyanobacteria. Among three habitats, photolyase encoding genes from hot spring cyanobacteria were found to have highest GC content. The genomic GC content was found to influence the codon usage and amino acid variability in photolyases. The third position of codon was found to have more effect on amino acid variability in photolyases than the first and second positions of codon. The variation of amino acids Ala, Asp, Glu, Gly, His, Leu, Pro, Gln, Arg and Val in photolyases of three different habitats was found to be controlled by first position of codon (G1C1). However, second position (G2C2) of codon regulates variation of Ala, Cys, Gly, Pro, Arg, Ser, Thr and Tyr contents in photolyases. Third position (G3C3) of codon controls incorporation of amino acids such as Ala, Phe, Gly, Leu, Gln, Pro, Arg, Ser, Thr and Tyr in photolyases from three habitats. Photolyase encoding genes of hot spring cyanobacteria have 85% codons with G or C at third position, whereas marine and freshwater cyanobacteria showed 82 and 60% codons, respectively, with G or C at third position. Principal component analysis (PCA) showed that GC content has a profound effect in separating the genes along the first major axis according to their RSCU (relative synonymous codon usage) values, and neutrality analysis indicated that mutational pressure has resulted in codon bias in photolyase genes of cyanobacteria.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-09-02

    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.

  16. Intragenic Spatial Patterns of Codon Usage Bias in Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Genomes

    PubMed Central

    Qin, Hong; Wu, Wei Biao; Comeron, Josep M.; Kreitman, Martin; Li, Wen-Hsiung

    2004-01-01

    To study the roles of translational accuracy, translational efficiency, and the Hill-Robertson effect in codon usage bias, we studied the intragenic spatial distribution of synonymous codon usage bias in four prokaryotic (Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis, Sulfolobus tokodaii, and Thermotoga maritima) and two eukaryotic (Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Drosophila melanogaster) genomes. We generated supersequences at each codon position across genes in a genome and computed the overall bias at each codon position. By quantitatively evaluating the trend of spatial patterns using isotonic regression, we show that in yeast and prokaryotic genomes, codon usage bias increases along translational direction, which is consistent with purifying selection against nonsense errors. Fruit fly genes show a nearly symmetric M-shaped spatial pattern of codon usage bias, with less bias in the middle and both ends. The low codon usage bias in the middle region is best explained by interference (the Hill-Robertson effect) between selections at different codon positions. In both yeast and fruit fly, spatial patterns of codon usage bias are characteristically different from patterns of GC-content variations. Effect of expression level on the strength of codon usage bias is more conspicuous than its effect on the shape of the spatial distribution. PMID:15611189

  17. 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.

  18. Comprehensive Analysis of Stop Codon Usage in Bacteria and Its Correlation with Release Factor Abundance*

    PubMed Central

    Korkmaz, Gürkan; Holm, Mikael; Wiens, Tobias; Sanyal, Suparna

    2014-01-01

    We present a comprehensive analysis of stop codon usage in bacteria by analyzing over eight million coding sequences of 4684 bacterial sequences. Using a newly developed program called “stop codon counter,” the frequencies of the three classical stop codons TAA, TAG, and TGA were analyzed, and a publicly available stop codon database was built. Our analysis shows that with increasing genomic GC content the frequency of the TAA codon decreases and that of the TGA codon increases in a reciprocal manner. Interestingly, the release factor 1-specific codon TAG maintains a more or less uniform frequency (∼20%) irrespective of the GC content. The low abundance of TAG is also valid with respect to expression level of the genes ending with different stop codons. In contrast, the highly expressed genes predominantly end with TAA, ensuring termination with either of the two release factors. Using three model bacteria with different stop codon usage (Escherichia coli, Mycobacterium smegmatis, and Bacillus subtilis), we show that the frequency of TAG and TGA codons correlates well with the relative steady state amount of mRNA and protein for release factors RF1 and RF2 during exponential growth. Furthermore, using available microarray data for gene expression, we show that in both fast growing and contrasting biofilm formation conditions, the relative level of RF1 is nicely correlated with the expression level of the genes ending with TAG. PMID:25217634

  19. Analysis of Synonymous Codon Usage Bias of Zika Virus and Its Adaption to the Hosts

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Hongju; Liu, Siqing; Zhang, Bo

    2016-01-01

    Zika virus (ZIKV) is a mosquito-borne virus (arbovirus) in the family Flaviviridae, and the symptoms caused by ZIKV infection in humans include rash, fever, arthralgia, myalgia, asthenia and conjunctivitis. Codon usage bias analysis can reveal much about the molecular evolution and host adaption of ZIKV. To gain insight into the evolutionary characteristics of ZIKV, we performed a comprehensive analysis on the codon usage pattern in 46 ZIKV strains by calculating the effective number of codons (ENc), codon adaptation index (CAI), relative synonymous codon usage (RSCU), and other indicators. The results indicate that the codon usage bias of ZIKV is relatively low. Several lines of evidence support the hypothesis that translational selection plays a role in shaping the codon usage pattern of ZIKV. The results from a correspondence analysis (CA) indicate that other factors, such as base composition, aromaticity, and hydrophobicity may also be involved in shaping the codon usage pattern of ZIKV. Additionally, the results from a comparative analysis of RSCU between ZIKV and its hosts suggest that ZIKV tends to evolve codon usage patterns that are comparable to those of its hosts. Moreover, selection pressure from Homo sapiens on the ZIKV RSCU patterns was found to be dominant compared with that from Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Taken together, both natural translational selection and mutation pressure are important for shaping the codon usage pattern of ZIKV. Our findings contribute to understanding the evolution of ZIKV and its adaption to its hosts. PMID:27893824

  20. Pandemic influenza A virus codon usage revisited: biases, adaptation and implications for vaccine strain development.

    PubMed

    Goñi, Natalia; Iriarte, Andrés; Comas, Victoria; Soñora, Martín; Moreno, Pilar; Moratorio, Gonzalo; Musto, Héctor; Cristina, Juan

    2012-11-08

    Influenza A virus (IAV) is a member of the family Orthomyxoviridae and contains eight segments of a single-stranded RNA genome with negative polarity. The first influenza pandemic of this century was declared in April of 2009, with the emergence of a novel H1N1 IAV strain (H1N1pdm) in Mexico and USA. Understanding the extent and causes of biases in codon usage is essential to the understanding of viral evolution. A comprehensive study to investigate the effect of selection pressure imposed by the human host on the codon usage of an emerging, pandemic IAV strain and the trends in viral codon usage involved over the pandemic time period is much needed. We performed a comprehensive codon usage analysis of 310 IAV strains from the pandemic of 2009. Highly biased codon usage for Ala, Arg, Pro, Thr and Ser were found. Codon usage is strongly influenced by underlying biases in base composition. When correspondence analysis (COA) on relative synonymous codon usage (RSCU) is applied, the distribution of IAV ORFs in the plane defined by the first two major dimensional factors showed that different strains are located at different places, suggesting that IAV codon usage also reflects an evolutionary process. A general association between codon usage bias, base composition and poor adaptation of the virus to the respective host tRNA pool, suggests that mutational pressure is the main force shaping H1N1 pdm IAV codon usage. A dynamic process is observed in the variation of codon usage of the strains enrolled in these studies. These results suggest a balance of mutational bias and natural selection, which allow the virus to explore and re-adapt its codon usage to different environments. Recoding of IAV taking into account codon bias, base composition and adaptation to host tRNA may provide important clues to develop new and appropriate vaccines.

  1. Pandemic influenza A virus codon usage revisited: biases, adaptation and implications for vaccine strain development

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background Influenza A virus (IAV) is a member of the family Orthomyxoviridae and contains eight segments of a single-stranded RNA genome with negative polarity. The first influenza pandemic of this century was declared in April of 2009, with the emergence of a novel H1N1 IAV strain (H1N1pdm) in Mexico and USA. Understanding the extent and causes of biases in codon usage is essential to the understanding of viral evolution. A comprehensive study to investigate the effect of selection pressure imposed by the human host on the codon usage of an emerging, pandemic IAV strain and the trends in viral codon usage involved over the pandemic time period is much needed. Results We performed a comprehensive codon usage analysis of 310 IAV strains from the pandemic of 2009. Highly biased codon usage for Ala, Arg, Pro, Thr and Ser were found. Codon usage is strongly influenced by underlying biases in base composition. When correspondence analysis (COA) on relative synonymous codon usage (RSCU) is applied, the distribution of IAV ORFs in the plane defined by the first two major dimensional factors showed that different strains are located at different places, suggesting that IAV codon usage also reflects an evolutionary process. Conclusions A general association between codon usage bias, base composition and poor adaptation of the virus to the respective host tRNA pool, suggests that mutational pressure is the main force shaping H1N1 pdm IAV codon usage. A dynamic process is observed in the variation of codon usage of the strains enrolled in these studies. These results suggest a balance of mutational bias and natural selection, which allow the virus to explore and re-adapt its codon usage to different environments. Recoding of IAV taking into account codon bias, base composition and adaptation to host tRNA may provide important clues to develop new and appropriate vaccines. PMID:23134595

  2. The first fossil of a bolbitidoid fern belongs to the early-divergent lineages of Elaphoglossum (Dryopteridaceae).

    PubMed

    Lóriga, Josmaily; Schmidt, Alexander R; Moran, Robbin C; Feldberg, Kathrin; Schneider, Harald; Heinrichs, Jochen

    2014-09-01

    • Closing gaps in the fossil record and elucidating phylogenetic relationships of mostly incomplete fossils are major challenges in the reconstruction of the diversification of fern lineages through time. The cosmopolitan family Dryopteridaceae represents one of the most species-rich families of leptosporangiate ferns, yet its fossil record is sparse and poorly understood. Here, we describe a fern inclusion in Miocene Dominican amber and investigate its relationships to extant Dryopteridaceae.• The morphology of the fossil was compared with descriptions of extant ferns, resulting in it being tentatively assigned to the bolbitidoid fern genus Elaphoglossum. This assignment was confirmed by reconstructing the evolution of the morphological characters preserved in the inclusion on a molecular phylogeny of 158 extant bolbitidoid ferns. To assess the morphology-based assignment of the fossil to Elaphoglossum, we examined DNA-calibrated divergence time estimates against the age of the amber deposits from which it came.• The fossil belongs to Elaphoglossum and is the first of a bolbitidoid fern. Its assignment to a particular section of Elaphoglossum could not be determined; however, sects. Lepidoglossa, Polytrichia, and Setosa can be discounted because the fossil lacks subulate scales or scales with acicular marginal hairs. Thus, the fossil might belong to either sects. Amygdalifolia, Wrightiana, Elaphoglossum, or Squamipedia or to an extinct lineage.• The discovery of a Miocene Elaphoglossum fossil provides remarkable support to current molecular clock-based estimates of the diversification of these ferns. © 2014 Botanical Society of America, Inc.

  3. Functional Versatility of AGY Serine Codons in Immunoglobulin Variable Region Genes

    PubMed Central

    Detanico, Thiago; Phillips, Matthew; Wysocki, Lawrence J.

    2016-01-01

    In systemic autoimmunity, autoantibodies directed against nuclear antigens (Ags) often arise by somatic hypermutation (SHM) that converts AGT and AGC (AGY) Ser codons into Arg codons. This can occur by three different single-base changes. Curiously, AGY Ser codons are far more abundant in complementarity-determining regions (CDRs) of IgV-region genes than expected for random codon use or from species-specific codon frequency data. CDR AGY codons are also more abundant than TCN Ser codons. We show that these trends hold even in cartilaginous fishes. Because AGC is a preferred target for SHM by activation-induced cytidine deaminase, we asked whether the AGY abundance was solely due to a selection pressure to conserve high mutability in CDRs regardless of codon context but found that this was not the case. Instead, AGY triplets were selectively enriched in the Ser codon reading frame. Motivated by reports implicating a functional role for poly/autoreactive specificities in antiviral antibodies, we also analyzed mutations at AGY in antibodies directed against a number of different viruses and found that mutations producing Arg codons in antiviral antibodies were indeed frequent. Unexpectedly, however, we also found that AGY codons mutated often to encode nearly all of the amino acids that are reported to provide the most frequent contacts with Ag. In many cases, mutations producing codons for these alternative amino acids in antiviral antibodies were more frequent than those producing Arg codons. Mutations producing each of these key amino acids required only single-base changes in AGY. AGY is the only codon group in which two-thirds of random mutations generate codons for these key residues. Finally, by directly analyzing X-ray structures of immune complexes from the RCSB protein database, we found that Ag-contact residues generated via SHM occurred more often at AGY than at any other codon group. Thus, preservation of AGY codons in antibody genes appears to have been

  4. THE NATURE OF FOSSIL GALAXY GROUPS: ARE THEY REALLY FOSSILS?

    SciTech Connect

    La Barbera, F.; Sorrentino, G.; De Carvalho, R. R.; De la Rosa, I. G.; Gal, R. R.; Kohl-Moreira, J. L.

    2009-04-15

    We use SDSS-DR4 photometric and spectroscopic data out to redshift z {approx} 0.1 combined with ROSAT All Sky Survey X-ray data to produce a sample of 25 fossil groups (FGs), defined as bound systems dominated by a single, luminous elliptical galaxy with extended X-ray emission. We examine possible biases introduced by varying the parameters used to define the sample, and the main pitfalls are also discussed. The spatial density of FGs, estimated via the V/V {sub MAX} test, is 2.83 x 10{sup -6} h {sup 3} {sub 75} Mpc{sup -3} for L{sub X} > 0.89 x 10{sup 42} h {sup -2} {sub 75} erg s{sup -1} consistent with Vikhlinin et al., who examined an X-ray overluminous elliptical galaxy sample (OLEG). We compare the general properties of FGs identified here with a sample of bright field ellipticals generated from the same data set. These two samples show no differences in the distribution of neighboring faint galaxy density excess, distance from the red sequence in the color-magnitude diagram, and structural parameters such as a {sub 4} and internal color gradients. Furthermore, examination of stellar populations shows that our 25 FGs have similar ages, metallicities, and {alpha}-enhancement as the bright field ellipticals, undermining the idea that these systems represent fossils of a physical mechanism that occurred at high redshift. Our study reveals no difference between FGs and field ellipticals, suggesting that FGs might not be a distinct family of true fossils, but rather the final stage of mass assembly in the universe.

  5. Traceable Pyrgeometer Calibrations

    SciTech Connect

    Dooraghi, Mike; Kutchenreiter, Mark; Reda, Ibrahim; Habte, Aron; Sengupta, Manajit; Andreas, Afshin; Newman, Martina

    2016-05-02

    This poster presents the development, implementation, and operation of the Broadband Outdoor Radiometer Calibrations (BORCAL) Longwave (LW) system at the Southern Great Plains Radiometric Calibration Facility for the calibration of pyrgeometers that provide traceability to the World Infrared Standard Group.

  6. 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.

  7. Codon recognition during frameshift suppression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

    PubMed Central

    Gaber, R F; Culbertson, M R

    1984-01-01

    A genetic approach has been used to establish the molecular basis of 4-base codon recognition by frameshift suppressor tRNA containing an extra nucleotide in the anticodon. We have isolated all possible base substitution mutations at the position 4 (N) in the 3'-CCCN-5' anticodon of a Saccharomyces cerevisiae frameshift suppressor glycine tRNA encoded by the SUF16 gene. Base substitutions at +1 frameshift sites in the his4 gene have also been obtained such that all possible 4-base 5'-GGGN-3' codons have been identified. By testing for suppression in different strains that collectively represent all 16 possible combinations of position 4 nucleotides, we show that frameshift suppression does not require position 4 base pairing. Nonetheless, position 4 interactions influence the efficiency of suppression. Our results suggest a model in which 4-base translocation of mRNA on the ribosome is directed primarily by the number of nucleotides in the anticodon loop, whereas the resulting efficiency of suppression is dependent on the nature of position 4 nucleotides. Images PMID:6390183

  8. Petrographic classification of Middle Ordovician fossil meteorites from Sweden

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bridges, J. C.; Schmitz, B.; Hutchison, R.; Greenwood, R. C.; Tassinari, M.; Franchi, I. A.

    The maximum diameter of chromite (FeCr2O4) grains within L chondrites reflects the petrographic type of the sample. On the basis of our measurements of nine recent L chondrites, L3 chromite Dmax = 34-50 μm, L4 = 87-150 μm, L5 = 76-158 μm, and L6 = 253-638 μm. This variation reflects the crystallization of the chromite grains during parent body thermal metamorphism. We use this calibration to classify six fossil meteorites from the Middle Ordovician in Sweden as type 3 (or 4) to 6. The high flux of L chondrites at 470 Ma contained a range of petrographic types and may have had a higher proportion of lower petrographic type meteorites than are found in recent L chondrite falls. The fossil meteorites have in places preserved recognizable chondrule textures, including porphyritic olivine, barred olivine, and radiating pyroxene. A large relict clast and fusion crust have also been tentatively identified in one fossil meteorite. Apart from chromite, all of the original meteorite minerals have been replaced by carbonate (and sheet silicate and sulfate) during diagenesis within the limestone host. The preservation of chondrule definition has allowed us to measure the mean diameters of relict chondrules. The range (0.4-0.6 mm) is consistent with measurements made in the same way on recent L chondrites.

  9. Analysis of codon usage patterns in Ginkgo biloba reveals codon usage tendency from A/U-ending to G/C-ending

    PubMed Central

    He, Bing; Dong, Hui; Jiang, Cong; Cao, Fuliang; Tao, Shentong; Xu, Li-an

    2016-01-01

    As one of the most ancient tree species, the codon usage pattern analysis of Ginkgo biloba is a useful way to understand its evolutionary and genetic mechanisms. Several studies have been conducted on angiosperms, but seldom on gymnosperms. Based on RNA-Seq data of the G. biloba transcriptome, amount to 17,579 unigenes longer than 300 bp were selected and analyzed from 68,547 candidates. The codon usage pattern tended towards more frequently use of A/U-ending codons, which showed an obvious gradient progressing from gymnosperms to dicots to monocots. Meanwhile, analysis of high/low-expression unigenes revealed that high-expression unigenes tended to use G/C-ending codons together with more codon usage bias. Variation of unigenes with different functions suggested that unigenes involving in environment adaptation use G/C-ending codons more frequently with more usage bias, and these results were consistent with the conclusion that the formation of G. biloba codon usage bias was dominated by natural selection. PMID:27808241

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. Synonymous codon usage in TTSuV2: analysis and comparison with TTSuV1.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Zhicheng; Dai, Wei; Dai, Dingzhen

    2013-01-01

    Two species of the DNA virus Torque teno sus virus (TTSuV), TTSuV1 and TTSuV2, have become widely distributed in pig-farming countries in recent years. In this study, we performed a comprehensive analysis of synonymous codon usage bias in 41 available TTSuV2 coding sequences (CDS), and compared the codon usage patterns of TTSuV2 and TTSuV1. TTSuV codon usage patterns were found to be phylogenetically conserved. Values for the effective number of codons (ENC) indicated that the overall extent of codon usage bias in both TTSuV2 and TTSuV1 was not significant, the most frequently occurring codons had an A or C at the third codon position. Correspondence analysis (COA) was performed and TTSuV2 and TTSuV1 sequences were located in different quadrants of the first two major axes. A plot of the ENC revealed that compositional constraint was the major factor determining the codon usage bias for TTSuV2. In addition, hierarchical cluster analysis of 41 TTSuV2 isolates based on relative synonymous codon usage (RSCU) values suggested that there was no association between geographic distribution and codon bias of TTSuV2 sequences. Finally, the comparison of RSCU for TTSuV2, TTSuV1 and the corresponding host sequence indicated that the codon usage pattern of TTSuV2 was similar to that of TTSuV1. However the similarity was low for each virus and its host. These conclusions provide important insight into the synonymous codon usage pattern of TTSuV2, as well as better understangding of the molecular evolution of TTSuV2 genomes.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. Genome-wide analysis of codon usage bias in Bovine Coronavirus.

    PubMed

    Castells, Matías; Victoria, Matías; Colina, Rodney; Musto, Héctor; Cristina, Juan

    2017-06-17

    Bovine coronavirus (BCoV) belong to the genus Betacoronavirus of the family Coronaviridae. BCoV are widespread around the world and cause enteric or respiratory infections among cattle, leading to important economic losses to the beef and dairy industry worldwide. To study the relation of codon usage among viruses and their hosts is essential to understand host-pathogen interaction, evasion from host's immune system and evolution. We performed a comprehensive analysis of codon usage and composition of BCoV. The global codon usage among BCoV strains is similar. Significant differences of codon preferences in BCoV genes in relation to codon usage of Bos taurus host genes were found. Most of the highly frequent codons are U-ending. G + C compositional constraint and dinucleotide composition also plays a role in the overall pattern of BCoV codon usage. The results of these studies revealed that mutational bias is a leading force shaping codon usage in this virus. Additionally, relative dinucleotide frequencies, geographical distribution, and evolutionary processes also influenced the codon usage pattern.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. Initiation of translation at AUC, AUA and AUU codons in Escherichia coli.

    PubMed

    Romero, A; García, P

    1991-12-01

    A truncated form of the HBL murein hydrolase, encoded by the temperate bacteriophage HB-3, was cloned in a pUC-derivative and translated in Escherichia coli using AUC as start codon, as confirmed by biochemical, immunological, and N-terminal analyses. Using site-directed mutagenesis, we have changed this AUC codon into AUA, AUU and AUG codons. The relative translation efficiencies for these triplets were about 5% for AUC and AUU and 7.5% for AUA compared to that of AUG codon. In the same gene arrangement E. coli beta-galactosidase was also translated at moderate efficiency using AUC as initiator.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Dinosaur Fossils Predict Body Temperatures

    PubMed Central

    Allen, Andrew P; Charnov, Eric L

    2006-01-01

    Perhaps the greatest mystery surrounding dinosaurs concerns whether they were endotherms, ectotherms, or some unique intermediate form. Here we present a model that yields estimates of dinosaur body temperature based on ontogenetic growth trajectories obtained from fossil bones. The model predicts that dinosaur body temperatures increased with body mass from approximately 25 °C at 12 kg to approximately 41 °C at 13,000 kg. The model also successfully predicts observed increases in body temperature with body mass for extant crocodiles. These results provide direct evidence that dinosaurs were reptiles that exhibited inertial homeothermy. PMID:16817695

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. Multiple global radiations in tadpole shrimps challenge the concept of 'living fossils'.

    PubMed

    Mathers, Thomas C; Hammond, Robert L; Jenner, Ronald A; Hänfling, Bernd; Gómez, Africa

    2013-01-01

    'Living fossils', a phrase first coined by Darwin, are defined as species with limited recent diversification and high morphological stasis over long periods of evolutionary time. Morphological stasis, however, can potentially lead to diversification rates being underestimated. Notostraca, or tadpole shrimps, is an ancient, globally distributed order of branchiopod crustaceans regarded as 'living fossils' because their rich fossil record dates back to the early Devonian and their morphology is highly conserved. Recent phylogenetic reconstructions have shown a strong biogeographic signal, suggesting diversification due to continental breakup, and widespread cryptic speciation. However, morphological conservatism makes it difficult to place fossil taxa in a phylogenetic context. Here we reveal for the first time the timing and tempo of tadpole shrimp diversification by inferring a robust multilocus phylogeny of Branchiopoda and applying Bayesian divergence dating techniques using reliable fossil calibrations external to Notostraca. Our results suggest at least two bouts of global radiation in Notostraca, one of them recent, so questioning the validity of the 'living fossils' concept in groups where cryptic speciation is widespread.

  8. 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.

  9. A comparative analysis on the synonymous codon usage pattern in viral functional genes and their translational initiation region of ASFV.

    PubMed

    Zhou, Jian-Hua; Gao, Zong-Liang; Sun, Dong-Jie; Ding, Yao-Zhong; Zhang, Jie; Stipkovits, Laszlo; Szathmary, Susan; Pejsak, Zygmunt; Liu, Yong-Sheng

    2013-04-01

    The synonymous codon usage pattern of African swine fever virus (ASFV), the similarity degree of the synonymous codon usage between this virus and some organisms and the synonymous codon usage bias for the translation initiation region of viral functional genes in the whole genome of ASFV have been investigated by some simply statistical analyses. Although both GC12% (the GC content at the first and second codon positions) and GC3% (the GC content at the third codon position) of viral functional genes have a large fluctuation, the significant correlations between GC12 and GC3% and between GC3% and the first principal axis of principle component analysis on the relative synonymous codon usage of the viral functional genes imply that mutation pressure of ASFV plays an important role in the synonymous codon usage pattern. Turning to the synonymous codon usage of this virus, the codons with U/A end predominate in the synonymous codon family for the same amino acid and a weak codon usage bias in both leading and lagging strands suggests that strand compositional asymmetry does not take part in the formation of codon usage in ASFV. The interaction between the absolute codon usage bias and GC3% suggests that other selections take part in the formation of codon usage, except for the mutation pressure. It is noted that the similarity degree of codon usage between ASFV and soft tick is higher than that between the virus and the pig, suggesting that the soft tick plays a more important role than the pig in the codon usage pattern of ASFV. The translational initiation region of the viral functional genes generally have a strong tendency to select some synonymous codons with low GC content, suggesting that the synonymous codon usage bias caused by translation selection from the host takes part in modulating the translation initiation efficiency of ASFV functional genes.

  10. XRCC1 codon 280 and ERCC2 codon 751 polymorphisms and risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma in a Chinese population.

    PubMed

    Zhai, Xian-Dun; Mo, Yao-Nan; Xue, Xiao-Qi; Zhao, Gui-Sen; Gao, Lin-Bo; Ai, Hong-Wei; Ye, Yi

    2009-10-01

    Numerous candidate genes have been proposed as susceptibility factors for the development of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). XRCC1 (X-ray cross-complementing group 1) codon 280 and ERCC2 (excision repair cross complementing group 2) codon 751 polymorphisms were studied in ESCC in a Chinese population. The aim of this study is to investigate the potential association between single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) of XRCC1 codon 280 His and ERCC2 codon 751 Gln polymorphisms and ESCC. Peripheral blood samples of 200 cases and 200 age-and-gender matching controls were collected from a Chinese population and the two polymorphisms were studied by means of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) restriction fragment length polymorphism techniques. Our results showed that XRCC1 codon 280 His allele had no significant difference between ESCC patients and normal controls (P > 0.05), while ERCC2 codon 751Gln allele was associated with a borderline decrease of ESCC (odds ratio [OR] = 0.628, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.400-0.986).

  11. tRNA1Ser(G34) with the anticodon GGA can recognize not only UCC and UCU codons but also UCA and UCG codons.

    PubMed

    Yamada, Yuko; Matsugi, Jitsuhiro; Ishikura, Hisayuki

    2003-04-15

    The tRNA1Ser (anticodon VGA, V=uridin-5-oxyacetic acid) is essential for translation of the UCA codon in Escherichia coli. Here, we studied the translational abilities of serine tRNA derivatives, which have different bases from wild type at the first positions of their anticodons, using synthetic mRNAs containing the UCN (N=A, G, C, or U) codon. The tRNA1Ser(G34) having the anticodon GGA was able to read not only UCC and UCU codons but also UCA and UCG codons. This means that the formation of G-A or G-G pair allowed at the wobble position and these base pairs are noncanonical. The translational efficiency of the tRNA1Ser(G34) for UCA or UCG codon depends on the 2'-O-methylation of the C32 (Cm). The 2'-O-methylation of C32 may give rise to the space necessary for G-A or G-G base pair formation between the first position of anticodon and the third position of codon.

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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 ...

  16. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    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

  18. Polypeptide release factors and stop codon recognition in the apicoplast and mitochondrion of Plasmodium falciparum.

    PubMed

    Vaishya, Suniti; Kumar, Vikash; Gupta, Ankit; Siddiqi, Mohammad Imran; Habib, Saman

    2016-06-01

    Correct termination of protein synthesis would be a critical step in translation of organellar open reading frames (ORFs) of the apicoplast and mitochondrion of the malaria parasite. We identify release factors (RFs) responsible for recognition of the UAA and UGA stop-codons of apicoplast ORFs and the sole UAA stop-codon that terminates translation from the three mitochondrial ORFs. A single nuclear-encoded canonical RF2, PfRF2Api , localizes to the apicoplast. It has a conserved tripeptide motif (SPF) for stop-codon recognition and is sufficient for peptidyl-tRNA hydrolysis (PTH) from both UAA and UGA. Two RF family proteins are targeted to the parasite mitochondrion; a canonical RF1, PfRF1Mit , with a variant codon-recognition motif (PxN instead of the conserved RF1 PxT) is the major peptidyl-hydrolase with specific recognition of the UAA codon relevant to mitochondrial ORFs. Mutation of the N residue of the PfRF1Mit PxN motif and two other conserved residues of the codon recognition domain lowers PTH activity from pre-termination ribosomes indicating their role in codon-recognition. The second RF imported by the mitochondrion is the non-canonical PfICT1 that functions as a dimer and mediates codon nonspecific peptide release. Our results help delineate a critical step in organellar translation in Plasmodium, which is an important target for anti-malarials. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  19. 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. © 2016 Fu et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

  20. New insights into the interplay between codon bias determinants in plants

    PubMed Central

    Camiolo, S.; Melito, S.; Porceddu, A.

    2015-01-01

    Codon bias is the non-random use of synonymous codons, a phenomenon that has been observed in species as diverse as bacteria, plants and mammals. The preferential use of particular synonymous codons may reflect neutral mechanisms (e.g. mutational bias, G|C-biased gene conversion, genetic drift) and/or selection for mRNA stability, translational efficiency and accuracy. The extent to which these different factors influence codon usage is unknown, so we dissected the contribution of mutational bias and selection towards codon bias in genes from 15 eudicots, 4 monocots and 2 mosses. We analysed the frequency of mononucleotides, dinucleotides and trinucleotides and investigated whether the compositional genomic background could account for the observed codon usage profiles. Neutral forces such as mutational pressure and G|C-biased gene conversion appeared to underlie most of the observed codon bias, although there was also evidence for the selection of optimal translational efficiency and mRNA folding. Our data confirmed the compositional differences between monocots and dicots, with the former featuring in general a lower background compositional bias but a higher overall codon bias. PMID:26546225

  1. 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

  2. Optimizing heterologous expression in Dictyostelium: importance of 5′ codon adaptation

    PubMed Central

    Vervoort, Elisa B.; van Ravestein, Arno; van Peij, Noël N. M. E.; Heikoop, Judith C.; van Haastert, Peter J. M.; Verheijden, Gijs F.; Linskens, Maarten H. K.

    2000-01-01

    Expression of heterologous proteins in Dictyostelium discoideum presents unique research opportunities, such as the functional analysis of complex human glycoproteins after random mutagenesis. In one study, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and human follicle stimulating hormone were expressed in Dictyostelium. During the course of these experiments, we also investigated the role of codon usage and of the DNA sequence upstream of the ATG start codon. The Dictyostelium genome has a higher AT content than the human, resulting in a different codon preference. The hCG-β gene contains three clusters with infrequently used codons that were changed to codons that are preferred by Dictyostelium. The results reported here show that optimizing the first 5–17 codons of the hCG gene contributes to 4- to 5-fold increased expression levels, but that further optimization has no significant effect. These observations suggest that optimal codon usage contributes to ribosome stabilization, but does not play an important role during the elongation phase of translation. Furthermore, adapting the 5′-sequence of the hCG gene to the Dictyostelium ‘Kozak’-like sequence increased expression levels ~1.5-fold. Thus, using both codon optimization and ‘Kozak’ adaptation, a 6- to 8-fold increase in expression levels could be obtained for hCG. PMID:10773074

  3. Genome-wide analysis reveals class and gene specific codon usage adaptation in avian paramyxoviruses 1

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    In order to characterize the evolutionary adaptations of avian paramyxovirus 1 (APMV-1) genomes, we have compared codon usage and codon adaptation indexes among groups of Newcastle disease viruses that differ in biological, ecological, and genetic characteristics. We have used available GenBank com...

  4. 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

  5. Deoxygenation in cycling fossil plants

    SciTech Connect

    Pearl, W.L.; Hobart, R.L.; Hook, T.A.; McNea, D.A. )

    1992-04-01

    In a previous EPRI study (Phase 1 of RP1184-9) at the Port Everglades plant of Florida Power and Light, it was demonstrated that minimizing shutdown oxygen levels at a cycling plant could reduce corrosion product transport to the boilers. A continuation of the program was performed to demonstrate the use of two forms of activated carbon to catalyze the hydrazine/oxygen reaction as a method to minimize the oxygen levels of cycling fossil plants. An activated carbon impregnated fiber overlay on a powdered resin precoat was tested at TU Electric's Tradinghouse Creek Unit 1 and a carbon bed followed by a deep bed demineralizer was tested at Duquesne's Elrama Unit 4. The improvement in attainable oxygen control was demonstrated and the effect on corrosion product transport during cyclic operation was evaluated. The study also demonstrated the application of a data acquisition system for prompt data assessment, control of chemical additions, identification of problems, and development of responsive corrective actions.

  6. 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

  7. Evolutionary switches between two serine codon sets are driven by selection

    PubMed Central

    Rogozin, Igor B.; Belinky, Frida; Pavlenko, Vladimir; Shabalina, Svetlana A.; Kristensen, David M.; Koonin, Eugene V.

    2016-01-01

    Serine is the only amino acid that is encoded by two disjoint codon sets so that a tandem substitution of two nucleotides is required to switch between the two sets. Previously published evidence suggests that, for the most evolutionarily conserved serines, the codon set switch occurs by simultaneous substitution of two nucleotides. Here we report a genome-wide reconstruction of the evolution of serine codons in triplets of closely related species from diverse prokaryotes and eukaryotes. The results indicate that the great majority of codon set switches proceed by two consecutive nucleotide substitutions, via a threonine or cysteine intermediate, and are driven by selection. These findings imply a strong pressure of purifying selection in protein evolution, which in the case of serine codon set switches occurs via an initial deleterious substitution quickly followed by a second, compensatory substitution. The result is frequent reversal of amino acid replacements and, at short evolutionary distances, pervasive homoplasy. PMID:27799560

  8. Timing is everything: unifying codon translation rates and nascent proteome behavior.

    PubMed

    Nissley, Daniel A; O'Brien, Edward P

    2014-12-31

    Experiments have demonstrated that changing the rate at which the ribosome translates a codon position in an mRNA molecule's open reading frame can alter the behavior of the newly synthesized protein. That is, codon translation rates can govern nascent proteome behavior. We emphasize that this phenomenon is a manifestation of the nonequilibrium nature of cotranslational processes, and as such, there exist theoretical tools that offer a potential means to quantitatively predict the influence of codon translation rates on the broad spectrum of nascent protein behaviors including cotranslational folding, aggregation, and translocation. We provide a review of the experimental evidence for the impact that codon translation rates can have, followed by a discussion of theoretical methods that can describe this phenomenon. The development and application of these tools are likely to provide fundamental insights into protein maturation and homeostasis, codon usage bias in organisms, the origins of translation related diseases, and new rational design methods for biotechnology and biopharmaceutical applications.

  9. 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

  10. An entropy-based technique for classifying bacterial chromosomes according to synonymous codon usage.

    PubMed

    Hart, Andrew; Martínez, Servet

    2017-06-01

    We present a framework based on information theoretic concepts and the Dirichlet distribution for classifying chromosomes based on the degree to which they use synonymous codons uniformly or preferentially, that is, whether or not codons that code for an amino acid appear with the same relative frequency. At its core is a measure of codon usage bias we call the Kullback-Leibler codon information bias (KL-CIB or CIB for short). Being defined in terms of conditional entropy makes KL-CIB an ideal and natural quantity for expressing a chromosome's degree of departure from uniform synonymous codon usage. Applying the approach to a large collection of annotated bacterial chromosomes reveals three distinct groups of bacteria.

  11. Reducing codon redundancy and screening effort of combinatorial protein libraries created by saturation mutagenesis.

    PubMed

    Kille, Sabrina; Acevedo-Rocha, Carlos G; Parra, Loreto P; Zhang, Zhi-Gang; Opperman, Diederik J; Reetz, Manfred T; Acevedo, Juan Pablo

    2013-02-15

    Saturation mutagenesis probes define sections of the vast protein sequence space. However, even if randomization is limited this way, the combinatorial numbers problem is severe. Because diversity is created at the codon level, codon redundancy is a crucial factor determining the necessary effort for library screening. Additionally, due to the probabilistic nature of the sampling process, oversampling is required to ensure library completeness as well as a high probability to encounter all unique variants. Our trick employs a special mixture of three primers, creating a degeneracy of 22 unique codons coding for the 20 canonical amino acids. Therefore, codon redundancy and subsequent screening effort is significantly reduced, and a balanced distribution of codon per amino acid is achieved, as demonstrated exemplarily for a library of cyclohexanone monooxygenase. We show that this strategy is suitable for any saturation mutagenesis methodology to generate less-redundant libraries.

  12. Improving self-calibration.

    PubMed

    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.

  13. Time-calibrated molecular phylogeny of pteropods.

    PubMed

    Burridge, Alice K; Hörnlein, Christine; Janssen, Arie W; Hughes, Martin; Bush, Stephanie L; Marlétaz, Ferdinand; Gasca, Rebeca; Pierrot-Bults, Annelies C; Michel, Ellinor; Todd, Jonathan A; Young, Jeremy R; Osborn, Karen J; Menken, Steph B J; Peijnenburg, Katja T C A

    2017-01-01

    Pteropods are a widespread group of holoplanktonic gastropod molluscs and are uniquely suitable for study of long-term evolutionary processes in the open ocean because they are the only living metazoan plankton with a good fossil record. Pteropods have been proposed as bioindicators to monitor the impacts of ocean acidification and in consequence have attracted considerable research interest, however, a robust evolutionary framework for the group is still lacking. Here we reconstruct their phylogenetic relationships and examine the evolutionary history of pteropods based on combined analyses of Cytochrome Oxidase I, 28S, and 18S ribosomal rRNA sequences and a molecular clock calibrated using fossils and the estimated timing of the formation of the Isthmus of Panama. Euthecosomes with uncoiled shells were monophyletic with Creseis as the earliest diverging lineage, estimated at 41-38 million years ago (mya). The coiled euthecosomes (Limacina, Heliconoides, Thielea) were not monophyletic contrary to the accepted morphology-based taxonomy; however, due to their high rate heterogeneity no firm conclusions can be drawn. We found strong support for monophyly of most euthecosome genera, but Clio appeared as a polyphyletic group, and Diacavolinia grouped within Cavolinia, making the latter genus paraphyletic. The highest evolutionary rates were observed in Heliconoides inflatus and Limacina bulimoides for both 28S and 18S partitions. Using a fossil-calibrated phylogeny that sets the first occurrence of coiled euthecosomes at 79-66 mya, we estimate that uncoiled euthecosomes evolved 51-42 mya and that most extant uncoiled genera originated 40-15 mya. These findings are congruent with a molecular clock analysis using the Isthmus of Panama formation as an independent calibration. Although not all phylogenetic relationships could be resolved based on three molecular markers, this study provides a useful resource to study pteropod diversity and provides general insight into the

  14. Time-calibrated molecular phylogeny of pteropods

    PubMed Central

    Hörnlein, Christine; Janssen, Arie W.; Hughes, Martin; Bush, Stephanie L.; Marlétaz, Ferdinand; Gasca, Rebeca; Pierrot-Bults, Annelies C.; Michel, Ellinor; Todd, Jonathan A.; Young, Jeremy R.; Osborn, Karen J.; Menken, Steph B. J.

    2017-01-01

    Pteropods are a widespread group of holoplanktonic gastropod molluscs and are uniquely suitable for study of long-term evolutionary processes in the open ocean because they are the only living metazoan plankton with a good fossil record. Pteropods have been proposed as bioindicators to monitor the impacts of ocean acidification and in consequence have attracted considerable research interest, however, a robust evolutionary framework for the group is still lacking. Here we reconstruct their phylogenetic relationships and examine the evolutionary history of pteropods based on combined analyses of Cytochrome Oxidase I, 28S, and 18S ribosomal rRNA sequences and a molecular clock calibrated using fossils and the estimated timing of the formation of the Isthmus of Panama. Euthecosomes with uncoiled shells were monophyletic with Creseis as the earliest diverging lineage, estimated at 41–38 million years ago (mya). The coiled euthecosomes (Limacina, Heliconoides, Thielea) were not monophyletic contrary to the accepted morphology-based taxonomy; however, due to their high rate heterogeneity no firm conclusions can be drawn. We found strong support for monophyly of most euthecosome genera, but Clio appeared as a polyphyletic group, and Diacavolinia grouped within Cavolinia, making the latter genus paraphyletic. The highest evolutionary rates were observed in Heliconoides inflatus and Limacina bulimoides for both 28S and 18S partitions. Using a fossil-calibrated phylogeny that sets the first occurrence of coiled euthecosomes at 79–66 mya, we estimate that uncoiled euthecosomes evolved 51–42 mya and that most extant uncoiled genera originated 40–15 mya. These findings are congruent with a molecular clock analysis using the Isthmus of Panama formation as an independent calibration. Although not all phylogenetic relationships could be resolved based on three molecular markers, this study provides a useful resource to study pteropod diversity and provides general insight

  15. 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.

  16. Analysis of codon usage bias of mitochondrial genome in Bombyx mori and its relation to evolution.

    PubMed

    Wei, Lei; He, Jian; Jia, Xian; Qi, Qi; Liang, Zhisheng; Zheng, Hao; Ping, Yao; Liu, Shuyu; Sun, Jingchen

    2014-12-17

    Synonymous codon usage bias (SCUB) is an inevitable phenomenon in organismic taxa, generally referring to differences in the occurrence frequency of codons across different species or within the genome of the same species. SCUB happens in various degrees under pressure from nature selection, mutation bias and other factors in different ways. It also attaches great significance to gene expression and species evolution, however, a systematic investigation towards the codon usage in Bombyx mori (B. mori) has not been reported yet. Moreover, it is still indistinct about the reasons contributing to the bias or the relationship between the bias and the evolution of B. mori. The comparison of the codon usage pattern between the genomic DNA (gDNA) and the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from B. mori suggests that mtDNA has a higher level of codon bias. Furthermore, the correspondence analysis suggests that natural selection, such as gene length, gene function and translational selection, dominates the codon preference of mtDNA, while the composition constraints for mutation bias only plays a minor role. Additionally, the clustering results of the silkworm superfamily suggest a lack of explicitness in the relationship between the codon usage of mitogenome and species evolution. Among the complicated influence factors leading to codon bias, natural selection is found to play a major role in shaping the high bias in the mtDNA of B. mori from our current data. Although the cluster analysis reveals that codon bias correlates little with the species evolution, furthermore, a detailed analysis of codon usage of mitogenome provides better insight into the evolutionary relationships in Lepidoptera. However, more new methods and data are needed to investigate the relationship between the mtDNA bias and evolution.

  17. Potential for travertine formation: Fossil Creek, Arizona

    Treesearch

    John Malusa; Steven T. Overby; Roderic A. Parnell

    2003-01-01

    Chemical analyses of water emanating from Fossil Springs in Central Arizona were conducted to predict changes in travertine deposition related to changes in stream discharge caused by diversion for hydroelectric power generation. During spring of 1996, water was sampled at 15 locations during normal seepage flow in a 6.7 km reach below Fossil Springs and at full...

  18. Dinosaur Fossil, Leonardo, at Ellington Field

    NASA Image and Video Library

    2008-03-14

    Documentation of NASA's partnership with the Houston Museum of Natural Science and Montana's Great Plains Dinosaur Museum to provide an insulated facility at Ellington Field in which the Leonardo Project Team was able to X-ray Leonardo, a 77 million year old dinosaur fossil. View of the Brachylophosaurus fossil called Leonardo.

  19. 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…

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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…

  3. The original colours of fossil beetles.

    PubMed

    McNamara, Maria E; Briggs, Derek E G; Orr, Patrick J; Noh, Heeso; Cao, Hui

    2012-03-22

    Structural colours, the most intense, reflective and pure colours in nature, are generated when light is scattered by complex nanostructures. Metallic structural colours are widespread among modern insects and can be preserved in their fossil counterparts, but it is unclear whether the colours have been altered during fossilization, and whether the absence of colours is always real. To resolve these issues, we investigated fossil beetles from five Cenozoic biotas. Metallic colours in these specimens are generated by an epicuticular multi-layer reflector; the fidelity of its preservation correlates with that of other key cuticular ultrastructures. Where these other ultrastructures are well preserved in non-metallic fossil specimens, we can infer that the original cuticle lacked a multi-layer reflector; its absence in the fossil is not a preservational artefact. Reconstructions of the original colours of the fossils based on the structure of the multi-layer reflector show that the preserved colours are offset systematically to longer wavelengths; this probably reflects alteration of the refractive index of the epicuticle during fossilization. These findings will allow the former presence, and original hue, of metallic structural colours to be identified in diverse fossil insects, thus providing critical evidence of the evolution of structural colour in this group.

  4. 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.

  5. 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. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  6. Calibration of pneumotachographs using a calibrated syringe.

    PubMed

    Tang, Yongquan; Turner, Martin J; Yem, Johnny S; Baker, A Barry

    2003-08-01

    Pneumotachograph require frequent calibration. Constant-flow methods allow polynomial calibration curves to be derived but are time consuming. The iterative syringe stroke technique is moderately efficient but results in discontinuous conductance arrays. This study investigated the derivation of first-, second-, and third-order polynomial calibration curves from 6 to 50 strokes of a calibration syringe. We used multiple linear regression to derive first-, second-, and third-order polynomial coefficients from two sets of 6-50 syringe strokes. In part A, peak flows did not exceed the specified linear range of the pneumotachograph, whereas flows in part B peaked at 160% of the maximum linear range. Conductance arrays were derived from the same data sets by using a published algorithm. Volume errors of the calibration strokes and of separate sets of 70 validation strokes (part A) and 140 validation strokes (part B) were calculated by using the polynomials and conductance arrays. Second- and third-order polynomials derived from 10 calibration strokes achieved volume variability equal to or better than conductance arrays derived from 50 strokes. We found that evaluation of conductance arrays using the calibration syringe strokes yields falsely low volume variances. We conclude that accurate polynomial curves can be derived from as few as 10 syringe strokes, and the new polynomial calibration method is substantially more time efficient than previously published conductance methods.

  7. Atomic force microscopy of Precambrian microscopic fossils

    PubMed Central

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

    2002-01-01

    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 ≈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 ≈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. PMID:12089337

  8. Atomic force microscopy of Precambrian microscopic fossils.

    PubMed

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

    2002-07-09

    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.

  9. 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.

  10. KRAS codon 61, 146 and BRAF mutations predict resistance to cetuximab plus irinotecan in KRAS codon 12 and 13 wild-type metastatic colorectal cancer

    PubMed Central

    Loupakis, F; Ruzzo, A; Cremolini, C; Vincenzi, B; Salvatore, L; Santini, D; Masi, G; Stasi, I; Canestrari, E; Rulli, E; Floriani, I; Bencardino, K; Galluccio, N; Catalano, V; Tonini, G; Magnani, M; Fontanini, G; Basolo, F; Falcone, A; Graziano, F

    2009-01-01

    Background: KRAS codons 12 and 13 mutations predict resistance to anti-EGFR monoclonal antibodies (moAbs) in metastatic colorectal cancer. Also, BRAF V600E mutation has been associated with resistance. Additional KRAS mutations are described in CRC. Methods: We investigated the role of KRAS codons 61 and 146 and BRAF V600E mutations in predicting resistance to cetuximab plus irinotecan in a cohort of KRAS codons 12 and 13 wild-type patients. Results: Among 87 KRAS codons 12 and 13 wild-type patients, KRAS codons 61 and 146 were mutated in 7 and 1 case, respectively. None of mutated patients responded vs 22 of 68 wild type (P=0.096). Eleven patients were not evaluable. KRAS mutations were associated with shorter progression-free survival (PFS, HR: 0.46, P=0.028). None of 13 BRAF-mutated patients responded vs 24 of 74 BRAF wild type (P=0.016). BRAF mutation was associated with a trend towards shorter PFS (HR: 0.59, P=0.073). In the subgroup of BRAF wild-type patients, KRAS codons 61/146 mutations determined a lower response rate (0 vs 37%, P=0.047) and worse PFS (HR: 0.45, P=0.023). Patients bearing KRAS or BRAF mutations had poorer response rate (0 vs 37%, P=0.0005) and PFS (HR: 0.51, P=0.006) compared with KRAS and BRAF wild-type patients. Conclusion: Assessing KRAS codons 61/146 and BRAF V600E mutations might help optimising the selection of the candidate patients to receive anti-EGFR moAbs. PMID:19603018

  11. KRAS codon 61, 146 and BRAF mutations predict resistance to cetuximab plus irinotecan in KRAS codon 12 and 13 wild-type metastatic colorectal cancer.

    PubMed

    Loupakis, F; Ruzzo, A; Cremolini, C; Vincenzi, B; Salvatore, L; Santini, D; Masi, G; Stasi, I; Canestrari, E; Rulli, E; Floriani, I; Bencardino, K; Galluccio, N; Catalano, V; Tonini, G; Magnani, M; Fontanini, G; Basolo, F; Falcone, A; Graziano, F

    2009-08-18

    KRAS codons 12 and 13 mutations predict resistance to anti-EGFR monoclonal antibodies (moAbs) in metastatic colorectal cancer. Also, BRAF V600E mutation has been associated with resistance. Additional KRAS mutations are described in CRC. We investigated the role of KRAS codons 61 and 146 and BRAF V600E mutations in predicting resistance to cetuximab plus irinotecan in a cohort of KRAS codons 12 and 13 wild-type patients. Among 87 KRAS codons 12 and 13 wild-type patients, KRAS codons 61 and 146 were mutated in 7 and 1 case, respectively. None of mutated patients responded vs 22 of 68 wild type (P=0.096). Eleven patients were not evaluable. KRAS mutations were associated with shorter progression-free survival (PFS, HR: 0.46, P=0.028). None of 13 BRAF-mutated patients responded vs 24 of 74 BRAF wild type (P=0.016). BRAF mutation was associated with a trend towards shorter PFS (HR: 0.59, P=0.073). In the subgroup of BRAF wild-type patients, KRAS codons 61/146 mutations determined a lower response rate (0 vs 37%, P=0.047) and worse PFS (HR: 0.45, P=0.023). Patients bearing KRAS or BRAF mutations had poorer response rate (0 vs 37%, P=0.0005) and PFS (HR: 0.51, P=0.006) compared with KRAS and BRAF wild-type patients. Assessing KRAS codons 61/146 and BRAF V600E mutations might help optimising the selection of the candidate patients to receive anti-EGFR moAbs.

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

    PubMed Central

    Wolf, Andrew S.; Grayhack, Elizabeth J.

    2015-01-01

    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 tRNAArg(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. PMID:25792604

  13. 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. © The Author(s) 2014. Published by Oxford University Press, on behalf of the Society of Systematic Biologists. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  14. 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. Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  15. Molecules and fossils reveal punctuated diversification in Caribbean “faviid” corals

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background Even with well-known sampling biases, the fossil record is key to understanding macro-evolutionary patterns. During the Miocene to Pleistocene in the Caribbean Sea, the fossil record of scleractinian corals shows a remarkable period of rapid diversification followed by massive extinction. Here we combine a time-calibrated molecular phylogeny based on three nuclear introns with an updated fossil stratigraphy to examine patterns of radiation and extinction in Caribbean corals within the traditional family Faviidae. Results Concatenated phylogenetic analysis showed most species of Caribbean faviids were monophyletic, with the exception of two Manicina species. The time-calibrated tree revealed the stem group originated around the closure of the Tethys Sea (17.0 Ma), while the genus Manicina diversified during the Late Miocene (8.20 Ma), when increased sedimentation and productivity may have favored free-living, heterotrophic species. Reef and shallow water specialists, represented by Diploria and Favia, originate at the beginning of the Pliocene (5 – 6 Ma) as the Isthmus of Panama shoaled and regional productivity declined. Conclusions Later origination of the stem group than predicted from the fossil record corroborates the hypothesis of morphological convergence in Diploria and Favia genera. Our data support the rapid evolution of morphological and life-history traits among faviid corals that can be linked to Mio-Pliocene environmental changes. PMID:22831179

  16. Selection on Position of Nonsense Codons in Introns.

    PubMed

    Behringer, Megan G; Hall, David W

    2016-11-01

    Introns occasionally remain in mature messenger RNAs (mRNAs) due to splicing errors and the translated, aberrant proteins that result represent a metabolic cost and may have other deleterious consequences. The nonsense-mediated decay (NMD) pathway degrades aberrant mRNAs, which it recognizes by the presence of an in-frame premature termination codon (PTC). We investigated whether selection has shaped the location of PTCs in introns to reduce waste and facilitate NMD. We found across seven model organisms, that in both first and last introns, PTCs occur earlier in introns than expected by chance, suggesting that selection favors earlier position. This pattern is more pronounced in species with larger effective population sizes. The pattern does not hold for last introns in the two mammal species, however, perhaps because in these species NMD is not initiated from 3'-terminal introns. We conclude that there is compelling evidence that the location of PTCs is shaped by selection for reduced waste and efficient degradation of aberrant mRNAs. Copyright © 2016 by the Genetics Society of America.

  17. A codon deletion confers resistance to herbicides inhibiting protoporphyrinogen oxidase

    PubMed Central

    Patzoldt, William L.; Hager, Aaron G.; McCormick, Joel S.; Tranel, Patrick J.

    2006-01-01

    Herbicides that act by inhibiting protoporphyrinogen oxidase (PPO) are widely used to control weeds in a variety of crops. The first weed to evolve resistance to PPO-inhibiting herbicides was Amaranthus tuberculatus, a problematic weed in the midwestern United States that previously had evolved multiple resistances to herbicides inhibiting two other target sites. Evaluation of a PPO-inhibitor-resistant A. tuberculatus biotype revealed that resistance was a (incompletely) dominant trait conferred by a single, nuclear gene. Three genes predicted to encode PPO were identified in A. tuberculatus. One gene from the resistant biotype, designated PPX2L, contained a codon deletion that was shown to confer resistance by complementation of a hemG mutant strain of Escherichia coli grown in the presence and absence of the PPO inhibitor lactofen. PPX2L is predicted to encode both plastid- and mitochondria-targeted PPO isoforms, allowing a mutation in a single gene to confer resistance to two herbicide target sites. Unique aspects of the resistance mechanism include an amino acid deletion, rather than a substitution, and the dual-targeting nature of the gene, which may explain why resistance to PPO inhibitors has been rare. PMID:16894159

  18. A codon deletion confers resistance to herbicides inhibiting protoporphyrinogen oxidase.

    PubMed

    Patzoldt, William L; Hager, Aaron G; McCormick, Joel S; Tranel, Patrick J

    2006-08-15

    Herbicides that act by inhibiting protoporphyrinogen oxidase (PPO) are widely used to control weeds in a variety of crops. The first weed to evolve resistance to PPO-inhibiting herbicides was Amaranthus tuberculatus, a problematic weed in the midwestern United States that previously had evolved multiple resistances to herbicides inhibiting two other target sites. Evaluation of a PPO-inhibitor-resistant A. tuberculatus biotype revealed that resistance was a (incompletely) dominant trait conferred by a single, nuclear gene. Three genes predicted to encode PPO were identified in A. tuberculatus. One gene from the resistant biotype, designated PPX2L, contained a codon deletion that was shown to confer resistance by complementation of a hemG mutant strain of Escherichia coli grown in the presence and absence of the PPO inhibitor lactofen. PPX2L is predicted to encode both plastid- and mitochondria-targeted PPO isoforms, allowing a mutation in a single gene to confer resistance to two herbicide target sites. Unique aspects of the resistance mechanism include an amino acid deletion, rather than a substitution, and the dual-targeting nature of the gene, which may explain why resistance to PPO inhibitors has been rare.

  19. A coordinated codon-dependent regulation of translation by Elongator

    PubMed Central

    Bauer, Fanelie; Hermand, Damien

    2012-01-01

    More than a decade ago, the purification of the form of the RNA polymerase II (PolII) engaged in elongation led to the discovery of an associated, multi-subunit (Elp1-6) complex named “Elongator” by the Svejstrup lab. Although further evidence supported the original notion that Elongator is involved in transcription, Elongator lacked some of the expected features for a regulator of the elongating PolII. The discovery by the Byström lab, based on genetic dissection, that Elongator is pivotal for tRNA modifications, and that all the reported phenotypes of Elongator mutants are suppressed by the overexpression of two tRNAs added to the confusion. The increasing range of both potential substrates and biological processes regulated by Elongator in higher eukaryotes indicates that the major challenge of the field is to determine the biologically relevant function of Elongator. Our recent proteome-wide study in fission yeast supports a coordinated codon-dependent regulation of translation by Elongator. Here we provide additional analyses extending this hypothesis to budding yeast and worm. PMID:23165209

  20. NECTAR: a database of codon-centric missense variant annotations.

    PubMed

    Gong, Sungsam; Ware, James S; Walsh, Roddy; Cook, Stuart A

    2014-01-01

    NECTAR (Non-synonymous Enriched Coding muTation ARchive; http://nectarmutation.org) is a database and web application to annotate disease-related and functionally important amino acids in human proteins. A number of tools are available to facilitate the interpretation of DNA variants identified in diagnostic or research sequencing. These typically identify previous reports of DNA variation at a given genomic location, predict its effects on transcript and protein sequence and may predict downstream functional consequences. Previous reports and functional annotations are typically linked by the genomic location of the variant observed. NECTAR collates disease-causing variants and functionally important amino acid residues from a number of sources. Importantly, rather than simply linking annotations by a shared genomic location, NECTAR annotates variants of interest with details of previously reported variation affecting the same codon. This provides a much richer data set for the interpretation of a novel DNA variant. NECTAR also identifies functionally equivalent amino acid residues in evolutionarily related proteins (paralogues) and, where appropriate, transfers annotations between them. As well as accessing these data through a web interface, users can upload batches of variants in variant call format (VCF) for annotation on-the-fly. The database is freely available to download from the ftp site: ftp://ftp.nectarmutation.org.

  1. Calibrating Wide Field Surveys

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    González Fernández, Carlos; Irwin, M.; Lewis, J.; González Solares, E.

    2017-09-01

    "In this talk I will review the strategies in CASU to calibrate wide field surveys, in particular applied to data taken with the VISTA telescope. These include traditional night-by-night calibrations along with the search for a global, coherent calibration of all the data once observations are finished. The difficulties of obtaining photometric accuracy of a few percent and a good absolute calibration will also be discussed."

  2. 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.

  3. ORNL calibrations facility

    SciTech Connect

    Berger, C.D.; Gupton, E.D.; Lane, B.H.; Miller, J.H.; Nichols, S.W.

    1982-08-01

    The ORNL Calibrations Facility is operated by the Instrumentation Group of the Industrial Safety and Applied Health Physics Division. Its primary purpose is to maintain radiation calibration standards for calibration of ORNL health physics instruments and personnel dosimeters. This report includes a discussion of the radioactive sources and ancillary equipment in use and a step-by-step procedure for calibration of those survey instruments and personnel dosimeters in routine use at ORNL.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. High codon adaptation in citrus tristeza virus to its citrus host.

    PubMed

    Cheng, Xiao-fei; Wu, Xiao-yun; Wang, Hui-zhong; Sun, Yu-qiang; Qian, Yong-sheng; Luo, Lu

    2012-06-14

    Citrus tristeza virus (CTV), a member of the genus Closterovirus within the family Closteroviridae, is the causal agent of citrus tristeza disease. Previous studies revealed that the negative selection, RNA recombination and gene flow were the most important forces that drove CTV evolution. However, the CTV codon usage was not studied and thus its role in CTV evolution remains unknown. A detailed comparative analysis of CTV codon usage pattern was done in this study. Results of the study show that although in general CTV does not have a high degree of codon usage bias, the codon usage of CTV has a high level of resemblance to its host codon usage. In addition, our data indicate that the codon usage resemblance is only observed for the woody plant-infecting closteroviruses but not the closteroviruses infecting the herbaceous host plants, suggesting the existence of different virus-host interactions between the herbaceous plant-infecting and woody plant-infecting closteroviruses. Based on the results, we suggest that in addition to RNA recombination, negative selection and gene flow, host plant codon usage selection can also affect CTV evolution.

  7. High codon adaptation in citrus tristeza virus to its citrus host

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background Citrus tristeza virus (CTV), a member of the genus Closterovirus within the family Closteroviridae, is the causal agent of citrus tristeza disease. Previous studies revealed that the negative selection, RNA recombination and gene flow were the most important forces that drove CTV evolution. However, the CTV codon usage was not studied and thus its role in CTV evolution remains unknown. Results A detailed comparative analysis of CTV codon usage pattern was done in this study. Results of the study show that although in general CTV does not have a high degree of codon usage bias, the codon usage of CTV has a high level of resemblance to its host codon usage. In addition, our data indicate that the codon usage resemblance is only observed for the woody plant-infecting closteroviruses but not the closteroviruses infecting the herbaceous host plants, suggesting the existence of different virus-host interactions between the herbaceous plant-infecting and woody plant-infecting closteroviruses. Conclusion Based on the results, we suggest that in addition to RNA recombination, negative selection and gene flow, host plant codon usage selection can also affect CTV evolution. PMID:22698086

  8. Analysis of synonymous codon usage in Aeropyrum pernix K1 and other Crenarchaeota microorganisms.

    PubMed

    Jiang, Peng; Sun, Xiao; Lu, Zuhong

    2007-03-01

    In this study, a comparative analysis of the codon usage bias was performed in Aeropyrum pernix K1 and two other phylogenetically related Crenarchaeota microorganisms (i.e., Pyrobaculum aerophilum str. IM2 and Sulfolobus acidocaldarius DSM 639). The results indicated that the synonymous codon usage in A. pernix K1 was less biased, which was highly correlated with the GC(3S) value. The codon usage patterns were phylogenetically conserved among these Crenarchaeota microorganisms. Comparatively, it is the species function rather than the gene function that determines their gene codon usage patterns. A. pernix K1, P. aerophilum str. IM2, and S. acidocaldarius DSM 639 live in differently extreme conditions. It is presumed that the living environment played an important role in determining the codon usage pattern of these microorganisms. Besides, there was no strain-specific codon usage among these microorganisms. The extent of codon bias in A. pernix K1 and S. acidocaldarius DSM 639 were highly correlated with the gene expression level, but no such association was detected in P. aerophilum str. IM2 genomes.

  9. 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

  10. The Impact of Selection at the Amino Acid Level on the Usage of Synonymous Codons

    PubMed Central

    Błażej, Paweł; Mackiewicz, Dorota; Wnętrzak, Małgorzata; Mackiewicz, Paweł

    2017-01-01

    There are two main forces that affect usage of synonymous codons: directional mutational pressure and selection. The effectiveness of protein translation is usually considered as the main selectional factor. However, biased codon usage can also be a byproduct of a general selection at the amino acid level interacting with nucleotide replacements. To evaluate the validity and strength of such an effect, we superimposed >3.5 billion unrestricted mutational processes on the selection of nonsynonymous substitutions based on the differences in physicochemical properties of the coded amino acids. Using a modified evolutionary optimization algorithm, we determined the conditions in which the effect on the relative codon usage is maximized. We found that the effect is enhanced by mutational processes generating more adenine and thymine than guanine and cytosine, as well as more purines than pyrimidines. Interestingly, this effect is observed only under an unrestricted model of nucleotide substitution, and disappears when the mutational process is time-reversible. Comparison of the simulation results with data for real protein coding sequences indicates that the impact of selection at the amino acid level on synonymous codon usage cannot be neglected. Furthermore, it can considerably interfere, especially in AT-rich genomes, with other selections on codon usage, e.g., translational efficiency. It may also lead to difficulties in the recognition of other effects influencing codon bias, and an overestimation of protein coding sequences whose codon usage is subjected to adaptational selection. PMID:28122952

  11. The CUG codon is decoded in vivo as serine and not leucine in Candida albicans.

    PubMed Central

    Santos, M A; Tuite, M F

    1995-01-01

    Previous studies have shown that the yeast Candida albicans encodes a unique seryl-tRNA(CAG) that should decode the leucine codon CUG as serine. However, in vitro translation of several different CUG-containing mRNAs in the presence of this unusual seryl-tRNA(CAG) result in an apparent increase in the molecular weight of the encoded polypeptides as judged by SDS-PAGE even though the molecular weight of serine is lower than that of leucine. A possible explanation for this altered electrophoretic mobility is that the CUG codon is decoded as modified serine in vitro. To elucidate the nature of CUG decoding in vivo, a reporter system based on the C. albicans gene (RBP1) encoding rapamycin-binding protein (RBP), coupled to the promoter of the C. albicans TEF3 gene, was utilized. Sequencing and mass-spectrometry analysis of the recombinant RBP expressed in C. albicans demonstrated that the CUG codon was decoded exclusively as serine while the related CUU codon was translated as leucine. A database search revealed that 32 out of the 65 C. albicans gene sequences available have CUG codons in their open reading frames. The CUG-containing genes do not belong to any particular gene family. Thus the amino acid specified by the CUG codon has been reassigned within the mRNAs of C. albicans. We argue here that this unique genetic code change in cellular mRNAs cannot be explained by the 'Codon Reassignment Theory'. Images PMID:7784200

  12. Identification of compounds that decrease the fidelity of start codon recognition by the eukaryotic translational machinery

    PubMed Central

    Takacs, Julie E.; Neary, Timothy B.; Ingolia, Nicholas T.; Saini, Adesh K.; Martin-Marcos, Pilar; Pelletier, Jerry; Hinnebusch, Alan G.; Lorsch, Jon R.

    2011-01-01

    Translation initiation in eukaryotes involves more than a dozen protein factors. Alterations in six factors have been found to reduce the fidelity of start codon recognition by the ribosomal preinitiation complex in yeast, a phenotype referred to as Sui−. No small molecules are known that affect the fidelity of start codon recognition. Such compounds would be useful tools for probing the molecular mechanics of translation initiation and its regulation. To find compounds with this effect, we set up a high-throughput screen using a dual luciferase assay in S. cerevisiae. Screening of over 55,000 compounds revealed two structurally related molecules that decrease the fidelity of start codon selection by approximately twofold in the dual luciferase assay. This effect was confirmed using additional in vivo assays that monitor translation from non-AUG start codons. Both compounds increase translation of a natural upstream open reading frame previously shown to initiate translation at a UUG. The compounds were also found to exacerbate increased use of UUG as a start codon (Sui− phenotype) conferred by haploinsufficiency of wild-type eukaryotic initiation factor (eIF) 1, or by mutation in eIF1. Furthermore, the effects of the compounds are suppressed by overexpressing eIF1, which is known to restore the fidelity of start codon selection in strains harboring Sui− mutations in various other initiation factors. Together, these data strongly suggest that the compounds affect the translational machinery itself to reduce the accuracy of selecting AUG as the start codon. PMID:21220547

  13. Identification of compounds that decrease the fidelity of start codon recognition by the eukaryotic translational machinery.

    PubMed

    Takacs, Julie E; Neary, Timothy B; Ingolia, Nicholas T; Saini, Adesh K; Martin-Marcos, Pilar; Pelletier, Jerry; Hinnebusch, Alan G; Lorsch, Jon R

    2011-03-01

    Translation initiation in eukaryotes involves more than a dozen protein factors. Alterations in six factors have been found to reduce the fidelity of start codon recognition by the ribosomal preinitiation complex in yeast, a phenotype referred to as Sui(-). No small molecules are known that affect the fidelity of start codon recognition. Such compounds would be useful tools for probing the molecular mechanics of translation initiation and its regulation. To find compounds with this effect, we set up a high-throughput screen using a dual luciferase assay in S. cerevisiae. Screening of over 55,000 compounds revealed two structurally related molecules that decrease the fidelity of start codon selection by approximately twofold in the dual luciferase assay. This effect was confirmed using additional in vivo assays that monitor translation from non-AUG start codons. Both compounds increase translation of a natural upstream open reading frame previously shown to initiate translation at a UUG. The compounds were also found to exacerbate increased use of UUG as a start codon (Sui(-) phenotype) conferred by haploinsufficiency of wild-type eukaryotic initiation factor (eIF) 1, or by mutation in eIF1. Furthermore, the effects of the compounds are suppressed by overexpressing eIF1, which is known to restore the fidelity of start codon selection in strains harboring Sui(-) mutations in various other initiation factors. Together, these data strongly suggest that the compounds affect the translational machinery itself to reduce the accuracy of selecting AUG as the start codon.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. Gaining insights into the codon usage patterns of TP53 gene across eight mammalian species.

    PubMed

    Mazumder, Tarikul Huda; Chakraborty, Supriyo

    2015-01-01

    TP53 gene is known as the "guardian of the genome" as it plays a vital role in regulating cell cycle, cell proliferation, DNA damage repair, initiation of programmed cell death and suppressing tumor growth. Non uniform usage of synonymous codons for a specific amino acid during translation of protein known as codon usage bias (CUB) is a unique property of the genome and shows species specific deviation. Analysis of codon usage bias with compositional dynamics of coding sequences has contributed to the better understanding of the molecular mechanism and the evolution of a particular gene. In this study, the complete nucleotide coding sequences of TP53 gene from eight different mammalian species were used for CUB analysis. Our results showed that the codon usage patterns in TP53 gene across different mammalian species has been influenced by GC bias particularly GC3 and a moderate bias exists in the codon usage of TP53 gene. Moreover, we observed that nature has highly favored the most over represented codon CTG for leucine amino acid but selected against the ATA codon for isoleucine in TP53 gene across all mammalian species during the course of evolution.

  17. Comparative evolutionary genomics of Corynebacterium with special reference to codon and amino acid usage diversities.

    PubMed

    Pal, Shilpee; Sarkar, Indrani; Roy, Ayan; Mohapatra, Pradeep K Das; Mondal, Keshab C; Sen, Arnab

    2017-09-18

    The present study has been aimed to the comparative analysis of high GC composition containing Corynebacterium genomes and their evolutionary study by exploring codon and amino acid usage patterns. Phylogenetic study by MLSA approach, indel analysis and BLAST matrix differentiated Corynebacterium species in pathogenic and non-pathogenic clusters. Correspondence analysis on synonymous codon usage reveals that, gene length, optimal codon frequencies and tRNA abundance affect the gene expression of Corynebacterium. Most of the optimal codons as well as translationally optimal codons are C ending i.e. RNY (R-purine, N-any nucleotide base, and Y-pyrimidine) and reveal translational selection pressure on codon bias of Corynebacterium. Amino acid usage is affected by hydrophobicity, aromaticity, protein energy cost, etc. Highly expressed genes followed the cost minimization hypothesis and are less diverged at their synonymous positions of codons. Functional analysis of core genes shows significant difference in pathogenic and non-pathogenic Corynebacterium. The study reveals close relationship between non-pathogenic and opportunistic pathogenic Corynebaterium as well as between molecular evolution and survival niches of the organism.

  18. Gene expression and protein length influence codon usage and rates of sequence evolution in Populus tremula.

    PubMed

    Ingvarsson, Pär K

    2007-03-01

    Codon bias is generally thought to be determined by a balance between mutation, genetic drift, and natural selection on translational efficiency. However, natural selection on codon usage is considered to be a weak evolutionary force and selection on codon usage is expected to be strongest in species with large effective population sizes. In this paper, I study associations between codon usage, gene expression, and molecular evolution at synonymous and nonsynonymous sites in the long-lived, woody perennial plant Populus tremula (Salicaceae). Using expression data for 558 genes derived from expressed sequence tags (EST) libraries from 19 different tissues and developmental stages, I study how gene expression levels within single tissues as well as across tissues affect codon usage and rates sequence evolution at synonymous and nonsynonymous sites. I show that gene expression have direct effects on both codon usage and the level of selective constraint of proteins in P. tremula, although in different ways. Codon usage genes is primarily determined by how highly expressed a genes is, whereas rates of sequence evolution are primarily determined by how widely expressed genes are. In addition to the effects of gene expression, protein length appear to be an important factor influencing virtually all aspects of molecular evolution in P. tremula.

  19. Codon usage in Caenorhabditis elegans: delineation of translational selection and mutational biases.

    PubMed Central

    Stenico, M; Lloyd, A T; Sharp, P M

    1994-01-01

    Synonymous codon usage varies considerably among Caenorhabditis elegans genes. Multivariate statistical analyses reveal a single major trend among genes. At one end of the trend lie genes with relatively unbiased codon usage. These genes appear to be lowly expressed, and their patterns of codon usage are consistent with mutational biases influenced by the neighbouring nucleotide. At the other extreme lie genes with extremely biased codon usage. These genes appear to be highly expressed, and their codon usage seems to have been shaped by selection favouring a limited number of translationally optimal codons. Thus, the frequency of these optimal codons in a gene appears to be correlated with the level of gene expression, and may be a useful indicator in the case of genes (or open reading frames) whose expression levels (or even function) are unknown. A second, relatively minor trend among genes is correlated with the frequency of G at synonymously variable sites. It is not yet clear whether this trend reflects variation in base composition (or mutational biases) among regions of the C.elegans genome, or some other factor. Sequence divergence between C.elegans and C.briggsae has also been studied. PMID:8041603

  20. Discrimination by Escherichia coli initiation factor IF3 against initiation on non-canonical codons relies on complementarity rules.

    PubMed

    Meinnel, T; Sacerdot, C; Graffe, M; Blanquet, S; Springer, M

    1999-07-23

    Translation initiation factor IF3, one of three factors specifically required for translation initiation in Escherichia coli, inhibits initiation on any codon other than the three canonical initiation codons, AUG, GUG, or UUG. This discrimination against initiation on non-canonical codons could be due to either direct recognition of the two last bases of the codon and their cognate bases on the anticodon or to some ability to "feel" codon-anticodon complementarity. To investigate the importance of codon-anticodon complementarity in the discriminatory role of IF3, we constructed a derivative of tRNALeuthat has all the known characteristics of an initiator tRNA except the CAU anticodon. This tRNA is efficiently formylated by methionyl-tRNAfMettransformylase and charged by leucyl-tRNA synthetase irrespective of the sequence of its anticodon. These initiator tRNALeuderivatives (called tRNALI) allow initiation at all the non-canonical codons tested, provided that the complementarity between the codon and the anticodon of the initiator tRNALeuis respected. More remarkably, the discrimination by IF3, normally observed with non-canonical codons, is neutralised if a tRNALIcarrying a complementary anticodon is used for initiation. This suggests that IF3 somehow recognises codon-anticodon complementarity, at least at the second and third position of the codon, rather than some specific bases in either the codon or the anticodon.

  1. The Effect of an Alternate Start Codon on Heterologous Expression of a PhoA Fusion Protein in Mycoplasma gallisepticum.

    PubMed

    Panicker, Indu S; Browning, Glenn F; Markham, Philip F

    2015-01-01

    While the genomes of many Mycoplasma species have been sequenced, there are no collated data on translational start codon usage, and the effects of alternate start codons on gene expression have not been studied. Analysis of the annotated genomes found that ATG was the most prevalent translational start codon among Mycoplasma spp. However in Mycoplasma gallisepticum a GTG start codon is commonly used in the vlhA multigene family, which encodes a highly abundant, phase variable lipoprotein adhesin. Therefore, the effect of this alternate start codon on expression of a reporter PhoA lipoprotein was examined in M. gallisepticum. Mutation of the start codon from ATG to GTG resulted in a 2.5 fold reduction in the level of transcription of the phoA reporter, but the level of PhoA activity in the transformants containing phoA with a GTG start codon was only 63% of that of the transformants with a phoA with an ATG start codon, suggesting that GTG was a more efficient translational initiation codon. The effect of swapping the translational start codon in phoA reporter gene expression was less in M. gallisepticum than has been seen previously in Escherichia coli or Bacillus subtilis, suggesting the process of translational initiation in mycoplasmas may have some significant differences from those used in other bacteria. This is the first study of translational start codon usage in mycoplasmas and the impact of the use of an alternate start codon on expression in these bacteria.

  2. 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.

  3. Clean Fossil Energy Conversion Processes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fan, L.-S.

    2007-03-01

    Absolute and per-capita energy consumption is bound to increase globally, leading to a projected increase in energy requirements of 50% by 2020. The primary source for providing a majority of the energy will continue to be fossil fuels. However, an array of enabling technologies needs to be proven for the realization of a zero emission power, fuel or chemical plants in the near future. Opportunities to develop new processes, driven by the regulatory requirements for the reduction or elimination of gaseous and particulate pollutant abound. This presentation describes the chemistry, reaction mechanisms, reactor design, system engineering, economics, and regulations that surround the utilization of clean coal energy. The presentation will cover the salient features of the fundamental and process aspects of the clean coal technologies in practice as well as in development. These technologies include those for the cleaning of SO2, H2S, NOx, and heavy metals, and separation of CO2 from the flue gas or the syngas. Further, new combustion and gasification processes based on the chemical looping concepts will be illustrated in the context of the looping particle design, process heat integration, energy conversion efficiency, and economics.

  4. Codon usage is associated with the evolutionary age of genes in metazoan genomes

    PubMed Central

    2009-01-01

    Background Codon usage may vary significantly between different organisms and between genes within the same organism. Several evolutionary processes have been postulated to be the predominant determinants of codon usage: selection, mutation, and genetic drift. However, the relative contribution of each of these factors in different species remains debatable. The availability of complete genomes for tens of multicellular organisms provides an opportunity to inspect the relationship between codon usage and the evolutionary age of genes. Results We assign an evolutionary age to a gene based on the relative positions of its identified homologues in a standard phylogenetic tree. This yields a classification of all genes in a genome to several evolutionary age classes. The present study starts from the observation that each age class of genes has a unique codon usage and proceeds to provide a quantitative analysis of the codon usage in these classes. This observation is made for the genomes of Homo sapiens, Mus musculus, and Drosophila melanogaster. It is even more remarkable that the differences between codon usages in different age groups exhibit similar and consistent behavior in various organisms. While we find that GC content and gene length are also associated with the evolutionary age of genes, they can provide only a partial explanation for the observed codon usage. Conclusion While factors such as GC content, mutational bias, and selection shape the codon usage in a genome, the evolutionary history of an organism over hundreds of millions of years is an overlooked property that is strongly linked to GC content, protein length, and, even more significantly, to the codon usage of metazoan genomes. PMID:19995431

  5. A novel nuclear genetic code alteration in yeasts and the evolution of codon reassignment in eukaryotes

    PubMed Central

    Mühlhausen, Stefanie; Findeisen, Peggy; Plessmann, Uwe; Urlaub, Henning; Kollmar, Martin

    2016-01-01

    The genetic code is the cellular translation table for the conversion of nucleotide sequences into amino acid sequences. Changes to the meaning of sense codons would introduce errors into almost every translated message and are expected to be highly detrimental. However, reassignment of single or multiple codons in mitochondria and nuclear genomes, although extremely rare, demonstrates that the code can evolve. Several models for the mechanism of alteration of nuclear genetic codes have been proposed (including “codon capture,” “genome streamlining,” and “ambiguous intermediate” theories), but with little resolution. Here, we report a novel sense codon reassignment in Pachysolen tannophilus, a yeast related to the Pichiaceae. By generating proteomics data and using tRNA sequence comparisons, we show that Pachysolen translates CUG codons as alanine and not as the more usual leucine. The Pachysolen tRNACAG is an anticodon-mutated tRNAAla containing all major alanine tRNA recognition sites. The polyphyly of the CUG-decoding tRNAs in yeasts is best explained by a tRNA loss driven codon reassignment mechanism. Loss of the CUG-tRNA in the ancient yeast is followed by gradual decrease of respective codons and subsequent codon capture by tRNAs whose anticodon is not part of the aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase recognition region. Our hypothesis applies to all nuclear genetic code alterations and provides several testable predictions. We anticipate more codon reassignments to be uncovered in existing and upcoming genome projects. PMID:27197221

  6. ChloroMitoCU: Codon patterns across organelle genomes for functional genomics and evolutionary applications.

    PubMed

    Sablok, Gaurav; Chen, Ting-Wen; Lee, Chi-Ching; Yang, Chi; Gan, Ruei-Chi; Wegrzyn, Jill L; Porta, Nicola L; Nayak, Kinshuk C; Huang, Po-Jung; Varotto, Claudio; Tang, Petrus

    2017-06-01

    Organelle genomes are widely thought to have arisen from reduction events involving cyanobacterial and archaeal genomes, in the case of chloroplasts, or α-proteobacterial genomes, in the case of mitochondria. Heterogeneity in base composition and codon preference has long been the subject of investigation of topics ranging from phylogenetic distortion to the design of overexpression cassettes for transgenic expression. From the overexpression point of view, it is critical to systematically analyze the codon usage patterns of the organelle genomes. In light of the importance of codon usage patterns in the development of hyper-expression organelle transgenics, we present ChloroMitoCU, the first-ever curated, web-based reference catalog of the codon usage patterns in organelle genomes. ChloroMitoCU contains the pre-compiled codon usage patterns of 328 chloroplast genomes (29,960 CDS) and 3,502 mitochondrial genomes (49,066 CDS), enabling genome-wide exploration and comparative analysis of codon usage patterns across species. ChloroMitoCU allows the phylogenetic comparison of codon usage patterns across organelle genomes, the prediction of codon usage patterns based on user-submitted transcripts or assembled organelle genes, and comparative analysis with the pre-compiled patterns across species of interest. ChloroMitoCU can increase our understanding of the biased patterns of codon usage in organelle genomes across multiple clades. ChloroMitoCU can be accessed at: http://chloromitocu.cgu.edu.tw/. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Kazusa DNA Research Institute.

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

    PubMed Central

    Rueden, Kelsey J.; Rucks, Elizabeth A.

    2016-01-01

    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

  8. 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.

  9. Fossil oak galls preserve ancient multitrophic interactions.

    PubMed

    Stone, Graham N; van der Ham, Raymond W J M; Brewer, Jan G

    2008-10-07

    Trace fossils of insect feeding have contributed substantially to our understanding of the evolution of insect-plant interactions. The most complex phenotypes of herbivory are galls, whose diagnostic morphologies often allow the identification of the gall inducer. Although fossil insect-induced galls over 300Myr old are known, most are two-dimensional impressions lacking adequate morphological detail either for the precise identification of the causer or for detection of the communities of specialist parasitoids and inquilines inhabiting modern plant galls. Here, we describe the first evidence for such multitrophic associations in Pleistocene fossil galls from the Eemian interglacial (130000-115000 years ago) of The Netherlands. The exceptionally well-preserved fossils can be attributed to extant species of Andricus gallwasps (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae) galling oaks (Quercus), and provide the first fossil evidence of gall attack by herbivorous inquiline gallwasps. Furthermore, phylogenetic placement of one fossil in a lineage showing obligate host plant alternation implies the presence of a second oak species, Quercus cerris, currently unknown from Eemian fossils in northwestern Europe. This contrasts with the southern European native range of Q. cerris in the current interglacial and suggests that gallwasp invasions following human planting of Q. cerris in northern Europe may represent a return to preglacial distribution limits.

  10. Summary statistics for fossil spider species taxonomy.

    PubMed

    Penney, David; Dunlop, Jason A; Marusik, Yuri M

    2012-01-01

    Spiders (Araneae) are one of the most species-rich orders on Earth today, and also have one of the longest geological records of any terrestrial animal groups, as demonstrated by their extensive fossil record. There are currently around 1150 described fossil spider species, representing 2.6% of all described spiders (i.e. extinct and extant). Data for numbers of fossil and living spider taxa described annually (and various other metrics for the fossil taxa) were compiled from current taxonomic catalogues. Data for extant taxa showed a steady linear increase of approximately 500 new species per year over the last decade, reflecting a rather constant research activity in this area by a large number of scientists, which can be expected to continue. The results for fossil species were very different, with peaks of new species descriptions followed by long troughs, indicating minimal new published research activity for most years. This pattern is indicative of short bursts of research by a limited number of authors. Given the frequent discovery of new fossil deposits containing spiders, a wealth of new material coming to light from previously worked deposits, and the application of new imaging techniques in palaeoarachnology that allow us to extract additional data from historical specimens, e.g. X-ray computed tomography, it is important not only to ensure a sustained research activity on fossil spiders (and other arachnids) through training and enthusing the next generation of palaeoarachnologists, but preferably to promote increased research and expertise in this field.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. Statistical Models for Inferring Vegetation Composition from Fossil Pollen

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Paciorek, C.; McLachlan, J. S.; Shang, Z.

    2011-12-01

    Fossil pollen provide information about vegetation composition that can be used to help understand how vegetation has changed over the past. However, these data have not traditionally been analyzed in a way that allows for statistical inference about spatio-temporal patterns and trends. We build a Bayesian hierarchical model called STEPPS (Spatio-Temporal Empirical Prediction from Pollen in Sediments) that predicts forest composition in southern New England, USA, over the last two millenia based on fossil pollen. The critical relationships between abundances of tree taxa in the pollen record and abundances in actual vegetation are estimated using modern (Forest Inventory Analysis) data and (witness tree) data from colonial records. This gives us two time points at which both pollen and direct vegetation data are available. Based on these relationships, and incorporating our uncertainty about them, we predict forest composition using fossil pollen. We estimate the spatial distribution and relative abundances of tree species and draw inference about how these patterns have changed over time. Finally, we describe ongoing work to extend the modeling to the upper Midwest of the U.S., including an approach to infer tree density and thereby estimate the prairie-forest boundary in Minnesota and Wisconsin. This work is part of the PalEON project, which brings together a team of ecosystem modelers, paleoecologists, and statisticians with the goal of reconstructing vegetation responses to climate during the last two millenia in the northeastern and midwestern United States. The estimates from the statistical modeling will be used to assess and calibrate ecosystem models that are used to project ecological changes in response to global change.

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. Codon frequencies in 119 individual genes confirm consistent choices of degenerate bases according to genome type.

    PubMed Central

    Grantham, R; Gautier, C; Gouy, M

    1980-01-01

    The poor printing of our previous Figure 2 (1) is corrected. Codon usage in mRNA sequences just published is also given. A new correspondence analysis is done, based on simultaneous comparison in all mRNA of use of the 61 codons. This analysis reinforces our claim that most genes in a genome, or genome type, have the same coding strategy; that is, they show similar choices among synonymous codons, or among degenerate bases (2). Like analysis on frequency variation in the amino acids coded reveals an entirely different pattern. PMID:6159596

  17. Effects of release factor context at UAA codons in Escherichia coli.

    PubMed Central

    Martin, R; Weiner, M; Gallant, J

    1988-01-01

    In Escherichia coli, nonsense suppression at UAA codons is governed by the competition between a suppressor tRNA and the translational release factors RF1 and RF2. We have employed plasmids carrying the genes for RF1 and RF2 to measure release factor preference at UAA codons at 13 different sites in the lacI gene. We show here that the activity of RF1 and RF2 varies according to messenger context. RF1 is favored at UAA codons which are efficiently suppressed. RF2 is preferred at poorly suppressed sites. PMID:3049546

  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. Quantification of large uncertainties in fossil leaf paleoaltimetry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peppe, Daniel J.; Royer, Dana L.; Wilf, Peter; Kowalski, Elizabeth A.

    2010-06-01

    Estimates of paleoelevation potentially constrain geodynamic models of continental deformation and inform interpretations of landscape and climate evolution. One widely used, paleobotanical approach reconstructs paleoelevation from the difference in estimated atmospheric enthalpy between a known sea level and a targeted, coeval, elevated fossil floral site. Enthalpy is estimated using Climate-Leaf Analysis Multivariate Program (CLAMP) on 31 leaf size and shape variables that have been calibrated in living forests. Errors related to CLAMP are significantly greater than often reported, and there are many sources of large potential error related to this method that are either difficult to quantify or unquantifiable and are thus not documented. Here, we quantify one significant bias, toward underestimation of leaf area in the CLAMP data set (˜50%), that affects all CLAMP climate estimates, including enthalpy. Crucially, errors in paleoelevation when the leaf size bias is included are in the range of ±2 km or more, at least 2 times the previous estimates, and exceeding the plausible paleoelevations of many fossil sites. Previously published paleoelevations derived from this technique are unlikely to be accurate either in magnitude or in estimated error.

  20. 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

  1. Global Inventory of Gas Geochemistry Data from Fossil Fuel, Microbial and Burning Sources, version 2017

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sherwood, Owen A.; Schwietzke, Stefan; Arling, Victoria A.; Etiope, Giuseppe

    2017-08-01

    The concentration of atmospheric methane (CH4) has more than doubled over the industrial era. To help constrain global and regional CH4 budgets, inverse (top-down) models incorporate data on the concentration and stable carbon (δ13C) and hydrogen (δ2H) isotopic ratios of atmospheric CH4. These models depend on accurate δ13C and δ2H end-member source signatures for each of the main emissions categories. Compared with meticulous measurement and calibration of isotopic CH4 in the atmosphere, there has been relatively less effort to characterize globally representative isotopic source signatures, particularly for fossil fuel sources. Most global CH4 budget models have so far relied on outdated source signature values derived from globally nonrepresentative data. To correct this deficiency, we present a comprehensive, globally representative end-member database of the δ13C and δ2H of CH4 from fossil fuel (conventional natural gas, shale gas, and coal), modern microbial (wetlands, rice paddies, ruminants, termites, and landfills and/or waste) and biomass burning sources. Gas molecular compositional data for fossil fuel categories are also included with the database. The database comprises 10 706 samples (8734 fossil fuel, 1972 non-fossil) from 190 published references. Mean (unweighted) δ13C signatures for fossil fuel CH4 are significantly lighter than values commonly used in CH4 budget models, thus highlighting potential underestimation of fossil fuel CH4 emissions in previous CH4 budget models. This living database will be updated every 2-3 years to provide the atmospheric modeling community with the most complete CH4 source signature data possible. Database digital object identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.15138/G3201T.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Enhancing functional expression of codon-optimized heterologous enzymes in Escherichia coli BL21(DE3) by selective introduction of synonymous rare codons.

    PubMed

    Zhong, Chao; Wei, Ping; Zhang, Yi-Heng Percival

    2017-05-01

    Rare codon in a heterologous gene may cause premature termination of protein synthesis, misincorporation of amino acids, and/or slow translation of mRNA, decreasing the heterologous protein expression. However, its hypothetical function pertaining to functional protein folding has been barely reported. Here, we investigated the effects of selective introduction of synonymous rare codons (SRCs) to two codon-optimized (i.e., rare codon-free) genes sucrose phosphorylase (SP) gene from Thermoanaerobacterium thermosaccharolyticum and amidohydrolase gene from Streptomyces caatingaensis on their expression levels in Escherichia coli BL21(DE3). We investigated the introduction of a single SRC to the coding regions of alpha-helix, beta-strand, or linker in the first half of rare codon-free sp and ah gene. The introduction of a single SRC in the beginning of the coding regions of beta-strand greatly enhanced their soluble expression levels as compared to the other regions. Also, we applied directed evolution to test multi-SRC-containing sp gene mutants for enhanced soluble SP expression levels. To easily identify the soluble SP expression level of colonies growing on Petri dishes, mCherry fluorescent protein was used as a SP-folding reporter when it was fused to the 3' end of the sp gene mutant libraries. After three rounds of screening, the best sp gene mutant containing nine SRCs exhibited an approximately six-fold enhancement in soluble protein expression level as compared to the wild-type and rare codon-free sp control. This study suggests that the selective introduction of SRCs can attenuate translation at specific points and such discontinuous attenuation can temporally separate the translation of segments of the peptide chains and actively coordinates their co-translational folding, resulting in enhanced functional protein expression. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2017;114: 1054-1064. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. Spitzer Digs Up Galactic Fossil

    NASA Image and Video Library

    2004-10-12

    This false-color image taken by NASA 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). http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA06928

  8. 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.

  9. Differential Codon Usage Pattern of HIV-1 tat Gene in Those with Slower and Faster Rates of Disease Progression.

    PubMed

    Vidyavijayan, K K; Anangi, Brahmaiah; Banu, Brindha; Thiruvengadam, Kannan; Hassan, Sameer; Hanna, Luke Elizabeth

    2017-09-01

    Codon usage has been identified as one of the most important factors that influence gene expression. The frequencies with which the different codons are used vary significantly between different organisms and also between the genes within the same organism. HIV has a remarkable nucleotide composition with an above average percentage of "A" nucleotides resulting in a codon usage pattern different from that of the human host. In this study, we compared the codon usage pattern of HIV-1 genes among different groups of HIV disease progressors to understand the influence of differential codon usage pattern on the pathogenic manifestation in the host.

  10. 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.

  11. 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)

  12. The fossil record of the sixth extinction.

    PubMed

    Plotnick, Roy E; Smith, Felisa A; Lyons, S Kathleen

    2016-05-01

    Comparing the magnitude of the current biodiversity crisis with those in the fossil record is difficult without an understanding of differential preservation. Integrating data from palaeontological databases with information on IUCN status, ecology and life history characteristics of contemporary mammals, we demonstrate that only a small and biased fraction of threatened species (< 9%) have a fossil record, compared with 20% of non-threatened species. We find strong taphonomic biases related to body size and geographic range. Modern species with a fossil record tend to be large and widespread and were described in the 19(th) century. The expected magnitude of the current extinction based only on species with a fossil record is about half of that of one based on all modern species; values for genera are similar. The record of ancient extinctions may be similarly biased, with many species having originated and gone extinct without leaving a tangible record. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.

  13. 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)

  14. Proceedings: 1990 fossil plant cycling conference

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1991-12-01

    Fossil plant cycling continues to be a key issue for many electric utilities. EPRI's previous cycling workshops, held in 1983, 1985, and 1987, allowed utilities to benefit from collective industry experience in the conversion of baseload fossil units to cyclic operation. Continued improvements in equipment, retrofits, diagnostics, and controls were highlighted at the 1990 conference. The objective is to provide a forum for utility discussions of the cycling operation of fossil fuel power plants. Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO) hosted the 1990 EPRI Fossil Fuel Cycling Conference in Washington, DC, on December 4--6, 1990. More than 130 representatives from utilities, vendors, government agencies, universities, and industry associations attended the conference. Following the general session, technical sessions covered such topics as plant modifications, utility retrofit experience, cycling economics, life assessment, controls, environmental controls, and energy storage. Attendees also toured PEPCO's Potomac River generating station, the site of an earlier EPRI cycling conversion study.

  15. 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.

  16. Precise Manipulation of Chromosomes in Vivo Enables Genome-Wide Codon Replacement

    PubMed Central

    Isaacs, Farren J.; Carr, Peter A.; Wang, Harris H.; Lajoie, Marc J.; Sterling, Bram; Kraal, Laurens; Tolonen, Andrew C.; Gianoulis, Tara A.; Goodman, Daniel B.; Reppas, Nikos B.; Emig, Christopher J.; Bang, Duhee; Hwang, Samuel J.; Jewett, Michael C.; Jacobson, Joseph M.; Church, George M.

    2016-01-01

    We present genome engineering technologies that are capable of fundamentally reengineering genomes from the nucleotide to the megabase scale. We used multiplex automated genome engineering (MAGE) to site-specifically replace all 314 TAG stop codons with synonymous TAA codons in parallel across 32 Escherichia coli strains. This approach allowed us to measure individual recombination frequencies, confirm viability for each modification, and identify associated phenotypes. We developed hierarchical conjugative assembly genome engineering (CAGE) to merge these sets of codon modifications into genomes with 80 precise changes, which demonstrate that these synonymous codon substitutions can be combined into higher-order strains without synthetic lethal effects. Our methods treat the chromosome as both an editable and an evolvable template, permitting the exploration of vast genetic landscapes. PMID:21764749

  17. Identification of immunoreactive material in mammoth fossils.

    PubMed

    Schweitzer, Mary; Hill, Christopher L; Asara, John M; Lane, William S; Pincus, Seth H

    2002-12-01

    The fossil record represents a history of life on this planet. Attempts to obtain molecular information from this record by analysis of nucleic acids found within fossils of extreme age have been unsuccessful or called into question. However, previous studies have demonstrated the long-term persistence of peptides within fossils and have used antibodies to extant proteins to demonstrate antigenic material. In this study we address two questions: Do immunogenic/antigenic materials persist in fossils? and; Can fossil material be used to raise antibodies that will cross-react with extant proteins? We have used material extracted from a well-preserved 100000-300000-year-old mammoth skull to produce antisera. The specificity of the antisera was tested by ELISA, western blotting, and immunohistochemistry. It was demonstrated that antisera reacted specifically with the fossils and not the surrounding sediments. Reactivity of antisera with modern proteins and tissues was also demonstrated, as was the ability to detect evolutionary relationships via antibody-antigen interactions. Mass spectrometry demonstrated the presence of amino acids and specific peptides within the fossil. Peptides were purified by anion-exchange chromatography and sequenced by tandem mass spectrometry. The collagen-derived peptides may have been the source of at least some of the immunologic reactivity, but the antisera identified molecules that were not observed by mass spectrometry, indicating that immunologic methods may have greater sensitivity. Although the presence of peptides and amino acids was demonstrated, the exact nature of the antigenic material was not fully clarified. This report demonstrates that antibodies may be used to obtain information from the fossil record.

  18. Suzaku Finds "Fossil" Fireballs from Supernovae

    NASA Image and Video Library

    2017-09-27

    Suzaku Finds "Fossil" Fireballs from Supernovae In a supernova remnant known as the Jellyfish Nebula, Suzaku detected X-rays from fully ionized silicon and sulfur -- an imprint of higher-temperature conditions immediately following the star's explosion. The nebula is about 65 light-years across. (12/30/2009) Credit: JAXA/NASA/Suzaku To learn more go to: www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/astro-e2/news/fossil-fireballs...

  19. 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.

  20. Understanding the influence of codon translation rates on cotranslational protein folding.

    PubMed

    O'Brien, Edward P; Ciryam, Prajwal; Vendruscolo, Michele; Dobson, Christopher M

    2014-05-20

    Protein domains can fold into stable tertiary structures while they are synthesized by the ribosome in a process known as cotranslational folding. If a protein does not fold cotranslationally, however, it has the opportunity to do so post-translationally, that is, after the nascent chain has been fully synthesized and released from the ribosome. The rate at which a ribosome adds an amino acid encoded by a particular codon to the elongating nascent chain can vary significantly and is called the codon translation rate. Recent experiments have illustrated the profound impact that codon translation rates can have on the cotranslational folding process and the acquisition of function by nascent proteins. Synonymous codon mutations in an mRNA molecule change the chemical identity of a codon and its translation rate without changing the sequence of the synthesized protein. This change in codon translation rate can, however, cause a nascent protein to malfunction as a result of cotranslational misfolding. In some situations, such dysfunction can have profound implications; for example, it can alter the substrate specificity of an ABC transporter protein, resulting in patients who are nonresponsive to chemotherapy treatment. Thus, codon translation rates are crucial in coordinating protein folding in a cellular environment and can affect downstream cellular processes that depend on the proper functioning of newly synthesized proteins. As the importance of codon translation rates makes clear, a necessary aspect of fully understanding cotranslational folding lies in considering the kinetics of the process in addition to its thermodynamics. In this Account, we examine the contributions that have been made to elucidating the mechanisms of cotranslational folding by using the theoretical and computational tools of chemical kinetics, molecular simulations, and systems biology. These efforts have extended our ability to understand, model, and predict the influence of codon

  1. HIV-1 gag expression is quantitatively dependent on the ratio of native and optimized codons.

    PubMed

    Kofman, Alexander; Graf, Marcus; Bojak, Alexandra; Deml, Ludwig; Bieler, Kurt; Kharazova, Alexandra; Wolf, Hans; Wagner, Ralf

    2003-01-01

    There is a significant variation of codon usage bias among different species and even among genes within the same organisms. Codon optimization, this is, gene redesigning with the use of codons preferred for the specific expression system, results in improved expression of heterologous genes in bacteria, plants, yeast, mammalian cells, and transgenic animals. The mechanisms preventing expression of genes with rare or low-usage codons at adequate levels are not completely elucidated. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) represents an interesting model for studying how differences in codon usage affect gene expression in heterologous systems. Construction of synthetic genes with optimized codons demonstrated that the codon-usage effects might be a major impediment to the efficient expression of HIV gag/pol and env gene products in mammalian cells. According to another hypothesis, the poor expression of HIV structural proteins even without HIV context is attributed to the so-called cis-acting inhibitory elements (INS), which are located within the protein-coding region. They consist of AU-rich sequences and may be inactivated through the introduction of multiple mutations over the large regions of gag gene. In our work, we evaluated expression of hybrid HIV-1 gag mRNAs where wild-type (A-rich) gag sequences were combined with artificial sequences. In such "humanized" gag fragments with adapted codon usage, AT-content was significantly reduced in favor of G and C nucleotides without any changes in protein sequence. We show that wild-type gag sequences negatively influence expression of gag-reporter, and the addition of fragments with optimized codons to gag mRNA partially rescues its expression. The results demonstrate that the expression of HIV-1 gag is determined by the ratio of optimized and rare codons within mRNA. Our data also indicates that some wtgag fragments counteract the influence of the other wtgag sequences, which cause the inhibition of gag expression. The

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

    PubMed Central

    Whittle, Carrie A.; Extavour, Cassandra G.

    2015-01-01

    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

  3. 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

  4. Structure-Based Energetics of Stop Codon Recognition by Eukaryotic Release Factor.

    PubMed

    Kumar, Amit; Basu, Debadrita; Satpati, Priyadarshi

    2017-09-06

    In translation termination, the eukaryotic release factor (eRF1) recognizes mRNA stop codons (UAA, UAG, or UGA) in a ribosomal A site and triggers release of the nascent polypeptide chain from P-site tRNA. eRF1 is highly selective for U in the first position and a combination of purines (except two consecutive guanines, i.e., GG) in the second and third positions. Eukaryotes decode all three stop codons with a single release factor eRF1, instead of two (RF1 and RF2), in bacteria. Furthermore, unlike bacterial RF1/RF2, eRF1 stabilizes the compact U-turn mRNA configuration in the ribosomal A site by accommodating four nucleotides instead of three. Despite the available cryo-EM structures (resolution ∼3.5-3.8 Å), the energetic principle for eRF1 selectivity toward a stop codon remains a fundamentally unsolved problem. Using cryo-EM structures of eukaryotic translation termination complexes as templates, we carried out molecular dynamics free energy simulations of cognate and near-cognate complexes to quantitatively address the energetics of stop codon recognition by eRF1. Our results suggest that eRF1 has a higher discriminatory power against sense codons, compared to that reported earlier for RF1/RF2. The compact mRNA formed specific intra-mRNA interactions, which itself contributed to stop codon specificity. Furthermore, the specificity is enhanced by the loss of protein-mRNA interactions and, most importantly, by desolvation of the incorrect codons in the near-cognate complexes. Our work provides a clue to how eRF1 discriminates between cognate and near-cognate codons during protein synthesis.

  5. The shadow price of fossil groundwater

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bierkens, M. F.; Reinhard, S.; De Bruijn, J.; Wada, Y.

    2016-12-01

    The expansion of irrigated agriculture into areas with limited precipitation and surface water during the growing season has greatly increased the use of fossil groundwater (Wada et al., 2012). As a result, the depletion rate of fossil groundwater resources has shown an increasing rate during the last decades (Wada et al, 2010; Konikow, 2011; Wada et al., 2012; De Graaf et al. 2015; Ritchy et al., 2015). Although water pricing has been used extensively to stimulate efficient application of water to create maximum value (e.g. Medellín-Azuara et al., 2012; Rinaudo et al., 2012; Dinar et al., 2015), it does not preclude the use of non-renewable water resources. Here, we use a global hydrological model and historical crop production and price data to assess the shadow price of non-renewable or fossil groundwater applied to major crops in countries that use large quantities of fossil groundwater. Our results show that shadow prices for many crops are very low, indicating economically inefficient or even wasteful use of fossil groundwater resources. Using India as an example, we show that small changes in the crop mix could lead to large reductions in fossil groundwater use or alternatively, create additional financial means to invest in water saving technologies. Our study thus provides a hydro-economic basis to further the sustainable use of finite groundwater resources.

  6. 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.

  7. Primate diversification inferred from phylogenies and fossils.

    PubMed

    Herrera, James P

    2017-09-14

    Biodiversity arises from the balance between speciation and extinction. Fossils record the origins and disappearance of organisms, and the branching patterns of molecular phylogenies allow estimation of speciation and extinction rates, but the patterns of diversification are frequently incongruent between these two data sources. I tested two hypotheses about the diversification of primates based on ∼600 fossil species and 90% complete phylogenies of living species: 1) diversification rates increased through time; 2) a significant extinction event occurred in the Oligocene. Consistent with the first hypothesis, analyses of phylogenies consistently supported increasing speciation rates and negligible extinction rates. In contrast, fossils showed that while speciation rates increased, speciation and extinction rates tended to be nearly equal, resulting in zero net diversification. Partially supporting the second hypothesis, the fossil data recorded a clear pattern of diversity decline in the Oligocene, although diversification rates were near zero. The phylogeny supported increased extinction ∼34 Ma, but also elevated extinction ∼10 Ma, coinciding with diversity declines in some fossil clades. The results demonstrated that estimates of speciation and extinction ignoring fossils are insufficient to infer diversification and information on extinct lineages should be incorporated into phylogenetic analyses. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  8. The shadow price of fossil groundwater

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bierkens, Marc F. P.; Reinhard, Stijn; de Bruijn, Jens A.; Wada, Yoshihide

    2017-04-01

    The expansion of irrigated agriculture into areas with limited precipitation and surface water during the growing season has greatly increased the use of fossil groundwater (Wada et al., 2012). As a result, the depletion rate of fossil groundwater resources has shown an increasing rate during the last decades (Wada et al, 2010; Konikow, 2011; Wada et al., 2012; De Graaf et al. 2015; Ritchy et al., 2015). Although water pricing has been used extensively to stimulate efficient application of water to create maximum value (e.g. Medellín-Azuara et al., 2012; Rinaudo et al., 2012; Dinar et al., 2015), it does not preclude the use of non-renewable water resources. Here, we use a global hydrological model and historical crop production and price data to assess the shadow price of non-renewable or fossil groundwater applied to major crops in countries that use large quantities of fossil groundwater. Our results show that shadow prices for many crops are very low, indicating economically inefficient or even wasteful use of fossil groundwater resources. Using India as an example, we show that small changes in the crop mix could lead to large reductions in fossil groundwater use or alternatively, create additional financial means to invest in water saving technologies. Our study thus provides a hydro-economic basis to further the sustainable use of finite groundwater resources.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. tRNA-mediated codon-biased translation in mycobacterial hypoxic persistence

    PubMed Central

    Chionh, Yok Hian; McBee, Megan; Babu, I. Ramesh; Hia, Fabian; Lin, Wenwei; Zhao, Wei; Cao, Jianshu; Dziergowska, Agnieszka; Malkiewicz, Andrzej; Begley, Thomas J.; Alonso, Sylvie; Dedon, Peter C.

    2016-01-01

    Microbial pathogens adapt to the stress of infection by regulating transcription, translation and protein modification. We report that changes in gene expression in hypoxia-induced non-replicating persistence in mycobacteria—which models tuberculous granulomas—are partly determined by a mechanism of tRNA reprogramming and codon-biased translation. Mycobacterium bovis BCG responded to each stage of hypoxia and aerobic resuscitation by uniquely reprogramming 40 modified ribonucleosides in tRNA, which correlate with selective translation of mRNAs from families of codon-biased persistence genes. For example, early hypoxia increases wobble cmo5U in tRNAThr(UGU), which parallels translation of transcripts enriched in its cognate codon, ACG, including the DosR master regulator of hypoxic bacteriostasis. Codon re-engineering of dosR exaggerates hypoxia-induced changes in codon-biased DosR translation, with altered dosR expression revealing unanticipated effects on bacterial survival during hypoxia. These results reveal a coordinated system of tRNA modifications and translation of codon-biased transcripts that enhance expression of stress response proteins in mycobacteria. PMID:27834374

  12. Influence of codon usage bias on FGLamide-allatostatin mRNA secondary structure.

    PubMed

    Martínez-Pérez, Francisco; Bendena, William G; Chang, Belinda S W; Tobe, Stephen S

    2011-03-01

    The FGLamide allatostatins (ASTs) are invertebrate neuropeptides which inhibit juvenile hormone biosynthesis in Dictyoptera and related orders. They also show myomodulatory activity. FGLamide AST nucleotide frequencies and codon bias were investigated with respect to possible effects on mRNA secondary structure. 367 putative FGLamide ASTs and their potential endoproteolytic cleavage sites were identified from 40 species of crustaceans, chelicerates and insects. Among these, 55% comprised only 11 amino acids. An FGLamide AST consensus was identified to be (X)(1→16)Y(S/A/N/G)FGLGKR, with a strong bias for the codons UUU encoding for Phe and AAA for Lys, which can form strong Watson-Crick pairing in all peptides analyzed. The physical distance between these codons favor a loop structure from Ser/Ala-Phe to Lys-Arg. Other loop and hairpin loops were also inferred from the codon frequencies in the N-terminal motif, and the first amino acids from the C-terminal motif, or the dibasic potential endoproteolytic cleavage site. Our results indicate that nucleotide frequencies and codon usage bias in FGLamide ASTs tend to favor mRNA folds in the codon sequence in the C-terminal active peptide core and at the dibasic potential endoproteolytic cleavage site. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  13. Evolution of codon usage in Zika virus genomes is host and vector specific

    PubMed Central

    Butt, Azeem Mehmood; Nasrullah, Izza; Qamar, Raheel; Tong, Yigang

    2016-01-01

    The codon usage patterns of viruses reflect the evolutionary changes that allow them to optimize their survival and adapt their fitness to the external environment and, most importantly, their hosts. Here we report the genotype-specific codon usage patterns of Zika virus (ZIKV) strains from the current and previous outbreaks. Several genotype-specific and common codon usage traits were noted in the ZIKV coding sequences, indicating their independent evolutionary origins from a common ancestor. The overall influence of natural selection was more profound than that of mutation pressure, acting on a specific set of viral genes in the Asian-genotype ZIKV strains from the recent outbreak. An interplay between codon adaptation and deoptimization may have allowed the virus to adapt to multiple host and vectors and is reported for the first time in ZIKV genomes. Combining our codon analysis with geographical data on Aedes populations in the Americas suggested that ZIKV has evolved host- and vector-specific codon usage patterns to maintain successful replication and transmission chains within multiple hosts and vectors. PMID:27729643

  14. SYNONYMOUS CODONS DIRECT CO-TRANSLATIONAL FOLDING TOWARDS DIFFERENT PROTEIN CONFORMATIONS

    PubMed Central

    Mittelstaet, Joerg; Kutz, Felicitas; Schwalbe, Harald; Rodnina, Marina V.; Komar, Anton A.

    2016-01-01

    SUMMARY In all genomes, most amino acids are encoded by more than one codon. Synonymous codons can modulate protein production and folding, but the mechanism connecting codon usage to protein homeostasis is not known. Here we show that synonymous codon variants in the gene encoding gamma-B crystallin, a mammalian eye lens protein, modulate the rates of translation and co-translational folding of protein domains monitored in real time by Förster resonance energy transfer and fluorescence intensity changes. Gamma-B crystallins produced from mRNAs with changed codon bias have the same amino acid sequence, but attain different conformations as indicated by altered in vivo stability and in vitro protease resistance. 2D NMR spectroscopic data suggest that structural differences are associated with different cysteine oxidation states of the purified proteins, providing a link between translation, folding, and the structures of isolated proteins. Thus, synonymous codons provide a secondary code for protein folding in the cell. PMID:26849192

  15. Codon sextets with leading role of serine create "ideal" symmetry classification scheme of the genetic code.

    PubMed

    Rosandić, Marija; Paar, Vladimir

    2014-06-10

    The standard classification scheme of the genetic code is organized for alphabetic ordering of nucleotides. Here we introduce the new, "ideal" classification scheme in compact form, for the first time generated by codon sextets encoding Ser, Arg and Leu amino acids. The new scheme creates the known purine/pyrimidine, codon-anticodon, and amino/keto type symmetries and a novel A+U rich/C+G rich symmetry. This scheme is built from "leading" and "nonleading" groups of 32 codons each. In the ensuing 4 × 16 scheme, based on trinucleotide quadruplets, Ser has a central role as initial generator. Six codons encoding Ser and six encoding Arg extend continuously along a linear array in the "leading" group, and together with four of six Leu codons uniquely define construction of the "leading" group. The remaining two Leu codons enable construction of the "nonleading" group. The "ideal" genetic code suggests the evolution of genetic code with serine as an initiator. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  16. Reassignment of a rare sense codon to a non-canonical amino acid in Escherichia coli

    PubMed Central

    Mukai, Takahito; Yamaguchi, Atsushi; Ohtake, Kazumasa; Takahashi, Mihoko; Hayashi, Akiko; Iraha, Fumie; Kira, Satoshi; Yanagisawa, Tatsuo; Yokoyama, Shigeyuki; Hoshi, Hiroko; Kobayashi, Takatsugu; Sakamoto, Kensaku

    2015-01-01

    The immutability of the genetic code has been challenged with the successful reassignment of the UAG stop codon to non-natural amino acids in Escherichia coli. In the present study, we demonstrated the in vivo reassignment of the AGG sense codon from arginine to l-homoarginine. As the first step, we engineered a novel variant of the archaeal pyrrolysyl-tRNA synthetase (PylRS) able to recognize l-homoarginine and l-N6-(1-iminoethyl)lysine (l-NIL). When this PylRS variant or HarRS was expressed in E. coli, together with the AGG-reading tRNAPylCCU molecule, these arginine analogs were efficiently incorporated into proteins in response to AGG. Next, some or all of the AGG codons in the essential genes were eliminated by their synonymous replacements with other arginine codons, whereas the majority of the AGG codons remained in the genome. The bacterial host's ability to translate AGG into arginine was then restricted in a temperature-dependent manner. The temperature sensitivity caused by this restriction was rescued by the translation of AGG to l-homoarginine or l-NIL. The assignment of AGG to l-homoarginine in the cells was confirmed by mass spectrometric analyses. The results showed the feasibility of breaking the degeneracy of sense codons to enhance the amino-acid diversity in the genetic code. PMID:26240376

  17. Evolution of codon usage in Zika virus genomes is host and vector specific.

    PubMed

    Butt, Azeem Mehmood; Nasrullah, Izza; Qamar, Raheel; Tong, Yigang

    2016-10-12

    The codon usage patterns of viruses reflect the evolutionary changes that allow them to optimize their survival and adapt their fitness to the external environment and, most importantly, their hosts. Here we report the genotype-specific codon usage patterns of Zika virus (ZIKV) strains from the current and previous outbreaks. Several genotype-specific and common codon usage traits were noted in the ZIKV coding sequences, indicating their independent evolutionary origins from a common ancestor. The overall influence of natural selection was more profound than that of mutation pressure, acting on a specific set of viral genes in the Asian-genotype ZIKV strains from the recent outbreak. An interplay between codon adaptation and deoptimization may have allowed the virus to adapt to multiple host and vectors and is reported for the first time in ZIKV genomes. Combining our codon analysis with geographical data on Aedes populations in the Americas suggested that ZIKV has evolved host- and vector-specific codon usage patterns to maintain successful replication and transmission chains within multiple hosts and vectors.

  18. Variation in synonymous codon usage in Paenibacillus sp. 32O-W genome

    PubMed Central

    Deb, Sushanta; Basak, Surajit

    2016-01-01

    Paenibacillus sp. 32O-W, which is attributed for biodesulfurization of petroleum, has 56.34% genomic G+C content. Correspondence analysis on Relative Synonymous Codon Usage (RSCU) of the Paenibacillus sp. 32O-W genome has revealed the two different trends of codon usage variation. Two sets of genes have been identified representing the two distinct pattern of codon usage in this bacterial genome. We have measured several codon usage indices to understand the influencing factors governing the differential pattern of codon usage variation in this bacterial genome. We also observed significant differences in many protein properties between the two gene sets (e.g., hydrophobicity, protein biosynthetic cost, protein aggregation propensity). The compositional difference between the two sets of genes and the difference in their potential gene expressivity are the driving force for the differences in protein biosynthetic cost and aggregation propensity. Based on our results we argue that codon usage variation in Paenibacillus sp. 32O-W genome is actually influenced by both mutational bias and translational selection. PMID:28293070

  19. tRNA-mediated codon-biased translation in mycobacterial hypoxic persistence

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chionh, Yok Hian; McBee, Megan; Babu, I. Ramesh; Hia, Fabian; Lin, Wenwei; Zhao, Wei; Cao, Jianshu; Dziergowska, Agnieszka; Malkiewicz, Andrzej; Begley, Thomas J.; Alonso, Sylvie; Dedon, Peter C.

    2016-11-01

    Microbial pathogens adapt to the stress of infection by regulating transcription, translation and protein modification. We report that changes in gene expression in hypoxia-induced non-replicating persistence in mycobacteria--which models tuberculous granulomas--are partly determined by a mechanism of tRNA reprogramming and codon-biased translation. Mycobacterium bovis BCG responded to each stage of hypoxia and aerobic resuscitation by uniquely reprogramming 40 modified ribonucleosides in tRNA, which correlate with selective translation of mRNAs from families of codon-biased persistence genes. For example, early hypoxia increases wobble cmo5U in tRNAThr(UGU), which parallels translation of transcripts enriched in its cognate codon, ACG, including the DosR master regulator of hypoxic bacteriostasis. Codon re-engineering of dosR exaggerates hypoxia-induced changes in codon-biased DosR translation, with altered dosR expression revealing unanticipated effects on bacterial survival during hypoxia. These results reveal a coordinated system of tRNA modifications and translation of codon-biased transcripts that enhance expression of stress response proteins in mycobacteria.

  20. 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.

  1. The TP53 Codon 72 Polymorphism and Risk of Sporadic Prostate Cancer among Iranian Patients

    PubMed Central

    BABAEI, Farhad; AHMADI, Seyed Ali; ABIRI, Ramin; REZAEI, Farhad; NASERI, Maryam; MAHMOUDI, Mahmoud; NATEGH, Rakhshande; MOKHTARI AZAD, Talat

    2014-01-01

    Abstract Background The TP53 gene is one of the most frequently mutated genes amongst human malignancies, particularly TP53 codon 72 polymorphism. Furthermore, an association between the TP53 codon 72 variants and prostate cancer has been reported in several studies. Although some studies have indicated an association between the TP53 Arg/Arg variant and an increased risk for prostate cancer, other studies have shown a positive correlation between the TP53 Pro/Pro genotype instead. Therefore, to clarify if this polymorphism is associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer in Iranian men, we conducted a case-control study of 40 sporadic prostate cancer patients and 80 benign prostate hyperplasia cases. Methods The TP53 codon 72 was genotyped using an allele specific PCR. Results A significant association between the TP53 codon 72 genotype and prostate cancer risk was found (OR = 6.8, 95% CI = [1.8-25.1], P = 0.005). However, the results of this study did not support an association between age, the Gleason score nor TP53 genotype at codon 72 in prostate cancer patients. Conclusions TP53 codon 72 polymorphism may have a great impact in the development of prostate cancer. PMID:26005655

  2. 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. Copyright © 2014 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press; all rights reserved.

  3. 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.

  4. Evolution of the angiosperms: calibrating the family tree.

    PubMed Central

    Wikström, N.; Savolainen, V.; Chase, M. W.

    2001-01-01

    Growing evidence of morphological diversity in angiosperm flowers, seeds and pollen from the mid Cretaceous and the presence of derived lineages from increasingly older geological deposits both imply that the timing of early angiosperm cladogenesis is older than fossil-based estimates have indicated. An alternative to fossils for calibrating the phylogeny comes from divergence in DNA sequence data. Here, angiosperm divergence times are estimated using non-parametric rate smoothing and a three-gene dataset covering ca. 75% of all angiosperm families recognized in recent classifications. The results provide an initial hypothesis of angiosperm diversification times. Using an internal calibration point, an independent evaluation of angiosperm and eudicot origins is performed. The origin of the crown group of extant angiosperms is indicated to be Early to Middle Jurassic (179-158 Myr), and the origin of eudicots is resolved as Late Jurassic to mid Cretaceous (147-131 Myr). Both estimates, despite a conservative calibration point, are older than current fossil-based estimates. PMID:11674868

  5. Evolution of the angiosperms: calibrating the family tree.

    PubMed

    Wikström, N; Savolainen, V; Chase, M W

    2001-11-07

    Growing evidence of morphological diversity in angiosperm flowers, seeds and pollen from the mid Cretaceous and the presence of derived lineages from increasingly older geological deposits both imply that the timing of early angiosperm cladogenesis is older than fossil-based estimates have indicated. An alternative to fossils for calibrating the phylogeny comes from divergence in DNA sequence data. Here, angiosperm divergence times are estimated using non-parametric rate smoothing and a three-gene dataset covering ca. 75% of all angiosperm families recognized in recent classifications. The results provide an initial hypothesis of angiosperm diversification times. Using an internal calibration point, an independent evaluation of angiosperm and eudicot origins is performed. The origin of the crown group of extant angiosperms is indicated to be Early to Middle Jurassic (179-158 Myr), and the origin of eudicots is resolved as Late Jurassic to mid Cretaceous (147-131 Myr). Both estimates, despite a conservative calibration point, are older than current fossil-based estimates.

  6. RF impedance measurement calibration

    SciTech Connect

    Matthews, P.J.; Song, J.J.

    1993-02-12

    The intent of this note is not to explain all of the available calibration methods in detail. Instead, we will focus on the calibration methods of interest for RF impedance coupling measurements and attempt to explain: (1). The standards and measurements necessary for the various calibration techniques. (2). The advantages and disadvantages of each technique. (3). The mathematical manipulations that need to be applied to the measured standards and devices. (4). An outline of the steps needed for writing a calibration routine that operated from a remote computer. For further details of the various techniques presented in this note, the reader should consult the references.

  7. 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. Copyright © 2016 The Author. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.

  8. Comparing primate crania: The importance of fossils.

    PubMed

    Fleagle, John G; Gilbert, Christopher C; Baden, Andrea L

    2016-10-01

    Extant primate crania represent a small subset of primate crania that have existed. The main objective here is to examine how the inclusion of fossil crania changes our understanding of primate cranial diversity relative to analyses of extant primates. We hypothesize that fossil taxa will change the major axes of cranial shape, occupy new areas of morphospace, change the relative diversity of major primate clades, and fill in notable gaps separating major primate taxa/clades. Eighteen 3D landmarks were collected on 157 extant and fossil crania representing 90 genera. Data were subjected to a Generalized Procrustes Analysis then principal components analysis. Relative diversity between clades was assessed using an F-statistic. Fossil taxa do not significantly alter major axes of cranial shape, but they do occupy unique areas of morphospace, change the relative diversity between clades, and fill in notable gaps in primate cranial evolution. Strepsirrhines remain significantly less diverse than anthropoids. Fossil hominins fill the gap in cranial morphospace between extant great apes and modern humans. The morphospace outlined by living primates largely includes that occupied by fossil taxa, suggesting that the cranial diversity of living primates generally encompasses the total diversity that has evolved in this Order. The evolution of the anthropoid cranium was a significant event allowing anthropoids to achieve significantly greater cranial diversity compared to strepsirrhines. Fossil taxa fill in notable gaps within and between clades, highlighting their transitional nature and eliminating the appearance of large morphological distances between extant taxa, particularly in the case of extant hominids. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  9. Coupling between protein level selection and codon usage optimization in the evolution of bacteria and archaea.

    PubMed

    Ran, Wenqi; Kristensen, David M; Koonin, Eugene V

    2014-03-25

    The relationship between the selection affecting codon usage and selection on protein sequences of orthologous genes in diverse groups of bacteria and archaea was examined by using the Alignable Tight Genome Clusters database of prokaryote genomes. The codon usage bias is generally low, with 57.5% of the gene-specific optimal codon frequencies (Fopt) being below 0.55. This apparent weak selection on codon usage contrasts with the strong purifying selection on amino acid sequences, with 65.8% of the gene-specific dN/dS ratios being below 0.1. For most of the genomes compared, a limited but statistically significant negative correlation between Fopt and dN/dS was observed, which is indicative of a link between selection on protein sequence and selection on codon usage. The strength of the coupling between the protein level selection and codon usage bias showed a strong positive correlation with the genomic GC content. Combined with previous observations on the selection for GC-rich codons in bacteria and archaea with GC-rich genomes, these findings suggest that selection for translational fine-tuning could be an important factor in microbial evolution that drives the evolution of genome GC content away from mutational equilibrium. This type of selection is particularly pronounced in slowly evolving, "high-status" genes. A significantly stronger link between the two aspects of selection is observed in free-living bacteria than in parasitic bacteria and in genes encoding metabolic enzymes and transporters than in informational genes. These differences might reflect the special importance of translational fine-tuning for the adaptability of gene expression to environmental changes. The results of this work establish the coupling between protein level selection and selection for translational optimization as a distinct and potentially important factor in microbial evolution. IMPORTANCE Selection affects the evolution of microbial genomes at many levels, including both

  10. Integration of Bayesian molecular clock methods and fossil-based soft bounds reveals early Cenozoic origin of African lacertid lizards

    PubMed Central

    Hipsley, Christy A; Himmelmann, Lin; Metzler, Dirk; Müller, Johannes

    2009-01-01

    Background Although current molecular clock methods offer greater flexibility in modelling evolutionary events, calibration of the clock with dates from the fossil record is still problematic for many groups. Here we implement several new approaches in molecular dating to estimate the evolutionary ages of Lacertidae, an Old World family of lizards with a poor fossil record and uncertain phylogeny. Four different models of rate variation are tested in a new program for Bayesian phylogenetic analysis called TreeTime, based on a combination of mitochondrial and nuclear gene sequences. We incorporate paleontological uncertainty into divergence estimates by expressing multiple calibration dates as a range of probabilistic distributions. We also test the reliability of our proposed calibrations by exploring effects of individual priors on posterior estimates. Results According to the most reliable model, as indicated by Bayes factor comparison, modern lacertids arose shortly after the K/T transition and entered Africa about 45 million years ago, with the majority of their African radiation occurring in the Eocene and Oligocene. Our findings indicate much earlier origins for these clades than previously reported, and we discuss our results in light of paleogeographic trends during the Cenozoic. Conclusion This study represents the first attempt to estimate evolutionary ages of a specific group of reptiles exhibiting uncertain phylogenetic relationships, molecular rate variation and a poor fossil record. Our results emphasize the sensitivity of molecular divergence dates to fossil calibrations, and support the use of combined molecular data sets and multiple, well-spaced dates from the fossil record as minimum node constraints. The bioinformatics program used here, TreeTime, is publicly available, and we recommend its use for molecular dating of taxa faced with similar challenges. PMID:19570207

  11. Functional Significance of an Evolutionarily Conserved Alanine (GCA) Resume Codon in tmRNA in Escherichia coli▿

    PubMed Central

    Kapoor, Suman; Samhita, Laasya; Varshney, Umesh

    2011-01-01

    Occasionally, ribosomes stall on mRNAs prior to the completion of the polypeptide chain. In Escherichia coli and other eubacteria, tmRNA-mediated trans-translation is a major mechanism that recycles the stalled ribosomes. The tmRNA possesses a tRNA-like domain and a short mRNA region encoding a short peptide (ANDENYALAA in E. coli) followed by a termination codon. The first amino acid (Ala) of this peptide encoded by the resume codon (GCN) is highly conserved in tmRNAs in different species. However, reasons for the high evolutionary conservation of the resume codon identity have remained unclear. In this study, we show that changing the E. coli tmRNA resume codon to other efficiently translatable codons retains efficient functioning of the tmRNA. However, when the resume codon was replaced with the low-usage codons, its function was adversely affected. Interestingly, expression of tRNAs decoding the low-usage codon from plasmid-borne gene copies restored efficient utilization of tmRNA. We discuss why in E. coli, the GCA (Ala) is one of the best codons and why all codons in the short mRNA of the tmRNA are decoded by the abundant tRNAs. PMID:21602351

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

    PubMed

    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.

  13. 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

  14. The Characteristics of Rare Codon Clusters in the Genome and Proteins of Hepatitis C Virus; a Bioinformatics Look

    PubMed Central

    Fattahi, Mohammadreza; Malekpour, Abdorrasoul; Mortazavi, Mojtaba; Safarpour, Alireza; Naseri, Nasrin

    2014-01-01

    BACKGROUND Recent studies suggest that rare codon clusters are functionally important for protein activity. METHODS Here, for the first time we analyzed and reported rare codon clusters in Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) genome and then identified the location of these rare codon clusters in the structure of HCV protein. This analysis was performed using the Sherlocc program that detects statistically relevant conserved rare codon clusters. RESULTS By this program, we identified the rare codon cluster in three regions of HCV genome; NS2, NS3, and NS5A coding sequence of HCV genome. For further understanding of the role of these rare codon clusters, we studied the location of these rare codon clusters and critical residues in the structure of NS2, NS3 and NS5A proteins. We identified some critical residues near or within rare codon clusters. It should be mentioned that characteristics of these critical residues such as location and situation of side chains are important in assurance of the HCV life cycle. CONCLUSION The characteristics of these residues and their relative status showed that these rare codon clusters play an important role in proper folding of these proteins. Thus, it is likely that these rare codon clusters may have an important role in the function of HCV proteins. This information is helpful in development of new avenues for vaccine and treatment protocols. PMID:25349685

  15. New insights into the incorporation of natural suppressor tRNAs at stop codons in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

    PubMed Central

    Blanchet, Sandra; Cornu, David; Argentini, Manuela; Namy, Olivier

    2014-01-01

    Stop codon readthrough may be promoted by the nucleotide environment or drugs. In such cases, ribosomes incorporate a natural suppressor tRNA at the stop codon, leading to the continuation of translation in the same reading frame until the next stop codon and resulting in the expression of a protein with a new potential function. However, the identity of the natural suppressor tRNAs involved in stop codon readthrough remains unclear, precluding identification of the amino acids incorporated at the stop position. We established an in vivo reporter system for identifying the amino acids incorporated at the stop codon, by mass spectrometry in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We found that glutamine, tyrosine and lysine were inserted at UAA and UAG codons, whereas tryptophan, cysteine and arginine were inserted at UGA codon. The 5′ nucleotide context of the stop codon had no impact on the identity or proportion of amino acids incorporated by readthrough. We also found that two different glutamine tRNAGln were used to insert glutamine at UAA and UAG codons. This work constitutes the first systematic analysis of the amino acids incorporated at stop codons, providing important new insights into the decoding rules used by the ribosome to read the genetic code. PMID:25056309

  16. 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. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. GC-Content of Synonymous Codons Profoundly Influences Amino Acid Usage

    PubMed Central

    Li, Jing; Zhou, Jun; Wu, Ying; Yang, Sihai; Tian, Dacheng

    2015-01-01

    Amino acids typically are encoded by multiple synonymous codons that are not used with the same frequency. Codon usage bias has drawn considerable attention, and several explanations have been offered, including variation in GC-content between species. Focusing on a simple parameter—combined GC proportion of all the synonymous codons for a particular amino acid, termed GCsyn—we try to deepen our understanding of the relationship between GC-content and amino acid/codon usage in more details. We analyzed 65 widely distributed representative species and found a close association between GCsyn, GC-content, and amino acids usage. The overall usages of the four amino acids with the greatest GCsyn and the five amino acids with the lowest GCsyn both vary with the regional GC-content, whereas the usage of the remaining 11 amino acids with intermediate GCsyn is less variable. More interesting, we discovered that codon usage frequencies are nearly constant in regions with similar GC-content. We further quantified the effects of regional GC-content variation (low to high) on amino acid usage and found that GC-content determines the usage variation of amino acids, especially those with extremely high GCsyn, which accounts for 76.7% of the changed GC-content for those regions. Our results suggest that GCsyn correlates with GC-content and has impact on codon/amino acid usage. These findings suggest a novel approach to understanding the role of codon and amino acid usage in shaping genomic architecture and evolutionary patterns of organisms. PMID:26248983

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. Calibration facility safety plan

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fastie, W. G.

    1971-01-01

    A set of requirements is presented to insure the highest practical standard of safety for the Apollo 17 Calibration Facility in terms of identifying all critical or catastrophic type hazard areas. Plans for either counteracting or eliminating these areas are presented. All functional operations in calibrating the ultraviolet spectrometer and the testing of its components are described.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Fossils of parasites: what can the fossil record tell us about the evolution of parasitism?

    PubMed

    Leung, Tommy L F

    2017-02-01

    Parasites are common in many ecosystems, yet because of their nature, they do not fossilise readily and are very rare in the geological record. This makes it challenging to study the evolutionary transition that led to the evolution of parasitism in different taxa. Most studies on the evolution of parasites are based on phylogenies of extant species that were constructed based on morphological and molecular data, but they give us an incomplete picture and offer little information on many important details of parasite-host interactions. The lack of fossil parasites also means we know very little about the roles that parasites played in ecosystems of the past even though it is known that parasites have significant influences on many ecosystems. The goal of this review is to bring attention to known fossils of parasites and parasitism, and provide a conceptual framework for how research on fossil parasites can develop in the future. Despite their rarity, there are some fossil parasites which have been described from different geological eras. These fossils include the free-living stage of parasites, parasites which became fossilised with their hosts, parasite eggs and propagules in coprolites, and traces of pathology inflicted by parasites on the host's body. Judging from the fossil record, while there were some parasite-host relationships which no longer exist in the present day, many parasite taxa which are known from the fossil record seem to have remained relatively unchanged in their general morphology and their patterns of host association over tens or even hundreds of millions of years. It also appears that major evolutionary and ecological transitions throughout the history of life on Earth coincided with the appearance of certain parasite taxa, as the appearance of new host groups also provided new niches for potential parasites. As such, fossil parasites can provide additional data regarding the ecology of their extinct hosts, since many parasites have

  10. 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.

  11. p53 codon 72 polymorphism and breast cancer risk: A meta-analysis

    PubMed Central

    HOU, JING; JIANG, YUAN; TANG, WENRU; JIA, SHUTING

    2013-01-01

    p53 is a tumor suppressor gene and plays important roles in the etiology of breast cancer. Studies have produced conflicting results concerning the role of p53 codon 72 polymorphism (G>C) on the risk of breast cancer; therefore, a meta-analysis was performed to estimate the association between the p53 codon 72 polymorphism and breast cancer. Screening of the PubMed database was conducted to identify relevant studies. Studies containing available genotype frequencies of the p53 codon 72 polymorphism were selected and a pooled odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence interval (CI) was used to assess the association. Sixty-one published studies, including 28,539 breast cancer patients and 32,788 controls were identified. The results suggest that variant genotypes are not associated with breast cancer risk (Pro/Pro + Arg/Pro vs. Arg/Arg: OR=1.016, 95% CI=0.931–1.11, P=0.722). The symmetric funnel plot, Egger’s test (P=0.506) and Begg’s test (P=0.921) were all suggestive of the lack of publication bias. This meta-analysis suggests that the p53 codon 72 Pro/Pro + Arg/Pro genotypes are not associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. To validate the association between the p53 codon 72 polymorphism and breast cancer, further studies with larger numbers of participants worldwide are required. PMID:23737888

  12. Effects of tRNA modification on translational accuracy depend on intrinsic codon-anticodon strength.

    PubMed

    Manickam, Nandini; Joshi, Kartikeya; Bhatt, Monika J; Farabaugh, Philip J

    2016-02-29

    Cellular health and growth requires protein synthesis to be both efficient to ensure sufficient production, and accurate to avoid producing defective or unstable proteins. The background of misreading error frequency by individual tRNAs is as low as 2 × 10(-6) per codon but is codon-specific with some error frequencies above 10(-3) per codon. Here we test the effect on error frequency of blocking post-transcriptional modifications of the anticodon loops of four tRNAs in Escherichia coli. We find two types of responses to removing modification. Blocking modification of tRNA(UUC)(Glu) and tRNA(QUC)(Asp) increases errors, suggesting that the modifications act at least in part to maintain accuracy. Blocking even identical modifications of tRNA(UUU)(Lys) and tRNA(QUA)(Tyr) has the opposite effect of decreasing errors. One explanation could be that the modifications play opposite roles in modulating misreading by the two classes of tRNAs. Given available evidence that modifications help preorder the anticodon to allow it to recognize the codons, however, the simpler explanation is that unmodified 'weak' tRNAs decode too inefficiently to compete against cognate tRNAs that normally decode target codons, which would reduce the frequency of misreading. © The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.

  13. Energetics of codon-anticodon recognition on the small ribosomal subunit.

    PubMed

    Almlöf, Martin; Andér, Martin; Aqvist, Johan

    2007-01-09

    Recent crystal structures of the small ribosomal subunit have made it possible to examine the detailed energetics of codon recognition on the ribosome by computational methods. The binding of cognate and near-cognate anticodon stem loops to the ribosome decoding center, with mRNA containing the Phe UUU and UUC codons, are analyzed here using explicit solvent molecular dynamics simulations together with the linear interaction energy (LIE) method. The calculated binding free energies are in excellent agreement with experimental binding constants and reproduce the relative effects of mismatches in the first and second codon position versus a mismatch at the wobble position. The simulations further predict that the Leu2 anticodon stem loop is about 10 times more stable than the Ser stem loop in complex with the Phe UUU codon. It is also found that the ribosome significantly enhances the intrinsic stability differences of codon-anticodon complexes in aqueous solution. Structural analysis of the simulations confirms the previously suggested importance of the universally conserved nucleotides A1492, A1493, and G530 in the decoding process.

  14. 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

  15. Non-universal decoding of the leucine codon CUG in several Candida species.

    PubMed Central

    Ohama, T; Suzuki, T; Mori, M; Osawa, S; Ueda, T; Watanabe, K; Nakase, T

    1993-01-01

    It has been reported that CUG, a universal leucine codon, is read as serine in an asporogenic yeast, Candida cylindracea. The distribution of this non-universal genetic code in various yeast species was studied using an in vitro translation assay system with a synthetic messenger RNA containing CUG codons in-frame. It was found that CUG is used as a serine codon in six out of the fourteen species examined, while it is used for leucine in the remaining eight. The tRNA species responsible for the translation of codon CUG as serine was detected in all the six species in which CUG is translated as serine. The grouping according to the CUG codon assignments in these yeast species shows a good correlation with physiological classification by the chain lengths of the isoprenoid moiety of ubiquinone and the cell-wall sugar contained in the yeasts. The six Candida species examined in which CUG is used as serine belong to one distinct group in Hemiascomycetes. PMID:8371978

  16. Codon expansion and systematic transcriptional deletions produce tetra-, pentacoded mitochondrial peptides.

    PubMed

    Seligmann, Hervé

    2015-12-21

    Genes include occasionally isolated codons with a fourth (and fifth) silent nucleotide(s). Assuming tetracodons, translated hypothetical peptides align with regular GenBank proteins; predicted tetracodons coevolve with predicted tRNAs with expanded anticodons in each mammal, Drosophila and Lepidosauria mitogenomes, GC contents and with lepidosaurian body temperatures, suggesting that expanded codons are an adaptation of translation to high temperature. Hypothetically, continuous stretches of tetra- and pentacodons code for peptides. Both systematic nucleotide deletions during transcription, and translation by tRNAs with expanded anticodons could produce these peptides. Reanalyses of human nanoLc mass spectrometry peptidome data detect numerous tetra- and pentapeptides translated from the human mitogenome. These map preferentially on (BLAST-detected) human RNAs matching the human mitogenome, assuming systematic mono- and dinucleotide deletions after each third nucleotide (delRNAs). Translation by expanded anticodons is incompatible with silent nucleotides in the midst rather than at codon 3' extremity. More than 1/3 of detected tetra- and pentapeptides assume silent positions at codon extremity, suggesting that both mechanisms, regular translation of delRNAs and translation of regular RNAs by expanded anticodons, produce this peptide subgroup. Results show that systematically deleting polymerization occurs, and confirm serial translation of expanded codons. Non-canonical transcriptions and translations considerably expand the coding potential of DNA and RNA sequences.

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

    PubMed

    Dana, Alexandra; Tuller, Tamir

    2014-08-01

    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. © The Author(s) 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.

  18. Hydroxylation and translational adaptation to stress: some answers lie beyond the STOP codon.

    PubMed

    Katz, M J; Gándara, L; De Lella Ezcurra, A L; Wappner, P

    2016-05-01

    Regulation of protein synthesis contributes to maintenance of homeostasis and adaptation to environmental changes. mRNA translation is controlled at various levels including initiation, elongation and termination, through post-transcriptional/translational modifications of components of the protein synthesis machinery. Recently, protein and RNA hydroxylation have emerged as important enzymatic modifications of tRNAs, elongation and termination factors, as well as ribosomal proteins. These modifications enable a correct STOP codon recognition, ensuring translational fidelity. Recent studies are starting to show that STOP codon read-through is related to the ability of the cell to cope with different types of stress, such as oxidative and chemical insults, while correlations between defects in hydroxylation of protein synthesis components and STOP codon read-through are beginning to emerge. In this review we will discuss our current knowledge of protein synthesis regulation through hydroxylation of components of the translation machinery, with special focus on STOP codon recognition. We speculate on the possibility that programmed STOP codon read-through, modulated by hydroxylation of components of the protein synthesis machinery, is part of a concerted cellular response to stress.

  19. Comparative study of codon substitution patterns in foot-and-mouth disease virus (serotype O)

    PubMed Central

    Ahn, Insung; Bae, Se-Eun

    2011-01-01

    We compared genetic variations in the VP1 gene of foot-and-mouth disease viruses (FMDVs) isolated since 2000 from various region of the world. We analyzed relative synonymous codon usage (RSCU) and phylogenetic relationship between geographical regions, and calculated the genetic substitution patterns between Korean isolate and those from other countries. We calculated the ratios of synonymously substituted codons (SSC) to all observed substitutions and developed a new analytical parameter, EMC (the ratio of exact matching codons within each synonymous substitution group) to investigate more detailed substitution patterns within each synonymous codon group. We observed that FMDVs showed distinct RSCU patterns according to phylogenetic relationships in the same serotype (serotype O). Moreover, while the SSC and EMC values of FMDVs decreased according to phylogenetic distance, G + C composition at the third codon position was strictly conserved. Although there was little variation among the SSC values of 18 amino acids, more dynamic differences were observed in EMC values. The EMC values of 4- and 6-fold degenerate amino acids showed significantly lower values while most 2-fold degenerate amino acids showed no significant difference. Our findings suggest that different EMC patterns among the 18 amino acids might be an important factor in determining the direction of evolution in FMDV. PMID:21825834

  20. Stringency of start codon selection modulates autoregulation of translation initiation factor eIF5.

    PubMed

    Loughran, Gary; Sachs, Matthew S; Atkins, John F; Ivanov, Ivaylo P

    2012-04-01

    An AUG in an optimal nucleotide context is the preferred translation initiation site in eukaryotic cells. Interactions among translation initiation factors, including eIF1 and eIF5, govern start codon selection. Experiments described here showed that high intracellular eIF5 levels reduced the stringency of start codon selection in human cells. In contrast, high intracellular eIF1 levels increased stringency. High levels of eIF5 induced translation of inhibitory upstream open reading frames (uORFs) in eIF5 mRNA that initiate with AUG codons in conserved poor contexts. This resulted in reduced translation from the downstream eIF5 start codon, indicating that eIF5 autoregulates its own synthesis. As with eIF1, which is also autoregulated through translation initiation, features contributing to eIF5 autoregulation show deep evolutionary conservation. The results obtained provide the basis for a model in which auto- and cross-regulation of eIF5 and eIF1 translation establish a regulatory feedback loop that would stabilize the stringency of start codon selection.

  1. Distinguishable codon usage and amino acid composition patterns among substrates of leaderless secretory pathways from proteobacteria.

    PubMed

    Kampenusa, Ināra; Zikmanis, Pēteris

    2010-03-01

    The combined set of codon usage frequencies (61 sense codons) from the 111 annotated sequences of leaderless secreted type I, type III, type IV, and type VI proteins from proteobacteria were subjected to the forward and backward selection to obtain a combination of most effective predictor variables for classification/prediction purposes. The group of 24 codon frequencies displayed a strong discriminatory power with an accuracy of 100% for originally grouped and 97.3 +/- 1.6% for cross-validated (LOOCV) cases and an acceptable error rate (0.062 +/- 0.012) in k-fold (k = 6) cross-validation (KCV). The summary frequencies of synonymous codons for ten amino acids as the alternative predictor variables revealed a comparable discriminatory power (92.8 +/- 2.5% for LOOCV), however at somewhat lower levels of prediction accuracy (0.106 +/- 0.015 of KCV). A number of significant (p < 0.001) differences were found among indices of codon usage and amino acid composition depending on a definite secretion type. About 60% of secretion substrates were characterized as apparently originated from horizontal gene transfer events or putative alien genes and found to be unequally allocated in respect of groups. The proposed prediction approaches could be used to specify secretome proteins from genomic sequences as well as to assess the compatibility between bacterial secretion pathways and secretion substrates.

  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 o