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Sample records for molecular evolution improves

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-12-01

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

  2. Mistakes and Molecular Evolution.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Trevors, J. T.

    1998-01-01

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

  3. Workshop on Molecular Evolution

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cummings, Michael P.

    2004-01-01

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

  4. Molecular genetics of the sickling syndromes: evolution of new strategies for improved diagnosis.

    PubMed

    Benz, E J

    1984-01-01

    This survey is intended to illustrate some major areas relevant to the diagnosis and treatment of sickle cell syndromes that have benefited by the input of molecular genetic approaches. The development of gene mapping techniques has permitted the direct examination of the effect of co-inheritance of alpha-thalassemia and sickle cell anemia on clinical severity, providing, for the first time, a direct strategy for investigation of the clinical heterogeneity of these syndromes. In addition, antenatal diagnosis of these disorders is now best done by direct gene mapping whenever appropriate facilities are available. Treatment by manipulation of gamma-globin gene expression has been shown to be an effective means of achieving at least partial reversal of the hemoglobin F to hemoglobin A switch. Whether the magnitude of this reversal is sufficient to interfere with the clinical phenotype of sickle cell disease remains to be determined. Moreover, the agent currently available to accomplish this goal, 5-azacytidine, remains unsuitable for wide-spread clinical application for a variety of reasons. Nonetheless, the molecular geneticist has already demonstrated that desirable effects can be achieved by building on the knowledge of globin gene physiology. This knowledge is best acquired by application of the concepts and methodologies of molecular genetics.

  5. The Molecular Basis of Evolution.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wilson, Allan C.

    1985-01-01

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

  6. Chemical evolution of molecular clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1987-01-01

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

  7. A biophysical perspective on molecular evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wilke, Claus

    2014-03-01

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

  8. Adaptive evolution of molecular phenotypes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Held, Torsten; Nourmohammad, Armita; Lässig, Michael

    2014-09-01

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

  9. JavaGenes Molecular Evolution

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2007-01-01

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

  10. Bringing Molecules Back into Molecular Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Wilke, Claus O.

    2012-01-01

    Much molecular-evolution research is concerned with sequence analysis. Yet these sequences represent real, three-dimensional molecules with complex structure and function. Here I highlight a growing trend in the field to incorporate molecular structure and function into computational molecular-evolution work. I consider three focus areas: reconstruction and analysis of past evolutionary events, such as phylogenetic inference or methods to infer selection pressures; development of toy models and simulations to identify fundamental principles of molecular evolution; and atom-level, highly realistic computational modeling of molecular structure and function aimed at making predictions about possible future evolutionary events. PMID:22761562

  11. Trends in substitution models of molecular evolution

    PubMed Central

    Arenas, Miguel

    2015-01-01

    Substitution models of evolution describe the process of genetic variation through fixed mutations and constitute the basis of the evolutionary analysis at the molecular level. Almost 40 years after the development of first substitution models, highly sophisticated, and data-specific substitution models continue emerging with the aim of better mimicking real evolutionary processes. Here I describe current trends in substitution models of DNA, codon and amino acid sequence evolution, including advantages and pitfalls of the most popular models. The perspective concludes that despite the large number of currently available substitution models, further research is required for more realistic modeling, especially for DNA coding and amino acid data. Additionally, the development of more accurate complex models should be coupled with new implementations and improvements of methods and frameworks for substitution model selection and downstream evolutionary analysis. PMID:26579193

  12. Trends in substitution models of molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    Arenas, Miguel

    2015-01-01

    Substitution models of evolution describe the process of genetic variation through fixed mutations and constitute the basis of the evolutionary analysis at the molecular level. Almost 40 years after the development of first substitution models, highly sophisticated, and data-specific substitution models continue emerging with the aim of better mimicking real evolutionary processes. Here I describe current trends in substitution models of DNA, codon and amino acid sequence evolution, including advantages and pitfalls of the most popular models. The perspective concludes that despite the large number of currently available substitution models, further research is required for more realistic modeling, especially for DNA coding and amino acid data. Additionally, the development of more accurate complex models should be coupled with new implementations and improvements of methods and frameworks for substitution model selection and downstream evolutionary analysis. PMID:26579193

  13. The Molecular Evolution of Actin

    PubMed Central

    Hightower, Robin C.; Meagher, Richard B.

    1986-01-01

    We have investigated the molecular evolution of plant and nonplant actin genes comparing nucleotide and amino acid sequences of 20 actin genes. Nucleotide changes resulting in amino acid substitutions (replacement substitutions) ranged from 3–7% for all pairwise comparisons of animal actin genes with the following exceptions. Comparisons between higher animal muscle actin gene sequences and comparisons between higher animal cytoplasmic actin gene sequences indicated <3% divergence. Comparisons between plant and nonplant actin genes revealed, with two exceptions, 11–15% replacement substitution. In the analysis of plant actins, replacement substitution between soybean actin genes SAc1, SAc3, SAc4 and maize actin gene MAc1 ranged from 8–10%, whereas these members within the soybean actin gene family ranged from 6–9% replacement substitution. The rate of sequence divergence of plant actin sequences appears to be similar to that observed for animal actins. Furthermore, these and other data suggest that the plant actin gene family is ancient and that the families of soybean and maize actin genes have diverged from a single common ancestral plant actin gene that originated long before the divergence of monocots and dicots. The soybean actin multigene family encodes at least three classes of actin. These classes each contain a pair of actin genes that have been designated kappa (SAc1, SAc6), lambda (SAc2, SAc4) and mu (SAc3, SAc7). The three classes of soybean actin are more divergent in nucleotide sequence from one another than higher animal cytoplasmic actin is divergent from muscle actin. The location and distribution of amino acid changes were compared between actin proteins from all sources. A comparison of the hydropathy of all actin sequences, except from Oxytricha, indicated a strong similarity in hydropathic character between all plant and nonplant actins despite the greater number of replacement substitutions in plant actins. These protein sequence

  14. Molecular evolution and thermal adaptation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Peiqiu

    2011-12-01

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

  15. Molecular Phylogeny and Evolution of Parabasalia with Improved Taxon Sampling and New Protein Markers of Actin and Elongation Factor-1α

    PubMed Central

    Noda, Satoko; Mantini, Cléa; Meloni, Dionigia; Inoue, Jun-Ichi; Kitade, Osamu; Viscogliosi, Eric; Ohkuma, Moriya

    2012-01-01

    Background Inferring the evolutionary history of phylogenetically isolated, deep-branching groups of taxa—in particular determining the root—is often extraordinarily difficult because their close relatives are unavailable as suitable outgroups. One of these taxonomic groups is the phylum Parabasalia, which comprises morphologically diverse species of flagellated protists of ecological, medical, and evolutionary significance. Indeed, previous molecular phylogenetic analyses of members of this phylum have yielded conflicting and possibly erroneous inferences. Furthermore, many species of Parabasalia are symbionts in the gut of termites and cockroaches or parasites and therefore formidably difficult to cultivate, rendering available data insufficient. Increasing the numbers of examined taxa and informative characters (e.g., genes) is likely to produce more reliable inferences. Principal Findings Actin and elongation factor-1α genes were identified newly from 22 species of termite-gut symbionts through careful manipulations and seven cultured species, which covered major lineages of Parabasalia. Their protein sequences were concatenated and analyzed with sequences of previously and newly identified glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase and the small-subunit rRNA gene. This concatenated dataset provided more robust phylogenetic relationships among major groups of Parabasalia and a more plausible new root position than those previously reported. Conclusions/Significance We conclude that increasing the number of sampled taxa as well as the addition of new sequences greatly improves the accuracy and robustness of the phylogenetic inference. A morphologically simple cell is likely the ancient form in Parabasalia as opposed to a cell with elaborate flagellar and cytoskeletal structures, which was defined as most basal in previous inferences. Nevertheless, the evolution of Parabasalia is complex owing to several independent multiplication and simplification events in

  16. Molecular evolution tracks macroevolutionary transitions in Cetacea.

    PubMed

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

    2014-06-01

    Cetacea (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) is a model group for investigating the molecular signature of macroevolutionary transitions. Recent research has begun to reveal the molecular underpinnings of the remarkable anatomical and behavioral transformation in this clade. This shift from terrestrial to aquatic environments is arguably the best-understood major morphological transition in vertebrate evolution. The ancestral body plan and physiology were extensively modified and, in many cases, these crucial changes are recorded in cetacean genomes. Recent studies have highlighted cetaceans as central to understanding adaptive molecular convergence and pseudogene formation. Here, we review current research in cetacean molecular evolution and the potential of Cetacea as a model for the study of other macroevolutionary transitions from a genomic perspective. PMID:24794916

  17. Molecular evolution tracks macroevolutionary transitions in Cetacea.

    PubMed

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

    2014-06-01

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

  18. Sociality and the rate of molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    Bromham, Lindell; Leys, Remko

    2005-06-01

    The molecular clock does not tick at a uniform rate in all taxa but may be influenced by species characteristics. Eusocial species (those with reproductive division of labor) have been predicted to have faster rates of molecular evolution than their nonsocial relatives because of greatly reduced effective population size; if most individuals in a population are nonreproductive and only one or few queens produce all the offspring, then eusocial animals could have much lower effective population sizes than their solitary relatives, which should increase the rate of substitution of "nearly neutral" mutations. An earlier study reported faster rates in eusocial honeybees and vespid wasps but failed to correct for phylogenetic nonindependence or to distinguish between potential causes of rate variation. Because sociality has evolved independently in many different lineages, it is possible to conduct a more wide-ranging study to test the generality of the relationship. We have conducted a comparative analysis of 25 phylogenetically independent pairs of social lineages and their nonsocial relatives, including bees, wasps, ants, termites, shrimps, and mole rats, using a range of available DNA sequences (mitochondrial and nuclear DNA coding for proteins and RNAs, and nontranslated sequences). By including a wide range of social taxa, we were able to test whether there is a general influence of sociality on rates of molecular evolution and to test specific predictions of the hypothesis: (1) that social species have faster rates because they have reduced effective population sizes; (2) that mitochondrial genes would show a greater effect of sociality than nuclear genes; and (3) that rates of molecular evolution should be correlated with the degree of sociality. We find no consistent pattern in rates of molecular evolution between social and nonsocial lineages and no evidence that mitochondrial genes show faster rates in social taxa. However, we show that the most highly

  19. Molecular evolution of color vision in vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Yokoyama, Shozo

    2002-10-30

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

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

    PubMed

    Wray, Gregory A

    2015-12-19

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

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

    PubMed

    Wray, Gregory A

    2015-12-19

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

  2. Contributions of plant molecular systematics to studies of molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    Soltis, E D; Soltis, P S

    2000-01-01

    Dobzhansky stated that nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution. A close corollary, and the central theme of this paper, is that everything makes a lot more sense in the light of phylogeny. Systematics is in the midst of a renaissance, heralded by the widespread application of new analytical approaches and the introduction of molecular techniques. Molecular phylogenetic analyses are now commonplace, and they have provided unparalleled insights into relationships at all levels of plant phylogeny. At deep levels, molecular studies have revealed that charophyte green algae are the closest relatives of the land plants and suggested that liverworts are sister to all other extant land plants. Other studies have suggested that lycopods are sister to all other vascular plants and clarified relationships among the ferns. The impact of molecular phylogenetics on the angiosperms has been particularly dramatic--some of the largest phylogenetic analyses yet conducted have involved the angiosperms. Inferences from three genes (rbcL, atpB, 18S rDNA) agree in the major features of angiosperm phylogeny and have resulted in a reclassification of the angiosperms. This ordinal-level reclassification is perhaps the most dramatic and important change in higher-level angiosperm taxonomy in the past 200 years. At lower taxonomic levels, phylogenetic analyses have revealed the closest relatives of many crops and 'model organisms' for studies of molecular genetics, concomitantly pointing to possible relatives for use in comparative studies and plant breeding. Furthermore, phylogenetic information has contributed to new perspectives on the evolution of polyploid genomes. The phylogenetic trees now available at all levels of the taxonomic hierarchy for angiosperms and other green plants should play a pivotal role in comparative studies in diverse fields from ecology to molecular evolution and comparative genetics.

  3. Evolution of molecular phenotypes under stabilizing selection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nourmohammad, Armita; Schiffels, Stephan; Lässig, Michael

    2013-01-01

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

  4. Molecular evolution of prolactin in primates.

    PubMed

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

    2005-05-01

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

  5. Selectionism and Neutralism in Molecular Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Nei, Masatoshi

    2006-01-01

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

  6. Selectionism and neutralism in molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    Nei, Masatoshi

    2005-12-01

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

  7. Molecular evolution of hydrogen peroxide degrading enzymes.

    PubMed

    Zámocký, Marcel; Gasselhuber, Bernhard; Furtmüller, Paul G; Obinger, Christian

    2012-09-15

    For efficient removal of intra- and/or extracellular hydrogen peroxide by dismutation to harmless dioxygen and water (2H(2)O(2) → O(2) + 2H(2)O), nature designed three metalloenzyme families that differ in oligomeric organization, monomer architecture as well as active site geometry and catalytic residues. Here we report on the updated reconstruction of the molecular phylogeny of these three gene families. Ubiquitous typical (monofunctional) heme catalases are found in all domains of life showing a high structural conservation. Their evolution was directed from large subunit towards small subunit proteins and further to fused proteins where the catalase fold was retained but lost its original functionality. Bifunctional catalase-peroxidases were at the origin of one of the two main heme peroxidase superfamilies (i.e. peroxidase-catalase superfamily) and constitute a protein family predominantly present among eubacteria and archaea, but two evolutionary branches are also found in the eukaryotic world. Non-heme manganese catalases are a relatively small protein family with very old roots only present among bacteria and archaea. Phylogenetic analyses of the three protein families reveal features typical (i) for the evolution of whole genomes as well as (ii) for specific evolutionary events including horizontal gene transfer, paralog formation and gene fusion. As catalases have reached a striking diversity among prokaryotic and eukaryotic pathogens, understanding their phylogenetic and molecular relationship and function will contribute to drug design for prevention of diseases of humans, animals and plants. PMID:22330759

  8. Integrating influenza antigenic dynamics with molecular evolution

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  9. Molecular epidemiology, phylogeny and evolution of Legionella.

    PubMed

    Khodr, A; Kay, E; Gomez-Valero, L; Ginevra, C; Doublet, P; Buchrieser, C; Jarraud, S

    2016-09-01

    Legionella are opportunistic pathogens that develop in aquatic environments where they multiply in protozoa. When infected aerosols reach the human respiratory tract they may accidentally infect the alveolar macrophages leading to a severe pneumonia called Legionnaires' disease (LD). The ability of Legionella to survive within host-cells is strictly dependent on the Dot/Icm Type 4 Secretion System that translocates a large repertoire of effectors into the host cell cytosol. Although Legionella is a large genus comprising nearly 60 species that are worldwide distributed, only about half of them have been involved in LD cases. Strikingly, the species Legionella pneumophila alone is responsible for 90% of all LD cases. The present review summarizes the molecular approaches that are used for L. pneumophila genotyping with a major focus on the contribution of whole genome sequencing (WGS) to the investigation of local L. pneumophila outbreaks and global epidemiology studies. We report the newest knowledge regarding the phylogeny and the evolution of Legionella and then focus on virulence evolution of those Legionella species that are known to have the capacity to infect humans. Finally, we discuss the evolutionary forces and adaptation mechanisms acting on the Dot/Icm system itself as well as the role of mobile genetic elements (MGE) encoding T4ASSs and of gene duplications in the evolution of Legionella and its adaptation to different hosts and lifestyles. PMID:27180896

  10. The chemical evolution of molecular clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Iglesias, E.

    1977-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Nunes, Alexandra; Gomes, João P

    2014-04-01

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

  12. R evolution: Improving perturbative QCD

    SciTech Connect

    Hoang, Andre H.; Jain, Ambar; Stewart, Iain W.; Scimemi, Ignazio

    2010-07-01

    Perturbative QCD results in the MS scheme can be dramatically improved by switching to a scheme that accounts for the dominant power law dependence on the factorization scale in the operator product expansion. We introduce the ''MSR scheme'' which achieves this in a Lorentz and gauge invariant way and has a very simple relation to MS. Results in MSR depend on a cutoff parameter R, in addition to the {mu} of MS. R variations can be used to independently estimate (i.) the size of power corrections, and (ii.) higher-order perturbative corrections (much like {mu} in MS). We give two examples at three-loop order, the ratio of mass splittings in the B*-B and D*-D systems, and the Ellis-Jaffe sum rule as a function of momentum transfer Q in deep inelastic scattering. Comparing to data, the perturbative MSR results work well even for Q{approx}1 GeV, and power corrections are reduced compared to MS.

  13. Molecular evolution of vertebrate visual pigments.

    PubMed

    Yokoyama, S

    2000-07-01

    Dramatic improvement of our understanding of the genetic basis of vision was brought by the molecular characterization of the bovine rhodopsin gene and the human rhodopsin and color opsin genes (Nathans and Hogness, 1983; Nathans et al., 1984, 1986a,b). The availability of cDNA clones from these studies has facilitated the isolation of retinal and nonretinal opsin genes and cDNA clones from a large variety of species. Today, the number of genomic and cDNA clones of opsin genes isolated from different vertebrate species exceeds 100 and is increasing rapidly. The opsin gene sequences reveal the importance of the origin and differentiation of various opsins and visual pigments. To understand the molecular genetic basis of spectral tuning of visual pigments, it is essential to establish correlations between a series of the sequences of visual pigments and their lambda(max) values. The potentially important amino acid changes identified in this way have to be tested whether they are in fact responsible for the lambda(max)-shifts using site-directed mutagenesis and cultured cells. A major goal of molecular evolutionary genetics is to understand the molecular mechanisms involved in functional adaptations of organisms to different environments, including the mechanisms of the regulation of the spectral absorption. Therefore, both molecular evolutionary analyses of visual pigments and vision science have an important common goal.

  14. Thermal force approach to molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    Braun, Dieter; Libchaber, Albert

    2004-06-01

    Recent experiments are discussed where temperature gradients across mesoscopic pores are shown to provide essential mechanisms for autonomous molecular evolution. On the one hand, laminar thermal convection can drive DNA replication as the molecules are continuously cycled between hot and cold regions of a chamber. On the other hand, thermophoresis can accumulate charged biopolymers in similar convection settings. The experiments show that temperature differences analogous to those across porous rocks present a robust nonequilibrium boundary condition to feed the replication and accumulation of evolving molecules. It is speculated that similar nonequilibrium conditions near porous submarine hydrothermal mounds could have triggered the origin of life. In such a scenario, the encapsulation of cells with membranes would be a later development. It is expected that detailed studies of mesoscopic boundary conditions under nonequilibrium conditions will reveal new connecting pieces in the fascinating puzzle of the origins of life. PMID:16204812

  15. Molecular epidemiology and evolution of fish Novirhabdoviruses

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kurath, Gael

    2014-01-01

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

  16. Molecular evolution of cryptochromes in fishes.

    PubMed

    Mei, Qiming; Sadovy, Yvonne; Dvornyk, Volodymyr

    2015-12-10

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

  17. Molecular epidemiology and evolution of porcine parvoviruses.

    PubMed

    Streck, André Felipe; Canal, Cláudio Wageck; Truyen, Uwe

    2015-12-01

    Porcine parvovirus (PPV), recently named Ungulate protoparvovirus 1, is considered to be one of the most important causes of reproductive failure in swine. Fetal death, mummification, stillbirths and delayed return to estrus are predominant clinical signs commonly associated with PPV infection in a herd. It has recently been shown that certain parvoviruses exhibit a nucleotide substitution rate close to that commonly determined for RNA viruses. However, the PPV vaccines broadly used in the last 30 years have most likely reduced the genetic diversity of the virus and led to the predominance of strains with a capsid profile distinct from that of the original vaccine-based strains. Furthermore, a number of novel porcine parvovirus species with yet-unknown veterinary relevance and characteristics have been described during the last decade. In this review, an overview of PPV molecular evolution is presented, highlighting characteristics of the various genetic elements, their evolutionary rate and the discovery of new capsid profiles driven by the currently used vaccines.

  18. Molecular musings in microbial ecology and evolution

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

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

  19. Directionality of evolution at molecular and organismic levels.

    PubMed

    Livshits, M A; Volkenstein, M V

    1991-01-01

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

  20. Collinearly improved JIMWLK evolution in Langevin form

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hatta, Yoshitaka; Iancu, Edmond

    2016-08-01

    The high-energy evolution of Wilson line operators, which at leading order is described by the Balitsky-JIMWLK equations, receives large radiative corrections en-hanced by single and double collinear logarithms at next-to-leading order and beyond. We propose a method for resumming such logarithmic corrections to all orders, at the level of the Langevin formulation of the JIMWLK equation. The ensuing, collinearly-improved Langevin equation features generalized Wilson line operators, which depend not only upon rapidity (the logarithm of the longitudinal momentum), but also upon the transverse size of the color neutral projectile to which the Wilson lines belong. This additional scale dependence is built up during the evolution, via the condition that the successive emissions of soft gluons be ordered in time. The presence of this transverse scale in the Langevin equation furthermore allows for the resummation of the one-loop running coupling corrections.

  1. Molecular evolution: concepts and the origin of disciplines.

    PubMed

    Suárez-Díaz, Edna

    2009-03-01

    This paper focuses on the consolidation of Molecular Evolution, a field originating in the 1960s at the interface of molecular biology, biochemistry, evolutionary biology, biophysics and studies on the origin of life and exobiology. The claim is made that Molecular Evolution became a discipline by integrating different sorts of scientific traditions: experimental, theoretical and comparative. The author critically incorporates Timothy Lenoir's treatment of disciplines (1997), as well as ideas developed by Stephen Toulmin (1962) on the same subject. On their account disciplines are spaces where the social and epistemic dimensions of science are deeply and complexly interwoven. However, a more detailed account of discipline formation and the dynamics of an emerging disciplinary field is lacking in their analysis. The present essay suggests focusing on the role of scientific concepts in the double configuration of disciplines: the social/political and the epistemic order. In the case of Molecular Evolution the concepts of molecular clock and informational molecules played a central role, both in differentiating molecular from classical evolutionists, and in promoting communication between the different sorts of traditions integrated in Molecular Evolution. The paper finishes with a reflection on the historicity of disciplines, and the historicity of our concepts of disciplines. PMID:19268873

  2. Automatic Evolution of Molecular Nanotechnology Designs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1998-01-01

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

  3. Molecular clouds. [significance in stellar evolution

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thaddeus, P.

    1977-01-01

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

  4. Molecular evolution of the vertebrate mechanosensory cell and ear

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  5. Molecular evolution of bat color vision genes.

    PubMed

    Wang, Daryi; Oakley, Todd; Mower, Jeffrey; Shimmin, Lawrence C; Yim, Sokchea; Honeycutt, Rodney L; Tsao, Hsienshao; Li, Wen-Hsiung

    2004-02-01

    The two suborders of bats, Megachiroptera (megabats) and Microchiroptera (microbats), use different sensory modalities for perceiving their environment. Megabats are crepuscular and rely on a well-developed eyes and visual pathway, whereas microbats occupy a nocturnal niche and use acoustic orientation or echolocation more than vision as the major means of perceiving their environment. In view of the differences associated with their sensory systems, we decided to investigate the function and evolution of color vision (opsin genes) in these two suborders of bats. The middle/long wavelength (M/L) and short wavelength (S) opsin genes were sequenced from two frugivorous species of megabats, Haplonycteris fischeri and Pteropus dasymallus formosus, and one insectivorous species of microbat, Myotis velifer. Contrary to the situation in primates, where many nocturnal species have lost the functional S opsin gene, both crepuscular and strictly nocturnal species of bats that we examined have functional M/L and S opsin genes. Surprisingly, the S opsin in these bats may be sensitive to UV light, which is relatively more abundant at dawn and at dusk. The M/L opsin in these bats appears to be the L type, which is sensitive to red and may be helpful for identifying fruits among leaves or for other purposes. Most interestingly, H. fischeri has a recent duplication of the M/L opsin gene, representing to date the only known case of opsin gene duplication in non-primate mammals. Some of these observations are unexpected and may provide insights into the effect of nocturnal life on the evolution of opsin genes in mammals and the evolution of the life history traits of bats in general.

  6. A half-century after the molecular clock: new dimensions of molecular evolution

    PubMed Central

    Koonin, Eugene V

    2012-01-01

    The EMBO workshop on ‘Evolution in the Time of Genomics' took place in May 2012 in the magnificent sixteenth century Palazzo Franchetti near Ponte dell'Accademia in Venice. The meeting focused on phenomena that are not part of the traditional narrative of molecular evolution and which might signal a paradigm shift in the field. PMID:22791022

  7. A half-century after the molecular clock: new dimensions of molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    Koonin, Eugene V

    2012-08-01

    The EMBO workshop on 'Evolution in the Time of Genomics' took place in May 2012 in the magnificent sixteenth century Palazzo Franchetti near Ponte dell'Accademia in Venice. The meeting focused on phenomena that are not part of the traditional narrative of molecular evolution and which might signal a paradigm shift in the field.

  8. Functional molecular markers for crop improvement.

    PubMed

    Kage, Udaykumar; Kumar, Arun; Dhokane, Dhananjay; Karre, Shailesh; Kushalappa, Ajjamada C

    2016-10-01

    A tremendous decline in cultivable land and resources and a huge increase in food demand calls for immediate attention to crop improvement. Though molecular plant breeding serves as a viable solution and is considered as "foundation for twenty-first century crop improvement", a major stumbling block for crop improvement is the availability of a limited functional gene pool for cereal crops. Advancement in the next generation sequencing (NGS) technologies integrated with tools like metabolomics, proteomics and association mapping studies have facilitated the identification of candidate genes, their allelic variants and opened new avenues to accelerate crop improvement through development and use of functional molecular markers (FMMs). The FMMs are developed from the sequence polymorphisms present within functional gene(s) which are associated with phenotypic trait variations. Since FMMs obviate the problems associated with random DNA markers, these are considered as "the holy grail" of plant breeders who employ targeted marker assisted selections (MAS) for crop improvement. This review article attempts to consider the current resources and novel methods such as metabolomics, proteomics and association studies for the identification of candidate genes and their validation through virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) for the development of FMMs. A number of examples where the FMMs have been developed and used for the improvement of cereal crops for agronomic, food quality, disease resistance and abiotic stress tolerance traits have been considered. PMID:26171816

  9. Slow molecular evolution in an ancient asexual ostracod

    PubMed Central

    n, I. Sch; Butlin, R. K.; Griffiths, H. I.; Martens, K.

    1998-01-01

    Genetic variability of the non-marine ostracod species Darwinula stevensoni was estimated by sequencing part of the nuclear and the mitochondrial genome. As Darwinulidae are believed to be ancient asexuals, accumulation of mutations should have occurred, both between alleles within lineages and between lineages, during the millions of years of parthenogenetic reproduction. However, our sequence data show the opposite: no variability in the nuclear ITS1 region was observed within or among individuals of D. stevensoni, despite sampling a geographical range from Finland to South Africa. Lack of allelic divergence might be explained by concerted evolution of rDNA repeats. Homogeneity among individuals may be caused either by slow molecular evolution in ITS1 or by a recent selective sweep. Variability of mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase (COI) was similar to intraspecific levels in other invertebrates, thus weakening the latter hypothesis. Calibrating interspecific, genetic divergences among D. stevensoni and other Darwinulidae using their fossil record enabled us to estimate rates of molecular evolution. Both COI and ITS1 evolve half as fast, at most, in darwinulids as in other invertebrates, and molecular evolution has significantly slowed down in ITS1 of D. stevensoni relative to other darwinulids. A reduced ITS1 mutation rate might explain this inconsistency between nuclear and mitochondrial evolution in D. stevensoni.

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

    PubMed

    Kaiya, Hiroyuki; Kangawa, Kenji; Miyazato, Mikiya

    2014-06-01

    After the discovery in 1996 of the GH secretagogue-receptor type-1a (GHS-R1a) as an orphan G-protein coupled receptor, many research groups attempted to identify the endogenous ligand. Finally, Kojima and colleagues successfully isolated the peptide ligand from rat stomach extracts, determined its structure, and named it ghrelin. The GHS-R1a is now accepted to be the ghrelin receptor. The existence of the ghrelin system has been demonstrated in many animal classes through biochemical and molecular biological strategies as well as through genome projects. Our work, focused on identifying the ghrelin receptor and its ligand ghrelin in laboratory animals, particularly nonmammalian vertebrates, has provided new insights into the molecular evolution of the ghrelin receptor. In mammals, it is assumed that the ghrelin receptor evolution is in line with the plate tectonics theory. In contrast, the evolution of the ghrelin receptor in nonmammalian vertebrates differs from that of mammals: multiplicity of the ghrelin receptor isoforms is observed in nonmammalian vertebrates only. This multiplicity is due to genome duplication and polyploidization events that particularly occurred in Teleostei. Furthermore, it is likely that the evolution of the ghrelin receptor is distinct from that of its ligand, ghrelin, because only one ghrelin isoform has been detected in all species examined so far. In this review, we summarize current knowledge related to the molecular evolution of the ghrelin receptor in mammalian and nonmammalian vertebrates. PMID:24353285

  11. The Jukes-Cantor Model of Molecular Evolution

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Erickson, Keith

    2010-01-01

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

  12. Molecular evolution of hisB genes.

    PubMed

    Brilli, Matteo; Fani, Renato

    2004-02-01

    The sixth and eighth steps of histidine biosynthesis are catalyzed by an imidazole glycerol-phosphate (IGP) dehydratase (EC 4.2.1.19) and by a histidinol-phosphate (HOL-P) phosphatase (EC 3.1.3.15), respectively. In the enterobacteria, in Campylobacter jejuni and in Xylella/Xanthomonas the two activities are associated with a single bifunctional polypeptide encoded by hisB. On the other hand, in Archaea, Eucarya, and most Bacteria the two activities are encoded by two separate genes. In this work we report a comparative analysis of the amino acid sequence of all the available HisB proteins, which allowed us to depict a likely evolutionary pathway leading to the present-day bifunctional hisB gene. According to the model that we propose, the bifunctional hisB gene is the result of a fusion event between two independent cistrons joined by domain-shuffling. The fusion event occurred recently in evolution, very likely in the proteobacterial lineage after the separation of the gamma- and the beta-subdivisions. Data obtained in this work established that a paralogous duplication event of an ancestral DDDD phosphatase encoding gene originated both the HOL-P phosphatase moiety of the E. coli hisB gene and the gmhB gene coding for a DDDD phosphatase, which is involved in the biosynthesis of a precursor of the inner core of the outer membrane lipopolysaccharides (LPS).

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

    PubMed

    Nagasaki, Keizo; Tomaru, Yuji

    2009-06-01

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

  14. Molecular evolution of the gamma-Herpesvirinae.

    PubMed Central

    McGeoch, D J

    2001-01-01

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

  15. Improved molecular tools for sugar cane biotechnology.

    PubMed

    Kinkema, Mark; Geijskes, Jason; Delucca, Paulo; Palupe, Anthony; Shand, Kylie; Coleman, Heather D; Brinin, Anthony; Williams, Brett; Sainz, Manuel; Dale, James L

    2014-03-01

    Sugar cane is a major source of food and fuel worldwide. Biotechnology has the potential to improve economically-important traits in sugar cane as well as diversify sugar cane beyond traditional applications such as sucrose production. High levels of transgene expression are key to the success of improving crops through biotechnology. Here we describe new molecular tools that both expand and improve gene expression capabilities in sugar cane. We have identified promoters that can be used to drive high levels of gene expression in the leaf and stem of transgenic sugar cane. One of these promoters, derived from the Cestrum yellow leaf curling virus, drives levels of constitutive transgene expression that are significantly higher than those achieved by the historical benchmark maize polyubiquitin-1 (Zm-Ubi1) promoter. A second promoter, the maize phosphonenolpyruvate carboxylate promoter, was found to be a strong, leaf-preferred promoter that enables levels of expression comparable to Zm-Ubi1 in this organ. Transgene expression was increased approximately 50-fold by gene modification, which included optimising the codon usage of the coding sequence to better suit sugar cane. We also describe a novel dual transcriptional enhancer that increased gene expression from different promoters, boosting expression from Zm-Ubi1 over eightfold. These molecular tools will be extremely valuable for the improvement of sugar cane through biotechnology. PMID:24150836

  16. Improved molecular tools for sugar cane biotechnology.

    PubMed

    Kinkema, Mark; Geijskes, Jason; Delucca, Paulo; Palupe, Anthony; Shand, Kylie; Coleman, Heather D; Brinin, Anthony; Williams, Brett; Sainz, Manuel; Dale, James L

    2014-03-01

    Sugar cane is a major source of food and fuel worldwide. Biotechnology has the potential to improve economically-important traits in sugar cane as well as diversify sugar cane beyond traditional applications such as sucrose production. High levels of transgene expression are key to the success of improving crops through biotechnology. Here we describe new molecular tools that both expand and improve gene expression capabilities in sugar cane. We have identified promoters that can be used to drive high levels of gene expression in the leaf and stem of transgenic sugar cane. One of these promoters, derived from the Cestrum yellow leaf curling virus, drives levels of constitutive transgene expression that are significantly higher than those achieved by the historical benchmark maize polyubiquitin-1 (Zm-Ubi1) promoter. A second promoter, the maize phosphonenolpyruvate carboxylate promoter, was found to be a strong, leaf-preferred promoter that enables levels of expression comparable to Zm-Ubi1 in this organ. Transgene expression was increased approximately 50-fold by gene modification, which included optimising the codon usage of the coding sequence to better suit sugar cane. We also describe a novel dual transcriptional enhancer that increased gene expression from different promoters, boosting expression from Zm-Ubi1 over eightfold. These molecular tools will be extremely valuable for the improvement of sugar cane through biotechnology.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-08-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  19. Social parasitism and the molecular basis of phenotypic evolution

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  20. Widespread convergence in toxin resistance by predictable molecular evolution.

    PubMed

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

    2015-09-22

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

  1. Widespread convergence in toxin resistance by predictable molecular evolution

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Chenuil, Anne; Anne, Chenuil

    2006-05-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-08-01

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

  4. Molecular masers as tracers of early stellar evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Strel'Nitskii, V. S.

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Bradley, Brenda J

    2008-01-01

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

  6. Flight loss linked to faster molecular evolution in insects.

    PubMed

    Mitterboeck, T Fatima; Adamowicz, Sarah J

    2013-09-22

    The loss of flight ability has occurred thousands of times independently during insect evolution. Flight loss may be linked to higher molecular evolutionary rates because of reductions in effective population sizes (Ne) and relaxed selective constraints. Reduced dispersal ability increases population subdivision, may decrease geographical range size and increases (sub)population extinction risk, thus leading to an expected reduction in Ne. Additionally, flight loss in birds has been linked to higher molecular rates of energy-related genes, probably owing to relaxed selective constraints on energy metabolism. We tested for an association between insect flight loss and molecular rates through comparative analysis in 49 phylogenetically independent transitions spanning multiple taxa, including moths, flies, beetles, mayflies, stick insects, stoneflies, scorpionflies and caddisflies, using available nuclear and mitochondrial protein-coding DNA sequences. We estimated the rate of molecular evolution of flightless (FL) and related flight-capable lineages by ratios of non-synonymous-to-synonymous substitutions (dN/dS) and overall substitution rates (OSRs). Across multiple instances of flight loss, we show a significant pattern of higher dN/dS ratios and OSRs in FL lineages in mitochondrial but not nuclear genes. These patterns may be explained by relaxed selective constraints in FL ectotherms relating to energy metabolism, possibly in combination with reduced Ne.

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

    PubMed

    Hurford, Amy; Day, Troy

    2013-10-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  9. Molecular mechanisms of dominance evolution in Müllerian mimicry.

    PubMed

    Llaurens, V; Joron, M; Billiard, S

    2015-12-01

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

  10. Epidemiology, Molecular Epidemiology and Evolution of Bovine Respiratory Syncytial Virus

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

    The bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV) is an enveloped, negative sense, single-stranded RNA virus belonging to the pneumovirus genus within the family Paramyxoviridae. BRSV has been recognized as a major cause of respiratory disease in young calves since the early 1970s. The analysis of BRSV infection was originally hampered by its characteristic lability and poor growth in vitro. However, the advent of numerous immunological and molecular methods has facilitated the study of BRSV enormously. The knowledge gained from these studies has also provided the opportunity to develop safe, stable, attenuated virus vaccine candidates. Nonetheless, many aspects of the epidemiology, molecular epidemiology and evolution of the virus are still not fully understood. The natural course of infection is rather complex and further complicates diagnosis, treatment and the implementation of preventive measures aimed to control the disease. Therefore, understanding the mechanisms by which BRSV is able to establish infection is needed to prevent viral and disease spread. This review discusses important information regarding the epidemiology and molecular epidemiology of BRSV worldwide, and it highlights the importance of viral evolution in virus transmission. PMID:23202546

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

    PubMed

    Ludwig, Martha

    2012-01-01

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

  12. Molecular evolution of WDR62, a gene that regulates neocorticogenesis.

    PubMed

    Pervaiz, Nashaiman; Abbasi, Amir Ali

    2016-09-01

    Human brain evolution is characterized by dramatic expansion in cerebral cortex size. WDR62 (WD repeat domain 62) is one of the important gene in controlling human cortical development. Mutations in WDR62 lead to primary microcephaly, a neurodevelopmental disease characterized by three to four fold reduction in cerebral cortex size of affected individuals. This study analyzes comparative protein evolutionary rate to provide a useful insight into the molecular evolution of WDR62 and hence pinpointed human specific amino acid replacements. Comparative analysis of human WDR62 with two archaic humans (Neanderthals and Denisovans) and modern human populations revealed that five hominin specific amino acid residues (human specific amino acids shared with two archaic humans) might have been accumulated in the common ancestor of extinct archaic humans and modern humans about 550,000-765,000 years ago. Collectively, the data demonstrates an acceleration of WDR62 sequence evolution in hominin lineage and suggests that the ability of WDR62 protein to mediate the neurogenesis has been altered in the course of hominin evolution. PMID:27114917

  13. The molecular evolution of β-carbonic anhydrase in Flaveria.

    PubMed

    Ludwig, Martha

    2011-05-01

    Limited information exists regarding molecular events that occurred during the evolution of C(4) plants from their C(3) ancestors. The enzyme β-carbonic anhydrase (CA; EC 4.2.1.1), which catalyses the reversible hydration of CO(2), is present in multiple forms in C(3) and C(4) plants, and has given insights into the molecular evolution of the C(4) pathway in the genus Flaveria. cDNAs encoding three distinct isoforms of β-CA, CA1-CA3, have been isolated and examined from Flaveria C(3) and C(4) congeners. Sequence data, expression analyses of CA orthologues, and chloroplast import assays with radiolabelled CA precursor proteins from the C(3) species F. pringlei Gandoger and the C(4) species F. bidentis (L.) Kuntze have shown that both contain chloroplastic and cytosolic forms of the enzyme, and the potential roles of these isoforms are discussed. The data also identified CA3 as the cytosolic isoform important in C(4) photosynthesis and indicate that the C(4) CA3 gene evolved as a result of gene duplication and neofunctionalization, which involved mutations in coding and non-coding regions of the ancestral C(3) CA3 gene. Comparisons of the deduced CA3 amino acid sequences from Flaveria C(3), C(4), and photosynthetic intermediate species showed that all the C(3)-C(4) intermediates investigated and F. brownii, a C(4)-like species, have a C(3)-type CA3, while F. vaginata, another C(4)-like species, contains a C(4)-type CA3. These observations correlate with the photosynthetic physiologies of the intermediates, suggesting that the molecular evolution of C(4) photosynthesis in Flaveria may have resulted from a temporally dependent, stepwise modification of protein-encoding genes and their regulatory elements.

  14. [Evolution and systematics of nematodes based on molecular investigation].

    PubMed

    Okulewicz, Anna; Perec, Agnieszka

    2004-01-01

    Evolution and systematics of nematodes based on molecular investigation. The use of molecular phylogenetics to examine the interrelationships between animal parasites, free-living nematodes, and plant parasites versus traditional classification based on morphological-ecological characters was discussed and reviewed. Distinct differences were observed between parasitic nematodes and free-living ones. Within the former group, animal parasites turned out to be distinctly different from plant parasites. Using small subunit of ribosomal RNA gene sequence from a wide range of nematodes, there is a possibility to compare animal-parasitic, plant-parasitic and free-living taxa. Nowadays the parasitic nematodes expressed sequence tag (EST) project is currently generating sequence information to provide a new source of data to examine the evolutionary history of this taxonomic group. PMID:16859012

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hofmann, James R.

    2014-10-01

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

  17. Potential improvements to the Shuttle through evolution

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Faget, Maxime A.; Smith, O. G.

    1993-01-01

    A possible series of evolutionary changes in the Space Shuttle are discussed that would increase both safety and performance while simultaneously decreasing the cost of operations. It is argued that major savings in operations costs can be achieved by employing electromechanical actuators in the hydraulic system and by making an architectural change to isolate the critical flight control processing system from other hardware. Minor modifications to existing Orbiters would enable the system to carry about 8000-10,000 more pounds to any given orbit. A more powerful, more reliable, and completely reusable booster should be developed, and reliability and safety improvements should be made. The SSMEs should be removed from the Orbiter and installed in a recoverable pod that would be attached to the rear of the ET.

  18. Molecular origins of rapid and continuous morphological evolution

    PubMed Central

    Fondon, John W.; Garner, Harold R.

    2004-01-01

    Mutations in cis-regulatory sequences have been implicated as being the predominant source of variation in morphological evolution. We offer a hypothesis that gene-associated tandem repeat expansions and contractions are a major source of phenotypic variation in evolution. Here, we describe a comparative genomic study of repetitive elements in developmental genes of 92 breeds of dogs. We find evidence for selection for divergence at coding repeat loci in the form of both elevated purity and extensive length polymorphism among different breeds. Variations in the number of repeats in the coding regions of the Alx-4 (aristaless-like 4) and Runx-2 (runt-related transcription factor 2) genes were quantitatively associated with significant differences in limb and skull morphology. We identified similar repeat length variation in the coding repeats of Runx-2, Twist, and Dlx-2 in several other species. The high frequency and incremental effects of repeat length mutations provide molecular explanations for swift, yet topologically conservative morphological evolution. PMID:15596718

  19. Molecular evolution of the transcription factor LEAFY in Brassicaceae.

    PubMed

    Baum, David A; Yoon, Ho-Sung; Oldham, Rebecca L

    2005-10-01

    LEAFY (LFY) is a DNA-binding transcription factor that regulates floral meristem identity. LFY is unusual among angiosperm developmental regulators because it is not part of an extended gene family. Recent expression studies and transgenic experiments have suggested that changes at the LFY locus might have played a role in the evolution of rosette flowering, a modified plant architecture that has evolved at least three times in Brassicaceae. Here we examined the sequences of LFY genes from 16 species of Brassicaceae to evaluate whether gene duplication and/or the shift to rosette flowering correlate with changes in the molecular evolution of LFY. We found evidence of gene duplication in four taxa, but phylogenetic analysis suggested that duplicate genes have generally not persisted through multiple speciation events. This result can be explained if LFY is prone to be lost by drift due to a low probability of subfunctionalization or neofunctionalization. Despite great heterogeneity in dN/dS ratios, duplicate genes show a significant tendency to have elevated dN/dS ratios. Rosette-flowering lineages also show elevated dN/dS ratios and two of the rosette-flowering taxa, Idahoa and Leavenworthia, have some radical amino acid substitutions that are candidates for having played a causal role in the evolution of rosette flowering.

  20. Molecular Fossils as Time Indicators for the Evolution of Diatoms.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rampen, S. W.; Schouten, S.; Muyzer, G.; Abbas, B.; Rowland, S. J.; Moldowan, M.; Sinninghe Damsté, J. S.

    2004-12-01

    Bacillariophyta (diatoms) are one of the most abundant divisions of phytoplankton, and contribute to almost 50% of the primary productivity of today's oceans. However, their ecological dominance is relatively young and little is known about the exact pace of their rapid evolution. DNA analyses on diatoms and the use of molecular clock calculations can help to reconstruct their evolution, but this molecular clock rate needs to be calibrated against the fossil record to determine the mutation rate. Until now, diatom silica skeletons have been used for reconstructing the evolution of diatoms, but their use is limited due to destruction by diagenesis. Molecular fossils may prove to be more useful for time reconstruction. To search for suitable compounds, we have analyzed both the lipid composition and 18S rRNA sequences of ca. 100 marine diatoms. This revealed that some specific phylogenetic clusters within the diatoms produce specific organic compounds, so-called diatom biomarkers. One group of diatom biomarkers are the C25 highly branched isoprenoid (HBI) alkenes (1,2). HBI biosynthesis evolved independently at least twice in the diatoms. The first group of HBI producers consists of the centric diatoms of the genus Rhizosolenia, the second group comprises pennate diatoms of the genera Haslea, Navicula and Pleurosigma. Based on the constructed phylogenetic tree it is likely that the HBI biosynthesis evolved first in the older group of centric diatoms (i.e. the Rhizosolenia genus). The fossil record was studied to determine the geological occurrence of C25 HBI alkenes, and this data set shows that HBI biosynthesis evolved ca. 91.5 My ago, so we can date the evolution of the genus Rizosolenia to ca. 91.5 My. With this information, we can now accurately predict the mutation rate of the 18S rDNA gene to 1% per 14.8 My for Rhizosolenia, which is substantially faster than the 1% per 18-26 My reported previously for diatoms in general. Another specific biomarker is 24

  1. Rhodopsin Molecular Evolution in Mammals Inhabiting Low Light Environments

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

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

  2. Molecular evolution of aerobic energy metabolism in primates.

    PubMed

    Grossman, L I; Schmidt, T R; Wildman, D E; Goodman, M

    2001-01-01

    As part of our goal to reconstruct human evolution at the DNA level, we have been examining changes in the biochemical machinery for aerobic energy metabolism. We find that protein subunits of two of the electron transfer complexes, complex III and complex IV, and cytochrome c, the protein carrier that connects them, have all undergone a period of rapid protein evolution in the anthropoid lineage that ultimately led to humans. Indeed, subunit IV of cytochrome c oxidase (COX; complex IV) provides one of the best examples of positively selected changes of any protein studied. The rate of subunit IV evolution accelerated in our catarrhine ancestors in the period between 40 to 18 million years ago and then decelerated in the descendant hominid lineages, a pattern of rate changes indicative of positive selection of adaptive changes followed by purifying selection acting against further changes. Besides clear evidence that adaptive evolution occurred for cytochrome c and subunits of complexes III (e.g., cytochrome c(1)) and IV (e.g., COX2 and COX4), modest rate accelerations in the lineage that led to humans are seen for other subunits of both complexes. In addition the contractile muscle-specific isoform of COX subunit VIII became a pseudogene in an anthropoid ancestor of humans but appears to be a functional gene in the nonanthropoid primates. These changes in the aerobic energy complexes coincide with the expansion of the energy-dependent neocortex during the emergence of the higher primates. Discovering the biochemical adaptations suggested by molecular evolutionary analysis will be an exciting challenge.

  3. Molecular Recognition of the Catalytic Zinc(II) Ion in MMP-13: Structure-Based Evolution of an Allosteric Inhibitor to Dual Binding Mode Inhibitors with Improved Lipophilic Ligand Efficiencies

    PubMed Central

    Fischer, Thomas; Riedl, Rainer

    2016-01-01

    Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are a class of zinc dependent endopeptidases which play a crucial role in a multitude of severe diseases such as cancer and osteoarthritis. We employed MMP-13 as the target enzyme for the structure-based design and synthesis of inhibitors able to recognize the catalytic zinc ion in addition to an allosteric binding site in order to increase the affinity of the ligand. Guided by molecular modeling, we optimized an initial allosteric inhibitor by addition of linker fragments and weak zinc binders for recognition of the catalytic center. Furthermore we improved the lipophilic ligand efficiency (LLE) of the initial inhibitor by adding appropriate zinc binding fragments to lower the clogP values of the inhibitors, while maintaining their potency. All synthesized inhibitors showed elevated affinity compared to the initial hit, also most of the novel inhibitors displayed better LLE. Derivatives with carboxylic acids as the zinc binding fragments turned out to be the most potent inhibitors (compound 3 (ZHAWOC5077): IC50 = 134 nM) whereas acyl sulfonamides showed the best lipophilic ligand efficiencies (compound 18 (ZHAWOC5135): LLE = 2.91). PMID:26938528

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-07-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

  6. The predictability of molecular evolution during functional innovation.

    PubMed

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

    2014-02-25

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

  7. MOLECULAR GAS EVOLUTION ACROSS A SPIRAL ARM IN M51

    SciTech Connect

    Egusa, Fumi; Scoville, Nick; Koda, Jin

    2011-01-10

    We present sensitive and high angular resolution CO(1-0) data obtained by the Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wave Astronomy observations toward the nearby grand-design spiral galaxy M51. The angular resolution of 0.''7 corresponds to 30 pc, which is similar to the typical size of giant molecular clouds (GMCs), and the sensitivity is also high enough to detect typical GMCs. Within the 1' field of view centered on a spiral arm, a number of GMC-scale structures are detected as clumps. However, only a few clumps are found to be associated with each giant molecular association (GMA) and more than 90% of the total flux is resolved out in our data. Considering the high sensitivity and resolution of our data, these results indicate that GMAs are not mere confusion with GMCs but plausibly smooth structures. In addition, we have found that the most massive clumps are located downstream of the spiral arm, which suggests that they are at a later stage of molecular cloud evolution across the arm and plausibly are cores of GMAs. By comparing with H{alpha} and Pa{alpha} images, most of these cores are found to have nearby star-forming regions. We thus propose an evolutionary scenario for the interstellar medium, in which smaller molecular clouds collide to form smooth GMAs at spiral arm regions and then star formation is triggered in the GMA cores. Our new CO data have revealed the internal structure of GMAs at GMC scales, finding the most massive substructures on the downstream side of the arm in close association with the brightest H II regions.

  8. Improving transition voltage spectroscopy of molecular junctions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Markussen, Troels; Chen, Jingzhe; Thygesen, Kristian S.

    2011-04-01

    Transition voltage spectroscopy (TVS) is a promising spectroscopic tool for molecular junctions. The principles in TVS is to find the minimum on a Fowler-Nordheim plot where ln(I/V2) is plotted against 1/V and relate the voltage at the minimum Vmin to the closest molecular level. Importantly, Vmin is approximately half the voltage required to see a peak in the dI/dV curve. Information about the molecular level position can thus be obtained at relatively low voltages. In this work we show that the molecular level position can be determined at even lower voltages, Vmin(α), by finding the minimum of ln(I/Vα) with α<2. On the basis of a simple Lorentzian transmission model we analyze theoretical ab initio as well as experimental I-V curves and show that the voltage required to determine the molecular levels can be reduced by ~30% as compared to conventional TVS. As for conventional TVS, the symmetry/asymmetry of the molecular junction needs to be taken into account in order to gain quantitative information. We show that the degree of asymmetry may be estimated from a plot of Vmin(α) vs α.

  9. A test of neutral molecular evolution based on nucleotide data.

    PubMed

    Hudson, R R; Kreitman, M; Aguadé, M

    1987-05-01

    The neutral theory of molecular evolution predicts that regions of the genome that evolve at high rates, as revealed by interspecific DNA sequence comparisons, will also exhibit high levels of polymorphism within species. We present here a conservative statistical test of this prediction based on a constant-rate neutral model. The test requires data from an interspecific comparison of at least two regions of the genome and data on levels of intraspecific polymorphism in the same regions from at least one species. The model is rejected for data from the region encompassing the Adh locus and the 5' flanking sequence of Drosophila melanogaster and Drosophila sechellia. The data depart from the model in a direction that is consistent with the presence of balanced polymorphism in the coding region.

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-06-01

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

  11. Molecular Evolution of the Capsid Gene in Norovirus Genogroup I.

    PubMed

    Kobayashi, Miho; Yoshizumi, Shima; Kogawa, Sayaka; Takahashi, Tomoko; Ueki, Yo; Shinohara, Michiyo; Mizukoshi, Fuminori; Tsukagoshi, Hiroyuki; Sasaki, Yoshiko; Suzuki, Rieko; Shimizu, Hideaki; Iwakiri, Akira; Okabe, Nobuhiko; Shirabe, Komei; Shinomiya, Hiroto; Kozawa, Kunihisa; Kusunoki, Hideki; Ryo, Akihide; Kuroda, Makoto; Katayama, Kazuhiko; Kimura, Hirokazu

    2015-01-01

    We studied the molecular evolution of the capsid gene in all genotypes (genotypes 1-9) of human norovirus (NoV) genogroup I. The evolutionary time scale and rate were estimated by the Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) method. We also performed selective pressure analysis and B-cell linear epitope prediction in the deduced NoV GI capsid protein. Furthermore, we analysed the effective population size of the virus using Bayesian skyline plot (BSP) analysis. A phylogenetic tree by MCMC showed that NoV GI diverged from the common ancestor of NoV GII, GIII, and GIV approximately 2,800 years ago with rapid evolution (about 10(-3) substitutions/site/year). Some positive selection sites and over 400 negative selection sites were estimated in the deduced capsid protein. Many epitopes were estimated in the deduced virus capsid proteins. An epitope of GI.1 may be associated with histo-blood group antigen binding sites (Ser377, Pro378, and Ser380). Moreover, BSP suggested that the adaptation of NoV GI strains to humans was affected by natural selection. The results suggested that NoV GI strains evolved rapidly and date back to many years ago. Additionally, the virus may have undergone locally affected natural selection in the host resulting in its adaptation to humans. PMID:26338545

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-08-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  14. Computer System for Analysis of Molecular Evolution Modes (SAMEM): analysis of molecular evolution modes at deep inner branches of the phylogenetic tree.

    PubMed

    Gunbin, Konstantin V; Suslov, Valentin V; Genaev, Mikhail A; Afonnikov, Dmitry A

    SAMEM (System for Analysis of Molecular Evolution Modes), a web-based pipeline system for inferring modes of molecular evolution in genes and proteins (http://pixie.bionet.nsc.ru/samem/), is presented. Pipeline 1 performs analyses of protein-coding gene evolution; pipeline 2 performs analyses of protein evolution; pipeline 3 prepares datasets of genes and/or proteins, performs their primary analysis, and builds BLOSUM matrices; pipeline 4 checks if these genes really are protein-coding. Pipeline 1 has an all-new feature, which allows the user to obtain K(R)/K(C) estimates using several different methods. An important feature of pipeline 2 is an original method for analyzing the rates of amino acid substitutions at the branches of a phylogenetic tree. The method is based on Markov modeling and a non-parametric permutation test, which compares expected and observed frequencies of amino acid substitutions, and infers the modes of molecular evolution at deep inner branches.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-03-10

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-03-10

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

  17. Molecular genetics and evolution of disease resistance in cereals.

    PubMed

    Krattinger, Simon G; Keller, Beat

    2016-10-01

    Contents 320 I. 320 II. 321 III. 321 IV. 322 V. 324 VI. 328 VII. 329 330 References 330 SUMMARY: Cereal crops produce a large part of the globally consumed food and feed. Because of the constant presence of devastating pathogens, the molecular characterization of disease resistance is a major research area and highly relevant for breeding. There has been recent and accelerating progress in the understanding of three distinct resistance mechanisms in cereals: resistance conferred by plasma membrane-localized receptor proteins; race-specific resistance conferred by intracellular immune receptors; and quantitative disease resistance. Intracellular immune receptors provide a particularly rich source for evolutionary studies, and have, for example, resulted in the recent discovery of a novel detection mechanism based on integrated decoy domains. Evolutionary studies have also revealed the origins of active resistance genes in both wild progenitors of today's cereals as well as in cultivated forms. In addition, independent evolution of orthologous genes in related cereals has resulted in resistance to different pathogen species. Quantitative resistance genes have been best characterized in wheat. The quantitative resistance genes identified so far in wheat encode transporter proteins or unusual kinase proteins. The recent discoveries in these three different resistance mechanisms have contributed to the basic molecular understanding of cereal immunity against pathogens and have suggested novel applications for resistance breeding.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  19. Molecular genetics and evolution of disease resistance in cereals.

    PubMed

    Krattinger, Simon G; Keller, Beat

    2016-10-01

    Contents 320 I. 320 II. 321 III. 321 IV. 322 V. 324 VI. 328 VII. 329 330 References 330 SUMMARY: Cereal crops produce a large part of the globally consumed food and feed. Because of the constant presence of devastating pathogens, the molecular characterization of disease resistance is a major research area and highly relevant for breeding. There has been recent and accelerating progress in the understanding of three distinct resistance mechanisms in cereals: resistance conferred by plasma membrane-localized receptor proteins; race-specific resistance conferred by intracellular immune receptors; and quantitative disease resistance. Intracellular immune receptors provide a particularly rich source for evolutionary studies, and have, for example, resulted in the recent discovery of a novel detection mechanism based on integrated decoy domains. Evolutionary studies have also revealed the origins of active resistance genes in both wild progenitors of today's cereals as well as in cultivated forms. In addition, independent evolution of orthologous genes in related cereals has resulted in resistance to different pathogen species. Quantitative resistance genes have been best characterized in wheat. The quantitative resistance genes identified so far in wheat encode transporter proteins or unusual kinase proteins. The recent discoveries in these three different resistance mechanisms have contributed to the basic molecular understanding of cereal immunity against pathogens and have suggested novel applications for resistance breeding. PMID:27427289

  20. Molecular marker technologies for plant improvement.

    PubMed

    Winter, P; Kahl, G

    1995-07-01

    The exploitation of DNA polymorphisms by an ever-increasing number of molecular marker technologies has begun to have an impact on plant genome research and breeding. Restriction fragment length polymorphisms, micro- and mini-satellites and PCR-based approaches are used to determine inter- and intra-specific genetic diversity and construct molecular maps of crops using specially designed mapping populations. Resistance genes and other agronomically important loci are tagged with tightly linked DNA markers and the genes isolated by magabase DNA technology and cloning into yeast artificial chromosomes (YAC). This review discusses some recent developments and results in this field.

  1. The first molecular phylogeny of Strepsiptera (Insecta) reveals an early burst of molecular evolution correlated with the transition to endoparasitism.

    PubMed

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

    2011-01-01

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

  2. Improving automatic cooperation between UAVs through co-evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, James F., III

    2008-04-01

    A fuzzy logic resource manager (RM) that enables a collection of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to automatically cooperate to make meteorological measurements will be discussed. The RM renders the UAVs autonomous allowing them to change paths and cooperate without human intervention. Innovations related to the "priority for helping" (PH) fuzzy decision tree (FDT) used by the RM will be discussed. The PH FDT permits three types of automatic cooperation between the UAVs. A subroutine of the communications routing algorithm (CRA) used by the RM is also examined. The CRA allows the UAVs to reestablish communications if needed by changing their behavior. A genetic program (GP) based procedure for automatically creating FDTs is briefly described. A GP is an algorithm based on the theory of evolution that automatically evolves mathematical expressions or computer algorithms. The GP data mines a scenario database to automatically create the FDTs. A recently invented co-evolutionary process that allows improvement of the initially data mined FDT will be discussed. Co-evolution uses a genetic algorithm (GA) to evolve scenarios to augment the GP's scenario database. The GP data mines the augmented database to discover an improved FDT. The process is iterated ultimately evolving a very robust FDT. Improvements to the PH FDT offered through co-evolution are discussed. UAV simulations using the improved PH FDT and CRA are provided.

  3. "Simulated molecular evolution" or computer-generated artifacts?

    PubMed

    Darius, F; Rojas, R

    1994-11-01

    1. The authors define a function with value 1 for the positive examples and 0 for the negative ones. They fit a continuous function but do not deal at all with the error margin of the fit, which is almost as large as the function values they compute. 2. The term "quality" for the value of the fitted function gives the impression that some biological significance is associated with values of the fitted function strictly between 0 and 1, but there is no justification for this kind of interpretation and finding the point where the fit achieves its maximum does not make sense. 3. By neglecting the error margin the authors try to optimize the fitted function using differences in the second, third, fourth, and even fifth decimal place which have no statistical significance. 4. Even if such a fit could profit from more data points, the authors should first prove that the region of interest has some kind of smoothness, that is, that a continuous fit makes any sense at all. 5. "Simulated molecular evolution" is a misnomer. We are dealing here with random search. Since the margin of error is so large, the fitted function does not provide statistically significant information about the points in search space where strings with cleavage sites could be found. This implies that the method is a highly unreliable stochastic search in the space of strings, even if the neural network is capable of learning some simple correlations. 6. Classical statistical methods are for these kind of problems with so few data points clearly superior to the neural networks used as a "black box" by the authors, which in the way they are structured provide a model with an error margin as large as the numbers being computed.7. And finally, even if someone would provide us with a function which separates strings with cleavage sites from strings without them perfectly, so-called simulated molecular evolution would not be better than random selection.Since a perfect fit would only produce exactly ones or

  4. galaxy formation and evolution with an improved SPH code

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhu, Qirong; Li, Y.

    2014-01-01

    We present the results with an updated version of Gadget-3. Our improvements over the original version include both modifications on SPH algorithms and physical processes relevant to galaxy formation and evolution. A smoother kernel is used to reduce the noise of force calculation. Discontinuities and sub-sonic turbulence are treated with a time dependent conduction term and a time dependent viscosity term. The new code successfully handles the KH/RT instabilities. A new set of metal dependent cooling/heating functions is computed self-consistently to account for the ionizing UV background from galaxies and QSOs. Meanwhile we also updated the star formation model and black hole accretion model. With all of these improvement, our code can produce more realistic disk galaxies compared to previous work. Future simulations with this new code will give us more reliable results and enable us to better understand galaxy formation and evolution in greater detail and accuracy.

  5. Molecular Dynamic Simulation of Thin Film Growth Stress Evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zheng, Haifeng

    2011-12-01

    With the increasing demand for thin films across a wide range of technology, especially in electronic and magnetic applications, controlling the stresses in deposited thin films has become one of the more important challenges in modern engineering. It is well known that large intrinsic stress---in the magnitude of several gigapascals---can result during the thin film preparation. The magnitude of stress depends on the deposition technique, film thickness, types and structures of materials used as films and substrates, as well as other factors. Such large intrinsic stress may lead to film cracking and peeling in case of tensile stress, and delamination and blistering in case of compression. However it may also have beneficial effects on optoelectronics and its applications. For example, intrinsic stresses can be used to change the electronic band gap of semiconducting materials. The far-reaching fields of microelectronics and optoelectronics depend critically on the properties, behavior, and reliable performance of deposited thin films. Thus, understanding and controlling the origins and behavior of such intrinsic stresses in deposited thin films is a highly active field of research. In this study, on-going tensile stress evolution during Volmer-Weber growth mode was analyzed through numerical methods. A realistic model with semi-cylinder shape free surfaces was used and molecular dynamics simulations were conducted. Simulations were at room temperature (300 K), and 10 nanometer diameter of islands were used. A deposition rate that every 3 picoseconds deposit one atom was chosen for simulations. The deposition energy was and lattice orientation is [0 0 1]. Five different random seeds were used to ensure average behaviors. In the first part of this study, initial coalescence stress was first calculated by comparing two similar models, which only differed in the distance between two neighboring islands. Three different substrate thickness systems were analyzed to

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Richings, Alexander J.; Schaye, Joop

    2016-08-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-06-01

    The genus Neoerysiphe belongs to the tribe Golovinomyceteae of the Erysiphaceae together with the genera Arthrocladiella and Golovinomyces. This is a relatively small genus, comprising only six species, and having ca 300 species from six plant families as hosts. To investigate the molecular phylogeny and evolution of the genus, we determined the nucleotide sequences of the rDNA ITS regions and the divergent domains D1 and D2 of the 28S rDNA. The 30 ITS sequences from Neoerysiphe are divided into three monophyletic groups that are represented by their host families. Groups 1 and 3 consist of N. galeopsidis from Lamiaceae and N. galii from Rubiaceae, respectively, and the genetic diversity within each group is extremely low. Group 2 is represented by N. cumminsiana from Asteraceae. This group also includes Oidium baccharidis, O. maquii, and Oidium spp. from Galinsoga (Asteraceae) and Aloysia (Verbenaceae), and is further divided into four subgroups. N. galeopsidis is distributed worldwide, but is especially common in western Eurasia from Central Asia to Europe. N. galii is also common in western Eurasia. In contrast, the specimens of group 2 were all collected in the New World, except for one specimen that was collected in Japan; this may indicate a close relationship of group 2 with the New World. Molecular clock calibration demonstrated that Neoerysiphe split from other genera of the Erysiphaceae ca 35-45M years ago (Mya), and that the three groups of Neoerysiphe diverged between 10 and 15Mya, in the Miocene. Aloysia citriodora is a new host for the Erysiphaceae and the fungus on this plant is described as O. aloysiae sp. nov. PMID:18495450

  8. The Structure and Evolution of Self-Gravitating Molecular Clouds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Holliman, John Herbert, II

    1995-01-01

    We present a theoretical formalism to evaluate the structure of molecular clouds and to determine precollapse conditions in star-forming regions. Models consist of pressure-bounded, self-gravitating spheres of a single -fluid ideal gas. We treat the case without rotation. The analysis is generalized to consider states in hydrostatic equilibrium maintained by multiple pressure components. Individual pressures vary with density as P_i(r) ~ rho^{gamma {rm p},i}(r), where gamma_{rm p},i is the polytropic index. Evolution depends additionally on whether conduction occurs on a dynamical time scale and on the adiabatic index gammai of each component, which is modified to account for the effects of any thermal coupling to the environment of the cloud. Special attention is given to properly representing the major contributors to dynamical support in molecular clouds: the pressures due to static magnetic fields, Alfven waves, and thermal motions. Straightforward adjustments to the model allow us to treat the intrinsically anisotropic support provided by the static fields. We derive structure equations, as well as perturbation equations for performing a linear stability analysis. The analysis provides insight on the nature of dynamical motions due to collapse from an equilibrium state and estimates the mass of condensed objects that form in such a process. After presenting a set of general results, we describe models of star-forming regions that include the major pressure components. We parameterize the extent of ambipolar diffusion. The analysis contributes to the physical understanding of several key results from observations of these regions. Commonly observed quantities are explicitly cross-referenced with model results. We theoretically determine density and linewidth profiles on scales ranging from that of molecular cloud cores to that of giant molecular clouds (GMCs). The model offers an explanation of the mean pressures in GMCs, which are observed to be high relative

  9. Evolution of the C4 photosynthetic pathway: events at the cellular and molecular levels.

    PubMed

    Ludwig, Martha

    2013-11-01

    The biochemistry and leaf anatomy of plants using C4 photosynthesis promote the concentration of atmospheric CO2 in leaf tissue that leads to improvements in growth and yield of C4 plants over C3 species in hot, dry, high light, and/or saline environments. C4 plants like maize and sugarcane are significant food, fodder, and bioenergy crops. The C4 photosynthetic pathway is an excellent example of convergent evolution, having evolved in multiple independent lineages of land plants from ancestors employing C3 photosynthesis. In addition to C3 and C4 species, some plant lineages contain closely related C3-C4 intermediate species that demonstrate leaf anatomical, biochemical, and physiological characteristics between those of C3 plants and species using C4 photosynthesis. These groups of plants have been extremely useful in dissecting the modifications to leaf anatomy and molecular biology, which led to the evolution of C4 photosynthesis. It is now clear that great variation exists in C4 leaf anatomy, and diverse molecular mechanisms underlie C4 biochemistry and physiology. However, all these different paths have led to the same destination-the expression of a C4 CO2 concentrating mechanism. Further identification of C4 leaf anatomical traits and molecular biological components, and understanding how they are controlled and assembled will not only allow for additional insights into evolutionary convergence, but also contribute to sustainable food and bioenergy production strategies.

  10. Improved Differential Evolution for Combined Heat and Power Economic Dispatch

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jena, C.; Basu, M.; Panigrahi, C. K.

    2016-04-01

    This paper presents an improved differential evolution to solve non-smooth non-convex combined heat and power economic dispatch (CHPED) problem. Valve-point loading and prohibited operating zones of conventional thermal generators are taken into account. Differential evolution (DE) exploits the differences of randomly sampled pairs of objective vectors for its mutation process. Consequently the variation between vectors will outfit the objective function toward the optimization process and therefore provides efficient global optimization capability. However, although DE is shown to be precise, fast as well as robust, its search efficiency will be impaired during solution process with fast descending diversity of population. This paper proposes Gaussian random variable instead of scaling factor which improves search efficiency. The effectiveness of the proposed method has been verified on four test systems. The results of the proposed approach are compared with those obtained by other evolutionary methods. It is found that the proposed improved differential evolution based approach is able to provide better solution.

  11. Dynamical Evolution of Supernova Remnants Breaking Through Molecular Clouds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cho, Wankee; Kim, Jongsoo; Koo, Bon-Chul

    2015-04-01

    We carry out three-dimensional hydrodynamic simulations of the supernova remnants (SNRs) produced inside molecular clouds (MCs) near their surface using the HLL code tep{har83}. We explore the dynamical evolution and the X-ray morphology of SNRs after breaking through the MC surface for ranges of the explosion depths below the surface and the density ratios of the clouds to the intercloud media (ICM). We find that if an SNR breaks out through an MC surface in its Sedov stage, the outermost dense shell of the remnant is divided into several layers. The divided layers are subject to the Rayleigh-Taylor instability and fragmented. On the other hand, if an SNR breaks through an MC after the remnant enters the snowplow phase, the radiative shell is not divided to layers. We also compare the predictions of previous analytic solutions for the expansion of SNRs in stratified media with our one-dimensional simulations. Moreover, we produce synthetic X-ray surface brightness in order to research the center-bright X-ray morphology shown in thermal composite SNRs. In the late stages, a breakout SNR shows the center-bright X-ray morphology inside an MC in our results. We apply our model to the observational results of the X-ray morphology of the thermal composite SNR 3C 391.

  12. Molecular Evolution of the Sorghum Maturity Gene Ma3

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    Time to maturity is a critical trait in sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) breeding, as it determines whether a variety can be grown in a particular cropping system or ecosystem. Understanding the nucleotide variation and the mechanisms of molecular evolution of the maturity genes would be helpful for breeding programs. In this study, we analyzed the nucleotide diversity of Ma3, an important maturity gene in sorghum, using 252 cultivated and wild sorghum materials from all over the world. The nucleotide variation and diversity were analyzed based both on race- and usage-based groups. We also sequenced 12 genes around the Ma3 gene in 185 of these materials to search for a selective sweep and found that purifying selection was the strongest force on Ma3, as low nucleotide diversity and low-frequency amino acid variants were observed. However, a very special mutation, described as ma3R, seemed to be under positive selection, as indicated by dramatically reduced nucleotide variation not only at the loci but also in the surrounding regions among individuals carrying the mutations. In addition, in an association study using the Ma3 nucleotide variations, we detected 3 significant SNPs for the heading date at a high-latitude environment (Beijing) and 17 at a low-latitude environment (Hainan). The results of this study increases our understanding of the evolutionary mechanisms of the maturity genes in sorghum and will be useful in sorghum breeding. PMID:25961888

  13. Molecular evolution of the Sorghum Maturity Gene Ma3.

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  14. Improved internal control for molecular diagnosis assays.

    PubMed

    Vinayagamoorthy, T; Maryanski, Danielle; Vinayagamoorthy, Dilanthi; Hay, Katie S L; Yo, Jacob; Carter, Mark; Wiegel, Joseph

    2015-01-01

    The two principal determining steps in molecular diagnosis are the amplification and the identification steps. Accuracy of DNA amplification is primarily determined by the annealing sequence of the PCR primer to the analyte DNA. Accuracy for identification is determined either by the annealing region of a labelled probe for the real time PCR analysis, or the annealing of a sequencing primer for DNA sequencing analysis, that binds to the respective analyte (amplicon). Presently, housekeeping genes (Beta globin, GAPDH) are used in molecular diagnosis to verify that the PCR conditions are optimum, and are thus known as amplification controls [1-4]. Although these genes have been useful as amplification controls, they lack the true definition of an internal control because the primers and annealing conditions are not identical to the analyte being assayed. This may result in a false negative report [5]. The IC-Code platform technology described here provides a true internal control where the internal control and analyte share identical PCR primers annealing sequences for the amplification step and identical sequencing primer annealing sequence for the identification step. •The analyte and internal control have the same PCR and sequencing annealing sequences.•This method assures for little or no false negatives and false positives due to the method's design of using identical annealing conditions for the internal control and analyte, and by using DNA sequencing analysis for the identification step of the analyte, respectively.•This method also allows for a set lower limit of detection to be used by varying the amount of internal control used in the assay.

  15. Improved molecular sorbent trap for high-vacuum systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Knechtel, E. D.; Pitts, W. C.

    1971-01-01

    Closed cycle refrigeration loop in which trays holding molecular sorbent are made to serve as cooling baffles improves the performance of high vacuum systems. High performance is obtained with almost no decrease in pumping speed.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

    The purpose of writing this review is to showcase the Molecular Imaging and Contrast Agent Database (MICAD; www.micad.nlm.nih.gov) to students, researchers and clinical investigators interested in the different aspects of molecular imaging. This database provides freely accessible, current, online scientific information regarding molecular imaging (MI) probes and contrast agents (CA) used for positron emission tomography, single-photon emission computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, x-ray/computed tomography, optical imaging and ultrasound imaging. Detailed information on >1000 agents in MICAD is provided in a chapter format and can be accessed through PubMed. Lists containing >4250 unique MI probes and CAs published in peer-reviewed journals and agents approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as a CSV file summarizing all chapters in the database can be downloaded from the MICAD homepage. Users can search for agents in MICAD on the basis of imaging modality, source of signal/contrast, agent or target category, preclinical or clinical studies, and text words. Chapters in MICAD describe the chemical characteristics (structures linked to PubChem), the in vitro and in vivo activities and other relevant information regarding an imaging agent. All references in the chapters have links to PubMed. A Supplemental Information Section in each chapter is available to share unpublished information regarding an agent. A Guest Author Program is available to facilitate rapid expansion of the database. Members of the imaging community registered with MICAD periodically receive an e-mail announcement (eAnnouncement) that lists new chapters uploaded to the database. Users of MICAD are encouraged to provide feedback, comments or suggestions for further improvement of the database by writing to the editors at: micad@nlm.nih.gov PMID:21989943

  17. Molecular phylogeny and morphological evolution of the Acantharia (Radiolaria).

    PubMed

    Decelle, Johan; Suzuki, Noritoshi; Mahé, Fredéric; de Vargas, Colomban; Not, Fabrice

    2012-05-01

    Acantharia are ubiquitous and abundant rhizarian protists in the world ocean. The skeleton made of strontium sulphate and the fact that certain harbour microalgal endosymbionts make them key planktonic players for the ecology of marine ecosystems. Based on morphological criteria, the current taxonomy of Acantharia was established by W.T. Schewiakoff in 1926, since when no major revision has been undertaken. Here, we established the first comprehensive molecular phylogeny from single morphologically-identified acantharian cells, isolated from various oceans. Our phylogenetic analyses based on 78 18S rDNA and 107 partial 28S rDNA revealed the existence of 6 main clades, sub-divided into 13 sub-clades. The polyphyletic nature of acantharian families and genera demonstrates the need for revision of the current taxonomy. This molecular phylogeny, which highlights the taxonomic relevance of specific morphological criteria, such as the presence of a shell and the organisation of the central junction, provides a robust phylogenetic framework for future taxonomic emendation. Finally, mapping all the existing environmental sequences available to date from different marine ecosystems onto our reference phylogeny unveiled another 3 clades and improved the understanding of the biogeography and ecology of Acantharia.

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

    PubMed

    Usui, Noriyoshi; Co, Marissa; Konopka, Genevieve

    2014-01-01

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

  19. Fast molecular evolution associated with high active metabolic rates in poison frogs.

    PubMed

    Santos, Juan C

    2012-08-01

    Molecular evolution is simultaneously paced by mutation rate, genetic drift, and natural selection. Life history traits also affect the speed of accumulation of nucleotide changes. For instance, small body size, rapid generation time, production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), and high resting metabolic rate (RMR) are suggested to be associated with faster rates of molecular evolution. However, phylogenetic correlation analyses failed to support a relationship between RMR and molecular evolution in ectotherms. In addition, RMR might underestimate the metabolic budget (e.g., digestion, reproduction, or escaping predation). An alternative is to test other metabolic rates, such as active metabolic rate (AMR), and their association with molecular evolution. Here, I present comparative analyses of the associations between life history traits (i.e., AMR, RMR, body mass, and fecundity) with rates of molecular evolution of and mitochondrial loci from a large ectotherm clade, the poison frogs (Dendrobatidae). My results support a strong positive association between mass-specific AMR and rates of molecular evolution for both mitochondrial and nuclear loci. In addition, I found weaker and genome-specific covariates such as body mass and fecundity for mitochondrial and nuclear loci, respectively. No direct association was found between mass-specific RMR and rates of molecular evolution. Thus, I provide a mechanistic hypothesis of the link between AMRs and the rate of molecular evolution based on an increase in ROS within germ line cells during periodic bouts of hypoxia/hyperoxia related to aerobic exercise. Finally, I propose a multifactorial model that includes AMR as a predictor of the rate of molecular evolution in ectothermic lineages.

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

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

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

  1. Morphology Evolution of Molecular Weight Dependent P3HT: PCBM Solar Cells

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Feng; Chen, Dian; Briseno, Alejandro; Russell, Thomas

    2011-03-01

    Effective strategies to maximize the performance of bulk heterojunction (BHJ) photovoltaic devices have to be developed and understood to realize their full potential. In BHJ solar cells, the morphology of the active layer is a critical issue to improve device efficiency. In this work, we choose poly(3-hexyl-thiophene) (P3HT) and phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM) system to study the morphology evolution. Different molecular weight P3HTs were synthesized by using Grignard Metathesis (GRIM)~method. In device optimization, polymer with a molecular weight between 20k-30k shows the highest efficiency. It was observed that the as-spun P3HT: PCBM (1:1) blends do not have high order by GISAXS. Within a few seconds of thermal annealing at 150& circ; the crystallinity of P3HT increaased substantially and the polymer chains adopted an edge-on orientation. An-bicontinous morphology was also developed within this short thermal treatment. The in situ GISAXS experiment showed that P3HT of high molecular weight was more easily crystallized from a slowly evaporated chlorobenzene solution and their edge-on orientation is much more obvious than for the lower molecular weight P3HTs. DSC was used to study the thermal properties of P3HTs and P3HT: PCBM blend. The χ of P3HT-PCBM was also calculated by using melting point depression method.

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

    PubMed

    Helbing, Sophie; Lattorff, H Michael G

    2016-08-01

    The high frequency of interactions amongst closely related individuals in social insect colonies enhances pathogen transmission. Group-mediated behavior supporting immune defenses tends to decrease selection acting on immune genes. Along with low effective population sizes this might result in relaxed constraint and rapid evolution of immune system genes. Here, we show that antiviral siRNA genes show high rates of molecular evolution with argonaute 2, armitage and maelstrom evolving faster in social bumblebees compared to their socially parasitic cuckoo bumblebees that lack a worker caste. RNAi genes show frequent positive selection at the codon level additionally supported by the occurrence of parallel evolution. Their evolutionary rate is linked to their pathway specific position with genes directly interacting with viruses showing the highest rates of molecular evolution. We suggest that higher pathogen load in social insects indeed drives the molecular evolution of immune genes including antiviral siRNA, if not compensated by behavior. PMID:27117935

  3. A molecular description of the evolution of resistance

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ordoukhanian, P.; Joyce, G. F.

    1999-01-01

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

  4. Molecular phylogeny and evolution of the coronin gene family.

    PubMed

    Morgan, Reginald O; Fernandez, M Pilar

    2008-01-01

    other actin-binding proteins such as annexins and is a potential ligand for integrins and C2 domains known to be associated with structural and signalling roles in the membrane cytoskeleton. Molecular evolution studies provide a comprehensive overview of the structural history of the coronin gene family and a systematic methodology to gain deeper insight into the function(s) of individual members.

  5. DAMBE5: a comprehensive software package for data analysis in molecular biology and evolution.

    PubMed

    Xia, Xuhua

    2013-07-01

    Since its first release in 2001 as mainly a software package for phylogenetic analysis, data analysis for molecular biology and evolution (DAMBE) has gained many new functions that may be classified into six categories: 1) sequence retrieval, editing, manipulation, and conversion among more than 20 standard sequence formats including MEGA, NEXUS, PHYLIP, GenBank, and the new NeXML format for interoperability, 2) motif characterization and discovery functions such as position weight matrix and Gibbs sampler, 3) descriptive genomic analysis tools with improved versions of codon adaptation index, effective number of codons, protein isoelectric point profiling, RNA and protein secondary structure prediction and calculation of minimum folding energy, and genomic skew plots with optimized window size, 4) molecular phylogenetics including sequence alignment, testing substitution saturation, distance-based, maximum parsimony, and maximum-likelihood methods for tree reconstructions, testing the molecular clock hypothesis with either a phylogeny or with relative-rate tests, dating gene duplication and speciation events, choosing the best-fit substitution models, and estimating rate heterogeneity over sites, 5) phylogeny-based comparative methods for continuous and discrete variables, and 6) graphic functions including secondary structure display, optimized skew plot, hydrophobicity plot, and many other plots of amino acid properties along a protein sequence, tree display and drawing by dragging nodes to each other, and visual searching of the maximum parsimony tree. DAMBE features a graphic, user-friendly, and intuitive interface and is freely available from http://dambe.bio.uottawa.ca (last accessed April 16, 2013).

  6. DAMBE5: a comprehensive software package for data analysis in molecular biology and evolution.

    PubMed

    Xia, Xuhua

    2013-07-01

    Since its first release in 2001 as mainly a software package for phylogenetic analysis, data analysis for molecular biology and evolution (DAMBE) has gained many new functions that may be classified into six categories: 1) sequence retrieval, editing, manipulation, and conversion among more than 20 standard sequence formats including MEGA, NEXUS, PHYLIP, GenBank, and the new NeXML format for interoperability, 2) motif characterization and discovery functions such as position weight matrix and Gibbs sampler, 3) descriptive genomic analysis tools with improved versions of codon adaptation index, effective number of codons, protein isoelectric point profiling, RNA and protein secondary structure prediction and calculation of minimum folding energy, and genomic skew plots with optimized window size, 4) molecular phylogenetics including sequence alignment, testing substitution saturation, distance-based, maximum parsimony, and maximum-likelihood methods for tree reconstructions, testing the molecular clock hypothesis with either a phylogeny or with relative-rate tests, dating gene duplication and speciation events, choosing the best-fit substitution models, and estimating rate heterogeneity over sites, 5) phylogeny-based comparative methods for continuous and discrete variables, and 6) graphic functions including secondary structure display, optimized skew plot, hydrophobicity plot, and many other plots of amino acid properties along a protein sequence, tree display and drawing by dragging nodes to each other, and visual searching of the maximum parsimony tree. DAMBE features a graphic, user-friendly, and intuitive interface and is freely available from http://dambe.bio.uottawa.ca (last accessed April 16, 2013). PMID:23564938

  7. Evolution of the protists and protistan parasites from the perspective of molecular systematics.

    PubMed

    Sogin, M L; Silberman, J D

    1998-01-01

    Unlike prokaryotes, the Protista are rich in morphological and ultrastructure information. Their amazing phenotypic diversity permits assignment of many protists to cohesive phyletic assemblages but sometimes blurs relationships between major lineages. With the advent of molecular techniques, it became possible to test evolutionary hypotheses that were originally formulated according to shared phenotypic traits. More than any other gene family, studies of rRNAs changed our understanding of protist evolution. Stramenopiles (oomycetes, chrysophytes, phaeophytes, synurophytes, diatoms, xanthophytes, bicosoecids, slime nets) and alveolates (dinoflagellates, apicomplexans, ciliates) are two novel, complex evolutionary assemblages which diverged nearly simultaneously with animals, fungi, plants, rhodophytes, haptophytes and a myriad of independent amoeboid lineages. Their separation may have occurred one billion years ago and collectively these lineages make up the "crown" of the eukaryotic tree. Deeper branches in the eukaryotic tree show 16S-like rRNA sequence variation that is much greater than that observed within the Archaea and the Bacteria. A progression of independent protist branches, some as ancient as the divergence between the two prokaryotic domains, preceded the sudden radiation of "crown" groups. Trichomonads, diplomonads and Microsporidia are basal to all other eukaryotes included in rRNA studies. Together with pelobionts, oxymonads, retortamonads and hypermastigids, these amitochondriate taxa comprise the Archaezoa. This skeletal phylogeny suggested that early branching eukaryotes lacked mitochondria, peroxisomes and typical stacked Golgi dictyosomes. However, recent studies of heat shock proteins indicate that the first eukaryotes may have had mitochondria. When evaluated in terms of evolution of ultrastructure, lifestyles and other phenotypic traits, the rRNA phylogenies provide the most consistent of molecular trees. They permit identification of the

  8. Molecular co-catalyst accelerating hole transfer for enhanced photocatalytic H2 evolution

    PubMed Central

    Bi, Wentuan; Li, Xiaogang; Zhang, Lei; Jin, Tao; Zhang, Lidong; Zhang, Qun; Luo, Yi; Wu, Changzheng; Xie, Yi

    2015-01-01

    In artificial photocatalysis, sluggish kinetics of hole transfer and the resulting high-charge recombination rate have been the Achilles' heel of photocatalytic conversion efficiency. Here we demonstrate water-soluble molecules as co-catalysts to accelerate hole transfer for improved photocatalytic H2 evolution activity. Trifluoroacetic acid (TFA), by virtue of its reversible redox couple TFA·/TFA−, serves as a homogeneous co-catalyst that not only maximizes the contact areas between co-catalysts and reactants but also greatly promotes hole transfer. Thus K4Nb6O17 nanosheet catalysts achieve drastically increased photocatalytic H2 production rate in the presence of TFA, up to 32 times with respect to the blank experiment. The molecular co-catalyst represents a new, simple and highly effective approach to suppress recombination of photogenerated charges, and has provided fertile new ground for creating high-efficiency photosynthesis systems, avoiding use of noble-metal co-catalysts. PMID:26486863

  9. Molecular co-catalyst accelerating hole transfer for enhanced photocatalytic H2 evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bi, Wentuan; Li, Xiaogang; Zhang, Lei; Jin, Tao; Zhang, Lidong; Zhang, Qun; Luo, Yi; Wu, Changzheng; Xie, Yi

    2015-10-01

    In artificial photocatalysis, sluggish kinetics of hole transfer and the resulting high-charge recombination rate have been the Achilles' heel of photocatalytic conversion efficiency. Here we demonstrate water-soluble molecules as co-catalysts to accelerate hole transfer for improved photocatalytic H2 evolution activity. Trifluoroacetic acid (TFA), by virtue of its reversible redox couple TFA./TFA-, serves as a homogeneous co-catalyst that not only maximizes the contact areas between co-catalysts and reactants but also greatly promotes hole transfer. Thus K4Nb6O17 nanosheet catalysts achieve drastically increased photocatalytic H2 production rate in the presence of TFA, up to 32 times with respect to the blank experiment. The molecular co-catalyst represents a new, simple and highly effective approach to suppress recombination of photogenerated charges, and has provided fertile new ground for creating high-efficiency photosynthesis systems, avoiding use of noble-metal co-catalysts.

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    White, Harold B.

    2007-01-01

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

  11. Non-molecular-clock-like evolution following viral origins in homo sapiens.

    PubMed

    Mok, Wendy; Seto, Kelly; Stone, Jon

    2007-09-26

    Researchers routinely adopt molecular clock assumptions in conducting sequence analyses to estimate dates for viral origins in humans. We used computational methods to examine the extent to which this practice can result in inaccurate 'retrodiction.' Failing to account for dynamic molecular evolution can affect greatly estimating index case dates, resulting in an overestimated age for the SARS-CoV-human infection, for instance.

  12. DAMBE: software package for data analysis in molecular biology and evolution.

    PubMed

    Xia, X; Xie, Z

    2001-01-01

    DAMBE (data analysis in molecular biology and evolution) is an integrated software package for converting, manipulating, statistically and graphically describing, and analyzing molecular sequence data with a user-friendly Windows 95/98/2000/NT interface. DAMBE is free and can be downloaded from http://web.hku.hk/~xxia/software/software.htm. The current version is 4.0.36.

  13. Understanding of evolution may be improved by thinking about people.

    PubMed

    Nettle, Daniel

    2010-05-20

    The theory of evolution is poorly understood in the population at large, even by those with some science education. The recurrent misunderstandings can be partly attributed to failure to distinguish between processes which individual organisms undergo and those which populations undergo. They may be so pervasive because we usually explain evolutionary ideas with examples from non-human animals, and our everyday cognition about animals does not track individuals as distinct from the species to which they belong. By contrast, everyday cognition about other people tracks unique individuals as well as general properties of humans. In Study 1, I present experimental evidence that categorization by species occurs more strongly for non-human animals than for other people in 50 British university students. In Study 2, I show, in the same population, that framing evolutionary scenarios in terms of people produces fewer conceptual errors than when logically identical scenarios are framed terms of non-human animals. I conclude that public understanding of evolution might be improved if we began instruction by considering the organisms which are most familiar to us.

  14. Molecular gas content of H I monsters and implications to cold gas content evolution in galaxies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, Cheoljong; Chung, Aeree; Yun, Min S.; Cybulski, Ryan; Narayanan, G.; Erickson, N.

    2014-06-01

    We present 12CO (J = 1 → 0) observations of a sample of local galaxies (0.04 < z < 0.08) with a large neutral hydrogen reservoir, or `H I monsters'. The data were obtained using the redshift search receiver on the five college radio astronomy observatory (FCRAO) 14 m telescope. The sample consists of 20 H I-massive galaxies with MH I > 3 × 1010 M⊙ from the Arecibo Legacy Fast ALFA (ALFALFA) survey and 8 low surface brightness galaxies (LSBs) with a comparable MH I(>1.5 × 1010 M⊙). Our sample selection is purely based on the amount of neutral hydrogen, thereby providing a chance to study how atomic and molecular gas relate to each other in these H I-massive systems. We have detected CO in 15 out of 20 ALFALFA selected galaxies and 4 out of 8 LSBs with molecular gas mass MH2 of (1-11)× 109 M⊙. Their total cold gas masses of (2-7) × 1010 M⊙ make them some of the most gas-massive galaxies identified to date in the Local Universe. Observed trends associated with H I, H2, and stellar properties of the H I massive galaxies and the field comparison sample are analysed in the context of theoretical models of galaxy cold gas content and evolution, and the importance of total gas content and improved recipes for handling spatially differentiated behaviours of disc and halo gas are identified as potential areas of improvement for the modelling.

  15. Evolution of cyanobacterial morphotypes: Taxa required for improved phylogenomic approaches.

    PubMed

    Schirrmeister, Bettina E; Anisimova, Maria; Antonelli, Alexandre; Bagheri, Homayoun C

    2011-07-01

    Within prokaryotes cyanobacteria represent one of the oldest and morphologically most diverse phyla on Earth. The rise of oxygen levels in the atmosphere 2.32-2.45 billion years ago is assigned to the photosynthetic activity of ancestors from this phylum. Subsequently cyanobacteria were able to adapt to various habitats evolving a comprehensive set of different morphotypes. In a recent study we showed that this evolution is not a gradual transition from simple unicellular to more complex multicellular forms as often assumed. Instead complexity was lost several times and regained at least once. An understanding of the genetic basis of these transitions would be further strengthened by phylogenomic approaches. However, considering that new methods for phylogenomic analyses are emerging, it is unfortunate that genomes available today are comprised of an unbalanced sampling of taxa. We propose avenues to remedy this by identifying taxa that would improve the representation of phylogenetic diversity in this phylum. PMID:21966561

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Qin, Sheng; Chen, Liming; Ma, Fei

    2012-01-01

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

  18. Molecular evolution of candidate genes for crop-related traits in sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.).

    PubMed

    Mandel, Jennifer R; McAssey, Edward V; Nambeesan, Savithri; Garcia-Navarro, Elena; Burke, John M

    2014-01-01

    Evolutionary analyses aimed at detecting the molecular signature of selection during crop domestication and/or improvement can be used to identify genes or genomic regions of likely agronomic importance. Here, we describe the DNA sequence-based characterization of a pool of candidate genes for crop-related traits in sunflower. These genes, which were identified based on homology to genes of known effect in other study systems, were initially sequenced from a panel of improved lines. All genes that exhibited a paucity of sequence diversity, consistent with the possible effects of selection during the evolution of cultivated sunflower, were then sequenced from a panel of wild sunflower accessions an outgroup. These data enabled formal tests for the effects of selection in shaping sequence diversity at these loci. When selection was detected, we further sequenced these genes from a panel of primitive landraces, thereby allowing us to investigate the likely timing of selection (i.e., domestication vs. improvement). We ultimately identified seven genes that exhibited the signature of positive selection during either domestication or improvement. Genetic mapping of a subset of these genes revealed co-localization between candidates for genes involved in the determination of flowering time, seed germination, plant growth/development, and branching and QTL that were previously identified for these traits in cultivated × wild sunflower mapping populations. PMID:24914686

  19. Molecular Evolution of Candidate Genes for Crop-Related Traits in Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.)

    PubMed Central

    Mandel, Jennifer R.; McAssey, Edward V.; Nambeesan, Savithri; Garcia-Navarro, Elena; Burke, John M.

    2014-01-01

    Evolutionary analyses aimed at detecting the molecular signature of selection during crop domestication and/or improvement can be used to identify genes or genomic regions of likely agronomic importance. Here, we describe the DNA sequence-based characterization of a pool of candidate genes for crop-related traits in sunflower. These genes, which were identified based on homology to genes of known effect in other study systems, were initially sequenced from a panel of improved lines. All genes that exhibited a paucity of sequence diversity, consistent with the possible effects of selection during the evolution of cultivated sunflower, were then sequenced from a panel of wild sunflower accessions an outgroup. These data enabled formal tests for the effects of selection in shaping sequence diversity at these loci. When selection was detected, we further sequenced these genes from a panel of primitive landraces, thereby allowing us to investigate the likely timing of selection (i.e., domestication vs. improvement). We ultimately identified seven genes that exhibited the signature of positive selection during either domestication or improvement. Genetic mapping of a subset of these genes revealed co-localization between candidates for genes involved in the determination of flowering time, seed germination, plant growth/development, and branching and QTL that were previously identified for these traits in cultivated × wild sunflower mapping populations. PMID:24914686

  20. Episodic molecular evolution of pituitary growth hormone in Cetartiodactyla.

    PubMed

    Maniou, Zoitsa; Wallis, O Caryl; Wallis, Michael

    2004-06-01

    The sequence of growth hormone (GH) is generally strongly conserved in mammals, but episodes of rapid change occurred during the evolution of primates and artiodactyls, when the rate of GH evolution apparently increased substantially. As a result the sequences of higher primate and ruminant GHs differ markedly from sequences of other mammalian GHs. In order to increase knowledge of GH evolution in Cetartiodactyla (Artiodactyla plus Cetacea) we have cloned and characterized GH genes from camel (Camelus dromedarius), hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius), and giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis), using genomic DNA and a polymerase chain reaction technique. As in other mammals, these GH genes comprise five exons and four introns. Two very similar GH gene sequences (encoding identical proteins) were found in each of hippopotamus and giraffe. The deduced sequence for the mature hippopotamus GH is identical to that of dolphin, in accord with current ideas of a close relationship between Cetacea and Hippopotamidae. The sequence of camel GH is identical to that reported previously for alpaca GH. The sequence of giraffe GH is very similar to that of other ruminants but differs from that of nonruminant cetartiodactyls at about 18 residues. The results demonstrate that the apparent burst of rapid evolution of GH occurred largely after the separation of the line leading to ruminants from other cetartiodactyls. PMID:15461431

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Seager, Robert D.

    1990-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-11-01

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

  3. Temporal scaling of molecular evolution in primates and other mammals.

    PubMed

    Gingerich, P D

    1986-05-01

    Molecular clocks are routinely tested for linearity using a relative rate test and routinely calibrated against the geological time scale using a single or average paleontologically determined time of divergence between living taxa. The relative rate test is a test of parallel rate equality, not a test of rate constancy. Temporal scaling provides a test of rates, where scaling coefficients of 1.0 (isochrony) represent stochastic rate constancy. The fossil record of primates and other mammals is now known in sufficient detail to provide several independent divergence times for major taxonomic groups. Molecular difference should scale negatively or isochronically (scaling coefficients less than 1.0) with divergence time: where two or more divergence times are available, molecular difference appears to scale positively (scaling coefficient greater than 1.0). A minimum of four divergence times are required for adequate statistical power in testing the linear model: scaling is significantly nonlinear and positive in six of 11 published investigations meeting this criterion. All groups studied show some slowdown in rates of molecular change over Cenozoic time. The break from constant or increasing rates during the Mesozoic to decreasing rates during the Cenozoic appears to coincide with extraordinary diversification of placental mammals at the beginning of this era. High rates of selectively neutral molecular change may be concentrated in such discrete events of evolutionary diversification.

  4. Extracellular Matrix Molecular Remodeling in Human Liver Fibrosis Evolution

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  5. Molecular evolution of a Drosophila homolog of human BRCA2

    PubMed Central

    Bennett, Sarah M.; Noor, Mohamed A. F.

    2009-01-01

    The human cancer susceptibility gene, BRCA2, functions in double-strand break repair by homologous recombination, and it appears to function via interaction of a repetitive region (“BRC repeats”) with RAD-51. A putatively simpler homolog, dmbrca2, was identified in Drosophila melanogaster recently and also affects mitotic and meiotic double-strand break repair. In this study, we examined patterns of repeat variation both within Drosophila pseudoobscura and among available Drosophila genome sequences. We identified extensive variation within and among closely related Drosophila species in BRC repeat number, to the extent that variation within this genus recapitulates the extent of variation found across the entire animal kingdom. We describe patterns of evolution across species by documenting recent repeat expansions (sometimes in tandem arrays) and homogenizations within available genome sequences. Overall, we have documented patterns and modes of evolution in a new model system of a gene which is important to human health. PMID:19554456

  6. Evolution and Molecular Control of Hybrid Incompatibility in Plants

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Bergareche, A M; Ostolaza, J F

    1990-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Bennett, Sarah M; Noor, Mohamed A F

    2009-11-01

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

  9. Primer and interviews: Molecular mechanisms of morphological evolution

    PubMed Central

    Kiefer, Julie C

    2010-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  11. Molecular evolution of sex-biased genes in Drosophila.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Zhi; Hambuch, Tina M; Parsch, John

    2004-11-01

    Studies of morphology, interspecific hybridization, protein/DNA sequences, and levels of gene expression have suggested that sex-related characters (particularly those involved in male reproduction) evolve rapidly relative to non-sex-related characters. Here we report a general comparison of evolutionary rates of sex-biased genes using data from cDNA microarray experiments and comparative genomic studies of Drosophila. Comparisons of nonsynonymous/synonymous substitution rates (d(N)/d(S)) between species of the D. melanogaster subgroup revealed that genes with male-biased expression had significantly faster rates of evolution than genes with female-biased or unbiased expression. The difference was caused primarily by a higher d(N) in the male-biased genes. The same pattern was observed for comparisons among more distantly related species. In comparisons between D. melanogaster and D. pseudoobscura, genes with highly biased male expression were significantly more divergent than genes with highly biased female expression. In many cases, orthologs of D. melanogaster male-biased genes could not be identified in D. pseudoobscura through a Blast search. In contrast to the male-biased genes, there was no clear evidence for accelerated rates of evolution in female-biased genes, and most comparisons indicated a reduced rate of evolution in female-biased genes relative to unbiased genes. Male-biased genes did not show an increased ratio of nonsynonymous/synonymous polymorphism within D. melanogaster, and comparisons of polymorphism/divergence ratios suggest that the rapid evolution of male-biased genes is caused by positive selection.

  12. Molecular evolution of a chordate specific family of G protein-coupled receptors

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Chordate evolution is a history of innovations that is marked by physical and behavioral specializations, which led to the development of a variety of forms from a single ancestral group. Among other important characteristics, vertebrates obtained a well developed brain, anterior sensory structures, a closed circulatory system and gills or lungs as blood oxygenation systems. The duplication of pre-existing genes had profound evolutionary implications for the developmental complexity in vertebrates, since mutations modifying the function of a duplicated protein can lead to novel functions, improving the evolutionary success. Results We analyzed here the evolution of the GPRC5 family of G protein-coupled receptors by comprehensive similarity searches and found that the receptors are only present in chordates and that the size of the receptor family expanded, likely due to genome duplication events in the early history of vertebrate evolution. We propose that a single GPRC5 receptor coding gene originated in a stem chordate ancestor and gave rise by duplication events to a gene family comprising three receptor types (GPRC5A-C) in vertebrates, and a fourth homologue present only in mammals (GPRC5D). Additional duplications of GPRC5B and GPRC5C sequences occurred in teleost fishes. The finding that the expression patterns of the receptors are evolutionarily conserved indicates an important biological function of these receptors. Moreover, we found that expression of GPRC5B is regulated by vitamin A in vivo, confirming previous findings that linked receptor expression to retinoic acid levels in tumor cell lines and strengthening the link between the receptor expression and the development of a complex nervous system in chordates, known to be dependent on retinoic acid signaling. Conclusions GPRC5 receptors, a class of G protein-coupled receptors with unique sequence characteristics, may represent a molecular novelty that helped non-chordates to become

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Franklin, Wilfred A.

    2010-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2007-01-01

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

  15. Aerial web-weaving spiders: Linking molecular and organismal processes in evolution.

    PubMed

    Craig, C L

    1992-08-01

    Aerial web-weaving spiders display a wide variety of foraging behaviors that can be tied to the evolution of one family of proteins, the silks. In some cases, the physical structure and mechanical properties of silks alone determine the ecology of spiders: the habitats in which they forage, the prey they capture and their subsequent reproductive success. Future studies that integrate research on the physical structure of silks, the molecular genetics of silk synthesis and the foraging ecology of spiders in primitive and derived phylogenetic groups could reveal how molecular and organismal processes interact in evolution.

  16. Molecular approaches to improve rice abiotic stress tolerance.

    PubMed

    Mizoi, Junya; Yamaguchi-Shinozaki, Kazuko

    2013-01-01

    Abiotic stress is a major factor limiting productivity of rice crops in large areas of the world. Because plants cannot avoid abiotic stress by moving, they have acquired various mechanisms for stress tolerance in the course of their evolution. Enhancing or introducing such mechanisms in rice is one effective way to develop stress-tolerant cultivars. Based on physiological studies on stress responses, recent progress in plant molecular biology has enabled discovery of many genes involved in stress tolerance. These genes include regulatory genes, which regulate stress response (e.g., transcription factors and protein kinases), and functional genes, which protect the cell (e.g., enzymes for generating protective metabolites and proteins). Both kinds of genes are used to increase stress tolerance in rice. In addition, several quantitative trait loci (QTLs) associated with higher stress tolerance have been cloned, contributing to the discovery of significantly important genes for stress tolerance.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

  18. Gibberellin Receptor GID1: Gibberellin Recognition and Molecular Evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

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

  19. Molecular Evolution of Peste des Petits Ruminants Virus

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  20. Glutamine synthetase gene evolution: A good molecular clock

    SciTech Connect

    Pesole, G.; Lanvave, C.; Saccone, C. ); Bozzetti, M.P. ); Preparata, G. )

    1991-01-15

    Glutamine synthetase gene evolution in various animals, plants, and bacteria was evaluated by a general stationary Markov model. The evolutionary process proved to be unexpectedly regular even for a time span as long as that between the divergence of prokaryotes from eukaryotes. This enabled us to draw phylogenetic trees for species whose phylogeny cannot be easily reconstructed from the fossil record. The calculation of the times of divergence of the various organelle-specific enzymes led us to hypothesize that the pea and bean chloroplast genes for these enzymes originated from the duplication of nuclear genes as a result of the different metabolic needs of the various species. The data indicate that the duplication of plastid glutamine synthetase genes occurred long after the endosymbiotic events that produced the organelles themselves.

  1. [Molecular Mechanism and Malignant Clonal Evolution of Multiple Myeloma].

    PubMed

    Ding, Fei; Zhu, Ping; Wu, Xue-Qiang

    2015-10-01

    Almost all patients with multiple myeloma (MM) have chromosomal translocation which can result in genetic variation. There are mainly five types of chromosomal translocations, involving the IGH gene translocation to 11q13 (CCND1), 4p16 (FGFR/MMSET), 16q23 (MAF), 6p21 (CCND3) and 20q11 (MAFB). It is possible that all IGH translocations converge on a common cell cycle signal pathway. Some MM develops through a multistep transformation from monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) to smoldering MM (SMM) and eventually to MM and plasma cell leukemia (PCL). Similarly to what Darwin proposed in the mid-19th century-random genetic variation and natural selection in the context of limited resources, MM clonal evolution follow branching and nonlinear mode. The failure of MM treatment is usually related with the minimal subclone which is hardly found at newlydiagnosed. PMID:26524068

  2. Molecular evolution of peste des petits ruminants virus.

    PubMed

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

    2014-12-01

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

  3. Glutamine synthetase gene evolution: a good molecular clock.

    PubMed Central

    Pesole, G; Bozzetti, M P; Lanave, C; Preparata, G; Saccone, C

    1991-01-01

    Glutamine synthetase (EC 6.3.1.2) gene evolution in various animals, plants, and bacteria was evaluated by a general stationary Markov model. The evolutionary process proved to be unexpectedly regular even for a time span as long as that between the divergence of prokaryotes from eukaryotes. This enabled us to draw phylogenetic trees for species whose phylogeny cannot be easily reconstructed from the fossil record. Our calculation of the times of divergence of the various organelle-specific enzymes led us to hypothesize that the pea and bean chloroplast genes for these enzymes originated from the duplication of nuclear genes as a result of the different metabolic needs of the various species. Our data indicate that the duplication of plastid glutamine synthetase genes occurred long after the endosymbiotic events that produced the organelles themselves. PMID:1671172

  4. Molecular Evolution Directs Protein Translation Using Unnatural Amino Acids.

    PubMed

    Cox, Vanessa E; Gaucher, Eric A

    2015-12-02

    Unnatural amino acids have in recent years established their importance in a wide range of fields, from pharmaceuticals to polymer science. Unnatural amino acids can increase the number of chemical groups within proteins and thus expand or enhance biological function. Our ability to utilize these important building blocks, however, has been limited by the inherent difficulty in incorporating these molecules into proteins. To address this challenge, researchers have examined how the canonical twenty amino acids are incorporated, regulated, and modified in nature. This review focuses on achievements and techniques used to engineer the ribosomal protein-translation machinery, including the introduction of orthogonal translation components, how directed evolution enhances the incorporation of unnatural amino acids, and the potential utility of ancient biomolecules for this process.

  5. Molecular evolution of seminal proteins in field crickets.

    PubMed

    Andrés, José A; Maroja, Luana S; Bogdanowicz, Steven M; Swanson, Willie J; Harrison, Richard G

    2006-08-01

    In sexually reproducing organisms, male ejaculates are complex traits that are potentially subject to many different selection pressures. Recent experimental evidence supports the hypothesis that postmating sexual selection, and particularly sexual conflict, may play a key role in the evolution of the proteinaceous components of ejaculates. However, this evidence is based almost entirely on the study of Drosophila, a species with a mating system characterized by a high cost of mating for females. In this paper, we broaden our understanding of the role of selection on the evolution of seminal proteins by characterizing these proteins in field crickets, a group of insects in which females appear to benefit from mating multiply. We have used an experimental protocol that can be applied to other organisms for which complete genome sequences are not yet available. By combining an evolutionary expressed sequence tag screen of the male accessory gland in 2 focal species (Gryllus firmus and Gryllus pennsylvanicus) with a bioinformatics approach, we have been able to identify as many as 30 seminal proteins. Evolutionary analyses among 5 species of the genus Gryllus suggest that seminal protein genes evolve more rapidly than genes encoding proteins that are not involved with reproduction. The rates of synonymous substitution (dS) are similar in genes encoding seminal proteins and genes encoding "housekeeping" proteins. For the same comparison, the rate of fixation of nonsynonymous substitutions (dN) is 3 times higher in genes encoding seminal proteins, suggesting that the divergence of seminal proteins in field crickets has been accelerated by positive Darwinian selection. In spite of the contrasting characteristics of the Drosophila and Gryllus mating systems, the mean selection parameter omega and the proportion of loci estimated to be affected by positive selection are very similar.

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

    PubMed

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

    2005-01-01

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

  7. Improved molecular imaging contrast agent for detection of human thrombus.

    PubMed

    Winter, Patrick M; Caruthers, Shelton D; Yu, Xin; Song, Sheng-Kwei; Chen, Junjie; Miller, Brad; Bulte, Jeff W M; Robertson, J David; Gaffney, Patrick J; Wickline, Samuel A; Lanza, Gregory M

    2003-08-01

    Molecular imaging of microthrombus within fissures of unstable atherosclerotic plaques requires sensitive detection with a thrombus-specific agent. Effective molecular imaging has been previously demonstrated with fibrin-targeted Gd-DTPA-bis-oleate (BOA) nanoparticles. In this study, the relaxivity of an improved fibrin-targeted paramagnetic formulation, Gd-DTPA-phosphatidylethanolamine (PE), was compared with Gd-DTPA-BOA at 0.05-4.7 T. Ion- and particle-based r(1) relaxivities (1.5 T) for Gd-DTPA-PE (33.7 (s*mM)(-1) and 2.48 x 10(6) (s*mM)(-1), respectively) were about twofold higher than for Gd-DTPA-BOA, perhaps due to faster water exchange with surface gadolinium. Gd-DTPA-PE nanoparticles bound to thrombus surfaces via anti-fibrin antibodies (1H10) induced 72% +/- 5% higher change in R(1) values at 1.5 T (deltaR(1) = 0.77 +/- 0.02 1/s) relative to Gd-DTPA-BOA (deltaR(1) = 0.45 +/- 0.02 1/s). These studies demonstrate marked improvement in a fibrin-specific molecular imaging agent that might allow sensitive, early detection of vascular microthrombi, the antecedent to stroke and heart attack.

  8. The molecular evolution of the vertebrate behavioural repertoire

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-02-01

    The nucleotide sequences of largemouth bass pepsinogens (PG1, 2 and 3) were determined after molecular cloning of the respective cDNAs. Encoded PG1, 2 and 3 were classified as fish pepsinogens A1, A2 and C, respectively. Molecular evolutionary analyses show that vertebrate pepsinogens are classified into seven monophyletic groups, i.e. pepsinogens A, F, Y (prochymosins), C, B, and fish pepsinogens A and C. Regarding the primary structures, extensive deletion was obvious in S'1 loop residues in fish pepsin A as well as tetrapod pepsin Y. This deletion resulted in a decrease in hydrophobic residues in the S'1 site. Hydrolytic specificities of bass pepsins A1 and A2 were investigated with a pepsin substrate and its variants. Bass pepsins preferred both hydrophobic/aromatic residues and charged residues at the P'1 sites of substrates, showing the dual character of S'1 sites. Thermodynamic analyses of bass pepsin A2 showed that its activation Gibbs energy change (∆G(‡)) was lower than that of porcine pepsin A. Several sites of bass pepsin A2 moiety were found to be under positive selection, and most of them are located on the surface of the molecule, where they are involved in conformational flexibility. The broad S'1 specificity and flexible structure of bass pepsin A2 are thought to cause its high proteolytic activity. PMID:26627128

  11. Molecular tools in understanding the evolution of Vibrio cholerae

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

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

  13. Molecular Evolution of the Oxygen-Binding Hemerythrin Domain

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  14. Molecular evolution of herpesviruses: genomic and protein sequence comparisons.

    PubMed Central

    Karlin, S; Mocarski, E S; Schachtel, G A

    1994-01-01

    Phylogenetic reconstruction of herpesvirus evolution is generally founded on amino acid sequence comparisons of specific proteins. These are relevant to the evolution of the specific gene (or set of genes), but the resulting phylogeny may vary depending on the particular sequence chosen for analysis (or comparison). In the first part of this report, we compare 13 herpesvirus genomes by using a new multidimensional methodology based on distance measures and partial orderings of dinucleotide relative abundances. The sequences were analyzed with respect to (i) genomic compositional extremes; (ii) total distances within and between genomes; (iii) partial orderings among genomes relative to a set of sequence standards; (iv) concordance correlations of genome distances; and (v) consistency with the alpha-, beta-, gammaherpesvirus classification. Distance assessments within individual herpesvirus genomes show each to be quite homogeneous relative to the comparisons between genomes. The gammaherpesviruses, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), herpesvirus saimiri, and bovine herpesvirus 4 are both diverse and separate from other herpesvirus classes, whereas alpha- and betaherpesviruses overlap. The analysis revealed that the most central genome (closest to a consensus herpesvirus genome and most individual herpesvirus sequences of different classes) is that of human herpesvirus 6, suggesting that this genome is closest to a progenitor herpesvirus. The shorter DNA distances among alphaherpesviruses supports the hypothesis that the alpha class is of relatively recent ancestry. In our collection, equine herpesvirus 1 (EHV1) stands out as the most central alphaherpesvirus, suggesting it may approximate an ancestral alphaherpesvirus. Among all herpesviruses, the EBV genome is closest to human sequences. In the DNA partial orderings, the chicken sequence collection is invariably as close as or closer to all herpesvirus sequences than the human sequence collection is, which may imply that

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

    PubMed

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

    2007-07-01

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

  16. Molecular evolution and in vitro characterization of Botryllus histocompatibility factor.

    PubMed

    Taketa, Daryl A; Nydam, Marie L; Langenbacher, Adam D; Rodriguez, Delany; Sanders, Erin; De Tomaso, Anthony W

    2015-10-01

    Botryllus schlosseri is a colonial ascidian with a natural ability to anastomose with another colony to form a vascular and hematopoietic chimera. In order to fuse, two individuals must share at least one allele at the highly polymorphic fuhc locus. Otherwise, a blood-based inflammatory response will occur resulting in a melanin scar at the sites of interaction. The single-locus genetic control of allorecognition makes B. schlosseri an attractive model to study the underlying molecular mechanisms. Over the past decade, several candidate genes involved in allorecognition have been identified, but how they ultimately contribute to allorecognition outcome remains poorly understood. Here, we report our initial molecular characterization of a recently identified candidate allodeterminant called Botryllus histocompatibility factor (bhf). bhf, both on a DNA and protein level, is the least polymorphic protein in the fuhc locus studied so far and, unlike other known allorecognition determinants, does not appear to be under any form of balancing or directional selection. Additionally, we identified a second isoform through mRNA-Seq and an EST assembly library which is missing exon 3, resulting in a C-terminally truncated form. We report via whole-mount fluorescent in situ hybridization that a subset of cells co-express bhf and cfuhc(sec). Finally, we observed BHF's localization in HEK293T at the cytoplasmic side of the plasma membrane in addition to the nucleus via a nuclear localization signal. Given the localization data thus far, we hypothesize that BHF may function as a scaffolding protein in a complex with other Botryllus proteins, rather than functioning as an allorecognition determinant. PMID:26359175

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

    PubMed Central

    Rakhmilevitch, David

    2015-01-01

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

  18. Improving Molecular Level Chemical Speciation of Organic Aerosols

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Worton, D. R.; Decker, M.; Isaacman, G. A.; Chan, A.; Wilson, K. R.; Goldstein, A. H.

    2013-12-01

    A substantial fraction of fine mode aerosols are organic with the majority formed in the atmosphere through oxidation of gas phase compounds emitted from a variety of natural and man-made sources. As a result, organic aerosols are comprised of thousands of individual organic species whose complexity increases exponentially with carbon number and degree of atmospheric oxidation. Chemical characterization of individual compounds present in this complex mixture provides information on sources and transformation processes that are critical for apportioning organic carbon from an often convoluted mixture of sources and to constrain oxidation mechanisms needed for atmospheric models. These compounds also affect the physical and optical properties of the aerosol but the vast majority remain unidentified and missing from published mass spectral libraries because of difficulties in separating and identifying them. We have developed improved methodologies for chemical identification in order to better understand complex environmental mixtures. Our approach has been to combine two-dimensional gas chromatography with high resolution time of flight mass spectrometry (GC×GC-HRTOFMS) and both traditional electron ionization (EI) and vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) photoionization. GC×GC provides improved separation of individual compounds over traditional one dimensional GC and minimizes co-elution of peaks resulting in mass spectra that are virtually free of interferences. VUV ionization is a ';soft' ionization technique that reduces fragmentation and enhances the abundance of the parent or molecular ion, which when combined with high resolution mass spectrometry can provide molecular formulas for chromatographic peaks. We demonstrate our methodology by applying it to identify more than 500 individual compounds in aerosol filter samples collected at Blodgett Forest, a rural site in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Using the EI NIST mass spectral library and molecular formulas determined

  19. Molecular evidence on the origin and evolution of glutinous rice.

    PubMed Central

    Olsen, Kenneth M; Purugganan, Michael D

    2002-01-01

    Glutinous rice is a major type of cultivated rice with long-standing cultural importance in Asia. A mutation in an intron 1 splice donor site of the Waxy gene is responsible for the change in endosperm starch leading to the glutinous phenotype. Here we examine an allele genealogy of the Waxy locus to trace the evolutionary and geographical origins of this phenotype. On the basis of 105 glutinous and nonglutinous landraces from across Asia, we find evidence that the splice donor mutation has a single evolutionary origin and that it probably arose in Southeast Asia. Nucleotide diversity measures indicate that the origin of glutinous rice is associated with reduced genetic variation characteristic of selection at the Waxy locus; comparison with an unlinked locus, RGRC2, confirms that this pattern is specific to Waxy. In addition, we find that many nonglutinous varieties in Northeast Asia also carry the splice donor site mutation, suggesting that partial suppression of this mutation may have played an important role in the development of Northeast Asian nonglutinous rice. This study demonstrates the utility of phylogeographic approaches for understanding trait diversification in crops, and it contributes to growing evidence on the importance of modifier loci in the evolution of domestication traits. PMID:12399401

  20. The molecular evolution of spiggin nesting glue in sticklebacks.

    PubMed

    Seear, P J; Rosato, E; Goodall-Copestake, W P; Barber, I

    2015-09-01

    Gene duplication and subsequent divergence can lead to the evolution of new functions and lineage-specific traits. In sticklebacks, the successive duplication of a mucin gene (MUC19) into a tandemly arrayed, multigene family has enabled the production of copious amounts of 'spiggin', a secreted adhesive protein essential for nest construction. Here, we examine divergence between spiggin genes among three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) from ancestral marine and derived freshwater populations, and propose underpinning gene duplication mechanisms. Sanger sequencing revealed substantial diversity among spiggin transcripts, including alternatively spliced variants and interchromosomal spiggin chimeric genes. Comparative analysis of the sequenced transcripts and all other spiggin genes in the public domain support the presence of three main spiggin lineages (spiggin A, spiggin B and spiggin C) with further subdivisions within spiggin B (B1, B2) and spiggin C (C1, C2). Spiggin A had diverged least from the ancestral MUC19, while the spiggin C duplicates had diversified most substantially. In silico translations of the spiggin gene open reading frames predicted that spiggins A and B are secreted as long mucin-like polymers, while spiggins C1 and C2 are secreted as short monomers, with putative antimicrobial properties. We propose that diversification of duplicated spiggin genes has facilitated local adaptation of spiggin to a range of aquatic habitats. PMID:26173374

  1. Phylogeography and molecular evolution of potato virus Y.

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

    Potato virus Y (PVY) is an important plant pathogen, whose host range includes economically important crops such as potato, tobacco, tomato, and pepper. PVY presents three main strains (PVY(O), PVY(N) and PVY(C)) and several recombinant forms. PVY has a worldwide distribution, yet the mechanisms that promote and maintain its population structure and genetic diversity are still unclear. In this study, we used a pool of 77 complete PVY genomes from isolates collected worldwide. After removing the effect of recombination in our data set, we used bayesian techniques to study the influence of geography and host species in both PVY population structure and dynamics. We have also performed selection and covariation analyses to identify evolutionarily relevant amino acid residues. Our results show that both geographic and host-driven adaptations explain PVY diversification. Furthermore, purifying selection is the main force driving PVY evolution, although some indications of positive selection accounted for the diversification of the different strains. Interestingly, the analysis of P3N-PIPO, a recently described gene in potyviruses, seems to show a variable length among the isolates analyzed, and this variability is explained, in part, by host-driven adaptation. PMID:22655074

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Vorob'eva, É I

    2010-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2004-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2004-01-01

    To define the process of karyotypic evolution in the Galliformes on a molecular basis, we conducted genome-wide comparative chromosome painting for eight species, i.e. silver pheasant (Lophura nycthemera), Lady Amherst's pheasant (Chrysolophus amherstiae), ring-necked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus), turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), Western capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus), Chinese bamboo-partridge (Bambusicola thoracica) and common peafowl (Pavo cristatus) of the Phasianidae, and plain chachalaca (Ortalis vetula) of the Cracidae, with chicken DNA probes of chromosomes 1-9 and Z. Including our previous data from five other species, chicken (Gallus gallus), Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica) and blue-breasted quail (Coturnix chinensis) of the Phasianidae, guinea fowl (Numida meleagris) of the Numididae and California quail (Callipepla californica) of the Odontophoridae, we represented the evolutionary changes of karyotypes in the 13 species of the Galliformes. In addition, we compared the cytogenetic data with the molecular phylogeny of the 13 species constructed with the nucleotide sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene, and discussed the process of karyotypic evolution in the Galliformes. Comparative chromosome painting confirmed the previous data on chromosome rearrangements obtained by G-banding analysis, and identified several novel chromosome rearrangements. The process of the evolutionary changes of macrochromosomes in the 13 species was in good accordance with the molecular phylogeny, and the ancestral karyotype of the Galliformes is represented. PMID:15218250

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dunn, Ian S.

    2013-12-01

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

  7. Distribution and molecular evolution of bacillus anthracis genotypes in Namibia.

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

  8. Re-examining alveolate evolution using multiple protein molecular phylogenies.

    PubMed

    Fast, Naomi M; Xue, Lingru; Bingham, Scott; Keeling, Patrick J

    2002-01-01

    Alveolates are a diverse group of protists that includes three major lineages: ciliates, apicomplexa, and dinoflagellates. Among these three, it is thought that the apicomplexa and dinoflagellates are more closely related to one another than to ciliates. However, this conclusion is based almost entirely on results from ribosomal RNA phylogeny because very few morphological characters address this issue and scant molecular data are available from dinoflagellates. To better examine the relationships between the three major alveolate groups, we have sequenced six genes from the non-photosynthetic dinoflagellate, Crypthecodinium cohnii: actin, beta-tubulin, hsp70, BiP, hsp90, and mitochondrial hsp10. Beta-tubulin, hsp70, BiP, and hsp90 were found to be useful for intra-alveolate phylogeny, and trees were inferred from these genes individually and in combination. Trees inferred from individual genes generally supported the apicomplexa-dinoflagellate grouping, as did a combined analysis of all four genes. However, it was also found that the outgroup had a significant effect on the topology within alveolates when using certain methods of phylogenetic reconstruction, and an alternative topology clustering dinoflagellates and ciliates could not be rejected by the combined data. Altogether, these results support the sisterhood of apicomplexa and dinoflagellates, but point out that the relationship is not as strong as is often assumed.

  9. [Molecular evolution of dengue virus: a necessary field of research].

    PubMed

    Añez, Germán

    2007-09-01

    Dengue is a viral disease present in tropical developing countries where cause an important number of new cases annually. There are four serotypes (DENV-1 to 4), which can cause a clinical spectrum varying from a mild disease; dengue fever, to a potential life-threatening form; dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF). The molecular mechanism to explain the developing of DHF remains uncertainly, but it has been related to previous immunity to a different serotype, host-depending factors (age, nutritional status, HLA type) and to viral genotypes. In this sense, have been described a number of genotypes among the serotypes, some of which has been associated with increased severity. In Venezuela, since 1989 have been reported cases due to all the viral serotypes, but there are few studies attempting to determine the genotype circulating in both epidemic and endemic situations. In all the reports, Venezuelan isolates are related to Asian genotypes, some of which have been associated with high risk to develop DHF. It is necessary more studies to analyze the whole viral genome from isolates collected in last years, in order to get information about how and why occur the viral extinction process in epidemics settings, its geographical origin and if certainly there are genotypes associated with DHF circulating in the country. Despite its importance to public health, it is necessary more research to understand deeply the dengue physiopathology. Genomics seems to be an important tool to achieve this objective and to help to develop required therapeutics and prophylactic strategies in a short time.

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

    PubMed

    Villalobos, Federico; Gutierrez-Espeleta, Gustavo

    2014-06-01

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

  11. Molecular evolution of the mammalian alpha 2B adrenergic receptor.

    PubMed

    Madsen, Ole; Willemsen, Diederik; Ursing, Björn M; Arnason, Ulfur; de Jong, Wilfried W

    2002-12-01

    The alpha 2B adrenergic receptor (A2AB) is a heptahelical G protein-coupled receptor for catecholamines. We compared the almost complete coding region (about 1,175 bp) of the A2AB gene from 48 mammalian species, including eight newly determined sequences, representing all the 18 eutherian and two marsupial orders. Comparison of the encoded proteins reveals that residues thought to be involved in agonist binding are highly conserved, as are the regions playing a role in G protein-coupling. The three extracellular loops are generally more variable than the transmembrane domains and two of the intracellular loops, indicating a lower functional constraint. However, the greatest variation is observed in the very long, third intracellular loop, where only a few residues and a polyglutamyl tract are preserved. Although this polyglutamyl domain displays a great variation in length, its presence in all described A2ABs confirms its proposed role in agonist-dependent phosphorylation of the third intracellular loop. Phylogenetic analyses of the A2AB data set, including Bayesian methods, recognized the superordinal clades Afrotheria, Laurasiatheria, and Euarchontoglires, in agreement with recent molecular evidence, albeit with lower support. Within Afrotheria, A2AB strongly supports the paenungulate clade and the association of the continental African otter shrew with Malagasy tenrecs. Among Laurasiatheria, A2AB confirms the nesting of whales within the artiodactyls, as a sister group to hippopotamus. Within the Euarchontoglires, there is constant support for rodent monophyly. PMID:12446807

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

    PubMed

    Yunpeng, Liang; Li, Yu

    2015-01-01

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

  13. Molecular and biochemical studies of the evolution, infection and transmission of insect bunyaviruses.

    PubMed

    Bishop, D H; Beaty, B J

    1988-10-31

    Members of the Bunyaviridae family of RNA viruses (bunyaviruses, hantaviruses, nairoviruses, phleboviruses and uukuviruses) have been studied at the molecular and genetic level to understand the basis of their evolution and infection in vertebrate and invertebrate (arthropod) hosts. With the exception of the hantaviruses, these viruses infect and are transmitted by a variety of blood-sucking arthropods (mosquitoes, phlebotomines, gnats, ticks, etc.). The viruses are responsible for infection of various vertebrate species, occasionally causing human disease, morbidity and mortality (e.g. Rift Valley fever, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever, Korean haemorrhagic fever). Genetic and molecular analyses of bunyaviruses have established the coding assignments of the three viral RNA species and documented which viral gene products determine host range and virulence. Ecological studies, with molecular techniques, have provided evidence for bunyavirus evolution in nature through genetic drift (involving the accumulation of point mutations) and shift (RNA-segment reassortment).

  14. Molecular approaches in pig breeding to improve meat quality.

    PubMed

    Davoli, Roberta; Braglia, Silvia

    2007-12-01

    This article reviews the advances in molecular genetics that have led to the identification of genes and markers associated with meat quality in pig. The development of a considerable number of annotated livestock genome sequences represents an incredibly rich source of information that can be used to identify candidate genes responsible for complex traits and quantitative trait loci effects. In pig, the huge amount of information emerging from the study of the genome has helped in the acquisition of new knowledge concerning biological systems and it is opening new opportunities for the genetic selection of this specie. Among the new fields of genomics recently developed, functional genomics and proteomics that allow considering many genes and proteins at the same time are very useful tools for a better understanding of the function and regulation of genes, and how these participate in complex networks controlling the phenotypic characteristics of a trait. In particular, global gene expression profiling at the mRNA and protein level can provide a better understanding of gene regulation that underlies biological functions and physiology related to the delivery of a better pig meat quality. Moreover, the possibility to realize an integrated approach of genomics and proteomics with bioinformatics tools is essential to obtain a complete exploitation of the available molecular genetics information. The development of this knowledge will benefit scientists, industry and breeders considering that the efficiency and accuracy of the traditional pig selection schemes will be improved by the implementation of molecular data into breeding programs. PMID:18208864

  15. Improving structure-based function prediction using molecular dynamics

    PubMed Central

    Glazer, Dariya S.; Radmer, Randall J.; Altman, Russ B.

    2009-01-01

    Summary The number of molecules with solved three-dimensional structure but unknown function is increasing rapidly. Particularly problematic are novel folds with little detectable similarity to molecules of known function. Experimental assays can determine the functions of such molecules, but are time-consuming and expensive. Computational approaches can identify potential functional sites; however, these approaches generally rely on single static structures and do not use information about dynamics. In fact, structural dynamics can enhance function prediction: we coupled molecular dynamics simulations with structure-based function prediction algorithms that identify Ca2+ binding sites. When applied to 11 challenging proteins, both methods showed substantial improvement in performance, revealing 22 more sites in one case and 12 more in the other, with a modest increase in apparent false positives. Thus, we show that treating molecules as dynamic entities improves the performance of structure-based function prediction methods. PMID:19604472

  16. Molecular Breeding for Improved Second Generation Bioenergy Crops.

    PubMed

    Allwright, Mike R; Taylor, Gail

    2016-01-01

    There is increasing urgency to develop and deploy sustainable sources of energy to reduce our global dependency on finite, high-carbon fossil fuels. Lignocellulosic feedstocks, used in power and liquid fuel generation, are valuable sources of non-food plant biomass. They are cultivated with minimal inputs on marginal or degraded lands to prevent competition with arable agriculture and offer significant potential for sustainable intensification (the improvement of yield without the necessity for additional inputs) through advanced molecular breeding. This article explores progress made in next generation sequencing, advanced genotyping, association genetics, and genetic modification in second generation bioenergy production. Using poplar as an exemplar where most progress has been made, a suite of target traits is also identified giving insight into possible routes for crop improvement and deployment in the immediate future. PMID:26541073

  17. Molecular Breeding for Improved Second Generation Bioenergy Crops.

    PubMed

    Allwright, Mike R; Taylor, Gail

    2016-01-01

    There is increasing urgency to develop and deploy sustainable sources of energy to reduce our global dependency on finite, high-carbon fossil fuels. Lignocellulosic feedstocks, used in power and liquid fuel generation, are valuable sources of non-food plant biomass. They are cultivated with minimal inputs on marginal or degraded lands to prevent competition with arable agriculture and offer significant potential for sustainable intensification (the improvement of yield without the necessity for additional inputs) through advanced molecular breeding. This article explores progress made in next generation sequencing, advanced genotyping, association genetics, and genetic modification in second generation bioenergy production. Using poplar as an exemplar where most progress has been made, a suite of target traits is also identified giving insight into possible routes for crop improvement and deployment in the immediate future.

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-03-31

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

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

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

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

  20. The Diversity and Molecular Evolution of B-Cell Receptors during Infection

    PubMed Central

    Hoehn, Kenneth B.; Fowler, Anna; Lunter, Gerton; Pybus, Oliver G.

    2016-01-01

    B-cell receptors (BCRs) are membrane-bound immunoglobulins that recognize and bind foreign proteins (antigens). BCRs are formed through random somatic changes of germline DNA, creating a vast repertoire of unique sequences that enable individuals to recognize a diverse range of antigens. After encountering antigen for the first time, BCRs undergo a process of affinity maturation, whereby cycles of rapid somatic mutation and selection lead to improved antigen binding. This constitutes an accelerated evolutionary process that takes place over days or weeks. Next-generation sequencing of the gene regions that determine BCR binding has begun to reveal the diversity and dynamics of BCR repertoires in unprecedented detail. Although this new type of sequence data has the potential to revolutionize our understanding of infection dynamics, quantitative analysis is complicated by the unique biology and high diversity of BCR sequences. Models and concepts from molecular evolution and phylogenetics that have been applied successfully to rapidly evolving pathogen populations are increasingly being adopted to study BCR diversity and divergence within individuals. However, BCR dynamics may violate key assumptions of many standard evolutionary methods, as they do not descend from a single ancestor, and experience biased mutation. Here, we review the application of evolutionary models to BCR repertoires and discuss the issues we believe need be addressed for this interdisciplinary field to flourish. PMID:26802217

  1. The Diversity and Molecular Evolution of B-Cell Receptors during Infection.

    PubMed

    Hoehn, Kenneth B; Fowler, Anna; Lunter, Gerton; Pybus, Oliver G

    2016-05-01

    B-cell receptors (BCRs) are membrane-bound immunoglobulins that recognize and bind foreign proteins (antigens). BCRs are formed through random somatic changes of germline DNA, creating a vast repertoire of unique sequences that enable individuals to recognize a diverse range of antigens. After encountering antigen for the first time, BCRs undergo a process of affinity maturation, whereby cycles of rapid somatic mutation and selection lead to improved antigen binding. This constitutes an accelerated evolutionary process that takes place over days or weeks. Next-generation sequencing of the gene regions that determine BCR binding has begun to reveal the diversity and dynamics of BCR repertoires in unprecedented detail. Although this new type of sequence data has the potential to revolutionize our understanding of infection dynamics, quantitative analysis is complicated by the unique biology and high diversity of BCR sequences. Models and concepts from molecular evolution and phylogenetics that have been applied successfully to rapidly evolving pathogen populations are increasingly being adopted to study BCR diversity and divergence within individuals. However, BCR dynamics may violate key assumptions of many standard evolutionary methods, as they do not descend from a single ancestor, and experience biased mutation. Here, we review the application of evolutionary models to BCR repertoires and discuss the issues we believe need be addressed for this interdisciplinary field to flourish. PMID:26802217

  2. Directed evolution improves the fibrinolytic activity of nattokinase from Bacillus natto.

    PubMed

    Yongjun, Cai; Wei, Bao; Shujun, Jiang; Meizhi, Weng; Yan, Jia; Yan, Yin; Zhongliang, Zheng; Goulin, Zou

    2011-12-01

    Nattokinase (subtilisin NAT, NK) is a relatively effective microbial fibrinolytic enzyme that has been identified and characterized from Bacillus natto. In the current report, DNA family shuffling was used to improve the fibrinolytic activity of nattokinase. Three homologous genes from B. natto AS 1.107, Bacillus amyloliquefaciens CICC 20164 and Bacillus licheniformis CICC 10092 were shuffled to generate a mutant library. A plate-based method was used to screen the mutant libraries for improved activity. After three rounds of DNA shuffling, one desirable mutant with 16 amino acid substitutions was obtained. The mutant enzyme was purified and characterized. The kinetic measurements showed that the catalytic efficiency of the mutant NK was approximately 2.3 times higher than that of the wild-type nattokinase. In addition, the molecular modeling analysis suggested that the mutations affect the enzymatic function by changing the surface conformation of the substrate-binding pocket. The current study shows that the evolution of nattokinase with improved fibrinolytic activity by DNA family shuffling is feasible and provides useful references to facilitate the application of nattokinase in thrombolytic therapy.

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

    PubMed Central

    Houchmandzadeh, Bahram; Vallade, Marcel

    2016-01-01

    The number of substitutions (of nucleotides, amino acids, etc.) that take place during the evolution of a sequence is a stochastic variable of fundamental importance in the field of molecular evolution. Although the mean number of substitutions during molecular evolution of a sequence can be estimated for a given substitution model, no simple solution exists for the variance of this random variable. We show in this article that the computation of the variance is as simple as that of the mean number of substitutions for both short and long times. Apart from its fundamental importance, this result can be used to investigate the dispersion index R, that is, the ratio of the variance to the mean substitution number, which is of prime importance in the neutral theory of molecular evolution. By investigating large classes of substitution models, we demonstrate that although R≥1, to obtain R significantly larger than unity necessitates in general additional hypotheses on the structure of the substitution model. PMID:27189545

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

    Evolution is a main concept in biology, but not many students understand how it works. In this article we introduce the game DNA Re-EvolutioN as an active learning tool that uses genetic concepts (DNA structure, transcription and translation, mutations, natural selection, etc.) as playing rules. Students will learn about molecular evolution while playing a game that mixes up theory and entertainment. The game can be easily adapted to different educational levels. The main goal of this play is to arrive at the end of the game with the longest protein. Students play with pawns and dices, a board containing hypothetical events (mutations, selection) that happen to molecules, "Evolution cards" with indications for DNA mutations, prototypes of a DNA and a mRNA chain with colored "nucleotides" (plasticine balls), and small pieces simulating t-RNA with aminoacids that will serve to construct a "protein" based on the DNA chain. Students will understand how changes in DNA affect the final protein product and may be subjected to positive or negative selection, using a didactic tool funnier than classical theory lectures and easier than molecular laboratory experiments: a flexible and feasible game to learn and enjoy molecular evolution at no-cost. The game was tested by majors and non-majors in genetics from 13 different countries and evaluated with pre- and post-tests obtaining very positive results. PMID:24259334

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

    PubMed Central

    Hartl, Daniel L.

    2016-01-01

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

  6. DNA barcoding and molecular evolution of mosquito vectors of medical and veterinary importance.

    PubMed

    Murugan, Kadarkarai; Vadivalagan, Chithravel; Karthika, Pushparaj; Panneerselvam, Chellasamy; Paulpandi, Manickam; Subramaniam, Jayapal; Wei, Hui; Aziz, Al Thabiani; Alsalhi, Mohamad Saleh; Devanesan, Sandhanasamy; Nicoletti, Marcello; Paramasivan, Rajaiah; Parajulee, Megha N; Benelli, Giovanni

    2016-01-01

    Mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) are a key threat for millions of people worldwide, since they act as vectors for devastating pathogens and parasites. The standard method of utilisation of morphological characters becomes challenging due to various factors such as phenotypical variations. We explored the complementary approach of CO1 gene-based identification, analysing ten species of mosquito vectors belonging to three genera, Aedes, Culex and Anopheles from India. Analysed nucleotide sequences were found without pseudo genes and indels; they match with high similarity in nucleotide Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLASTn) search. The partial CO1 sequence of Anopheles niligricus was the first time record submitted to National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). Mean intra- and interspecies divergence was found to be 1.30 and 3.83 %, respectively. The congeneric divergence was three times higher than the conspecifics. Deep intraspecific divergence was noted in three of the species, and the reason could be explained more accurately in the future by improving the sample size across different locations. The transitional and transversional substitutions were tested individually. Ts and Tv substitutions in all the 1st, 2nd and 3rd codons were estimated to be (0.44, 99.51), (40.35, 59.66) and (59.16, 40.84), respectively. Saturation of the sequences was resolved, since both the Ts and Tv exhibited a linear relationship suggesting that the sequences were not saturated. NJ and ML tree analysis showed that the individuals of the same species clustered together based on the CO1 sequence similarity, regardless of their collection site and geographic location. Overall, this study adds basic knowledge to molecular evolution of mosquito vectors of medical and veterinary importance and may be useful to improve biotechnological tools employed in Culicidae control programmes. PMID:26358100

  7. DNA barcoding and molecular evolution of mosquito vectors of medical and veterinary importance.

    PubMed

    Murugan, Kadarkarai; Vadivalagan, Chithravel; Karthika, Pushparaj; Panneerselvam, Chellasamy; Paulpandi, Manickam; Subramaniam, Jayapal; Wei, Hui; Aziz, Al Thabiani; Alsalhi, Mohamad Saleh; Devanesan, Sandhanasamy; Nicoletti, Marcello; Paramasivan, Rajaiah; Parajulee, Megha N; Benelli, Giovanni

    2016-01-01

    Mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) are a key threat for millions of people worldwide, since they act as vectors for devastating pathogens and parasites. The standard method of utilisation of morphological characters becomes challenging due to various factors such as phenotypical variations. We explored the complementary approach of CO1 gene-based identification, analysing ten species of mosquito vectors belonging to three genera, Aedes, Culex and Anopheles from India. Analysed nucleotide sequences were found without pseudo genes and indels; they match with high similarity in nucleotide Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLASTn) search. The partial CO1 sequence of Anopheles niligricus was the first time record submitted to National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). Mean intra- and interspecies divergence was found to be 1.30 and 3.83 %, respectively. The congeneric divergence was three times higher than the conspecifics. Deep intraspecific divergence was noted in three of the species, and the reason could be explained more accurately in the future by improving the sample size across different locations. The transitional and transversional substitutions were tested individually. Ts and Tv substitutions in all the 1st, 2nd and 3rd codons were estimated to be (0.44, 99.51), (40.35, 59.66) and (59.16, 40.84), respectively. Saturation of the sequences was resolved, since both the Ts and Tv exhibited a linear relationship suggesting that the sequences were not saturated. NJ and ML tree analysis showed that the individuals of the same species clustered together based on the CO1 sequence similarity, regardless of their collection site and geographic location. Overall, this study adds basic knowledge to molecular evolution of mosquito vectors of medical and veterinary importance and may be useful to improve biotechnological tools employed in Culicidae control programmes.

  8. A molecular time-scale for eukaryote evolution recalibrated with the continuous microfossil record

    PubMed Central

    Berney, Cédric; Pawlowski, Jan

    2006-01-01

    Recent attempts to establish a molecular time-scale of eukaryote evolution failed to provide a congruent view on the timing of the origin and early diversification of eukaryotes. The major discrepancies in molecular time estimates are related to questions concerning the calibration of the tree. To limit these uncertainties, we used here as a source of calibration points the rich and continuous microfossil record of dinoflagellates, diatoms and coccolithophorids. We calibrated a small-subunit ribosomal RNA tree of eukaryotes with four maximum and 22 minimum time constraints. Using these multiple calibration points in a Bayesian relaxed molecular clock framework, we inferred that the early radiation of eukaryotes occurred near the Mesoproterozoic–Neoproterozoic boundary, about 1100 million years ago. Our results indicate that most Proterozoic fossils of possible eukaryotic origin cannot be confidently assigned to extant lineages and should therefore not be used as calibration points in molecular dating. PMID:16822745

  9. Molecular evolution of Adh and LEAFY and the phylogenetic utility of their introns in Pyrus (Rosaceae)

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background The genus Pyrus belongs to the tribe Pyreae (the former subfamily Maloideae) of the family Rosaceae, and includes one of the most important commercial fruit crops, pear. The phylogeny of Pyrus has not been definitively reconstructed. In our previous efforts, the internal transcribed spacer region (ITS) revealed a poorly resolved phylogeny due to non-concerted evolution of nrDNA arrays. Therefore, introns of low copy nuclear genes (LCNG) are explored here for improved resolution. However, paralogs and lineage sorting are still two challenges for applying LCNGs in phylogenetic studies, and at least two independent nuclear loci should be compared. In this work the second intron of LEAFY and the alcohol dehydrogenase gene (Adh) were selected to investigate their molecular evolution and phylogenetic utility. Results DNA sequence analyses revealed a complex ortholog and paralog structure of Adh genes in Pyrus and Malus, the pears and apples. Comparisons between sequences from RT-PCR and genomic PCR indicate that some Adh homologs are putatively nonfunctional. A partial region of Adh1 was sequenced for 18 Pyrus species and three subparalogs representing Adh1-1 were identified. These led to poorly resolved phylogenies due to low sequence divergence and the inclusion of putative recombinants. For the second intron of LEAFY, multiple inparalogs were discovered for both LFY1int2 and LFY2int2. LFY1int2 is inadequate for phylogenetic analysis due to lineage sorting of two inparalogs. LFY2int2-N, however, showed a relatively high sequence divergence and led to the best-resolved phylogeny. This study documents the coexistence of outparalogs and inparalogs, and lineage sorting of these paralogs and orthologous copies. It reveals putative recombinants that can lead to incorrect phylogenetic inferences, and presents an improved phylogenetic resolution of Pyrus using LFY2int2-N. Conclusions Our study represents the first phylogenetic analyses based on LCNGs in Pyrus

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

    SciTech Connect

    Easteal, S. )

    1990-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Poisot, Timothée; Verneau, Olivier; Desdevises, Yves

    2011-01-01

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

  12. Exponential repulsion improves structural predictability of molecular docking.

    PubMed

    Bazgier, Václav; Berka, Karel; Otyepka, Michal; Banáš, Pavel

    2016-10-30

    Molecular docking is a powerful tool for theoretical prediction of the preferred conformation and orientation of small molecules within protein active sites. The obtained poses can be used for estimation of binding energies, which indicate the inhibition effect of designed inhibitors, and therefore might be used for in silico drug design. However, the evaluation of ligand binding affinity critically depends on successful prediction of the native binding mode. Contemporary docking methods are often based on scoring functions derived from molecular mechanical potentials. In such potentials, nonbonded interactions are typically represented by electrostatic interactions between atom-centered partial charges and standard 6-12 Lennard-Jones potential. Here, we present implementation and testing of a scoring function based on more physically justified exponential repulsion instead of the standard Lennard-Jones potential. We found that this scoring function significantly improved prediction of the native binding modes in proteins bearing narrow active sites such as serine proteases and kinases. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. PMID:27620738

  13. Molecular technology: improving strategies for controlling hydatid disease and cysticercosis.

    PubMed

    McManus, D P

    1990-06-01

    Recombinant DNA and related technologies are providing valuable, novel reagents for application in control strategies against the major parasitic diseases, including hydatid disease and cysticercosis. The impact of these powerful techniques for improving diagnosis and identification of various life cycle stages of Echinococcus spp. and Taenia solium, essential pre-requisites for epidemiological studies and for evaluating control programs, is beyond question. Furthermore, the use of molecular technology for characterizing sub-specific variants of strains of both Echinococcus and T. solium has led to important revisions of our understanding of the diseases they cause. In light of the recent remarkable development of a recombinant vaccine against T. ovis, the first practical parasite vaccine to be produced, the prospects for rapid development of similar vaccines against the medically important taeniids appear to be very encouraging.

  14. Correcting for Purifying Selection: An Improved Human Mitochondrial Molecular Clock

    PubMed Central

    Soares, Pedro; Ermini, Luca; Thomson, Noel; Mormina, Maru; Rito, Teresa; Röhl, Arne; Salas, Antonio; Oppenheimer, Stephen; Macaulay, Vincent; Richards, Martin B.

    2009-01-01

    There is currently no calibration available for the whole human mtDNA genome, incorporating both coding and control regions. Furthermore, as several authors have pointed out recently, linear molecular clocks that incorporate selectable characters are in any case problematic. We here confirm a modest effect of purifying selection on the mtDNA coding region and propose an improved molecular clock for dating human mtDNA, based on a worldwide phylogeny of > 2000 complete mtDNA genomes and calibrating against recent evidence for the divergence time of humans and chimpanzees. We focus on a time-dependent mutation rate based on the entire mtDNA genome and supported by a neutral clock based on synonymous mutations alone. We show that the corrected rate is further corroborated by archaeological dating for the settlement of the Canary Islands and Remote Oceania and also, given certain phylogeographic assumptions, by the timing of the first modern human settlement of Europe and resettlement after the Last Glacial Maximum. The corrected rate yields an age of modern human expansion in the Americas at ∼15 kya that—unlike the uncorrected clock—matches the archaeological evidence, but continues to indicate an out-of-Africa dispersal at around 55–70 kya, 5–20 ky before any clear archaeological record, suggesting the need for archaeological research efforts focusing on this time window. We also present improved rates for the mtDNA control region, and the first comprehensive estimates of positional mutation rates for human mtDNA, which are essential for defining mutation models in phylogenetic analyses. PMID:19500773

  15. Book review: Darwinian agriculture: How understanding evolution can improve agriculture by R. Ford Dennison

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Agricultural research continually seeks to increase productivity while protecting soil, water and genetic resources. The book Darwinian Agriculture: How Understanding Evolution Can Improve Agriculture, by R. Ford Dennison, delivers a thought-provoking view of how principles of ecology and evolution ...

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-12-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

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

  18. Molecular corridors represent the multiphase chemical evolution of secondary organic aerosol

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shiraiwa, M.; Berkemeier, T.; Schilling-Fahnestock, K. A.; Seinfeld, J. H.; Pöschl, U.

    2014-03-01

    The dominant component of atmospheric organic aerosol is that derived from the oxidation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), so-called secondary organic aerosol (SOA). SOA consists of a multitude of organic compounds, only a small fraction of which has historically been identified. Formation and evolution of SOA is a complex process involving coupled chemical reaction and mass transport in the gas and particle phases. Current SOA models do not embody the full spectrum of reaction and transport processes nor do they identify the dominant rate-limiting steps in SOA formation. The recent advent of soft ionization mass spectrometry methods now facilitates a more complete molecular identification of SOA than heretofore possible. Based on such novel measurements, we show here that the chemical evolution of SOA from a variety of VOC precursors adheres to characteristic "molecular corridors" with a tight inverse correlation between volatility and molar mass. Sequential and parallel reaction oxidation and dimerization pathways progress along these corridors through characteristic regimes of reaction-, diffusion-, or accommodation-limited multiphase chemical kinetics that can be classified according to reaction location, degree of saturation, and extent of heterogeneity of gas and particle phases. These molecular corridors constrain the properties of unidentified products and reaction pathways and rates of SOA evolution, thereby facilitating the further development of aerosol models for air quality and climate.

  19. An Improved Differential Evolution Solution for Software Project Scheduling Problem

    PubMed Central

    Biju, A. C.; Victoire, T. Aruldoss Albert; Mohanasundaram, Kumaresan

    2015-01-01

    This paper proposes a differential evolution (DE) method for the software project scheduling problem (SPSP). The interest on finding a more efficient solution technique for SPSP is always a topic of interest due to the fact of ever growing challenges faced by the software industry. The curse of dimensionality is introduced in the scheduling problem by ever increasing software assignments and the number of staff who handles it. Thus the SPSP is a class of NP-hard problem, which requires a rigorous solution procedure which guarantees a reasonably better solution. Differential evolution is a direct search stochastic optimization technique that is fairly fast and reasonably robust. It is also capable of handling nondifferentiable, nonlinear, and multimodal objective functions like SPSP. This paper proposes a refined DE where a new mutation mechanism is introduced. The superiority of the proposed method is experimented and demonstrated by solving the SPSP on 50 random instances and the results are compared with some of the techniques in the literature. PMID:26495419

  20. Evolution, molecular epidemiology and perspectives on the research of taeniid parasites with special emphasis on Taenia solium.

    PubMed

    Bobes, Raúl J; Fragoso, Gladis; Fleury, Agnès; García-Varela, Martín; Sciutto, Edda; Larralde, Carlos; Laclette, Juan P

    2014-04-01

    Human cysticercosis is known since old historical times in Greece and China; however, human infections by tapeworms have accompanied human beings for more that hundred thousand years. The disease is tightly bound to poverty and lack of hygiene, and has been eradicated in developed countries, but continues being a public health problem in developing countries of Latin-American, Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, and is also remerging in a number of non endemic countries. It is considered a neglected disease. Here we revise a number of key scientific contributions on taeniid biology that open new avenues for more effective approaches to the control of cysticercosis. The evolution of flatworms and class Cestoda is analyzed, with special emphasis on the emergence of taeniid parasites and the colonization of the human species by tapeworms. The complex molecular host-parasite interplay in this relationship as result of co-evolution between two distantly related organisms. The relevant host and parasite's factors, in the prospect of identifying species-specific molecular markers useful in epidemiological studies carried out in endemic countries. The new possibilities arising with the characterization of the genomes for several species of tapeworms, including a deeper understanding of these organisms, as well as improved tools for diagnosis, vaccination and drug treatment. The need to revise the current control and management strategies for this tropical neglected disease.

  1. Improved estimates of coordinate error for molecular replacement

    SciTech Connect

    Oeffner, Robert D.; Bunkóczi, Gábor; McCoy, Airlie J.; Read, Randy J.

    2013-11-01

    A function for estimating the effective root-mean-square deviation in coordinates between two proteins has been developed that depends on both the sequence identity and the size of the protein and is optimized for use with molecular replacement in Phaser. A top peak translation-function Z-score of over 8 is found to be a reliable metric of when molecular replacement has succeeded. The estimate of the root-mean-square deviation (r.m.s.d.) in coordinates between the model and the target is an essential parameter for calibrating likelihood functions for molecular replacement (MR). Good estimates of the r.m.s.d. lead to good estimates of the variance term in the likelihood functions, which increases signal to noise and hence success rates in the MR search. Phaser has hitherto used an estimate of the r.m.s.d. that only depends on the sequence identity between the model and target and which was not optimized for the MR likelihood functions. Variance-refinement functionality was added to Phaser to enable determination of the effective r.m.s.d. that optimized the log-likelihood gain (LLG) for a correct MR solution. Variance refinement was subsequently performed on a database of over 21 000 MR problems that sampled a range of sequence identities, protein sizes and protein fold classes. Success was monitored using the translation-function Z-score (TFZ), where a TFZ of 8 or over for the top peak was found to be a reliable indicator that MR had succeeded for these cases with one molecule in the asymmetric unit. Good estimates of the r.m.s.d. are correlated with the sequence identity and the protein size. A new estimate of the r.m.s.d. that uses these two parameters in a function optimized to fit the mean of the refined variance is implemented in Phaser and improves MR outcomes. Perturbing the initial estimate of the r.m.s.d. from the mean of the distribution in steps of standard deviations of the distribution further increases MR success rates.

  2. Improved molecular collision models for nonequilibrium rarefied gases

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Parsons, Neal

    The Direct Simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC) method typically used to model thermochemical nonequilibrium rarefied gases requires accurate total collision cross sections, reaction probabilities, and molecular internal energy exchange models. However, the baseline total cross sections are often determined from extrapolations of relatively low-temperature viscosity data, reaction probabilities are defined such that experimentally determined equilibrium reaction rates are replicated, and internal energy relaxation models are phenomenological in nature. Therefore, these models have questionable validity in modeling strongly nonequilibrium gases with temperatures greater than those possible in experimental test facilities. To rectify this deficiency, the Molecular Dynamics/Quasi-Classical Trajectories (MD/QCT) method can be used to accurately compute total collision cross sections, reaction probabilities, and internal energy exchange models based on first principles for hypervelocity collision conditions. In this thesis, MD/QCT-based models were used to improve simulations of two unique nonequilibrium rarefied gas systems: the Ionian atmosphere and hypersonic shocks in Earth's atmosphere. The Jovian plasma torus flows over Io at ≈ 57 km/s, inducing high-speed collisions between atmospheric SO2 and the hypervelocity plasma's O atoms and ions. The DSMC method is well-suited to model the rarefied atmosphere, so MD/QCT studies are therefore conducted to improve DSMC collision models of the critical SO2-O collision pair. The MD/QCT trajectory simulations employed a new potential energy surface that was developed using a ReaxFF fit to a set of ab initio calculations. Compared to the MD/QCT results, the baseline DSMC models are found to significantly under-predict total cross sections, use reaction probabilities that are unrealistically high, and give unphysical internal energies above the dissociation energy for non-reacting inelastic collisions and under-predicts post

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

    Great advances have been made recently in understanding the genetic basis of the sensory biology of bats. Research has focused on the molecular evolution of candidate sensory genes, genes with known functions [e.g., olfactory receptor (OR) genes] and genes identified from mutations associated with sensory deficits (e.g., blindness and deafness). For example, the FoxP2 gene, underpinning vocal behavior and sensorimotor coordination, has undergone diversification in bats, while several genes associated with audition show parallel amino acid substitutions in unrelated lineages of echolocating bats and, in some cases, in echolocating dolphins, representing a classic case of convergent molecular evolution. Vision genes encoding the photopigments rhodopsin and the long-wave sensitive opsin are functional in bats, while that encoding the short-wave sensitive opsin has lost functionality in rhinolophoid bats using high-duty cycle laryngeal echolocation, suggesting a sensory trade-off between investment in vision and echolocation. In terms of olfaction, bats appear to have a distinctive OR repertoire compared with other mammals, and a gene involved in signal transduction in the vomeronasal system has become non-functional in most bat species. Bitter taste receptors appear to have undergone a "birth-and death" evolution involving extensive gene duplication and loss, unlike genes coding for sweet and umami tastes that show conservation across most lineages but loss in vampire bats. Common vampire bats have also undergone adaptations for thermoperception, via alternative splicing resulting in the evolution of a novel heat-sensitive channel. The future for understanding the molecular basis of sensory biology is promising, with great potential for comparative genomic analyses, studies on gene regulation and expression, exploration of the role of alternative splicing in the generation of proteomic diversity, and linking genetic mechanisms to behavioral consequences. PMID:23755015

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

    PubMed Central

    Bartlett, Madelaine E.; Whipple, Clinton J.

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Maurer-Alcalá, Xyrus X; Katz, Laura A

    2016-01-01

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

  7. Eventful Evolution of Giant Molecular Clouds in Dynamically Evolving Spiral Arms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-09-01

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

  8. Molecular corridors and kinetic regimes in the multiphase chemical evolution of secondary organic aerosol

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shiraiwa, M.; Berkemeier, T.; Schilling-Fahnestock, K. A.; Seinfeld, J. H.; Pöschl, U.

    2014-08-01

    The dominant component of atmospheric, organic aerosol is that derived from the oxidation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), so-called secondary organic aerosol (SOA). SOA consists of a multitude of organic compounds, only a small fraction of which has historically been identified. Formation and evolution of SOA is a complex process involving coupled chemical reaction and mass transport in the gas and particle phases. Current SOA models do not embody the full spectrum of reaction and transport processes, nor do they identify the dominant rate-limiting steps in SOA formation. Based on molecular identification of SOA oxidation products, we show here that the chemical evolution of SOA from a variety of VOC precursors adheres to characteristic "molecular corridors" with a tight inverse correlation between volatility and molar mass. The slope of these corridors corresponds to the increase in molar mass required to decrease volatility by one order of magnitude (-dM / dlogC0). It varies in the range of 10-30 g mol-1, depending on the molecular size of the SOA precursor and the O : C ratio of the reaction products. Sequential and parallel reaction pathways of oxidation and dimerization or oligomerization progressing along these corridors pass through characteristic regimes of reaction-, diffusion-, or accommodation-limited multiphase chemical kinetics that can be classified according to reaction location, degree of saturation, and extent of heterogeneity of gas and particle phases. The molecular corridors and kinetic regimes help to constrain and describe the properties of the products, pathways, and rates of SOA evolution, thereby facilitating the further development of aerosol models for air quality and climate.

  9. Molecular corridors and kinetic regimes in the multiphase chemical evolution of secondary organic aerosol

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shiraiwa, M.; Berkemeier, T.; Schilling-Fahnestock, K.; Seinfeld, J.; Poeschl, U.

    2014-12-01

    The dominant component of atmospheric organic aerosol is that derived from the oxidation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), so-called secondary organic aerosol (SOA). SOA consists of a multitude of organic compounds, only a small fraction of which has historically been identified. Formation and evolution of SOA is a complex process involving coupled chemical reaction and mass transport in the gas and particle phases. Current SOA models do not embody the full spectrum of reaction and transport processes nor do they identify the dominant rate-limiting steps in SOA formation. Based on molecular identification of SOA oxidation products, we show here that the chemical evolution of SOA from a variety of VOC precursors adheres to characteristic "molecular corridors" with a tight inverse correlation between volatility and molar mass. The slope of these corridors corresponds to the increase in molar mass required to decrease volatility by one order of magnitude (-dM/dlogC0). It varies in the range of 10-30 g mol-1 depending on the molecular size of the SOA precursor and the O:C ratio of the reaction products. Sequential and parallel reaction pathways of oxidation and dimerization or oligomerization progressing along these corridors pass through characteristic regimes of reaction-, diffusion-, or accommodation-limited multiphase chemical kinetics that can be classified according to reaction location, degree of saturation, and extent of heterogeneity of gas and particle phases. The molecular corridors and kinetic regimes help to constrain and described the properties of the products, pathways and rates of SOA evolution, thereby facilitating the further development of aerosol models for air quality and climate.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2007-01-01

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

  11. Use it or lose it: molecular evolution of sensory signaling in primates.

    PubMed

    Liman, Emily R

    2006-11-01

    Sensory organs provide key and, in many cases, species-specific information that allows animals to effectively forage, find mates, and avoid hazards. The primary sensors for the vertebrate senses of vision, taste, and smell are G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) expressed by sensory receptor cells that initiate intracellular signal transduction cascades in response to activation by appropriate stimuli. The identification of sensory GPCRs and their related downstream transduction components from a variety of species has provided an essential tool for understanding the molecular evolution of sensory systems. Expansion of the number of genes encoding sensory GPCRs has, in some cases, expanded the repertoire of signals that animals detect, allowing them to occupy new niches, while, in other cases, evolution has favored a reduction in the repertoire of receptors and their cognate signal transduction components when these signals no longer provide a selective advantage. This review will focus on recent studies that have identified molecular changes in vision, smell, taste, and pheromone detection during primate evolution.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-11-21

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

  13. Variance of molecular datings, evolution of rodents and the phylogenetic affinities between Ctenodactylidae and Hystricognathi.

    PubMed

    Huchon, D; Catzeflis, F M; Douzery, E J

    2000-02-22

    The von Willebrand factor (vWF) gene has been used to understand the origin and timing of Rodentia evolution in the context of placental phylogeny vWF exon 28 sequences of 15 rodent families and eight non-rodent eutherian clades are analysed with two different molecular dating methods (uniform clock on a linearized tree; quartet dating). Three main conclusions are drawn from the study of this nuclear exon. First, Ctenodactylidae (gundis) and Hystricognathi (e.g. porcupines, guinea-pigs, chinchillas) robustly cluster together in a newly recognized clade, named 'Ctenohystrica'. The Sciurognathi monophyly is subsequently rejected. Pedetidae (springhares) is an independent and early diverging rodent lineage, suggesting a convergent evolution of the multiserial enamel of rodent incisors. Second, molecular date estimates are here more influenced by accuracy and choice of the palaeontological temporal references used to calibrate the molecular clock than by either characters analysed (nucleotides versus amino acids) or species sampling. The caviomorph radiation at 31 million years (Myr) and the pig porpoise split at 63 Myr appear to be reciprocally compatible dates. Third, during the radiation of Rodentia, at least three lineages (Gliridae, Sciuroidea and Ctenohystrica) emerged close to the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, and their common ancestor separated from other placental orders in the Late Cretaceous.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

    Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection represents an important public health problem worldwide. Reduction of HCV morbidity and mortality is a current challenge owned to several viral and host factors. Virus molecular evolution plays an important role in HCV transmission, disease progression and therapy outcome. The high degree of genetic heterogeneity characteristic of HCV is a key element for the rapid adaptation of the intrahost viral population to different selection pressures (e.g., host immune responses and antiviral therapy). HCV molecular evolution is shaped by different mechanisms including a high mutation rate, genetic bottlenecks, genetic drift, recombination, temporal variations and compartmentalization. These evolutionary processes constantly rearrange the composition of the HCV intrahost population in a staging manner. Remarkable advances in the understanding of the molecular mechanism controlling HCV replication have facilitated the development of a plethora of direct-acting antiviral agents against HCV. As a result, superior sustained viral responses have been attained. The rapidly evolving field of anti-HCV therapy is expected to broad its landscape even further with newer, more potent antivirals, bringing us one step closer to the interferon-free era. PMID:25473152

  15. The molecular clock of neutral evolution can be accelerated or slowed by asymmetric spatial structure.

    PubMed

    Allen, Benjamin; Sample, Christine; Dementieva, Yulia; Medeiros, Ruben C; Paoletti, Christopher; Nowak, Martin A

    2015-02-01

    Over time, a population acquires neutral genetic substitutions as a consequence of random drift. A famous result in population genetics asserts that the rate, K, at which these substitutions accumulate in the population coincides with the mutation rate, u, at which they arise in individuals: K = u. This identity enables genetic sequence data to be used as a "molecular clock" to estimate the timing of evolutionary events. While the molecular clock is known to be perturbed by selection, it is thought that K = u holds very generally for neutral evolution. Here we show that asymmetric spatial population structure can alter the molecular clock rate for neutral mutations, leading to either Ku. Our results apply to a general class of haploid, asexually reproducing, spatially structured populations. Deviations from K = u occur because mutations arise unequally at different sites and have different probabilities of fixation depending on where they arise. If birth rates are uniform across sites, then K ≤ u. In general, K can take any value between 0 and Nu. Our model can be applied to a variety of population structures. In one example, we investigate the accumulation of genetic mutations in the small intestine. In another application, we analyze over 900 Twitter networks to study the effect of network topology on the fixation of neutral innovations in social evolution.

  16. Species-specific size expansion and molecular evolution of the oleosins in angiosperms.

    PubMed

    Liu, Qi; Sun, Yepeng; Su, Wujie; Yang, Jing; Liu, Xiuming; Wang, Yanfang; Wang, Fawei; Li, Haiyan; Li, Xiaokun

    2012-11-10

    Oleosins are hydrophobic plant proteins thought to be important for the formation of oil bodies, which supply energy for seed germination and subsequent seedling growth. To better understand the evolutionary history and diversity of the oleosin gene family in plants, especially angiosperms, we systematically investigated the molecular evolution of this family using eight representative angiosperm species. A total of 73 oleosin members were identified, with six members in each of four monocot species and a greater but variable number in the four eudicots. A phylogenetic analysis revealed that the angiosperm oleosin genes belonged to three monophyletic lineages. Species-specific gene duplications, caused mainly by segmental duplication, led to the great expansion of oleosin genes and occurred frequently in eudicots after the monocot-eudicot divergence. Functional divergence analyses indicate that significant amino acid site-specific selective constraints acted on the different clades of oleosins. Adaptive evolution analyses demonstrate that oleosin genes were subject to strong purifying selection after their species-specific duplications and that rapid evolution occurred with a high degree of evolutionary dynamics in the pollen-specific oleosin genes. In conclusion, this study serves as a foundation for genome-wide analyses of the oleosins. These findings provide insight into the function and evolution of this gene family in angiosperms and pave the way for studies in other plants.

  17. Molecular evolution of arthropod color vision deduced from multiple opsin genes of jumping spiders.

    PubMed

    Koyanagi, Mitsumasa; Nagata, Takashi; Katoh, Kazutaka; Yamashita, Shigeki; Tokunaga, Fumio

    2008-02-01

    Among terrestrial animals, only vertebrates and arthropods possess wavelength-discrimination ability, so-called "color vision". For color vision to exist, multiple opsins which encode visual pigments sensitive to different wavelengths of light are required. While the molecular evolution of opsins in vertebrates has been well investigated, that in arthropods remains to be elucidated. This is mainly due to poor information about the opsin genes of non-insect arthropods. To obtain an overview of the evolution of color vision in Arthropoda, we isolated three kinds of opsins, Rh1, Rh2, and Rh3, from two jumping spider species, Hasarius adansoni and Plexippus paykulli. These spiders belong to Chelicerata, one of the most distant groups from Hexapoda (insects), and have color vision as do insects. Phylogenetic analyses of jumping spider opsins revealed a birth and death process of color vision evolution in the arthropod lineage. Phylogenetic positions of jumping spider opsins revealed that at least three opsins had already existed before the Chelicerata-Pancrustacea split. In addition, sequence comparison between jumping spider Rh3 and the shorter wavelength-sensitive opsins of insects predicted that an opsin of the ancestral arthropod had the lysine residue responsible for UV sensitivity. These results strongly suggest that the ancestral arthropod had at least trichromatic vision with a UV pigment and two visible pigments. Thereafter, in each pancrustacean and chelicerate lineage, the opsin repertoire was reconstructed by gene losses, gene duplications, and function-altering amino acid substitutions, leading to evolution of color vision. PMID:18217181

  18. Species-specific size expansion and molecular evolution of the oleosins in angiosperms.

    PubMed

    Liu, Qi; Sun, Yepeng; Su, Wujie; Yang, Jing; Liu, Xiuming; Wang, Yanfang; Wang, Fawei; Li, Haiyan; Li, Xiaokun

    2012-11-10

    Oleosins are hydrophobic plant proteins thought to be important for the formation of oil bodies, which supply energy for seed germination and subsequent seedling growth. To better understand the evolutionary history and diversity of the oleosin gene family in plants, especially angiosperms, we systematically investigated the molecular evolution of this family using eight representative angiosperm species. A total of 73 oleosin members were identified, with six members in each of four monocot species and a greater but variable number in the four eudicots. A phylogenetic analysis revealed that the angiosperm oleosin genes belonged to three monophyletic lineages. Species-specific gene duplications, caused mainly by segmental duplication, led to the great expansion of oleosin genes and occurred frequently in eudicots after the monocot-eudicot divergence. Functional divergence analyses indicate that significant amino acid site-specific selective constraints acted on the different clades of oleosins. Adaptive evolution analyses demonstrate that oleosin genes were subject to strong purifying selection after their species-specific duplications and that rapid evolution occurred with a high degree of evolutionary dynamics in the pollen-specific oleosin genes. In conclusion, this study serves as a foundation for genome-wide analyses of the oleosins. These findings provide insight into the function and evolution of this gene family in angiosperms and pave the way for studies in other plants. PMID:22951805

  19. Molecular evolution of arthropod color vision deduced from multiple opsin genes of jumping spiders.

    PubMed

    Koyanagi, Mitsumasa; Nagata, Takashi; Katoh, Kazutaka; Yamashita, Shigeki; Tokunaga, Fumio

    2008-02-01

    Among terrestrial animals, only vertebrates and arthropods possess wavelength-discrimination ability, so-called "color vision". For color vision to exist, multiple opsins which encode visual pigments sensitive to different wavelengths of light are required. While the molecular evolution of opsins in vertebrates has been well investigated, that in arthropods remains to be elucidated. This is mainly due to poor information about the opsin genes of non-insect arthropods. To obtain an overview of the evolution of color vision in Arthropoda, we isolated three kinds of opsins, Rh1, Rh2, and Rh3, from two jumping spider species, Hasarius adansoni and Plexippus paykulli. These spiders belong to Chelicerata, one of the most distant groups from Hexapoda (insects), and have color vision as do insects. Phylogenetic analyses of jumping spider opsins revealed a birth and death process of color vision evolution in the arthropod lineage. Phylogenetic positions of jumping spider opsins revealed that at least three opsins had already existed before the Chelicerata-Pancrustacea split. In addition, sequence comparison between jumping spider Rh3 and the shorter wavelength-sensitive opsins of insects predicted that an opsin of the ancestral arthropod had the lysine residue responsible for UV sensitivity. These results strongly suggest that the ancestral arthropod had at least trichromatic vision with a UV pigment and two visible pigments. Thereafter, in each pancrustacean and chelicerate lineage, the opsin repertoire was reconstructed by gene losses, gene duplications, and function-altering amino acid substitutions, leading to evolution of color vision.

  20. Evolution.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Mayr, Ernst

    1978-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Skinner, Michael K.

    2015-01-01

    Environment has a critical role in the natural selection process for Darwinian evolution. The primary molecular component currently considered for neo-Darwinian evolution involves genetic alterations and random mutations that generate the phenotypic variation required for natural selection to act. The vast majority of environmental factors cannot directly alter DNA sequence. Epigenetic mechanisms directly regulate genetic processes and can be dramatically altered by environmental factors. Therefore, environmental epigenetics provides a molecular mechanism to directly alter phenotypic variation generationally. Lamarck proposed in 1802 the concept that environment can directly alter phenotype in a heritable manner. Environmental epigenetics and epigenetic transgenerational inheritance provide molecular mechanisms for this process. Therefore, environment can on a molecular level influence the phenotypic variation directly. The ability of environmental epigenetics to alter phenotypic and genotypic variation directly can significantly impact natural selection. Neo-Lamarckian concept can facilitate neo-Darwinian evolution. A unified theory of evolution is presented to describe the integration of environmental epigenetic and genetic aspects of evolution. PMID:25917417

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

    PubMed

    Skinner, Michael K

    2015-04-26

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

  3. Plant hemoglobins: a molecular fossil record for the evolution of oxygen transport.

    PubMed

    Hoy, Julie A; Robinson, Howard; Trent, James T; Kakar, Smita; Smagghe, Benoit J; Hargrove, Mark S

    2007-08-01

    The evolution of oxygen transport hemoglobins occurred on at least two independent occasions. The earliest event led to myoglobin and red blood cell hemoglobin in animals. In plants, oxygen transport "leghemoglobins" evolved much more recently. In both events, pentacoordinate heme sites capable of inert oxygen transfer evolved from hexacoordinate hemoglobins that have unrelated functions. High sequence homology between hexacoordinate and pentacoordinate hemoglobins in plants has poised them for potential structural analysis leading to a molecular understanding of this important evolutionary event. However, the lack of a plant hexacoordinate hemoglobin structure in the exogenously ligand-bound form has prevented such comparison. Here we report the crystal structure of the cyanide-bound hexacoordinate hemoglobin from barley. This presents the first opportunity to examine conformational changes in plant hexacoordinate hemoglobins upon exogenous ligand binding, and reveals structural mechanisms for stabilizing the high-energy pentacoordinate heme conformation critical to the evolution of reversible oxygen binding hemoglobins.

  4. Spider flagelliform silk: lessons in protein design, gene structure, and molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    Hayashi, C Y; Lewis, R V

    2001-08-01

    Spiders spin multiple types of silks that are renowned for their superb mechanical properties. Flagelliform silk, used in the capture spiral of an orb-web, is one of the few silks characterized by both cDNA and genomic DNA data. This fibroin is composed of repeating ensembles of three types of amino acid sequence motifs. The predominant subrepeat, GPGGX, likely forms a beta-turn, and tandem arrays of these turns are thought to create beta-spirals. These spring-like helices may be critical for the exceptional ability of capture silk to stretch and recoil. Each ensemble of motifs was found to correspond to a different exon within the flagelliform gene. The pattern of sequence similarity among exons indicates intragenic concerted evolution. Surprisingly, the introns between the iterated exons are also homogenized with each other. This unusual molecular architecture in the flagelliform silk gene has implications for the evolution and maintenance of spider silk proteins.

  5. Non-unity molecular heritability demonstrated by continuous evolution in vitro

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schmitt, T.; Lehman, N.

    1999-01-01

    INTRODUCTION: When catalytic RNA is evolved in vitro, the molecule's chemical reactivity is usually the desired selection target. Sometimes the phenotype of a particular RNA molecule cannot be unambiguously determined from its genotype, however. This can occur if a nucleotide sequence can adopt multiple folded states, an example of non-unity heritability (i.e. one genotype gives rise to more than one phenotype). In these cases, more rounds of selection are required to achieve a phenotypic shift. We tested the influence of non-unity heritability at the molecular level by selecting for variants of a ligase ribozyme via continuous evolution. RESULTS: During 20 bursts of continuous evolution of a 152-nucleotide ligase ribozyme in which the Mg2+ concentration was periodically lowered, a nine-error variant of the starting 'wild-type' molecule became dominant in the last eight bursts. This variant appears to be more active than the wild type. Kinetic analyses of the mutant suggest that it may not possess a higher first-order catalytic rate constant, however. Examination of the multiple RNA conformations present under the continuous evolution conditions suggests that the mutant is superior to the wild type because it is less likely to misfold into inactive conformers. CONCLUSIONS: The evolution of genotypes that are more likely to exhibit a particular phenotype is an epiphenomenon usually ascribed only to complex living systems. We show that this can occur at the molecular level, demonstrating that in vitro systems may have more life-like characteristics than previously thought, and providing additional support for an RNA world.

  6. Evolution of a single gene highlights the complexity underlying molecular descriptions of fitness

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peña, Matthew I.; Van Itallie, Elizabeth; Bennett, Matthew R.; Shamoo, Yousif

    2010-06-01

    Evolution by natural selection is the driving force behind the endless variation we see in nature, yet our understanding of how changes at the molecular level give rise to different phenotypes and altered fitness at the population level remains inadequate. The reproductive fitness of an organism is the most basic metric that describes the chance that an organism will succeed or fail in its environment and it depends upon a complex network of inter- and intramolecular interactions. A deeper understanding of the quantitative relationships relating molecular evolution to adaptation, and consequently fitness, can guide our understanding of important issues in biomedicine such as drug resistance and the engineering of new organisms with applications to biotechnology. We have developed the "weak link" approach to determine how changes in molecular structure and function can relate to fitness and evolutionary outcomes. By replacing adenylate kinase (AK), an essential gene, in a thermophile with a homologous AK from a mesophile we have created a maladapted weak link that produces a temperature-sensitive phenotype. The recombinant strain adapts to nonpermissive temperatures through point mutations to the weak link that increase both stability and activity of the enzyme AK at higher temperatures. Here, we propose a fitness function relating enzyme activity to growth rate and use it to create a dynamic model of a population of bacterial cells. Using metabolic control analysis we show that the growth rate exhibits thresholdlike behavior, saturating at high enzyme activity as other reactions in the energy metabolism pathway become rate limiting. The dynamic model accurately recapitulates observed evolutionary outcomes. These findings suggest that in vitro enzyme kinetic data, in combination with metabolic network analysis, can be used to create fitness functions and dynamic models of evolution within simple metabolic systems.

  7. Evolution of a single gene highlights the complexity underlying molecular descriptions of fitness

    PubMed Central

    Peña, Matthew I.; Van Itallie, Elizabeth; Bennett, Matthew R.; Shamoo, Yousif

    2010-01-01

    Evolution by natural selection is the driving force behind the endless variation we see in nature, yet our understanding of how changes at the molecular level give rise to different phenotypes and altered fitness at the population level remains inadequate. The reproductive fitness of an organism is the most basic metric that describes the chance that an organism will succeed or fail in its environment and it depends upon a complex network of inter- and intramolecular interactions. A deeper understanding of the quantitative relationships relating molecular evolution to adaptation, and consequently fitness, can guide our understanding of important issues in biomedicine such as drug resistance and the engineering of new organisms with applications to biotechnology. We have developed the “weak link” approach to determine how changes in molecular structure and function can relate to fitness and evolutionary outcomes. By replacing adenylate kinase (AK), an essential gene, in a thermophile with a homologous AK from a mesophile we have created a maladapted weak link that produces a temperature-sensitive phenotype. The recombinant strain adapts to nonpermissive temperatures through point mutations to the weak link that increase both stability and activity of the enzyme AK at higher temperatures. Here, we propose a fitness function relating enzyme activity to growth rate and use it to create a dynamic model of a population of bacterial cells. Using metabolic control analysis we show that the growth rate exhibits thresholdlike behavior, saturating at high enzyme activity as other reactions in the energy metabolism pathway become rate limiting. The dynamic model accurately recapitulates observed evolutionary outcomes. These findings suggest that in vitro enzyme kinetic data, in combination with metabolic network analysis, can be used to create fitness functions and dynamic models of evolution within simple metabolic systems. PMID:20590336

  8. Thiol-catalyzed formation of lactate and glycerate from glyceraldehyde. [significance in molecular evolution

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Weber, A. L.

    1983-01-01

    The rate of lactate formation from glyceraldehyde, catalyzed by N-acetyl-cysteine at ambient temperature in aqueous sodium phosphate (pH 7.0), is more rapid at higher sodium phosphate concentrations and remains essentially the same in the presence and absence of oxygen. The dramatic increase in the rate of glycerate formation that is brought about by this thiol, N-acetylcysteine, is accompanied by commensurate decreases in the rates of glycolate and formate production. It is suggested that the thiol-dependent formation of lactate and glycerate occurs by way of their respective thioesters. Attention is given to the significance of these reactions in the context of molecular evolution.

  9. Evolution of shear banding flows in metallic glasses characterized by molecular dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yao, Li; Luan, Yingwei

    2016-06-01

    To reveal the evolution of shear banding flows, one-dimensional nanostructure metallic glass composites have been studied with molecular dynamics. The inherent size determines the initial thickness of shear bands, and the subsequent broadening can be restricted to some extent. The vortex-like flows evoke the atomic motion perpendicular to the shear plane, which accelerates the interatomic diffusion. The reduction of local strain rate causes the flow softening for monolithic Cu-Zr glass, but the participation of Cu-atoms in the shear banding flow gradually leads to the shear hardening for the composites.

  10. [Molecular evolution of ciliates (Ciliophora) and some related groups of protozoans].

    PubMed

    Lukashenko, N P

    2009-08-01

    The review summarizes current evidence, including the findings related to molecular phylogeny of ciliates (type Ciliophora) and some related groups of protozoans. Based on comparison of the sequences of genes encoding various ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs), the phylogenetic relationships in seven out of eight known classes of ciliates are discussed. The events related to early branching of the eukaryotic tree are briefly presented. The evolutionary history of amitochondrial protists ids considered with regard to reductionistic evolution and archeozoic hypothesis. The phylogenetic relationships among ciliates and sister groups of apicomplexans and dinoflagellates are considered.

  11. An improved version of the Green's function molecular dynamics method

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kong, Ling Ti; Denniston, Colin; Müser, Martin H.

    2011-02-01

    This work presents an improved version of the Green's function molecular dynamics method (Kong et al., 2009; Campañá and Müser, 2004 [1,2]), which enables one to study the elastic response of a three-dimensional solid to an external stress field by taking into consideration only atoms near the surface. In the previous implementation, the effective elastic coefficients measured at the Γ-point were altered to reduce finite size effects: their eigenvalues corresponding to the acoustic modes were set to zero. This scheme was found to work well for simple Bravais lattices as long as only atoms within the last layer were treated as Green's function atoms. However, it failed to function as expected in all other cases. It turns out that a violation of the acoustic sum rule for the effective elastic coefficients at Γ (Kong, 2010 [3]) was responsible for this behavior. In the new version, the acoustic sum rule is enforced by adopting an iterative procedure, which is found to be physically more meaningful than the previous one. In addition, the new algorithm allows one to treat lattices with bases and the Green's function slab is no longer confined to one layer. New version program summaryProgram title: FixGFC/FixGFMD v1.12 Catalogue identifier: AECW_v1_1 Program summary URL:http://cpc.cs.qub.ac.uk/summaries/AECW_v1_1.html Program obtainable from: CPC Program Library, Queen's University, Belfast, N. Ireland Licensing provisions: Standard CPC licence, http://cpc.cs.qub.ac.uk/licence/licence.html No. of lines in distributed program, including test data, etc.: 206 436 No. of bytes in distributed program, including test data, etc.: 4 314 850 Distribution format: tar.gz Programming language: C++ Computer: All Operating system: Linux Has the code been vectorized or parallelized?: Yes. Code has been parallelized using MPI directives. RAM: Depends on the problem Classification: 7.7 External routines: LAMMPS ( http://lammps.sandia.gov/), MPI ( http

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koda, Jin; Scoville, Nick; Heyer, Mark

    2016-06-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koda, Jin; Scoville, Nick; Heyer, Mark

    2016-06-01

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

  14. Molecular anions in circumstellar envelopes, interstellar clouds and planetary atmospheres: quantum dynamics of formation and evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carelli, Fabio

    2012-09-01

    For decades astronomers and astrophysicists believed that only positively charged ions were worthy of relevance in drawing the networks for possible chemical reactions in the interstellar medium, as well as in modeling the physical conditions in most of astrophysical environments. Thus, molecular negative ions received minor attention until their possible existence was observationally confirmed (discovery of the first interstellar anion, C6H-), about thirty years after the first physically reasonable proposal on their actual detection was theoretically surmised by E.Herbst. In an astrophysical context, their role should be then found in their involvement in the charge balance as well as in the chemical evolution of the considered environment: depending on their amount and on the global gas density, in fact, the possible evolutive scenario could be susceptible of marked variations on the estimated time needed for reaching the steady state, their presence having thus also important repercussions on the final chemical composition of a given environment. The main reasons that originally motivated us to undertake the present work, were at least two. First of all, we intended to demonstrate the importance of resonances in forming molecular anions in different astrophysical environments. Secondly, we were attracted by the possibility of investigating the occurrence of radiationless paths like intramolecular vibrational redistributions to account for the dissipation of the extra energy initially carried by the impinging electron. Accordingly, the present PhD represents a theoretical/computational work which deals with an area placed at the boundary between (molecular) astrophysics, quantum collision thery, and theoretical chemistry. The three molecular species whose behaviour under low-energy electron collisions will be discussed are: the ortho-benzyne, the coronene and the carbon nitride.

  15. The evolution of improved and simplified superovulation protocols in cattle.

    PubMed

    Mapletoft, Reuben J; Bó, Gabriel A

    2011-01-01

    Superovulation protocols have improved greatly since the early days of bovine embryo transfer when purified gonadotrophins were not available, follicular wave dynamics were unknown physiological phenomena and prostaglandins were not available. Although superstimulatory protocols in cattle are normally initiated mid-cycle, elective control of follicular wave emergence and ovulation have had a great impact on the application of on-farm embryo transfer. However, the most common treatment for the synchronisation of follicular wave emergence involves the use of oestradiol, which cannot be used in many parts of the world. Therefore, the need for alternative treatments has driven recent research. An approach that has shown promise is to initiate follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) treatments at the time of the emergence of the new follicular wave following ovulation induced by gonadotrophin-releasing hormone. Alternatively, it has been shown that it may be possible to ignore follicular wave status and, by extending the treatment protocol, induce subordinate follicles to superovulate. Finally, the short half-life of pituitary FSH necessitates twice-daily treatments, which are time-consuming, stressful and subject to error. Recent treatment protocols have permitted superstimulation with a single FSH treatment or two treatments 48h apart, reducing the need for animal handling during gonadotrophin treatments.

  16. Anticipatory dynamics of biological systems: from molecular quantum states to evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Igamberdiev, Abir U.

    2015-08-01

    Living systems possess anticipatory behaviour that is based on the flexibility of internal models generated by the system's embedded description. The idea was suggested by Aristotle and is explicitly introduced to theoretical biology by Rosen. The possibility of holding the embedded internal model is grounded in the principle of stable non-equilibrium (Bauer). From the quantum mechanical view, this principle aims to minimize energy dissipation in expense of long relaxation times. The ideas of stable non-equilibrium were developed by Liberman who viewed living systems as subdivided into the quantum regulator and the molecular computer supporting coherence of the regulator's internal quantum state. The computational power of the cell molecular computer is based on the possibility of molecular rearrangements according to molecular addresses. In evolution, the anticipatory strategies are realized both as a precession of phylogenesis by ontogenesis (Berg) and as the anticipatory search of genetic fixation of adaptive changes that incorporates them into the internal model of genetic system. We discuss how the fundamental ideas of anticipation can be introduced into the basic foundations of theoretical biology.

  17. 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

  18. Molecular evolution and the global reemergence of enterovirus D68 by genome-wide analysis.

    PubMed

    Gong, Yu-Nong; Yang, Shu-Li; Shih, Shin-Ru; Huang, Yhu-Chering; Chang, Pi-Yueh; Huang, Chung-Guei; Kao, Kuo-Chin; Hu, Han-Chung; Liu, Yi-Chun; Tsao, Kuo-Chien

    2016-08-01

    Human enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) was first reported in the United States in 1962; thereafter, a few cases were reported from 1970 to 2005, but 2 outbreaks occurred in the Philippines (2008) and the United States (2014). However, little is known regarding the molecular evolution of this globally reemerging virus due to a lack of whole-genome sequences and analyses. Here, all publically available sequences including 147 full and 1248 partial genomes from GenBank were collected and compared at the clade and subclade level; 11 whole genomes isolated in Taiwan (TW) in 2014 were also added to the database. Phylogenetic trees were constructed to identify a new subclade, B3, and represent clade circulations among strains. Nucleotide sequence identities of the VP1 gene were 94% to 95% based on a comparison of subclade B3 to B1 and B2 and 87% to 91% when comparing A, C, and D. The patterns of clade circulation need to be clarified to improve global monitoring of EV-D68, even though this virus showed lower diversity among clades compared with the common enterovirus EV-71. Notably, severe cases isolated from Taiwan and China in 2014 were found in subclade B3. One severe case from Taiwan occurred in a female patient with underlying angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma, from whom a bronchoalveolar lavage specimen was obtained. Although host factors play a key role in disease severity, we cannot exclude the possibility that EV-D68 may trigger clinical symptoms or death. To further investigate the genetic diversity of EV-D68, we reported 34 amino acid (aa) polymorphisms identified by comparing subclade B3 to B1 and B2. Clade D strains had a 1-aa deletion and a 2-aa insertion in the VP1 gene, and 1 of our TW/2014 strains had a shorter deletion in the 5' untranslated region than a previously reported deletion. In summary, a new subclade, genetic indels, and polymorphisms in global strains were discovered elucidating evolutionary and epidemiological trends of EV-D68, and 11 genomes were

  19. Molecular evolution and the global reemergence of enterovirus D68 by genome-wide analysis

    PubMed Central

    Gong, Yu-Nong; Yang, Shu-Li; Shih, Shin-Ru; Huang, Yhu-Chering; Chang, Pi-Yueh; Huang, Chung-Guei; Kao, Kuo-Chin; Hu, Han-Chung; Liu, Yi-Chun; Tsao, Kuo-Chien

    2016-01-01

    Abstract Human enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) was first reported in the United States in 1962; thereafter, a few cases were reported from 1970 to 2005, but 2 outbreaks occurred in the Philippines (2008) and the United States (2014). However, little is known regarding the molecular evolution of this globally reemerging virus due to a lack of whole-genome sequences and analyses. Here, all publically available sequences including 147 full and 1248 partial genomes from GenBank were collected and compared at the clade and subclade level; 11 whole genomes isolated in Taiwan (TW) in 2014 were also added to the database. Phylogenetic trees were constructed to identify a new subclade, B3, and represent clade circulations among strains. Nucleotide sequence identities of the VP1 gene were 94% to 95% based on a comparison of subclade B3 to B1 and B2 and 87% to 91% when comparing A, C, and D. The patterns of clade circulation need to be clarified to improve global monitoring of EV-D68, even though this virus showed lower diversity among clades compared with the common enterovirus EV-71. Notably, severe cases isolated from Taiwan and China in 2014 were found in subclade B3. One severe case from Taiwan occurred in a female patient with underlying angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma, from whom a bronchoalveolar lavage specimen was obtained. Although host factors play a key role in disease severity, we cannot exclude the possibility that EV-D68 may trigger clinical symptoms or death. To further investigate the genetic diversity of EV-D68, we reported 34 amino acid (aa) polymorphisms identified by comparing subclade B3 to B1 and B2. Clade D strains had a 1-aa deletion and a 2-aa insertion in the VP1 gene, and 1 of our TW/2014 strains had a shorter deletion in the 5′ untranslated region than a previously reported deletion. In summary, a new subclade, genetic indels, and polymorphisms in global strains were discovered elucidating evolutionary and epidemiological trends of EV-D68, and 11

  20. Continuous directed evolution of DNA-binding proteins to improve TALEN specificity

    PubMed Central

    Hubbard, Basil P.; Badran, Ahmed H.; Zuris, John A.; Guilinger, John P.; Davis, Kevin M.; Chen, Liwei; Tsai, Shengdar Q.; Sander, Jeffry D.; Joung, J. Keith; Liu, David R.

    2015-01-01

    Nucleases containing programmable DNA-binding domains can alter the genomes of model organisms and have the potential to become human therapeutics. Here we present DNA-binding phage-assisted continuous evolution (DB-PACE) as a general approach for the laboratory evolution of DNA-binding activity and specificity. We used this system to generate TALE nucleases with broadly improved DNA cleavage specificity, establishing DB-PACE as a versatile approach for improving the accuracy of genome-editing agents. PMID:26258293

  1. Molecular Evolution of the Neural Crest Regulatory Network in Ray-Finned Fish.

    PubMed

    Kratochwil, Claudius F; Geissler, Laura; Irisarri, Iker; Meyer, Axel

    2015-11-01

    Gene regulatory networks (GRN) are central to developmental processes. They are composed of transcription factors and signaling molecules orchestrating gene expression modules that tightly regulate the development of organisms. The neural crest (NC) is a multipotent cell population that is considered a key innovation of vertebrates. Its derivatives contribute to shaping the astounding morphological diversity of jaws, teeth, head skeleton, or pigmentation. Here, we study the molecular evolution of the NC GRN by analyzing patterns of molecular divergence for a total of 36 genes in 16 species of bony fishes. Analyses of nonsynonymous to synonymous substitution rate ratios (dN/dS) support patterns of variable selective pressures among genes deployed at different stages of NC development, consistent with the developmental hourglass model. Model-based clustering techniques of sequence features support the notion of extreme conservation of NC-genes across the entire network. Our data show that most genes are under strong purifying selection that is maintained throughout ray-finned fish evolution. Late NC development genes reveal a pattern of increased constraints in more recent lineages. Additionally, seven of the NC-genes showed signs of relaxation of purifying selection in the famously species-rich lineage of cichlid fishes. This suggests that NC genes might have played a role in the adaptive radiation of cichlids by granting flexibility in the development of NC-derived traits-suggesting an important role for NC network architecture during the diversification in vertebrates. PMID:26475317

  2. Molecular heterochrony and the evolution of sociality in bumblebees (Bombus terrestris)

    PubMed Central

    Woodard, S. Hollis; Bloch, Guy M.; Band, Mark R.; Robinson, Gene E.

    2014-01-01

    Sibling care is a hallmark of social insects, but its evolution remains challenging to explain at the molecular level. The hypothesis that sibling care evolved from ancestral maternal care in primitively eusocial insects has been elaborated to involve heterochronic changes in gene expression. This elaboration leads to the prediction that workers in these species will show patterns of gene expression more similar to foundress queens, who express maternal care behaviour, than to established queens engaged solely in reproductive behaviour. We tested this idea in bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) using a microarray platform with approximately 4500 genes. Unlike the wasp Polistes metricus, in which support for the above prediction has been obtained, we found that patterns of brain gene expression in foundress and queen bumblebees were more similar to each other than to workers. Comparisons of differentially expressed genes derived from this study and gene lists from microarray studies in Polistes and the honeybee Apis mellifera yielded a shared set of genes involved in the regulation of related social behaviours across independent eusocial lineages. Together, these results suggest that multiple independent evolutions of eusociality in the insects might have involved different evolutionary routes, but nevertheless involved some similarities at the molecular level. PMID:24552837

  3. Molecular evolution of the nuclear von Willebrand factor gene in mammals and the phylogeny of rodents.

    PubMed

    Huchon, D; Catzeflis, F M; Douzery, E J

    1999-05-01

    Nucleotide sequences of exon 28 of the von Willebrand Factor (vWF) were analyzed for a representative sampling of rodent families and eutherian orders, with one marsupial sequence as outgroup. The aim of this study was to test if inclusion of an increased taxonomic diversity in molecular analyses would shed light on three uncertainties concerning rodent phylogeny: (1) relationships between rodent families, (2) Rodentia monophyly, and (3) the sister group relationship of rodents and lagomorphs. The results did not give evidence of any particular rodent pattern of molecular evolution relative to a general eutherian pattern. Base compositions and rates of evolution of vWF sequences of rodents were in the range of placental variation. The 10 rodent families studied here cluster in five clades: Hystricognathi, Sciuridae and Aplodontidae (Sciuroidea), Muridae, Dipodidae, and Gliridae. Among hystricognaths, the following conclusions are drawn: a single colonization event in South America by Caviomorpha, a paraphyly of Old World and New World porcupines, and an African origin for Old World porcupines. Despite a broader taxonomic sampling diversity, we did not obtain a robust answer to the question of Rodentia monophyly, but in the absence of any other alternative, we cannot reject the hypothesis of a single origin of rodents. Moreover, the phylogenetic position of Lagomorpha remains totally unsettled.

  4. Molecular Evolution of Aralkylamine N-Acetyltransferase in Fish: A Genomic Survey

    PubMed Central

    Li, Jia; You, Xinxin; Bian, Chao; Yu, Hui; Coon, Steven L.; Shi, Qiong

    2015-01-01

    All living organisms synchronize biological functions with environmental changes; melatonin plays a vital role in regulating daily and seasonal variations. Due to rhythmic activity of the timezyme aralkylamine N-acetyltransferase (AANAT), the blood level of melatonin increases at night and decreases during daytime. Whereas other vertebrates have a single form of AANAT, bony fishes possess various isoforms of aanat genes, though the reasons are still unclear. Here, we have taken advantage of multiple unpublished teleost aanat sequences to explore and expand our understanding of the molecular evolution of aanat in fish. Our results confirm that two rounds of whole-genome duplication (WGD) led to the existence of three fish isoforms of aanat, i.e., aanat1a, aanat1b, and aanat2; in addition, gene loss led to the absence of some forms from certain special fish species. Furthermore, we suggest the different roles of two aanat1s in amphibious mudskippers, and speculate that the loss of aanat1a, may be related to terrestrial vision change. Several important sites of AANAT proteins and regulatory elements of aanat genes were analyzed for structural comparison and functional forecasting, respectively, which provides insights into the molecular evolution of the differences between AANAT1 and AANAT2. PMID:26729109

  5. Molecular evolution of the infrared sensory gene TRPA1 in snakes and implications for functional studies.

    PubMed

    Geng, Jie; Liang, Dan; Jiang, Ke; Zhang, Peng

    2011-01-01

    TRPA1 is a calcium ion channel protein recently identified as the infrared receptor in pit organ-containing snakes. Therefore, understanding the molecular evolution of TRPA1 may help to illuminate the origin of "heat vision" in snakes and reveal the molecular mechanism of infrared sensitivity for TRPA1. To this end, we sequenced the infrared sensory gene TRPA1 in 24 snake species, representing nine snake families and multiple non-snake outgroups. We found that TRPA1 is under strong positive selection in the pit-bearing snakes studied, but not in other non-pit snakes and non-snake vertebrates. As a comparison, TRPV1, a gene closely related to TRPA1, was found to be under strong purifying selection in all the species studied, with no difference in the strength of selection between pit-bearing snakes and non-pit snakes. This finding demonstrates that the adaptive evolution of TRPA1 specifically occurred within the pit-bearing snakes and may be related to the functional modification for detecting infrared radiation. In addition, by comparing the TRPA1 protein sequences, we identified 11 amino acid sites that were diverged in pit-bearing snakes but conserved in non-pit snakes and other vertebrates, 21 sites that were diverged only within pit-vipers but conserved in the remaining snakes. These specific amino acid substitutions may be potentially functional important for infrared sensing.

  6. Molecular Evolution of Aralkylamine N-Acetyltransferase in Fish: A Genomic Survey.

    PubMed

    Li, Jia; You, Xinxin; Bian, Chao; Yu, Hui; Coon, Steven L; Shi, Qiong

    2016-01-01

    All living organisms synchronize biological functions with environmental changes; melatonin plays a vital role in regulating daily and seasonal variations. Due to rhythmic activity of the timezyme aralkylamine N-acetyltransferase (AANAT), the blood level of melatonin increases at night and decreases during daytime. Whereas other vertebrates have a single form of AANAT, bony fishes possess various isoforms of aanat genes, though the reasons are still unclear. Here, we have taken advantage of multiple unpublished teleost aanat sequences to explore and expand our understanding of the molecular evolution of aanat in fish. Our results confirm that two rounds of whole-genome duplication (WGD) led to the existence of three fish isoforms of aanat, i.e., aanat1a, aanat1b, and aanat2; in addition, gene loss led to the absence of some forms from certain special fish species. Furthermore, we suggest the different roles of two aanat1s in amphibious mudskippers, and speculate that the loss of aanat1a, may be related to terrestrial vision change. Several important sites of AANAT proteins and regulatory elements of aanat genes were analyzed for structural comparison and functional forecasting, respectively, which provides insights into the molecular evolution of the differences between AANAT1 and AANAT2. PMID:26729109

  7. Molecular Evolution of Aralkylamine N-Acetyltransferase in Fish: A Genomic Survey.

    PubMed

    Li, Jia; You, Xinxin; Bian, Chao; Yu, Hui; Coon, Steven L; Shi, Qiong

    2015-12-31

    All living organisms synchronize biological functions with environmental changes; melatonin plays a vital role in regulating daily and seasonal variations. Due to rhythmic activity of the timezyme aralkylamine N-acetyltransferase (AANAT), the blood level of melatonin increases at night and decreases during daytime. Whereas other vertebrates have a single form of AANAT, bony fishes possess various isoforms of aanat genes, though the reasons are still unclear. Here, we have taken advantage of multiple unpublished teleost aanat sequences to explore and expand our understanding of the molecular evolution of aanat in fish. Our results confirm that two rounds of whole-genome duplication (WGD) led to the existence of three fish isoforms of aanat, i.e., aanat1a, aanat1b, and aanat2; in addition, gene loss led to the absence of some forms from certain special fish species. Furthermore, we suggest the different roles of two aanat1s in amphibious mudskippers, and speculate that the loss of aanat1a, may be related to terrestrial vision change. Several important sites of AANAT proteins and regulatory elements of aanat genes were analyzed for structural comparison and functional forecasting, respectively, which provides insights into the molecular evolution of the differences between AANAT1 and AANAT2.

  8. That 70s show: regulation, evolution and development beyond molecular genetics.

    PubMed

    Suárez-Díaz Edna; García-Deister Vivette

    2015-01-01

    This paper argues that the "long 1970s" (1969-1983) is an important though often overlooked period in the development of a rich landscape in the research of metabolism, development, and evolution. The period is marked by: shrinking public funding of basic science, shifting research agendas in molecular biology, the incorporation of new phenomena and experimental tools from previous biological research at the molecular level, and the development of recombinant DNA techniques. Research was reoriented towards eukaryotic cells and development, and in particular towards "giant" RNA processing and transcription. We will here focus on three different models of developmental regulation published in that period: the two models of eukaryotic genetic regulation at the transcriptional level that were developed by Georgii P. Georgiev on the one hand, and by Roy Britten and Eric Davidson on the other; and the model of genetic sufficiency and evolution of regulatory genes proposed by Emile Zuckerkandl. These three bases illustrate the range of exploratory hypotheses that characterised the challenging landscape of gene regulation in the 1970s, a period that in hindsight can be labelled as transitional, between the biology at the laboratory bench of the preceding period, and the biology of genetic engineering and intensive data-driven research that followed.

  9. Molecular heterochrony and the evolution of sociality in bumblebees (Bombus terrestris).

    PubMed

    Woodard, S Hollis; Bloch, Guy M; Band, Mark R; Robinson, Gene E

    2014-04-01

    Sibling care is a hallmark of social insects, but its evolution remains challenging to explain at the molecular level. The hypothesis that sibling care evolved from ancestral maternal care in primitively eusocial insects has been elaborated to involve heterochronic changes in gene expression. This elaboration leads to the prediction that workers in these species will show patterns of gene expression more similar to foundress queens, who express maternal care behaviour, than to established queens engaged solely in reproductive behaviour. We tested this idea in bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) using a microarray platform with approximately 4500 genes. Unlike the wasp Polistes metricus, in which support for the above prediction has been obtained, we found that patterns of brain gene expression in foundress and queen bumblebees were more similar to each other than to workers. Comparisons of differentially expressed genes derived from this study and gene lists from microarray studies in Polistes and the honeybee Apis mellifera yielded a shared set of genes involved in the regulation of related social behaviours across independent eusocial lineages. Together, these results suggest that multiple independent evolutions of eusociality in the insects might have involved different evolutionary routes, but nevertheless involved some similarities at the molecular level.

  10. Convergent Molecular Evolution of Genomic Cores in Salmonella enterica and Escherichia coli

    PubMed Central

    Paul, Sandip; Kisiela, Dagmara I.; Linardopoulou, Elena V.

    2012-01-01

    One of the strongest signals of adaptive molecular evolution of proteins is the occurrence of convergent hot spot mutations: repeated changes in the same amino acid positions. We performed a comparative genome-wide analysis of mutation-driven evolution of core (omnipresent) genes in 17 strains of Salmonella enterica subspecies I and 22 strains of Escherichia coli. More than 20% of core genes in both Salmonella and E. coli accumulated hot spot mutations, with a predominance of identical changes having recent evolutionary origin. There is a significant overlap in the functional categories of the adaptively evolving genes in both species, although mostly via separate molecular mechanisms. As a strong evidence of the link between adaptive mutations and virulence in Salmonella, two human-restricted serovars, Typhi and Paratyphi A, shared the highest number of genes with serovar-specific hot spot mutations. Many of the core genes affected by Typhi/Paratyphi A-specific mutations have known virulence functions. For each species, a list of nonrecombinant core genes (and the hot spot mutations therein) under positive selection is provided. PMID:22797756

  11. Near-Neutrality: the Leading Edge of the Neutral Theory of Molecular Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Hughes, Austin L.

    2009-01-01

    The nearly-neutral theory represents a development of Kimura’s Neutral Theory of Molecular Evolution that makes testable predictions that go beyond a mere null model. Recent evidence has strongly supported several of these predictions, including the prediction that slightly deleterious variants will accumulate in a species that has undergone a severe bottleneck or in cases where recombination is reduced or absent. Because bottlenecks often occur in speciation and slightly deleterious mutations in coding regions will usually be nonsynonymous, we should expect that the ratio of nonsynonymous to synonymous fixed differences between species should often exceed the ratio of nonsynonymous to synonymous polymorphisms within species. Numerous data support this prediction, although they have often been wrongly interpreted as evidence for positive Darwinian selection. The use of conceptually flawed tests for positive selection has become widespread in recent years, seriously harming the quest for an understanding of genome evolution. When properly analyzed, many (probably most) claimed cases of positive selection will turn out to involve the fixation of slightly deleterious mutations by genetic drift in bottlenecked populations. Slightly deleterious variants are a transient feature of evolution in the long term, but they have had substantial impact on contemporary species, including our own. PMID:18559820

  12. Molecular tools and bumble bees: revealing hidden details of ecology and evolution in a model system.

    PubMed

    Woodard, S Hollis; Lozier, Jeffrey D; Goulson, David; Williams, Paul H; Strange, James P; Jha, Shalene

    2015-06-01

    Bumble bees are a longstanding model system for studies on behaviour, ecology and evolution, due to their well-studied social lifestyle, invaluable role as wild and managed pollinators, and ubiquity and diversity across temperate ecosystems. Yet despite their importance, many aspects of bumble bee biology have remained enigmatic until the rise of the genetic and, more recently, genomic eras. Here, we review and synthesize new insights into the ecology, evolution and behaviour of bumble bees that have been gained using modern genetic and genomic techniques. Special emphasis is placed on four areas of bumble bee biology: the evolution of eusociality in this group, population-level processes, large-scale evolutionary relationships and patterns, and immunity and resistance to pesticides. We close with a prospective on the future of bumble bee genomics research, as this rapidly advancing field has the potential to further revolutionize our understanding of bumble bees, particularly in regard to adaptation and resilience. Worldwide, many bumble bee populations are in decline. As such, throughout the review, connections are drawn between new molecular insights into bumble bees and our understanding of the causal factors involved in their decline. Ongoing and potential applications to bumble bee management and conservation are also included to demonstrate how genetics- and genomics-enabled research aids in the preservation of this threatened group.

  13. Molecular evolution of the brain size regulator genes CDK5RAP2 and CENPJ.

    PubMed

    Evans, Patrick D; Vallender, Eric J; Lahn, Bruce T

    2006-06-21

    Primary microcephaly is a developmental defect of the brain characterized by severely reduced brain size but an absence of other overt abnormalities. Mutations in several loci have been linked to primary microcephaly. The underlying genes for two of these were recently identified as CDK5RAP2 and CENPJ. Here, we focus on CDK5RAP2 and show that the protein evolutionary rate of this gene is significantly higher in primates than rodents or carnivores. We further show that the evolutionary rate within primates is particularly high in the human and chimpanzee terminal branches. Thus, the pattern of molecular evolution seen in CDK5RAP2 appears to parallel, at least approximately, that seen in two other previously identified primary microcephaly genes, microcephalin and ASPM. We also briefly discuss CENPJ, which similarly exhibits higher rate of protein evolution in primates as compared to rodents and carnivores. Together, the evolutionary patterns of all four presently known primary microcephaly genes are consistent with the hypothesis that genes regulating brain size during development might also play a role in brain evolution in primates and especially humans. PMID:16631324

  14. Molecular evolution of a widely-adopted taxonomic marker (COI) across the animal tree of life

    PubMed Central

    Pentinsaari, Mikko; Salmela, Heli; Mutanen, Marko; Roslin, Tomas

    2016-01-01

    DNA barcodes are widely used for identification and discovery of species. While such use draws on information at the DNA level, the current amassment of ca. 4.7 million COI barcodes also offers a unique resource for exploring functional constraints on DNA evolution. Here, we explore amino acid variation in a crosscut of the entire animal kingdom. Patterns of DNA variation were linked to functional constraints at the level of the amino acid sequence in functionally important parts of the enzyme. Six amino acid sites show variation with possible effects on enzyme function. Overall, patterns of amino acid variation suggest convergent or parallel evolution at the protein level connected to the transition into a parasitic life style. Denser sampling of two diverse insect taxa revealed that the beetles (Coleoptera) show more amino acid variation than the butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera), indicating fundamental difference in patterns of molecular evolution in COI. Several amino acid sites were found to be under notably strong purifying selection in Lepidoptera as compared to Coleoptera. Overall, these findings demonstrate the utility of the global DNA barcode library to extend far beyond identification and taxonomy, and will hopefully be followed by a multitude of work. PMID:27734964

  15. Evolution of apolar sporocytes in marchantialean liverworts: implications from molecular phylogeny.

    PubMed

    Shimamura, Masaki; Itouga, Misao; Tsubota, Hiromi

    2012-03-01

    In meiosis of basal land plants, meiotic division planes are typically predicted by quadri-lobing of the cytoplasm and/or quadri-partitioning of plastids prior to nuclear divisions. However, sporocytes of several marchantialean liverworts display no indication of premeiotic establishment of quadripolarity, as is observed in flowering plants. In these cases, the shape of sporocytes remains spherical or elliptical and numerous plastids are distributed randomly in the cytoplasm during meiosis. Through a survey of sporocyte morphology in marchantialean liverworts, we newly report the occurrence of apolar sporocytes in Sauteria japonica and Athalamia nana (Cleveaceae; Marchantiales). Molecular phylogenetic analyses revealed that the quadri-lobing of cytoplasm and quadri-partitioning of plastids were lost independently several times during the evolution of marchantialean liverworts. In addition, our phylogenetic analyses indicate that the simplified sporophytes of several marchantialean liverworts are not a primitive condition but rather represent the result of reductive evolution. The loss of the quadripolarity of sporocytes appears to correlate with the evolutionary trend of the sporophyte towards reductions. Through the evolution of the simplified sporophytes, suppression of mitotic divisions of sporogenous cells might had caused not only the modification of sporophyte ontogeny but also the drastic cytological change of sporocyte.

  16. Molecular tools and bumble bees: revealing hidden details of ecology and evolution in a model system.

    PubMed

    Woodard, S Hollis; Lozier, Jeffrey D; Goulson, David; Williams, Paul H; Strange, James P; Jha, Shalene

    2015-06-01

    Bumble bees are a longstanding model system for studies on behaviour, ecology and evolution, due to their well-studied social lifestyle, invaluable role as wild and managed pollinators, and ubiquity and diversity across temperate ecosystems. Yet despite their importance, many aspects of bumble bee biology have remained enigmatic until the rise of the genetic and, more recently, genomic eras. Here, we review and synthesize new insights into the ecology, evolution and behaviour of bumble bees that have been gained using modern genetic and genomic techniques. Special emphasis is placed on four areas of bumble bee biology: the evolution of eusociality in this group, population-level processes, large-scale evolutionary relationships and patterns, and immunity and resistance to pesticides. We close with a prospective on the future of bumble bee genomics research, as this rapidly advancing field has the potential to further revolutionize our understanding of bumble bees, particularly in regard to adaptation and resilience. Worldwide, many bumble bee populations are in decline. As such, throughout the review, connections are drawn between new molecular insights into bumble bees and our understanding of the causal factors involved in their decline. Ongoing and potential applications to bumble bee management and conservation are also included to demonstrate how genetics- and genomics-enabled research aids in the preservation of this threatened group. PMID:25865395

  17. Adaptive molecular evolution of a defence gene in sexual but not functionally asexual evening primroses.

    PubMed

    Hersch-Green, E I; Myburg, H; Johnson, M T J

    2012-08-01

    Theory predicts that sexual reproduction provides evolutionary advantages over asexual reproduction by reducing mutational load and increasing adaptive potential. Here, we test the latter prediction in the context of plant defences against pathogens because pathogens frequently reduce plant fitness and drive the evolution of plant defences. Specifically, we ask whether sexual evening primrose plant lineages (Onagraceae) have faster rates of adaptive molecular evolution and altered gene expression of a class I chitinase, a gene implicated in defence against pathogens, than functionally asexual evening primrose lineages. We found that the ratio of amino acid to silent substitutions (K(a) /K(s) = 0.19 vs. 0.11 for sexual and asexual lineages, respectively), the number of sites identified to be under positive selection (four vs. zero for sexual and asexual lineages, respectively) and the expression of chitinase were all higher in sexual than in asexual lineages. Our results are congruent with the conclusion that a loss of sexual recombination and segregation in the Onagraceae negatively affects adaptive structural and potentially regulatory evolution of a plant defence protein.

  18. Molecular Evolution of Drosophila Germline Stem Cell and Neural Stem Cell Regulating Genes

    PubMed Central

    Choi, Jae Young; Aquadro, Charles F.

    2015-01-01

    Here, we study the molecular evolution of a near complete set of genes that had functional evidence in the regulation of the Drosophila germline and neural stem cell. Some of these genes have previously been shown to be rapidly evolving by positive selection raising the possibility that stem cell genes as a group have elevated signatures of positive selection. Using recent Drosophila comparative genome sequences and population genomic sequences of Drosophila melanogaster, we have investigated both long- and short-term evolution occurring across these two different stem cell systems, and compared them with a carefully chosen random set of genes to represent the background rate of evolution. Our results showed an excess of genes with evidence of a recent selective sweep in both germline and neural stem cells in D. melanogaster. However compared with their control genes, both stem cell systems had no significant excess of genes with long-term recurrent positive selection in D. melanogaster, or across orthologous sequences from the melanogaster group. The evidence of long-term positive selection was limited to a subset of genes with specific functions in both the germline and neural stem cell system. PMID:26507797

  19. On Eliminating Synchronous Communication in Molecular Simulations to Improve Scalability

    SciTech Connect

    Straatsma, TP; Chavarría-Miranda, Daniel

    2013-12-01

    Molecular dynamics simulation, as a complementary tool to experimentation, has become an important methodology for the understanding and design of molecular systems as it provides access to properties that are difficult, impossible or prohibitively expensive to obtain experimentally. Many of the available software packages have been parallelized to take advantage of modern massively concurrent processing resources. The challenge in achieving parallel efficiency is commonly attributed to the fact that molecular dynamics algorithms are communication intensive. This paper illustrates how an appropriately chosen data distribution and asynchronous one-sided communication approach can be used to effectively deal with the data movement within the Global Arrays/ARMCI programming model framework. A new put_notify capability is presented here, allowing the implementation of the molecular dynamics algorithm without any explicit global or local synchronization or global data reduction operations. In addition, this push-data model is shown to very effectively allow hiding data communication behind computation. Rather than data movement or explicit global reductions, the implicit synchronization of the algorithm becomes the primary challenge for scalability. Without any explicit synchronous operations, the scalability of molecular simulations is shown to depend only on the ability to evenly balance computational load.

  20. On eliminating synchronous communication in molecular simulations to improve scalability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Straatsma, T. P.; Chavarría-Miranda, Daniel G.

    2013-12-01

    Molecular dynamics simulation, as a complementary tool to experimentation, has become an important methodology for the understanding and design of molecular systems as it provides access to properties that are difficult, impossible or prohibitively expensive to obtain experimentally. Many of the available software packages have been parallelized to take advantage of modern massively concurrent processing resources. The challenge in achieving parallel efficiency is commonly attributed to the fact that molecular dynamics algorithms are communication intensive. This paper illustrates how an appropriately chosen data distribution and asynchronous one-sided communication approach can be used to effectively deal with the data movement within the Global Arrays/ARMCI programming model framework. A new put_notify capability is presented here, allowing the implementation of the molecular dynamics algorithm without any explicit global or local synchronization or global data reduction operations. In addition, this push-data model is shown to very effectively allow hiding data communication behind computation. Rather than data movement or explicit global reductions, the implicit synchronization of the algorithm becomes the primary challenge for scalability. Without any explicit synchronous operations, the scalability of molecular simulations is shown to depend only on the ability to evenly balance computational load.

  1. Tryptophanyl-tRNA synthetase Urzyme: a model to recapitulate molecular evolution and investigate intramolecular complementation.

    PubMed

    Pham, Yen; Kuhlman, Brian; Butterfoss, Glenn L; Hu, Hao; Weinreb, Violetta; Carter, Charles W

    2010-12-01

    We substantiate our preliminary description of the class I tryptophanyl-tRNA synthetase minimal catalytic domain with details of its construction, structure, and steady-state kinetic parameters. Generating that active fragment involved deleting 65% of the contemporary enzyme, including the anticodon-binding domain and connecting peptide 1, CP1, a 74-residue internal segment from within the Rossmann fold. We used protein design (Rosetta), rather than phylogenetic sequence alignments, to identify mutations to compensate for the severe loss of modularity, thus restoring stability, as evidenced by renaturation described previously and by 70-ns molecular dynamics simulations. Sufficient solubility to enable biochemical studies was achieved by expressing the redesigned Urzyme as a maltose-binding protein fusion. Michaelis-Menten kinetic parameters from amino acid activation assays showed that, compared with the native full-length enzyme, TrpRS Urzyme binds ATP with similar affinity. This suggests that neither of the two deleted structural modules has a strong influence on ground-state ATP binding. However, tryptophan has 10(3) lower affinity, and the Urzyme has comparably reduced specificity relative to the related amino acid, tyrosine. Molecular dynamics simulations revealed how CP1 may contribute significantly to cognate amino acid specificity. As class Ia editing domains are nested within the CP1, this finding suggests that this module enhanced amino acid specificity continuously, throughout their evolution. We call this type of reconstructed protein catalyst an Urzyme (Ur prefix indicates original, primitive, or earliest). It establishes a model for recapitulating very early steps in molecular evolution in which fitness may have been enhanced by accumulating entire modules, rather than by discrete amino acid sequence changes. PMID:20864539

  2. Molecular imaging of atherosclerosis for improving diagnostic and therapeutic development

    PubMed Central

    Quillard, Thibaut; Libby, Peter

    2012-01-01

    Despite recent progress, cardiovascular and allied metabolic disorders remain a worldwide health challenge. We need to identify new targets for therapy, develop new agents for clinical use, and deploy them in a clinically-effective and cost-effective manner. Molecular imaging of atherosclerotic lesions has become a major experimental tool in the last decade, notably by providing a direct gateway to the processes involved in atherogenesis and its complications. This review summarizes the current status of molecular imaging approaches that target the key processes implicated in plaque formation, development, and disruption, and highlights how the refinement and application of such tools might aid the development and evaluation of novel therapeutics. PMID:22773426

  3. Phylogenetic Analysis and Molecular Evolution Patterns in the MIR482-MIR1448 Polycistron of Populus L

    PubMed Central

    Zhao, Jia-Ping; Diao, Shu; Zhang, Bing-Yu; Niu, Bao-Qing; Wang, Qing-Ling; Wan, Xian-Chong; Luo, You-Qing

    2012-01-01

    The microRNAs (miRNAs) miR482 and miR1448 are disease resistance-related miRNAs; the former is ubiquitously distributed in seed plants whereas the latter has only been reported in Populus trichocarpa. The precursor and mature sequences of poplar miR1448 are highly homologous to those of poplar miR482, and these two miRNAs are located in one transcript as a polycistron. Therefore, we hypothesized that the MIR1448 gene may have evolved from the MIR482 gene in poplar. However, the molecular evolution patterns of this process remain unclear. In this study, utilizing cloning and Blast analysis in NCBI ESTs and whole-genome shotgun contigs (WGS) dataset, we determined that the MIR482-MIR1448 polycistron is a family-specific clustered miRNA in Salicaceae. Moreover, phylogenetic analysis illustrated that MIR1448 is the product of a tandem duplication event from MIR482. Nucleotide substitution analysis revealed that both MIR482 and MIR1448 have more rapid evolution ratios than ribosomal DNA (rDNA) genes, and that compensatory mutations that occurred in the stem region of the secondary structure were the main mechanisms that drove the evolution of these MIRNA genes. Furthermore, by comparing the substitution patterns in the miRNA-target complexes of miR482 and miR1448, we inferred that co-evolution between miRNAs and their targets was the major force that drove the “duplicated MIR482” evolve to MIR1448. We propose a novel miRNA-target pairing pattern called the “frameshift targeted mechanism” to explain the gain of target genes by miR1448. The results also imply that the major role of miR482 was in resistance to disease or other stresses via NBS-LRR proteins, whereas the biological functions of miR1448 are more diverse. PMID:23094096

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-06-16

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

  5. Molecular evolution of candidate genes involved in post-mating-prezygotic reproductive isolation.

    PubMed

    Bono, J M; Matzkin, L M; Hoang, K; Brandsmeier, L

    2015-02-01

    Traits involved in post-copulatory interactions between the sexes may evolve rapidly as a result of sexual selection and/or sexual conflict, leading to post-mating-prezygotic (PMPZ) reproductive isolating barriers between diverging lineages. Although the importance of PMPZ isolation is recognized, the molecular basis of such incompatibilities is not well understood. Here, we investigate molecular evolution of a subset of Drosophila mojavensis and Drosophila arizonae reproductive tract genes. These include genes that are transcriptionally regulated by conspecific mating in females, many of which are misregulated in heterospecific crosses, and a set of male genes whose transcripts are transferred to females during mating. As a group, misregulated female genes are not more divergent and do not appear to evolve under different selection pressures than other female reproductive genes. Male transferred genes evolve at a higher rate than testis-expressed genes, and at a similar rate compared to accessory gland protein genes, which are known to evolve rapidly. Four of the individual male transferred genes show patterns of divergent positive selection between D. mojavensis and D. arizonae. Three of the four genes belong to the sperm-coating protein-like family, including an ortholog of antares, which influences female fertility and receptivity in Drosophila melanogaster. Synthesis of these molecular evolutionary analyses with transcriptomics and predicted functional information makes these genes candidates for involvement in PMPZ reproductive incompatibilities between D. mojavensis and D. arizonae.

  6. Gradual molecular evolution of a sex determination switch through incomplete penetrance of femaleness.

    PubMed

    Beye, Martin; Seelmann, Christine; Gempe, Tanja; Hasselmann, Martin; Vekemans, Xavier; Fondrk, M Kim; Page, Robert E

    2013-12-16

    Some genes regulate phenotypes that are either present or absent. They are often important regulators of developmental switches and are involved in morphological evolution. We have little understanding of the molecular mechanisms by which these absence/presence gene functions have evolved, because the phenotype and fitness of molecular intermediate forms are unknown. Here, we studied the sex-determining switch of 14 natural sequence variants of the csd gene among 76 genotypes of the honeybee (Apis mellifera). Heterozygous genotypes (different specificities) of the csd gene determine femaleness, while hemizygous genotypes (single specificity) determine maleness. Homozygous genotypes of the csd gene (same specificity) are lethal. We found that at least five amino acid differences and length variation between Csd specificities in the specifying domain (PSD) were sufficient to regularly induce femaleness. We estimated that, on average, six pairwise amino acid differences evolved under positive selection. We also identified a natural evolutionary intermediate that showed only three amino acid length differences in the PSD relative to its parental allele. This genotype showed an intermediate fitness because it implemented lethality regularly and induced femaleness infrequently (i.e., incomplete penetrance). We suggest incomplete penetrance as a mechanism through which new molecular switches can gradually and adaptively evolve.

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

    PubMed

    Mack, Korrie L; Shorter, James

    2016-01-01

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

  8. The chemical evolution & physical properties of organic aerosol: A molecular structure based approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wei, Yiyi; Cao, Tingting; Thompson, Jonathan E.

    2012-12-01

    Global climate, atmospheric chemistry, and air quality are affected by tropospheric particulate matter. Recent measurements suggest organic compounds present in this haze comprise roughly half of total aerosol fine mass concentration globally. Unlike the well-constrained processes which result in formation of nitrate or sulfate aerosol, the oxidation of volatile organics in the atmosphere can lead to thousands of stable compounds in the aerosol phase. Development of a tractable framework to consider the chemical and physical evolution of the organic aerosol is crucial for modeling its effect on global climate. Here we show coupling a 3-dimensional coordinate system defined by the molecular descriptors of molecular weight, heteroatom mass, and double bond equivalents (D.B.E.) with high-resolution molecular mass spectrometry is a powerful approach for describing key properties of the organic aerosol. The scheme is conceptually simple, yet maintains sufficient complexity to be compatible with quantitative structure-property relationships (QSPRs) used to predict chemical and physical properties that govern aerosol behavior. From available data, both ambient organic aerosol and laboratory generated organic aerosol frequently occupy the region characterized by <10 D.B.E. <600 M.W. and <200 heteroatom mass. A QSPR analysis conducted illustrates spatial trends within the 3D space for volatility and Henry's law constants for 31,000 organic compounds considered.

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

    PubMed Central

    Mack, Korrie L.; Shorter, James

    2016-01-01

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

  10. Phylemon: a suite of web tools for molecular evolution, phylogenetics and phylogenomics.

    PubMed

    Tárraga, Joaquín; Medina, Ignacio; Arbiza, Leonardo; Huerta-Cepas, Jaime; Gabaldón, Toni; Dopazo, Joaquín; Dopazo, Hernán

    2007-07-01

    Phylemon is an online platform for phylogenetic and evolutionary analyses of molecular sequence data. It has been developed as a web server that integrates a suite of different tools selected among the most popular stand-alone programs in phylogenetic and evolutionary analysis. It has been conceived as a natural response to the increasing demand of data analysis of many experimental scientists wishing to add a molecular evolution and phylogenetics insight into their research. Tools included in Phylemon cover a wide yet selected range of programs: from the most basic for multiple sequence alignment to elaborate statistical methods of phylogenetic reconstruction including methods for evolutionary rates analyses and molecular adaptation. Phylemon has several features that differentiates it from other resources: (i) It offers an integrated environment that enables the direct concatenation of evolutionary analyses, the storage of results and handles required data format conversions, (ii) Once an outfile is produced, Phylemon suggests the next possible analyses, thus guiding the user and facilitating the integration of multi-step analyses, and (iii) users can define and save complete pipelines for specific phylogenetic analysis to be automatically used on many genes in subsequent sessions or multiple genes in a single session (phylogenomics). The Phylemon web server is available at http://phylemon.bioinfo.cipf.es.

  11. Molecular Corridor Based Approach for Description of Evolution of Secondary Organic Aerosols

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Y., Sr.; Poeschl, U.; Shiraiwa, M.

    2015-12-01

    Organic aerosol is ubiquitous in the atmosphere and its major component is secondary organic aerosol (SOA). Formation and evolution of SOA is a complex process involving coupled chemical reactions and mass transport in the gas and particle phases (Shiraiwa et al., 2014). Current air quality models do not embody the full spectrum of reaction and transport processes, nor do they identify the dominant rate-limiting steps in SOA formation, resulting in the significant underprediction of observed SOA concentrations, which precludes reliable quantitative predictions of aerosols and their environmental impacts. Recently, it has been suggested that the SOA chemical evolution can be represented well by "molecular corridor" with a tight inverse correlation between molar mass and volatility of SOA oxidation products (Shiraiwa et al., 2014). Here we further analyzed the structure, molar mass and volatility of 31,000 unique organic compounds. These compounds include oxygenated organic compounds as well as nitrogen- and sulfur-containing organics such as amines, organonitrates, and organosulfates. Results show that most of those compounds fall into this two-dimensional (2-D) space, which is constrained by two boundary lines corresponding to the volatility of n -alkanes CnH2n+2 and sugar alcohols CnH2n+2On. A method to predict the volatility of nitrogen- and sulfur- containing compounds is developed based on those 31,000 organic compounds. It is shown that the volatility can be well predicted as a function of chemical composition numbers, providing a way to apply this 2-D space to organic compounds observed in real atmosphere. A comprehensive set of observation data from laboratory experiments, field campaigns and indoor measurements is mapped to the molecular corridor. This 2-D space can successfully grasp the properties of organic compounds formed in different atmospheric conditions. The molecular corridor represents a new framework in which chemical and physical properties as

  12. How the Microbial World Saved Evolution from the Scylla of Molecular Biology and the Charybdis of the Modern Synthesis

    PubMed Central

    Woese, Carl R.; Goldenfeld, Nigel

    2009-01-01

    Summary: In this commentary, we provide a personal overview of the conceptual history of microbiology and molecular biology over the course of the last hundred years, emphasizing the relationship of these fields to the problem of evolution. We argue that despite their apparent success, all three reached an impasse that arose from the influence of dogmatic or overly narrow perspectives. Finally, we describe how recent developments in microbiology are realizing Beijerinck's vision of a field that is fully integrated with molecular biology, microbial ecology, thereby challenging and extending current thinking in evolution. PMID:19258530

  13. Evolution of complex organic molecules in hot molecular cores. Synthetic spectra at (sub-)mm wavebands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Choudhury, R.; Schilke, P.; Stéphan, G.; Bergin, E.; Möller, T.; Schmiedeke, A.; Zernickel, A.

    2015-03-01

    Context. Hot molecular cores (HMCs) are intermediate stages of high-mass star formation and are also known for their rich chemical reservoirs and emission line spectra at (sub-)mm wavebands. Complex organic molecules (COMs) such as methanol (CH3OH), ethanol (C2H5OH), dimethyl ether (CH3OCH3), and methyl formate (HCOOCH3) produce most of these observed lines. The observed spectral feature of HMCs such as total number of emission lines and associated line intensities are also found to vary with evolutionary stages. Aims: We aim to investigate the spectral evolution of these COMs to explore the initial evolutionary stages of high-mass star formation including HMCs. Methods: We developed various 3D models for HMCs guided by the evolutionary scenarios proposed by recent empirical and modeling studies. We then investigated the spatio-temporal variation of temperature and molecular abundances in HMCs by consistently coupling gas-grain chemical evolution with radiative transfer calculations. We explored the effects of varying physical conditions on molecular abundances including density distribution and luminosity evolution of the central protostar(s) among other parameters. Finally, we simulated the synthetic spectra for these models at different evolutionary timescales to compare with observations. Results: Temperature has a profound effect on the formation of COMs through the depletion and diffusion on grain surface to desorption and further gas-phase processing. The time-dependent temperature structure of the hot core models provides a realistic framework for investigating the spatial variation of ice mantle evaporation as a function of evolutionary timescales. We find that a slightly higher value (15 K) than the canonical dark cloud temperature (10 K) provides a more productive environment for COM formation on grain surface. With increasing protostellar luminosity, the water ice evaporation font (~100 K) expands and the spatial distribution of gas phase abundances of

  14. Compact structure and proteins of pasta retard in vitro digestive evolution of branched starch molecular structure.

    PubMed

    Zou, Wei; Sissons, Mike; Warren, Frederick J; Gidley, Michael J; Gilbert, Robert G

    2016-11-01

    The roles that the compact structure and proteins in pasta play in retarding evolution of starch molecular structure during in vitro digestion are explored, using four types of cooked samples: whole pasta, pasta powder, semolina (with proteins) and extracted starch without proteins. These were subjected to in vitro digestion with porcine α-amylase, collecting samples at different times and characterizing the weight distribution of branched starch molecules using size-exclusion chromatography. Measurement of α-amylase activity showed that a protein (or proteins) from semolina or pasta powder interacted with α-amylase, causing reduced enzymatic activity and retarding digestion of branched starch molecules with hydrodynamic radius (Rh)<100nm; this protein(s) was susceptible to proteolysis. Thus the compact structure of pasta protects the starch and proteins in the interior of the whole pasta, reducing the enzymatic degradation of starch molecules, especially for molecules with Rh>100nm. PMID:27516291

  15. Heterogeneous Rates of Molecular Evolution and Diversification Could Explain the Triassic Age Estimate for Angiosperms.

    PubMed

    Beaulieu, Jeremy M; O'Meara, Brian C; Crane, Peter; Donoghue, Michael J

    2015-09-01

    Dating analyses based on molecular data imply that crown angiosperms existed in the Triassic, long before their undisputed appearance in the fossil record in the Early Cretaceous. Following a re-analysis of the age of angiosperms using updated sequences and fossil calibrations, we use a series of simulations to explore the possibility that the older age estimates are a consequence of (i) major shifts in the rate of sequence evolution near the base of the angiosperms and/or (ii) the representative taxon sampling strategy employed in such studies. We show that both of these factors do tend to yield substantially older age estimates. These analyses do not prove that younger age estimates based on the fossil record are correct, but they do suggest caution in accepting the older age estimates obtained using current relaxed-clock methods. Although we have focused here on the angiosperms, we suspect that these results will shed light on dating discrepancies in other major clades.

  16. Oxygen evolution on a SrFeO3 anode - Mechanistic considerations from molecular orbital theory

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mehandru, S. P.; Anderson, Alfred B.

    1989-01-01

    Various pathways proposed in the literature for the evolution of O2 in electrochemical oxidations are explored using the atom superposition and electron delocalization molecular orbital (ASED-MO) theory and the cluster models of the SrFeO3 surface as a prototype material. Calculations indicate that oxygen atoms can be easily formed on the (100) surface as well as on the edge cation sites of a SrFeO3 anode by the discharge of OH(-), followed by its deprotonation and electron transfer to the electrode. The O atoms can form O2 on the edge and corner sites, where the Fe(4+) is coordinated to four and three bulk oxygen anions, respectively. The calculations strongly disfavor mechanisms involving coupling of oxygen atoms adsorbed on different cations as well as a mechanism featuring an ozone intermediate.

  17. Molecular evolution of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium and pathogenic Escherichia coli: from pathogenesis to therapeutics.

    PubMed

    Lavigne, Jean-Philippe; Blanc-Potard, Anne-Béatrice

    2008-03-01

    Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (S. Typhimurium) and certain Escherichia coli are human pathogens that have evolved through the acquisition of multiple virulence determinants by horizontal gene transfer. Similar genetic elements, as pathogenicity islands and virulence plasmids, have driven molecular evolution of virulence in both species. In addition, the contribution of prophages has been recently highlighted as a reservoir for pathogenic diversity. Characterization of horizontally acquired virulence genes has several clinical implications. First, identification of virulence determinants that have a sporadic distribution and are specifically associated with a pathotype and/or a pathology can be useful markers for risk assessment and diagnosis. Secondly, virulence factors widely distributed in pathogenic strains, but absent from non-pathogenic bacteria, are interesting targets for the development of novel antimicrobial chemotherapies and vaccines. Here, we summarize the horizontally acquired virulence factors of S. Typhimurium, enterohemorrhagic E. coli O157:H7 and uropathogenic E. coli, and we describe their use in novel therapeutic approaches.

  18. Dynamics of the Eigen and the Crow-Kimura models for molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    Saakian, David B; Rozanova, Olga; Akmetzhanov, Andrei

    2008-10-01

    We introduce an alternative way to study molecular evolution within well-established Hamilton-Jacobi formalism, showing that for a broad class of fitness landscapes it is possible to derive dynamics analytically within the 1N accuracy, where N is the genome length. For a smooth and monotonic fitness function this approach gives two dynamical phases: smooth dynamics and discontinuous dynamics. The latter phase arises naturally with no explicite singular fitness function, counterintuitively. The Hamilton-Jacobi method yields straightforward analytical results for the models that utilize fitness as a function of Hamming distance from a reference genome sequence. We also show the way in which this method gives dynamical phase structure for multipeak fitness. PMID:18999456

  19. Self-Healing of Molecular Catalyst and Photosensitizer on Metal-Organic Framework: Robust Molecular System for Photocatalytic H2 Evolution from Water.

    PubMed

    Kim, Dongha; Whang, Dong Ryeol; Park, Soo Young

    2016-07-20

    Inspired by self-repair mechanism of PSII in plants, we report a self-healing system which spontaneously repairs molecular catalyst and photosensitizer during photocatalytic H2 evolution. A bipyridine-embedded UiO-type metal-organic framework (MOF), namely Ptn_Ir_BUiO, which incorporated H2-evolving catalyst and photosensitizer, was synthesized and subject to photocatalytic H2 evolution reaction (HER). Impressively, HER with Pt0.1_Ir_BUiO showed very stable molecular photocatalysis without significant decrease in its activity and colloidal formation for 6.5 days at least; in the homogeneous counterpart, the molecular catalyst became a colloid just after 7.5 h. It was revealed that the arrangement of diimine sites which closely and densely surrounded the H2-evolving catalyst and photosensitizer in the MOF enabled such a highly efficient self-healing. PMID:27356034

  20. Molecular Evolution and Functional Divergence of Trace Amine-Associated Receptors.

    PubMed

    Eyun, Seong-Il; Moriyama, Hideaki; Hoffmann, Federico G; Moriyama, Etsuko N

    2016-01-01

    Trace amine-associated receptors (TAARs) are a member of the G-protein-coupled receptor superfamily and are known to be expressed in olfactory sensory neurons. A limited number of molecular evolutionary studies have been done for TAARs so far. To elucidate how lineage-specific evolution contributed to their functional divergence, we examined 30 metazoan genomes. In total, 493 TAAR gene candidates (including 84 pseudogenes) were identified from 26 vertebrate genomes. TAARs were not identified from non-vertebrate genomes. An ancestral-type TAAR-like gene appeared to have emerged in lamprey. We found four therian-specific TAAR subfamilies (one eutherian-specific and three metatherian-specific) in addition to previously known nine subfamilies. Many species-specific TAAR gene duplications and losses contributed to a large variation of TAAR gene numbers among mammals, ranging from 0 in dolphin to 26 in flying fox. TAARs are classified into two groups based on binding preferences for primary or tertiary amines as well as their sequence similarities. Primary amine-detecting TAARs (TAAR1-4) have emerged earlier, generally have single-copy orthologs (very few duplication or loss), and have evolved under strong functional constraints. In contrast, tertiary amine-detecting TAARs (TAAR5-9) have emerged more recently and the majority of them experienced higher rates of gene duplications. Protein members that belong to the tertiary amine-detecting TAAR group also showed the patterns of positive selection especially in the area surrounding the ligand-binding pocket, which could have affected ligand-binding activities and specificities. Expansions of the tertiary amine-detecting TAAR gene family may have played important roles in terrestrial adaptations of therian mammals. Molecular evolution of the TAAR gene family appears to be governed by a complex, species-specific, interplay between environmental and evolutionary factors. PMID:26963722

  1. Molecular Evolution of Slow and Quick Anion Channels (SLACs and QUACs/ALMTs)

    PubMed Central

    Dreyer, Ingo; Gomez-Porras, Judith Lucia; Riaño-Pachón, Diego Mauricio; Hedrich, Rainer; Geiger, Dietmar

    2012-01-01

    Electrophysiological analyses conducted about 25 years ago detected two types of anion channels in the plasma membrane of guard cells. One type of channel responds slowly to changes in membrane voltage while the other responds quickly. Consequently, they were named SLAC, for SLow Anion Channel, and QUAC, for QUick Anion Channel. Recently, genes SLAC1 and QUAC1/ALMT12, underlying the two different anion current components, could be identified in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Expression of the gene products in Xenopus oocytes confirmed the quick and slow current kinetics. In this study we provide an overview on our current knowledge on slow and quick anion channels in plants and analyze the molecular evolution of ALMT/QUAC-like and SLAC-like channels. We discovered fingerprints that allow screening databases for these channel types and were able to identify 192 (177 non-redundant) SLAC-like and 422 (402 non-redundant) ALMT/QUAC-like proteins in the fully sequenced genomes of 32 plant species. Phylogenetic analyses provided new insights into the molecular evolution of these channel types. We also combined sequence alignment and clustering with predictions of protein features, leading to the identification of known conserved phosphorylation sites in SLAC1-like channels along with potential sites that have not been yet experimentally confirmed. Using a similar strategy to analyze the hydropathicity of ALMT/QUAC-like channels, we propose a modified topology with additional transmembrane regions that integrates structure and function of these membrane proteins. Our results suggest that cross-referencing phylogenetic analyses with position-specific protein properties and functional data could be a very powerful tool for genome research approaches in general. PMID:23226151

  2. Molecular Evolution and Functional Divergence of Trace Amine–Associated Receptors

    PubMed Central

    Eyun, Seong-il; Moriyama, Hideaki; Hoffmann, Federico G.; Moriyama, Etsuko N.

    2016-01-01

    Trace amine-associated receptors (TAARs) are a member of the G-protein-coupled receptor superfamily and are known to be expressed in olfactory sensory neurons. A limited number of molecular evolutionary studies have been done for TAARs so far. To elucidate how lineage-specific evolution contributed to their functional divergence, we examined 30 metazoan genomes. In total, 493 TAAR gene candidates (including 84 pseudogenes) were identified from 26 vertebrate genomes. TAARs were not identified from non-vertebrate genomes. An ancestral-type TAAR-like gene appeared to have emerged in lamprey. We found four therian-specific TAAR subfamilies (one eutherian-specific and three metatherian-specific) in addition to previously known nine subfamilies. Many species-specific TAAR gene duplications and losses contributed to a large variation of TAAR gene numbers among mammals, ranging from 0 in dolphin to 26 in flying fox. TAARs are classified into two groups based on binding preferences for primary or tertiary amines as well as their sequence similarities. Primary amine-detecting TAARs (TAAR1-4) have emerged earlier, generally have single-copy orthologs (very few duplication or loss), and have evolved under strong functional constraints. In contrast, tertiary amine-detecting TAARs (TAAR5-9) have emerged more recently and the majority of them experienced higher rates of gene duplications. Protein members that belong to the tertiary amine-detecting TAAR group also showed the patterns of positive selection especially in the area surrounding the ligand-binding pocket, which could have affected ligand-binding activities and specificities. Expansions of the tertiary amine-detecting TAAR gene family may have played important roles in terrestrial adaptations of therian mammals. Molecular evolution of the TAAR gene family appears to be governed by a complex, species-specific, interplay between environmental and evolutionary factors. PMID:26963722

  3. The mind of primitive anthropologists: hemoglobin and HLA, patterns of molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    Williams, Robert C

    2003-08-01

    Frank Livingstone played a central role in defining the population genetics of the sickle cell mutation at position 6 of the human beta globin gene, the most famous amino acid substitution in evolutionary biology. Its discovery occurred at a time when traditional, 19th-century principles of natural selection were being joined with the newly discovered mechanics of DNA structure and protein synthesis to produce Neo-Darwinian theory. When combined with the epidemiology of malaria in Africa, differential mortality for both homozygotes, and the resulting advantage of the heterozygote, sickle cell became the classic balanced polymorphism. Human HLA-A has 237 molecular alleles. The histocompatibility system has as its primary function the presentation of peptides to T-cell receptors and plays an essential role in the immune system. Nearly all of the alleles are codominant and fully functional. Despite almost 30 years of disease-association studies with HLA-A, no convincing evidence has been found for differential fertility or mortality at this locus. Yet the dogma in the histocompatibility field is that this extensive human polymorphism is maintained by "balancing selection." Explaining HLA-A polymorphism is what one might call the sickle-cell-effect. This one mutation, coming as it did at the historical convergence of Darwinian theory and modern genetics, and carrying with it the strong relationship between mutation, disease, and allele frequency, has conditioned our discussion of human genetic variation and population genetics. Has the strength of this early idea made evolutionary biologists uncritical of systems like HLA-A and retarded the search for new mechanisms of molecular evolution? Is it now time to move away from a focus on mutation and polymorphism in evolutionary genetics and toward a systems theory that would explain the origin and evolution of hemoglobin and HLA-A and the biochemical pathways that surround them?

  4. Molecular evolution of mollusc shell proteins: insights from proteomic analysis of the edible mussel Mytilus.

    PubMed

    Marie, Benjamin; Le Roy, Nathalie; Zanella-Cléon, Isabelle; Becchi, Michel; Marin, Frédéric

    2011-06-01

    Shell matrix proteins (SMPs) that are embedded within calcified layers of mollusc shells are believed to play an essential role in controlling the biomineral synthesis and in increasing its mechanical properties. Among the wide diversity of mollusc shell textures, nacro-prismatic shells represent a tremendous opportunity for the investigation of the SMP evolution. Indeed, nacro-prismatic texture appears early in Cambrian molluscs and is still present in the shell of some bivalves, gastropods, cephalopods and very likely also, of some monoplacophorans. One key question is to know whether these shells are constructed from similar matrix protein assemblages, i.e. whether they share a common origin. Most of the molecular data published so far are restricted to two genera, the bivalve Pinctada and the gastropod Haliotis. The shell protein content of these two genera are clearly different, suggesting independent origins or considerable genetic drift from a common ancestor. In order to describe putatively conserved mollusc shell proteins, here we have investigated the SMP set of a new bivalve model belonging to another genera, the edible mussel Mytilus, using an up-to-date proteomic approach based on the interrogation of more than 70,000 EST sequences, recently available from NCBI public databases. We describe nine novel SMPs, among which three are completely novel, four are homologues of Pinctada SMPs and two are very likely homologues of Haliotis SMPs. This latter result constitutes the first report of conserved SMPs between bivalves and gastropods. More generally, our data suggest that mollusc SMP set may follow a mosaic pattern within the different mollusc models (Mytilus, Pinctada, Haliotis). We discuss the function of such proteins in calcifying matrices, the molecular evolution of SMP genes and the origin of mollusc nacro-prismatic SMPs.

  5. Molecular Evolution and Phylodynamics of Acute Hepatitis B Virus in Japan

    PubMed Central

    Lin, Serena Y. C.; Toyoda, Hidenori; Kumada, Takashi; Liu, Hsin-Fu

    2016-01-01

    Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is prevalent worldwide and causes liver diseases, including acute and chronic hepatitis. Ten HBV genotypes (A–J) with distinct geographic distributions have been reported. Cases of acute HBV infection with genotype A have increased in Japan nationwide since the 1990s, mainly through sexual transmission. To investigate the molecular evolution and phylodynamics of HBV genotypes, we collected acute HBV isolates acquired in Japan from 1992–2002. Full genomes were obtained for comprehensive phylogenetic and phylodynamic analysis, with other Japanese HBV sequences from GenBank that were isolated during 1991–2010. HBV genotypes were classified using the maximum-likelihood and Bayesian methods. The GMRF Bayesian Skyride was used to estimate the evolution and population dynamics of HBV. Four HBV genotypes (A, B, C, and H) were identified, of which C was the major genotype. The phylodynamic results indicated an exponential growth between the 1960s and early 1990s; this was followed by a population bottleneck after 1995, possibly linked with successful implementation of a nationwide vaccination program. However, HBV/A increased from 1990 to 2003–2004, and then started to decrease. The prevalence of genotype A has increased over the past 10 years. Phylodynamic inference clearly demonstrates a steady population growth compatible with an ongoing subepidemic; this might be due to the loss of immunity to HBV in adolescents and people being born before the vaccination program. This is the first phylodynamic study of HBV infection in Japan and will facilitate understanding the molecular epidemiology and long-term evolutionary dynamics of this virus in Japan. PMID:27280441

  6. Adaptive molecular evolution in the opsin genes of rapidly speciating cichlid species.

    PubMed

    Spady, Tyrone C; Seehausen, Ole; Loew, Ellis R; Jordan, Rebecca C; Kocher, Thomas D; Carleton, Karen L

    2005-06-01

    Cichlid fish inhabit a diverse range of environments that vary in the spectral content of light available for vision. These differences should result in adaptive selective pressure on the genes involved in visual sensitivity, the opsin genes. This study examines the evidence for differential adaptive molecular evolution in East African cichlid opsin genes due to gross differences in environmental light conditions. First, we characterize the selective regime experienced by cichlid opsin genes using a likelihood ratio test format, comparing likelihood models with different constraints on the relative rates of amino acid substitution, across sites. Second, we compare turbid and clear lineages to determine if there is evidence of differences in relative rates of substitution. Third, we present evidence of functional diversification and its relationship to the photic environment among cichlid opsin genes. We report statistical evidence of positive selection in all cichlid opsin genes, except short wavelength-sensitive 1 and short wavelength-sensitive 2b. In all genes predicted to be under positive selection, except short wavelength-sensitive 2a, we find differences in selective pressure between turbid and clear lineages. Potential spectral tuning sites are variable among all cichlid opsin genes; however, patterns of substitution consistent with photic environment-driven evolution of opsin genes are observed only for short wavelength-sensitive 1 opsin genes. This study identifies a number of promising candidate-tuning sites for future study by site-directed mutagenesis. This work also begins to demonstrate the molecular evolutionary dynamics of cichlid visual sensitivity and its relationship to the photic environment.

  7. Molecular Markers and Cotton Genetic Improvement: Current Status and Future Prospects

    PubMed Central

    Malik, Waqas; Iqbal, Muhammad Zaffar; Ali Khan, Asif; Qayyum, Abdul; Ali Abid, Muhammad; Noor, Etrat; Qadir Ahmad, Muhammad; Hasan Abbasi, Ghulam

    2014-01-01

    Narrow genetic base and complex allotetraploid genome of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) is stimulating efforts to avail required polymorphism for marker based breeding. The availability of draft genome sequence of G. raimondii and G. arboreum and next generation sequencing (NGS) technologies facilitated the development of high-throughput marker technologies in cotton. The concepts of genetic diversity, QTL mapping, and marker assisted selection (MAS) are evolving into more efficient concepts of linkage disequilibrium, association mapping, and genomic selection, respectively. The objective of the current review is to analyze the pace of evolution in the molecular marker technologies in cotton during the last ten years into the following four areas: (i) comparative analysis of low- and high-throughput marker technologies available in cotton, (ii) genetic diversity in the available wild and improved gene pools of cotton, (iii) identification of the genomic regions within cotton genome underlying economic traits, and (iv) marker based selection methodologies. Moreover, the applications of marker technologies to enhance the breeding efficiency in cotton are also summarized. Aforementioned genomic technologies and the integration of several other omics resources are expected to enhance the cotton productivity and meet the global fiber quantity and quality demands. PMID:25401149

  8. Bioinspired molecular co-catalysts bonded to a silicon photocathode for solar hydrogen evolution.

    PubMed

    Hou, Yidong; Abrams, Billie L; Vesborg, Peter C K; Björketun, Mårten E; Herbst, Konrad; Bech, Lone; Setti, Alessandro M; Damsgaard, Christian D; Pedersen, Thomas; Hansen, Ole; Rossmeisl, Jan; Dahl, Søren; Nørskov, Jens K; Chorkendorff, Ib

    2011-06-01

    The production of fuels from sunlight represents one of the main challenges in the development of a sustainable energy system. Hydrogen is the simplest fuel to produce and although platinum and other noble metals are efficient catalysts for photoelectrochemical hydrogen evolution, earth-abundant alternatives are needed for large-scale use. We show that bioinspired molecular clusters based on molybdenum and sulphur evolve hydrogen at rates comparable to that of platinum. The incomplete cubane-like clusters (Mo(3)S(4)) efficiently catalyse the evolution of hydrogen when coupled to a p-type Si semiconductor that harvests red photons in the solar spectrum. The current densities at the reversible potential match the requirement of a photoelectrochemical hydrogen production system with a solar-to-hydrogen efficiency in excess of 10%. The experimental observations are supported by density functional theory calculations of the Mo(3)S(4) clusters adsorbed on the hydrogen-terminated Si(100) surface, providing insights into the nature of the active site. PMID:21516095

  9. The relation between recombination rate and patterns of molecular evolution and variation in Drosophila melanogaster.

    PubMed

    Campos, José L; Halligan, Daniel L; Haddrill, Penelope R; Charlesworth, Brian

    2014-04-01

    Genetic recombination associated with sexual reproduction increases the efficiency of natural selection by reducing the strength of Hill-Robertson interference. Such interference can be caused either by selective sweeps of positively selected alleles or by background selection (BGS) against deleterious mutations. Its consequences can be studied by comparing patterns of molecular evolution and variation in genomic regions with different rates of crossing over. We carried out a comprehensive study of the benefits of recombination in Drosophila melanogaster, both by contrasting five independent genomic regions that lack crossing over with the rest of the genome and by comparing regions with different rates of crossing over, using data on DNA sequence polymorphisms from an African population that is geographically close to the putatively ancestral population for the species, and on sequence divergence from a related species. We observed reductions in sequence diversity in noncrossover (NC) regions that are inconsistent with the effects of hard selective sweeps in the absence of recombination. Overall, the observed patterns suggest that the recombination rate experienced by a gene is positively related to an increase in the efficiency of both positive and purifying selection. The results are consistent with a BGS model with interference among selected sites in NC regions, and joint effects of BGS, selective sweeps, and a past population expansion on variability in regions of the genome that experience crossing over. In such crossover regions, the X chromosome exhibits a higher rate of adaptive protein sequence evolution than the autosomes, implying a Faster-X effect.

  10. Molecular evolution of plant haemoglobin: two haemoglobin genes in Nymphaeaceae Euryale ferox.

    PubMed

    Guldner, E; Desmarais, E; Galtier, N; Godelle, B

    2004-01-01

    We isolated and sequenced two haemoglobin genes from the early-branching angiosperm Euryale ferox (Nymphaeaceae). The two genes belong to the two known classes of plant haemoglobin. Their existence in Nymphaeaceae supports the theory that class 1 haemoglobin was ancestrally present in all angiosperms, and is evidence for class 2 haemoglobin being widely distributed. These sequences allowed us to unambiguously root the angiosperm haemoglobin phylogeny, and to corroborate the hypothesis that the class 1/class 2 duplication event occurred before the divergence between monocots and eudicots. We addressed the molecular evolution of plant haemoglobin by comparing the synonymous and nonsynonymous substitution rates in various groups of genes. Class 2 haemoglobin genes of legumes (functionally involved in a symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria) show a higher nonsynonymous substitution rate than class 1 (nonsymbiotic) haemoglobin genes. This suggests that a change in the selective forces applying to plant haemoglobins has occurred during the evolutionary history of this gene family, potentially in relation with the evolution of symbiosis.

  11. The molecular genetics and evolution of red and green color vision in vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Yokoyama, S; Radlwimmer, F B

    2001-08-01

    To better understand the evolution of red-green color vision in vertebrates, we inferred the amino acid sequences of the ancestral pigments of 11 selected visual pigments: the LWS pigments of cave fish (Astyanax fasciatus), frog (Xenopus laevis), chicken (Gallus gallus), chameleon (Anolis carolinensis), goat (Capra hircus), and human (Homo sapiens);and the MWS pigments of cave fish, gecko (Gekko gekko), mouse (Mus musculus), squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis), and human. We constructed these ancestral pigments by introducing the necessary mutations into contemporary pigments and evaluated their absorption spectra using an in vitro assay. The results show that the common ancestor of vertebrates and most other ancestors had LWS pigments. Multiple regression analyses of ancestral and contemporary MWS and LWS pigments show that single mutations S180A, H197Y, Y277F, T285A, A308S, and double mutations S180A/H197Y shift the lambda(max) of the pigments by -7, -28, -8, -15, -27, and 11 nm, respectively. It is most likely that this "five-sites" rule is the molecular basis of spectral tuning in the MWS and LWS pigments during vertebrate evolution.

  12. Molecular evolution of colorectal cancer: from multistep carcinogenesis to the big bang.

    PubMed

    Amaro, Adriana; Chiara, Silvana; Pfeffer, Ulrich

    2016-03-01

    Colorectal cancer is characterized by exquisite genomic instability either in the form of microsatellite instability or chromosomal instability. Microsatellite instability is the result of mutation of mismatch repair genes or their silencing through promoter methylation as a consequence of the CpG island methylator phenotype. The molecular causes of chromosomal instability are less well characterized. Genomic instability and field cancerization lead to a high degree of intratumoral heterogeneity and determine the formation of cancer stem cells and epithelial-mesenchymal transition mediated by the TGF-β and APC pathways. Recent analyses using integrated genomics reveal different phases of colorectal cancer evolution. An initial phase of genomic instability that yields many clones with different mutations (big bang) is followed by an important, previously not detected phase of cancer evolution that consists in the stabilization of several clones and a relatively flat outgrowth. The big bang model can best explain the coexistence of several stable clones and is compatible with the fact that the analysis of the bulk of the primary tumor yields prognostic information.

  13. Molecular phylogeny and character evolution in terete-stemmed Andean opuntias (Cactaceae-Opuntioideae).

    PubMed

    Ritz, C M; Reiker, J; Charles, G; Hoxey, P; Hunt, D; Lowry, M; Stuppy, W; Taylor, N

    2012-11-01

    The cacti of tribe Tephrocacteae (Cactaceae-Opuntioideae) are adapted to diverse climatic conditions over a wide area of the southern Andes and adjacent lowlands. They exhibit a range of life forms from geophytes and cushion-plants to dwarf shrubs, shrubs or small trees. To confirm or challenge previous morphology-based classifications and molecular phylogenies, we sampled DNA sequences from the chloroplast trnK/matK region and the nuclear low copy gene phyC and compared the resulting phylogenies with previous data gathered from nuclear ribosomal DNA sequences. The here presented chloroplast and nuclear low copy gene phylogenies were mutually congruent and broadly coincident with the classification based on gross morphology and seed micro-morphology and anatomy. Reconstruction of hypothetical ancestral character states suggested that geophytes and cushion-forming species probably evolved several times from dwarf shrubby precursors. We also traced an increase of embryo size at the expense of the nucellus-derived storage tissue during the evolution of the Tephrocacteae, which is thought to be an evolutionary advantage because nutrients are then more rapidly accessible for the germinating embryo. In contrast to these highly concordant phylogenies, nuclear ribosomal DNA data sampled by a previous study yielded conflicting phylogenetic signals. Secondary structure predictions of ribosomal transcribed spacers suggested that this phylogeny is strongly influenced by the inclusion of paralogous sequence probably arisen by genome duplication during the evolution of this plant group.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2011-12-01

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

  15. Bioinspired Molecular Co-Catalysts Bonded to a Silicon Photocathode for Solar Hydrogen Evolution

    SciTech Connect

    Hou, Yidong

    2011-11-08

    The production of fuels from sunlight represents one of the main challenges in the development of a sustainable energy system. Hydrogen is the simplest fuel to produce and although platinum and other noble metals are efficient catalysts for photoelectrochemical hydrogen evolution earth-abundant alternatives are needed for large-scale use. We show that bioinspired molecular clusters based on molybdenum and sulphur evolve hydrogen at rates comparable to that of platinum. The incomplete cubane-like clusters (Mo{sub 3}S{sub 4}) efficiently catalyse the evolution of hydrogen when coupled to a p-type Si semiconductor that harvests red photons in the solar spectrum. The current densities at the reversible potential match the requirement of a photoelectrochemical hydrogen production system with a solar-to-hydrogen efficiency in excess of 10% (ref. 16). The experimental observations are supported by density functional theory calculations of the Mo{sub 3}S{sub 4} clusters adsorbed on the hydrogen-terminated Si(100) surface, providing insights into the nature of the active site.

  16. Population genetics and molecular evolution of DNA sequences in transposable elements. I. A simulation framework.

    PubMed

    Kijima, T E; Innan, Hideki

    2013-11-01

    A population genetic simulation framework is developed to understand the behavior and molecular evolution of DNA sequences of transposable elements. Our model incorporates random transposition and excision of transposable element (TE) copies, two modes of selection against TEs, and degeneration of transpositional activity by point mutations. We first investigated the relationships between the behavior of the copy number of TEs and these parameters. Our results show that when selection is weak, the genome can maintain a relatively large number of TEs, but most of them are less active. In contrast, with strong selection, the genome can maintain only a limited number of TEs but the proportion of active copies is large. In such a case, there could be substantial fluctuations of the copy number over generations. We also explored how DNA sequences of TEs evolve through the simulations. In general, active copies form clusters around the original sequence, while less active copies have long branches specific to themselves, exhibiting a star-shaped phylogeny. It is demonstrated that the phylogeny of TE sequences could be informative to understand the dynamics of TE evolution.

  17. The molecular origin and evolution of dim-light vision in mammals.

    PubMed

    Bickelmann, Constanze; Morrow, James M; Du, Jing; Schott, Ryan K; van Hazel, Ilke; Lim, Steve; Müller, Johannes; Chang, Belinda S W

    2015-11-01

    The nocturnal origin of mammals is a longstanding hypothesis that is considered instrumental for the evolution of endothermy, a potential key innovation in this successful clade. This hypothesis is primarily based on indirect anatomical inference from fossils. Here, we reconstruct the evolutionary history of rhodopsin--the vertebrate visual pigment mediating the first step in phototransduction at low-light levels--via codon-based model tests for selection, combined with gene resurrection methods that allow for the study of ancient proteins. Rhodopsin coding sequences were reconstructed for three key nodes: Amniota, Mammalia, and Theria. When expressed in vitro, all sequences generated stable visual pigments with λMAX values similar to the well-studied bovine rhodopsin. Retinal release rates of mammalian and therian ancestral rhodopsins, measured via fluorescence spectroscopy, were significantly slower than those of the amniote ancestor, indicating altered molecular function possibly related to nocturnality. Positive selection along the therian branch suggests adaptive evolution in rhodopsin concurrent with therian ecological diversification events during the Mesozoic that allowed for an exploration of the environment at varying light levels.

  18. Origins and evolution of modern biochemistry: insights from genomes and molecular structure.

    PubMed

    Caetano-Anolles, Gustavo; Sun, Feng-Jie; Wang, Minglei; Yafremava, Liudmila S; Harish, Ajith; Kim, Hee Shin; Knudsen, Vegeir; Caetano-Anolles, Derek; Mittenthal, Jay E

    2008-01-01

    The survey of components in living systems at different levels of organization enables an evolutionary exploration of patterns and processes in macromolecules, networks, and genomic repertoires. Here we discuss how phylogenetic strategies that generate intrinsically rooted phylogenies impact the evolutionary study of RNA and protein components of the macromolecular machinery that is responsible for biological function. We used these methods to generate timelines of discovery of components in systems, such as substructures in RNA molecules, architectures in proteomes, domains in multi-domain proteins, enzymes in metabolic networks, and protein architectures in proteomes. These timelines unfolded remarkable patterns of origin and evolution of molecules, repertoires and networks, showing episodes of both functional specialization (e.g., rise of domains with specialized functions) and molecular simplification (e.g., reductive tendencies in molecules and proteomes). These observations have important evolutionary implications for origins of translation, the genetic code, modules in the protein world, and diversification of life, and suggest early evolution of modern biochemistry was driven by recruitment of both RNA and protein catalysts in an ancient community of complex organisms. PMID:18508583

  19. The molecular origin and evolution of dim-light vision in mammals.

    PubMed

    Bickelmann, Constanze; Morrow, James M; Du, Jing; Schott, Ryan K; van Hazel, Ilke; Lim, Steve; Müller, Johannes; Chang, Belinda S W

    2015-11-01

    The nocturnal origin of mammals is a longstanding hypothesis that is considered instrumental for the evolution of endothermy, a potential key innovation in this successful clade. This hypothesis is primarily based on indirect anatomical inference from fossils. Here, we reconstruct the evolutionary history of rhodopsin--the vertebrate visual pigment mediating the first step in phototransduction at low-light levels--via codon-based model tests for selection, combined with gene resurrection methods that allow for the study of ancient proteins. Rhodopsin coding sequences were reconstructed for three key nodes: Amniota, Mammalia, and Theria. When expressed in vitro, all sequences generated stable visual pigments with λMAX values similar to the well-studied bovine rhodopsin. Retinal release rates of mammalian and therian ancestral rhodopsins, measured via fluorescence spectroscopy, were significantly slower than those of the amniote ancestor, indicating altered molecular function possibly related to nocturnality. Positive selection along the therian branch suggests adaptive evolution in rhodopsin concurrent with therian ecological diversification events during the Mesozoic that allowed for an exploration of the environment at varying light levels. PMID:26536060

  20. Molecular evolution of colorectal cancer: from multistep carcinogenesis to the big bang.

    PubMed

    Amaro, Adriana; Chiara, Silvana; Pfeffer, Ulrich

    2016-03-01

    Colorectal cancer is characterized by exquisite genomic instability either in the form of microsatellite instability or chromosomal instability. Microsatellite instability is the result of mutation of mismatch repair genes or their silencing through promoter methylation as a consequence of the CpG island methylator phenotype. The molecular causes of chromosomal instability are less well characterized. Genomic instability and field cancerization lead to a high degree of intratumoral heterogeneity and determine the formation of cancer stem cells and epithelial-mesenchymal transition mediated by the TGF-β and APC pathways. Recent analyses using integrated genomics reveal different phases of colorectal cancer evolution. An initial phase of genomic instability that yields many clones with different mutations (big bang) is followed by an important, previously not detected phase of cancer evolution that consists in the stabilization of several clones and a relatively flat outgrowth. The big bang model can best explain the coexistence of several stable clones and is compatible with the fact that the analysis of the bulk of the primary tumor yields prognostic information. PMID:26947218

  1. Molecular Evolution of the Yersinia Major Outer Membrane Protein C (OmpC)

    PubMed Central

    Stenkova, Anna M.; Bystritskaya, Evgeniya P.; Guzev, Konstantin V.; Rakin, Alexander V.; Isaeva, Marina P.

    2016-01-01

    The genus Yersinia includes species with a wide range of eukaryotic hosts (from fish, insects, and plants to mammals and humans). One of the major outer membrane proteins, the porin OmpC, is preferentially expressed in the host gut, where osmotic pressure, temperature, and the concentrations of nutrients and toxic products are relatively high. We consider here the molecular evolution and phylogeny of Yersinia ompC. The maximum likelihood gene tree reflects the macroevolution processes occurring within the genus Yersinia. Positive selection and horizontal gene transfer are the key factors of ompC diversification, and intraspecies recombination was revealed in two Yersinia species. The impact of recombination on ompC evolution was different from that of another major porin gene, ompF, possibly due to the emergence of additional functions and conservation of the basic transport function. The predicted antigenic determinants of OmpC were located in rapidly evolving regions, which may indicate the evolutionary mechanisms of Yersinia adaptation to the host immune system. PMID:27578962

  2. Turning points in the evolution of peroxidase-catalase superfamily: molecular phylogeny of hybrid heme peroxidases.

    PubMed

    Zámocký, Marcel; Gasselhuber, Bernhard; Furtmüller, Paul G; Obinger, Christian

    2014-12-01

    Heme peroxidases and catalases are key enzymes of hydrogen peroxide metabolism and signaling. Here, the reconstruction of the molecular evolution of the peroxidase-catalase superfamily (annotated in pfam as PF00141) based on experimentally verified as well as numerous newly available genomic sequences is presented. The robust phylogenetic tree of this large enzyme superfamily was obtained from 490 full-length protein sequences. Besides already well-known families of heme b peroxidases arranged in three main structural classes, completely new (hybrid type) peroxidase families are described being located at the border of these classes as well as forming (so far missing) links between them. Hybrid-type A peroxidases represent a minor eukaryotic subfamily from Excavates, Stramenopiles and Rhizaria sharing enzymatic and structural features of ascorbate and cytochrome c peroxidases. Hybrid-type B peroxidases are shown to be spread exclusively among various fungi and evolved in parallel with peroxidases in land plants. In some ascomycetous hybrid-type B peroxidases, the peroxidase domain is fused to a carbohydrate binding (WSC) domain. Both here described hybrid-type peroxidase families represent important turning points in the complex evolution of the whole peroxidase-catalase superfamily. We present and discuss their phylogeny, sequence signatures and putative biological function.

  3. Molecular metal–Nx centres in porous carbon for electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution

    PubMed Central

    Liang, Hai-Wei; Brüller, Sebastian; Dong, Renhao; Zhang, Jian; Feng, Xinliang; Müllen, Klaus

    2015-01-01

    Replacement of precious platinum with efficient and low-cost catalysts for electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution at low overpotentials holds tremendous promise for clean energy devices. Here we report a novel type of robust cobalt–nitrogen/carbon catalyst for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) that is prepared by the pyrolysis of cobalt–N4 macrocycles or cobalt/o-phenylenediamine composites and using silica colloids as a hard template. We identify the well-dispersed molecular CoNx sites on the carbon support as the active sites responsible for the HER. The CoNx/C catalyst exhibits extremely high turnover frequencies per cobalt site in acids, for example, 0.39 and 6.5 s−1 at an overpotential of 100 and 200 mV, respectively, which are higher than those reported for other scalable non-precious metal HER catalysts. Our results suggest the great promise of developing new families of non-precious metal HER catalysts based on the controlled conversion of homogeneous metal complexes into solid-state carbon catalysts via economically scalable protocols. PMID:26250525

  4. Molecular metal-Nx centres in porous carbon for electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liang, Hai-Wei; Brüller, Sebastian; Dong, Renhao; Zhang, Jian; Feng, Xinliang; Müllen, Klaus

    2015-08-01

    Replacement of precious platinum with efficient and low-cost catalysts for electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution at low overpotentials holds tremendous promise for clean energy devices. Here we report a novel type of robust cobalt-nitrogen/carbon catalyst for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) that is prepared by the pyrolysis of cobalt-N4 macrocycles or cobalt/o-phenylenediamine composites and using silica colloids as a hard template. We identify the well-dispersed molecular CoNx sites on the carbon support as the active sites responsible for the HER. The CoNx/C catalyst exhibits extremely high turnover frequencies per cobalt site in acids, for example, 0.39 and 6.5 s-1 at an overpotential of 100 and 200 mV, respectively, which are higher than those reported for other scalable non-precious metal HER catalysts. Our results suggest the great promise of developing new families of non-precious metal HER catalysts based on the controlled conversion of homogeneous metal complexes into solid-state carbon catalysts via economically scalable protocols.

  5. Evolution of Surface Morphology of Patterned GaAs(100) during Molecular Beam Epitaxial Growth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kan, Hung-Chih; Shah, Sonam; Tadayyon-Eslami, Tabassom; Phaneuf, Raymond

    2003-03-01

    We report the results of an investigation of the evolution of the surface morphology during molecular beam epitaxial growth on a patterned GaAs(100) surface. The initial GaAs(100) surfaces were patterned lithographically with arrays of cylindrical pits whose diameters and center-to-center distances are varied in a combinatorial manner. Using atomic force microscopy (AFM), we characterized the evolution of the corrugation throughout the growth. We compare the measured height profiles with simulations from various continuum models[1]. This comparison allows us to discriminate between various continuum modes of growth. * Work supported by the Minta-Martin Foundation, the Laboratory for Physical Sciences, and an NSF-MRSEC, DMR 00-8008. Reference 1 Mehran Kardar, Giorgio Parisi, and Yi-Cheng Zhang, Physical Review Letters 56 (9), 889 (1986); Tao Sun, Hong Guo, and Martin Grant, Physical Review A 40 (11), 6763 (1989); Z.-W. Lai and S. Das Sarma, Physical Review Letters 66 (18), 2348 (1991); M. D. Johnson, C. Orme, A. W. Hunt et al., Physical Review Letters 72 (1), 116 (1994).

  6. Molecular Evolution of the Yersinia Major Outer Membrane Protein C (OmpC).

    PubMed

    Stenkova, Anna M; Bystritskaya, Evgeniya P; Guzev, Konstantin V; Rakin, Alexander V; Isaeva, Marina P

    2016-01-01

    The genus Yersinia includes species with a wide range of eukaryotic hosts (from fish, insects, and plants to mammals and humans). One of the major outer membrane proteins, the porin OmpC, is preferentially expressed in the host gut, where osmotic pressure, temperature, and the concentrations of nutrients and toxic products are relatively high. We consider here the molecular evolution and phylogeny of Yersinia ompC. The maximum likelihood gene tree reflects the macroevolution processes occurring within the genus Yersinia. Positive selection and horizontal gene transfer are the key factors of ompC diversification, and intraspecies recombination was revealed in two Yersinia species. The impact of recombination on ompC evolution was different from that of another major porin gene, ompF, possibly due to the emergence of additional functions and conservation of the basic transport function. The predicted antigenic determinants of OmpC were located in rapidly evolving regions, which may indicate the evolutionary mechanisms of Yersinia adaptation to the host immune system. PMID:27578962

  7. Molecular evolution of a Y chromosome to autosome gene duplication in Drosophila.

    PubMed

    Dyer, Kelly A; White, Brooke E; Bray, Michael J; Piqué, Daniel G; Betancourt, Andrea J

    2011-03-01

    In contrast to the rest of the genome, the Y chromosome is restricted to males and lacks recombination. As a result, Y chromosomes are unable to respond efficiently to selection, and newly formed Y chromosomes degenerate until few genes remain. The rapid loss of genes from newly formed Y chromosomes has been well studied, but gene loss from highly degenerate Y chromosomes has only recently received attention. Here, we identify and characterize a Y to autosome duplication of the male fertility gene kl-5 that occurred during the evolution of the testacea group species of Drosophila. The duplication was likely DNA based, as other Y-linked genes remain on the Y chromosome, the locations of introns are conserved, and expression analyses suggest that regulatory elements remain linked. Genetic mapping reveals that the autosomal copy of kl-5 resides on the dot chromosome, a tiny autosome with strongly suppressed recombination. Molecular evolutionary analyses show that autosomal copies of kl-5 have reduced polymorphism and little recombination. Importantly, the rate of protein evolution of kl-5 has increased significantly in lineages where it is on the dot versus Y linked. Further analyses suggest this pattern is a consequence of relaxed purifying selection, rather than adaptive evolution. Thus, although the initial fixation of the kl-5 duplication may have been advantageous, slightly deleterious mutations have accumulated in the dot-linked copies of kl-5 faster than in the Y-linked copies. Because the dot chromosome contains seven times more genes than the Y and is exposed to selection in both males and females, these results suggest that the dot suffers the deleterious effects of genetic linkage to more selective targets compared with the Y chromosome. Thus, a highly degenerate Y chromosome may not be the worst environment in the genome, as is generally thought, but may in fact be protected from the accumulation of deleterious mutations relative to other nonrecombining

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-08-01

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

  10. Monte Carlo simulation of early molecular evolution in the RNA World.

    PubMed

    Ma, Wentao; Yu, Chunwu; Zhang, Wentao

    2007-01-01

    The origin of life remains a highly speculative field, mainly due to the shortage of our knowledge on prebiotic chemistry and basic understanding on the essence of life. In this context, computer simulation is expected to play an important role. For instance, the scenario concerning the genesis of the widely accepted RNA World remains blurry, though we have gathered some circumstantial evidence and fragmented knowledge on several supposed stages, including formation of polynucleotides from a prebiotic nucleotide pool, emergence of RNA replicases (RNA molecules catalyzing their own replication), and evolution of RNA replicases. It is highly valuable to simulate the stages as a continuous process to evaluate the plausibility of the supposition and study the rules involved. Here we construct a computer simulation on the process using Monte Carlo method. It demonstrates that primordial RNA replicases may appear and spread in a nucleotide pool provided they could recognize their own sequence and their complements as catalytic targets, and then may evolve to more efficient RNA replicases. Apart from its indication on the genesis of the RNA World, the vivid simulation of emergence of the "first replicative molecules" and their subsequent evolution is impressive and may help to get insight into "how could self-replication and Darwinian evolution, two key features of life, emerge in a non-life background?" thus improve our understanding of "what is life" when studying origins of life. PMID:17014951

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  12. Dolphin genome provides evidence for adaptive evolution of nervous system genes and a molecular rate slowdown

    PubMed Central

    McGowen, Michael R.; Grossman, Lawrence I.; Wildman, Derek E.

    2012-01-01

    Cetaceans (dolphins and whales) have undergone a radical transformation from the original mammalian bodyplan. In addition, some cetaceans have evolved large brains and complex cognitive capacities. We compared approximately 10 000 protein-coding genes culled from the bottlenose dolphin genome with nine other genomes to reveal molecular correlates of the remarkable phenotypic features of these aquatic mammals. Evolutionary analyses demonstrated that the overall synonymous substitution rate in dolphins has slowed compared with other studied mammals, and is within the range of primates and elephants. We also discovered 228 genes potentially under positive selection (dN/dS > 1) in the dolphin lineage. Twenty-seven of these genes are associated with the nervous system, including those related to human intellectual disabilities, synaptic plasticity and sleep. In addition, genes expressed in the mitochondrion have a significantly higher mean dN/dS ratio in the dolphin lineage than others examined, indicating evolution in energy metabolism. We encountered selection in other genes potentially related to cetacean adaptations such as glucose and lipid metabolism, dermal and lung development, and the cardiovascular system. This study underlines the parallel molecular trajectory of cetaceans with other mammalian groups possessing large brains. PMID:22740643

  13. Do saline taxa evolve faster? Comparing relative rates of molecular evolution between freshwater and marine eukaryotes.

    PubMed

    Mitterboeck, T Fatima; Chen, Alexander Y; Zaheer, Omar A; Ma, Eddie Y T; Adamowicz, Sarah J

    2016-09-01

    The major branches of life diversified in the marine realm, and numerous taxa have since transitioned between marine and freshwaters. Previous studies have demonstrated higher rates of molecular evolution in crustaceans inhabiting continental saline habitats as compared with freshwaters, but it is unclear whether this trend is pervasive or whether it applies to the marine environment. We employ the phylogenetic comparative method to investigate relative molecular evolutionary rates between 148 pairs of marine or continental saline versus freshwater lineages representing disparate eukaryote groups, including bony fish, elasmobranchs, cetaceans, crustaceans, mollusks, annelids, algae, and other eukaryotes, using available protein-coding and noncoding genes. Overall, we observed no consistent pattern in nucleotide substitution rates linked to habitat across all genes and taxa. However, we observed some trends of higher evolutionary rates within protein-coding genes in freshwater taxa-the comparisons mainly involving bony fish-compared with their marine relatives. The results suggest no systematic differences in substitution rate between marine and freshwater organisms.

  14. Molecular phylogenetic relationships and the evolution of the placenta in Poecilia (Micropoecilia) (Poeciliidae: Cyprinodontiformes).

    PubMed

    Meredith, Robert W; Pires, Marcelo N; Reznick, David N; Springer, Mark S

    2010-05-01

    Poeciliids are one of the most intensively studied groups within Cyprinodontiformes owing to their use as model organisms for experimental studies on natural and sexual selection, and comparative studies of life-history evolution. Life-history studies have demonstrated multiple origins of placentotrophy and superfetation in poeciliids, including the recent description of placentotrophy in three species of Poecilia (Micropoecilia): P. bifurca, P. branneri, and P. parae. Here, we use a concatenation of seven nuclear gene segments and two mitochondrial segments to examine relationships within Micropoecilia and between this subgenus and other subgenera in Poecilia (Mollienesia, Limia, Pamphorichthys, Acanthophacelus). The combined molecular data set (8668 bp) was analyzed with maximum parsimony, maximum likelihood, and Bayesian methods. We also employed a relaxed molecular clock method to estimate divergence times within Poecilia. All phylogenetic analyses with the combined DNA data set supported the monophyly of Poecilia and recovered a basal split between Poecilia (Acanthophacelus)+Poecilia (Micropoecilia) and the other three subgenera. Within Micropoecilia, P. bifurca grouped with P. branneri, and these joined P. parae to the exclusion of P. picta. Ancestral reconstructions based on parsimony and Bayesian methods suggest that placentotrophy evolved once in Micropoecilia in the common ancestor of P. bifurca, P. branneri, and P. parae. Divergence time estimates suggest that placentotrophy in Micropoecilia evolved in 4 million years.

  15. The Convergent Evolution of Blue Iris Pigmentation in Primates Took Distinct Molecular Paths

    PubMed Central

    Meyer, Wynn K; Zhang, Sidi; Hayakawa, Sachiko; Imai, Hiroo; Przeworski, Molly

    2013-01-01

    How many distinct molecular paths lead to the same phenotype? One approach to this question has been to examine the genetic basis of convergent traits, which likely evolved repeatedly under a shared selective pressure. We investigated the convergent phenotype of blue iris pigmentation, which has arisen independently in four primate lineages: humans, blue-eyed black lemurs, Japanese macaques, and spider monkeys. Characterizing the phenotype across these species, we found that the variation within the blue-eyed subsets of each species occupies strongly overlapping regions of CIE L*a*b* color space. Yet whereas Japanese macaques and humans display continuous variation, the phenotypes of blue-eyed black lemurs and their sister species (whose irises are brown) occupy more clustered subspaces. Variation in an enhancer of OCA2 is primarily responsible for the phenotypic difference between humans with blue and brown irises. In the orthologous region, we found no variant that distinguishes the two lemur species or associates with quantitative phenotypic variation in Japanese macaques. Given the high similarity between the blue iris phenotypes in these species and that in humans, this finding implies that evolution has used different molecular paths to reach the same end. Am J Phys Anthropol 151:398–407, 2013.© 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. PMID:23640739

  16. Emergence and evolution of modern molecular functions inferred from phylogenomic analysis of ontological data.

    PubMed

    Kim, Kyung Mo; Caetano-Anollés, Gustavo

    2010-07-01

    The biological processes that characterize the phenotypes of a living system are embodied in the function of molecules and hold the key to evolutionary history, delimiting natural selection and change. These processes and functions provide direct insight into the emergence, development, and organization of cellular life. However, detailed molecular functions make up a network-like hierarchy of relationships that tells little of evolutionary links between structure and function in biology. For example, Gene Ontology terms represent widely-used vocabularies of processes and functions with evolutionary relationships that are implicit but not defined. Here, we uncover patterns of global evolutionary history in ontological terms associated with the sequence of 38 genomes. These patterns unfold the metabolic origins of modern molecular functions and major biological transitions in evolution toward complex life. Phylogenies reveal the primordial appearance of hydrolases and transferases, with ATPase, GTPase, and helicase activities being the most ancient. This indicates that ancient catalysts were crucial for binding and transport, the emergence of nucleic acids and protein biopolymers, and the communication of primordial cells with the environment. Finally, the history of biological processes showed that cellular biopolymer metabolic processes preceded biopolymer biosynthesis and essential processes related to macromolecular formation, directly challenging the existence of an RNA world. Phylogenomic systematization of biological function takes the structure and function paradigm to a completely new level of abstraction, demonstrating a "metabolic first" origin of life. The approach uncovers patterns in the morphing of function that are unprecedented and necessary for systematic views in biology. PMID:20418223

  17. The magnetic evolution of the Taurus molecular clouds. I - Large-scale properties

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Heyer, Mark H.; Vrba, Frederick J.; Snell, Ronald L.; Schloerb, F. P.; Strom, Stephen E.; Goldsmith, Paul F.; Strom, Karen M.

    1987-10-01

    Finely sampled maps of the (C-13)O J = 1-0 emission from five dark clouds within the Taurus molecular cloud complex were made, and polarization measurements of the optical emission were obtained from background and embedded stars to determine the direction of the interstellar magnetic field towards these regions. The clouds are found to have flattened morphologies with the direction of their minor axis parallel to the direction of the magnetic field, as expected if the lateral contraction of the gas is inhibited by magnetic pressures. In addition, each cloud appears to be rotating about an axis parallel to the magnetic field direction as predicted by detailed calculations of the magnetic braking process. It is believed that the magnetic field has played a significant part in the evolution of these regions, which are characterized by mean densities of about 1000-5000/cu cm. In addition, the clouds are determined to be in virial equilibrium based on the extent and mean line-width of (C-13)O J = 1-0 emission and the masses derived from molecular hydrogen column densities.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-09-24

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

  19. Evolution of the placenta and fetal membranes seen in the light of molecular phylogenetics.

    PubMed

    Carter, A M

    2001-11-01

    Recent analyses of nucleotide sequence data suggest that living placental mammals belong to one of four superorders. The early divergence of these groups was followed by long periods of geographical isolation, due to the break up of continental land masses, allowing for convergent evolution of similar traits in different superorders. As an example, the transition from epitheliochorial to haemochorial placentation occurred independently in bats, rodents, anthropoid primates, armadillos and others. A group of ancient African mammals is suggested by the molecular data, but is not fully supported by morphological evidence. The hypothesis is, however, consistent with some of the data on fetal membranes, suggesting that it would be worthwhile to study the early development of tenrecs, golden moles and elephant shrews. Analyses of fetal membrane traits that group the tarsiers with anthropoid primates, and separate them from the lemurs, are challenged by the molecular data. Other relatives of the primates seem to include tree shrews and flying lemurs, and little is known about the fetal membranes of the latter group. Comparative studies of placental function normally are confined to primates, rodents, lagomorphs and domestic animals: the biological diversity represented by mammals that evolved in ancient Africa and South America is not represented. Therefore, future comparative studies should strive to include species such as the rock hyrax and the armadillo.

  20. Evolution of the fruit endocarp: molecular mechanisms underlying adaptations in seed protection and dispersal strategies

    PubMed Central

    Dardick, Chris; Callahan, Ann M.

    2014-01-01

    Plant evolution is largely driven by adaptations in seed protection and dispersal strategies that allow diversification into new niches. This is evident by the tremendous variation in flowering and fruiting structures present both across and within different plant lineages. Within a single plant family a staggering variety of fruit types can be found such as fleshy fruits including berries, pomes, and drupes and dry fruit structures like achenes, capsules, and follicles. What are the evolutionary mechanisms that enable such dramatic shifts to occur in a relatively short period of time? This remains a fundamental question of plant biology today. On the surface it seems that these extreme differences in form and function must be the consequence of very different developmental programs that require unique sets of genes. Yet as we begin to decipher the molecular and genetic basis underlying fruit form it is becoming apparent that simple genetic changes in key developmental regulatory genes can have profound anatomical effects. In this review, we discuss recent advances in understanding the molecular mechanisms of fruit endocarp tissue differentiation that have contributed to species diversification within three plant lineages. PMID:25009543

  1. Molecular evidence-based medicine: evolution and integration of information in the genomic era.

    PubMed

    Ioannidis, J P A

    2007-05-01

    Evidence-based medicine and molecular medicine have both been influential in biomedical research in the last 15 years. Despite following largely parallel routes to date, the goals and principles of evidence-based and molecular medicine are complementary and they should be converging. I define molecular evidence-based medicine as the study of medical information that makes sense of the advances of molecular biological disciplines and where errors and biases are properly appreciated and placed in context. Biomedical measurement capacity improves very rapidly. The exponentially growing mass of hypotheses being tested requires a new approach to both statistical and biological inference. Multidimensional biology requires careful exact replication of research findings, but indirect corroboration is often all that is achieved at best. Besides random error, bias remains a major threat. It is often difficult to separate bias from the spirit of scientific inquiry to force data into coherent and 'significant' biological stories. Transparency and public availability of protocols, data, analyses and results may be crucial to make sense of the complex biology of human disease and avoid being flooded by spurious research findings. Research efforts should be integrated across teams in an open, sharing environment. Most research in the future may be designed, performed, and integrated in the public cyberspace. PMID:17461979

  2. Molecular epidemiology, phylogeny and evolution of the filarial nematode Wuchereria bancrofti.

    PubMed

    Small, Scott T; Tisch, Daniel J; Zimmerman, Peter A

    2014-12-01

    Wuchereria bancrofti (Wb) is the most widely distributed of the three nematodes known to cause lymphatic filariasis (LF), the other two being Brugia malayi and Brugia timori. Current tools available to monitor LF are limited to diagnostic tests targeting DNA repeats, filarial antigens, and anti-filarial antibodies. While these tools are useful for detection and surveillance, elimination programs have yet to take full advantage of molecular typing for inferring infection history, strain fingerprinting, and evolution. To date, molecular typing approaches have included whole mitochondrial genomes, genotyping, targeted sequencing, and random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPDs). These studies have revealed much about Wb biology. For example, in one study in Papua New Guinea researchers identified 5 major strains that were widespread and many minor strains some of which exhibit geographic stratification. Genome data, while rare, has been utilized to reconstruct evolutionary relationships among taxa of the Onchocercidae (the clade of filarial nematodes) and identify gene synteny. Their phylogeny reveals that speciation from the common ancestor of both B. malayi and Wb occurred around 5-6 millions years ago with shared ancestry to other filarial nematodes as recent as 15 million years ago. These discoveries hold promise for gene discovery and identifying drug targets in species that are more amenable to in vivo experiments. Continued technological developments in whole genome sequencing and data analysis will likely replace many other forms of molecular typing, multiplying the amount of data available on population structure, genetic diversity, and phylogenetics. Once widely available, the addition of population genetic data from genomic studies should hasten the elimination of LF parasites like Wb. Infectious disease control programs have benefited greatly from population genetics data and recently from population genomics data. However, while there is currently a surplus

  3. The BLUEDISK Survey: molecular gas distribution and scaling relations in the context of galaxy evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cormier, D.; Bigiel, F.; Wang, J.; Pety, J.; Usero, A.; Roychowdhury, S.; Carton, D.; Hulst, J. M. van der; Józsa, G. I. G.; García, M. Gonzalez; Saintonge, A.

    2016-08-01

    One of the key goals of the BLUEDISK survey is to characterize the impact of gas accretion in disc galaxies in the context of galaxy evolution. It contains 50 disc galaxies in the stellar mass range 1010 - 1011 M⊙, of which half are bluer and more H I-rich galaxies than their H I-normal (control) counterparts. In this paper, we investigate how ongoing disc growth affects the molecular gas distribution and the star-formation efficiency in these galaxies. We present 12CO observations from the IRAM 30-m telescope in 26 galaxies of the BLUEDISK survey. We compare the amount and spatial distribution of the molecular gas to key quantities such as atomic gas, stellar mass and surface density, star-formation rate and metallicity. We analyse the star-formation rate per unit gas (SFR/H I and SFR/H2) and relate all those parameters to general galaxy properties (H I-rich/control disc, morphology, etc.). We find that the H I-rich galaxies have similar H2 masses as the control galaxies. In their centres, H I-rich galaxies have lower H2/H I ratios and marginally shorter molecular gas depletion times. However, the main differences between the two samples occur in the outer parts of the discs, with the H I-rich galaxies having slightly smaller CO discs (relative to the optical radius R25) and steeper CO and metallicity gradients than the control galaxies. The ongoing accretion of H I at large radii has thus not led to an appreciable growth of the CO discs in our sample. Based on depletion times, we estimate that this gas will contribute to star formation on time-scales of at least 5 Gyr.

  4. Deceptive desmas: molecular phylogenetics suggests a new classification and uncovers convergent evolution of lithistid demosponges.

    PubMed

    Schuster, Astrid; Erpenbeck, Dirk; Pisera, Andrzej; Hooper, John; Bryce, Monika; Fromont, Jane; Wörheide, Gert

    2015-01-01

    Reconciling the fossil record with molecular phylogenies to enhance the understanding of animal evolution is a challenging task, especially for taxa with a mostly poor fossil record, such as sponges (Porifera). 'Lithistida', a polyphyletic group of recent and fossil sponges, are an exception as they provide the richest fossil record among demosponges. Lithistids, currently encompassing 13 families, 41 genera and >300 recent species, are defined by the common possession of peculiar siliceous spicules (desmas) that characteristically form rigid articulated skeletons. Their phylogenetic relationships are to a large extent unresolved and there has been no (taxonomically) comprehensive analysis to formally reallocate lithistid taxa to their closest relatives. This study, based on the most comprehensive molecular and morphological investigation of 'lithistid' demosponges to date, corroborates some previous weakly-supported hypotheses, and provides novel insights into the evolutionary relationships of the previous 'order Lithistida'. Based on molecular data (partial mtDNA CO1 and 28S rDNA sequences), we show that 8 out of 13 'Lithistida' families belong to the order Astrophorida, whereas Scleritodermidae and Siphonidiidae form a separate monophyletic clade within Tetractinellida. Most lithistid astrophorids are dispersed between different clades of the Astrophorida and we propose to formally reallocate them, respectively. Corallistidae, Theonellidae and Phymatellidae are monophyletic, whereas the families Pleromidae and Scleritodermidae are polyphyletic. Family Desmanthidae is polyphyletic and groups within Halichondriidae--we formally propose a reallocation. The sister group relationship of the family Vetulinidae to Spongillida is confirmed and we propose here for the first time to include Vetulina into a new Order Sphaerocladina. Megascleres and microscleres possibly evolved and/or were lost several times independently in different 'lithistid' taxa, and microscleres

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-12-01

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

  6. Molecular corridors and parameterizations of volatility in the chemical evolution of organic aerosols

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Ying; Pöschl, Ulrich; Shiraiwa, Manabu

    2016-03-01

    The formation and aging of organic aerosols (OA) proceed through multiple steps of chemical reaction and mass transport in the gas and particle phases, which is challenging for the interpretation of field measurements and laboratory experiments as well as accurate representation of OA evolution in atmospheric aerosol models. Based on data from over 30 000 compounds, we show that organic compounds with a wide variety of functional groups fall into molecular corridors, characterized by a tight inverse correlation between molar mass and volatility. We developed parameterizations to predict the saturation mass concentration of organic compounds containing oxygen, nitrogen, and sulfur from the elemental composition that can be measured by soft-ionization high-resolution mass spectrometry. Field measurement data from new particle formation events, biomass burning, cloud/fog processing, and indoor environments were mapped into molecular corridors to characterize the chemical nature of the observed OA components. We found that less-oxidized indoor OA are constrained to a corridor of low molar mass and high volatility, whereas highly oxygenated compounds in atmospheric water extend to high molar mass and low volatility. Among the nitrogen- and sulfur-containing compounds identified in atmospheric aerosols, amines tend to exhibit low molar mass and high volatility, whereas organonitrates and organosulfates follow high O : C corridors extending to high molar mass and low volatility. We suggest that the consideration of molar mass and molecular corridors can help to constrain volatility and particle-phase state in the modeling of OA particularly for nitrogen- and sulfur-containing compounds.

  7. Molecular characterization of insulin from squamate reptiles reveals sequence diversity and possible adaptive evolution.

    PubMed

    Yamagishi, Genki; Yoshida, Ayaka; Kobayashi, Aya; Park, Min Kyun

    2016-01-01

    The Squamata are the most adaptive and prosperous group among ectothermic amniotes, reptiles, due to their species-richness and geographically wide habitat. Although the molecular mechanisms underlying their prosperity remain largely unknown, unique features have been reported from hormones that regulate energy metabolism. Insulin, a central anabolic hormone, is one such hormone, as its roles and effectiveness in regulation of blood glucose levels remain to be examined in squamates. In the present study, cDNAs coding for insulin were isolated from multiple species that represent various groups of squamates. The deduced amino acid sequences showed a high degree of divergence, with four lineages showing obviously higher number of amino acid substitutions than most of vertebrates, from teleosts to mammals. Among 18 sites presented to comprise the two receptor binding surfaces (one with 12 sites and the other with 6 sites), substitutions were observed in 13 sites. Among them was the substitution of HisB10, which results in the loss of the ability to hexamerize. Furthermore, three of these substitutions were reported to increase mitogenicity in human analogues. These substitutions were also reported from insulin of hystricomorph rodents and agnathan fishes, whose mitogenic potency have been shown to be increased. The estimated value of the non-synonymous-to-synonymous substitution ratio (ω) for the Squamata clade was larger than those of the other reptiles and aves. Even higher values were estimated for several lineages among squamates. These results, together with the regulatory mechanisms of digestion and nutrient assimilation in squamates, suggested a possible adaptive process through the molecular evolution of squamate INS. Further studies on the roles of insulin, in relation to the physiological and ecological traits of squamate species, will provide an insight into the molecular mechanisms that have led to the adaptivity and prosperity of squamates.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  9. Deceptive Desmas: Molecular Phylogenetics Suggests a New Classification and Uncovers Convergent Evolution of Lithistid Demosponges

    PubMed Central

    Schuster, Astrid; Erpenbeck, Dirk; Pisera, Andrzej; Hooper, John; Bryce, Monika; Fromont, Jane; Wörheide, Gert

    2015-01-01

    Reconciling the fossil record with molecular phylogenies to enhance the understanding of animal evolution is a challenging task, especially for taxa with a mostly poor fossil record, such as sponges (Porifera). ‘Lithistida’, a polyphyletic group of recent and fossil sponges, are an exception as they provide the richest fossil record among demosponges. Lithistids, currently encompassing 13 families, 41 genera and >300 recent species, are defined by the common possession of peculiar siliceous spicules (desmas) that characteristically form rigid articulated skeletons. Their phylogenetic relationships are to a large extent unresolved and there has been no (taxonomically) comprehensive analysis to formally reallocate lithistid taxa to their closest relatives. This study, based on the most comprehensive molecular and morphological investigation of ‘lithistid’ demosponges to date, corroborates some previous weakly-supported hypotheses, and provides novel insights into the evolutionary relationships of the previous ‘order Lithistida’. Based on molecular data (partial mtDNA CO1 and 28S rDNA sequences), we show that 8 out of 13 ‘Lithistida’ families belong to the order Astrophorida, whereas Scleritodermidae and Siphonidiidae form a separate monophyletic clade within Tetractinellida. Most lithistid astrophorids are dispersed between different clades of the Astrophorida and we propose to formally reallocate them, respectively. Corallistidae, Theonellidae and Phymatellidae are monophyletic, whereas the families Pleromidae and Scleritodermidae are polyphyletic. Family Desmanthidae is polyphyletic and groups within Halichondriidae – we formally propose a reallocation. The sister group relationship of the family Vetulinidae to Spongillida is confirmed and we propose here for the first time to include Vetulina into a new Order Sphaerocladina. Megascleres and microscleres possibly evolved and/or were lost several times independently in different

  10. Nanoparticle Enhanced Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy for Improving the Detection of Molecular Bands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koral, Can; De Giacomo, Alessandro; Mao, Xianglei; Zorba, Vassilia; Russo, Richard E.

    2016-11-01

    Enhancement of molecular band emission in laser-induced plasmas is important for improving sensitivity and limits of detection in molecular sensing and molecular isotope analysis. In this work we introduce the use of Nanoparticle Enhanced Laser Induced Breakdown (NELIBS) for the enhancement of molecular band emission in laser-induced plasmas, and study the underlying mechanisms responsible for the observed enhancement. The use of Ag nanoparticles leads to an order of magnitude enhancement for AlO (B2Σ+ → Χ+ Σ+) system emission from an Al-based alloy. We demonstrate that the mechanism responsible for the enhancement of molecular bands differs from that of atomic emission, and can be traced down to the increased number of atomic species in NELIBS which lead to AlO molecular formation. These findings showcase the potential of NELIBS as a simple and viable technology for enhancing molecular band emission in laser-induced plasmas.

  11. Molecular evolution of rbcL in three gymnosperm families: identifying adaptive and coevolutionary patterns

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    forward the conclusion that this evolutionary scenario has been possible through a complex interplay between adaptive mutations, often structurally destabilizing, and compensatory mutations. Our results unearth patterns of evolution that have likely optimized the Rubisco activity and uncover mutational dynamics useful in the molecular engineering of enzymatic activities. Reviewers This article was reviewed by Prof. Christian Blouin (nominated by Dr W Ford Doolittle), Dr Endre Barta (nominated by Dr Sandor Pongor), and Dr Nicolas Galtier. PMID:21639885

  12. Molecular Weight Determination by an Improved Temperature-Monitored Vapor-Density Method.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Grider, Douglas J.; And Others

    1988-01-01

    Recommends determining molecular weights of liquids by use of a thermocouple. Utilizing a mathematical gas equation, the molecular weight can be determined from the measurement of the vapor temperature upon complete evaporation. Lists benefits as reduced time and cost, and improved safety factors. (ML)

  13. Improved Molecular Technique for the Differentiation of Neotropical Anopheline Species

    PubMed Central

    Matson, Ryan; Rios, Carlos Tong; Chavez, Cesar Banda; Gilman, Robert H.; Florin, David; Sifuentes, Victor Lopez; Greffa, Roldan Cardenas; Yori, Pablo Peñataro; Fernandez, Roberto; Portocarrero, Daniel Velasquez; Vinetz, Joseph M.; Kosek, Margaret

    2008-01-01

    We evaluated a PCR-RFLP of the ribosomal internal transcribed spacer 2 region (ITS2) to distinguish species of Anopheles commonly reported in the Amazon and validated this method using reared F1 offspring. The following species of Anopheles were used for molecular analysis: An. (Nys.) benarrochi, An. (Nys.) darlingi, An. (Nys.) nuneztovari, An. (Nys.) konderi, An. (Nys.) rangeli, and An. (Nys.) triannulatus sensu lato (s.l.). In addition, three species of the subgenus Anopheles, An. (Ano.) forattini, An. (Ano.) mattogrossensis, and An. (Ano.) peryassui were included for testing. Each of the nine species tested yielded diagnostic banding patterns. The PCR-RFLP method was successful in identifying all life stages including exuviae with small fractions of the sample. The assay is rapid and can be applied as an unbiased confirmatory method for identification of morphologic variants, disputed samples, imperfectly preserved specimens, and life stages from which taxonomic keys do not allow for definitive species determination. PMID:18337348

  14. Pteros 2.0: Evolution of the fast parallel molecular analysis library for C++ and python.

    PubMed

    Yesylevskyy, Semen O

    2015-07-15

    Pteros is the high-performance open-source library for molecular modeling and analysis of molecular dynamics trajectories. Starting from version 2.0 Pteros is available for C++ and Python programming languages with very similar interfaces. This makes it suitable for writing complex reusable programs in C++ and simple interactive scripts in Python alike. New version improves the facilities for asynchronous trajectory reading and parallel execution of analysis tasks by introducing analysis plugins which could be written in either C++ or Python in completely uniform way. The high level of abstraction provided by analysis plugins greatly simplifies prototyping and implementation of complex analysis algorithms. Pteros is available for free under Artistic License from http://sourceforge.net/projects/pteros/.

  15. Immobilization of a molecular cobalt electrocatalyst by hydrophobic interaction with a hematite photoanode for highly stable oxygen evolution.

    PubMed

    Joya, Khurram S; Morlanés, Natalia; Maloney, Edward; Rodionov, Valentin; Takanabe, Kazuhiro

    2015-09-11

    A unique modification of a hematite photoanode with perfluorinated Co-phthalocyanine (CoFPc) by strong binding associated with hydrophobic interaction is demonstrated. The resultant molecular electrocatalyst - a hematite photoanode hybrid material showed a significant onset shift and high stability for the photoelectrochemical oxidation evolution reaction (OER). PMID:26214272

  16. Immobilization of a molecular cobalt electrocatalyst by hydrophobic interaction with a hematite photoanode for highly stable oxygen evolution.

    PubMed

    Joya, Khurram S; Morlanés, Natalia; Maloney, Edward; Rodionov, Valentin; Takanabe, Kazuhiro

    2015-09-11

    A unique modification of a hematite photoanode with perfluorinated Co-phthalocyanine (CoFPc) by strong binding associated with hydrophobic interaction is demonstrated. The resultant molecular electrocatalyst - a hematite photoanode hybrid material showed a significant onset shift and high stability for the photoelectrochemical oxidation evolution reaction (OER).

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-08-01

    Introduction of a cellobiose utilization pathway consisting of a cellodextrin transporter and a β-glucosidase into Saccharomyces cerevisiae enables co-fermentation of cellobiose and xylose. Cellodextrin transporter 1 (CDT1) from Neurospora crassa has been established as an effective transporter for the engineered cellobiose utilization pathways. However, cellodextrin transporter 2 (CDT2) from the same species is a facilitator and has the potential to be more efficient than CDT1 under anaerobic conditions due to its energetic benefits. Currently, CDT2 has a very low activity and is considered rate-limiting in cellobiose fermentation. Here, we report the directed evolution of CDT2 with an increased cellobiose uptake activity, which results in improved cellobiose fermentation under anaerobic conditions. After three rounds of directed evolution, the cellobiose uptake activity of CDT2 was increased by 2.2-fold, which resulted from both increased specific activity and transporter expression level. Using high cell density fermentation under anaerobic conditions, the evolved mutant conferred 4.0- and 4.4-fold increase in the cellobiose consumption rate and ethanol productivity, respectively. In addition, although the cellobiose uptake activity was still lower than that of CDT1, the engineered CDT2 showed significantly improved cellobiose consumption and ethanol production under anaerobic conditions, representing the energetic benefits of a sugar facilitator for anaerobic cellobiose fermentation. This study demonstrated that anaerobic biofuel production could be significantly improved via directed evolution of a sugar transporter protein in yeast. PMID:24519319

  18. Implementing and Improving Automated Electronic Tumor Molecular Profiling.

    PubMed

    Rioth, Matthew J; Staggs, David B; Hackett, Lauren; Haberman, Erich; Tod, Mike; Levy, Mia; Warner, Jeremy

    2016-03-01

    Oncology practice increasingly requires the use of molecular profiling of tumors to inform the use of targeted therapeutics. However, many oncologists use third-party laboratories to perform tumor genomic testing, and these laboratories may not have electronic interfaces with the provider's electronic medical record (EMR) system. The resultant reporting mechanisms, such as plain-paper faxing, can reduce report fidelity, slow down reporting procedures for a physician's practice, and make reports less accessible. Vanderbilt University Medical Center and its genomic laboratory testing partner have collaborated to create an automated electronic reporting system that incorporates genetic testing results directly into the clinical EMR. This system was iteratively tested, and causes of failure were discovered and addressed. Most errors were attributable to data entry or typographical errors that made reports unable to be linked to the correct patient in the EMR. By providing direct feedback to providers, we were able to significantly decrease the rate of transmission errors (from 6.29% to 3.84%; P < .001). The results and lessons of 1 year of using the system and transmitting 832 tumor genomic testing reports are reported. PMID:26813927

  19. Does probabilistic modelling of linkage disequilibrium evolution improve the accuracy of QTL location in animal pedigree?

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Since 2001, the use of more and more dense maps has made researchers aware that combining linkage and linkage disequilibrium enhances the feasibility of fine-mapping genes of interest. So, various method types have been derived to include concepts of population genetics in the analyses. One major drawback of many of these methods is their computational cost, which is very significant when many markers are considered. Recent advances in technology, such as SNP genotyping, have made it possible to deal with huge amount of data. Thus the challenge that remains is to find accurate and efficient methods that are not too time consuming. The study reported here specifically focuses on the half-sib family animal design. Our objective was to determine whether modelling of linkage disequilibrium evolution improved the mapping accuracy of a quantitative trait locus of agricultural interest in these populations. We compared two methods of fine-mapping. The first one was an association analysis. In this method, we did not model linkage disequilibrium evolution. Therefore, the modelling of the evolution of linkage disequilibrium was a deterministic process; it was complete at time 0 and remained complete during the following generations. In the second method, the modelling of the evolution of population allele frequencies was derived from a Wright-Fisher model. We simulated a wide range of scenarios adapted to animal populations and compared these two methods for each scenario. Results Our results indicated that the improvement produced by probabilistic modelling of linkage disequilibrium evolution was not significant. Both methods led to similar results concerning the location accuracy of quantitative trait loci which appeared to be mainly improved by using four flanking markers instead of two. Conclusions Therefore, in animal half-sib designs, modelling linkage disequilibrium evolution using a Wright-Fisher model does not significantly improve the accuracy of the

  20. Molecular evolution of homologous gene sequences in germline-limited and somatic chromosomes of Acricotopus.

    PubMed

    Staiber, Wolfgang

    2004-08-01

    The origin of germline-limited chromosomes (Ks) as descendants of somatic chromosomes (Ss) and their structural evolution was recently elucidated in the chironomid Acricotopus. The Ks consist of large S-homologous sections and of heterochromatic segments containing germline-specific, highly repetitive DNA sequences. Less is known about the molecular evolution and features of the sequences in the S-homologous K sections. More information about this was received by comparing homologous gene sequences of Ks and Ss. Genes for 5.8S, 18S, 28S, and 5S ribosomal RNA were choosen for the comparison and therefore isolated first by PCR from somatic DNA of Acricotopus and sequenced. Specific K DNA was collected by microdissection of monopolar moving K complements from differential gonial mitoses and was then amplified by degenerate oligonucleotide primer (DOP)-PCR. With the sequence data of the somatic rDNAs, the homologous 5.8S and 5S rDNA sequences were isolated by PCR from the DOP-PCR sequence pool of the Ks. In addition, a number of K DOP-PCR sequences were directly cloned and analysed. One K clone contained a section of a putative N-acetyltransferase gene. Compared with its homolog from the Ss, the sequence exhibited few nucleotide substitutions (99.2% sequence identity). The same was true for the 5.8S and 5S sequences from Ss and Ks (97.5%-100% identity). This supports the idea that the S-homologous K sequences may be conserved and do not evolve independently from their somatic homologs. Possible mechanisms effecting such conservation of S-derived sequences in the Ks are discussed.

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

    PubMed

    Scott, Daniel J; Plückthun, Andreas

    2013-02-01

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

  2. Molecular Phylogenetic Evaluation of Classification and Scenarios of Character Evolution in Calcareous Sponges (Porifera, Class Calcarea)

    PubMed Central

    Voigt, Oliver; Wülfing, Eilika; Wörheide, Gert

    2012-01-01

    Calcareous sponges (Phylum Porifera, Class Calcarea) are known to be taxonomically difficult. Previous molecular studies have revealed many discrepancies between classically recognized taxa and the observed relationships at the order, family and genus levels; these inconsistencies question underlying hypotheses regarding the evolution of certain morphological characters. Therefore, we extended the available taxa and character set by sequencing the complete small subunit (SSU) rDNA and the almost complete large subunit (LSU) rDNA of additional key species and complemented this dataset by substantially increasing the length of available LSU sequences. Phylogenetic analyses provided new hypotheses about the relationships of Calcarea and about the evolution of certain morphological characters. We tested our phylogeny against competing phylogenetic hypotheses presented by previous classification systems. Our data reject the current order-level classification by again finding non-monophyletic Leucosolenida, Clathrinida and Murrayonida. In the subclass Calcinea, we recovered a clade that includes all species with a cortex, which is largely consistent with the previously proposed order Leucettida. Other orders that had been rejected in the current system were not found, but could not be rejected in our tests either. We found several additional families and genera polyphyletic: the families Leucascidae and Leucaltidae and the genus Leucetta in Calcinea, and in Calcaronea the family Amphoriscidae and the genus Ute. Our phylogeny also provided support for the vaguely suspected close relationship of several members of Grantiidae with giantortical diactines to members of Heteropiidae. Similarly, our analyses revealed several unexpected affinities, such as a sister group relationship between Leucettusa (Leucaltidae) and Leucettidae and between Leucascandra (Jenkinidae) and Sycon carteri (Sycettidae). According to our results, the taxonomy of Calcarea is in desperate need of a

  3. Molecular phylogenetic evaluation of classification and scenarios of character evolution in calcareous sponges (Porifera, Class Calcarea).

    PubMed

    Voigt, Oliver; Wülfing, Eilika; Wörheide, Gert

    2012-01-01

    Calcareous sponges (Phylum Porifera, Class Calcarea) are known to be taxonomically difficult. Previous molecular studies have revealed many discrepancies between classically recognized taxa and the observed relationships at the order, family and genus levels; these inconsistencies question underlying hypotheses regarding the evolution of certain morphological characters. Therefore, we extended the available taxa and character set by sequencing the complete small subunit (SSU) rDNA and the almost complete large subunit (LSU) rDNA of additional key species and complemented this dataset by substantially increasing the length of available LSU sequences. Phylogenetic analyses provided new hypotheses about the relationships of Calcarea and about the evolution of certain morphological characters. We tested our phylogeny against competing phylogenetic hypotheses presented by previous classification systems. Our data reject the current order-level classification by again finding non-monophyletic Leucosolenida, Clathrinida and Murrayonida. In the subclass Calcinea, we recovered a clade that includes all species with a cortex, which is largely consistent with the previously proposed order Leucettida. Other orders that had been rejected in the current system were not found, but could not be rejected in our tests either. We found several additional families and genera polyphyletic: the families Leucascidae and Leucaltidae and the genus Leucetta in Calcinea, and in Calcaronea the family Amphoriscidae and the genus Ute. Our phylogeny also provided support for the vaguely suspected close relationship of several members of Grantiidae with giantortical diactines to members of Heteropiidae. Similarly, our analyses revealed several unexpected affinities, such as a sister group relationship between Leucettusa (Leucaltidae) and Leucettidae and between Leucascandra (Jenkinidae) and Sycon carteri (Sycettidae). According to our results, the taxonomy of Calcarea is in desperate need of a

  4. Evolution of prolate molecular clouds at H II boundaries - II. Formation of BRCs of asymmetrical morphology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kinnear, T. M.; Miao, J.; White, G. J.; Sugitani, K.; Goodwin, S.

    2015-06-01

    A systematic investigation on the evolution of a prolate cloud at an H II boundary is conducted using smoothed particle hydrodynamics in order to understand the mechanism for a variety of irregular morphological structures found at the boundaries of various H II regions. The prolate molecular clouds in this investigation are set with their semimajor axes at inclinations between 0° and 90° to a plane-parallel ionizing radiation flux. A set of four parameters, the number density n, the ratio of major to minor axis γ, the inclination angle ϕ and the incident flux FEUV, are used to define the initial state of the simulated clouds. The dependence of the evolution of a prolate cloud under radiation-driven implosion (RDI) on each of the four parameters is investigated. It is found that (i) in addition to the well-studied standard type A, B or C bright-rimmed clouds (BRCs), many other types such as asymmetrical BRCs, filamentary structures and irregular horse-head structures could also be developed at H II boundaries with only simple initial conditions; (ii) the final morphological structures are very sensitive to the four initial parameters, especially to the initial density and the inclination; (iii) the previously defined ionizing radiation penetration depth can still be used as a good indicator of the final morphology. Based on the simulation results, the formation time-scales and masses of the early RDI-triggered star formation from clouds of different initial conditions are also estimated. Finally a unified mechanism for the various morphological structures found in many different H II boundaries is suggested.

  5. Rates of molecular evolution and diversification in plants: chloroplast substitution rates correlate with species-richness in the Proteaceae

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Many factors have been identified as correlates of the rate of molecular evolution, such as body size and generation length. Analysis of many molecular phylogenies has also revealed correlations between substitution rates and clade size, suggesting a link between rates of molecular evolution and the process of diversification. However, it is not known whether this relationship applies to all lineages and all sequences. Here, in order to investigate how widespread this phenomenon is, we investigate patterns of substitution in chloroplast genomes of the diverse angiosperm family Proteaceae. We used DNA sequences from six chloroplast genes (6278bp alignment with 62 taxa) to test for a correlation between diversification and the rate of substitutions. Results Using phylogenetically-independent sister pairs, we show that species-rich lineages of Proteaceae tend to have significantly higher chloroplast substitution rates, for both synonymous and non-synonymous substitutions. Conclusions We show that the rate of molecular evolution in chloroplast genomes is correlated with net diversification rates in this large plant family. We discuss the possible causes of this relationship, including molecular evolution driving diversification, speciation increasing the rate of substitutions, or a third factor causing an indirect link between molecular and diversification rates. The link between the synonymous substitution rate and clade size is consistent with a role for the mutation rate of chloroplasts driving the speed of reproductive isolation. We find no significant differences in the ratio of non-synonymous to synonymous substitutions between lineages differing in net diversification rate, therefore we detect no signal of population size changes or alteration in selection pressures that might be causing this relationship. PMID:23497266

  6. The timing of eukaryotic evolution: does a relaxed molecular clock reconcile proteins and fossils?

    PubMed

    Douzery, Emmanuel J P; Snell, Elizabeth A; Bapteste, Eric; Delsuc, Frédéric; Philippe, Hervé

    2004-10-26

    The use of nucleotide and amino acid sequences allows improved understanding of the timing of evolutionary events of life on earth. Molecular estimates of divergence times are, however, controversial and are generally much more ancient than suggested by the fossil record. The limited number of genes and species explored and pervasive variations in evolutionary rates are the most likely sources of such discrepancies. Here we compared concatenated amino acid sequences of 129 proteins from 36 eukaryotes to determine the divergence times of several major clades, including animals, fungi, plants, and various protists. Due to significant variations in their evolutionary rates, and to handle the uncertainty of the fossil record, we used a Bayesian relaxed molecular clock simultaneously calibrated by six paleontological constraints. We show that, according to 95% credibility intervals, the eukaryotic kingdoms diversified 950-1,259 million years ago (Mya), animals diverged from choanoflagellates 761-957 Mya, and the debated age of the split between protostomes and deuterostomes occurred 642-761 Mya. The divergence times appeared to be robust with respect to prior assumptions and paleontological calibrations. Interestingly, these relaxed clock time estimates are much more recent than those obtained under the assumption of a global molecular clock, yet bilaterian diversification appears to be approximately 100 million years more ancient than the Cambrian boundary.

  7. Improved low molecular weight Myc-Max inhibitors.

    PubMed

    Wang, Huabo; Hammoudeh, Dalia I; Follis, Ariele Viacava; Reese, Brian E; Lazo, John S; Metallo, Steven J; Prochownik, Edward V

    2007-09-01

    Compounds that selectively prevent or disrupt the association between the c-Myc oncoprotein and its obligate heterodimeric partner Max (Myc-Max compounds) have been identified previously by high-throughput screening of chemical libraries. Although these agents specifically inhibit the growth of c-Myc-expressing cells, their clinical applicability is limited by their low potency. We describe here several chemical modifications of one of these original compounds, 10058-F4, which result in significant improvements in efficacy. Compared with the parent structure, these analogues show enhanced growth inhibition of c-Myc-expressing cells in a manner that generally correlates with their ability to disrupt c-Myc-Max association and DNA binding. Furthermore, we show by use of a sensitive fluorescence polarization assay that both 10058-F4 and its active analogues bind specifically to monomeric c-Myc. These studies show that improved Myc-Max compounds can be generated by a directed approach involving deliberate modification of an index compound. They further show that the compounds specifically target c-Myc, which exists in a dynamic and relatively unstructured state with only partial and transient alpha-helical content.

  8. Drug efficiency indices for improvement of molecular docking scoring functions.

    PubMed

    García-Sosa, Alfonso T; Hetényi, Csaba; Maran, Uko

    2010-01-15

    A dataset of protein-drug complexes with experimental binding energy and crystal structure were analyzed and the performance of different docking engines and scoring functions (as well as components of these) for predicting the free energy of binding and several ligand efficiency indices were compared. The aim was not to evaluate the best docking method, but to determine the effect of different efficiency indices on the experimental and predicted free energy. Some ligand efficiency indices, such as DeltaG/W (Wiener index), DeltaG/NoC (number of carbons), and DeltaG/P (partition coefficient), improve the correlation between experimental and calculated values. This effect was shown to be valid across the different scoring functions and docking programs. It also removes the common bias of scoring functions in favor of larger ligands. For all scoring functions, the efficiency indices effectively normalize the free energy derived indices, to give values closer to experiment. Compound collection filtering can be done prior or after docking, using pharmacokinetic as well as pharmacodynamic profiles. Achieving these better correlations with experiment can improve the ability of docking scoring functions to predict active molecules in virtual screening.

  9. Efficient and limiting reactions in aqueous light-induced hydrogen evolution systems using molecular catalysts and quantum dots.

    PubMed

    Gimbert-Suriñach, Carolina; Albero, Josep; Stoll, Thibaut; Fortage, Jérôme; Collomb, Marie-Noëlle; Deronzier, Alain; Palomares, Emilio; Llobet, Antoni

    2014-05-28

    Hydrogen produced from water and solar energy holds much promise for decreasing the fossil fuel dependence. It has recently been proven that the use of quantum dots as light harvesters in combination with catalysts is a valuable strategy to obtain photogenerated hydrogen. However, the light to hydrogen conversion efficiency of these systems is reported to be lower than 40%. The low conversion efficiency is mainly due to losses occurring at the different interfacial charge-transfer reactions taking place in the multicomponent system during illumination. In this work we have analyzed all the involved reactions in the hydrogen evolution catalysis of a model system composed of CdTe quantum dots, a molecular cobalt catalyst and vitamin C as sacrificial electron donor. The results demonstrate that the electron transfer from the quantum dots to the catalyst occurs fast enough and efficiently (nanosecond time scale), while the back electron transfer and catalysis are much slower (millisecond and microsecond time scales). Further improvements of the photodriven proton reduction should focus on the catalytic rate enhancement, which should be at least in the hundreds of nanoseconds time scale.

  10. Molecular evolution patterns reveal life history features of mycoplasma-related endobacteria associated with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi.

    PubMed

    Toomer, Kevin H; Chen, Xiuhua; Naito, Mizue; Mondo, Stephen J; den Bakker, Henk C; VanKuren, Nicholas W; Lekberg, Ylva; Morton, Joseph B; Pawlowska, Teresa E

    2015-07-01

    The mycoplasma-related endobacteria (MRE), representing a recently discovered lineage of Mollicutes, are widely distributed across arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF, Glomeromycota). AMF colonize roots of most terrestrial plants and improve plant mineral nutrient uptake in return for plant-assimilated carbon. The role of MRE in the biology of their fungal hosts is unknown. To start characterizing this association, we assessed partitioning of MRE genetic diversity within AMF individuals and across the AMF phylogeographic range. We further used molecular evolution patterns to make inferences about MRE codivergence with AMF, their lifestyle and antiquity of the Glomeromycota-MRE association. While we did not detect differentiation between MRE derived from different continents, high levels of diversity were apparent in MRE populations within AMF host individuals. MRE exhibited significant codiversification with AMF over ecological time and the absence of codivergence over evolutionary time. Moreover, genetic recombination was evident in MRE. These patterns indicate that, while MRE transmission is predominantly vertical, their complex intrahost populations are likely generated by horizontal transmission and recombination. Based on predictions of evolutionary theory, we interpreted these observations as a suggestion that MRE may be antagonists of AMF. Finally, we detected a marginally significant signature of codivergence of MRE with Glomeromycota and the Endogone lineage of Mucoromycotina, implying that the symbiosis between MRE and fungi may predate the divergence between these two groups of fungi.

  11. Molecular approaches for improved clotting factors for hemophilia

    PubMed Central

    Powell, Jerry S.

    2013-01-01

    Hemophilia is caused by a functional deficiency of one of the coagulation proteins. Therapy for no other group of genetic diseases has seen the progress that has been made for hemophilia over the past 40 years, from a life expectancy in 1970 of ∼20 years for a boy born with severe hemophilia to essentially a normal life expectancy in 2013 with current prophylaxis therapy. However, these therapies are expensive and require IV infusions 3 to 4 times each week. These are exciting times for hemophilia because several new technologies that promise extended half-lives for factor products, with potential for improvements in quality of life for persons with hemophilia, are in late-phase clinical development. PMID:24065241

  12. Molecular evolution of viruses of the family Filoviridae based on 97 whole-genome sequences.

    PubMed

    Carroll, Serena A; Towner, Jonathan S; Sealy, Tara K; McMullan, Laura K; Khristova, Marina L; Burt, Felicity J; Swanepoel, Robert; Rollin, Pierre E; Nichol, Stuart T

    2013-03-01

    Viruses in the Ebolavirus and Marburgvirus genera (family Filoviridae) have been associated with large outbreaks of hemorrhagic fever in human and nonhuman primates. The first documented cases occurred in primates over 45 years ago, but the amount of virus genetic diversity detected within bat populations, which have recently been identified as potential reservoir hosts, suggests that the filoviruses are much older. Here, detailed Bayesian coalescent phylogenetic analyses are performed on 97 whole-genome sequences, 55 of which are newly reported, to comprehensively examine molecular evolutionary rates and estimate dates of common ancestry for viruses within the family Filoviridae. Molecular evolutionary rates for viruses belonging to different species range from 0.46 × 10(-4) nucleotide substitutions/site/year for Sudan ebolavirus to 8.21 × 10(-4) nucleotide substitutions/site/year for Reston ebolavirus. Most recent common ancestry can be traced back only within the last 50 years for Reston ebolavirus and Zaire ebolavirus species and suggests that viruses within these species may have undergone recent genetic bottlenecks. Viruses within Marburg marburgvirus and Sudan ebolavirus species can be traced back further and share most recent common ancestors approximately 700 and 850 years before the present, respectively. Examination of the whole family suggests that members of the Filoviridae, including the recently described Lloviu virus, shared a most recent common ancestor approximately 10,000 years ago. These data will be valuable for understanding the evolution of filoviruses in the context of natural history as new reservoir hosts are identified and, further, for determining mechanisms of emergence, pathogenicity, and the ongoing threat to public health.

  13. Molecular Evolution and Phylogeography of Co-circulating IHNV and VHSV in Italy

    PubMed Central

    Abbadi, Miriam; Fusaro, Alice; Ceolin, Chiara; Casarotto, Claudia; Quartesan, Rosita; Dalla Pozza, Manuela; Cattoli, Giovanni; Toffan, Anna; Holmes, Edward C.; Panzarin, Valentina

    2016-01-01

    Infectious haematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV) and viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus (VHSV) are the most important viral pathogens impacting rainbow trout farming. These viruses are persistent in Italy, where they are responsible for severe disease outbreaks (epizootics) that affect the profitability of the trout industry. Despite the importance of IHNV and VHSV, little is known about their evolution at a local scale, although this is likely to be important for virus eradication and control. To address this issue we performed a detailed molecular evolutionary and epidemiological analysis of IHNV and VHSV in trout farms from northern Italy. Full-length glycoprotein gene sequences of a selection of VHSV (n = 108) and IHNV (n = 89) strains were obtained. This revealed that Italian VHSV strains belong to sublineages Ia1 and Ia2 of genotype Ia and are distributed into 7 genetic clusters. In contrast, all Italian IHNV isolates fell within genogroup E, for which only a single genetic cluster was identified. More striking was that IHNV has evolved more rapidly than VHSV (mean rates of 11 and 7.3 × 10−4 nucleotide substitutions per site, per year, respectively), indicating that these viruses exhibit fundamentally different evolutionary dynamics. The time to the most recent common ancestor of both IHNV and VHSV was consistent with the first reports of these pathogens in Italy. By combining sequence data with epidemiological information it was possible to identify different patterns of virus spread among trout farms, in which adjacent facilities can be infected by either genetically similar or different viruses, and farms located in different water catchments can be infected by identical strains. Overall, these findings highlight the importance of combining molecular and epidemiological information to identify the determinants of IHN and VHS spread, and to provide data that is central to future surveillance strategies and possibly control.

  14. Molecular Evolution of Viruses of the Family Filoviridae Based on 97 Whole-Genome Sequences

    PubMed Central

    Carroll, Serena A.; Towner, Jonathan S.; Sealy, Tara K.; McMullan, Laura K.; Khristova, Marina L.; Burt, Felicity J.; Swanepoel, Robert; Rollin, Pierre E.

    2013-01-01

    Viruses in the Ebolavirus and Marburgvirus genera (family Filoviridae) have been associated with large outbreaks of hemorrhagic fever in human and nonhuman primates. The first documented cases occurred in primates over 45 years ago, but the amount of virus genetic diversity detected within bat populations, which have recently been identified as potential reservoir hosts, suggests that the filoviruses are much older. Here, detailed Bayesian coalescent phylogenetic analyses are performed on 97 whole-genome sequences, 55 of which are newly reported, to comprehensively examine molecular evolutionary rates and estimate dates of common ancestry for viruses within the family Filoviridae. Molecular evolutionary rates for viruses belonging to different species range from 0.46 × 10−4 nucleotide substitutions/site/year for Sudan ebolavirus to 8.21 × 10−4 nucleotide substitutions/site/year for Reston ebolavirus. Most recent common ancestry can be traced back only within the last 50 years for Reston ebolavirus and Zaire ebolavirus species and suggests that viruses within these species may have undergone recent genetic bottlenecks. Viruses within Marburg marburgvirus and Sudan ebolavirus species can be traced back further and share most recent common ancestors approximately 700 and 850 years before the present, respectively. Examination of the whole family suggests that members of the Filoviridae, including the recently described Lloviu virus, shared a most recent common ancestor approximately 10,000 years ago. These data will be valuable for understanding the evolution of filoviruses in the context of natural history as new reservoir hosts are identified and, further, for determining mechanisms of emergence, pathogenicity, and the ongoing threat to public health. PMID:23255795

  15. Molecular Evolution and Phylogeography of Co-circulating IHNV and VHSV in Italy

    PubMed Central

    Abbadi, Miriam; Fusaro, Alice; Ceolin, Chiara; Casarotto, Claudia; Quartesan, Rosita; Dalla Pozza, Manuela; Cattoli, Giovanni; Toffan, Anna; Holmes, Edward C.; Panzarin, Valentina

    2016-01-01

    Infectious haematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV) and viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus (VHSV) are the most important viral pathogens impacting rainbow trout farming. These viruses are persistent in Italy, where they are responsible for severe disease outbreaks (epizootics) that affect the profitability of the trout industry. Despite the importance of IHNV and VHSV, little is known about their evolution at a local scale, although this is likely to be important for virus eradication and control. To address this issue we performed a detailed molecular evolutionary and epidemiological analysis of IHNV and VHSV in trout farms from northern Italy. Full-length glycoprotein gene sequences of a selection of VHSV (n = 108) and IHNV (n = 89) strains were obtained. This revealed that Italian VHSV strains belong to sublineages Ia1 and Ia2 of genotype Ia and are distributed into 7 genetic clusters. In contrast, all Italian IHNV isolates fell within genogroup E, for which only a single genetic cluster was identified. More striking was that IHNV has evolved more rapidly than VHSV (mean rates of 11 and 7.3 × 10−4 nucleotide substitutions per site, per year, respectively), indicating that these viruses exhibit fundamentally different evolutionary dynamics. The time to the most recent common ancestor of both IHNV and VHSV was consistent with the first reports of these pathogens in Italy. By combining sequence data with epidemiological information it was possible to identify different patterns of virus spread among trout farms, in which adjacent facilities can be infected by either genetically similar or different viruses, and farms located in different water catchments can be infected by identical strains. Overall, these findings highlight the importance of combining molecular and epidemiological information to identify the determinants of IHN and VHS spread, and to provide data that is central to future surveillance strategies and possibly control. PMID:27602026

  16. Molecular Evolution and Phylogeography of Co-circulating IHNV and VHSV in Italy.

    PubMed

    Abbadi, Miriam; Fusaro, Alice; Ceolin, Chiara; Casarotto, Claudia; Quartesan, Rosita; Dalla Pozza, Manuela; Cattoli, Giovanni; Toffan, Anna; Holmes, Edward C; Panzarin, Valentina

    2016-01-01

    Infectious haematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV) and viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus (VHSV) are the most important viral pathogens impacting rainbow trout farming. These viruses are persistent in Italy, where they are responsible for severe disease outbreaks (epizootics) that affect the profitability of the trout industry. Despite the importance of IHNV and VHSV, little is known about their evolution at a local scale, although this is likely to be important for virus eradication and control. To address this issue we performed a detailed molecular evolutionary and epidemiological analysis of IHNV and VHSV in trout farms from northern Italy. Full-length glycoprotein gene sequences of a selection of VHSV (n = 108) and IHNV (n = 89) strains were obtained. This revealed that Italian VHSV strains belong to sublineages Ia1 and Ia2 of genotype Ia and are distributed into 7 genetic clusters. In contrast, all Italian IHNV isolates fell within genogroup E, for which only a single genetic cluster was identified. More striking was that IHNV has evolved more rapidly than VHSV (mean rates of 11 and 7.3 × 10(-4) nucleotide substitutions per site, per year, respectively), indicating that these viruses exhibit fundamentally different evolutionary dynamics. The time to the most recent common ancestor of both IHNV and VHSV was consistent with the first reports of these pathogens in Italy. By combining sequence data with epidemiological information it was possible to identify different patterns of virus spread among trout farms, in which adjacent facilities can be infected by either genetically similar or different viruses, and farms located in different water catchments can be infected by identical strains. Overall, these findings highlight the importance of combining molecular and epidemiological information to identify the determinants of IHN and VHS spread, and to provide data that is central to future surveillance strategies and possibly control. PMID:27602026

  17. Comparative molecular phylogeny and evolution of sex chromosome DNA sequences in the family Canidae (Mammalia: Carnivora).

    PubMed

    Tsubouchi, Ayako; Fukui, Daisuke; Ueda, Miya; Tada, Kazumi; Toyoshima, Shouji; Takami, Kazutoshi; Tsujimoto, Tsunenori; Uraguchi, Kohji; Raichev, Evgeniy; Kaneko, Yayoi; Tsunoda, Hiroshi; Masuda, Ryuichi

    2012-03-01

    To investigate the molecular phylogeny and evolution of the family Canidae, nucleotide sequences of the zinc-finger-protein gene on the Y chromosome (ZFY, 924-1146 bp) and its homologous gene on the X chromosome (ZFX, 834-839 bp) for twelve canid species were determined. The phylogenetic relationships among species reconstructed by the paternal ZFY sequences closely agreed with those by mtDNA and autosomal DNA trees in previous reports, and strongly supported the phylogenetic affinity between the wolf-like canids clade and the South American canids clade. However, the branching order of some species differed between phylogenies of ZFY and ZFX genes: Cuon alpinus and Canis mesomelas were included in the wolf-like canid clades in the ZFY tree, whereas both species were clustered in a group of Chrysocyon brachyurus and Speothos venaticus in the ZFX tree. The topology difference between ZFY and ZFX trees may have resulted from the two-times higher substitution rate of the former than the latter, which was clarified in the present study. In addition, two types of transposable element sequence (SINE-I and SINE-II) were found to occur in the ZFY final intron of the twelve canid species examined. Because the SINE-I sequences were shared by all the species, they may have been inserted into the ZFY of the common ancestor before species radiation in Canidae. By contract, SINE-II found in only Canis aureus could have been inserted into ZFY independently after the speciation. The molecular diversity of SINE sequences of Canidae reflects evolutionary history of the species radiation. PMID:22379982

  18. Dimeric [Mo2 S12 ](2-) Cluster: A Molecular Analogue of MoS2 Edges for Superior Hydrogen-Evolution Electrocatalysis.

    PubMed

    Huang, Zhongjie; Luo, Wenjia; Ma, Lu; Yu, Mingzhe; Ren, Xiaodi; He, Mingfu; Polen, Shane; Click, Kevin; Garrett, Benjamin; Lu, Jun; Amine, Khalil; Hadad, Christopher; Chen, Weilin; Asthagiri, Aravind; Wu, Yiying

    2015-12-01

    Proton reduction is one of the most fundamental and important reactions in nature. MoS2 edges have been identified as the active sites for hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) electrocatalysis. Designing molecular mimics of MoS2 edge sites is an attractive strategy to understand the underlying catalytic mechanism of different edge sites and improve their activities. Herein we report a dimeric molecular analogue [Mo2 S12 ](2-) , as the smallest unit possessing both the terminal and bridging disulfide ligands. Our electrochemical tests show that [Mo2 S12 ](2-) is a superior heterogeneous HER catalyst under acidic conditions. Computations suggest that the bridging disulfide ligand of [Mo2 S12 ](2-) exhibits a hydrogen adsorption free energy near zero (-0.05 eV). This work helps shed light on the rational design of HER catalysts and biomimetics of hydrogen-evolving enzymes. PMID:26482571

  19. Dimeric [Mo₂S₁₂]²⁻ Cluster: A Molecular Analogue of MoS₂ Edges for Superior Hydrogen-Evolution Electrocatalysis

    SciTech Connect

    Huang, Zhongjie; Luo, Wenjia; Ma, Lu; Yu, Mingzhe; Ren, Xiaodi; He, Mingfu; Polen, Shan; Click, Kevin; Garrett, Benjamin R.; Lu, Jun; Amine, Khalil

    2015-12-07

    Proton reduction is one of the most fundamental and important reactions in nature. MoS2 edges have been identified as the active sites for hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) electrocatalysis. Designing molecular mimics of MoS2 edge sites is an attractive strategy to understand the underlying catalytic mechanism of different edge sites and improve their activities. Herein we report a dimeric molecular analogue [Mo₂S₁₂]²⁻, as the smallest unit possessing both the terminal and bridging disulfide ligands. Our electrochemical tests show that [Mo₂S₁₂]²⁻ is a superior heterogeneous HER catalyst under acidic conditions. Computations suggest that the bridging disulfide ligand of [Mo₂S₁₂]²⁻ exhibits a hydrogen adsorption free energy near zero (-0.05eV). This work helps shed light on the rational design of HER catalysts and biomimetics of hydrogen-evolving enzymes.

  20. Vaccine adjuvants--understanding molecular mechanisms to improve vaccines.

    PubMed

    Egli, Adrian; Santer, Deanna; Barakat, Khaled; Zand, Martin; Levin, Aviad; Vollmer, Madeleine; Weisser, Maja; Khanna, Nina; Kumar, Deepali; Tyrrell, Lorne; Houghton, Michael; Battegay, Manuel; O'Shea, Daire

    2014-01-01

    Infectious pathogens are responsible for high utilisation of healthcare resources globally. Attributable morbidity and mortality remains exceptionally high. Vaccines offer the potential to prime a pathogen-specific immune response and subsequently reduce disease burden. Routine vaccination has fundamentally altered the natural history of many frequently observed and serious infections. Vaccination is also recommended for persons at increased risk of severe vaccine-preventable disease. Many current nonadjuvanted vaccines are poorly effective in the elderly and immunocompromised populations, resulting in nonprotective postvaccine antibody titres, which serve as surrogate markers for protection. The vaccine-induced immune response is influenced by: (i.) vaccine factors i.e., type and composition of the antigen(s), (ii.) host factors i.e., genetic differences in immune-signalling or senescence, and (iii.) external factors such as immunosuppressive drugs or diseases. Adjuvanted vaccines offer the potential to compensate for a lack of stimulation and improve pathogen-specific protection. In this review we use influenza vaccine as a model in a discussion of the different mechanisms of action of the available adjuvants. In addition, we will appraise new approaches using "vaccine-omics" to discover novel types of adjuvants.

  1. Vaccine adjuvants--understanding molecular mechanisms to improve vaccines.

    PubMed

    Egli, Adrian; Santer, Deanna; Barakat, Khaled; Zand, Martin; Levin, Aviad; Vollmer, Madeleine; Weisser, Maja; Khanna, Nina; Kumar, Deepali; Tyrrell, Lorne; Houghton, Michael; Battegay, Manuel; O'Shea, Daire

    2014-01-01

    Infectious pathogens are responsible for high utilisation of healthcare resources globally. Attributable morbidity and mortality remains exceptionally high. Vaccines offer the potential to prime a pathogen-specific immune response and subsequently reduce disease burden. Routine vaccination has fundamentally altered the natural history of many frequently observed and serious infections. Vaccination is also recommended for persons at increased risk of severe vaccine-preventable disease. Many current nonadjuvanted vaccines are poorly effective in the elderly and immunocompromised populations, resulting in nonprotective postvaccine antibody titres, which serve as surrogate markers for protection. The vaccine-induced immune response is influenced by: (i.) vaccine factors i.e., type and composition of the antigen(s), (ii.) host factors i.e., genetic differences in immune-signalling or senescence, and (iii.) external factors such as immunosuppressive drugs or diseases. Adjuvanted vaccines offer the potential to compensate for a lack of stimulation and improve pathogen-specific protection. In this review we use influenza vaccine as a model in a discussion of the different mechanisms of action of the available adjuvants. In addition, we will appraise new approaches using "vaccine-omics" to discover novel types of adjuvants. PMID:24844935

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    Homogeneous nucleation from an undercooled iron melt is investigated by the statistical sampling of million-atom molecular dynamics (MD) simulations performed on a graphics processing unit (GPU). Fifty independent instances of isothermal MD calculations with one million atoms in a quasi-two-dimensional cell over a nanosecond reveal that the nucleation rate and the incubation time of nucleation as functions of temperature have characteristic shapes with a nose at the critical temperature. This indicates that thermally activated homogeneous nucleation occurs spontaneously in MD simulations without any inducing factor, whereas most previous studies have employed factors such as pressure, surface effect, and continuous cooling to induce nucleation. Moreover, further calculations over ten nanoseconds capture the microstructure evolution on the order of tens of nanometers from the atomistic viewpoint and the grain growth exponent is directly estimated. Our novel approach based on the concept of “melting pots in a supercomputer” is opening a new phase in computational metallurgy with the aid of rapid advances in computational environments. PMID:26311304

  3. Molecular evolution and expression of the CRAL_TRIO protein family in insects.

    PubMed

    Smith, Gilbert; Briscoe, Adriana D

    2015-07-01

    CRAL_TRIO domain proteins are known to bind small lipophilic molecules such as retinal, inositol and Vitamin E and include such gene family members as PINTA, α-tocopherol transfer (ATT) proteins, retinoid binding proteins, and clavesins. In insects, very little is known about either the molecular evolution of this family of proteins or their ligand specificity. Here we characterize insect CRAL_TRIO domain proteins and present the first insect CRAL_TRIO protein phylogeny constructed by performing reciprocal BLAST searches of the reference genomes of Drosophila melanogaster, Anopheles gambiae, Apis mellifera, Tribolium castaneum, Bombyx mori, Manduca sexta and Danaus plexippus. We find several highly conserved amino acid residues in the CRAL_TRIO domain-containing genes across insects and a gene expansion resulting in more than twice as many gene family members in lepidopterans than in other surveyed insect species, but no lepidopteran homolog of the PINTA gene in Drosophila. In addition, we examined the expression pattern of CRAL_TRIO domain genes in Manduca sexta heads using RNA-Seq data. Of the 42 gene family members found in the M. sexta reference genome, we found 30 expressed in the head tissue with similar expression profiles between males and females. Our results suggest this gene family underwent a large expansion in lepidopteran, making the lepidopteran CRAL_TRIO domain family distinct from other holometabolous insect lineages. PMID:25684408

  4. Finding Nemo: molecular phylogeny and evolution of the unusual life style of anemonefish.

    PubMed

    Santini, Simona; Polacco, Giovanni

    2006-12-30

    Anemonefish are a group of 28 species of coral reef fish belonging to the family Pomacentridae, subfamily Amphiprioninae, all characterized by living in symbiosis with sea anemones of several genera. Some anemonefish are specialized to cooperate with a single or few species of sea anemone, being immune to their poisonous tentacles but sensible to those of other species of sea anemones, while other anemonefish are more generalist and able to live together with a number of different species of sea anemone hosts. Despite the common life style, anemonefish species occur in a variety of colors, body shapes and degree of dependence from the host. To understand the evolutionary mechanisms responsible for the anemonefish diversification, we studied 23 out of 28 species of anemonefish by analyzing three mitochondrial regions: the cytochrome b gene, the 16S ribosomal RNA gene and the first half of the D-loop, a non-coding, regulatory region to reconstruct their molecular phylogeny through Bayesian and maximum parsimony approaches. The evolution of specialization was studied by means of character reconstruction methods. This work includes the highest number of anemonefish so far analyzed and particularly some species that had never been studied before. The results support a monophyletic origin for the subfamily Amphiprioninae, in contrast to the current taxonomy, based on morphological characters, that divides anemonefish into two separate genera. Moreover, we formulate some hypotheses concerning the life style and origin of the ancestral anemonefish. PMID:17084996

  5. Periodic Vesicle Formation in Tectonic Fault Zones--an Ideal Scenario for Molecular Evolution.

    PubMed

    Mayer, Christian; Schreiber, Ulrich; Dávila, María J

    2015-06-01

    Tectonic fault systems in the continental crust offer huge networks of interconnected channels and cavities. Filled mainly with water and carbon dioxide (CO2), containing a wide variety of hydrothermal chemistry and numerous catalytic surfaces, they may offer ideal reaction conditions for prebiotic chemistry. In these systems, an accumulation zone for organic compounds will develop at a depth of approximately 1 km where CO2 turns sub-critical and dissolved components precipitate. At this point, periodic pressure changes caused for example by tidal influences or geyser activity may generate a cyclic process involving repeated phase transitions of carbon dioxide. In the presence of amphiphilic compounds, this will necessarily lead to the transient formation of coated water droplets in the gas phase and corresponding vesicular structures in the aqueous environment. During this process, the concentration of organic components inside the droplets and vesicles would be drastically increased, allowing for favorable reaction conditions and, in case of the vesicles generated, large trans-membrane concentration gradients. Altogether, the process of periodic formation and destruction of vesicles could offer a perfect environment for molecular evolution in small compartments and for the generation of protocells. The basic process of vesicle formation is reproduced experimentally with a lipid in a water/CO2 system.

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1997-01-01

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

  7. Reproductive mode evolution in nematodes: insights from molecular phylogenies and recently discovered species.

    PubMed

    Denver, D R; Clark, K A; Raboin, M J

    2011-11-01

    The Phylum Nematoda has long been known to contain a great diversity of species that vary in reproductive mode, though our understanding of the evolutionary origins, causes and consequences of nematode reproductive mode change have only recently started to mature. Here we bring together and analyze recent progress on reproductive mode evolution throughout the phylum, resulting from the application of molecular phylogenetic approaches and newly discovered nematode species. Reproductive mode variation is reviewed in multiple free-living, animal-parasitic and plant-parasitic nematode groups. Discussion ranges from the model nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and its close relatives, to the plant-parasitic nematodes of the Meloidogyne genus where there is extreme variation in reproductive mode between and even within species, to the vertebrate-parasitic genus Strongyloides and related genera where reproductive mode varies across generations (heterogony). Multiple evolutionary transitions from dioecous (obligately outcrossing) to hermaphroditism and parthenogenesis in the phylum are discussed, along with one case of an evolutionary transition from hermaphroditism to doioecy in the Oscheius genus. We consider the roles of underlying genetic mechanisms in promoting reproductive plasticity in this phylum, as well as the potential evolutionary forces promoting transitions in reproductive mode. PMID:21787872

  8. To cut... or not to cut (applications of comparative physical maps in molecular evolution)

    SciTech Connect

    Hannenhalli, S.; Pevzner, P.

    1996-12-31

    Studies of genomes evolving by rearrangements lead to cornbinatorial problem of sorting permutation by reversals. Kececioglu and Sankoff conjectured that for every permutation there exists an optimal sorting by reversals which does not cut long strips in the permutation. We prove this conjecture and further study the problem of sorting by reversals for permutations without strips of size one, called singletons. We give a polynomial algorithm for sorting such permutations, thus demonstrating that singletons present the major obstacle on the way towards an efficient algorithm for sorting by reversals. Using this result, we prove the strong Kecedoglu-Sankoff conjecture: for every permutation there exists an optimal sorting by reversals that never increases the number of breakpoints. Finally we present a new algorithm for sorting by reversals based on the notion of the spin of a permutation. For permutations with O(log n) singletons the algorithm runs in polynomial time and suggests a desired trade-off of resolution for cross-hybridization physical mapping in molecular evolution studies. We describe applications of this algorithm to analyze rearrangements in maize and green algae, in particular we find a most parsimonious rearrangement scenario for Chlamydomonas moewusii versus Chlamydomonas reinhardtii representing the most complicated known case of rearrangements in organelles.

  9. Molecular Evolution and Genetic Variation of G2-Like Transcription Factor Genes in Maize.

    PubMed

    Liu, Fang; Xu, Yunjian; Han, Guomin; Zhou, Lingyan; Ali, Asif; Zhu, Suwen; Li, Xiaoyu

    2016-01-01

    The productivity of maize (Zea mays L.) depends on the development of chloroplasts, and G2-like transcription factors play a central role in regulating chloroplast development. In this study, we identified 59 G2-like genes in the B73 maize genome and systematically analyzed these genes at the molecular and evolutionary levels. Based on gene structure character, motif compositions and phylogenetic analysis, maize G2-like genes (ZmG1- ZmG59) were divided into seven groups (I-VII). By synteny analysis, 18 collinear gene pairs and strongly conserved microsyntny among regions hosting G2-like genes across maize and sorghum were found. Here, we showed that the vast majority of ZmG gene duplications resulted from whole genome duplication events rather than tandem duplications. After gene duplication events, some ZmG genes were silenced. The functions of G2-like genes were multifarious and most genes that are expressed in green tissues may relate to maize photosynthesis. The qRT-PCR showed that the expression of these genes was sensitive to low temperature and drought. Furthermore, we analyzed differences of ZmGs specific to cultivars in temperate and tropical regions at the population level. Interestingly, the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis revealed that nucleotide polymorphism associated with different temperature zones. Above all, G2-like genes were highly conserved during evolution, but polymorphism could be caused due to a different geographical location. Moreover, G2-like genes might be related to cold and drought stresses.

  10. Complete mitochondrial DNA sequences of six snakes: phylogenetic relationships and molecular evolution of genomic features.

    PubMed

    Dong, Songyu; Kumazawa, Yoshinori

    2005-07-01

    Complete mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences were determined for representative species from six snake families: the acrochordid little file snake, the bold boa constrictor, the cylindrophiid red pipe snake, the viperid himehabu, the pythonid ball python, and the xenopeltid sunbeam snake. Thirteen protein-coding genes, 22 tRNA genes, 2 rRNA genes, and 2 control regions were identified in these mtDNAs. Duplication of the control region and translocation of the tRNALeu gene were two notable features of the snake mtDNAs. The duplicate control regions had nearly identical nucleotide sequences within species but they were divergent among species, suggesting concerted sequence evolution of the two control regions. In addition, the duplicate control regions appear to have facilitated an interchange of some flanking tRNA genes in the viperid lineage. Phylogenetic analyses were conducted using a large number of sites (9570 sites in total) derived from the complete mtDNA sequences. Our data strongly suggested a new phylogenetic relationship among the major families of snakes: ((((Viperidae, Colubridae), Acrochordidae), (((Pythonidae, Xenopeltidae), Cylindrophiidae), Boidae)), Leptotyphlopidae). This conclusion was distinct from a widely accepted view based on morphological characters in denying the sister-group relationship of boids and pythonids, as well as the basal divergence of nonmacrostomatan cylindrophiids. These results imply the significance to reconstruct the snake phylogeny with ample molecular data, such as those from complete mtDNA sequences.

  11. Molecular evolution and sequence divergence of plant chalcone synthase and chalcone synthase-Like genes.

    PubMed

    Han, Yingying; Zhao, Wenwen; Wang, Zhicui; Zhu, Jingying; Liu, Qisong

    2014-06-01

    Plant chalcone synthase (CHS) and CHS-Like (CHSL) proteins are polyketide synthases. In this study, we evaluated the molecular evolution of this gene family using representative types of CHSL genes, including stilbene synthase (STS), 2-pyrone synthase (2-PS), bibenzyl synthase (BBS), acridone synthase (ACS), biphenyl synthase (BIS), benzalacetone synthase, coumaroyl triacetic acid synthase (CTAS), and benzophenone synthase (BPS), along with their CHS homologs from the same species of both angiosperms and gymnosperms. A cDNA-based phylogeny indicated that CHSLs had diverse evolutionary patterns. STS, ACS, and 2-PS clustered with CHSs from the same species (late diverged pattern), while CTAS, BBS, BPS, and BIS were distant from their CHS homologs (early diverged pattern). The amino-acid phylogeny suggested that CHS and CHSL proteins formed clades according to enzyme function. The CHSs and CHSLs from Polygonaceae and Arachis had unique evolutionary histories. Synonymous mutation rates were lower in late diverged CHSLs than in early diverged ones, indicating that gene duplications occurred more recently in late diverged CHSLs than in early diverged ones. Relative rate tests proved that late diverged CHSLs had unequal rates to CHSs from the same species when using fatty acid synthase, which evolved from the common ancestor with the CHS superfamily, as the outgroup, while the early diverged lineages had equal rates. This indicated that late diverged CHSLs experienced more frequent mutation than early diverged CHSLs after gene duplication, allowing obtaining new functions in relatively short period of time.

  12. Periodic Vesicle Formation in Tectonic Fault Zones—an Ideal Scenario for Molecular Evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mayer, Christian; Schreiber, Ulrich; Dávila, María J.

    2015-06-01

    Tectonic fault systems in the continental crust offer huge networks of interconnected channels and cavities. Filled mainly with water and carbon dioxide (CO2), containing a wide variety of hydrothermal chemistry and numerous catalytic surfaces, they may offer ideal reaction conditions for prebiotic chemistry. In these systems, an accumulation zone for organic compounds will develop at a depth of approximately 1 km where CO2 turns sub-critical and dissolved components precipitate. At this point, periodic pressure changes caused for example by tidal influences or geyser activity may generate a cyclic process involving repeated phase transitions of carbon dioxide. In the presence of amphiphilic compounds, this will necessarily lead to the transient formation of coated water droplets in the gas phase and corresponding vesicular structures in the aqueous environment. During this process, the concentration of organic components inside the droplets and vesicles would be drastically increased, allowing for favorable reaction conditions and, in case of the vesicles generated, large trans-membrane concentration gradients. Altogether, the process of periodic formation and destruction of vesicles could offer a perfect environment for molecular evolution in small compartments and for the generation of protocells. The basic process of vesicle formation is reproduced experimentally with a lipid in a water/CO2 system.

  13. Periodic Vesicle Formation in Tectonic Fault Zones--an Ideal Scenario for Molecular Evolution.

    PubMed

    Mayer, Christian; Schreiber, Ulrich; Dávila, María J

    2015-06-01

    Tectonic fault systems in the continental crust offer huge networks of interconnected channels and cavities. Filled mainly with water and carbon dioxide (CO2), containing a wide variety of hydrothermal chemistry and numerous catalytic surfaces, they may offer ideal reaction conditions for prebiotic chemistry. In these systems, an accumulation zone for organic compounds will develop at a depth of approximately 1 km where CO2 turns sub-critical and dissolved components precipitate. At this point, periodic pressure changes caused for example by tidal influences or geyser activity may generate a cyclic process involving repeated phase transitions of carbon dioxide. In the presence of amphiphilic compounds, this will necessarily lead to the transient formation of coated water droplets in the gas phase and corresponding vesicular structures in the aqueous environment. During this process, the concentration of organic components inside the droplets and vesicles would be drastically increased, allowing for favorable reaction conditions and, in case of the vesicles generated, large trans-membrane concentration gradients. Altogether, the process of periodic formation and destruction of vesicles could offer a perfect environment for molecular evolution in small compartments and for the generation of protocells. The basic process of vesicle formation is reproduced experimentally with a lipid in a water/CO2 system. PMID:25716918

  14. Molecular phylogeny, systematics and morphological evolution of the acorn barnacles (Thoracica: Sessilia: Balanomorpha).

    PubMed

    Pérez-Losada, Marcos; Høeg, Jens T; Simon-Blecher, Noa; Achituv, Yair; Jones, Diana; Crandall, Keith A

    2014-12-01

    The Balanomorpha are the largest group of barnacles and rank among the most diverse, commonly encountered and ecologically important marine crustaceans in the world. Paradoxically, despite their relevance and extensive study for over 150years, their evolutionary relationships are still unresolved. Classical morphological systematics was often based on non-cladistic approaches, while modern phylogenetic studies suffer from severe undersampling of taxa and characters (both molecular and morphological). Here we present a phylogenetic analysis of the familial relationships within the Balanomorpha. We estimate divergence times and examine morphological diversity based on five genes, 156 specimens, 10 fossil calibrations, and six key morphological characters. Two balanomorphan superfamilies, eight families and twelve genera were identified as polyphyletic. Chthamaloids, chionelasmatoid and pachylasmatoids split first from the pedunculated ancestors followed by a clade of tetraclitoids and coronuloids, and most of the balanoids. The Balanomorpha split from the Verrucidae (outgroup) in the Lower Cretaceous (139.6 Mya) with all the main lineages, except Pachylasmatoidea, having emerged by the Paleocene (60.9 Mya). Various degrees of convergence were observed in all the assessed morphological characters except the maxillipeds, which suggests that classical interpretations of balanomorphan morphological evolution need to be revised and reinterpreted.

  15. Adaptive Molecular Evolution of PHYE in Primulina, a Karst Cave Plant

    PubMed Central

    Tao, Junjie; Qi, Qingwen; Kang, Ming; Huang, Hongwen

    2015-01-01

    Limestone Karst areas possess high levels of biodiversity and endemism. Primulina is a typical component of Karst endemic floras. The high species richness and wide distribution in various Karst microenvironments make the genus an idea model for studying speciation and local adaptation. In this study, we obtained 10 full-length sequences of the phytochrome PHYE from available transcriptome resources of Primulina and amplified partial sequences of PHYE from the genomic DNA of 74 Primulina species. Then, we used maximum-likelihood approaches to explore molecular evolution of PHYE in this Karst cave plant. The results showed that PHYE was dominated by purifying selection in both data sets, and two sites were identified as potentially under positive selection. Furthermore, the ω ratio varies greatly among different functional domains of PHYE and among different species lineages. These results suggest that potential positive selection in PHYE might have played an important role in the adaption of Primulina to heterogeneous light environments in Karst regions, and different species lineages might have been subjected to different selective pressures. PMID:26030408

  16. Molecular development of fibular reduction in birds and its evolution from dinosaurs

    PubMed Central

    Botelho, João Francisco; Smith‐Paredes, Daniel; Soto‐Acuña, Sergio; O'Connor, Jingmai; Palma, Verónica; Vargas, Alexander O.

    2016-01-01

    Birds have a distally reduced, splinter‐like fibula that is shorter than the tibia. In embryonic development, both skeletal elements start out with similar lengths. We examined molecular markers of cartilage differentiation in chicken embryos. We found that the distal end of the fibula expresses Indian hedgehog (IHH), undergoing terminal cartilage differentiation, and almost no Parathyroid‐related protein (PTHrP), which is required to develop a proliferative growth plate (epiphysis). Reduction of the distal fibula may be influenced earlier by its close contact with the nearby fibulare, which strongly expresses PTHrP. The epiphysis‐like fibulare however then separates from the fibula, which fails to maintain a distal growth plate, and fibular reduction ensues. Experimental downregulation of IHH signaling at a postmorphogenetic stage led to a tibia and fibula of equal length: The fibula is longer than in controls and fused to the fibulare, whereas the tibia is shorter and bent. We propose that the presence of a distal fibular epiphysis may constrain greater growth in the tibia. Accordingly, many Mesozoic birds show a fibula that has lost its distal epiphysis, but remains almost as long as the tibia, suggesting that loss of the fibulare preceded and allowed subsequent evolution of great fibulo–tibial disparity. PMID:26888088

  17. Molecular phylogenetics and morphological evolution of St. John's wort (Hypericum; Hypericaceae).

    PubMed

    Nürk, Nicolai M; Madriñán, Santiago; Carine, Mark A; Chase, Mark W; Blattner, Frank R

    2013-01-01

    Phylogenetic hypotheses for the large cosmopolitan genus Hypericum (St. John's wort) have previously been based on morphology, and molecular studies have thus far included only a few species. In this study, we used 360 sequences of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of nuclear ribosomal DNA (nrDNA) for 206 species representing Hypericum (incl. Triadenum and Thornea) and three other genera of Hypericaceae to generate an explicit phylogenetic hypothesis for the genus using parsimony and model-based methods. The results indicate that the small genus Triadenum is nested in a clade within Hypericum containing most of the New World species. Sister to Hypericum is Thornea from Central America. Within Hypericum, three large clades and two smaller grades were found; these are based on their general morphology, especially characters used previously in taxonomy of the genus. Relative to the most recent classification, around 60% of the sections of Hypericum were monophyletic. We used a Bayesian approach to reconstruct ancestral states of selected morphological characters, which resulted in recognition of characters that support major clades within the genus and a revised interpretation of morphological evolution in Hypericum. The shrubby habit represents the plesiomorphic state from which herbs evolved several times. Arborescent species have radiated convergently in high-elevation habitats in tropical Africa and South America.

  18. Adaptive Molecular Evolution of PHYE in Primulina, a Karst Cave Plant.

    PubMed

    Tao, Junjie; Qi, Qingwen; Kang, Ming; Huang, Hongwen

    2015-01-01

    Limestone Karst areas possess high levels of biodiversity and endemism. Primulina is a typical component of Karst endemic floras. The high species richness and wide distribution in various Karst microenvironments make the genus an idea model for studying speciation and local adaptation. In this study, we obtained 10 full-length sequences of the phytochrome PHYE from available transcriptome resources of Primulina and amplified partial sequences of PHYE from the genomic DNA of 74 Primulina species. Then, we used maximum-likelihood approaches to explore molecular evolution of PHYE in this Karst cave plant. The results showed that PHYE was dominated by purifying selection in both data sets, and two sites were identified as potentially under positive selection. Furthermore, the ω ratio varies greatly among different functional domains of PHYE and among different species lineages. These results suggest that potential positive selection in PHYE might have played an important role in the adaption of Primulina to heterogeneous light environments in Karst regions, and different species lineages might have been subjected to different selective pressures.

  19. Molecular development of fibular reduction in birds and its evolution from dinosaurs.

    PubMed

    Botelho, João Francisco; Smith-Paredes, Daniel; Soto-Acuña, Sergio; O'Connor, Jingmai; Palma, Verónica; Vargas, Alexander O

    2016-03-01

    Birds have a distally reduced, splinter-like fibula that is shorter than the tibia. In embryonic development, both skeletal elements start out with similar lengths. We examined molecular markers of cartilage differentiation in chicken embryos. We found that the distal end of the fibula expresses Indian hedgehog (IHH), undergoing terminal cartilage differentiation, and almost no Parathyroid-related protein (PTHrP), which is required to develop a proliferative growth plate (epiphysis). Reduction of the distal fibula may be influenced earlier by its close contact with the nearby fibulare, which strongly expresses PTHrP. The epiphysis-like fibulare however then separates from the fibula, which fails to maintain a distal growth plate, and fibular reduction ensues. Experimental downregulation of IHH signaling at a postmorphogenetic stage led to a tibia and fibula of equal length: The fibula is longer than in controls and fused to the fibulare, whereas the tibia is shorter and bent. We propose that the presence of a distal fibular epiphysis may constrain greater growth in the tibia. Accordingly, many Mesozoic birds show a fibula that has lost its distal epiphysis, but remains almost as long as the tibia, suggesting that loss of the fibulare preceded and allowed subsequent evolution of great fibulo-tibial disparity. PMID:26888088

  20. Molecular evolution of the fusion protein gene in human respiratory syncytial virus subgroup A.

    PubMed

    Kimura, Hirokazu; Nagasawa, Koo; Tsukagoshi, Hiroyuki; Matsushima, Yuki; Fujita, Kiyotaka; Yoshida, Lay Myint; Tanaka, Ryota; Ishii, Haruyuki; Shimojo, Naoki; Kuroda, Makoto; Ryo, Akihide

    2016-09-01

    We studied the molecular evolution of the fusion protein (F) gene in the human respiratory syncytial virus subgroup A (HRSV-A). We performed time-scaled phylogenetic analyses using the Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) method. We also conducted genetic distance (p-distance), positive/negative selection, and Bayesian skyline plot analyses. Furthermore, we mapped the amino acid substitutions of the protein. The MCMC-constructed tree indicated that the HRSV F gene diverged from the bovine RSV (BRSV) gene approximately 550years ago and had a relatively low substitution rate (7.59×10(-4) substitutions/site/year). Moreover, a common ancestor of HRSV-A and -B diverged approximately 280years ago, which has since formed four distinct clusters. The present HRSV-A strains were assigned six genotypes based on F gene sequences and attachment glycoprotein gene sequences. The present strains exhibited high F gene sequence similarity values and low genetic divergence. No positive selection sites were identified; however, 50 negative selection sites were identified. F protein amino acid substitutions at 17 sites were distributed in the F protein. The effective population size of the gene has remained relatively constant, but the population size of the prevalent genotype (GA2) has increased in the last 10years. These results suggest that the HRSV-AF gene has evolved independently and formed some genotypes. PMID:27291709

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-08-01

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

  2. Molecular evolution and expression of the CRAL_TRIO protein family in insects.

    PubMed

    Smith, Gilbert; Briscoe, Adriana D

    2015-07-01

    CRAL_TRIO domain proteins are known to bind small lipophilic molecules such as retinal, inositol and Vitamin E and include such gene family members as PINTA, α-tocopherol transfer (ATT) proteins, retinoid binding proteins, and clavesins. In insects, very little is known about either the molecular evolution of this family of proteins or their ligand specificity. Here we characterize insect CRAL_TRIO domain proteins and present the first insect CRAL_TRIO protein phylogeny constructed by performing reciprocal BLAST searches of the reference genomes of Drosophila melanogaster, Anopheles gambiae, Apis mellifera, Tribolium castaneum, Bombyx mori, Manduca sexta and Danaus plexippus. We find several highly conserved amino acid residues in the CRAL_TRIO domain-containing genes across insects and a gene expansion resulting in more than twice as many gene family members in lepidopterans than in other surveyed insect species, but no lepidopteran homolog of the PINTA gene in Drosophila. In addition, we examined the expression pattern of CRAL_TRIO domain genes in Manduca sexta heads using RNA-Seq data. Of the 42 gene family members found in the M. sexta reference genome, we found 30 expressed in the head tissue with similar expression profiles between males and females. Our results suggest this gene family underwent a large expansion in lepidopteran, making the lepidopteran CRAL_TRIO domain family distinct from other holometabolous insect lineages.

  3. Peptidylprolyl cis/trans isomerase activity and molecular evolution of vertebrate Cyclophilin A.

    PubMed

    Liqian, Ren; Wei, Liu; Wenbo, Li; Wenjun, Liu; Lei, Sun

    2016-08-01

    Peptidylprolyl isomerases (PPIase) cyclophilin A (CypA, encoded by PPIA) is a typical member of the Cyclophilin family and is involved in protein folding/translocation, signal transduction, inflammation, immune system regulation, apoptosis and virus replication. In the present study, we investigated the PPIase activity and genetic variation of vertebrate CypA. According to the GenBank reference sequences, vertebrate PPIA genes were cloned, among which the bat (Myotis davidi) and duck (Anas platyrhynchos) PPIA genes were reported for the first time. Then PPIA genes were sub-cloned into the expression vector pGEX-6p-1 and expressed in Escherichia coli. Recombinant CypA proteins were purified by using sepharose 4B affinity chromatography and the GST tag was cleaved, followed by gel filtration. The PPIase activity assay indicated that there was no significant difference in the catalytic activity of prolyl peptide bond isomerization among 12 different vertebrate CypA proteins. In addition, the genetic variation and molecular evolution analysis showed that these vertebrate CypA proteins had the same CsA binding site and the PPIase active sites. Furthermore, the predicted structure and gene localization were remarkable conserved. Our data suggested that the important residues of CypA were highly conserved, which is crucial for its PPIase activity and cellular functions. PMID:27531612

  4. Molecular phylogeny, systematics and morphological evolution of the acorn barnacles (Thoracica: Sessilia: Balanomorpha).

    PubMed

    Pérez-Losada, Marcos; Høeg, Jens T; Simon-Blecher, Noa; Achituv, Yair; Jones, Diana; Crandall, Keith A

    2014-12-01

    The Balanomorpha are the largest group of barnacles and rank among the most diverse, commonly encountered and ecologically important marine crustaceans in the world. Paradoxically, despite their relevance and extensive study for over 150years, their evolutionary relationships are still unresolved. Classical morphological systematics was often based on non-cladistic approaches, while modern phylogenetic studies suffer from severe undersampling of taxa and characters (both molecular and morphological). Here we present a phylogenetic analysis of the familial relationships within the Balanomorpha. We estimate divergence times and examine morphological diversity based on five genes, 156 specimens, 10 fossil calibrations, and six key morphological characters. Two balanomorphan superfamilies, eight families and twelve genera were identified as polyphyletic. Chthamaloids, chionelasmatoid and pachylasmatoids split first from the pedunculated ancestors followed by a clade of tetraclitoids and coronuloids, and most of the balanoids. The Balanomorpha split from the Verrucidae (outgroup) in the Lower Cretaceous (139.6 Mya) with all the main lineages, except Pachylasmatoidea, having emerged by the Paleocene (60.9 Mya). Various degrees of convergence were observed in all the assessed morphological characters except the maxillipeds, which suggests that classical interpretations of balanomorphan morphological evolution need to be revised and reinterpreted. PMID:25261121

  5. Dynamics of molecular evolution and phylogeography of Barley yellow dwarf virus-PAV.

    PubMed

    Wu, Beilei; Blanchard-Letort, Alexandra; Liu, Yan; Zhou, Guanghe; Wang, Xifeng; Elena, Santiago F

    2011-01-01

    Barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV) species PAV occurs frequently in irrigated wheat fields worldwide and can be efficiently transmitted by aphids. Isolates of BYDV-PAV from different countries show great divergence both in genomic sequences and pathogenicity. Despite its economical importance, the genetic structure of natural BYDV-PAV populations, as well as of the mechanisms maintaining its high diversity, remain poorly explored. In this study, we investigate the dynamics of BYDV-PAV genome evolution utilizing time-structured data sets of complete genomic sequences from 58 isolates from different hosts obtained worldwide. First, we observed that BYDV-PAV exhibits a high frequency of homologous recombination. Second, our analysis revealed that BYDV-PAV genome evolves under purifying selection and at a substitution rate similar to other RNA viruses (3.158×10(-4) nucleotide substitutions/site/year). Phylogeography analyses show that the diversification of BYDV-PAV can be explained by local geographic adaptation as well as by host-driven adaptation. These results increase our understanding of the diversity, molecular evolutionary characteristics and epidemiological properties of an economically important plant RNA virus. PMID:21326861

  6. Molecular evolution of calmodulin-like domain protein kinases (CDPKs) in plants and protists.

    PubMed

    Zhang, X S; Choi, J H

    2001-09-01

    Many genes for calmodulin-like domain protein kinases (CDPKs) have been identified in plants and Alveolate protists. To study the molecular evolution of the CDPK gene family, we performed a phylogenetic analysis of CDPK genomic sequences. Analysis of introns supports the phylogenetic analysis; CDPK genes with similar intron/exon structure are grouped together on the phylogenetic tree. Conserved introns support a monophyletic origin for plant CDPKs, CDPK-related kinases, and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase kinases. Plant CDPKs divide into two major branches. Plant CDPK genes on one branch share common intron positions with protist CDPK genes. The introns shared between protist and plant CDPKs presumably originated before the divergence of plants from Alveolates. Additionally, the calmodulin-like domains of protist CDPKs have intron positions in common with animal and fungal calmodulin genes. These results, together with the presence of a highly conserved phase zero intron located precisely at the beginning of the calmodulin-like domain, suggest that the ancestral CDPK gene could have originated from the fusion of protein kinase and calmodulin genes facilitated by recombination of ancient introns.

  7. Molecular development of fibular reduction in birds and its evolution from dinosaurs.

    PubMed

    Botelho, João Francisco; Smith-Paredes, Daniel; Soto-Acuña, Sergio; O'Connor, Jingmai; Palma, Verónica; Vargas, Alexander O

    2016-03-01

    Birds have a distally reduced, splinter-like fibula that is shorter than the tibia. In embryonic development, both skeletal elements start out with similar lengths. We examined molecular markers of cartilage differentiation in chicken embryos. We found that the distal end of the fibula expresses Indian hedgehog (IHH), undergoing terminal cartilage differentiation, and almost no Parathyroid-related protein (PTHrP), which is required to develop a proliferative growth plate (epiphysis). Reduction of the distal fibula may be influenced earlier by its close contact with the nearby fibulare, which strongly expresses PTHrP. The epiphysis-like fibulare however then separates from the fibula, which fails to maintain a distal growth plate, and fibular reduction ensues. Experimental downregulation of IHH signaling at a postmorphogenetic stage led to a tibia and fibula of equal length: The fibula is longer than in controls and fused to the fibulare, whereas the tibia is shorter and bent. We propose that the presence of a distal fibular epiphysis may constrain greater growth in the tibia. Accordingly, many Mesozoic birds show a fibula that has lost its distal epiphysis, but remains almost as long as the tibia, suggesting that loss of the fibulare preceded and allowed subsequent evolution of great fibulo-tibial disparity.

  8. Molecular phylogeny and evolution of alcohol dehydrogenase (Adh) genes in legumes

    PubMed Central

    Fukuda, Tatsuya; Yokoyama, Jun; Nakamura, Toru; Song, In-Ja; Ito, Takuro; Ochiai, Toshinori; Kanno, Akira; Kameya, Toshiaki; Maki, Masayuki

    2005-01-01

    Background Nuclear genes determine the vast range of phenotypes that are responsible for the adaptive abilities of organisms in nature. Nevertheless, the evolutionary processes that generate the structures and functions of nuclear genes are only now be coming understood. The aim of our study is to isolate the alcohol dehydrogenase (Adh) genes in two distantly related legumes, and use these sequences to examine the molecular evolutionary history of this nuclear gene. Results We isolated the expressed Adh genes from two species of legumes, Sophora flavescens Ait. and Wisteria floribunda DC., by a RT-PCR based approach and found a new Adh locus in addition to homologues of the Adh genes found previously in legumes. To examine the evolution of these genes, we compared the species and gene trees and found gene duplication of the Adh loci in the legumes occurred as an ancient event. Conclusion This is the first report revealing that some legume species have at least two Adh gene loci belonging to separate clades. Phylogenetic analyses suggest that these genes resulted from relatively ancient duplication events. PMID:15836788

  9. Molecular evidence for convergent evolution and allopolyploid speciation within the Physcomitrium-Physcomitrella species complex

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background The moss Physcomitrella patens (Hedw.) Bruch & Schimp. is an important experimental model system for evolutionary-developmental studies. In order to shed light on the evolutionary history of Physcomitrella and related species within the Funariaceae, we analyzed the natural genetic diversity of the Physcomitrium-Physcomitrella species complex. Results Molecular analysis of the nuclear single copy gene BRK1 reveals that three Physcomitrium species feature larger genome sizes than Physcomitrella patens and encode two expressed BRK1 homeologs (polyploidization-derived paralogs), indicating that they may be allopolyploid hybrids. Phylogenetic analyses of BRK1 as well as microsatellite simple sequence repeat (SSR) data confirm a polyphyletic origin for three Physcomitrella lineages. Differences in the conservation of mitochondrial editing sites further support hybridization and cryptic speciation within the Physcomitrium-Physcomitrella species complex. Conclusions We propose a revised classification of the previously described four subspecies of Physcomitrella patens into three distinct species, namely Physcomitrella patens, Physcomitrella readeri and Physcomitrella magdalenae. We argue that secondary reduction of sporophyte complexity in these species is due to the establishment of an ecological niche, namely spores resting in mud and possible spore dispersal by migratory birds. Besides the Physcomitrium-Physcomitrella species complex, the Funariaceae are host to their type species, Funaria hygrometrica, featuring a sporophyte morphology which is more complex. Their considerable developmental variation among closely related lineages and remarkable trait evolution render the Funariaceae an interesting group for evolutionary and genetic research. PMID:25015729

  10. Formation and evolution of molecular products in α-pinene secondary organic aerosol.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Xuan; McVay, Renee C; Huang, Dan D; Dalleska, Nathan F; Aumont, Bernard; Flagan, Richard C; Seinfeld, John H

    2015-11-17

    Much of our understanding of atmospheric secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation from volatile organic compounds derives from laboratory chamber measurements, including mass yield and elemental composition. These measurements alone are insufficient to identify the chemical mechanisms of SOA production. We present here a comprehensive dataset on the molecular identity, abundance, and kinetics of α-pinene SOA, a canonical system that has received much attention owing to its importance as an organic aerosol source in the pristine atmosphere. Identified organic species account for ∼58-72% of the α-pinene SOA mass, and are characterized as semivolatile/low-volatility monomers and extremely low volatility dimers, which exhibit comparable oxidation states yet different functionalities. Features of the α-pinene SOA formation process are revealed for the first time, to our knowledge, from the dynamics of individual particle-phase components. Although monomeric products dominate the overall aerosol mass, rapid production of dimers plays a key role in initiating particle growth. Continuous production of monomers is observed after the parent α-pinene is consumed, which cannot be explained solely by gas-phase photochemical production. Additionally, distinct responses of monomers and dimers to α-pinene oxidation by ozone vs. hydroxyl radicals, temperature, and relative humidity are observed. Gas-phase radical combination reactions together with condensed phase rearrangement of labile molecules potentially explain the newly characterized SOA features, thereby opening up further avenues for understanding formation and evolution mechanisms of α-pinene SOA. PMID:26578760

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2015-08-19

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

  12. Massively Parallel Combined Monte Carlo and Molecular Dynamics Methods to Study the Long-Time-Scale Evolution of Particulate Matter and Molecular Structures Under Reactive Flow Conditions

    SciTech Connect

    Kubota, A; Mundy, C J; Pitz, W J; Melius, C; Westbrook, C K; Caturla, M

    2003-12-19

    An important challenge in computational modeling is the development of new computational methods and capabilities for studying molecular-scale structures over very large time-scales. In particular, there is great interest in understanding the nucleation and growth of carbon soot particles as well as their fate in the atmosphere. We have recently developed and implemented a new computational tool to time-integrate the detailed structure of atomistically resolved surfaces and nanostructures driven by chemical and physical kinetic rule-based rate expressions. Fundamental chemical and physical processes such as chemical reactions, surface adsorption and surface diffusion are performed using a non-lattice real-space kinetic Monte Carlo scheme and driven by user-defined rule-based kinetic rate expressions, while atomic structure relaxation is approached using molecular dynamics. We demonstrate the sensitivity of particle evolution to chemical and physical kinetic mechanism using a parallel implementation of the combined Monte Carlo and molecular dynamics code.

  13. Clean Donor Oxidation Enhances the H2 Evolution Activity of a Carbon Quantum Dot-Molecular Catalyst Photosystem.

    PubMed

    Martindale, Benjamin C M; Joliat, Evelyne; Bachmann, Cyril; Alberto, Roger; Reisner, Erwin

    2016-08-01

    Carbon quantum dots (CQDs) are new-generation light absorbers for photocatalytic H2 evolution in aqueous solution, but the performance of CQD-molecular catalyst systems is currently limited by the decomposition of the molecular component. Clean oxidation of the electron donor by donor recycling prevents the formation of destructive radical species and non-innocent oxidation products. This approach allowed a CQD-molecular nickel bis(diphosphine) photocatalyst system to reach a benchmark lifetime of more than 5 days and a record turnover number of 1094±61 molH2  (molNi )(-1) for a defined synthetic molecular nickel catalyst in purely aqueous solution under AM1.5G solar irradiation. PMID:27355200

  14. Chemical modification of proteins to improve the accuracy of their relative molecular mass determination by electrophoresis.

    PubMed

    Dolnik, Vladislav; Gurske, William A

    2011-10-01

    We studied the electrophoretic behavior of basic proteins (cytochrome c and histone III) and developed a carbamylation method that normalizes their electrophoretic size separation and improves the accuracy of their relative molecular mass determined electrophoretically. In capillary zone electrophoresis with cationic hitchhiking, native cytochrome c does not sufficiently bind cationic surfactants due to electrostatic repulsion between the basic protein and cationic surfactant. Carbamylation suppresses the strong positive charge of the basic proteins and results in more accurate relative molecular masses.

  15. Molecular phylogeny and genome size evolution of the genus Betula (Betulaceae)

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Nian; McAllister, Hugh A.; Bartlett, Paul R.; Buggs, Richard J. A.

    2016-01-01

    Background and Aims Betula L. (birch) is a genus of approx. 60 species, subspecies or varieties with a wide distribution in the northern hemisphere, of ecological and economic importance. A new classification of Betula has recently been proposed based on morphological characters. This classification differs somewhat from previously published molecular phylogenies, which may be due to factors such as convergent evolution, hybridization, incomplete taxon sampling or misidentification of samples. While chromosome counts have been made for many species, few have had their genome size measured. The aim of this study is to produce a new phylogenetic and genome size analysis of the genus. Methods Internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions of nuclear ribosomal DNA were sequenced for 76 Betula samples verified by taxonomic experts, representing approx. 60 taxa, of which approx. 24 taxa have not been included in previous phylogenetic analyses. A further 49 samples from other collections were also sequenced, and 108 ITS sequences were downloaded from GenBank. Phylogenetic trees were built for these sequences. The genome sizes of 103 accessions representing nearly all described species were estimated using flow cytometry. Key Results As expected for a gene tree of a genus where hybridization and allopolyploidy occur, the ITS tree shows clustering, but not resolved monophyly, for the morphological subgenera recently proposed. Most sections show some clustering, but species of the dwarf section Apterocaryon are unusually scattered. Betula corylifolia (subgenus Nipponobetula) unexpectedly clusters with species of subgenus Aspera. Unexpected placements are also found for B. maximowicziana, B. bomiensis, B. nigra and B. grossa. Biogeographical disjunctions were found within Betula between Europe and North America, and also disjunctions between North-east and South-west Asia. The 2C-values for Betula ranged from 0·88 to 5·33 pg, and polyploids are scattered widely throughout the

  16. Improved fast-rotating black hole evolution simulations with modified Baumgarte-Shapiro-Shibata-Nakamura formulation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yo, Hwei-Jang; Cao, Zhoujian; Lin, Chun-Yu; Pan, Hsing-Po

    2015-07-01

    Different formulations of Einstein's equations used in numerical relativity can affect not only the stability but also the accuracy of numerical simulations. In the original Baumgarte-Shapiro-Shibata-Nakamura (BSSN) formulation, the loss of the angular momentum, J , is non-negligible in highly spinning single black hole evolutions. This loss also appears, usually right after the merger, in highly spinning binary black hole simulations, The loss of J may be attributed to some unclear numerical dissipation. Reducing unphysical dissipation is expected to result in more stable and accurate evolutions. In the previous work [H.-J. Yo et al., Phys. Rev. D 86, 064027 (2012).] we proposed several modifications which are able to prevent black hole evolutions from the unphysical dissipation, and the resulting simulations are more stable than in the traditional BSSN formulation. Specifically, these three modifications (M1, M2, and M3) enhance the effects of stability, hyperbolicity, and dissipation of the formulation. We experiment further in this work with these modifications, and demonstrate that these modifications improve the accuracy and also effectively suppress the loss of J , particularly in the black hole simulations with an initially large ratio of J and a square of the ADM mass.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-02-01

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

  18. Evolution of strain and composition of Ge islands on Si (001) grown by molecular beam epitaxy during postgrowth annealing

    SciTech Connect

    Singha, R. K.; Das, S.; Majumdar, S.; Das, K.; Dhar, A.; Ray, S. K.

    2008-06-01

    Self-assembled Ge islands have been grown using a Stranski-Krastanov growth mechanism on Si (001) substrates by solid source molecular beam epitaxy. We performed time varying annealing experiments at a representative temperature of 650 deg. C to study the shape and size evolution of islands for a relatively high Ge coverage. Islands are found to coarsen due to heat treatment via structural and compositional changes through continuous strain relaxation. Different island morphologies, namely, 'pyramids', 'transitional domes', and 'domes' are found during the annealing sequence. The dominant coarsening mechanisms for the temporal evolution of islands of as-grown and annealed samples are explained by the comprehensive analysis of Rutherford back scattering, Raman spectroscopy, high-resolution x-ray diffraction, and atomic force microscopy. A correlation of the morphological evolution with the composition and strain relaxation of grown islands is presented.

  19. Improving Sensitivity in Ultrasound Molecular Imaging by Tailoring Contrast Agent Size Distribution: In Vivo Studies

    PubMed Central

    Streeter, Jason E.; Gessner, Ryan; Miles, Iman; Dayton, Paul A.

    2010-01-01

    Molecular imaging with ultrasound relies on microbubble contrast agents (MCAs) selectively adhering to a ligand-specific target. Prior studies have shown that only small quantities of microbubbles are retained at their target sites, therefore, enhancing contrast sensitivity to low concentrations of microbubbles is essential to improve molecular imaging techniques. In order to assess the effect of MCA diameter on imaging sensitivity, perfusion and molecular imaging studies were performed with microbubbles of varying size distributions. To assess signal improvement and MCA circulation time as a function of size and concentration, blood perfusion was imaged in rat kidneys using nontargeted size-sorted MCAs with a Siemens Sequoia ultrasound system (Siemans, Mountain View, CA) in cadence pulse sequencing (CPS) mode. Molecular imaging sensitivity improvements were studied with size-sorted αvβ3-targeted bubbles in both fibrosarcoma and R3230 rat tumor models. In perfusion imaging studies, video intensity and contrast persistence was ≈8 times and ≈3 times greater respectively, for “sorted 3-micron” MCAs (diameter, 3.3 ± 1.95 μm) when compared to “unsorted” MCAs (diameter, 0.9 ± 0.45 μm) at low concentrations. In targeted experiments, application of sorted 3-micron MCAs resulted in a ≈20 times video intensity increase over unsorted populations. Tailoring size-distributions results in substantial imaging sensitivity improvement over unsorted populations, which is essential in maximizing sensitivity to small numbers of MCAs for molecular imaging. PMID:20236606

  20. Applications of molecular physics 'biotechnology' to the rational design of an improved phenytoin analogue.

    PubMed

    Weaver, D F

    1992-12-01

    This study exploits molecular physics, in conjunction with a large scale computing environment, as a tool for understanding the clinical phenomenology of phenytoin (PHT) toxicology at a molecular level and for employing this understanding in an attempt to design improved drugs. The application of molecular physics techniques, such as quantum mechanics and molecular force field calculations, to the process of rational anticonvulsant drug design remains virtually unexplored. A 3-step strategy for applying these techniques to the design of an improved PHT molecule is presented. Step 1 employs quantitative structure-activity relationship calculations on 80 PHT analogues to ascertain the portion of the PHT molecule necessary for bioactivity (i.e. the 'bioactive face' of PHT); the N3-C4(O)-C5-R fragment of PHT was identified as the bioactive face. Step 2 employs molecular modelling studies to determine the portion of the PHT molecule necessary for the teratogenic, mutagenic and connective tissue toxicities of PHT (i.e. the 'biotoxic face'); the C2(O)-N3 fragment of PHT was identified as the biotoxic face. Step 3 experiments design an 'improved' PHT analogue, which maintains the bioactive face while eliminating the integrity of the biotoxic face; 2-deoxy-5,5-diphenylhydantoin was designed and synthesized as the improved PHT analogue. This compound had biological activity equivalent to PHT, but was unable to bind to nucleic acids or to chelate metals involved in connective tissue metabolism. PMID:1344772

  1. Applications of molecular physics 'biotechnology' to the rational design of an improved phenytoin analogue.

    PubMed

    Weaver, D F

    1992-12-01

    This study exploits molecular physics, in conjunction with a large scale computing environment, as a tool for understanding the clinical phenomenology of phenytoin (PHT) toxicology at a molecular level and for employing this understanding in an attempt to design improved drugs. The application of molecular physics techniques, such as quantum mechanics and molecular force field calculations, to the process of rational anticonvulsant drug design remains virtually unexplored. A 3-step strategy for applying these techniques to the design of an improved PHT molecule is presented. Step 1 employs quantitative structure-activity relationship calculations on 80 PHT analogues to ascertain the portion of the PHT molecule necessary for bioactivity (i.e. the 'bioactive face' of PHT); the N3-C4(O)-C5-R fragment of PHT was identified as the bioactive face. Step 2 employs molecular modelling studies to determine the portion of the PHT molecule necessary for the teratogenic, mutagenic and connective tissue toxicities of PHT (i.e. the 'biotoxic face'); the C2(O)-N3 fragment of PHT was identified as the biotoxic face. Step 3 experiments design an 'improved' PHT analogue, which maintains the bioactive face while eliminating the integrity of the biotoxic face; 2-deoxy-5,5-diphenylhydantoin was designed and synthesized as the improved PHT analogue. This compound had biological activity equivalent to PHT, but was unable to bind to nucleic acids or to chelate metals involved in connective tissue metabolism.

  2. Molecular Evolution and Genetic Variation of G2-Like Transcription Factor Genes in Maize.

    PubMed

    Liu, Fang; Xu, Yunjian; Han, Guomin; Zhou, Lingyan; Ali, Asif; Zhu, Suwen; Li, Xiaoyu

    2016-01-01

    The productivity of maize (Zea mays L.) depends on the development of chloroplasts, and G2-like transcription factors play a central role in regulating chloroplast development. In this study, we identified 59 G2-like genes in the B73 maize genome and systematically analyzed these genes at the molecular and evolutionary levels. Based on gene structure character, motif compositions and phylogenetic analysis, maize G2-like genes (ZmG1- ZmG59) were divided into seven groups (I-VII). By synteny analysis, 18 collinear gene pairs and strongly conserved microsyntny among regions hosting G2-like genes across maize and sorghum were found. Here, we showed that the vast majority of ZmG gene duplications resulted from whole genome duplication events rather than tandem duplications. After gene duplication events, some ZmG genes were silenced. The functions of G2-like genes were multifarious and most genes that are expressed in green tissues may relate to maize photosynthesis. The qRT-PCR showed that the expression of these genes was sensitive to low temperature and drought. Furthermore, we analyzed differences of ZmGs specific to cultivars in temperate and tropical regions at the population level. Interestingly, the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis revealed that nucleotide polymorphism associated with different temperature zones. Above all, G2-like genes were highly conserved during evolution, but polymorphism could be caused due to a different geographical location. Moreover, G2-like genes might be related to cold and drought stresses. PMID:27560803

  3. Molecular Analysis of a Leprosy Immunotherapeutic Bacillus Provides Insights into Mycobacterium Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Raghuvanshi, Saurabh; Khurana, Jitendra P.; Tyagi, Akhilesh K.; Tyagi, Anil K.; Hasnain, Seyed E.

    2007-01-01

    Background Evolutionary dynamics plays a central role in facilitating the mechanisms of species divergence among pathogenic and saprophytic mycobacteria. The ability of mycobacteria to colonize hosts, to proliferate and to cause diseases has evolved due to its predisposition to various evolutionary forces acting over a period of time. Mycobacterium indicus pranii (MIP), a taxonomically unknown ‘generalist’ mycobacterium, acts as an immunotherapeutic against leprosy and is approved for use as a vaccine against it. The large-scale field trials of this MIP based leprosy vaccine coupled with its demonstrated immunomodulatory and adjuvant property has led to human clinical evaluations of MIP in interventions against HIV-AIDS, psoriasis and bladder cancer. MIP, commercially available as ‘Immuvac’, is currently the focus of advanced phase III clinical trials for its antituberculosis efficacy. Thus a comprehensive analysis of MIP vis-à-vis evolutionary path, underpinning its immanent immunomodulating properties is of the highest desiderata. Principal Findings Genome wide comparisons together with molecular phylogenetic analyses by fluorescent amplified fragment length polymorphism (FAFLP), enterobacterial repetitive intergenic consensus (ERIC) based genotyping and candidate orthologues sequencing revealed that MIP has been the predecessor of highly pathogenic Mycobacterium avium intracellulare complex (MAIC) that did not resort to parasitic adaptation by reductional gene evolution and therefore, preferred a free living life-style. Further analysis suggested a shared aquatic phase of MAIC bacilli with the early pathogenic forms of Mycobacterium, well before the latter diverged as ‘specialists’. Conclusions/Significance This evolutionary paradigm possibly affirms to marshal our understanding about the acquisition and optimization of virulence in mycobacteria and determinants of boundaries therein. PMID:17912347

  4. Molecular Evolution and Genetic Variation of G2-Like Transcription Factor Genes in Maize

    PubMed Central

    Han, Guomin; Zhou, Lingyan; Ali, Asif; Zhu, Suwen; Li, Xiaoyu

    2016-01-01

    The productivity of maize (Zea mays L.) depends on the development of chloroplasts, and G2-like transcription factors play a central role in regulating chloroplast development. In this study, we identified 59 G2-like genes in the B73 maize genome and systematically analyzed these genes at the molecular and evolutionary levels. Based on gene structure character, motif compositions and phylogenetic analysis, maize G2-like genes (ZmG1- ZmG59) were divided into seven groups (I-VII). By synteny analysis, 18 collinear gene pairs and strongly conserved microsyntny among regions hosting G2-like genes across maize and sorghum were found. Here, we showed that the vast majority of ZmG gene duplications resulted from whole genome duplication events rather than tandem duplications. After gene duplication events, some ZmG genes were silenced. The functions of G2-like genes were multifarious and most genes that are expressed in green tissues may relate to maize photosynthesis. The qRT-PCR showed that the expression of these genes was sensitive to low temperature and drought. Furthermore, we analyzed differences of ZmGs specific to cultivars in temperate and tropical regions at the population level. Interestingly, the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis revealed that nucleotide polymorphism associated with different temperature zones. Above all, G2-like genes were highly conserved during evolution, but polymorphism could be caused due to a different geographical location. Moreover, G2-like genes might be related to cold and drought stresses. PMID:27560803

  5. Rapid molecular evolution across amniotes of the IIS/TOR network.

    PubMed

    McGaugh, Suzanne E; Bronikowski, Anne M; Kuo, Chih-Horng; Reding, Dawn M; Addis, Elizabeth A; Flagel, Lex E; Janzen, Fredric J; Schwartz, Tonia S

    2015-06-01

    The insulin/insulin-like signaling and target of rapamycin (IIS/TOR) network regulates lifespan and reproduction, as well as metabolic diseases, cancer, and aging. Despite its vital role in health, comparative analyses of IIS/TOR have been limited to invertebrates and mammals. We conducted an extensive evolutionary analysis of the IIS/TOR network across 66 amniotes with 18 newly generated transcriptomes from nonavian reptiles and additional available genomes/transcriptomes. We uncovered rapid and extensive molecular evolution between reptiles (including birds) and mammals: (i) the IIS/TOR network, including the critical nodes insulin receptor substrate (IRS) and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), exhibit divergent evolutionary rates between reptiles and mammals; (ii) compared with a proxy for the rest of the genome, genes of the IIS/TOR extracellular network exhibit exceptionally fast evolutionary rates; and (iii) signatures of positive selection and coevolution of the extracellular network suggest reptile- and mammal-specific interactions between members of the network. In reptiles, positively selected sites cluster on the binding surfaces of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1), IGF1 receptor (IGF1R), and insulin receptor (INSR); whereas in mammals, positively selected sites clustered on the IGF2 binding surface, suggesting that these hormone-receptor binding affinities are targets of positive selection. Further, contrary to reports that IGF2R binds IGF2 only in marsupial and placental mammals, we found positively selected sites clustered on the hormone binding surface of reptile IGF2R that suggest that IGF2R binds to IGF hormones in diverse taxa and may have evolved in reptiles. These data suggest that key IIS/TOR paralogs have sub- or neofunctionalized between mammals and reptiles and that this network may underlie fundamental life history and physiological differences between these amniote sister clades. PMID:25991861

  6. GIANT MOLECULAR CLOUD EVOLUTIONS IN THE NEARBY SPIRAL GALAXY M33

    SciTech Connect

    Miura, Rie E.; Espada, Daniel; Hwang, Narae; Okumura, Sachiko K.; Komugi, Shinya; Nakanishi, Kouichiro; Sawada, Tsuyoshi; Kohno, Kotaro; Tosaki, Tomoka; Kuno, Nario; Hirota, Akihiko; Onodera, Sachiko; Kaneko, Hiroyuki; Kawabe, Ryohei; Muraoka, Kazuyuki; Minamidani, Tetsuhiro

    2012-12-10

    We present a giant molecular cloud (GMC) catalog of M33, containing 71 GMCs in total, based on wide-field and high-sensitivity CO(J = 3-2) observations with a spatial resolution of 100 pc using the ASTE 10 m telescope. Employing archival optical data, we identify 75 young stellar groups (YSGs) from the excess of the surface stellar density, and estimate their ages by comparing with stellar evolution models. A spatial comparison among the GMCs, YSGs, and H II regions enable us to classify GMCs into four categories: Type A, showing no sign of massive star formation (SF); Type B, being associated only with H II regions; Type C, with both H II regions and <10 Myr old YSGs; and Type D, with both H II regions and 10-30 Myr YSGs. Out of 65 GMCs (discarding those at the edges of the observed fields), 1 (1%), 13 (20%), 29 (45%), and 22 (34%) are Types A, B, C, and D, respectively. We interpret these categories as stages in a GMC evolutionary sequence. Assuming that the timescale for each evolutionary stage is proportional to the number of GMCs, the lifetime of a GMC with a mass >10{sup 5} M{sub Sun} is estimated to be 20-40 Myr. In addition, we find that the dense gas fraction as traced by the CO(J = 3-2)/CO(J = 1-0) ratio is enhanced around SF regions. This confirms a scenario where dense gas is preferentially formed around previously generated stars, and will be the fuel for the next stellar generation. In this way, massive SF gradually propagates in a GMC until gas is exhausted.

  7. Molecular evolution of the trnL(UAA) intron in bryophytes.

    PubMed

    Quandt, Dietmar; Stech, Michael

    2005-09-01

    Structure, variability, and molecular evolution of the trnL(UAA) intron in bryophytes (mosses and liverworts) is analyzed based on more than 1000 sequences representing all classes, including comparisons of lengths and GC-contents, sequence similarities, evolutionary rates and ti/tv ratios of the major lineages and selected genera. Secondary structure analyses of the more variable stem-loop regions facilitated recognition of sequence repeats and minute inversions that often occurred independently in non-related lineages, thus supporting alignment construction and homology assessment. The most length-variable stem-loop region P8 does not share a common evolutionary history across all major bryophyte lineages. Independent nucleotide additions such as internally repeated sequence segments resulted in non-homologous P8 sequences that cannot be folded into a common P8 secondary structure, neither for all bryophytes nor for liverworts or mosses. To address evolutionary patterns, separate analyses of P6/P8 and the remaining intron (core) have to be performed, as overall values of the complete intron are misleading. It is argued that a transition bias observed above the genus level in the core structure is caused by structural constraints, not by its higher GC-content in comparison to the more AT-rich P6 and P8. Compensating base pair changes detected in highly conserved elements are often characteristic of the major bryophyte lineages (classes). Sequence divergence and evolutionary rates are generally higher in liverworts than in mosses, resulting in ambiguous alignments of P6 and P8 even within classes. In mosses, trends towards length reduction of P8 and lower evolutionary rates of the intron are observed. Average intraspecific variation is less than 1%, corresponding to 2-3 mutations in the complete intron.

  8. Molecular phylogenetics of the siphonophora (Cnidaria), with implications for the evolution of functional specialization.

    PubMed

    Dunn, Casey W; Pugh, Philip R; Haddock, Steven H D

    2005-12-01

    Siphonophores are a group of pelagic colonial hydrozoans (Cnidaria) that have long been of general interest because of the division of labor between the polyps and medusae that make up these "superorganisms." These polyps and medusae are each homologous to free living animals but are generated by an incomplete asexual budding process that leaves them physiologically integrated. They are functionally specialized for different tasks and are precisely organized within each colony. The number of functional types of polyps and medusae varies across taxa, and different authors have used this character to construct phylogenies polarized in opposite directions, depending on whether they thought siphonophore evolution proceeded by a reduction or an increase in functional specialization. We have collected taxa across all major groups of siphonophores, many of which are found exclusively in the deep sea, using remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs) and by SCUBA diving from ships in the open ocean. We have used 52 siphonophores and four outgroup taxa to estimate the siphonophore phylogeny with molecular data from the nuclear small subunit ribosomal RNA gene (18S) and the mitochondrial large subunit ribosomal RNA gene (16S). Parsimony reconstructions indicate that functionally specialized polyps and medusae have been gained and lost across the phylogeny. Maximum likelihood and Bayesian analyses of morphological data suggest that the transition rate for decreased functional specialization is greater than the transition rate for increased functional specialization for three out of the four investigated categories of polyps and medusae. The present analysis also bears on several long-standing questions about siphonophore systematics. It indicates that the cystonects are sister to all other siphonophores, a group that we call the Codonophora. We also find that the Calycophorae are nested within the Physonectae, and that the Brachystelia, a historically recognized grouping of

  9. Rapid molecular evolution across amniotes of the IIS/TOR network.

    PubMed

    McGaugh, Suzanne E; Bronikowski, Anne M; Kuo, Chih-Horng; Reding, Dawn M; Addis, Elizabeth A; Flagel, Lex E; Janzen, Fredric J; Schwartz, Tonia S

    2015-06-01

    The insulin/insulin-like signaling and target of rapamycin (IIS/TOR) network regulates lifespan and reproduction, as well as metabolic diseases, cancer, and aging. Despite its vital role in health, comparative analyses of IIS/TOR have been limited to invertebrates and mammals. We conducted an extensive evolutionary analysis of the IIS/TOR network across 66 amniotes with 18 newly generated transcriptomes from nonavian reptiles and additional available genomes/transcriptomes. We uncovered rapid and extensive molecular evolution between reptiles (including birds) and mammals: (i) the IIS/TOR network, including the critical nodes insulin receptor substrate (IRS) and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), exhibit divergent evolutionary rates between reptiles and mammals; (ii) compared with a proxy for the rest of the genome, genes of the IIS/TOR extracellular network exhibit exceptionally fast evolutionary rates; and (iii) signatures of positive selection and coevolution of the extracellular network suggest reptile- and mammal-specific interactions between members of the network. In reptiles, positively selected sites cluster on the binding surfaces of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1), IGF1 receptor (IGF1R), and insulin receptor (INSR); whereas in mammals, positively selected sites clustered on the IGF2 binding surface, suggesting that these hormone-receptor binding affinities are targets of positive selection. Further, contrary to reports that IGF2R binds IGF2 only in marsupial and placental mammals, we found positively selected sites clustered on the hormone binding surface of reptile IGF2R that suggest that IGF2R binds to IGF hormones in diverse taxa and may have evolved in reptiles. These data suggest that key IIS/TOR paralogs have sub- or neofunctionalized between mammals and reptiles and that this network may underlie fundamental life history and physiological differences between these amniote sister clades.

  10. Molecular Evolution of the Substrate Specificity of Chloroplastic Aldolases/Rubisco Lysine Methyltransferases in Plants.

    PubMed

    Ma, Sheng; Martin-Laffon, Jacqueline; Mininno, Morgane; Gigarel, Océane; Brugière, Sabine; Bastien, Olivier; Tardif, Marianne; Ravanel, Stéphane; Alban, Claude

    2016-04-01

    Rubisco and fructose-1,6-bisphosphate aldolases (FBAs) are involved in CO2 fixation in chloroplasts. Both enzymes are trimethylated at a specific lysine residue by the chloroplastic protein methyltransferase LSMT. Genes coding LSMT are present in all plant genomes but the methylation status of the substrates varies in a species-specific manner. For example, chloroplastic FBAs are naturally trimethylated in both Pisum sativum and Arabidopsis thaliana, whereas the Rubisco large subunit is trimethylated only in the former species. The in vivo methylation status of aldolases and Rubisco matches the catalytic properties of AtLSMT and PsLSMT, which are able to trimethylate FBAs or FBAs and Rubisco, respectively. Here, we created chimera and site-directed mutants of monofunctional AtLSMT and bifunctional PsLSMT to identify the molecular determinants responsible for substrate specificity. Our results indicate that the His-Ala/Pro-Trp triad located in the central part of LSMT enzymes is the key motif to confer the capacity to trimethylate Rubisco. Two of the critical residues are located on a surface loop outside the methyltransferase catalytic site. We observed a strict correlation between the presence of the triad motif and the in vivo methylation status of Rubisco. The distribution of the motif into a phylogenetic tree further suggests that the ancestral function of LSMT was FBA trimethylation. In a recent event during higher plant evolution, this function evolved in ancestors of Fabaceae, Cucurbitaceae, and Rosaceae to include Rubisco as an additional substrate to the archetypal enzyme. Our study provides insight into mechanisms by which SET-domain protein methyltransferases evolve new substrate specificity. PMID:26785049

  11. Rapid molecular evolution across amniotes of the IIS/TOR network

    PubMed Central

    McGaugh, Suzanne E.; Bronikowski, Anne M.; Kuo, Chih-Horng; Reding, Dawn M.; Addis, Elizabeth A.; Flagel, Lex E.; Janzen, Fredric J.

    2015-01-01

    The insulin/insulin-like signaling and target of rapamycin (IIS/TOR) network regulates lifespan and reproduction, as well as metabolic diseases, cancer, and aging. Despite its vital role in health, comparative analyses of IIS/TOR have been limited to invertebrates and mammals. We conducted an extensive evolutionary analysis of the IIS/TOR network across 66 amniotes with 18 newly generated transcriptomes from nonavian reptiles and additional available genomes/transcriptomes. We uncovered rapid and extensive molecular evolution between reptiles (including birds) and mammals: (i) the IIS/TOR network, including the critical nodes insulin receptor substrate (IRS) and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), exhibit divergent evolutionary rates between reptiles and mammals; (ii) compared with a proxy for the rest of the genome, genes of the IIS/TOR extracellular network exhibit exceptionally fast evolutionary rates; and (iii) signatures of positive selection and coevolution of the extracellular network suggest reptile- and mammal-specific interactions between members of the network. In reptiles, positively selected sites cluster on the binding surfaces of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1), IGF1 receptor (IGF1R), and insulin receptor (INSR); whereas in mammals, positively selected sites clustered on the IGF2 binding surface, suggesting that these hormone-receptor binding affinities are targets of positive selection. Further, contrary to reports that IGF2R binds IGF2 only in marsupial and placental mammals, we found positively selected sites clustered on the hormone binding surface of reptile IGF2R that suggest that IGF2R binds to IGF hormones in diverse taxa and may have evolved in reptiles. These data suggest that key IIS/TOR paralogs have sub- or neofunctionalized between mammals and reptiles and that this network may underlie fundamental life history and physiological differences between these amniote sister clades. PMID:25991861

  12. Molecular evolution of multiple forms of kisspeptins and GPR54 receptors in vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Lee, Yeo Reum; Tsunekawa, Kenta; Moon, Mi Jin; Um, Haet Nim; Hwang, Jong-Ik; Osugi, Tomohiro; Otaki, Naohito; Sunakawa, Yuya; Kim, Kyungjin; Vaudry, Hubert; Kwon, Hyuk Bang; Seong, Jae Young; Tsutsui, Kazuyoshi

    2009-06-01

    Kisspeptin and its receptor GPR54 play important roles in mammalian reproduction and cancer metastasis. Because the KiSS and GPR54 genes have been identified in a limited number of vertebrate species, mainly in mammals, the evolutionary history of these genes is poorly understood. In the present study, we have cloned multiple forms of kisspeptin and GPR54 cDNAs from a variety of vertebrate species. We found that fish have two forms of kisspeptin genes, KiSS-1 and KiSS-2, whereas Xenopus possesses three forms of kisspeptin genes, KiSS-1a, KiSS-1b, and KiSS-2. The nonmammalian KiSS-1 gene was found to be the ortholog of the mammalian KiSS-1 gene, whereas the KiSS-2 gene is a novel form, encoding a C-terminally amidated dodecapeptide in the Xenopus brain. This study is the first to identify a mature form of KiSS-2 product in the brain of any vertebrate. Likewise, fish possess two receptors, GPR54-1 and GPR54-2, whereas Xenopus carry three receptors, GPR54-1a, GPR54-1b, and GPR54-2. Sequence identity and genome synteny analyses indicate that Xenopus GPR54-1a is a human GPR54 ortholog, whereas Xenopus GPR54-1b is a fish GPR54-1 ortholog. Both kisspeptins and GPR54s were abundantly expressed in the Xenopus brain, notably in the hypothalamus, suggesting that these ligand-receptor pairs have neuroendocrine and neuromodulatory roles. Synthetic KiSS-1 and KiSS-2 peptides activated GPR54s expressed in CV-1 cells with different potencies, indicating differential ligand selectivity. These data shed new light on the molecular evolution of the kisspeptin-GPR54 system in vertebrates. PMID:19164475

  13. Ecology has contrasting effects on genetic variation within species versus rates of molecular evolution across species in water beetles.

    PubMed

    Fujisawa, Tomochika; Vogler, Alfried P; Barraclough, Timothy G

    2015-01-22

    Comparative analysis is a potentially powerful approach to study the effects of ecological traits on genetic variation and rate of evolution across species. However, the lack of suitable datasets means that comparative studies of correlates of genetic traits across an entire clade have been rare. Here, we use a large DNA-barcode dataset (5062 sequences) of water beetles to test the effects of species ecology and geographical distribution on genetic variation within species and rates of molecular evolution across species. We investigated species traits predicted to influence their genetic characteristics, such as surrogate measures of species population size, latitudinal distribution and habitat types, taking phylogeny into account. Genetic variation of cytochrome oxidase I in water beetles was positively correlated with occupancy (numbers of sites of species presence) and negatively with latitude, whereas substitution rates across species depended mainly on habitat types, and running water specialists had the highest rate. These results are consistent with theoretical predictions from nearly-neutral theories of evolution, and suggest that the comparative analysis using large databases can give insights into correlates of genetic variation and molecular evolution.

  14. Ecology has contrasting effects on genetic variation within species versus rates of molecular evolution across species in water beetles.

    PubMed

    Fujisawa, Tomochika; Vogler, Alfried P; Barraclough, Timothy G

    2015-01-22

    Comparative analysis is a potentially powerful approach to study the effects of ecological traits on genetic variation and rate of evolution across species. However, the lack of suitable datasets means that comparative studies of correlates of genetic traits across an entire clade have been rare. Here, we use a large DNA-barcode dataset (5062 sequences) of water beetles to test the effects of species ecology and geographical distribution on genetic variation within species and rates of molecular evolution across species. We investigated species traits predicted to influence their genetic characteristics, such as surrogate measures of species population size, latitudinal distribution and habitat types, taking phylogeny into account. Genetic variation of cytochrome oxidase I in water beetles was positively correlated with occupancy (numbers of sites of species presence) and negatively with latitude, whereas substitution rates across species depended mainly on habitat types, and running water specialists had the highest rate. These results are consistent with theoretical predictions from nearly-neutral theories of evolution, and suggest that the comparative analysis using large databases can give insights into correlates of genetic variation and molecular evolution. PMID:25621335

  15. Phylogeny and rates of molecular evolution of planktonic foraminifera: SSU rDNA sequences compared to the fossil record.

    PubMed

    de Vargas, C; Zaninetti, L; Hilbrecht, H; Pawlowski, J

    1997-09-01

    Planktonic foraminifera are marine protists, whose calcareous shells form oceanic sediments and are widely used for stratigraphic and paleoenvironmental analyses. The fossil record of planktonic foraminifera is compared here to their molecular phylogeny inferred from ribosomal DNA sequences. Eighteen partial SSU rDNA sequences from species representing all modern planktonic families (Globigerinidae, Hastigerinidae, Globorotaliidae, Candeinidae) were obtained and compared to seven sequences representing the major groups of benthic foraminifera. The phylogenetic analyses indicate a polyphyletic origin for the planktonic foraminifera. The Candeinidae, the Globorotaliidae, and the clade Globigerinidae + Hastigerinidae seem to have originated independently, at different epochs in the evolution of foraminifera. Inference of their relationships, however, is limited by substitution rates of heterogeneity. Rates of SSU rDNA evolution vary from 4.0 x 10(-9) substitutions/site/year in the Globigerinidae to less than 1.0 x 10(-9) substitutions/site/year in the Globorotaliidae. These variations may be related to different levels of adaptation to the planktonic mode of life. A clock-like evolution is observed among the Globigerinidae, for which molecular and paleontological data are congruent. Phylogeny of the Globorotaliidae is clearly biased by rapid rates of substitution in two species (G. truncatulinoides and G. menardii). Our study reveals differences in absolute rates of evolution at all taxonomic levels in planktonic foraminifera and demonstrates their effect on phylogenetic reconstructions.

  16. Ecology has contrasting effects on genetic variation within species versus rates of molecular evolution across species in water beetles

    PubMed Central

    Fujisawa, Tomochika; Vogler, Alfried P.; Barraclough, Timothy G.

    2015-01-01

    Comparative analysis is a potentially powerful approach to study the effects of ecological traits on genetic variation and rate of evolution across species. However, the lack of suitable datasets means that comparative studies of correlates of genetic traits across an entire clade have been rare. Here, we use a large DNA-barcode dataset (5062 sequences) of water beetles to test the effects of species ecology and geographical distribution on genetic variation within species and rates of molecular evolution across species. We investigated species traits predicted to influence their genetic characteristics, such as surrogate measures of species population size, latitudinal distribution and habitat types, taking phylogeny into account. Genetic variation of cytochrome oxidase I in water beetles was positively correlated with occupancy (numbers of sites of species presence) and negatively with latitude, whereas substitution rates across species depended mainly on habitat types, and running water specialists had the highest rate. These results are consistent with theoretical predictions from nearly-neutral theories of evolution, and suggest that the comparative analysis using large databases can give insights into correlates of genetic variation and molecular evolution. PMID:25621335

  17. Machine learning for molecular scattering dynamics: Gaussian Process models for improved predictions of molecular collision observables

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Krems, Roman; Cui, Jie; Li, Zhiying

    2016-05-01

    We show how statistical learning techniques based on kriging (Gaussian Process regression) can be used for improving the predictions of classical and/or quantum scattering theory. In particular, we show how Gaussian Process models can be used for: (i) efficient non-parametric fitting of multi-dimensional potential energy surfaces without the need to fit ab initio data with analytical functions; (ii) obtaining scattering observables as functions of individual PES parameters; (iii) using classical trajectories to interpolate quantum results; (iv) extrapolation of scattering observables from one molecule to another; (v) obtaining scattering observables with error bars reflecting the inherent inaccuracy of the underlying potential energy surfaces. We argue that the application of Gaussian Process models to quantum scattering calculations may potentially elevate the theoretical predictions to the same level of certainty as the experimental measurements and can be used to identify the role of individual atoms in determining the outcome of collisions of complex molecules. We will show examples and discuss the applications of Gaussian Process models to improving the predictions of scattering theory relevant for the cold molecules research field. Work supported by NSERC of Canada.

  18. On Improving Efficiency of Differential Evolution for Aerodynamic Shape Optimization Applications

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Madavan, Nateri K.

    2004-01-01

    Differential Evolution (DE) is a simple and robust evolutionary strategy that has been proven effective in determining the global optimum for several difficult optimization problems. Although DE offers several advantages over traditional optimization approaches, its use in applications such as aerodynamic shape optimization where the objective function evaluations are computationally expensive is limited by the large number of function evaluations often required. In this paper various approaches for improving the efficiency of DE are reviewed and discussed. These approaches are implemented in a DE-based aerodynamic shape optimization method that uses a Navier-Stokes solver for the objective function evaluations. Parallelization techniques on distributed computers are used to reduce turnaround times. Results are presented for the inverse design of a turbine airfoil. The efficiency improvements achieved by the different approaches are evaluated and compared.

  19. On Improving Efficiency of Differential Evolution for Aerodynamic Shape Optimization Applications

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Madavan, Nateri K.

    2004-01-01

    Differential Evolution (DE) is a simple and robust evolutionary strategy that has been provEn effective in determining the global optimum for several difficult optimization problems. Although DE offers several advantages over traditional optimization approaches, its use in applications such as aerodynamic shape optimization where the objective function evaluations are computationally expensive is limited by the large number of function evaluations often required. In this paper various approaches for improving the efficiency of DE are reviewed and discussed. Several approaches that have proven effective for other evolutionary algorithms are modified and implemented in a DE-based aerodynamic shape optimization method that uses a Navier-Stokes solver for the objective function evaluations. Parallelization techniques on distributed computers are used to reduce turnaround times. Results are presented for standard test optimization problems and for the inverse design of a turbine airfoil. The efficiency improvements achieved by the different approaches are evaluated and compared.

  20. Molecular evolution of calcification genes in morphologically similar but phylogenetically unrelated scleractinian corals.

    PubMed

    Wirshing, Herman H; Baker, Andrew C

    2014-08-01

    cases, these taxa shared aspects of their skeletal morphology (i.e., convergence or diversification relative to the "non-calcification" loci), but in other cases they did not. For example, the "non-calcification" loci recovered Atlantic and Pacific mussids as separate evolutionary lineages, whereas with CIII-MBSα-CA, clones of two species of Atlantic mussids (Isophyllia sinuosa and Mycetophyllia sp.) and two species of Pacific mussids (Acanthastrea echinata and Lobophyllia hemprichii) were united in a distinct clade (except for one individual of Mycetophyllia). However, this clade also contained other taxa which were not unambiguously correlated with morphological features. BMP2/4 also contained clones that likely represent different gene copies. However, many of the sequences showed no significant deviation from neutrality, and reconstructed phylogenies were similar to the "non-calcification" tree topologies with a few exceptions. Although individual calcification genes are unlikely to precisely explain the diverse morphological features exhibited by scleractinian corals, this study demonstrates an approach for identifying cases where morphological taxonomy may have been misled by convergent and/or divergent molecular evolutionary processes in corals. Studies such as this may help illuminate our understanding of the likely complex evolution of genes involved in the calcification process, and enhance our knowledge of the natural history and biodiversity within this central ecological group. PMID:24780747

  1. Molecular evolution of calcification genes in morphologically similar but phylogenetically unrelated scleractinian corals.

    PubMed

    Wirshing, Herman H; Baker, Andrew C

    2014-08-01

    cases, these taxa shared aspects of their skeletal morphology (i.e., convergence or diversification relative to the "non-calcification" loci), but in other cases they did not. For example, the "non-calcification" loci recovered Atlantic and Pacific mussids as separate evolutionary lineages, whereas with CIII-MBSα-CA, clones of two species of Atlantic mussids (Isophyllia sinuosa and Mycetophyllia sp.) and two species of Pacific mussids (Acanthastrea echinata and Lobophyllia hemprichii) were united in a distinct clade (except for one individual of Mycetophyllia). However, this clade also contained other taxa which were not unambiguously correlated with morphological features. BMP2/4 also contained clones that likely represent different gene copies. However, many of the sequences showed no significant deviation from neutrality, and reconstructed phylogenies were similar to the "non-calcification" tree topologies with a few exceptions. Although individual calcification genes are unlikely to precisely explain the diverse morphological features exhibited by scleractinian corals, this study demonstrates an approach for identifying cases where morphological taxonomy may have been misled by convergent and/or divergent molecular evolutionary processes in corals. Studies such as this may help illuminate our understanding of the likely complex evolution of genes involved in the calcification process, and enhance our knowledge of the natural history and biodiversity within this central ecological group.

  2. [MOLECULAR EVOLUTION OF ION CHANNELS: AMINO ACID SEQUENCES AND 3D STRUCTURES].

    PubMed

    Korkosh, V S; Zhorov, B S; Tikhonov, D B

    2016-01-01

    An integral part of modern evolutionary biology is comparative analysis of structure and function of macromolecules such as proteins. The first and critical step to understand evolution of homologous proteins is their amino acid sequence alignment. However, standard algorithms fop not provide unambiguous sequence alignments for proteins of poor homology. More reliable results can be obtained by comparing experimental 3D structures obtained at atomic resolution, for instance, with the aid of X-ray structural analysis. If such structures are lacking, homology modeling is used, which may take into account indirect experimental data on functional roles of individual amino-acid residues. An important problem is that the sequence alignment, which reflects genetic modifications, does not necessarily correspond to the functional homology. The latter depends on three-dimensional structures which are critical for natural selection. Since alignment techniques relying only on the analysis of primary structures carry no information on the functional properties of proteins, including 3D structures into consideration is very important. Here we consider several examples involving ion channels and demonstrate that alignment of their three-dimensional structures can significantly improve sequence alignments obtained by traditional methods.

  3. Planetary change and biochemical adaptation: molecular evolution of corrinoid and heme biosyntheses.

    PubMed

    Lazcano, Antonio

    2012-04-01

    This review examines the evidence suggesting that the anaerobic biosynthesis of cobalamin (vitamin B12) evolved during early stages of cell evolution and was quickly recruited in the pathway leading to deoxyribonucleotides, the building blocks of DNA genomes. Biochemical evolution preceding the synthesis of the heme group and related molecules is discussed within the framework of geological evolution in which the appearance and accumulation of an oxygen-rich atmosphere stands as one of the major events in the evolution of the planet and the biosphere.

  4. Molecular evolution and the role of oxidative stress in the expansion and functional diversification of cytosolic glutathione transferases

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Cytosolic glutathione transferases (cGST) are a large group of ubiquitous enzymes involved in detoxification and are well known for their undesired side effects during chemotherapy. In this work we have performed thorough phylogenetic analyses to understand the various aspects of the evolution and functional diversification of cGSTs. Furthermore, we assessed plausible correlations between gene duplication and substrate specificity of gene paralogs in humans and selected species, notably in mammalian enzymes and their natural substrates. Results We present a molecular phylogeny of cytosolic GSTs that shows that several classes of cGSTs are more ubiquitous and thus have an older ancestry than previously thought. Furthermore, we found that positive selection is implicated in the diversification of cGSTs. The number of duplicate genes per class is generally higher for groups of enzymes that metabolize products of oxidative damage. Conclusions 1) Protection against oxidative stress seems to be the major driver of positive selection in mammalian cGSTs, explaining the overall expansion pattern of this subfamily; 2) Given the functional redundancy of GSTs that metabolize xenobiotic chemicals, we would expect the loss of gene duplicates, but by contrast we observed a gene expansion of this family, which likely has been favored by: i) the diversification of endogenous substrates; ii) differential tissue expression; and iii) increased specificity for a particular molecule; 3) The increased availability of sequence data from diversified taxa is likely to continue to improve our understanding of the early origin of the different cGST classes. PMID:20843339

  5. Molecular Evidence for Convergence and Parallelism in Evolution of Complex Brains of Cephalopod Molluscs: Insights from Visual Systems.

    PubMed

    Yoshida, M A; Ogura, A; Ikeo, K; Shigeno, S; Moritaki, T; Winters, G C; Kohn, A B; Moroz, L L

    2015-12-01

    Coleoid cephalopods show remarkable evolutionary convergence with vertebrates in their neural organization, including (1) eyes and visual system with optic lobes, (2) specialized parts of the brain controlling learning and memory, such as vertical lobes, and (3) unique vasculature supporting such complexity of the central nervous system. We performed deep sequencing of eye transcriptomes of pygmy squids (Idiosepius paradoxus) and chambered nautiluses (Nautilus pompilius) to decipher the molecular basis of convergent evolution in cephalopods. RNA-seq was complemented by in situ hybridization to localize the expression of selected genes. We found three types of genomic innovations in the evolution of complex brains: (1) recruitment of novel genes into morphogenetic pathways, (2) recombination of various coding and regulatory regions of different genes, often called "evolutionary tinkering" or "co-option", and (3) duplication and divergence of genes. Massive recruitment of novel genes occurred in the evolution of the "camera" eye from nautilus' "pinhole" eye. We also showed that the type-2 co-option of transcription factors played important roles in the evolution of the lens and visual neurons. In summary, the cephalopod convergent morphological evolution of the camera eyes was driven by a mosaic of all types of gene recruitments. In addition, our analysis revealed unexpected variations of squids' opsins, retinochromes, and arrestins, providing more detailed information, valuable for further research on intra-ocular and extra-ocular photoreception of the cephalopods.

  6. The Effects of Molecular Properties on Ready Biodegradation of Aromatic Compounds in the OECD 301B CO2 Evolution Test.

    PubMed

    He, Mei; Mei, Cheng-Fang; Sun, Guo-Ping; Li, Hai-Bei; Liu, Lei; Xu, Mei-Ying

    2016-07-01

    Ready biodegradation is the primary biodegradability of a compound, which is used for discriminating whether a compound could be rapidly and readily biodegraded in the natural ecosystems in a short period and has been applied extensively in the environmental risk assessment of many chemicals. In this study, the effects of 24 molecular properties (including 2 physicochemical parameters, 10 geometrical parameters, 6 topological parameters, and 6 electronic parameters) on the ready biodegradation of 24 kinds of synthetic aromatic compounds were investigated using the OECD 301B CO2 Evolution test. The relationship between molecular properties and ready biodegradation of these aromatic compounds varied with molecular properties. A significant inverse correlation was found for the topological parameter TD, five geometrical parameters (Rad, CAA, CMA, CSEV, and N c), and the physicochemical parameter K ow, and a positive correlation for two topological parameters TC and TVC, whereas no significant correlation was observed for any of the electronic parameters. Based on the correlations between molecular properties and ready biodegradation of these aromatic compounds, the importance of molecular properties was demonstrated as follows: geometrical properties > topological properties > physicochemical properties > electronic properties. Our study first demonstrated the effects of molecular properties on ready biodegradation by a number of experiment data under the same experimental conditions, which should be taken into account to better guide the ready biodegradation tests and understand the mechanisms of the ready biodegradation of aromatic compounds. PMID:26498763

  7. The Effects of Molecular Properties on Ready Biodegradation of Aromatic Compounds in the OECD 301B CO2 Evolution Test.

    PubMed

    He, Mei; Mei, Cheng-Fang; Sun, Guo-Ping; Li, Hai-Bei; Liu, Lei; Xu, Mei-Ying

    2016-07-01

    Ready biodegradation is the primary biodegradability of a compound, which is used for discriminating whether a compound could be rapidly and readily biodegraded in the natural ecosystems in a short period and has been applied extensively in the environmental risk assessment of many chemicals. In this study, the effects of 24 molecular properties (including 2 physicochemical parameters, 10 geometrical parameters, 6 topological parameters, and 6 electronic parameters) on the ready biodegradation of 24 kinds of synthetic aromatic compounds were investigated using the OECD 301B CO2 Evolution test. The relationship between molecular properties and ready biodegradation of these aromatic compounds varied with molecular properties. A significant inverse correlation was found for the topological parameter TD, five geometrical parameters (Rad, CAA, CMA, CSEV, and N c), and the physicochemical parameter K ow, and a positive correlation for two topological parameters TC and TVC, whereas no significant correlation was observed for any of the electronic parameters. Based on the correlations between molecular properties and ready biodegradation of these aromatic compounds, the importance of molecular properties was demonstrated as follows: geometrical properties > topological properties > physicochemical properties > electronic properties. Our study first demonstrated the effects of molecular properties on ready biodegradation by a number of experiment data under the same experimental conditions, which should be taken into account to better guide the ready biodegradation tests and understand the mechanisms of the ready biodegradation of aromatic compounds.

  8. Acanthamoeba keratitis: improving the Scottish diagnostic service for the rapid molecular detection of Acanthamoeba species.

    PubMed

    Alexander, Claire Low; Coyne, Michael; Jones, Brian; Anijeet, Deepa

    2015-07-01

    Acanthamoeba species are responsible for causing the potentially sight-threatening condition, Acanthamoeba keratitis, which is commonly associated with contact lens use. In this report, we highlight the challenges faced using conventional laboratory identification methods to identify this often under-reported pathogen, and discuss the reasons for introducing the first national service in Scotland for the rapid and sensitive molecular identification of Acanthamoeba species. By comparing culture and molecular testing data from a total of 63 patients (n = 80 samples) throughout Scotland presenting with ocular eye disease, we describe the improvement in detection rates where an additional four positive cases were identified using a molecular assay versus culture. The testing of a further ten patients by confocal imaging is also presented. This report emphasizes the importance of continuing to improve clinical laboratory services to ensure a prompt, correct diagnosis and better prognosis, in addition to raising awareness of this potentially debilitating opportunistic pathogen.

  9. An Effective Approach to Improving Cadmium Telluride (111)A Surface by Molecular-Beam-Epitaxy Growth of Tellurium Monolayer.

    PubMed

    Ren, Jie; Fu, Li; Bian, Guang; Su, Jie; Zhang, Hao; Velury, Saavanth; Yukawa, Ryu; Zhang, Longxiang; Wang, Tao; Zha, Gangqiang; Guo, Rongrong; Miller, Tom; Hasan, M Zahid; Chiang, Tai-Chang

    2016-01-13

    The surface cleansing treatment of non-natural cleavage planes of semiconductors is usually performed in vacuum using ion sputtering and subsequent annealing. In this Research Article, we report on the evolution of surface atomic structure caused by different ways of surface treatment as monitored by in situ core-level photoemission measurements of Cd-4d and Te-4d atomic levels and reflection high-energy electron diffraction (RHEED). Sputtering of surface increases the density of the dangling bonds by 50%. This feature and the less than ideal ordering can be detrimental to device applications. An effective approach is employed to improve the quality of this surface. One monolayer (ML) of Te grown by the method of molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) on the target surface with heating at 300 °C effectively improves the surface quality as evidenced by the improved sharpness of RHEED pattern and a reduced diffuse background in the spectra measured by high-resolution ultraviolet photoemission spectroscopy (HRUPS). Calculations have been performed for various atomic geometries by employing first-principles geometry optimization. In conjunction with an analysis of the core level component intensities in terms the layer-attenuation model, we propose a "vacancy site" model of the modified 1 ML-Te/CdTe(111)A (2 × 2) surface.

  10. An Effective Approach to Improving Cadmium Telluride (111)A Surface by Molecular-Beam-Epitaxy Growth of Tellurium Monolayer.

    PubMed

    Ren, Jie; Fu, Li; Bian, Guang; Su, Jie; Zhang, Hao; Velury, Saavanth; Yukawa, Ryu; Zhang, Longxiang; Wang, Tao; Zha, Gangqiang; Guo, Rongrong; Miller, Tom; Hasan, M Zahid; Chiang, Tai-Chang

    2016-01-13

    The surface cleansing treatment of non-natural cleavage planes of semiconductors is usually performed in vacuum using ion sputtering and subsequent annealing. In this Research Article, we report on the evolution of surface atomic structure caused by different ways of surface treatment as monitored by in situ core-level photoemission measurements of Cd-4d and Te-4d atomic levels and reflection high-energy electron diffraction (RHEED). Sputtering of surface increases the density of the dangling bonds by 50%. This feature and the less than ideal ordering can be detrimental to device applications. An effective approach is employed to improve the quality of this surface. One monolayer (ML) of Te grown by the method of molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) on the target surface with heating at 300 °C effectively improves the surface quality as evidenced by the improved sharpness of RHEED pattern and a reduced diffuse background in the spectra measured by high-resolution ultraviolet photoemission spectroscopy (HRUPS). Calculations have been performed for various atomic geometries by employing first-principles geometry optimization. In conjunction with an analysis of the core level component intensities in terms the layer-attenuation model, we propose a "vacancy site" model of the modified 1 ML-Te/CdTe(111)A (2 × 2) surface. PMID:26672795

  11. Molecular evolution of the mitochondrial 12S rRNA in Ungulata (mammalia).

    PubMed

    Douzery, E; Catzeflis, F M

    1995-11-01

    The complete 12S rRNA gene has been sequenced in 4 Ungulata (hoofed eutherians) and 1 marsupial and compared to 38 available mammalian sequences in order to investigate the molecular evolution of the mitochondrial small-subunit ribosomal RNA molecule. Ungulata were represented by one artiodactyl (the collared peccary, Tayassu tajacu, suborder Suiformes), two perissodactyls (the Grevy's zebra, Equus grevyi, suborder Hippomorpha; the white rhinoceros, Ceratotherium simum, suborder Ceratomorpha), and one hyracoid (the tree hyrax, Dendrohyrax dorsalis). The fifth species was a marsupial, the eastern gray kangaroo (Macropus giganteus). Several transition/transversion biases characterized the pattern of changes between mammalian 12S rRNA molecules. A bias toward transitions was found among 12S rRNA sequences of Ungulata, illustrating the general bias exhibited by ribosomal and protein-encoding genes of the mitochondrial genome. The derivation of a mammalian 12S rRNA secondary structure model from the comparison of 43 eutherian and marsupial sequences evidenced a pronounced bias against transversions in stems. Moreover, transversional compensatory changes were rare events within double-stranded regions of the ribosomal RNA. Evolutionary characteristics of the 12S rRNA were compared with those of the nuclear 18S and 28S rRNAs. From a phylogenetic point of view, transitions, transversions and indels in stems as well as transversional and indels events in loops gave congruent results for comparisons within orders. Some compensatory changes in double-stranded regions and some indels in single-stranded regions also constituted diagnostic events. The 12S rRNA molecule confirmed the monophyly of infraorder Pecora and order Cetacea and demonstrated the monophyly of the suborder Ruminantia was not supported and the branching pattern between Cetacea and the artiodacytyl suborders Ruminantia and Suiformes was not established. The monophyly of the order Perissodactyla was evidenced

  12. The endemic gastropod fauna of Lake Titicaca: correlation between molecular evolution and hydrographic history.

    PubMed

    Kroll, Oliver; Hershler, Robert; Albrecht, Christian; Terrazas, Edmundo M; Apaza, Roberto; Fuentealba, Carmen; Wolff, Christian; Wilke, Thomas

    2012-07-01

    Lake Titicaca, situated in the Altiplano high plateau, is the only ancient lake in South America. This 2- to 3-My-old (where My is million years) water body has had a complex history that included at least five major hydrological phases during the Pleistocene. It is generally assumed that these physical events helped shape the evolutionary history of the lake's biota. Herein, we study an endemic species assemblage in Lake Titicaca, composed of members of the microgastropod genus Heleobia, to determine whether the lake has functioned as a reservoir of relic species or the site of local diversification, to evaluate congruence of the regional paleohydrology and the evolutionary history of this assemblage, and to assess whether the geographic distributions of endemic lineages are hierarchical. Our phylogenetic analyses indicate that the Titicaca/Altiplano Heleobia fauna (together with few extralimital taxa) forms a species flock. A molecular clock analysis suggests that the most recent common ancestor (MRCAs) of the Altiplano taxa evolved 0.53 (0.28-0.80) My ago and the MRCAs of the Altiplano taxa and their extralimital sister group 0.92 (0.46-1.52) My ago. The endemic species of Lake Titicaca are younger than the lake itself, implying primarily intralacustrine speciation. Moreover, the timing of evolutionary branching events and the ages of two precursors of Lake Titicaca, lakes Cabana and Ballivián, is congruent. Although Lake Titicaca appears to have been the principal site of speciation for the regional Heleobia fauna, the contemporary spatial patterns of endemism have been masked by immigration and/or emigration events of local riverine taxa, which we attribute to the unstable hydrographic history of the Altiplano. Thus, a hierarchical distribution of endemism is not evident, but instead there is a single genetic break between two regional clades. We also discuss our findings in relation to studies of other regional biota and suggest that salinity tolerance was

  13. The endemic gastropod fauna of Lake Titicaca: correlation between molecular evolution and hydrographic history

    PubMed Central

    Kroll, Oliver; Hershler, Robert; Albrecht, Christian; Terrazas, Edmundo M; Apaza, Roberto; Fuentealba, Carmen; Wolff, Christian; Wilke, Thomas

    2012-01-01

    Lake Titicaca, situated in the Altiplano high plateau, is the only ancient lake in South America. This 2- to 3-My-old (where My is million years) water body has had a complex history that included at least five major hydrological phases during the Pleistocene. It is generally assumed that these physical events helped shape the evolutionary history of the lake's biota. Herein, we study an endemic species assemblage in Lake Titicaca, composed of members of the microgastropod genus Heleobia, to determine whether the lake has functioned as a reservoir of relic species or the site of local diversification, to evaluate congruence of the regional paleohydrology and the evolutionary history of this assemblage, and to assess whether the geographic distributions of endemic lineages are hierarchical. Our phylogenetic analyses indicate that the Titicaca/Altiplano Heleobia fauna (together with few extralimital taxa) forms a species flock. A molecular clock analysis suggests that the most recent common ancestor (MRCAs) of the Altiplano taxa evolved 0.53 (0.28–0.80) My ago and the MRCAs of the Altiplano taxa and their extralimital sister group 0.92 (0.46–1.52) My ago. The endemic species of Lake Titicaca are younger than the lake itself, implying primarily intralacustrine speciation. Moreover, the timing of evolutionary branching events and the ages of two precursors of Lake Titicaca, lakes Cabana and Ballivián, is congruent. Although Lake Titicaca appears to have been the principal site of speciation for the regional Heleobia fauna, the contemporary spatial patterns of endemism have been masked by immigration and/or emigration events of local riverine taxa, which we attribute to the unstable hydrographic history of the Altiplano. Thus, a hierarchical distribution of endemism is not evident, but instead there is a single genetic break between two regional clades. We also discuss our findings in relation to studies of other regional biota and suggest that salinity tolerance

  14. Molecular Evolution and Functional Diversification of Replication Protein A1 in Plants

    PubMed Central

    Aklilu, Behailu B.; Culligan, Kevin M.

    2016-01-01

    Replication protein A (RPA) is a heterotrimeric, single-stranded DNA binding complex required for eukaryotic DNA replication, repair, and recombination. RPA is composed of three subunits, RPA1, RPA2, and RPA3. In contrast to single RPA subunit genes generally found in animals and yeast, plants encode multiple paralogs of RPA subunits, suggesting subfunctionalization. Genetic analysis demonstrates that five Arabidopsis thaliana RPA1 paralogs (RPA1A to RPA1E) have unique and overlapping functions in DNA replication, repair, and meiosis. We hypothesize here that RPA1 subfunctionalities will be reflected in major structural and sequence differences among the paralogs. To address this, we analyzed amino acid and nucleotide sequences of RPA1 paralogs from 25 complete genomes representing a wide spectrum of plants and unicellular green algae. We find here that the plant RPA1 gene family is divided into three general groups termed RPA1A, RPA1B, and RPA1C, which likely arose from two progenitor groups in unicellular green algae. In the family Brassicaceae the RPA1B and RPA1C groups have further expanded to include two unique sub-functional paralogs RPA1D and RPA1E, respectively. In addition, RPA1 groups have unique domains, motifs, cis-elements, gene expression profiles, and pattern of conservation that are consistent with proposed functions in monocot and dicot species, including a novel C-terminal zinc-finger domain found only in plant RPA1C-like sequences. These results allow for improved prediction of RPA1 subunit functions in newly sequenced plant genomes, and potentially provide a unique molecular tool to improve classification of Brassicaceae species. PMID:26858742

  15. Molecular Evolution of Antibody Cross-Reactivity for Two Subtypes of Type a Botulinum Neurotoxin

    SciTech Connect

    Garcia-Rodriguez, C.; Levy, R.; Arndt, J.W.; Forsyth, C.M.; Razai, A.; Lou, J.; Geren, I.; Stevens, R.C.; Marks, J.D.; /UC, San Francisco /Scripps Res. Inst.

    2007-07-09

    Broadening antibody specificity without compromising affinity should facilitate detection and neutralization of toxin and viral subtypes. We used yeast display and a co-selection strategy to increase cross-reactivity of a single chain (sc) Fv antibody to botulinum neurotoxin type A (BoNT/A). Starting with a scFv that binds the BoNT/A1 subtype with high affinity (136 pM) and the BoNT/A2 subtype with low affinity (109 nM), we increased its affinity for BoNT/A2 1,250-fold, to 87 pM, while maintaining high-affinity binding to BoNT/A1 (115 pM). To find the molecular basis for improved cross-reactivity, we determined the X-ray co-crystal structures of wild-type and cross-reactive antibodies complexed to BoNT/A1 at resolutions up to 2.6 A, and measured the thermodynamic contribution of BoNT/A1 and A2 amino acids to wild-type and cross-reactive antibody binding. The results show how an antibody can be engineered to bind two different antigens despite structural differences in the antigen-antibody interface and may provide a general strategy for tuning antibody specificity and cross-reactivity.

  16. Evolution of the structure of near-surface ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene nanolayers during orientational drawing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lebedev, D. V.; Ivan'kova, E. M.; Marikhin, V. A.; Myasnikova, L. P.; Radovanova, E. I.; Boiko, Yu. M.; Shtil'man, M. V.

    2014-06-01

    A comparative investigation of the surface structure of ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene film filaments obtained with different draw ratios from xerogels prepared from 1.5 wt % polymer solutions in decaline and mineral oil has been performed using a SUPRA-55V scanning electron microscope and a nanoluminograph for recording thermoluminescence of ultrathin near-surface layers of solids. It has been found that, with an increase in the draw ratio, the luminescence intensity decreases, and the peaks responsible for the segmental mobility are shifted toward higher temperatures. It has been assumed that this is associated with the improvement of the structure of near-surface layers of the polymer (with a decrease in the number of microcavities and segments of molecules with a high degree of coiling). It has also been revealed that the peaks observed in glow curves of the oriented gel samples from polymer solutions in decaline are shifted more significantly than those of the gel samples from polymer solutions in mineral oil, and the extremely oriented films are characterized by a large discretization of kinetic units of motion.

  17. The Henry Ford Production System: LEAN Process Redesign Improves Service in the Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory

    PubMed Central

    Cankovic, Milena; Varney, Ruan C.; Whiteley, Lisa; Brown, Ron; D'Angelo, Rita; Chitale, Dhananjay; Zarbo, Richard J.

    2009-01-01

    Accurate and timely molecular test results play an important role in patient management; consequently, there is a customer expectation of short testing turnaround times. Baseline data analysis revealed that the greatest challenge to timely result generation occurred in the preanalytic phase of specimen collection and transport. Here, we describe our efforts to improve molecular testing turnaround times by focusing primarily on redesign of preanalytic processes using the principles of LEAN production. Our goal was to complete greater than 90% of the molecular tests in less than 3 days. The project required cooperation from different laboratory disciplines as well as individuals outside of the laboratory. The redesigned processes involved defining and standardizing the protocols and approaching blood and tissue specimens as analytes for molecular testing. The LEAN process resulted in fewer steps, approaching the ideal of a one-piece flow for specimens through collection/retrieval, transport, and different aspects of the testing process. The outcome of introducing the LEAN process has been a 44% reduction in molecular test turnaround time for tissue specimens, from an average of 2.7 to 1.5 days. In addition, extending LEAN work principles to the clinician suppliers has resulted in a markedly increased number of properly collected and shipped blood specimens (from 50 to 87%). These continuous quality improvements were accomplished by empowered workers in a blame-free environment and are now being sustained with minimal management involvement. PMID:19661386

  18. Fast molecular beacon hybridization in organic solvents with improved target specificity.

    PubMed

    Dave, Neeshma; Liu, Juewen

    2010-12-01

    DNA hybridization is of tremendous importance in biology, bionanotechnology, and biophysics. Molecular beacons are engineered DNA hairpins with a fluorophore and a quencher labeled on each of the two ends. A target DNA can open the hairpin to give an increased fluorescence signal. To date, the majority of molecular beacon detections have been performed only in aqueous buffers. We describe herein DNA detection in nine different organic solvents, methanol, ethanol, isopropanol, acetonitrile, formamide, dimethylformamide (DMF), dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), ethylene glycol, and glycerol, varying each up to 75% (v/v). In comparison with detection in water, the detection in organic solvents showed several important features. First, the molecular beacon hybridizes to its target DNA in the presence of all nine solvents up to a certain percentage. Second, the rate of this hybridization was significantly faster in most organic solvents compared with water. For example, in 56% ethanol, the beacon showed a 70-fold rate enhancement. Third, the ability of the molecular beacon to discriminate single-base mismatch is still maintained. Lastly, the DNA melting temperature in the organic solvents showed a solvent concentration-dependent decrease. This study suggests that molecular beacons can be used for applications where organic solvents must be involved or organic solvents can be intentionally added to improve the molecular beacon performance.

  19. Aggregate size distribution evolution for Brownian coagulation-sensitivity to an improved rate constant.

    PubMed

    Zurita-Gotor, M; Rosner, D E

    2004-06-15

    Brownian motion causes small aggregates to encounter one another and grow in gaseous environments, often under conditions in which the coalescence rate (say, spheroidization by "sintering") cannot compete. The polydisperse nature of the aerosol population formed by this mechanism is typically accounted for by formulating an evolution equation for the joint PDF of the state variables needed for describing individual particles. In the simple case of fractal-like aggregates (prescribed morphology and state, characterized just by the number of aggregated spherules, or total aggregate volume), we use the quadrature method of moments and Monte Carlo simulations to show that recent improvements in the laws governing free molecule regime coagulation frequency (rate "constant") of these aggregates cause systematic changes in the shape of the asymptotic aggregate size distribution, with significant implications for the light-scattering power and inertial impaction behavior of such aggregate populations.

  20. Molecular approaches to improvement of Jatropha curcas Linn. as a sustainable energy crop.

    PubMed

    Sudhakar Johnson, T; Eswaran, Nalini; Sujatha, M

    2011-09-01

    With the increase in crude oil prices, climate change concerns and limited reserves of fossil fuel, attention has been diverted to alternate renewable energy sources such as biofuel and biomass. Among the potential biofuel crops, Jatropha curcas L, a non-domesticated shrub, has been gaining importance as the most promising oilseed, as it does not compete with the edible oil supplies. Economic relevance of J. curcas for biodiesel production has promoted world-wide prospecting of its germplasm for crop improvement and breeding. However, lack of adequate genetic variation and non-availability of improved varieties limited its prospects of being a successful energy crop. In this review, we present the progress made in molecular breeding approaches with particular reference to tissue culture and genetic transformation, genetic diversity assessment using molecular markers, large-scale transcriptome and proteome studies, identification of candidate genes for trait improvement, whole genome sequencing and the current interest by various public and private sector companies in commercial-scale cultivation, which highlights the revival of Jatropha as a sustainable energy crop. The information generated from molecular markers, transcriptome profiling and whole genome sequencing could accelerate the genetic upgradation of J. curcas through molecular breeding.

  1. An improvement index to quantify the evolution of performance in running.

    PubMed

    Haake, Steve J; Foster, Leon I; James, David M

    2014-01-01

    Improvements in track and field sports have been attributed to factors such as population increase, drugs and new technologies, but previous research has found it difficult to distinguish the contributions from specific influences. Here it is shown how this is possible by means of a performance improvement index based on useful work done combined with modelling of the annual top 25 performances. The index was set to 100 in 1948 and showed that, by 2012, it had increased in running events to between 110.5 and 146.7 (men's 100 m and marathon). Underlying global effects accounted for the majority of all improvements (16.2 to 46.7) with smaller influences attributable to an influx of African runners (3.6 to 9.3), and a 4-year oscillation that arose from staging of the Olympic Games (±0.2 to ±0.6). Performance decreased with the introduction of compulsory random drug testing (-0.9 to -3.9) the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA; -0.5 to -2.5) and fully automated timing (-0.6 to -2.5). Changes in elite sporting performance since the 1890s are attributable to societal changes caused by the industrial revolution and globalisation superimposed on millennia of human evolution. PMID:24073888

  2. An improvement index to quantify the evolution of performance in running.

    PubMed

    Haake, Steve J; Foster, Leon I; James, David M

    2014-01-01

    Improvements in track and field sports have been attributed to factors such as population increase, drugs and new technologies, but previous research has found it difficult to distinguish the contributions from specific influences. Here it is shown how this is possible by means of a performance improvement index based on useful work done combined with modelling of the annual top 25 performances. The index was set to 100 in 1948 and showed that, by 2012, it had increased in running events to between 110.5 and 146.7 (men's 100 m and marathon). Underlying global effects accounted for the majority of all improvements (16.2 to 46.7) with smaller influences attributable to an influx of African runners (3.6 to 9.3), and a 4-year oscillation that arose from staging of the Olympic Games (±0.2 to ±0.6). Performance decreased with the introduction of compulsory random drug testing (-0.9 to -3.9) the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA; -0.5 to -2.5) and fully automated timing (-0.6 to -2.5). Changes in elite sporting performance since the 1890s are attributable to societal changes caused by the industrial revolution and globalisation superimposed on millennia of human evolution.

  3. Structural Evolution of Polylactide Molecular Bottlebrushes: Kinetics Study by Size Exclusion Chromatography, Small Angle Neutron Scattering and Simulations

    SciTech Connect

    Pickel, Deanna L; Kilbey, II, S Michael; Uhrig, David; Hong, Kunlun; Carrillo, Jan-Michael Y; Sumpter, Bobby G; Ahn, Suk-Kyun; Han, Youngkyu; Kim, Dr. Tae-Hwan; Smith, Gregory Scott; Do, Changwoo

    2014-01-01

    Structural evolution from poly(lactide) (PLA) macromonomer to resultant PLA molecular bottlebrush during ring opening metathesis polymerization (ROMP) was investigated for the first time by combining size exclusion chromatography (SEC), small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) and coarse-grained molecular dynamics (CG-MD) simulations. Multiple aliquots were collected at various reaction times during ROMP, and subsequently analyzed by SEC and SANS. The two complementary techniques enable the understanding of systematic changes in conversion, molecular weight and dispersity as well as structural details of PLA molecular bottlebrushes. CG-MD simulation not only predicts the experimental observations, but it also provides further insight into the analysis and interpretation of data obtained in SEC and SANS experiments. We find that PLA molecular bottlebrushes undergo three conformational transitions with increasing conversion (i.e., increasing the backbone length): (1) from an elongated to a globular shape due to longer side chain at lower conversion, (2) from a globular to an elongated shape at intermediate conversion caused by excluded volume of PLA side chain, and (3) the saturation of contour length at higher conversion due to chain transfer reactions.

  4. The influence of body size and net diversification rate on molecular evolution during the radiation of animal phyla

    PubMed Central

    Fontanillas, Eric; Welch, John J; Thomas, Jessica A; Bromham, Lindell

    2007-01-01

    Background Molecular clock dates, which place the origin of animal phyla deep in the Precambrian, have been used to reject the hypothesis of a rapid evolutionary radiation of animal phyla supported by the fossil record. One possible explanation of the discrepancy is the potential for fast substitution rates early in the metazoan radiation. However, concerted rate variation, occurring simultaneously in multiple lineages, cannot be detected by "clock tests", and so another way to explore such variation is to look for correlated changes between rates and other biological factors. Here we investigate two possible causes of fast early rates: change in average body size or diversification rate of deep metazoan lineages. Results For nine genes for phylogenetically independent comparisons between 50 metazoan phyla, orders, and classes, we find a significant correlation between average body size and rate of molecular evolution of mitochondrial genes. The data also indicate that diversification rate may have a positive effect on rates of mitochondrial molecular evolution. Conclusion If average body sizes were significantly smaller in the early history of the Metazoa, and if rates of diversification were much higher, then it is possible that mitochondrial genes have undergone a slow-down in evolutionary rate, which could affect date estimates made from these genes. PMID:17592650

  5. Divergence times and the evolution of morphological complexity in an early land plant lineage (Marchantiopsida) with a slow molecular rate.

    PubMed

    Villarreal A, Juan Carlos; Crandall-Stotler, Barbara J; Hart, Michelle L; Long, David G; Forrest, Laura L

    2016-03-01

    We present a complete generic-level phylogeny of the complex thalloid liverworts, a lineage that includes the model system Marchantia polymorpha. The complex thalloids are remarkable for their slow rate of molecular evolution and for being the only extant plant lineage to differentiate gas exchange tissues in the gametophyte generation. We estimated the divergence times and analyzed the evolutionary trends of morphological traits, including air chambers, rhizoids and specialized reproductive structures. A multilocus dataset was analyzed using maximum likelihood and Bayesian approaches. Relative rates were estimated using local clocks. Our phylogeny cements the early branching in complex thalloids. Marchantia is supported in one of the earliest divergent lineages. The rate of evolution in organellar loci is slower than for other liverwort lineages, except for two annual lineages. Most genera diverged in the Cretaceous. Marchantia polymorpha diversified in the Late Miocene, giving a minimum age estimate for the evolution of its sex chromosomes. The complex thalloid ancestor, excluding Blasiales, is reconstructed as a plant with a carpocephalum, with filament-less air chambers opening via compound pores, and without pegged rhizoids. Our comprehensive study of the group provides a temporal framework for the analysis of the evolution of critical traits essential for plants during land colonization. PMID:26505145

  6. Punctuated equilibrium and shock waves in molecular models of biological evolution.

    PubMed

    Saakian, David B; Ghazaryan, Makar H; Hu, Chin-Kun

    2014-08-01

    We consider the dynamics in infinite population evolution models with a general symmetric fitness landscape. We find shock waves, i.e., discontinuous transitions in the mean fitness, in evolution dynamics even with smooth fitness landscapes, which means that the search for the optimal evolution trajectory is more complicated. These shock waves appear in the case of positive epistasis and can be used to represent punctuated equilibria in biological evolution during long geological time scales. We find exact analytical solutions for discontinuous dynamics at the large-genome-length limit and derive optimal mutation rates for a fixed fitness landscape to send the population from the initial configuration to some final configuration in the fastest way.

  7. Toward a better knowledge of the molecular evolution of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase by comparison of partial cDNA sequences.

    PubMed

    Gehrig, H H; Heute, V; Kluge, M

    1998-01-01

    To get deeper insight into the evolution of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase we have identified PEPC fragments (about 1,100 bp) of another 12 plants species not yet investigated in this context. The selected plants include one Chlorophyta, two Bryophyta, four Pteridophyta, and five Spermatophyta species. The obtained phylogenetic trees on PEPC isoforms are the most complete ones up to now available. Independent of their manner of construction, the resulting dendrograms are very similar and fully consistent with the main topology as it is postulated for the evolution of the higher terrestrial plants. We found a distinct clustering of the PEPC sequences of the prokaryotes, the algae, and the spermatophytes. PEPC isoforms of the archegoniates are located in the phylogenetic trees between the algae and spermatophytes. Our results strengthen the view that the PEPC is a very useful molecular marker with which to visualize phylogenetic trends both on the metabolic and organismic levels.

  8. Congruence and indifference between two molecular markers for understanding oral evolution in the Marynidae sensu lato (Ciliophora, Colpodea)

    PubMed Central

    Dunthorn, Micah; Katz, Laura A.; Stoeck, Thorsten; Foissner, Wilhelm

    2012-01-01

    Our understanding of the evolution of oral structures within the Colpodida is confounded by the low number of morphological characters that can be used in constructing hypotheses, and by the low taxon and character sampling in molecular phylogenetic analyses designed to assess these hypotheses. Here we increase character sampling by sequencing the mitochondrial SSU-rDNA locus for three isolates of the Marynidae sensu lato. We show that the inferred mitochondrial and nuclear SSU-rDNA trees, as well as concatenated and constrained analyses, are congruent in not recovering a monophyletic Marynidae. However, due to low node support, the trees are indifferent to whether the morphological characters used to unite the Marynidae are the result of retention of ancestral states or convergence. In light of this indifference and an increased amount of nuclear and mitochondrial SSU-rDNA data, alternative hypotheses of oral evolution in the Colpodida are presented. PMID:22356924

  9. Molecular and bioengineering strategies to improve alginate and polydydroxyalkanoate production by Azotobacter vinelandii

    PubMed Central

    Galindo, Enrique; Peña, Carlos; Núñez, Cinthia; Segura, Daniel; Espín, Guadalupe

    2007-01-01

    Several aspects of alginate and PHB synthesis in Azotobacter vinelandii at a molecular level have been elucidated in articles published during the last ten years. It is now clear that alginate and PHB synthesis are under a very complex genetic control. Genetic modification of A. vinelandii has produced a number of very interesting mutants which have particular traits for alginate production. One of these mutants has been shown to produce the alginate with the highest mean molecular mass so far reported. Recent work has also shed light on the factors determining molecular mass distribution; the most important of these being identified as; dissolved oxygen tension and specific growth rate. The use of specific mutants has been very useful for the correct analysis and interpretation of the factors affecting polymerization. Recent scale-up/down work on alginate production has shown that oxygen limitation is crucial for producing alginate of high molecular mass, a condition which is optimized in shake flasks and which can now be reproduced in stirred fermenters. It is clear that the phenotypes of mutants grown on plates are not necessarily reproducible when the strains are tested in lab or bench scale fermenters. In the case of PHB, A. vinelandii has shown itself able to produce relatively large amounts of this polymer of high molecular weight on cheap substrates, even allowing for simple extraction processes. The development of fermentation strategies has also shown promising results in terms of improving productivity. The understanding of the regulatory mechanisms involved in the control of PHB synthesis, and of its metabolic relationships, has increased considerably, making way for new potential strategies for the further improvement of PHB production. Overall, the use of a multidisciplinary approach, integrating molecular and bioengineering aspects is a necessity for optimizing alginate and PHB production in A. vinelandii. PMID:17306024

  10. Molecular evolution of glutamine synthetase II: Phylogenetic evidence of a non-endosymbiotic gene transfer event early in plant evolution

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Glutamine synthetase (GS) is essential for ammonium assimilation and the biosynthesis of glutamine. The three GS gene families (GSI, GSII, and GSIII) are represented in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms. In this study, we examined the evolutionary relationship of GSII from eubacterial and eukaryotic lineages and present robust phylogenetic evidence that GSII was transferred from γ-Proteobacteria (Eubacteria) to the Chloroplastida. Results GSII sequences were isolated from four species of green algae (Trebouxiophyceae), and additional green algal (Chlorophyceae and Prasinophytae) and streptophyte (Charales, Desmidiales, Bryophyta, Marchantiophyta, Lycopodiophyta and Tracheophyta) sequences were obtained from public databases. In Bayesian and maximum likelihood analyses, eubacterial (GSIIB) and eukaryotic (GSIIE) GSII sequences formed distinct clades. Both GSIIB and GSIIE were found in chlorophytes and early-diverging streptophytes. The GSIIB enzymes from these groups formed a well-supported sister clade with the γ-Proteobacteria, providing evidence that GSIIB in the Chloroplastida arose by horizontal gene transfer (HGT). Bayesian relaxed molecular clock analyses suggest that GSIIB and GSIIE coexisted for an extended period of time but it is unclear whether the proposed HGT happened prior to or after the divergence of the primary endosymbiotic lineages (the Archaeplastida). However, GSIIB genes have not been identified in glaucophytes or red algae, favoring the hypothesis that GSIIB was gained after the divergence of the primary endosymbiotic lineages. Duplicate copies of the GSIIB gene were present in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, Volvox carteri f. nagariensis, and Physcomitrella patens. Both GSIIB proteins in C. reinhardtii and V. carteri f. nagariensis had N-terminal transit sequences, indicating they are targeted to the chloroplast or mitochondrion. In contrast, GSIIB proteins of P. patens lacked transit sequences, suggesting a cytosolic

  11. Phylemon 2.0: a suite of web-tools for molecular evolution, phylogenetics, phylogenomics and hypotheses testing.

    PubMed

    Sánchez, Rubén; Serra, François; Tárraga, Joaquín; Medina, Ignacio; Carbonell, José; Pulido, Luis; de María, Alejandro; Capella-Gutíerrez, Salvador; Huerta-Cepas, Jaime; Gabaldón, Toni; Dopazo, Joaquín; Dopazo, Hernán

    2011-07-01

    Phylemon 2.0 is a new release of the suite of web tools for molecular evolution, phylogenetics, phylogenomics and hypotheses testing. It has been designed as a response to the increasing demand of molecular sequence analyses for experts and non-expert users. Phylemon 2.0 has several unique features that differentiates it from other similar web resources: (i) it offers an integrated environment that enables evolutionary analyses, format conversion, file storage and edition of results; (ii) it suggests further analyses, thereby guiding the users through the web server; and (iii) it allows users to design and save phylogenetic pipelines to be used over multiple genes (phylogenomics). Altogether, Phylemon 2.0 integrates a suite of 30 tools covering sequence alignment reconstruction and trimming; tree reconstruction, visualization and manipulation; and evolutionary hypotheses testing.

  12. Active transport improves the precision of linear long distance molecular signalling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Godec, Aljaž; Metzler, Ralf

    2016-09-01

    Molecular signalling in living cells occurs at low copy numbers and is thereby inherently limited by the noise imposed by thermal diffusion. The precision at which biochemical receptors can count signalling molecules is intimately related to the noise correlation time. In addition to passive thermal diffusion, messenger RNA and vesicle-engulfed signalling molecules can transiently bind to molecular motors and are actively transported across biological cells. Active transport is most beneficial when trafficking occurs over large distances, for instance up to the order of 1 metre in neurons. Here we explain how intermittent active transport allows for faster equilibration upon a change in concentration triggered by biochemical stimuli. Moreover, we show how intermittent active excursions induce qualitative changes in the noise in effectively one-dimensional systems such as dendrites. Thereby they allow for significantly improved signalling precision in the sense of a smaller relative deviation in the concentration read-out by the receptor. On the basis of linear response theory we derive the exact mean field precision limit for counting actively transported molecules. We explain how intermittent active excursions disrupt the recurrence in the molecular motion, thereby facilitating improved signalling accuracy. Our results provide a deeper understanding of how recurrence affects molecular signalling precision in biological cells and novel medical-diagnostic devices.

  13. Improving Kinetic or Thermodynamic Stability of an Azoreductase by Directed Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Brissos, Vânia; Gonçalves, Nádia; Melo, Eduardo P.; Martins, Lígia O.

    2014-01-01

    Protein stability arises from a combination of factors which are often difficult to rationalise. Therefore its improvement is better addressed through directed evolution than by rational design approaches. In this study, five rounds of mutagenesis/recombination followed by high-throughput screening (≈10,000 clones) yielded the hit 1B6 showing a 300-fold higher half life at 50°C than that exhibited by the homodimeric wild type PpAzoR azoreductase from Pseudomonas putida MET94. The characterization using fluorescence, calorimetry and light scattering shows that 1B6 has a folded state slightly less stable than the wild type (with lower melting and optimal temperatures) but in contrast is more resistant to irreversible denaturation. The superior kinetic stability of 1B6 variant was therefore related to an increased resistance of the unfolded monomers to aggregation through the introduction of mutations that disturbed hydrophobic patches and increased the surface net charge of the protein. Variants 2A1 and 2A1-Y179H with increased thermodynamic stability (10 to 20°C higher melting temperature than wild type) were also examined showing the distinctive nature of mutations that lead to improved structural robustness: these occur in residues that are mostly involved in strengthening the solvent-exposed loops or the inter-dimer interactions of the folded state. PMID:24475252

  14. Directed evolution of leucine dehydrogenase for improved efficiency of L-tert-leucine synthesis.

    PubMed

    Zhu, Lin; Wu, Zhe; Jin, Jian-Ming; Tang, Shuang-Yan

    2016-07-01

    L-tert-Leucine and its derivatives are used as synthetic building blocks for pharmaceutical active ingredients, chiral auxiliaries, and ligands. Leucine dehydrogenase (LeuDH) is frequently used to prepare L-tert-leucine from the α-keto acid precursor trimethylpyruvate (TMP). In this study, a high-throughput screening method for the L-tert-leucine synthesis reaction based on a spectrophotometric approach was developed. Directed evolution strategy was applied to engineer LeuDH from Lysinibacillus sphaericus for improved efficiency of L-tert-leucine synthesis. After two rounds of random mutagenesis, the specific activity of LeuDH on the substrate TMP was enhanced by more than two-fold, compared with that of the wild-type enzyme, while the activity towards its natural substrate, leucine, decreased. The catalytic efficiencies (k cat/K m) of the best mutant enzyme, H6, on substrates TMP and NADH were all enhanced by more than five-fold as compared with that of the wild-type enzyme. The efficiency of L-tert-leucine synthesis by mutant H6 was significantly improved. A productivity of 1170 g/l/day was achieved for the mutant enzyme H6, compared with 666 g/l/day for the wild-type enzyme.

  15. Electrochemical tuning of layered lithium transition metal oxides for improvement of oxygen evolution reaction.

    PubMed

    Lu, Zhiyi; Wang, Haotian; Kong, Desheng; Yan, Kai; Hsu, Po-Chun; Zheng, Guangyuan; Yao, Hongbin; Liang, Zheng; Sun, Xiaoming; Cui, Yi

    2014-07-04

    Searching for low-cost and efficient catalysts for the oxygen evolution reaction has been actively pursued owing to its importance in clean energy generation and storage. While developing new catalysts is important, tuning the electronic structure of existing catalysts over a wide electrochemical potential range can also offer a new direction. Here we demonstrate a method for electrochemical lithium tuning of catalytic materials in organic electrolyte for subsequent enhancement of the catalytic activity in aqueous solution. By continuously extracting lithium ions out of LiCoO2, a popular cathode material in lithium ion batteries, to Li0.5CoO2 in organic electrolyte, the catalytic activity is significantly improved. This enhancement is ascribed to the unique electronic structure after the delithiation process. The general efficacy of this methodology is demonstrated in several mixed metal oxides with similar improvements. The electrochemically delithiated LiCo0.33Ni0.33Fe0.33O2 exhibits a notable performance, better than the benchmark iridium/carbon catalyst.

  16. Effects of DNA Methylation and Chromatin State on Rates of Molecular Evolution in Insects

    PubMed Central

    Glastad, Karl M.; Goodisman, Michael A. D.; Yi, Soojin V.; Hunt, Brendan G.

    2015-01-01

    Epigenetic information is widely appreciated for its role in gene regulation in eukaryotic organisms. However, epigenetic information can also influence genome evolution. Here, we investigate the effects of epigenetic information on gene sequence evolution in two disparate insects: the fly Drosophila melanogaster, which lacks substantial DNA methylation, and the ant Camponotus floridanus, which possesses a functional DNA methylation system. We found that DNA methylation was positively correlated with the synonymous substitution rate in C. floridanus, suggesting a key effect of DNA methylation on patterns of gene evolution. However, our data suggest the link between DNA methylation and elevated rates of synonymous substitution was explained, in large part, by the targeting of DNA methylation to genes with signatures of transcriptionally active chromatin, rather than the mutational effect of DNA methylation itself. This phenomenon may be explained by an elevated mutation rate for genes residing in transcriptionally active chromatin, or by increased structural constraints on genes in inactive chromatin. This result highlights the importance of chromatin structure as the primary epigenetic driver of genome evolution in insects. Overall, our study demonstrates how different epigenetic systems contribute to variation in the rates of coding sequence evolution. PMID:26637432

  17. Effects of DNA Methylation and Chromatin State on Rates of Molecular Evolution in Insects.

    PubMed

    Glastad, Karl M; Goodisman, Michael A D; Yi, Soojin V; Hunt, Brendan G

    2015-12-04

    Epigenetic information is widely appreciated for its role in gene regulation in eukaryotic organisms. However, epigenetic information can also influence genome evolution. Here, we investigate the effects of epigenetic information on gene sequence evolution in two disparate insects: the fly Drosophila