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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. In vitro molecular evolution of AL NEIBMs improved immunoglobulin (Ig) binding and antibody detection.

    PubMed

    He, Ting; Ding, Ying-Ying; Feng, Jiao-Jiao; Chen, Qiu-Li; Zhu, Huai-Min; Peng, Heng; Rui, Bing; Li, Xiang-Yu; Cao, Ming-Mei; Pan, Wei

    2014-08-20

    AL (SpA A domain-PpL B3 domain), LD5 (PpL B3 domain-SpA D domain-PpL B3 domain-SpA D domain-PpL B3 domain, L-D-L-D-L) and LD3 (PpL B3 domain-SpA D domain-PpL B3 domain, L-D-L) are novel evolved Ig binding molecules (NEIBMs) derived from the in vitro molecular evolution of combinatorial phage libraries displaying randomly rearranged Ig-binding domains of protein A and protein L. These molecules all showed novel Ig-binding properties of double-site binding to the VH3 and Vκ regions of human Ig Fab and high affinity for human IgM, which enhanced IgM detection in the anti-HCV ELISA assay. In this double-site binding, the A domain binds to the VH3 chain with low affinity. Whether the appropriate mutations in the A domain could improve this binding remains unknown. In this study, four combinatorial phage libraries displaying AL mutants with random mutations at different amino acid positions in the A domain were constructed. Seven AL mutant phages with significantly improved Ig binding activity were obtained from the phage library displaying AL mutants randomly mutated at positions 27 and 34 through human IgM-directed in vitro evolution. Two of the seven prokaryotically expressed AL mutants, AL (VV) and AL (KA), exhibited IgM and IgG binding activities equivalent to those of wild-type AL, whereas other mutants showed attenuated binding. However, after labeling with HRP, AL (VV) and AL (KA) showed improved IgM and IgG binding activity, which significantly improved the detection in the anti-HCV assay. Thus, the present study demonstrates that the binding properties of AL were successfully improved through phage-based molecular evolution, which could substantially contribute to the use of AL in antibody detection, and provides an example of successful protein engineering through in vitro molecular evolution.

  3. 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)

  4. Directed Molecular Evolution Improves the Immunogenicity and Protective Efficacy of a Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis Virus DNA Vaccine

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2009-05-01

    VEEV IA/B challenge. Our results indicate that it is pos- sible to improve the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of alphavirus DNA vaccines using... alphaviruses that ause periodic epizootics in the Americas [1]. These New World lphaviruses cause diseases in humans characterized by fever, eadache...equine encephalitis virus, VEE, alphavirus , DNA vaccine, envelope glycoproteins, directed molecular evolution, efficacy, immunogenicity, laboratory

  5. 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.

  6. Evolution of molecular clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sevenster, M.

    1993-01-01

    The evolution of interstellar molecular hydrogen was studied, with a special interest for the formation and evolution of molecular clouds and star formation within them, by a two-dimensional hydrodynamical simulation performed on a rectangular grid of physical sizes on the order of 100 pc. It is filled with an initial density of approx. 1 cm(exp -3), except for one cell (approx. 1 pc(exp 2)) at the center of the grid where an accretion core of 1-10(exp 3) solar masses is placed. The grid is co-moving with the gridcenter that is on a circular orbit around the Galactic center and that also is the guiding center of epicyclic approximation of orbits of the matter surrounding it. The initial radial velocity is zero; to account for differential rotation the initial tangential velocity (i.e. the movement around the galactic center) is proportional to the radial distance to the grid center. The rate is comparable to the rotation rate at the Local Standard of Rest. The influence of galactic rotation is noticed by spiral or elliptical forms, but on much longer time scales than self gravitation and cooling processes. Density and temperature are kept constant at the boundaries and no inflow is allowed along the tangential boundaries.

  7. 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)

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. The evolution of molecular clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shu, Frank H.; Lizano, Susana

    1988-01-01

    The problem of the structure and evolution of molecular clouds is reviewed, with particular emphasis given to the relationship with star formation. The basic hypothesis is that magnetic fields are the primary agents for supporting molecular clouds, although damped Alfven waves may play an important role in the direction parallel to the field lines. This picture naturally leads to a conception of 'bimodal star formation'. It is proposed that high-mass stars form from the overall gravitational collapse of a supercritical cloud, whereas low-mass stars form from small individual cores that slowly condense by ambipolar diffusion from a more extended envelope until they pass the brink of graviational instability and begin to collapse dynamically from 'inside-out'. The evidence that the infall stage of protostellar evolution is terminated by the development of a powerful stellar wind is reviewed.

  11. Antagonistic coevolution accelerates molecular evolution

    PubMed Central

    Paterson, Steve; Vogwill, Tom; Buckling, Angus; Benmayor, Rebecca; Spiers, Andrew J.; Thomson, Nicholas R.; Quail, Mike; Smith, Frances; Walker, Danielle; Libberton, Ben; Fenton, Andrew; Hall, Neil; Brockhurst, Michael A.

    2013-01-01

    The Red Queen hypothesis proposes that coevolution of interacting species (such as hosts and parasites) should drive molecular evolution through continual natural selection for adaptation and counter-adaptation1–3. Although the divergence observed at some host-resistance4–6 and parasite-infectivity7–9 genes is consistent with this, the long time periods typically required to study coevolution have so far prevented any direct empirical test. Here we show, using experimental populations of the bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens SBW25 and its viral parasite, phage Φ2 (refs 10, 11), that the rate of molecular evolution in the phage was far higher when both bacterium and phage coevolved with each other than when phage evolved against a constant host genotype. Coevolution also resulted in far greater genetic divergence between replicate populations, which was correlated with the range of hosts that coevolved phage were able to infect. Consistent with this, the most rapidly evolving phage genes under coevolution were those involved in host infection. These results demonstrate, at both the genomic and phenotypic level, that antagonistic coevolution is a cause of rapid and divergent evolution, and is likely to be a major driver of evolutionary change within species. PMID:20182425

  12. 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.

  13. Maternal Effects in Molecular Evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wilke, Claus O.

    2002-02-01

    We introduce a model of molecular evolution in which the fitness of an individual depends both on its own and on the parent's genotype. The model can be solved by means of a nonlinear mapping onto the standard quasispecies model. The dependency on the parental genotypes cancels from the mean fitness, but not from the individual sequence concentrations. For finite populations, the position of the error threshold is very sensitive to the influence from parent genotypes. In addition to biological applications, our model is important for understanding the dynamics of self-replicating computer programs.

  14. 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.

  15. Molecular evolution and the latitudinal biodiversity gradient

    PubMed Central

    Dowle, E J; Morgan-Richards, M; Trewick, S A

    2013-01-01

    Species density is higher in the tropics (low latitude) than in temperate regions (high latitude) resulting in a latitudinal biodiversity gradient (LBG). The LBG must be generated by differential rates of speciation and/or extinction and/or immigration among regions, but the role of each of these processes is still unclear. Recent studies examining differences in rates of molecular evolution have inferred a direct link between rate of molecular evolution and rate of speciation, and postulated these as important drivers of the LBG. Here we review the molecular genetic evidence and examine the factors that might be responsible for differences in rates of molecular evolution. Critical to this is the directionality of the relationship between speciation rates and rates of molecular evolution. PMID:23486082

  16. 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

  17. Model of evolution of molecular sequences

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Luo, Liaofu; Tsai, Lu; Lee, Weijiang

    1990-05-01

    A simplified model of the evolution of molecular sequences is proposed. An ensemble of strings is considered that consists of two letters and undergoes random point mutations and natural selections. A set of evolution equations is deduced. From the solution it is found that the first-order (second-order) informational parameters (redundancies) D1 decrease (D2 increase) in the course of evolution. Furthermore, the statistical correlations of the letters (bases) in the sequences are investigated in detail and the short-distance correlation is demonstrated. These results give a preliminary explanation of some physical aspects in the evolution of nucleic acid sequences.

  18. 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.

  19. Molecular Evolution of Grass Stomata.

    PubMed

    Chen, Zhong-Hua; Chen, Guang; Dai, Fei; Wang, Yizhou; Hills, Adrian; Ruan, Yong-Ling; Zhang, Guoping; Franks, Peter J; Nevo, Eviatar; Blatt, Michael R

    2017-02-01

    Grasses began to diversify in the late Cretaceous Period and now dominate more than one third of global land area, including three-quarters of agricultural land. We hypothesize that their success is likely attributed to the evolution of highly responsive stomata capable of maximizing productivity in rapidly changing environments. Grass stomata harness the active turgor control mechanisms present in stomata of more ancient plant lineages, maximizing several morphological and developmental features to ensure rapid responses to environmental inputs. The evolutionary development of grass stomata appears to have been a gradual progression. Therefore, understanding the complex structures, developmental events, regulatory networks, and combinations of ion transporters necessary to drive rapid stomatal movement may inform future efforts towards breeding new crop varieties.

  20. Proteins, exons and molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    Holland, S K; Blake, C C

    1987-01-01

    The discovery of the eukaryotic gene structure has prompted research into the potential relationship between protein structure and function and the corresponding exon/intron patterns. The exon shuffling hypothesis put forward by Gilbert and Blake suggests the encodement of structural and functional protein elements by exons which can recombine to create novel proteins. This provides an explanation for the relatively rapid evolution of proteins from a few primordial molecules. As the number of gene and protein structures increases, evidence of exon shuffling is becoming more apparent and examples are presented both from modern multi-domain proteins and ancient proteins. Recent work into the chemical properties and catalytic functions of RNA have led to hypotheses based upon the early existence of RNA. These theories suggest that the split gene structure originated in the primordial soup as a result of random RNA synthesis. Stable regions of RNA, or exons, were utilised as primitive enzymes. In response to selective pressures for information storage, the activity was directly transferred from the RNA enzymes or ribozymes, to proteins. These short polypeptides fused together to create larger proteins with a wide range of functions. Recent research into RNA processing and exon size, discussed in this review, provides a clearer insight into the evolutionary development of the gene and protein structure.

  1. Molecular cloud evolution and star formation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Silk, J.

    1985-01-01

    The present state of knowledge of the relationship between molecular clouds and young stars is reviewed. The determination of physical parameters from molecular line observations is summarized, and evidence for fragmentation of molecular clouds is discussed. Hierarchical fragmentation is reviewed, minimum fragment scales are derived, and the stability against fragmentation of both spherically and anisotropically collapsing clouds is discussed. Observational evidence for high-velocity flows in clouds is summarized, and the effects of winds from pre-main sequence stars on molecular gas are discussed. The triggering of cloud collapse by enhanced pressure is addressed, as is the formation of dense shells by spherical outflows and their subsequent breakup. A model for low-mass star formation is presented, and constraints on star formation from the initial mass function are examined. The properties of giant molecular clouds and massive star formation are described. The implications of magnetic fields for cloud evolution and star formation are addressed.

  2. Changing the Therapeutic Landscape in Non-small Cell Lung Cancers: the Evolution of Comprehensive Molecular Profiling Improves Access to Therapy.

    PubMed

    Sabari, Joshua K; Santini, Fernando; Bergagnini, Isabella; Lai, W Victoria; Arbour, Kathryn C; Drilon, Alexander

    2017-04-01

    Targeting genomic alterations has led to a paradigm shift in the treatment of patients with lung cancer. In an effort to better identify potentially actionable alterations that may predict response to FDA-approved and or investigational therapies, many centers have migrated towards performing targeted exome sequencing in patients with stage IV disease. The implementation of next-generation sequencing (NGS) in the evaluation of tumor tissue from patients with NSCLC has led to the discovery of targetable alterations in tumors that previously had no known actionable targets by less comprehensive profiling. An improved understanding of the molecular pathways that drive oncogenesis in NSCLC and a revolution in the technological advances in NGS have led to the development of new therapies through biomarker-driven clinical trials. This review will focus on the advances in molecular profiling that continue to fuel the revolution of precision medicine, identifying targets such as MET exon 14 skipping alterations and select recurrent gene alterations with increasing frequency.

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

    PubMed Central

    Wray, Gregory A.

    2015-01-01

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Molecular evolution in bacterial endosymbionts of fungi.

    PubMed

    Castillo, Dean M; Pawlowska, Teresa E

    2010-03-01

    The prediction that progressive coupling of host and symbiont metabolic and reproductive interests leads to reduced mixing of symbiont lineages has been verified extensively in maternally transmitted bacterial endosymbionts of insects. To test whether this prediction is also applicable to associations of bacteria with fungi, we explored patterns of molecular evolution in two lineages of mutualistic endosymbionts of fungi: the Burkholderia endosymbionts of Rhizopus microsporus (Mucormycotina) and Candidatus Glomeribacter gigasporarum endosymbionts of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (Glomeromycota). We compared these two lineages with the closely related Candidatus Tremblaya princeps endosymbionts of mealybugs (Hemiptera, Coccoidea, Pseudococcidae) and to free-living Burkholderia species. To make inferences about the life histories of the endosymbionts, we relied on the empirically validated predictions of the nearly neutral theory of molecular evolution that a reduction of the effective population size increases the rate of fixation of slightly deleterious mutations. Our analyses showed that the slightly deleterious mutation accumulation patterns in the Burkholderia endosymbionts of Rhizopus were nearly indistinguishable from those in their free-living relatives. In contrast, Ca. Glomeribacter showed unique patterns of molecular evolution that differentiated them from both the Burkholderia endosymbionts of Rhizopus and from the Ca. Tremblaya endosymbionts of insects. These findings imply that reduced mixing of symbiont lineages is not a universal feature of symbioses between fungi and endocellular bacteria.

  7. Molecular epidemiology, phylogeny and evolution of dermatophytes.

    PubMed

    Cafarchia, Claudia; Iatta, Roberta; Latrofa, Maria Stefania; Gräser, Yvonne; Otranto, Domenico

    2013-12-01

    Dermatophytes are fungi that invade and propagate in the keratinized skin of mammals, including humans, often causing contagious infections. The species of medical concern belong to the genera Microsporum, Trichophyton, Epidermophyton (in their anamorphic state) and Arthroderma (in their telomorphic state), which were traditionally identified based on their morphology and biochemical characters. Nonetheless, limitations linked to the differentiation of closely related agents at species and strains level have been recently overcome by molecular studies. Indeed, an accurate identification of dermatophytes is pivotal for the establishment of effective control and prevention programs as well as for determining the most appropriate and effective antifungal therapies to be applied. This article reviews the DNA techniques and the molecular markers used to identify and to characterize dermatophyte species, as well as aspects of their phylogeny and evolution. The applications of typing molecular strain to both basic and applied research (e.g., taxonomy, ecology, typing of infection, antifungal susceptibility) have also been discussed.

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. Molecular Evolution of Phosphoprotein Phosphatases in Drosophila

    PubMed Central

    Miskei, Márton; Ádám, Csaba; Kovács, László; Karányi, Zsolt; Dombrádi, Viktor

    2011-01-01

    Phosphoprotein phosphatases (PPP), these ancient and important regulatory enzymes are present in all eukaryotic organisms. Based on the genome sequences of 12 Drosophila species we traced the evolution of the PPP catalytic subunits and noted a substantial expansion of the gene family. We concluded that the 18–22 PPP genes of Drosophilidae were generated from a core set of 8 indispensable phosphatases that are present in most of the insects. Retropositons followed by tandem gene duplications extended the phosphatase repertoire, and sporadic gene losses contributed to the species specific variations in the PPP complement. During the course of these studies we identified 5, up till now uncharacterized phosphatase retrogenes: PpY+, PpD5+, PpD6+, Pp4+, and Pp6+ which are found only in some ancient Drosophila. We demonstrated that all of these new PPP genes exhibit a distinct male specific expression. In addition to the changes in gene numbers, the intron-exon structure and the chromosomal localization of several PPP genes was also altered during evolution. The G−C content of the coding regions decreased when a gene moved into the heterochromatic region of chromosome Y. Thus the PPP enzymes exemplify the various types of dynamic rearrangements that accompany the molecular evolution of a gene family in Drosophilidae. PMID:21789237

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Pervasive Cryptic Epistasis in Molecular Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Lunzer, Mark; Golding, G. Brian; Dean, Antony M.

    2010-01-01

    The functional effects of most amino acid replacements accumulated during molecular evolution are unknown, because most are not observed naturally and the possible combinations are too numerous. We created 168 single mutations in wild-type Escherichia coli isopropymalate dehydrogenase (IMDH) that match the differences found in wild-type Pseudomonas aeruginosa IMDH. 104 mutant enzymes performed similarly to E. coli wild-type IMDH, one was functionally enhanced, and 63 were functionally compromised. The transition from E. coli IMDH, or an ancestral form, to the functional wild-type P. aeruginosa IMDH requires extensive epistasis to ameliorate the combined effects of the deleterious mutations. This result stands in marked contrast with a basic assumption of molecular phylogenetics, that sites in sequences evolve independently of each other. Residues that affect function are scattered haphazardly throughout the IMDH structure. We screened for compensatory mutations at three sites, all of which lie near the active site and all of which are among the least active mutants. No compensatory mutations were found at two sites indicating that a single site may engage in compound epistatic interactions. One complete and three partial compensatory mutations of the third site are remote and lie in a different domain. This demonstrates that epistatic interactions can occur between distant (>20Å) sites. Phylogenetic analysis shows that incompatible mutations were fixed in different lineages. PMID:20975933

  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 PTEN Pseudogenes in Mammals

    PubMed Central

    Tang, Jingsi; Ning, Ruihong; Zeng, Bo; Li, Ying

    2016-01-01

    Phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) is a tumor-suppressor gene. PTEN pseudogene (PTENp) acts as an endogenous RNA, which regulates its parental gene by competitively binding to the 3’ UTR of PTEN gene in the human. Despite the importance of this pseudogene, little is known about the molecular evolution of PTENp in mammals. In this study, we identified 37 pseudogenes from 65 mammalian genomes. Among them, 32 were from rodents or primates. Phylogenetic analyse showed a complex evolutionary history of this gene family. Some PTENps were shared both in primates and rodents. However, some PTENps were shown to be species-specific, such as the tasmanian devil PTENp1, nine banded armadillo PTENp1 and gibbon PTENp1. Most interestingly, the naked mole rat (NMR), an anticancer model organism, possessed 17 copies of PTENps, which were classified into four clades based on the phylogenetic analyses. Furthermore, we found that all the 3’UTR of PTEN and PTENps shared common microRNA (MicroRNA) binding sites in NMR, based on our prediction of specific MicroRNA binding sites. Our findings suggested that multiple gene duplications have occurred in the formation of PTEN/PTENp gene family during the evolution of mammals. Some PTENps were relatively ancient and were shared by primates and rodents; others were newly originated through species- specific gene duplications. PTENps in NMR may function as competitive endogenous RNAs (ceRNAs) to regulate their counterpart genes by competing for common MicroRNAs, which may be one of the interpretations for the cancer resistance in NMR. PMID:27936183

  17. 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.

  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. Improving carotenoids production in yeast via adaptive laboratory evolution.

    PubMed

    Reyes, Luis H; Gomez, Jose M; Kao, Katy C

    2014-01-01

    Adaptive laboratory evolution is an important tool for the engineering of strains for industrially relevant phenotypes. Traditionally, adaptive laboratory evolution has been implemented to improve robustness of industrial strains under diverse operational conditions; however due to the required coupling between growth and survival, its application for increased production of secondary metabolites generally results in decreased production due to the metabolic burden imposed by, or toxicity of, the produced compound. In this study, adaptive laboratory evolution was successfully applied to improve carotenoids production in an engineered Saccharomyces cerevisiae producer strain by exploiting the antioxidant properties of carotenoids. Short-term evolution experiment using periodic hydrogen peroxide shocking schemes resulted in a 3-fold increase in carotenoids production (from 6 mg/g dry cell weight to up to 18 mg/g dry cell weight). Subsequent transcriptome analysis was used to elucidate the molecular mechanisms for increased carotenoids production. Upregulation of genes related with lipid biosynthesis and mevalonate biosynthesis pathways were commonly observed in the carotenoids hyper-producers analyzed.

  20. Theory of recombination in directed molecular evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peng, Weiqun; Hwa, Terence; Levine, Herbert; Kessler, David A.

    2003-03-01

    Recombination is a fundamental process driving the evolution of biological organisms in nature. It is also a very efficient method being used in in vitro directed evolution of molecules. Here we propose a simple model for the directed evolution of protein-binding DNA sequences subject to recombination, substitution, and competitive selection. This turns out to be a rare model of involving recombination which is analytically tractable. We characterize the dynamical and steady-state behaviors of this model and verify them numerically. We discuss the manner in which recombination drastically speeds up the evolutionary process.

  1. Imaging the Temporal Evolution of Molecular Orbitals during Ultrafast Dissociation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sann, H.; Havermeier, T.; Müller, C.; Kim, H.-K.; Trinter, F.; Waitz, M.; Voigtsberger, J.; Sturm, F.; Bauer, T.; Wallauer, R.; Schneider, D.; Weller, M.; Goihl, C.; Tross, J.; Cole, K.; Wu, J.; Schöffler, M. S.; Schmidt-Böcking, H.; Jahnke, T.; Simon, M.; Dörner, R.

    2016-12-01

    We investigate the temporal evolution of molecular frame angular distributions of Auger electrons emitted during ultrafast dissociation of HCl following a resonant single-photon excitation. The electron emission pattern changes its shape from that of a molecular σ orbital to that of an atomic p state as the system evolves from a molecule into two separated atoms.

  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 Threonine Dehydratase in Bacteria

    PubMed Central

    Yu, Xuefei; Li, Ye; Wang, Xiaoyuan

    2013-01-01

    Threonine dehydratase converts L-threonine to 2-ketobutyrate. Several threonine dehydratases exist in bacteria, but their origins and evolutionary pathway are unknown. Here we analyzed all the available threonine dehydratases in bacteria and proposed an evolutionary pathway leading to the genes encoding three different threonine dehydratases CTD, BTD1 and BTD2. The ancestral threonine dehydratase might contain only a catalytic domain, but one or two ACT-like subdomains were fused during the evolution, resulting BTD1 and BTD2, respectively. Horizontal gene transfer, gene fusion, gene duplication, and gene deletion may occur during the evolution of this enzyme. The results are important for understanding the functions of various threonine dehydratases found in bacteria. PMID:24324624

  5. Temperature Evolution of Molecular Clouds in the Central Molecular Zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Krieger, Nico; Ott, Jürgen; Walter, Fabian; Kruijssen, J. M. Diederik; Beuther, Henrik

    2017-01-01

    We infer the absolute time dependence of kinematic gas temperature along a proposed orbit of molecular clouds in the Central Molecular Zone (CMZ) of the Galactic Center (GC). Ammonia gas temperature maps are one of the results of the ``Survey of Water and Ammonia in the Galactic Center'' (SWAG, PI: J. Ott); the dynamical model of molecular clouds in the CMZ was taken from Kruijssen et al. (2015). We find that gas temperatures increase as a function of time in both regimes before and after the cloud passes pericenter on its orbit in the GC potential. This is consistent with the recent proposal that pericenter passage triggers gravitational collapse. Other investigated quantities (line width, column density, opacity) show no strong sign of time dependence but are likely dominated by cloud-to-cloud variations.

  6. Analytical Biases Associated with GC-Content in Molecular Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Romiguier, Jonathan; Roux, Camille

    2017-01-01

    Molecular evolution is being revolutionized by high-throughput sequencing allowing an increased amount of genome-wide data available for multiple species. While base composition summarized by GC-content is one of the first metrics measured in genomes, its genomic distribution is a frequently neglected feature in downstream analyses based on DNA sequence comparisons. Here, we show how base composition heterogeneity among loci and taxa can bias common molecular evolution analyses such as phylogenetic tree reconstruction, detection of natural selection and estimation of codon usage. We then discuss the biological, technical and methodological causes of these GC-associated biases and suggest approaches to overcome them. PMID:28261263

  7. Slow rate of molecular evolution in high-elevation hummingbirds.

    PubMed

    Bleiweiss, R

    1998-01-20

    Estimates of relative rates of molecular evolution from a DNA-hybridization phylogeny for 26 hummingbird species provide evidence for a negative association between elevation and rate of single-copy genome evolution. This effect of elevation on rate remains significant even after taking into account a significant negative association between body mass and molecular rate. Population-level processes do not appear to account for these patterns because (i) all hummingbirds breed within their first year and (ii) the more extensive subdivision and speciation of bird populations living at high elevations predicts a positive association between elevation and rate. The negative association between body mass and molecular rate in other organisms has been attributed to higher mutation rates in forms with higher oxidative metabolism. As ambient oxygen tensions and temperature decrease with elevation, the slow rate of molecular evolution in high-elevation hummingbirds also may have a metabolic basis. A slower rate of single-copy DNA change at higher elevations suggests that the dynamics of molecular evolution cannot be separated from the environmental context.

  8. 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…

  9. Molecular characterization of the evolution of phagosomes

    PubMed Central

    Boulais, Jonathan; Trost, Matthias; Landry, Christian R; Dieckmann, Régis; Levy, Emmanuel D; Soldati, Thierry; Michnick, Stephen W; Thibault, Pierre; Desjardins, Michel

    2010-01-01

    Amoeba use phagocytosis to internalize bacteria as a source of nutrients, whereas multicellular organisms utilize this process as a defense mechanism to kill microbes and, in vertebrates, initiate a sustained immune response. By using a large-scale approach to identify and compare the proteome and phosphoproteome of phagosomes isolated from distant organisms, and by comparative analysis over 39 taxa, we identified an ‘ancient' core of phagosomal proteins around which the immune functions of this organelle have likely organized. Our data indicate that a larger proportion of the phagosome proteome, compared with the whole cell proteome, has been acquired through gene duplication at a period coinciding with the emergence of innate and adaptive immunity. Our study also characterizes in detail the acquisition of novel proteins and the significant remodeling of the phagosome phosphoproteome that contributed to modify the core constituents of this organelle in evolution. Our work thus provides the first thorough analysis of the changes that enabled the transformation of the phagosome from a phagotrophic compartment into an organelle fully competent for antigen presentation. PMID:20959821

  10. 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

  11. [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.

  12. Giant Molecular Cloud Structure and Evolution

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hollenbach, David (Technical Monitor); Bodenheimer, P. H.

    2003-01-01

    Bodenheimer and Burkert extended earlier calculations of cloud core models to study collapse and fragmentation. The initial condition for an SPH collapse calculation is the density distribution of a Bonnor-Ebert sphere, with near balance between turbulent plus thermal energy and gravitational energy. The main parameter is the turbulent Mach number. For each Mach number several runs are made, each with a different random realization of the initial turbulent velocity field. The turbulence decays on a dynamical time scale, leading the cloud into collapse. The collapse proceeds isothermally until the density has increased to about 10(exp 13) g cm(exp -3). Then heating is included in the dense regions. The nature of the fragmentation is investigated. About 15 different runs have been performed with Mach numbers ranging from 0.3 to 3.5 (the typical value observed in molecular cloud cores is 0.7). The results show a definite trend of increasing multiplicity with increasing Mach number (M), with the number of fragments approximately proportional to (1 + M). In general, this result agrees with that of Fisher, Klein, and McKee who published three cases with an AMR grid code. However our results show that there is a large spread about this curve. For example, for M=0.3 one case resulted in no fragmentation while a second produced three fragments. Thus it is not only the value of M but also the details of the superposition of the various velocity modes that play a critical role in the formation of binaries. Also, the simulations produce a wide range of separations (10-1000 AU) for the multiple systems, in rough agreement with observations. These results are discussed in two conference proceedings.

  13. HIV-1 evolution: frustrating therapies, but disclosing molecular mechanisms

    PubMed Central

    Das, Atze T.; Berkhout, Ben

    2010-01-01

    Replication of HIV-1 under selective pressure frequently results in the evolution of virus variants that replicate more efficiently under the applied conditions. For example, in patients on antiretroviral therapy, such evolution can result in variants that are resistant to the HIV-1 inhibitors, thus frustrating the therapy. On the other hand, virus evolution can help us to understand the molecular mechanisms that underlie HIV-1 replication. For example, evolution of a defective virus mutant can result in variants that overcome the introduced defect by restoration of the original sequence or by the introduction of additional mutations in the viral genome. Analysis of the evolution pathway can reveal the requirements of the element under study and help to understand its function. Analysis of the escape routes may generate new insight in the viral life cycle and result in the identification of unexpected biological mechanisms. We have developed in vitro HIV-1 evolution into a systematic research tool that allows the study of different aspects of the viral replication cycle. We will briefly review this method of forced virus evolution and provide several examples that illustrate the power of this approach. PMID:20478891

  14. HIV-1 evolution: frustrating therapies, but disclosing molecular mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Das, Atze T; Berkhout, Ben

    2010-06-27

    Replication of HIV-1 under selective pressure frequently results in the evolution of virus variants that replicate more efficiently under the applied conditions. For example, in patients on antiretroviral therapy, such evolution can result in variants that are resistant to the HIV-1 inhibitors, thus frustrating the therapy. On the other hand, virus evolution can help us to understand the molecular mechanisms that underlie HIV-1 replication. For example, evolution of a defective virus mutant can result in variants that overcome the introduced defect by restoration of the original sequence or by the introduction of additional mutations in the viral genome. Analysis of the evolution pathway can reveal the requirements of the element under study and help to understand its function. Analysis of the escape routes may generate new insight in the viral life cycle and result in the identification of unexpected biological mechanisms. We have developed in vitro HIV-1 evolution into a systematic research tool that allows the study of different aspects of the viral replication cycle. We will briefly review this method of forced virus evolution and provide several examples that illustrate the power of this approach.

  15. Molecular evolution of cyclin proteins in animals and fungi

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background The passage through the cell cycle is controlled by complexes of cyclins, the regulatory units, with cyclin-dependent kinases, the catalytic units. It is also known that cyclins form several families, which differ considerably in primary structure from one eukaryotic organism to another. Despite these lines of evidence, the relationship between the evolution of cyclins and their function is an open issue. Here we present the results of our study on the molecular evolution of A-, B-, D-, E-type cyclin proteins in animals and fungi. Results We constructed phylogenetic trees for these proteins, their ancestral sequences and analyzed patterns of amino acid replacements. The analysis of infrequently fixed atypical amino acid replacements in cyclins evidenced that accelerated evolution proceeded predominantly during paralog duplication or after it in animals and fungi and that it was related to aromorphic changes in animals. It was shown also that evolutionary flexibility of cyclin function may be provided by consequential reorganization of regions on protein surface remote from CDK binding sites in animal and fungal cyclins and by functional differentiation of paralogous cyclins formed in animal evolution. Conclusions The results suggested that changes in the number and/or nature of cyclin-binding proteins may underlie the evolutionary role of the alterations in the molecular structure of cyclins and their involvement in diverse molecular-genetic events. PMID:21798004

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  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. 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.

  20. 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

  1. Clostridium difficile infection: Evolution, phylogeny and molecular epidemiology.

    PubMed

    Elliott, Briony; Androga, Grace O; Knight, Daniel R; Riley, Thomas V

    2017-04-01

    Over the recent decades, Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) has emerged as a global public health threat. Despite growing attention, C. difficile remains a poorly understood pathogen, however, the exquisite sensitivity offered by next generation sequencing (NGS) technology has enabled analysis of the genome of C. difficile, giving us access to massive genomic data on factors such as virulence, evolution, and genetic relatedness within C. difficile groups. NGS has also demonstrated excellence in investigations of outbreaks and disease transmission, in both small and large-scale applications. This review summarizes the molecular epidemiology, evolution, and phylogeny of C. difficile, one of the most important pathogens worldwide in the current antibiotic resistance era.

  2. 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.

  3. [A group of new experiments on molecular evolution].

    PubMed

    Zhu, Xin-Yu; Xie, Xiao-Ling; Chen, Pei-Lin

    2004-07-01

    This paper presents a group of new experiments on molecular evolution. It allows students to get acquaint with the basic process of the reconstruction of phylogenetic tree using DNA or protein sequences, and to acquire the correct viewpoint how to affect the result of reconstruction when different tree-building methods, materials and parameters were used. This group of experiments are also characteristic of the opening and exploring, which accords with the direction and demand of experimental teaching reform.

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

    PubMed Central

    Bradley, Brenda J

    2008-01-01

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

  5. 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.

  6. Molecular hyperdiversity and evolution in very large populations

    PubMed Central

    Cutter, Asher D.; Jovelin, Richard; Dey, Alivia

    2014-01-01

    The genomic density of sequence polymorphisms critically affects the sensitivity of inferences about ongoing sequence evolution, function, and demographic history. Most animal and plant genomes have relatively low densities of polymorphisms, but some species are hyperdiverse with neutral nucleotide heterozygosity exceeding 5%. Eukaryotes with extremely large populations, mimicking bacterial and viral populations, present novel opportunities for studying molecular evolution in sexually-reproducing taxa with complex development. In particular, hyperdiverse species can help answer controversial questions about the evolution of genome complexity, the limits of natural selection, modes of adaptation, and subtleties of the mutation process. However, such systems have some inherent complications and here we identify topics in need of theoretical developments. Close relatives of the model organisms Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila melanogaster provide known examples of hyperdiverse eukaryotes, encouraging functional dissection of resulting molecular evolutionary patterns. We recommend how best to exploit hyperdiverse populations for analysis, for example, in quantifying the impact of non-crossover recombination in genomes and for determining the identity and micro-evolutionary selective pressures on non-coding regulatory elements. PMID:23506466

  7. Epidemiology, molecular epidemiology and evolution of bovine respiratory syncytial virus.

    PubMed

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

    2012-11-30

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

  8. Detection of biological threats. A challenge for directed molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    Petrenko, Valery A; Sorokulova, Iryna B

    2004-08-01

    The probe technique originated from early attempts of Anton van Leeuwenhoek to contrast microorganisms under the microscope using plant juices, successful staining of tubercle bacilli with synthetic dyes by Paul Ehrlich and discovery of a stain for differentiation of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria by Hans Christian Gram. The technique relies on the principle that pathogens have unique structural features, which can be recognized by specifically labeled organic molecules. A hundred years of extensive screening efforts led to discovery of a limited assortment of organic probes that are used for identification and differentiation of bacteria. A new challenge--continuous monitoring of biological threats--requires long lasting molecular probes capable of tight specific binding of pathogens in unfavorable conditions. To respond to the challenge, probe technology is being revolutionized by utilizing methods of combinatorial chemistry, phage display and directed molecular evolution. This review describes how molecular evolution methods are applied for development of peptide, antibody and phage probes, and summarizes the author's own data on development of landscape phage probes against Salmonella typhimurium. The performance of the probes in detection of Salmonella is illustrated by a precipitation test, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) and fluorescent, optical and electron microscopy.

  9. Molecular Evolution of Freshwater Snails with Contrasting Mating Systems.

    PubMed

    Burgarella, Concetta; Gayral, Philippe; Ballenghien, Marion; Bernard, Aurélien; David, Patrice; Jarne, Philippe; Correa, Ana; Hurtrez-Boussès, Sylvie; Escobar, Juan; Galtier, Nicolas; Glémin, Sylvain

    2015-09-01

    Because mating systems affect population genetics and ecology, they are expected to impact the molecular evolution of species. Self-fertilizing species experience reduced effective population size, recombination rates, and heterozygosity, which in turn should decrease the efficacy of natural selection, both adaptive and purifying, and the strength of meiotic drive processes such as GC-biased gene conversion. The empirical evidence is only partly congruent with these predictions, depending on the analyzed species, some, but not all, of the expected effects have been observed. One possible reason is that self-fertilization is an evolutionary dead-end, so that most current selfers recently evolved self-fertilization, and their genome has not yet been strongly impacted by selfing. Here, we investigate the molecular evolution of two groups of freshwater snails in which mating systems have likely been stable for several millions of years. Analyzing coding sequence polymorphism, divergence, and expression levels, we report a strongly reduced genetic diversity, decreased efficacy of purifying selection, slower rate of adaptive evolution, and weakened codon usage bias/GC-biased gene conversion in the selfer Galba compared with the outcrosser Physa, in full agreement with theoretical expectations. Our results demonstrate that self-fertilization, when effective in the long run, is a major driver of population genomic and molecular evolutionary processes. Despite the genomic effects of selfing, Galba truncatula seems to escape the demographic consequences of the genetic load. We suggest that the particular ecology of the species may buffer the negative consequences of selfing, shedding new light on the dead-end hypothesis.

  10. 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.

  11. Potential improvements to the Shuttle through evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    1993-06-01

    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.

  12. 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.

  13. Molecular phylogeny and evolution of the cone snails (Gastropoda, Conoidea).

    PubMed

    Puillandre, N; Bouchet, P; Duda, T F; Kauferstein, S; Kohn, A J; Olivera, B M; Watkins, M; Meyer, C

    2014-09-01

    We present a large-scale molecular phylogeny that includes 320 of the 761 recognized valid species of the cone snails (Conus), one of the most diverse groups of marine molluscs, based on three mitochondrial genes (COI, 16S rDNA and 12S rDNA). This is the first phylogeny of the taxon to employ concatenated sequences of several genes, and it includes more than twice as many species as the last published molecular phylogeny of the entire group nearly a decade ago. Most of the numerous molecular phylogenies published during the last 15years are limited to rather small fractions of its species diversity. Bayesian and maximum likelihood analyses are mostly congruent and confirm the presence of three previously reported highly divergent lineages among cone snails, and one identified here using molecular data. About 85% of the species cluster in the single Large Major Clade; the others are divided between the Small Major Clade (∼12%), the Conus californicus lineage (one species), and a newly defined clade (∼3%). We also define several subclades within the Large and Small major clades, but most of their relationships remain poorly supported. To illustrate the usefulness of molecular phylogenies in addressing specific evolutionary questions, we analyse the evolution of the diet, the biogeography and the toxins of cone snails. All cone snails whose feeding biology is known inject venom into large prey animals and swallow them whole. Predation on polychaete worms is inferred as the ancestral state, and diet shifts to molluscs and fishes occurred rarely. The ancestor of cone snails probably originated from the Indo-Pacific; rather few colonisations of other biogeographic provinces have probably occurred. A new classification of the Conidae, based on the molecular phylogeny, is published in an accompanying paper.

  14. Molecular Evolution of Cytochrome bd Oxidases across Proteobacterial Genomes

    PubMed Central

    Degli Esposti, Mauro; Rosas-Pérez, Tania; Servín-Garcidueñas, Luis Eduardo; Bolaños, Luis Manuel; Rosenblueth, Monica; Martínez-Romero, Esperanza

    2015-01-01

    This work is aimed to resolve the complex molecular evolution of cytochrome bd ubiquinol oxidase, a nearly ubiquitous bacterial enzyme that is involved in redox balance and bioenergetics. Previous studies have created an unclear picture of bd oxidases phylogenesis without considering the existence of diverse types of bd oxidases. Integrated approaches of genomic and protein analysis focused on proteobacteria have generated a molecular classification of diverse types of bd oxidases, which produces a new scenario for interpreting their evolution. A duplication of the original gene cluster of bd oxidase might have occurred in the ancestors of extant α-proteobacteria of the Rhodospirillales order, such as Acidocella, from which the bd-I type of the oxidase might have diffused to other proteobacterial lineages. In contrast, the Cyanide-Insensitive Oxidase type may have differentiated into recognizable subtypes after another gene cluster duplication. These subtypes are widespread in the genomes of α-, β-, and γ-proteobacteria, with occasional instances of lateral gene transfer. In resolving the evolutionary pattern of proteobacterial bd oxidases, this work sheds new light on the basal taxa of α-proteobacteria from which the γ-proteobacterial lineage probably emerged. PMID:25688108

  15. Molecular evolution of Pediculus humanus and the origin of clothing.

    PubMed

    Kittler, Ralf; Kayser, Manfred; Stoneking, Mark

    2003-08-19

    The human head louse (Pediculus humanus capitis) and body louse (P. humanus corporis or P. h. humanus) are strict, obligate human ectoparasites that differ mainly in their habitat on the host : the head louse lives and feeds exclusively on the scalp, whereas the body louse feeds on the body but lives in clothing. This ecological differentiation probably arose when humans adopted frequent use of clothing, an important event in human evolution for which there is no direct archaeological evidence. We therefore used a molecular clock approach to date the origin of body lice, assuming that this should correspond with the frequent use of clothing. Sequences were obtained from two mtDNA and two nuclear DNA segments from a global sample of 40 head and body lice, and from a chimpanzee louse to use as an outgroup. The results indicate greater diversity in African than non-African lice, suggesting an African origin of human lice. A molecular clock analysis indicates that body lice originated not more than about 72,000 +/- 42,000 years ago; the mtDNA sequences also indicate a demographic expansion of body lice that correlates with the spread of modern humans out of Africa. These results suggest that clothing was a surprisingly recent innovation in human evolution.

  16. Statistical mechanics of quasispecies theories of molecular evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Munoz Tavera, Enrique

    This thesis presents a statistical mechanical analysis of different formulations of quasispecies theory of molecular evolution. These theories, characterized by two different families of models, the Crow-Kimura and the Eigen model, constitute a microscopie description of evolution. These models are most often used for RNA viruses, where a phase transition is predicted, in agreement with experiments, between an organized or quasispecies phase, and a disordered non-selective phase when the mutation rate exceeds a critical value. The methods of statistical mechanics, in particular field-theoretic methods, are employed to obtain analytic solutions to four problems relevant to biological interest. The first chapter presents the study of evolution under a multiple-peak fitness landscape, with biological applications in the study of the proliferation of viruses or cancer under the control of drugs or the immune system. The second chapter studies the effect of incorporating different forms of horizontal gene transfer and two-parent recombination to the classical formulation of quasispecies models. As an example, we study the effect of the sign of epistasis of the fitness landscape on the advantage or disadvantage of recombination for the mean fitness. The third chapter considers the relaxation of the purine/pyrimidine assumption in the classical formulation of the models, by formulating and solving the parallel and Eigen models in the context of a four-letter alphabet. The fourth and final chapter studies finite population effects, both in the presence and in the absence of horizontal gene transfer.

  17. Application of Molecular Genetics and Transformation to Barley Improvement

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    This chapter of the new barley monograph summarizes current applications of molecular genetics and transformation to barley improvement. The chapter describes recent applications of molecular markers including association genetics, QTL mapping and marker assisted selection in barley programs, and in...

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

    Fischer, Thomas; Riedl, Rainer

    2016-03-01

    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).

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. The evolution of endothermy: role for membranes and molecular activity.

    PubMed

    Else, Paul L; Turner, N; Hulbert, A J

    2004-01-01

    On the basis of the comparative approach and three models of metabolism (endothermic and ectothermic vertebrates, body mass, and mammalian development), we suggest that a few common cellular processes, linked either directly or indirectly to membranes, consume the majority of energy used by most organisms; that membranes act as pacemakers of metabolism through changes in lipid composition, altering membrane characteristics and the working environment of membrane proteins--specifically, that changes in the membrane environment similarly affect the molecular activities (specific rates of activity) of membrane-bound proteins; and that polyunsaturation of membranes increases whereas monounsaturation decreases the activity of membrane proteins. Experiments designed to test this theory using the sodium pump support this supposition. Potential mechanisms considered include fluidity, electrical fields, and related surface area requirements of lipids. In considering the evolution of endothermy in mammals, for example, if the first mammals were small, possibly nocturnal and active organisms, all these factors would favour increased polyunsaturation of membranes. Such changes (from monounsaturated to polyunsaturated membranes) would allow membranes to set the pace of metabolism in the evolution of endothermy.

  5. Extraordinary molecular evolution in the PRDM9 fertility gene.

    PubMed

    Thomas, James H; Emerson, Ryan O; Shendure, Jay

    2009-12-30

    Recent work indicates that allelic incompatibility in the mouse PRDM9 (Meisetz) gene can cause hybrid male sterility, contributing to genetic isolation and potentially speciation. The only phenotype of mouse PRDM9 knockouts is a meiosis I block that causes sterility in both sexes. The PRDM9 gene encodes a protein with histone H3(K4) trimethyltransferase activity, a KRAB domain, and a DNA-binding domain consisting of multiple tandem C2H2 zinc finger (ZF) domains. We have analyzed human coding polymorphism and interspecies evolutionary changes in the PRDM9 gene. The ZF domains of PRDM9 are evolving very rapidly, with compelling evidence of positive selection in primates. Positively selected amino acids are predominantly those known to make nucleotide specific contacts in C2H2 zinc fingers. These results suggest that PRDM9 is subject to recurrent selection to change DNA-binding specificity. The human PRDM9 protein is highly polymorphic in its ZF domains and nearly all polymorphisms affect the same nucleotide contact residues that are subject to positive selection. ZF domain nucleotide sequences are strongly homogenized within species, indicating that interfinger recombination contributes to their evolution. PRDM9 has previously been assumed to be a transcription factor required to induce meiosis specific genes, a role that is inconsistent with its molecular evolution. We suggest instead that PRDM9 is involved in some aspect of centromere segregation conflict and that rapidly evolving centromeric DNA drives changes in PRDM9 DNA-binding domains.

  6. Molecular evolution of GPCRs: Kisspeptin/kisspeptin receptors.

    PubMed

    Pasquier, Jérémy; Kamech, Nédia; Lafont, Anne-Gaëlle; Vaudry, Hubert; Rousseau, Karine; Dufour, Sylvie

    2014-06-01

    Following the discovery of kisspeptin (Kiss) and its receptor (GPR54 or KissR) in mammals, phylogenetic studies revealed up to three Kiss and four KissR paralogous genes in other vertebrates. The multiplicity of Kiss and KissR types in vertebrates probably originated from the two rounds of whole-genome duplication (1R and 2R) that occurred in early vertebrates. This review examines compelling recent advances on molecular diversity and phylogenetic evolution of vertebrate Kiss and KissR. It also addresses, from an evolutionary point of view, the issues of the structure-activity relationships and interaction of Kiss with KissR and of their signaling pathways. Independent gene losses, during vertebrate evolution, have shaped the repertoire of Kiss and KissR in the extant vertebrate species. In particular, there is no conserved combination of a given Kiss type with a KissR type, across vertebrate evolution. The striking conservation of the biologically active ten-amino-acid C-terminal sequence of all vertebrate kisspeptins, probably allowed this evolutionary flexibility of Kiss/KissR pairs. KissR mutations, responsible for hypogonadotropic hypogonadism in humans, mostly occurred at highly conserved amino acid positions among vertebrate KissR. This further highlights the key role of these amino acids in KissR function. In contrast, less conserved KissR regions, notably in the intracellular C-terminal domain, may account for differential intracellular signaling pathways between vertebrate KissR. Cross talk between evolutionary and biomedical studies should contribute to further understanding of the Kiss/KissR structure-activity relationships and biological functions.

  7. 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

  8. Karyotype evolution in the Pinaceae: implication with molecular phylogeny.

    PubMed

    Nkongolo, K K; Mehes-Smith, M

    2012-11-01

    The family Pinaceae is made up mostly of diploid species (2n = 24). Systematization of karyotype analysis was developed to make comparison of intra- and interspecific karyotypes among the Pinaceae more accurate and reliable. Considering all parameters, the genera Pseudotsuga and Pseudolarix have the "most derived" (or advanced) and asymmetric karyotypes in the Pinaceae, followed by Larix, Picea, Abies, and Cedrus. The genus Pinus was the "least derived" (or ancestral) of all the genera of the Pinaceae analyzed. Differences in karyotype formulae and asymmetry indices were found among species within the same genera, suggesting that structural changes may have contributed to the diversification of the genus. This review is a detailed analysis of comparative karyotyping based on similar parameters, including numeric data and cytogenetic information. Telomeric sequence repeats and rDNA distribution in the Pinaceae were surveyed. The role of transposition in rDNA chromosome distribution is analyzed. Cytogenetic implications of hybridization between related species are reported. Likewise, the relationships between molecular phylogenetic and karyotype evolution is discussed in light of several reports. Within many genera, chromosomal organization was conserved despite independent molecular divergence and adaptation through the evolutionary history of the species of the Pinaceae.

  9. 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.

  10. Linking the molecular evolution of avian beta (β) keratins to the evolution of feathers.

    PubMed

    Greenwold, Matthew J; Sawyer, Roger H

    2011-12-15

    Feathers of today's birds are constructed of beta (β)-keratins, structural proteins of the epidermis that are found solely in reptiles and birds. Discoveries of "feathered dinosaurs" continue to stimulate interest in the evolutionary origin of feathers, but few studies have attempted to link the molecular evolution of their major structural proteins (β-keratins) to the appearance of feathers in the fossil record. Using molecular dating methods, we show that before the appearance of Anchiornis (∼155 Million years ago (Ma)) the basal β-keratins of birds began diverging from their archosaurian ancestor ∼216 Ma. However, the subfamily of feather β-keratins, as found in living birds, did not begin diverging until ∼143 Ma. Thus, the pennaceous feathers on Anchiornis, while being constructed of avian β-keratins, most likely did not contain the feather β-keratins found in the feathers of modern birds. Our results demonstrate that the evolutionary origin of feathers does not coincide with the molecular evolution of the feather β-keratins found in modern birds. More likely, during the Late Jurassic, the epidermal structures that appeared on organisms in the lineage leading to birds, including early forms of feathers, were constructed of avian β-keratins other than those found in the feathers of modern birds. Recent biophysical studies of the β-keratins in feathers support the view that the appearance of the subfamily of feather β-keratins altered the biophysical nature of the feather establishing its role in powered flight.

  11. The First Molecular Phylogeny of Strepsiptera (Insecta) Reveals an Early Burst of Molecular Evolution Correlated with the Transition to Endoparasitism

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Low-molecular-weight carbon nitrides for solar hydrogen evolution.

    PubMed

    Lau, Vincent Wing-hei; Mesch, Maria B; Duppel, Viola; Blum, Volker; Senker, Jürgen; Lotsch, Bettina V

    2015-01-28

    This work focuses on the control of the polymerization process for melon ("graphitic carbon nitride"), with the aim of improving its photocatalytic activity intrinsically. We demonstrate here that reduction of the synthesis temperature leads to a mixture of the monomer melem and its higher condensates. We show that this mixture can be separated and provide evidence that the higher condensates are isolated oligomers of melem. On evaluating their photocatalytic activity for hydrogen evolution, the oligomers were found to be the most active species, having up to twice the activity of the monomer/oligomer mixture of the as-synthesized material, which in turn has 3 times the activity of the polymer melon, the literature benchmark. These results highlight the role of "defects", i.e., chain terminations, in increasing the catalytic activity of carbon nitrides and at the same time point to the ample potential of intrinsically improving the photocatalytic activity of "carbon nitride", especially through the selective synthesis of the active phase.

  17. 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.

  18. Catalytic Improvement and Evolution of Atrazine Chlorohydrolase ▿

    PubMed Central

    Scott, Colin; Jackson, Colin J.; Coppin, Chris W.; Mourant, Roslyn G.; Hilton, Margaret E.; Sutherland, Tara D.; Russell, Robyn J.; Oakeshott, John G.

    2009-01-01

    The atrazine chlorohydrolase AtzA has evolved within the past 50 years to catalyze the hydrolytic dechlorination of the herbicide atrazine. It is of wide research interest for two reasons: first, catalytic improvement of the enzyme would facilitate its application in bioremediation, and second, because of its recent evolution, it presents a rare opportunity to examine the early stages in the acquisition of new catalytic activities. Using a structural model of the AtzA-atrazine complex, a region of the substrate-binding pocket was targeted for combinatorial randomization. Identification of improved variants through this process informed the construction of a variant AtzA enzyme with 20-fold improvement in its kcat/Km value compared with that of the wild-type enzyme. The reduction in Km observed in the AtzA variants has allowed the full kinetic profile for the AtzA-catalyzed dechlorination of atrazine to be determined for the first time, revealing the hitherto-unreported substrate cooperativity in AtzA. Since substrate cooperativity is common among deaminases, which are the closest structural homologs of AtzA, it is possible that this phenomenon is a remnant of the catalytic activity of the evolutionary progenitor of AtzA. A catalytic mechanism that suggests a plausible mechanistic route for the evolution of dechlorinase activity in AtzA from an ancestral deaminase is proposed. PMID:19201959

  19. Molecular Imaging and Contrast Agent Database (MICAD): evolution and progress.

    PubMed

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

    2012-02-01

    The purpose of writing this review is to showcase the Molecular Imaging and Contrast Agent Database (MICAD; www.micad.nlm.nih.gov ) to students, researchers, and clinical investigators interested in the different aspects of molecular imaging. This database provides freely accessible, current, online scientific information regarding molecular imaging (MI) probes and contrast agents (CA) used for positron emission tomography, single-photon emission computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, X-ray/computed tomography, optical imaging and ultrasound imaging. Detailed information on >1,000 agents in MICAD is provided in a chapter format and can be accessed through PubMed. Lists containing >4,250 unique MI probes and CAs published in peer-reviewed journals and agents approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration as well as a comma separated values file summarizing all chapters in the database can be downloaded from the MICAD homepage. Users can search for agents in MICAD on the basis of imaging modality, source of signal/contrast, agent or target category, pre-clinical or clinical studies, and text words. Chapters in MICAD describe the chemical characteristics (structures linked to PubChem), the in vitro and in vivo activities, and other relevant information regarding an imaging agent. All references in the chapters have links to PubMed. A Supplemental Information Section in each chapter is available to share unpublished information regarding an agent. A Guest Author Program is available to facilitate rapid expansion of the database. Members of the imaging community registered with MICAD periodically receive an e-mail announcement (eAnnouncement) that lists new chapters uploaded to the database. Users of MICAD are encouraged to provide feedback, comments, or suggestions for further improvement of the database by writing to the editors at micad@nlm.nih.gov.

  20. Molecular evolution of SRP cycle components: functional implications.

    PubMed

    Althoff, S; Selinger, D; Wise, J A

    1994-06-11

    Signal recognition particle (SRP) is a cytoplasmic ribonucleoprotein that targets a subset of nascent presecretory proteins to the endoplasmic reticulum membrane. We have considered the SRP cycle from the perspective of molecular evolution, using recently determined sequences of genes or cDNAs encoding homologs of SRP (7SL) RNA, the Srp54 protein (Srp54p), and the alpha subunit of the SRP receptor (SR alpha) from a broad spectrum of organisms, together with the remaining five polypeptides of mammalian SRP. Our analysis provides insight into the significance of structural variation in SRP RNA and identifies novel conserved motifs in protein components of this pathway. The lack of congruence between an established phylogenetic tree and size variation in 7SL homologs implies the occurrence of several independent events that eliminated more than half the sequence content of this RNA during bacterial evolution. The apparently non-essential structures are domain I, a tRNA-like element that is constant in archaea, varies in size among eucaryotes, and is generally missing in bacteria, and domain III, a tightly base-paired hairpin that is present in all eucaryotic and archeal SRP RNAs but is invariably absent in bacteria. Based on both structural and functional considerations, we propose that the conserved core of SRP consists minimally of the 54 kDa signal sequence-binding protein complexed with the loosely base-paired domain IV helix of SRP RNA, and is also likely to contain a homolog of the Srp68 protein. Comparative sequence analysis of the methionine-rich M domains from a diverse array of Srp54p homologs reveals an extended region of amino acid identity that resembles a recently identified RNA recognition motif. Multiple sequence alignment of the G domains of Srp54p and SR alpha homologs indicates that these two polypeptides exhibit significant similarity even outside the four GTPase consensus motifs, including a block of nine contiguous amino acids in a location

  1. Molecular epidemiology, phylogeny and evolution of Candida albicans.

    PubMed

    McManus, Brenda A; Coleman, David C

    2014-01-01

    A small number of Candida species form part of the normal microbial flora of mucosal surfaces in humans and may give rise to opportunistic infections when host defences are impaired. Candida albicans is by far the most prevalent commensal and pathogenic Candida species. Several different molecular typing approaches including multilocus sequence typing, multilocus microsatellite typing and DNA fingerprinting using C. albicans-specific repetitive sequence-containing DNA probes have yielded a wealth of information regarding the epidemiology and population structure of this species. Such studies revealed that the C. albicans population structure consists of multiple major and minor clades, some of which exhibit geographical or phenotypic enrichment and that C. albicans reproduction is predominantly clonal. Despite this, losses of heterozygosity by recombination, the existence of a parasexual cycle, toleration of a wide range of aneuploidies and the recent description of viable haploid strains have all demonstrated the extensive plasticity of the C. albicans genome. Recombination and gross chromosomal rearrangements are more common under stressful environmental conditions, and have played a significant role in the evolution of this opportunistic pathogen. Surprisingly, Candida dubliniensis, the closest relative of C. albicans exhibits more karyotype variability than C. albicans, but is significantly less adaptable to unfavourable environments. This disparity most likely reflects the evolutionary processes that occurred during or soon after the divergence of both species from their common ancestor. Whilst C. dubliniensis underwent significant gene loss and pseudogenisation, C. albicans expanded gene families considered to be important in virulence. It is likely that technological developments in whole genome sequencing and data analysis in coming years will facilitate its routine use for population structure, epidemiological investigations, and phylogenetic analyses of

  2. Using experimental evolution to probe molecular mechanisms of protein function.

    PubMed

    Fischer, Marlies; Kang, Mandeep; Brindle, Nicholas Pj

    2016-02-01

    Directed evolution is a powerful tool for engineering protein function. The process of directed evolution involves iterative rounds of sequence diversification followed by assaying activity of variants and selection. The range of sequence variants and linked activities generated in the course of an evolution are a rich information source for investigating relationships between sequence and function. Key residue positions determining protein function, combinatorial contributors to activity and even potential functional mechanisms have been revealed in directed evolutions. The recent application of high throughput sequencing substantially increases the information that can be retrieved from directed evolution experiments. Combined with computational analysis this additional sequence information has allowed high-resolution analysis of individual residue contributions to activity. These developments promise to significantly enhance the depth of insight that experimental evolution provides into mechanisms of protein function.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Molecular Diversity and Functional Evolution of Scorpion Potassium Channel Toxins*

    PubMed Central

    Zhu, Shunyi; Peigneur, Steve; Gao, Bin; Luo, Lan; Jin, Di; Zhao, Yong; Tytgat, Jan

    2011-01-01

    Scorpion toxins affecting K+ channels (KTxs) represent important pharmacological tools and potential drug candidates. Here, we report molecular characterization of seven new KTxs in the scorpion Mesobuthus eupeus by cDNA cloning combined with biochemical approaches. Comparative modeling supports that all these KTxs share a conserved cysteine-stabilized α-helix/β-sheet structural motif despite the differences in protein sequence and size. We investigated functional diversification of two orthologous α-KTxs (MeuTXKα1 from M. eupeus and BmP01 from Mesobuthus martensii) by comparing their K+ channel-blocking activities. Pharmacologically, MeuTXKα1 selectively blocked Kv1.3 channel with nanomolar affinity (IC50, 2.36 ± 0.9 nm), whereas only 35% of Kv1.1 currents were inhibited at 3 μm concentration, showing more than 1271-fold selectivity for Kv1.3 over Kv1.1. This peptide displayed a weak effect on Drosophila Shaker channel and no activity on Kv1.2, Kv1.4, Kv1.5, Kv1.6, and human ether-a-go-go-related gene (hERG) K+ channels. Although BmB01 and MeuTXKα1 have a similar channel spectrum, their affinity and selectivity for these channels largely varies. In comparison with MeuTXKα1, BmP01 only exhibits a submicromolar affinity (IC50, 133.72 ± 10.98 nm) for Kv1.3, showing 57-fold less activity than MeuTXKα1. Moreover, it lacks the ability to distinguish between Kv1.1 and Kv1.3. We also found that MeuTXKα1 inhibited the proliferation of activated T cells induced by phorbol myristate acetate and ionomycin at micromolar concentrations. Our results demonstrate that accelerated evolution drives affinity variations of orthologous α-KTxs on Kv channels and indicate that MeuTXKα1 is a promising candidate to develop an immune modulation agent for human autoimmune diseases. PMID:20889474

  6. Molecular evolution of the ependymin protein family: a necessary update

    PubMed Central

    Suárez-Castillo, Edna C; García-Arrarás, José E

    2007-01-01

    Background Ependymin (Epd), the predominant protein in the cerebrospinal fluid of teleost fishes, was originally associated with neuroplasticity and regeneration. Ependymin-related proteins (Epdrs) have been identified in other vertebrates, including amphibians and mammals. Recently, we reported the identification and characterization of an Epdr in echinoderms, showing that there are ependymin family members in non-vertebrate deuterostomes. We have now explored multiple databases to find Epdrs in different metazoan species. Using these sequences we have performed genome mapping, molecular phylogenetic analyses using Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian methods, and statistical tests of tree topologies, to ascertain the phylogenetic relationship among ependymin proteins. Results Our results demonstrate that ependymin genes are also present in protostomes. In addition, as a result of the putative fish-specific genome duplication event and posterior divergence, the ependymin family can be divided into four groups according to their amino acid composition and branching pattern in the gene tree: 1) a brain-specific group of ependymin sequences that is unique to teleost fishes and encompasses the originally described ependymin; 2) a group expressed in non-brain tissue in fishes; 3) a group expressed in several tissues that appears to be deuterostome-specific, and 4) a group found in invertebrate deuterostomes and protostomes, with a broad pattern of expression and that probably represents the evolutionary origin of the ependymins. Using codon-substitution models to statistically assess the selective pressures acting over the ependymin protein family, we found evidence of episodic positive Darwinian selection and relaxed selective constraints in each one of the postduplication branches of the gene tree. However, purifying selection (with among-site variability) appears to be the main influence on the evolution of each subgroup within the family. Functional divergence among the

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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…

  10. Hypoallergens for allergen-specific immunotherapy by directed molecular evolution of mite group 2 allergens.

    PubMed

    Gafvelin, Guro; Parmley, Stephen; Neimert-Andersson, Theresa; Blank, Ulrich; Eriksson, Tove L J; van Hage, Marianne; Punnonen, Juha

    2007-02-09

    Allergen-specific immunotherapy is the only treatment that provides long lasting relief of allergic symptoms. Currently, it is based on repeated administration of allergen extracts. To improve the safety and efficacy of allergen extract-based immunotherapy, application of hypoallergens, i.e. modified allergens with reduced IgE binding capacity but retained T-cell reactivity, has been proposed. It may, however, be difficult to predict how to modify an allergen to create a hypoallergen. Directed molecular evolution by DNA shuffling and screening provides a means by which to evolve proteins having novel or improved functional properties without knowledge of structure-function relationships of the target molecules. With the aim to generate hypoallergens we applied multigene DNA shuffling on three group 2 dust mite allergen genes, two isoforms of Lep d 2 and Gly d 2. DNA shuffling yielded a library of genes from which encoded shuffled allergens were expressed and screened. A positive selection was made for full-length, high-expressing clones, and screening for low binding to IgE from mite allergic patients was performed using an IgE bead-based binding assay. Nine selected shuffled allergens revealed 80-fold reduced to completely abolished IgE binding compared with the parental allergens in IgE binding competition experiments. Two hypoallergen candidates stimulated allergen-specific T-cell proliferation and cytokine production at comparable levels as the wild-type allergens in patient peripheral blood mononuclear cell cultures. The two candidates also induced blocking Lep d 2-specific IgG antibodies in immunized mice. We conclude that directed molecular evolution is a powerful approach to generate hypoallergens for potential use in allergen-specific immunotherapy.

  11. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    Yu, Yan; Xiang, Qiuyun; Manos, Paul S.; Soltis, Douglas E.; Soltis, Pamela S.; Song, Bao-Hua; Cheng, Shifeng; Liu, Xin; Wong, Gane

    2017-01-01

    The pattern and rate of genome evolution have profound consequences in organismal evolution. Whole-genome duplication (WGD), or polyploidy, has been recognized as an important evolutionary mechanism of plant diversification. However, in non-model plants the molecular signals of genome duplications have remained largely unexplored. High-throughput transcriptome data from next-generation sequencing have set the stage for novel investigations of genome evolution using new bioinformatic and methodological tools in a phylogenetic framework. Here we compare ten de novo-assembled transcriptomes representing the major lineages of the angiosperm genus Cornus (dogwood) and relevant outgroups using a customized pipeline for analyses. Using three distinct approaches, molecular dating of orthologous genes, analyses of the distribution of synonymous substitutions between paralogous genes, and examination of substitution rates through time, we detected a shared WGD event in the late Cretaceous across all taxa sampled. The inferred doubling event coincides temporally with the paleoclimatic changes associated with the initial divergence of the genus into three major lineages. Analyses also showed an acceleration of rates of molecular evolution after WGD. The highest rates of molecular evolution were observed in the transcriptome of the herbaceous lineage, C. canadensis, a species commonly found at higher latitudes, including the Arctic. Our study demonstrates the value of transcriptome data for understanding genome evolution in closely related species. The results suggest dramatic increase in sea surface temperature in the late Cretaceous may have contributed to the evolution and diversification of flowering plants. PMID:28225773

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. Evolution of photoelectron vibrational coupling with molecular complexity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Poliakoff, E. D.; Lucchese, R. R.

    2006-11-01

    We review how electronic and vibrational degrees of freedom become coupled in molecular photoionization, and describe effects that emerge as the molecular complexity increases. Molecular photoionization is frequently influenced by the temporary trapping of the continuum electron in the field of the target molecules, which is referred to as a shape resonance, as it depends on the shape of the potential experienced by the exiting photoelectron. Such resonances couple electronic and vibrational motion, and the nature of the coupling can vary widely for polyatomic molecules. We show how vibrationally resolved photoelectron spectra acquired as a function of energy can be used to elucidate such coupling. The experiments are analysed using physically realistic and computationally tractable Schwinger variational theory, and the systems studied to date can be well understood using an independent-particle, adiabatic nuclei framework. As a result, simple and intuitive pictures emerge, even when dealing with scattering phenomena involving complex molecular targets and potentials.

  16. On the Stability and Evolution of Isolated Molecular Clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Langer, W.; Nelson, R.

    1998-01-01

    We present the results of three dimensional hydrodynamic models of evolving, isolated, low mass, quiescent clouds and Bok gobules, where the interstellar radiation field plays an important role in the thermal and chemical evolution, and thermal pressure provides dominant support against gravitational collapse.

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Seager, Robert D.

    1990-01-01

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

  18. 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

  19. Improving the embryo implantation via novel molecular targets.

    PubMed

    Li, Jingjie; Liang, Xiaoyan; Chen, Zijiang

    2013-07-01

    With the development of modern assisted reproductive technology(ART), the treatment of infertility and the pregnant outcome by ART have been significantly improved. However, implantation failure, particularly the unexplained repeated implantation failure (RIF), is still the unsolved and principal problem to affect the outcome of ART. The completed embryo, the receptive uterus and a series of precisely controlled molecular events between the blastocyst and endometrium are all indispensable for the success of implantation. Thus, deep insight into the molecular mechanisms that impact the endometrial receptivity and embryo implantation is an effective way to improve the implantation rate. Here the novel molecular targets and biomarkers have been reviewed that are reported and proved during more recent years in the aspects of ion channels, aquaporins, long noncoding RNAs and microRNAs, kruppel like factors, metabolism related molecules and the endogenous retroviruses. Evaluation of implantation markers may help clinicians to predict pregnancy outcome and detect occult implantation deficiency. Moreover, these novel molecular targets are expected to apply to the clinical practice from bench to bedside and improve the implantation efficiency in ART and natural conception.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. Primer and interviews: molecular mechanisms of morphological evolution.

    PubMed

    Kiefer, Julie C

    2010-12-01

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

  3. 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

  4. Abrupt deceleration of molecular evolution linked to the origin of arborescence in ferns.

    PubMed

    Korall, Petra; Schuettpelz, Eric; Pryer, Kathleen M

    2010-09-01

    Molecular rate heterogeneity, whereby rates of molecular evolution vary among groups of organisms, is a well-documented phenomenon. Nonetheless, its causes are poorly understood. For animals, generation time is frequently cited because longer-lived species tend to have slower rates of molecular evolution than their shorter-lived counterparts. Although a similar pattern has been uncovered in flowering plants, using proxies such as growth form, the underlying process has remained elusive. Here, we find a deceleration of molecular evolutionary rate to be coupled with the origin of arborescence in ferns. Phylogenetic branch lengths within the “tree fern” clade are considerably shorter than those of closely related lineages, and our analyses demonstrate that this is due to a significant difference in molecular evolutionary rate. Reconstructions reveal that an abrupt rate deceleration coincided with the evolution of the long-lived tree-like habit at the base of the tree fern clade. This suggests that a generation time effect may well be ubiquitous across the green tree of life, and that the search for a responsible mechanism must focus on characteristics shared by all vascular plants. Discriminating among the possibilities will require contributions from various biological disciplines,but will be necessary for a full appreciation of molecular evolution.

  5. Molecular evolution of communication signals in electric fish.

    PubMed

    Zakon, Harold H; Zwickl, Derrick J; Lu, Ying; Hillis, David M

    2008-06-01

    Animal communication systems are subject to natural selection so the imprint of selection must reside in the genome of each species. Electric fish generate electric organ discharges (EODs) from a muscle-derived electric organ (EO) and use these fields for electrolocation and communication. Weakly electric teleosts have evolved at least twice (mormyriforms, gymnotiforms) allowing a comparison of the workings of evolution in two independently evolved sensory/motor systems. We focused on the genes for two Na(+) channels, Nav1.4a and Nav1.4b, which are orthologs of the mammalian muscle-expressed Na(+) channel gene Nav1.4. Both genes are expressed in muscle in non-electric fish. Nav1.4b is expressed in muscle in electric fish, but Nav1.4a expression has been lost from muscle and gained in the evolutionarily novel EO in both groups. We hypothesized that Nav1.4a might be evolving to optimize the EOD for different sensory environments and the generation of species-specific communication signals. We obtained the sequence for Nav1.4a from non-electric, mormyriform and gymnotiform species, estimated a phylogenetic tree, and determined rates of evolution. We observed elevated rates of evolution in this gene in both groups coincident with the loss of Nav1.4a from muscle and its compartmentalization in EO. We found amino acid substitutions at sites known to be critical for channel inactivation; analyses suggest that these changes are likely to be the result of positive selection. We suggest that the diversity of EOD waveforms in both groups of electric fish is correlated with accelerations in the rate of evolution of the Nav1.4a Na(+) channel gene due to changes in selection pressure on the gene once it was solely expressed in the EO.

  6. Improved agarose gel electrophoresis method and molecular mass calculation for high molecular mass hyaluronan.

    PubMed

    Cowman, Mary K; Chen, Cherry C; Pandya, Monika; Yuan, Han; Ramkishun, Dianne; LoBello, Jaclyn; Bhilocha, Shardul; Russell-Puleri, Sparkle; Skendaj, Eraldi; Mijovic, Jovan; Jing, Wei

    2011-10-01

    The molecular mass of the polysaccharide hyaluronan (HA) is an important determinant of its biological activity and physicochemical properties. One method currently used for the analysis of the molecular mass distribution of an HA sample is gel electrophoresis. In the current work, an improved agarose gel electrophoresis method for analysis of high molecular mass HA is presented and validated. HA mobility in 0.5% agarose minigels was found to be linearly related to the logarithm of molecular mass in the range from approximately 200 to 6000 kDa. A sample load of 2.5 μg for polydisperse HA samples was employed. Densitometric scanning of stained gels allowed analysis of the range of molecular masses present in the sample as well as calculation of weight-average and number-average values. The method was validated for a polydisperse HA sample with a weight-average molecular mass of approximately 2000 kDa. Excellent agreement was found between the weight-average molecular mass determined by electrophoresis and that determined by rheological measurement of the solution viscosity. The revised method was then used to show that heating solutions of HA at 100°C, followed by various cooling procedures, had no effect on the HA molecular mass distribution.

  7. Molecular evolution of a steroid hydroxylating cytochrome P450 using a versatile steroid detection system for screening.

    PubMed

    Virus, Cornelia; Bernhardt, Rita

    2008-12-01

    Molecular evolution is a powerful tool for improving or changing activities of enzymes for their use in biotechnological processes. Cytochromes P450 are highly interesting enzymes for biotechnological purposes because they are able to hydroxylate a broad variety of substrates with high regio- and stereoselectivity. One promising steroid hydroxylating cytochrome P450 for biotechnological applications is CYP106A2 from Bacillus megaterium ATCC 13368. It is one of a few known bacterial cytochromes P450 able to transform steroids such as progesterone and 11-deoxycortisol. CYP106A2 can be easily expressed in Escherichia coli with a high yield and can be reconstituted using the adrenal redox proteins, adrenodoxin and adrenodoxin reductase. We developed a simple screening assay for this system and performed random mutagenesis of CYP106A2, yielding variants with improved 11-deoxycortisol and progesterone hydroxylation activity. After two generations of directed evolution, we were able to improve the k (cat)/K (m) of the 11-deoxycortisol hydroxylation by a factor of more than four. At the same time progesterone conversion was improved about 1.4-fold. Mapping the mutations identified in catalytically improved CYP106A2 variants into the structure of a CYP106A2 model suggests that these mutations influence the mobility of the F/G loop, and the interaction with the redox partner adrenodoxin. The results show the evolution of a soluble steroid hydroxylase as a potential new catalyst for the production of steroidogenic compounds.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Molecular evolution and genetics of postzygotic reproductive isolation in plants

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    In just the last few years, plant geneticists have made tremendous progress in identifying the molecular genetic basis of postzygotic reproductive isolation. With more than a dozen genes now cloned, it is clear that plant hybrid incompatibilities usually evolve via two or more mutational steps, as is predicted by the Dobzhansky-Muller model. There is evidence that natural selection or random genetic drift can be responsible for these incompatibilities. PMID:23236340

  11. Molecular phylogeny, biogeography, and habitat preference evolution of marsupials.

    PubMed

    Mitchell, Kieren J; Pratt, Renae C; Watson, Laura N; Gibb, Gillian C; Llamas, Bastien; Kasper, Marta; Edson, Janette; Hopwood, Blair; Male, Dean; Armstrong, Kyle N; Meyer, Matthias; Hofreiter, Michael; Austin, Jeremy; Donnellan, Stephen C; Lee, Michael S Y; Phillips, Matthew J; Cooper, Alan

    2014-09-01

    Marsupials exhibit great diversity in ecology and morphology. However, compared with their sister group, the placental mammals, our understanding of many aspects of marsupial evolution remains limited. We use 101 mitochondrial genomes and data from 26 nuclear loci to reconstruct a dated phylogeny including 97% of extant genera and 58% of modern marsupial species. This tree allows us to analyze the evolution of habitat preference and geographic distributions of marsupial species through time. We found a pattern of mesic-adapted lineages evolving to use more arid and open habitats, which is broadly consistent with regional climate and environmental change. However, contrary to the general trend, several lineages subsequently appear to have reverted from drier to more mesic habitats. Biogeographic reconstructions suggest that current views on the connectivity between Australia and New Guinea/Wallacea during the Miocene and Pliocene need to be revised. The antiquity of several endemic New Guinean clades strongly suggests a substantially older period of connection stretching back to the Middle Miocene and implies that New Guinea was colonized by multiple clades almost immediately after its principal formation.

  12. Alleles versus mutations: Understanding the evolution of genetic architecture requires a molecular perspective on allelic origins.

    PubMed

    Remington, David L

    2015-12-01

    Perspectives on the role of large-effect quantitative trait loci (QTL) in the evolution of complex traits have shifted back and forth over the past few decades. Different sets of studies have produced contradictory insights on the evolution of genetic architecture. I argue that much of the confusion results from a failure to distinguish mutational and allelic effects, a limitation of using the Fisherian model of adaptive evolution as the lens through which the evolution of adaptive variation is examined. A molecular-based perspective reveals that allelic differences can involve the cumulative effects of many mutations plus intragenic recombination, a model that is supported by extensive empirical evidence. I discuss how different selection regimes could produce very different architectures of allelic effects under a molecular-based model, which may explain conflicting insights on genetic architecture from studies of variation within populations versus between divergently selected populations. I address shortcomings of genome-wide association study (GWAS) practices in light of more suitable models of allelic evolution, and suggest alternate GWAS strategies to generate more valid inferences about genetic architecture. Finally, I discuss how adopting more suitable models of allelic evolution could help redirect research on complex trait evolution toward addressing more meaningful questions in evolutionary biology.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Molecular Evolution of Insect Sociality: An Eco-Evo-Devo Perspective.

    PubMed

    Toth, Amy L; Rehan, Sandra M

    2017-01-31

    The evolution of eusociality is a perennial issue in evolutionary biology, and genomic advances have fueled steadily growing interest in the genetic changes underlying social evolution. Along with a recent flurry of research on comparative and evolutionary genomics in different eusocial insect groups (bees, ants, wasps, and termites), several mechanistic explanations have emerged to describe the molecular evolution of eusociality from solitary behavior. These include solitary physiological ground plans, genetic toolkits of deeply conserved genes, evolutionary changes in protein-coding genes, cis regulation, and the structure of gene networks, epigenetics, and novel genes. Despite this proliferation of ideas, there has been little synthesis, even though these ideas are not mutually exclusive and may in fact be complementary. We review available data on molecular evolution of insect sociality and highlight key biotic and abiotic factors influencing social insect genomes. We then suggest both phylogenetic and ecological evolutionary developmental biology (eco-evo-devo) perspectives for a more synthetic view of molecular evolution in insect societies.

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. Molecular evolution of toxin genes in Elapidae snakes.

    PubMed

    Tamiya, Toru; Fujimi, Takahiko J

    2006-11-01

    The venom of the sea krait, Laticauda semifasciata, consists primarily of two toxic proteins, phospholipase A(2) (PLA(2)) and a three-finger-structure toxin. We have cloned both toxic protein genes, including the upstream region. PLA(2) genes contain three types of inserted sequences: an AG-rich region, a chicken repeat 1-like long interspersed nucleotide element sequence and an intron II 3' side repeat sequence. The molecular divergence of L. semifasciata PLA(2) genes was defined on the basis of the inserted sequences and their sequence homology. The length of intron I in the three-finger-structure toxin genes differs from species to species. The alignment analysis of intron I of the three-finger-structure toxin genes revealed that the intron I sequence of the ancestral gene comprised ten genetic regions. A hypothetical evolutionary process for the three-finger-structure toxin genes has also been developed.

  4. Promiscuity in alkaline phosphatase superfamily. Unraveling evolution through molecular simulations.

    PubMed

    López-Canut, Violeta; Roca, Maite; Bertrán, Juan; Moliner, Vicent; Tuñón, Iñaki

    2011-08-10

    We here present a theoretical study of the alkaline hydrolysis of a phosphodiester (methyl p-nitrophenyl phosphate or MpNPP) in the active site of Escherichia coli alkaline phosphatase (AP), a monoesterase that also presents promiscuous activity as a diesterase. The analysis of our simulations, carried out by means of molecular dynamics (MD) simulations with hybrid quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) potentials, shows that the reaction takes place through a D(N)A(N) or dissociative mechanism, the same mechanism employed by AP in the hydrolysis of monoesters. The promiscuous activity observed in this superfamily can be then explained on the basis of a conserved reaction mechanism. According to our simulations the specialization in the hydrolysis of phosphomonoesters or phosphodiesters, developed in different members of the superfamily, is a consequence of the interactions established between the protein and the oxygen atoms of the phosphate group and, in particular, with the oxygen atom that bears the additional alkyl group when the substrate is a diester. A water molecule, belonging to the coordination shell of the Mg(2+) ion, and residue Lys328 seem to play decisive roles stabilizing a phosphomonoester substrate, but the latter contributes to increase the energy barrier for the hydrolysis of phosphodiesters. Then, mutations affecting the nature or positioning of Lys328 lead to an increased diesterase activity in AP. Finally, the capacity of this enzymatic family to catalyze the reaction of phosphoesters having different leaving groups, or substrate promiscuity, is explained by the ability of the enzyme to stabilize different charge distributions in the leaving group using different interactions involving either one of the zinc centers or residues placed on the outer side of the catalytic site.

  5. A mitogenomic timescale for birds detects variable phylogenetic rates of molecular evolution and refutes the standard molecular clock.

    PubMed

    Pereira, Sergio L; Baker, Allan J

    2006-09-01

    Current understanding of the diversification of birds is hindered by their incomplete fossil record and uncertainty in phylogenetic relationships and phylogenetic rates of molecular evolution. Here we performed the first comprehensive analysis of mitogenomic data of 48 vertebrates, including 35 birds, to derive a Bayesian timescale for avian evolution and to estimate rates of DNA evolution. Our approach used multiple fossil time constraints scattered throughout the phylogenetic tree and accounts for uncertainties in time constraints, branch lengths, and heterogeneity of rates of DNA evolution. We estimated that the major vertebrate lineages originated in the Permian; the 95% credible intervals of our estimated ages of the origin of archosaurs (258 MYA), the amniote-amphibian split (356 MYA), and the archosaur-lizard divergence (278 MYA) bracket estimates from the fossil record. The origin of modern orders of birds was estimated to have occurred throughout the Cretaceous beginning about 139 MYA, arguing against a cataclysmic extinction of lineages at the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary. We identified fossils that are useful as time constraints within vertebrates. Our timescale reveals that rates of molecular evolution vary across genes and among taxa through time, thereby refuting the widely used mitogenomic or cytochrome b molecular clock in birds. Moreover, the 5-Myr divergence time assumed between 2 genera of geese (Branta and Anser) to originally calibrate the standard mitochondrial clock rate of 0.01 substitutions per site per lineage per Myr (s/s/l/Myr) in birds was shown to be underestimated by about 9.5 Myr. Phylogenetic rates in birds vary between 0.0009 and 0.012 s/s/l/Myr, indicating that many phylogenetic splits among avian taxa also have been underestimated and need to be revised. We found no support for the hypothesis that the molecular clock in birds "ticks" according to a constant rate of substitution per unit of mass-specific metabolic energy rather

  6. Origin of noncoding DNA sequences: molecular fossils of genome evolution.

    PubMed

    Naora, H; Miyahara, K; Curnow, R N

    1987-09-01

    The total amount of noncoding sequences on chromosomes of contemporary organisms varies significantly from species to species. We propose a hypothesis for the origin of these noncoding sequences that assumes that (i) an approximately equal to 0.55-kilobase (kb)-long reading frame composed the primordial gene and (ii) a 20-kb-long single-stranded polynucleotide is the longest molecule (as a genome) that was polymerized at random and without a specific template in the primordial soup/cell. The statistical distribution of stop codons allows examination of the probability of generating reading frames of approximately equal to 0.55 kb in this primordial polynucleotide. This analysis reveals that with three stop codons, a run of at least 0.55-kb equivalent length of nonstop codons would occur in 4.6% of 20-kb-long polynucleotide molecules. We attempt to estimate the total amount of noncoding sequences that would be present on the chromosomes of contemporary species assuming that present-day chromosomes retain the prototype primordial genome structure. Theoretical estimates thus obtained for most eukaryotes do not differ significantly from those reported for these specific organisms, with only a few exceptions. Furthermore, analysis of possible stop-codon distributions suggests that life on earth would not exist, at least in its present form, had two or four stop codons been selected early in evolution.

  7. 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.

  8. Molecular evolution of GPCRs: GLP1/GLP1 receptors.

    PubMed

    Hwang, Jong-Ik; Yun, Seongsik; Moon, Mi Jin; Park, Cho Rong; Seong, Jae Young

    2014-06-01

    Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP1) is an intestinal incretin that regulates glucose homeostasis through stimulation of insulin secretion from pancreatic β-cells and inhibits appetite by acting on the brain. Thus, it is a promising therapeutic agent for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity. Studies using synteny and reconstructed ancestral chromosomes suggest that families for GLP1 and its receptor (GLP1R) have emerged through two rounds (2R) of whole genome duplication and local gene duplications before and after 2R. Exon duplications have also contributed to the expansion of the peptide family members. Specific changes in the amino acid sequence following exon/gene/genome duplications have established distinct yet related peptide and receptor families. These specific changes also confer selective interactions between GLP1 and GLP1R. In this review, we present a possible macro (genome level)- and micro (gene/exon level)-evolution mechanisms of GLP1 and GLP1R, which allows them to acquire selective interactions between this ligand-receptor pair. This information may provide critical insight for the development of potent therapeutic agents targeting GLP1R.

  9. Molecular genetics and evolution of melanism in the cat family.

    PubMed

    Eizirik, Eduardo; Yuhki, Naoya; Johnson, Warren E; Menotti-Raymond, Marilyn; Hannah, Steven S; O'Brien, Stephen J

    2003-03-04

    Melanistic coat coloration occurs as a common polymorphism in 11 of 37 felid species and reaches high population frequency in some cases but never achieves complete fixation. To investigate the genetic basis, adaptive significance, and evolutionary history of melanistic variants in the Felidae, we mapped, cloned, and sequenced the cat homologs of two putative candidate genes for melanism (ASIP [agouti] and MC1R) and identified three independent deletions associated with dark coloration in three different felid species. Association and transmission analyses revealed that a 2 bp deletion in the ASIP gene specifies black coloration in domestic cats, and two different "in-frame" deletions in the MC1R gene are implicated in melanism in jaguars and jaguarundis. Melanistic individuals from five other felid species did not carry any of these mutations, implying that there are at least four independent genetic origins for melanism in the cat family. The inferred multiple origins and independent historical elevation in population frequency of felid melanistic mutations suggest the occurrence of adaptive evolution of this visible phenotype in a group of related free-ranging species.

  10. Molecular phylogeny and evolution of the extinct bovid Myotragus balearicus.

    PubMed

    Lalueza-Fox, Carles; Shapiro, Beth; Bover, Pere; Alcover, Josep Antoni; Bertranpetit, Jaume

    2002-12-01

    Myotragus balearicus was a dwarf artiodactyl endemic to the Eastern Balearic Islands, where it evolved in isolation for more than 5 million years before becoming extinct between 3640 and 2135 cal BC (calibrated years BC). Numerous unusual apomorphies obscure the relationship between Myotragus and the extant Caprinae. Therefore, genetic data for this species would significantly contribute to the clarification of its taxonomic position. In this study, we amplify, sequence, and clone a 338-base pair (bp) segment of the mitochondrial cytochrome b (cyt b) gene from a >9Kyr Myotragus subfossil from la Cova des Gorgs (Mallorca). Our results confirm the phylogenetic affinity of Myotragus with the sheep (Ovis) and the takin (Budorcas). In each tree, the Myotragus branch is long in comparison with the other taxa, which may be evidence of a local change in the rate of evolution in cyt b. This rate change may be due to in part to an early age of first reproduction and short generation time in Myotragus, factors that are potentially related to the extreme reduction in size of the adult Myotragus as compared to the other Caprinae.

  11. [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.

  12. Molecular evolution and functional characterisation of haplotypes of an important rubber biosynthesis gene in Hevea brasiliensis.

    PubMed

    Uthup, T K; Rajamani, A; Ravindran, M; Saha, T

    2016-07-01

    Hydroxy-methylglutaryl coenzyme-A synthase (HMGS) is a rate-limiting enzyme in the cytoplasmic isoprenoid biosynthesis pathway leading to natural rubber production in Hevea brasiliensis (rubber). Analysis of the structural variants of this gene is imperative to understand their functional significance in rubber biosynthesis so that they can be properly utilised for ongoing crop improvement programmes in Hevea. We report here allele richness and diversity of the HMGS gene in selected popular rubber clones. Haplotypes consisting of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from the coding and non-coding regions with a high degree of heterozygosity were identified. Segregation and linkage disequilibrium analysis confirmed that recombination is the major contributor to the generation of allelic diversity, rather than point mutations. The evolutionarily conserved nature of some SNPs was identified by comparative DNA sequence analysis of HMGS orthologues from diverse taxa, demonstrating the molecular evolution of rubber biosynthesis genes in general. In silico three-dimensional structural studies highlighting the structural positioning of non-synonymous SNPs from different HMGS haplotypes revealed that the ligand-binding site on the enzyme remains impervious to the reported sequence variations. In contrast, gene expression results indicated the possibility of association between specific haplotypes and HMGS expression in Hevea clones, which may have a downstream impact up to the level of rubber production. Moreover, haplotype diversity of the HMGS gene and its putative association with gene expression can be the basis for further genetic association studies in rubber. Furthermore, the data also show the role of SNPs in the evolution of candidate genes coding for functional traits in plants.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Molecular evolution of the mammalian ribosomal protein gene, RPS14.

    PubMed

    Rhoads, D D; Roufa, D J

    1991-07-01

    Ribosomal protein S14 genes (RPS14) in eukaryotic species from protozoa to primates exhibit dramatically different intron-exon structures yet share homologous polypeptide-coding sequences. To recognize common features of RPS14 gene architectures in closely related mammalian species and to evaluate similarities in their noncoding DNA sequences, we isolated the intron-containing S14 locus from Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell DNA by using a PCR strategy and compared it with human RPS14. We found that rodent and primate S14 genes are composed of identical protein-coding exons interrupted by introns at four conserved DNA sites. However, the structures of corresponding CHO and human RPS14 introns differ significantly. Nonetheless, individual intron splice donor, splice acceptor, and upstream flanking motifs have been conserved within mammalian S14 homologues as well as within RPS14 gene fragments PCR amplified from other vertebrate genera (birds and bony fish). Our data indicate that noncoding, intronic DNA sequences within highly conserved, single-copy ribosomal protein genes are useful molecular landmarks for phylogenetic analysis of closely related vertebrate species.

  18. 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.

  19. Two Types of Molecular Evolution. Evidence from Studies of Interspecific Hybridization

    PubMed Central

    Wilson, A. C.; Maxson, L. R.; Sarich, V. M.

    1974-01-01

    To assess the significance of macromolecular sequence differences among species, we compared the serum albumins of 81 pairs of vertebrate species capable of producing viable hybrids. Micro-complement fixation experiments showed that the average difference between the albumins within such pairs was only 3 immunological distance units for placental mammals (31 pairs), but 36 units for frogs (50 pairs). Albumin immunological distance is strongly correlated with other measures of genetic distance, including those made with DNA annealing techniques. It therefore seems likely that mammalian species pairs capable of hybridization are far more similar at the macromolecular sequence level than is the case for most hybridizable frogs. We think the most likely explanation for the marked molecular restriction on hybridization among mammals is that the ratio of regulatory evolution to protein evolution is higher for mammals than for frogs. Mammals may have experienced unusually rapid regulatory evolution; indeed, this could be the factor responsible for their unusually rapid anatomical evolution. Images PMID:4212492

  20. 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

  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.

  2. Insights into the proline hydroxylase (PHD) family, molecular evolution and its impact on human health.

    PubMed

    Minervini, Giovanni; Quaglia, Federica; Tosatto, Silvio C E

    2015-09-01

    PHDs (proline hydroxylases) are a small protein family found in all organisms, considered the central regulator of the molecular hypoxia response due to PHDs being completely inactivated under low oxygen concentration. At physiological oxygen concentration, PHDs drive the degradation of the HIF-1α (hypoxia-inducible factor 1-α), which is responsible for upregulating the expression of genes involved in the cellular response to hypoxia. Hypoxia is a common feature of most tumors, in particular during metastasis development. Indeed, cancer reacts by activating pathways promoting new blood vessel formation and activating strategies aimed to improve survival. In this scenario, the PHD family regulates the activation of HIF-1α and cell-cycle regulation. Several PHD mutations were found in cancer patients, underlining their importance for human health. Here, we propose a Bayesian model able to predict the pathological effect of human PHD mutations and their correlation with cancer outcome. The model was developed through an integrative in silico approach, where data collected from the literature has been coupled with sequence evolution and structural analysis. The model was used to assess 135 human PHD variants. Finally, bioinformatics characterization was used to demonstrate how few amino acid changes are able to explain the functional specialization of PHD family members and their physiological role in human health.

  3. 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.

  4. Molecular systematics and evolution of the Cyanocorax jays.

    PubMed

    Bonaccorso, Elisa; Peterson, A Townsend; Navarro-Sigüenza, Adolfo G; Fleischer, Robert C

    2010-03-01

    Phylogenetic relationships were studied in the genus Cyanocorax (Aves: Corvidae) and related genera, Psilorhinus and Calocitta, a diverse group of New World jays distributed from the southern United States south to Argentina. Although the ecology and behavior of some species in the group have been studied extensively, lack of a molecular phylogeny has precluded rigorous interpretations in an evolutionary framework. Given the diverse combinations of plumage coloration, size, and morphology, the taxonomy of the group has been inconsistent and understanding of biogeographic patterns problematic. Moreover, plumage similarity between two geographically disjuct species, the Tufted jay (Cyanocorax dickeyi) from western Mexico and the White-tailed jay (C. mystacalis) from western Ecuador and Peru, has puzzled ornithologists for decades. Here, a phylogeny of all species in the three genera is presented, based on study of two mitochondrial and three nuclear genes. Phylogenetic trees revealed the non-monophyly of Cyanocorax, and the division of the whole assemblage in two groups: "Clade A" containing Psilorhinus morio, both species in Calocitta,Cyanocorax violaceus, C. caeruleus, C. cristatellus, and C. cyanomelas, and "Clade B" consisting of the remaining species in Cyanocorax. Relationships among species in Clade A were ambiguous and, in general, not well resolved. Within Clade B, analyses revealed the monophyly of the "Cissilopha" jays and showed no evidence for a sister relationship between C. mystacalis and C. dickeyi. The phylogenetic complexity of lineages in the group suggests several complications for the understanding biogeographic patterns, as well as for proposing a taxonomy that is consistent with morphological variation. Although multiple taxonomic arrangements are possible, recommendations are for recognizing only one genus, Cyanocorax, with Psilorhinus and Calocitta as synonyms.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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

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

    PubMed

    Ogbunugafor, C Brandon; Hartl, Daniel L

    2016-10-01

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

  9. Modelling the chemical evolution of molecular clouds as a function of metallicity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Penteado, E. M.; Cuppen, H. M.; Rocha-Pinto, H. J.

    2014-04-01

    The Galaxy is in continuous elemental evolution. Since new elements produced by dying stars are delivered to the interstellar medium, the formation of new generations of stars and planetary systems is influenced by this metal enrichment. We aim to study the role of the metallicity on the gas phase chemistry of the interstellar medium. Using a system of coupled ordinary differential equations to model the chemical reactions, we simulate the evolution of the abundance of molecules in the gas phase for different initial interstellar elemental compositions. These varying initial elemental compositions consider the change in the `elemental abundances' predicted by a self-consistent model of the elemental evolution of the Galaxy. As far as we are aware, this is the first attempt to combine elemental evolution of the Galaxy and chemical evolution of molecular clouds. The metallicity was found to have a strong effect on the overall gas phase composition. With decreasing metallicity, the number of long carbon chains was found to increase, the time-scale on which small molecular species are increases, and the main form of oxygen changed from O and CO to O2. These effects were found to be mainly due to the change in electron, H_3^+, and atomic oxygen abundance.

  10. An Improved Evolution-COnstructed (iECO) Features Framework

    DTIC Science & Technology

    learned features. While the field of deep learning has demonstrated state-of-the-art performance, the Evolution-COnstructed ( ECO ) work of Lillywhite...extending the ECO framework. We achieve this through two overarching ideas. First, we address a potential major shortcoming of ECO features-- the...8217features’ themselves. The so-called ECO features are simply a transformed image that has been unrolled into a large one dimensional vector. We propose

  11. High molecular weight insulating polymers can improve the performance of molecular solar cells

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Huang, Ye; Wen, Wen; Kramer, Edward; Bazan, Guillermo

    2014-03-01

    Solution-processed molecular semiconductors for the fabrication of solar cells have emerged as a competitive alternative to their conjugated polymer counterparts, primarily because such materials systems exhibit no batch-to-batch variability, can be purified to a greater extent and offer precisely defined chemical structures. Highest power conversion efficiencies (PCEs) have been achieved through a combination of molecular design and the application of processing methods that optimize the bulk heterojunction (BHJ) morphology. However, one finds that the methods used for controlling structural order, for example the use of high boiling point solvent additives, have been inspired by examination of the conjugated polymer literature. It stands to reason that a different class of morphology modifiers should be sought that address challenges unique to molecular films, including difficulties in obtaining thicker films and avoiding the dewetting of active photovoltaic layers. Here we show that the addition of small quantities of high molecular weight polystyrene (PS) is a very simple to use and economically viable additive that improves PCE. Remarkably, the PS spontaneously accumulates away from the electrodes as separate domains that do not interfere with charge extraction and collection or with the arrangement of the donor and acceptor domains in the BHJ blend.

  12. 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.

  13. The Molecular Basis of Evolution and Disease: A Cold War Alliance.

    PubMed

    Suárez-Díaz, Edna

    2017-03-28

    This paper extends previous arguments against the assumption that the study of variation at the molecular level was instigated with a view to solving an internal conflict between the balance and classical schools of population genetics. It does so by focusing on the intersection of basic research in protein chemistry and the molecular approach to disease with the enactment of global health campaigns during the Cold War period. The paper connects advances in research on protein structure and function as reflected in Christian Anfinsen´s The molecular basis of evolution, with a political reading of Emilé Zuckerkandl and Linus Pauling's identification of molecular disease and evolution. Beyond atomic fallout, these advances constituted a rationale for the promotion of genetic surveys of human populations in the Third World, in connection with international health programs. Light is shed not only on the experimental roots of the molecular challenge but on the broader geopolitical context where the rising role of biomedicine and public health (particularly the malaria eradication campaigns) had an impact on evolutionary biology.

  14. 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

  15. Evolution of molecular clouds in the starburst galaxy NGC 1808 revealed with ALMA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Salak, D.; Nakai, N.; Miyamoto, Y.

    2015-05-01

    We present large-field CO(1-0) observations of the starburst galaxy NGC 1808 conducted with ALMA. High-resolution (˜100 pc) images reveal a high concentration of molecular gas in the nucleus, 500-pc ring, gas-rich bar, and spiral arms. We derived the bar pattern speed and found an offset between CO and Hα emission peaks in the offset ridges along the bar. The results indicate that the evolution of molecular clouds on the galactic scale is driven by bar dynamics.

  16. Development of a Dinitrosyl Iron Complex Molecular Catalyst into a Hydrogen Evolution Cathode.

    PubMed

    Chiou, Tzung-Wen; Lu, Tsai-Te; Wu, Ying-Hao; Yu, Yi-Ju; Chu, Li-Kang; Liaw, Wen-Feng

    2015-12-01

    Despite extensive efforts, the electrocatalytic reduction of water using homogeneous/heterogeneous Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, W, and Mo complexes remains challenging because of issues involving the development of efficient, recyclable, stable, and aqueous-compatible catalysts. In this study, evolution of the de novo designed dinitrosyl iron complex DNIC-PMDTA from a molecular catalyst into a solid-state hydrogen evolution cathode, considering all the parameters to fulfill the electronic and structural requirements of each step of the catalytic cycle, is demonstrated. DNIC-PMDTA reveals electrocatalytic reduction of water at neutral and basic media, whereas its deposit on electrode preserves exceptional longevity, 139 h. This discovery will initiate a systematic study on the assembly of [Fe(NO)2] motif into current collector for mass production of H2, whereas the efficiency remains tailored by its molecular precursor [(L)Fe(NO)2].

  17. Evolution of land plants: insights from molecular studies on basal lineages.

    PubMed

    Ishizaki, Kimitsune

    2017-01-01

    The invasion of the land by plants, or terrestrialization, was one of the most critical events in the history of the Earth. The evolution of land plants included significant transformations in body plans: the emergence of a multicellular diploid sporophyte, transition from gametophyte-dominant to sporophyte-dominant life histories, and development of many specialized tissues and organs, such as stomata, vascular tissues, roots, leaves, seeds, and flowers. Recent advances in molecular genetics in two model basal plants, bryophytes Physcomitrella patens and Marchantia polymorpha, have begun to provide answers to several key questions regarding land plant evolution. This paper discusses the evolution of the genes and regulatory mechanisms that helped drive such significant morphological innovations among land-based plants.

  18. 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

  19. Ecological and Lineage-Specific Factors Drive the Molecular Evolution of Rhodopsin in Cichlid Fishes.

    PubMed

    Torres-Dowdall, Julián; Henning, Frederico; Elmer, Kathryn R; Meyer, Axel

    2015-11-01

    The visual system in the colorful cichlid fishes from the African great lakes is believed to be important for their adaptive radiations. However, few studies have attempted to compare the visual system of radiating cichlid lineages with that of cichlids that have not undergone recent radiations. One such study published in this journal (Schott RK, Refvik SP, Hauser FE, López-Fernández H, Chang BSW. 2014. Divergent positive selection in rhodopsin from lake and riverine cichlid fishes. Mol Biol Evol. 31:1149-1165) found divergent selection on rhodopsin between African lacustrine and riverine cichlid species and riverine Neotropical cichlids, concluding that ecology drives the molecular evolution of this opsin. Here, we expand this analysis by incorporating rhodopsin sequences from Neotropical lacustrine cichlids and show that both ecology and phylogeny are important drivers of the molecular evolution of rhodopsin in cichlids. We found little overlap of sites under selection between African and Neotropical lineages and a faster rate of molecular evolution in African compared with Neotropical cichlids. These results support the notion that genetic or population genetic features particular to African cichlids contributed to their radiations.

  20. Five molecular markers reveal extensive morphological homoplasy and reticulate evolution in the Malva alliance (Malvaceae).

    PubMed

    Escobar García, Pedro; Schönswetter, Peter; Fuertes Aguilar, Javier; Nieto Feliner, Gonzalo; Schneeweiss, Gerald M

    2009-02-01

    The Malva alliance is a well-defined group with extensive morphological homoplasy. As a result, the relationships among the taxa as well as the evolution of morphological traits have remained elusive and the traditional classifications are highly artificial. Using five molecular markers (nuclear ITS, plastid matK plus trnK, ndhF, trnL-trnF, psbA-trnH), we arrived at a phylogenetic hypothesis of this group, the genera Alcea, Althaea and Malvalthaea being studied here for the first time with molecular data. Althaea and, in particular, Lavatera and Malva are highly polyphyletic as currently circumscribed, because their diagnostic characters, the number and degree of fusion of the epicalyx bracts, evolve in a highly homoplasious manner. In contrast, fruit morphology largely agrees with the molecularly delimited groups. Hybrid origins confirmed for the genus Malvalthaea and for Lavatera mauritanica and hybridization in the group of ruderal small-flowered mallows underline the importance of reticulate evolution in shaping the history of this group and complicating the interpretation of morphological evolution.

  1. 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.

  2. Molecular evidence of host influences on the evolution and spread of human tapeworms.

    PubMed

    Michelet, Lorraine; Dauga, Catherine

    2012-08-01

    The taeniasis/cysticercosis complex is included in the list of neglected zoonotic diseases by the World Health Organization due to its significant impact on public health in tropical areas. Cysticercosis is still endemic in many regions of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Long absent in Europe and in other developed countries, cysticercosis has recently re-emerged in the United States and Canada, due to immigration, travel and local transmission. This has encouraged the use of molecular data to understand better the influence of animal and human hosts on the emergence and spread of Taenia species. The increasing number of mitochondrial sequences now available from human tapeworms and recent advances in computational tools has enabled reconstruction of the biogeography and evolutionary history of these organisms. New molecular data have provided insights into the biogeography of T. solium, T. asiatica and T. saginata. A Bayesian statistical framework using variable evolutionary rates from lineage to lineage has allowed an improved timescale analysis of human tapeworms. The dates of divergence obtained were compared to the timing of evolutionary events in the history of their hosts, based on the hypothesis that Taenia spp. and their hosts share a common history. Herein, we review changes in the definitive and secondary hosts and human interactions that underlie the differentiation and evolution of tapeworms. Species diversification of Taenia seems to be closely linked with the evolution of intermediate hosts in response to climatic events during the Pleistocene. Different genotypes of T. solium emerged when European and Asian wild boar Sus spp. populations diverged. Taenia saginata emerged when wild cattle Bos primigenius evolved and when zebu Bos indicus and taurine Bos taurus ancestors separated. Humans through migrations and later with the development of farming and animal husbandry may have had a significant impact on the spread and diversification of tapeworms

  3. Sodium channel genes and the evolution of diversity in communication signals of electric fishes: convergent molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    Zakon, Harold H; Lu, Ying; Zwickl, Derrick J; Hillis, David M

    2006-03-07

    We investigated whether the evolution of electric organs and electric signal diversity in two independently evolved lineages of electric fishes was accompanied by convergent changes on the molecular level. We found that a sodium channel gene (Na(v)1.4a) that is expressed in muscle in nonelectric fishes has lost its expression in muscle and is expressed instead in the evolutionarily novel electric organ in both lineages of electric fishes. This gene appears to be evolving under positive selection in both lineages, facilitated by its restricted expression in the electric organ. This view is reinforced by the lack of evidence for selection on this gene in one electric species in which expression of this gene is retained in muscle. Amino acid replacements occur convergently in domains that influence channel inactivation, a key trait for shaping electric communication signals. Some amino acid replacements occur at or adjacent to sites at which disease-causing mutations have been mapped in human sodium channel genes, emphasizing that these replacements occur in functionally important domains. Selection appears to have acted on the final step in channel inactivation, but complementarily on the inactivation "ball" in one lineage, and its receptor site in the other lineage. Thus, changes in the expression and sequence of the same gene are associated with the independent evolution of signal complexity.

  4. Influence of shear motion on evolution of molecular clouds in the spiral galaxy M 51

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miyamoto, Yusuke; Nakai, Naomasa; Kuno, Nario

    2014-04-01

    We have investigated the dynamics of the molecular gas and the evolution of giant molecular associations (GMAs) in the spiral galaxy M 51 with the Nobeyama Radio Observatory 45-m telescope. The velocity components of the molecular gas perpendicular and parallel to the spiral arms are derived at each spiral phase from the distribution of the line-of-sight velocity of the CO gas. In addition, the shear motion in the galactic disk is determined from the velocity vectors at each spiral phase. It is revealed that the distributions of the shear strength and of GMAs are anti-correlated. GMAs exist only in the area of the weak shear strength and further on the upstream side of the high shear strength. GMAs and most giant molecular clouds (GMCs) exist in the regions where the shear critical surface density is smaller than the gravitational critical surface density, indicating that they can stably grow by self-gravity and the collisional agglomeration of small clouds without being destroyed by shear motion. These factors indicate that the shear motion is an important factor in evolution of GMCs and GMAs.

  5. 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.

  6. The evolution of antibiotic resistance: insight into the roles of molecular mechanisms of resistance and treatment context.

    PubMed

    Maclean, R Craig; Hall, Alex R; Perron, Gabriel G; Buckling, Angus

    2010-08-01

    The widespread use of antibiotics has markedly improved public health over the last 60 years. However, the efficacy of antibiotic treatment is rapidly decreasing as a result of the continual spread of antibiotic resistance in pathogen populations. The evolution of antibiotic resistance is an amazingly simple example of adaptation by natural selection, and there is growing interest among evolutionary biologists in using evolutionary principles to help understand and combat the spread of resistance in pathogen populations. In this article, we review recent progress in our understanding of the underlying evolutionary forces that drive antibiotic resistance. Recent work has shown that both the mechanisms of antibiotic action and resistance, as well as the treatment context in which resistance evolves, influence the evolution of resistance in predictable ways. We argue that developing predictive models of resistance evolution that can be used to prevent the spread of resistance in pathogen populations requires integrating the treatment context and the molecular biology of resistance into the same evolutionary framework.

  7. 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

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

    PubMed

    Bartlett, Madelaine E; Whipple, Clinton J

    2013-10-10

    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.

  9. 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

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

    PubMed Central

    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

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

    PubMed Central

    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

  12. 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.

  13. Eventful evolution of giant molecular clouds in dynamically evolving spiral arms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2017-01-01

    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 H II 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 H II regions were collapsing, but half of the GMCs with H II regions were expanding owing to the H II-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.

  14. 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)

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. Recent insertion/deletion (reINDEL) mutations: increasing awareness to boost molecular-based research in ecology and evolution

    PubMed Central

    Schlick-Steiner, Birgit C; Arthofer, Wolfgang; Moder, Karl; Steiner, Florian M

    2015-01-01

    Today, the comparative analysis of DNA molecules mainly uses information inferred from nucleotide substitutions. Insertion/deletion (INDEL) mutations, in contrast, are largely considered uninformative and discarded, due to our lacking knowledge on their evolution. However, including rather than discarding INDELs would be relevant to any research area in ecology and evolution that uses molecular data. As a practical approach to better understanding INDEL evolution in general, we propose the study of recent INDEL (reINDEL) mutations – mutations where both ancestral and derived state are seen in the sample. The precondition for reINDEL identification is knowledge about the pedigree of the individuals sampled. Sound reINDEL knowledge will allow the improved modeling needed for including INDELs in the downstream analysis of molecular data. Both microsatellites, currently still the predominant marker system in the analysis of populations, and sequences generated by next-generation sequencing, a promising and rapidly developing range of technologies, offer the opportunity for reINDEL identification. However, a 2013 sample of animal microsatellite studies contained unexpectedly few reINDELs identified. As most likely explanation, we hypothesize that reINDELs are underreported rather than absent and that this underreporting stems from common reINDEL unawareness. If our hypothesis applies, increased reINDEL awareness should allow gathering data rapidly. We recommend the routine reporting of either the absence or presence of reINDELs together with standardized key information on the nature of mutations when they are detected and the use of the keyword “reINDEL” to increase visibility in both instances of successful and unsuccessful search. PMID:25628861

  18. Nucleotide substitution type dependence of generation time effect of molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    Kisakibaru, Y; Matsuda, H

    1995-06-01

    Using DNA sequence data of 18 genes from 14 mammals, we analyzed how the average molecular evolution rate per year per site (Vy) depends on the generation time (g). (I) Assuming the relation Vy varies; is directly proportional to g(-alpha), the index of generation time effect, (alpha) was estimated to be about 0.14 for amino acid replacement substitutions (A), and about 0.32 for synonymous substitutions (S). (II) Assuming the relation Vy = V(m)g g-1 + V(e)y, where V(m)g and V(e)y are constant independent of g, the fraction, r(e) = V(e)y/Vy, of the mutation rate independent part (V(e)y) in the total evolution rate (Vy) was estimated under the assumptions of the star phylogeny and the constancy of the mutation rate per generation. r(e) was smallest for mouse with the shortest generation time among our analyzed species, and it was estimated to be about 0.57 for A and 0.31 for S. Both results do not support the view that Vy is equal to the neutral mutation rate per site both for A and for S. They are in line with the thesis that, at least for A and probably even for S, the molecular evolution rate is influenced by some causes other than the mutation rate, such as changing environment.

  19. Reptilian heart development and the molecular basis of cardiac chamber evolution.

    PubMed

    Koshiba-Takeuchi, Kazuko; Mori, Alessandro D; Kaynak, Bogac L; Cebra-Thomas, Judith; Sukonnik, Tatyana; Georges, Romain O; Latham, Stephany; Beck, Laurel; Beck, Laural; Henkelman, R Mark; Black, Brian L; Olson, Eric N; Wade, Juli; Takeuchi, Jun K; Nemer, Mona; Gilbert, Scott F; Bruneau, Benoit G

    2009-09-03

    The emergence of terrestrial life witnessed the need for more sophisticated circulatory systems. This has evolved in birds, mammals and crocodilians into complete septation of the heart into left and right sides, allowing separate pulmonary and systemic circulatory systems, a key requirement for the evolution of endothermy. However, the evolution of the amniote heart is poorly understood. Reptilian hearts have been the subject of debate in the context of the evolution of cardiac septation: do they possess a single ventricular chamber or two incompletely septated ventricles? Here we examine heart development in the red-eared slider turtle, Trachemys scripta elegans (a chelonian), and the green anole, Anolis carolinensis (a squamate), focusing on gene expression in the developing ventricles. Both reptiles initially form a ventricular chamber that homogenously expresses the T-box transcription factor gene Tbx5. In contrast, in birds and mammals, Tbx5 is restricted to left ventricle precursors. In later stages, Tbx5 expression in the turtle (but not anole) heart is gradually restricted to a distinct left ventricle, forming a left-right gradient. This suggests that Tbx5 expression was refined during evolution to pattern the ventricles. In support of this hypothesis, we show that loss of Tbx5 in the mouse ventricle results in a single chamber lacking distinct identity, indicating a requirement for Tbx5 in septation. Importantly, misexpression of Tbx5 throughout the developing myocardium to mimic the reptilian expression pattern also results in a single mispatterned ventricular chamber lacking septation. Thus ventricular septation is established by a steep and correctly positioned Tbx5 gradient. Our findings provide a molecular mechanism for the evolution of the amniote ventricle, and support the concept that altered expression of developmental regulators is a key mechanism of vertebrate evolution.

  20. 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.

  1. The molecular biology and evolution of feline immunodeficiency viruses of cougars.

    PubMed

    Poss, Mary; Ross, Howard; Rodrigo, Allen; Terwee, Julie; Vandewoude, Sue; Biek, Roman

    2008-05-15

    Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is a lentivirus that has been identified in many members of the family Felidae but domestic cats are the only FIV host in which infection results in disease. We studied FIVpco infection of cougars (Puma concolor) as a model for asymptomatic lentivirus infections to understand the mechanisms of host-virus coexistence. Several natural cougar populations were evaluated to determine if there are any consequences of FIVpco infection on cougar fecundity, survival, or susceptibility to other infections. We have sequenced full-length viral genomes and conducted a detailed analysis of viral molecular evolution on these sequences and on genome fragments of serially sampled animals to determine the evolutionary forces experienced by this virus in cougars. In addition, we have evaluated the molecular genetics of FIVpco in a new host, domestic cats, to determine the evolutionary consequences to a host-adapted virus associated with cross-species infection. Our results indicate that there are no significant differences in survival, fecundity or susceptibility to other infections between FIVpco-infected and uninfected cougars. The molecular evolution of FIVpco is characterized by a slower evolutionary rate and an absence of positive selection, but also by proviral and plasma viral loads comparable to those of epidemic lentiviruses such as HIV-1 or FIVfca. Evolutionary and recombination rates and selection profiles change significantly when FIVpco replicates in a new host.

  2. Molecular evolution and adaptation of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene in the subgenus Martes.

    PubMed

    Li, B; Malyarchuk, B; He, X B; Derenko, M

    2013-09-23

    Martes species represent a typical example of rapid evolutionary radiation and a recent speciation event. To identify regions of the genome that experienced adaptive evolution, which might provide clues to their functional importance and may be informative about the features that make each species unique, we sought evidence of molecular adaptation in the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) cytochrome b gene in the subgenus Martes. Complete sequences of the cytochrome b gene were obtained from 87 samples, including 49 sables, 28 pine martens, and 10 stone martens, and were combined with mtDNA sequences of other true martens, such as M. melampus and M. americana. Analysis of the cytochrome b gene variation in true martens has shown that the evolution of this gene is under negative selection. In contrast, positive selection on the cytochrome b protein has been detected by means of the software TreeSAAP using a phylogenetic reconstruction of Martes taxa. Signatures of adaptive variation in cytochrome b were restricted to the transmembrane domains, which likely function as proton pumps. We compared results of different methods for testing selection and molecular adaptation, and we supposed that the radical changes of the cytochrome b amino acid residues in the subgenus Martes may be the result of molecular adaptation to specific environmental conditions coupled with species dispersals.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Molecular evolution of Dmrt1 accompanies change of sex-determining mechanisms in reptilia

    PubMed Central

    Janes, Daniel E.; Organ, Christopher L.; Stiglec, Rami; O'Meally, Denis; Sarre, Stephen D.; Georges, Arthur; Graves, Jennifer A. M.; Valenzuela, Nicole; Literman, Robert A.; Rutherford, Kim; Gemmell, Neil; Iverson, John B.; Tamplin, Jeffrey W.; Edwards, Scott V.; Ezaz, Tariq

    2014-01-01

    In reptiles, sex-determining mechanisms have evolved repeatedly and reversibly between genotypic and temperature-dependent sex determination. The gene Dmrt1 directs male determination in chicken (and presumably other birds), and regulates sex differentiation in animals as distantly related as fruit flies, nematodes and humans. Here, we show a consistent molecular difference in Dmrt1 between reptiles with genotypic and temperature-dependent sex determination. Among 34 non-avian reptiles, a convergently evolved pair of amino acids encoded by sequence within exon 2 near the DM-binding domain of Dmrt1 distinguishes species with either type of sex determination. We suggest that this amino acid shift accompanied the evolution of genotypic sex determination from an ancestral condition of temperature-dependent sex determination at least three times among reptiles, as evident in turtles, birds and squamates. This novel hypothesis describes the evolution of sex-determining mechanisms as turnover events accompanied by one or two small mutations. PMID:25540158

  6. 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

    2007-08-03

    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.

  7. PAL: an object-oriented programming library for molecular evolution and phylogenetics.

    PubMed

    Drummond, A; Strimmer, K

    2001-07-01

    Phylogenetic Analysis Library (PAL) is a collection of Java classes for use in molecular evolution and phylogenetics. PAL provides a modular environment for the rapid construction of both special-purpose and general analysis programs. PAL version 1.1 consists of 145 public classes or interfaces in 13 packages, including classes for models of character evolution, maximum-likelihood estimation, and the coalescent, with a total of more than 27000 lines of code. The PAL project is set up as a collaborative project to facilitate contributions from other researchers. AVAILIABILTY: The program is free and is available at http://www.pal-project.org. It requires Java 1.1 or later. PAL is licensed under the GNU General Public License.

  8. Structural evolution of dilute magnetic (Sn,Mn)Se films grown by molecular beam epitaxy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kanzyuba, Vasily; Dong, Sining; Liu, Xinyu; Li, Xiang; Rouvimov, Sergei; Okuno, Hanako; Mariette, Henri; Zhang, Xueqiang; Ptasinska, Sylwia; Tracy, Brian D.; Smith, David J.; Dobrowolska, Margaret; Furdyna, Jacek K.

    2017-02-01

    We describe the structural evolution of dilute magnetic (Sn,Mn)Se films grown by molecular beam epitaxy on GaAs (111) substrates, as revealed by transmission electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. When the Mn concentration is increased, the lattice of the ternary (Sn,Mn)Se films evolves quasi-coherently from a SnSe2 two-dimensional (2D) crystal structure into a more complex quasi-2D lattice rearrangement, ultimately transforming into the magnetically concentrated antiferromagnetic MnSe 3D rock-salt structure as Mn approaches 50 at. % of this material. These structural transformations are expected to underlie the evolution of magnetic properties of this ternary system reported earlier in the literature.

  9. Molecular evolution of Dmrt1 accompanies change of sex-determining mechanisms in reptilia.

    PubMed

    Janes, Daniel E; Organ, Christopher L; Stiglec, Rami; O'Meally, Denis; Sarre, Stephen D; Georges, Arthur; Graves, Jennifer A M; Valenzuela, Nicole; Literman, Robert A; Rutherford, Kim; Gemmell, Neil; Iverson, John B; Tamplin, Jeffrey W; Edwards, Scott V; Ezaz, Tariq

    2014-12-01

    In reptiles, sex-determining mechanisms have evolved repeatedly and reversibly between genotypic and temperature-dependent sex determination. The gene Dmrt1 directs male determination in chicken (and presumably other birds), and regulates sex differentiation in animals as distantly related as fruit flies, nematodes and humans. Here, we show a consistent molecular difference in Dmrt1 between reptiles with genotypic and temperature-dependent sex determination. Among 34 non-avian reptiles, a convergently evolved pair of amino acids encoded by sequence within exon 2 near the DM-binding domain of Dmrt1 distinguishes species with either type of sex determination. We suggest that this amino acid shift accompanied the evolution of genotypic sex determination from an ancestral condition of temperature-dependent sex determination at least three times among reptiles, as evident in turtles, birds and squamates. This novel hypothesis describes the evolution of sex-determining mechanisms as turnover events accompanied by one or two small mutations.

  10. Molecular evolution and antigenic variation of European brown hare syndrome virus (EBHSV).

    PubMed

    Lopes, Ana M; Capucci, Lorenzo; Gavier-Widén, Dolores; Le Gall-Reculé, Ghislaine; Brocchi, Emiliana; Barbieri, Ilaria; Quéméner, Agnès; Le Pendu, Jacques; Geoghegan, Jemma L; Holmes, Edward C; Esteves, Pedro J; Abrantes, Joana

    2014-11-01

    European brown hare syndrome virus (EBHSV) is the aetiological agent of European brown hare syndrome (EBHS), a disease affecting Lepus europaeus and Lepus timidus first diagnosed in Sweden in 1980. To characterize EBHSV evolution we studied hare samples collected in Sweden between 1982 and 2008. Our molecular clock dating is compatible with EBHSV emergence in the 1970s. Phylogenetic analysis revealed two lineages: Group A persisted until 1989 when it apparently suffered extinction; Group B emerged in the mid-1980s and contains the most recent strains. Antigenic differences exist between groups, with loss of reactivity of some MAbs over time, which are associated with amino acid substitutions in recognized epitopes. A role for immune selection is also supported by the presence of positively selected codons in exposed regions of the capsid. Hence, EBHSV evolution is characterized by replacement of Group A by Group B viruses, suggesting that the latter possess a selective advantage.

  11. Enzyme functional evolution through improved catalysis of ancestrally nonpreferred substrates.

    PubMed

    Huang, Ruiqi; Hippauf, Frank; Rohrbeck, Diana; Haustein, Maria; Wenke, Katrin; Feike, Janie; Sorrelle, Noah; Piechulla, Birgit; Barkman, Todd J

    2012-02-21

    In this study, we investigated the role for ancestral functional variation that may be selected upon to generate protein functional shifts using ancestral protein resurrection, statistical tests for positive selection, forward and reverse evolutionary genetics, and enzyme functional assays. Data are presented for three instances of protein functional change in the salicylic acid/benzoic acid/theobromine (SABATH) lineage of plant secondary metabolite-producing enzymes. In each case, we demonstrate that ancestral nonpreferred activities were improved upon in a daughter enzyme after gene duplication, and that these functional shifts were likely coincident with positive selection. Both forward and reverse mutagenesis studies validate the impact of one or a few sites toward increasing activity with ancestrally nonpreferred substrates. In one case, we document the occurrence of an evolutionary reversal of an active site residue that reversed enzyme properties. Furthermore, these studies show that functionally important amino acid replacements result in substrate discrimination as reflected in evolutionary changes in the specificity constant (k(cat)/K(M)) for competing substrates, even though adaptive substitutions may affect K(M) and k(cat) separately. In total, these results indicate that nonpreferred, or even latent, ancestral protein activities may be coopted at later times to become the primary or preferred protein activities.

  12. Enzyme functional evolution through improved catalysis of ancestrally nonpreferred substrates

    PubMed Central

    Huang, Ruiqi; Hippauf, Frank; Rohrbeck, Diana; Haustein, Maria; Wenke, Katrin; Feike, Janie; Sorrelle, Noah; Piechulla, Birgit; Barkman, Todd J.

    2012-01-01

    In this study, we investigated the role for ancestral functional variation that may be selected upon to generate protein functional shifts using ancestral protein resurrection, statistical tests for positive selection, forward and reverse evolutionary genetics, and enzyme functional assays. Data are presented for three instances of protein functional change in the salicylic acid/benzoic acid/theobromine (SABATH) lineage of plant secondary metabolite-producing enzymes. In each case, we demonstrate that ancestral nonpreferred activities were improved upon in a daughter enzyme after gene duplication, and that these functional shifts were likely coincident with positive selection. Both forward and reverse mutagenesis studies validate the impact of one or a few sites toward increasing activity with ancestrally nonpreferred substrates. In one case, we document the occurrence of an evolutionary reversal of an active site residue that reversed enzyme properties. Furthermore, these studies show that functionally important amino acid replacements result in substrate discrimination as reflected in evolutionary changes in the specificity constant (kcat/KM) for competing substrates, even though adaptive substitutions may affect KM and kcat separately. In total, these results indicate that nonpreferred, or even latent, ancestral protein activities may be coopted at later times to become the primary or preferred protein activities. PMID:22315396

  13. 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.

  14. Development of Improved Crosslinking Monomers for Molecularly Imprinted Materials

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2002-04-05

    Molecular imprinting involves the self-assembled complexation of a substrate to functional monomers to form a pre- polymer complex which is "locked-in" to...on the design of crosslinking monomers for molecular imprinting , we have developed new classes of crosslinked polymers to optimize the performance of...of the design, synthesis, polymerization and performance of these new crosslinking monomers for molecularly imprinted polymers will be reported

  15. 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.

  16. Molecular dynamics simulations of the structure evolutions of Cu-Zr metallic glasses under irradiation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lang, Lin; Tian, Zean; Xiao, Shifang; Deng, Huiqiu; Ao, Bingyun; Chen, Piheng; Hu, Wangyu

    2017-02-01

    Molecular dynamics simulations have been performed to investigate the structural evolution of Cu64.5Zr35.5 metallic glasses under irradiation. The largest standard cluster analysis (LSCA) method was used to quantify the microstructure within the collision cascade regions. It is found that the majority of clusters within the collision cascade regions are full and defective icosahedrons. Not only the smaller structures (common neighbor subcluster) but also primary clusters greatly changed during the collision cascades; while most of these radiation damages self-recover quickly in the following quench states. These findings indicate the Cu-Zr metallic glasses have excellent irradiation-resistance properties.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. The genome as a life-history character: why rate of molecular evolution varies between mammal species

    PubMed Central

    Bromham, Lindell

    2011-01-01

    DNA sequences evolve at different rates in different species. This rate variation has been most closely examined in mammals, revealing a large number of characteristics that can shape the rate of molecular evolution. Many of these traits are part of the mammalian life-history continuum: species with small body size, rapid generation turnover, high fecundity and short lifespans tend to have faster rates of molecular evolution. In addition, rate of molecular evolution in mammals might be influenced by behaviour (such as mating system), ecological factors (such as range restriction) and evolutionary history (such as diversification rate). I discuss the evidence for these patterns of rate variation, and the possible explanations of these correlations. I also consider the impact of these systematic patterns of rate variation on the reliability of the molecular date estimates that have been used to suggest a Cretaceous radiation of modern mammals, before the final extinction of the dinosaurs. PMID:21807731

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. Molecular evolution of sex-biased genes in the Drosophila ananassae subgroup

    PubMed Central

    2009-01-01

    Background Genes with sex-biased expression often show rapid molecular evolution between species. Previous population genetic and comparative genomic studies of Drosophila melanogaster and D. simulans revealed that male-biased genes have especially high rates of adaptive evolution. To test if this is also the case for other lineages within the melanogaster group, we investigated gene expression in D. ananassae, a species that occurs in structured populations in tropical and subtropical regions. We used custom-made microarrays and published microarray data to characterize the sex-biased expression of 129 D. ananassae genes whose D. melanogaster orthologs had been classified previously as male-biased, female-biased, or unbiased in their expression and had been studied extensively at the population-genetic level. For 43 of these genes we surveyed DNA sequence polymorphism in a natural population of D. ananassae and determined divergence to the sister species D. atripex and D. phaeopleura. Results Sex-biased expression is generally conserved between D. melanogaster and D. ananassae, with the majority of genes exhibiting the same bias in the two species. However, about one-third of the genes have either gained or lost sex-biased expression in one of the species and a small proportion of genes (~4%) have changed bias from one sex to the other. The male-biased genes of D. ananassae show evidence of positive selection acting at the protein level. However, the signal of adaptive protein evolution for male-biased genes is not as strong in D. ananassae as it is in D. melanogaster and is limited to genes with conserved male-biased expression in both species. Within D. ananassae, a significant signal of adaptive evolution is also detected for female-biased and unbiased genes. Conclusions Our findings extend previous observations of widespread adaptive protein evolution to an independent Drosophila lineage, the D. ananassae subgroup. However, the rate of adaptive evolution is

  5. Improving the treatment of musculoskeletal infections with molecular diagnostics.

    PubMed

    Tarkin, Ivan S; Dunman, Paul M; Garvin, Kevin L

    2005-08-01

    Molecular diagnostic strategies have been implemented to enhance the treatment of musculoskeletal infections. Once primarily a research tool, molecular-based assays, have become accepted clinical tests for the genomic detection of certain pathogens involved in bone and joint infections. Currently, culture remains the gold standard for identifying most organisms causing infection. However, molecular assays are beneficial in clinical cases in which standard culture-based tests are unreliable or untimely. We will review current clinical utility of this emerging technology and roles for assays in the future.

  6. Molecular Evolution of the Infrared Sensory Gene TRPA1 in Snakes and Implications for Functional Studies

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:22163322

  7. Molecular timetrees reveal a Cambrian colonization of land and a new scenario for ecdysozoan evolution.

    PubMed

    Rota-Stabelli, Omar; Daley, Allison C; Pisani, Davide

    2013-03-04

    Ecdysozoans have been key components of ecosystems since the early Cambrian, when trilobites and soft-bodied Burgess Shale-type ecdysozoans dominated marine animal communities. Even today, the most abundant animals on Earth are either nematode worms or plankton-forming crustaceans, whereas the most diverse are the insects. Throughout geological time, several ecdysozoan lineages independently colonized land, shaping both marine and terrestrial ecosystems and providing an adequate environment for successive animal terrestrialization. The timing of these events is largely uncertain and has been investigated only partially using molecular data. Here we present a timescale of ecdysozoan evolution based on multiple molecular data sets, the most complete set of fossil calibrations to date, and a thorough series of validation analyses. Results converge on an Ediacaran origin of all major ecdysozoan lineages (∼587-543 million years ago [mya]), followed by a fast Cambrian radiation of the pancrustaceans (∼539-511 mya), a Cambro-Ordovician colonization of land of different arthropod lineages (∼510-471 mya), and a relatively recent radiation of extant nematodes, onychophorans, and tardigrades (∼442 mya). Arthropods colonized land nearly synchronously with land plants. Further diversification within flying insects, nematodes and onychophorans might be related to the evolution of vascular plants and forests.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. In vitro molecular evolution yields an NEIBM with a potential novel IgG binding property

    PubMed Central

    Qi, Peipei; Ding, Ying-Ying; He, Ting; Yang, Tong; Chen, Qiuli; Feng, Jiaojiao; Wang, Jinhong; Cao, Mingmei; Li, Xiangyu; Peng, Heng; Zhu, Huaimin; Cao, Jie; Pan, Wei

    2014-01-01

    Staphylococcus aureus protein A (SpA) and protein G of groups C and G streptococci (SpG) are two well-defined bacterial immunoglobulin (Ig)-binding proteins (IBPs) with high affinity for specific sites on IgG from mammalian hosts. Both SpA and SpG contain several highly-homologous IgG-binding domains, each of which possesses similar binding characteristic of the whole corresponding proteins. Whether specific combinations of these domains could generate a molecule with novel IgG-binding properties remained unknown. We constructed a combinatorial phage library displaying randomly-rearranged A, B, C, D and E domains of SpA as well as the B2 (G2) and B3 (G3) domains of SpG. In vitro molecular evolution directed by human, rabbit, bovine, or goat polyclonal IgGs and four subclasses of mouse monoclonal IgGs generated one common combination, D-C-G3. A series of assays demonstrated that D-C-G3 exhibited a potential novel IgG binding property that was obviously different from those of both parent proteins. This study provides an example of successful protein engineering through in vitro molecular evolution and useful approaches for structure and function studies of IBPs. PMID:25366194

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Choi, Jae Young; Aquadro, Charles F

    2015-10-27

    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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. A cricket Gene Index: a genomic resource for studying neurobiology, speciation, and molecular evolution

    PubMed Central

    Danley, Patrick D; Mullen, Sean P; Liu, Fenglong; Nene, Vishvanath; Quackenbush, John; Shaw, Kerry L

    2007-01-01

    Background As the developmental costs of genomic tools decline, genomic approaches to non-model systems are becoming more feasible. Many of these systems may lack advanced genetic tools but are extremely valuable models in other biological fields. Here we report the development of expressed sequence tags (EST's) in an orthopteroid insect, a model for the study of neurobiology, speciation, and evolution. Results We report the sequencing of 14,502 EST's from clones derived from a nerve cord cDNA library, and the subsequent construction of a Gene Index from these sequences, from the Hawaiian trigonidiine cricket Laupala kohalensis. The Gene Index contains 8607 unique sequences comprised of 2575 tentative consensus (TC) sequences and 6032 singletons. For each of the unique sequences, an attempt was made to assign a provisional annotation and to categorize its function using a Gene Ontology-based classification through a sequence-based comparison to known proteins. In addition, a set of unique 70 base pair oligomers that can be used for DNA microarrays was developed. All Gene Index information is posted at the DFCI Gene Indices web page Conclusion Orthopterans are models used to understand the neurophysiological basis of complex motor patterns such as flight and stridulation. The sequences presented in the cricket Gene Index will provide neurophysiologists with many genetic tools that have been largely absent in this field. The cricket Gene Index is one of only two gene indices to be developed in an evolutionary model system. Species within the genus Laupala have speciated recently, rapidly, and extensively. Therefore, the genes identified in the cricket Gene Index can be used to study the genomics of speciation. Furthermore, this gene index represents a significant EST resources for basal insects. As such, this resource is a valuable comparative tool for the understanding of invertebrate molecular evolution. The sequences presented here will provide much needed genomic

  20. Evolution of dark colour in toucans (Ramphastidae): a case of molecular adaptation?

    PubMed

    Corso, J; Mundy, N I; Fagundes, N J R; de Freitas, T R O

    2016-12-01

    In the last decades, researchers have been able to determine the molecular basis of some phenotypes, to test for evidence of natural selection upon them, and to demonstrate that the same genes or genetic pathways can be associated with convergent traits. Colour traits are often subject to natural selection because even small changes in these traits can have a large effect on fitness via camouflage, sexual selection or other mechanisms. The melanocortin-1 receptor locus (MC1R) is frequently associated with intraspecific coat colour variation in vertebrates, but it has been far harder to demonstrate that this locus is involved in adaptive interspecific colour differences. Here, we investigate the contribution of the MC1R gene to the colour diversity found in toucans (Ramphastidae). We found divergent selection on MC1R in the clade represented by the genus Ramphastos and that this coincided with the evolution of darker plumage in members of this genus. Using phylogenetically corrected correlations, we show significant and specific relationships between the rate of nonsynonymous change in MC1R (dN) and plumage darkness across Ramphastidae, and also between the rate of functionally significant amino acid changes in MC1R and plumage darkness. Furthermore, three of the seven amino acid changes in MC1R that occurred in the ancestral Ramphastos branch are associated with melanism in other birds. Taken together, our results suggest that the dark colour of Ramphastos toucans was related to nonsynonymous substitutions in MC1R that may have been subject to positive selection or to a relaxation of selective pressure. These results also demonstrate a quantitative relationship between gene and phenotype evolution, representing an example of how MC1R molecular evolution may affect macroevolution of plumage phenotypes.

  1. Improving Food Safety by Understanding the Evolution of Egg-contaminating Salmonella Enteritidis

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Improving Food Safety by Understanding the Evolution of Egg-contaminating Salmonella Enteritidis Jean Guard, Veterinary Medical Officer U. S. Department of Agriculture, Athens, GA USA (jean.guard@ars.usda.gov) The curious case of egg contamination by Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis S. ...

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. The Environmental and Molecular Sciences Laboratory project -- Continuous evolution in leadership

    SciTech Connect

    Knutson, D.E.; McClusky, J.K.

    1994-10-01

    The Environmental and Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL) construction project at Pacific Northwest Laboratory (PNL) in Richland, Washington, is a $230M Major Systems Acquisition for the US Department of Energy (DOE). The completed laboratory will be a national user facility that provides unparalleled capabilities for scientists involved in environmental molecular science research. This project, approved for construction by the Secretary of Energy in October 1993, is underway. The United States is embarking on an environmental cleanup effort that dwarfs previous scientific enterprise. Using current best available technology, the projected costs of cleaning up the tens of thousands of toxic waste sites, including DOE sites, is estimated to exceed one trillion dollars. The present state of scientific knowledge regarding the effects of exogenous chemicals on human biology is very limited. Long term environmental research at the molecular level is needed to resolve the concerns, and form the building blocks for a structure of cost effective process improvement and regulatory reform.

  5. 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

  6. PyEvolve: a toolkit for statistical modelling of molecular evolution

    PubMed Central

    Butterfield, Andrew; Vedagiri, Vivek; Lang, Edward; Lawrence, Cath; Wakefield, Matthew J; Isaev, Alexander; Huttley, Gavin A

    2004-01-01

    Background Examining the distribution of variation has proven an extremely profitable technique in the effort to identify sequences of biological significance. Most approaches in the field, however, evaluate only the conserved portions of sequences – ignoring the biological significance of sequence differences. A suite of sophisticated likelihood based statistical models from the field of molecular evolution provides the basis for extracting the information from the full distribution of sequence variation. The number of different problems to which phylogeny-based maximum likelihood calculations can be applied is extensive. Available software packages that can perform likelihood calculations suffer from a lack of flexibility and scalability, or employ error-prone approaches to model parameterisation. Results Here we describe the implementation of PyEvolve, a toolkit for the application of existing, and development of new, statistical methods for molecular evolution. We present the object architecture and design schema of PyEvolve, which includes an adaptable multi-level parallelisation schema. The approach for defining new methods is illustrated by implementing a novel dinucleotide model of substitution that includes a parameter for mutation of methylated CpG's, which required 8 lines of standard Python code to define. Benchmarking was performed using either a dinucleotide or codon substitution model applied to an alignment of BRCA1 sequences from 20 mammals, or a 10 species subset. Up to five-fold parallel performance gains over serial were recorded. Compared to leading alternative software, PyEvolve exhibited significantly better real world performance for parameter rich models with a large data set, reducing the time required for optimisation from ~10 days to ~6 hours. Conclusion PyEvolve provides flexible functionality that can be used either for statistical modelling of molecular evolution, or the development of new methods in the field. The toolkit can be

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Tethering metal ions to photocatalyst particulate surfaces by bifunctional molecular linkers for efficient hydrogen evolution.

    PubMed

    Yu, Weili; Isimjan, Tayirjan; Del Gobbo, Silvano; Anjum, Dalaver H; Abdel-Azeim, Safwat; Cavallo, Luigi; Garcia-Esparza, Angel T; Domen, Kazunari; Xu, Wei; Takanabe, Kazuhiro

    2014-09-01

    A simple and versatile method for the preparation of photocatalyst particulates modified with effective cocatalysts is presented; the method involves the sequential soaking of photocatalyst particulates in solutions containing bifunctional organic linkers and metal ions. The modification of the particulate surfaces is a universal and reproducible method because the molecular linkers utilize strong covalent bonds, which in turn result in modified monolayer with a small but controlled quantity of metals. The photocatalysis results indicated that the CdS with likely photochemically reduced Pd and Ni, which were initially immobilized via ethanedithiol (EDT) as a linker, were highly efficient for photocatalytic hydrogen evolution from Na2S-Na2SO3-containing aqueous solutions. The method developed in this study opens a new synthesis route for the preparation of effective photocatalysts with various combinations of bifunctional linkers, metals, and photocatalyst particulate materials.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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 1/N 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.

  12. Cosmic Structure and Galaxy Evolution through Intensity Mapping of Molecular Gas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bower, Geoffrey C.; Keating, Garrett K.; Marrone, Daniel P.; YT Lee Array Team, SZA Team

    2016-01-01

    The origin and evolution of structure in the Universe is one of the major challenges of observational astronomy. How does baryonic structure trace the underlying dark matter? How have galaxies evolved to produce the present day Universe? A multi-wavelength, multi-tool approach is necessary to provide the complete story of the evolution of structure in the Universe. Intensity mapping, which relies on the ability to detect many objects at once through their integrated emission rather than direct detection of individual objects, is a critical part of this mosaic. In particular, our understanding of the molecular gas component of massive galaxies is being revolutionized by ALMA and EVLA but the population of smaller, star-forming galaxies, which provide the bulk of star formation cannot be individually probed by these instruments.In this talk, I will summarize two intensity mapping experiments to detect molecular gas through the carbon monoxide (CO) rotational transition. We have completed sensitive observations with the Sunyaev-Zel'dovic Array (SZA) telescope at a wavelength of 1 cm that are sensitive to emission at redshifts 2.3 to 3.3. The SZA experiments sets strong limits on models for the CO emission and demonstrates the ability to reject foregrounds and telescope systematics in very deep integrations. I also describe the development of an intensity mapping capability for the Y.T. Lee Array, a 13-element interferometer located on Mauna Loa. In its first phase, this project focuses on detection of CO at redshifts 2.4 - 3.0 with detection via power spectrum and cross-correlation with other surveys. The project includes a major technical upgrade, a new digital correlator and IF electronics component to be deployed in 2015/2016. The Y.T. Lee Array observations will be more sensitive and extend to larger angular scales than the SZA observations.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. Host shifts and molecular evolution of H7 avian influenza virus hemagglutinin

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Evolutionary consequences of host shifts represent a challenge to identify the mechanisms involved in the emergence of influenza A (IA) viruses. In this study we focused on the evolutionary history of H7 IA virus in wild and domestic birds, with a particular emphasis on host shifts consequences on the molecular evolution of the hemagglutinin (HA) gene. Based on a dataset of 414 HA nucleotide sequences, we performed an extensive phylogeographic analysis in order to identify the overall genetic structure of H7 IA viruses. We then identified host shift events and investigated viral population dynamics in wild and domestic birds, independently. Finally, we estimated changes in nucleotide substitution rates and tested for positive selection in the HA gene. A strong association between the geographic origin and the genetic structure was observed, with four main clades including viruses isolated in North America, South America, Australia and Eurasia-Africa. We identified ten potential events of virus introduction from wild to domestic birds, but little evidence for spillover of viruses from poultry to wild waterbirds. Several sites involved in host specificity (addition of a glycosylation site in the receptor binding domain) and virulence (insertion of amino acids in the cleavage site) were found to be positively selected in HA nucleotide sequences, in genetically unrelated lineages, suggesting parallel evolution for the HA gene of IA viruses in domestic birds. These results highlight that evolutionary consequences of bird host shifts would need to be further studied to understand the ecological and molecular mechanisms involved in the emergence of domestic bird-adapted viruses. PMID:21711553

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Molecular evolution of aminoacyl tRNA synthetase proteins in the early history of life.

    PubMed

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

    2011-12-01

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Conflicting selection alters the trajectory of molecular evolution in a tripartite bacteria-plasmid-phage interaction.

    PubMed

    Harrison, Ellie; Hall, James J P; Paterson, Steve; Spiers, Andrew J; Brockhurst, Michael A

    2017-03-01

    Bacteria engage in a complex network of ecological interactions, which includes mobile genetic elements (MGEs) such as phages and plasmids. These elements play a key role in microbial communities as vectors of horizontal gene transfer but can also be important sources of selection for their bacterial hosts. In natural communities bacteria are likely to encounter multiple MGEs simultaneously and conflicting selection among MGEs could alter the bacterial evolutionary response to each MGE. Here we test the effect of interactions with multiple MGEs on bacterial molecular evolution in the tripartite interaction between the bacterium, Pseudomonas fluorescens, the lytic bacteriophage SBW25φ2 and conjugative plasmid, pQBR103, using genome sequencing of experimentally evolved bacteria. We show that, individually, both plasmids and phages impose selection leading to bacterial evolutionary responses that are distinct from bacterial populations evolving without MGEs, but that together, plasmids and phages impose conflicting selection on bacteria, constraining the evolutionary responses observed in pairwise interactions. Our findings highlight the likely difficulties of predicting evolutionary responses to multiple selective pressures from the observed evolutionary responses to each selective pressure alone. Understanding evolution in complex microbial communities comprising many species and MGEs will require that we go beyond studies of pairwise interactions. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. THE GLOBAL EVOLUTION OF GIANT MOLECULAR CLOUDS. II. THE ROLE OF ACCRETION

    SciTech Connect

    Goldbaum, Nathan J.; Krumholz, Mark R.; Matzner, Christopher D.; McKee, Christopher F.

    2011-09-01

    We present virial models for the global evolution of giant molecular clouds (GMCs). Focusing on the presence of an accretion flow and accounting for the amount of mass, momentum, and energy supplied by accretion and star formation feedback, we are able to follow the growth, evolution, and dispersal of individual GMCs. Our model clouds reproduce the scaling relations observed in both galactic and extragalactic clouds. We find that accretion and star formation contribute roughly equal amounts of turbulent kinetic energy over the lifetime of the cloud. Clouds attain virial equilibrium and grow in such a way as to maintain roughly constant surface densities, with typical surface densities of order 50-200 M{sub sun} pc{sup -2}, in good agreement with observations of GMCs in the Milky Way and nearby external galaxies. We find that as clouds grow, their velocity dispersion and radius must also increase, implying that the linewidth-size relation constitutes an age sequence. Lastly, we compare our models to observations of GMCs and associated young star clusters in the Large Magellanic Cloud and find good agreement between our model clouds and the observed relationship between H II regions, young star clusters, and GMCs.

  11. 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

  12. Molecular evolution and functional divergence of the metallothionein gene family in vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Serén, Nina; Glaberman, Scott; Carretero, Miguel A; Chiari, Ylenia

    2014-04-01

    The metallothionein (MT) gene superfamily consists of metal-binding proteins involved in various metal detoxification and storage mechanisms. The evolution of this gene family in vertebrates has mostly been studied in mammals using sparse taxon or gene sampling. Genomic databases and available data on MT protein function and expression allow a better understanding of the evolution and functional divergence of the different MT types. We recovered 77 MT coding sequences from 20 representative vertebrates with annotated complete genomes. We found multiple MT genes, also in reptiles, which were thought to have only one MT type. Phylogenetic and synteny analyses indicate the existence of a eutherian MT1 and MT2, a tetrapod MT3, an amniote MT4, and fish MT. The optimal gene-tree/species-tree reconciliation analyses identified the best root in the fish clade. Functional analyses reveal variation in hydropathic index among protein domains, likely correlated with their distinct flexibility and metal affinity. Analyses of functional divergence identified amino acid sites correlated with functional divergence among MT types. Uncovering the number of genes and sites possibly correlated with functional divergence will help to design cost-effective MT functional and gene expression studies. This will permit further understanding of the distinct roles and specificity of these proteins and to properly target specific MT for different types of functional studies. Therefore, this work presents a critical background on the molecular evolution and functional divergence of vertebrate MTs to carry out further detailed studies on the relationship between heavy metal metabolism and tolerances among vertebrates.

  13. Evidence for a convergent slowdown in primate molecular rates and its implications for the timing of early primate evolution

    PubMed Central

    Steiper, Michael E.; Seiffert, Erik R.

    2012-01-01

    A long-standing problem in primate evolution is the discord between paleontological and molecular clock estimates for the time of crown primate origins: the earliest crown primate fossils are ∼56 million y (Ma) old, whereas molecular estimates for the haplorhine-strepsirrhine split are often deep in the Late Cretaceous. One explanation for this phenomenon is that crown primates existed in the Cretaceous but that their fossil remains have not yet been found. Here we provide strong evidence that this discordance is better-explained by a convergent molecular rate slowdown in early primate evolution. We show that molecular rates in primates are strongly and inversely related to three life-history correlates: body size (BS), absolute endocranial volume (EV), and relative endocranial volume (REV). Critically, these traits can be reconstructed from fossils, allowing molecular rates to be predicted for extinct primates. To this end, we modeled the evolutionary history of BS, EV, and REV using data from both extinct and extant primates. We show that the primate last common ancestor had a very small BS, EV, and REV. There has been a subsequent convergent increase in BS, EV, and REV, indicating that there has also been a convergent molecular rate slowdown over primate evolution. We generated a unique timescale for primates by predicting molecular rates from the reconstructed phenotypic values for a large phylogeny of living and extinct primates. This analysis suggests that crown primates originated close to the K–Pg boundary and possibly in the Paleocene, largely reconciling the molecular and fossil timescales of primate evolution. PMID:22474376

  14. Directed Evolution of a Fluorinase for Improved Fluorination Efficiency with a Non-native Substrate.

    PubMed

    Sun, Huihua; Yeo, Wan Lin; Lim, Yee Hwee; Chew, Xinying; Smith, Derek John; Xue, Bo; Chan, Kok Ping; Robinson, Robert C; Robins, Edward G; Zhao, Huimin; Ang, Ee Lui

    2016-11-07

    Fluorinases offer an environmentally friendly alternative for selective fluorination under mild conditions. However, their diversity is limited in nature and they have yet to be engineered through directed evolution. Herein, we report the directed evolution of the fluorinase FlA1 for improved conversion of the non-native substrate 5'-chloro-5'-deoxyadenosine (5'-ClDA) into 5'-fluoro-5'-deoxyadenosine (5'-FDA). The evolved variants, fah2081 (A279Y) and fah2114 (F213Y, A279L), were successfully applied in the radiosynthesis of 5'-[(18) F]FDA, with overall radiochemical conversion (RCC) more than 3-fold higher than wild-type FlA1. Kinetic studies of the two-step reaction revealed that the variants show a significantly improved kcat value in the conversion of 5'-ClDA into S-adenosyl-l-methionine (SAM) but a reduced kcat value in the conversion of SAM into 5'-FDA.

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. Rates and patterns of molecular evolution in freshwater versus terrestrial insects.

    PubMed

    Mitterboeck, T Fatima; Fu, Jinzhong; Adamowicz, Sarah J

    2016-11-01

    Insect lineages have crossed between terrestrial and aquatic habitats many times, for both immature and adult life stages. We explore patterns in molecular evolutionary rates between 42 sister pairs of related terrestrial and freshwater insect clades using publicly available protein-coding DNA sequence data from the orders Coleoptera, Diptera, Lepidoptera, Hemiptera, Mecoptera, Trichoptera, and Neuroptera. We furthermore test for habitat-associated convergent molecular evolution in the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) gene in general and at a particular amino acid site previously reported to exhibit habitat-linked convergence within an aquatic beetle group. While ratios of nonsynonymous-to-synonymous substitutions across available loci were higher in terrestrial than freshwater-associated taxa in 26 of 42 lineage pairs, a stronger trend was observed (20 of 31, pbinomial = 0.15, pWilcoxon = 0.017) when examining only terrestrial-aquatic pairs including fully aquatic taxa. We did not observe any widespread changes at particular amino acid sites in COI associated with habitat shifts, although there may be general differences in selection regime linked to habitat.

  18. 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

  19. Molecular evolution and functional divergence of tubulin superfamily in the fungal tree of life

    PubMed Central

    Zhao, Zhongtao; Liu, Huiquan; Luo, Yongping; Zhou, Shanyue; An, Lin; Wang, Chenfang; Jin, Qiaojun; Zhou, Mingguo; Xu, Jin-Rong

    2014-01-01

    Microtubules are essential for various cellular activities and β-tubulins are the target of benzimidazole fungicides. However, the evolution and molecular mechanisms driving functional diversification in fungal tubulins are not clear. In this study, we systematically identified tubulin genes from 59 representative fungi across the fungal kingdom. Phylogenetic analysis showed that α-/β-tubulin genes underwent multiple independent duplications and losses in different fungal lineages and formed distinct paralogous/orthologous clades. The last common ancestor of basidiomycetes and ascomycetes likely possessed two paralogs of α-tubulin (α1/α2) and β-tubulin (β1/β2) genes but α2-tubulin genes were lost in basidiomycetes and β2-tubulin genes were lost in most ascomycetes. Molecular evolutionary analysis indicated that α1, α2, and β2-tubulins have been under strong divergent selection and adaptive positive selection. Many positively selected sites are at or adjacent to important functional sites and likely contribute to functional diversification. We further experimentally confirmed functional divergence of two β-tubulins in Fusarium and identified type II variations in FgTub2 responsible for function shifts. In this study, we also identified δ-/ε-/η-tubulins in Chytridiomycetes. Overall, our results illustrated that different evolutionary mechanisms drive functional diversification of α-/β-tubulin genes in different fungal lineages, and residues under positive selection could provide targets for further experimental study. PMID:25339375

  20. 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.

  1. Molecular evolution of the metazoan PHD-HIF oxygen-sensing system.

    PubMed

    Rytkönen, Kalle T; Williams, Tom A; Renshaw, Gillian M; Primmer, Craig R; Nikinmaa, Mikko

    2011-06-01

    Metazoans rely on aerobic energy production, which requires an adequate oxygen supply. During reduced oxygen supply (hypoxia), the most profound changes in gene expression are mediated by transcription factors known as hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs). HIF alpha proteins are commonly posttranslationally regulated by prolyl-4-hydroxylase (PHD) enzymes, which are direct "sensors" of cellular oxygen levels. We examined the molecular evolution of the metazoan PHD-HIF oxygen-sensing system by constructing complete phylogenies for PHD and HIF alpha genes and used computational tools to characterize the molecular changes underlying the functional divergence of PHD and HIF alpha duplicates. The presence of PHDs in metazoan genomes predates the emergence of HIF alphas. Our analysis revealed an unexpected diversity of PHD genes and HIF alpha sequence characteristics in invertebrates, suggesting that the simple oxygen-sensing systems of Caenorhabditis and Drosophila may not be typical of other invertebrate bilaterians. We studied the early vertebrate evolution of the system by sequencing these genes in early-diverging cartilaginous fishes, elasmobranchs. Cartilaginous fishes appear to have three paralogs of both PHD and HIF alpha. The novel sequences were used as outgroups for a detailed molecular analysis of PHD and HIF alpha duplicates in a major air-breathing vertebrate lineage, the mammals, and a major water-breathing vertebrate lineage, the teleosts. In PHDs, functionally divergent amino acid sites were detected near the HIF alpha-binding channel and beta2beta3 loop that defines its substrate specificity. In HIF alphas, more functional divergence was found in teleosts than in mammals, especially in the HIF-1 alpha PAS domain and HIF-2 alpha oxygen-dependent degradation (ODD) domains, which interact with PHDs. Overall, in the vertebrates, elevated substitution rates in the HIF-2 alpha N-terminal ODD domain, together with a functional divergence associated with the known

  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. 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.

  4. 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

  5. Tracking the Molecular Evolution of Calcium Permeability in a Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

    Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors are a family of ligand-gated nonselective cationic channels that participate in fundamental physiological processes at both the central and the peripheral nervous system. The extent of calcium entry through ligand-gated ion channels defines their distinct functions. The α9α10 nicotinic cholinergic receptor, expressed in cochlear hair cells, is a peculiar member of the family as it shows differences in the extent of calcium permeability across species. In particular, mammalian α9α10 receptors are among the ligand-gated ion channels which exhibit the highest calcium selectivity. This acquired differential property provides the unique opportunity of studying how protein function was shaped along evolutionary history, by tracking its evolutionary record and experimentally defining the amino acid changes involved. We have applied a molecular evolution approach of ancestral sequence reconstruction, together with molecular dynamics simulations and an evolutionary-based mutagenesis strategy, in order to trace the molecular events that yielded a high calcium permeable nicotinic α9α10 mammalian receptor. Only three specific amino acid substitutions in the α9 subunit were directly involved. These are located at the extracellular vestibule and at the exit of the channel pore and not at the transmembrane region 2 of the protein as previously thought. Moreover, we show that these three critical substitutions only increase calcium permeability in the context of the mammalian but not the avian receptor, stressing the relevance of overall protein structure on defining functional properties. These results highlight the importance of tracking evolutionarily acquired changes in protein sequence underlying fundamental functional properties of ligand-gated ion channels. PMID:25193338

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. The role of macromolecular crowding in the evolution of lens crystallins with high molecular refractive index

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhao, Huaying; Magone, M. Teresa; Schuck, Peter

    2011-08-01

    Crystallins are present in the lens at extremely high concentrations in order to provide transparency and generate a high refractive power of the lens. The crystallin families prevalent in the highest density lens tissues are γ-crystallins in vertebrates and S-crystallins in cephalopods. As shown elsewhere, in parallel evolution, both have evolved molecular refractive index increments 5-10% above those of most proteins. Although this is a small increase, it is statistically very significant and can be achieved only by very unusual amino acid compositions. In contrast, such a molecular adaptation to aid in the refractive function of the lens did not occur in crystallins that are preferentially located in lower density lens tissues, such as vertebrate α-crystallin and taxon-specific crystallins. In the current work, we apply a model of non-interacting hard spheres to examine the thermodynamic contributions of volume exclusion at lenticular protein concentrations. We show that the small concentration decrease afforded by the higher molecular refractive index increment of crystallins can amplify nonlinearly to produce order of magnitude differences in chemical activities, and lead to reduced osmotic pressure and the reduced propensity for protein aggregation. Quantitatively, this amplification sets in only at protein concentrations as high as those found in hard lenses or the nucleus of soft lenses, in good correspondence to the observed crystallin properties in different tissues and different species. This suggests that volume exclusion effects provide the evolutionary driving force for the unusual refractive properties and the unusual amino acid compositions of γ-crystallins and S-crystallins.

  9. Molecular Evolution of the Porcine Type I Interferon Family: Subtype-Specific Expression and Antiviral Activity

    PubMed Central

    Sang, Yongming; Bergkamp, Joseph; Blecha, Frank

    2014-01-01

    Type I interferons (IFNs), key antiviral cytokines, evolve to adapt with ever-changing viral threats during vertebrate speciation. Due to novel pathogenic pressure associated with Suidae speciation and domestication, porcine IFNs evolutionarily engender both molecular and functional diversification, which have not been well addressed in pigs, an important livestock species and animal model for biomedical sciences. Annotation of current swine genome assembly Sscrofa10.2 reveals 57 functional genes and 16 pseudogenes of type I IFNs. Subfamilies of multiple IFNA, IFNW and porcine-specific IFND genes are separated into four clusters with ∼60 kb intervals within the IFNB/IFNE bordered region in SSC1, and each cluster contains mingled subtypes of IFNA, IFNW and IFND. Further curation of the 57 functional IFN genes indicates that they include 18 potential artifactual duplicates. We performed phylogenetic construction as well as analyses of gene duplication/conversion and natural selection and showed that porcine type I IFN genes have been undergoing active diversification through both gene duplication and conversion. Extensive analyses of the non-coding sequences proximal to all IFN coding regions identified several genomic repetitive elements significantly associated with different IFN subtypes. Family-wide studies further revealed their molecular diversity with respect to differential expression and restrictive activity on the resurgence of a porcine endogenous retrovirus. Based on predicted 3-D structures of representative animal IFNs and inferred activity, we categorized the general functional propensity underlying the structure-activity relationship. Evidence indicates gene expansion of porcine type I IFNs. Genomic repetitive elements that associated with IFN subtypes may serve as molecular signatures of respective IFN subtypes and genomic mechanisms to mediate IFN gene evolution and expression. In summary, the porcine type I IFN profile has been phylogenetically

  10. 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

  11. Improving virus production through quasispecies genomic selection and molecular breeding.

    PubMed

    Pérez-Rodríguez, Francisco J; D'Andrea, Lucía; de Castellarnau, Montserrat; Costafreda, Maria Isabel; Guix, Susana; Ribes, Enric; Quer, Josep; Gregori, Josep; Bosch, Albert; Pintó, Rosa M

    2016-11-03

    Virus production still is a challenging issue in antigen manufacture, particularly with slow-growing viruses. Deep-sequencing of genomic regions indicative of efficient replication may be used to identify high-fitness minority individuals suppressed by the ensemble of mutants in a virus quasispecies. Molecular breeding of quasispecies containing colonizer individuals, under regimes allowing more than one replicative cycle, is a strategy to select the fittest competitors among the colonizers. A slow-growing cell culture-adapted hepatitis A virus strain was employed as a model for this strategy. Using genomic selection in two regions predictive of efficient translation, the internal ribosome entry site and the VP1-coding region, high-fitness minority colonizer individuals were identified in a population adapted to conditions of artificially-induced cellular transcription shut-off. Molecular breeding of this population with a second one, also adapted to transcription shut-off and showing an overall colonizer phenotype, allowed the selection of a fast-growing population of great biotechnological potential.

  12. Improving virus production through quasispecies genomic selection and molecular breeding

    PubMed Central

    Pérez-Rodríguez, Francisco J.; D’Andrea, Lucía; de Castellarnau, Montserrat; Costafreda, Maria Isabel; Guix, Susana; Ribes, Enric; Quer, Josep; Gregori, Josep; Bosch, Albert; Pintó, Rosa M.

    2016-01-01

    Virus production still is a challenging issue in antigen manufacture, particularly with slow-growing viruses. Deep-sequencing of genomic regions indicative of efficient replication may be used to identify high-fitness minority individuals suppressed by the ensemble of mutants in a virus quasispecies. Molecular breeding of quasispecies containing colonizer individuals, under regimes allowing more than one replicative cycle, is a strategy to select the fittest competitors among the colonizers. A slow-growing cell culture-adapted hepatitis A virus strain was employed as a model for this strategy. Using genomic selection in two regions predictive of efficient translation, the internal ribosome entry site and the VP1-coding region, high-fitness minority colonizer individuals were identified in a population adapted to conditions of artificially-induced cellular transcription shut-off. Molecular breeding of this population with a second one, also adapted to transcription shut-off and showing an overall colonizer phenotype, allowed the selection of a fast-growing population of great biotechnological potential. PMID:27808108

  13. 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).

  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. 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.

  16. 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)

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. Direct molecular evolution of detergent-stable G protein-coupled receptors using polymer encapsulated cells.

    PubMed

    Scott, Daniel J; Plückthun, Andreas

    2013-02-08

    G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are the largest class of pharmaceutical protein targets, yet drug development is encumbered by a lack of information about their molecular structure and conformational dynamics. Most mechanistic and structural studies as well as in vitro drug screening with purified receptors require detergent solubilization of the GPCR, but typically, these proteins exhibit only low stability in detergent micelles. We have developed the first directed evolution method that allows the direct selection of GPCRs stable in a chosen detergent from libraries containing over 100 million individual variants. The crucial concept was to encapsulate single Escherichia coli cells of a library, each expressing a different GPCR variant, to form detergent-resistant, semipermeable nano-containers. Unlike naked cells, these containers are not dissolved by detergents, allowing us to solubilize the GPCR proteins in situ while maintaining an association with the protein's genetic information, a prerequisite for directed evolution. The pore size was controlled to permit GPCR ligands to permeate but the solubilized receptor to remain within the nanocapsules. Fluorescently labeled ligands were used to bind to those GPCR variants inside the nano-containers that remained active in the detergent tested. With the use of fluorescence-activated cell sorting, detergent-stable mutants derived from two different family A GPCRs could be identified, some with the highest stability reported in short-chain detergents. In principle, this method (named cellular high-throughput encapsulation, solubilization and screening) is not limited to engineering stabilized GPCRs but could be used to stabilize other proteins for biochemical and structural studies.

  20. Molecular phylogeny of the Tylenchina and evolution of the female gonoduct (Nematoda: Rhabditida).

    PubMed

    Bert, Wim; Leliaert, Frederik; Vierstraete, Andy R; Vanfleteren, Jacques R; Borgonie, Gaetan

    2008-08-01

    Tylenchina are a morphologically and functionally diverse group of nematode species that range from free-living bacteriovores, over transitory grazing root-hair feeders to highly specialized plant-parasites with complex host associations. We performed phylogenetic analyses of small subunit rDNA sequences from 97 species including an analysis that account for the RNA secondary structure in the models of evolution. The present study confirms the sister relationship of the bacteriovore Cephalobidae with the predominantly plant-parasitic Tylenchomorpha. All analyses appoint the fungal-feeding Aphelenchidae and Aphelenchoididae as being polyphyletic but the morphology based hypothesis of their monophyly could not be significantly rejected. Within the Tylenchomorpha, the families that exclusively parasitize higher plants are joined in a single clade. However, only the monophyletic position of the (super)families Hoplolaimidae and Criconematoidea were supported; Anguinidae, Tylenchidae, Belonolaimidae and Pratylenchidae appeared to be paraphyletic or polyphyletic. Parsimony and likelihood ancestral state reconstruction revealed that burrowing endoparasitism and sedentary endoparasitism each evolved, respectively, at least six and at least three times independently, mostly from migratory ectoparasitic ancestors. Only root-knot nematodes have evolved from burrowing endoparasitic nematodes. Traditional classifications are partially misled by this convergent evolution of feeding type and associated morphology. Contrastingly, mapping attributes of the gonoduct cellular architecture, including newly obtained data of 18 species belonging to the Aphelenchoidea, Criconematoidea, Anguinidae and Panagrolaimidae, revealed a broad congruence of the gonoduct characters and the molecular phylogenetic hypothesis. Yet, the presence of an offset spermatheca and proliferation of uterus cells has evolved multiple times, the latter associated with derived endoparasitic feeding specialization

  1. 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

  2. Implementing and Improving Automated Electronic Tumor Molecular Profiling

    PubMed Central

    Staggs, David B.; Hackett, Lauren; Haberman, Erich; Tod, Mike; Levy, Mia; Warner, Jeremy

    2016-01-01

    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

  3. Genomics, Physiology, and Molecular Breeding Approaches for Improving Salt Tolerance.

    PubMed

    Ismail, Abdelbagi M; Horie, Tomoaki

    2017-02-22

    Salt stress reduces land and water productivity and contributes to poverty and food insecurity. Increased salinization caused by human practices and climate change is progressively reducing agriculture productivity despite escalating calls for more food. Plant responses to salt stress are fairly well understood, involving numerous critical processes that are each controlled by multiple genes. Knowledge of the critical mechanisms controlling salt uptake and exclusion from functioning tissues, signaling of salt stress, and the arsenal of protective metabolites is advancing. However, little progress has been made in developing salt-tolerant varieties of crop species using standard (but slow) breeding approaches. The genetic diversity available within cultivated crops and their wild relatives provides rich sources for trait and gene discovery that has yet to be sufficiently utilized. Transforming this knowledge into modern approaches using genomics and molecular tools for precision breeding will accelerate the development of tolerant cultivars and help sustain food production. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Plant Biology Volume 68 is April 29, 2017. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.

  4. Structural and Molecular Evidence Suggesting Coronavirus-driven Evolution of Mouse Receptor.

    PubMed

    Peng, Guiqing; Yang, Yang; Pasquarella, Joseph R; Xu, Liqing; Qian, Zhaohui; Holmes, Kathryn V; Li, Fang

    2017-02-10

    Hosts and pathogens are locked in an evolutionary arms race. To infect mice, mouse hepatitis coronavirus (MHV) has evolved to recognize mouse CEACAM1a (mCEACAM1a) as its receptor. To elude MHV infections, mice may have evolved a variant allele from the Ceacam1a gene, called Ceacam1b, producing mCEACAM1b, which is a much poorer MHV receptor than mCEACAM1a. Previous studies showed that sequence differences between mCEACAM1a and mCEACAM1b in a critical MHV-binding CC' loop partially account for the low receptor activity of mCEACAM1b, but detailed structural and molecular mechanisms for the differential MHV receptor activities of mCEACAM1a and mCEACAM1b remained elusive. Here we have determined the crystal structure of mCEACAM1b and identified the structural differences and additional residue differences between mCEACAM1a and mCEACAM1b that affect MHV binding and entry. These differences include conformational alterations of the CC' loop as well as residue variations in other MHV-binding regions, including β-strands C' and C'' and loop C'C''. Using pseudovirus entry and protein-protein binding assays, we show that substituting the structural and residue features from mCEACAM1b into mCEACAM1a reduced the viral receptor activity of mCEACAM1a, whereas substituting the reverse changes from mCEACAM1a into mCEACAM1b increased the viral receptor activity of mCEACAM1b. These results elucidate the detailed molecular mechanism for how mice may have kept pace in the evolutionary arms race with MHV by undergoing structural and residue changes in the MHV receptor, providing insight into this possible example of pathogen-driven evolution of a host receptor protein.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

    2015-12-07

    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 [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.

  9. TALENs-Assisted Multiplex Editing for Accelerated Genome Evolution To Improve Yeast Phenotypes.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Guoqiang; Lin, Yuping; Qi, Xianni; Li, Lin; Wang, Qinhong; Ma, Yanhe

    2015-10-16

    Genome editing is an important tool for building novel genotypes with a desired phenotype. However, the fundamental challenge is to rapidly generate desired alterations on a genome-wide scale. Here, we report TALENs (transcription activator-like effector nucleases)-assisted multiplex editing (TAME), based on the interaction of designed TALENs with the DNA sequences between the critical TATA and GC boxes, for generating multiple targeted genomic modifications. Through iterative cycles of TAME to induce abundant semirational indels coupled with efficient screening using a reporter, the targeted fluorescent trait can be continuously and rapidly improved by accumulating multiplex beneficial genetic modifications in the evolving yeast genome. To further evaluate its efficiency, we also demonstrate the application of TAME for significantly improving ethanol tolerance of yeast in a short amount of time. Therefore, TAME is a broadly generalizable platform for accelerated genome evolution to rapidly improve yeast phenotypes.

  10. 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

  11. Back to the sea twice: identifying candidate plant genes for molecular evolution to marine life

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Seagrasses are a polyphyletic group of monocotyledonous angiosperms that have adapted to a completely submerged lifestyle in marine waters. Here, we exploit two collections of expressed sequence tags (ESTs) of two wide-spread and ecologically important seagrass species, the Mediterranean seagrass Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile and the eelgrass Zostera marina L., which have independently evolved from aquatic ancestors. This replicated, yet independent evolutionary history facilitates the identification of traits that may have evolved in parallel and are possible instrumental candidates for adaptation to a marine habitat. Results In our study, we provide the first quantitative perspective on molecular adaptations in two seagrass species. By constructing orthologous gene clusters shared between two seagrasses (Z. marina and P. oceanica) and eight distantly related terrestrial angiosperm species, 51 genes could be identified with detection of positive selection along the seagrass branches of the phylogenetic tree. Characterization of these positively selected genes using KEGG pathways and the Gene Ontology uncovered that these genes are mostly involved in translation, metabolism, and photosynthesis. Conclusions These results provide first insights into which seagrass genes have diverged from their terrestrial counterparts via an initial aquatic stage characteristic of the order and to the derived fully-marine stage characteristic of seagrasses. We discuss how adaptive changes in these processes may have contributed to the evolution towards an aquatic and marine existence. PMID:21226908

  12. Dynamics of molecular evolution in RNA virus populations depend on sudden versus gradual environmental change.

    PubMed

    Morley, Valerie J; Turner, Paul E

    2017-04-01

    Understanding the dynamics of molecular adaptation is a fundamental goal of evolutionary biology. While adaptation to constant environments has been well characterized, the effects of environmental complexity remain seldom studied. One simple but understudied factor is the rate of environmental change. Here we used experimental evolution with RNA viruses to investigate whether evolutionary dynamics varied based on the rate of environmental turnover. We used whole-genome next-generation sequencing to characterize evolutionary dynamics in virus populations adapting to a sudden versus gradual shift onto a novel host cell type. In support of theoretical models, we found that when populations evolved in response to a sudden environmental change, mutations of large beneficial effect tended to fix early, followed by mutations of smaller beneficial effect; as predicted, this pattern broke down in response to a gradual environmental change. Early mutational steps were highly parallel across replicate populations in both treatments. The fixation of single mutations was less common than sweeps of associated "cohorts" of mutations, and this pattern intensified when the environment changed gradually. Additionally, clonal interference appeared stronger in response to a gradual change. Our results suggest that the rate of environmental change is an important determinant of evolutionary dynamics in asexual populations.

  13. 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.

  14. Molecular evolution and functional specialization of chalcone synthase superfamily from Phalaenopsis orchid.

    PubMed

    Han, Ying-Ying; Ming, Feng; Wang, Wei; Wang, Jing-Wen; Ye, Ming-Ming; Shen, Da-Leng

    2006-01-01

    Plant genomes appear to exploit the process of gene duplication as a primary means of acquiring biochemical and developmental flexibility. The best example is the gene encoding chalcone synthase (CHS, EC2.3.1.74), the first committed step in flavonoid biosynthesis. In this study, we examined the molecular evolution of three CHS family members of Phalaenopsis including a novel chs gene (phchs5), which is slowly evolved. The inferred phylogeny of the chs genes of Phalaenopsis with other two orchid plants, Bromoheadia finlaysoniana and Dendrobium hybrid, suggested that gene duplication and divergence have occurred before divergence of these three genera. Relatively quantitative RT-PCR analysis identified expression patterns of these three chs genes in different floral tissues at different developmental stages. Phchs5 was the most abundantly expressed chs gene in floral organs and it was specifically transcribed in petal and lip at the stages when anthocyanin accumulated (stage1-4). Phchs3 and phchs4 were expressed at much lower levels than phchs5. Phchs3 was expressed in pigmented tissue (including lip, petal and sepal) at middle stages (stages 2-4) and in colorless reproductive tissue at late stage (stage 5). Phchs4 was only expressed in petal at earlier stages (stage 1-3) and in lip at middle stage (stage 4). These results present new data on differentiation of gene expression among duplicate copies of chs genes in Phalaenopsis.

  15. Molecular Mixed-Metal Manganese Oxido Cubanes as Precursors to Heterogeneous Oxygen Evolution Catalysts.

    PubMed

    Suseno, Sandy; McCrory, Charles C L; Tran, Rosalie; Gul, Sheraz; Yano, Junko; Agapie, Theodor

    2015-09-14

    Well-defined mixed-metal [CoMn3 O4 ] and [NiMn3 O4 ] cubane complexes were synthesized and used as precursors for heterogeneous oxygen evolution reaction (OER) electrocatalysts. The discrete clusters were dropcasted onto glassy carbon (GC) and indium tin oxide (ITO) electrodes, and the OER activities of the resulting films were evaluated. The catalytic surfaces were analyzed by various techniques to gain insight into the structure-function relationships of the electrocatalysts' heterometallic composition. Depending on preparation conditions, the Co-Mn oxide was found to change metal composition during catalysis, while the Ni-Mn oxides maintained the NiMn3 ratio. XAS studies provided structural insights indicating that the electrocatalysts are different from the molecular precursors, but that the original NiMn3 O4 cubane-like geometry was maintained in the absence of thermal treatment (2-Ni). In contrast, the thermally generated 3-Ni develops an oxide-like extended structure. Both 2-Ni and 3-Ni undergo structural changes upon electrolysis, but they do not convert into the same material. The observed structural motifs in these heterogeneous electrocatalysts are reminiscent of the biological oxygen-evolving complex in Photosystem II, including the MMn3 O4 cubane moiety. The reported studies demonstrate the use of discrete heterometallic oxide clusters as precursors for heterogeneous water oxidation catalysts of novel composition and the distinct behavior of two sets of mixed metal oxides.

  16. 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.

  17. Formation and evolution of molecular products in α-pinene secondary organic aerosol

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Xuan; McVay, Renee C.; Huang, Dan D.; Dalleska, Nathan F.; Aumont, Bernard; Flagan, Richard C.; Seinfeld, John H.

    2015-01-01

    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

  18. Dynamics of Molecular Evolution and Phylogeography of Barley yellow dwarf virus-PAV

    PubMed Central

    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

  19. Structural evolution of nanoscale metallic glasses during high-pressure torsion: A molecular dynamics analysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Feng, S. D.; Jiao, W.; Jing, Q.; Qi, L.; Pan, S. P.; Li, G.; Ma, M. Z.; Wang, W. H.; Liu, R. P.

    2016-11-01

    Structural evolution in nanoscale Cu50Zr50 metallic glasses during high-pressure torsion is investigated using molecular dynamics simulations. Results show that the strong cooperation of shear transformations can be realized by high-pressure torsion in nanoscale Cu50Zr50 metallic glasses at room temperature. It is further shown that high-pressure torsion could prompt atoms to possess lower five-fold symmetries and higher potential energies, making them more likely to participate in shear transformations. Meanwhile, a higher torsion period leads to a greater degree of forced cooperative flow. And the pronounced forced cooperative flow at room temperature under high-pressure torsion permits the study of the shear transformation, its activation and characteristics, and its relationship to the deformations behaviors. This research not only provides an important platform for probing the atomic-level understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of high-pressure torsion in metallic glasses, but also leads to higher stresses and homogeneous flow near lower temperatures which is impossible previously.

  20. Molecular Evolution of a Pervasive Natural Amino-Acid Substitution in Drosophila cryptochrome

    PubMed Central

    Pegoraro, Mirko; Noreen, Shumaila; Bhutani, Supriya; Tsolou, Avgi; Schmid, Ralf; Kyriacou, Charalambos P.; Tauber, Eran

    2014-01-01

    Genetic variations in circadian clock genes may serve as molecular adaptations, allowing populations to adapt to local environments. Here, we carried out a survey of genetic variation in Drosophila cryptochrome (cry), the fly’s dedicated circadian photoreceptor. An initial screen of 10 European cry alleles revealed substantial variation, including seven non-synonymous changes. The SNP frequency spectra and the excessive linkage disequilibrium in this locus suggested that this variation is maintained by natural selection. We focused on a non-conservative SNP involving a leucine - histidine replacement (L232H) and found that this polymorphism is common, with both alleles at intermediate frequencies across 27 populations surveyed in Europe, irrespective of latitude. Remarkably, we were able to reproduce this natural observation in the laboratory using replicate population cages where the minor allele frequency was initially set to 10%. Within 20 generations, the two allelic variants converged to approximately equal frequencies. Further experiments using congenic strains, showed that this SNP has a phenotypic impact, with variants showing significantly different eclosion profiles. At the long term, these phase differences in eclosion may contribute to genetic differentiation among individuals, and shape the evolution of wild populations. PMID:24475129

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Protein sequence conservation and stable molecular evolution reveals influenza virus nucleoprotein as a universal druggable target.

    PubMed

    Babar, Mustafeez Mujtaba; Zaidi, Najam-us-Sahar Sadaf

    2015-08-01

    The high mutation rate in influenza virus genome and appearance of drug resistance calls for a constant effort to identify alternate drug targets and develop new antiviral strategies. The internal proteins of the virus can be exploited as a potential target for therapeutic interventions. Among these, the nucleoprotein (NP) is the most abundant protein that provides structural and functional support to the viral replication machinery. The current study aims at analysis of protein sequence polymorphism patterns, degree of molecular evolution and sequence conservation as a function of potential druggability of nucleoprotein. We analyzed a universal set of amino acid sequences, (n=22,000) and, in order to identify and correlate the functionally conserved, druggable regions across different parameters, classified them on the basis of host organism, strain type and continental region of sample isolation. The results indicated that around 95% of the sequence length was conserved, with at least 7 regions conserved across the protein among various classes. Moreover, the highly variable regions, though very limited in number, were found to be positively selected indicating, thereby, the high degree of protein stability against various hosts and spatio-temporal references. Furthermore, on mapping the conserved regions on the protein, 7 drug binding pockets in the functionally important regions of the protein were revealed. The results, therefore, collectively indicate that nucleoprotein is a highly conserved and stable viral protein that can potentially be exploited for development of broadly effective antiviral strategies.

  4. 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

  5. A Molecular Approach to the Study of Green Algal Evolution and Early Terrestrial Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kodner, R. B.; Summons, R. E.; Knoll, A. H.

    2004-12-01

    The biological nature of pre-land plant terrestrial ecosystems remains an enigmatic chapter of the history of life on earth due to lack of fossil evidence. Molecular phylogenies have shown that Charophycean green algae are the closest relatives of the bryophytes, which have been hypothesized to be the earliest divergent land plants. However, there is no fossil evidence to support this relationship nor is there a reliable fossil record of the earliest land plants. Microfossils representing the earliest land plants appear to have a bryophytes affinity based on limited morphological comparisons but this remains controversial. We are applying a biomolecular approach to study both green algal evolution and its relation to bryophytes using the resistant biopolymer algaenan and phytosterols as biological markers. Algaenan has been shown to have high preservation potential and may be the primary component of enigmatic microfossils assumed to be of algal origin. Algaenan and the green algal sterols, stigmasterol and sitosterol, may also be the precursors of n-alkanes and the hydrocarbon stigmastane that are major components of many Neoproterozoic bitumens. The biological nature and phylogenetic distribution of algaenan is still not well understood. Here we explore the presence and structure of algaenans in terrestrial green algae and bryophytes in relation to their phylogenetic distributions.

  6. Zimmermann's telome theory of megaphyll leaf evolution: a molecular and cellular critique.

    PubMed

    Beerling, David J; Fleming, Andrew J

    2007-02-01

    Megaphyll leaf evolution was a critical event in Earth history that had major consequences for the biotic regulation of the global environment. Zimmermann's telome theory has been widely accepted for over seventy years as the leading explanation for this evolutionary innovation. According to the telome theory, megaphylls evolved from the three-dimensional lateral branches of early vascular land plants in a hypothetical series of three transformations; first, the formation of determinate lateral branches (overtopping); second, the development of 'flattened' branch systems (planation); and third, the fusion of planated branches with lateral outgrowths of photosynthetic mesophyll tissue to form the leaf blade (webbing). A critical review of the molecular and cellular evidence identifies plausible genetic, cellular and physiological mechanisms in extant higher plants for overtopping and planation but more limited evidence for the process of webbing (lateral outgrowth fusion). We highlight key outstanding questions concerning the telome theory that are likely to be resolved when gene identification and functional analysis techniques are applied to photosynthetic organisms that have different evolutionary histories.

  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 Evolution and Expression Divergence of the Aconitase (ACO) Gene Family in Land Plants

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Yi-Ming; Yang, Qi; Liu, Yan-Jing; Yang, Hai-Ling

    2016-01-01

    Aconitase (ACO) is a key enzyme that catalyzes the isomerization of citrate to isocitrate in the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) and glyoxylate cycles. The function of ACOs has been well studied in model plants, such as Arabidopsis. In contrast, the evolutionary patterns of the ACO family in land plants are poorly understood. In this study, we systematically examined the molecular evolution and expression divergence of the ACO gene family in 12 land plant species. Thirty-six ACO genes were identified from the 12 land plant species representing the four major land plant lineages: Bryophytes, lycophytes, gymnosperms, and angiosperms. All of these ACOs belong to the cytosolic isoform. Three gene duplication events contributed to the expansion of the ACO family in angiosperms. The ancestor of angiosperms may have contained only one ACO gene. One gene duplication event split angiosperm ACOs into two distinct clades. Two clades showed a divergence in selective pressure and gene expression patterns. The cis-acting elements that function in light responsiveness were most abundant in the promoter region of the ACO genes, indicating that plant ACO genes might participate in light regulatory pathways. Our findings provide comprehensive insights into the ACO gene family in land plants. PMID:28018410

  9. 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.

  10. Molecular evolution and functional divergence of zebrafish (Danio rerio) cryptochrome genes

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Chao; Hu, Jia; Qu, Chunxiang; Wang, Lin; Huang, Guodong; Niu, Pengfei; Zhong, Zhaomin; Hong, Fashui; Wang, Guanghui; Postlethwait, John H.; Wang, Han

    2015-01-01

    Cryptochromes function in animal circadian regulation. Zebrafish are known to have six cryptochrome (cry) genes but their evolutionary relationships are not yet fully resolved. Here, comparative genomic analyses revealed that a local duplication of ancestral chordate Cry occurred likely before the first round of vertebrate genome duplication (VGD); following two successive rounds of VGD and subsequent gene losses, coelacanths retained cry1a, cry1b, cry2 and cry3; and following the third-round teleost genome duplication (TGD) and subsequent gene losses, zebrafish retained six cry genes, renamed as cry1aa (zcry1a in the old nomenclature), cry1ab (zcry1b), cry1ba (zcry2a), cry1bb (zcry2b), cry2 (zcry3) and cry3 (zcry4). Molecular evolutionary analyses suggested that zebrafish cry genes have evolved divergent functions, which is further supported by their distinct and rhythmic expression patterns as shown by both in situ hybridization and quantitative real-time PCR. Systematic cell transfection assays divided six Cry proteins into repressive Cry1aa, Cry1ab, Cry1ba and Cry1bb, and non-repressive Cry2 and Cry3. Cry2 is non-repressive because it lacks an effective protein-protein interaction domain although it does possess a nuclear localization signal (NLS) motif, whilst Cry3 lacks both an NLS motif and a protein-protein interaction domain. These findings provide a better understanding of evolution of zebrafish cry genes. PMID:25630924

  11. Molecular Evolution and Expansion Analysis of the NAC Transcription Factor in Zea mays

    PubMed Central

    Fan, Kai; Wang, Ming; Miao, Ying; Ni, Mi; Bibi, Noreen; Yuan, Shuna; Li, Feng; Wang, Xuede

    2014-01-01

    NAC (NAM, ATAF1, 2 and CUC2) family is a plant-specific transcription factor and it controls various plant developmental processes. In the current study, 124 NAC members were identified in Zea mays and were phylogenetically clustered into 13 distinct subfamilies. The whole genome duplication (WGD), especially an additional WGD event, may lead to expanding ZmNAC members. Different subfamily has different expansion rate, and NAC subfamily preference was found during the expansion in maize. Moreover, the duplication events might occur after the divergence of the lineages of Z. mays and S. italica, and segmental duplication seemed to be the dominant pattern for the gene duplication in maize. Furthermore, the expansion of ZmNAC members may be also related to gain and loss of introns. Besides, the restriction of functional divergence was discovered after most of the gene duplication events. These results could provide novel insights into molecular evolution and expansion analysis of NAC family in maize, and advance the NAC researches in other plants, especially polyploid plants. PMID:25369196

  12. Heart transplantation in patients with chronic hepatitis B: clinical evolution, molecular analysis, and effect of treatment.

    PubMed

    Zampino, Rosa; Marrone, Aldo; Ragone, Enrico; Costagliola, Loredana; Cirillo, Grazia; Karayiannis, Peter; Ruggiero, Giuseppe; Utili, Riccardo

    2005-11-15

    We evaluated clinical evolution and hepatitis B virus (HBV) molecular changes in heart recipients with chronic HBV infection before transplantation, and studied the effects of lamivudine treatment in patients who experienced HBV reactivation. Nine patients with chronic HBV infection who underwent heart transplantation were investigated. HBV surface/core-promoter/precore/core regions were sequenced. Prior to transplantation, all nine patients had consistently normal ALT and low HBV-DNA levels. Seven experienced HBV reactivation after transplantation (ALT elevated, HBV-DNA>200.000 cps/ml). Lamivudine treatment was initially effective in all patients; three patients during the second year of treatment developed lamivudine resistance-associated mutations (rt-L180M, rt-M204V) with severe disease reactivation, remitted after switch to adefovir treatment. No other significant HBV mutations were identified in the genomic regions studied. Immune suppression is crucial in the reactivation of previous inactive HBV infection and in the liver disease progression in heart recipients. Preemptive lamivudine treatment could be useful in the early management of these patients.

  13. Iron and molecular opacities and the evolution of Population I stars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stothers, Richard B.; Chin, Chao-Wen

    1993-01-01

    Effects of recent opacity revisions on the evolution of Population I stars are explored over the range 1.5-60 solar masses. Opacity parameters considered include the angular momentum coupling scheme for iron, the relative iron abundance, the total metal abundance, and diatomic and triatomic molecular sources. Only the total metal abundance exerts an important control over the evolutionary tracks. Blue loops on the H-R diagram during core helium burning can be very sensitive to opacity, but only insofar as the simple formation or suppression of a blue loop is concerned. The blue loops are most robust for stellar masses around 10 solar masses. We confirm, from a comparison of stellar models with observational data, that the total metal abundance is close to solar and that convective core overshooting is likely to be very slight. The new models predict the existence of an iron convection zone in the envelope and a great widening of the main-sequence band in the H-R diagram at luminosities brighter than 100,000 solar luminosities.

  14. 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

  15. Structural evolution of nanoscale metallic glasses during high-pressure torsion: A molecular dynamics analysis

    PubMed Central

    Feng, S. D.; Jiao, W.; Jing, Q.; Qi, L.; Pan, S. P.; Li, G.; Ma, M. Z.; Wang, W. H.; Liu, R. P.

    2016-01-01

    Structural evolution in nanoscale Cu50Zr50 metallic glasses during high-pressure torsion is investigated using molecular dynamics simulations. Results show that the strong cooperation of shear transformations can be realized by high-pressure torsion in nanoscale Cu50Zr50 metallic glasses at room temperature. It is further shown that high-pressure torsion could prompt atoms to possess lower five-fold symmetries and higher potential energies, making them more likely to participate in shear transformations. Meanwhile, a higher torsion period leads to a greater degree of forced cooperative flow. And the pronounced forced cooperative flow at room temperature under high-pressure torsion permits the study of the shear transformation, its activation and characteristics, and its relationship to the deformations behaviors. This research not only provides an important platform for probing the atomic-level understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of high-pressure torsion in metallic glasses, but also leads to higher stresses and homogeneous flow near lower temperatures which is impossible previously. PMID:27819352

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. On the evolution and molecular epidemiology of the potyvirus Papaya ringspot virus.

    PubMed

    Bateson, Marion F; Lines, Rosemarie E; Revill, Peter; Chaleeprom, Worawan; Ha, Cuong V; Gibbs, Adrian J; Dale, James L

    2002-10-01

    The potyvirus Papaya ringspot virus (PRSV) is found throughout the tropics and subtropics. Its P biotype is a devastating pathogen of papaya crops and its W biotype of cucurbits. PRSV-P is thought to arise by mutation from PRSV-W. However, the relative impact of mutation and movement on the structure of PRSV populations is not well characterized. To investigate this, we have determined the coat protein sequences of isolates of both biotypes of PRSV from Vietnam (50), Thailand (13), India (1) and the Philippines (1), and analysed them together with 28 PRSV sequences already published, so that we can better understand the molecular epidemiology and evolution of PRSV. In Thailand, variation was greater among PRSV-W isolates (mean nucleotide divergence 7.6%) than PRSV-P isolates (mean 2.6%), but in Vietnamese populations the P and W biotypes were more but similarly diverse. Phylogenetic analyses of PRSV also involving its closest known relative, Moroccan watermelon mosaic virus, indicate that PRSV may have originated in Asia, particularly in the Indian subcontinent, as PRSV populations there are most diverse and hence have probably been present longest. Our analyses show that mutation, together with local and long-distance movement, contributes to population variation, and also confirms an earlier conclusion that populations of the PRSV-P biotype have evolved on several occasions from PRSV-W populations.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Improved cancer therapy and molecular imaging with multivalent, multispecific antibodies.

    PubMed

    Sharkey, Robert M; Rossi, Edmund A; Chang, Chien-Hsing; Goldenberg, David M

    2010-02-01

    Antibodies are highly versatile proteins with the ability to be used to target diverse compounds, such as radionuclides for imaging and therapy, or drugs and toxins for therapy, but also can be used unconjugated to elicit therapeutically beneficial responses, usually with minimal toxicity. This update describes a new procedure for forming multivalent and/or multispecific proteins, known as the dock-and-lock (DNL) technique. Developed as a procedure for preparing bispecific antibodies capable of binding divalently to a tumor antigen and monovalently to a radiolabeled hapten-peptide for pretargeted imaging and therapy, this methodology has the flexibility to create a number of other biologic agents of therapeutic interest. A variety of constructs, based on anti-CD20 and CD22 antibodies, have been made, with results showing that multispecific antibodies have very different properties from the respective parental monospecific antibodies. The technique is not restricted to antibody combination, but other biologics, such as interferon-alpha2b, have been prepared. These types of constructs not only allow small biologics to be sustained in the blood longer, but also to be selectively targeted. Thus, DNL technology is a highly flexible platform that can be used to prepare many different types of agents that could further improve cancer detection and therapy.

  3. Improved Cancer Therapy and Molecular Imaging with Multivalent, Multispecific Antibodies

    PubMed Central

    Rossi, Edmund A.; Chang, Chien-Hsing; Goldenberg, David M.

    2010-01-01

    Summation Antibodies are highly versatile proteins with the ability to be used to target diverse compounds, such as radionuclides for imaging and therapy, or drugs and toxins for therapy, but also can be used unconjugated to elicit therapeutically beneficial responses, usually with minimal toxicity. This update describes a new procedure for forming multivalent and/or multispecific proteins, known as the dock-and-lock (DNL) technique. Developed as a procedure for preparing bispecific antibodies capable of binding divalently to a tumor antigen and monovalently to a radiolabeled hapten-peptide for pretargeted imaging and therapy, this methodology has the flexibility to create a number of other biologic agents of therapeutic interest. A variety of constructs, based on anti-CD20 and CD22 antibodies, have been made, with results showing that multispecific antibodies have very different properties from the respective parental monospecific antibodies. The technique is not restricted to antibody combination, but other biologics, such as interferon-α2b, have been prepared. These types of constructs not only allow small biologics to be sustained in the blood longer, but also to be selectively targeted. Thus, DNL technology is a highly flexible platform that can be used to prepare many different types of agents that could further improve cancer detection and therapy. PMID:20187791

  4. Directed evolution of new and improved enzyme functions using an evolutionary intermediate and multidirectional search.

    PubMed

    Porter, Joanne L; Boon, Priscilla L S; Murray, Tracy P; Huber, Thomas; Collyer, Charles A; Ollis, David L

    2015-02-20

    The ease with which enzymes can be adapted from their native roles and engineered to function specifically for industrial or commercial applications is crucial to enabling enzyme technology to advance beyond its current state. Directed evolution is a powerful tool for engineering enzymes with improved physical and catalytic properties and can be used to evolve enzymes where lack of structural information may thwart the use of rational design. In this study, we take the versatile and diverse α/β hydrolase fold framework, in the form of dienelactone hydrolase, and evolve it over three unique sequential evolutions with a total of 14 rounds of screening to generate a series of enzyme variants. The native enzyme has a low level of promiscuous activity toward p-nitrophenyl acetate but almost undetectable activity toward larger p-nitrophenyl esters. Using p-nitrophenyl acetate as an evolutionary intermediate, we have generated variants with altered specificity and catalytic activity up to 3 orders of magnitude higher than the native enzyme toward the larger nonphysiological p-nitrophenyl ester substrates. Several variants also possess increased stability resulting from the multidimensional approach to screening. Crystal structure analysis and substrate docking show how the enzyme active site changes over the course of the evolutions as either a direct or an indirect result of mutations.

  5. 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.

  6. Optimized expression and specific activity of IL-12 by directed molecular evolution

    PubMed Central

    Leong, Steven R.; Chang, Jean C. C.; Ong, Randal; Dawes, Glenn; Stemmer, Willem P. C.; Punnonen, Juha

    2003-01-01

    DNA delivery of IL-12 has shown promise in reducing the toxic side effects associated with administration of recombinant human (h)IL-12 protein while maintaining the ability to inhibit tumor growth and abolish tumor metastases in animal models. We have developed a more potent version of IL-12 by using DNA shuffling and screening to improve its expression in human cells and specific activity on human T cells. The most improved evolved IL-12 (EvIL-12) derived from seven mammalian genes encoding both the p35 and p40 subunits of IL-12 showed a 128-fold improvement in human T cell proliferation compared with native hIL-12 during the initial screening of supernatants from transected cells. When purified hIL-12 and EvIL-12 proteins were compared in vitro in human T cell proliferation and Th1 differentiation assays, it was demonstrated that EvIL-12 exhibited a concomitant 10-fold increase in the specific activity of the protein compared with hIL-12. Furthermore, DNA shuffling improved the level of expression and homogeneity of the heterodimer synthesized by 293 human embryonic kidney cells transfected with EvIL-12 by at least 10-fold. Molecular analysis of the variant revealed strategic placement of amino acid substitutions that potentially may facilitate heterodimer formation and product expression. The enhanced expression and biological activity of EvIL-12 may improve the effectiveness of IL-12 gene-based vaccines and therapeutics without the toxic side effects sometimes associated with hIL-12 protein administration. PMID:12529500

  7. Adaptive molecular evolution of the Major Histocompatibility Complex genes, DRA and DQA, in the genus Equus

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) genes are central to vertebrate immune response and are believed to be under balancing selection by pathogens. This hypothesis has been supported by observations of extremely high polymorphism, elevated nonsynonymous to synonymous base pair substitution rates and trans-species polymorphisms at these loci. In equids, the organization and variability of this gene family has been described, however the full extent of diversity and selection is unknown. As selection is not expected to act uniformly on a functional gene, maximum likelihood codon-based models of selection that allow heterogeneity in selection across codon positions can be valuable for examining MHC gene evolution and the molecular basis for species adaptations. Results We investigated the evolution of two class II MHC genes of the Equine Lymphocyte Antigen (ELA), DRA and DQA, in the genus Equus with the addition of novel alleles identified in plains zebra (E. quagga, formerly E. burchelli). We found that both genes exhibited a high degree of polymorphism and inter-specific sharing of allele lineages. To our knowledge, DRA allelic diversity was discovered to be higher than has ever been observed in vertebrates. Evidence was also found to support a duplication of the DQA locus. Selection analyses, evaluated in terms of relative rates of nonsynonymous to synonymous mutations (dN/dS) averaged over the gene region, indicated that the majority of codon sites were conserved and under purifying selection (dN

  8. 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

  9. Molecular evolution of NASP and conserved histone H3/H4 transport pathway

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background NASP is an essential protein in mammals that functions in histone transport pathways and maintenance of a soluble reservoir of histones H3/H4. NASP has been studied exclusively in Opisthokonta lineages where some functional diversity has been reported. In humans, growing evidence implicates NASP miss-regulation in the development of a variety of cancers. Although a comprehensive phylogenetic analysis is lacking, NASP-family proteins that possess four TPR motifs are thought to be widely distributed across eukaryotes. Results We characterize the molecular evolution of NASP by systematically identifying putative NASP orthologs across diverse eukaryotic lineages ranging from excavata to those of the crown group. We detect extensive silent divergence at the nucleotide level suggesting the presence of strong purifying selection acting at the protein level. We also observe a selection bias for high frequencies of acidic residues which we hypothesize is a consequence of their critical function(s), further indicating the role of functional constraints operating on NASP evolution. Our data indicate that TPR1 and TPR4 constitute the most rapidly evolving functional units of NASP and may account for the functional diversity observed among well characterized family members. We also show that NASP paralogs in ray-finned fish have different genomic environments with clear differences in their GC content and have undergone significant changes at the protein level suggesting functional diversification. Conclusion We draw four main conclusions from this study. First, wide distribution of NASP throughout eukaryotes suggests that it was likely present in the last eukaryotic common ancestor (LECA) possibly as an important innovation in the transport of H3/H4. Second, strong purifying selection operating at the protein level has influenced the nucleotide composition of NASP genes. Further, we show that selection has acted to maintain a high frequency of functionally relevant

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. The environmental and molecular sciences laboratory project: Continuous evolution in leadership

    SciTech Connect

    Knutson, D.E.; McClusky, J.K.

    1995-09-01

    The United States is embarking on an environmental cleanup effort that dwarfs previous scientific enterprise. Using current best available technology, the projected costs of cleaning up the tens of abounds of toxic waste sites, including DOE sites, is estimated to exceed one trillion dollars. That level of expenditure contains no guarantee that the sites can be restored to their original condition, and no consensus on ``how clean is clean enough.`` ``Ultimately, the scientific challenge is to determine as accurately as possible each term in the path that links the source of the contaminant with the particular biological end points or health effects and to understand the mechanisms that connect them. However, the present state of scientific knowledge regarding the effects of exogenous chemicals on human biology is very limited. Understanding the connections at the molecular level is, at best, a blurred picture and often a black box.`` Long term environmental research at the molecular level is needed to resolve the concerns, and form the building blocks for a structure of cost effective process improvement and regulatory reform.

  13. Directed evolution of brain-derived neurotrophic factor for improved folding and expression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

    PubMed

    Burns, Michael L; Malott, Thomas M; Metcalf, Kevin J; Hackel, Benjamin J; Chan, Jonah R; Shusta, Eric V

    2014-09-01

    Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays an important role in nervous system function and has therapeutic potential. Microbial production of BDNF has resulted in a low-fidelity protein product, often in the form of large, insoluble aggregates incapable of binding to cognate TrkB or p75 receptors. In this study, employing Saccharomyces cerevisiae display and secretion systems, it was found that BDNF was poorly expressed and partially inactive on the yeast surface and that BDNF was secreted at low levels in the form of disulfide-bonded aggregates. Thus, for the purpose of increasing the compatibility of yeast as an expression host for BDNF, directed-evolution approaches were employed to improve BDNF folding and expression levels. Yeast surface display was combined with two rounds of directed evolution employing random mutagenesis and shuffling to identify BDNF mutants that had 5-fold improvements in expression, 4-fold increases in specific TrkB binding activity, and restored p75 binding activity, both as displayed proteins and as secreted proteins. Secreted BDNF mutants were found largely in the form of soluble homodimers that could stimulate TrkB phosphorylation in transfected PC12 cells. Site-directed mutagenesis studies indicated that a particularly important mutational class involved the introduction of cysteines proximal to the native cysteines that participate in the BDNF cysteine knot architecture. Taken together, these findings show that yeast is now a viable alternative for both the production and the engineering of BDNF.

  14. Genome replication engineering assisted continuous evolution (GREACE) to improve microbial tolerance for biofuels production

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Microbial production of biofuels requires robust cell growth and metabolism under tough conditions. Conventionally, such tolerance phenotypes were engineered through evolutionary engineering using the principle of “Mutagenesis followed-by Selection”. The iterative rounds of mutagenesis-selection and frequent manual interventions resulted in discontinuous and inefficient strain improvement processes. This work aimed to develop a more continuous and efficient evolutionary engineering method termed as “Genome Replication Engineering Assisted Continuous Evolution” (GREACE) using “Mutagenesis coupled-with Selection” as its core principle. Results The core design of GREACE is to introduce an in vivo continuous mutagenesis mechanism into microbial cells by introducing a group of genetically modified proofreading elements of the DNA polymerase complex to accelerate the evolution process under stressful conditions. The genotype stability and phenotype heritability can be stably maintained once the genetically modified proofreading element is removed, thus scarless mutants with desired phenotypes can be obtained. Kanamycin resistance of E. coli was rapidly improved to confirm the concept and feasibility of GREACE. Intrinsic mechanism analysis revealed that during the continuous evolution process, the accumulation of genetically modified proofreading elements with mutator activities endowed the host cells with enhanced adaptation advantages. We further showed that GREACE can also be applied to engineer n-butanol and acetate tolerances. In less than a month, an E. coli strain capable of growing under an n-butanol concentration of 1.25% was isolated. As for acetate tolerance, cell growth of the evolved E. coli strain increased by 8-fold under 0.1% of acetate. In addition, we discovered that adaptation to specific stresses prefers accumulation of genetically modified elements with specific mutator strengths. Conclusions We developed a novel GREACE method

  15. Genetic Optimization of Training Sets for Improved Machine Learning Models of Molecular Properties.

    PubMed

    Browning, Nicholas J; Ramakrishnan, Raghunathan; von Lilienfeld, O Anatole; Roethlisberger, Ursula

    2017-04-06

    The training of molecular models of quantum mechanical properties based on statistical machine learning requires large data sets which exemplify the map from chemical structure to molecular property. Intelligent a priori selection of training examples is often difficult or impossible to achieve, as prior knowledge may be unavailable. Ordinarily representative selection of training molecules from such data sets is achieved through random sampling. We use genetic algorithms for the optimization of training set composition consisting of tens of thousands of small organic molecules. The resulting machine learning models are considerably more accurate: in the limit of small training sets, mean absolute errors for out-of-sample predictions are reduced by up to ∼75%. We discuss and present optimized training sets consisting of 10 molecular classes for all molecular properties studied. We show that these classes can be used to design improved training sets for the generation of machine learning models of the same properties in similar but unrelated molecular sets.

  16. Molecular phylogenetic approach for studying life-history evolution: the ambiguous example of the genus Medicago L.

    PubMed Central

    Bena, G; Lejeune, B; Prosperi, J M; Olivieri, I

    1998-01-01

    We present a molecular phylogeny including most species of the genus Medicago L. (Fabaceae). Based on the consensus of the 48 most parsimonious trees, life-history and mating-system characters are mapped, and a putative history of the genus is suggested. The most parsimonious reconstruction suggests an ancestral annual and selfing state, and recurrent evolution towards perenniality and outcrossing. Based on theoretical predictions and classical hypotheses of the history of the genus, different assumptions about the ancestral state and different weighting schemes of evolution between the character states are made. Assuming an outcrossing, perennial ancestral state (partly supported by morphological features) does not fundamentally change the reconstruction. To meet theoretical expectations, various weighting schemes favouring evolution towards annuality and selfing are applied. Influence and validity of such weighting schemes are discussed with regard to other studies. PMID:9684377

  17. 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.

  18. Applications of single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) to taxonomy, diagnosis, population genetics and molecular evolution of parasitic nematodes.

    PubMed

    Gasser, R B; Chilton, N B

    2001-11-22

    The analysis of genetic variation in parasitic nematodes has important implications for studying aspects of taxonomy, diagnosis, population genetics, drug resistance and molecular evolution. This article highlights some applications of PCR-based single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) for the analysis of sequence variation in individual parasites (and their populations) to address some of these areas. It also describes the principles and advantages of SSCP, and provides some examples for future applications in parasitology.

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. Improving human forensics through advances in genetics, genomics and molecular biology.

    PubMed

    Kayser, Manfred; de Knijff, Peter

    2011-03-01

    Forensic DNA profiling currently allows the identification of persons already known to investigating authorities. Recent advances have produced new types of genetic markers with the potential to overcome some important limitations of current DNA profiling methods. Moreover, other developments are enabling completely new kinds of forensically relevant information to be extracted from biological samples. These include new molecular approaches for finding individuals previously unknown to investigators, and new molecular methods to support links between forensic sample donors and criminal acts. Such advances in genetics, genomics and molecular biology are likely to improve human forensic case work in the near future.

  3. 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.

  4. Phylogenetic characterization and molecular evolution of bacterial endosymbionts in psyllids (Hemiptera: Sternorrhyncha).

    PubMed

    Spaulding, A W; von Dohlen, C D

    1998-11-01

    Most sternorrhynchan insects harbor endosymbiotic bacteria in specialized cells (bacteriocytes) near the gut which provide essential nutrients for hosts. In lineages investigated so far with molecular methods (aphids, mealybugs, whiteflies), endosymbionts apparently have arisen from independent infections of common host ancestors and co-speciated with their hosts. Some endosymbionts also exhibit putatively negative genetic effects from their symbiotic association. In this study, the identity of endosymbionts in one major sternorrhynchan lineage, psyllids (Psylloidea), was investigated to determine their position in eubacterial phylogeny and their relationship to other sternorrhynchan endosymbionts. Small-subunit ribosomal RNA genes (16S rDNA) from bacteria in three psyllid species (families Psyllidae and Triozidae) were sequenced and incorporated into an alignment including other insect endosymbionts and free-living bacteria. In phylogenetic analysis, all sequences were placed within the gamma subdivision of the Proteobacteria. Three sequences, one from each psyllid species, formed a highly supported monophyletic group whose branching order matched the host phylogeny, and also exhibited accelerated rates of evolution and mutational bias toward A and T nucleotides. These attributes, characteristic of primary (P) bacteriocyte-dwelling endosymbionts, suggested that these sequences were from the putative psyllid P endosymbiont. Two other sequences were placed within the gamma-3 subgroup of Proteobacteria and were hypothesized to be secondary endosymbionts. The analysis also suggested a sister relationship between P endosymbionts of psyllids and whiteflies. Thus, a continuous mutualistic association between bacteria and insects may have existed since the common ancestor of psyllids and whiteflies. Calculations using a universal substitution rate in bacteria corrected for endosymbiont rate acceleration support the idea that this common ancestor was also the ancestor of

  5. 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

  6. 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

    2015-06-02

    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.

  7. Molecular evolution of multiple-level control of heme biosynthesis pathway in animal kingdom.

    PubMed

    Tzou, Wen-Shyong; Chu, Ying; Lin, Tzung-Yi; Hu, Chin-Hwa; Pai, Tun-Wen; Liu, Hsin-Fu; Lin, Han-Jia; Cases, Ildeofonso; Rojas, Ana; Sanchez, Mayka; You, Zong-Ye; Hsu, Ming-Wei

    2014-01-01

    Adaptation of enzymes in a metabolic pathway can occur not only through changes in amino acid sequences but also through variations in transcriptional activation, mRNA splicing and mRNA translation. The heme biosynthesis pathway, a linear pathway comprised of eight consecutive enzymes in animals, provides researchers with ample information for multiple types of evolutionary analyses performed with respect to the position of each enzyme in the pathway. Through bioinformatics analysis, we found that the protein-coding sequences of all enzymes in this pathway are under strong purifying selection, from cnidarians to mammals. However, loose evolutionary constraints are observed for enzymes in which self-catalysis occurs. Through comparative genomics, we found that in animals, the first intron of the enzyme-encoding genes has been co-opted for transcriptional activation of the genes in this pathway. Organisms sense the cellular content of iron, and through iron-responsive elements in the 5' untranslated regions of mRNAs and the intron-exon boundary regions of pathway genes, translational inhibition and exon choice in enzymes may be enabled, respectively. Pathway product (heme)-mediated negative feedback control can affect the transport of pathway enzymes into the mitochondria as well as the ubiquitin-mediated stability of enzymes. Remarkably, the positions of these controls on pathway activity are not ubiquitous but are biased towards the enzymes in the upstream portion of the pathway. We revealed that multiple-level controls on the activity of the heme biosynthesis pathway depend on the linear depth of the enzymes in the pathway, indicating a new strategy for discovering the molecular constraints that shape the evolution of a metabolic pathway.

  8. Is ultra-violet radiation the main force shaping molecular evolution of varicella-zoster virus?

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Varicella (chickenpox) exhibits a characteristic epidemiological pattern which is associated with climate. In general, primary infections in tropical regions are comparatively less frequent among children than in temperate regions. This peculiarity regarding varicella-zoster virus (VZV) infection among certain age groups in tropical regions results in increased susceptibility during adulthood in these regions. Moreover, this disease shows a cyclic behavior in which the number of cases increases significantly during winter and spring. This observation further supports the participation of environmental factors in global epidemiology of chickenpox. However, the underlying mechanisms responsible for this distinctive disease behavior are not understood completely. In a recent publication, Philip S. Rice has put forward an interesting hypothesis suggesting that ultra-violet (UV) radiation is the major environmental factor driving the molecular evolution of VZV. Discussion While we welcomed the attempt to explain the mechanisms controlling VZV transmission and distribution, we argue that Rice's hypothesis takes lightly the circulation of the so called "temperate VZV genotypes" in tropical regions and, to certain degree, overlooks the predominance of such lineages in certain non-temperate areas. Here, we further discuss and present new information about the overwhelming dominance of temperate VZV genotypes in Mexico regardless of geographical location and climate. Summary UV radiation does not satisfactorily explain the distribution of VZV genotypes in different tropical and temperate regions of Mexico. Additionally, the cyclic behavior of varicella does not shown significant differences between regions with different climates in the country. More studies should be conducted to identify the factors directly involved in viral spreading. A better understanding of the modes of transmissions exploited by VZV and their effect on viral fitness is likely to facilitate

  9. Rates of molecular evolution in nuclear genes of east Mediterranean scorpions.

    PubMed

    Gantenbein, Benjamin; Keightley, Peter D

    2004-11-01

    Scorpions of the genus Mesobuthus represent a useful terrestrial model system for studying molecular evolution. They are distributed on several Aegean islands and the adjacent mainland, they are believed to have low rates of dispersal, and evolutionary divergence dates of taxa are available based on biogeographic events that separated islands from each other and the mainland. Here, we present data on polymorphism and synonymous (Ks) and non-synonymous (Ka) substitution rates for nine nuclear protein-coding genes of two east Mediterranean scorpion species, Mesobuthus gibbosus and M. cyprius (Buthidae). Levels of polymorphism tend to be lower in populations from islands (mean nucleotide diversity pi = 0.0071 +/- 0.0028) than in mainland populations (mean pi = 0.0201 +/- 0.0085). By using linear regression of genetic divergence versus isolation time, we estimate Ks to be 3.17 +/- 1.54 per (site x 10(9) years), and Ka to be 0.39 +/- 0.94 per (site x 10(9) years). These estimates for both Ks and Ka are considerably lower than for many other invertebrates, such as Drosophila, and may be attributed to scorpions' mammal-like generation times (approximately 2 years) and low metabolic rates. Phylogenetic analysis using maximum likelihood revealed a phylogeny that is congruent with that expected based on biogeographic events and in which divergences at synonymous sites are proportional to the dates that the taxa are believed to have split. Tests of equality of branch lengths for the Cyprus and Crete lineages revealed that Ks-estimates are about the same in both lineages, as expected from the biogeographic events that separated the islands, but Ka was increased in the Cyprus lineage compared to the Cretan lineage.

  10. Synthetic molecular evolution of pore-forming peptides by iterative combinatorial library screening.

    PubMed

    Krauson, Aram J; He, Jing; Wimley, Andrew W; Hoffmann, Andrew R; Wimley, William C

    2013-04-19

    We previously reported the de novo design of a combinatorial peptide library that was subjected to high-throughput screening to identify membrane-permeabilizing antimicrobial peptides that have β-sheet-like secondary structure. Those peptides do not form discrete pores in membranes but instead partition into membrane interfaces and cause transient permeabilization by membrane disruption, but only when present at high concentration. In this work, we used a consensus sequence from that initial screen as a template to design an iterative, second generation library. In the 24-26-residue, 16,200-member second generation library we varied six residues. Two diad repeat motifs of alternating polar and nonpolar amino acids were preserved to maintain a propensity for non-helical secondary structure. We used a new high-throughput assay to identify members that self-assemble into equilibrium pores in synthetic lipid bilayers. This screen was done at a very stringent peptide to lipid ratio of 1:1000 where most known membrane-permeabilizing peptides, including the template peptide, are not active. In a screen of 10,000 library members we identified 16 (~0.2%) that are equilibrium pore-formers at this high stringency. These rare and highly active peptides, which share a common sequence motif, are as potent as the most active pore-forming peptides known. Furthermore, they are not α-helical, which makes them unusual, as most of the highly potent pore-forming peptides are amphipathic α-helices. Here we demonstrate that this synthetic molecular evolution-based approach, taken together with the new high-throughput tools we have developed, enables the identification, refinement, and optimization of unique membrane active peptides.

  11. Radiation Oncology In Vitro: Trends to Improve Radiotherapy through Molecular Targets

    PubMed Central

    Feofanova, Natália; Geraldo, Jony Marques; de Andrade, Lídia Maria

    2014-01-01

    Much has been investigated to improve the beneficial effects of radiotherapy especially in that case where radioresistant behavior is observed. Beyond simple identification of resistant phenotype the discovery and development of specific molecular targets have demonstrated therapeutic potential in cancer treatment including radiotherapy. Alterations on transduction signaling pathway related with MAPK cascade are the main axis in cancer cellular proliferation even as cell migration and invasiveness in irradiated tumor cell lines; then, for that reason, more studies are in course focusing on, among others, DNA damage enhancement, apoptosis stimulation, and growth factors receptor blockages, showing promising in vitro results highlighting molecular targets associated with ionizing radiation as a new radiotherapy strategy to improve clinical outcome. In this review we discuss some of the main molecular targets related with tumor cell proliferation and migration as well as their potential contributions to radiation oncology improvements. PMID:25302298

  12. [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.

  13. Evolution of stamen number in Ptychospermatinae (Arecaceae): insights from a new molecular phylogeny of the subtribe.

    PubMed

    Alapetite, Elodie; Baker, William J; Nadot, Sophie

    2014-07-01

    The palm subtribe Ptychospermatinae (Arecaceae: Arecoideae) is naturally distributed in the South West Pacific area and contains 12 genera and around 60 species, including numerous popular ornamentals. Like many palms, Ptychospermatinae flowers are small, trimerous, unisexual and always grouped into inflorescences of various sizes. However they exhibit a wide diversity in stamen number (a few to several dozen or even hundreds) that is poorly understood from an evolutionary point of view. Although advances have been made in elucidating phylogenetic relationships within Ptychospermatinae, some relationships among and within genera still remain to be clarified. Here we used a combination of five nuclear markers (nrITS2, the conserved nuclear intron BRSC10 and three low copy genes, PRK, RPB2 and AGAMOUS) and three chloroplast markers (matK, ndhA and rps15-ycf1) to propose a new phylogenetic hypothesis for the subtribe. The combination of all these markers improved the resolution and robustness of phylogenetic relationships within the subtribe, allowing us to identify four major clades. This phylogenetic framework was used to examine the evolution of stamen number in the clade. The optimization of stamen number on the phylogeny highlighted the high level of interspecific variability, showing that the character is highly labile and raising questions about the evolutionary and functional significance of this lability.

  14. 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.

  15. Molecular Evidence for Convergence and Parallelism in Evolution of Complex Brains of Cephalopod Molluscs: Insights from Visual Systems

    PubMed Central

    Yoshida, M. A.; Ogura, A.; Ikeo, K.; Shigeno, S.; Moritaki, T.; Winters, G. C.; Kohn, A. B.; Moroz, L. L.

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:26002349

  16. 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.

  17. Molecular evolution and expression divergence of the Populus polygalacturonase supergene family shed light on the evolution of increasingly complex organs in plants.

    PubMed

    Yang, Zhi-Ling; Liu, Hai-Jing; Wang, Xiao-Ru; Zeng, Qing-Yin

    2013-03-01

    Plant polygalacturonases (PGs) are involved in cell separation processes during many stages of plant development. Investigation into the diversification of this large gene family in land plants could shed light on the evolution of structural development. We conducted whole-genome annotation, molecular evolution and gene expression analyses of PG genes in five species of land plant: Populus, Arabidopsis, rice, Selaginella and Physcomitrella. We identified 75, 44, 16 and 11 PG genes from Populus, rice, Selaginella and Physcomitrella genomes, respectively, which were divided into three classes. We inferred rapid expansion of class I PG genes in Populus, Arabidopsis and rice, while copy numbers of classes II and III PG genes were relatively conserved in all five species. Populus, Arabidopsis and rice class I PG genes were under more relaxed selection constraints than class II PG genes, while this selective pressure divergence was not observed in Selaginella and Physcomitrella PG families. In addition, class I PG genes underwent marked expression divergence in Populus, rice and Selaginella. Our results suggest that PG gene expansion occurred after the divergence of the lycophytes and euphyllophytes, and this expansion was likely paralleled by the evolution of increasingly complex organs in land plants.

  18. Molecular evolution of cytochrome C oxidase underlies high-altitude adaptation in the bar-headed goose.

    PubMed

    Scott, Graham R; Schulte, Patricia M; Egginton, Stuart; Scott, Angela L M; Richards, Jeffrey G; Milsom, William K

    2011-01-01

    Bar-headed geese (Anser indicus) fly at up to 9,000 m elevation during their migration over the Himalayas, sustaining high metabolic rates in the severe hypoxia at these altitudes. We investigated the evolution of cardiac energy metabolism and O(2) transport in this species to better understand the molecular and physiological mechanisms of high-altitude adaptation. Compared with low-altitude geese (pink-footed geese and barnacle geese), bar-headed geese had larger lungs and higher capillary densities in the left ventricle of the heart, both of which should improve O(2) diffusion during hypoxia. Although myoglobin abundance and the activities of many metabolic enzymes (carnitine palmitoyltransferase, citrate synthase, 3-hydroxyacyl-coA dehydrogenase, lactate dehydrogenase, and pyruvate kinase) showed only minor variation between species, bar-headed geese had a striking alteration in the kinetics of cytochrome c oxidase (COX), the heteromeric enzyme that catalyzes O(2) reduction in oxidative phosphorylation. This was reflected by a lower maximum catalytic activity and a higher affinity for reduced cytochrome c. There were small differences between species in messenger RNA and protein expression of COX subunits 3 and 4, but these were inconsistent with the divergence in enzyme kinetics. However, the COX3 gene of bar-headed geese contained a nonsynonymous substitution at a site that is otherwise conserved across vertebrates and resulted in a major functional change of amino acid class (Trp-116 → Arg). This mutation was predicted by structural modeling to alter the interaction between COX3 and COX1. Adaptations in mitochondrial enzyme kinetics and O(2) transport capacity may therefore contribute to the exceptional ability of bar-headed geese to fly high.

  19. Molecular dynamics simulations of phosphonic acid-aluminum oxide self-organization and their evolution into ordered monolayers.

    PubMed

    Dietrich, H; Schmaltz, T; Halik, M; Zahn, D

    2017-02-15

    We outline an unprejudiced molecular dynamics simulation approach to study the mechanisms of self-organization encompassing the evolution of surfactant-surface interactions to the growth of self-assembled monolayers (SAMs). Therein, the time-length scale problem is tackled by combining an efficient docking-type procedure for implementing surfactant-by-surfactant association with detailed molecular simulations to explore structural relaxation. For this, nanosecond-scale molecular dynamics simulations unravel ordering processes during the gradual assembly of the monolayer. Along this line, different packing motifs of octadecyl phosphonic acid (ODPA) on the (0001) surface of α-alumina and implications for the final density and ordering of the resulting monolayers are elucidated. Moreover, the role of the solvent is discriminated by comparing SAM formation in 2-propanol, hexane and in a vacuum.

  20. 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.

  1. Regional differences in rates of plant speciation and molecular evolution: a comparison between eastern Asia and eastern North America.

    PubMed

    Xiang, Qiu-Yun Jenny; Zhang, Wen Heng; Ricklefs, Robert E; Qian, Hong; Chen, Zhi Duan; Wen, Jun; Hua, Jian L

    2004-10-01

    The eastern Asian (EAS)-eastern North American (ENA) floristic disjunction is one of the best-known biogeographic patterns in the Northern Hemisphere. Recent paleontological and molecular analyses have illuminated the origins of the biogeographic pattern, but subsequent diversification and evolution of the disjunct floras in each of the two continents after isolation remains poorly understood. Although similar in climate and floristic composition, EAS has twice as many species as ENA in genera occurring in both regions. Explaining such differences in species diversity between regions with similar environmental conditions (diversity anomalies) is an important goal of the study of the global patterns of biodiversity. We used a phylogenetic approach to compare rates of net speciation and molecular evolution between the two regions. We first identified EAS-ENA disjunct sister clades from ten genera (Asarum, Buckleya, Carpinus, Carya, Cornus, Hamamelis, Illicium, Panax, Stewartia, and Styrax) that represent diverse angiosperm lineages using phylogenetic analyses of ITS (internal transcribed spacer of nuclear ribosomal DNA) sequence data. Species richness and substitution rate of ITS between sister clades were compared. The results revealed a pattern of greater species diversity in the EAS counterparts. A positive relationship between species diversity and ITS substitution rate was also documented. These results suggest greater net speciation and accelerated molecular evolution in EAS. The data support the idea that a regional difference in net speciation rate related to topographic heterogeneity contributes to the diversity anomaly between EAS and ENA. The close relationship between rates of ITS evolution and species richness further suggests that species production may be directly linked to rate of nucleotide substitution.

  2. The roles of atomic and molecular gas on the redshift evolution of star formation and metallicity in galaxy formation models

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fu, Jian; Kauffmann, Guinevere

    2013-03-01

    We study the redshift evolution of neutral and molecular gas in the interstellar medium with the results from semi-analytic models of galaxy formation and evolution, which track the cold gas related physical processes in radially resolved galaxy disks. Two kinds of prescriptions are adopted to describe the conversion between molecular and neutral gas in the ISM: one is related to the gas surface density and gas metallicity based on the model results by Krumholz, Mckee & Tumlinson; the other is related the pressure of ISM. We try four types of star formation laws in the models to study the effect of the molecular gas component and the star formation time scale on the model results, and find that the H2 dependent star formation rate with constant star formation efficiency is the preferred star formation law. We run the models based on both Millennium and Millennium II Simulation haloes, and the model parameters are adjusted to fit the observations at z = 0 from THINGS/HERACLES and ALFALFA/COLD GASS. We give predictions for the redshift evolution of cosmic star formation density, H2 to HI cosmic ratios, gas to star mass ratios and gas metallicity vs stellar mass relation. Based on the model results, we find that: (i) the difference in the H2 to HI ratio at z > 3 between the two H2 fraction prescriptions can help future observations to test which prescription is better; (ii) a constant redshift independent star formation time scale will postpone the star formation processes at high redshift and cause obvious redshift evolution for the relation between gas metallicity and stellar mass in galaxies at z < 3.

  3. Defects Engineered Monolayer MoS2 for Improved Hydrogen Evolution Reaction.

    PubMed

    Ye, Gonglan; Gong, Yongji; Lin, Junhao; Li, Bo; He, Yongmin; Pantelides, Sokrates T; Zhou, Wu; Vajtai, Robert; Ajayan, Pulickel M

    2016-02-10

    MoS2 is a promising and low-cost material for electrochemical hydrogen production due to its high activity and stability during the reaction. However, the efficiency of hydrogen production is limited by the amount of active sites, for example, edges, in MoS2. Here, we demonstrate that oxygen plasma exposure and hydrogen treatment on pristine monolayer MoS2 could introduce more active sites via the formation of defects within the monolayer, leading to a high density of exposed edges and a significant improvement of the hydrogen evolution activity. These as-fabricated defects are characterized at the scale from macroscopic continuum to discrete atoms. Our work represents a facile method to increase the hydrogen production in electrochemical reaction of MoS2 via defect engineering, and helps to understand the catalytic properties of MoS2.

  4. Molecular Design and Device Application of Radical Polymers for Improved Charge Extraction in Organic Photovoltaic Cells

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2015-07-29

    AFRL-OSR-VA-TR-2015-0218 Molecular Design and Device Application of Radical Polymers for Improved Charge Extraction in Organic Photovoltaic Cells... APPLICATION OF RADICAL POLYMERS FOR IMPROVED CHARGE EXTRACTION IN ORGANIC PHOTOVOLTAIC CELLS" 5a. CONTRACT NUMBER 5b. GRANT NUMBER FA-9550-12-1...radical polymers and offered a perspective of their potential organic electronic applications moving forward. This work cemented our group as a world

  5. 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.

  6. Thermoadaptation-directed evolution of chloramphenicol acetyltransferase in an error-prone thermophile using improved procedures.

    PubMed

    Kobayashi, Jyumpei; Furukawa, Megumi; Ohshiro, Takashi; Suzuki, Hirokazu

    2015-07-01

    Enhancing the thermostability of thermolabile enzymes extends their practical utility. We previously demonstrated that an error-prone thermophile derived from Geobacillus kaustophilus HTA426 can generate mutant genes encoding enzyme variants that are more thermostable than the parent enzyme. Here, we used this approach, termed as thermoadaptation-directed enzyme evolution, to increase the thermostability of the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) of Staphylococcus aureus and successfully generated a CAT variant with an A138T replacement (CAT(A138T)). This variant was heterologously produced, and its enzymatic properties were compared with those of the wild type. We found that CAT(A138T) had substantially higher thermostability than CAT but had comparable activities, showing that the A138T replacement enhanced protein thermostability without affecting the catalytic activity. Because variants CAT(A138S) and CAT(A138V), which were generated via in vitro site-directed mutagenesis, were more thermostable than CAT, the thermostability enhancement resulting from the A138T replacement can be attributed to both the presence of a hydroxyl group and the bulk of the threonine side chain. CAT(A138T) conferred chloramphenicol resistance to G. kaustophilus cells at high temperature more efficiently than CAT. Therefore, the gene encoding CAT(A138T) may be useful as a genetic marker in Geobacillus spp. Notably, CAT(A138T) generation was achieved only by implementing improved procedures (plasmid-based mutations on solid media); previous procedures (chromosome-based mutations in liquid media) were unsuccessful. This result suggests that this improved procedure is crucial for successful thermoadaptation-directed evolution in certain cases and increases the opportunities for generating thermostable enzymes.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  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. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Punctuated equilibrium and shock waves in molecular models of biological evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

  16. 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.

  17. Improving gemcitabine-mediated radiosensitization using molecularly targeted therapy: A review

    PubMed Central

    Morgan, Meredith A.; Parsels, Leslie A.; Maybaum, Jonathan; Lawrence, Theodore S.

    2009-01-01

    In the last three decades gemcitabine has progressed from the status of a laboratory cytotoxic drug to a standard clinical chemotherapeutic agent and a potent radiation sensitizer. In an effort to improve the efficacy of gemcitabine, additional chemotherapeutic agents have been combined with gemcitabine (both with and without radiation) but with toxicity proving to be a major limitation. Therefore, the integration of molecularly targeted agents, which potentially produce less toxicity than standard chemotherapy, with gemcitabine-radiation is a promising strategy for improving chemoradiation. Two of the most promising targets, described in this review, for improving the efficacy of gemcitabine-radiation are EGFR and Chk1. PMID:18980967

  18. Dynamic mixtures and combinatorial libraries: imines as probes for molecular evolution at the interface between chemistry and biology.

    PubMed

    Herrmann, Andreas

    2009-08-21

    In analogy to evolution in biological processes, "molecular evolution", based on the reversible formation of imines, has successfully been explored for drug discovery, receptor design and as a controlled-release vehicle. Multicomponent systems composed of amines and carbonyl compounds generate structural diversity by reversible reaction of the different components to form equilibrated dynamic mixtures or combinatorial libraries (DCLs). Under thermodynamic control and in the presence of an external factor which influences the equilibrium, these systems evolve by selective adaptation to the changing external conditions. This concept allows the casting of biologically or catalytically active substrates and the molding of receptors from DCLs which are composed of smaller non-active amine and carbonyl moieties. Similarly, if the amine or carbonyl compounds are the biologically active compounds of interest, the corresponding dynamic mixtures are found to be efficient delivery systems, allowing their controlled release over time.

  19. PartitionFinder 2: New Methods for Selecting Partitioned Models of Evolution for Molecular and Morphological Phylogenetic Analyses.

    PubMed

    Lanfear, Robert; Frandsen, Paul B; Wright, April M; Senfeld, Tereza; Calcott, Brett

    2017-03-01

    PartitionFinder 2 is a program for automatically selecting best-fit partitioning schemes and models of evolution for phylogenetic analyses. PartitionFinder 2 is substantially faster and more efficient than version 1, and incorporates many new methods and features. These include the ability to analyze morphological datasets, new methods to analyze genome-scale datasets, new output formats to facilitate interoperability with downstream software, and many new models of molecular evolution. PartitionFinder 2 is freely available under an open source license and works on Windows, OSX, and Linux operating systems. It can be downloaded from www.robertlanfear.com/partitionfinder. The source code is available at https://github.com/brettc/partitionfinder.

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. An improved generalized differential evolution algorithm for multi-objective reactive power dispatch

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ramesh, S.; Kannan, S.; Baskar, S.

    2012-04-01

    An improved multi-objective generalized differential evolution (I-GDE3) approach to solve optimal reactive power dispatch (ORPD) with multiple and competing objectives is proposed in this article. The objective functions are minimization of real power loss and bus voltage profile improvement. For maintaining good diversity, the concepts of simulated binary crossover (SBX) based recombination and dynamic crowding distance (DCD), are implemented in the GDE3 algorithm. I-GDE3 obtains the Pareto-solution set for ORPD that is impervious to load drifts and perturbations. The performance of the proposed approach is tested in standard IEEE 118-bus and IEEE 300-bus test systems and the result demonstrates the capability of the I-GDE3 algorithm in generating diverse and well distributed Pareto-optimal solutions that are less sensitive to various loading conditions along with load perturbations. The performance of I-GDE3 is compared with respect to multi-objective performance measures namely span, hyper-volume and C-measure. The results show the effectiveness of I-GDE3 and confirm its potential to solve the multi-objective RPD problem.

  3. 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

  4. Fast molecular beacon hybridization in organic solvents with improved target specificity.

    PubMed

    Dave, Neeshma; Liu, Juewen

    2010-12-02

    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.

  5. 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.

  6. Molecular characterization and concerted evolution of two genes encoding RING-C2 type proteins in rice.

    PubMed

    Jung, Chang Gyo; Lim, Sung Don; Hwang, Sun-Goo; Jang, Cheol Seong

    2012-08-15

    RING (Really Interesting New Gene) finger proteins are believed to play a critical role in mediating the transfer of ubiquitin to heterogeneous substrate(s). While the two canonical types, RING-H2 and RING-HC, have been well-characterized, the molecular functions of the modified types, particularly the RING-C2 types, remain elusive. We isolated two rice genes harboring the RING-C2 domain on the distal parts of rice chromosomes 11 and 12, termed OsRINGC2-1 and OsRINGC2-2, respectively. A comparison of sequence divergences between 10 duplicate pairs on the distal parts of rice chromosomes 11 and 12 and randomly selected duplicate pairs suggested that OsRINGC2-1 and OsRINGC2-2 have evolved in concert via gene conversion. An in vitro ubiquitination assay revealed that both proteins possess E3 ligase activity, suggesting that the innate functions of these RING domains have not been affected by their modifications during evolution. Subcellular localizations were strikingly different; OsRINGC2-1 was found only in the cytoplasm with many punctate complexes, whereas OsRINGC2-2 was observed in both the nucleus and cytoplasm. The expression patterns of both genes showed striking differences in response to salt stress, whereas plants heterogeneous for both genes mediated salt tolerance in Arabidopsis, supporting the notion of concerted evolution. These results shed light on the molecular functions of OsRINGC2-1 and OsRINGC2-2 and provide insight into their molecular evolution.

  7. Directed evolution of xylose isomerase for improved xylose catabolism and fermentation in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

    PubMed

    Lee, Sun-Mi; Jellison, Taylor; Alper, Hal S

    2012-08-01

    The heterologous expression of a highly functional xylose isomerase pathway in Saccharomyces cerevisiae would have significant advantages for ethanol yield, since the pathway bypasses cofactor requirements found in the traditionally used oxidoreductase pathways. However, nearly all reported xylose isomerase-based pathways in S. cerevisiae suffer from poor ethanol productivity, low xylose consumption rates, and poor cell growth compared with an oxidoreductase pathway and, additionally, often require adaptive strain evolution. Here, we report on the directed evolution of the Piromyces sp. xylose isomerase (encoded by xylA) for use in yeast. After three rounds of mutagenesis and growth-based screening, we isolated a variant containing six mutations (E15D, E114G, E129D, T142S, A177T, and V433I) that exhibited a 77% increase in enzymatic activity. When expressed in a minimally engineered yeast host containing a gre3 knockout and tal1 and XKS1 overexpression, the strain expressing this mutant enzyme improved its aerobic growth rate by 61-fold and both ethanol production and xylose consumption rates by nearly 8-fold. Moreover, the mutant enzyme enabled ethanol production by these yeasts under oxygen-limited fermentation conditions, unlike the wild-type enzyme. Under microaerobic conditions, the ethanol production rates of the strain expressing the mutant xylose isomerase were considerably higher than previously reported values for yeast harboring a xylose isomerase pathway and were also comparable to those of the strains harboring an oxidoreductase pathway. Consequently, this study shows the potential to evolve a xylose isomerase pathway for more efficient xylose utilization.

  8. Evolution of OH and CO-Dark Molecular Gas Fraction across a Molecular Cloud Boundary in Taurus

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xu, Duo; Li, Di; Yue, Nannan; Goldsmith, Paul F.

    2016-03-01

    We present observations of 12CO J = 1-0, 13CO J = 1-0, H i, and all four ground-state transitions of the hydroxyl (OH) radical toward a sharp boundary region of the Taurus molecular cloud. Based on a photodissociation region (PDR) model that reproduces CO and [C i] emission from the same region, we modeled the three OH transitions, 1612, 1665, and 1667 MHz successfully through escape probability non-local thermal equilibrium radiative transfer model calculations. We could not reproduce the 1720 MHz observations, due to unmodeled pumping mechanisms, of which the most likely candidate is a C-shock. The abundance of OH and CO-dark molecular gas is well-constrained. The OH abundance [OH]/[H2] decreases from 8× {10}-7 to 1× {10}-7 as Av increases from 0.4 to 2.7 mag following an empirical law: which is higher than PDR model predictions for low-extinction regions by a factor of 80. The overabundance of OH at extinctions at or below 1 mag is likely the result of a C-shock. The dark gas fraction (DGF, defined as the fraction of molecular gas without detectable CO emission) decreases from 80% to 20% following a Gaussian profile: This trend of the DGF is consistent with our understanding that the DGF drops at low visual extinction due to photodissociation of H2 and drops at high visual extinction due to CO formation. The DGF peaks in the extinction range where H2 has already formed and achieved self-shielding but 12CO has not. Two narrow velocity components with a peak-to-peak spacing of ˜1 km s-1 were clearly identified. Their relative intensity and variation in space and frequency suggest colliding streams or gas flows at the boundary region.

  9. Molecular evolution of the clustered MMIC-3 multigene family of Gossypium species

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Uniqueness, content, localization, and defense-related features of the root-knot nematode resistance-associated MIC-3 supergene cluster in the genus Gossypium are all of interest for molecular evolutionary studies of duplicate supergenes in allopolyploids. Here we report molecular evolutionary rates...

  10. Molecular Evolution of Clustered MIC-3 (Meloidogyne Induced Cotton -3) Multigene Family of Gossypium Species

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Uniqueness, content, localization, and defense-related features of the root-knot nematode resistance-associated MIC-3 multigene cluster in the genus Gossypium are all of interest for molecular evolutionary studies of duplicate genes in allopolyploids. Here we report molecular evolutionary rates of t...

  11. Merging molecular mechanism and evolution: theory and computation at the interface of biophysics and evolutionary population genetics

    PubMed Central

    Serohijos, Adrian W.R.; Shakhnovich, Eugene I.

    2014-01-01

    The variation among sequences and structures in nature is both determined by physical laws and by evolutionary history. However, these two factors are traditionally investigated by disciplines with different emphasis and philosophy—molecular biophysics on one hand and evolutionary population genetics in another. Here, we review recent theoretical and computational approaches that address the critical need to integrate these two disciplines. We first articulate the elements of these integrated approaches. Then, we survey their contribution to our mechanistic understanding of molecular evolution, the polymorphisms in coding region, the distribution of fitness effects (DFE) of mutations, the observed folding stability of proteins in nature, and the distribution of protein folds in genomes. PMID:24952216

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. May Diet and Dietary Supplements Improve the Wellness of Multiple Sclerosis Patients? A Molecular Approach

    PubMed Central

    Riccio, Paolo; Rossano, Rocco; Liuzzi, Grazia Maria

    2010-01-01

    Multiple sclerosis is a complex and multifactorial neurological disease, and nutrition is one of the environmental factors possibly involved in its pathogenesis. At present, the role of nutrition is unclear, and MS therapy is not associated to a particular diet. MS clinical trials based on specific diets or dietary supplements are very few and in some cases controversial. To understand how diet can influence the course of MS and improve the wellness of MS patients, it is necessary to identify the dietary molecules, their targets and the molecular mechanisms involved in the control of the disease. The aim of this paper is to provide a molecular basis for the nutritional intervention in MS by evaluating at molecular level the effect of dietary molecules on the inflammatory and autoimmune processes involved in the disease. PMID:21461338

  15. Cryptic Species in Tropic Sands - Interactive 3D Anatomy, Molecular Phylogeny and Evolution of Meiofaunal Pseudunelidae (Gastropoda, Acochlidia)

    PubMed Central

    Neusser, Timea P.; Jörger, Katharina M.; Schrödl, Michael

    2011-01-01

    Background Towards realistic estimations of the diversity of marine animals, tiny meiofaunal species usually are underrepresented. Since the biological species concept is hardly applicable on exotic and elusive animals, it is even more important to apply a morphospecies concept on the best level of information possible, using accurate and efficient methodology such as 3D modelling from histological sections. Molecular approaches such as sequence analyses may reveal further, cryptic species. This is the first case study on meiofaunal gastropods to test diversity estimations from traditional taxonomy against results from modern microanatomical methodology and molecular systematics. Results The examined meiofaunal Pseudunela specimens from several Indo-Pacific islands cannot be distinguished by external features. Their 3D microanatomy shows differences in the organ systems and allows for taxonomic separation in some cases. Additional molecular analyses based on partial mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) and 16S rRNA markers revealed considerable genetic structure that is largely congruent with anatomical or geographical patterns. Two new species (Pseudunela viatoris and P. marteli spp. nov.) are formally described integrating morphological and genetic analyses. Phylogenetic analysis using partial 16S rRNA, COI and the nuclear 18S rRNA markers shows a clade of Pseudunelidae species as the sister group to limnic Acochlidiidae. Within Pseudunela, two subtypes of complex excretory systems occur. A complex kidney already evolved in the ancestor of Hedylopsacea. Several habitat shifts occurred during hedylopsacean evolution. Conclusions Cryptic species occur in tropical meiofaunal Pseudunela gastropods, and likely in other meiofaunal groups with poor dispersal abilities, boosting current diversity estimations. Only a combined 3D microanatomical and molecular approach revealed actual species diversity within Pseudunela reliably. Such integrative methods are

  16. 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

  17. Molecular Changes During Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) Evolution and Identification of Novel Treatment Strategies Through Molecular Stratification.

    PubMed

    Karjalainen, E; Repasky, G A

    2016-01-01

    Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a hematopoietic malignancy characterized by impaired differentiation and uncontrollable proliferation of myeloid progenitor cells. Due to high relapse rates, overall survival for this rapidly progressing disease is poor. The significant challenge in AML treatment is disease heterogeneity stemming from variability in maturation state of leukemic cells of origin, genetic aberrations among patients, and existence of multiple disease clones within a single patient. Disease heterogeneity and the lack of biomarkers for drug sensitivity lie at the root of treatment failure as well as selective efficacy of AML chemotherapies and the emergence of drug resistance. Furthermore, standard-of-care treatment is aggressive, presenting significant tolerability concerns to the commonly advanced-age AML patient. In this review, we examine the concept and potential of molecular stratification, particularly with biologically relevant drug responses, in identifying low-toxicity precision therapeutic combinations and clinically relevant biomarkers for AML patient care as a way to overcome these challenges in AML treatment.

  18. 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.

  19. Molecular microscope strategy to improve risk stratification in early antibody-mediated kidney allograft rejection.

    PubMed

    Loupy, Alexandre; Lefaucheur, Carmen; Vernerey, Dewi; Chang, Jessica; Hidalgo, Luis G; Beuscart, Thibaut; Verine, Jerome; Aubert, Olivier; Dubleumortier, Sébastien; Duong van Huyen, Jean-Paul; Jouven, Xavier; Glotz, Denis; Legendre, Christophe; Halloran, Philip F

    2014-10-01

    Antibody-mediated rejection (ABMR) is the leading cause of kidney allograft loss. We investigated whether the addition of gene expression measurements to conventional methods could serve as a molecular microscope to identify kidneys with ABMR that are at high risk for failure. We studied 939 consecutive kidney recipients at Necker Hospital (2004-2010; principal cohort) and 321 kidney recipients at Saint Louis Hospital (2006-2010; validation cohort) and assessed patients with ABMR in the first 1 year post-transplant. In addition to conventional features, we assessed microarray-based gene expression in transplant biopsy specimens using relevant molecular measurements: the ABMR Molecular Score and endothelial donor-specific antibody-selective transcript set. The main outcomes were kidney transplant loss and progression to chronic transplant injury. We identified 74 patients with ABMR in the principal cohort and 54 patients with ABMR in the validation cohort. Conventional features independently associated with failure were donor age and humoral histologic score (g+ptc+v+cg+C4d). Adjusting for conventional features, ABMR Molecular Score (hazard ratio [HR], 2.22; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 1.37 to 3.58; P=0.001) and endothelial donor-specific antibody-selective transcripts (HR, 3.02; 95% CI, 1.00 to 9.16; P<0.05) independently associated with an increased risk of graft loss. The results were replicated in the independent validation group. Adding a gene expression assessment to a traditional risk model improved the stratification of patients at risk for graft failure (continuous net reclassification improvement, 1.01; 95% CI, 0.57 to 1.46; P<0.001; integrated discrimination improvement, 0.16; P<0.001). Compared with conventional assessment, the addition of gene expression measurement in kidney transplants with ABMR improves stratification of patients at high risk for graft loss.

  20. Surface treatment of zinc anodes to improve discharge capacity and suppress hydrogen gas evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cho, Yung-Da; Fey, George Ting-Kuo

    The shape change and redistribution of zinc anode material over the electrode during repeated cycling have been identified as the main factors that can limit the life of alkaline zinc-air batteries. Li 2O-2B 2O 3 (lithium boron oxide, LBO) glass with high Li + conductivity and stability can be coated on the surface of zinc powders. The structures of the surface-treated and pristine zinc powders were characterized by XRD, SEM, TEM, ESCA and BET analyses. XRD patterns of LBO-coated zinc powders revealed that the coating did not affect the crystal structure. TEM images of LBO-coated on the zinc particles were compact with an average passivation layer of about 250 nm. The LBO layer can prevent zinc from coming into direct contact with the KOH electrolyte and minimize the side reactions within the batteries. The 0.1 wt.% LBO-coated zinc anode material provided an initial discharge capacity of 1.70 Ah at 0.5 V, while the pristine zinc electrode delivered only 1.57 Ah. A surface-treated zinc electrode can increase discharge capacity, decrease hydrogen evolution reaction, and reduce self-discharge. The results indicated that surface treatment should be effective for improving the comprehensive properties of anode materials for zinc-air batteries.

  1. Molecular phylogeny and evolution of the proteins encoded by coleoid (cuttlefish, octopus, and squid) posterior venom glands.

    PubMed

    Ruder, Tim; Sunagar, Kartik; Undheim, Eivind A B; Ali, Syed A; Wai, Tak-Cheung; Low, Dolyce H W; Jackson, Timothy N W; King, Glenn F; Antunes, Agostinho; Fry, Bryan G

    2013-04-01

    In this study, we report for the first time a detailed evaluation of the phylogenetic history and molecular evolution of the major coleoid toxins: CAP, carboxypeptidase, chitinase, metalloprotease GON-domain, hyaluronidase, pacifastin, PLA2, SE-cephalotoxin and serine proteases, with the carboxypeptidase and GON-domain documented for the first time in the coleoid venom arsenal. We show that although a majority of sites in these coleoid venom-encoding genes have evolved under the regime of negative selection, a very small proportion of sites are influenced by the transient selection pressures. Moreover, nearly 70 % of these episodically adapted sites are confined to the molecular surface, highlighting the importance of variation of the toxin surface chemistry. Coleoid venoms were revealed to be as complex as other venoms that have traditionally been the recipient of the bulk of research efforts. The presence of multiple peptide/protein types in coleoids similar to those present in other animal venoms identifies a convergent strategy, revealing new information as to what characteristics make a peptide/protein type amenable for recruitment into chemical arsenals. Coleoid venoms have significant potential not only for understanding fundamental aspects of venom evolution but also as an untapped source of novel toxins for use in drug design and discovery.

  2. Molecular evolution of the VP1, VP2, and VP3 genes in human rhinovirus species C.

    PubMed

    Kuroda, Makoto; Niwa, Shoichi; Sekizuka, Tsuyoshi; Tsukagoshi, Hiroyuki; Yokoyama, Masaru; Ryo, Akihide; Sato, Hironori; Kiyota, Naoko; Noda, Masahiro; Kozawa, Kunihisa; Shirabe, Komei; Kusaka, Takashi; Shimojo, Naoki; Hasegawa, Shunji; Sugai, Kazuko; Obuchi, Masatsugu; Tashiro, Masato; Oishi, Kazunori; Ishii, Haruyuki; Kimura, Hirokazu

    2015-02-02

    Human rhinovirus species C (HRV-C) was recently discovered, and this virus has been associated with various acute respiratory illnesses (ARI). However, the molecular evolution of the major antigens of this virus, including VP1, VP2, and VP3, is unknown. Thus, we performed complete VP1, VP2, and VP3 gene analyses of 139 clinical HRV-C strains using RT-PCR with newly designed primer sets and next-generation sequencing. We assessed the time-scale evolution and evolutionary rate of these genes using the Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo method. In addition, we calculated the pairwise distance and confirmed the positive/negative selection sites in these genes. The phylogenetic trees showed that the HRV-C strains analyzed using these genes could be dated back approximately 400 to 900 years, and these strains exhibited high evolutionary rates (1.35 to 3.74 × 10(-3) substitutions/site/year). Many genotypes (>40) were confirmed in the phylogenetic trees. Furthermore, no positively selected site was found in the VP1, VP2, and VP3 protein. Molecular modeling analysis combined with variation analysis suggested that the exterior surfaces of the VP1, VP2 and VP3 proteins are rich in loops and are highly variable. These results suggested that HRV-C may have an old history and unique antigenicity as an agent of various ARI.

  3. Molecular variation and evolution of the tyrosine kinase domains of insulin receptor IRa and IRb genes in Cyprinidae.

    PubMed

    Kong, XiangHui; Wang, XuZhen; He, ShunPing

    2011-07-01

    The insulin receptor (IR) gene plays an important role in regulating cell growth, differentiation and development. In the present study, DNA sequences of insulin receptor genes, IRa and IRb, were amplified and sequenced from 37 representative species of the Cyprinidae and from five outgroup species from non-cyprinid Cypriniformes. Based on coding sequences (CDS) of tyrosine kinase regions of IRa and IRb, molecular evolution and phylogenetic relationships were analyzed to better understand the characteristics of IR gene divergence in the family Cyprinidae. IRa and IRb were clustered into one lineage in the gene tree of the IR gene family, reconstructed using the unweighted pair group method with arithmetic mean (UPGMA). IRa and IRb have evolved into distinct genes after IR gene duplication in Cyprinidae. For each gene, molecular evolution analyses showed that there was no significant difference among different groups in the reconstructed maximum parsimony (MP) tree of Cyprinidae; IRa and IRb have been subjected to similar evolutionary pressure among different lineages. Although the amino acid sequences of IRa and IRb tyrosine kinase regions were highly conserved, our analyses showed that there were clear sequence variations between the tyrosine kinase regions of IRa and IRb proteins. This indicates that IRa and IRb proteins might play different roles in the insulin signaling pathway.

  4. Molecular evolution and gene expression differences within the HD-Zip transcription factor family of Zea mays L.

    PubMed

    Mao, Hude; Yu, Lijuan; Li, Zhanjie; Liu, Hui; Han, Ran

    2016-04-01

    Homeodomain-leucine zipper (HD-Zip) transcription factors regulate developmental processes and stress responses in plants, and they vary widely in gene number and family structure. In this study, 55 predicted maize HD-Zip genes were systematically analyzed with respect to their phylogenetic relationships, molecular evolution, and gene expression in order to understand the functional diversification within the family. Phylogenetic analysis of HD-Zip proteins from Zea mays, Oryza sativa, Arabidopsis thaliana, Vitis vinifera, and Physcomitrella patens showed that they group into four classes. We inferred that the copy numbers of classes I and III genes were relatively conserved in all five species. The 55 maize HD-Zip genes are distributed randomly on the ten chromosomes, with 15 segmental duplication and 4 tandem duplication events, suggesting that segmental duplications were the major contributors in the expansion of the maize HD-Zip gene family. Expression analysis of the 55 maize HD-Zip genes in different tissues and drought conditions revealed differences in the expression levels and patterns between the four classes. Promoter analysis revealed that a number of stress response-, hormone response-, light response-, and development-related cis-acting elements were present in their promoters. Our results provide novel insights into the molecular evolution and gene expression within the HD-Zip gene family in maize, and provide a solid foundation for future functional study of the HD-Zip genes in maize.

  5. In Situ Mass Spectrometric Determination of Molecular Structural Evolution at the Solid Electrolyte Interphase in Lithium-Ion Batteries.

    PubMed

    Zhu, Zihua; Zhou, Yufan; Yan, Pengfei; Vemuri, Rama Sesha; Xu, Wu; Zhao, Rui; Wang, Xuelin; Thevuthasan, Suntharampillai; Baer, Donald R; Wang, Chong-Min

    2015-09-09

    Dynamic structural and chemical evolution at solid-liquid electrolyte interface is always a mystery for a rechargeable battery due to the challenge to directly probe a solid-liquid interface under reaction conditions. We describe the creation and usage of in situ liquid secondary ion mass spectroscopy (SIMS) for the first time to directly observe the molecular structural evolution at the solid-liquid electrolyte interface for a lithium (Li)-ion battery under dynamic operating conditions. We have discovered that the deposition of Li metal on copper electrode leads to the condensation of solvent molecules around the electrode. Chemically, this layer of solvent condensate tends to be depleted of the salt anions and with reduced concentration of Li(+) ions, essentially leading to the formation of a lean electrolyte layer adjacent to the electrode and therefore contributing to the overpotential of the cell. This observation provides unprecedented molecular level dynamic information on the initial formation of the solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) layer. The present work also ultimately opens new avenues for implanting the in situ liquid SIMS concept to probe the chemical reaction process that intimately involves solid-liquid interface, such as electrocatalysis, electrodeposition, biofuel conversion, biofilm, and biomineralization.

  6. The geochemical evolution of low-molecular-weight organic acids derived from the degradation of petroleum contaminants in groundwater

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cozzarelli, I.M.; Baedecker, M.J.; Eganhouse, R.P.; Goerlitz, D.F.

    1994-01-01

    The geochemical evolution of low-molecular-weight organic acids in groundwater downgradient from a crude-oil spill near Bemidji, Minnesota, was studied over a five year period (1986-1990). The organic acids are metabolic intermediates of the degradation of components of the crude oil and are structurally related to hydrocarbon precursors. The concentrations of organic acids, particularly aliphatic acids, increase as the microbial alteration of hydrocarbons progresses. The organic-acid pool changes in composition and concentration over time and in space as the degradation processes shift from Fe(III) reduction to methanogenesis. Over time, the aquifer system evolves into one in which the groundwater contains more oxidized products of hydrocarbon degradation and the reduced forms of iron, manganese, and nitrogen. Laboratory microcosm experiments with aquifer material support the hypothesis that organic acids observed in the groundwater originate from the microbial degradation of aromatic hydrocarbons under anoxic conditions. The geochemistry of two other shallow aquifers in coastal plain sediments, one contaminated with creosote waste and the other with gasoline, were compared to the Bemidji site. The geochemical evolution of the low-molecular-weight organic acid pool in these systems is controlled, in part, by the presence of electron acceptors available for microbially mediated electron-transfer reactions. The depletion of electron acceptors in aquifers leads to the accumulation of aliphatic organic acids in anoxic groundwater. ?? 1994.

  7. Tracking adaptive evolution in the structure, function and molecular phylogeny of haemoglobin in non-Antarctic notothenioid fish species

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Verde, Cinzia; Parisi, Elio; di Prisco, Guido

    2006-04-01

    With the notable exception of Antarctic icefishes, haemoglobin (Hb) is present in all vertebrates. In polar fish, Hb evolution has included adaptations with implications at the biochemical, physiological and molecular levels. Cold adaptation has been shown to be also linked to small changes in primary structure and post-translational modifications in proteins, including hydrophobic remodelling and increased flexibility. A wealth of knowledge is available on the oxygen-transport system of fish inhabiting Antarctic waters, but very little is known on the structure and function of Hb of non-Antarctic notothenioid fishes. The comparison of the biochemical and physiological adaptations between cold-adapted and non-cold-adapted species is a powerful tool to understand whether (and to what extent) extreme environments require specific adaptations or simply select for phenotypically different life styles. This study focuses on structure, function and molecular phylogeny of Hb in Antarctic and non-Antarctic notothenioid fishes. The rationale is to use the primary structure of Hb as tool of choice to gain insight into the pathways of the evolution history of α and β globins of notothenioids and also as a basis for reconstructing the phylogenetic relationships among Antarctic and non-Antarctic species.

  8. Molecular Breeding Algae For Improved Traits For The Conversion Of Waste To Fuels And Commodities.

    SciTech Connect

    Bagwell, C.

    2015-10-14

    This Exploratory LDRD aimed to develop molecular breeding methodology for biofuel algal strain improvement for applications in waste to energy / commodity conversion technologies. Genome shuffling technologies, specifically protoplast fusion, are readily available for the rapid production of genetic hybrids for trait improvement and have been used successfully in bacteria, yeast, plants and animals. However, genome fusion has not been developed for exploiting the remarkable untapped potential of eukaryotic microalgae for large scale integrated bio-conversion and upgrading of waste components to valued commodities, fuel and energy. The proposed molecular breeding technology is effectively sexual reproduction in algae; though compared to traditional breeding, the molecular route is rapid, high-throughput and permits selection / improvement of complex traits which cannot be accomplished by traditional genetics. Genome fusion technologies are the cutting edge of applied biotechnology. The goals of this Exploratory LDRD were to 1) establish reliable methodology for protoplast production among diverse microalgal strains, and 2) demonstrate genome fusion for hybrid strain production using a single gene encoded trait as a proof of the concept.

  9. Molecular phylogeny and character evolution of the chthamaloid barnacles (Cirripedia: Thoracica).

    PubMed

    Pérez-Losada, Marcos; Høeg, Jens T; Crandall, Keith A; Achituv, Yair

    2012-10-01

    The Chthamaloidea (Balanomorpha) present the most plesiomorphic characters in shell plates and cirri, mouthparts, and oral cone within the acorn barnacles (Thoracica: Sessilia). Due to their importance in understanding both the origin and diversification of the Balanomorpha, the evolution of the Chthamaloidea has been debated since Darwin's seminal monographs. Theories of morphological and ontogenetic evolution suggest that the group could have evolved multiple times from pedunculated relatives and that shell plate number diminished gradually (8→6→4) from an ancestral state with eight wall plates surrounded by whorls of small imbricating plates; but this hypothesis has never been subjected to a rigorous phylogenetic test. Here we used multilocus sequence data and extensive taxon sampling to build a comprehensive phylogeny of the Chthamaloidea as a basis for understanding their morphological evolution. Our maximum likelihood and Bayesian analyses separate the Catophragmidae (eight shell plates and imbricating plates) from the Chthamalidae (8-4 shell plates and no imbricating plates), but do no support a gradual reduction in shell plates (8→6→4). This suggests that evolution at the base of the Balanomorpha involved a considerable amount of homoplasy.

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    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 f...

  11. "DNA Re-EvolutioN": A Game for Learning Molecular Genetics and Evolution

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    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…

  12. Molecular evolution of contracting clouds - Basic methods and initial results. [interstellar processes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gerola, H.; Glassgold, A. E.

    1978-01-01

    The relationship between the dynamics of the interstellar gas and the thermal and chemical effects associated with interstellar molecules and dust is investigated. The evolution of a rather massive isolated initially diffuse cloud under self-gravity is studied, using the equations of hydrodynamics; only radial motions are considered, and the heat, chemical, and radiative-transfer equations are solved simultaneously with the hydrodynamic equations. The relevant chemistry is described along with the thermal model, the radiative-transfer process, and the numerical methods employed. Results for a contracting cloud are discussed in terms of the problem of initial conditions, the dynamical evolution of the cloud, its chemical and thermal evolution, time scales, and column densities. It is shown that the chemical evolution of a massive contracting diffuse cloud is sensitive to such physical properties as temperature and ion abundances, that warm and cool versions of a typical cloud evolve differently, and that the physical origin of this effect is the level of heating due to H2 formation on interstellar dust grains.

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Bumble bees are a longstanding model system for studies on behavior, ecology, and evolution, due to their well-studied social lifestyle, invaluable roles as both wild and managed pollinators, and their ubiquity and diversity across temperate ecosystems. Yet despite their importance, many aspects of ...

  14. Scombroid fishes provide novel insights into the trait/rate associations of molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    Qiu, Fan; Kitchen, Andrew; Burleigh, J Gordon; Miyamoto, Michael M

    2014-06-01

    The study of which life history traits primarily affect molecular evolutionary rates is often confounded by the covariance of these traits. Scombroid fishes (billfishes, tunas, barracudas, and their relatives) are unusual in that their mass-specific metabolic rate is positively associated with body size. This study exploits this atypical pattern of trait variation, which allows for direct tests of whether mass-specific metabolic rate or body size is the more important factor of molecular evolutionary rates. We inferred a phylogeny for scombroids from a supermatrix of molecular and morphological characters and used new phylogenetic comparative approaches to assess the associations of body size and mass-specific metabolic rate with substitution rate. As predicted by the body size hypothesis, there is a negative correlation between body size and substitution rate. However, unexpectedly, we also find a negative association between mass-specific metabolic and substitution rates. These relationships are supported by analyses of the total molecular data, separate mitochondrial and nuclear genes, and individual loci, and they are robust to phylogenetic uncertainty. The molecular evolutionary rates of scombroids are primarily tied to body size. This study demonstrates that groups with novel patterns of trait variation can be particularly informative for identifying which life history traits are the primary factors of molecular evolutionary rates.

  15. The evolution of viviparity: molecular and genomic data from squamate reptiles advance understanding of live birth in amniotes.

    PubMed

    Van Dyke, James U; Brandley, Matthew C; Thompson, Michael B

    2014-01-01

    Squamate reptiles (lizards and snakes) are an ideal model system for testing hypotheses regarding the evolution of viviparity (live birth) in amniote vertebrates. Viviparity has evolved over 100 times in squamates, resulting in major changes in reproductive physiology. At a minimum, all viviparous squamates exhibit placentae formed by the appositions of maternal and embryonic tissues, which are homologous in origin with the tissues that form the placenta in therian mammals. These placentae facilitate adhesion of the conceptus to the uterus as well as exchange of oxygen, carbon dioxide, water, sodium, and calcium. However, most viviparous squamates continue to rely on yolk for nearly all of their organic nutrition. In contrast, some species, which rely on the placenta for at least a portion of organic nutrition, exhibit complex placental specializations associated with the transport of amino acids and fatty acids. Some viviparous squamates also exhibit reduced immunocompetence during pregnancy, which could be the result of immunosuppression to protect developing embryos. Recent molecular studies using both candidate-gene and next-generation sequencing approaches have suggested that at least some of the genes and gene families underlying these phenomena play similar roles in the uterus and placenta of viviparous mammals and squamates. Therefore, studies of the evolution of viviparity in squamates should inform hypotheses of the evolution of viviparity in all amniotes, including mammals.

  16. Molecular evolution analysis of WUSCHEL-related homeobox transcription factor family reveals functional divergence among clades in the homeobox region.

    PubMed

    Segatto, Ana Lúcia A; Thompson, Claudia E; Freitas, Loreta B

    2016-07-01

    Gene families have been shown to play important roles in plant evolution and are associated with diversification and speciation. Genes of WUSCHEL-related homeobox family of transcription factors have important functions in plant development and are correlated with the appearance of evolutionary novelties. There are several published studies related to this family, but little is known about the relationships among the main clades in the phylogeny and the molecular evolution of the family. In this study, we obtained a well-resolved Bayesian phylogenetic tree establishing the relationships among the main clades and determining the position of Selaginella moellendorffii WOX genes. Moreover, a correlation was identified between the number of genes in the genomes and the events of whole-genome duplications. The intron-exon structure is more consistent across the modern clade, which appeared more recently in the WOX evolutionary history, and coincides with the development of higher complexity in plant species. No positive selection was detected among sites through the branches in the tree. However, with regard to the main clades, functional divergence among certain amino acids in the homeodomain region was found. Relaxed purifying selection could be the main driving force in the evolution of these genes and in agreement with some genes have been demonstrated to be functionally redundant.

  17. Molecular analysis of some camel cytochrome P450 enzymes reveals lower evolution and drug-binding properties.

    PubMed

    Altaher, Yousef; Kandeel, Mahmoud

    2016-01-01

    Camels bear unique genotypes and phenotypes for adaptation of their harsh environment. They have unique visual systems, sniffing, water metabolism, and heat-control mechanisms that are different from other creatures. The recent announcement for the complete sequence of camel genome will allow for the discovery of many secrets of camel life. In this context, the genetic bases of camel drug-metabolizing enzymes are still unknown. Furthermore, the genomic content of camel that rendered it highly susceptible to some drugs (as monensin and salinomycin) and became easily intoxicated needs to be investigated. The objectives of this work are the annotation of camel genome and retrieval of camel for cytochrome P450 (CYP) 1A1, 2C, and 3A enzymes. This is followed by comprehensive phylogenetic, evolution, molecular modeling, and docking studies. In comparison with the human enzymes, camel CYPs showed lower evolution rate, especially CYP1A1. Furthermore, the binding of monensin, salinomycin, alfa-naphthoflavone, felodepine, and ritonavir was weaker in camel enzymes. Interestingly, rerank score indicated instable binding of monensin and salinomycin with camel CYP1A1 as well as salinomycin with camel CYP2C. The results of this work suggest that camels are more susceptible to toxicity with compounds undergoing metabolic oxidation. This conclusion was based on lower evolution rate and lower binding potency of camels compared with the human enzymes.

  18. Molecular and phylogenetic analyses reveal mammalian-like clockwork in the honey bee (Apis mellifera) and shed new light on the molecular evolution of the circadian clock.

    PubMed

    Rubin, Elad B; Shemesh, Yair; Cohen, Mira; Elgavish, Sharona; Robertson, Hugh M; Bloch, Guy

    2006-11-01

    The circadian clock of the honey bee is implicated in ecologically relevant complex behaviors. These include time sensing, time-compensated sun-compass navigation, and social behaviors such as coordination of activity, dance language communication, and division of labor. The molecular underpinnings of the bee circadian clock are largely unknown. We show that clock gene structure and expression pattern in the honey bee are more similar to the mouse than to Drosophila. The honey bee genome does not encode an ortholog of Drosophila Timeless (Tim1), has only the mammalian type Cryptochrome (Cry-m), and has a single ortholog for each of the other canonical "clock genes." In foragers that typically have strong circadian rhythms, brain mRNA levels of amCry, but not amTim as in Drosophila, consistently oscillate with strong amplitude and a phase similar to amPeriod (amPer) under both light-dark and constant darkness illumination regimes. In contrast to Drosophila, the honey bee amCYC protein contains a transactivation domain and its brain transcript levels oscillate at virtually an anti-phase to amPer, as it does in the mouse. Phylogenetic analyses indicate that the basal insect lineage had both the mammalian and Drosophila types of Cry and Tim. Our results suggest that during evolution, Drosophila diverged from the ancestral insect clock and specialized in using a set of clock gene orthologs that was lost by both mammals and bees, which in turn converged and specialized in the other set. These findings illustrate a previously unappreciated diversity of insect clockwork and raise critical questions concerning the evolution and functional significance of species-specific variation in molecular clockwork.

  19. Protein based molecular markers provide reliable means to understand prokaryotic phylogeny and support Darwinian mode of evolution

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

    The analyses of genome sequences have led to the proposal that lateral gene transfers (LGTs) among prokaryotes are so widespread that they disguise the interrelationships among these organisms. This has led to questioning of whether the Darwinian model of evolution is applicable to prokaryotic organisms. In this review, we discuss the usefulness of taxon-specific molecular markers such as conserved signature indels (CSIs) and conserved signature proteins (CSPs) for understanding the evolutionary relationships among prokaryotes and to assess the influence of LGTs on prokaryotic evolution. The analyses of genomic sequences have identified large numbers of CSIs and CSPs that are unique properties of different groups of prokaryotes ranging from phylum to genus levels. The species distribution patterns of these molecular signatures strongly support a tree-like vertical inheritance of the genes containing these molecular signatures that is consistent with phylogenetic trees. Recent detailed studies in this regard on the Thermotogae and Archaea, which are reviewed here, have identified large numbers of CSIs and CSPs that are specific for the species from these two taxa and a number of their major clades. The genetic changes responsible for these CSIs (and CSPs) initially likely occurred in the common ancestors of these taxa and then vertically transferred to various descendants. Although some CSIs and CSPs in unrelated groups of prokaryotes were identified, their small numbers and random occurrence has no apparent influence on the consistent tree-like branching pattern emerging from other markers. These results provide evidence that although LGT is an important evolutionary force, it does not mask the tree-like branching pattern of prokaryotes or understanding of their evolutionary relationships. The identified CSIs and CSPs also provide novel and highly specific means for identification of different groups of microbes and for taxonomical and biochemical studies. PMID

  20. Protein based molecular markers provide reliable means to understand prokaryotic phylogeny and support Darwinian mode of evolution.

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

    The analyses of genome sequences have led to the proposal that lateral gene transfers (LGTs) among prokaryotes are so widespread that they disguise the interrelationships among these organisms. This has led to questioning of whether the Darwinian model of evolution is applicable to prokaryotic organisms. In this review, we discuss the usefulness of taxon-specific molecular markers such as conserved signature indels (CSIs) and conserved signature proteins (CSPs) for understanding the evolutionary relationships among prokaryotes and to assess the influence of LGTs on prokaryotic evolution. The analyses of genomic sequences have identified large numbers of CSIs and CSPs that are unique properties of different groups of prokaryotes ranging from phylum to genus levels. The species distribution patterns of these molecular signatures strongly support a tree-like vertical inheritance of the genes containing these molecular signatures that is consistent with phylogenetic trees. Recent detailed studies in this regard on the Thermotogae and Archaea, which are reviewed here, have identified large numbers of CSIs and CSPs that are specific for the species from these two taxa and a number of their major clades. The genetic changes responsible for these CSIs (and CSPs) initially likely occurred in the common ancestors of these taxa and then vertically transferred to various descendants. Although some CSIs and CSPs in unrelated groups of prokaryotes were identified, their small numbers and random occurrence has no apparent influence on the consistent tree-like branching pattern emerging from other markers. These results provide evidence that although LGT is an important evolutionary force, it does not mask the tree-like branching pattern of prokaryotes or understanding of their evolutionary relationships. The identified CSIs and CSPs also provide novel and highly specific means for identification of different groups of microbes and for taxonomical and biochemical studies.

  1. Molecular evolution, adaptive radiation, and geographic diversification in the amphiatlantic family Rapateaceae: evidence from ndhF sequences and morphology.

    PubMed

    Givnish, T J; Evans, T M; Zjhra, M L; Patterson, T B; Berry, P E; Sytsma, K J

    2000-12-01

    Rapateaceae (16 genera, approximately 100 species) is largely restricted to the tepuis and sandplains of the Guayana Shield in northern South America, with Maschalocephalus endemic to West Africa. The family has undergone extensive radiation in flower form, leaf shape, habit, and habitat. To analyze the evolution of these distributions and traits, we derived a molecular phylogeny for representatives of 14 genera, based on sequence variation in the chloroplast-encoded ndhF gene. The lowland subfamily Rapateoideae is paraphyletic and includes the largely montane subfamily Saxofridericioideae as a monophyletic subset. Overall, the morphological/anatomical data differ significantly from ndhF sequences in phylogenetic structure, but show a high degree of concordance with the molecular tree in three of four tribes. Branch lengths are consistent with the operation of a molecular clock. Maschalocephalus diverges only slightly from other Monotremae: it is the product of relatively recent, long-distance dispersal, not continental drift--only its habitat atop rifted, nutrient-poor sandstones is vicariant. The family appears to have originated approximately 65 Mya in inundated lowlands of the Guayana Shield, followed by: (1) wide geographic spread of lowland taxa along riverine corridors; (2) colonization of Amazonian white-sand savannas in the western Shield; (3) invasion of tepui habitats with frequent speciation, evolution of narrow endemism, and origin of hummingbird pollination in the western Shield; and (4) reinvasion of lowland white-sand savannas. The apparent timing of speciation in the Stegolepis alliance about 6-12 Mya occurred long after the tepuis began to be dissected from each other as the Atlantic rifted approximately 90 Mya. Given the narrow distributions of most montane taxa, this suggests that infrequent long-distance dispersal combined with vicariance accounts for speciation atop tepuis in the Stegolepis alliance.

  2. Molecular evolution of H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses in Bangladesh between 2007 and 2012.

    PubMed

    Haque, M E; Giasuddin, M; Chowdhury, E H; Islam, M R

    2014-01-01

    In Bangladesh, highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus subtype H5N1 was first detected in February 2007. Since then the virus has become entrenched in poultry farms of Bangladesh. There have so far been seven human cases of H5N1 HPAI infection in Bangladesh with one death. The objective of the present study was to investigate the molecular evolution of H5N1 HPAI viruses during 2007 to 2012. Partial or complete nucleotide sequences of all eight gene segments of two chicken isolates, five gene segments of a duck isolate and the haemagglutinin gene segment of 18 isolates from Bangladesh were established in the present study and subjected to molecular analysis. In addition, full-length sequences of different gene segments of other Bangladeshi H5N1 isolates available in GenBank were included in the analysis. The analysis revealed that the first introduction of clade 2.2 virus in Bangladesh in 2007 was followed by the introduction of clade 2.3.2.1 and 2.3.4 viruses in 2011. However, only clade 2.3.2.1 viruses could be isolated in 2012, indicating progressive replacement of clade 2.2 and 2.3.4 viruses. There has been an event of segment re-assortment between H5N1 and H9N2 viruses in Bangladesh, where H5N1 virus acquired the PB1 gene from a H9N2 virus. Point mutations have accumulated in Bangladeshi isolates over the last 5 years with potential modification of receptor binding site and antigenic sites. Extensive and continuous molecular epidemiological studies are necessary to monitor the evolution of circulating avian influenza viruses in Bangladesh.

  3. Role of entropy in the thermodynamic evolution of the time scale of molecular dynamics near the glass transition.

    PubMed

    Grzybowska, K; Grzybowski, A; Pawlus, S; Pionteck, J; Paluch, M

    2015-06-01

    In this paper, we investigate how changes in the system entropy influence the characteristic time scale of the system molecular dynamics near the glass transition. Independently of any model of thermodynamic evolution of the time scale, against some previous suppositions, we show that the system entropy S is not sufficient to govern the time scale defined by structural relaxation time τ. In the density scaling regime, we argue that the decoupling between τ and S is a consequence of different values of the scaling exponents γ and γ(S) in the density scaling laws, τ=f(ρ(γ)/T) and S=h(ρ(γ(S))/T), where ρ and T denote density and temperature, respectively. It implies that the proper relation between τ and S requires supplementing with a density factor, u(ρ), i.e., τ=g(u(ρ)w(S)). This meaningful finding additionally demonstrates that the density scaling idea can be successfully used to separate physically relevant contributions to the time scale of molecular dynamics near the glass transition. The relation reported by us between τ and S constitutes a general pattern based on nonconfigurational quantities for describing the thermodynamic evolution of the characteristic time scale of molecular dynamics near the glass transition in the density scaling regime, which is a promising alternative to the approaches based as the Adam-Gibbs model on the configurational entropy that is difficult to evaluate in the entire thermodynamic space. As an example, we revise the Avramov entropic model of the dependence τ(T,ρ), giving evidence that its entropic basis has to be extended by the density dependence of the maximal energy barrier for structural relaxation. We also discuss the excess entropy S(ex), the density scaling of which is found to mimic the density scaling of the total system entropy S.

  4. Role of entropy in the thermodynamic evolution of the time scale of molecular dynamics near the glass transition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grzybowska, K.; Grzybowski, A.; Pawlus, S.; Pionteck, J.; Paluch, M.

    2015-06-01

    In this paper, we investigate how changes in the system entropy influence the characteristic time scale of the system molecular dynamics near the glass transition. Independently of any model of thermodynamic evolution of the time scale, against some previous suppositions, we show that the system entropy S is not sufficient to govern the time scale defined by structural relaxation time τ. In the density scaling regime, we argue that the decoupling between τ and S is a consequence of different values of the scaling exponents γ and γS in the density scaling laws, τ =f (ργ/T ) and S =h (ργS/T ) , where ρ and T denote density and temperature, respectively. It implies that the proper relation between τ and S requires supplementing with a density factor, u (ρ), i.e., τ =g ( u (ρ )w (S ) ) . This meaningful finding additionally demonstrates that the density scaling idea can be successfully used to separate physically relevant contributions to the time scale of molecular dynamics near the glass transition. The relation reported by us between τ and S constitutes a general pattern based on nonconfigurational quantities for describing the thermodynamic evolution of the characteristic time scale of molecular dynamics near the glass transition in the density scaling regime, which is a promising alternative to the approaches based as the Adam-Gibbs model on the configurational entropy that is difficult to evaluate in the entire thermodynamic space. As an example, we revise the Avramov entropic model of the dependence τ(T ,ρ), giving evidence that its entropic basis has to be extended by the density dependence of the maximal energy barrier for structural relaxation. We also discuss the excess entropy Sex, the density scaling of which is found to mimic the density scaling of the total system entropy S .

  5. Evolution of the gyrB gene and the molecular phylogeny of Enterobacteriaceae: a model molecule for molecular systematic studies.

    PubMed

    Dauga, Catherine

    2002-03-01

    Phylogenetic trees showing the evolutionary relatedness of Enterobacteriaceae based upon gyrB and 16S rRNA genes were compared. Congruence among trees of these molecules indicates that the genomes of these species are not completely mosaic and that molecular systematic studies can be carried out. Phylogenetic trees based on gyrB sequences appeared to be more reliable at determining relationships among Serratia species than trees based on 16S rRNA gene sequences. gyrB sequences from Serratia species formed a monophyletic group validated by significant bootstrap values. Serratia fonticola had the most deeply branching gyrB sequence in the Serratia monophyletic group, which was consistent with its atypical phenotypic characteristics. Klebsiella and Enterobacter genera seemed to be polyphyletic, but the branching patterns of gyrB and 16S rRNA gene trees were not congruent. Enterobacter aerogenes was grouped with Klebsiella pneumoniae on the gyrB phylogenetic tree, which supports that this species could be transferred to the Klebsiella genus. Unfortunately, 16S rRNA and gyrB phylogenetic trees gave conflicting evolutionary relationships for Citrobacter freundii because of its unusual gyrB evolutionary process. gyrB lateral gene transfer was suspected for Hafnia alvei. Saturation of gyrB genes was observed by the pairwise comparison of Proteus spp., Providencia alcalifaciens and Morganella morganii sequences. Depending on their level of variability, 16S rRNA gene sequences were useful for describing phylogenetic relationships between distantly related Enterobacteriaceae, whereas gyrB sequence comparison was useful for inferring intra- and some intergeneric relationships.

  6. A Combination of Molecular Markers and Clinical Features Improve the Classification of Pancreatic Cysts

    PubMed Central

    Springer, Simeon; Wang, Yuxuan; Molin, Marco Dal; Masica, David L.; Jiao, Yuchen; Kinde, Isaac; Blackford, Amanda; Raman, Siva P.; Wolfgang, Christopher L.; Tomita, Tyler; Niknafs, Noushin; Douville, Christopher; Ptak, Janine; Dobbyn, Lisa; Allen, Peter J.; Klimstra, David S.; Schattner, Mark A.; Schmidt, C. Max; Yip-Schneider, Michele; Cummings, Oscar W.; Brand, Randall E.; Zeh, Herbert J.; Singhi, Aatur D.; Scarpa, Aldo; Salvia, Roberto; Malleo, Giuseppe; Zamboni, Giuseppe; Falconi, Massimo; Jang, Jin-Young; Kim, Sun-Whe; Kwon, Wooil; Hong, Seung-Mo; Song, Ki-Byung; Kim, Song Cheol; Swan, Niall; Murphy, Jean; Geoghegan, Justin; Brugge, William; Fernandez-Del Castillo, Carlos; Mino-Kenudson, Mari; Schulick, Richard; Edil, Barish H.; Adsay, Volkan; Paulino, Jorge; van Hooft, Jeanin; Yachida, Shinichi; Nara, Satoshi; Hiraoka, Nobuyoshi; Yamao, Kenji; Hijioka, Susuma; van der Merwe, Schalk; Goggins, Michael; Canto, Marcia Irene; Ahuja, Nita; Hirose, Kenzo; Makary, Martin; Weiss, Matthew J.; Cameron, John; Pittman, Meredith; Eshleman, James R.; Diaz, Luis A.; Papadopoulos, Nickolas; Kinzler, Kenneth W.; Karchin, Rachel; Hruban, Ralph H.; Vogelstein, Bert; Lennon, Anne Marie

    2016-01-01

    Background & Aims The management of pancreatic cysts poses challenges to both patients and their physicians. We investigated whether a combination of molecular markers and clinical information could improve the classification of pancreatic cysts and management of patients. Methods We performed a multi-center, retrospective study of 130 patients with resected pancreatic cystic neoplasms (12 serous cystadenomas, 10 solid-pseudopapillary neoplasms, 12 mucinous cystic neoplasms, and 96 intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms). Cyst fluid was analyzed to identify subtle mutations in genes known to be mutated in pancreatic cysts (BRAF, CDKN2A, CTNNB1, GNAS, KRAS, NRAS, PIK3CA, RNF43, SMAD4, TP53 and VHL); to identify loss of heterozygozity at CDKN2A, RNF43, SMAD4, TP53, and VHL tumor suppressor loci; and to identify aneuploidy. The analyses were performed using specialized technologies for implementing and interpreting massively parallel sequencing data acquisition. An algorithm was used to select markers that could classify cyst type and grade. The accuracy of the molecular markers were compared with that of clinical markers, and a combination of molecular and clinical markers. Results We identified molecular markers and clinical features that classified cyst type with 90%–100% sensitivity and 92%–98% specificity. The molecular marker panel correctly identified 67 of the 74 patients who did not require surgery, and could therefore reduce the number of unnecessary operations by 91%. Conclusions We identified a panel of molecular markers and clinical features that show promise for the accurate classification of cystic neoplasms of the pancreas and identification of cysts that require surgery. PMID:26253305

  7. Pretangles and neurofibrillary changes: similarities and differences between AD and CBD based on molecular and morphological evolution.

    PubMed

    Uchihara, Toshiki

    2014-12-01

    Pretangles are cytoplasmic tau immunoreactivity in neurons without apparent formation of fibrillary structures. In Alzheimer disease, such tau deposition is considered to represent a premature state prior to fibril formation (AD-pretangles), later to form neurofibrillary tangles and finally ghost tangles. This morphological evolution from pretangles to ghost tangles is in parallel with their profile shift from four repeat (4R) tau-positive pretangles to three repeat (3R) tau-positive ghost tangles with both positive neurofibrillary tangles in between. This complementary shift of tau profile from 4R to 3R suggests that these tau epitopes are represented interchangeably along tangle evolution. Similar tau immunoreactivity without fibril formation is also observed in corticobasal degeneration (CBD-pretangles). CBD-pretangles and AD-pretangles share: (i) selective 4R tau immunoreactivity without involvement of 3R tau; and (ii) argyrophilia with Gallyas silver impregnation. However, CBD-pretangles neither evolve into ghost tangles nor exhibit 3R tau immunoreactivity even at the advanced stage. Because electron microscopic studies on these pretangles are quite limited, it remains to be clarified whether such differences in later evolution are related to their primary ultrastructures, potentially distinct between AD and CBD. As double staining for 3R and 4R tau clarified complementary shift from 4R to 3R tau along evolution from pretangles to ghost tangles, double immunoelectron microscopy, if possible, may clarify similar profile shifts in relation to each tau fibril at the ultrastructural dimension. This will provide a unique viewpoint on how molecular (epitope) representations are related to pathogenesis of fibrillary components.

  8. Fibroblast growth factors: from molecular evolution to roles in development, metabolism and disease.

    PubMed

    Itoh, Nobuyuki; Ornitz, David M

    2011-02-01

    Fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) are a family of structurally related polypeptides that are essential for embryonic development and that function postnatally as homoeostatic factors, in the response to injury, in the regulation of electrical excitability of cells and as hormones that regulate metabolism. In humans, FGF signalling is involved in developmental, neoplastic, metabolic and neurological diseases. Fgfs have been identified in metazoans but not in unicellular organisms. In vertebrates, FGFs can be classified as having intracrine, paracrine and endocrine functions. Paracrine and endocrine FGFs act via cell-surface FGF receptors (FGFRs); while, intracrine FGFs act independent of FGFRs. The evolutionary history of the Fgf family indicates that an intracrine Fgf is the likely ancestor of the Fgf family. During metazoan evolution, the Fgf family expanded in two phases, after the separation of protostomes and deuterostomes and in the evolution of early vertebrates. These expansions enabled FGFs to acquire diverse actions and functions.

  9. Molecular genetic diversity and evolution at the MHC DQB locus in four species of pinnipeds.

    PubMed

    Hoelzel, A R; Stephens, J C; O'Brien, S J

    1999-05-01

    Variation was investigated at exon 2 (including part of the putative peptide-binding region) of the class II major histocompatibility complex (MHC) DQB locus for two congeneric phocid seal species and two congeneric otariid seal species. Polymorphism in one phocid species, the southern elephant seal (Mirounga leonina), was comparable to that seen in human populations, while the other phocid, the northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris), has been through a severe population bottleneck and exhibited much less variation at this locus. A phylogenetic comparison of the four species was consistent with the trans-specific pattern of evolution described for other taxa at this locus, and relative nonsynonymous and synonymous substitution rates suggest the maintenance of polymorphisms by natural selection. A comparison of sequence patterns also suggested that some variation could have been generated through recombinational events, primarily within genera. These results suggest a pattern of evolution of the immune response in pinnipeds similar to that in terrestrial mammal species.

  10. How discordant morphological and molecular evolution among microorganisms can revise our notions of biodiversity on Earth.

    PubMed

    Lahr, Daniel J G; Laughinghouse, Haywood Dail; Oliverio, Angela M; Gao, Feng; Katz, Laura A

    2014-10-01

    Microscopy has revealed tremendous diversity of bacterial and eukaryotic forms. Recent molecular analyses show discordance in estimates of biodiversity between morphological and molecular analyses. Moreover, phylogenetic analyses of the diversity of microbial forms reveal evidence of convergence at scales as deep as interdomain: morphologies shared between bacteria and eukaryotes. Here, we highlight examples of such discordance, focusing on exemplary lineages such as testate amoebae, ciliates, and cyanobacteria. These have long histories of morphological study, enabling deeper analyses on both the molecular and morphological sides. We discuss examples in two main categories: (i) morphologically identical (or highly similar) individuals that are genetically distinct and (ii) morphologically distinct individuals that are genetically the same. We argue that hypotheses about discordance can be tested using the concept of neutral morphologies, or more broadly neutral phenotypes, as a null hypothesis.

  11. Temporal dynamics of intrahost molecular evolution for a plant RNA virus.

    PubMed

    Cuevas, José M; Willemsen, Anouk; Hillung, Julia; Zwart, Mark P; Elena, Santiago F

    2015-05-01

    Populations of plant RNA viruses are highly polymorphic in infected plants, which may allow rapid within-host evolution. To understand tobacco etch potyvirus (TEV) evolution, longitudinal samples from experimentally evolved populations in the natural host tobacco and from the alternative host pepper were phenotypically characterized and genetically analyzed. Temporal and compartmental variabilities of TEV populations were quantified using high throughput Illumina sequencing and population genetic approaches. Of the two viral phenotypic traits measured, virulence increased in the novel host but decreased in the original one, and viral load decreased in both hosts, though to a lesser extent in the novel one. Dynamics of population genetic diversity were also markedly different among hosts. Population heterozygosity increased in the ancestral host, with a dominance of synonymous mutations fixed, whereas it did not change or even decreased in the new host, with an excess of nonsynonymous mutations. All together, these observations suggest that directional selection is the dominant evolutionary force in TEV populations evolving in a novel host whereas either diversifying selection or random genetic drift may play a fundamental role in the natural host. To better understand these evolutionary dynamics, we developed a computer simulation model that incorporates the effects of mutation, selection, and drift. Upon parameterization with empirical data from previous studies, model predictions matched the observed patterns, thus reinforcing our idea that the empirical patterns of mutation accumulation represent adaptive evolution.

  12. Molecular Evolution and Functional Divergence of Soluble Starch Synthase Genes in Cassava (Manihot Esculenta Crantz)

    PubMed Central

    Yang, Zefeng; Wang, Yifan; Xu, Shuhui; Xu, Chenwu; Yan, Changjie

    2013-01-01

    Soluble starch synthases (SSs) are major enzymes involved in starch biosynthesis in plants. Cassava starch has many remarkable characteristics, which should be influenced by the evolution of SS genes in this starchy root crop. In this work, we performed a comprehensive phylogenetic and evolutionary analysis of the soluble starch synthases in cassava. Genome-wide identification showed that there are 9 genes encoding soluble starch synthases in cassava. All of the soluble starch synthases encoded by these genes contain both Glyco_transf_5 and Glycos_transf_1 domains, and a correlation analysis showed evidence of coevolution between these 2 domains in cassava SS genes. The SS genes in land plants can be divided into 6 subfamilies that were formed before the origin of seed plants, and species-specific expansion has contributed to the evolution of this family in cassava. A functional divergence analysis for this family provided statistical evidence for shifted evolutionary rates between the subfamilies of land plant soluble starch synthases. Although the main selective pressure acting on land plant SS genes was purifying selection, our results also revealed that point mutation with positive selection contributed to the evolution of 2 SS genes in cassava. The remarkable cassava starch characteristics might be the result of both the duplication and adaptive selection of SS genes. PMID:23888108

  13. Dissecting the complex molecular evolution and expression of polygalacturonase gene family in Brassica rapa ssp. chinensis.

    PubMed

    Liang, Ying; Yu, Youjian; Shen, Xiuping; Dong, Heng; Lyu, Meiling; Xu, Liai; Ma, Zhiming; Liu, Tingting; Cao, Jiashu

    2015-12-01

    Polygalacturonases (PGs) participate in pectin disassembly of cell wall and belong to one of the largest hydrolase families in plants. In this study, we identified 99 PG genes in Brassica rapa. Comprehensive analysis of phylogeny, gene structures, physico-chemical properties and coding sequence evolution demonstrated that plant PGs should be classified into seven divergent clades and each clade's members had specific sequence and structure characteristics, and/or were under specific selection pressures. Genomic distribution and retention rate analysis implied duplication events and biased retention contributed to PG family's expansion. Promoter divergence analysis using "shared motif method" revealed a significant correlation between regulatory and coding sequence evolution of PGs, and proved Clades A and E were of ancient origin. Quantitative real-time PCR analysis showed that expression patterns of PGs displayed group specificities in B. rapa. Particularly, nearly half of PG family members, especially those of Clades C, D and F, closely relates to reproductive development. Most duplicates showed similar expression profiles, suggesting dosage constraints accounted for preservation after duplication. Promoter-GUS assay further indicated PGs' extensive roles and possible redundancy during reproductive development. This work can provide a scientific classification of plant PGs, dissect the internal relationships between their evolution and expressions, and promote functional researches.

  14. Plant cell walls throughout evolution: towards a molecular understanding of their design principles.

    PubMed

    Sarkar, Purbasha; Bosneaga, Elena; Auer, Manfred

    2009-01-01

    Throughout their life, plants typically remain in one location utilizing sunlight for the synthesis of carbohydrates, which serve as their sole source of energy as well as building blocks of a protective extracellular matrix, called the cell wall. During the course of evolution, plants have repeatedly adapted to their respective niche, which is reflected in the changes of their body plan and the specific design of cell walls. Cell walls not only changed throughout evolution but also are constantly remodelled and reconstructed during the development of an individual plant, and in response to environmental stress or pathogen attacks. Carbohydrate-rich cell walls display complex designs, which together with the presence of phenolic polymers constitutes a barrier for microbes, fungi, and animals. Throughout evolution microbes have co-evolved strategies for efficient breakdown of cell walls. Our current understanding of cell walls and their evolutionary changes are limited as our knowledge is mainly derived from biochemical and genetic studies, complemented by a few targeted yet very informative imaging studies. Comprehensive plant cell wall models will aid in the re-design of plant cell walls for the purpose of commercially viable lignocellulosic biofuel production as well as for the timber, textile, and paper industries. Such knowledge will also be of great interest in the context of agriculture and to plant biologists in general. It is expected that detailed plant cell wall models will require integrated correlative multimodal, multiscale imaging and modelling approaches, which are currently underway.

  15. Plant cell walls throughout evolution: towards a molecular understanding of their design principles

    SciTech Connect

    Sarkar, Purbasha; Bosneaga, Elena; Auer, Manfred

    2009-02-16

    Throughout their life, plants typically remain in one location utilizing sunlight for the synthesis of carbohydrates, which serve as their sole source of energy as well as building blocks of a protective extracellular matrix, called the cell wall. During the course of evolution, plants have repeatedly adapted to their respective niche,which is reflected in the changes of their body plan and the specific design of cell walls. Cell walls not only changed throughout evolution but also are constantly remodelled and reconstructed during the development of an individual plant, and in response to environmental stress or pathogen attacks. Carbohydrate-rich cell walls display complex designs, which together with the presence of phenolic polymers constitutes a barrier for microbes, fungi, and animals. Throughout evolution microbes have co-evolved strategies for efficient breakdown of cell walls. Our current understanding of cell walls and their evolutionary changes are limited as our knowledge is mainly derived from biochemical and genetic studies, complemented by a few targeted yet very informative imaging studies. Comprehensive plant cell wall models will aid in the re-design of plant cell walls for the purpose of commercially viable lignocellulosic biofuel production as well as for the timber, textile, and paper industries. Such knowledge will also be of great interest in the context of agriculture and to plant biologists in general. It is expected that detailed plant cell wall models will require integrated correlative multimodal, multiscale imaging and modelling approaches, which are currently underway.

  16. Molecular evolution of West Nile virus in a northern temperate region: Connecticut, USA 1999-2008.

    PubMed

    Armstrong, Philip M; Vossbrinck, Charles R; Andreadis, Theodore G; Anderson, John F; Pesko, Kendra N; Newman, Ruchi M; Lennon, Niall J; Birren, Bruce W; Ebel, Gregory D; Henn, Mathew R

    2011-08-15

    West Nile virus (WNV) has become firmly established in northeastern US, reemerging every summer since its introduction into North America in 1999. To determine whether WNV overwinters locally or is reseeded annually, we examined the patterns of viral lineage persistence and replacement in Connecticut over 10 consecutive transmission seasons by phylogenetic analysis. In addition, we compared the full protein coding sequence among WNV isolates to search for evidence of convergent and adaptive evolution. Viruses sampled from Connecticut segregated into a number of well-supported subclades by year of isolation with few clades persisting ≥2 years. Similar viral strains were dispersed in different locations across the state and divergent strains appeared within a single location during a single transmission season, implying widespread movement and rapid colonization of virus. Numerous amino acid substitutions arose in the population but only one change, V→A at position 159 of the envelope protein, became permanently fixed. Several instances of parallel evolution were identified in independent lineages, including one amino acid change in the NS4A protein that appears to be positively selected. Our results suggest that annual reemergence of WNV is driven by both reintroduction and local-overwintering of virus. Despite ongoing evolution of WNV, most amino acid variants occurred at low frequencies and were transient in the virus population.

  17. Molecular evolution and phylogenetic analysis of genes related to cotton fibers development from wild and domesticated cotton species in Gossypium.

    PubMed

    Zhu, Huayu; Lv, Junhong; Zhao, Liang; Tong, Xiangchao; Zhou, Baoliang; Zhang, Tianzhen; Guo, Wangzhen

    2012-06-01

    The domestication of both diploid and tetraploid cotton species was carried out for fiber utilization. To understand the origin and domestication of fibers, 18 genes related to fiber development were individually cloned and sequenced from 22 different cotton species. Their structures, phylogenetic relationship and molecular evolution were further studied. In the orthologous and homeologous loci of the 18 genes, the sequence and structure of 72.22% were conserved and 27.78% were diverse. Tree topologies constructed based on the combined sequences showed that all 13 D-genome species were congruent with Fryxell's subsection taxonomy, the A- and D-subgenomes independently evolved in the allopolyploid after polyploid formation, and Gossypium raimondii had the closest relationship with all allotetraploids of D-subgenomes. The molecular evolutionary rates revealed approximately equivalent rates among different D-genome species, and purifying selection acted on all genes in the wild D-genome species. Among orthologs and homeologs, the D-subgenomes had higher evolutionary rates than the A-subgenomes in tetraploid cotton species, and the cultivars had higher evolutionary rates than either the semi-domesticated or wild species. Our study revealed that human domestication altered the molecular evolutionary pattern of genes related to fiber development, and Gossypium hirsutum endured greater selective pressures than Gossypium barbadense during the domestication process.

  18. Personalized medicine: from genotypes, molecular phenotypes and the quantified self, towards improved medicine.

    PubMed

    Dudley, Joel T; Listgarten, Jennifer; Stegle, Oliver; Brenner, Steven E; Parts, Leopold

    2015-01-01

    Advances in molecular profiling and sensor technologies are expanding the scope of personalized medicine beyond genotypes, providing new opportunities for developing richer and more dynamic multi-scale models of individual health. Recent studies demonstrate the value of scoring high-dimensional microbiome, immune, and metabolic traits from individuals to inform personalized medicine. Efforts to integrate multiple dimensions of clinical and molecular data towards predictive multi-scale models of individual health and wellness are already underway. Improved methods for mining and discovery of clinical phenotypes from electronic medical records and technological developments in wearable sensor technologies present new opportunities for mapping and exploring the critical yet poorly characterized "phenome" and "envirome" dimensions of personalized medicine. There are ambitious new projects underway to collect multi-scale molecular, sensor, clinical, behavioral, and environmental data streams from large population cohorts longitudinally to enable more comprehensive and dynamic models of individual biology and personalized health. Personalized medicine stands to benefit from inclusion of rich new sources and dimensions of data. However, realizing these improvements in care relies upon novel informatics methodologies, tools, and systems to make full use of these data to advance both the science and translational applications of personalized medicine.

  19. Intra-molecular Triplet Energy Transfer is a General Approach to Improve Organic Fluorophore Photostability

    PubMed Central

    Zheng, Qinsi; Jockusch, Steffen; Rodríguez-Calero, Gabriel G.; Zhou, Zhou; Zhao, Hong; Altman, Roger B.; Abruña, Héctor D.; Blanchard, Scott C.

    2015-01-01

    Bright, long-lasting and non-phototoxic organic fluorophores are essential to the continued advancement of biological imaging. Traditional approaches towards achieving photostability, such as the removal of molecular oxygen and the use of small-molecule additives in solution, suffer from potentially toxic side effects, particularly in the context of living cells. The direct conjugation of small-molecule triplet state quenchers, such as cyclooctatetraene (COT), to organic fluorophores has the potential to bypass these issues by restoring reactive fluorophore triplet states to the ground state through intra-molecular triplet energy transfer. Such methods have enabled marked improvement in cyanine fluorophore photostability spanning the visible spectrum. However, the generality of this strategy to chemically and structurally diverse fluorophore species has yet to be examined. Here, we show that the proximal linkage of COT increases the photon yield of a diverse range of organic fluorophores widely used in biological imaging applications, demonstrating that the intra-molecular triplet energy transfer mechanism is a potentially general approach for improving organic fluorophore performance and photostability. PMID:26700693

  20. DNA extraction methods and multiple sampling to improve molecular diagnosis of Sarcocystis spp. in cattle hearts.

    PubMed

    Bräunig, Patrícia; Portella, Luiza Pires; Cezar, Alfredo Skrebsky; Libardoni, Felipe; Sangioni, Luis Antonio; Vogel, Fernanda Silveira Flores; Gonçalves, Paulo Bayard Dias

    2016-10-01

    Molecular detection of Sarcocystis spp. in tissue samples can be useful for experimental and diagnostic purposes. However, the parasite spreads unevenly through tissues, forming tissue cysts, and the cystic wall is an obstacle in DNA extraction protocols. Therefore, adequate sampling and effective disruption of the cysts are essential to improve the accuracy of DNA detection by PCR. The aims of this study were to evaluate the suitability of four protocols for DNA extraction from cysts of Sarcocystis spp. present in bovine myocardium samples or after their harvest in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) solution as well as determine the effects of single or multiple sampling on the accuracy of molecular diagnosis of sarcocystosis in cattle hearts. Cysts and myocardium samples from nine bovine hearts were randomly distributed to four DNA extraction protocols: kit, kit with modification, DNAzol, and cetyl-trimethyl ammonium bromide (CTAB). Samples were submitted to DNA extraction and PCR as replicates of each heart (simplicate, duplicate, and triplicate), and the probability of a true positive diagnostic was calculated. Among the protocols tested, the kit with modification was determined to be the most suitable for DNA extraction from cysts in PBS solution (92.6 % of DNA detection by PCR); DNAzol resulted in higher DNA detection frequency from bovine myocardium samples (48.1 %). Multiple sampling improved the molecular diagnosis of Sarcocystis spp. infection in cattle hearts, increasing at 22.2 % the rate of true positive diagnostic.

  1. Biosensor-Enabled Directed Evolution to Improve Muconic Acid Production in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

    PubMed

    Leavitt, John M; Wagner, James M; Tu, Cuong Chi; Tong, Alice; Liu, Yanyi; Alper, Hal S

    2017-03-10

    Muconic acid is a valuable platform chemical with potential applications in the production of polymers such as nylon and polyethylene terephthalate (PET). The conjugate base, muconate, was previously biosynthesized in the bacterial host Escherichia coli. Significant pathway engineering led to the first reported instance of rationally engineered production of muconic acid in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. To further increase muconic acid production in this host, we employed an adaptive laboratory evolution (ALE) strategy to complement rational metabolic engineering. To this end, we adapted a biosensor module that responds to the endogenous aromatic amino acid (AAA) as a surrogate for pathway flux. Following two rounds of ALE coupled with an anti-metabolite feeding strategy, we isolate strains with improved AAA pathway flux. Next, we demonstrate that this increased flux can be redirected into the composite muconic acid pathway with a 3-fold increase in the total titer of the composite pathway compared to our previously engineered strain. Finally, we complement a truncation of the penta-functional ARO1 protein and overexpress an endogenous aromatic decarboxylase to establish a final strain capable of producing 0.5 g/L muconic acid in shake flasks and 2.1 g/L in a fed-batch bioreactor with a yield of 12.9 mg muconic acid/g glucose at the rate of 9.0 mg/hour. This value represents the highest titer of muconic acid reported to date in S. cerevisiae, in addition to the highest reported titer of a shikimate pathway derivative in this host.

  2. Improved Fab presentation on phage surface with the use of molecular chaperone coplasmid system.

    PubMed

    Loh, Qiuting; Leong, Siew Wen; Tye, Gee Jun; Choong, Yee Siew; Lim, Theam Soon

    2015-05-15

    The low presentation efficiency of Fab (fragment antigen binding) fragments during phage display is largely due to the complexity of disulphide bond formation. This can result in the presentation of Fab fragments devoid of a light chain during phage display. Here we propose the use of a coplasmid system encoding several molecular chaperones (DsbA, DsbC, FkpA, and SurA) to improve Fab packaging. A comparison was done using the Fab fragment from IgG and IgD. We found that the use of the coplasmid during phage packaging was able to improve the presentation efficiency of the Fab fragment on phage surfaces. A modified version of panning using the coplasmid system was evaluated and was successful at enriching Fab binders. Therefore, the coplasmid system would be an attractive alternative for improved Fab presentation for phage display.

  3. Nucleotide sequences of immunoglobulin eta genes of chimpanzee and orangutan: DNA molecular clock and hominoid evolution

    SciTech Connect

    Sakoyama, Y.; Hong, K.J.; Byun, S.M.; Hisajima, H.; Ueda, S.; Yaoita, Y.; Hayashida, H.; Miyata, T.; Honjo, T.

    1987-02-01

    To determine the phylogenetic relationships among hominoids and the dates of their divergence, the complete nucleotide sequences of the constant region of the immunoglobulin eta-chain (C/sub eta1/) genes from chimpanzee and orangutan have been determined. These sequences were compared with the human eta-chain constant-region sequence. A molecular clock (silent molecular clock), measured by the degree of sequence divergence at the synonymous (silent) positions of protein-encoding regions, was introduced for the present study. From the comparison of nucleotide sequences of ..cap alpha../sub 1/-antitrypsin and ..beta..- and delta-globulin genes between humans and Old World monkeys, the silent molecular clock was calibrated: the mean evolutionary rate of silent substitution was determined to be 1.56 x 10/sup -9/ substitutions per site per year. Using the silent molecular clock, the mean divergence dates of chimpanzee and orangutan from the human lineage were estimated as 6.4 +/- 2.6 million years and 17.3 +/- 4.5 million years, respectively. It was also shown that the evolutionary rate of primate genes is considerably slower than those of other mammalian genes.

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

    Evolutionary and biogeographic studies increasingly rely on calibrated molecular clocks to date key events. Although there has been significant recent progress in development of the techniques used for molecular dating, many issues remain. In particular, controversies abound over the appropriate use and placement of fossils for calibrating molecular clocks. Several methods have been proposed for evaluating candidate fossils; however, few studies have compared the results obtained by different approaches. Moreover, no previous study has incorporated the effects of nucleotide saturation from different data types in the evaluation of candidate fossils. In order to address these issues, we compared three approaches for evaluating fossil calibrations: the single-fossil cross-val