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Sample records for molecular evolutionary mechanisms

  1. Evolutionary molecular medicine.

    PubMed

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

    2012-05-01

    Evolution has long provided a foundation for population genetics, but some major advances in evolutionary biology from the twentieth century that provide foundations for evolutionary medicine are only now being applied in molecular medicine. They include the need for both proximate and evolutionary explanations, kin selection, evolutionary models for cooperation, competition between alleles, co-evolution, and new strategies for tracing phylogenies and identifying signals of selection. Recent advances in genomics are transforming evolutionary biology in ways that create even more opportunities for progress at its interfaces with genetics, medicine, and public health. This article reviews 15 evolutionary principles and their applications in molecular medicine in hopes that readers will use them and related principles to speed the development of evolutionary molecular medicine.

  2. Evolutionary traces decode molecular mechanism behind fast pace of myosin XI.

    PubMed

    Syamaladevi, Divya P; Sowdhamini, R

    2011-09-26

    Cytoplasmic class XI myosins are the fastest processive motors known. This class functions in high-velocity cytoplasmic streaming in various plant cells from algae to angiosperms. The velocities at which they process are ten times faster than its closest class V homologues. To provide sequence determinants and structural rationale for the molecular mechanism of this fast pace myosin, we have compared the sequences from myosin class V and XI through Evolutionary Trace (ET) analysis. The current study identifies class-specific residues of myosin XI spread over the actin binding site, ATP binding site and light chain binding neck region. Sequences for ET analysis were accumulated from six plant genomes, using literature based text search and sequence searches, followed by triple validation viz. CDD search, string-based searches and phylogenetic clustering. We have identified nine myosin XI genes in sorghum and seven in grape by sequence searches. Both the plants possess one gene product each belonging to myosin type VIII as well. During this process, we have re-defined the gene boundaries for three sorghum myosin XI genes using fgenesh program. Molecular modelling and subsequent analysis of putative interactions involving these class-specific residues suggest a structural basis for the molecular mechanism behind high velocity of plant myosin XI. We propose a model of a more flexible switch I region that contributes to faster ADP release leading to high velocity movement of the algal myosin XI.

  3. Evolutionary traces decode molecular mechanism behind fast pace of myosin XI

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Cytoplasmic class XI myosins are the fastest processive motors known. This class functions in high-velocity cytoplasmic streaming in various plant cells from algae to angiosperms. The velocities at which they process are ten times faster than its closest class V homologues. Results To provide sequence determinants and structural rationale for the molecular mechanism of this fast pace myosin, we have compared the sequences from myosin class V and XI through Evolutionary Trace (ET) analysis. The current study identifies class-specific residues of myosin XI spread over the actin binding site, ATP binding site and light chain binding neck region. Sequences for ET analysis were accumulated from six plant genomes, using literature based text search and sequence searches, followed by triple validation viz. CDD search, string-based searches and phylogenetic clustering. We have identified nine myosin XI genes in sorghum and seven in grape by sequence searches. Both the plants possess one gene product each belonging to myosin type VIII as well. During this process, we have re-defined the gene boundaries for three sorghum myosin XI genes using fgenesh program. Conclusion Molecular modelling and subsequent analysis of putative interactions involving these class-specific residues suggest a structural basis for the molecular mechanism behind high velocity of plant myosin XI. We propose a model of a more flexible switch I region that contributes to faster ADP release leading to high velocity movement of the algal myosin XI. PMID:21942950

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-08-01

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

  5. EVOLUTIONARY FOUNDATIONS FOR MOLECULAR MEDICINE

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  6. Distinct Molecular Evolutionary Mechanisms Underlie the Functional Diversification of the Wnt and TGFβ Signaling Pathways

    PubMed Central

    Konikoff, Charlotte E.; Wisotzkey, Robert G.; Stinchfield, Michael J.

    2010-01-01

    The canonical Wnt pathway is one of the oldest and most functionally diverse of animal intercellular signaling pathways. Though much is known about loss-of-function phenotypes for Wnt pathway components in several model organisms, the question of how this pathway achieved its current repertoire of functions has not been addressed. Our phylogenetic analyses of 11 multigene families from five species belonging to distinct phyla, as well as additional analyses employing the 12 Drosophila genomes, suggest frequent gene duplications affecting ligands and receptors as well as co-evolution of new ligand–receptor pairs likely facilitated the expansion of this pathway’s capabilities. Further, several examples of recent gene loss are visible in Drosophila when compared to family members in other phyla. By comparison the TGFβ signaling pathway is characterized by ancient gene duplications of ligands, receptors, and signal transducers with recent duplication events restricted to the vertebrate lineage. Overall, the data suggest that two distinct molecular evolutionary mechanisms can create a functionally diverse developmental signaling pathway. These are the recent dynamic generation of new genes and ligand–receptor interactions as seen in the Wnt pathway and the conservative adaptation of ancient pre-existing genes to new roles as seen in the TGFβ pathway. From a practical perspective, the former mechanism limits the investigator’s ability to transfer knowledge of specific pathway functions across species while the latter facilitates knowledge transfer. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00239-010-9337-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users. PMID:20339843

  7. State of the art. Cellular and molecular mechanisms of alveolar destruction in emphysema: an evolutionary perspective.

    PubMed

    Tuder, Rubin M; Yoshida, Toshinori; Arap, Wadih; Pasqualini, Renata; Petrache, Irina

    2006-08-01

    Emphysema consists of a unique pattern of alveolar destruction, resulting in marked airspace enlargement with reduction of alveolar capillary exchange area. Classical concepts of the pathogenesis of emphysema have relied on the paradigm set by the inflammation and protease/antiprotease imbalance. We propose herein that cigarette smoke constitutes an environmental hazard that causes alveolar destruction by the interaction of apoptosis, oxidative stress, and protease/antiprotease imbalance. We draw a parallel between organismal aging, organ structural maintenance, and the damage resulting from chronic cigarette smoke inhalation. The stochastic interaction between environmental hazards and the effort of an organism or a particular organ to fend off these hazards results in the accumulation of cellular damage and features characteristic of aging. Inflammation follows as the result of the multiplication of injuries. We highlight the importance of understanding the biology of the interaction of alveolar cells in homeostasis and in alveolar destruction, and the potential role of novel processes related to senescence and stress response. An evolutionary perspective of emphysema that incorporates mechanisms related to aging may lead to important advances in the understanding and therapeutic targeting of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

  8. Integrating evolutionary and molecular genetics of aging.

    PubMed

    Flatt, Thomas; Schmidt, Paul S

    2009-10-01

    Aging or senescence is an age-dependent decline in physiological function, demographically manifest as decreased survival and fecundity with increasing age. Since aging is disadvantageous it should not evolve by natural selection. So why do organisms age and die? In the 1940s and 1950s evolutionary geneticists resolved this paradox by positing that aging evolves because selection is inefficient at maintaining function late in life. By the 1980s and 1990s this evolutionary theory of aging had received firm empirical support, but little was known about the mechanisms of aging. Around the same time biologists began to apply the tools of molecular genetics to aging and successfully identified mutations that affect longevity. Today, the molecular genetics of aging is a burgeoning field, but progress in evolutionary genetics of aging has largely stalled. Here we argue that some of the most exciting and unresolved questions about aging require an integration of molecular and evolutionary approaches. Is aging a universal process? Why do species age at different rates? Are the mechanisms of aging conserved or lineage-specific? Are longevity genes identified in the laboratory under selection in natural populations? What is the genetic basis of plasticity in aging in response to environmental cues and is this plasticity adaptive? What are the mechanisms underlying trade-offs between early fitness traits and life span? To answer these questions evolutionary biologists must adopt the tools of molecular biology, while molecular biologists must put their experiments into an evolutionary framework. The time is ripe for a synthesis of molecular biogerontology and the evolutionary biology of aging.

  9. Evolutionary Mechanisms for Loneliness

    PubMed Central

    Cacioppo, John T.; Cacioppo, Stephanie; Boomsma, Dorret I.

    2013-01-01

    Robert Weiss (1973) conceptualized loneliness as perceived social isolation, which he described as a gnawing, chronic disease without redeeming features. On the scale of everyday life, it is understandable how something as personally aversive as loneliness could be regarded as a blight on human existence. However, evolutionary time and evolutionary forces operate at such a different scale of organization than we experience in everyday life that personal experience is not sufficient to understand the role of loneliness in human existence. Research over the past decade suggests a very different view of loneliness than suggested by personal experience, one in which loneliness serves a variety of adaptive functions in specific habitats. We review evidence on the heritability of loneliness and outline an evolutionary theory of loneliness, with an emphasis on its potential adaptive value in an evolutionary timescale. PMID:24067110

  10. Evolutionary mechanisms for loneliness.

    PubMed

    Cacioppo, John T; Cacioppo, Stephanie; Boomsma, Dorret I

    2014-01-01

    Robert Weiss (1973) conceptualised loneliness as perceived social isolation, which he described as a gnawing, chronic disease without redeeming features. On the scale of everyday life, it is understandable how something as personally aversive as loneliness could be regarded as a blight on human existence. However, evolutionary time and evolutionary forces operate at such a different scale of organisation than we experience in everyday life that personal experience is not sufficient to understand the role of loneliness in human existence. Research over the past decade suggests a very different view of loneliness than suggested by personal experience, one in which loneliness serves a variety of adaptive functions in specific habitats. We review evidence on the heritability of loneliness and outline an evolutionary theory of loneliness, with an emphasis on its potential adaptive value in an evolutionary timescale.

  11. Molecular phylogenetics: testing evolutionary hypotheses.

    PubMed

    Walsh, David A; Sharma, Adrian K

    2009-01-01

    A common approach for investigating evolutionary relationships between genes and organisms is to compare extant DNA or protein sequences and infer an evolutionary tree. This methodology is known as molecular phylogenetics and may be the most informative means for exploring phage evolution, since there are few morphological features that can be used to differentiate between these tiny biological entities. In addition, phage genomes can be mosaic, meaning different genes or genomic regions can exhibit conflicting evolutionary histories due to lateral gene transfer or homologous recombination between different phage genomes. Molecular phylogenetics can be used to identify and study such genome mosaicism. This chapter provides a general introduction to the theory and methodology used to reconstruct phylogenetic relationships from molecular data. Also included is a discussion on how the evolutionary history of different genes within the same set of genomes can be compared, using a collection of T4-type phage genomes as an example. A compilation of programs and packages that are available for conducting phylogenetic analyses is supplied as an accompanying appendix.

  12. 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

  13. Virus-Bacteria Rice Co-Infection in Africa: Field Estimation, Reciprocal Effects, Molecular Mechanisms, and Evolutionary Implications

    PubMed Central

    Tollenaere, Charlotte; Lacombe, Severine; Wonni, Issa; Barro, Mariam; Ndougonna, Cyrielle; Gnacko, Fatoumata; Sérémé, Drissa; Jacobs, Jonathan M.; Hebrard, Eugénie; Cunnac, Sebastien; Brugidou, Christophe

    2017-01-01

    Simultaneous infection of a single plant by various pathogen species is increasingly recognized as an important modulator of host resistance and a driver of pathogen evolution. Because plants in agro-ecosystems are the target of a multitude of pathogenic microbes, co-infection could be frequent, and consequently important to consider. This is particularly true for rapidly intensifying crops, such as rice in Africa. This study investigated potential interactions between pathogens causing two of the major rice diseases in Africa: the Rice yellow mottle virus (RYMV) and the bacterium Xanthomonas oryzae pathovar oryzicola (Xoc) in order to: 1/ document virus-bacteria co-infection in rice in the field, 2/ explore experimentally their consequences in terms of symptom development and pathogen multiplication, 3/ test the hypothesis of underlying molecular mechanisms of interactions and 4/ explore potential evolutionary consequences. Field surveys in Burkina Faso revealed that a significant proportion of rice fields were simultaneously affected by the two diseases. Co-infection leads to an increase in bacterial specific symptoms, while a decrease in viral load is observed compared to the mono-infected mock. The lack of effect found when using a bacterial mutant for an effector specifically inducing expression of a small RNA regulatory protein, HEN1, as well as a viral genotype-specific effect, both suggest a role for gene silencing mechanisms mediating the within-plant interaction between RYMV and Xoc. Potential implications for pathogen evolution could not be inferred because genotype-specific effects were found only for pathogens originating from different countries, and consequently not meeting in the agrosystem. We argue that pathogen-pathogen-host interactions certainly deserve more attention, both from a theoretical and applied point of view. PMID:28507553

  14. Investigating Evolutionary Questions Using Online Molecular Databases.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Puterbaugh, Mary N.; Burleigh, J. Gordon

    2001-01-01

    Recommends using online molecular databases as teaching tools to illustrate evolutionary questions and concepts while introducing students to public molecular databases. Provides activities in which students make molecular comparisons between species. (YDS)

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  16. Molecular Mechanics

    PubMed Central

    Vanommeslaeghe, Kenno; Guvench, Olgun; MacKerell, Alexander D.

    2014-01-01

    Molecular Mechanics (MM) force fields are the methods of choice for protein simulations, which are essential in the study of conformational flexibility. Given the importance of protein flexibility in drug binding, MM is involved in most if not all Computational Structure-Based Drug Discovery (CSBDD) projects. This section introduces the reader to the fundamentals of MM, with a special emphasis on how the target data used in the parametrization of force fields determine their strengths and weaknesses. Variations and recent developments such as polarizable force fields are discussed. The section ends with a brief overview of common force fields in CSBDD. PMID:23947650

  17. Evolutionary mechanism unifies the hallmarks of cancer.

    PubMed

    Horne, Steven D; Pollick, Sarah A; Heng, Henry H Q

    2015-05-01

    The basis for the gene mutation theory of cancer that dominates current molecular cancer research consists of: the belief that gene-level aberrations such as mutations are the main cause of cancers, the concept that stepwise gene mutation accumulation drives cancer progression, and the hallmarks of cancer. The research community swiftly embraced the hallmarks of cancer, as such synthesis has supported the notions that common cancer genes are responsible for the majority of cancers and the complexity of cancer can be dissected into simplified molecular principles. The gene/pathway classification based on individual hallmarks provides explanation for the large number of diverse gene mutations, which is in contrast to the original estimation that only a handful of gene mutations would be discovered. Further, these hallmarks have been highly influential as they also provide the rationale and research direction for continued gene-based cancer research. While the molecular knowledge of these hallmarks is drastically increasing, the clinical implication remains limited, as cancer dynamics cannot be summarized by a few isolated/fixed molecular principles. Furthermore, the highly heterogeneous genetic signature of cancers, including massive stochastic genome alterations, challenges the utility of continuously studying each individual gene mutation under the framework of these hallmarks. It is therefore necessary to re-evaluate the concept of cancer hallmarks through the lens of cancer evolution. In this analysis, the evolutionary basis for the hallmarks of cancer will be discussed and the evolutionary mechanism of cancer suggested by the genome theory will be employed to unify the diverse molecular mechanisms of cancer.

  18. Peeling Back the Evolutionary Layers of Molecular Mechanisms Responsive to Exercise-Stress in the Skeletal Muscle of the Racing Horse

    PubMed Central

    Kim, Hyeongmin; Lee, Taeheon; Park, WonCheoul; Lee, Jin Woo; Kim, Jaemin; Lee, Bo-Young; Ahn, Hyeonju; Moon, Sunjin; Cho, Seoae; Do, Kyoung-Tag; Kim, Heui-Soo; Lee, Hak-Kyo; Lee, Chang-Kyu; Kong, Hong-Sik; Yang, Young-Mok; Park, Jongsun; Kim, Hak-Min; Kim, Byung Chul; Hwang, Seungwoo; Bhak, Jong; Burt, Dave; Park, Kyoung-Do; Cho, Byung-Wook; Kim, Heebal

    2013-01-01

    The modern horse (Equus caballus) is the product of over 50 million yrs of evolution. The athletic abilities of the horse have been enhanced during the past 6000 yrs under domestication. Therefore, the horse serves as a valuable model to understand the physiology and molecular mechanisms of adaptive responses to exercise. The structure and function of skeletal muscle show remarkable plasticity to the physical and metabolic challenges following exercise. Here, we reveal an evolutionary layer of responsiveness to exercise-stress in the skeletal muscle of the racing horse. We analysed differentially expressed genes and their co-expression networks in a large-scale RNA-sequence dataset comparing expression before and after exercise. By estimating genome-wide dN/dS ratios using six mammalian genomes, and FST and iHS using re-sequencing data derived from 20 horses, we were able to peel back the evolutionary layers of adaptations to exercise-stress in the horse. We found that the oldest and thickest layer (dN/dS) consists of system-wide tissue and organ adaptations. We further find that, during the period of horse domestication, the older layer (FST) is mainly responsible for adaptations to inflammation and energy metabolism, and the most recent layer (iHS) for neurological system process, cell adhesion, and proteolysis. PMID:23580538

  19. Peeling back the evolutionary layers of molecular mechanisms responsive to exercise-stress in the skeletal muscle of the racing horse.

    PubMed

    Kim, Hyeongmin; Lee, Taeheon; Park, Woncheoul; Lee, Jin Woo; Kim, Jaemin; Lee, Bo-Young; Ahn, Hyeonju; Moon, Sunjin; Cho, Seoae; Do, Kyoung-Tag; Kim, Heui-Soo; Lee, Hak-Kyo; Lee, Chang-Kyu; Kong, Hong-Sik; Yang, Young-Mok; Park, Jongsun; Kim, Hak-Min; Kim, Byung Chul; Hwang, Seungwoo; Bhak, Jong; Burt, Dave; Park, Kyoung-Do; Cho, Byung-Wook; Kim, Heebal

    2013-06-01

    The modern horse (Equus caballus) is the product of over 50 million yrs of evolution. The athletic abilities of the horse have been enhanced during the past 6000 yrs under domestication. Therefore, the horse serves as a valuable model to understand the physiology and molecular mechanisms of adaptive responses to exercise. The structure and function of skeletal muscle show remarkable plasticity to the physical and metabolic challenges following exercise. Here, we reveal an evolutionary layer of responsiveness to exercise-stress in the skeletal muscle of the racing horse. We analysed differentially expressed genes and their co-expression networks in a large-scale RNA-sequence dataset comparing expression before and after exercise. By estimating genome-wide dN/dS ratios using six mammalian genomes, and FST and iHS using re-sequencing data derived from 20 horses, we were able to peel back the evolutionary layers of adaptations to exercise-stress in the horse. We found that the oldest and thickest layer (dN/dS) consists of system-wide tissue and organ adaptations. We further find that, during the period of horse domestication, the older layer (FST) is mainly responsible for adaptations to inflammation and energy metabolism, and the most recent layer (iHS) for neurological system process, cell adhesion, and proteolysis.

  20. The evolutionary ecology of molecular replicators

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    By reasonable criteria, life on the Earth consists mainly of molecular replicators. These include viruses, transposons, transpovirons, coviruses and many more, with continuous new discoveries like Sputnik Virophage. Their study is inherently multidisciplinary, spanning microbiology, genetics, immunology and evolutionary theory, and the current view is that taking a unified approach has great power and promise. We support this with a new, unified, model of their evolutionary ecology, using contemporary evolutionary theory coupling the Price equation with game theory, studying the consequences of the molecular replicators' promiscuous use of each others' gene products for their natural history and evolutionary ecology. Even at this simple expository level, we can make a firm prediction of a new class of replicators exploiting viruses such as lentiviruses like SIVs, a family which includes HIV: these have been explicitly stated in the primary literature to be non-existent. Closely connected to this departure is the view that multicellular organism immunology is more about the management of chronic infections rather than the elimination of acute ones and new understandings emerging are changing our view of the kind of theatre we ourselves provide for the evolutionary play of molecular replicators. This study adds molecular replicators to bacteria in the emerging field of sociomicrobiology. PMID:27853598

  1. The evolutionary ecology of molecular replicators.

    PubMed

    Nee, Sean

    2016-08-01

    By reasonable criteria, life on the Earth consists mainly of molecular replicators. These include viruses, transposons, transpovirons, coviruses and many more, with continuous new discoveries like Sputnik Virophage. Their study is inherently multidisciplinary, spanning microbiology, genetics, immunology and evolutionary theory, and the current view is that taking a unified approach has great power and promise. We support this with a new, unified, model of their evolutionary ecology, using contemporary evolutionary theory coupling the Price equation with game theory, studying the consequences of the molecular replicators' promiscuous use of each others' gene products for their natural history and evolutionary ecology. Even at this simple expository level, we can make a firm prediction of a new class of replicators exploiting viruses such as lentiviruses like SIVs, a family which includes HIV: these have been explicitly stated in the primary literature to be non-existent. Closely connected to this departure is the view that multicellular organism immunology is more about the management of chronic infections rather than the elimination of acute ones and new understandings emerging are changing our view of the kind of theatre we ourselves provide for the evolutionary play of molecular replicators. This study adds molecular replicators to bacteria in the emerging field of sociomicrobiology.

  2. Molecular selection in a unified evolutionary sequence

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fox, S. W.

    1986-01-01

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

  3. Algorithmic Mechanism Design of Evolutionary Computation

    PubMed Central

    Pei, Yan

    2015-01-01

    We consider algorithmic design, enhancement, and improvement of evolutionary computation as a mechanism design problem. All individuals or several groups of individuals can be considered as self-interested agents. The individuals in evolutionary computation can manipulate parameter settings and operations by satisfying their own preferences, which are defined by an evolutionary computation algorithm designer, rather than by following a fixed algorithm rule. Evolutionary computation algorithm designers or self-adaptive methods should construct proper rules and mechanisms for all agents (individuals) to conduct their evolution behaviour correctly in order to definitely achieve the desired and preset objective(s). As a case study, we propose a formal framework on parameter setting, strategy selection, and algorithmic design of evolutionary computation by considering the Nash strategy equilibrium of a mechanism design in the search process. The evaluation results present the efficiency of the framework. This primary principle can be implemented in any evolutionary computation algorithm that needs to consider strategy selection issues in its optimization process. The final objective of our work is to solve evolutionary computation design as an algorithmic mechanism design problem and establish its fundamental aspect by taking this perspective. This paper is the first step towards achieving this objective by implementing a strategy equilibrium solution (such as Nash equilibrium) in evolutionary computation algorithm. PMID:26257777

  4. Algorithmic Mechanism Design of Evolutionary Computation.

    PubMed

    Pei, Yan

    2015-01-01

    We consider algorithmic design, enhancement, and improvement of evolutionary computation as a mechanism design problem. All individuals or several groups of individuals can be considered as self-interested agents. The individuals in evolutionary computation can manipulate parameter settings and operations by satisfying their own preferences, which are defined by an evolutionary computation algorithm designer, rather than by following a fixed algorithm rule. Evolutionary computation algorithm designers or self-adaptive methods should construct proper rules and mechanisms for all agents (individuals) to conduct their evolution behaviour correctly in order to definitely achieve the desired and preset objective(s). As a case study, we propose a formal framework on parameter setting, strategy selection, and algorithmic design of evolutionary computation by considering the Nash strategy equilibrium of a mechanism design in the search process. The evaluation results present the efficiency of the framework. This primary principle can be implemented in any evolutionary computation algorithm that needs to consider strategy selection issues in its optimization process. The final objective of our work is to solve evolutionary computation design as an algorithmic mechanism design problem and establish its fundamental aspect by taking this perspective. This paper is the first step towards achieving this objective by implementing a strategy equilibrium solution (such as Nash equilibrium) in evolutionary computation algorithm.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  6. Evolutionary mechanisms acting on proteinase inhibitor variability.

    PubMed

    Christeller, John T

    2005-11-01

    The interaction of proteinase inhibitors produced, in most cases, by host organisms and the invasive proteinases of pathogens or parasites or the dietary proteinases of predators, results in an evolutionary 'arms race' of rapid and ongoing change in both interacting proteins. The importance of these interactions in pathogenicity and predation is indicated by the high level and diversity of observable evolutionary activity that has been found. At the initial level of evolutionary change, recruitment of other functional protein-folding families has occurred, with the more recent evolution of one class of proteinase inhibitor from another, using the same mechanism and proteinase contact residues. The combination of different inhibitor domains into a single molecule is also observed. The basis from which variation is possible is shown by the high rate of retention of gene duplication events and by the associated process of inhibitory domain multiplication. At this level of reorganization, mutually exclusive splicing is also observed. Finally, the major mechanism by which variation is achieved rapidly is hypervariation of contact residues, an almost ubiquitous feature of proteinase inhibitors. The diversity of evolutionary mechanisms in a single class of proteins is unlikely to be common, because few systems are under similar pressure to create variation. Proteinase inhibitors are therefore a potential model system in which to study basic evolutionary process such as functional diversification.

  7. Evo-Devo: evolutionary developmental mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Hall, Brian K

    2003-01-01

    Evolutionary developmental biology (Evo-Devo) as a discipline is concerned, among other things, with discovering and understanding the role of changes in developmental mechanisms in the evolutionary origin of aspects of the phenotype. In a very real sense, Evo-Devo opens the black box between genotype and phenotype, or more properly, phenotypes as multiple life history stages arise in many organisms from a single genotype. Changes in the timing or positioning of an aspect of development in a descendant relative to an ancestor (heterochrony and heterotopy) were two evolutionary developmental mechanisms identified by Ernst Haeckel in the 1870s. Many more have since been identified, in large part because of our enhanced understanding of development and because new mechanisms emerge as development proceeds: the transfer from maternal to zygotic genomic control; cell-to-cell interactions; cell differentiation and cell migration; embryonic inductions; functional interactions at the tissue and organ levels; growth. Within these emergent processes, gene networks and gene cascades (genetic modules) link the genotype with morphogenetic units (cellular modules, namely germ layers, embryonic fields or cellular condensations), while epigenetic processes such as embryonic inductions, tissue interactions and functional integration, link morphogenetic units to the phenotype. Evolutionary developmental mechanisms also include interactions between individuals of the same species, individuals of different species, and species and their biotic and/or abiotic environment. Such interactions link ecological communities. Importantly, there is little to distinguish the causality that underlies these interactions from that which underlies inductive interactions within embryos.

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

    PubMed

    Fernández, Jose D; Vico, Francisco J

    2011-11-01

    Biological molecular motors are nanoscale devices capable of transforming chemical energy into mechanical work, which are being researched in many scientific disciplines. From a computational point of view, the characteristics and dynamics of these motors are studied at multiple time scales, ranging from very detailed and complex molecular dynamics simulations spanning a few microseconds, to extremely simple and coarse-grained theoretical models of their working cycles. However, this research is performed only in the (relatively few) instances known from molecular biology. In this work, results from elastic network analysis and behaviour-finding methods are applied to explore a subset of the configuration space of template molecular structures that are able to transform chemical energy into directed movement, for a fixed instance of working cycle. While using methods based on elastic networks limits the scope of our results, it enables the implementation of computationally lightweight methods, in a way that evolutionary search techniques can be applied to discover novel molecular motor templates. The results show that molecular motion can be attained from a variety of structural configurations, when a functional working cycle is provided. Additionally, these methods enable a new computational way to test hypotheses about molecular motors. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

  9. A molecular mechanism for the origin of a key evolutionary innovation, the bird beak and palate, revealed by an integrative approach to major transitions in vertebrate history.

    PubMed

    Bhullar, Bhart-Anjan S; Morris, Zachary S; Sefton, Elizabeth M; Tok, Atalay; Tokita, Masayoshi; Namkoong, Bumjin; Camacho, Jasmin; Burnham, David A; Abzhanov, Arhat

    2015-07-01

    The avian beak is a key evolutionary innovation whose flexibility has permitted birds to diversify into a range of disparate ecological niches. We approached the problem of the mechanism behind this innovation using an approach bridging paleontology, comparative anatomy, and experimental developmental biology. First, we used fossil and extant data to show the beak is distinctive in consisting of fused premaxillae that are geometrically distinct from those of ancestral archosaurs. To elucidate underlying developmental mechanisms, we examined candidate gene expression domains in the embryonic face: the earlier frontonasal ectodermal zone (FEZ) and the later midfacial WNT-responsive region, in birds and several reptiles. This permitted the identification of an autapomorphic median gene expression region in Aves. To test the mechanism, we used inhibitors of both pathways to replicate in chicken the ancestral amniote expression. Altering the FEZ altered later WNT responsiveness to the ancestral pattern. Skeletal phenotypes from both types of experiments had premaxillae that clustered geometrically with ancestral fossil forms instead of beaked birds. The palatal region was also altered to a more ancestral phenotype. This is consistent with the fossil record and with the tight functional association of avian premaxillae and palate in forming a kinetic beak.

  10. Evolutionary vaccination dynamics with internal support mechanisms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tang, Guo-Mei; Cai, Chao-Ran; Wu, Zhi-Xi

    2017-05-01

    This paper reports internal support mechanisms (i.e., without external intervention) to enhance the vaccine coverage in the evolutionary vaccination dynamics. We present two internal support mechanisms, one is global support mechanism in which each individual pays a support cost to build up a public fund and then the public fund is divided by all vaccinated individuals, while another is local support mechanism in which each individual pays a support cost and then this support cost will be divided by its immediate vaccinated neighbors. By means of extensive computer simulations, we show that, in the same strength of support cost, the heterogeneous (local) support mechanism can encourage more people to take vaccination than the homogeneous (global) support mechanism. And then, we study the most general case that includes supporters and troublemakers together, where supporters (troublemakers) mean that the individuals join (do not join) the internal support mechanism, in the population. We surprisingly find that, in scale-free networks, the voluntary vaccination dynamics with the local support mechanism will not degrade into the original voluntary vaccination dynamics, and the vaccination level can still be effectively improved. In view of most social networks are of scale-free degree distribution, we study further in empirical networks and find that the vaccination level can still be improved in the absence of external intervention.

  11. Recombination in viruses: mechanisms, methods of study, and evolutionary consequences.

    PubMed

    Pérez-Losada, Marcos; Arenas, Miguel; Galán, Juan Carlos; Palero, Ferran; González-Candelas, Fernando

    2015-03-01

    Recombination is a pervasive process generating diversity in most viruses. It joins variants that arise independently within the same molecule, creating new opportunities for viruses to overcome selective pressures and to adapt to new environments and hosts. Consequently, the analysis of viral recombination attracts the interest of clinicians, epidemiologists, molecular biologists and evolutionary biologists. In this review we present an overview of three major areas related to viral recombination: (i) the molecular mechanisms that underlie recombination in model viruses, including DNA-viruses (Herpesvirus) and RNA-viruses (Human Influenza Virus and Human Immunodeficiency Virus), (ii) the analytical procedures to detect recombination in viral sequences and to determine the recombination breakpoints, along with the conceptual and methodological tools currently used and a brief overview of the impact of new sequencing technologies on the detection of recombination, and (iii) the major areas in the evolutionary analysis of viral populations on which recombination has an impact. These include the evaluation of selective pressures acting on viral populations, the application of evolutionary reconstructions in the characterization of centralized genes for vaccine design, and the evaluation of linkage disequilibrium and population structure. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  12. Plant grafting: new mechanisms, evolutionary implications

    PubMed Central

    Goldschmidt, Eliezer E.

    2014-01-01

    Grafting, an old plant propagation practice, is still widely used with fruit trees and in recent decades also with vegetables. Taxonomic proximity is a general prerequisite for successful graft-take and long-term survival of the grafted, composite plant. However, the mechanisms underlying interspecific graft incompatibility are as yet insufficiently understood. Hormonal signals, auxin in particular, are believed to play an important role in the wound healing and vascular regeneration within the graft union zone. Incomplete and convoluted vascular connections impede the vital upward and downward whole plant transfer routes. Long-distance protein, mRNA and small RNA graft-transmissible signals currently emerge as novel mechanisms which regulate nutritional and developmental root/top relations and may play a pivotal role in grafting physiology. Grafting also has significant pathogenic projections. On one hand, stock to scion mechanical contact enables the spread of diseases, even without a complete graft union. But, on the other hand, grafting onto resistant rootstocks serves as a principal tool in the management of fruit tree plagues and vegetable soil-borne diseases. The ‘graft hybrid’ historic controversy has not yet been resolved. Recent evidence suggests that epigenetic modification of DNA-methylation patterns may account for certain graft-transformation phenomena. Root grafting is a wide spread natural phenomenon; both intraspecific and interspecific root grafts have been recorded. Root grafts have an evolutionary role in the survival of storm-hit forest stands as well as in the spread of devastating diseases. A more fundamental evolutionary role is hinted by recent findings that demonstrate plastid and nuclear genome transfer between distinct Nicotiana species in the graft union zone, within a tissue culture system. This has led to the formation of alloploid cells that, under laboratory conditions, gave rise to a novel, alloploid Nicotiana species

  13. Plant grafting: new mechanisms, evolutionary implications.

    PubMed

    Goldschmidt, Eliezer E

    2014-01-01

    Grafting, an old plant propagation practice, is still widely used with fruit trees and in recent decades also with vegetables. Taxonomic proximity is a general prerequisite for successful graft-take and long-term survival of the grafted, composite plant. However, the mechanisms underlying interspecific graft incompatibility are as yet insufficiently understood. Hormonal signals, auxin in particular, are believed to play an important role in the wound healing and vascular regeneration within the graft union zone. Incomplete and convoluted vascular connections impede the vital upward and downward whole plant transfer routes. Long-distance protein, mRNA and small RNA graft-transmissible signals currently emerge as novel mechanisms which regulate nutritional and developmental root/top relations and may play a pivotal role in grafting physiology. Grafting also has significant pathogenic projections. On one hand, stock to scion mechanical contact enables the spread of diseases, even without a complete graft union. But, on the other hand, grafting onto resistant rootstocks serves as a principal tool in the management of fruit tree plagues and vegetable soil-borne diseases. The 'graft hybrid' historic controversy has not yet been resolved. Recent evidence suggests that epigenetic modification of DNA-methylation patterns may account for certain graft-transformation phenomena. Root grafting is a wide spread natural phenomenon; both intraspecific and interspecific root grafts have been recorded. Root grafts have an evolutionary role in the survival of storm-hit forest stands as well as in the spread of devastating diseases. A more fundamental evolutionary role is hinted by recent findings that demonstrate plastid and nuclear genome transfer between distinct Nicotiana species in the graft union zone, within a tissue culture system. This has led to the formation of alloploid cells that, under laboratory conditions, gave rise to a novel, alloploid Nicotiana species, indicating

  14. Molecular evolutionary analyses of insect societies.

    PubMed

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

    2011-06-28

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

  15. Molecular evolutionary analyses of insect societies

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  17. Anticipatory Mechanisms in Evolutionary Living Systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dubois, Daniel M.; Holmberg, Stig C.

    2010-11-01

    This paper deals firstly with a revisiting of Darwin's theory of Natural Selection. Darwin in his book never uses the word "evolution", but shows a clear position about mutability of species. Darwin's Natural Selection was mainly inspired by the anticipatory Artificial Selection by humans in domestication, and the Malthus struggle for existence. Darwin showed that the struggle for existence leads to the preservation of the most divergent offspring of any one species. He cited several times the canon of "Natura non facit saltum". He spoke about the origin of life from some one primordial form, into which life was first breathed. Finally, Darwin made anticipation about the future researches in psychology. This paper cites the work of Ernst Mayr who was the first, after 90 years of an intense scientific debate, to present a new and stable Darwinian paradigm as the "Evolutionary Synthesis" in 1942. To explain what is life, the Living Systems Theory (LST) by J. G. Miller is presented. It is showed that the Autopoietic Systems Theory of Varela et al is also a fundamental component of living systems. In agreement with Darwin, the natural selection is a necessary condition for transformation of biological systems, but is not a sufficient condition. Thus, in this paper we conjecture that an anticipatory evolutionary mechanism exists with the genetic code that is a self-replicating and self-modifying anticipatory program. As demonstrated by Nobel laureate McClintock, evolution in genomes is programmed. The word "program" comes from "pro-gram" meaning to write before, by anticipation, and means a plan for the programming of a mechanism, or a sequence of coded instructions that can be inserted into a mechanism, or a sequence of coded instructions, as genes of behavioural responses, that is part of an organism. For example, cell death may be programmed by what is called the apoptosis. This definitively is a great breakthrough in our understanding of biological evolution. Hence

  18. The CHAIN program: forging evolutionary links to underlying mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Neuwald, Andrew F

    2007-11-01

    Proteins evolve new functions by modifying and extending the molecular machinery of an ancestral protein. Such changes show up as divergent sequence patterns, which are conserved in descendent proteins that maintain the divergent function. After multiply-aligning a set of input sequences, the CHAIN program partitions the sequences into two functionally divergent groups and then outputs an alignment that is annotated to reveal the selective pressures imposed on divergent residue positions. If atomic coordinates are also provided, hydrogen bonds and other atomic interactions associated with various categories of divergent residues are graphically displayed. Such analyses establish links between protein evolutionary divergence and functionally crucial atomic features and, as a result, can suggest plausible molecular mechanisms for experimental testing. This is illustrated here by its application to bacterial clamp-loader ATPases.

  19. Transitions, transversions, and the molecular evolutionary clock.

    PubMed

    Jukes, T H

    1987-01-01

    Nucleotide substitutions in the form of transitions (purine-purine or pyrimidine-pyrimidine interchanges) and transversions (purine-pyrimidine interchanges) occur during evolution and may be compiled by aligning the sequences of homologous genes. Referring to the genetic code tables, silent transitions take place in third positions of codons in family boxes and two-codon sets. Silent transversions in third positions occur only in family boxes, except for A = C transversions between AGR and CGR arginine codons (R = A or G). Comparisons of several protein genes have been made, and various subclasses of transitional and transversional nucleotide substitutions have been compiled. Considerable variations occur among the relative proportions of transitions and transversions. Such variations could possibly be caused by mutator genes, favoring either transitions or, conversely, transversions, during DNA replication. At earlier stages of evolutionary divergence, transitions are usually more frequent, but there are exceptions. No indication was found that transversions usually originate from multiple substitutions in transitions.

  20. MEGA5: Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis Using Maximum Likelihood, Evolutionary Distance, and Maximum Parsimony Methods

    PubMed Central

    Tamura, Koichiro; Peterson, Daniel; Peterson, Nicholas; Stecher, Glen; Nei, Masatoshi; Kumar, Sudhir

    2011-01-01

    Comparative analysis of molecular sequence data is essential for reconstructing the evolutionary histories of species and inferring the nature and extent of selective forces shaping the evolution of genes and species. Here, we announce the release of Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis version 5 (MEGA5), which is a user-friendly software for mining online databases, building sequence alignments and phylogenetic trees, and using methods of evolutionary bioinformatics in basic biology, biomedicine, and evolution. The newest addition in MEGA5 is a collection of maximum likelihood (ML) analyses for inferring evolutionary trees, selecting best-fit substitution models (nucleotide or amino acid), inferring ancestral states and sequences (along with probabilities), and estimating evolutionary rates site-by-site. In computer simulation analyses, ML tree inference algorithms in MEGA5 compared favorably with other software packages in terms of computational efficiency and the accuracy of the estimates of phylogenetic trees, substitution parameters, and rate variation among sites. The MEGA user interface has now been enhanced to be activity driven to make it easier for the use of both beginners and experienced scientists. This version of MEGA is intended for the Windows platform, and it has been configured for effective use on Mac OS X and Linux desktops. It is available free of charge from http://www.megasoftware.net. PMID:21546353

  1. Mechanical sensitivity reveals evolutionary dynamics of mechanical systems.

    PubMed

    Anderson, P S L; Patek, S N

    2015-04-07

    A classic question in evolutionary biology is how form-function relationships promote or limit diversification. Mechanical metrics, such as kinematic transmission (KT) in linkage systems, are useful tools for examining the evolution of form and function in a comparative context. The convergence of disparate systems on equivalent metric values (mechanical equivalence) has been highlighted as a source of potential morphological diversity under the assumption that morphology can evolve with minimal impact on function. However, this assumption does not account for mechanical sensitivity-the sensitivity of the metric to morphological changes in individual components of a structure. We examined the diversification of a four-bar linkage system in mantis shrimp (Stomatopoda), and found evidence for both mechanical equivalence and differential mechanical sensitivity. KT exhibited variable correlations with individual linkage components, highlighting the components that influence KT evolution, and the components that are free to evolve independently from KT and thereby contribute to the observed pattern of mechanical equivalence. Determining the mechanical sensitivity in a system leads to a deeper understanding of both functional convergence and morphological diversification. This study illustrates the importance of multi-level analyses in delineating the factors that limit and promote diversification in form-function systems. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

  2. Mechanical sensitivity reveals evolutionary dynamics of mechanical systems

    PubMed Central

    Anderson, P. S. L.; Patek, S. N.

    2015-01-01

    A classic question in evolutionary biology is how form–function relationships promote or limit diversification. Mechanical metrics, such as kinematic transmission (KT) in linkage systems, are useful tools for examining the evolution of form and function in a comparative context. The convergence of disparate systems on equivalent metric values (mechanical equivalence) has been highlighted as a source of potential morphological diversity under the assumption that morphology can evolve with minimal impact on function. However, this assumption does not account for mechanical sensitivity—the sensitivity of the metric to morphological changes in individual components of a structure. We examined the diversification of a four-bar linkage system in mantis shrimp (Stomatopoda), and found evidence for both mechanical equivalence and differential mechanical sensitivity. KT exhibited variable correlations with individual linkage components, highlighting the components that influence KT evolution, and the components that are free to evolve independently from KT and thereby contribute to the observed pattern of mechanical equivalence. Determining the mechanical sensitivity in a system leads to a deeper understanding of both functional convergence and morphological diversification. This study illustrates the importance of multi-level analyses in delineating the factors that limit and promote diversification in form–function systems. PMID:25716791

  3. Automatic Molecular Design using Evolutionary Techniques

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1998-01-01

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

  4. Transposable elements as a molecular evolutionary force

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fedoroff, N. V.

    1999-01-01

    This essay addresses the paradoxes of the complex and highly redundant genomes. The central theses developed are that: (1) the distinctive feature of complex genomes is the existence of epigenetic mechanisms that permit extremely high levels of both tandem and dispersed redundancy; (2) the special contribution of transposable elements is to modularize the genome; and (3) the labilizing forces of recombination and transposition are just barely contained, giving a dynamic genetic system of ever increasing complexity that verges on the chaotic.

  5. Transposable elements as a molecular evolutionary force

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fedoroff, N. V.

    1999-01-01

    This essay addresses the paradoxes of the complex and highly redundant genomes. The central theses developed are that: (1) the distinctive feature of complex genomes is the existence of epigenetic mechanisms that permit extremely high levels of both tandem and dispersed redundancy; (2) the special contribution of transposable elements is to modularize the genome; and (3) the labilizing forces of recombination and transposition are just barely contained, giving a dynamic genetic system of ever increasing complexity that verges on the chaotic.

  6. Molecular Evolutionary Consequences of Island Colonization.

    PubMed

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

    2016-07-02

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

  7. Molecular Evolutionary Consequences of Island Colonization

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  8. Molecular dating, evolutionary rates, and the age of the grasses.

    PubMed

    Christin, Pascal-Antoine; Spriggs, Elizabeth; Osborne, Colin P; Strömberg, Caroline A E; Salamin, Nicolas; Edwards, Erika J

    2014-03-01

    Many questions in evolutionary biology require an estimate of divergence times but, for groups with a sparse fossil record, such estimates rely heavily on molecular dating methods. The accuracy of these methods depends on both an adequate underlying model and the appropriate implementation of fossil evidence as calibration points. We explore the effect of these in Poaceae (grasses), a diverse plant lineage with a very limited fossil record, focusing particularly on dating the early divergences in the group. We show that molecular dating based on a data set of plastid markers is strongly dependent on the model assumptions. In particular, an acceleration of evolutionary rates at the base of Poaceae followed by a deceleration in the descendants strongly biases methods that assume an autocorrelation of rates. This problem can be circumvented by using markers that have lower rate variation, and we show that phylogenetic markers extracted from complete nuclear genomes can be a useful complement to the more commonly used plastid markers. However, estimates of divergence times remain strongly affected by different implementations of fossil calibration points. Analyses calibrated with only macrofossils lead to estimates for the age of core Poaceae ∼51-55 Ma, but the inclusion of microfossil evidence pushes this age to 74-82 Ma and leads to lower estimated evolutionary rates in grasses. These results emphasize the importance of considering markers from multiple genomes and alternative fossil placements when addressing evolutionary issues that depend on ages estimated for important groups.

  9. Molecular evolutionary rates are not correlated with temperature and latitude in Squamata: an exception to the metabolic theory of ecology?

    PubMed

    Rolland, Jonathan; Loiseau, Oriane; Romiguier, Jonathan; Salamin, Nicolas

    2016-05-20

    The metabolic theory of ecology stipulates that molecular evolutionary rates should correlate with temperature and latitude in ectothermic organisms. Previous studies have shown that most groups of vertebrates, such as amphibians, turtles and even endothermic mammals, have higher molecular evolutionary rates in regions where temperature is high. However, the association between molecular evolutionary rates and temperature or latitude has never been tested in Squamata. We used a large dataset including the spatial distributions and environmental variables for 1,651 species of Squamata and compared the contrast of the rates of molecular evolution with the contrast of temperature and latitude between sister species. Using major axis regressions and a new algorithm to choose independent sister species pairs, we found that temperature and absolute latitude were not associated with molecular evolutionary rates. This absence of association in such a diverse ectothermic group questions the mechanisms explaining current pattern of species diversity in Squamata and challenges the presupposed universality of the metabolic theory of ecology.

  10. Molecular mechanisms in gliomagenesis.

    PubMed

    Hulleman, Esther; Helin, Kristian

    2005-01-01

    Glioma, and in particular high-grade astrocytoma termed glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), is the most common primary tumor of the brain. Primarily because of its diffuse nature, there is no effective treatment for GBM, and relatively little is known about the processes by which it develops. Therefore, in order to design novel therapies and treatments for GBM, research has recently intensified to identify the cellular and molecular mechanisms leading to GBM formation. Modeling of astrocytomas by genetic manipulation of mice suggests that deregulation of the pathways that control gliogenesis during normal brain development, such as the differentiation of neural stem cells (NSCs) into astrocytes, might contribute to GBM formation. These pathways include growth factor-induced signal transduction routes and processes that control cell cycle progression, such as the p16-CDK4-RB and the ARF-MDM2-p53 pathways. The expression of several of the components of these signaling cascades has been found altered in GBM, and recent data indicate that combinations of mutations in these pathways may contribute to GBM formation, although the exact mechanisms are still to be uncovered. Use of novel techniques including large-scale genomics and proteomics in combination with relevant mouse models will most likely provide novel insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying glioma formation and will hopefully lead to development of treatment modalities for GBM.

  11. Molecular mechanisms of etoposide

    PubMed Central

    Montecucco, Alessandra; Zanetta, Francesca; Biamonti, Giuseppe

    2015-01-01

    Etoposide derives from podophyllotoxin, a toxin found in the American Mayapple. It was first synthesized in 1966 and approved for cancer therapy in 1983 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (Hande, 1998[25]). Starting from 1980s several studies demonstrated that etoposide targets DNA topoisomerase II activities thus leading to the production of DNA breaks and eliciting a response that affects several aspects of cell metabolisms. In this review we will focus on molecular mechanisms that account for the biological effect of etoposide. PMID:26600742

  12. Transcriptome sequencing reveals genome-wide variation in molecular evolutionary rate among ferns.

    PubMed

    Grusz, Amanda L; Rothfels, Carl J; Schuettpelz, Eric

    2016-08-30

    Transcriptomics in non-model plant systems has recently reached a point where the examination of nuclear genome-wide patterns in understudied groups is an achievable reality. This progress is especially notable in evolutionary studies of ferns, for which molecular resources to date have been derived primarily from the plastid genome. Here, we utilize transcriptome data in the first genome-wide comparative study of molecular evolutionary rate in ferns. We focus on the ecologically diverse family Pteridaceae, which comprises about 10 % of fern diversity and includes the enigmatic vittarioid ferns-an epiphytic, tropical lineage known for dramatically reduced morphologies and radically elongated phylogenetic branch lengths. Using expressed sequence data for 2091 loci, we perform pairwise comparisons of molecular evolutionary rate among 12 species spanning the three largest clades in the family and ask whether previously documented heterogeneity in plastid substitution rates is reflected in their nuclear genomes. We then inquire whether variation in evolutionary rate is being shaped by genes belonging to specific functional categories and test for differential patterns of selection. We find significant, genome-wide differences in evolutionary rate for vittarioid ferns relative to all other lineages within the Pteridaceae, but we recover few significant correlations between faster/slower vittarioid loci and known functional gene categories. We demonstrate that the faster rates characteristic of the vittarioid ferns are likely not driven by positive selection, nor are they unique to any particular type of nucleotide substitution. Our results reinforce recently reviewed mechanisms hypothesized to shape molecular evolutionary rates in vittarioid ferns and provide novel insight into substitution rate variation both within and among fern nuclear genomes.

  13. A Molecular Evolutionary Reference for the Human Variome.

    PubMed

    Liu, Li; Tamura, Koichiro; Sanderford, Maxwell; Gray, Vanessa E; Kumar, Sudhir

    2016-01-01

    Widespread sequencing efforts are revealing unprecedented amount of genomic variation in populations. Such information is routinely used to derive consensus reference sequences and to infer positions subject to natural selection. Here, we present a new molecular evolutionary method for estimating neutral evolutionary probabilities (EPs) of each amino acid, or nucleotide state at a genomic position without using intraspecific polymorphism data. Because EPs are derived independently of population-level information, they serve as null expectations that can be used to evaluate selective forces on alleles at both polymorphic and monomorphic positions in populations. We applied this method to coding sequences in the human genome and produced a comprehensive evolutionary variome reference for all human proteins. We found that EPs accurately predict neutral and disease-associated alleles. Through an analysis of discordance between allelic EPs and their observed population frequencies, we discovered thousands of novel candidate sites for nonneutral evolution in human proteins. Many of these were validated in a joint analysis of disease-associated variants and population data. The EP method is also directly applicable to the analysis of noncoding sequences and genomic analyses of nonmodel species. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  14. Understanding molecular structure from molecular mechanics.

    PubMed

    Allinger, Norman L

    2011-04-01

    Molecular mechanics gives us a well known model of molecular structure. It is less widely recognized that valence bond theory gives us structures which offer a direct interpretation of molecular mechanics formulations and parameters. The electronic effects well-known in physical organic chemistry can be directly interpreted in terms of valence bond structures, and hence quantitatively calculated and understood. The basic theory is outlined in this paper, and examples of the effects, and their interpretation in illustrative examples is presented.

  15. Evolutionary significance of osmoregulatory mechanisms in cyanobacteria

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Yopp, J. H.; Pavlicek, J. H.; Sibley, M. H.

    1986-01-01

    Physiological processes of all life forms on this planet are intrinsically related to their intracellular water potential. The overall goal was the elucidation of the mechanism(s) whereby the first oxygenic phtoautotrophs (the cyanobacteria) adjust their water potential to that of a changing external water potential (that is, osmoregulate). Osmoregulation is achieved by intracellular adjustment of inorganic and/or organic solutes (osmolytes) involving specific biochemical mechanisms. Structural and biochemical evolution within the cyanobacteria is believed completed (and fixed in present day forms) by the end of the Precambrain eon. Therefore, research using cyanobacteria of all three structural types (unicellular, filamentous, and branched), each grown in the photoautotrophic (PA), photoheterotrophic (PG), and chemotrophic (CH) modes of nutrition, should provide insight into the origin and evolution of the photosynthetically related osmoregulatory mechanisms of eukaryotic organisms. The chloroplasts of these organisms are phylogenetically related to the cyanobacteria.

  16. Cisplatin nephrotoxicity: molecular mechanisms

    PubMed Central

    Hanigan, Marie H.; Devarajan, Prasad

    2007-01-01

    Summary Cisplatin is one of the most widely used chemotherapeutic agents for the treatment of several human malignancies. The efficacy of cisplatin is dose dependent, but the significant risk of nephrotoxicity frequently hinders the use of higher doses to maximize its antineoplastic effects. Several advances in our understanding of the biochemical and molecular mechanisms underlying cisplatin nephrotoxicity have recently emerged, and are reviewed in this article. Evidence is presented for distinct mechanisms of cisplatin toxicity in actively dividing tumor cells versus the normally quiescent renal proximal tubular epithelial cells. The unexpected role of gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase in cisplatin nephrotoxicity is elucidated. Recent studies demonstrating the ability of proximal tubular cells to metabolize cisplatin to a nephrotoxin are reviewed. The evidence for apoptosis as a major mechanism underlying cisplatin-induced renal cell injury is presented, along with the data exploring the role of specific intracellular pathways that may mediate the programmed cell death. The information gleaned from this review may provide critical clues to novel therapeutic interventions aimed at minimizing cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity while enhancing its antineoplastic efficacy. PMID:18185852

  17. Mechanisms of stomatal development: an evolutionary view

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Plant development has a significant postembryonic phase that is guided heavily by interactions between the plant and the outside environment. This interplay is particularly evident in the development, pattern and function of stomata, epidermal pores on the aerial surfaces of land plants. Stomata have been found in fossils dating from more than 400 million years ago. Strikingly, the morphology of the individual stomatal complex is largely unchanged, but the sizes, numbers and arrangements of stomata and their surrounding cells have diversified tremendously. In many plants, stomata arise from specialized and transient stem-cell like compartments on the leaf. Studies in the flowering plant Arabidopsis thaliana have established a basic molecular framework for the acquisition of cell fate and generation of cell polarity in these compartments, as well as describing some of the key signals and receptors required to produce stomata in organized patterns and in environmentally optimized numbers. Here we present parallel analyses of stomatal developmental pathways at morphological and molecular levels and describe the innovations made by particular clades of plants. PMID:22691547

  18. Molecular mechanisms in cardiomyopathy.

    PubMed

    Dadson, Keith; Hauck, Ludger; Billia, Filio

    2017-07-01

    Cardiomyopathies represent a heterogeneous group of diseases that negatively affect heart function. Primary cardiomyopathies specifically target the myocardium, and may arise from genetic [hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy/dysplasia (ARVC/D), mitochondrial cardiomyopathy] or genetic and acquired [dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), restrictive cardiomyopathy (RCM)] etiology. Modern genomics has identified mutations that are common in these populations, while in vitro and in vivo experimentation with these mutations have provided invaluable insight into the molecular mechanisms native to these diseases. For example, increased myosin heavy chain (MHC) binding and ATP utilization lead to the hypercontractile sarcomere in HCM, while abnormal protein-protein interaction and impaired Ca(2+) flux underlie the relaxed sarcomere of DCM. Furthermore, expanded access to genetic testing has facilitated identification of potential risk factors that appear through inheritance and manifest sometimes only in the advanced stages of the disease. In this review, we discuss the genetic and molecular abnormalities unique to and shared between these primary cardiomyopathies and discuss some of the important advances made using more traditional basic science experimentation. © 2017 The Author(s). published by Portland Press Limited on behalf of the Biochemical Society.

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

    PubMed

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

    2002-12-01

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

  20. Evolutionary Ecology of Prokaryotic Immune Mechanisms

    PubMed Central

    van Houte, Stineke; Buckling, Angus

    2016-01-01

    SUMMARY Bacteria have a range of distinct immune strategies that provide protection against bacteriophage (phage) infections. While much has been learned about the mechanism of action of these defense strategies, it is less clear why such diversity in defense strategies has evolved. In this review, we discuss the short- and long-term costs and benefits of the different resistance strategies and, hence, the ecological conditions that are likely to favor the different strategies alone and in combination. Finally, we discuss some of the broader consequences, beyond resistance to phage and other genetic elements, resulting from the operation of different immune strategies. PMID:27412881

  1. The molecular evolutionary tree of lizards, snakes, and amphisbaenians.

    PubMed

    Vidal, Nicolas; Hedges, S Blair

    2009-01-01

    Squamate reptiles (lizards, snakes, amphisbaenians) number approximately 8200 living species and are a major component of the world's terrestrial vertebrate diversity. Recent molecular phylogenies based on protein-coding nuclear genes have challenged the classical, morphology-based concept of squamate relationships, requiring new classifications, and drawing new evolutionary and biogeographic hypotheses. Even the key and long-held concept of a dichotomy between iguanians (approximately 1470 sp.) and scleroglossans (all other squamates) has been refuted because molecular trees place iguanians in a highly nested position. Together with snakes and anguimorphs, iguanians form a clade--Toxicofera--characterized by the presence of toxin secreting oral glands and demonstrating a single early origin of venom in squamates. Consequently, neither the varanid lizards nor burrowing lineages such as amphisbaenians or dibamid lizards are the closest relative of snakes. The squamate timetree shows that most major groups diversified in the Jurassic and Cretaceous, 200-66 million years (Myr) ago. In contrast, five of the six families of amphisbaenians arose during the early Cenozoic, approximately 60-40 Myr ago, and oceanic dispersal on floating islands apparently played a significant role in their distribution on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Among snakes, molecular data support the basic division between the small fossorial scolecophidians (approximately 370 sp.) and the alethinophidians (all other snakes, approximately 2700 sp.). They show that the alethinophidians were primitively macrostomatan and that this condition was secondarily lost by burrowing lineages. The diversification of alethinophidians resulted from a mid-Cretaceous vicariant event, the separation of South America from Africa, giving rise to Amerophidia (aniliids and tropidophiids) and Afrophidia (all other alethinophidians). Finally, molecular phylogenies have made it possible to draw a detailed evolutionary

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

  3. The Design and Transformation of Biofundamentals: A Nonsurvey Introductory Evolutionary and Molecular Biology Course.

    PubMed

    Klymkowsky, Michael W; Rentsch, Jeremy D; Begovic, Emina; Cooper, Melanie M

    2016-01-01

    Many introductory biology courses amount to superficial surveys of disconnected topics. Often, foundational observations and the concepts derived from them and students' ability to use these ideas appropriately are overlooked, leading to unrealistic expectations and unrecognized learning obstacles. The result can be a focus on memorization at the expense of the development of a meaningful framework within which to consider biological phenomena. About a decade ago, we began a reconsideration of what an introductory course should present to students and the skills they need to master. The original Web-based course's design presaged many of the recommendations of the Vision and Change report; in particular, a focus on social evolutionary mechanisms, stochastic (evolutionary and molecular) processes, and core ideas (cellular continuity, evolutionary homology, molecular interactions, coupled chemical reactions, and molecular machines). Inspired by insights from the Chemistry, Life, the Universe & Everything general chemistry project, we transformed the original Web version into a (freely available) book with a more unified narrative flow and a set of formative assessments delivered through the beSocratic system. We outline how student responses to course materials are guiding future course modifications, in particular a more concerted effort at helping students to construct logical, empirically based arguments, explanations, and models.

  4. The Design and Transformation of Biofundamentals: A Nonsurvey Introductory Evolutionary and Molecular Biology Course

    PubMed Central

    Klymkowsky, Michael W.; Rentsch, Jeremy D.; Begovic, Emina; Cooper, Melanie M.

    2016-01-01

    Many introductory biology courses amount to superficial surveys of disconnected topics. Often, foundational observations and the concepts derived from them and students’ ability to use these ideas appropriately are overlooked, leading to unrealistic expectations and unrecognized learning obstacles. The result can be a focus on memorization at the expense of the development of a meaningful framework within which to consider biological phenomena. About a decade ago, we began a reconsideration of what an introductory course should present to students and the skills they need to master. The original Web-based course’s design presaged many of the recommendations of the Vision and Change report; in particular, a focus on social evolutionary mechanisms, stochastic (evolutionary and molecular) processes, and core ideas (cellular continuity, evolutionary homology, molecular interactions, coupled chemical reactions, and molecular machines). Inspired by insights from the Chemistry, Life, the Universe & Everything general chemistry project, we transformed the original Web version into a (freely available) book with a more unified narrative flow and a set of formative assessments delivered through the beSocratic system. We outline how student responses to course materials are guiding future course modifications, in particular a more concerted effort at helping students to construct logical, empirically based arguments, explanations, and models. PMID:27909020

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2013-09-20

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

  6. The Molecular Apgar Score: A Key to Unlocking Evolutionary Principles.

    PubMed

    Torday, John S; Nielsen, Heber C

    2017-01-01

    such, these molecular elements can be examined using a Molecular Apgar evaluation of keystone evolutionary events that predict successful evolutionary adaptation of physiologic functions necessary for neonatal transition and survival.

  7. Biological mechanisms underlying evolutionary origins of psychotic and mood disorders.

    PubMed

    Goto, Yukiori; Lee, Young-A; Yamaguchi, Yoshie; Jas, Emanuel

    2016-10-01

    Psychotic and mood disorders are brain dysfunctions that are caused by gene environment interactions. Although these disorders are disadvantageous and involve behavioral phenotypes that decrease the reproductive success of afflicted individuals in the modern human society, the prevalence of these disorders have remained constant in the population. Here, we propose several biological mechanisms by which the genes associated with psychotic and mood disorders could be selected for in specific environmental conditions that provide evolutionary bases for explanations of when, why, and where these disorders emerged and have been maintained in humans. We discuss the evolutionary origins of psychotic and mood disorders with specific focuses on the roles of dopamine and serotonin in the conditions of social competitiveness/hierarchy and maternal care and other potential mechanisms, such as social network homophily and symbiosis. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ireland Ltd and Japan Neuroscience Society. All rights reserved.

  8. Mechanisms of bacterial morphogenesis: evolutionary cell biology approaches provide new insights.

    PubMed

    Jiang, Chao; Caccamo, Paul D; Brun, Yves V

    2015-04-01

    How Darwin's "endless forms most beautiful" have evolved remains one of the most exciting questions in biology. The significant variety of bacterial shapes is most likely due to the specific advantages they confer with respect to the diverse environments they occupy. While our understanding of the mechanisms generating relatively simple shapes has improved tremendously in the last few years, the molecular mechanisms underlying the generation of complex shapes and the evolution of shape diversity are largely unknown. The emerging field of bacterial evolutionary cell biology provides a novel strategy to answer this question in a comparative phylogenetic framework. This relatively novel approach provides hypotheses and insights into cell biological mechanisms, such as morphogenesis, and their evolution that would have been difficult to obtain by studying only model organisms. We discuss the necessary steps, challenges, and impact of integrating "evolutionary thinking" into bacterial cell biology in the genomic era. © 2015 WILEY Periodicals, Inc.

  9. Mechanisms of bacterial morphogenesis: Evolutionary cell biology approaches provide new insights

    PubMed Central

    Jiang, Chao; Caccamo, Paul D.; Brun, Yves V.

    2015-01-01

    How Darwin’s “endless forms most beautiful” have evolved remains one of the most exciting questions in biology. The significant variety of bacterial shapes is most likely due to the specific advantages they confer with respect to the diverse environments they occupy. While our understanding of the mechanisms generating relatively simple shapes has improved tremendously in the last few years, the molecular mechanisms underlying the generation of complex shapes and the evolution of shape diversity are largely unknown. The emerging field of bacterial evolutionary cell biology provides a novel strategy to answer this question in a comparative phylogenetic framework. This relatively novel approach provides hypotheses and insights into cell biological mechanisms, such as morphogenesis, and their evolution that would have been difficult to obtain by studying only model organisms. We discuss the necessary steps, challenges, and impact of integrating “evolutionary thinking” into bacterial cell biology in the genomic era. PMID:25664446

  10. The Molecular Apgar Score: A Key to Unlocking Evolutionary Principles

    PubMed Central

    Torday, John S.; Nielsen, Heber C.

    2017-01-01

    Apgar Score. As such, these molecular elements can be examined using a Molecular Apgar evaluation of keystone evolutionary events that predict successful evolutionary adaptation of physiologic functions necessary for neonatal transition and survival. PMID:28373969

  11. Molecular Mechanisms of Preeclampsia

    PubMed Central

    Hod, Tammy; Cerdeira, Ana Sofia; Karumanchi, S. Ananth

    2015-01-01

    Preeclampsia is a pregnancy-specific disease characterized by new onset hypertension and proteinuria after 20 wk of gestation. It is a leading cause of maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality worldwide. Exciting discoveries in the last decade have contributed to a better understanding of the molecular basis of this disease. Epidemiological, experimental, and therapeutic studies from several laboratories have provided compelling evidence that an antiangiogenic state owing to alterations in circulating angiogenic factors leads to preeclampsia. In this review, we highlight the role of key circulating antiangiogenic factors as pathogenic biomarkers and in the development of novel therapies for preeclampsia. PMID:26292986

  12. Molecular mechanisms of carcinogenesis

    SciTech Connect

    Hall, E.J.

    1997-03-01

    The possibility that chromosomal changes are responsible for neoplasia was proposed in the early years of this century. A combination of improved cytogenetics and the advent of recombinant technology has settled the issue. As recently as 20 years ago, however, the genetic and molecular basis of familiar predisposition to cancer were a mystery, and it is only in the last few years that light has been shed on a few specific types of malignancies. As the genetic basis of human cancer had been documented, a number of genes have been identified as functioning either as oncogenes which act in a dominant fashion to promote tumor growth when mutated, or as tumor suppressor genes which act in a recessive fashion.

  13. A system-level, molecular evolutionary analysis of mammalian phototransduction.

    PubMed

    Invergo, Brandon M; Montanucci, Ludovica; Laayouni, Hafid; Bertranpetit, Jaume

    2013-02-23

    Visual perception is initiated in the photoreceptor cells of the retina via the phototransduction system. This system has shown marked evolution during mammalian divergence in such complex attributes as activation time and recovery time. We have performed a molecular evolutionary analysis of proteins involved in mammalian phototransduction in order to unravel how the action of natural selection has been distributed throughout the system to evolve such traits. We found selective pressures to be non-randomly distributed according to both a simple protein classification scheme and a protein-interaction network representation of the signaling pathway. Proteins which are topologically central in the signaling pathway, such as the G proteins, as well as retinoid cycle chaperones and proteins involved in photoreceptor cell-type determination, were found to be more constrained in their evolution. Proteins peripheral to the pathway, such as ion channels and exchangers, as well as the retinoid cycle enzymes, have experienced a relaxation of selective pressures. Furthermore, signals of positive selection were detected in two genes: the short-wave (blue) opsin (OPN1SW) in hominids and the rod-specific Na+/ Ca2+, K+ ion exchanger (SLC24A1) in rodents. The functions of the proteins involved in phototransduction and the topology of the interactions between them have imposed non-random constraints on their evolution. Thus, in shaping or conserving system-level phototransduction traits, natural selection has targeted the underlying proteins in a concerted manner.

  14. A system-level, molecular evolutionary analysis of mammalian phototransduction

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Visual perception is initiated in the photoreceptor cells of the retina via the phototransduction system. This system has shown marked evolution during mammalian divergence in such complex attributes as activation time and recovery time. We have performed a molecular evolutionary analysis of proteins involved in mammalian phototransduction in order to unravel how the action of natural selection has been distributed throughout the system to evolve such traits. Results We found selective pressures to be non-randomly distributed according to both a simple protein classification scheme and a protein-interaction network representation of the signaling pathway. Proteins which are topologically central in the signaling pathway, such as the G proteins, as well as retinoid cycle chaperones and proteins involved in photoreceptor cell-type determination, were found to be more constrained in their evolution. Proteins peripheral to the pathway, such as ion channels and exchangers, as well as the retinoid cycle enzymes, have experienced a relaxation of selective pressures. Furthermore, signals of positive selection were detected in two genes: the short-wave (blue) opsin (OPN1SW) in hominids and the rod-specific Na+/ Ca2+, K+ ion exchanger (SLC24A1) in rodents. Conclusions The functions of the proteins involved in phototransduction and the topology of the interactions between them have imposed non-random constraints on their evolution. Thus, in shaping or conserving system-level phototransduction traits, natural selection has targeted the underlying proteins in a concerted manner. PMID:23433342

  15. Bird-pollinated flowers in an evolutionary and molecular context.

    PubMed

    Cronk, Quentin; Ojeda, Isidro

    2008-01-01

    Evolutionary shifts to bird pollination (ornithophily) have occurred independently in many lineages of flowering plants. This shift affects many floral features, particularly those responsible for the attraction of birds, deterrence of illegitimate flower visitors (particularly bees), protection from vigorous foraging by birds, and accurate placement of pollen on bird's bodies. Red coloration appears to play a major role in both bee-deterrence and bird-attraction. Other mechanisms of bird-attraction include the production of abundant dilute nectar and the provision of secondary perches (for non-hovering birds). As a result of selection for similar phenotypic traits in unrelated bird-pollinated species, a floral syndrome of ornithophily can be recognized, and this review surveys the component floral traits. The strong convergent evolution evident in bird-pollinated flowers raises a question about the nature of the genetic mechanisms underlying such transitions and whether the same gene systems are involved in most cases. As yet there is too little information to answer this question. However, some promising model systems have been developed that include closely related bee and bird-pollinated flowers, such as Ipomoea, Mimulus, and Lotus. Recent studies of floral developmental genetics have identified numerous genes important in the development of the floral phenotype, which are also potential candidates for involvement in shifts between bee-pollination and bird pollination. As more whole-genome information becomes available, progress should be rapid.

  16. Imprinted gene expression in hybrids: perturbed mechanisms and evolutionary implications.

    PubMed

    Wolf, J B; Oakey, R J; Feil, R

    2014-08-01

    Diverse mechanisms contribute to the evolution of reproductive barriers, a process that is critical in speciation. Amongst these are alterations in gene products and in gene dosage that affect development and reproductive success in hybrid offspring. Because of its strict parent-of-origin dependence, genomic imprinting is thought to contribute to the aberrant phenotypes observed in interspecies hybrids in mammals and flowering plants, when the abnormalities depend on the directionality of the cross. In different groups of mammals, hybrid incompatibility has indeed been linked to loss of imprinting. Aberrant expression levels have been reported as well, including imprinted genes involved in development and growth. Recent studies in humans emphasize that genetic diversity within a species can readily perturb imprinted gene expression and phenotype as well. Despite novel insights into the underlying mechanisms, the full extent of imprinted gene perturbation still remains to be determined in the different hybrid systems. Here we review imprinted gene expression in intra- and interspecies hybrids and examine the evolutionary scenarios under which imprinting could contribute to hybrid incompatibilities. We discuss effects on development and reproduction and possible evolutionary implications.

  17. Imprinted gene expression in hybrids: perturbed mechanisms and evolutionary implications

    PubMed Central

    Wolf, J B; Oakey, R J; Feil, R

    2014-01-01

    Diverse mechanisms contribute to the evolution of reproductive barriers, a process that is critical in speciation. Amongst these are alterations in gene products and in gene dosage that affect development and reproductive success in hybrid offspring. Because of its strict parent-of-origin dependence, genomic imprinting is thought to contribute to the aberrant phenotypes observed in interspecies hybrids in mammals and flowering plants, when the abnormalities depend on the directionality of the cross. In different groups of mammals, hybrid incompatibility has indeed been linked to loss of imprinting. Aberrant expression levels have been reported as well, including imprinted genes involved in development and growth. Recent studies in humans emphasize that genetic diversity within a species can readily perturb imprinted gene expression and phenotype as well. Despite novel insights into the underlying mechanisms, the full extent of imprinted gene perturbation still remains to be determined in the different hybrid systems. Here we review imprinted gene expression in intra- and interspecies hybrids and examine the evolutionary scenarios under which imprinting could contribute to hybrid incompatibilities. We discuss effects on development and reproduction and possible evolutionary implications. PMID:24619185

  18. Molecular Mechanisms of Parturition

    PubMed Central

    1997-01-01

    The initial signal for triggering human parturition might be fetal but of trophoblastic origin. Concomitantly, this placental signal would have as its target not only the uterus but also the fetus by activating its hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenocortical axis. The latter would represent a second fetal signal which, at the fetomaternal interface, would amplify and define in time the mechanisms responsible for the onset of labor, implying changes in the myometrial and cervical extracellular matrix associated with the accession of the contractile phenotype for myometrial cells. At each phase of these processes in the utero-feto-placental system, the nature of these signals remains to be identified. Is there a single substance, or rather, and more likely, a combination of several? We appear to be in the presence of dynamic systems of a neuro-immuno-hormonal type which are difficult to describe. Nevertheless, steroid hormones appear to coordinate their successive equilibriums until they become irreversible. Such irreversibility constitutes the essential sign of parturition. PMID:18476161

  19. Molecular Mechanisms of Neuronal Responsivity.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1987-07-10

    O-A187 061 MOLECULAR MECHANISMS OF NEURONAL RESPONSIVITY(U) / VERMONT UNIV BURLINGTON COIL OF MEDICINE V EHRLICH 7 UwKL7RS1S1 IS1 JUL 87 RFOSR-TR-87...The grant was awarded to support the organization of a scientific conference entitled: "Molecular Mechanisms of Neuronal Responsivity." This...from the University of New York, on: "Synaptic Transmission and Neuronal Integration." It should be mentioned that this presentation emerged as a most

  20. Customized evolutionary optimization procedure for generating minimum weight compliant mechanisms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sharma, Deepak; Deb, Kalyanmoy; Kishore, N. N.

    2014-01-01

    In this article, a customized evolutionary optimization procedure is developed for generating minimum weight compliant mechanisms. A previously-suggested concept of multi-objectivization in which a helper objective is introduced in addition to the primary objective of the original single-objective optimization problem (SOOP) is used here. The helper objective is chosen in a way such that it is in conflict with the primary objective, thereby causing an evolutionary multi-objective optimization algorithm to maintain diversity in its population from one generation to another. The elitist non-dominated sorting genetic algorithm (NSGA-II) is customized with a domain-specific initialization strategy, a domain-specific crossover operator, and a domain-specific solution repairing strategy. To make the search process computationally tractable, the proposed methodology is made suitable for parallel computing. A local search methodology is applied on the evolved non-dominated solutions found by the above-mentioned modified NSGA-II to refine the solutions further. Two case studies for tracing curvilinear and straight-line paths are performed. Results demonstrate that solutions having smaller weight than the reference design solution obtained by SOOP are found by the proposed procedure. Interesting facts and observations brought out by the study are also narrated and conclusions of the study are made.

  1. Molecular Mechanism of Water Evaporation.

    PubMed

    Nagata, Yuki; Usui, Kota; Bonn, Mischa

    2015-12-04

    Evaporation is the process by which water changes from a liquid to a gas or vapor, and is a key step in Earth's water cycle. At the molecular level, evaporation requires breaking at least one very strong intermolecular bond between two water molecules at the interface. Despite the importance of this process the molecular mechanism by which an evaporating water molecule gains sufficient energy to escape from the surface has remained elusive. Here, we show, using molecular dynamics simulations at the water-air interface with polarizable classical force field models, that the high kinetic energy of the evaporated water molecule is enabled by a well-timed making and breaking of hydrogen bonds involving at least three water molecules at the interface, the recoil of which allows one of the molecules to escape. The evaporation of water is thus enabled by concerted, ultrafast hydrogen-bond dynamics of interfacial water, and follows one specific molecular pathway.

  2. Molecular Mechanism of Water Evaporation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nagata, Yuki; Usui, Kota; Bonn, Mischa

    2015-12-01

    Evaporation is the process by which water changes from a liquid to a gas or vapor, and is a key step in Earth's water cycle. At the molecular level, evaporation requires breaking at least one very strong intermolecular bond between two water molecules at the interface. Despite the importance of this process the molecular mechanism by which an evaporating water molecule gains sufficient energy to escape from the surface has remained elusive. Here, we show, using molecular dynamics simulations at the water-air interface with polarizable classical force field models, that the high kinetic energy of the evaporated water molecule is enabled by a well-timed making and breaking of hydrogen bonds involving at least three water molecules at the interface, the recoil of which allows one of the molecules to escape. The evaporation of water is thus enabled by concerted, ultrafast hydrogen-bond dynamics of interfacial water, and follows one specific molecular pathway.

  3. [Molecular mechanisms of bone calcification].

    PubMed

    Hoshi, Kazuto; Ozawa, Hidehiro

    2003-04-01

    Bone matrix consists mainly of hydroxyapatite and organics. The latter include various substances which interact with minerals. Osteoblasts secrete these organic substances and control crystal formation and growth of hydroxyapatite. The authors discuss the molecular mechanisms of calcification by focusing on the mineral/organic interaction.

  4. Molecular evolutionary patterns of NAD+/Sirtuin aging signaling pathway across taxa

    PubMed Central

    Gao, Yue; Lian, Ting; Sun, Boyuan; Yang, Deying; Fan, Xiaolan

    2017-01-01

    A deeper understanding of the conserved molecular mechanisms in different taxa have been made possible only because of the evolutionary conservation of crucial signaling pathways. In the present study, we explored the molecular evolutionary pattern of selection signatures in 51 species for 10 genes which are important components of NAD+/Sirtuin pathway and have already been directly linked to lifespan extension in worms and mice. Selection pressure analysis using PAML program revealed that MRPS5 and PPARGC1A were under significant constraints because of their functional significance. FOXO3a also displayed strong purifying selection. All three sirtuins, which were SIRT1, SIRT2 and SIRT6, displayed a great degree of conservation between taxa, which is consistent with the previous report. A significant evolutionary constraint is seen on the anti-oxidant gene, SOD3. As expected, TP53 gene was under significant selection pressure in mammals, owing to its major role in tumor progression. Poly-ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) genes displayed the most sites under positive selection. Further 3D structural analysis of PARP1 and PARP2 protein revealed that some of these positively selected sites caused a change in the electrostatic potential of the protein structure, which may allow a change in its interaction with other proteins and molecules ultimately leading to difference in the function. Although the functional significance of the positively selected sites could not be established in the variants databases, yet it will be interesting to see if these sites actually affect the function of PARP1 and PARP2. PMID:28767699

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  6. Molecular mechanisms of neurite extension.

    PubMed Central

    Valtorta, F; Leoni, C

    1999-01-01

    The extension of neurites is a major task of developing neurons, requiring a significant metabolic effort to sustain the increase in molecular synthesis necessary for plasma membrane expansion. In addition, neurite extension involves changes in the subsets of expressed proteins and reorganization of the cytomatrix. These phenomena are driven by environmental cues which activate signal transduction processes as well as by the intrinsic genetic program of the cell. The present review summarizes some of the most recent progress made in the elucidation of the molecular mechanisms underlying these processes. PMID:10212488

  7. Patterns and Mechanisms of Evolutionary Transitions between Genetic Sex-Determining Systems

    PubMed Central

    Sander van Doorn, G.

    2014-01-01

    The diversity and patchy phylogenetic distribution of genetic sex-determining mechanisms observed in some taxa is thought to have arisen by the addition, modification, or replacement of regulators at the upstream end of the sex-determining pathway. Here, I review the various evolutionary forces acting on upstream regulators of sexual development that can cause transitions between sex-determining systems. These include sex-ratio selection and pleiotropic benefits, as well as indirect selection mechanisms involving sex-linked sexually antagonistic loci or recessive deleterious mutations. Most of the current theory concentrates on the population–genetic aspects of sex-determination transitions, using models that do not reflect the developmental mechanisms involved in sex determination. However, the increasing availability of molecular data creates opportunities for the development of mechanistic models that can clarify how selection and developmental architecture interact to direct the evolution of sex-determination genes. PMID:24993578

  8. Molecular Mechanisms of Nickel Allergy

    PubMed Central

    Saito, Masako; Arakaki, Rieko; Yamada, Akiko; Tsunematsu, Takaaki; Kudo, Yasusei; Ishimaru, Naozumi

    2016-01-01

    Allergic contact hypersensitivity to metals is a delayed-type allergy. Although various metals are known to produce an allergic reaction, nickel is the most frequent cause of metal allergy. Researchers have attempted to elucidate the mechanisms of metal allergy using animal models and human patients. Here, the immunological and molecular mechanisms of metal allergy are described based on the findings of previous studies, including those that were recently published. In addition, the adsorption and excretion of various metals, in particular nickel, is discussed to further understand the pathogenesis of metal allergy. PMID:26848658

  9. Molecular mechanisms of dendrite morphogenesis

    PubMed Central

    Arikkath, Jyothi

    2012-01-01

    Dendrites are key integrators of synaptic information in neurons and play vital roles in neuronal plasticity. Hence, it is necessary that dendrite arborization is precisely controlled and coordinated with synaptic activity to ensure appropriate functional neural network integrity. In the past several years, it has become increasingly clear that several cell intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms contribute to dendritic arborization. In this review, we will discuss some of the molecular mechanisms that regulate dendrite morphogenesis, particularly in cortical and hippocampal pyramidal neurons and some of the implications of aberrant dendritic morphology for human disease. Finally, we will discuss the current challenges and future directions in the field. PMID:23293584

  10. SPICA/SAFARI Fourier transform spectrometer mechanism evolutionary design

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van den Dool, Teun C.; Kruizinga, Bob; Braam, Ben C.; Hamelinck, Roger F. M. M.; Loix, Nicolas; Van Loon, Dennis; Dams, Johan

    2012-09-01

    TNO, together with its partners, have designed a cryogenic scanning mechanism for use in the SAFARI1 Fourier Transform Spectrometer (FTS) on board of the SPICA mission. SPICA is one of the M-class missions competing to be launched in ESA's Cosmic Vision Programme2 in 2022. JAXA3 leads the development of the SPICA satellite and SRON is the prime investigator of the Safari instrument. The FTS scanning mechanism (FTSM) has to meet a 35 mm stroke requirement with an Optical Path Difference resolution of less then 15 nm and must fit in a small volume. It consists of two back-to-back roof-top mirrors mounted on a small carriage, which is moved using a magnetic bearing linear guiding system in combination with a magnetic linear motor serving as the OPD actuator. The FTSM will be used at cryogenic temperatures of 4 Kelvin inducing challenging requirements on the thermal power dissipation and heat leak. The magnetic bearing enables movements over a scanning stroke of 35.5 mm in a small volume. It supports the optics in a free-floating way with no friction, or other non-linearities, with sub-nanometer accuracy. This solution is based on the design of the breadboard ODL (Optical Delay Line) developed for the ESA Darwin mission4 and the MABE mechanism developed by Micromega Dynamics. During the last couple of years the initial design of the SAFARI instrument, as described in an earlier SPIE 2010 paper5, was adapted by the SAFARI team in an evolutionary way to meet the changing requirements of the SPICA payload module. This presentation will focus on the evolution of the FTSM to meet these changing requirements. This work is supported by the Netherlands Space Office (NSO).

  11. Phylogenetic and Molecular Evolutionary Analysis of Mitophagy Receptors under Hypoxic Conditions.

    PubMed

    Wu, Xiaomei; Wu, Fei-Hua; Wu, Qianrong; Zhang, Shu; Chen, Suping; Sima, Matthew

    2017-01-01

    As animals evolved to use oxygen as the main strategy to produce ATP through the process of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation, the ability to adapt to fluctuating oxygen concentrations is a crucial component of evolutionary pressure. Three mitophagy receptors, FUNDC1, BNIP3 and NIX, induce the removal of dysfunctional mitochondria (mitophagy) under prolonged hypoxic conditions in mammalian cells, to maintain oxygen homeostasis and prevent cell death. However, the evolutionary origins and structure-function relationships of these receptors remain poorly understood. Here, we found that FUN14 domain-containing proteins are present in archaeal, bacterial and eukaryotic genomes, while the family of BNIP3 domain-containing proteins evolved from early animals. We investigated conservation patterns of the critical amino acid residues of the human mitophagy receptors. These residues are involved in receptor regulation, mainly through phosphorylation, and in interaction with LC3 on the phagophore. Whereas FUNDC1 may be able to bind to LC3 under the control of post-translational regulations during the early evolution of vertebrates, BINP3 and NIX had already gained the ability for LC3 binding in early invertebrates. Moreover, FUNDC1 and BNIP3 each lack a layer of phosphorylation regulation in fishes that is conserved in land vertebrates. Molecular evolutionary analysis revealed that BNIP3 and NIX, as the targets of oxygen sensing HIF-1α, showed higher rates of substitution in fishes than in mammals. Conversely, FUNDC1 and its regulator MARCH5 showed higher rates of substitution in mammals. Thus, we postulate that the structural traces of mitophagy receptors in land vertebrates and fishes may reflect the process of vertebrate transition from water onto land, during which the changes in atmospheric oxygen concentrations acted as a selection force in vertebrate evolution. In conclusion, our study, combined with previous experimental results, shows that hypoxia

  12. Final technical report: analysis of molecular data using statistical and evolutionary approaches

    SciTech Connect

    Atteson, K.; Junhyong Kim

    2000-02-15

    This document describes the research and training accomplishments of Dr. Kevin Atteson during the DOE fellowship period of September 1997 to September 1999. Dr. Atteson received training in molecular evolution during this period and made progress on seven research topics including: computation of DNA pattern probability, asymptotic redundancy of Bayes rules, performance of neighbor-joining evolutionary tree estimation, convex evolutionary tree estimation, identifiability of trees under mixed rates, gene expression analysis, and population genetics of unequal crossover.

  13. Ancestral resurrection reveals evolutionary mechanisms of kinase plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Howard, Conor J; Hanson-Smith, Victor; Kennedy, Kristopher J; Miller, Chad J; Lou, Hua Jane; Johnson, Alexander D; Turk, Benjamin E; Holt, Liam J

    2014-01-01

    Protein kinases have evolved diverse specificities to enable cellular information processing. To gain insight into the mechanisms underlying kinase diversification, we studied the CMGC protein kinases using ancestral reconstruction. Within this group, the cyclin dependent kinases (CDKs) and mitogen activated protein kinases (MAPKs) require proline at the +1 position of their substrates, while Ime2 prefers arginine. The resurrected common ancestor of CDKs, MAPKs, and Ime2 could phosphorylate substrates with +1 proline or arginine, with preference for proline. This specificity changed to a strong preference for +1 arginine in the lineage leading to Ime2 via an intermediate with equal specificity for proline and arginine. Mutant analysis revealed that a variable residue within the kinase catalytic cleft, DFGx, modulates +1 specificity. Expansion of Ime2 kinase specificity by mutation of this residue did not cause dominant deleterious effects in vivo. Tolerance of cells to new specificities likely enabled the evolutionary divergence of kinases. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.04126.001 PMID:25310241

  14. Anticancer Molecular Mechanisms of Resveratrol

    PubMed Central

    Varoni, Elena M.; Lo Faro, Alfredo Fabrizio; Sharifi-Rad, Javad; Iriti, Marcello

    2016-01-01

    Resveratrol is a pleiotropic phytochemical belonging to the stilbene family. Though it is only significantly present in grape products, a huge amount of preclinical studies investigated its anticancer properties in a plethora of cellular and animal models. Molecular mechanisms of resveratrol involved signaling pathways related to extracellular growth factors and receptor tyrosine kinases; formation of multiprotein complexes and cell metabolism; cell proliferation and genome instability; cytoplasmic tyrosine kinase signaling (cytokine, integrin, and developmental pathways); signal transduction by the transforming growth factor-β super-family; apoptosis and inflammation; and immune surveillance and hormone signaling. Resveratrol also showed a promising role to counteract multidrug resistance: in adjuvant therapy, associated with 5-fluoruracyl and cisplatin, resveratrol had additive and/or synergistic effects increasing the chemosensitization of cancer cells. Resveratrol, by acting on diverse mechanisms simultaneously, has been emphasized as a promising, multi-target, anticancer agent, relevant in both cancer prevention and treatment. PMID:27148534

  15. Molecular mechanisms of antibiotic resistance.

    PubMed

    Wright, Gerard D

    2011-04-14

    Over the past decade, resistance to antibiotics has emerged as a crisis of global proportion. Microbes resistant to many and even all clinically approved antibiotics are increasingly common and easily spread across continents. At the same time there are fewer new antibiotic drugs coming to market. We are reaching a point where we are no longer able to confidently treat a growing number of bacterial infections. The molecular mechanisms of drug resistance provide the essential knowledge on new drug development and clinical use. These mechanisms include enzyme catalyzed antibiotic modifications, bypass of antibiotic targets and active efflux of drugs from the cell. Understanding the chemical rationale and underpinnings of resistance is an essential component of our response to this clinical challenge.

  16. Molecular Mechanisms of Synaptic Specificity

    PubMed Central

    Margeta, Milica A.; Shen, Kang

    2011-01-01

    Synapses are specialized junctions that mediate information flow between neurons and their targets. A striking feature of the nervous system is the specificity of its synaptic connections: an individual neuron will form synapses only with a small subset of available presynaptic and postsynaptic partners. Synaptic specificity has been classically thought to arise from homophilic or heterophilic interactions between adhesive molecules acting across the synaptic cleft. Over the past decade, many new mechanisms giving rise to synaptic specificity have been identified. Synapses can be specified by secreted molecules that promote or inhibit synaptogenesis, and their source can be a neighboring guidepost cell, not just presynaptic and postsynaptic neurons. Furthermore, lineage, fate, and timing of development can also play critical roles in shaping neural circuits. Future work utilizing large-scale screens will aim to elucidate the full scope of cellular mechanisms and molecular players that can give rise to synaptic specificity. PMID:19969086

  17. Anticancer Molecular Mechanisms of Resveratrol.

    PubMed

    Varoni, Elena M; Lo Faro, Alfredo Fabrizio; Sharifi-Rad, Javad; Iriti, Marcello

    2016-01-01

    Resveratrol is a pleiotropic phytochemical belonging to the stilbene family. Though it is only significantly present in grape products, a huge amount of preclinical studies investigated its anticancer properties in a plethora of cellular and animal models. Molecular mechanisms of resveratrol involved signaling pathways related to extracellular growth factors and receptor tyrosine kinases; formation of multiprotein complexes and cell metabolism; cell proliferation and genome instability; cytoplasmic tyrosine kinase signaling (cytokine, integrin, and developmental pathways); signal transduction by the transforming growth factor-β super-family; apoptosis and inflammation; and immune surveillance and hormone signaling. Resveratrol also showed a promising role to counteract multidrug resistance: in adjuvant therapy, associated with 5-fluoruracyl and cisplatin, resveratrol had additive and/or synergistic effects increasing the chemosensitization of cancer cells. Resveratrol, by acting on diverse mechanisms simultaneously, has been emphasized as a promising, multi-target, anticancer agent, relevant in both cancer prevention and treatment.

  18. Molecular mechanisms of temperature adaptation

    PubMed Central

    Bagriantsev, Sviatoslav N; Gracheva, Elena O

    2015-01-01

    Thermal perception is a fundamental physiological process pertaining to the vast majority of organisms. In vertebrates, environmental temperature is detected by the primary afferents of the somatosensory neurons in the skin, which express a ‘choir’ of ion channels tuned to detect particular temperatures. Nearly two decades of research have revealed a number of receptor ion channels that mediate the perception of several temperature ranges, but most still remain molecularly orphaned. Yet even within this well-researched realm, most of our knowledge largely pertains to two closely related species of rodents, mice and rats. While these are standard biomedical research models, mice and rats provide a limited perspective to elucidate the general principles that drive somatosensory evolution. In recent years, significant advances have been made in understanding the molecular mechanism of temperature adaptation in evolutionarily distant vertebrates and in organisms with acute thermal sensitivity. These studies have revealed the remarkable versatility of the somatosensory system and highlighted adaptations at the molecular level, which often include changes in biophysical properties of ion channels from the transient receptor potential family. Exploiting non-standard animal models has the potential to provide unexpected insights into general principles of thermosensation and thermoregulation, unachievable using the rodent model alone. PMID:25433072

  19. Molecular mechanisms of renal aging.

    PubMed

    Schmitt, Roland; Melk, Anette

    2017-09-01

    Epidemiologic, clinical, and molecular evidence suggest that aging is a major contributor to the increasing incidence of acute kidney injury and chronic kidney disease. The aging kidney undergoes complex changes that predispose to renal pathology. The underlying molecular mechanisms could be the target of therapeutic strategies in the future. Here, we summarize recent insight into cellular and molecular processes that have been shown to contribute to the renal aging phenotype.The main clinical finding of renal aging is the decrease in glomerular filtration rate, and its structural correlate is the loss of functioning nephrons. Mechanistically, this has been linked to different processes, such as podocyte hypertrophy, glomerulosclerosis, tubular atrophy, and gradual microvascular rarefaction. Renal functional recovery after an episode of acute kidney injury is significantly worse in elderly patients. This decreased regenerative potential, which is a hallmark of the aging process, may be caused by cellular senescence. Accumulation of senescent cells could explain insufficient repair and functional loss, a view that has been strengthened by recent studies showing that removal of senescent cells results in attenuation of renal aging. Other potential mechanisms are alterations in autophagy as an important component of a disturbed renal stress response and functional differences in the inflammatory system. Promising therapeutic measures to counteract these age-related problems include mimetics of caloric restriction, pharmacologic renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system inhibition, and novel strategies of senotherapy with the goal of reducing the number of senescent cells to decrease aging-related disease in the kidney. Copyright © 2017 International Society of Nephrology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-10-10

    Microalgae are unicellular microorganisms indispensible for environmental stability and life on earth, because they produce approximately half of the atmospheric oxygen, with simultaneously feeding on the harmful greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. Using gene fusion analysis, a series of five fusion/fission events was identified, that provided the basis for critical insights to their evolutionary history. Moreover, the three-dimensional structures of both the fused and the component proteins were predicted, allowing us to envisage putative protein-protein interactions that are invaluable for the efficient usage, handling and exploitation of microalgae. Collectively, our proposed approach on the five fusion/fission alga protein events contributes towards the expansion of the microalgae knowledgebase, bridging protein evolution of the ancient microalgal species and the rapidly evolving, modern, bioinformatics field. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  1. Molecular Mechanisms of Anthracycline Activity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beretta, Giovanni Luca; Zunino, Franco

    On the basis of evidence that anthracyclines are DNA intercalating agents and DNA is the primary target, a large number of analogs and related intercalators have been developed. However, doxorubicin and closely related anthracyclines still remain among the most effective antitumor agents. Multiple mechanisms have been proposed to explain their efficacy. They include inhibition of DNA-dependent functions, free radical formation, and membrane interactions. The primary mechanism of action is now ascribed to drug interference with the function of DNA topoisomerase II. The stabilization of the topoisomerase-mediated cleavable complex results in a specific type of DNA damage (i.e., double-strand protein-associated DNA breaks). The drug-stabilized cleavable complex is a potentially reversible molecular event and its persistence, as a consequence of strong DNA binding, may be recognized as an apoptotic stimulus. Indirect evidence supports the notion that the bioreductive processes of the quinone moiety generating the semiquinone radical with concomitant production of reactive oxygen species may contribute to the drug effects. The cellular defense mechanisms and response to genotoxic/cytotoxic stress appear to be critical determinants of the tumor sensitivity to anthracyclines.

  2. Molecular mechanisms of maculopapular exanthema.

    PubMed

    Fernández, Tahia D; Canto, Gabriela; Blanca, Miguel

    2009-06-01

    Maculopapular exanthema is a common cutaneous manifestation of many diseases produced by several agents able to activate the immune system, the most common of which are drugs and viruses. In spite of its high frequency, knowledge of the molecular mechanisms involved remains scarce. The cytokine patterns in maculopapular exanthema have a Th1 or Th0 pattern, according to whether the reaction is induced by a drug or a virus, respectively. Additionally, the involvement of CD4 T-lymphocytes with cytotoxic capabilities has been shown in the former. Different chemokines and their receptors are also involved in skin homing, such as CCL20, CCL27, CXCL9 or CXCL10, and oxidative stress can help exacerbate the symptoms. These findings may be very important for the diagnostic evaluation of these entities and for the development of new tools for diagnosis and treatment.

  3. Molecular mechanisms of microglial activation.

    PubMed

    Zielasek, J; Hartung, H P

    1996-01-01

    Microglial cells are brain macrophages which serve specific functions in the defense of the central nervous system (CNS) against microorganisms, the removal of tissue debris in neurodegenerative diseases or during normal development, and in autoimmune inflammatory disorders of the brain. In cultured microglial cells, several soluble inflammatory mediators such as cytokines and bacterial products like lipopolysaccharide (LPS) were demonstrated to induce a wide range of microglial activities, e.g. increased phagocytosis, chemotaxis, secretion of cytokines, activation of the respiratory burst and induction of nitric oxide synthase. Since heightened microglial activation was shown to play a role in the pathogenesis of experimental inflammatory CNS disorders, understanding the molecular mechanisms of microglial activation may lead to new treatment strategies for neurodegenerative disorders, multiple sclerosis and bacterial or viral infections of the nervous system.

  4. Molecular mechanisms of cryptococcal meningitis.

    PubMed

    Liu, Tong-Bao; Perlin, David S; Xue, Chaoyang

    2012-01-01

    Fungal meningitis is a serious disease caused by a fungal infection of the central nervous system (CNS) mostly in individuals with immune system deficiencies. Fungal meningitis is often fatal without proper treatment, and the mortality rate remains unacceptably high even with antifungal drug interventions. Currently, cryptococcal meningitis is the most common fungal meningitis in HIV-1/AIDS, and its disease mechanism has been extensively studied. The key steps for fungi to infect brain and cause meningitis after establishment of local infection are the dissemination of fungal cells to the bloodstream and invasion through the blood brain barrier to reach the CNS. In this review, we use cryptococcal CNS infection as an example to describe the current molecular understanding of fungal meningitis, including the establishment of the infection, dissemination, and brain invasion. Host and microbial factors that contribute to these infection steps are also discussed.

  5. Molecular mechanisms of RNA interference.

    PubMed

    Wilson, Ross C; Doudna, Jennifer A

    2013-01-01

    Small RNA molecules regulate eukaryotic gene expression during development and in response to stresses including viral infection. Specialized ribonucleases and RNA-binding proteins govern the production and action of small regulatory RNAs. After initial processing in the nucleus by Drosha, precursor microRNAs (pre-miRNAs) are transported to the cytoplasm, where Dicer cleavage generates mature microRNAs (miRNAs) and short interfering RNAs (siRNAs). These double-stranded products assemble with Argonaute proteins such that one strand is preferentially selected and used to guide sequence-specific silencing of complementary target mRNAs by endonucleolytic cleavage or translational repression. Molecular structures of Dicer and Argonaute proteins, and of RNA-bound complexes, have offered exciting insights into the mechanisms operating at the heart of RNA-silencing pathways.

  6. Molecular Mechanisms of Antisense Oligonucleotides.

    PubMed

    Crooke, Stanley T

    2017-04-01

    In 1987, when I became interested in the notion of antisense technology, I returned to my roots in RNA biochemistry and began work to understand how oligonucleotides behave in biological systems. Since 1989, my research has focused primarily on this topic, although I have been involved in most areas of research in antisense technology. I believe that the art of excellent science is to frame large important questions that are perhaps not immediately answerable with existing knowledge and methods, and then conceive a long-term (multiyear) research strategy that begins by answering the most pressing answerable questions on the path to the long-term goals. Then, a step-by-step research pathway that will address the strategic questions posed must be implemented, adjusting the plan as new things are learned. This is the approach we have taken at Ionis. Obviously, to create antisense technology, we have had to address a wide array of strategic questions, for example, the medicinal chemistry of oligonucleotides, manufacturing and analytical methods, pharmacokinetics and toxicology, as well as questions about the molecular pharmacology of antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs). Each of these endeavors has consumed nearly three decades of scientific effort, is still very much a work-in-progress, and has resulted in hundreds of publications. As a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award 2016 granted by the Oligonucleotide Therapeutic Society, in this note, my goal is to summarize the contributions of my group to the efforts to understand the molecular mechanisms of ASOs.

  7. Molecular Mechanisms of Antisense Oligonucleotides

    PubMed Central

    2017-01-01

    In 1987, when I became interested in the notion of antisense technology, I returned to my roots in RNA biochemistry and began work to understand how oligonucleotides behave in biological systems. Since 1989, my research has focused primarily on this topic, although I have been involved in most areas of research in antisense technology. I believe that the art of excellent science is to frame large important questions that are perhaps not immediately answerable with existing knowledge and methods, and then conceive a long-term (multiyear) research strategy that begins by answering the most pressing answerable questions on the path to the long-term goals. Then, a step-by-step research pathway that will address the strategic questions posed must be implemented, adjusting the plan as new things are learned. This is the approach we have taken at Ionis. Obviously, to create antisense technology, we have had to address a wide array of strategic questions, for example, the medicinal chemistry of oligonucleotides, manufacturing and analytical methods, pharmacokinetics and toxicology, as well as questions about the molecular pharmacology of antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs). Each of these endeavors has consumed nearly three decades of scientific effort, is still very much a work-in-progress, and has resulted in hundreds of publications. As a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award 2016 granted by the Oligonucleotide Therapeutic Society, in this note, my goal is to summarize the contributions of my group to the efforts to understand the molecular mechanisms of ASOs. PMID:28080221

  8. Cancer chemoprevention - selected molecular mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Walczak, Katarzyna; Marciniak, Sebastian; Rajtar, Grażyna

    2017-03-02

    The effect of diet on cancer formation and prevention of carcinogenesis has attracted considerable attention for years and is the subject of several studies. Some components of the daily diet, such as resveratrol, curcumin, genistein, gingerol, can significantly reduce the risk of cancer or affect the rate of tumor progression. Cancer chemoprevention assumes the use of natural or synthetic biologically active substances in order to prevent, inhibit or reverse the progression of cancer. There are many biologically active compounds in several natural products, i.e. garlic, ginger, soy, curcuma, tomatoes, cruciferous plants or green tea. Their chemopreventive activity is based on the inhibition of processes underlying carcinogenesis (inflammation, transformation and proliferation), but also affects the final phase of carcinogenesis - angiogenesis and metastasis. Despite the relatively low toxicity of chemopreventive agents, their molecular targets often coincide with the objectives of the currently used cancer therapies. The widespread use of chemopreventive agents may contribute to reduction of the rate of cancer incidence, and increase the effectiveness of conventional cancer therapies. In the present study, selected molecular mechanisms of the chemopreventive activity have been discussed, especially their involvement in the regulation of signal transduction, cell cycle regulation, apoptosis, metastasis and angiogenesis. The role of chemopreventive agents in the inflammatory process, the metabolism of xenobiotics and multidrug resistance has been also characterized.

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-01-01

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

  10. A molecular evolutionary framework for the phylum Nematoda.

    PubMed

    Blaxter, M L; De Ley, P; Garey, J R; Liu, L X; Scheldeman, P; Vierstraete, A; Vanfleteren, J R; Mackey, L Y; Dorris, M; Frisse, L M; Vida, J T; Thomas, W K

    1998-03-05

    Nematodes are important: parasitic nematodes threaten the health of plants, animals and humans on a global scale; interstitial nematodes pervade sediment and soil ecosystems in overwhelming numbers; and Caenorhabditis elegans is a favourite experimental model system. A lack of clearly homologous characters and the absence of an informative fossil record have prevented us from deriving a consistent evolutionary framework for the phylum. Here we present a phylogenetic analysis, using 53 small subunit ribosomal DNA sequences from a wide range of nematodes. With this analysis, we can compare animal-parasitic, plant-parasitic and free-living taxa using a common measurement. Our results indicate that convergent morphological evolution may be extensive and that present higher-level classification of the Nematoda will need revision. We identify five major clades within the phylum, all of which include parasitic species. We suggest that animal parasitism arose independently at least four times, and plant parasitism three times. We clarify the relationship of C. elegans to major parasitic groups; this will allow more effective exploitation of our genetic and biological knowledge of this model species.

  11. Comment on “The Molecular Evolutionary Patterns of the Insulin/FOXO Signaling Pathway”

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

    Letter to the Editor on Wang M, Wang Q, Wang Z, Zhang X, Pan Y. The molecular evolutionary patterns of the insulin/FOXO signaling pathway. Evol Bioinform. 2013;9:1–16. doi: 10.4137/EBO.S10539. PMID:23818748

  12. The evolution of different forms of sociality: behavioral mechanisms and eco-evolutionary feedback.

    PubMed

    van der Post, Daniel J; Verbrugge, Rineke; Hemelrijk, Charlotte K

    2015-01-01

    Different forms of sociality have evolved via unique evolutionary trajectories. However, it remains unknown to what extent trajectories of social evolution depend on the specific characteristics of different species. Our approach to studying such trajectories is to use evolutionary case-studies, so that we can investigate how grouping co-evolves with a multitude of individual characteristics. Here we focus on anti-predator vigilance and foraging. We use an individual-based model, where behavioral mechanisms are specified, and costs and benefits are not predefined. We show that evolutionary changes in grouping alter selection pressures on vigilance, and vice versa. This eco-evolutionary feedback generates an evolutionary progression from "leader-follower" societies to "fission-fusion" societies, where cooperative vigilance in groups is maintained via a balance between within- and between-group selection. Group-level selection is generated from an assortment that arises spontaneously when vigilant and non-vigilant foragers have different grouping tendencies. The evolutionary maintenance of small groups, and cooperative vigilance in those groups, is therefore achieved simultaneously. The evolutionary phases, and the transitions between them, depend strongly on behavioral mechanisms. Thus, integrating behavioral mechanisms and eco-evolutionary feedback is critical for understanding what kinds of intermediate stages are involved during the evolution of particular forms of sociality.

  13. The Evolution of Different Forms of Sociality: Behavioral Mechanisms and Eco-Evolutionary Feedback

    PubMed Central

    van der Post, Daniel J.; Verbrugge, Rineke; Hemelrijk, Charlotte K.

    2015-01-01

    Different forms of sociality have evolved via unique evolutionary trajectories. However, it remains unknown to what extent trajectories of social evolution depend on the specific characteristics of different species. Our approach to studying such trajectories is to use evolutionary case-studies, so that we can investigate how grouping co-evolves with a multitude of individual characteristics. Here we focus on anti-predator vigilance and foraging. We use an individual-based model, where behavioral mechanisms are specified, and costs and benefits are not predefined. We show that evolutionary changes in grouping alter selection pressures on vigilance, and vice versa. This eco-evolutionary feedback generates an evolutionary progression from “leader-follower” societies to “fission-fusion” societies, where cooperative vigilance in groups is maintained via a balance between within- and between-group selection. Group-level selection is generated from an assortment that arises spontaneously when vigilant and non-vigilant foragers have different grouping tendencies. The evolutionary maintenance of small groups, and cooperative vigilance in those groups, is therefore achieved simultaneously. The evolutionary phases, and the transitions between them, depend strongly on behavioral mechanisms. Thus, integrating behavioral mechanisms and eco-evolutionary feedback is critical for understanding what kinds of intermediate stages are involved during the evolution of particular forms of sociality. PMID:25629313

  14. Mechanical sensitivity and the dynamics of evolutionary rate shifts in biomechanical systems.

    PubMed

    Muñoz, Martha M; Anderson, Philip S L; Patek, S N

    2017-01-25

    The influence of biophysical relationships on rates of morphological evolution is a cornerstone of evolutionary theory. Mechanical sensitivity-the correlation strength between mechanical output and the system's underlying morphological components-is thought to impact the evolutionary dynamics of form-function relationships, yet has rarely been examined. Here, we compare the evolutionary rates of the mechanical components of the four-bar linkage system in the raptorial appendage of mantis shrimp (Order Stomatopoda). This system's mechanical output (kinematic transmission (KT)) is highly sensitive to variation in its output link, and less sensitive to its input and coupler links. We found that differential mechanical sensitivity is associated with variation in evolutionary rate: KT and the output link exhibit faster rates of evolution than the input and coupler links to which KT is less sensitive. Furthermore, for KT and, to a lesser extent, the output link, rates of evolution were faster in 'spearing' stomatopods than 'smashers', indicating that mechanical sensitivity may influence trait-dependent diversification. Our results suggest that mechanical sensitivity can impact morphological evolution and guide the process of phenotypic diversification. The connection between mechanical sensitivity and evolutionary rates provides a window into the interaction between physical rules and the evolutionary dynamics of morphological diversification. © 2017 The Author(s).

  15. Molecular Mechanisms of Bacterial Pathogenicity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fuchs, Thilo Martin

    Cautious optimism has arisen over recent decades with respect to the long struggle against bacteria, viruses, and parasites. This has been offset, however, by a fatal complacency stemming from previous successes such as the development of antimicrobial drugs, the eradication of smallpox, and global immunization programs. Infectious diseases nevertheless remain the world's leading cause of death, killing at least 17 million persons annually [61]. Diarrheal diseases caused by Vibrio cholerae or Shigella dysenteriae kill about 3 million persons every year, most of them young children: Another 4 million die of tuberculosis or tetanus. Outbreaks of diphtheria in Eastern Europe threatens the population with a disease that had previously seemed to be overcome. Efforts to control infectious diseases more comprehensively are undermined not only by socioeconomic conditions but also by the nature of the pathogenic organisms itself; some isolates of Staphylococcus aureus and Enterobacter have become so resistant to drugs by horizontal gene transfer that they are almost untreatable. In addition, the mechanism of genetic variability helps pathogens to evade the human immune system, thus compromising the development of powerful vaccines. Therefore detailed knowledge of the molecular mechanisms of microbial pathogenicity is absolutely necessary to develop new strategies against infectious diseases and thus to lower their impact on human health and social development.

  16. Molecular mechanisms of penile erection.

    PubMed

    Mas, Manuel

    2010-10-01

    The penis physiological states of flaccidity or erection, result from the contraction or relaxation, respectively, of smooth muscle cells in the corpora cavernosa (CSMCs). They result from the interaction of various inter and intracellular molecular signaling pathways. During the more usual state of flaccidity seems to predominate a tonic sympathetic activity, releasing noradrenaline (NA) and other agonists that generate contractile signals in the CSMCs, with the likely cooperation of endothelium-derived messengers. Through activation of membrane receptors in the CSMCs they raise the intracellular messengers inositol triphosphate (IP3) and diacylglycerol (DAG). This results in a transient increase in cytosolic calcium concentration [Ca2+]i that starts the contractile response which is further sustained by the parallel agonist-induced activation of a "calcium sensitizing" mechanism involving the RhoA/Rho-kinase pathway. Overexpression of the latter might contribute to several vascular disorders as hypertension, vasospasm or erectile dysfunction. On sexual stimulation the cavernous nerves release nitric oxide (NO) that starts the erectile response. They also release acetylcholine that stimulates the endothelium to generate a more sustained release of NO. NO diffuses into CSMCs and increases their intracellular levels of cyclic guanosin monophosphate (cGMP) which decreases [Ca2+]i and deactivates the calcium sensitizing mechanism, thus relaxing CSMCs. This main physiological pathway for CSMCs relaxation is helped by the cyclic adenosin monophosphate (cAMP) pathway activated by various intercellular messengers from neural or paracrine sources, including prostaglandins E (PGE). Different phosphodiesterase enzymes (PDEs) inactivate the cyclic nucleotides thereby limiting their erectogenic action. Indeed the pharmacological inhibition of PDEs, especially the cGMP-specific PDE5, greatly enhances the erectile responses. There are crosstalk mechanisms between the cGMP and c

  17. Molecular toxicity mechanism of nanosilver.

    PubMed

    McShan, Danielle; Ray, Paresh C; Yu, Hongtao

    2014-03-01

    Silver is an ancient antibiotic that has found many new uses due to its unique properties on the nanoscale. Due to its presence in many consumer products, the toxicity of nanosilver has become a hot topic. This review summarizes recent advances, particularly the molecular mechanism of nanosilver toxicity. The surface of nanosilver can easily be oxidized by O(2) and other molecules in the environmental and biological systems leading to the release of Ag(+), a known toxic ion. Therefore, nanosilver toxicity is closely related to the release of Ag(+). In fact, it is difficult to determine what portion of the toxicity is from the nano-form and what is from the ionic form. The surface oxidation rate is closely related to the nanosilver surface coating, coexisting molecules, especially thiol-containing compounds, lighting conditions, and the interaction of nanosilver with nucleic acids, lipid molecules, and proteins in a biological system. Nanosilver has been shown to penetrate the cell and become internalized. Thus, nanosilver often acts as a source of Ag(+) inside the cell. One of the main mechanisms of toxicity is that it causes oxidative stress through the generation of reactive oxygen species and causes damage to cellular components including DNA damage, activation of antioxidant enzymes, depletion of antioxidant molecules (e.g., glutathione), binding and disabling of proteins, and damage to the cell membrane. Several major questions remain to be answered: (1) the toxic contribution from the ionic form versus the nano-form; (2) key enzymes and signaling pathways responsible for the toxicity; and (3) effect of coexisting molecules on the toxicity and its relationship to surface coating.

  18. [Molecular mechanisms of antibody synthesis].

    PubMed

    Bartram, C R; Kleihauer, E

    1984-10-01

    Antibodies or immunoglobulins play a central part in the immune system. The basic unit of an antibody is composed of two identical light and two identical heavy chains; each chain contains two functionally and structurally distinct regions: an amino-terminal variable or antigen-binding site, and a carboxy-terminal constant region responsible for immunological effector functions. Thanks to recombinant DNA technology the paradox of a limited number of genes and a virtually unlimited capacity to generate specific antibodies has now been resolved at least in outline. Immunoglobulin chains are encoded in multiple gene segments of three unlinked gene families scattered along chromosomes 2 (kappa light chain), 14 (heavy chain) and 22 (lambda light chain). During B-cell differentiation these genes are assembled by somatic recombination mechanisms to form active genes. The enormous diversity generated by means of DNA rearrangements is supplemented by mutations somatically introduced into variable region sequences. The medical impact of these discoveries will be substantial. Possible applications include identification of B-cell precursors lacking conventional markes, a molecular classification of lymphomas and a precise distinction between monoclonal and polyclonal lymphoproliferative disorders.

  19. Molecular mechanisms of statin intolerance

    PubMed Central

    Franczyk, Beata; Toth, Peter P.; Rysz, Jacek; Banach, Maciej

    2016-01-01

    Statins reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in primary and secondary prevention. Despite their efficacy, many persons are unable to tolerate statins due to adverse events such as hepatotoxicity and myalgia/myopathy. In the case of most patients, it seems that mild-to-moderate abnormalities in liver and muscle enzymes are not serious adverse effects and do not outweigh the benefits of coronary heart disease risk reduction. The risk for mortality or permanent organ damage ascribed to statin use is very small and limited to cases of myopathy and rhabdomyolysis. Statin-induced muscle-related adverse events comprise a highly heterogeneous clinical disorder with numerous, complex etiologies and a variety of genetic backgrounds. Every patient who presents with statin-related side effects cannot undergo the type of exhaustive molecular characterization that would include all of these mechanisms. Frequently the only solution is to either discontinue statin therapy/reduce the dose or attempt intermittent dosing strategies at a low dose. PMID:27279860

  20. Molecular mechanisms of drug addiction.

    PubMed

    Nestler, Eric J

    2004-01-01

    Regulation of gene expression is one mechanism by which drugs of abuse can induce relatively long-lasting changes in the brain to cause a state of addiction. Here, we focus on two transcription factors, CREB (cAMP response element binding protein) and DeltaFosB, which contribute to drug-induced changes in gene expression. Both are activated in the nucleus accumbens, a major brain reward region, but mediate different aspects of the addicted state. CREB mediates a form of tolerance and dependence, which dampens an individual's sensitivity to subsequent drug exposure and contributes to a negative emotional state during early phases of withdrawal. In contrast, DeltaFosB mediates a state of relatively prolonged sensitization to drug exposure and may contribute to the increased drive and motivation for drug, which is a core symptom of addictive disorders. A major goal of current research is to identify the many target genes through which CREB and DeltaFosB mediate these behavioral states. In addition, future work needs to understand how CREB and DeltaFosB, acting in concert with numerous other drug-induced molecular changes in nucleus accumbens and many other brain regions, interact with one another to produce the complex behavioral phenotype that defines addiction.

  1. Molecular evolutionary relationships between partulid land snails of the Pacific.

    PubMed Central

    Goodacre, S L; Wade, C M

    2001-01-01

    Adaptive radiation of partulid land snails in the tropical Pacific has produced an extraordinary array of distinctive morphological, ecological and behavioural types. Here we use part of the nuclear ribosomal RNA gene cluster to investigate the relationships within and between the three partulid genera, Partula, Samoana and Eua. The genera cluster separately, with Samoana and Partula forming monophyletic groups. With one exception, the molecular data generally support the previous generic classification based on genital morphology, even in species that show a number of characteristics otherwise atypical of the genus. Convergent evolution explains morphological similarities between members of different genera. The phylogeny suggests that Samoana has colonized the Pacific from west to east, originating in the area where Eua, believed to be the most ancient partulid genus, is found. An unexplained anomaly is the reported occurrence of a single species of Samoana in the Mariana Islands of the western Pacific. The genus Partula has a disjunct distribution, encompassing islands both to the east and west of the range occupied by Eua. Partula seems to have spread both eastward and westward after the splitting of the Partula lineage. PMID:12123290

  2. Sequence diversity and molecular evolutionary rates between buffalo and cattle.

    PubMed

    Moaeen-ud-Din, M; Bilal, G

    2015-02-01

    Identification of genes of importance regarding production traits in buffalo is impaired by a paucity of genomic resources. Choice to fill this gap is to exploit data available for cow. The cross-species application of comparative genomics tools is potential gear to investigate the buffalo genome. However, this is dependent on nucleotide sequences similarity. In this study, gene diversity between buffalo and cattle was determined using 86 gene orthologues. There was approximately 3% difference in all genes in terms of nucleotide diversity and 0.267 ± 0.134 in amino acids, indicating the possibility for successfully using cross-species strategies for genomic studies. There were significantly higher non-synonymous substitutions both in cattle and buffalo; however, there was similar difference in terms of dN- dS (4.414 versus 4.745) in buffalo and cattle, respectively. Higher rate of non-synonymous substitutions at similar level in buffalo and cattle indicated a similar positive selection pressure. Results for relative rate test were assessed with the chi-squared test. There was no significance difference on unique mutations between cattle and buffalo lineages at synonymous sites. However, there was a significance difference on unique mutations for non-synonymous sites, indicating ongoing mutagenic process that generates substitutional mutation at approximately the same rate at silent sites. Moreover, despite of common ancestry, our results indicate a different divergent time among genes of cattle and buffalo. This is the first demonstration that variable rates of molecular evolution may be present within the family Bovidae.

  3. Relationship between the column density distribution and evolutionary class of molecular clouds as viewed by ATLASGAL

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abreu-Vicente, J.; Kainulainen, J.; Stutz, A.; Henning, Th.; Beuther, H.

    2015-09-01

    We present the first study of the relationship between the column density distribution of molecular clouds within nearby Galactic spiral arms and their evolutionary status as measured from their stellar content. We analyze a sample of 195 molecular clouds located at distances below 5.5 kpc, identified from the ATLASGAL 870 μm data. We define three evolutionary classes within this sample: starless clumps, star-forming clouds with associated young stellar objects, and clouds associated with H ii regions. We find that the N(H2) probability density functions (N-PDFs) of these three classes of objects are clearly different: the N-PDFs of starless clumps are narrowest and close to log-normal in shape, while star-forming clouds and H ii regions exhibit a power-law shape over a wide range of column densities and log-normal-like components only at low column densities. We use the N-PDFs to estimate the evolutionary time-scales of the three classes of objects based on a simple analytic model from literature. Finally, we show that the integral of the N-PDFs, the dense gas mass fraction, depends on the total mass of the regions as measured by ATLASGAL: more massive clouds contain greater relative amounts of dense gas across all evolutionary classes. Appendices are available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org

  4. Molecular mechanisms of synaptic plasticity and memory.

    PubMed

    Elgersma, Y; Silva, A J

    1999-04-01

    To unravel the molecular and cellular bases of learning and memory is one of the most ambitious goals of modern science. The progress of recent years has not only brought us closer to understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying stable, long-lasting changes in synaptic strength, but it has also provided further evidence that these mechanisms are required for memory formation.

  5. Thermal characteristics of molecular clouds and evolutionary states of young stars in Taurus and Ophiuchus.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wu, Jingwen; Wu, Yuefang

    1999-09-01

    Gas kinetic temperature Tk and dust temperature Td were obtained for the clouds in Ophiuchus and Taurus based on CO observations as well as IRAS data. The requested Td > Tk for the dust collision heating mechanism has been tested. The relationship between Td, Tbol and evolutionary states has been analyzed. Results show that young stars in the Ophiuchus core are younger than in those in Taurus, and the IRAS colour temperature can be used to estimate the evolutionary states of young stars as a whole.

  6. Combining geometric morphometrics, molecular phylogeny, and micropaleontology to assess evolutionary patterns in Mallomonas (Synurophyceae: Heterokontophyta).

    PubMed

    Siver, P A; Wolfe, A P; Rohlf, F J; Shin, W; Jo, B Y

    2013-03-01

    Synurophytes, also known as scaled chrysophytes, are ecologically important algae that produce an array of siliceous structures upon which their taxonomy is based. Despite occupying a key position within the photosynthetic heterokonts, the evolutionary history of synurophytes remains poorly constrained. Here, modern and Middle Eocene siliceous scales of the morphotaxon Mallomonas insignis are used as a model to investigate synurophyte evolutionary patterns. Structural details of scale morphology were examined comparatively with scanning electron microscopy and scored for geometric morphometric analyses to assess the stability of shape characters. Although consistent size differences exist (modern scales are larger than Eocene counterparts), the populations cannot be differentiated on the basis of shape or microstructural detail, implying considerable evolutionary stasis in scale morphology. A time-calibrated relaxed molecular clock analysis using a three-gene concatenated data set (27 strains) suggests that the M. insignis lineage predates the available fossil record, having diverged from closest congeneric taxa in the Cretaceous (≥94 Ma). However, the molecular analysis also implies that considerable genetic variability is present within several morphotaxa of Mallomonas, implying that substantial genetic variability has arisen despite the retention of uniform scale morphologies, and resulting in the widespread occurrence of cryptic taxa. Results from the synurophyte lineage are consistent with the notion of protracted ghost ranges (>10 Ma) implied by the molecular phylogenies of other algal groups, together pointing to the paucity of the fossil record of these organisms on these timescales.

  7. [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.

  8. Deciphering Evolutionary Mechanisms Between Mutualistic and Pathogenic Symbioses.

    PubMed

    Nishiguchi, M K; Hirsch, A M; Devinney, R; Vedantam, G; Riley, M A; Mansky, L M

    2008-01-01

    The continuum between mutualistic and pathogenic symbioses has been an underlying theme for understanding the evolution of infection and disease in a number of eukaryotic-microbe associations. The ability to monitor and then predict the spread of infectious diseases may depend upon our knowledge and capabilities of anticipating the behavior of virulent pathogens by studying related, benign symbioses. For instance, the ability of a symbiotic species to infect, colonize, and proliferate efficiently in a susceptible host will depend on a number of factors that influence both partners during the infection. Levels of virulence are not only affected by the genetic and phenotypic composite of the symbiont, but also the life history, mode(s) of transmission, and environmental factors that influence colonization, such as antibiotic treatment. Population dynamics of both host and symbiont, including densities, migration, as well as competition between symbionts will also affect infection rates of the pathogen as well as change the evolutionary dynamics between host and symbiont. It is therefore important to be able to compare the evolution of virulence between a wide range of mutualistic and pathogenic systems in order to determine when and where new infections might occur, and what conditions will render the pathogen ineffective. This perspective focuses on several symbiotic models that compare mutualistic associations to pathogenic forms and the questions posed regarding their evolution and radiation. A common theme among these systems is the prevailing concept of how heritable mutations can eventually lead to novel phenotypes and eventually new species.

  9. Deciphering Evolutionary Mechanisms Between Mutualistic and Pathogenic Symbioses

    PubMed Central

    Nishiguchi, M.K.; Hirsch, A. M.; Devinney, R.; Vedantam, G.; Riley, M.A.; Mansky, L.M.

    2009-01-01

    The continuum between mutualistic and pathogenic symbioses has been an underlying theme for understanding the evolution of infection and disease in a number of eukaryotic-microbe associations. The ability to monitor and then predict the spread of infectious diseases may depend upon our knowledge and capabilities of anticipating the behavior of virulent pathogens by studying related, benign symbioses. For instance, the ability of a symbiotic species to infect, colonize, and proliferate efficiently in a susceptible host will depend on a number of factors that influence both partners during the infection. Levels of virulence are not only affected by the genetic and phenotypic composite of the symbiont, but also the life history, mode(s) of transmission, and environmental factors that influence colonization, such as antibiotic treatment. Population dynamics of both host and symbiont, including densities, migration, as well as competition between symbionts will also affect infection rates of the pathogen as well as change the evolutionary dynamics between host and symbiont. It is therefore important to be able to compare the evolution of virulence between a wide range of mutualistic and pathogenic systems in order to determine when and where new infections might occur, and what conditions will render the pathogen ineffective. This perspective focuses on several symbiotic models that compare mutualistic associations to pathogenic forms and the questions posed regarding their evolution and radiation. A common theme among these systems is the prevailing concept of how heritable mutations can eventually lead to novel phenotypes and eventually new species. PMID:19655044

  10. Mechanics of evolutionary digit reduction in fossil horses (Equidae).

    PubMed

    McHorse, Brianna K; Biewener, Andrew A; Pierce, Stephanie E

    2017-08-30

    Digit reduction is a major trend that characterizes horse evolution, but its causes and consequences have rarely been quantitatively tested. Using beam analysis on fossilized centre metapodials, we tested how locomotor bone stresses changed with digit reduction and increasing body size across the horse lineage. Internal bone geometry was captured from 13 fossil horse genera that covered the breadth of the equid phylogeny and the spectrum of digit reduction and body sizes, from Hyracotherium to Equus To account for the load-bearing role of side digits, a novel, continuous measure of digit reduction was also established-toe reduction index (TRI). Our results show that without accounting for side digits, three-toed horses as late as Parahippus would have experienced physiologically untenable bone stresses. Conversely, when side digits are modelled as load-bearing, species at the base of the horse radiation through Equus probably maintained a similar safety factor to fracture stress. We conclude that the centre metapodial compensated for evolutionary digit reduction and body mass increases by becoming more resistant to bending through substantial positive allometry in internal geometry. These results lend support to two historical hypotheses: that increasing body mass selected for a single, robust metapodial rather than several smaller ones; and that, as horse limbs became elongated, the cost of inertia from the side toes outweighed their utility for stabilization or load-bearing. © 2017 The Author(s).

  11. Polarization effects in molecular mechanical force fields

    PubMed Central

    Cieplak, Piotr; Dupradeau, François-Yves; Duan, Yong; Wang, Junmei

    2014-01-01

    The focus here is on incorporating electronic polarization into classical molecular mechanical force fields used for macromolecular simulations. First, we briefly examine currently used molecular mechanical force fields and the current status of intermolecular forces as viewed by quantum mechanical approaches. Next, we demonstrate how some components of quantum mechanical energy are effectively incorporated into classical molecular mechanical force fields. Finally, we assess the modeling methods of one such energy component—polarization energy—and present an overview of polarizable force fields and their current applications. Incorporating polarization effects into current force fields paves the way to developing potentially more accurate, though more complex, parameterizations that can be used for more realistic molecular simulations. PMID:21828594

  12. Molecular Mechanisms of Nitroarene Degradation

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2002-09-17

    nitrobenzene with the concomitant formation of catechol . The analogous enzyme system in Pseudomonas JS42 oxidizes 2-nitrotoluene to 3-methylcatechol and...2NTDO) system from Pseudomonas JS42. The enzymes catalyzing the initial oxidations of nitrobenzene and 2-nitrotoluene belong to a family of...color and the native molecular weight (35,000) showed that the active enzyme was a monomer. The N-terminal sequence of the recombinant reductase was

  13. Teaching Evolutionary Mechanisms: Genetic Drift and M&M's.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Staub, Nancy L.

    2002-01-01

    Describes a classroom activity that teaches the mechanism of genetic drift to undergraduates. Illustrates a number of concepts that are critical in developing evolution literacy by sampling M&M milk chocolate candies. (MM)

  14. Teaching Evolutionary Mechanisms: Genetic Drift and M&M's.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Staub, Nancy L.

    2002-01-01

    Describes a classroom activity that teaches the mechanism of genetic drift to undergraduates. Illustrates a number of concepts that are critical in developing evolution literacy by sampling M&M milk chocolate candies. (MM)

  15. Molecular systematics, zoogeography, and evolutionary ecology of the atlantic parrotfish genus Sparisoma.

    PubMed

    Bernardi, G; Robertson, D R; Clifton, K E; Azzurro, E

    2000-05-01

    Parrotfishes of the genus Sparisoma (Scaridae) are ecologically important tropical reef fishes restricted to the Atlantic Ocean. We investigated phylogenetic relationships among the eight extant species within this genus using mitochondrially encoded 12S and 16S ribosomal genes. Our molecular data support the view that (i) Sparisoma originated approximately 14-35 million years ago (mya), probably in the tropical western Atlantic, off Brazil; (ii) there have been at least four discrete bouts of cladogenesis within the genus, with the most recent one ( approximately 2.8-5.6 mya) involving four events in both the east and the west Atlantic and across the Atlantic; and (iii) the genus invaded the eastern Atlantic on two different occasions, probably by at least two different routes. The data also offer support for Bellwood's ideas concerning the evolutionary changes in adult feeding patterns and habitat use within Scarids. Specifically, they support the evolutionary position of the ecological traits of Sparisoma as intermediate within the family.

  16. Molecular Mechanisms and Apoptosis in Pdt

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Krammer, Barbara; Verwanger, Thomas

    2010-04-01

    Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is a successful new therapy for malignant and non-malignant diseases. It is based on the activation of a photosensitizing dye by visible light in the target tissue, followed by production of cytotoxic substances. The article gives a short overview on the field of PDT with main focus on molecular mechanisms and apoptosis. It includes photodynamic principles, clinical application and procedures, biological effects, molecular mechanisms of damage processing and apoptosis.

  17. Mechanisms of Multiphoton Dissociation of Molecular Ions.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1981-04-30

    dissociation energy and are thus re- Thus, some small fraction of all ions produced in our moved from the beam by unimolecular decomposition. source probably...AD-A099 121 SRI INTERNATIONAL MENLO PARK CA F/6 7/5 MECHANISMS OF MULTIPHOTON DISSOCIATION OF MOLECULAR IONS, U) APR 81 M J COGGIOLA. J R PETERSON, P...Final Report MECHANISMS OF MULTIPHOTON DISSOCIATION OF MOLECULAR IONS By: Michael J. Coggiola, Project Leader James R. Peterson, Project Supervisor

  18. The population genetics of antibiotic resistance: integrating molecular mechanisms and treatment contexts.

    PubMed

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

    2010-06-01

    Despite efforts from a range of disciplines, our ability to predict and combat the evolution of antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria is limited. This is because resistance evolution involves a complex interplay between the specific drug, bacterial genetics and both natural and treatment ecology. Incorporating details of the molecular mechanisms of drug resistance and ecology into evolutionary models has proved useful in predicting the dynamics of resistance evolution. However, putting these models to practical use will require extensive collaboration between mathematicians, molecular biologists, evolutionary ecologists and clinicians.

  19. Molecular mechanisms of antibiotic resistance.

    PubMed

    Blair, Jessica M A; Webber, Mark A; Baylay, Alison J; Ogbolu, David O; Piddock, Laura J V

    2015-01-01

    Antibiotic-resistant bacteria that are difficult or impossible to treat are becoming increasingly common and are causing a global health crisis. Antibiotic resistance is encoded by several genes, many of which can transfer between bacteria. New resistance mechanisms are constantly being described, and new genes and vectors of transmission are identified on a regular basis. This article reviews recent advances in our understanding of the mechanisms by which bacteria are either intrinsically resistant or acquire resistance to antibiotics, including the prevention of access to drug targets, changes in the structure and protection of antibiotic targets and the direct modification or inactivation of antibiotics.

  20. Symmetry-based reciprocity: evolutionary constraints on a proximate mechanism.

    PubMed

    Campennì, Marco; Schino, Gabriele

    2016-01-01

    Background. While the evolution of reciprocal cooperation has attracted an enormous attention, the proximate mechanisms underlying the ability of animals to cooperate reciprocally are comparatively neglected. Symmetry-based reciprocity is a hypothetical proximate mechanism that has been suggested to be widespread among cognitively unsophisticated animals. Methods. We developed two agent-based models of symmetry-based reciprocity (one relying on an arbitrary tag and the other on interindividual proximity) and tested their ability both to reproduce significant emergent features of cooperation in group living animals and to promote the evolution of cooperation. Results. Populations formed by agents adopting symmetry-based reciprocity showed differentiated "social relationships" and a positive correlation between cooperation given and received: two common aspects of animal cooperation. However, when reproduction and selection across multiple generations were added to the models, agents adopting symmetry-based reciprocity were outcompeted by selfish agents that never cooperated. Discussion. In order to evolve, hypothetical proximate mechanisms must be able to stand competition from alternative strategies. While the results of our simulations require confirmation using analytical methods, we provisionally suggest symmetry-based reciprocity is to be abandoned as a possible proximate mechanism underlying the ability of animals to reciprocate cooperative interactions.

  1. Symmetry-based reciprocity: evolutionary constraints on a proximate mechanism

    PubMed Central

    Campennì, Marco

    2016-01-01

    Background. While the evolution of reciprocal cooperation has attracted an enormous attention, the proximate mechanisms underlying the ability of animals to cooperate reciprocally are comparatively neglected. Symmetry-based reciprocity is a hypothetical proximate mechanism that has been suggested to be widespread among cognitively unsophisticated animals. Methods. We developed two agent-based models of symmetry-based reciprocity (one relying on an arbitrary tag and the other on interindividual proximity) and tested their ability both to reproduce significant emergent features of cooperation in group living animals and to promote the evolution of cooperation. Results. Populations formed by agents adopting symmetry-based reciprocity showed differentiated “social relationships” and a positive correlation between cooperation given and received: two common aspects of animal cooperation. However, when reproduction and selection across multiple generations were added to the models, agents adopting symmetry-based reciprocity were outcompeted by selfish agents that never cooperated. Discussion. In order to evolve, hypothetical proximate mechanisms must be able to stand competition from alternative strategies. While the results of our simulations require confirmation using analytical methods, we provisionally suggest symmetry-based reciprocity is to be abandoned as a possible proximate mechanism underlying the ability of animals to reciprocate cooperative interactions. PMID:26998412

  2. Fibrous tissues growth and remodeling: Evolutionary micro-mechanical theory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lanir, Yoram

    2017-10-01

    Living fibrous tissues are composite materials having the unique ability to adapt their size, shape, structure and mechanical properties in response to external loading. This adaptation, termed growth and remodeling (G&R), occurs throughout life and is achieved via cell-induced turnover of tissue constituents where some are degraded and new ones are produced. Realistic mathematical modeling of G&R provides insight into the basic processes, allows for hypotheses testing, and constitutes an essential tool for establishing clinical thresholds of pathological remodeling and for the production of tissue substitutes aimed to achieve target structure and properties. In this study, a general 3D micro-mechanical multi-scale theory of G&R in fibrous tissue was developed which connects between the evolution of the tissue structure and properties, and the underlying mechano-biological turnover events of its constituents. This structural approach circumvents a fundamental obstacle in modeling growth mechanics since the growth motion is not bijective. The model was realized for a flat tissue under two biaxial external loadings using data-based parameter values. The predictions show close similarity to characteristics of remodeled adult tissue including its structure, anisotropic and non-linear mechanical properties, and the onset of in situ pre-strain and pre-stress. The results suggest that these important features of living fibrous tissues evolve as they grow.

  3. Evolutionary Trends in the Jaw Adductor Mechanics of Ornithischian Dinosaurs.

    PubMed

    Nabavizadeh, Ali

    2016-03-01

    Jaw mechanics in ornithischian dinosaurs have been widely studied for well over a century. Most of these studies, however, use only one or few taxa within a given ornithischian clade as a model for feeding mechanics across the entire clade. In this study, mandibular mechanical advantages among 52 ornithischian genera spanning all subclades are calculated using 2D lever arm methods. These lever arm calculations estimate the effect of jaw shape and difference in adductor muscle line of action on relative bite forces along the jaw. Results show major instances of overlap between taxa in tooth positions at which there was highest mechanical advantage. A relatively low bite force is seen across the tooth row among thyreophorans (e.g., stegosaurs and ankylosaurs), with variation among taxa. A convergent transition occurs from a more evenly distributed bite force along the jaw in basal ornithopods and basal marginocephalians to a strong distal bite force in hadrosaurids and ceratopsids, respectively. Accordingly, adductor muscle vector angles show repeated trends from a mid-range caudodorsal orientation in basal ornithischians to a decrease in vector angles indicating more caudally oriented jaw movements in derived taxa (e.g., derived thyreophorans, basal ornithopods, lambeosaurines, pachycephalosaurs, and derived ceratopsids). Analyses of hypothetical jaw morphologies were also performed, indicating that both the coronoid process and lowered jaw joint increase moment arm length therefore increasing mechanical advantage of the jaw apparatus. Adaptive trends in craniomandibular anatomy show that ornithischians evolved more complex feeding apparatuses within different clades as well as morphological convergences between clades. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  4. Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Pituitary Pathogenesis.

    PubMed

    Sapochnik, Melanie; Nieto, Leandro Eduardo; Fuertes, Mariana; Arzt, Eduardo

    2016-04-01

    During the last years, progress has been made on the identification of mechanisms involved in anterior pituitary cell transformation and tumorigenesis. Oncogene activation, tumor suppressor gene inactivation, epigenetic changes, and microRNAs deregulation contribute to the initiation of pituitary tumors. Despite the high prevalence of pituitary adenomas, they are mostly benign, indicating that intrinsic mechanisms may regulate pituitary cell expansion. Senescence is characterized by an irreversible cell cycle arrest and represents an important protective mechanism against malignancy. Pituitary tumor transforming gene (PTTG) is an oncogene involved in early stages of pituitary tumor development, and also triggers a senescence response by activating DNA-damage signaling pathway. Cytokines, as well as many other factors, play an important role in pituitary physiology, affecting not only cell proliferation but also hormone secretion. Special interest is focused on interleukin-6 (IL-6) because its dual function of stimulating pituitary tumor cell growth but inhibiting normal pituitary cells proliferation. It has been demonstrated that IL-6 has a key role in promoting and maintenance of the senescence program in tumors. Senescence, triggered by PTTG activation and mediated by IL-6, may be a mechanism for explaining the benign nature of pituitary tumors.

  5. Molecular mechanisms of cancer pain.

    PubMed

    Mantyh, Patrick W; Clohisy, Denis R; Koltzenburg, Martin; Hunt, Steve P

    2002-03-01

    Pain is the most disruptive influence on the quality of life of cancer patients. Although significant advances are being made in cancer treatment and diagnosis, the basic neurobiology of cancer pain is poorly understood. New insights into these mechanisms are now arising from animal models, and have the potential to fundamentally change the way that cancer pain is controlled.

  6. Molecular Mechanisms of Bone Metastasis.

    PubMed

    Weidle, Ulrich H; Birzele, Fabian; Kollmorgen, Gwendlyn; Rüger, Rüdiger

    2016-01-01

    Metastasis of breast and prostate cancer as well as multiple myeloma to the bones represents a significant medical problem. We herein discuss the molecular basis of the creation of pre-metastatic niches, the process of bone metastasis and the phenomenon of tumor dormancy in the bone marrow as well as its regulation. We describe the identification and validation of genes mediating bone metastasis by use of pre-clinical models of bone metastasis. Additionally, we discuss the role of small integrin binding N-linked glycoproteins (SIBLINGS), the chemokine/chemokine receptor CXCL12/CXCR4 pathway and the role of micro RNAs (miRNAs) as mediators of bone metastasis. Finally, we summarize clinical achievements for the treatment of bone metastases.

  7. An evolutionary framework for studying mechanisms of social behavior.

    PubMed

    Hofmann, Hans A; Beery, Annaliese K; Blumstein, Daniel T; Couzin, Iain D; Earley, Ryan L; Hayes, Loren D; Hurd, Peter L; Lacey, Eileen A; Phelps, Steven M; Solomon, Nancy G; Taborsky, Michael; Young, Larry J; Rubenstein, Dustin R

    2014-10-01

    Social interactions are central to most animals and have a fundamental impact upon the phenotype of an individual. Social behavior (social interactions among conspecifics) represents a central challenge to the integration of the functional and mechanistic bases of complex behavior. Traditionally, studies of proximate and ultimate elements of social behavior have been conducted by distinct groups of researchers, with little communication across perceived disciplinary boundaries. However, recent technological advances, coupled with increased recognition of the substantial variation in mechanisms underlying social interactions, should compel investigators from divergent disciplines to pursue more integrative analyses of social behavior. We propose an integrative conceptual framework intended to guide researchers towards a comprehensive understanding of the evolution and maintenance of mechanisms governing variation in sociality. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  8. The evolutionary roots of creativity: mechanisms and motivations.

    PubMed

    Wiggins, Geraint A; Tyack, Peter; Scharff, Constance; Rohrmeier, Martin

    2015-03-19

    We consider the evolution of cognition and the emergence of creative behaviour, in relation to vocal communication. We address two key questions: (i) what cognitive and/or social mechanisms have evolved that afford aspects of creativity?; (ii) has natural and/or sexual selection favoured human behaviours considered 'creative'? This entails analysis of 'creativity', an imprecise construct: comparable properties in non-humans differ in magnitude and teleology from generally agreed human creativity. We then address two apparent problems: (i) the difference between merely novel productions and 'creative' ones; (ii) the emergence of creative behaviour in spite of high cost: does it fit the idea that females choose a male who succeeds in spite of a handicap (costly ornament); or that creative males capable of producing a large and complex song repertoire grew up under favourable conditions; or a demonstration of generally beneficial heightened reasoning capacity; or an opportunity to continually reinforce social bonding through changing communication tropes; or something else? We illustrate and support our argument by reference to whale and bird song; these independently evolved biological signal mechanisms objectively share surface properties with human behaviours generally called 'creative'. Studying them may elucidate mechanisms underlying human creativity; we outline a research programme to do so.

  9. The evolutionary roots of creativity: mechanisms and motivations

    PubMed Central

    Wiggins, Geraint A.; Tyack, Peter; Scharff, Constance; Rohrmeier, Martin

    2015-01-01

    We consider the evolution of cognition and the emergence of creative behaviour, in relation to vocal communication. We address two key questions: (i) what cognitive and/or social mechanisms have evolved that afford aspects of creativity?; (ii) has natural and/or sexual selection favoured human behaviours considered ‘creative’? This entails analysis of ‘creativity’, an imprecise construct: comparable properties in non-humans differ in magnitude and teleology from generally agreed human creativity. We then address two apparent problems: (i) the difference between merely novel productions and ‘creative’ ones; (ii) the emergence of creative behaviour in spite of high cost: does it fit the idea that females choose a male who succeeds in spite of a handicap (costly ornament); or that creative males capable of producing a large and complex song repertoire grew up under favourable conditions; or a demonstration of generally beneficial heightened reasoning capacity; or an opportunity to continually reinforce social bonding through changing communication tropes; or something else? We illustrate and support our argument by reference to whale and bird song; these independently evolved biological signal mechanisms objectively share surface properties with human behaviours generally called ‘creative’. Studying them may elucidate mechanisms underlying human creativity; we outline a research programme to do so. PMID:25646522

  10. Cellular and molecular mechanisms in kidney fibrosis

    PubMed Central

    Duffield, Jeremy S.

    2014-01-01

    Fibrosis is a characteristic feature of all forms of chronic kidney disease. Deposition of pathological matrix in the interstitial space and within the walls of glomerular capillaries as well as the cellular processes resulting in this deposition are increasingly recognized as important factors amplifying kidney injury and accelerating nephron demise. Recent insights into the cellular and molecular mechanisms of fibrogenesis herald the promise of new therapies to slow kidney disease progression. This review focuses on new findings that enhance understanding of cellular and molecular mechanisms of fibrosis, the characteristics of myofibroblasts, their progenitors, and molecular pathways regulating both fibrogenesis and its resolution. PMID:24892703

  11. Molecular mechanisms underlying the Arabidopsis circadian clock.

    PubMed

    Nakamichi, Norihito

    2011-10-01

    A wide range of biological processes exhibit circadian rhythm, enabling plants to adapt to the environmental day-night cycle. This rhythm is generated by the so-called 'circadian clock'. Although a number of genetic approaches have identified >25 clock-associated genes involved in the Arabidopsis clock mechanism, the molecular functions of a large part of these genes are not known. Recent comprehensive studies have revealed the molecular functions of several key clock-associated proteins. This progress has provided mechanistic insights into how key clock-associated proteins are integrated, and may help in understanding the essence of the clock's molecular mechanisms.

  12. Molecular pathogenesis and mechanisms of thyroid cancer

    PubMed Central

    Xing, Mingzhao

    2013-01-01

    Thyroid cancer is a common endocrine malignancy. There has been exciting progress in understanding its molecular pathogenesis in recent years, as best exemplified by the elucidation of the fundamental role of several major signalling pathways and related molecular derangements. Central to these mechanisms are the genetic and epigenetic alterations in these pathways, such as mutation, gene copy-number gain and aberrant gene methylation. Many of these molecular alterations represent novel diagnostic and prognostic molecular markers and therapeutic targets for thyroid cancer, which provide unprecedented opportunities for further research and clinical development of novel treatment strategies for this cancer. PMID:23429735

  13. Molecular mechanisms in neurologic disorders.

    PubMed

    Cunniff, C

    2001-09-01

    Although many pediatric neurologic disorders, such as epilepsy and mental retardation, are the result of a combination of genetic and environmental factors, many others are the result of mutations of single genes. Most of these single gene traits are inherited in autosomal dominant, autosomal recessive, or X-linked fashion. The diversity of mutations that are responsible for these diseases produces variability in phenotypic expression. However, there are other important features of many neurologic disorders that cannot be explained by standard models of mendelian inheritance. This review focuses on recently described mechanisms, such as genomic imprinting, germline mosaicism, mitochondrial inheritance, and triplet repeat expansion. The diagnostic evaluation, prognostic significance, and recurrence risk for specific neurogenetic disorders is correlated with these underlying disease mechanisms.

  14. Evolutionary relationships among basal fungi (Chytridiomycota and Zygomycota): Insights from molecular phylogenetics.

    PubMed

    Tanabe, Yuuhiko; Watanabe, Makoto M; Sugiyama, Junta

    2005-10-01

    Evolutionary relationships of the two basal fungal phyla Chytridiomycota and Zygomycota are reviewed in light of recent molecular phylogenetic investigation based on rDNA (nSSU, nLSU rDNA), entire mitochondrial genomes, and nuclear protein coding gene sequences (e.g., EF-1alpha, RPB1). Accumulated molecular evidence strongly suggests that the two basal fungal phyla are not monophyletic. For example, the chytridiomycete order Blastocladiales appears to be closely related to the zygomycete order Entomophthorales. Within the Zygomycota, a monophyletic clade, consisting of the Dimargaritales, Harpellales, and Kickxellales, which is characterized by a shared unique septal ultrastructure, was identified. Moreover, evidence for the exclusion of zygomycete orders Amoebidiales and Eccrinales from the Fungi, and their placement at the Animal-Fungi boundary has been clearly documented. Microsporidia, a group of amitochondriate organisms currently under intensive study, is not supported as derived within the Fungi, but a fungal affinity cannot be ruled out. Taking these molecular phylogenetic studies into account, we proposed a hypothetical evolutionary framework of basal fungi.

  15. HBV DNA Integration: Molecular Mechanisms and Clinical Implications

    PubMed Central

    Tu, Thomas; Budzinska, Magdalena A.; Shackel, Nicholas A.; Urban, Stephan

    2017-01-01

    Chronic infection with the Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) is a major cause of liver-related morbidity and mortality. One peculiar observation in cells infected with HBV (or with closely‑related animal hepadnaviruses) is the presence of viral DNA integration in the host cell genome, despite this form being a replicative dead-end for the virus. The frequent finding of somatic integration of viral DNA suggests an evolutionary benefit for the virus; however, the mechanism of integration, its functions, and the clinical implications remain unknown. Here we review the current body of knowledge of HBV DNA integration, with particular focus on the molecular mechanisms and its clinical implications (including the possible consequences of replication-independent antigen expression and its possible role in hepatocellular carcinoma). HBV DNA integration is likely to influence HBV replication, persistence, and pathogenesis, and so deserves greater attention in future studies. PMID:28394272

  16. Homophily versus preferential attachment: Evolutionary mechanisms of scientific collaboration networks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Zhen-Zhen; Zhu, Jonathan J. H.

    2014-12-01

    Homophily and preferential attachment are among the most recognized mechanisms of network evolution. Instead of examining the two mechanisms separately, this study considers them jointly in a scholarly collaboration network. Specifically, when a new scholar enters a field, how does he/she choose the first collaborator from the pool of available scholars? We find that new scholars tend to collaborate with someone who works in the same institution (which is called constrained acceptance), shares similar specialty interests (active choice), or has already worked with many collaborators (random action). We view constrained acceptance and active choice as supporting evidence for homophily (because similarity is attractive) and random action as supporting evidence for preferential attachment (because popularity is attractive). As such, both homophily and preferential attachment affect the evolution of collaboration networks. Furthermore, the influences vary over time with random action, constrained acceptance, and active choice taking turns to act the dominant force at the beginning, middle and later phases of the evolution process, respectively.

  17. Evolutionary conservation and neuronal mechanisms of auditory perceptual restoration

    PubMed Central

    Petkov, Christopher I.; Sutter, Mitchell L.

    2013-01-01

    Auditory perceptual ‘restoration’ occurs when the auditory system restores an occluded or masked sound of interest. Behavioral work on auditory restoration in humans began over 50 years ago using it to model a noisy environmental scene with competing sounds. It has become clear that not only humans experience auditory restoration: restoration has been broadly conserved in many species. Behavioral studies in humans and animals provide a necessary foundation to link the insights being obtained from human EEG and fMRI to those from animal neurophysiology. The aggregate of data resulting from multiple approaches across species has begun to clarify the neuronal bases of auditory restoration. Different types of neural responses supporting restoration have been found, supportive of multiple mechanisms working within a species. Yet a general principle has emerged that responses correlated with restoration mimic the response that would have been given to the uninterrupted sound of interest. Using the same technology to study different species will help us to better harness animal models of ‘auditory scene analysis’ to clarify the conserved neural mechanisms shaping the perceptual organization of sound and to advance strategies to improve hearing in natural environmental settings. PMID:20541597

  18. Molecular mechanism of sweetness sensation.

    PubMed

    DuBois, Grant E

    2016-10-01

    The current understanding of peripheral molecular events involved in sweet taste sensation in humans is reviewed. Included are discussions of the sweetener receptor T1R2/T1R3, its agonists, antagonists, positive allosteric modulators, the transduction of its activation in taste bud cells and the coding of its signaling to the CNS. Areas of incomplete understanding include 1) signal communication with afferent nerve fibers, 2) contrasting concentration/response (C/R) functions for high-potency (HP) sweeteners (hyperbolic) and carbohydrate (CHO) sweeteners (linear), 3) contrasting temporal profiles for HP sweeteners (delayed onset and extinction) and CHO sweeteners (rapid onset and extinction) and 4) contrasting adaptation behaviors for HP sweeteners (moderate to strong adaptation) and CHO sweeteners (low adaptation). Evidence based on the sweet water aftertastes of several novel sweetness inhibitors is presented providing new support for constitutive activity in T1R2/T1R3. And a model is developed to rationalize the linear C/R functions of CHO sweeteners and hyperbolic C/R functions of HP sweeteners, where the former may activate T1R2/T1R3 by both binding and constitutive activity modulation (i.e., without binding) and the latter activate T1R2/T1R3 only by binding. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  19. Molecular phylogenetic relationships reveal contrasting evolutionary patterns in Gorgoniidae (Octocorallia) in the Eastern Pacific.

    PubMed

    Soler-Hurtado, M M; López-González, P J; Machordom, A

    2017-03-24

    The description and delimitation of species in an evolutionary framework is essential for understanding patterns of biodiversity and distribution, and in the assessment of conservation strategies for natural resources. This study seeks to clarify the evolutionary history and genetic variation within and between closely related octocoral species that are fundamental to benthic marine ecosystems for harbouring a high diversity of associated fauna. For our study system, we focused on members of the Gorgoniidae family in the Eastern Pacific, particularly of the Ecuadorian littoral, a less studied marine ecosystem. According to our results, the diagnosis of the genus Pacifigorgia is here amended to include species previously considered in the genus Leptogorgia. The genera Leptogorgia and Eugorgia are included within a single clade, and neither are recovered as monophyletic. In this case, according to the priority rule of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN), our proposal is to include the species considered in these two genera in Leptogorgia. In addition, we found evidence of interesting speciation patterns: morphological differentiation with no apparent genetic differentiation (in Pacifigorgia), and inconsistencies between mitochondrial and nuclear data that suggest a hybridisation phenomenon (in Leptogorgia). In the first case, recent radiation, ancient hybridisation, sympatric speciation, and in the second, reticulate evolution may have contributed to the evolutionary history of the studied taxa. Therefore, incongruences observed between morphological and molecular evidences in these octocorals, and in corals in general, may reveal the types of events/patterns that have influenced their evolution.

  20. Mechanisms and Evolutionary Patterns of Mammalian and Avian Dosage Compensation

    PubMed Central

    Julien, Philippe; Brawand, David; Soumillon, Magali; Necsulea, Anamaria; Liechti, Angélica; Schütz, Frédéric; Daish, Tasman; Grützner, Frank; Kaessmann, Henrik

    2012-01-01

    As a result of sex chromosome differentiation from ancestral autosomes, male mammalian cells only contain one X chromosome. It has long been hypothesized that X-linked gene expression levels have become doubled in males to restore the original transcriptional output, and that the resulting X overexpression in females then drove the evolution of X inactivation (XCI). However, this model has never been directly tested and patterns and mechanisms of dosage compensation across different mammals and birds generally remain little understood. Here we trace the evolution of dosage compensation using extensive transcriptome data from males and females representing all major mammalian lineages and birds. Our analyses suggest that the X has become globally upregulated in marsupials, whereas we do not detect a global upregulation of this chromosome in placental mammals. However, we find that a subset of autosomal genes interacting with X-linked genes have become downregulated in placentals upon the emergence of sex chromosomes. Thus, different driving forces may underlie the evolution of XCI and the highly efficient equilibration of X expression levels between the sexes observed for both of these lineages. In the egg-laying monotremes and birds, which have partially homologous sex chromosome systems, partial upregulation of the X (Z in birds) evolved but is largely restricted to the heterogametic sex, which provides an explanation for the partially sex-biased X (Z) expression and lack of global inactivation mechanisms in these lineages. Our findings suggest that dosage reductions imposed by sex chromosome differentiation events in amniotes were resolved in strikingly different ways. PMID:22615540

  1. Molecular mechanisms of appetite regulation.

    PubMed

    Yu, Ji Hee; Kim, Min-Seon

    2012-12-01

    The prevalence of obesity has been rapidly increasing worldwide over the last several decades and has become a major health problem in developed countries. The brain, especially the hypothalamus, plays a key role in the control of food intake by sensing metabolic signals from peripheral organs and modulating feeding behaviors. To accomplish these important roles, the hypothalamus communicates with other brain areas such as the brainstem and reward-related limbic pathways. The adipocyte-derived hormone leptin and pancreatic β-cell-derived insulin inform adiposity to the hypothalamus. Gut hormones such as cholecystokinin, peptide YY, pancreatic polypeptide, glucagon-like peptide 1, and oxyntomodulin transfer satiety signals to the brain and ghrelin relays hunger signals. The endocannabinoid system and nutrients are also involved in the physiological regulation of food intake. In this article, we briefly review physiological mechanisms of appetite regulation.

  2. [Genetic mechanism and evolutionary significance of the origin of parthenogenetic insects].

    PubMed

    Wang, Cheng-Ye

    2011-12-01

    There is a high proportion of parthenogenesis in insecta, and the parthenogenetic potential of insects is an important but often ignored threaten factor for the agricultural and forestry production. The maintenance of parthenogenetic species is a puzzling issue in evolutionary biology. In recent years, although the cellular mechanisms during parthenogenesis in some species have been well studied, the underlying genetic mechanisms that cause the switch from sexual reproduction to parthenogenesis have not been defined. While, understanding the genetic mechanism and evolutionary significance of the origin of parthenogenetic insects is crucial for preventing the pests in agricultural and forestry production. Here we summarized recent studies aimed at identifying the underlying genetic mechanism of parthenogenesis in insects, and briefly discussed its potential application in this filed.

  3. Structural and Molecular Evolutionary Analysis of Agouti and Agouti-Related Proteins

    PubMed Central

    Jackson, Pilgrim J.; Douglas, Nick R.; Chai, Biaoxin; Binkley, Jonathan; Sidow, Arend; Barsh, Gregory S.; Millhauser, Glenn L.

    2010-01-01

    Summary Agouti (ASIP) and Agouti-related protein (AgRP) are endogenous antagonists of melanocortin receptors that play critical roles in the regulation of pigmentation and energy balance, respectively, and which arose from a common ancestral gene early in vertebrate evolution. The N-terminal domain of ASIP facilitates antagonism by binding to an accessory receptor, but here we show that the N-terminal domain of AgRP has the opposite effect and acts as a prodomain that negatively regulates antagonist function. Computational analysis reveals similar patterns of evolutionary constraint in the ASIP and AgRP C-terminal domains, but fundamental differences between the N-terminal domains. These studies shed light on the relationships between regulation of pigmentation and body weight, and they illustrate how evolutionary structure function analysis can reveal both unique and common mechanisms of action for paralogous gene products. PMID:17185225

  4. Giraffe Stature and Neck Elongation: Vigilance as an Evolutionary Mechanism

    PubMed Central

    Williams, Edgar M.

    2016-01-01

    Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis), with their long neck and legs, are unique amongst mammals. How these features evolved is a matter of conjecture. The two leading ideas are the high browse and the sexual-selection hypotheses. While both explain many of the characteristics and the behaviour of giraffe, neither is fully supported by the available evidence. The extended viewing horizon afforded by increased height and a need to maintain horizon vigilance, as a mechanism favouring the evolution of increased height is reviewed. In giraffe, vigilance of predators whilst feeding and drinking are important survival factors, as is the ability to interact with immediate herd members, young and male suitors. The evidence regarding giraffe vigilance behaviour is sparse and suggests that over-vigilance has a negative cost, serving as a distraction to feeding. In woodland savannah, increased height allows giraffe to see further, allowing each giraffe to increase the distance between its neighbours while browsing. Increased height allows the giraffe to see the early approach of predators, as well as bull males. It is postulated that the wider panorama afforded by an increase in height and longer neck has improved survival via allowing giraffe to browse safely over wider areas, decreasing competition within groups and with other herbivores. PMID:27626454

  5. Giraffe Stature and Neck Elongation: Vigilance as an Evolutionary Mechanism.

    PubMed

    Williams, Edgar M

    2016-09-12

    Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis), with their long neck and legs, are unique amongst mammals. How these features evolved is a matter of conjecture. The two leading ideas are the high browse and the sexual-selection hypotheses. While both explain many of the characteristics and the behaviour of giraffe, neither is fully supported by the available evidence. The extended viewing horizon afforded by increased height and a need to maintain horizon vigilance, as a mechanism favouring the evolution of increased height is reviewed. In giraffe, vigilance of predators whilst feeding and drinking are important survival factors, as is the ability to interact with immediate herd members, young and male suitors. The evidence regarding giraffe vigilance behaviour is sparse and suggests that over-vigilance has a negative cost, serving as a distraction to feeding. In woodland savannah, increased height allows giraffe to see further, allowing each giraffe to increase the distance between its neighbours while browsing. Increased height allows the giraffe to see the early approach of predators, as well as bull males. It is postulated that the wider panorama afforded by an increase in height and longer neck has improved survival via allowing giraffe to browse safely over wider areas, decreasing competition within groups and with other herbivores.

  6. Molecular mechanisms of Ebola pathogenesis.

    PubMed

    Rivera, Andrea; Messaoudi, Ilhem

    2016-11-01

    Ebola viruses (EBOVs) and Marburg viruses (MARVs) are among the deadliest human viruses, as highlighted by the recent and widespread Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa, which was the largest and longest epidemic of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in history, resulting in significant loss of life and disruptions across multiple continents. Although the number of cases has nearly reached its nadir, a recent cluster of 5 cases in Guinea on March 17, 2016, has extended the enhanced surveillance period to June 15, 2016. New, enhanced 90-d surveillance windows replaced the 42-d surveillance window to ensure the rapid detection of new cases that may arise from a missed transmission chain, reintroduction from an animal reservoir, or more important, reemergence of the virus that has persisted in an EVD survivor. In this review, we summarize our current understanding of EBOV pathogenesis, describe vaccine and therapeutic candidates in clinical trials, and discuss mechanisms of viral persistence and long-term health sequelae for EVD survivors. © Society for Leukocyte Biology.

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

    PubMed

    Quental, Tiago B; Marshall, Charles R

    2009-12-01

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

  8. Evolutionary drivers of parasite-induced changes in insect life-history traits from theory to underlying mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Hurd, Hilary

    2009-01-01

    Many hosts are able to tolerate infection by altering life-history traits that are traded-off one against another. Here the reproductive fitness of insect hosts and vectors is reviewed in the context of theories concerning evolutionary mechanisms driving such alterations. These include the concepts that changes in host reproductive fitness are by-products of infection, parasite manipulations, host adaptations, mafia-like strategies or host compensatory responses. Two models are examined in depth, a tapeworm/beetle association, Hymenolepis diminuta/Tenebrio molitor and malaria infections in anopheline mosquitoes. Parasite-induced impairment of vitellogenesis ultimately leads to a decrease in female reproductive success in both cases, though by different means. Evidence is put forwards for both a manipulator molecule of parasite origin and for host-initiated regulation. These models are backed by other examples in which mechanisms underlying fecundity reduction or fecundity compensation are explored. It is concluded that evolutionary theories must be supported by empirical evidence gained from studying molecular, biochemical and physiological mechanisms underlying changes in host life-history traits, ideally using organisms that have evolved together and that are in their natural environment.

  9. Modern evolutionary mechanics theories and resolving the programmed/non-programmed aging controversy.

    PubMed

    Goldsmith, Theodore C

    2014-10-01

    Modern programmed (adaptive) theories of biological aging contend that organisms including mammals have generally evolved mechanisms that purposely limit their lifespans in order to obtain an evolutionary benefit. Modern non-programmed theories contend that mammal aging generally results from natural deteriorative processes, and that lifespan differences between species are explained by differences in the degree to which they resist those processes. Originally proposed in the 19th century, programmed aging in mammals has historically been widely summarily rejected as obviously incompatible with the mechanics of the evolution process. However, relatively recent and continuing developments described here have dramatically changed this situation, and programmed mammal aging now has a better evolutionary basis than non-programmed aging. Resolution of this issue is critically important to medical research because the two theories predict that very different biological mechanisms are ultimately responsible for age-related diseases and conditions.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-07-15

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

  11. Molecular mechanisms and regulation of iron transport.

    PubMed

    Chung, Jayong; Wessling-Resnick, Marianne

    2003-04-01

    Iron homeostasis is primarily maintained through regulation of its transport. This review summarizes recent discoveries in the field of iron transport that have shed light on the molecular mechanisms of dietary iron uptake, pathways for iron efflux to and between peripheral tissues, proteins implicated in organellar transport of iron (particularly the mitochondrion), and novel regulators that have been proposed to control iron assimilation. The transport of both transferrin-bound and nontransferrin-bound iron to peripheral tissues is discussed. Finally, the regulation of iron transport is also considered at the molecular level, with posttranscriptional, transcriptional, and posttranslational control mechanisms being reviewed.

  12. Adaptation to environmental temperature is a major determinant of molecular evolutionary rates in archaea.

    PubMed

    Groussin, Mathieu; Gouy, Manolo

    2011-09-01

    Methods to infer the ancestral conditions of life are commonly based on geological and paleontological analyses. Recently, several studies used genome sequences to gain information about past ecological conditions taking advantage of the property that the G+C and amino acid contents of bacterial and archaeal ribosomal DNA genes and proteins, respectively, are strongly influenced by the environmental temperature. The adaptation to optimal growth temperature (OGT) since the Last Universal Common Ancestor (LUCA) over the universal tree of life was examined, and it was concluded that LUCA was likely to have been a mesophilic organism and that a parallel adaptation to high temperature occurred independently along the two lineages leading to the ancestors of Bacteria on one side and of Archaea and Eukarya on the other side. Here, we focus on Archaea to gain a precise view of the adaptation to OGT over time in this domain. It has been often proposed on the basis of indirect evidence that the last archaeal common ancestor was a hyperthermophilic organism. Moreover, many results showed the influence of environmental temperature on the evolutionary dynamics of archaeal genomes: Thermophilic organisms generally display lower evolutionary rates than mesophiles. However, to our knowledge, no study tried to explain the differences of evolutionary rates for the entire archaeal domain and to investigate the evolution of substitution rates over time. A comprehensive archaeal phylogeny and a non homogeneous model of the molecular evolutionary process allowed us to estimate ancestral base and amino acid compositions and OGTs at each internal node of the archaeal phylogenetic tree. The last archaeal common ancestor is predicted to have been hyperthermophilic and adaptations to cooler environments can be observed for extant mesophilic species. Furthermore, mesophilic species present both long branches and high variation of nucleotide and amino acid compositions since the last archaeal

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-11-01

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

  14. 70% efficiency of bistate molecular machines explained by information theory, high dimensional geometry and evolutionary convergence

    PubMed Central

    Schneider, Thomas D.

    2010-01-01

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

  15. Modelling the molecular mechanisms of aging

    PubMed Central

    Mc Auley, Mark T.; Guimera, Alvaro Martinez; Hodgson, David; Mcdonald, Neil; Mooney, Kathleen M.; Morgan, Amy E.

    2017-01-01

    The aging process is driven at the cellular level by random molecular damage that slowly accumulates with age. Although cells possess mechanisms to repair or remove damage, they are not 100% efficient and their efficiency declines with age. There are many molecular mechanisms involved and exogenous factors such as stress also contribute to the aging process. The complexity of the aging process has stimulated the use of computational modelling in order to increase our understanding of the system, test hypotheses and make testable predictions. As many different mechanisms are involved, a wide range of models have been developed. This paper gives an overview of the types of models that have been developed, the range of tools used, modelling standards and discusses many specific examples of models that have been grouped according to the main mechanisms that they address. We conclude by discussing the opportunities and challenges for future modelling in this field. PMID:28096317

  16. Pathogenesis and Molecular Mechanisms of Zika Virus.

    PubMed

    Nayak, Shriddha; Lei, Jun; Pekosz, Andrew; Klein, Sabra; Burd, Irina

    2016-09-01

    Zika virus (ZIKV) is one of the most important emerging viruses of 2016. A developing outbreak in the Americas has demonstrated an association between the virus and serious clinical manifestations, such as Guillain-Barré syndrome in adults and congenital malformations in infants born to infected mothers. Pathogenesis and mechanisms of neurologic or immune disease by ZIKV have not been clearly delineated. However, several pathways have been described to explain viral involvement in brain and immune system as well as other organ systems such as eye, skin, and male and female reproductive tracts. ZIKV activates toll-like receptor 3 and several pathways have been described to explain the mechanisms at a molecular level. The mechanism of microcephaly has been more difficult to demonstrate experimentally, likely due to the multifactorial and complex nature of the phenotype. This article provides an overview of existing literature on ZIKV pathogenicity and possible molecular mechanisms of disease as outlined to date.

  17. Modelling the molecular mechanisms of aging.

    PubMed

    Mc Auley, Mark T; Guimera, Alvaro Martinez; Hodgson, David; Mcdonald, Neil; Mooney, Kathleen M; Morgan, Amy E; Proctor, Carole J

    2017-02-28

    The aging process is driven at the cellular level by random molecular damage that slowly accumulates with age. Although cells possess mechanisms to repair or remove damage, they are not 100% efficient and their efficiency declines with age. There are many molecular mechanisms involved and exogenous factors such as stress also contribute to the aging process. The complexity of the aging process has stimulated the use of computational modelling in order to increase our understanding of the system, test hypotheses and make testable predictions. As many different mechanisms are involved, a wide range of models have been developed. This paper gives an overview of the types of models that have been developed, the range of tools used, modelling standards and discusses many specific examples of models that have been grouped according to the main mechanisms that they address. We conclude by discussing the opportunities and challenges for future modelling in this field.

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

    PubMed Central

    2008-01-01

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

  19. 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.

  20. Molecular Mechanisms of Failure in Polymer Nanocomposites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gersappe, Dilip

    2002-07-01

    Molecular dynamics simulations of polymers reinforced with nanoscopic filler particles reveal the mechanisms by which nanofillers improve the toughness of the material. We find that the mobility of the nanofiller particle, rather than its surface area, controls its ability to dissipate energy. Our results show similarities between the toughening mechanisms observed in polymer nanocomposites and those postulated for biological structural materials such as spider silk and abalone adhesive.

  1. General Anesthetics and Molecular Mechanisms of Unconsciousness

    PubMed Central

    Forman, Stuart A.; Chin, Victor A.

    2013-01-01

    General anesthetic agents are unique in clinical medicine, because they are the only drugs used to produce unconsciousness as a therapeutic goal. In contrast to older hypotheses that assumed all general anesthetics produce their central nervous system effects through a common mechanism, we outline evidence that general anesthesia represents a number of distinct pharmacological effects that are likely mediated by different neural circuits, and perhaps via different molecular targets. Within the context of this neurobiological framework, we review recent molecular pharmacological and transgenic animal studies. These studies reveal that different groups of general anesthetics, which can be discerned based on their clinical features, produce unconsciousness via distinct molecular targets and therefore via distinct mechanisms. We further postulate that different types of general anesthetics selectively disrupt different critical steps (perhaps in different neuronal circuits) in the processing of sensory information and memory that results in consciousness. PMID:18617817

  2. Disease resistance: Molecular mechanisms and biotechnological applications

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    This special issue “Disease resistance: molecular mechanisms and biotechnological applications” contains 11 review articles and four original research papers. Research in the area of engineering for disease resistance continues to progress although only 10% of the transgenic plants registered for ...

  3. Mechanisms and economy of molecular machines

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Klumpp, Stefan

    2012-11-01

    Cells contain millions of biomolecules that function as molecular machines. This paper reviews aspects of the mechanisms of these machines (alternative pathways and cooperativity) as well as the economic principles of their use in cells. The focus is on the machines that process the genetic information, in particular RNA polymerases.

  4. Molecular and evolutionary characteristics of the fraction of human alpha satellite DNA associated with CENP-A at the centromeres of chromosomes 1, 5, 19, and 21

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background The mode of evolution of the highly homogeneous Higher-Order-Repeat-containing alpha satellite arrays is still subject to discussion. This is also true of the CENP-A associated repeats where the centromere is formed. Results In this paper, we show that the molecular mechanisms by which these arrays evolve are identical in multiple chromosomes: i) accumulation of crossovers that homogenise and expand the arrays into different domains and subdomains that are mostly unshared between homologues and ii) sporadic mutations and conversion events that simultaneously differentiate them from one another. Individual arrays are affected by these mechanisms to different extents that presumably increase with time. Repeats associated with CENP-A, where the centromere is formed, are subjected to the same evolutionary mechanisms, but constitute minor subsets that exhibit subtle sequence differences from those of the bulk repeats. While the DNA sequence per se is not essential for centromere localisation along an array, it appears that certain sequences can be selected against. On chromosomes 1 and 19, which are more affected by the above evolutionary mechanisms than are chromosomes 21 and 5, CENP-A associated repeats were also recovered from a second homogeneous array present on each chromosome. This could be a way for chromosomes to sustain mitosis and meiosis when the normal centromere locus is ineluctably undermined by the above mechanisms. Conclusion We discuss, in light of these observations, possible scenarios for the normal evolutionary fates of human centromeric regions. PMID:20331851

  5. Mechanical transduction mechanisms of RecA-like molecular motors.

    PubMed

    Liao, Jung-Chi

    2011-12-01

    A majority of ATP-dependent molecular motors are RecA-like proteins, performing diverse functions in biology. These RecA-like molecular motors consist of a highly conserved core containing the ATP-binding site. Here I examined how ATP binding within this core is coupled to the conformational changes of different RecA-like molecular motors. Conserved hydrogen bond networks and conformational changes revealed two major mechanical transduction mechanisms: (1) intra-domain conformational changes and (2) inter-domain conformational changes. The intra-domain mechanism has a significant hydrogen bond rearrangement within the domain containing the P-loop, causing relative motion between two parts of the protein. The inter-domain mechanism exhibits little conformational change in the P-loop domain. Instead, the major conformational change is observed between the P-loop domain and an adjacent domain or subunit containing the arginine finger. These differences in the mechanical transduction mechanisms may link to the underlying energy surface governing a Brownian ratchet or a power stroke.

  6. Evolutionary and molecular analysis of Dof transcription factors identified a conserved motif for intercellular protein trafficking.

    PubMed

    Chen, Huan; Ahmad, Munawar; Rim, Yeonggil; Lucas, William J; Kim, Jae-Yean

    2013-06-01

    · Cell-to-cell trafficking of transcription factors (TFs) has been shown to play an important role in the regulation of plant developmental events, but the evolutionary relationship between cell-autonomous and noncell-autonomous (NCA) TFs remains elusive. · AtDof4.1, named INTERCELLULAR TRAFFICKING DOF 1 (ITD1), was chosen as a representative NCA member to explore this evolutionary relationship. Using domain structure-function analyses and swapping studies, we examined the cell-to-cell trafficking of plant-specific Dof TF family members across Arabidopsis and other species. · We identified a conserved intercellular trafficking motif (ITM) that is necessary and sufficient for selective cell-to-cell trafficking and can impart gain-of-function cell-to-cell movement capacity to an otherwise cell-autonomous TF. The functionality of related motifs from Dof members across the plant kingdom extended, surprisingly, to a unicellular alga that lacked plasmodesmata. By contrast, the algal homeodomain related to the NCA KNOX homeodomain was either inefficient or unable to impart such cell-to-cell movement function. · The Dof ITM appears to predate the evolution of selective plasmodesmal trafficking in the plant kingdom, which may well have acted as a molecular template for the evolution of Dof proteins as NCA TFs. However, the ability to efficiently traffic for KNOX homeodomain (HD) proteins may have been acquired during the evolution of early nonvascular plants.

  7. The evolutionary history of Stomatopoda (Crustacea: Malacostraca) inferred from molecular data

    PubMed Central

    Ahyong, Shane T.; Ho, Simon Y.W.; Lo, Nathan

    2017-01-01

    The crustacean order Stomatopoda comprises seven superfamilies of mantis shrimps, found in coastal waters of the tropics and subtropics. These marine carnivores bear notable raptorial appendages for smashing or spearing prey. We investigated the evolutionary relationships among stomatopods using phylogenetic analyses of three mitochondrial and two nuclear markers. Our analyses recovered the superfamily Gonodactyloidea as polyphyletic, with Hemisquilla as the sister group to all other extant stomatopods. A relaxed molecular clock, calibrated by seven fossil-based age constraints, was used to date the origin and major diversification events of stomatopods. Our estimates suggest that crown-group stomatopods (Unipeltata) diverged from their closest crustacean relatives about 340 Ma (95% CRI [401–313 Ma]). We found that the specialized smashing appendage arose after the spearing appendage ∼126 Ma (95% CRI [174–87 Ma]). Ancestral state reconstructions revealed that the most recent common ancestor of extant stomatopods had eyes with six midband rows of hexagonal ommatidia. Hexagonal ommatidia are interpreted as plesiomorphic in stomatopods, and this is consistent with the malacostracan ground-plan. Our study provides insight into the evolutionary timescale and systematics of Stomatopoda, although further work is required to resolve with confidence the phylogenetic relationships among its superfamilies. PMID:28948111

  8. Advanced evolutionary molecular engineering to produce thermostable cellulase by using a small but efficient library.

    PubMed

    Ito, Y; Ikeuchi, A; Imamura, C

    2013-01-01

    We aimed at constructing thermostable cellulase variants of cellobiohydrolase II, derived from the mesophilic fungus Phanerochaete chrysosporium, by using an advanced evolutionary molecular engineering method. By aligning the amino acid sequences of the catalytic domains of five thermophilic fungal CBH2 and PcCBH2 proteins, we identified 45 positions where the PcCBH2 genes differ from the consensus sequence of two to five thermophilic fungal CBH2s. PcCBH2 variants with the consensus mutations were obtained by a cell-free translation system that was chosen for easy evaluation of thermostability. From the small library of consensus mutations, advantageous mutations for improving thermostability were found to occur with much higher frequency relative to a random library. To further improve thermostability, advantageous mutations were accumulated within the wild-type gene. Finally, we obtained the most thermostable variant Mall4, which contained all 15 advantageous mutations found in this study. This variant had the same specific cellulase activity as the wild type and retained sufficient activity at 50°C for >72 h, whereas wild-type PcCBH2 retained much less activity under the same conditions. The history of the accumulation process indicated that evolution of PcCBH2 toward improved thermostability was ideally and rapidly accomplished through the evolutionary process employed in this study.

  9. Molecular systematics and evolutionary history of the genus Carabus (Col. Carabidae).

    PubMed

    Deuve, Thierry; Cruaud, Astrid; Genson, Gwenaëlle; Rasplus, Jean-Yves

    2012-10-01

    Despite the number of evolutionary, ecological and conservation studies that are conducted on Carabus, the global evolutionary history of the genus remains poorly understood. Here, we analysed 7.5 kilobases of DNA sequence data (six mitochondrial and four nuclear genes) from a worldwide sample of 45% of the known subgenera (99 species and 14 subspecies). We compared the nuclear and mitochondrial phylogenies obtained from Maximum likelihood and Bayesian analyses through topological tests of congruence and dating analyses. Our results mostly corroborate the monophyly of the morphological subgroups of Carabus. However, current morphological and molecular data appear unable to accurately infer the deep branchings within the genus. We show that Carabus originated ca. 16.7-25.1 Ma, approximately 25 Myr later than previously estimated. Major groups of Carabus are subdivided into clades that diverged from each other in a relatively short period of time around 10 Ma (6.6-14.8). This time frame suggests that the present-day distribution of Carabus subgroups may be explained by isolation resulting from Eurasian forest fragmentation brought on by Miocene climate changes and by mountain orogenesis. Finally, we highlight several conflicts between mitochondrial and nuclear topologies that may be explained by mitochondrial introgression.

  10. [Cellular and molecular mechanisms of memory].

    PubMed

    Laroche, Serge

    2010-01-01

    A defining characteristic of the brain is its remarkable capacity to undergo activity-dependent functional and morphological remodelling via mechanisms of plasticity that form the basis of our capacity to encode and retain memories. Today, it is generally accepted that one key neurobiological mechanism underlying the formation of memories reside in activity-driven modifications of synaptic strength and structural remodelling of neural networks activated during learning. The discovery and detailed report of the phenomenon generally known as long-term potentiation, a long-lasting activity-dependent form of synaptic strengthening, opened a new chapter in the study of the neurobiological substrate of memory in the vertebrate brain, and this form of synaptic plasticity has now become the dominant model in the search for the cellular bases of learning and memory. To date, the key events in the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying synaptic plasticity and memory formation are starting to be identified. They require the activation of specific receptors and of several molecular cascades to convert extracellular signals into persistent functional changes in neuronal connectivity. Accumulating evidence suggests that the rapid activation of neuronal gene programs is a key mechanism underlying the enduring modification of neural networks required for the laying down of memory. The recent developments in the search for the cellular and molecular mechanisms of memory storage are reviewed.

  11. [Neonatal hyperbilirubinemia and molecular mechanisms of jaundice].

    PubMed

    Jirsa, M; Sticová, E

    2013-07-01

    The introductory summarises the classical path of heme degradation and classification of jaundice. Subsequently, a description of neonatal types of jaundice is given, known as Crigler Najjar, Gilberts, DubinJohnson and Rotor syndromes, emphasising the explanation of the molecular mechanisms of these metabolic disorders. Special attention is given to a recently discovered molecular mechanism of the Rotor syndrome. The mechanism is based on the inability of the liver to retrospectively uptake the conjugated bilirubin fraction primarily excreted into the blood, not bile. A reduced ability of the liver to uptake the conjugated bilirubin contributes to the development of hyperbilirubinemia in common disorders of the liver and bile ducts and to the toxicity of xenobiotics and drugs using transport proteins for conjugated bilirubin.

  12. Teratogenic effects of thalidomide: molecular mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Ito, Takumi; Ando, Hideki; Handa, Hiroshi

    2011-05-01

    Fifty years ago, prescription of the sedative thalidomide caused a worldwide epidemic of multiple birth defects. The drug is now used in the treatment of leprosy and multiple myeloma. However, its use is limited due to its potent teratogenic activity. The mechanism by which thalidomide causes limb malformations and other developmental defects is a long-standing question. Multiple hypotheses exist to explain the molecular mechanism of thalidomide action. Among them, theories involving oxidative stress and anti-angiogenesis have been widely supported. Nevertheless, until recently, the direct target of thalidomide remained elusive. We identified a thalidomide-binding protein, cereblon (CRBN), as a primary target for thalidomide teratogenicity. Our data suggest that thalidomide initiates its teratogenic effects by binding to CRBN and inhibiting its ubiquitin ligase activity. In this review, we summarize the biology of thalidomide, focusing on the molecular mechanisms of its teratogenic effects. In addition, we discuss the questions still to be addressed.

  13. Ocular diseases: immunological and molecular mechanisms

    PubMed Central

    Song, Jing; Huang, Yi-Fei; Zhang, Wen-Jing; Chen, Xiao-Fei; Guo, Yu-Mian

    2016-01-01

    Many factors, such as environmental, microbial and endogenous stress, antigen localization, can trigger the immunological events that affect the ending of the diverse spectrum of ocular disorders. Significant advances in understanding of immunological and molecular mechanisms have been researched to improve the diagnosis and therapy for patients with ocular inflammatory diseases. Some kinds of ocular diseases are inadequately responsive to current medications; therefore, immunotherapy may be a potential choice as an alternative or adjunctive treatment, even in the prophylactic setting. This article first provides an overview of the immunological and molecular mechanisms concerning several typical and common ocular diseases; second, the functions of immunological roles in some of systemic autoimmunity will be discussed; third, we will provide a summary of the mechanisms that dictate immune cell trafficking to ocular local microenvironment in response to inflammation. PMID:27275439

  14. Sampling Molecular Conformers in Solution with Quantum Mechanical Accuracy at a Nearly Molecular-Mechanics Cost.

    PubMed

    Rosa, Marta; Micciarelli, Marco; Laio, Alessandro; Baroni, Stefano

    2016-09-13

    We introduce a method to evaluate the relative populations of different conformers of molecular species in solution, aiming at quantum mechanical accuracy, while keeping the computational cost at a nearly molecular-mechanics level. This goal is achieved by combining long classical molecular-dynamics simulations to sample the free-energy landscape of the system, advanced clustering techniques to identify the most relevant conformers, and thermodynamic perturbation theory to correct the resulting populations, using quantum-mechanical energies from density functional theory. A quantitative criterion for assessing the accuracy thus achieved is proposed. The resulting methodology is demonstrated in the specific case of cyanin (cyanidin-3-glucoside) in water solution.

  15. Geochemical Reaction Mechanism Discovery from Molecular Simulation

    SciTech Connect

    Stack, Andrew G.; Kent, Paul R. C.

    2014-11-10

    Methods to explore reactions using computer simulation are becoming increasingly quantitative, versatile, and robust. In this review, a rationale for how molecular simulation can help build better geochemical kinetics models is first given. We summarize some common methods that geochemists use to simulate reaction mechanisms, specifically classical molecular dynamics and quantum chemical methods and discuss their strengths and weaknesses. Useful tools such as umbrella sampling and metadynamics that enable one to explore reactions are discussed. Several case studies wherein geochemists have used these tools to understand reaction mechanisms are presented, including water exchange and sorption on aqueous species and mineral surfaces, surface charging, crystal growth and dissolution, and electron transfer. The impact that molecular simulation has had on our understanding of geochemical reactivity are highlighted in each case. In the future, it is anticipated that molecular simulation of geochemical reaction mechanisms will become more commonplace as a tool to validate and interpret experimental data, and provide a check on the plausibility of geochemical kinetic models.

  16. Geochemical Reaction Mechanism Discovery from Molecular Simulation

    DOE PAGES

    Stack, Andrew G.; Kent, Paul R. C.

    2014-11-10

    Methods to explore reactions using computer simulation are becoming increasingly quantitative, versatile, and robust. In this review, a rationale for how molecular simulation can help build better geochemical kinetics models is first given. We summarize some common methods that geochemists use to simulate reaction mechanisms, specifically classical molecular dynamics and quantum chemical methods and discuss their strengths and weaknesses. Useful tools such as umbrella sampling and metadynamics that enable one to explore reactions are discussed. Several case studies wherein geochemists have used these tools to understand reaction mechanisms are presented, including water exchange and sorption on aqueous species and mineralmore » surfaces, surface charging, crystal growth and dissolution, and electron transfer. The impact that molecular simulation has had on our understanding of geochemical reactivity are highlighted in each case. In the future, it is anticipated that molecular simulation of geochemical reaction mechanisms will become more commonplace as a tool to validate and interpret experimental data, and provide a check on the plausibility of geochemical kinetic models.« less

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-05-01

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

  18. Molecular Mechanisms of Inherited Demyelinating Neuropathies

    PubMed Central

    SCHERER, STEVEN S.; WRABETZ, LAWRENCE

    2008-01-01

    The past 15 years have witnessed the identification of more than 25 genes responsible for inherited neuropathies in humans, many associated with primary alterations of the myelin sheath. A remarkable body of work in patients, as well as animal and cellular models, has defined the clinical and molecular genetics of these illnesses and shed light on how mutations in associated genes produce the heterogeneity of dysmyelinating and demyelinating phenotypes. Here, we review selected recent developments from work on the molecular mechanisms of these disorders and their implications for treatment strategies. PMID:18803325

  19. Cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying muscular dystrophy

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    The muscular dystrophies are a group of heterogeneous genetic diseases characterized by progressive degeneration and weakness of skeletal muscle. Since the discovery of the first muscular dystrophy gene encoding dystrophin, a large number of genes have been identified that are involved in various muscle-wasting and neuromuscular disorders. Human genetic studies complemented by animal model systems have substantially contributed to our understanding of the molecular pathomechanisms underlying muscle degeneration. Moreover, these studies have revealed distinct molecular and cellular mechanisms that link genetic mutations to diverse muscle wasting phenotypes. PMID:23671309

  20. Molecular mechanisms and clinical applications of angiogenesis

    PubMed Central

    Carmeliet, Peter; Jain, Rakesh K.

    2014-01-01

    Blood vessels deliver oxygen and nutrients to every part of the body, but also nourish diseases such as cancer. Over the past decade, our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of angiogenesis (blood vessel growth) has increased at an explosive rate and has led to the approval of anti-angiogenic drugs for cancer and eye diseases. So far, hundreds of thousands of patients have benefited from blockers of the angiogenic protein vascular endothelial growth factor, but limited efficacy and resistance remain outstanding problems. Recent preclinical and clinical studies have shown new molecular targets and principles, which may provide avenues for improving the therapeutic benefit from anti-angiogenic strategies. PMID:21593862

  1. Molecular mechanisms for proton transport in membranes.

    PubMed Central

    Nagle, J F; Morowitz, H J

    1978-01-01

    Likely mechanisms for proton transport through biomembranes are explored. The fundamental structural element is assumed to be continuous chains of hydrogen bonds formed from the protein side groups, and a molecular example is presented. From studies in ice, such chains are predicted to have low impedance and can function as proton wires. In addition, conformational changes in the protein may be linked to the proton conduction. If this possibility is allowed, a simple proton pump can be described that can be reversed into a molecular motor driven by an electrochemical potential across the membrane. PMID:272644

  2. Molecular Mechanisms of Neuroplasticity: An Expanding Universe.

    PubMed

    Gulyaeva, N V

    2017-03-01

    Biochemical processes in synapses and other neuronal compartments underlie neuroplasticity (functional and structural alterations in the brain enabling adaptation to the environment, learning, memory, as well as rehabilitation after brain injury). This basic molecular level of brain plasticity covers numerous specific proteins (enzymes, receptors, structural proteins, etc.) participating in many coordinated and interacting signal and metabolic processes, their modulation forming a molecular basis for brain plasticity. The articles in this issue are focused on different "hot points" in the research area of biochemical mechanisms supporting neuroplasticity.

  3. The molecular mechanism of plant gravitropism.

    PubMed

    Di, Wu; Linzhou, Huang; Jin, Gao; Yonghong, Wang

    2016-07-20

    Gravity is an important environmental factor that regulates plant growth and morphogenesis. In response to gravity stimulus, plants can set the optimum angle between the organs and the gravity vector. Plant gravitropism is divided into four sequential steps, including gravity perception, signal transduction, asymmetrical distribution of auxin, and organ curvature. In recent years, large numbers of mutants with defective gravitropism have been identified and genes involved in the regulation of gravitropism have been functionally characterized. In particular, progress has been achieved on elucidating the molecular mechanisms of gravity perception and asymmetrical distribution of auxin. As one of the most important strategies for plant to adapt environmental changes, gravitropism is also involved in the regulation of rice plant architecture and grain yield through modulating rice tiller angle. Therefore, the investigation of plant gravitropism not only contributes to decipher the regulatory mechanisms of plant growth and development, but also helps to guide the genetic improvement of crop architecture. However, the molecular mechanisms and regulatory network of gravitropism remain to be elusive. In this review, we focus on recent progress on elucidating molecular mechanisms underlying gravitropism and its involvement in regulating rice tiller angle, which is an important agronomic trait that determines rice plant architecture and thus grain yields.

  4. Regulation of renal potassium secretion: molecular mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Welling, Paul A

    2013-05-01

    A new understanding of renal potassium balance has emerged as the molecular underpinnings of potassium secretion have become illuminated, highlighting the key roles of apical potassium channels, renal outer medullary potassium channel (ROMK) and Big Potassium (BK), in the aldosterone-sensitive distal nephron and collecting duct. These channels act as the final-regulated components of the renal potassium secretory machinery. Their activity, number, and driving forces are precisely modulated to ensure potassium excretion matches dietary potassium intake. Recent identification of the underlying regulatory mechanisms at the molecular level provides a new appreciation of the physiology and reveals a molecular insight to explain the paradoxic actions of aldosterone on potassium secretion. Here, we review the current state of knowledge in the field.

  5. Embryonic development of goldfish (Carassius auratus): A model for the study of evolutionary change in developmental mechanisms by artificial selection

    PubMed Central

    Tsai, Hsin-Yuan; Chang, Mariann; Liu, Shih-Chieh; Abe, Gembu; Ota, Kinya G

    2013-01-01

    Background: Highly divergent morphology among the different goldfish strains (Carassius auratus) may make it a suitable model for investigating how artificial selection has altered developmental mechanisms. Here we describe the embryological development of the common goldfish (the single fin Wakin), which retains the ancestral morphology of this species. Results: We divided goldfish embryonic development into seven periods consisting of 34 stages, using previously reported developmental indices of zebrafish and goldfish. Although several differences were identified in terms of their yolk size, epiboly process, pigmentation patterns, and development rate, our results indicate that the embryonic features of these two teleost species are highly similar in their overall morphology from the zygote to hatching stage. Conclusions: These results provide an opportunity for further study of the evolutionary relationship between domestication and development, through applying well-established zebrafish molecular biological resources to goldfish embryos. Developmental Dynamics 242:1262–1283, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Key findings This study provides the first reliable descriptions of normal embryonic stages of wild-type goldfish. The embryonic features of goldfish and zebrafish are almost directly comparable. Goldfish embryos provide a novel model for the investigation of the evolutionary relationship between domestication and development. PMID:23913853

  6. Molecular mechanism for the umami taste synergism

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Feng; Klebansky, Boris; Fine, Richard M.; Xu, Hong; Pronin, Alexey; Liu, Haitian; Tachdjian, Catherine; Li, Xiaodong

    2008-01-01

    Umami is one of the 5 basic taste qualities. The umami taste of L-glutamate can be drastically enhanced by 5′ ribonucleotides and the synergy is a hallmark of this taste quality. The umami taste receptor is a heteromeric complex of 2 class C G-protein-coupled receptors, T1R1 and T1R3. Here we elucidate the molecular mechanism of the synergy using chimeric T1R receptors, site-directed mutagenesis, and molecular modeling. We propose a cooperative ligand-binding model involving the Venus flytrap domain of T1R1, where L-glutamate binds close to the hinge region, and 5′ ribonucleotides bind to an adjacent site close to the opening of the flytrap to further stabilize the closed conformation. This unique mechanism may apply to other class C G-protein-coupled receptors. PMID:19104071

  7. Molecular mechanisms of UV-induced apoptosis.

    PubMed

    Kulms, D; Schwarz, T

    2000-10-01

    Sunburn cells, single standing cells with typical morphologic features occurring in UV-exposed skin, have been recognized as keratinocytes undergoing apoptosis following UV irradiation. Induction of apoptosis following UV exposure appears to be a protective mechanism, getting rid off severely damaged cells that bear the risk of malignant transformation. UV-mediated apoptosis is a highly complex process in which different molecular pathways are involved. These include DNA damage, activation of the tumor suppressor gene p53, triggering of cell death receptors either directly by UV or by autocrine release of death ligands, mitochondrial damage and cytochrome C release. Detailed knowledge about the interplay between these pathways will increase our understanding of photocarcinogenesis. This review briefly discusses recent findings concerning the molecular mechanisms underlying UV-induced apoptosis.

  8. Molecular mechanism of the sweet taste enhancers

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Feng; Klebansky, Boris; Fine, Richard M.; Liu, Haitian; Xu, Hong; Servant, Guy; Zoller, Mark; Tachdjian, Catherine; Li, Xiaodong

    2010-01-01

    Positive allosteric modulators of the human sweet taste receptor have been developed as a new way of reducing dietary sugar intake. Besides their potential health benefit, the sweet taste enhancers are also valuable tool molecules to study the general mechanism of positive allosteric modulations of T1R taste receptors. Using chimeric receptors, mutagenesis, and molecular modeling, we reveal how these sweet enhancers work at the molecular level. Our data argue that the sweet enhancers follow a similar mechanism as the natural umami taste enhancer molecules. Whereas the sweeteners bind to the hinge region and induce the closure of the Venus flytrap domain of T1R2, the enhancers bind close to the opening and further stabilize the closed and active conformation of the receptor. PMID:20173095

  9. Molecular mechanism of the sweet taste enhancers.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Feng; Klebansky, Boris; Fine, Richard M; Liu, Haitian; Xu, Hong; Servant, Guy; Zoller, Mark; Tachdjian, Catherine; Li, Xiaodong

    2010-03-09

    Positive allosteric modulators of the human sweet taste receptor have been developed as a new way of reducing dietary sugar intake. Besides their potential health benefit, the sweet taste enhancers are also valuable tool molecules to study the general mechanism of positive allosteric modulations of T1R taste receptors. Using chimeric receptors, mutagenesis, and molecular modeling, we reveal how these sweet enhancers work at the molecular level. Our data argue that the sweet enhancers follow a similar mechanism as the natural umami taste enhancer molecules. Whereas the sweeteners bind to the hinge region and induce the closure of the Venus flytrap domain of T1R2, the enhancers bind close to the opening and further stabilize the closed and active conformation of the receptor.

  10. Molecular mechanism for the umami taste synergism.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Feng; Klebansky, Boris; Fine, Richard M; Xu, Hong; Pronin, Alexey; Liu, Haitian; Tachdjian, Catherine; Li, Xiaodong

    2008-12-30

    Umami is one of the 5 basic taste qualities. The umami taste of L-glutamate can be drastically enhanced by 5' ribonucleotides and the synergy is a hallmark of this taste quality. The umami taste receptor is a heteromeric complex of 2 class C G-protein-coupled receptors, T1R1 and T1R3. Here we elucidate the molecular mechanism of the synergy using chimeric T1R receptors, site-directed mutagenesis, and molecular modeling. We propose a cooperative ligand-binding model involving the Venus flytrap domain of T1R1, where L-glutamate binds close to the hinge region, and 5' ribonucleotides bind to an adjacent site close to the opening of the flytrap to further stabilize the closed conformation. This unique mechanism may apply to other class C G-protein-coupled receptors.

  11. Molecular mechanisms of membrane interaction at implantation.

    PubMed

    Davidson, Lien M; Coward, Kevin

    2016-03-01

    Successful pregnancy is dependent upon the implantation of a competent embryo into a receptive endometrium. Despite major advancement in our understanding of reproductive medicine over the last few decades, implantation failure still occurs in both normal pregnancies and those created artificially by assisted reproductive technology (ART). Consequently, there is significant interest in elucidating the etiology of implantation failure. The complex multistep process of implantation begins when the developing embryo first makes contact with the plasma membrane of epithelial cells within the uterine environment. However, although this biological interaction marks the beginning of a fundamental developmental process, our knowledge of the intricate physiological and molecular processes involved remains sparse. In this synopsis, we aim to provide an overview of our current understanding of the morphological changes which occur to the plasma membrane of the uterine endothelium, and the molecular mechanisms that control communication between the early embryo and the endometrium during implantation. A multitude of molecular factors have been implicated in this complex process, including endometrial integrins, extracellular matrix molecules, adhesion molecules, growth factors, and ion channels. We also explore the development of in vitro models for embryo implantation to help researchers investigate mechanisms which may underlie implantation failure. Understanding the precise molecular pathways associated with implantation failure could help us to generate new prognostic/diagnostic biomarkers, and may identify novel therapeutic targets.

  12. Nonlinear vibrational excitations in molecular crystals molecular mechanics calculations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pumilia, P.; Abbate, S.; Baldini, G.; Ferro, D. R.; Tubino, R.

    1992-03-01

    The coupling constant for vibrational solitons χ has been examined in a molecular mechanics model for acetanilide (ACN) molecular crystal. According to A.C. Scott, solitons can form and propagate in solid acetanilide over a threshold energy value. This can be regarded as a structural model for the spines of hydrogen bond chains stabilizing the α helical structure of proteins. A one dimensional hydrogen bond chain of ACN has been built, for which we have found that, even though experimental parameters are correctly predicted, the excessive rigidity of the isolated chain prevents the formation of a localized distortion around the excitation. Yet, C=O coupling value with softer lattice modes could be rather high, allowing self-trapping to take place.

  13. Molecular Mechanism of Biological Proton Transport

    SciTech Connect

    Pomes, R.

    1998-09-01

    Proton transport across lipid membranes is a fundamental aspect of biological energy transduction (metabolism). This function is mediated by a Grotthuss mechanism involving proton hopping along hydrogen-bonded networks embedded in membrane-spanning proteins. Using molecular simulations, the authors have explored the structural, dynamic, and thermodynamic properties giving rise to long-range proton translocation in hydrogen-bonded networks involving water molecules, or water wires, which are emerging as ubiquitous H{sup +}-transport devices in biological systems.

  14. Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Pain

    PubMed Central

    Basbaum, Allan I.; Bautista, Diana M.; Scherrer, Grégory; Julius, David

    2009-01-01

    The nervous system detects and interprets a wide range of thermal and mechanical stimuli as well as environmental and endogenous chemical irritants. When intense, these stimuli generate acute pain, and in the setting of persistent injury, both peripheral and central nervous system components of the pain transmission pathway exhibit tremendous plasticity, enhancing pain signals and producing hypersensitivity. When plasticity facilitates protective reflexes, it can be beneficial, but when the changes persist, a chronic pain condition may result. Genetic, electrophysiological, and pharmacological studies are elucidating the molecular mechanisms that underlie detection, coding, and modulation of noxious stimuli that generate pain. PMID:19837031

  15. Unexpected amino acid composition of modern Reptilia and its implications in molecular mechanisms of dinosaur extinction.

    PubMed

    Wang, Guang-Zhong; Ma, Bin-Guang; Yang, Yan; Zhang, Hong-Yu

    2005-08-12

    Dinosaur extinction is a great challenge to evolutionary biology. Although accumulating evidence suggests that an abrupt change of environment, such as a long period of low temperature induced by asteroid hit or other disasters, may be responsible for dinosaur extinction, little is known about the underlying molecular mechanisms. By analyzing the amino acid compositions of 13 biological classes, we found that the charged amino acid content of modern Reptilia, the sibling of dinosaur, is strikingly different from those of other classes, which inspires us to propose a possible molecular mechanism for dinosaur extinction.

  16. MOLECULAR MECHANISMS OF FEAR LEARNING AND MEMORY

    PubMed Central

    Johansen, Joshua P.; Cain, Christopher K.; Ostroff, Linnaea E.; LeDoux, Joseph E.

    2011-01-01

    Pavlovian fear conditioning is a useful behavioral paradigm for exploring the molecular mechanisms of learning and memory because a well-defined response to a specific environmental stimulus is produced through associative learning processes. Synaptic plasticity in the lateral nucleus of the amygdala (LA) underlies this form of associative learning. Here we summarize the molecular mechanisms that contribute to this synaptic plasticity in the context of auditory fear conditioning, the form of fear conditioning best understood at the molecular level. We discuss the neurotransmitter systems and signaling cascades that contribute to three phases of auditory fear conditioning: acquisition, consolidation, and reconsolidation. These studies suggest that multiple intracellular signaling pathways, including those triggered by activation of Hebbian processes and neuromodulatory receptors, interact to produce neural plasticity in the LA and behavioral fear conditioning. Together, this research illustrates the power of fear conditioning as a model system for characterizing the mechanisms of learning and memory in mammals, and potentially for understanding fear related disorders, such as PTSD and phobias. PMID:22036561

  17. Molecular Mechanisms of Right Ventricular Failure

    PubMed Central

    Reddy, Sushma; Bernstein, Daniel

    2015-01-01

    An abundance of data has provided insight into the mechanisms underlying the development of left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy and its progression to LV failure. In contrast, there is minimal data on the adaptation of the right ventricle (RV) to pressure and volume overload and the transition to RV failure. This is a critical clinical question, as the RV is uniquely at risk in many patients with repaired or palliated congenital heart disease and in those with pulmonary hypertension. Standard heart failure therapies have failed to improve function or survival in these patients, suggesting a divergence in the molecular mechanisms of RV vs. LV failure. Although, on the cellular level, the remodeling responses of the RV and LV to pressure overload are largely similar, there are several key differences: the stressed RV is more susceptible to oxidative stress, has a reduced angiogenic response, and is more likely to activate cell death pathways than the stressed LV. Together, these differences could explain the more rapid progression of the RV to failure vs. the LV. This review will highlight known molecular differences between the RV and LV responses to hemodynamic stress, the unique stressors on the RV associated with congenital heart disease, and the need to better understand these molecular mechanisms if we are to develop RV-specific heart failure therapeutics. PMID:26527692

  18. [Cellular and molecular mechanisms of memory].

    PubMed

    Laroche, S

    2001-01-01

    There has been nearly a century of interest in the idea that information is encoded in the brain as specific spatio-temporal patterns of activity in distributed networks and stored as changes in the efficacy of synaptic connections on neurons that are activated during learning. The discovery and detailed report of the phenomenon generally known as long-term potentiation opened a new chapter in the study of synaptic plasticity in the vertebrate brain, and this form of synaptic plasticity has now become the dominant model in the search for the cellular bases of learning and memory. To date, the key events in the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying synaptic plasticity are starting to be identified. They require the activation of specific receptors and of several molecular cascades to convert extracellular signals into persistent functional changes in neuronal connectivity. Accumulating evidence suggests that the rapid activation of the genetic machinery is a key mechanism underlying the enduring modification of neural networks required for the laying down of memory. The recent developments in the search for the cellular and molecular mechanisms of memory storage are reviewed.

  19. Molecular mechanisms of optic axon guidance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Inatani, Masaru

    2005-12-01

    Axon guidance is one of the critical processes during vertebrate central nervous system (CNS) development. The optic nerve, which contains the axons of retinal ganglion cells, has been used as a powerful model to elucidate some of the mechanisms underlying axon guidance because it is easily manipulated experimentally, and its function is well understood. Recent molecular biology studies have revealed that numerous guidance molecules control the development of the visual pathway. This review introduces the molecular mechanisms involved in each critical step during optic axon guidance. Axonal projections to the optic disc are thought to depend on adhesion molecules and inhibitory extracellular matrices such as chondroitin sulfate. The formation of the head of the optic nerve and the optic chiasm require ligand-receptor interactions between netrin-1 and the deleted in colorectal cancer receptor, and Slit proteins and Robo receptors, respectively. The gradient distributions of ephrin ligands and Eph receptors are essential for correct ipsilateral projections at the optic chiasm and the topographic mapping of axons in the superior colliculus/optic tectum. The precise gradient is regulated by transcription factors determining the retinal dorso-ventral and nasal-temporal polarities. Moreover, the axon guidance activities by Slit and semaphorin 5A require the existence of heparan sulfate, which binds to numerous guidance molecules. Recent discoveries about the molecular mechanisms underlying optic nerve guidance will facilitate progress in CNS developmental biology and axon-regeneration therapy.

  20. Molecular Phylogeny of Echiuran Worms (Phylum: Annelida) Reveals Evolutionary Pattern of Feeding Mode and Sexual Dimorphism

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

    The Echiura, or spoon worms, are a group of marine worms, most of which live in burrows in soft sediments. This annelid-like animal group was once considered as a separate phylum because of the absence of segmentation, although recent molecular analyses have placed it within the annelids. In this study, we elucidate the interfamily relationships of echiuran worms and their evolutionary pattern of feeding mode and sexual dimorphism, by performing molecular phylogenetic analyses using four genes (18S, 28S, H3, and COI) of representatives of all extant echiuran families. Our results suggest that Echiura is monophyletic and comprises two unexpected groups: [Echiuridae+Urechidae+Thalassematidae] and [Bonelliidae+Ikedidae]. This grouping agrees with the presence/absence of marked sexual dimorphism involving dwarf males and the paired/non-paired configuration of the gonoducts (genital sacs). Furthermore, the data supports the sister group relationship of Echiuridae and Urechidae. These two families share the character of having anal chaetae rings around the posterior trunk as a synapomorphy. The analyses also suggest that deposit feeding is a basal feeding mode in echiurans and that filter feeding originated once in the common ancestor of Urechidae. Overall, our results contradict the currently accepted order-level classification, especially in that Echiuroinea is polyphyletic, and provide novel insights into the evolution of echiuran worms. PMID:23457618

  1. Evolutionary animation: How do molecular phylogenies compare to Mayr's reconstruction of speciation patterns in the sea?

    PubMed Central

    Palumbi, Stephen R.; Lessios, H. A.

    2005-01-01

    Ernst Mayr used the geography of closely related species in various stages of increasing divergence to “animate” the process of geographic, or allopatric, speciation. This approach was applied to a wide set of taxa, and a seminal paper by Mayr used it to explore speciation patterns in tropical sea urchins. Since then, taxonomic information in several of these genera has been augmented by detailed molecular phylogenies. We compare Mayr's animation with the phylogenies of eight sea urchin genera placed by Mayr into four speciation groups. True to Mayr's predictions, early-stage genera have on average lower species divergence and more polytypic species than genera in later stages. For six of these genera, we also have information about the evolution of the gamete recognition protein bindin, which is critical to reproductive isolation. These comparisons show that later-stage genera with many sympatric species tend to be those with rapid bindin evolution. By contrast, early-stage genera with few sympatric species are not necessarily earlier in the divergence process; they happen to be those with slow rates of bindin evolution. These results show that the rate of speciation in sea urchins does not only depend on the steady accumulation of genome divergence over time, but also on the rate of evolution of gamete recognition proteins. The animation method used by Mayr is generally supported by molecular phylogenies. However, the existence of multiple rates in the acquisition of reproductive isolation complicates placement of different genera in an evolutionary series. PMID:15851681

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

    PubMed

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

    2001-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Kumar, Sudhir; Stecher, Glen; Tamura, Koichiro

    2016-07-01

    We present the latest version of the Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis (Mega) software, which contains many sophisticated methods and tools for phylogenomics and phylomedicine. In this major upgrade, Mega has been optimized for use on 64-bit computing systems for analyzing larger datasets. Researchers can now explore and analyze tens of thousands of sequences in Mega The new version also provides an advanced wizard for building timetrees and includes a new functionality to automatically predict gene duplication events in gene family trees. The 64-bit Mega is made available in two interfaces: graphical and command line. The graphical user interface (GUI) is a native Microsoft Windows application that can also be used on Mac OS X. The command line Mega is available as native applications for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. They are intended for use in high-throughput and scripted analysis. Both versions are available from www.megasoftware.net free of charge. © The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

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

    PubMed

    Sanjuán, Rafael

    2012-01-01

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

  5. From Molecular Genetics to Phylodynamics: Evolutionary Relevance of Mutation Rates Across Viruses

    PubMed Central

    Sanjuán, Rafael

    2012-01-01

    Although evolution is a multifactorial process, theory posits that the speed of molecular evolution should be directly determined by the rate at which spontaneous mutations appear. To what extent these two biochemical and population-scale processes are related in nature, however, is largely unknown. Viruses are an ideal system for addressing this question because their evolution is fast enough to be observed in real time, and experimentally-determined mutation rates are abundant. This article provides statistically supported evidence that the mutation rate determines molecular evolution across all types of viruses. Properties of the viral genome such as its size and chemical composition are identified as major determinants of these rates. Furthermore, a quantitative analysis reveals that, as expected, evolution rates increase linearly with mutation rates for slowly mutating viruses. However, this relationship plateaus for fast mutating viruses. A model is proposed in which deleterious mutations impose an evolutionary speed limit and set an extinction threshold in nature. The model is consistent with data from replication kinetics, selection strength and chemical mutagenesis studies. PMID:22570614

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

  7. Intrinsic Disorder in Pathogen Effectors: Protein Flexibility as an Evolutionary Hallmark in a Molecular Arms Race[W

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

    Effector proteins represent a refined mechanism of bacterial pathogens to overcome plants’ innate immune systems. These modular proteins often manipulate host physiology by directly interfering with immune signaling of plant cells. Even if host cells have developed efficient strategies to perceive the presence of pathogenic microbes and to recognize intracellular effector activity, it remains an open question why only few effectors are recognized directly by plant resistance proteins. Based on in-silico genome-wide surveys and a reevaluation of published structural data, we estimated that bacterial effectors of phytopathogens are highly enriched in long-disordered regions (>50 residues). These structurally flexible segments have no secondary structure under physiological conditions but can fold in a stimulus-dependent manner (e.g., during protein–protein interactions). The high abundance of intrinsic disorder in effectors strongly suggests positive evolutionary selection of this structural feature and highlights the dynamic nature of these proteins. We postulate that such structural flexibility may be essential for (1) effector translocation, (2) evasion of the innate immune system, and (3) host function mimicry. The study of these dynamical regions will greatly complement current structural approaches to understand the molecular mechanisms of these proteins and may help in the prediction of new effectors. PMID:24038649

  8. Molecular phylogeny and evolutionary dynamics of influenza A nonstructural (NS) gene.

    PubMed

    Xu, Jianpeng; Zhong, Haizhen A; Madrahimov, Alex; Helikar, Tomáš; Lu, Guoqing

    2014-03-01

    While the nonstructural gene (NS) of the influenza A virus plays a crucial role in viral virulence and replication, the complete understanding of its molecular phylogeny and evolutionary dynamics remains lacking. In this study, the phylogenetic analysis of 7581 NS sequences revealed ten distinct lineages within alleles A and B: three host-specific (human, classical swine and equine), two reassortment-originated (A(H1N1)pdm09 and triple reassortment swine), one transmission-originated (Eurasian swine), and two geographically isolated avian (Eurasian/Oceanian and North American) for allele A and two geographically isolated avian (Eurasian/Oceanian and North American) for allele B. The average nucleotide substitution rates of the lineages range from 1.24×10(-3) (equine) to 4.34×10(-3) (A(H1N1)pdm09) substitutions per site per year. The selection pressure analysis demonstrated that the dN/dS ratio of the NS gene in A(H1N1)pdm09 lineage was higher than its closely related triple reassortant swine, which could be attributed to the adaptation to the new host and/or intensive surveillance after the inter-species transmission from swine to human. The positive selection sites were found in all lineages except the equine lineage and mostly in the NS1 region. The positive selection sites 22, 26, 226, 227 and 230 of the human lineage are significant because these residues participate in either forming the dimerization of the two RNA binding domain (RBD) monomers or blocking the replication of host genes. Residues at position 171 provide hydrophobic interactions with hydrophobic residues at p85β and thus induce viral cell growth. The lineages and evolutionary dynamics of influenza A NS gene obtained in this study, along with the studies of other gene segments, are expected to improve the early detection of new viruses and thus have the potential to enhance influenza surveillance.

  9. Immune function across generations: integrating mechanism and evolutionary process in maternal antibody transmission.

    PubMed Central

    Grindstaff, Jennifer L; Brodie, Edmund D; Ketterson, Ellen D

    2003-01-01

    The past 30 years of immunological research have revealed much about the proximate mechanisms of maternal antibody transmission and utilization, but have not adequately addressed how these issues are related to evolutionary and ecological theory. Much remains to be learned about individual differences within a species in maternal antibody transmission as well as differences among species in transmission or utilization of antibodies. Similarly, maternal-effects theory has generally neglected the mechanisms by which mothers influence offspring phenotype. Although the environmental cues that generate maternal effects and the consequent effects for offspring phenotype are often well characterized, the intermediary physiological and developmental steps through which the maternal effect is transmitted are generally unknown. Integration of the proximate mechanisms of maternal antibody transmission with evolutionary theory on maternal effects affords an important opportunity to unite mechanism and process by focusing on the links between genetics, environment and physiology, with the ultimate goal of explaining differences among individuals and species in the transfer of immune function from one generation to the next. PMID:14667346

  10. Molecular mechanics of mussel adhesion proteins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Qin, Zhao; Buehler, Markus J.

    2014-01-01

    Mussel foot protein (mfp), a natural glue produced by marine mussel, is an intriguing material because of its superior ability for adhesion in various environments. For example, a very small amount of this material is sufficient to affix a mussel to a substrate in water, providing structural support under extreme forces caused by the dynamic effects of waves. Towards a more complete understanding of its strength and underwater workability, it is necessary to understand the microscropic mechanisms by which the protein structure interacts with various substrates. However, none of the mussel proteins' structure is known, preventing us from directly using atomistic modeling to probe their structural and mechanical properties. Here we use an advanced molecular sampling technique to identify the molecular structures of two mussel foot proteins (mfp-3 and mfp-5) and use those structures to study their mechanics of adhesion, which is then incorporated into a continuum model. We calculate the adhesion energy of the mussel foot protein on a silica substrate, compute the adhesion strength based on results obtained from molecular modeling, and compare with experimental data. Our results show good agreement with experimental measurements, which validates the multiscale model. We find that the molecular structure of the folded mussel foot protein (ultimately defined by its genetic sequence) favors strong adhesion to substrates, where L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (or DOPA) protein subunits work in a cooperative manner to enhance adhesion. Our experimental data suggests a peak attachment force of 0.4±0.1 N, which compares favorably with the prediction from the multiscale model of Fc=0.21-0.33 N. The principles learnt from those results could guide the fabrication of new interfacial materials (e.g. composites) to integrate organic with inorganic surfaces in an effective manner.

  11. Molecular genetic and molecular evolutionary studies on the bacteriochlorophyll synthesis genes of Rhodobacter capsulatus

    SciTech Connect

    Burke-Agueero, Donald H.

    1992-08-01

    Rhodobacter capsulatus, purple bacterium capable of either aerobic or photosynthetic growth, has proven to be very useful in genetic studies of photosynthesis. Forty-four genes clustered together within a 46 kilobase region are required to establish photosynthetic ability in R. capsulatus. Approximately twenty of these genes are involved in bacteriochlorophyll synthesis of which eight ``bch`` genes are the subject of this thesis. Six of these genes were found to code for the two ring reductases. The first converts protochlorophyllide (PChlide) into a chlorin, the immediate precursor to chlorophyll a, and then into a bacteriochlorin. Each reductase is shown to be made up of three subunits. PChlide reductase is coded by the genes bchN, bchB, and bchL. Proteins with amino acid sequences markedly similar to those of bchN and bchL have been shown in other organisms to be required for chlorophyll synthesis; hence, their designation as chlN and chlB. A third chloroplast-encoded gene of heretofore unknown function shares amino acid identities with bchB and is probably the third subunit of the plant PChlide reductase. The bchA locus, which encodes the chlorin reductase, is found to be made up of three separate, translationally coupled genes, referred to as bchX, bchY, and bchZ. Amino acid similarities between bchX, bchL, and the nitrogenase reductase protein nifH suggest that all three classes of proteins share certain three-dimensional structural features, including elements that are central to the enzymatic mechanism of nifH. PChlide reductase and chlorin reductase are clearly derived from a common ancestor. Several lines of analysis suggests the ancestor of both enzyme systems reduced PChlide twice to produce bacteriochlorophyll supporting the concept bacteriochlorophyll as the ancestral reaction center pigment.

  12. Molecular genetic and molecular evolutionary studies on the bacteriochlorophyll synthesis genes of Rhodobacter capsulatus

    SciTech Connect

    Burke-Agueero, D.H.

    1992-08-01

    Rhodobacter capsulatus, purple bacterium capable of either aerobic or photosynthetic growth, has proven to be very useful in genetic studies of photosynthesis. Forty-four genes clustered together within a 46 kilobase region are required to establish photosynthetic ability in R. capsulatus. Approximately twenty of these genes are involved in bacteriochlorophyll synthesis of which eight bch'' genes are the subject of this thesis. Six of these genes were found to code for the two ring reductases. The first converts protochlorophyllide (PChlide) into a chlorin, the immediate precursor to chlorophyll a, and then into a bacteriochlorin. Each reductase is shown to be made up of three subunits. PChlide reductase is coded by the genes bchN, bchB, and bchL. Proteins with amino acid sequences markedly similar to those of bchN and bchL have been shown in other organisms to be required for chlorophyll synthesis; hence, their designation as chlN and chlB. A third chloroplast-encoded gene of heretofore unknown function shares amino acid identities with bchB and is probably the third subunit of the plant PChlide reductase. The bchA locus, which encodes the chlorin reductase, is found to be made up of three separate, translationally coupled genes, referred to as bchX, bchY, and bchZ. Amino acid similarities between bchX, bchL, and the nitrogenase reductase protein nifH suggest that all three classes of proteins share certain three-dimensional structural features, including elements that are central to the enzymatic mechanism of nifH. PChlide reductase and chlorin reductase are clearly derived from a common ancestor. Several lines of analysis suggests the ancestor of both enzyme systems reduced PChlide twice to produce bacteriochlorophyll supporting the concept bacteriochlorophyll as the ancestral reaction center pigment.

  13. Tools for Accurate and Efficient Analysis of Complex Evolutionary Mechanisms in Microbial Genomes. Final Report

    SciTech Connect

    Nakhleh, Luay

    2014-03-12

    I proposed to develop computationally efficient tools for accurate detection and reconstruction of microbes' complex evolutionary mechanisms, thus enabling rapid and accurate annotation, analysis and understanding of their genomes. To achieve this goal, I proposed to address three aspects. (1) Mathematical modeling. A major challenge facing the accurate detection of HGT is that of distinguishing between these two events on the one hand and other events that have similar "effects." I proposed to develop a novel mathematical approach for distinguishing among these events. Further, I proposed to develop a set of novel optimization criteria for the evolutionary analysis of microbial genomes in the presence of these complex evolutionary events. (2) Algorithm design. In this aspect of the project, I proposed to develop an array of e cient and accurate algorithms for analyzing microbial genomes based on the formulated optimization criteria. Further, I proposed to test the viability of the criteria and the accuracy of the algorithms in an experimental setting using both synthetic as well as biological data. (3) Software development. I proposed the nal outcome to be a suite of software tools which implements the mathematical models as well as the algorithms developed.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-07-01

    The scaffolding protein KIBRA (also called WWC1) is involved in the regulation of important intracellular transport processes and the establishment of cell polarity. Furthermore, KIBRA/WWC1 is an upstream regulator of the Hippo signaling pathway that controls cell proliferation and organ size in animals. KIBRA/WWC1 represents only one member of the WWC protein family that also includes the highly similar proteins WWC2 and WWC3. Although the function of KIBRA/WWC1 was studied intensively in cells and animal models, the importance of WWC2 and WWC3 was not yet elucidated. Here, we describe evolutionary, molecular, and functional aspects of the WWC family. We show that the WWC genes arose in the ancestor of bilateral animals (clades such as insects and vertebrates) from a single founder gene most similar to the present KIBRA/WWC1-like sequence of Drosophila. This situation was still maintained until the common ancestor of lancelet and vertebrates. In fish, a progenitor-like sequence of mammalian KIBRA/WWC1 and WWC2 is expressed together with WWC3. Finally, in all tetrapods, the three family members, KIBRA/WWC1, WWC2, and WWC3, are found, except for a large genomic deletion including WWC3 in Mus musculus. At the molecular level, the highly conserved WWC proteins share a similar primary structure, the ability to form homo- and heterodimers and the interaction with a common set of binding proteins. Furthermore, all WWC proteins negatively regulate cell proliferation and organ growth due to a suppression of the transcriptional activity of YAP, the major effector of the Hippo pathway. © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  15. Molecular mechanisms for protein-encoded inheritance.

    PubMed

    Wiltzius, Jed J W; Landau, Meytal; Nelson, Rebecca; Sawaya, Michael R; Apostol, Marcin I; Goldschmidt, Lukasz; Soriaga, Angela B; Cascio, Duilio; Rajashankar, Kanagalaghatta; Eisenberg, David

    2009-09-01

    In prion inheritance and transmission, strains are phenotypic variants encoded by protein 'conformations'. However, it is unclear how a protein conformation can be stable enough to endure transmission between cells or organisms. Here we describe new polymorphic crystal structures of segments of prion and other amyloid proteins, which offer two structural mechanisms for the encoding of prion strains. In packing polymorphism, prion strains are encoded by alternative packing arrangements (polymorphs) of beta-sheets formed by the same segment of a protein; in segmental polymorphism, prion strains are encoded by distinct beta-sheets built from different segments of a protein. Both forms of polymorphism can produce enduring conformations capable of encoding strains. These molecular mechanisms for transfer of protein-encoded information into prion strains share features with the familiar mechanism for transfer of nucleic acid-encoded information into microbial strains, including sequence specificity and recognition by noncovalent bonds.

  16. Molecular mechanisms of chemoresistance in gastric cancer

    PubMed Central

    Shi, Wen-Jia; Gao, Jin-Bo

    2016-01-01

    Gastric cancer is the fourth most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. Chemotherapy is one of the major treatments for gastric cancer, but drug resistance limits the effectiveness of chemotherapy, which results in treatment failure. Resistance to chemotherapy can be present intrinsically before the administration of chemotherapy or it can develop during chemotherapy. The mechanisms of chemotherapy resistance in gastric cancer are complex and multifactorial. A variety of factors have been demonstrated to be involved in chemoresistance, including the reduced intracellular concentrations of drugs, alterations in drug targets, the dysregulation of cell survival and death signaling pathways, and interactions between cancer cells and the tumor microenvironment. This review focuses on the molecular mechanisms of chemoresistance in gastric cancer and on recent studies that have sought to overcome the underlying mechanisms of chemoresistance. PMID:27672425

  17. Molecular mechanisms for protein-encoded inheritance

    SciTech Connect

    Wiltzius, Jed J.W.; Landau, Meytal; Nelson, Rebecca; Sawaya, Michael R.; Apostol, Marcin I.; Goldschmidt, Lukasz; Soriaga, Angela B.; Cascio, Duilio; Rajashankar, Kanagalaghatta; Eisenberg, David

    2009-12-01

    In prion inheritance and transmission, strains are phenotypic variants encoded by protein 'conformations'. However, it is unclear how a protein conformation can be stable enough to endure transmission between cells or organisms. Here we describe new polymorphic crystal structures of segments of prion and other amyloid proteins, which offer two structural mechanisms for the encoding of prion strains. In packing polymorphism, prion strains are encoded by alternative packing arrangements (polymorphs) of {beta}-sheets formed by the same segment of a protein; in segmental polymorphism, prion strains are encoded by distinct {beta}-sheets built from different segments of a protein. Both forms of polymorphism can produce enduring conformations capable of encoding strains. These molecular mechanisms for transfer of protein-encoded information into prion strains share features with the familiar mechanism for transfer of nucleic acid-encoded information into microbial strains, including sequence specificity and recognition by noncovalent bonds.

  18. Identifying Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms for Magnetosensation

    PubMed Central

    Clites, Benjamin L.; Pierce, Jonathan T.

    2017-01-01

    Diverse animals ranging from worms and insects to birds and turtles perf orm impressive journeys using the magnetic field of the earth as a cue. Although major cellular and molecular mechanisms for sensing mechanical and chemical cues have been elucidated over the past three decades, the mechanisms that animals use to sense magnetic fields remain largely mysterious. Here we survey progress on the search for magnetosensory neurons and magnetosensitive molecules important for animal behaviors. Emphasis is placed on magnetosensation in insects and birds, as well as on the magnetosensitive neuron pair AFD in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. We also review conventional criteria used to define animal magnetoreceptors and suggest how approaches used to identify receptors for other sensory modalities may be adapted for magnetoreceptors. Finally, we discuss prospects for under-utilized and novel approaches to identify the elusive magnetoreceptors in animals. PMID:28772099

  19. Molecular model with quantum mechanical bonding information.

    PubMed

    Bohórquez, Hugo J; Boyd, Russell J; Matta, Chérif F

    2011-11-17

    The molecular structure can be defined quantum mechanically thanks to the theory of atoms in molecules. Here, we report a new molecular model that reflects quantum mechanical properties of the chemical bonds. This graphical representation of molecules is based on the topology of the electron density at the critical points. The eigenvalues of the Hessian are used for depicting the critical points three-dimensionally. The bond path linking two atoms has a thickness that is proportional to the electron density at the bond critical point. The nuclei are represented according to the experimentally determined atomic radii. The resulting molecular structures are similar to the traditional ball and stick ones, with the difference that in this model each object included in the plot provides topological information about the atoms and bonding interactions. As a result, the character and intensity of any given interatomic interaction can be identified by visual inspection, including the noncovalent ones. Because similar bonding interactions have similar plots, this tool permits the visualization of chemical bond transferability, revealing the presence of functional groups in large molecules.

  20. Molecular mechanisms of hepcidin regulation in sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax).

    PubMed

    Neves, J V; Caldas, C; Wilson, J M; Rodrigues, P N S

    2011-12-01

    Hepcidin, an antimicrobial peptide described as a key regulator of iron metabolism, is known to respond in mammals to several stimuli, including iron overload, anemia, hypoxia and inflammation, through a number of molecular pathways. In order to understand the molecular pathways involved in the regulation of hepcidin expression in teleost fish, we have isolated for European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) several coding sequences of known molecules involved on these pathways in mammals, namely jak3, stat3, tmprss6, bmp6, bmpr2, hjv, smad4, smad5, tfr1 and tfr2. The transcription levels of the isolated genes were evaluated by real-time PCR on fish subjected to experimental iron modulation (overload/deficiency) or infection with Photobacterium damsela. Results show that genes associated with the major pathway of the inflammatory response (IL6/JAK/STAT pathway) in mammals are also modulated in sea bass, being up-regulated during infection. Similarly, genes of the pathways classically associated with the response to variations in iron status (the HJV/BMP/SMAD and HFE/TfR pathways) are also modulated, mostly through down-regulation in iron deficiency and up-regulation during iron overload. Interestingly, many of these genes are also found to be up-regulated during infection, which may indicate a crosstalk between the known pathways of hepcidin regulation. These observations suggest the evolutionary conservation of the mechanisms of hepcidin regulation in teleost fish. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. Molecular Mechanisms of Prolactin and Its Receptor

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Prolactin and the prolactin receptors are members of a family of hormone/receptor pairs which include GH, erythropoietin, and other ligand/receptor pairs. The mechanisms of these ligand/receptor pairs have broad similarities, including general structures, ligand/receptor stoichiometries, and activation of several common signaling pathways. But significant variations in the structural and mechanistic details are present among these hormones and their type 1 receptors. The prolactin receptor is particularly interesting because it can be activated by three sequence-diverse human hormones: prolactin, GH, and placental lactogen. This system offers a unique opportunity to compare the detailed molecular mechanisms of these related hormone/receptor pairs. This review critically evaluates selected literature that informs these mechanisms, compares the mechanisms of the three lactogenic hormones, compares the mechanism with those of other class 1 ligand/receptor pairs, and identifies information that will be required to resolve mechanistic ambiguities. The literature describes distinct mechanistic differences between the three lactogenic hormones and their interaction with the prolactin receptor and describes more significant differences between the mechanisms by which other related ligands interact with and activate their receptors. PMID:22577091

  2. Afrobatrachian mitochondrial genomes: genome reorganization, gene rearrangement mechanisms, and evolutionary trends of duplicated and rearranged genes

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Mitochondrial genomic (mitogenomic) reorganizations are rarely found in closely-related animals, yet drastic reorganizations have been found in the Ranoides frogs. The phylogenetic relationships of the three major ranoid taxa (Natatanura, Microhylidae, and Afrobatrachia) have been problematic, and mitogenomic information for afrobatrachians has not been available. Several molecular models for mitochondrial (mt) gene rearrangements have been proposed, but observational evidence has been insufficient to evaluate them. Furthermore, evolutionary trends in rearranged mt genes have not been well understood. To gain molecular and phylogenetic insights into these issues, we analyzed the mt genomes of four afrobatrachian species (Breviceps adspersus, Hemisus marmoratus, Hyperolius marmoratus, and Trichobatrachus robustus) and performed molecular phylogenetic analyses. Furthermore we searched for two evolutionary patterns expected in the rearranged mt genes of ranoids. Results Extensively reorganized mt genomes having many duplicated and rearranged genes were found in three of the four afrobatrachians analyzed. In fact, Breviceps has the largest known mt genome among vertebrates. Although the kinds of duplicated and rearranged genes differed among these species, a remarkable gene rearrangement pattern of non-tandemly copied genes situated within tandemly-copied regions was commonly found. Furthermore, the existence of concerted evolution was observed between non-neighboring copies of triplicated 12S and 16S ribosomal RNA regions. Conclusions Phylogenetic analyses based on mitogenomic data support a close relationship between Afrobatrachia and Microhylidae, with their estimated divergence 100 million years ago consistent with present-day endemism of afrobatrachians on the African continent. The afrobatrachian mt data supported the first tandem and second non-tandem duplication model for mt gene rearrangements and the recombination-based model for concerted

  3. Measuring the mechanical properties of molecular conformers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jarvis, S. P.; Taylor, S.; Baran, J. D.; Champness, N. R.; Larsson, J. A.; Moriarty, P.

    2015-09-01

    Scanning probe-actuated single molecule manipulation has proven to be an exceptionally powerful tool for the systematic atomic-scale interrogation of molecular adsorbates. To date, however, the extent to which molecular conformation affects the force required to push or pull a single molecule has not been explored. Here we probe the mechanochemical response of two tetra(4-bromophenyl)porphyrin conformers using non-contact atomic force microscopy where we find a large difference between the lateral forces required for manipulation. Remarkably, despite sharing very similar adsorption characteristics, variations in the potential energy surface are capable of prohibiting probe-induced positioning of one conformer, while simultaneously permitting manipulation of the alternative conformational form. Our results are interpreted in the context of dispersion-corrected density functional theory calculations which reveal significant differences in the diffusion barriers for each conformer. These results demonstrate that conformational variation significantly modifies the mechanical response of even simple porpyhrins, potentially affecting many other flexible molecules.

  4. Molecular mechanics conformational analysis of tylosin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ivanov, Petko M.

    1998-01-01

    The conformations of the 16-membered macrolide antibiotic tylosin were studied with molecular mechanics (AMBER∗ force field) including modelling of the effect of the solvent on the conformational preferences (GB/SA). A Monte Carlo conformational search procedure was used for finding the most probable low-energy conformations. The present study provides complementary data to recently reported analysis of the conformations of tylosin based on NMR techniques. A search for the low-energy conformations of protynolide, a 16-membered lactone containing the same aglycone as tylosin, was also carried out, and the results were compared with the observed conformation in the crystal as well as with the most probable conformations of the macrocyclic ring of tylosin. The dependence of the results on force field was also studied by utilizing the MM3 force field. Some particular conformations were computed with the semiempirical molecular orbital methods AM1 and PM3.

  5. Molecular Mechanics of Tip-Link Cadherins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sotomayor, Marcos; Weihofen, Wilhelm A.; Gaudet, Rachelle; Corey, David P.

    2011-11-01

    The hair-cell tip link, a fine filament directly conveying force to mechanosensitive transduction channels, is likely composed of two proteins, protocadherin-15 and cadherin-23, whose mutation causes deafness. However, their complete molecular structure, elasticity, and deafness-related structural defects remain largely unknown. We present crystal structures of extracellular (EC) tip-link cadherin repeats involved in hereditary deafness and tip link formation. In addition, we show that the deafness mutation D101G, in the linker region between the repeats EC1 and EC2 of cadherin-23, causes a slight bend between repeats and decreases Ca2+ affinity. Molecular dynamics simulations suggest that tip-link cadherin repeats are stiff and that either removing Ca2+ or mutating Ca2+-binding residues reduces rigidity and unfolding strength. The structures and simulations also suggest mechanisms underlying inherited deafness and how cadherin-23 may bind with protocadherin-15 to form the tip link.

  6. Measuring the mechanical properties of molecular conformers.

    PubMed

    Jarvis, S P; Taylor, S; Baran, J D; Champness, N R; Larsson, J A; Moriarty, P

    2015-09-21

    Scanning probe-actuated single molecule manipulation has proven to be an exceptionally powerful tool for the systematic atomic-scale interrogation of molecular adsorbates. To date, however, the extent to which molecular conformation affects the force required to push or pull a single molecule has not been explored. Here we probe the mechanochemical response of two tetra(4-bromophenyl)porphyrin conformers using non-contact atomic force microscopy where we find a large difference between the lateral forces required for manipulation. Remarkably, despite sharing very similar adsorption characteristics, variations in the potential energy surface are capable of prohibiting probe-induced positioning of one conformer, while simultaneously permitting manipulation of the alternative conformational form. Our results are interpreted in the context of dispersion-corrected density functional theory calculations which reveal significant differences in the diffusion barriers for each conformer. These results demonstrate that conformational variation significantly modifies the mechanical response of even simple porpyhrins, potentially affecting many other flexible molecules.

  7. Molecular Mechanisms Involved in Schwann Cell Plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Boerboom, Angélique; Dion, Valérie; Chariot, Alain; Franzen, Rachelle

    2017-01-01

    Schwann cell incredible plasticity is a hallmark of the utmost importance following nerve damage or in demyelinating neuropathies. After injury, Schwann cells undergo dedifferentiation before redifferentiating to promote nerve regeneration and complete functional recovery. This review updates and discusses the molecular mechanisms involved in the negative regulation of myelination as well as in the reprogramming of Schwann cells taking place early following nerve lesion to support repair. Significant advance has been made on signaling pathways and molecular components that regulate SC regenerative properties. These include for instance transcriptional regulators such as c-Jun or Notch, the MAPK and the Nrg1/ErbB2/3 pathways. This comprehensive overview ends with some therapeutical applications targeting factors that control Schwann cell plasticity and highlights the need to carefully modulate and balance this capacity to drive nerve repair. PMID:28261057

  8. [Molecular mechanism of idiopathic basal ganglia calcification].

    PubMed

    Wang, Cheng; Xu, Xuan; Li, Lulu; Wang, Tao; Zhang, Min; Shen, Lu; Tang, Beisha; Liu, Jingyu

    2015-08-01

    Idiopathic basal ganglia calcification (IBGC), also known as Fahr’s disease, is an inheritable neurodegenerative syndrome characterized by mineral deposits in the basal ganglia and other brain regions. Patients with IBGC are often accompanied with movement disorders, cognitive impairment as well as psychiatric abnormalities. So far, no therapeutic drug has been developed for the treatment of IBGC. Recently, genetic studies have identified several genes associated with IBGC, including SLC20A2, PDGFRB, PDGFB, ISG15 and XPR1. Loss-of-function mutations in these genes have been associated with disturbance in phosphate homeostasis in brain regions, the dysfunction of blood-brain barrier as well as enhanced IFN-α/β immunity. In this review, we summarize the latest research progress in the studies on molecular genetics of IBGC, and discuss the molecular mechanisms underlying the pathophysiology of mutations of different genes.

  9. Molecular mechanism of Endosulfan action in mammals.

    PubMed

    Sebastian, Robin; Raghavan, Sathees C

    2017-03-01

    Endosulfan is a broad-spectrum organochlorine pesticide, speculated to be detrimental to human health in areas of active exposure. However, the molecular insights to its mechanism of action remain poorly understood. In two recent studies, our group investigated the physiological and molecular aspects of endosulfan action using in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo analyses. The results showed that apart from reducing fertility levels in male animals, Endosulfan induced DNA damage that triggers compromised DNA damage response leading to undesirable processing of broken DNA ends. In this review, pesticide use especially of Endosulfan in the Indian scenario is summarized and the importance of our findings, especially the rationalized use of pesticides in the future, is emphasized.

  10. Molecular mechanisms of intercellular communication: transmembrane signaling

    SciTech Connect

    Bitensky, M.W.; George, J.S.; Siegel, H.N.; McGregor, D.M.

    1982-01-01

    This short discussion of transmembrane signaling depicts a particular class of signaling devices whose functional characteristics may well be representative of broader classes of membrane switches. These multicomponent aggregates are characterized by tight organization of interacting components which function by conformational interactions to provide sensitive, amplified, rapid, and modulated responses. It is clear that the essential role of such switches in cell-cell interactions necessitated their appearance early in the history of the development of multicellular organisms. It also seems clear that once such devices made their appearance, the conformationally interactive moieties were firmly locked into a regulatory relationship. Since modification of interacting components could perturb or interfere with the functional integrity of the whole switch, genetic drift was only permitted at the input and outflow extremes. However, the GTP binding moiety and its interacting protein domains on contiguous portions of the receptor and readout components were highly conserved. The observed stringent evolutionary conservation of the molecular features of these membrane switches thus applies primarily to the central (GTP binding) elements. An extraordinary degree of variation was permitted within the domains of signal recognition and enzymatic output. Thus, time and evolution have adapted the central logic of the regulatory algorithm to serve a great variety of cellular purposes and to recognize a great variety of chemical and physical signals. This is exemplified by the richness of the hormonal and cellular dialogues found in primates such as man. Here the wealth of intercellular communiation can support the composition and performance of symphonies and the study of cellular immunology.

  11. Mechanisms of evolutionary change in structural plumage coloration among bluebirds (Sialia spp.).

    PubMed

    Shawkey, Matthew D; Balenger, Susan L; Hill, Geoffrey E; Johnson, L Scott; Keyser, Amber J; Siefferman, Lynn

    2006-08-22

    Combinations of microstructural and pigmentary components of barbs create the colour displays of feathers. It follows that evolutionary changes in colour displays must reflect changes in the underlying production mechanisms, but rarely have the mechanisms of feather colour evolution been studied. Among bluebirds in the genus Sialia, male rump colour varies among species from dark blue to light blue while breast colour varies from blue to rusty. We use spectrometry, transmission electron microscopy and Fourier analysis to identify the morphology responsible for these divergent colour displays. The morphology of blue rump barbs is similar among the three species, with an outer keratin cortex layer surrounding a medullary 'spongy layer' and a basal row of melanin granules. A spongy layer is also present in blue breast barbs of mountain bluebirds Sialia currucoides and in rusty breast barbs of western Sialia mexicana and eastern bluebirds Sialia sialis. In blue barbs melanin is basal to the spongy layer, but is not present in the outer cortex or spongy layer, while in rusty barbs, melanin is present only in the cortex. The placement of melanin in the cortex masks expression of structural blue, creating a rusty display. Such shifts in microstructures and pigments may be widespread mechanisms for the evolutionary changes in the colours of feathers and other reflective structures across colourful organisms.

  12. Mechanisms of evolutionary change in structural plumage coloration among bluebirds (Sialia spp.)

    PubMed Central

    Shawkey, Matthew D; Balenger, Susan L; Hill, Geoffrey E; Johnson, L. Scott; Keyser, Amber J; Siefferman, Lynn

    2006-01-01

    Combinations of microstructural and pigmentary components of barbs create the colour displays of feathers. It follows that evolutionary changes in colour displays must reflect changes in the underlying production mechanisms, but rarely have the mechanisms of feather colour evolution been studied. Among bluebirds in the genus Sialia, male rump colour varies among species from dark blue to light blue while breast colour varies from blue to rusty. We use spectrometry, transmission electron microscopy and Fourier analysis to identify the morphology responsible for these divergent colour displays. The morphology of blue rump barbs is similar among the three species, with an outer keratin cortex layer surrounding a medullary ‘spongy layer’ and a basal row of melanin granules. A spongy layer is also present in blue breast barbs of mountain bluebirds Sialia currucoides and in rusty breast barbs of western Sialia mexicana and eastern bluebirds Sialia sialis. In blue barbs melanin is basal to the spongy layer, but is not present in the outer cortex or spongy layer, while in rusty barbs, melanin is present only in the cortex. The placement of melanin in the cortex masks expression of structural blue, creating a rusty display. Such shifts in microstructures and pigments may be widespread mechanisms for the evolutionary changes in the colours of feathers and other reflective structures across colourful organisms. PMID:16849249

  13. Modeling molecular mechanisms in the axon

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Rooij, R.; Miller, K. E.; Kuhl, E.

    2017-03-01

    Axons are living systems that display highly dynamic changes in stiffness, viscosity, and internal stress. However, the mechanistic origin of these phenomenological properties remains elusive. Here we establish a computational mechanics model that interprets cellular-level characteristics as emergent properties from molecular-level events. We create an axon model of discrete microtubules, which are connected to neighboring microtubules via discrete crosslinking mechanisms that obey a set of simple rules. We explore two types of mechanisms: passive and active crosslinking. Our passive and active simulations suggest that the stiffness and viscosity of the axon increase linearly with the crosslink density, and that both are highly sensitive to the crosslink detachment and reattachment times. Our model explains how active crosslinking with dynein motors generates internal stresses and actively drives axon elongation. We anticipate that our model will allow us to probe a wide variety of molecular phenomena—both in isolation and in interaction—to explore emergent cellular-level features under physiological and pathological conditions.

  14. Modeling molecular mechanisms in the axon

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Rooij, R.; Miller, K. E.; Kuhl, E.

    2016-12-01

    Axons are living systems that display highly dynamic changes in stiffness, viscosity, and internal stress. However, the mechanistic origin of these phenomenological properties remains elusive. Here we establish a computational mechanics model that interprets cellular-level characteristics as emergent properties from molecular-level events. We create an axon model of discrete microtubules, which are connected to neighboring microtubules via discrete crosslinking mechanisms that obey a set of simple rules. We explore two types of mechanisms: passive and active crosslinking. Our passive and active simulations suggest that the stiffness and viscosity of the axon increase linearly with the crosslink density, and that both are highly sensitive to the crosslink detachment and reattachment times. Our model explains how active crosslinking with dynein motors generates internal stresses and actively drives axon elongation. We anticipate that our model will allow us to probe a wide variety of molecular phenomena—both in isolation and in interaction—to explore emergent cellular-level features under physiological and pathological conditions.

  15. Molecular Mechanisms of Sex Determination in Reptiles

    PubMed Central

    Rhen, T.; Schroeder, A.

    2010-01-01

    Charles Darwin first provided a lucid explanation of how gender differences evolve nearly 140 years ago. Yet, a disconnect remains between his theory of sexual selection and the mechanisms that underlie the development of males and females. In particular, comparisons between representatives of different phyla (i.e., flies and mice) reveal distinct genetic mechanisms for sexual differentiation. Such differences are hard to comprehend unless we study organisms that bridge the phylogenetic gap. Analysis of variation within monophyletic groups (i.e., amniotes) is just as important if we hope to elucidate the evolution of mechanisms underlying sexual differentiation. Here we review the molecular, cellular, morphological, and physiological changes associated with sex determination in reptiles. Most research on the molecular biology of sex determination in reptiles describes expression patterns for orthologs of mammalian sex-determining genes. Many of these genes have evolutionarily conserved expression profiles (i.e., DMRT1 and SOX9 are expressed at a higher level in developing testes vs. developing ovaries in all species), which suggests functional conservation. However, expression profiling alone does not test gene function and will not identify novel sex-determining genes or gene interactions. For that reason, we provide a prospectus on various techniques that promise to reveal new sex-determining genes and regulatory interactions among these genes. We offer specific examples of novel candidate genes and a new signaling pathway in support of these techniques. PMID:20145384

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-12-01

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

  17. Pitfall in quantum mechanical/molecular mechanical molecular dynamics simulation of small solutes in solution.

    PubMed

    Hu, Hao; Liu, Haiyan

    2013-05-30

    Developments in computing hardware and algorithms have made direct molecular dynamics simulation with the combined quantum mechanical/molecular mechanical methods affordable for small solute molecules in solution, in which much improved accuracy can be obtained via the quantum mechanical treatment of the solute molecule and even sometimes water molecules in the first solvation shell. However, unlike the conventional molecular mechanical simulations of large molecules, e.g., proteins, in solutions, special care must be taken in the technical details of the simulation, including the thermostat of the solute/solvent system, so that the conformational space of the solute molecules can be properly sampled. We show here that the common setup for classical molecular mechanical molecular dynamics simulations, such as the Berendsen or single Nose-Hoover thermostat, and/or rigid water models could lead to pathological sampling of the solutes' conformation. In the extreme example of a methanol molecule in aqueous solution, improper and sluggish setups could generate two peaks in the distribution of the O-H bond length. We discuss the factors responsible for this somewhat unexpected result and evoke a simple and ancient technical fix-up to resolve this problem.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brintaki, Athina N.

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

  19. Molecular mechanisms of metal hyperaccumulation in plants.

    PubMed

    Verbruggen, Nathalie; Hermans, Christian; Schat, Henk

    2009-03-01

    Metal hyperaccumulator plants accumulate and detoxify extraordinarily high concentrations of metal ions in their shoots. Metal hyperaccumulation is a fascinating phenomenon, which has interested scientists for over a century. Hyperaccumulators constitute an exceptional biological material for understanding mechanisms regulating plant metal homeostasis as well as plant adaptation to extreme metallic environments.Our understanding of metal hyperaccumulation physiology has recently increased as a result of the development of molecular tools. This review presents key aspects of our current understanding of plant metal – in particular cadmium (Cd),nickel (Ni) and zinc (Zn) – hyperaccumulation.

  20. Quantum Mechanical Studies of Molecular Hyperpolarizabilities.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1980-04-30

    exponent , reflects the screening of an electron in a given orbital by the interior electrons in the atom or molecule. In practice, when studying...Basis sets have evolved over the years in molecular quantum mechanics until sets of orbital exponents for the different atoms composing the molecule have...and R. P. Hurst , J. Chem. Phys. 46, 2356 (1967); S. P. LickmannI and J. W. Moskowitz, J. Chem. Phys. 54, 3622 7T971). 26. T. H. Dunning, J. Chem. Phys

  1. Molecular Mechanisms of Inner Ear Development

    PubMed Central

    Wu, Doris K.; Kelley, Matthew W.

    2012-01-01

    The inner ear is a structurally complex vertebrate organ built to encode sound, motion, and orientation in space. Given its complexity, it is not surprising that inner ear dysfunction is a relatively common consequence of human genetic mutation. Studies in model organisms suggest that many genes currently known to be associated with human hearing impairment are active during embryogenesis. Hence, the study of inner ear development provides a rich context for understanding the functions of genes implicated in hearing loss. This chapter focuses on molecular mechanisms of inner ear development derived from studies of model organisms. PMID:22855724

  2. Molecular mechanisms of head and neck cancer.

    PubMed

    Deshpande, Amit M; Wong, David T

    2008-05-01

    Despite advances in understanding the underlying genetics, squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) remains a major health risk and one of the leading causes of mortality in the world. Current standards of treatment have significantly improved long-term survival rates of patients, but second tumors and metastases still remain the most frequent cause of high mortality in SCCHN patients. A better understanding of the underlying genetic mechanisms of SCCHN tumorigenesis will help in developing better diagnostics and, hence, better cures. In this article we will briefly outline the current state of diagnostics and treatment and our understanding of the molecular causes of SCCHN.

  3. Molecular mechanisms of astrocyte-induced synaptogenesis.

    PubMed

    Baldwin, Katherine T; Eroglu, Cagla

    2017-08-01

    Astrocytes are morphologically complex cells that perform a wide variety of critical functions in the brain. As a structurally and functionally integrated component of the synapse, astrocytes secrete proteins, lipids, and small molecules that bind neuronal receptors to promote synaptogenesis and regulate synaptic connectivity. Additionally, astrocytes are key players in circuit formation, instructing the formation of synapses between distinct classes of neurons. This review highlights recent publications on the topic of astrocyte-mediated synaptogenesis, with a focus on the molecular mechanisms through which astrocytes orchestrate the formation of synaptic circuits. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  4. Molecular mechanics of silk nanostructures under varied mechanical loading.

    PubMed

    Bratzel, Graham; Buehler, Markus J

    2012-06-01

    Spider dragline silk is a self-assembling tunable protein composite fiber that rivals many engineering fibers in tensile strength, extensibility, and toughness, making it one of the most versatile biocompatible materials and most inviting for synthetic mimicry. While experimental studies have shown that the peptide sequence and molecular structure of silk have a direct influence on the stiffness, toughness, and failure strength of silk, few molecular-level analyses of the nanostructure of silk assemblies, in particular, under variations of genetic sequences have been reported. In this study, atomistic-level structures of wildtype as well as modified MaSp1 protein from the Nephila clavipes spider dragline silk sequences, obtained using an in silico approach based on replica exchange molecular dynamics and explicit water molecular dynamics, are subjected to simulated nanomechanical testing using different force-control loading conditions including stretch, pull-out, and peel. The authors have explored the effects of the poly-alanine length of the N. clavipes MaSp1 peptide sequence and identify differences in nanomechanical loading conditions on the behavior of a unit cell of 15 strands with 840-990 total residues used to represent a cross-linking β-sheet crystal node in the network within a fibril of the dragline silk thread. The specific loading condition used, representing concepts derived from the protein network connectivity at larger scales, have a significant effect on the mechanical behavior. Our analysis incorporates stretching, pull-out, and peel testing to connect biochemical features to mechanical behavior. The method used in this study could find broad applications in de novo design of silk-like tunable materials for an array of applications.

  5. Protein mechanics: how force regulates molecular function.

    PubMed

    Seifert, Christian; Gräter, Frauke

    2013-10-01

    Regulation of proteins is ubiquitous and vital for any organism. Protein activity can be altered chemically, by covalent modifications or non-covalent binding of co-factors. Mechanical forces are emerging as an additional way of regulating proteins, by inducing a conformational change or by partial unfolding. We review some advances in experimental and theoretical techniques to study protein allostery driven by mechanical forces, as opposed to the more conventional ligand driven allostery. In this respect, we discuss recent single molecule pulling experiments as they have substantially augmented our view on the protein allostery by mechanical signals in recent years. Finally, we present a computational analysis technique, Force Distribution Analysis, that we developed to reveal allosteric pathways in proteins. Any kind of external perturbation, being it ligand binding or mechanical stretching, can be viewed as an external force acting on the macromolecule, rendering force-based experimental or computational techniques, a very general approach to the mechanics involved in protein allostery. This unifying view might aid to decipher how complex allosteric protein machineries are regulated on the single molecular level. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  6. Simulation with quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics for drug discovery.

    PubMed

    Barbault, Florent; Maurel, François

    2015-10-01

    Biological macromolecules, such as proteins or nucleic acids, are (still) molecules and thus they follow the same chemical rules that any simple molecule follows, even if their size generally renders accurate studies unhelpful. However, in the context of drug discovery, a detailed analysis of ligand association is required for understanding or predicting their interactions and hybrid quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) computations are relevant tools to help elucidate this process. In this review, the authors explore the use of QM/MM for drug discovery. After a brief description of the molecular mechanics (MM) technique, the authors describe the subtractive and additive techniques for QM/MM computations. The authors then present several application cases in topics involved in drug discovery. QM/MM have been widely employed during the last decades to study chemical processes such as enzyme-inhibitor interactions. However, despite the enthusiasm around this area, plain MM simulations may be more meaningful than QM/MM. To obtain reliable results, the authors suggest fixing several keystone parameters according to the underlying chemistry of each studied system.

  7. Simulation with quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics for drug discovery.

    PubMed

    Barbault, Florent; Maurel, François

    2015-08-08

    Biological macromolecules, such as proteins or nucleic acids, are (still) molecules and thus they follow the same chemical rules that any simple molecule follows, even if their size generally renders accurate studies unhelpful. However, in the context of drug discovery, a detailed analysis of ligand association is required for understanding or predicting their interactions and hybrid quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) computations are relevant tools to help elucidate this process. Areas covered: In this review, the authors explore the use of QM/MM for drug discovery. After a brief description of the molecular mechanics (MM) technique, the authors describe the subtractive and additive techniques for QM/MM computations. The authors then present several application cases in topics involved in drug discovery. Expert opinion: QM/MM have been widely employed during the last decades to study chemical processes such as enzyme-inhibitor interactions. However, despite the enthusiasm around this area, plain MM simulations may be more meaningful than QM/MM. To obtain reliable results, the authors suggest fixing several keystone parameters according to the underlying chemistry of each studied system.

  8. Molecular mechanics of tropocollagen-hydroxyapatite biomaterials

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dubey, Devendra Kumar

    Hard biomaterials such as bone, dentin, and nacre show remarkable mechanical performance and serve as inspiration for development of next generation of composite materials with high strength and toughness. Such materials have primarily an organic phase (e.g. tropocollagen (TC) or chitin) and a mineral phase (e.g. hydroxyapatite (HAP) or aragonite) arranged in a staggered arrangement at nanoscopic length scales. Interfacial interactions between the organic phases and the mineral phases and structural effects arising due to the staggered and hierarchical arrangements are identified to be the two most important determinants for high mechanical performance of such biomaterials. Effects of these determinants in such biomaterials are further intertwined with factors such as loading configuration, chemical environment, mineral crystal shape, and residue sequences in polymer chains. Atomistic modeling is a desired approach to investigate such sub nanoscale issues as experimental techniques for investigations at such small scale are still in nascent stage. For this purpose, explicit three dimensional (3D) molecular dynamics (MD) and ab initio MD simulations of quasi-static mechanical deformations of idealized Tropocollagen-Hydroxyapatite (TC-HAP) biomaterials with distinct interfacial arrangements and different loading configurations are performed. Focus is on developing insights into the molecular level mechanics of TC-HAP biomaterials at fundamental lengthscale with emphasis on interface phenomenon. Idealized TC-HAP atomistic models are analyzed for their mechanical strength and fracture failure behavior from the viewpoint of interfacial interactions between TC and HAP and associated molecular mechanisms. In particular, study focuses on developing an understanding of factors such as role of interfacial structural arrangement, hierarchical structure design, influence of water, effect of changes in HAP crystal shape, and mutations in TC molecule on the mechanical strength

  9. Molecular phylogeny and evolutionary history of Southeast Asian macaques forming the M. silenus group.

    PubMed

    Ziegler, Thomas; Abegg, Christophe; Meijaard, Erik; Perwitasari-Farajallah, Dyah; Walter, Lutz; Hodges, J Keith; Roos, Christian

    2007-03-01

    The 12 presently recognized taxa forming the Macaca silenus group represent the most diverse lineage within the genus Macaca. The present study was set up to clarify the phylogenetic relationships of the extant members of the M. silenus group and to explain their geographical distribution patterns seen today. A combined approach involving the analysis of one paternal (TSPY) and two maternal (cyt b and 12S-16S rRNA) molecular markers enabled us to resolve the phylogenetic relationships within this lineage. Our Y chromosomal marker is not informative enough to allow detailed conclusion. Based on our mitochondrial data, however, M. pagensis, endemic to the three southern Mentawai islands (Sipora, North- and South Pagai), split off early (2.4-2.6 mya) and represents a sister clade to the macaques from the northern Mentawai island of Siberut and from those of the Southeast Asian mainland, which diverged in a radiation-like splitting event about 1.5-1.7 mya. By combining our new results with available data on behavioural as well as climate and sea level changes in Southeast Asia during the Plio- and Pleistocene, we have developed two scenarios for the evolutionary history of this primate group, which may help explain the current geographical distribution of its members.

  10. Molecular Characterization of the Gastrula in the Turtle Emys orbicularis: An Evolutionary Perspective on Gastrulation

    PubMed Central

    Coolen, Marion; Nicolle, Delphine; Plouhinec, Jean-Louis; Gombault, Aurélie; Sauka-Spengler, Tatjana; Menuet, Arnaud; Pieau, Claude; Mazan, Sylvie

    2008-01-01

    Due to the presence of a blastopore as in amphibians, the turtle has been suggested to exemplify a transition form from an amphibian- to an avian-type gastrulation pattern. In order to test this hypothesis and gain insight into the emergence of the unique characteristics of amniotes during gastrulation, we have performed the first molecular characterization of the gastrula in a reptile, the turtle Emys orbicularis. The study of Brachyury, Lim1, Otx2 and Otx5 expression patterns points to a highly conserved dynamic of expression with amniote model organisms and makes it possible to identify the site of mesoderm internalization, which is a long-standing issue in reptiles. Analysis of Brachyury expression also highlights the presence of two distinct phases, less easily recognizable in model organisms and respectively characterized by an early ring-shaped and a later bilateral symmetrical territory. Systematic comparisons with tetrapod model organisms lead to new insights into the relationships of the blastopore/blastoporal plate system shared by all reptiles, with the blastopore of amphibians and the primitive streak of birds and mammals. The biphasic Brachyury expression pattern is also consistent with recent models of emergence of bilateral symmetry, which raises the question of its evolutionary significance. PMID:18628985

  11. Molecular characterization of the gastrula in the turtle Emys orbicularis: an evolutionary perspective on gastrulation.

    PubMed

    Coolen, Marion; Nicolle, Delphine; Plouhinec, Jean-Louis; Gombault, Aurélie; Sauka-Spengler, Tatjana; Menuet, Arnaud; Pieau, Claude; Mazan, Sylvie

    2008-07-16

    Due to the presence of a blastopore as in amphibians, the turtle has been suggested to exemplify a transition form from an amphibian- to an avian-type gastrulation pattern. In order to test this hypothesis and gain insight into the emergence of the unique characteristics of amniotes during gastrulation, we have performed the first molecular characterization of the gastrula in a reptile, the turtle Emys orbicularis. The study of Brachyury, Lim1, Otx2 and Otx5 expression patterns points to a highly conserved dynamic of expression with amniote model organisms and makes it possible to identify the site of mesoderm internalization, which is a long-standing issue in reptiles. Analysis of Brachyury expression also highlights the presence of two distinct phases, less easily recognizable in model organisms and respectively characterized by an early ring-shaped and a later bilateral symmetrical territory. Systematic comparisons with tetrapod model organisms lead to new insights into the relationships of the blastopore/blastoporal plate system shared by all reptiles, with the blastopore of amphibians and the primitive streak of birds and mammals. The biphasic Brachyury expression pattern is also consistent with recent models of emergence of bilateral symmetry, which raises the question of its evolutionary significance.

  12. Exploiting genomic knowledge in optimising molecular breeding programmes: algorithms from evolutionary computing.

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Wall, Daniel

    2014-01-01

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

  14. Molecular, genetic and evolutionary analysis of a paracentric inversion in Arabidopsis thaliana.

    PubMed

    Fransz, Paul; Linc, Gabriella; Lee, Cheng-Ruei; Aflitos, Saulo Alves; Lasky, Jesse R; Toomajian, Christopher; Ali, Hoda; Peters, Janny; van Dam, Peter; Ji, Xianwen; Kuzak, Mateusz; Gerats, Tom; Schubert, Ingo; Schneeberger, Korbinian; Colot, Vincent; Martienssen, Rob; Koornneef, Maarten; Nordborg, Magnus; Juenger, Thomas E; de Jong, Hans; Schranz, Michael E

    2016-10-01

    Chromosomal inversions can provide windows onto the cytogenetic, molecular, evolutionary and demographic histories of a species. Here we investigate a paracentric 1.17-Mb inversion on chromosome 4 of Arabidopsis thaliana with nucleotide precision of its borders. The inversion is created by Vandal transposon activity, splitting an F-box and relocating a pericentric heterochromatin segment in juxtaposition with euchromatin without affecting the epigenetic landscape. Examination of the RegMap panel and the 1001 Arabidopsis genomes revealed more than 170 inversion accessions in Europe and North America. The SNP patterns revealed historical recombinations from which we infer diverse haplotype patterns, ancient introgression events and phylogenetic relationships. We find a robust association between the inversion and fecundity under drought. We also find linkage disequilibrium between the inverted region and the early flowering Col-FRIGIDA allele. Finally, SNP analysis elucidates the origin of the inversion to South-Eastern Europe approximately 5000 years ago and the FRI-Col allele to North-West Europe, and reveals the spreading of a single haplotype to North America during the 17th to 19th century. The 'American haplotype' was identified from several European localities, potentially due to return migration.

  15. Molecular recognition in myxobacterial outer membrane exchange: functional, social and evolutionary implications.

    PubMed

    Wall, Daniel

    2014-01-01

    Through cooperative interactions, bacteria can build multicellular communities. To ensure that productive interactions occur, bacteria must recognize their neighbours and respond accordingly. Molecular recognition between cells is thus a fundamental behaviour, and in bacteria important discoveries have been made. This MicroReview focuses on a recently described recognition system in myxobacteria that is governed by a polymorphic cell surface receptor called TraA. TraA regulates outer membrane exchange (OME), whereby myxobacterial cells transiently fuse their OMs to efficiently transfer proteins and lipids between cells. Unlike other transport systems, OME is rather indiscriminate in what OM goods are transferred. In contrast, the recognition of partnering cells is discriminatory and only occurs between cells that bear identical or closely related TraA proteins. Therefore TraA functions in kin recognition and, in turn, OME helps regulate social interactions between myxobacteria. Here, I discuss and speculate on the social and evolutionary implications of OME and suggest it helps to guide their transition from free-living cells into coherent and functional populations. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  17. Multiscale Quantum Mechanics/Molecular Mechanics Simulations with Neural Networks.

    PubMed

    Shen, Lin; Wu, Jingheng; Yang, Weitao

    2016-10-11

    Molecular dynamics simulation with multiscale quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) methods is a very powerful tool for understanding the mechanism of chemical and biological processes in solution or enzymes. However, its computational cost can be too high for many biochemical systems because of the large number of ab initio QM calculations. Semiempirical QM/MM simulations have much higher efficiency. Its accuracy can be improved with a correction to reach the ab initio QM/MM level. The computational cost on the ab initio calculation for the correction determines the efficiency. In this paper we developed a neural network method for QM/MM calculation as an extension of the neural-network representation reported by Behler and Parrinello. With this approach, the potential energy of any configuration along the reaction path for a given QM/MM system can be predicted at the ab initio QM/MM level based on the semiempirical QM/MM simulations. We further applied this method to three reactions in water to calculate the free energy changes. The free-energy profile obtained from the semiempirical QM/MM simulation is corrected to the ab initio QM/MM level with the potential energies predicted with the constructed neural network. The results are in excellent accordance with the reference data that are obtained from the ab initio QM/MM molecular dynamics simulation or corrected with direct ab initio QM/MM potential energies. Compared with the correction using direct ab initio QM/MM potential energies, our method shows a speed-up of 1 or 2 orders of magnitude. It demonstrates that the neural network method combined with the semiempirical QM/MM calculation can be an efficient and reliable strategy for chemical reaction simulations.

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

    PubMed

    Betancur-R, Ricardo

    2009-07-23

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Betancur-R, Ricardo

    2009-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Hipsley, Christy A.; Müller, Johannes

    2014-01-01

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

  1. Traditional Taxonomic Groupings Mask Evolutionary History: A Molecular Phylogeny and New Classification of the Chromodorid Nudibranchs

    PubMed Central

    Johnson, Rebecca Fay; Gosliner, Terrence M.

    2012-01-01

    Chromodorid nudibranchs (16 genera, 300+ species) are beautiful, brightly colored sea slugs found primarily in tropical coral reef habitats and subtropical coastal waters. The chromodorids are the most speciose family of opisthobranchs and one of the most diverse heterobranch clades. Chromodorids have the potential to be a model group with which to study diversification, color pattern evolution, are important source organisms in natural products chemistry and represent a stunning and widely compelling example of marine biodiversity. Here, we present the most complete molecular phylogeny of the chromodorid nudibranchs to date, with a broad sample of 244 specimens (142 new), representing 157 (106 new) chromodorid species, four actinocylcid species and four additional dorid species utilizing two mitochondrial markers (16s and COI). We confirmed the monophyly of the Chromodorididae and its sister group relationship with the Actinocyclidae. We were also able to, for the first time, test generic monophyly by including more than one member of all 14 of the non-monotypic chromodorid genera. Every one of these 14 traditional chromodorid genera are either non-monophyletic, or render another genus paraphyletic. Additionally, both the monotypic genera Verconia and Diversidoris are nested within clades. Based on data shown here, there are three individual species and five clades limited to the eastern Pacific and Atlantic Oceans (or just one of these ocean regions), while the majority of chromodorid clades and species are strictly Indo-Pacific in distribution. We present a new classification of the chromodorid nudibranchs. We use molecular data to untangle evolutionary relationships and retain a historical connection to traditional systematics by using generic names attached to type species as clade names. PMID:22506002

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

    PubMed

    Hipsley, Christy A; Müller, Johannes

    2014-01-01

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

  3. Cracking the egg: molecular dynamics and evolutionary aspects of the transition from the fully grown oocyte to embryo

    PubMed Central

    Evsikov, Alexei V.; Graber, Joel H.; Brockman, J. Michael; Hampl, Aleš; Holbrook, Andrea E.; Singh, Priyam; Eppig, John J.; Solter, Davor; Knowles, Barbara B.

    2006-01-01

    Fully grown oocytes (FGOs) contain all the necessary transcripts to activate molecular pathways underlying the oocyte-to-embryo transition (OET). To elucidate this critical period of development, an extensive survey of the FGO transcriptome was performed by analyzing 19,000 expressed sequence tags of the Mus musculus FGO cDNA library. Expression of 5400 genes and transposable elements is reported. For a majority of genes expressed in mouse FGOs, homologs transcribed in eggs of Xenopus laevis or Ciona intestinalis were found, pinpointing evolutionary conservation of most regulatory cascades underlying the OET in chordates. A large proportion of identified genes belongs to several gene families with oocyte-restricted expression, a likely result of lineage-specific genomic duplications. Gene loss by mutation and expression in female germline of retrotransposed genes specific to M. musculus is documented. These findings indicate rapid diversification of genes involved in female reproduction. Comparison of the FGO and two-cell embryo transcriptomes demarcated the processes important for oogenesis from those involved in OET and identified novel motifs in maternal mRNAs associated with transcript stability. Discovery of oocyte-specific eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E distinguishes a novel system of translational regulation. These results implicate conserved pathways underlying transition from oogenesis to initiation of development and illustrate how genes acquire and lose reproductive functions during evolution, a potential mechanism for reproductive isolation. PMID:17015433

  4. Molecular mechanisms of glucocorticoid receptor signaling.

    PubMed

    Labeur, Marta; Holsboer, Florian

    2010-01-01

    This review highlights the most recent findings on the molecular mechanisms of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR). Most effects of glucocorticoids are mediated by the intracellular GR which is present in almost every tissue and controls transcriptional activation via direct and indirect mechanisms. Nevertheless the glu-cocorticoid responses are tissue -and gene- specific. GR associates selectively with corticosteroid ligands produced in the adrenal gland in response to changes of humoral homeostasis. Ligand interaction with GR promotes either GR binding to genomic glucocorticoid response elements, in turn modulating gene transcription, or interaction of GR monomers with other transcription factors activated by other signalling pathways leading to transrepression. The GR regulates a broad spectrum of physiological functions, including cell differentiation, metabolism and inflammatory responses. Thus, disruption or dysregulation of GR function will result in severe impairments in the maintenance of homeostasis and the control of adaptation to stress.

  5. [Molecular genetic mechanism of the kidney cancer].

    PubMed

    Nakaigawa, N; Yao, M; Kishida, T; Kubota, Y

    2001-01-01

    The oncogenic mechanisms of renal cell carcinoma(RCC) are becoming elucidated with recent advances in molecular biology. von Hipple-Lindau disease(VHL) tumor suppressor gene is mutated and inactivated frequently in clear cell type RCCs. The VHL protein forms a complex which shows a ubiquitin ligase activity. The lost of the ubiquitin ligase activity of VHL protein may be a key step for clear cell tumorigenesis. Papillary renal cell carcinomas are caused by activating mutation in the tyrosine kinase domain of the MET gene. This tumorigenic pathway is regulated by c-Src. Immunogene therapies have been started for the patients with advanced RCC. The information based on microarray and Serial Analysis of Gene Expression(SAGE) will provide novel diagnosis and therapy which focus on the tumorigenic mechanism of RCC in the near future.

  6. Evolutionary mechanisms of habitat invasions, using the copepod Eurytemora affinis as a model system.

    PubMed

    Lee, Carol Eunmi

    2016-01-01

    The study of the copepod Eurytemora affinis has provided unprecedented insights into mechanisms of invasive success. In this invited review, I summarize a subset of work from my laboratory to highlight key insights gained from studying E. affinis as a model system. Invasive species with brackish origins are overrepresented in freshwater habitats. The copepod E. affinis is an example of such a brackish invader, and has invaded freshwater habitats multiple times independently in recent years. These invasions were accompanied by the evolution of physiological tolerance and plasticity, increased body fluid regulation, and evolutionary shifts in ion transporter (V-type H(+) ATPase, Na(+), K(+)-ATPase) activity and expression. These evolutionary changes occurred in parallel across independent invasions in nature and in laboratory selection experiments. Selection appears to act on standing genetic variation during invasions, and maintenance of this variation is likely facilitated through 'beneficial reversal of dominance' in salinity tolerance across habitats. Expression of critical ion transporters is localized in newly discovered Crusalis leg organs. Increased freshwater tolerance is accompanied by costs to development time and greater requirements for food. High-food concentration increases low-salinity tolerance, allowing saline populations to invade freshwater habitats. Mechanisms observed here likely have relevance for other taxa undergoing fundamental niche expansions.

  7. Molecular inhibitory mechanism of tricin on tyrosinase

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mu, Yan; Li, Lin; Hu, Song-Qing

    2013-04-01

    Tricin was evaluated as a type of tyrosinase inhibitor with good efficacy compared to arbutin. Tricin functioned as a non-competitive inhibitor of tyrosinase, with an equilibrium constant of 2.30 mmol/L. The molecular mechanisms underlying the inhibition of tyrosinase by tricin were investigated by means of circular dichroism spectra, fluorescence quenching and molecular docking. These assays demonstrated that the interactions between tricin and tyrosinase did not change the secondary structure. The interaction of tricin with residues in the hydrophobic pocket of tyrosinase was revealed by fluorescence quenching; the complex was stabilized by hydrophobic associations and hydrogen bonding (with residues Asn80 and Arg267). Docking results implied that the possible inhibitory mechanisms may be attributed to the stereospecific blockade effects of tricin on substrates or products and flexible conformation alterations in the tyrosinase active center caused by weak interactions between tyrosinase and tricin. The application of this type of flavonoid as a tyrosinase inhibitor will lead to significant advances in the field of depigmentation.

  8. Molecular mechanisms of phase change in locusts.

    PubMed

    Wang, Xianhui; Kang, Le

    2014-01-01

    Phase change in locusts is an ideal model for studying the genetic architectures and regulatory mechanisms associated with phenotypic plasticity. The recent development of genomic and metabolomic tools and resources has furthered our understanding of the molecular basis of phase change in locusts. Thousands of phase-related genes and metabolites have been highlighted using large-scale expressed sequence tags, microarrays, high-throughput transcriptomic sequences, or metabolomic approaches. However, only several key factors, including genes, metabolites, and pathways, have a critical role in phase transition in locusts. For example, CSP (chemosensory protein) and takeout genes, the dopamine pathway, protein kinase A, and carnitines were found to be involved in the regulation of behavioral phase change and gram-negative bacteria-binding proteins in prophylaxical disease resistance of gregarious locusts. Epigenetic mechanisms including small noncoding RNAs and DNA methylation have been implicated. We review these new advances in the molecular basis of phase change in locusts and present some challenges that need to be addressed.

  9. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of reprogramming

    SciTech Connect

    Krause, Marie N.; Sancho-Martinez, Ignacio; Izpisua Belmonte, Juan Carlos

    2016-05-06

    Despite the profound and rapid advancements in reprogramming technologies since the generation of the first induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) in 2006[1], the molecular basics of the process and its implications are still not fully understood. Recent work has suggested that a subset of TFs, so called “Pioneer TFs”, play an important role during the stochastic phase of iPSC reprogramming [2–6]. Pioneer TFs activities differ from conventional transcription factors in their mechanism of action. They bind directly to condensed chromatin and elicit a series of chromatin remodeling events that lead to opening of the chromatin. Chromatin decondensation by pioneer factors progressively occurs during cell division and in turn exposes specific gene promoters in the DNA to which TFs can now directly bind to promoters that are readily accessible[2, 6]. Here, we will summarize recent advancements on our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying reprogramming to iPSC as well as the implications that pioneer Transcription Factor activities might play during different lineage conversion processes. - Highlights: • Pioneer transcription factor activity underlies the initial steps of iPSC generation. • Reprogramming can occur by cis- and/or trans- reprogramming events. • Cis-reprogramming implies remodeling of the chromatin for enabling TF accessibility. • Trans-reprogramming encompasses direct binding of Tfs to their target gene promoters.

  10. Hyperinsulinemic Hypoglycemia – The Molecular Mechanisms

    PubMed Central

    Nessa, Azizun; Rahman, Sofia A.; Hussain, Khalid

    2016-01-01

    Under normal physiological conditions, pancreatic β-cells secrete insulin to maintain fasting blood glucose levels in the range 3.5–5.5 mmol/L. In hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia (HH), this precise regulation of insulin secretion is perturbed so that insulin continues to be secreted in the presence of hypoglycemia. HH may be due to genetic causes (congenital) or secondary to certain risk factors. The molecular mechanisms leading to HH involve defects in the key genes regulating insulin secretion from the β-cells. At this moment, in time genetic abnormalities in nine genes (ABCC8, KCNJ11, GCK, SCHAD, GLUD1, SLC16A1, HNF1A, HNF4A, and UCP2) have been described that lead to the congenital forms of HH. Perinatal stress, intrauterine growth retardation, maternal diabetes mellitus, and a large number of developmental syndromes are also associated with HH in the neonatal period. In older children and adult’s insulinoma, non-insulinoma pancreatogenous hypoglycemia syndrome and post bariatric surgery are recognized causes of HH. This review article will focus mainly on describing the molecular mechanisms that lead to unregulated insulin secretion. PMID:27065949

  11. Cellular and molecular mechanisms of dental nociception.

    PubMed

    Chung, G; Jung, S J; Oh, S B

    2013-11-01

    Due, in part, to the unique structure of the tooth, dental pain is initiated via distinct mechanisms. Here we review recent advances in our understanding of inflammatory tooth pain and discuss 3 hypotheses proposed to explain dentinal hypersensitivity: The first hypothesis, supported by functional expression of temperature-sensitive transient receptor potential channels, emphasizes the direct transduction of noxious temperatures by dental primary afferent neurons. The second hypothesis, known as hydrodynamic theory, attributes dental pain to fluid movement within dentinal tubules, and we discuss several candidate cellular mechanical transducers for the detection of fluid movement. The third hypothesis focuses on the potential sensory function of odontoblasts in the detection of thermal or mechanical stimuli, and we discuss the accumulating evidence that supports their excitability. We also briefly update on a novel strategy for local nociceptive anesthesia via nociceptive transducer molecules in dental primary afferents with the potential to specifically silence pain fibers during dental treatment. Further understanding of the molecular mechanisms of dental pain would greatly enhance the development of therapeutics that target dental pain.

  12. Molecular Mechanisms Regulating Macrophage Response to Hypoxia

    PubMed Central

    Rahat, Michal A.; Bitterman, Haim; Lahat, Nitza

    2011-01-01

    Monocytes and Macrophages (Mo/Mɸ) exhibit great plasticity, as they can shift between different modes of activation and, driven by their immediate microenvironment, perform divergent functions. These include, among others, patrolling their surroundings and maintaining homeostasis (resident Mo/Mɸ), combating invading pathogens and tumor cells (classically activated or M1 Mo/Mɸ), orchestrating wound healing (alternatively activated or M2 Mo/Mɸ), and restoring homeostasis after an inflammatory response (resolution Mɸ). Hypoxia is an important factor in the Mɸ microenvironment, is prevalent in many physiological and pathological conditions, and is interdependent with the inflammatory response. Although Mo/Mɸ have been studied in hypoxia, the mechanisms by which hypoxia influences the different modes of their activation, and how it regulates the shift between them, remain unclear. Here we review the current knowledge about the molecular mechanisms that mediate this hypoxic regulation of Mɸ activation. Much is known about the hypoxic transcriptional regulatory network, which includes the master regulators hypoxia-induced factor-1 and NF-κB, as well as other transcription factors (e.g., AP-1, Erg-1), but we also highlight the role of post-transcriptional and post-translational mechanisms. These mechanisms mediate hypoxic induction of Mɸ pro-angiogenic mediators, suppress M1 Mɸ by post-transcriptionally inhibiting pro-inflammatory mediators, and help shift the classically activated Mɸ into an activation state which approximate the alternatively activated or resolution Mɸ. PMID:22566835

  13. Mouse tetrad analysis provides insights into recombination mechanisms and hotspot evolutionary dynamics.

    PubMed

    Cole, Francesca; Baudat, Frédéric; Grey, Corinne; Keeney, Scott; de Massy, Bernard; Jasin, Maria

    2014-10-01

    The ability to examine all chromatids from a single meiosis in yeast tetrads has been indispensable for defining the mechanisms of homologous recombination initiated by DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). Using a broadly applicable strategy for the analysis of chromatids from a single meiosis at two recombination hotspots in mouse oocytes and spermatocytes, we demonstrate here the unidirectional transfer of information-gene conversion-in both crossovers and noncrossovers. Whereas gene conversion in crossovers is associated with reciprocal exchange, the unbroken chromatid is not altered in noncrossover gene conversion events, providing strong evidence that noncrossovers arise from a distinct pathway. Gene conversion frequently spares the binding site of the hotspot-specifying protein PRDM9, with the result that erosion of the hotspot is slowed. Thus, mouse tetrad analysis demonstrates how unique aspects of mammalian recombination mechanisms shape hotspot evolutionary dynamics.

  14. Evolutionary prisoner's dilemma on Newman-Watts social networks with an asymmetric payoff distribution mechanism

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Du, Wen-Bo; Cao, Xian-Bin; Yang, Han-Xin; Hu, Mao-Bin

    2010-01-01

    In this paper, we introduce an asymmetric payoff distribution mechanism into the evolutionary prisoner's dilemma game (PDG) on Newman-Watts social networks, and study its effects on the evolution of cooperation. The asymmetric payoff distribution mechanism can be adjusted by the parameter α: if α > 0, the rich will exploit the poor to get richer; if α < 0, the rich are forced to offer part of their income to the poor. Numerical results show that the cooperator frequency monotonously increases with α and is remarkably promoted when α > 0. The effects of updating order and self-interaction are also investigated. The co-action of random updating and self-interaction can induce the highest cooperation level. Moreover, we employ the Gini coefficient to investigate the effect of asymmetric payoff distribution on the the system's wealth distribution. This work may be helpful for understanding cooperative behaviour and wealth inequality in society.

  15. The effect of asymmetric payoff mechanism on evolutionary networked prisoner’s dilemma game

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Du, Wen-Bo; Cao, Xian-Bin; Hu, Mao-Bin

    2009-12-01

    In social and biological systems, there are obvious individual divergence and asymmetric payoff phenomenon due to the strength, power and influence differences. In this paper, we introduce an asymmetric payoff mechanism to evolutionary Prisoner’s Dilemma Game (PDG) on scale-free networks. The co-effects of individual diversity and asymmetric payoff mechanism on the evolution of cooperation and the wealth distribution under different updating rules are investigated. Numerical results show that the cooperation is highly promoted when the hub nodes are favored in the payoff matrix, which seems to harm the interest of the majority. But the inequality of social wealth distribution grows with the unbalanced payoff rule. However, when the node difference is eliminated in the learning strategy, the asymmetric payoff rule will not affect the cooperation level. Our work may sharpen the understanding of the cooperative behavior and wealth inequality in the society.

  16. Quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics dual Hamiltonian free energy perturbation.

    PubMed

    Polyak, Iakov; Benighaus, Tobias; Boulanger, Eliot; Thiel, Walter

    2013-08-14

    The dual Hamiltonian free energy perturbation (DH-FEP) method is designed for accurate and efficient evaluation of the free energy profile of chemical reactions in quantum mechanical/molecular mechanical (QM/MM) calculations. In contrast to existing QM/MM FEP variants, the QM region is not kept frozen during sampling, but all degrees of freedom except for the reaction coordinate are sampled. In the DH-FEP scheme, the sampling is done by semiempirical QM/MM molecular dynamics (MD), while the perturbation energy differences are evaluated from high-level QM/MM single-point calculations at regular intervals, skipping a pre-defined number of MD sampling steps. After validating our method using an analytic model potential with an exactly known solution, we report a QM/MM DH-FEP study of the enzymatic reaction catalyzed by chorismate mutase. We suggest guidelines for QM/MM DH-FEP calculations and default values for the required computational parameters. In the case of chorismate mutase, we apply the DH-FEP approach in combination with a single one-dimensional reaction coordinate and with a two-dimensional collective coordinate (two individual distances), with superior results for the latter choice.

  17. Quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics dual Hamiltonian free energy perturbation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Polyak, Iakov; Benighaus, Tobias; Boulanger, Eliot; Thiel, Walter

    2013-08-01

    The dual Hamiltonian free energy perturbation (DH-FEP) method is designed for accurate and efficient evaluation of the free energy profile of chemical reactions in quantum mechanical/molecular mechanical (QM/MM) calculations. In contrast to existing QM/MM FEP variants, the QM region is not kept frozen during sampling, but all degrees of freedom except for the reaction coordinate are sampled. In the DH-FEP scheme, the sampling is done by semiempirical QM/MM molecular dynamics (MD), while the perturbation energy differences are evaluated from high-level QM/MM single-point calculations at regular intervals, skipping a pre-defined number of MD sampling steps. After validating our method using an analytic model potential with an exactly known solution, we report a QM/MM DH-FEP study of the enzymatic reaction catalyzed by chorismate mutase. We suggest guidelines for QM/MM DH-FEP calculations and default values for the required computational parameters. In the case of chorismate mutase, we apply the DH-FEP approach in combination with a single one-dimensional reaction coordinate and with a two-dimensional collective coordinate (two individual distances), with superior results for the latter choice.

  18. Cellular and molecular mechanisms of fibrosis.

    PubMed

    Wynn, T A

    2008-01-01

    Fibrosis is defined by the overgrowth, hardening, and/or scarring of various tissues and is attributed to excess deposition of extracellular matrix components including collagen. Fibrosis is the end result of chronic inflammatory reactions induced by a variety of stimuli including persistent infections, autoimmune reactions, allergic responses, chemical insults, radiation, and tissue injury. Although current treatments for fibrotic diseases such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, liver cirrhosis, systemic sclerosis, progressive kidney disease, and cardiovascular fibrosis typically target the inflammatory response, there is accumulating evidence that the mechanisms driving fibrogenesis are distinct from those regulating inflammation. In fact, some studies have suggested that ongoing inflammation is needed to reverse established and progressive fibrosis. The key cellular mediator of fibrosis is the myofibroblast, which when activated serves as the primary collagen-producing cell. Myofibroblasts are generated from a variety of sources including resident mesenchymal cells, epithelial and endothelial cells in processes termed epithelial/endothelial-mesenchymal (EMT/EndMT) transition, as well as from circulating fibroblast-like cells called fibrocytes that are derived from bone-marrow stem cells. Myofibroblasts are activated by a variety of mechanisms, including paracrine signals derived from lymphocytes and macrophages, autocrine factors secreted by myofibroblasts, and pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPS) produced by pathogenic organisms that interact with pattern recognition receptors (i.e. TLRs) on fibroblasts. Cytokines (IL-13, IL-21, TGF-beta1), chemokines (MCP-1, MIP-1beta), angiogenic factors (VEGF), growth factors (PDGF), peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs), acute phase proteins (SAP), caspases, and components of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (ANG II) have been identified as important regulators of fibrosis and are being

  19. Mechanisms of nonlethal predator effect on cohort size variation: ecological and evolutionary implications.

    PubMed

    Peacor, Scott D; Schiesari, Luis; Werner, Earl E

    2007-06-01

    Understanding the factors responsible for generating size variation in cohorts of organisms is important for predicting their population and evolutionary dynamics. We group these factors into two broad classes: those due to scaling relationships between growth and size (size-dependent factors), and those due to individual trait differences other than size (size-independent factors; e.g., morphology, behavior, etc.). We develop a framework predicting that the nonlethal presence of predators can have a strong effect on size variation, the magnitude and sign of which depend on the relative influence of both factors. We present experimental results showing that size-independent factors can strongly contribute to size variation in anuran larvae, and that the presence of a larval dragonfly predator reduced expression of these size-independent factors. Further, a review of a number of experiments shows that the effect of this predator on relative size variation of a cohort ranged from negative at low growth rates to positive at high growth rates. At high growth rates, effects of size-dependent factors predominate, and predator presence causes an increase in the scaling of growth rate with size (larger individuals respond less strongly to predator presence than small individuals). Thus predator presence led to an increase in size variation. In contrast, at low growth rates, size-independent factors were relatively more important, and predator presence reduced expression of these size-independent factors. Consequently, predator presence led to a decrease in size variation. Our results therefore indicate a further mechanism whereby nonlethal predator effects can be manifest on prey species performance. These results have strong implications for both ecological and evolutionary processes. Theoretical studies indicate that changes in cohort size variation can have profound effects on population dynamics and stability, and therefore the mere presence of a predator could have

  20. Molecular Mechanisms of Placebo Responses In Humans

    PubMed Central

    Peciña, Marta; Zubieta, Jon-Kar

    2014-01-01

    Endogenous opioid and non-opioid mechanisms [e.g. dopamine (DA), endocannabinoids (eCB)] have been implicated in the formation of placebo analgesic effects, with initial reports dating back three-decades. Besides the perspective that placebo effects confound randomized clinical trials (RCTs), the information so far acquired points to neurobiological systems that when activated by positive expectations and maintained through conditioning and reward learning are capable of inducing physiological changes that lead to the experience of analgesia and improvements in emotional state. Molecular neuroimaging techniques with positron emission tomography (PET) and the selective μ-opioid and D2/3 radiotracers [11C]carfentanil and [11C]raclopride have significantly contributed to our understanding of the neurobiological systems involved in the formation of placebo effects. This line of research has described neural and neurotransmitter networks implicated in placebo responses and provided the technical tools to examine inter-individual differences in the function of placebo responsive mechanisms, and potential surrogates (biomarkers). As a consequence, the formation of biological placebo effects is now being linked to the concept of resiliency mechanisms, partially determined by genetic factors, and uncovered by the cognitive emotional integration of the expectations created by the therapeutic environment and its maintenance through learning mechanisms. Further work needs to extend this research into clinical conditions where the rates of placebo responses are high and its neurobiological mechanisms have been largely unexplored (e.g. mood and anxiety disorders, persistent pain syndromes, or even Parkinson Disease and multiple sclerosis). The delineation of these processes within and across diseases would point to biological targets that have not been contemplated in traditional drug development. PMID:25510510

  1. Vibrational spectrum at a water surface: a hybrid quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics molecular dynamics approach.

    PubMed

    Ishiyama, Tatsuya; Takahashi, Hideaki; Morita, Akihiro

    2012-03-28

    A hybrid quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) molecular dynamics (MD) simulation is applied to the calculation of surface orientational structure and vibrational spectrum (second-order nonlinear susceptibility) at the vapor/water interface for the first time. The surface orientational structure of the QM water molecules is consistent with the previous MD studies, and the calculated susceptibility reproduces the experimentally reported one, supporting the previous results using the classical force field MD simulation. The present QM/MM MD simulation also demonstrates that the positive sign of the imaginary part of the second-order nonlinear susceptibility at the lower hydrogen bonding OH frequency region originates not from individual molecular orientational structure, but from cooperative electronic structure through the hydrogen bonding network.

  2. Proteomics in evolutionary ecology.

    PubMed

    Baer, B; Millar, A H

    2016-03-01

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

  3. Primitive mechanisms of trauma response: an evolutionary perspective on trauma-related disorders.

    PubMed

    Baldwin, David V

    2013-09-01

    The symptoms we identify and the behaviors we recognize as defenses define which symptoms we see as trauma-related. Early conceptions of trauma-related disorders focused on physical signs of distress while current ones emphasize mental symptoms, but traumatizing experiences evoke psychobiological reactions. An evolutionary perspective presumes that psychophysical reactions to traumatizing events evolved to ensure survival. This theoretical review examines several primitive mechanisms (e.g., sensitization and dissolution) associated with responses to diverse stressors, from danger to life-threat. Some rapidly acquired symptoms form without conscious awareness because severe stresses can dysregulate mental and physical components within systems ensuring survival. Varied defensive options engage specialized and enduring psychophysical reactions; this allows for more adaptive responses to diverse threats. Thus, parasympathetically mediated defense states such as freeze or collapse increase trauma-related symptom variability. Comorbidity and symptom variability confuse those expecting mental rather than psychophysical responses to trauma, and active (sympathetically mediated flight and fight) rather than immobility defenses. Healthcare implications for stress research, clinical practice and diagnostic nosology stem from the broader evolutionary view. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  4. Human creativity, evolutionary algorithms, and predictive representations: The mechanics of thought trials.

    PubMed

    Dietrich, Arne; Haider, Hilde

    2015-08-01

    Creative thinking is arguably the pinnacle of cerebral functionality. Like no other mental faculty, it has been omnipotent in transforming human civilizations. Probing the neural basis of this most extraordinary capacity, however, has been doggedly frustrated. Despite a flurry of activity in cognitive neuroscience, recent reviews have shown that there is no coherent picture emerging from the neuroimaging work. Based on this, we take a different route and apply two well established paradigms to the problem. First is the evolutionary framework that, despite being part and parcel of creativity research, has no informed experimental work in cognitive neuroscience. Second is the emerging prediction framework that recognizes predictive representations as an integrating principle of all cognition. We show here how the prediction imperative revealingly synthesizes a host of new insights into the way brains process variation-selection thought trials and present a new neural mechanism for the partial sightedness in human creativity. Our ability to run offline simulations of expected future environments and action outcomes can account for some of the characteristic properties of cultural evolutionary algorithms running in brains, such as degrees of sightedness, the formation of scaffolds to jump over unviable intermediate forms, or how fitness criteria are set for a selection process that is necessarily hypothetical. Prospective processing in the brain also sheds light on how human creating and designing - as opposed to biological creativity - can be accompanied by intentions and foresight. This paper raises questions about the nature of creative thought that, as far as we know, have never been asked before.

  5. Toward a mechanics of adaptive behavior: evolutionary dynamics and matching theory statics.

    PubMed

    McDowell, J J; Popa, Andrei

    2010-09-01

    One theory of behavior dynamics instantiates the idea that behavior evolves in response to selection pressure from the environment in the form of reinforcement. This computational theory implements Darwinian principles of selection, reproduction, and mutation, which operate on a population of potential behaviors by means of a genetic algorithm. The behavior of virtual organisms animated by this theory may be studied in any experimental environment. The evolutionary theory was tested by comparing the steady-state behavior it generated on concurrent schedules to the description of steady state behavior provided by modern matching theory. Ensemble fits of modern matching theory that enforced its constant-k requirement and the parametric identities required by its equations, accounted for large proportions of data variance, left random residuals, and yielded parameter estimates with values and properties similar to those obtained in experiments with live organisms. These results indicate that the dynamics of the evolutionary theory and the statics of modern matching theory together constitute a good candidate for a mechanics of adaptive behavior.

  6. Differential gene retention as an evolutionary mechanism to generate biodiversity and adaptation in yeasts.

    PubMed

    Morel, Guillaume; Sterck, Lieven; Swennen, Dominique; Marcet-Houben, Marina; Onesime, Djamila; Levasseur, Anthony; Jacques, Noémie; Mallet, Sandrine; Couloux, Arnaux; Labadie, Karine; Amselem, Joëlle; Beckerich, Jean-Marie; Henrissat, Bernard; Van de Peer, Yves; Wincker, Patrick; Souciet, Jean-Luc; Gabaldón, Toni; Tinsley, Colin R; Casaregola, Serge

    2015-06-25

    The evolutionary history of the characters underlying the adaptation of microorganisms to food and biotechnological uses is poorly understood. We undertook comparative genomics to investigate evolutionary relationships of the dairy yeast Geotrichum candidum within Saccharomycotina. Surprisingly, a remarkable proportion of genes showed discordant phylogenies, clustering with the filamentous fungus subphylum (Pezizomycotina), rather than the yeast subphylum (Saccharomycotina), of the Ascomycota. These genes appear not to be the result of Horizontal Gene Transfer (HGT), but to have been specifically retained by G. candidum after the filamentous fungi-yeasts split concomitant with the yeasts' genome contraction. We refer to these genes as SRAGs (Specifically Retained Ancestral Genes), having been lost by all or nearly all other yeasts, and thus contributing to the phenotypic specificity of lineages. SRAG functions include lipases consistent with a role in cheese making and novel endoglucanases associated with degradation of plant material. Similar gene retention was observed in three other distantly related yeasts representative of this ecologically diverse subphylum. The phenomenon thus appears to be widespread in the Saccharomycotina and argues that, alongside neo-functionalization following gene duplication and HGT, specific gene retention must be recognized as an important mechanism for generation of biodiversity and adaptation in yeasts.

  7. Differential gene retention as an evolutionary mechanism to generate biodiversity and adaptation in yeasts

    PubMed Central

    Morel, Guillaume; Sterck, Lieven; Swennen, Dominique; Marcet-Houben, Marina; Onesime, Djamila; Levasseur, Anthony; Jacques, Noémie; Mallet, Sandrine; Couloux, Arnaux; Labadie, Karine; Amselem, Joëlle; Beckerich, Jean-Marie; Henrissat, Bernard; Van de Peer, Yves; Wincker, Patrick; Souciet, Jean-Luc; Gabaldón, Toni; Tinsley, Colin R.; Casaregola, Serge

    2015-01-01

    The evolutionary history of the characters underlying the adaptation of microorganisms to food and biotechnological uses is poorly understood. We undertook comparative genomics to investigate evolutionary relationships of the dairy yeast Geotrichum candidum within Saccharomycotina. Surprisingly, a remarkable proportion of genes showed discordant phylogenies, clustering with the filamentous fungus subphylum (Pezizomycotina), rather than the yeast subphylum (Saccharomycotina), of the Ascomycota. These genes appear not to be the result of Horizontal Gene Transfer (HGT), but to have been specifically retained by G. candidum after the filamentous fungi–yeasts split concomitant with the yeasts’ genome contraction. We refer to these genes as SRAGs (Specifically Retained Ancestral Genes), having been lost by all or nearly all other yeasts, and thus contributing to the phenotypic specificity of lineages. SRAG functions include lipases consistent with a role in cheese making and novel endoglucanases associated with degradation of plant material. Similar gene retention was observed in three other distantly related yeasts representative of this ecologically diverse subphylum. The phenomenon thus appears to be widespread in the Saccharomycotina and argues that, alongside neo-functionalization following gene duplication and HGT, specific gene retention must be recognized as an important mechanism for generation of biodiversity and adaptation in yeasts. PMID:26108467

  8. Toward a Mechanics of Adaptive Behavior: Evolutionary Dynamics and Matching Theory Statics

    PubMed Central

    McDowell, J.J; Popa, Andrei

    2010-01-01

    One theory of behavior dynamics instantiates the idea that behavior evolves in response to selection pressure from the environment in the form of reinforcement. This computational theory implements Darwinian principles of selection, reproduction, and mutation, which operate on a population of potential behaviors by means of a genetic algorithm. The behavior of virtual organisms animated by this theory may be studied in any experimental environment. The evolutionary theory was tested by comparing the steady-state behavior it generated on concurrent schedules to the description of steady state behavior provided by modern matching theory. Ensemble fits of modern matching theory that enforced its constant-k requirement and the parametric identities required by its equations, accounted for large proportions of data variance, left random residuals, and yielded parameter estimates with values and properties similar to those obtained in experiments with live organisms. These results indicate that the dynamics of the evolutionary theory and the statics of modern matching theory together constitute a good candidate for a mechanics of adaptive behavior. PMID:21451751

  9. Molecular Mechanisms of DNA Replication Checkpoint Activation

    PubMed Central

    Recolin, Bénédicte; van der Laan, Siem; Tsanov, Nikolay; Maiorano, Domenico

    2014-01-01

    The major challenge of the cell cycle is to deliver an intact, and fully duplicated, genetic material to the daughter cells. To this end, progression of DNA synthesis is monitored by a feedback mechanism known as replication checkpoint that is untimely linked to DNA replication. This signaling pathway ensures coordination of DNA synthesis with cell cycle progression. Failure to activate this checkpoint in response to perturbation of DNA synthesis (replication stress) results in forced cell division leading to chromosome fragmentation, aneuploidy, and genomic instability. In this review, we will describe current knowledge of the molecular determinants of the DNA replication checkpoint in eukaryotic cells and discuss a model of activation of this signaling pathway crucial for maintenance of genomic stability. PMID:24705291

  10. Molecular mechanisms for enhanced DNA vaccine immunogenicity

    PubMed Central

    Li, Lei; Petrovsky, Nikolai

    2016-01-01

    Summary In the two decades since their initial discovery, DNA vaccines technologies have come a long way. Unfortunately, when applied to human subjects inadequate immunogenicity is still the biggest challenge for practical DNA vaccine use. Many different strategies have been tested in preclinical models to address this problem, including novel plasmid vectors and codon optimization to enhance antigen expression, new gene transfection systems or electroporation to increase delivery efficiency, protein or live virus vector boosting regimens to maximise immune stimulation, and formulation of DNA vaccines with traditional or molecular adjuvants. Better understanding of the mechanisms of action of DNA vaccines has also enabled better use of the intrinsic host response to DNA to improve vaccine immunogenicity. This review summarizes recent advances in DNA vaccine technologies and related intracellular events and how these might impact on future directions of DNA vaccine development. PMID:26707950

  11. Molecular Mechanisms of Midfacial Developmental Defects

    PubMed Central

    Suzuki, Akiko; Sangani, Dhruvee R.; Ansari, Afreen; Iwata, Junichi

    2015-01-01

    The morphogenesis of midfacial processes requires the coordination of a variety of cellular functions of both mesenchymal and epithelial cells to develop complex structures. Any failure or delay in midfacial development as well as any abnormal fusion of the medial and lateral nasal and maxillary prominences will result in developmental defects in the midface with a varying degree of severity, including cleft, hypoplasia, and midline expansion. In spite of the advances in human genome sequencing technology, the causes of nearly 70 percent of all birth defects, which include midfacial development defects, remain unknown. Recent studies in animal models have highlighted the importance of specific signaling cascades and genetic-environmental interactions in the development of the midfacial region. This review will summarize the current understanding of the morphogenetic processes and molecular mechanisms underlying midfacial birth defects based on mouse models with midfacial developmental abnormalities. PMID:26562615

  12. Molecular mechanics calculations on muscarinic agonists

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kooijman, Huub; Kanters, Jan A.; Kroon, Jan

    1990-10-01

    Molecular mechanics calculations have been performed on the conformation freedom with respect to the torsion angles OCCN and COCC of acetylcholine, α( R-methylacetylcholine,β( S)-methylacetylcholine, α( R),β( S)-diemthylacetylcholine and muscarine, in order to obtain information about the active conformation and its interaction with the muscarinic cholinergic receptor. Muscarine has a rather flexible ring system, which makes modelling of the receptor site on the active conformation of this particular ligand a difficult problem. A common minimum for these compounds was found at {+ gauche,anti}), which is identified with the active conformation. However, OCCN angles of up to 120° can be accommodated in the receptor site. The reduced cholinergic activity of the α-methyl derivatives is probably caused by unfavourable interactions between the α-methyl group and the receptor site. The apparent contradictory high activity of the 2-acetyloxycyclopropylammonium ion can be explained by the distorted geometry of α substitution.

  13. Molecular and cellular mechanisms of heterotopic ossification.

    PubMed

    Ramirez, Diana M; Ramirez, Melissa R; Reginato, Anthony M; Medici, Damian

    2014-10-01

    Heterotopic ossification (HO) is a debilitating condition in which cartilage and bone forms in soft tissues such as muscle, tendon, and ligament causing immobility. This process is induced by inflammation associated with traumatic injury. In an extremely rare genetic disorder called fibrodysplasia ossificans progessiva (FOP), a combination of inflammation associated with minor soft tissue injuries and a hereditary genetic mutation causes massive HO that progressively worsens throughout the patients' lifetime leading to the formation of an ectopic skeleton. An activating mutation in the BMP type I receptor ALK2 has been shown to contribute to the heterotopic lesions in FOP patients, yet recent studies have shown that other events are required to stimulate HO including activation of sensory neurons, mast cell degranulation, lymphocyte infiltration, skeletal myocyte cell death, and endothelial-mesenchymal transition (EndMT). In this review, we discuss the recent evidence and mechanistic data that describe the cellular and molecular mechanisms that give rise to heterotopic bone.

  14. Molecular and cellular mechanisms of heterotopic ossification

    PubMed Central

    Ramirez, Diana M.; Ramirez, Melissa R.; Reginato, Anthony M.; Medici, Damian

    2015-01-01

    Summary Heterotopic ossification (HO) is a debilitating condition in which cartilage and bone forms in soft tissues such as muscle, tendon, and ligament causing immobility. This process is induced by inflammation associated with traumatic injury. In an extremely rare genetic disorder called fibrodysplasia ossificans progessiva (FOP), a combination of inflammation associated with minor soft tissue injuries and a hereditary genetic mutation causes massive HO that progressively worsens throughout the patients’ lifetime leading to the formation of an ectopic skeleton. An activating mutation in the BMP type I receptor ALK2 has been shown to contribute to the heterotopic lesions in FOP patients, yet recent studies have shown that other events are required to stimulate HO including activation of sensory neurons, mast cell degranulation, lymphocyte infiltration, skeletal myocyte cell death, and endothelial-mesenchymal transition (EndMT). In this review, we discuss the recent evidence and mechanistic data that describe the cellular and molecular mechanisms that give rise to heterotopic bone. PMID:24796520

  15. Sarcopenia: monitoring, molecular mechanisms, and physical intervention.

    PubMed

    Zembroń-Łacny, A; Dziubek, W; Rogowski, Ł; Skorupka, E; Dąbrowska, G

    2014-01-01

    According to European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People (EWGSOP) sarcopenia includes both a loss of muscle strength and a decline in functional quality in addition to the loss of muscle protein mass. In order to develop strategies to prevent and treat sarcopenia, the risk factors and causes of sarcopenia must be identified. Age-related muscle loss is characterized by the contribution of multiple factors, and there is growing evidence for a prominent role of low-grade chronic inflammation in sarcopenia. The elderly who are less physically active are more likely to have lower skeletal muscle mass and strength and are at increased risk of developing sarcopenia. Resistance training added to aerobic exercise or high-intensity interval training promote numerous changes in skeletal muscle, many of which may help to prevent or reverse sarcopenia. In this review, we provided current information on definition and monitoring, molecular mechanisms, and physical intervention to counteract sarcopenia.

  16. Molecular mechanisms of insulin resistance in diabetes.

    PubMed

    Soumaya, Kouidhi

    2012-01-01

    Molecular components of impaired insulin signaling pathway have emerged with growing interest to understand how the environment and genetic susceptibility combine to cause defects in this fundamental pathway that lead to insulin resistance. When insulin resistance is combined with beta-cell defects in glucose-stimulated insulin secretion, impaired glucose tolerance, hyperglycemia, or Type 2 diabetes can result. The most common underlying cause is obesity, although primary insulin resistance in normal-weight individuals is also possible. The adipose tissue releases free fatty acids that contribute to insulin resistance and also acts as a relevant endocrine organ producing mediators (adipokines) that can modulate insulin signalling. This chapter deals with the core elements promoting, insulin resistance, associated with impaired insulin signalling pathway and adipocyte dysfunction. A detailed understanding of these basic pathophysiological mechanisms is critical for the development of novel therapeutic strategies to treat diabetes.

  17. Molecular mechanisms for enhanced DNA vaccine immunogenicity.

    PubMed

    Li, Lei; Petrovsky, Nikolai

    2016-01-01

    In the two decades since their initial discovery, DNA vaccines technologies have come a long way. Unfortunately, when applied to human subjects inadequate immunogenicity is still the biggest challenge for practical DNA vaccine use. Many different strategies have been tested in preclinical models to address this problem, including novel plasmid vectors and codon optimization to enhance antigen expression, new gene transfection systems or electroporation to increase delivery efficiency, protein or live virus vector boosting regimens to maximise immune stimulation, and formulation of DNA vaccines with traditional or molecular adjuvants. Better understanding of the mechanisms of action of DNA vaccines has also enabled better use of the intrinsic host response to DNA to improve vaccine immunogenicity. This review summarizes recent advances in DNA vaccine technologies and related intracellular events and how these might impact on future directions of DNA vaccine development.

  18. Measuring the mechanical properties of molecular conformers

    PubMed Central

    Jarvis, S. P.; Taylor, S.; Baran, J. D.; Champness, N. R.; Larsson, J. A.; Moriarty, P.

    2015-01-01

    Scanning probe-actuated single molecule manipulation has proven to be an exceptionally powerful tool for the systematic atomic-scale interrogation of molecular adsorbates. To date, however, the extent to which molecular conformation affects the force required to push or pull a single molecule has not been explored. Here we probe the mechanochemical response of two tetra(4-bromophenyl)porphyrin conformers using non-contact atomic force microscopy where we find a large difference between the lateral forces required for manipulation. Remarkably, despite sharing very similar adsorption characteristics, variations in the potential energy surface are capable of prohibiting probe-induced positioning of one conformer, while simultaneously permitting manipulation of the alternative conformational form. Our results are interpreted in the context of dispersion-corrected density functional theory calculations which reveal significant differences in the diffusion barriers for each conformer. These results demonstrate that conformational variation significantly modifies the mechanical response of even simple porpyhrins, potentially affecting many other flexible molecules. PMID:26388232

  19. Molecular mechanisms of pancreatitis: current opinion.

    PubMed

    Vonlaufen, Alain; Wilson, Jeremy S; Apte, Minoti V

    2008-09-01

    Pancreatitis (necroinflammation of the pancreas) has both acute and chronic manifestations. Gallstones are the major cause of acute pancreatitis, whereas alcohol is associated with acute as well as chronic forms of the disease. Cases of true idiopathic pancreatitis are steadily diminishing as more genetic causes of the disease are discovered. The pathogenesis of acute pancreatitis has been extensively investigated over the past four decades; the general current consensus is that the injury is initiated within pancreatic acinar cells subsequent to premature intracellular activation of digestive enzymes. Repeated attacks of acute pancreatitis have the potential to evolve into chronic disease characterized by fibrosis and loss of pancreatic function. Our knowledge of the process of scarring has advanced considerably with the isolation and study of pancreatic stellate cells, now established as the key cells in pancreatic fibrogenesis. The present review summarizes recent developments in the field particularly with respect to the progress made in unraveling the molecular mechanisms of acute and chronic pancreatic injury secondary to gallstones, alcohol and genetic factors. It is anticipated that continued research in the area will lead to the identification and characterization of molecular pathways that may be therapeutically targeted to prevent/inhibit the initiation and progression of the disease.

  20. Molecular Mechanisms Governing IL-24 Gene Expression

    PubMed Central

    Sahoo, Anupama

    2012-01-01

    Interleukin-24 (IL-24) belongs to the IL-10 family of cytokines and is well known for its tumor suppressor activity. This cytokine is released by both immune and nonimmune cells and acts on non-hematopoietic tissues such as skin, lung and reproductive tissues. Apart from its ubiquitous tumor suppressor function, IL-24 is also known to be involved in the immunopathology of autoimmune diseases like psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis. Although the cellular sources and functions of IL-24 are being increasingly investigated, the molecular mechanisms of IL-24 gene expression at the levels of signal transduction, epigenetics and transcription factor binding are still unclear. Understanding the specific molecular events that regulate the production of IL-24 will help to answer the remaining questions that are important for the design of new strategies of immune intervention involving IL-24. Herein, we briefly review the signaling pathways and transcription factors that facilitate, induce, or repress production of this cytokine along with the cellular sources and functions of IL-24. PMID:22536164

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-11-18

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  3. Molecular characterization and evolutionary origins of farinin genes in Brachypodium distachyon L.

    PubMed

    Subburaj, Saminathan; Luo, Nana; Lu, Xiaobing; Li, Xiaohui; Cao, Hui; Hu, Yingkao; Li, Jiarui; Yan, Yueming

    2016-08-01

    Farinins are one of the oldest members of the gluten family in wheat and Aegilops species, and they influence dough properties. Here, we performed the first detailed molecular genetic study on farinin genes in Brachypodium distachyon L., the model species for Triticum aestivum. A total of 51 b-type farinin genes were cloned and characterized, including 27 functional and 24 non-functional pseudogenes from 14 different B. distachyon accessions. All genes were highly similar to those previously reported from wheat and Aegilops species. The identification of deduced amino acid sequences showed that b-type farinins across Triticeae genomes could be classified as b1-, b2-, b3-, and b4-type farinins; however, B. distachyon had only b3- and b4-type farinins. Real-time quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) revealed that farinin genes are transcribed into mRNA in B. distachyon at much lower levels than in Triticeae, despite the presence of cis-acting elements in promoter regions. Phylogenetic analysis suggested that Brachypodium farinins may have closer relationships with common wheat and further confirmed four different types of b-type farinins in Triticeae and Brachypodium genomes, corresponding to b1, b2, b3 (group 1), and b4 (group 2). A putative evolutionary origin model of farinin genes in Brachypodium, Triticum, and the related species suggests that all b-type farinins diverged from their common ancestor ~3.2 million years ago (MYA). The b3 and b4 types could be considered older in the farinin family. The results explain the loss of b1- and b2-type farinin alleles in Brachypodium.

  4. Molecular Diversity and Evolutionary Relationships of Tn1546-Like Elements in Enterococci from Humans and Animals

    PubMed Central

    Willems, Rob J. L.; Top, Janetta; van den Braak, Nicole; van Belkum, Alex; Mevius, Dik J.; Hendriks, Giel; van Santen-Verheuvel, Marga; van Embden, Jan D. A.

    1999-01-01

    We report on a detailed study on the molecular diversity and evolutionary relationships of Tn1546-like elements in vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) from humans and animals. Restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis of the VanA transposon of 97 VRE revealed seven different Tn1546 types. Subsequent sequencing of the complete VanA transposons of 13 VRE isolates representing the seven RFLP types followed by sequencing of the identified polymorphic regions in 84 other VanA transposons resulted in the identification of 22 different Tn1546 derivatives. Differences between the Tn1546 types included point mutations in orf1, vanS, vanA, vanX, and vanY. Moreover, insertions of an IS1216V-IS3-like element in orf1, of IS1251 in the vanS-vanH intergenic region, and of IS1216V in the vanX-vanY intergenic region were found. The presence of insertion sequence elements was often associated with deletions in Tn1546. Identical Tn1546 types were found among isolates from humans and farm animals in The Netherlands, suggesting the sharing of a common vancomycin resistance gene pool. Application of the genetic analysis of Tn1546 to VRE isolates causing infections in hospitals in Oxford, United Kingdom, and Chicago, Ill., suggested the possibility of the horizontal transmission of the vancomycin resistance transposon. The genetic diversity in Tn1546 combined with epidemiological data suggest that the DNA polymorphism among Tn1546 variants can successfully be exploited for the tracing of the routes of transmission of vancomycin resistance genes. PMID:10049255

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

  6. A molecular and co-evolutionary context for grazer induced toxin production in Alexandrium tamarense.

    PubMed

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

    2010-11-29

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

  7. Exact and Optimal Quantum Mechanics/Molecular Mechanics Boundaries.

    PubMed

    Sun, Qiming; Chan, Garnet Kin-Lic

    2014-09-09

    Motivated by recent work in density matrix embedding theory, we define exact link orbitals that capture all quantum mechanical (QM) effects across arbitrary quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) boundaries. Exact link orbitals are rigorously defined from the full QM solution, and their number is equal to the number of orbitals in the primary QM region. Truncating the exact set yields a smaller set of link orbitals optimal with respect to reproducing the primary region density matrix. We use the optimal link orbitals to obtain insight into the limits of QM/MM boundary treatments. We further analyze the popular general hybrid orbital (GHO) QM/MM boundary across a test suite of molecules. We find that GHOs are often good proxies for the most important optimal link orbital, although there is little detailed correlation between the detailed GHO composition and optimal link orbital valence weights. The optimal theory shows that anions and cations cannot be described by a single link orbital. However, expanding to include the second most important optimal link orbital in the boundary recovers an accurate description. The second optimal link orbital takes the chemically intuitive form of a donor or acceptor orbital for charge redistribution, suggesting that optimal link orbitals can be used as interpretative tools for electron transfer. We further find that two optimal link orbitals are also sufficient for boundaries that cut across double bonds. Finally, we suggest how to construct "approximately" optimal link orbitals for practical QM/MM calculations.

  8. Molecular mechanisms of metabolic resistance to synthetic and natural xenobiotics.

    PubMed

    Li, Xianchun; Schuler, Mary A; Berenbaum, May R

    2007-01-01

    Xenobiotic resistance in insects has evolved predominantly by increasing the metabolic capability of detoxificative systems and/or reducing xenobiotic target site sensitivity. In contrast to the limited range of nucleotide changes that lead to target site insensitivity, many molecular mechanisms lead to enhancements in xenobiotic metabolism. The genomic changes that lead to amplification, overexpression, and coding sequence variation in the three major groups of genes encoding metabolic enzymes, i.e., cytochrome P450 monooxygenases (P450s), esterases, and glutathione-S-transferases (GSTs), are the focus of this review. A substantial number of the adaptive genomic changes associated with insecticide resistance that have been characterized to date are transposon mediated. Several lines of evidence suggest that P450 genes involved in insecticide resistance, and perhaps insecticide detoxification genes in general, may share an evolutionary association with genes involved in allelochemical metabolism. Differences in the selective regime imposed by allelochemicals and insecticides may account for the relative importance of regulatory or structural mutations in conferring resistance.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-12-01

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

  11. Ligand Binding Mechanism in Steroid Receptors: From Conserved Plasticity to Differential Evolutionary Constraints.

    PubMed

    Edman, Karl; Hosseini, Ali; Bjursell, Magnus K; Aagaard, Anna; Wissler, Lisa; Gunnarsson, Anders; Kaminski, Tim; Köhler, Christian; Bäckström, Stefan; Jensen, Tina J; Cavallin, Anders; Karlsson, Ulla; Nilsson, Ewa; Lecina, Daniel; Takahashi, Ryoji; Grebner, Christoph; Geschwindner, Stefan; Lepistö, Matti; Hogner, Anders C; Guallar, Victor

    2015-12-01

    Steroid receptor drugs have been available for more than half a century, but details of the ligand binding mechanism have remained elusive. We solved X-ray structures of the glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid receptors to identify a conserved plasticity at the helix 6-7 region that extends the ligand binding pocket toward the receptor surface. Since none of the endogenous ligands exploit this region, we hypothesized that it constitutes an integral part of the binding event. Extensive all-atom unbiased ligand exit and entrance simulations corroborate a ligand binding pathway that gives the observed structural plasticity a key functional role. Kinetic measurements reveal that the receptor residence time correlates with structural rearrangements observed in both structures and simulations. Ultimately, our findings reveal why nature has conserved the capacity to open up this region, and highlight how differences in the details of the ligand entry process result in differential evolutionary constraints across the steroid receptors.

  12. The molecular mechanisms of oesophageal cancer.

    PubMed

    McCabe, M L; Dlamini, Z

    2005-07-01

    Apoptosis is a process of programmed cell death, which is as essential as cell growth, for the maintenance of homeostasis. When these processes loose integration such as cancer, then uncontrolled cell growth occurs. Cancer of the oesophagus ranks as the ninth most common malignancy in the world, and recent evidence shows that its incidence is increasing. Prognosis of this disease is poor, with an overall 5-year survival rate of less than 10%. Unraveling the mechanisms or developing animal models for oesophageal carcinoma have thus far not been successful. It is believed that oesophageal cancer has an intricate molecular mechanism of evading apoptosis by the down-regulation of Bax, up-regulation of Bcl-2, Bcl-xl and Survivin, mutation of p53 and alteration in Fas expression. A great deal of research has been performed in order to determine the key genes that initiate and promote the growth of oesophageal cancer. This review focuses on apoptosis and candidate genes linked to the development of oesophageal cancer, which it is hoped may provide diagnostic and therapeutic tools, and potential therapeutic strategies for the management of this carcinoma.

  13. Limbs in whales and limblessness in other vertebrates: mechanisms of evolutionary and developmental transformation and loss.

    PubMed

    Bejder, Lars; Hall, Brian K

    2002-01-01

    We address the developmental and evolutionary mechanisms underlying fore- and hindlimb development and progressive hindlimb reduction and skeletal loss in whales and evaluate whether the genetic, developmental, and evolutionary mechanisms thought to be responsible for limb loss in snakes "explain" loss of the hindlimbs in whales. Limb loss and concurrent morphological and physiological changes associated with the transition from land to water are discussed within the context of the current whale phylogeny. Emphasis is placed on fore- and hindlimb development, how the forelimbs transformed into flippers, and how the hindlimbs regressed, leaving either no elements or vestigial skeletal elements. Hindlimbs likely began to regress only after the ancestors of whales entered the aquatic environment: Hindlimb function was co-opted by the undulatory vertical axial locomotion made possible by the newly evolved caudal flukes. Loss of the hindlimbs was associated with elongation of the body during the transition from land to water. Limblessness in most snakes is also associated with adoption of a new (burrowing) lifestyle and was driven by developmental changes associated with elongation of the body. Parallels between adaptation to burrowing or to the aquatic environment reflect structural and functional changes associated with the switch to axial locomotion. Because they are more fully studied and to determine whether hindlimb loss in lineages that are not closely related could result from similar genetically controlled developmental pathways, we discuss developmental (cellular and genetic) processes that may have driven limb loss in snakes and leg-less lizards and compare these processes to the loss of hindlimbs in whales. In neither group does ontogenetic or phylogenetic limb reduction result from failure to initiate limb development. In both groups limb loss results from arrested development at the limb bud stage, as a result of inability to maintain necessary inductive

  14. A Study on the Fundamental Mechanism and the Evolutionary Driving Forces behind Aerobic Fermentation in Yeast

    PubMed Central

    Hagman, Arne; Piškur, Jure

    2015-01-01

    Baker’s yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae rapidly converts sugars to ethanol and carbon dioxide at both anaerobic and aerobic conditions. The later phenomenon is called Crabtree effect and has been described in two forms, long-term and short-term effect. We have previously studied under fully controlled aerobic conditions forty yeast species for their central carbon metabolism and the presence of long-term Crabtree effect. We have also studied ten steady-state yeast cultures, pulsed them with glucose, and followed the central carbon metabolism and the appearance of ethanol at dynamic conditions. In this paper we analyzed those wet laboratory data to elucidate possible mechanisms that determine the fate of glucose in different yeast species that cover approximately 250 million years of evolutionary history. We determine overflow metabolism to be the fundamental mechanism behind both long- and short-term Crabtree effect, which originated approximately 125–150 million years ago in the Saccharomyces lineage. The “invention” of overflow metabolism was the first step in the evolution of aerobic fermentation in yeast. It provides a general strategy to increase energy production rates, which we show is positively correlated to growth. The “invention” of overflow has also simultaneously enabled rapid glucose consumption in yeast, which is a trait that could have been selected for, to “starve” competitors in nature. We also show that glucose repression of respiration is confined mainly among S. cerevisiae and closely related species that diverged after the whole genome duplication event, less than 100 million years ago. Thus, glucose repression of respiration was apparently “invented” as a second step to further increase overflow and ethanol production, to inhibit growth of other microbes. The driving force behind the initial evolutionary steps was most likely competition with other microbes to faster consume and convert sugar into biomass, in niches that

  15. A study on the fundamental mechanism and the evolutionary driving forces behind aerobic fermentation in yeast.

    PubMed

    Hagman, Arne; Piškur, Jure

    2015-01-01

    Baker's yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae rapidly converts sugars to ethanol and carbon dioxide at both anaerobic and aerobic conditions. The later phenomenon is called Crabtree effect and has been described in two forms, long-term and short-term effect. We have previously studied under fully controlled aerobic conditions forty yeast species for their central carbon metabolism and the presence of long-term Crabtree effect. We have also studied ten steady-state yeast cultures, pulsed them with glucose, and followed the central carbon metabolism and the appearance of ethanol at dynamic conditions. In this paper we analyzed those wet laboratory data to elucidate possible mechanisms that determine the fate of glucose in different yeast species that cover approximately 250 million years of evolutionary history. We determine overflow metabolism to be the fundamental mechanism behind both long- and short-term Crabtree effect, which originated approximately 125-150 million years ago in the Saccharomyces lineage. The "invention" of overflow metabolism was the first step in the evolution of aerobic fermentation in yeast. It provides a general strategy to increase energy production rates, which we show is positively correlated to growth. The "invention" of overflow has also simultaneously enabled rapid glucose consumption in yeast, which is a trait that could have been selected for, to "starve" competitors in nature. We also show that glucose repression of respiration is confined mainly among S. cerevisiae and closely related species that diverged after the whole genome duplication event, less than 100 million years ago. Thus, glucose repression of respiration was apparently "invented" as a second step to further increase overflow and ethanol production, to inhibit growth of other microbes. The driving force behind the initial evolutionary steps was most likely competition with other microbes to faster consume and convert sugar into biomass, in niches that were semi-anaerobic.

  16. Quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics restrained electrostatic potential fitting.

    PubMed

    Burger, Steven K; Schofield, Jeremy; Ayers, Paul W

    2013-12-05

    We present a quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) method to evaluate the partial charges of amino acid residues for use in MM potentials based on their protein environment. For each residue of interest, the nearby residues are included in the QM system while the rest of the protein is treated at the MM level of theory. After a short structural optimization, the partial charges of the central residue are fit to the electrostatic potential using the restrained electrostatic potential (RESP) method. The resulting charges and electrostatic potential account for the individual environment of the residue, although they lack the transferable nature of library partial charges. To evaluate the quality of the QM/MM RESP charges, thermodynamic integration is used to measure the pKa shift of the aspartic acid residues in three different proteins, turkey egg lysozyme, beta-cryptogein, and Thioredoxin. Compared to the AMBER ff99SB library values, the QM/MM RESP charges show better agreement between the calculated and experimental pK(a) values for almost all of the residues considered.

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

    PubMed Central

    Hartmann, Anna-Maria; Nothwang, Hans Gerd

    2015-01-01

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

  18. Multiresolution molecular mechanics: Implementation and efficiency

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Biyikli, Emre; To, Albert C.

    2017-01-01

    Atomistic/continuum coupling methods combine accurate atomistic methods and efficient continuum methods to simulate the behavior of highly ordered crystalline systems. Coupled methods utilize the advantages of both approaches to simulate systems at a lower computational cost, while retaining the accuracy associated with atomistic methods. Many concurrent atomistic/continuum coupling methods have been proposed in the past; however, their true computational efficiency has not been demonstrated. The present work presents an efficient implementation of a concurrent coupling method called the Multiresolution Molecular Mechanics (MMM) for serial, parallel, and adaptive analysis. First, we present the features of the software implemented along with the associated technologies. The scalability of the software implementation is demonstrated, and the competing effects of multiscale modeling and parallelization are discussed. Then, the algorithms contributing to the efficiency of the software are presented. These include algorithms for eliminating latent ghost atoms from calculations and measurement-based dynamic balancing of parallel workload. The efficiency improvements made by these algorithms are demonstrated by benchmark tests. The efficiency of the software is found to be on par with LAMMPS, a state-of-the-art Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulation code, when performing full atomistic simulations. Speed-up of the MMM method is shown to be directly proportional to the reduction of the number of the atoms visited in force computation. Finally, an adaptive MMM analysis on a nanoindentation problem, containing over a million atoms, is performed, yielding an improvement of 6.3-8.5 times in efficiency, over the full atomistic MD method. For the first time, the efficiency of a concurrent atomistic/continuum coupling method is comprehensively investigated and demonstrated.

  19. Multiresolution molecular mechanics: Implementation and efficiency

    SciTech Connect

    Biyikli, Emre; To, Albert C.

    2017-01-01

    Atomistic/continuum coupling methods combine accurate atomistic methods and efficient continuum methods to simulate the behavior of highly ordered crystalline systems. Coupled methods utilize the advantages of both approaches to simulate systems at a lower computational cost, while retaining the accuracy associated with atomistic methods. Many concurrent atomistic/continuum coupling methods have been proposed in the past; however, their true computational efficiency has not been demonstrated. The present work presents an efficient implementation of a concurrent coupling method called the Multiresolution Molecular Mechanics (MMM) for serial, parallel, and adaptive analysis. First, we present the features of the software implemented along with the associated technologies. The scalability of the software implementation is demonstrated, and the competing effects of multiscale modeling and parallelization are discussed. Then, the algorithms contributing to the efficiency of the software are presented. These include algorithms for eliminating latent ghost atoms from calculations and measurement-based dynamic balancing of parallel workload. The efficiency improvements made by these algorithms are demonstrated by benchmark tests. The efficiency of the software is found to be on par with LAMMPS, a state-of-the-art Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulation code, when performing full atomistic simulations. Speed-up of the MMM method is shown to be directly proportional to the reduction of the number of the atoms visited in force computation. Finally, an adaptive MMM analysis on a nanoindentation problem, containing over a million atoms, is performed, yielding an improvement of 6.3–8.5 times in efficiency, over the full atomistic MD method. For the first time, the efficiency of a concurrent atomistic/continuum coupling method is comprehensively investigated and demonstrated.

  20. Evolutionary dynamics of complex biomechanical systems: an example using the four-bar mechanism.

    PubMed

    Alfaro, Michael E; Bolnick, Daniel I; Wainwright, Peter C

    2004-03-01

    Like many phenotypic traits, biomechanical systems are defined by both an underlying morphology and an emergent functional property. The relationship between these levels may have a profound impact on how selection for functional performance is translated into morphological evolution. In particular, complex mechanical systems are likely to be highly redundant, because many alternative morphologies yield equivalent functions. We suggest that this redundancy weakens the relationship between morphological and functional diversity, and we illustrate this effect using an evolutionary model of the four-bar lever system of labrid fishes. Our results demonstrate that, when traits are complex, the morphological diversity of a clade may only weakly predict its mechanical diversity. Furthermore, parallel or convergent selection on function does not necessarily produce convergence in morphology. Empirical observations suggest that this weak form-function relationship has contributed to the morphological diversity of labrid fishes, as functionally equivalent species may nevertheless possess morphologically distinct jaws. We suggest that partial decoupling of morphology and mechanics due to redundancy is a major factor in morphological diversification.

  1. Enzyme-enzyme interactions and metabolite channelling: alternative mechanisms and their evolutionary significance.

    PubMed Central

    Cascante, M; Sorribas, A; Canela, E I

    1994-01-01

    Metabolite channelling may result from different kinetic mechanisms in which enzyme-enzyme interactions occur, so that intermediates are not released into the bulk solution and cannot be used by enzymes outside the channel. From an evolutionary point of view, the emergence of such mechanisms may provide new functional possibilities for the system, which would result in a selective advantage. Hence, it would be useful to evaluate the objective advantages provided by the various options by considering different criteria for functional effectiveness. Following this strategy, the goal of this paper is to compare a model for a free-diffusion two-enzyme system with two different models with inclusion of enzyme-enzyme interactions. In addition, models with simultaneous free and interacting branches are also analysed, and their advantages or disadvantages are presented. Basic guidelines are suggested that help in predicting the occurrence of specific mechanisms in different circumstances, and provide theoretical evidence in support of the hypothesis that no single solution simultaneously optimizes all the possible desired properties of the system. PMID:8135736

  2. Caught in self-interaction: evolutionary and functional mechanisms of protein homooligomerization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hashimoto, Kosuke; Nishi, Hafumi; Bryant, Stephen; Panchenko, Anna R.

    2011-06-01

    Many soluble and membrane proteins form homooligomeric complexes in a cell which are responsible for the diversity and specificity of many pathways, may mediate and regulate gene expression, activity of enzymes, ion channels, receptors, and cell adhesion processes. The evolutionary and physical mechanisms of oligomerization are very diverse and its general principles have not yet been formulated. Homooligomeric states may be conserved within certain protein subfamilies and might be important in providing specificity to certain substrates while minimizing interactions with other unwanted partners. Moreover, recent studies have led to a greater awareness that transitions between different oligomeric states may regulate protein activity and provide the switch between different pathways. In this paper we summarize the biological importance of homooligomeric assemblies, physico-chemical properties of their interfaces, experimental and computational methods for their identification and prediction. We particularly focus on homooligomer evolution and describe the mechanisms to develop new specificities through the formation of different homooligomeric complexes. Finally, we discuss the possible role of oligomeric transitions in the regulation of protein activity and compile a set of experimental examples with such regulatory mechanisms.

  3. Evolutionary transitions and mechanisms of matte and iridescent plumage coloration in grackles and allies (Icteridae)

    PubMed Central

    Shawkey, Matthew D; Hauber, Mark E; Estep, Laura K; Hill, Geoffrey E

    2006-01-01

    Iridescent structural colour is found in a wide variety of organisms. In birds, the mechanisms that create these colours are diverse, but all are based on ordered arrays of melanin granules within a keratin substrate in barbules. The feathers of the grackles and allies in the family Icteridae range in appearance from matte black to iridescent. In a phylogenetic analysis of this clade, we identified several evolutionary transitions between these colour states. To describe a possible mechanistic explanation for the lability of plumage coloration, we used spectrometry, transmission electron microscopy and thin-film optical modelling of the feathers of 10 icterid species from five genera, including taxa with matte black or iridescent feathers. In matte black species, melanin was densely packed in barbules, while in iridescent species, melanin granules were arranged in ordered layers around the edges of barbules. The structured arrangement of melanin granules in iridescent species created optical interfaces, which are shown by our optical models to be critical for iridescent colour production by coherent scattering. These data imply that rearrangement of melanin granules in barbules is a mechanism for shifts between black and iridescent colours, and that the relative simplicity of this mechanism may explain the lability of plumage colour state within this group. PMID:17015306

  4. Sex Ratio Meiotic Drive as a Plausible Evolutionary Mechanism for Hybrid Male Sterility

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Linbin; Xiao, Hailian; Tao, Yun

    2015-01-01

    Biological diversity on Earth depends on the multiplication of species or speciation, which is the evolution of reproductive isolation such as hybrid sterility between two new species. An unsolved puzzle is the exact mechanism(s) that causes two genomes to diverge from their common ancestor so that some divergent genes no longer function properly in the hybrids. Here we report genetic analyses of divergent genes controlling male fertility and sex ratio in two very young fruitfly species, Drosophila albomicans and D. nasuta. A majority of the genetic divergence for both traits is mapped to the same regions by quantitative trait loci mappings. With introgressions, six major loci are found to contribute to both traits. This genetic colocalization implicates that genes for hybrid male sterility have evolved primarily for controlling sex ratio. We propose that genetic conflicts over sex ratio may operate as a perpetual dynamo for genome divergence. This particular evolutionary mechanism may largely contribute to the rapid evolution of hybrid male sterility and the disproportionate enrichment of its underlying genes on the X chromosome – two patterns widely observed across animals. PMID:25822261

  5. Molecular characterization, genomic distribution and evolutionary dynamics of Short INterspersed Elements in the termite genome.

    PubMed

    Luchetti, Andrea; Mantovani, Barbara

    2011-02-01

    Short INterspersed Elements (SINEs) in invertebrates, and especially in animal inbred genomes such that of termites, are poorly known; in this paper we characterize three new SINE families (Talub, Taluc and Talud) through the analyses of 341 sequences, either isolated from the Reticulitermes lucifugus genome or drawn from EST Genbank collection. We further add new data to the only isopteran element known so far, Talua. These SINEs are tRNA-derived elements, with an average length ranging from 258 to 372 bp. The tails are made up by poly(A) or microsatellite motifs. Their copy number varies from 7.9 × 10(3) to 10(5) copies, well within the range observed for other metazoan genomes. Species distribution, age and target site duplication analysis indicate Talud as the oldest, possibly inactive SINE originated before the onset of Isoptera (~150 Myr ago). Taluc underwent to substantial sequence changes throughout the evolution of termites and data suggest it was silenced and then re-activated in the R. lucifugus lineage. Moreover, Taluc shares a conserved sequence block with other unrelated SINEs, as observed for some vertebrate and cephalopod elements. The study of genomic environment showed that insertions are mainly surrounded by microsatellites and other SINEs, indicating a biased accumulation within non-coding regions. The evolutionary dynamics of Talu~ elements is explained through selective mechanisms acting in an inbred genome; in this respect, the study of termites' SINEs activity may provide an interesting framework to address the (co)evolution of mobile elements and the host genome.

  6. Evolutionary synthetic biology.

    PubMed

    Peisajovich, Sergio G

    2012-06-15

    Signaling networks process vast amounts of environmental information to generate specific cellular responses. As cellular environments change, signaling networks adapt accordingly. Here, I will discuss how the integration of synthetic biology and directed evolution approaches is shedding light on the molecular mechanisms that guide the evolution of signaling networks. In particular, I will review studies that demonstrate how different types of mutations, from the replacement of individual amino acids to the shuffling of modular domains, lead to markedly different evolutionary trajectories and consequently to diverse network rewiring. Moreover, I will argue that intrinsic evolutionary properties of signaling proteins, such as the robustness of wild type functions, the promiscuous nature of evolutionary intermediates, and the modular decoupling between binding and catalysis, play important roles in the evolution of signaling networks. Finally, I will argue that rapid advances in our ability to synthesize DNA will radically alter how we study signaling network evolution at the genome-wide level.

  7. Evolutionary conserved mechanisms pervade structure and transcriptional modulation of allograft inflammatory factor-1 from sea anemone Anemonia viridis.

    PubMed

    Cuttitta, Angela; Ragusa, Maria Antonietta; Costa, Salvatore; Bennici, Carmelo; Colombo, Paolo; Mazzola, Salvatore; Gianguzza, Fabrizio; Nicosia, Aldo

    2017-08-01

    Gene family encoding allograft inflammatory factor-1 (AIF-1) is well conserved among organisms; however, there is limited knowledge in lower organisms. In this study, the first AIF-1 homologue from cnidarians was identified and characterised in the sea anemone Anemonia viridis. The full-length cDNA of AvAIF-1 was of 913 bp with a 5' -untranslated region (UTR) of 148 bp, a 3'-UTR of 315 and an open reading frame (ORF) of 450 bp encoding a polypeptide with149 amino acid residues and predicted molecular weight of about 17 kDa. The predicted protein possesses evolutionary conserved EF hand Ca(2+) binding motifs, post-transcriptional modification sites and a 3D structure which can be superimposed with human members of AIF-1 family. The AvAIF-1 transcript was constitutively expressed in all tested tissues of unchallenged sea anemone, suggesting that AvAIF-1 could serve as a general protective factor under normal physiological conditions. Moreover, we profiled the transcriptional activation of AvAIF-1 after challenges with different abiotic/biotic stresses showing induction by warming conditions, heavy metals exposure and immune stimulation. Thus, mechanisms associated to inflammation and immune challenges up-regulated AvAIF-1 mRNA levels. Our results suggest its involvement in the inflammatory processes and immune response of A. viridis. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  8. Pipeline for inferring protein function from dynamics using coarse-grained molecular mechanics forcefield.

    PubMed

    Bhadra, Pratiti; Pal, Debnath

    2017-04-01

    Dynamics is integral to the function of proteins, yet the use of molecular dynamics (MD) simulation as a technique remains under-explored for molecular function inference. This is more important in the context of genomics projects where novel proteins are determined with limited evolutionary information. Recently we developed a method to match the query protein's flexible segments to infer function using a novel approach combining analysis of residue fluctuation-graphs and auto-correlation vectors derived from coarse-grained (CG) MD trajectory. The method was validated on a diverse dataset with sequence identity between proteins as low as 3%, with high function-recall rates. Here we share its implementation as a publicly accessible web service, named DynFunc (Dynamics Match for Function) to query protein function from ≥1 µs long CG dynamics trajectory information of protein subunits. Users are provided with the custom-developed coarse-grained molecular mechanics (CGMM) forcefield to generate the MD trajectories for their protein of interest. On upload of trajectory information, the DynFunc web server identifies specific flexible regions of the protein linked to putative molecular function. Our unique application does not use evolutionary information to infer molecular function from MD information and can, therefore, work for all proteins, including moonlighting and the novel ones, whenever structural information is available. Our pipeline is expected to be of utility to all structural biologists working with novel proteins and interested in moonlighting functions. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  9. Molecular mechanisms regulating CD13-mediated adhesion

    PubMed Central

    Ghosh, Mallika; Gerber, Claire; Rahman, M Mamunur; Vernier, Kaitlyn M; Pereira, Flavia E; Subramani, Jaganathan; Caromile, Leslie A; Shapiro, Linda H

    2014-01-01

    CD13/Aminopeptidase N is a transmembrane metalloproteinase that is expressed in many tissues where it regulates various cellular functions. In inflammation, CD13 is expressed on myeloid cells, is up-regulated on endothelial cells at sites of inflammation and mediates monocyte/endothelial adhesion by homotypic interactions. In animal models the lack of CD13 alters the profiles of infiltrating inflammatory cells at sites of ischaemic injury. Here, we found that CD13 expression is enriched specifically on the pro-inflammatory subset of monocytes, suggesting that CD13 may regulate trafficking and function of specific subsets of immune cells. To further dissect the mechanisms regulating CD13-dependent trafficking we used the murine model of thioglycollate-induced sterile peritonitis. Peritoneal monocytes, macrophages and dendritic cells were significantly decreased in inflammatory exudates from global CD13KO animals when compared with wild-type controls. Furthermore, adoptive transfer of wild-type and CD13KO primary myeloid cells, or wild-type myeloid cells pre-treated with CD13-blocking antibodies into thioglycollate-challenged wild-type recipients demonstrated fewer CD13KO or treated cells in the lavage, suggesting that CD13 expression confers a competitive advantage in trafficking. Similarly, both wild-type and CD13KO cells were reduced in infiltrates in CD13KO recipients, confirming that both monocytic and endothelial CD13 contribute to trafficking. Finally, murine monocyte cell lines expressing mouse/human chimeric CD13 molecules demonstrated that the C-terminal domain of the protein mediates CD13 adhesion. Therefore, this work verifies that the altered inflammatory trafficking in CD13KO mice is the result of aberrant myeloid cell subset trafficking and further defines the molecular mechanisms underlying this regulation. PMID:24627994

  10. [Ontogenetic clock: molecular-genetic mechanism].

    PubMed

    Pisaruk, A V

    2010-01-01

    Proposed is a hypothesis of the mechanism providing for the cell to count out the time of life and to change (according to the set program) the expression of chromosomal genes in order to control ontogenesis ("ontogenetic clock"). This mechanism represents an autonomous molecular-genetic oscillator, which memorizes the number of cycles of own oscillations through cutting the terminal tau-segment of chrono-DNA using special restrictase. The latter is formed at this segment out of two sub-units (proteins) in each cycle of oscillator operation. These proteins are alternately synthesized on ribosomes, since each inhibits the synthesis of the other, thus ensuring successive binding of restrictase sub-units at the terminal segment of chrono-DNA and its single section in one cycle. In addition, each of these proteins is a repressor of own gene and activator of the gene of the other protein, thus ensuring efficiency and reliability of oscillator operation. The design of oscillator of ontogenetic clock is similar to that of circadian oscillator, but its frequency is not synchronized with the nature's physical rhythms and depends on body temperature. Therefore, it is physical rather than biological time that is measured. The chrono-DNA consists of short repetitive sequences of nucleotides (tau-segments) and temporal (regulatory) genes inserted over specified number of these segments. The shortening of chrono-DNA leads to uncovering the next gene and to its destruction by exonuclease. As a result, the synthesis of activator (repressor) stops and the expression of some chromosomal genes changes, initiating the next stage of ontogenesis.

  11. Molecular mechanisms of muscle plasticity with exercise.

    PubMed

    Hoppeler, Hans; Baum, Oliver; Lurman, Glenn; Mueller, Matthias

    2011-07-01

    The skeletal muscle phenotype is subject to considerable malleability depending on use. Low-intensity endurance type exercise leads to qualitative changes of muscle tissue characterized mainly by an increase in structures supporting oxygen delivery and consumption. High-load strength-type exercise leads to growth of muscle fibers dominated by an increase in contractile proteins. In low-intensity exercise, stress-induced signaling leads to transcriptional upregulation of a multitude of genes with Ca(2+) signaling and the energy status of the muscle cells sensed through AMPK being major input determinants. Several parallel signaling pathways converge on the transcriptional co-activator PGC-1α, perceived as being the coordinator of much of the transcriptional and posttranscriptional processes. High-load training is dominated by a translational upregulation controlled by mTOR mainly influenced by an insulin/growth factor-dependent signaling cascade as well as mechanical and nutritional cues. Exercise-induced muscle growth is further supported by DNA recruitment through activation and incorporation of satellite cells. Crucial nodes of strength and endurance exercise signaling networks are shared making these training modes interdependent. Robustness of exercise-related signaling is the consequence of signaling being multiple parallel with feed-back and feed-forward control over single and multiple signaling levels. We currently have a good descriptive understanding of the molecular mechanisms controlling muscle phenotypic plasticity. We lack understanding of the precise interactions among partners of signaling networks and accordingly models to predict signaling outcome of entire networks. A major current challenge is to verify and apply available knowledge gained in model systems to predict human phenotypic plasticity.

  12. Decomposition of amino diazeniumdiolates (NONOates): Molecular mechanisms

    DOE PAGES

    Shaikh, Nizamuddin; Valiev, Marat; Lymar, Sergei V.

    2014-08-23

    Although diazeniumdiolates (X[N(O)NO]-) are extensively used in biochemical, physiological, and pharmacological studies due to their ability to release NO and/or its congeneric nitroxyl, the mechanisms of these processes remain obscure. In this work, we used a combination of spectroscopic, kinetic, and computational techniques to arrive at a quantitatively consistent molecular mechanism for decomposition of amino diazeniumdiolates (amino NONOates: R2N[N(O)NO]-, where R = —N(C2H5)2(1), —N(C3H4NH2)2(2), or —N(C2H4NH2)2(3)). Decomposition of these NONOates is triggered by protonation of their [NN(O)NO]- group with the apparent pKa and decomposition rate constants of 4.6 and 1 s-1 for 1; 3.5 and 0.083 s-1 for 2; andmore » 3.8 and 0.0033 s-1 for 3. Although protonation occurs mainly on the O atoms of the functional group, only the minor R2N(H)N(O)NO tautomer (population ~ 10-7, for 1) undergoes the N—N heterolytic bond cleavage (kd ~ 107 s-1 for 1) leading to amine and NO. Decompositions of protonated amino NONOates are strongly temperature-dependent; activation enthalpies are 20.4 and 19.4 kcal/mol for 1 and 2, respectively, which includes contributions from both the tautomerization and bond cleavage. Thus, the bond cleavage rates exhibit exceptional sensitivity to the nature of R substituents which strongly modulate activation entropy. At pH < 2, decompositions of all three NONOates that have been investigated are subject to additional acid catalysis that occurs through di-protonation of the [NN(O)NO]- group.« less

  13. Decomposition of Amino Diazeniumdiolates (NONOates): Molecular Mechanisms

    SciTech Connect

    Shaikh, Nizamuddin; Valiev, Marat; Lymar, Sergei V.

    2014-08-23

    Although diazeniumdiolates (X[N(O)NO]-) are extensively used in biochemical, physiological, and pharmacological studies due to their ability to slowly release NO and/or its congeneric nitroxyl, the mechanisms of these processes remain obscure. In this work, we used a combination of spectroscopic, kinetic, and computational techniques to arrive at a qualitatively consistent molecular mechanism for decomposition of amino diazeniumdiolates (amino NONOates: R2N[N(O)NO]-, where R = -N(C2H5)2 (1), -N(C3H4NH2)2 (2), or -N(C2H4NH2)2 (3)). Decomposition of these NONOates is triggered by protonation of their [NN(O)NO]- group with apparent pKa and decomposition rate constants of 4.6 and 1 s-1 for 1-H, 3.5 and 83 x 10-3 s-1 for 2-H, and 3.8 and 3.3 x 10-3 s-1 for 3-H. Although protonation occurs mainly on the O atoms of the functional group, only the minor R2N(H)N(O)NO tautomer (population ~0.01%, for 1) undergoes the N-N heterolytic bond cleavage (k ~102 s-1 for 1) leading to amine and NO. Decompositions of protonated amino NONOates are strongly temperature-dependent; activation enthalpies are 20.4 and 19.4 kcal/mol for 1 and 2, respectively, which includes contributions from both the tautomerization and bond cleavage. The bond cleavage rates exhibit exceptional sensitivity to the nature of R substituents which strongly modulate activation entropy. At pH < 2, decompositions of all these NONOates are subject to additional acid catalysis that occurs through di-protonation of the [NN(O)NO]- group.

  14. Decomposition of amino diazeniumdiolates (NONOates): molecular mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Shaikh, Nizamuddin; Valiev, Marat; Lymar, Sergei V

    2014-12-01

    Although diazeniumdiolates (X[N(O)NO](-)) are extensively used in biochemical, physiological, and pharmacological studies due to their ability to release NO and/or its congeneric nitroxyl, the mechanisms of these processes remain obscure. In this work, we used a combination of spectroscopic, kinetic, and computational techniques to arrive at a quantitatively consistent molecular mechanism for decomposition of amino diazeniumdiolates (amino NONOates: R2N[N(O)NO](-), where R=N(C2H5)2 (1), N(C3H4NH2)2 (2), or N(C2H4NH2)2 (3)). Decomposition of these NONOates is triggered by protonation of their [NN(O)NO](-) group with the apparent pKa and decomposition rate constants of 4.6 and 1 s(-1) for 1; 3.5 and 0.083 s(-1) for 2; and 3.8 and 0.0033 s(-1) for 3. Although protonation occurs mainly on the O atoms of the functional group, only the minor R2N(H)N(O)NO tautomer (population ~10(-7), for 1) undergoes the NN heterolytic bond cleavage (kd~10(7) s(-1) for 1) leading to amine and NO. Decompositions of protonated amino NONOates are strongly temperature-dependent; activation enthalpies are 20.4 and 19.4 kcal/mol for 1 and 2, respectively, which includes contributions from both the tautomerization and bond cleavage. The bond cleavage rates exhibit exceptional sensitivity to the nature of R substituents which strongly modulate activation entropy. At pH<2, decompositions of all three NONOates that have been investigated are subject to additional acid catalysis that occurs through di-protonation of the [NN(O)NO](-) group. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Holmquist, R.; Jukes, T. H.

    1981-01-01

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

  16. Cellular and molecular mechanisms of intestinal fibrosis

    PubMed Central

    Speca, Silvia; Giusti, Ilaria; Rieder, Florian; Latella, Giovanni

    2012-01-01

    Fibrosis is a chronic and progressive process characterized by an excessive accumulation of extracellular matrix (ECM) leading to stiffening and/or scarring of the involved tissue. Intestinal fibrosis may develop in several different enteropathies, including inflammatory bowel disease. It develops through complex cell, extracellular matrix, cytokine and growth factor interactions. Distinct cell types are involved in intestinal fibrosis, such as resident mesenchymal cells (fibroblasts, myofibroblasts and smooth muscle cells) but also ECM-producing cells derived from epithelial and endothelial cells (through a process termed epithelial- and endothelial-mesenchymal transition), stellate cells, pericytes, local or bone marrow-derived stem cells. The most important soluble factors that regulate the activation of these cells include cytokines, chemokines, growth factors, components of the renin-angiotensin system, angiogenic factors, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors, mammalian target of rapamycin, and products of oxidative stress. It soon becomes clear that although inflammation is responsible for triggering the onset of the fibrotic process, it only plays a minor role in the progression of this condition, as fibrosis may advance in a self-perpetuating fashion. Definition of the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in intestinal fibrosis may provide the key to developing new therapeutic approaches. PMID:22851857

  17. Molecular mechanisms controlling legume autoregulation of nodulation

    PubMed Central

    Reid, Dugald E.; Ferguson, Brett J.; Hayashi, Satomi; Lin, Yu-Hsiang; Gresshoff, Peter M.

    2011-01-01

    Background High input costs and environmental pressures to reduce nitrogen use in agriculture have increased the competitive advantage of legume crops. The symbiotic relationship that legumes form with nitrogen-fixing soil bacteria in root nodules is central to this advantage. Scope Understanding how legume plants maintain control of nodulation to balance the nitrogen gains with their energy needs and developmental costs will assist in increasing their productivity and relative advantage. For this reason, the regulation of nodulation has been extensively studied since the first mutants exhibiting increased nodulation were isolated almost three decades ago. Conclusions Nodulation is regulated primarily via a systemic mechanism known as the autoregulation of nodulation (AON), which is controlled by a CLAVATA1-like receptor kinase. Multiple components sharing homology with the CLAVATA signalling pathway that maintains control of the shoot apical meristem in arabidopsis have now been identified in AON. This includes the recent identification of several CLE peptides capable of activating nodule inhibition responses, a low molecular weight shoot signal and a role for CLAVATA2 in AON. Efforts are now being focused on directly identifying the interactions of these components and to identify the form that long-distance transport molecules take. PMID:21856632

  18. Molecular mechanisms controlling legume autoregulation of nodulation.

    PubMed

    Reid, Dugald E; Ferguson, Brett J; Hayashi, Satomi; Lin, Yu-Hsiang; Gresshoff, Peter M

    2011-10-01

    High input costs and environmental pressures to reduce nitrogen use in agriculture have increased the competitive advantage of legume crops. The symbiotic relationship that legumes form with nitrogen-fixing soil bacteria in root nodules is central to this advantage. Understanding how legume plants maintain control of nodulation to balance the nitrogen gains with their energy needs and developmental costs will assist in increasing their productivity and relative advantage. For this reason, the regulation of nodulation has been extensively studied since the first mutants exhibiting increased nodulation were isolated almost three decades ago. Nodulation is regulated primarily via a systemic mechanism known as the autoregulation of nodulation (AON), which is controlled by a CLAVATA1-like receptor kinase. Multiple components sharing homology with the CLAVATA signalling pathway that maintains control of the shoot apical meristem in arabidopsis have now been identified in AON. This includes the recent identification of several CLE peptides capable of activating nodule inhibition responses, a low molecular weight shoot signal and a role for CLAVATA2 in AON. Efforts are now being focused on directly identifying the interactions of these components and to identify the form that long-distance transport molecules take.

  19. Molecular mechanisms of cadmium induced mutagenicity.

    PubMed

    Filipic, M; Fatur, T; Vudrag, M

    2006-02-01

    Cadmium is a human carcinogen of worldwide concern because it accumulates in the environment due to its extremely long half-life. Its compounds are classified as human carcinogens by several regulatory agencies. Cadmium affects cell proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis and other cellular activities and can cause numerous molecular lesions that would be relevant to carcinogenesis. For a long time cadmium has been considered as a non-genotoxic carcinogen, as it is only weakly mutagenic in bacterial and mammalian cell test systems. Recently, we presented evidence that when assayed in a test system, in which both intragenic and multilocus mutations can be detected, cadmium acts as a strong mutagen which induces predominantly multilocus deletions. In this review, we discuss two mechanisms that play an important role in cadmium mutagenicity: (i) induction of reactive oxygen species (ROS); and (ii) inhibition of DNA repair. Experimental evidence suggests that cadmium at low, for environmental exposure relevant concentrations, induces mutations by inducing oxidative DNA damage and that it decreases genetic stability by inhibiting the repair of endogenous and exogenous DNA lesions, which in turn increase the probability of mutations and consequently cancer initiation by this metal.

  20. Molecular mechanisms of failure in polymer nanocomposites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gersappe, Dilip

    2003-03-01

    With the emergence of synthetic methods that can produce nanometer sized fillers, resulting in an enormous increase of surface area, polymers reinforced with nanoscale particles should offer the possibility of vastly improved properties. However, experimental evidence suggests that the paradigms that have been used for conventional filled composites cannot account for the behavior of nanocomposites. We examine the role that spherical nanofillers play on the rheology and the strength of the nanocomposite by using Molecular Dynamics simulations. We find that the enhancement of properties in nanocomposites is a result of the equivalence of time scales for motion for the polymer and the filler. We show that the mobility of the nanofiller, rather than its surface area, is key to the performance of the nanocomposite and that this mobility is a complex function of the size of the filler, the attraction between the polymer and the filler, and the thermodynamic state of the matrix. Our results show similarities between the toughening mechanisms in polymer nanocomposites and those postulated for naturally occurring biological materials which also contain nanoscaled assemblies, such as spider silk and abalone adhesive.

  1. Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Peritoneal EMT and Fibrosis

    PubMed Central

    Strippoli, Raffaele; Moreno-Vicente, Roberto; Battistelli, Cecilia; Cicchini, Carla; Noce, Valeria; Amicone, Laura; Marchetti, Alessandra; del Pozo, Miguel Angel; Tripodi, Marco

    2016-01-01

    Peritoneal dialysis is a form of renal replacement alternative to the hemodialysis. During this treatment, the peritoneal membrane acts as a permeable barrier for exchange of solutes and water. Continual exposure to dialysis solutions, as well as episodes of peritonitis and hemoperitoneum, can cause acute/chronic inflammation and injury to the peritoneal membrane, which undergoes progressive fibrosis, angiogenesis, and vasculopathy, eventually leading to discontinuation of the peritoneal dialysis. Among the different events controlling this pathological process, epithelial to mesenchymal transition of mesothelial cells plays a main role in the induction of fibrosis and in subsequent functional deterioration of the peritoneal membrane. Here, the main extracellular inducers and cellular players are described. Moreover, signaling pathways acting during this process are elucidated, with emphasis on signals delivered by TGF-β family members and by Toll-like/IL-1β receptors. The understanding of molecular mechanisms underlying fibrosis of the peritoneal membrane has both a basic and a translational relevance, since it may be useful for setup of therapies aimed at counteracting the deterioration as well as restoring the homeostasis of the peritoneal membrane. PMID:26941801

  2. Molecular mechanisms of asymmetric division in oocytes.

    PubMed

    Sun, Shao-Chen; Kim, Nam-Hyung

    2013-08-01

    In contrast to symmetric division in mitosis, mammalian oocyte maturation is characterized by asymmetric cell division that produces a large egg and a small polar body. The asymmetry results from oocyte polarization, which includes spindle positioning, migration, and cortical reorganization, and this process is critical for fertilization and the retention of maternal components for early embryo development. Although actin dynamics are involved in this process, the molecular mechanism underlying this remained unclear until the use of confocal microscopy and live cell imaging became widespread in recent years. Information obtained through a PubMed database search of all articles published in English between 2000 and 2012 that included the phrases "oocyte, actin, spindle migration," "oocyte, actin, polar body," or "oocyte, actin, asymmetric division" was reviewed. The actin nucleation factor actin-related protein 2/3 complex and its nucleation-promoting factors, formins and Spire, and regulators such as small GTPases, partitioning-defective/protein kinase C, Fyn, microRNAs, cis-Golgi apparatus components, myosin/myosin light-chain kinase, spindle stability regulators, and spindle assembly checkpoint regulators, play critical roles in asymmetric cell division in oocytes. This review summarizes recent findings on these actin-related regulators in mammalian oocyte asymmetric division and outlines a complete signaling pathway.

  3. Molecular mechanisms underlying chemical liver injury

    PubMed Central

    Gu, Xinsheng; Manautou, Jose E.

    2013-01-01

    The liver is necessary for survival. Its strategic localisation, blood flow and prominent role in the metabolism of xenobiotics render this organ particularly susceptible to injury by chemicals to which we are ubiquitously exposed. The pathogenesis of most chemical-induced liver injuries is initiated by the metabolic conversion of chemicals into reactive intermediate species, such as electrophilic compounds or free radicals, which can potentially alter the structure and function of cellular macromolecules. Many reactive intermediate species can produce oxidative stress, which can be equally detrimental to the cell. When protective defences are overwhelmed by excess toxicant insult, the effects of reactive intermediate species lead to deregulation of cell signalling pathways and dysfunction of biomolecules, leading to failure of target organelles and eventual cell death. A myriad of genetic factors determine the susceptibility of specific individuals to chemical-induced liver injury. Environmental factors, lifestyle choices and pre-existing pathological conditions also have roles in the pathogenesis of chemical liver injury. Research aimed at elucidating the molecular mechanism of the pathogenesis of chemical-induced liver diseases is fundamental for preventing or devising new modalities of treatment for liver injury by chemicals. PMID:22306029

  4. Evolution of anthozoan polyp retraction mechanisms: convergent functional morphology and evolutionary allometry of the marginal musculature in order Zoanthidea (Cnidaria: Anthozoa: Hexacorallia).

    PubMed

    Swain, Timothy D; Schellinger, Jennifer L; Strimaitis, Anna M; Reuter, Kim E

    2015-06-30

    Retraction is among the most important basic behaviors of anthozoan Cnidaria polyps and is achieved through the coordinated contraction of at least six different muscle groups. Across the Anthozoa, these muscles range from unrecognizable atrophies to massive hypertrophies, producing a wide diversity of retraction abilities and functional morphologies. The marginal musculature is often the single largest component of the retraction mechanism and is composed of a diversity of muscular, attachment, and structural features. Although the arrangements of these features have defined the higher taxonomy of Zoanthidea for more than 100 years, a decade of inferring phylogenies from nucleotide sequences has demonstrated fundamental misconceptions of their evolution. Here we expand the diversity of known marginal muscle forms from two to at least ten basic states and reconstruct the evolution of its functional morphology across the most comprehensive molecular phylogeny available. We demonstrate that the evolution of these forms follows a series of transitions that are much more complex than previously hypothesized and converge on similar forms multiple times. Evolution of the marginal musculature and its attachment and support structures are partially scaled according to variation in polyp and muscle size, but also vary through evolutionary allometry. Although the retraction mechanisms are diverse and their evolutionary histories complex, their morphologies are largely reflective of the evolutionary relationships among Zoanthidea higher taxa and may offer a key feature for integrative systematics. The convergence on similar forms across multiple linages of Zoanthidea mirrors the evolution of the marginal musculature in another anthozoan order (Actiniaria). The marginal musculature varies through evolutionary allometry of functional morphologies in response to requirements for additional force and resistance, and the specific ecological and symbiotic functions of individual

  5. Evolutionary origin of the mitochondrial cholesterol transport machinery reveals a universal mechanism of steroid hormone biosynthesis in animals.

    PubMed

    Fan, Jinjiang; Papadopoulos, Vassilios

    2013-01-01

    Steroidogenesis begins with the transport of cholesterol from intracellular stores into mitochondria via a series of protein-protein interactions involving cytosolic and mitochondrial proteins located at both the outer and inner mitochondrial membranes. In adrenal glands and gonads, this process is accelerated by hormones, leading to the production of high levels of steroids that control tissue development and function. A hormone-induced multiprotein complex, the transduceosome, was recently identified, and is composed of cytosolic and outer mitochondrial membrane proteins that control the rate of cholesterol entry into the outer mitochondrial membrane. More recent studies unveiled the steroidogenic metabolon, a bioactive, multimeric protein complex that spans the outer-inner mitochondrial membranes and is responsible for hormone-induced import, segregation, targeting, and metabolism of cholesterol by cytochrome P450 family 11 subfamily A polypeptide 1 (CYP11A1) in the inner mitochondrial membrane. The availability of genome information allowed us to systematically explore the evolutionary origin of the proteins involved in the mitochondrial cholesterol transport machinery (transduceosome, steroidogenic metabolon, and signaling proteins), trace the original archetype, and predict their biological functions by molecular phylogenetic and functional divergence analyses, protein homology modeling and molecular docking. Although most members of these complexes have a history of gene duplication and functional divergence during evolution, phylogenomic analysis revealed that all vertebrates have the same functional complex members, suggesting a common mechanism in the first step of steroidogenesis. An archetype of the complex was found in invertebrates. The data presented herein suggest that the cholesterol transport machinery is responsible for steroidogenesis among all vertebrates and is evolutionarily conserved throughout the entire animal kingdom.

  6. EVOLUTIONARY HISTORY OF NORTHERN HEMISPHERE NUCELLA (GASTROPODA, MURICIDAE): MOLECULAR, MORPHOLOGICAL, ECOLOGICAL, AND PALEONTOLOGICAL EVIDENCE.

    PubMed

    Collins, Timothy M; Frazer, Kenneth; Palmer, A Richard; Vermeij, Geerat J; Brown, Wesley M

    1996-12-01

    By combining data from a variety of sources we explore patterns of evolution and speciation in Nucella, a widely studied genus of shallow-water marine neogastropods. We present a hypothesis of phylogenetic relationships for all of the currently recognized species of northern hemisphere Nucella, based on an analysis of 718 base pairs of nucleotide sequence from the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene. The order of appearance of species in the fossil record is congruent with this hypothesis. The topology of the inferred phylogeny of Nucella, coupled with ecological, morphological, and fossil evidence, was used to address three main questions: (1) At what time and by which route was the North Atlantic invaded from the North Pacific compared to prior studies of the trans-Arctic interchange? (2) Do patterns of molecular variation within species corroborate the importance of climatic cycles in driving speciation in north temperate marine animals? (3) Was radiation in the direction of increased or decreased ecological specialization, body size, or vulnerability to predation? Molecular evidence confirmed that the sole North Atlantic species, N. lapillus, arose from a North Pacific ancestor. Biogeographic and paleontological evidence supported the dispersal of Nucella, and perhaps other interchange species, via the Eurasian Arctic. Rather intriguingly, the linkage of N. lapillus to a western as opposed to eastern Pacific clade, and the biogeographic origins of the eastern Pacific species, parallel closely similar patterns observed in another genus of rocky-shore gastropods, Littorina. This congruence, in conjunction with information on the climatic and geographic histories of the region, as well as the geographic arrangement of mtDNA haplotypes within Nucella species, supports a model of speciation in Nucella driven by cycles of climatic amelioration and deterioration that began during the Miocene. Calibrations from the fossil record of Nucella suggest that third position

  7. Spiers Memorial Lecture. Molecular mechanics and molecular electronics.

    PubMed

    Beckman, Robert; Beverly, Kris; Boukai, Akram; Bunimovich, Yuri; Choi, Jang Wook; DeIonno, Erica; Green, Johnny; Johnston-Halperin, Ezekiel; Luo, Yi; Sheriff, Bonnie; Stoddart, Fraser; Heath, James R

    2006-01-01

    We describe our research into building integrated molecular electronics circuitry for a diverse set of functions, and with a focus on the fundamental scientific issues that surround this project. In particular, we discuss experiments aimed at understanding the function of bistable rotaxane molecular electronic switches by correlating the switching kinetics and ground state thermodynamic properties of those switches in various environments, ranging from the solution phase to a Langmuir monolayer of the switching molecules sandwiched between two electrodes. We discuss various devices, low bit-density memory circuits, and ultra-high density memory circuits that utilize the electrochemical switching characteristics of these molecules in conjunction with novel patterning methods. We also discuss interconnect schemes that are capable of bridging the micrometre to submicrometre length scales of conventional patterning approaches to the near-molecular length scales of the ultra-dense memory circuits. Finally, we discuss some of the challenges associated with fabricated ultra-dense molecular electronic integrated circuits.

  8. Structure and scale of the mechanics of mammalian dental enamel viewed from an evolutionary perspective.

    PubMed

    Lucas, Peter W; Philip, Swapna M; Al-Qeoud, Dareen; Al-Draihim, Nuha; Saji, Sreeja; van Casteren, Adam

    2016-01-01

    Mammalian enamel, the contact dental tissue, is something of an enigma. It is almost entirely made of hydroxyapatite, yet exhibits very different mechanical behavior to a homogeneous block of the same mineral. Recent approaches suggest that its hierarchical composite form, similar to other biological hard tissues, leads to a mechanical performance that depends very much on the scale of measurement. The stiffness of the material is predicted to be highest at the nanoscale, being sacrificed to produce a high toughness at the largest scale, that is, at the level of the tooth crown itself. Yet because virtually all this research has been conducted only on human (or sometimes "bovine") enamel, there has been little regard for structural variation of the tissue considered as evolutionary adaptation to diet. What is mammalian enamel optimized for? We suggest that there are competing selective pressures. We suggest that the structural characteristics that optimize enamel to resist large-scale fractures, such as crown failures, are very different to those that resist wear (small-scale fracture). While enamel is always designed for damage tolerance, this may be suboptimal in the enamel of some species, including modern humans (which have been the target of most investigations), in order to counteract wear. The experimental part of this study introduces novel techniques that help to assess resistance at the nanoscale. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  9. Functional and Evolutionary Analyses Identify Proteolysis as a General Mechanism for NLRP1 Inflammasome Activation

    PubMed Central

    Chavarría-Smith, Joseph; Mitchell, Patrick S.

    2016-01-01

    Inflammasomes are cytosolic multi-protein complexes that initiate immune responses to infection by recruiting and activating the Caspase-1 protease. Human NLRP1 was the first protein shown to form an inflammasome, but its physiological mechanism of activation remains unknown. Recently, specific variants of mouse and rat NLRP1 were found to be activated upon N-terminal cleavage by the anthrax lethal factor protease. However, agonists for other NLRP1 variants, including human NLRP1, are not known, and it remains unclear if they are also activated by proteolysis. Here we demonstrate that two mouse NLRP1 paralogs (NLRP1AB6 and NLRP1BB6) are also activated by N-terminal proteolytic cleavage. We also demonstrate that proteolysis within a specific N-terminal linker region is sufficient to activate human NLRP1. Evolutionary analysis of primate NLRP1 shows the linker/cleavage region has evolved under positive selection, indicative of pathogen-induced selective pressure. Collectively, these results identify proteolysis as a general mechanism of NLRP1 inflammasome activation that appears to be contributing to the rapid evolution of NLRP1 in rodents and primates. PMID:27926929

  10. Probing Molecular Mechanisms of the Hsp90 Chaperone: Biophysical Modeling Identifies Key Regulators of Functional Dynamics

    PubMed Central

    Dixit, Anshuman; Verkhivker, Gennady M.

    2012-01-01

    Deciphering functional mechanisms of the Hsp90 chaperone machinery is an important objective in cancer biology aiming to facilitate discovery of targeted anti-cancer therapies. Despite significant advances in understanding structure and function of molecular chaperones, organizing molecular principles that control the relationship between conformational diversity and functional mechanisms of the Hsp90 activity lack a sufficient quantitative characterization. We combined molecular dynamics simulations, principal component analysis, the energy landscape model and structure-functional analysis of Hsp90 regulatory interactions to systematically investigate functional dynamics of the molecular chaperone. This approach has identified a network of conserved regions common to the Hsp90 chaperones that could play a universal role in coordinating functional dynamics, principal collective motions and allosteric signaling of Hsp90. We have found that these functional motifs may be utilized by the molecular chaperone machinery to act collectively as central regulators of Hsp90 dynamics and activity, including the inter-domain communications, control of ATP hydrolysis, and protein client binding. These findings have provided support to a long-standing assertion that allosteric regulation and catalysis may have emerged via common evolutionary routes. The interaction networks regulating functional motions of Hsp90 may be determined by the inherent structural architecture of the molecular chaperone. At the same time, the thermodynamics-based “conformational selection” of functional states is likely to be activated based on the nature of the binding partner. This mechanistic model of Hsp90 dynamics and function is consistent with the notion that allosteric networks orchestrating cooperative protein motions can be formed by evolutionary conserved and sparsely connected residue clusters. Hence, allosteric signaling through a small network of distantly connected residue clusters

  11. Molecular mechanics models for tetracycline analogs.

    PubMed

    Aleksandrov, Alexey; Simonson, Thomas

    2009-01-30

    Tetracyclines (Tcs) are an important family of antibiotics that bind to the ribosome and several proteins. To model Tc interactions with protein and RNA, we have developed a molecular mechanics force field for 12 tetracyclines, consistent with the CHARMM force field. We considered each Tc variant in its zwitterionic tautomer, with and without a bound Mg(2+). We used structures from the Cambridge Crystallographic Data Base to identify the conformations likely to be present in solution and in biomolecular complexes. A conformational search by simulated annealing was undertaken, using the MM3 force field, for tetracycline, anhydrotetracycline, doxycycline, and tigecycline. Resulting, low-energy structures were optimized with an ab initio method. We found that Tc and its analogs all adopt an extended conformation in the zwitterionic tautomer and a twisted one in the neutral tautomer, and the zwitterionic-extended state is the most stable in solution. Intermolecular force field parameters were derived from a standard supermolecule approach: we considered the ab initio energies and geometries of a water molecule interacting with each Tc analog at several different positions. The final, rms deviation between the ab initio and force field energies, averaged over all forms, was 0.35 kcal/mol. Intramolecular parameters were adopted from either the standard CHARMM force field, the ab initio structure, or the earlier, plain Tc force field. The model reproduces the ab initio geometry and flexibility of each Tc. As tests, we describe MD and free energy simulations of a solvated complex between three Tcs and the Tet repressor protein. (c) 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  12. Molecular Mechanisms of Iron Oxyhydroxide Biomineralization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chan, C. S.; Fakra, S.; de Stasio, G.; Banfield, J. F.

    2003-12-01

    Neutrophilic iron-oxidizing microbes such as Gallionella and PV-1 (Emerson and Moyer, 1997) extrude polymers that become encrusted with iron oxides. Little is known about the identity of these polymers, their biological function and the roles they play in mineralization. To this end, we are investigating iron oxidizers in natural terrestrial iron-rich microbial mat communities, culturing and characterizing them in the laboratory and performing abiotic synthesis experiments based on the natural mineralization processes. Our sampling site is in a flooded former lead-zinc mine in Tennyson, WI, which is host to thick reddish-orange microbial mats. Scanning and transmission electron microscopy studies show that the mat is composed of iron oxide-covered stalks and sheaths (like those formed by Gallionella and Leptothrix spp.), as well as tangled masses of mineralized filaments. There is evidence of polymer influence on mineral phase and morphology in the form of extremely thin (few-unit cell wide), microns-long akaganeite (β -FeOOH) crystals at the center of these mineralized filaments. We are using synchrotron-based X-ray spectromicroscopy (PEEM-photoelectron emisson microscopy and STXM-scanning transmission X-ray microscopy), which has the ability to give chemical information on heterogenous samples at high spatial resolutions. Both PEEM and STXM show that these filaments contain polysaccharides, which are likely templating the akaganeite formation. Initial iron oxide synthesis experiments using model microbial polysaccharides support this hypothesis. Further synthesis and characterization by X-ray absorption and infrared spectroscopy methods is being performed in order to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of mineral nucleation and growth.

  13. [Molecular mechanisms underlying thermosensation in mammals].

    PubMed

    Sokabe, Takaaki; Tominaga, Makoto

    2009-07-01

    Sensing environmental temperature is one of the most important fundamental functions of the living things on the earth. Recently, it has been revealed that several members of the TRP ion channel super family are activated by temperature changes. A number of reports clearly demonstrate that thermal activation of these thermosensitive TRP channels contributes to various temperature-dependent responses in vivo, such as thermosensation, thermotaxis, and the regulation of cellular/tissue functions at physiological body temperature. Nine TRP channels have been reported to respond to a physiological range of temperatures in mammals. TRPV1 and TRPV2 expressed in nociceptive neurons are activated by heat (> 43 degrees C and > 52 degrees C, respectively), and TRPV1-null mice show defects in sensing noxious heat. TRPV3 and TRPV4 are predominantly expressed in skin keratinocytes rather than in sensory neurons, and the gene knock-out of each channel causes abnormal thermotaxis in vivo. TRPM8, which senses cold temperatures (< 27 degrees C), is expressed in nociceptive and non-nociceptive neurons and its loss impairs cold sensitivity. TRPA1 is expressed in nociceptive neurons and acts as a sensor for various harmful stimuli, whereas its responsiveness to noxious cold stimuli is controversial even after the analysis of mice lacking the channel. Other thermoTRPs, TRPM2, TRPM4, and TRPM5 are not expressed in sensory neurons, and are reportedly involved in several functions at physiological body temperatures including insulin secretion, taste sensation, and immune response. In this review, I summarize the molecular mechanisms of thermosensation in mammals by focusing on thermosensitive TRP channels.

  14. Shaping mechanisms of metal specificity in a family of metazoan metallothioneins: evolutionary differentiation of mollusc metallothioneins

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background The degree of metal binding specificity in metalloproteins such as metallothioneins (MTs) can be crucial for their functional accuracy. Unlike most other animal species, pulmonate molluscs possess homometallic MT isoforms loaded with Cu+ or Cd2+. They have, so far, been obtained as native metal-MT complexes from snail tissues, where they are involved in the metabolism of the metal ion species bound to the respective isoform. However, it has not as yet been discerned if their specific metal occupation is the result of a rigid control of metal availability, or isoform expression programming in the hosting tissues or of structural differences of the respective peptides determining the coordinative options for the different metal ions. In this study, the Roman snail (Helix pomatia) Cu-loaded and Cd-loaded isoforms (HpCuMT and HpCdMT) were used as model molecules in order to elucidate the biochemical and evolutionary mechanisms permitting pulmonate MTs to achieve specificity for their cognate metal ion. Results HpCuMT and HpCdMT were recombinantly synthesized in the presence of Cd2+, Zn2+ or Cu2+ and corresponding metal complexes analysed by electrospray mass spectrometry and circular dichroism (CD) and ultra violet-visible (UV-Vis) spectrophotometry. Both MT isoforms were only able to form unique, homometallic and stable complexes (Cd6-HpCdMT and Cu12-HpCuMT) with their cognate metal ions. Yeast complementation assays demonstrated that the two isoforms assumed metal-specific functions, in agreement with their binding preferences, in heterologous eukaryotic environments. In the snail organism, the functional metal specificity of HpCdMT and HpCuMT was contributed by metal-specific transcription programming and cell-specific expression. Sequence elucidation and phylogenetic analysis of MT isoforms from a number of snail species revealed that they possess an unspecific and two metal-specific MT isoforms, whose metal specificity was achieved exclusively by

  15. Ecological and evolutionary mechanisms for low seed: ovule ratios: need for a pluralistic approach?

    PubMed

    Holland, J Nathaniel; Chamberlain, Scott A

    2007-03-01

    Central to the ecology and evolution of a broad range of plants is understanding why they routinely have submaximal reproduction manifested as low seed : ovule and fruit : flower ratios. We know much less about the processes responsible for low seed : ovule ratios than we do for fruit : flower ratios. Current hypotheses for low seed : ovule ratios are largely drawn from those for fruit : flower ratios, including proximate (ecological) causes of pollen limitation, resource limitation, and pollen quality, as well as the ultimate (evolutionary) hypothesis of "bet hedging" on stochastic pollination. Yet, such mechanisms operating on fruit : flower ratios at the whole-plant level may not best explain low seed : ovule ratios at the individual-flower level. We tested each of these proximate and ultimate causes for low seed : ovule ratios using the specialized pollination mutualism between senita cacti (Pachycereus schottii) and senita moths (Upiga virescens). Seed : ovule ratios were consistently low (approximately 0.61). Such excess ovule production by senita likely has a strong genetic component given the significant differences among plants in ovule number and the consistency in ovule production by plants within and among flowering seasons. Excess ovule production and low seed : ovule ratios could not be explained by pollen limitation, resource limitation, pollen quality, or bet hedging. Nevertheless, phenotypic selection analyses did show significant selection gradients for increased ovule number, suggesting that other evolutionary processes may be responsible for excess ovule production and low seed : ovule ratios. In contrast, low fruit : flower ratios at the whole-plant level were explained by an apparent equilibrium between pollen and resource limitation. Thus, mechanisms responsible for low fruit : flower ratios at the whole-plant level are not necessarily in accord with those of low seed : ovule ratios at the individual-flower level. This suggests that we may

  16. Silica Synthesis by Sponges: Unanticipated Molecular Mechanism

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morse, D. E.; Weaver, J. C.

    2001-12-01

    substitutions of specific amino acid sidechains, in conjunction with computer-assisted molecular modeling and biomimetic synthesis, allowed us to probe the determinants of catalytic activity and confirm the identification of the amino acid sidechains required for hydrolysis of the silicon alkoxides. If, as suggested by the data of others, silicic acid is conjugated with organic moieties after its transport into the cell, the catalytic mechanism described here may be important in biosilicification by sponges. As is often the case, we have been better able to answer mechanistic questions about "how" silica can be formed biologically, than "why" the diversity of structures is elaborated. Studies of spicule formation during cellular regeneration in Tethya aurantia reveal that synthesis of the larger silica needles (megascleres) and smaller starburst-shaped microscleres may be independently regulated, presumably at the genetic level. The spatial segregation of these morphologically-distinct spicule types within the sponge further suggests an adaptive significance of the different skeletal elements.

  17. Decomposition of amino diazeniumdiolates (NONOates): Molecular mechanisms

    SciTech Connect

    Shaikh, Nizamuddin; Valiev, Marat; Lymar, Sergei V.

    2014-08-23

    Although diazeniumdiolates (X[N(O)NO]-) are extensively used in biochemical, physiological, and pharmacological studies due to their ability to release NO and/or its congeneric nitroxyl, the mechanisms of these processes remain obscure. In this work, we used a combination of spectroscopic, kinetic, and computational techniques to arrive at a quantitatively consistent molecular mechanism for decomposition of amino diazeniumdiolates (amino NONOates: R2N[N(O)NO]-, where R = —N(C2H5)2(1), —N(C3H4NH2)2(2), or —N(C2H4NH2)2(3)). Decomposition of these NONOates is triggered by protonation of their [NN(O)NO]- group with the apparent pKa and decomposition rate constants of 4.6 and 1 s-1 for 1; 3.5 and 0.083 s-1 for 2; and 3.8 and 0.0033 s-1 for 3. Although protonation occurs mainly on the O atoms of the functional group, only the minor R2N(H)N(O)NO tautomer (population ~ 10-7, for 1) undergoes the N—N heterolytic bond cleavage (kd ~ 107 s-1 for 1) leading to amine and NO. Decompositions of protonated amino NONOates are strongly temperature-dependent; activation enthalpies are 20.4 and 19.4 kcal/mol for 1 and 2, respectively, which includes contributions from both the tautomerization and bond cleavage. Thus, the bond cleavage rates exhibit exceptional sensitivity to the nature of R substituents which strongly modulate activation entropy. At pH < 2, decompositions of all three NONOates that have been investigated are subject to additional acid catalysis that occurs through di-protonation of the [NN(O)NO]- group.

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

    PubMed

    Saraswati, Sitaraman; Sitaraman, Ramakrishnan

    2014-01-01

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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Saraswati, Sitaraman; Sitaraman, Ramakrishnan

    2014-01-01

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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Saraswati, Sitaraman; Sitaraman, Ramakrishnan

    2014-01-01

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

  1. Identifying the molecular basis of host-parasite coevolution: merging models and mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Dybdahl, Mark F; Jenkins, Christina E; Nuismer, Scott L

    2014-07-01

    Mathematical models of the coevolutionary process have uncovered consequences of host-parasite interactions that go well beyond the traditional realm of the Red Queen, potentially explaining several important evolutionary transitions. However, these models also demonstrate that the specific consequences of coevolution are sensitive to the structure of the infection matrix, which is embedded in models to describe the likelihood of infection in encounters between specific host and parasite genotypes. Traditional cross-infection approaches to estimating infection matrices might be unreliable because evolutionary dynamics and experimental sampling lead to missing genotypes. Consequently, our goal is to identify the likely structure of infection matrices by synthesizing molecular mechanisms of host immune defense and parasite counterdefense with coevolutionary models. This synthesis reveals that the molecular mechanisms of immune reactions, although complex and diverse, conform to two basic models commonly used within coevolutionary theory: matching infection and targeted recognition. Our synthesis also overturns conventional wisdom, revealing that the general models are not taxonomically restricted but are applicable to plants, invertebrates, and vertebrates. Finally, our synthesis identifies several important areas for future research that should improve the explanatory power of coevolutionary models. The most important among these include empirical studies to identify the molecular hotspots of genotypic specificity and theoretical studies examining the consequences of matrices that more accurately represent multistep infection processes and quantitative defenses.

  2. Molecular mechanisms underlying the emergence of bacterial pathogens: an ecological perspective.

    PubMed

    Bartoli, Claudia; Roux, Fabrice; Lamichhane, Jay Ram

    2016-02-01

    The rapid emergence of new bacterial diseases negatively affects both human health and agricultural productivity. Although the molecular mechanisms underlying these disease emergences are shared between human- and plant-pathogenic bacteria, not much effort has been made to date to understand disease emergences caused by plant-pathogenic bacteria. In particular, there is a paucity of information in the literature on the role of environmental habitats in which plant-pathogenic bacteria evolve and on the stress factors to which these microbes are unceasingly exposed. In this microreview, we focus on three molecular mechanisms underlying pathogenicity in bacteria, namely mutations, genomic rearrangements and the acquisition of new DNA sequences through horizontal gene transfer (HGT). We briefly discuss the role of these mechanisms in bacterial disease emergence and elucidate how the environment can influence the occurrence and regulation of these molecular mechanisms by directly impacting disease emergence. The understanding of such molecular evolutionary mechanisms and their environmental drivers will represent an important step towards predicting bacterial disease emergence and developing sustainable management strategies for crops.

  3. Molecular mechanisms of extensive mitochondrial gene rearrangementin plethodontid salamanders

    SciTech Connect

    Mueller, Rachel Lockridge; Boore, Jeffrey L.

    2005-06-01

    Extensive gene rearrangement is reported in the mitochondrial genomes of lungless salamanders (Plethodontidae). In each genome with a novel gene order, there is evidence that the rearrangement was mediated by duplication of part of the mitochondrial genome, including the presence of both pseudogenes and additional, presumably functional, copies of duplicated genes. All rearrangement-mediating duplications include either the origin of light strand replication and the nearby tRNA genes or the regions flanking the origin of heavy strand replication. The latter regions comprise nad6, trnE, cob, trnT, an intergenic spacer between trnT and trnP and, in some genomes, trnP, the control region, trnF, rrnS, trnV, rrnL, trnL1, and nad1. In some cases, two copies of duplicated genes, presumptive regulatory regions, and/or sequences with no assignable function have been retained in the genome following the initial duplication; in other genomes, only one of the duplicated copies has been retained. Both tandem and non-tandem duplications are present in these genomes, suggesting different duplication mechanisms. In some of these mtDNAs, up to 25 percent of the total length is composed of tandem duplications of non-coding sequence that includes putative regulatory regions and/or pseudogenes of tRNAs and protein-coding genes along with otherwise unassignable sequences. These data indicate that imprecise initiation and termination of replication, slipped-strand mispairing, and intra-molecular recombination may all have played a role in generating repeats during the evolutionary history of plethodontid mitochondrial genomes.

  4. [Gravitational mechanisms of interactions of sensory systems in invertebrates in the evolutionary aspect].

    PubMed

    Vinnikov, Ia A

    1995-01-01

    The paper concerns the origin and the interaction of sensory organs in the context of locomotion. The Earth's gravity, light, sound, electrical, mechanical, etc. impacts were the morphogenetic factors of evolution which pushed the gene to elaborate adequate mechanisms for surmounting gravity, i.e. for exercising directed locomotion. Indeed, even some species of bacteria have mobile levers, flagelli. As a rule, the flagellum itself is the carrier of protein sensory molecules perceiving gravity as a mechanic stress, light, chemical ligands, sound, electricity, etc. On the molecular, subcellular, cellular, and organic levels in unicells and most ancient multicellular organisms an attempt has been made to follow the evolution of locomotion substrate and sensory organs and nerve centers interacting with the substrate and each other and, taken together, recognized as the locomotor-sensory system (LMSS).

  5. Molecular bases and evolutionary dynamics of self-incompatibility in the Pyrinae (Rosaceae).

    PubMed

    De Franceschi, Paolo; Dondini, Luca; Sanzol, Javier

    2012-06-01

    The molecular bases of the gametophytic self-incompatibility (GSI) system of species of the subtribe Pyrinae (Rosaceae), such as apple and pear, have been widely studied in the last two decades. The characterization of S-locus genes and of the mechanisms underlying pollen acceptance or rejection have been topics of major interest. Besides the single pistil-side S determinant, the S-RNase, multiple related S-locus F-box genes seem to be involved in the determination of pollen S specificity. Here, we collect and review the state of the art of GSI in the Pyrinae. We emphasize recent genomic data that have contributed to unveiling the S-locus structure of the Pyrinae, and discuss their consistency with the models of self-recognition that have been proposed for Prunus and the Solanaceae. Experimental data suggest that the mechanism controlling pollen-pistil recognition specificity of the Pyrinae might fit well with the collaborative 'non-self' recognition system proposed for Petunia (Solanaceae), whereas it presents relevant differences with the mechanism exhibited by the species of the closely related genus Prunus, which uses a single evolutionarily divergent F-box gene as the pollen S determinant. The possible involvement of multiple pollen S genes in the GSI system of Pyrinae, still awaiting experimental confirmation, opens up new perspectives to our understanding of the evolution of S haplotypes, and of the evolution of S-RNase-based GSI within the Rosaceae family. Whereas S-locus genes encode the players determining self-recognition, pollen rejection in the Pyrinae seems to involve a complex cascade of downstream cellular events with significant similarities to programmed cell death.

  6. Mechanisms of molecular mimicry involving the microbiota in neurodegeneration.

    PubMed

    Friedland, Robert P

    2015-01-01

    The concept of molecular mimicry was established to explain commonalities of structure which developed in response to evolutionary pressures. Most examples of molecular mimicry in medicine have involved homologies of primary protein structure which cause disease. Molecular mimicry can be expanded beyond amino acid sequence to include microRNA and proteomic effects which are either pathogenic or salutogenic (beneficial) in regard to Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and related disorders. Viruses of animal or plant origin may mimic nucleotide sequences of microRNAs and influence protein expression. Both Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases involve the formation of transmissible self-propagating prion-like proteins. However, the initiating factors responsible for creation of these misfolded nucleating factors are unknown. Amyloid patterns of protein folding are highly conserved through evolution and are widely distributed in the world. Similarities of tertiary protein structure may be involved in the creation of these prion-like agents through molecular mimicry. Cross-seeding of amyloid misfolding, altered proteostasis, and oxidative stress may be induced by amyloid proteins residing in bacteria in our microbiota in the gut and in the diet. Pathways of molecular mimicry induced processes induced by bacterial amyloid in neurodegeneration may involve TLR 2/1, CD14, and NFκB, among others. Furthermore, priming of the innate immune system by the microbiota may enhance the inflammatory response to cerebral amyloids (such as amyloid-β and α-synuclein). This paper describes the specific molecular pathways of these cross-seeding and neuroinflammatory processes. Evolutionary conservation of proteins provides the opportunity for conserved sequences and structures to influence neurological disease through molecular mimicry.

  7. Molecular Mechanics: The Method and Its Underlying Philosophy.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Boyd, Donald B.; Lipkowitz, Kenny B.

    1982-01-01

    Molecular mechanics is a nonquantum mechanical method for solving problems concerning molecular geometries and energy. Methodology based on: the principle of combining potential energy functions of all structural features of a particular molecule into a total force field; derivation of basic equations; and use of available computer programs is…

  8. An Evolutionary Perspective of Nutrition and Inflammation as Mechanisms of Cardiovascular Disease

    PubMed Central

    Rubio-Ruiz, María Esther; Peredo-Escárcega, Ana Elena; Cano-Martínez, Agustina; Guarner-Lans, Verónica

    2015-01-01

    When cardiovascular diseases are viewed from an evolutionary biology perspective, a heightened thrifty and an inflammatory design could be their mechanisms. Human ancestors confronted a greater infectious load and were subjected to the selection for proinflammatory genes and a strong inflammatory function. Ancestors also faced starvation periods that pressed for a thrifty genotype which caused fat accumulation. The pressure of sustaining gluconeogenesis during periods of poor nourishment selected individuals with insulin resistance. Obesity induces a proinflammatory state due to the secretion of adipokines which underlie cardiometabolic diseases. Our actual lifestyle needs no more of such proinflammatory and thrifty genotypes and these ancestral genes might increase predisposition to diseases. Risk factors for atherosclerosis and diabetes are based on inflammatory and genetic foundations that can be accounted for by excess fat. Longevity has also increased in recent times and is related to a proinflammatory response with cardiovascular consequences. If human ancestral lifestyle could be recovered by increasing exercise and adapting a calorie restriction diet, obesity would decrease and the effects on chronic low-grade inflammation would be limited. Thereby, the rates of both atherosclerosis and diabetes could be reduced. PMID:26693381

  9. Neuroendocrine mechanisms underlying behavioral stability: implications for the evolutionary origin of personality.

    PubMed

    Duckworth, Renée A

    2015-12-01

    Personality traits are behaviors that show limited flexibility over time and across contexts, and thus understanding their origin requires an understanding of what limits behavioral flexibility. Here, I suggest that insight into the evolutionary origin of personality traits requires determining the relative importance of selection and constraint in producing limits to behavioral flexibility. Natural selection as the primary cause of limits to behavioral flexibility assumes that the default state of behavior is one of high flexibility and predicts that personality variation arises through evolution of buffering mechanisms to stabilize behavioral expression, whereas the constraint hypothesis assumes that the default state is one of limited flexibility and predicts that the neuroendocrine components that underlie personality variation are those most constrained in flexibility. Using recent work on the neurobiology of sensitive periods and maternal programming of offspring behavior, I show that some of the most stable aspects of the neuroendocrine system are structural components and maternally induced epigenetic effects. Evidence of numerous constraints to changes in structural features of the neuroendocrine system and far fewer constraints to flexibility of epigenetic systems suggests that structural constraints play a primary role in the origin of behavioral stability and that epigenetic programming may be more important in generating adaptive variation among individuals.

  10. Long-range seasonal migration in insects: mechanisms, evolutionary drivers and ecological consequences.

    PubMed

    Chapman, Jason W; Reynolds, Don R; Wilson, Kenneth

    2015-03-01

    Myriad tiny insect species take to the air to engage in windborne migration, but entomology also has its 'charismatic megafauna' of butterflies, large moths, dragonflies and locusts. The spectacular migrations of large day-flying insects have long fascinated humankind, and since the advent of radar entomology much has been revealed about high-altitude night-time insect migrations. Over the last decade, there have been significant advances in insect migration research, which we review here. In particular, we highlight: (1) notable improvements in our understanding of lepidopteran navigation strategies, including the hitherto unsuspected capabilities of high-altitude migrants to select favourable winds and orientate adaptively, (2) progress in unravelling the neuronal mechanisms underlying sun compass orientation and in identifying the genetic complex underpinning key traits associated with migration behaviour and performance in the monarch butterfly, and (3) improvements in our knowledge of the multifaceted interactions between disease agents and insect migrants, in terms of direct effects on migration success and pathogen spread, and indirect effects on the evolution of migratory systems. We conclude by highlighting the progress that can be made through inter-phyla comparisons, and identify future research areas that will enhance our understanding of insect migration strategies within an eco-evolutionary perspective. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.

  11. Constraints on the evolutionary mechanisms of massive galaxies since z ∼ 1 from their velocity dispersions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peralta de Arriba, L.; Balcells, M.; Trujillo, I.; Falcón-Barroso, J.; Tapia, T.; Cardiel, N.; Gallego, J.; Guzmán, R.; Hempel, A.; Martín-Navarro, I.; Pérez-González, P. G.; Sánchez-Bláquez, P.

    2015-10-01

    Several authors have reported that the dynamical masses of massive compact galaxies (M* ≳ 1011 M⊙, re ∼ 1 kpc), computed as Mdyn = 5.0 σe2 re/G, are lower than their stellar masses M*. In a previous study from our group, the discrepancy is interpreted as a breakdown of the assumption of homology that underlie the Mdyn determinations. Here, we present new spectroscopy of six redshift z ≈ 1.0 massive compact ellipticals from the Extended Groth Strip, obtained with the 10.4 m Gran Telescopio Canarias. We obtain velocity dispersions in the range 161-340 km s-1. As found by previous studies of massive compact galaxies, our velocity dispersions are lower than the virial expectation, and all of our galaxies show Mdyn < M* (assuming a Salpeter initial mass function). Adding data from the literature, we build a sample covering a range of stellar masses and compactness in a narrow redshift range z ≈ 1.0. This allows us to exclude systematic effects on the data and evolutionary effects on the galaxy population, which could have affected previous studies. We confirm that mass discrepancy scales with galaxy compactness. We use the stellar mass plane (M*, σe, re) populated by our sample to constrain a generic evolution mechanism. We find that the simulations of the growth of massive ellipticals due to mergers agree with our constraints and discard the assumption of homology.

  12. The evolutionary ecology of complex lifecycle parasites: linking phenomena with mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Auld, S K J R; Tinsley, M C

    2015-02-01

    Many parasitic infections, including those of humans, are caused by complex lifecycle parasites (CLPs): parasites that sequentially infect different hosts over the course of their lifecycle. CLPs come from a wide range of taxonomic groups-from single-celled bacteria to multicellular flatworms-yet share many common features in their life histories. Theory tells us when CLPs should be favoured by selection, but more empirical studies are required in order to quantify the costs and benefits of having a complex lifecycle, especially in parasites that facultatively vary their lifecycle complexity. In this article, we identify ecological conditions that favour CLPs over their simple lifecycle counterparts and highlight how a complex lifecycle can alter transmission rate and trade-offs between growth and reproduction. We show that CLPs participate in dynamic host-parasite coevolution, as more mobile hosts can fuel CLP adaptation to less mobile hosts. Then, we argue that a more general understanding of the evolutionary ecology of CLPs is essential for the development of effective frameworks to manage the many diseases they cause. More research is needed identifying the genetics of infection mechanisms used by CLPs, particularly into the role of gene duplication and neofunctionalisation in lifecycle evolution. We propose that testing for signatures of selection in infection genes will reveal much about how and when complex lifecycles evolved, and will help quantify complex patterns of coevolution between CLPs and their various hosts. Finally, we emphasise four key areas where new research approaches will provide fertile opportunities to advance this field.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-09-01

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

  14. Molecular Mechanisms of Par-4-Induced Apoptosis in Prostate Cancer

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2007-05-01

    Sambrook J, Fritsch EF, Maniatis T. (1989). Molecular Cloning : A Laboratory Manual (Cold Spring Harbor, New York: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory...AD_________________ Award Number: W81XWH-05-1-0622 TITLE: Molecular Mechanisms of Par-4-Induced...SUBTITLE 5a. CONTRACT NUMBER Molecular Mechanisms of Par-4-Induced Apoptosis in Prostate Cancer 5b. GRANT NUMBER W81XWH-05-1-0622 5c. PROGRAM

  15. Evolutionary comparison of the mechanism of DNA cleavage with respect to immune diversity and genomic instability.

    PubMed

    Begum, Nasim A; Honjo, Tasuku

    2012-07-03

    It is generally assumed that the genetic mechanism for immune diversity is unique and distinct from that for general genome diversity, in part because of the high efficiency and strict regulation of immune diversity. This expectation was partially met by the discovery of RAG1 and -2, which catalyze V(D)J recombination to generate the immune repertoire of B and T lymphocyte receptors. RAG1 and -2 were later shown to be derived from a transposon. On the other hand, activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID), which mediates both somatic hypermutation (SHM) and the class-switch recombination (CSR) of the immunoglobulin genes, evolved earlier than RAG1 and -2 in jawless vertebrates. This review compares immune diversity and general genome diversity from an evolutionary perspective, shedding light on the roles of DNA-cleaving enzymes and target recognition markers. This comparison revealed that AID-mediated SHM and CSR share the cleaving enzyme topoisomerase 1 with transcription-associated mutation (TAM) and triplet contraction, which is involved in many genetic diseases. These genome-altering events appear to target DNA with non-B structure, which is induced by the inefficient correction of the excessive supercoiling that is caused by active transcription. Furthermore, an epigenetic modification on chromatin (histone H3K4 trimethylation) is used as a mark for DNA cleavage sites in meiotic recombination, V(D)J recombination, CSR, and SHM. We conclude that acquired immune diversity evolved via the appearance of an AID orthologue that utilized a preexisting mechanism for genomic instability, such as TAM.

  16. Evolutionary dynamics of adult stem cells: Comparison of random and immortal-strand segregation mechanisms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tannenbaum, Emmanuel; Sherley, James L.; Shakhnovich, Eugene I.

    2005-04-01

    This paper develops a point-mutation model describing the evolutionary dynamics of a population of adult stem cells. Such a model may prove useful for quantitative studies of tissue aging and the emergence of cancer. We consider two modes of chromosome segregation: (1) random segregation, where the daughter chromosomes of a given parent chromosome segregate randomly into the stem cell and its differentiating sister cell and (2) “immortal DNA strand” co-segregation, for which the stem cell retains the daughter chromosomes with the oldest parent strands. Immortal strand co-segregation is a mechanism, originally proposed by [Cairns Nature (London) 255, 197 (1975)], by which stem cells preserve the integrity of their genomes. For random segregation, we develop an ordered strand pair formulation of the dynamics, analogous to the ordered strand pair formalism developed for quasispecies dynamics involving semiconservative replication with imperfect lesion repair (in this context, lesion repair is taken to mean repair of postreplication base-pair mismatches). Interestingly, a similar formulation is possible with immortal strand co-segregation, despite the fact that this segregation mechanism is age dependent. From our model we are able to mathematically show that, when lesion repair is imperfect, then immortal strand co-segregation leads to better preservation of the stem cell lineage than random chromosome segregation. Furthermore, our model allows us to estimate the optimal lesion repair efficiency for preserving an adult stem cell population for a given period of time. For human stem cells, we obtain that mispaired bases still present after replication and cell division should be left untouched, to avoid potentially fixing a mutation in both DNA strands.

  17. Molecular Evolutionary Constraints that Determine the Avirulence State of Clostridium botulinum C2 Toxin.

    PubMed

    Prisilla, A; Prathiviraj, R; Chellapandi, P

    2017-04-05

    Clostridium botulinum (group-III) is an anaerobic bacterium producing C2 toxin along with botulinum neurotoxins. C2 toxin is belonged to binary toxin A family in bacterial ADP-ribosylation superfamily. A structural and functional diversity of binary toxin A family was inferred from different evolutionary constraints to determine the avirulence state of C2 toxin. Evolutionary genetic analyses revealed evidence of C2 toxin cluster evolution through horizontal gene transfer from the phage or plasmid origins, site-specific insertion by gene divergence, and homologous recombination event. It has also described that residue in conserved NAD-binding core, family-specific domain structure, and functional motifs found to predetermine its virulence state. Any mutational changes in these residues destabilized its structure-function relationship. Avirulent mutants of C2 toxin were screened and selected from a crucial site required for catalytic function of C2I and pore-forming function of C2II. We found coevolved amino acid pairs contributing an essential role in stabilization of its local structural environment. Avirulent toxins selected in this study were evaluated by detecting evolutionary constraints in stability of protein backbone structure, folding and conformational dynamic space, and antigenic peptides. We found 4 avirulent mutants of C2I and 5 mutants of C2II showing more stability in their local structural environment and backbone structure with rapid fold rate, and low conformational flexibility at mutated sites. Since, evolutionary constraints-free mutants with lack of catalytic and pore-forming function suggested as potential immunogenic candidates for treating C. botulinum infected poultry and veterinary animals. Single amino acid substitution in C2 toxin thus provides a major importance to understand its structure-function link, not only of a molecule but also of the pathogenesis.

  18. Carotenoid biosynthetic pathway: molecular phylogenies and evolutionary behavior of crt genes in eubacteria.

    PubMed

    Phadwal, Kanchan

    2005-01-17

    Phylogenetic analysis of carotenoid biosynthetic pathway genes and their evolutionary rate variations were studied among eubacterial taxa. The gene sequences for the enzymes involved in this pathway were obtained for major phylogenetic groups of eubacteria (green sulfur bacteria, green nonsulphur bacteria, Gram-positive bacteria, proteobacteria, flavobacteria, cyanobacteria) and archeabacteria. These gene datasets were distributed under five major steps of carotenoid biosynthesis in eubacteria; isoprenoid precursor biosynthesis, phytoene synthesis, dehydrogenation of phytoene, lycopene cyclization, formation of acyclic xanthophylls, formation of cyclic xanthophylls and carotenoid biosynthesis regulation. The NJ algorithm was used on protein coding DNA sequences to deduce the evolutionary relationship for the respective crt genes among different eubacterial lineages. The rate of nonsynonymous nucleotide substitutions per nonsynonymous site (d(N)) and synonymous nucleotide substitutions per synonymous site (d(S)) were calculated for different clades of the respective phylogenetic tree for specific crt genes. The phylogenetic analysis suggests that evolutionary pattern of crt genes in eubacteria is characterized by lateral gene transfer and gene duplication events. The d(N) values indicate that carotenoid biosynthetic genes are more conserved in proteobacteria than in any other eubacterial phyla. Furthermore, of the genes involved in carotenoid biosynthesis pathway, structural genes evolve slowly than the regulatory genes in eubacteria.

  19. Identification of disease comorbidity through hidden molecular mechanisms

    PubMed Central

    Ko, Younhee; Cho, Minah; Lee, Jin-Sung; Kim, Jaebum

    2016-01-01

    Despite multiple diseases co-occur, their underlying common molecular mechanisms remain elusive. Identification of comorbid diseases by considering the interactions between molecular components is a key to understand the underlying disease mechanisms. Here, we developed a novel approach utilizing both common disease-causing genes and underlying molecular pathways to identify comorbid diseases. Our approach enables the analysis of common pathologies shared by comorbid diseases through molecular interaction networks. We found that the integration of direct genetic sharing and indirect high-level molecular associations revealed significantly strong consistency with known comorbid diseases. In addition, neoplasm-related diseases showed high comorbidity patterns within themselves as well as with other diseases, indicating severe complications. This study demonstrated that molecular pathway information could be used to discover disease comorbidity and hidden biological mechanism to understand pathogenesis and provide new insight on disease pathology. PMID:27991583

  20. Molecular and Evolutionary Bases of Within-Patient Genotypic and Phenotypic Diversity in Escherichia coli Extraintestinal Infections

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-09-30

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

  2. The Genome Sequence of the North-European Cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) Unravels Evolutionary Adaptation Mechanisms in Plants

    PubMed Central

    Wóycicki, Rafał; Witkowicz, Justyna; Gawroński, Piotr; Dąbrowska, Joanna; Lomsadze, Alexandre; Pawełkowicz, Magdalena; Siedlecka, Ewa; Yagi, Kohei; Pląder, Wojciech; Seroczyńska, Anna; Śmiech, Mieczysław; Gutman, Wojciech; Niemirowicz-Szczytt, Katarzyna; Bartoszewski, Grzegorz; Tagashira, Norikazu; Hoshi, Yoshikazu; Borodovsky, Mark; Karpiński, Stanisław; Malepszy, Stefan; Przybecki, Zbigniew

    2011-01-01

    Cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.), a widely cultivated crop, has originated from Eastern Himalayas and secondary domestication regions includes highly divergent climate conditions e.g. temperate and subtropical. We wanted to uncover adaptive genome differences between the cucumber cultivars and what sort of evolutionary molecular mechanisms regulate genetic adaptation of plants to different ecosystems and organism biodiversity. Here we present the draft genome sequence of the Cucumis sativus genome of the North-European Borszczagowski cultivar (line B10) and comparative genomics studies with the known genomes of: C. sativus (Chinese cultivar – Chinese Long (line 9930)), Arabidopsis thaliana, Populus trichocarpa and Oryza sativa. Cucumber genomes show extensive chromosomal rearrangements, distinct differences in quantity of the particular genes (e.g. involved in photosynthesis, respiration, sugar metabolism, chlorophyll degradation, regulation of gene expression, photooxidative stress tolerance, higher non-optimal temperatures tolerance and ammonium ion assimilation) as well as in distributions of abscisic acid-, dehydration- and ethylene-responsive cis-regulatory elements (CREs) in promoters of orthologous group of genes, which lead to the specific adaptation features. Abscisic acid treatment of non-acclimated Arabidopsis and C. sativus seedlings induced moderate freezing tolerance in Arabidopsis but not in C. sativus. This experiment together with analysis of abscisic acid-specific CRE distributions give a clue why C. sativus is much more susceptible to moderate freezing stresses than A. thaliana. Comparative analysis of all the five genomes showed that, each species and/or cultivars has a specific profile of CRE content in promoters of orthologous genes. Our results constitute the substantial and original resource for the basic and applied research on environmental adaptations of plants, which could facilitate creation of new crops with improved growth and yield in

  3. The genome sequence of the North-European cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) unravels evolutionary adaptation mechanisms in plants.

    PubMed

    Wóycicki, Rafał; Witkowicz, Justyna; Gawroński, Piotr; Dąbrowska, Joanna; Lomsadze, Alexandre; Pawełkowicz, Magdalena; Siedlecka, Ewa; Yagi, Kohei; Pląder, Wojciech; Seroczyńska, Anna; Śmiech, Mieczysław; Gutman, Wojciech; Niemirowicz-Szczytt, Katarzyna; Bartoszewski, Grzegorz; Tagashira, Norikazu; Hoshi, Yoshikazu; Borodovsky, Mark; Karpiński, Stanisław; Malepszy, Stefan; Przybecki, Zbigniew

    2011-01-01

    Cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.), a widely cultivated crop, has originated from Eastern Himalayas and secondary domestication regions includes highly divergent climate conditions e.g. temperate and subtropical. We wanted to uncover adaptive genome differences between the cucumber cultivars and what sort of evolutionary molecular mechanisms regulate genetic adaptation of plants to different ecosystems and organism biodiversity. Here we present the draft genome sequence of the Cucumis sativus genome of the North-European Borszczagowski cultivar (line B10) and comparative genomics studies with the known genomes of: C. sativus (Chinese cultivar--Chinese Long (line 9930)), Arabidopsis thaliana, Populus trichocarpa and Oryza sativa. Cucumber genomes show extensive chromosomal rearrangements, distinct differences in quantity of the particular genes (e.g. involved in photosynthesis, respiration, sugar metabolism, chlorophyll degradation, regulation of gene expression, photooxidative stress tolerance, higher non-optimal temperatures tolerance and ammonium ion assimilation) as well as in distributions of abscisic acid-, dehydration- and ethylene-responsive cis-regulatory elements (CREs) in promoters of orthologous group of genes, which lead to the specific adaptation features. Abscisic acid treatment of non-acclimated Arabidopsis and C. sativus seedlings induced moderate freezing tolerance in Arabidopsis but not in C. sativus. This experiment together with analysis of abscisic acid-specific CRE distributions give a clue why C. sativus is much more susceptible to moderate freezing stresses than A. thaliana. Comparative analysis of all the five genomes showed that, each species and/or cultivars has a specific profile of CRE content in promoters of orthologous genes. Our results constitute the substantial and original resource for the basic and applied research on environmental adaptations of plants, which could facilitate creation of new crops with improved growth and yield in

  4. Developing accurate molecular mechanics force fields for conjugated molecular systems.

    PubMed

    Do, Hainam; Troisi, Alessandro

    2015-10-14

    A rapid method to parameterize the intramolecular component of classical force fields for complex conjugated molecules is proposed. The method is based on a procedure of force matching with a reference electronic structure calculation. It is particularly suitable for those applications where molecular dynamics simulations are used to generate structures that are therefore analysed by electronic structure methods, because it is possible to build force fields that are consistent with electronic structure calculations that follow classical simulations. Such applications are commonly encountered in organic electronics, spectroscopy of complex systems and photobiology (e.g. photosynthetic systems). We illustrate the method by parameterizing the force fields of a molecule used in molecular semiconductors (2,2-dicyanovinyl-capped S,N-heteropentacene or DCV-SN5), a polymeric semiconductor (thieno[3,2-b]thiophene-diketopyrrolopyrrole TT-DPP) and a chromophore embedded in a protein environment (15,16-dihydrobiliverdin or DBV) where several hundreds of parameters need to be optimized in parallel.

  5. Evolutionary mechanisms shaping the genetic population structure of marine fishes; lessons from the European flounder (Platichthys flesus L.).

    PubMed

    Hemmer-Hansen, Jakob; Nielsen, Einar Eg; Grønkjaer, Peter; Loeschcke, Volker

    2007-08-01

    A number of evolutionary mechanisms have been suggested for generating low but significant genetic structuring among marine fish populations. We used nine microsatellite loci and recently developed methods in landscape genetics and coalescence-based estimation of historical gene flow and effective population sizes to assess temporal and spatial dynamics of the population structure in European flounder (Platichthys flesus L.). We collected 1062 flounders from 13 localities in the northeast Atlantic and Baltic Seas and found temporally stable and highly significant genetic differentiation among samples covering a large part of the species' range (global F(ST) = 0.024, P < 0.0001). In addition to historical processes, a number of contemporary acting evolutionary mechanisms were associated with genetic structuring. Physical forces, such as oceanographic and bathymetric barriers, were most likely related with the extreme isolation of the island population at the Faroe Islands. A sharp genetic break was associated with a change in life history from pelagic to benthic spawners in the Baltic Sea. Partial Mantel tests showed that geographical distance per se was not related with genetic structuring among Atlantic and western Baltic Sea samples. Alternative factors, such as dispersal potential and/or environmental gradients, could be important for generating genetic divergence in this region. The results show that the magnitude and scale of structuring generated by a specific mechanism depend critically on its interplay with other evolutionary mechanisms, highlighting the importance of investigating species with wide geographical and ecological distributions to increase our understanding of evolution in the marine environment.

  6. Quantum Mechanics/Molecular Mechanics Study of the Sialyltransferase Reaction Mechanism.

    PubMed

    Hamada, Yojiro; Kanematsu, Yusuke; Tachikawa, Masanori

    2016-10-11

    The sialyltransferase is an enzyme that transfers the sialic acid moiety from cytidine 5'-monophospho-N-acetyl-neuraminic acid (CMP-NeuAc) to the terminal position of glycans. To elucidate the catalytic mechanism of sialyltransferase, we explored the potential energy surface along the sialic acid transfer reaction coordinates by the hybrid quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics method on the basis of the crystal structure of sialyltransferase CstII. Our calculation demonstrated that CstII employed an SN1-like reaction mechanism via the formation of a short-lived oxocarbenium ion intermediate. The computational barrier height was 19.5 kcal/mol, which reasonably corresponded with the experimental reaction rate. We also found that two tyrosine residues (Tyr156 and Tyr162) played a vital role in stabilizing the intermediate and the transition states by quantum mechanical interaction with CMP.

  7. Brain mechanisms of acoustic communication in humans and nonhuman primates: an evolutionary perspective.

    PubMed

    Ackermann, Hermann; Hage, Steffen R; Ziegler, Wolfram

    2014-12-01

    Any account of "what is special about the human brain" (Passingham 2008) must specify the neural basis of our unique ability to produce speech and delineate how these remarkable motor capabilities could have emerged in our hominin ancestors. Clinical data suggest that the basal ganglia provide a platform for the integration of primate-general mechanisms of acoustic communication with the faculty of articulate speech in humans. Furthermore, neurobiological and paleoanthropological data point at a two-stage model of the phylogenetic evolution of this crucial prerequisite of spoken language: (i) monosynaptic refinement of the projections of motor cortex to the brainstem nuclei that steer laryngeal muscles, presumably, as part of a "phylogenetic trend" associated with increasing brain size during hominin evolution; (ii) subsequent vocal-laryngeal elaboration of cortico-basal ganglia circuitries, driven by human-specific FOXP2 mutations.;>This concept implies vocal continuity of spoken language evolution at the motor level, elucidating the deep entrenchment of articulate speech into a "nonverbal matrix" (Ingold 1994), which is not accounted for by gestural-origin theories. Moreover, it provides a solution to the question for the adaptive value of the "first word" (Bickerton 2009) since even the earliest and most simple verbal utterances must have increased the versatility of vocal displays afforded by the preceding elaboration of monosynaptic corticobulbar tracts, giving rise to enhanced social cooperation and prestige. At the ontogenetic level, the proposed model assumes age-dependent interactions between the basal ganglia and their cortical targets, similar to vocal learning in some songbirds. In this view, the emergence of articulate speech builds on the "renaissance" of an ancient organizational principle and, hence, may represent an example of "evolutionary tinkering" (Jacob 1977).

  8. The evolutionary ecology of complex lifecycle parasites: linking phenomena with mechanisms

    PubMed Central

    Auld, S KJR; Tinsley, M C

    2015-01-01

    Many parasitic infections, including those of humans, are caused by complex lifecycle parasites (CLPs): parasites that sequentially infect different hosts over the course of their lifecycle. CLPs come from a wide range of taxonomic groups—from single-celled bacteria to multicellular flatworms—yet share many common features in their life histories. Theory tells us when CLPs should be favoured by selection, but more empirical studies are required in order to quantify the costs and benefits of having a complex lifecycle, especially in parasites that facultatively vary their lifecycle complexity. In this article, we identify ecological conditions that favour CLPs over their simple lifecycle counterparts and highlight how a complex lifecycle can alter transmission rate and trade-offs between growth and reproduction. We show that CLPs participate in dynamic host–parasite coevolution, as more mobile hosts can fuel CLP adaptation to less mobile hosts. Then, we argue that a more general understanding of the evolutionary ecology of CLPs is essential for the development of effective frameworks to manage the many diseases they cause. More research is needed identifying the genetics of infection mechanisms used by CLPs, particularly into the role of gene duplication and neofunctionalisation in lifecycle evolution. We propose that testing for signatures of selection in infection genes will reveal much about how and when complex lifecycles evolved, and will help quantify complex patterns of coevolution between CLPs and their various hosts. Finally, we emphasise four key areas where new research approaches will provide fertile opportunities to advance this field. PMID:25227255

  9. Evolutionary theory, psychiatry, and psychopharmacology.

    PubMed

    Stein, Dan J

    2006-07-01

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

  10. A molecular phylogeny of Dorylus army ants provides evidence for multiple evolutionary transitions in foraging niche

    PubMed Central

    Kronauer, Daniel JC; Schöning, Caspar; Vilhelmsen, Lars B; Boomsma, Jacobus J

    2007-01-01

    Background Army ants are the prime arthropod predators in tropical forests, with huge colonies and an evolutionary derived nomadic life style. Five of the six recognized subgenera of Old World Dorylus army ants forage in the soil, whereas some species of the sixth subgenus (Anomma) forage in the leaf-litter and some as conspicuous swarm raiders on the forest floor and in the lower vegetation (the infamous driver ants). Here we use a combination of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequences to reconstruct the phylogeny of the Dorylus s.l. army ants and to infer the evolutionary transitions in foraging niche and associated morphological adaptations. Results Underground foraging is basal and gave rise to leaf-litter foraging. Leaf-litter foraging in turn gave rise to two derived conditions: true surface foraging (the driver ants) and a reversal to subterranean foraging (a clade with most of the extant Dorylus s.s. species). This means that neither the subgenus Anomma nor Dorylus s.s. is monophyletic, and that one of the Dorylus s.s. lineages adopted subterranean foraging secondarily. We show that this latter group evolved a series of morphological adaptations to underground foraging that are remarkably convergent to the basal state. Conclusion The evolutionary transitions in foraging niche were more complex than previously thought, but our comparative analysis of worker morphology lends strong support to the contention that particular foraging niches have selected for very specific worker morphologies. The surprising reversal to underground foraging is therefore a striking example of convergent morphological evolution. PMID:17408491

  11. Using PEBBLE for the evolutionary analysis of serially sampled molecular sequences.

    PubMed

    Goode, Matthew; Rodrigo, Allen G

    2004-05-01

    The PEBBLE (Phylogenetics, Evolutionary Biology, and Bioinformatics in a moduLar Environment) application is a relative newcomer to the field of phylogenetic applications. Although designed as a customizable generalist application, PEBBLE was initially developed to implement procedures for the analysis of sequences associated with different sampling times, e.g., rapidly evolving viral genes sampled over the course of infection, or ancient DNA sequences. The basic protocol describes the use of PEBBLE to infer a phylogenetic tree using the sUPGMA algorithm, and the inference of substitution rate parameters using maximum likelihood. The alternate and support protocols describe the simulation capabilities of PEBBLE, and general use of the PEBBLE application, respectively.

  12. Evolutionary implications of morphogenesis and molecular patterning of the blind gut in the planarian Schmidtea polychroa.

    PubMed

    Martín-Durán, José María; Romero, Rafael

    2011-04-01

    The formation of a through-gut was a key innovation in the evolution of metazoans. There is still controversy regarding the origin of the anus and how it may have been either gained or lost during evolution in different bilaterian taxa. Thus, the study of groups with a blind gut is of great importance for understanding the evolution of this organ system. Here, we describe the morphogenesis and molecular patterning of the blind gut in the sexual triclad Schmidtea polychroa. We identify and analyze the expression of goosecoid, commonly associated with the foregut, and the GATA, ParaHox and T-box genes, members of which commonly are associated with gut regionalization. We show that GATA456a is expressed in the blind gut of triclads, while GATA456b is localized in dorsal parenchymal cells. Goosecoid is expressed in the central nervous system, and the unique ParaHox gene identified, Xlox, is detected in association with the nervous system. We have not isolated any brachyury gene in the T-box complement of S. polychroa, which consists of one tbx1/10, three tbx2/3 and one tbx20. Furthermore, the absence of genes like brachyury and caudal is also present in other groups of Platyhelminthes. This study suggests that GATA456, in combination with foxA, is a gut-specific patterning mechanism conserved in the triclad S. polychroa, while the conserved gut-associated expression of foregut, midgut and hindgut markers is absent. Based on these data and the deviations in spiral cleavage found in more basal flatworms, we propose that the lack of an anus is an innovation of Platyhelminthes. This may be associated with loss of gut gene expression or even gene loss.

  13. Molecular evolutionary analysis of the thiamine-diphosphate-dependent enzyme, transketolase.

    PubMed

    Schenk, G; Layfield, R; Candy, J M; Duggleby, R G; Nixon, P F

    1997-05-01

    Members of the transketolase group of thiamine-diphosphate-dependent enzymes from 17 different organisms including mammals, yeast, bacteria, and plants have been used for phylogenetic reconstruction. Alignment of the amino acid and DNA sequences for 21 transketolase enzymes and one putative transketolase reveals a number of highly conserved regions and invariant residues that are of predicted importance for enzyme activity, based on the crystal structure of yeast transketolase. One particular sequence of 36 residues has some similarities to the nucleotide-binding motif and we designate it as the transketolase motif. We report further evidence that the recP protein from Streptococcus pneumoniae might be a transketolase and we list a number of invariant residues which might be involved in substrate binding. Phylogenies derived from the nucleotide and the amino acid sequences by various methods show a conventional clustering for mammalian, plant, and gram-negative bacterial transketolases. The branching order of the gram-positive bacteria could not be inferred reliably. The formaldehyde transketolase (sometimes known as dihydroxyacetone synthase) of the yeast Hansenula polymorpha appears to be orthologous to the mammalian enzymes but paralogous to the other yeast transketolases. The occurrence of more than one transketolase gene in some organisms is consistent with several gene duplications. The high degree of similarity in functionally important residues and the fact that the same kinetic mechanism is applicable to all characterized transketolase enzymes is consistent with the proposition that they are all derived from one common ancestral gene. Transketolase appears to be an ancient enzyme that has evolved slowly and might serve as a model for a molecular clock, at least within the mammalian clade.

  14. Cell and molecular mechanics of biological materials

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bao, G.; Suresh, S.

    2003-11-01

    Living cells can sense mechanical forces and convert them into biological responses. Similarly, biological and biochemical signals are known to influence the abilities of cells to sense, generate and bear mechanical forces. Studies into the mechanics of single cells, subcellular components and biological molecules have rapidly evolved during the past decade with significant implications for biotechnology and human health. This progress has been facilitated by new capabilities for measuring forces and displacements with piconewton and nanometre resolutions, respectively, and by improvements in bio-imaging. Details of mechanical, chemical and biological interactions in cells remain elusive. However, the mechanical deformation of proteins and nucleic acids may provide key insights for understanding the changes in cellular structure, response and function under force, and offer new opportunities for the diagnosis and treatment of disease. This review discusses some basic features of the deformation of single cells and biomolecules, and examines opportunities for further research.

  15. Molecular and cellular mechanisms of dendritic morphogenesis

    PubMed Central

    Gao, Fen-Biao

    2008-01-01

    Summary Dendrites exhibit unique cell-type specific branching patterns and targeting specificity that are critically important for neuronal function and connectivity. Recent evidence indicates that highly complex transcriptional regulatory networks dictate various aspects of dendritic outgrowth, branching, and routing. In addition to other intrinsic molecular pathways such as membrane protein trafficking, interactions between neighboring dendritic branches also contribute to the final specification of dendritic morphology. Nonredundant coverage by dendrites of same type of neurons, known as tiling, requires the actions of the Tricornered/Furry (Sax-1/Sax-2) signaling pathway. However, the dendrites of a neuron do not cross over each other, a process called self-avoidance that is mediated by Down’s syndrome cell adhesion molecule (Dscam). Those exciting findings have enhanced significantly our understanding of dendritic morphogenesis and revealed the magnitude of complexity in the underlying molecular regulatory networks. PMID:17933513

  16. Molecular Mechanism of Cyclodextrin Mediated Cholesterol Extraction

    PubMed Central

    López, Cesar A.; de Vries, Alex H.; Marrink, Siewert J.

    2011-01-01

    The depletion of cholesterol from membranes, mediated by β-cyclodextrin (β-CD) is well known and documented, but the molecular details of this process are largely unknown. Using molecular dynamics simulations, we have been able to study the CD mediated extraction of cholesterol from model membranes, in particular from a pure cholesterol monolayer, at atomic resolution. Our results show that efficient cholesterol extraction depends on the structural distribution of the CDs on the surface of the monolayer. With a suitably oriented dimer, cholesterol is extracted spontaneously on a nanosecond time scale. Additional free energy calculations reveal that the CDs have a strong affinity to bind to the membrane surface, and, by doing so, destabilize the local packing of cholesterol molecules making their extraction favorable. Our results have implications for the interpretation of experimental measurements, and may help in the rational design of efficient CD based nano-carriers. PMID:21455285

  17. Molecular chaperones: functional mechanisms and nanotechnological applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rosario Fernández-Fernández, M.; Sot, Begoña; María Valpuesta, José

    2016-08-01

    Molecular chaperones are a group of proteins that assist in protein homeostasis. They not only prevent protein misfolding and aggregation, but also target misfolded proteins for degradation. Despite differences in structure, all types of chaperones share a common general feature, a surface that recognizes and interacts with the misfolded protein. This and other, more specialized properties can be adapted for various nanotechnological purposes, by modification of the original biomolecules or by de novo design based on artificial structures.

  18. Unusual evolutionary mechanisms to escape effector-triggered immunity in the fungal phytopathogen Leptosphaeria maculans.

    PubMed

    Plissonneau, C; Blaise, F; Ollivier, B; Leflon, M; Carpezat, J; Rouxel, T; Balesdent, M-H

    2017-04-01

    Leptosphaeria maculans is the fungus responsible for the stem canker disease of oilseed rape (Brassica napus). AvrLm3 and AvrLm4-7, two avirulence effector genes of L. maculans, are involved in an unusual relationship: AvrLm4-7 suppresses the Rlm3-mediated resistance. Here, we assessed AvrLm3 polymorphism in a collection of 235 L. maculans isolates. No field isolates exhibited deletion or inactivating mutations in AvrLm3, as observed for other L. maculans avirulence genes. Eleven isoforms of the AvrLm3 protein were found. In isolates virulent towards both Rlm3 and Rlm7 (a3a7), the loss of the Rlm3-mediated resistance response was due to two distinct mechanisms. First, when AvrLm4-7 was inactivated (deletion or inactivating mutations), amino acid substitutions in AvrLm3 generated virulent isoforms of the protein. Second, when only point mutations were observed in AvrLm4-7, a3a7 isolates still contained an avirulent allele of AvrLm3. Directed mutagenesis confirmed that some point mutations in AvrLm4-7 were sufficient for the fungus to escape Rlm7-mediated resistance while maintaining the suppression of the AvrLm3 phenotype. Signatures of positive selection were also identified in AvrLm3. The complex evolutionary mechanisms enabling L. maculans to escape Rlm3-mediated resistance while preserving AvrLm3 integrity, along with observed reduced aggressiveness of isolates silenced for AvrLm3, serves to emphasize the importance of this effector in pathogenicity towards B. napus. While the common response to resistance gene pressure is local selection of isolates depleted in the cognate avirulence gene, this example contributes to complexify the gene-for-gene concept of plant-pathogen evolution with a 'camouflaged' model allowing retention of nondispensable avirulence effectors.

  19. Glioblastoma: pathology, molecular mechanisms and markers.

    PubMed

    Aldape, Kenneth; Zadeh, Gelareh; Mansouri, Sheila; Reifenberger, Guido; von Deimling, Andreas

    2015-06-01

    Recent advances in genomic technology have led to a better understanding of key molecular alterations that underlie glioblastoma (GBM). The current WHO-based classification of GBM is mainly based on histologic features of the tumor, which frequently do not reflect the molecular differences that describe the diversity in the biology of these lesions. The current WHO definition of GBM relies on the presence of high-grade astrocytic neoplasm with the presence of either microvascular proliferation and/or tumor necrosis. High-throughput analyses have identified molecular subtypes and have led to progress in more accurate classification of GBM. These findings, in turn, would result in development of more effective patient stratification, targeted therapeutics, and prediction of patient outcome. While consensus has not been reached on the precise nature and means to sub-classify GBM, it is clear that IDH-mutant GBMs are clearly distinct from GBMs without IDH1/2 mutation with respect to molecular and clinical features, including prognosis. In addition, recent findings in pediatric GBMs regarding mutations in the histone H3F3A gene suggest that these tumors may represent a 3rd major category of GBM, separate from adult primary (IDH1/2 wt), and secondary (IDH1/2 mut) GBMs. In this review, we describe major clinically relevant genetic and epigenetic abnormalities in GBM-such as mutations in IDH1/2, EGFR, PDGFRA, and NF1 genes-altered methylation of MGMT gene promoter, and mutations in hTERT promoter. These markers may be incorporated into a more refined classification system and applied in more accurate clinical decision-making process. In addition, we focus on current understanding of the biologic heterogeneity and classification of GBM and highlight some of the molecular signatures and alterations that characterize GBMs as histologically defined. We raise the question whether IDH-wild type high grade astrocytomas without microvascular proliferation or necrosis might best be

  20. Mechanism of Spontaneous Oscillation Emerging from Collective Molecular Motors

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shimamoto, Yuta; Ishiwata, Shin'ichi

    2008-04-01

    Biological systems include a large number and various kinds of molecular machines. Individual molecular machines work stochastically, while the systems constructed of the ensembles of these machines exhibit dynamically-ordered phenomena, rather than a simple sum of individual parts. Here we focus on the spontaneous oscillatory contraction (SPOC) observed in the contractile system of muscle. From the mechanical measurements in the precursor state of SPOC, we discuss how the functions of individual molecular motors are autonomously regulated in the contractile system.

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

    PubMed

    Yokoyama, Shozo; Takenaka, Naomi

    2005-04-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-06-01

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

  3. Brief Communication: Quantitative- and molecular-genetic differentiation in humans and chimpanzees: implications for the evolutionary processes underlying cranial diversification.

    PubMed

    Weaver, Timothy D

    2014-08-01

    Estimates of the amount of genetic differentiation in humans among major geographic regions (e.g., Eastern Asia vs. Europe) from quantitative-genetic analyses of cranial measurements closely match those from classical- and molecular-genetic markers. Typically, among-region differences account for ∼10% of the total variation. This correspondence is generally interpreted as evidence for the importance of neutral evolutionary processes (e.g., genetic drift) in generating among-region differences in human cranial form, but it was initially surprising because human cranial diversity was frequently assumed to show a strong signature of natural selection. Is the human degree of similarity of cranial and DNA-sequence estimates of among-region genetic differentiation unusual? How do comparisons with other taxa illuminate the evolutionary processes underlying cranial diversification? Chimpanzees provide a useful starting point for placing the human results in a broader comparative context, because common chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and bonobos (Pan paniscus) are the extant species most closely related to humans. To address these questions, I used 27 cranial measurements collected on a sample of 861 humans and 263 chimpanzees to estimate the amount of genetic differentiation between pairs of groups (between regions for humans and between species or subspecies for chimpanzees). Consistent with previous results, the human cranial estimates are quite similar to published DNA-sequence estimates. In contrast, the chimpanzee cranial estimates are much smaller than published DNA-sequence estimates. It appears that cranial differentiation has been limited in chimpanzees relative to humans.

  4. Symposium on molecular and cellular mechanisms of mutagenesis

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1981-01-01

    These proceedings contain abstracts only of the 21 papers presented at the Sympsoium. The papers dealt with molecular mechanisms of mutagenesis and cellular responses to chemical and physical mutagenic agents. (ERB)

  5. Evolutionary conservation of mechanisms for neural regionalization, proliferation and interconnection in brain development

    PubMed Central

    Reichert, Heinrich

    2008-01-01

    Comparative studies of brain development in vertebrate and invertebrate model systems demonstrate remarkable similarities in expression and action of developmental control genes during embryonic patterning, neural proliferation and circuit formation in the brain. Thus, comparable sets of developmental control genes are involved in specifying the early brain primordium as well as in regionalized patterning along its anteroposterior and dorsoventral axes. Furthermore, similar cellular and molecular mechanisms underlie the formation and proliferation of neural stem cell-like progenitors that generate the neurons in the central nervous systems. Finally, neural identity and some complex circuit interconnections in specific brain domains appear to be comparable in vertebrates and invertebrates and may depend on similar developmental control genes. PMID:18755655

  6. Colour variation in cichlid fish: Developmental mechanisms, selective pressures and evolutionary consequences☆

    PubMed Central

    Maan, Martine E.; Sefc, Kristina M.

    2013-01-01

    Cichlid fishes constitute one of the most species-rich families of vertebrates. In addition to complex social behaviour and morphological versatility, they are characterised by extensive diversity in colouration, both within and between species. Here, we review the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying colour variation in this group and the selective pressures responsible for the observed variation. We specifically address the evidence for the hypothesis that divergence in colouration is associated with the evolution of reproductive isolation between lineages. While we conclude that cichlid colours are excellent models for understanding the role of animal communication in species divergence, we also identify taxonomic and methodological biases in the current research effort. We suggest that the integration of genomic approaches with ecological and behavioural studies, across the entire cichlid family and beyond it, will contribute to the utility of the cichlid model system for understanding the evolution of biological diversity. PMID:23665150

  7. Molecular and cellular mechanisms of pulmonary fibrosis

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Pulmonary fibrosis is a chronic lung disease characterized by excessive accumulation of extracellular matrix (ECM) and remodeling of the lung architecture. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is considered the most common and severe form of the disease, with a median survival of approximately three years and no proven effective therapy. Despite the fact that effective treatments are absent and the precise mechanisms that drive fibrosis in most patients remain incompletely understood, an extensive body of scientific literature regarding pulmonary fibrosis has accumulated over the past 35 years. In this review, we discuss three broad areas which have been explored that may be responsible for the combination of altered lung fibroblasts, loss of alveolar epithelial cells, and excessive accumulation of ECM: inflammation and immune mechanisms, oxidative stress and oxidative signaling, and procoagulant mechanisms. We discuss each of these processes separately to facilitate clarity, but certainly significant interplay will occur amongst these pathways in patients with this disease. PMID:22824096

  8. Molecular mechanisms of STIM/Orai communication

    PubMed Central

    Derler, Isabella; Jardin, Isaac

    2016-01-01

    Ca2+ entry into the cell via store-operated Ca2+ release-activated Ca2+ (CRAC) channels triggers diverse signaling cascades that affect cellular processes like cell growth, gene regulation, secretion, and cell death. These store-operated Ca2+ channels open after depletion of intracellular Ca2+ stores, and their main features are fully reconstituted by the two molecular key players: the stromal interaction molecule (STIM) and Orai. STIM represents an endoplasmic reticulum-located Ca2+ sensor, while Orai forms a highly Ca2+-selective ion channel in the plasma membrane. Functional as well as mutagenesis studies together with structural insights about STIM and Orai proteins provide a molecular picture of the interplay of these two key players in the CRAC signaling cascade. This review focuses on the main experimental advances in the understanding of the STIM1-Orai choreography, thereby establishing a portrait of key mechanistic steps in the CRAC channel signaling cascade. The focus is on the activation of the STIM proteins, the subsequent coupling of STIM1 to Orai1, and the consequent structural rearrangements that gate the Orai channels into the open state to allow Ca2+ permeation into the cell. PMID:26825122

  9. Etiologies and molecular mechanisms of communication disorders

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Shelley D.; Grigorenko, Elena; Willcutt, Erik; Pennington, Bruce F.; Olson, Richard K.; DeFries, John C.

    2010-01-01

    Quantitative behavioral genetic studies have made it clear that communication disorders such as reading disability (RD), language impairment (LI), and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) follow some basic principles: 1) Complex disorders have complex causes, in that each clinical disorder is influenced by a number of separate genes; and 2) at least some behaviorally related disorders are influenced by the same genes. Recent advances in molecular and statistical methods have confirmed these principles and are now leading to an understanding of the genes that may be involved in these disorders and how their disruption may affect the development of the brain. The prospect is that the genes involved in these disorders will define a network of interacting neurologic functions, and that perturbations of different elements of this network will produce susceptibilities for different disorders. Such knowledge would clarify the underlying deficits in these disorders and could lead to revised diagnostic conceptions. These goals are still in the future, however. Identifying the individual genes in such a network is painstaking, and there have been seemingly contradictory studies along the way. Improvements in study design and additional functional analysis of genes is gradually clarifying many of these issues. When combined with careful phenotypic studies, molecular genetic studies have the potential to refine the clinical definitions of communication disorders and influence their remediation. PMID:20814255

  10. Etiologies and molecular mechanisms of communication disorders.

    PubMed

    Smith, Shelley D; Grigorenko, Elena; Willcutt, Erik; Pennington, Bruce F; Olson, Richard K; DeFries, John C

    2010-09-01

    Quantitative behavioral genetic studies have made it clear that communication disorders such as reading disability, language impairment, and autism spectrum disorders follow some basic principles: (1) complex disorders have complex causes, in which each clinical disorder is influenced by a number of separate genes; and (2) at least some behaviorally related disorders are influenced by the same genes. Recent advances in molecular and statistical methods have confirmed these principles and are now leading to an understanding of the genes that may be involved in these disorders and how their disruption may affect the development of the brain. The prospect is that the genes involved in these disorders will define a network of interacting neurologic functions and that perturbations of different elements of this network will produce susceptibilities for different disorders. Such knowledge would clarify the underlying deficits in these disorders and could lead to revised diagnostic conceptions. However, these goals are still in the future. Identifying the individual genes in such a network is painstaking, and there have been seemingly contradictory studies along the way. Improvements in study design and additional functional analysis of genes are gradually clarifying many of these issues. When combined with careful phenotypic studies, molecular genetic studies have the potential to refine the clinical definitions of communication disorders and influence their remediation.

  11. [Molecular biology and immunopathogenetic mechanisms of sepsis].

    PubMed

    Průcha, M

    2009-01-01

    Sepsis, the systemic inflammatory response to infection, causes high mortality in patients in non-coronary units of intensive care. The most important characteristic of sepsis is the interaction between two subjects, the macro and the microorganism, associated with the dysfunction of innate and adaptive immunity. Sepsis is understood more as a dynamic syndrome characterized by many phenomenona which are often antagonistic. The inflammation, characterizing sepsis, does not act as a primary physiological compensatory mechanism and rather oscillates between the phase of hyperinflammatory response and anergy or immunoparalysis. The elucidation of the pathogenesis of sepsis is linked to the understanding of immunopathogenetic mechanisms, which characterize the interaction between the macro and microorganisms.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-02-18

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-07-01

    An extensive study of the phylogeny of Eutardigrada, the largest class of Tardigrada, has been performed analyzing one hundred and forty sequences (eighty of which newly obtained) representative of one hundred and twenty-nine specimens belonging to all families (except Necopinatidae) of this class. The molecular (18S and 28S rRNA) results were compared with new and previous morphological data, allowing us to find new phylogenetic relationships, to identify new phylogenetic lineages, to erect new taxa for some lineages, and to find several morphological synapomorphies supporting the identified clusters. The class Eutardigrada has been confirmed and, within it, the orders Apochela and Parachela, the superfamilies Macrobiotoidea, Hypsibioidea, Isohypsibioidea, and Eohypsibioidea, and all the families and subfamilies considered, although with emended diagnoses in several cases. In addition, new taxa have been erected: the new subfamily Pilatobiinae (Hypsibiidae) with the new genus Pilatobius, as well as an upgrading of Diphascon and Adropion to genus level, previously considered subgenera of Diphascon. Our results demonstrate that while molecular analysis is an important tool for understanding phylogeny, an integrative and comparative approach using both molecular and morphological data is necessary to better elucidate evolutionary relationships. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  16. Molecular Mechanisms of Action of BPA

    PubMed Central

    Acconcia, Filippo; Pallottini, Valentina

    2015-01-01

    Bisphenol A (BPA) exposure has been associated with serious endocrine-disrupting effects in humans and wildlife. Toxicological and epidemiological studies evidenced that BPA increases body mass index and disrupts normal cardiovascular physiology by interfering with endogenous hormones in rodents, nonhuman primates, and cell culture test systems. The BPA concentration derived from these experiments were used by government regulatory agencies to determine the safe exposure levels of BPA in humans. However, accumulating literature in vivo and in vitro indicate that at concentrations lower than that reported in toxicological studies, BPA could elicit a different endocrine-disrupting capacity. To further complicate this picture, BPA effects rely on several and diverse mechanisms that converge upon endocrine and reproductive systems. If all or just few of these mechanisms concur to the endocrine-disrupting potential of low doses of BPA is at present still unclear. Thus, taking into account that the incidence and/or prevalence of health problems associated with endocrine disruption have increased worldwide, the goal of the present review is to give an overview of the many mechanisms of BPA action in order to decipher whether different mechanisms are at the root of the effect of low dose of BPA on endocrine system. PMID:26740804

  17. Selectivity and molecular mechanisms of toxicity

    SciTech Connect

    DeMatteis, F. ); Lock, E. A. )

    1987-01-01

    This book contains 11 chapters. Some of the titles are: Mechanisms of genotoxicity of chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons; Drugs as suicide substrates of cytochrome P-450; Cellular specific toxicity in the lung; The nephrotoxicity of haloalkane and haloalkene glutathione conjugates; and dioxin and organotin compounds as model immunotoxic chemicals.

  18. Molecular and Mechanical Behavior of Elastomers.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Etzel, A. J.; And Others

    1986-01-01

    Describes an experiment in which stretching a rubber band can be used to compare the statistical theory of rubber elasticity with its continuum mechanics counterpart. Employs the use of the equation of the state of rubber elasticity and the Mooney-Rivlin equation. (TW)

  19. Molecular Mechanisms of Action of BPA.

    PubMed

    Acconcia, Filippo; Pallottini, Valentina; Marino, Maria

    2015-01-01

    Bisphenol A (BPA) exposure has been associated with serious endocrine-disrupting effects in humans and wildlife. Toxicological and epidemiological studies evidenced that BPA increases body mass index and disrupts normal cardiovascular physiology by interfering with endogenous hormones in rodents, nonhuman primates, and cell culture test systems. The BPA concentration derived from these experiments were used by government regulatory agencies to determine the safe exposure levels of BPA in humans. However, accumulating literature in vivo and in vitro indicate that at concentrations lower than that reported in toxicological studies, BPA could elicit a different endocrine-disrupting capacity. To further complicate this picture, BPA effects rely on several and diverse mechanisms that converge upon endocrine and reproductive systems. If all or just few of these mechanisms concur to the endocrine-disrupting potential of low doses of BPA is at present still unclear. Thus, taking into account that the incidence and/or prevalence of health problems associated with endocrine disruption have increased worldwide, the goal of the present review is to give an overview of the many mechanisms of BPA action in order to decipher whether different mechanisms are at the root of the effect of low dose of BPA on endocrine system.

  20. Molecular and Mechanical Behavior of Elastomers.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Etzel, A. J.; And Others

    1986-01-01

    Describes an experiment in which stretching a rubber band can be used to compare the statistical theory of rubber elasticity with its continuum mechanics counterpart. Employs the use of the equation of the state of rubber elasticity and the Mooney-Rivlin equation. (TW)

  1. Emerging mechanisms of molecular pathology in ALS

    PubMed Central

    Peters, Owen M.; Ghasemi, Mehdi; Brown, Robert H.

    2015-01-01

    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating degenerative disease characterized by progressive loss of motor neurons in the motor cortex, brainstem, and spinal cord. Although defined as a motor disorder, ALS can arise concurrently with frontotemporal lobal dementia (FTLD). ALS begins focally but disseminates to cause paralysis and death. About 10% of ALS cases are caused by gene mutations, and more than 40 ALS-associated genes have been identified. While important questions about the biology of this disease remain unanswered, investigations of ALS genes have delineated pathogenic roles for (a) perturbations in protein stability and degradation, (b) altered homeostasis of critical RNA- and DNA-binding proteins, (c) impaired cytoskeleton function, and (d) non-neuronal cells as modifiers of the ALS phenotype. The rapidity of progress in ALS genetics and the subsequent acquisition of insights into the molecular biology of these genes provide grounds for optimism that meaningful therapies for ALS are attainable. PMID:25932674

  2. Molecular mechanisms of polyploidy and hybrid vigor.

    PubMed

    Chen, Z Jeffrey

    2010-02-01

    Hybrids such as maize (Zea mays) or domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) grow bigger and stronger than their parents. This is also true for allopolyploids such as wheat (Triticum spp.) or frog (i.e. Xenopus and Silurana) that contain two or more sets of chromosomes from different species. The phenomenon, known as hybrid vigor or heterosis, was systematically characterized by Charles Darwin (1876). The rediscovery of heterosis in maize a century ago has revolutionized plant and animal breeding and production. Although genetic models for heterosis have been rigorously tested, the molecular bases remain elusive. Recent studies have determined the roles of nonadditive gene expression, small RNAs, and epigenetic regulation, including circadian-mediated metabolic pathways, in hybrid vigor, which could lead to better use and exploitation of the increased biomass and yield in hybrids and allopolyploids for food, feed, and biofuels.

  3. Molecular mechanisms of polyploidy and hybrid vigor

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Z. Jeffrey

    2010-01-01

    Hybrids such as maize (Zea mays) or domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) grow bigger and stronger than their parents. This is also true for allopolyploids such as wheat (Triticum spp.) or frog (i.e. Xenopus and Silurana) that contain two or more sets of chromosomes from different species. The phenomenon, known as hybrid vigor or heterosis, was systematically characterized by Charles Darwin (1876). The rediscovery of heterosis in maize a century ago has revolutionized plant and animal breeding and production. Although genetic models for heterosis have been rigorously tested, the molecular bases remain elusive. Recent studies have determined the roles of nonadditive gene expression, small RNAs, and epigenetic regulation, including circadian-mediated metabolic pathways, in hybrid vigor and incompatibility, which could lead to better use and exploitation of the increased biomass and yield in hybrids and allopolyploids for food, feed, and biofuels. PMID:20080432

  4. Molecular mechanisms of synaptic remodeling in alcoholism.

    PubMed

    Kyzar, Evan J; Pandey, Subhash C

    2015-08-05

    Alcohol use and alcohol addiction represent dysfunctional brain circuits resulting from neuroadaptive changes during protracted alcohol exposure and its withdrawal. Alcohol exerts a potent effect on synaptic plasticity and dendritic spine formation in specific brain regions, providing a neuroanatomical substrate for the pathophysiology of alcoholism. Epigenetics has recently emerged as a critical regulator of gene expression and synaptic plasticity-related events in the brain. Alcohol exposure and withdrawal induce changes in crucial epigenetic processes in the emotional brain circuitry (amygdala) that may be relevant to the negative affective state defined as the "dark side" of addiction. Here, we review the literature concerning synaptic plasticity and epigenetics, with a particular focus on molecular events related to dendritic remodeling during alcohol abuse and alcoholism. Targeting epigenetic processes that modulate synaptic plasticity may yield novel treatments for alcoholism. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.

  5. Molecular mechanics modeling of azobenzene-based photoswitches.

    PubMed

    Duchstein, Patrick; Neiss, Christian; Görling, Andreas; Zahn, Dirk

    2012-06-01

    We present an extension of the generalized amber force field to allow the modeling of azobenzenes by means of classical molecular mechanics. TD-DFT calculations were employed to derive different interaction models for 4-hydroxy-4'-methyl-azobenzene, including the ground (S(0)) and S(1) excited state. For both states, partial charges and the -N = N- torsion potentials were characterized. On this basis, we pave the way to large-scale model simulations involving azobenzene molecular switches. Using the example of an isolated molecule, the mechanics of cyclic switching processes are demonstrated by classical molecular dynamics simulations.

  6. Transcriptomics and molecular evolutionary rate analysis of the bladderwort (Utricularia), a carnivorous plant with a minimal genome

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background The carnivorous plant Utricularia gibba (bladderwort) is remarkable in having a minute genome, which at ca. 80 megabases is approximately half that of Arabidopsis. Bladderworts show an incredible diversity of forms surrounding a defined theme: tiny, bladder-like suction traps on terrestrial, epiphytic, or aquatic plants with a diversity of unusual vegetative forms. Utricularia plants, which are rootless, are also anomalous in physiological features (respiration and carbon distribution), and highly enhanced molecular evolutionary rates in chloroplast, mitochondrial and nuclear ribosomal sequences. Despite great interest in the genus, no genomic resources exist for Utricularia, and the substitution rate increase has received limited study. Results Here we describe the sequencing and analysis of the Utricularia gibba transcriptome. Three different organs were surveyed, the traps, the vegetative shoot bodies, and the inflorescence stems. We also examined the bladderwort transcriptome under diverse stress conditions. We detail aspects of functional classification, tissue similarity, nitrogen and phosphorus metabolism, respiration, DNA repair, and detoxification of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Long contigs of plastid and mitochondrial genomes, as well as sequences for 100 individual nuclear genes, were compared with those of other plants to better establish information on molecular evolutionary rates. Conclusion The Utricularia transcriptome provides a detailed genomic window into processes occurring in a carnivorous plant. It contains a deep representation of the complex metabolic pathways that characterize a putative minimal plant genome, permitting its use as a source of genomic information to explore the structural, functional, and evolutionary diversity of the genus. Vegetative shoots and traps are the most similar organs by functional classification of their transcriptome, the traps expressing hydrolytic enzymes for prey digestion that were previously

  7. Transcriptomics and molecular evolutionary rate analysis of the bladderwort (Utricularia), a carnivorous plant with a minimal genome.

    PubMed

    Ibarra-Laclette, Enrique; Albert, Victor A; Pérez-Torres, Claudia A; Zamudio-Hernández, Flor; Ortega-Estrada, María de J; Herrera-Estrella, Alfredo; Herrera-Estrella, Luis

    2011-06-03

    The carnivorous plant Utricularia gibba (bladderwort) is remarkable in having a minute genome, which at ca. 80 megabases is approximately half that of Arabidopsis. Bladderworts show an incredible diversity of forms surrounding a defined theme: tiny, bladder-like suction traps on terrestrial, epiphytic, or aquatic plants with a diversity of unusual vegetative forms. Utricularia plants, which are rootless, are also anomalous in physiological features (respiration and carbon distribution), and highly enhanced molecular evolutionary rates in chloroplast, mitochondrial and nuclear ribosomal sequences. Despite great interest in the genus, no genomic resources exist for Utricularia, and the substitution rate increase has received limited study. Here we describe the sequencing and analysis of the Utricularia gibba transcriptome. Three different organs were surveyed, the traps, the vegetative shoot bodies, and the inflorescence stems. We also examined the bladderwort transcriptome under diverse stress conditions. We detail aspects of functional classification, tissue similarity, nitrogen and phosphorus metabolism, respiration, DNA repair, and detoxification of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Long contigs of plastid and mitochondrial genomes, as well as sequences for 100 individual nuclear genes, were compared with those of other plants to better establish information on molecular evolutionary rates. The Utricularia transcriptome provides a detailed genomic window into processes occurring in a carnivorous plant. It contains a deep representation of the complex metabolic pathways that characterize a putative minimal plant genome, permitting its use as a source of genomic information to explore the structural, functional, and evolutionary diversity of the genus. Vegetative shoots and traps are the most similar organs by functional classification of their transcriptome, the traps expressing hydrolytic enzymes for prey digestion that were previously thought to be encoded by

  8. How Molecular Structure Affects Mechanical Properties of an Advanced Polymer

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nicholson, Lee M.; Whitley, Karen S.; Gates, Thomas S.; Hinkley, Jeffrey A.

    2000-01-01

    density was performed over a range of temperatures below the glass transition temperature. The physical characterization, elastic properties and notched tensile strength all as a function of molecular weight and test temperature were determined. For the uncrosslinked SI material, it was shown that notched tensile strength is a strong function of both temperature and molecular weight, whereas stiffness is only a strong function of temperature. For the crosslinked PETI-SI material, it was shown that the effect of crosslinking significantly enhances the mechanical performance of the low molecular weight material; comparable to that exhibited by the high molecular weight material.

  9. Connecting proximate mechanisms and evolutionary patterns: pituitary gland size and mammalian life history.

    PubMed

    Kamilar, J M; Tecot, S R

    2015-11-01

    At the proximate level, hormones are known to play a critical role in influencing the life history of mammals, including humans. The pituitary gland is directly responsible for producing several hormones, including those related to growth and reproduction. Although we have a basic understanding of how hormones affect life history characteristics, we still have little knowledge of this relationship in an evolutionary context. We used data from 129 mammal species representing 14 orders to investigate the relationship between pituitary gland size and life history variation. Because pituitary gland size should be related to hormone production and action, we predicted that species with relatively large pituitaries should be associated with fast life histories, especially increased foetal and post-natal growth rates. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that total pituitary size and the size of the anterior lobe of the pituitary significantly predicted a life history axis that was correlated with several traits including body mass, and foetal and post-natal growth rates. Additional models directly examining the association between relative pituitary size and growth rates produced concordant results. We also found that relative pituitary size variation across mammals was best explained by an Ornstein-Uhlenbeck model of evolution, suggesting an important role of stabilizing selection. Our results support the idea that the size of the pituitary is linked to life history variation through evolutionary time. This pattern is likely due to mediating hormone levels but additional work is needed. We suggest that future investigations incorporating endocrine gland size may be critical for understanding life history evolution. © 2015 European Society For Evolutionary Biology. Journal of Evolutionary Biology © 2015 European Society For Evolutionary Biology.

  10. Molecular and biochemical mechanisms of preterm labour.

    PubMed

    Mohan, Aarthi R; Loudon, Jenifer A; Bennett, Phillip R

    2004-12-01

    Parturition involves the synchronization of myometrial activity and structural changes of the cervix, leading to regular co-ordinated uterine contractions and cervical dilatation and effacement. The biochemical events involved in parturition resemble an inflammatory reaction, with growing evidence pointing to a crucial role for pro-inflammatory cytokines and prostaglandins in labour. There is accumulating evidence that there are common mediators involved in the regulation of 'labour-associated proteins', and that, in each case, an increase or decrease in gene expression mediates changes in their concentration. It is possible, therefore, that targeting these common mediators may represent newer strategies for the prevention of preterm labour. Our aim is to review the mechanical and biochemical mechanisms that may be involved in the processes of term and preterm labour. Specifically, we will consider the regulation of some of the 'labour-associated proteins', chemotactic cytokines, prostaglandins and enzymes of the prostaglandin biosynthetic pathway and the oxytocin receptor.

  11. Molecular mechanisms regulating NLRP3 inflammasome activation

    PubMed Central

    Jo, Eun-Kyeong; Kim, Jin Kyung; Shin, Dong-Min; Sasakawa, Chihiro

    2016-01-01

    Inflammasomes are multi-protein signaling complexes that trigger the activation of inflammatory caspases and the maturation of interleukin-1β. Among various inflammasome complexes, the NLRP3 inflammasome is best characterized and has been linked with various human autoinflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Thus, the NLRP3 inflammasome may be a promising target for anti-inflammatory therapies. In this review, we summarize the current understanding of the mechanisms by which the NLRP3 inflammasome is activated in the cytosol. We also describe the binding partners of NLRP3 inflammasome complexes activating or inhibiting the inflammasome assembly. Our knowledge of the mechanisms regulating NLRP3 inflammasome signaling and how these influence inflammatory responses offers further insight into potential therapeutic strategies to treat inflammatory diseases associated with dysregulation of the NLRP3 inflammasome. PMID:26549800

  12. Vancomycin Molecular Interactions: Antibiotic and Enantioselective Mechanisms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ward, Timothy J.; Gilmore, Aprile; Ward, Karen; Vowell, Courtney

    Medical studies established that vancomycin and other related macrocyclic antibiotics have an enhanced antimicrobial activity when they are associated as dimers. The carbohydrate units attached to the vancomycin basket have an essential role in the dimerization reaction. Covalently synthesized dimers were found active against vancomycin-resistant bacterial strains. A great similarity between antibiotic potential and enantioselectivity was established. A covalent vancomycin dimer was studied in capillary electrophoresis producing excellent chiral separation of dansyl amino acids. Balhimycin is a macrocyclic glycopeptide structurally similar to vancomycin. The small differences are, however, responsible for drastic differences in enantioselectivity in the same experimental conditions. Contributions from studies examining vancomycin's mechanism for antimicrobial activity have substantially aided our understanding of its mechanism in chiral recognition.

  13. Cellular and molecular mechanisms of muscle atrophy

    PubMed Central

    Bonaldo, Paolo; Sandri, Marco

    2013-01-01

    Skeletal muscle is a plastic organ that is maintained by multiple pathways regulating cell and protein turnover. During muscle atrophy, proteolytic systems are activated, and contractile proteins and organelles are removed, resulting in the shrinkage of muscle fibers. Excessive loss of muscle mass is associated with poor prognosis in several diseases, including myopathies and muscular dystrophies, as well as in systemic disorders such as cancer, diabetes, sepsis and heart failure. Muscle loss also occurs during aging. In this paper, we review the key mechanisms that regulate the turnover of contractile proteins and organelles in muscle tissue, and discuss how impairments in these mechanisms can contribute to muscle atrophy. We also discuss how protein synthesis and degradation are coordinately regulated by signaling pathways that are influenced by mechanical stress, physical activity, and the availability of nutrients and growth factors. Understanding how these pathways regulate muscle mass will provide new therapeutic targets for the prevention and treatment of muscle atrophy in metabolic and neuromuscular diseases. PMID:23268536

  14. Molecular mechanisms of bone formation in spondyloarthritis.

    PubMed

    González-Chávez, Susana Aideé; Quiñonez-Flores, Celia María; Pacheco-Tena, César

    2016-07-01

    Spondyloarthritis comprise a group of inflammatory rheumatic diseases characterized by its association to HLA-B27 and the presence of arthritis and enthesitis. The pathogenesis involves both an inflammatory process and new bone formation, which eventually lead to ankylosis of the spine. To date, the intrinsic mechanisms of the pathogenic process have not been fully elucidated, and our progress is remarkable in the identification of therapeutic targets to achieve the control of the inflammatory process, yet our ability to inhibit the excessive bone formation is still insufficient. The study of new bone formation in spondyloarthritis has been mostly conducted in animal models of the disease and only few experiments have been done using human biopsies. The deregulation and overexpression of molecules involved in the osteogenesis process have been observed in bone cells, mesenchymal cells, and fibroblasts. The signaling associated to the excessive bone formation is congruent with those involved in the physiological processes of bone remodeling. Bone morphogenetic proteins and Wnt pathways have been found deregulated in this disease; however, the cause for uncontrolled stimulation remains unknown. Mechanical stress appears to play an important role in the pathological osteogenesis process; nevertheless, the association of other important factors, such as the presence of HLA-B27 and environmental factors, remains uncertain. The present review summarizes the experimental findings that describe the signaling pathways involved in the new bone formation process in spondyloarthritis in animal models and in human biopsies. The role of mechanical stress as the trigger of these pathways is also reviewed.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  16. Molecular Mechanisms of Circadian Regulation During Spaceflight

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zanello, Susana; Boyle, Richard

    2011-01-01

    Disruption of the regular environmental circadian cues in addition to stringent and demanding operational schedules are two main factors that undoubtedly impact sleep patterns and vigilant performance in the astronaut crews during spaceflight. Most research is focused on the behavioral aspects of the risk of circadian desynchronization, characterized by fatigue and health and performance decrement. A common countermeasure for circadian re-entrainment utilizes blue-green light to entrain the circadian clock and mitigate this risk. However, an effective countermeasure targeting the photoreceptor system requires that the basic circadian molecular machinery remains intact during spaceflight. The molecular clock consists of sets of proteins that perform different functions within the clock machinery: circadian oscillators (genes whose expression levels cycle during the day, keep the pass of cellular time and regulate downstream effector genes), the effector or output genes (those which impact the physiology of the tissue or organism), and the input genes (responsible for sensing the environmental cues that allow circadian entrainment). The main environmental cue is light. As opposed to the known photoreceptors (rods and cones), the non-visual light stimulus is received by a subset of the population of retinal ganglion cells called intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGC) that express melanopsin (opsin 4 -Opn4-) as the photoreceptor. We hypothesize that spaceflight may affect ipRGC and melanopsin expression, which may be a contributing cause of circadian disruption during spaceflight. To answer this question, eyes from albino Balb/cJ mice aboard STS-133 were collected for histological analysis and gene expression profiling of the retina at 1 and 7 days after landing. Both vivarium and AEM (animal enclosure module) mice were used as ground controls. Opn4 expression was analyzed by real time RT/qPCR and retinal sections were stained for Opn4

  17. Walking with insects: molecular mechanisms behind parasitic manipulation of host behaviour.

    PubMed

    van Houte, Stineke; Ros, Vera I D; van Oers, Monique M

    2013-07-01

    Parasitic infections are often followed by changes in host behaviour. Numerous and exquisite examples of such behavioural alterations are known, covering a broad spectrum of parasites and hosts. Most descriptions of such parasite-induced changes in host behaviour are observational reports, while experimentally confirmed examples of parasite genes inducing these changes are limited. In this study, we review changes in invertebrate host behaviour observed upon infection by parasites and discuss such changes in an evolutionary context. We then explore possible mechanisms involved in parasite-induced changes in host behaviour. Genes and pathways known to play a role in invertebrate behaviour are reviewed, and we hypothesize how parasites (may) affect these pathways. This review provides the state of the art in this exciting, interdisciplinary field by exploring possible pathways triggered in hosts, suggesting methodologies to unravel the molecular mechanisms that lead to changes in host behaviour. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  18. Ultraviolet radiation and skin cancer: molecular mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Hussein, Mahmoud R

    2005-03-01

    Every living organism on the surface of the earth is exposed to the ultraviolet (UV) fraction of the sunlight. This electromagnetic energy has both life-giving and life-endangering effects. UV radiation can damage DNA and thus mutagenize several genes involved in the development of the skin cancer. The presence of typical signature of UV-induced mutations on these genes indicates that the ultraviolet-B part of sunlight is responsible for the evolution of cutaneous carcinogenesis. During this process, variable alterations of the oncogenic, tumor-suppressive, and cell-cycle control signaling pathways occur. These pathways include (a) mutated PTCH (in the mitogenic Sonic Hedgehog pathway) and mutated p53 tumor-suppressor gene in basal cell carcinomas, (b) an activated mitogenic ras pathway and mutated p53 in squamous cell carcinomas, and (c) an activated ras pathway, inactive p16, and p53 tumor suppressors in melanomas. This review presents background information about the skin optics, UV radiation, and molecular events involved in photocarcinogenesis.

  19. Dissecting the Molecular Mechanisms of Electrotactic Effects

    PubMed Central

    Bonazzi, Daria; Minc, Nicolas

    2014-01-01

    Significance: Steady electric fields (EFs) surround cells and tissues in vivo and may regulate cellular behavior during development, wound healing, or tissue regeneration. Application of exogenous EFs of similar magnitude as those found in vivo can direct migration, growth, and division in most cell types, ranging from bacteria to mammalian cells. These EF effects have therapeutic potential, for instance, in accelerating wound healing or improving nerve repair. EFs are thought to signal through the plasma membrane to locally activate or recruit components of the cytoskeleton and the polarity machinery. How EFs might function to steer polarity is, however, poorly understood at a molecular level. Recent Advances: Here, we review recent work introducing genetically tractable systems, such as yeast and Dictyostelium cells, that begin to identify proteins and pathways involved in this response both at the level of ion transport at the membrane and at the level of cytoskeleton regulation. Critical Issues: These studies highlight the complexity of these EF effects and bring important novel views on core polarity regulation. Future Directions: Future work pursuing initial screening in model organisms should generate broad mechanistic understanding of electrotactic effects. PMID:24761354

  20. Molecular mechanisms of male germ cell differentiation.

    PubMed

    Hecht, N B

    1998-07-01

    During spermatogenesis, diploid stem cells differentiate, undergo meiosis, and transform into haploid spermatozoa. As this precisely timed series of events proceeds, chromosomal ploidy is reduced and the nucleosomes of the chromatin are replaced by a transcriptionally quiescent protamine-containing nucleus. The premature termination of transcription during the haploid phase of spermatogenesis necessitates an especially prominent role for posttranscriptional regulation in the temporal and spatial expression of many testis-specific proteins and isozymes. In this review article, discussion will focus on novel mechanisms regulating gene expression in mammalian male germ cells from genome to protein.

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Estermann, Immanuel

    1975-01-01

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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Estermann, Immanuel

    1975-01-01

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

  3. Multiple Sclerosis: Molecular Mechanisms and Therapeutic Opportunities

    PubMed Central

    Miljković, Djordje; Spasojević, Ivan

    2013-01-01

    Abstract The pathophysiology of multiple sclerosis (MS) involves several components: redox, inflammatory/autoimmune, vascular, and neurodegenerative. All of them are supported by the intertwined lines of evidence, and none of them should be written off. However, the exact mechanisms of MS initiation, its development, and progression are still elusive, despite the impressive pace by which the data on MS are accumulating. In this review, we will try to integrate the current facts and concepts, focusing on the role of redox changes and various reactive species in MS. Knowing the schedule of initial changes in pathogenic factors and the key turning points, as well as understanding the redox processes involved in MS pathogenesis is the way to enable MS prevention, early treatment, and the development of therapies that target specific pathophysiological components of the heterogeneous mechanisms of MS, which could alleviate the symptoms and hopefully stop MS. Pertinent to this, we will outline (i) redox processes involved in MS initiation; (ii) the role of reactive species in inflammation; (iii) prooxidative changes responsible for neurodegeneration; and (iv) the potential of antioxidative therapy. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 19, 2286–2334. PMID:23473637

  4. Molecular mechanisms of chromosomal rearrangement in fungi.

    PubMed

    Fierro, F; Martín, J F

    1999-01-01

    Both sexual and asexual fungi undergo chromosomal rearrangements, which are the main cause of karyotype variability among the populations. Different recombination processes can produce chromosomal reorganizations, both during mitosis and meiosis, but other mechanisms operate to limit the extent of the rearrangements; some of these mechanisms, such as the RIP (repeat-induced point mutations) of Neurospora crassa, have been well established for sexual fungi. In laboratory strains, treatments such as mutation and transformation enhance the appearance of chromosomal rearrangements. Different DNA sequences present in fungal genomes are able to promote these reorganizations; some of these sequences are involved in well-regulated processes (e.g., site-specific recombination) but most of them act simply as substrates for recombination events leading to DNA rearrangements. In Penicillium chrysogenum we have found that short specific DNA sequences are involved in tandem reiterations leading to amplification of the cluster of the penicillin biosynthesis genes. In some cases, specific chromosomal rearrangements have been associated with particular phenotypes (as occurs in adaptive-like mutants of Candida albicans and Candida stellatoidea), and they may play a role in genetic variability for environmental adaptation.

  5. Evolutionary Perspectives on Diversity of Lignocellulose Decay Mechanisms in Basidionycetes (JGI Seventh Annual User Meeting 2012: Genomics of Energy and Environment)

    ScienceCinema

    Hibbett, David [Clark University

    2016-07-12

    David Hibbett from Clark University on "Evolutionary Perspectives on Diversity of Lignocellulose Decay Mechanisms in Basidiomycetes" at the 7th Annual Genomics of Energy & Environment Meeting on March 21, 2012 in Walnut Creek, California.

  6. Evolutionary Perspectives on Diversity of Lignocellulose Decay Mechanisms in Basidionycetes (JGI Seventh Annual User Meeting 2012: Genomics of Energy and Environment)

    SciTech Connect

    Hibbett, David

    2012-03-21

    David Hibbett from Clark University on "Evolutionary Perspectives on Diversity of Lignocellulose Decay Mechanisms in Basidiomycetes" at the 7th Annual Genomics of Energy & Environment Meeting on March 21, 2012 in Walnut Creek, California.

  7. Salinity Tolerance Mechanism of Economic Halophytes From Physiological to Molecular Hierarchy for Improving Food Quality

    PubMed Central

    Xu, Chongzhi; Tang, Xiaoli; Shao, Hongbo; Wang, Hongyan

    2016-01-01

    Soil salinity is becoming the key constraints factor to agricultural production. Therefore, the plant especially the crops possessing capacities of salt tolerance will be of great economic significance. The adaptation or tolerance of plant to salinity stress involves a series of physiological, metabolic and molecular mechanisms. Halophytes are the kind of organisms which acquire special salt tolerance mechanisms to respond to the salt tress and ensure normal growth and development under saline conditions in their lengthy evolutionary adaptation, so understanding how halophytes respond to salinity stress will provide us with methods and tactics to foster and develop salt resistant varieties of crops. The strategies in physiological and molecular level adopted by halophytes are various including the changes in photosynthetic and transpiration rate, the sequestration of Na+ to extracellular or vacuole, the regulation of stomata aperture and stomatal density, the accumulation and synthesis of the phytohormones as well as the relevant gene expression underlying these physiological traits, such as the stress signal transduction, the regulation of the transcription factors, the activation and expression of the transporter genes, the activation or inhibition of the synthetases and so on. This review focuses on the research advances of the regulating mechanisms in halophytes from physiological to molecular, which render the halophytes tolerance and adaption to salinity stress. PMID:27252587

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  10. Molecular evolution of UCP1 and the evolutionary history of mammalian non-shivering thermogenesis

    PubMed Central

    Hughes, David A; Jastroch, Martin; Stoneking, Mark; Klingenspor, Martin

    2009-01-01

    Background Uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) is a mitochondrial anion carrier, expressed in brown adipose tissue (BAT) of Eutherians. UCP1 is responsible for uncoupling mitochondrial proton transport from the production of ATP, thereby dissipating heat; it is essential for non-shivering thermogenesis (NST) in mammalian BAT. UCP1 orthologs have been identified in non-Eutherian mammals, fish and amphibians. Yet, UCP1 has a unique function in Eutherians in that it is necessary in the production of heat (NST). As such, this study aims to determine the evolutionary mode of UCP1 in Eutherians, where there is clear evidence of UCP1-dependent NST in BAT. Results Models of adaptive evolution through phylogenetic analysis of amino acid sequences by maximum likelihood were implemented to determine the mode of UCP1 protein evolution in Eutherians. An increase in the rate of amino acid substitutions on the branch leading to Eutherians is observed, but is best explained by relaxed constraints, not positive selection. Further, evidence for branch and site heterogeneity in selection pressures, as well as divergent selection pressures between UCP1 and its paralogs (UCP2-3) is observed. Conclusion We propose that the unique thermogenic function of UCP1 in Eutherians may be best explained by neutral processes. Along with other evidence, this suggests that the primary biochemical properties of UCP1 may not differ between Eutherians and non-Eutherians. PMID:19128480

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-02-01

    Fairy armadillos or pichiciegos (Xenarthra, Dasypodidae) are among the most elusive mammals. Due to their subterranean and nocturnal lifestyle, their basic biology and evolutionary history remain virtually unknown. Two distinct species with allopatric distributions are recognized: Chlamyphorus truncatus is restricted to central Argentina, while Calyptophractus retusus occurs in the Gran Chaco of Argentina, Paraguay, and Bolivia. To test their monophyly and resolve their phylogenetic affinities within armadillos, we obtained sequence data from modern and museum specimens for two mitochondrial genes (12S RNA [MT-RNR1] and NADH dehydrogenase 1 [MT-ND1]) and two nuclear exons (breast cancer 1 early onset exon 11 [BRCA1] and von Willebrand factor exon 28 [VWF]). Phylogenetic analyses provided a reference phylogeny and timescale for living xenarthran genera. Our results reveal monophyletic pichiciegos as members of a major armadillo subfamily (Chlamyphorinae). Their strictly fossorial lifestyle probably evolved as a response to the Oligocene aridification that occurred in South America after their divergence from Tolypeutinae around 32 million years ago (Mya). The ancient divergence date (∼17Mya) for separation between the two species supports their taxonomic classification into distinct genera. The synchronicity with Middle Miocene marine incursions along the Paraná river basin suggests a vicariant origin for pichiciegos by the disruption of their ancestral range. Their phylogenetic distinctiveness and rarity in the wild argue in favor of high conservation priority. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  12. Molecular Mechanisms of Circadian Regulation During Spaceflight

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zanello, S. B.; Boyle, R.

    2012-01-01

    The physiology of both vertebrates and invertebrates follows internal rhythms coordinated in phase with the 24-hour daily light cycle. This circadian clock is governed by a central pacemaker, the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) in the brain. However, peripheral circadian clocks or oscillators have been identified in most tissues. How the central and peripheral oscillators are synchronized is still being elucidated. Light is the main environmental cue that entrains the circadian clock. Under the absence of a light stimulus, the clock continues its oscillation in a free-running condition. In general, three functional compartments of the circadian clock are defined. The vertebrate retina contains endogenous clocks that control many aspects of retinal physiology, including retinal sensitivity to light, neurohormone synthesis (melatonin and dopamine), rod disk shedding, signalling pathways and gene expression. Neurons with putative local circadian rhythm generation are found among all the major neuron populations in the mammalian retina. In the mouse, clock genes and function are more localized to the inner retinal and ganglion cell layers. The photoreceptor, however, secrete melatonin which may still serve a an important circadian signal. The reception and transmission of the non-visual photic stimulus resides in a small subpopulation (1-3%) or retinal ganglion cells (RGC) that express the pigment melanopsin (Opn4) and are called intrisically photoreceptive RGC (ipRGC). Melanopsin peak absorption is at 420 nm and all the axons of the ipRGC reach the SCN. A common countermeasure for circadian re-entrainment utilizes blue-green light to entrain the circadian clock and mitigate the risk of fatigue and health and performance decrement due to circadian rhythm disruption. However, an effective countermeasure targeting the photoreceptor system requires that the basic circadian molecular machinery remains intact during spaceflight. We hypothesize that spaceflight may affect ip

  13. Membrane curvature in cell biology: An integration of molecular mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Jarsch, Iris K; Daste, Frederic; Gallop, Jennifer L

    2016-08-15

    Curving biological membranes establishes the complex architecture of the cell and mediates membrane traffic to control flux through subcellular compartments. Common molecular mechanisms for bending membranes are evident in different cell biological contexts across eukaryotic phyla. These mechanisms can be intrinsic to the membrane bilayer (either the lipid or protein components) or can be brought about by extrinsic factors, including the cytoskeleton. Here, we review examples of membrane curvature generation in animals, fungi, and plants. We showcase the molecular mechanisms involved and how they collaborate and go on to highlight contexts of curvature that are exciting areas of future research. Lessons from how membranes are bent in yeast and mammals give hints as to the molecular mechanisms we expect to see used by plants and protists.

  14. Membrane curvature in cell biology: An integration of molecular mechanisms

    PubMed Central

    Daste, Frederic

    2016-01-01

    Curving biological membranes establishes the complex architecture of the cell and mediates membrane traffic to control flux through subcellular compartments. Common molecular mechanisms for bending membranes are evident in different cell biological contexts across eukaryotic phyla. These mechanisms can be intrinsic to the membrane bilayer (either the lipid or protein components) or can be brought about by extrinsic factors, including the cytoskeleton. Here, we review examples of membrane curvature generation in animals, fungi, and plants. We showcase the molecular mechanisms involved and how they collaborate and go on to highlight contexts of curvature that are exciting areas of future research. Lessons from how membranes are bent in yeast and mammals give hints as to the molecular mechanisms we expect to see used by plants and protists. PMID:27528656

  15. [Molecular mechanisms of skeletal muscle hypertrophy].

    PubMed

    Astratenkova, I V; Rogozkin, V A

    2014-06-01

    Enzymes Akt, AMPK, mTOR, S6K and PGC-1a coactivator take part in skeletal muscles in the regulation of synthesis of proteins. The expression of these proteins is regulated by growth factors, hormones, nutrients, mechanical loading and leads to an increase in muscle mass and skeletal muscle hypertrophy. The review presents the results of studies published in the past four years, which expand knowledge on the effects of various factors on protein synthesis in skeletal muscle. The attention is focused on the achievements that reveal and clarify the signaling pathways involved in the regulation of protein synthesis in skeletal muscle. The central place is taken by mTOR enzyme which controls and regulates the main stages of the cascade of reactions of muscle proteins providing synthesis in the conditions of human life. coactivator PGC-1a.

  16. Rectification mechanism in diblock oligomer molecular diodes.

    PubMed

    Oleynik, I I; Kozhushner, M A; Posvyanskii, V S; Yu, L

    2006-03-10

    We investigated a mechanism of rectification in diblock oligomer diode molecules that have recently been synthesized and showed a pronounced asymmetry in the measured I-V spectrum. The observed rectification effect is due to the resonant nature of electron transfer in the system and the localization properties of bound state wave functions of resonant states of the tunneling electron interacting with an asymmetric molecule in an electric field. The asymmetry of the tunneling wave function is enhanced or weakened depending on the polarity of the applied bias. The conceptually new theoretical approach, the Green's function theory of sub-barrier scattering, is able to provide a physically transparent explanation of this rectification effect based on the concept of the bound state spectrum of a tunneling electron. The theory predicts the characteristic features of the I-V spectrum in qualitative agreement with experiment.

  17. Cellular and molecular mechanisms coordinating pancreas development.

    PubMed

    Bastidas-Ponce, Aimée; Scheibner, Katharina; Lickert, Heiko; Bakhti, Mostafa

    2017-08-15

    The pancreas is an endoderm-derived glandular organ that participates in the regulation of systemic glucose metabolism and food digestion through the function of its endocrine and exocrine compartments, respectively. While intensive research has explored the signaling pathways and transcriptional programs that govern pancreas development, much remains to be discovered regarding the cellular processes that orchestrate pancreas morphogenesis. Here, we discuss the developmental mechanisms and principles that are known to underlie pancreas development, from induction and lineage formation to morphogenesis and organogenesis. Elucidating such principles will help to identify novel candidate disease genes and unravel the pathogenesis of pancreas-related diseases, such as diabetes, pancreatitis and cancer. © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  18. Molecular Mechanisms of Renal Ammonia Transport

    PubMed Central

    Weiner, I. David; Hamm, L. Lee

    2015-01-01

    Acid-base homeostasis to a great extent relies on renal ammonia metabolism. In the past several years, seminal studies have generated important new insights into the mechanisms of renal ammonia transport. In particular, the theory that ammonia transport occurs almost exclusively through nonionic NH3 diffusion and NH4+ trapping has given way to a model postulating that a variety of proteins specifically transport NH3 and NH4+ and that this transport is critical for normal ammonia metabolism. Many of these proteins transport primarily H+ or K+ but also transport NH4+. Nonerythroid Rh glycoproteins transport ammonia and may represent critical facilitators of ammonia transport in the kidney. This review discusses the underlying aspects of renal ammonia transport as well as specific proteins with important roles in renal ammonia transport. PMID:17002591

  19. Anemia: progress in molecular mechanisms and therapies.

    PubMed

    Sankaran, Vijay G; Weiss, Mitchell J

    2015-03-01

    Anemia is a major source of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Here we review recent insights into how red blood cells (RBCs) are produced, the pathogenic mechanisms underlying various forms of anemia, and novel therapies derived from these findings. It is likely that these new insights, mainly arising from basic scientific studies, will contribute immensely to both the understanding of frequently debilitating forms of anemia and the ability to treat affected patients. Major worldwide diseases that are likely to benefit from new advances include the hemoglobinopathies (β-thalassemia and sickle cell disease); rare genetic disorders of RBC production; and anemias associated with chronic kidney disease, inflammation, and cancer. Promising new approaches to treatment include drugs that target recently defined pathways in RBC production, iron metabolism, and fetal globin-family gene expression, as well as gene therapies that use improved viral vectors and newly developed genome editing technologies.

  20. Flavonoids health benefits and their molecular mechanism.

    PubMed

    Xiao, Z-P; Peng, Z-Y; Peng, M-J; Yan, W-B; Ouyang, Y-Z; Zhu, H-L

    2011-02-01

    Flavonoids are a group of polyphenolic compounds, diverse in chemical structure and characteristics, found ubiquitously in plants. Until now, more than 9000 different flavonoid compounds were described in plants, where they play important biological roles by affecting several developmental processes. There has been increasing interest in the research of flavonoids from dietary sources, due to growing evidence of the versatile health benefits of flavonoids including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiproliferative and anticancer activity, freeradical scavenging capacity, antihypertensive effects, coronary heart disease prevention and anti-human immunodeficiency virus functions. This paper reviews the current advances in flavonoids in food with emphasis on mechanism aspects on the basis of the published literature, which may provide some guidance for researchers in further investigations and for industries in developing practical health agents.

  1. Biological Transmission of Arboviruses: Reexamination of and New Insights into Components, Mechanisms, and Unique Traits as Well as Their Evolutionary Trends

    PubMed Central

    Kuno, Goro; Chang, Gwong-Jen J.

    2005-01-01

    Among animal viruses, arboviruses are unique in that they depend on arthropod vectors for transmission. Field research and laboratory investigations related to the three components of this unique mode of transmission, virus, vector, and vertebrate host, have produced an enormous amount of valuable information that may be found in numerous publications. However, despite many reviews on specific viruses, diseases, or interests, a systematic approach to organizing the available information on all facets of biological transmission and then to interpret it in the context of the evolutionary process has not been attempted before. Such an attempt in this review clearly demonstrates tremendous progress made worldwide to characterize the viruses, to comprehend disease transmission and pathogenesis, and to understand the biology of vectors and their role in transmission. The rapid progress in molecular biologic techniques also helped resolve many virologic puzzles and yielded highly valuable data hitherto unavailable, such as characterization of virus receptors, the genetic basis of vertebrate resistance to viral infection, and phylogenetic evidence of the history of host range shifts in arboviruses. However, glaring gaps in knowledge of many critical subjects, such as the mechanism of viral persistence and the existence of vertebrate reservoirs, are still evident. Furthermore, with the accumulated data, new questions were raised, such as evolutionary directions of virus virulence and of host range. Although many fundamental questions on the evolution of this unique mode of transmission remained unresolved in the absence of a fossil record, available observations for arboviruses and the information derived from studies in other fields of the biological sciences suggested convergent evolution as a plausible process. Overall, discussion of the diverse range of theories proposed and observations made by many investigators was found to be highly valuable for sorting out the

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-06-01

    Independent evolution has resulted in a vast diversity of eyes. Despite the lack of a common Bauplan or ancestral structure, similar developmental strategies are used. For instance, different classes of photoreceptor cells (PRs) are distributed stochastically and/or localized in different regions of the retina. Here, we focus on recent progress made towards understanding the molecular principles behind patterning retinal mosaics of insects, one of the most diverse groups of animals adapted to life on land, in the air, under water, or on the water surface. Morphological, physiological, and behavioral studies from many species provide detailed descriptions of the vast variation in retinal design and function. By integrating this knowledge with recent progress in the characterization of insect Rhodopsins as well as insight from the model organism Drosophila melanogaster, we seek to identify the molecular logic behind the adaptation of retinal mosaics to the habitat and way of life of an animal. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  4. [Molecular mechanism for feeding and food preference regulation].

    PubMed

    Minokoshi, Yasuhiko

    2016-03-01

    Feeding behavior is regulated by homeostatic and hedonic mechanisms. NPY/AgRP neurons in the arcuate hypothalamus are involved in the homeostatic regulation, and dopaminergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area regulating the nucleus of accumbens are involved in the hedonic regulation, respectively. Food preference also appears to be regulated by both homeostatic and hedonic mechanisms. However, molecular mechanism for food preference regulation remains elusive and further studies are necessary.

  5. Molecular mechanisms of LRRK2 regulation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Webber, Philip Jeffrey

    Non-synonymous mutations in LRRK2 are the most common known cause of familial and sporadic Parkinson's disease (PD). The dominant inheritance of these mutations in familial PD suggests a gain-of-function mechanism. Increased kinase activity observed in the most common PD associated LRRK2 mutation G2019S suggests that kinase activity is central to disease. However, not all mutations associated with disease are reported to alter kinase activity and controversy exists in the literature about the effects of mutations appearing in the GTPase domain on kinase activity. The studies conducted as a part of this work aim to characterize the mechanisms that regulate LRRK2 kinase activity and the effects of mutations on enzymatic activity of LRRK2 protein. LRRK2 is a large protein with multiple predicted functional domains including two enzymatic domains in the same protein, the small ras-like GTPase domain and a serine-threonine protein kinase domain. Previous studies indicate that LRRK2 kinase is dependent on a functional GTPase domain and binding to GTP is required for kinase activity. Recent work detailed in this dissertation indicates a complex and reciprocal relationship between kinase and GTPase domains. LRRK2 kinase activity is dependent on adapting a homo-dimer that is augmented by PD mutations that increase LRRK2 kinase activity. Activated LRRK2 autophosphorylates the GTPase and c-terminus of Ras (COR) domains robustly. Phosphorylation of these domains is required for normal activity, as preventing autophosphorylation of these sites drastically lowers kinase activity and GTP binding while phosphorylation maintains baseline activity while still reducing GTP binding. Furthermore, we have developed antibodies specific to autophosphorylation residues that track with LRRK2 kinase activity in vitro. While no measurable activity was detected from treated LRRK2 in vivo, LRRK2 protein purified from brain tissue treated with inflammatory stimuli such as LPS, which increases

  6. Fidelity drive: a mechanism for chaperone proteins to maintain stable mutation rates in prokaryotes over evolutionary time.

    PubMed

    Xue, Julian Z; Kaznatcheev, Artem; Costopoulos, Andre; Guichard, Frederic

    2015-01-07

    We show a mechanism by which chaperone proteins can play a key role in maintaining the long-term evolutionary stability of mutation rates in prokaryotes with perfect genetic linkage. Since chaperones can reduce the phenotypic effects of mutations, higher mutation rate, by affecting chaperones, can increase the phenotypic effects of mutations. This in turn leads to greater mutation effect among the proteins that control mutation repair and DNA replication, resulting in large changes in mutation rate. The converse of this is that when mutation rate is low and chaperones are functioning well, then the rate of change in mutation rate will also be low, leading to low mutation rates being evolutionarily frozen. We show that the strength of this recursion is critical to determining the long-term evolutionary patterns of mutation rate among prokaryotes. If this recursion is weak, then mutation rates can grow without bound, leading to the extinction of the lineage. However, if this recursion is strong, then we can reproduce empirical patterns of prokaryotic mutation rates, where mutation rates remain stable over evolutionary time, and where most mutation rates are low, but with a significant fraction of high mutators.

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

    PubMed

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

    2006-01-01

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

  8. Molecular phylogenetics and evolutionary history of sect. Quinquefoliae (Pinus): implications for Northern Hemisphere biogeography.

    PubMed

    Hao, Zhen-Zhen; Liu, Yan-Yan; Nazaire, Mare; Wei, Xiao-Xin; Wang, Xiao-Quan

    2015-06-01

    Climatic changes and tectonic events in the Cenozoic have greatly influenced the evolution and geographic distribution of the temperate flora. Such consequences should be most evident in plant groups that are ancient, widespread, and diverse. As one of the most widespread genera of trees, Pinus provides a good model for investigating the history of species diversification and biogeographic disjunction in the Northern Hemisphere. In this study, we reconstructed the phylogeny and investigated the evolutionary and biogeographic history of sect. Quinquefoliae (Pinus), a species-rich lineage disjunctly distributed in Asia, Europe and North America, based on complete taxon sampling and by using nine DNA fragments from chloroplast (cp), mitochondrial (mt) and nuclear genomes. The monophyly of the three subsections, Krempfianae, Gerardianae, and Strobus, is well-supported by cpDNA and nuclear gene phylogenies. However, neither subsect. Gerardianae nor subsect. Strobus forms a monophyletic group in the mtDNA phylogeny, in which sect. Quinquefoliae was divided into two major clades, one consisting of the North American and northeastern Asian species as well as the European P. peuce of subsect. Strobus, and the other comprising the remaining Eurasian species belonging to three subsections. The significant topological incongruence among the