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Sample records for molecular evolutionary mechanisms

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. "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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. “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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  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. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. Phenotypic plasticity: molecular mechanisms and adaptive significance.

    PubMed

    Kelly, Scott A; Panhuis, Tami M; Stoehr, Andrew M

    2012-04-01

    Phenotypic plasticity can be broadly defined as the ability of one genotype to produce more than one phenotype when exposed to different environments, as the modification of developmental events by the environment, or as the ability of an individual organism to alter its phenotype in response to changes in environmental conditions. Not surprisingly, the study of phenotypic plasticity is innately interdisciplinary and encompasses aspects of behavior, development, ecology, evolution, genetics, genomics, and multiple physiological systems at various levels of biological organization. From an ecological and evolutionary perspective, phenotypic plasticity may be a powerful means of adaptation and dramatic examples of phenotypic plasticity include predator avoidance, insect wing polymorphisms, the timing of metamorphosis in amphibians, osmoregulation in fishes, and alternative reproductive tactics in male vertebrates. From a human health perspective, documented examples of plasticity most commonly include the results of exercise, training, and/or dieting on human morphology and physiology. Regardless of the discipline, phenotypic plasticity has increasingly become the target of a plethora of investigations with the methodological approaches utilized ranging from the molecular to whole organsimal. In this article, we provide a brief historical outlook on phenotypic plasticity; examine its potential adaptive significance; emphasize recent molecular approaches that provide novel insight into underlying mechanisms, and highlight examples in fishes and insects. Finally, we highlight examples of phenotypic plasticity from a human health perspective and underscore the use of mouse models as a powerful tool in understanding the genetic architecture of phenotypic plasticity.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  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. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Autophagy: cellular and molecular mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Glick, Danielle; Barth, Sandra; Macleod, Kay F

    2010-05-01

    Autophagy is a self-degradative process that is important for balancing sources of energy at critical times in development and in response to nutrient stress. Autophagy also plays a housekeeping role in removing misfolded or aggregated proteins, clearing damaged organelles, such as mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum and peroxisomes, as well as eliminating intracellular pathogens. Thus, autophagy is generally thought of as a survival mechanism, although its deregulation has been linked to non-apoptotic cell death. Autophagy can be either non-selective or selective in the removal of specific organelles, ribosomes and protein aggregates, although the mechanisms regulating aspects of selective autophagy are not fully worked out. In addition to elimination of intracellular aggregates and damaged organelles, autophagy promotes cellular senescence and cell surface antigen presentation, protects against genome instability and prevents necrosis, giving it a key role in preventing diseases such as cancer, neurodegeneration, cardiomyopathy, diabetes, liver disease, autoimmune diseases and infections. This review summarizes the most up-to-date findings on how autophagy is executed and regulated at the molecular level and how its disruption can lead to disease.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. [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.

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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)

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. [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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. Disease resistance: Molecular mechanisms and biotechnological applications

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    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 ...

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. [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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. [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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. Molecular Mechanisms of Microbially Facilitated Corrosion

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1986-10-23

    AD-A173 862 MOLECULAR MECHANISMS OF MICR38IRLLY FACILITATED 1/2 CORROSION(U) TENNESSEE UNIV K~NOXVILLE INST FOR APPLIED MICROBIOLOGY D C WHITE 23 OCT...of Tennessee 10515 Research Drive, Building # 1, Suite 300 Knoxville, Tennessee 37932-2567 N 615-675-9520 October 23, 1986 00 Dr. Eli D . Schmell ELECTE...V) Program Manager, Molecular Biology NOV 4 NO8 Code 041M - Office of Naval Research 800 North Quincy Street D Arlington, VA 22217-5000. Dear Eli

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. [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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. Molecular mechanisms of sex determination in reptiles.

    PubMed

    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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  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. 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.

  19. 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

  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. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  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. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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…

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. Molecular mechanisms of autosomal recessive hypercholesterolemia.

    PubMed

    Wilund, Kenneth R; Yi, Ming; Campagna, Filomena; Arca, Marcello; Zuliani, Giovanni; Fellin, Renato; Ho, Yiu-Kee; Garcia, J Victor; Hobbs, Helen H; Cohen, Jonathan C

    2002-11-15

    Mutations in the phosphotyrosine-binding domain protein ARH cause autosomal recessive hypercholesterolemia (ARH), an inherited form of hypercholesterolemia due to a tissue-specific defect in the removal of low density lipoproteins (LDL) from the circulation. LDL uptake by the LDL receptor (LDLR) is markedly reduced in the liver but is normal or only moderately impaired in cultured fibroblasts of ARH patients. To define the molecular mechanism underlying ARH we examined ARH mRNA and protein in fibroblasts and lymphocytes from six probands with different ARH mutations. None of the probands had detectable full-length ARH protein in fibroblasts or lymphoblasts. Five probands were homozygous for mutations that introduced premature termination codons. No relationship was apparent between the site of the mutation in ARH and the amount of mRNA. The only mutation identified in the remaining proband was a SINE VNTR Alu (SVA) retroposon insertion in intron 1, which was associated with no detectable ARH mRNA. (125)I-LDL degradation was normal in ARH fibroblasts, as previously reported. In contrast, LDLR function was markedly reduced in ARH lymphoblasts, despite a 2-fold increase in LDL cell surface binding in these cells. These data indicate that all ARH mutations characterized to date preclude the synthesis of full-length ARH and that ARH is required for normal LDLR function in lymphocytes and hepatocytes, but not in fibroblasts. Residual LDLR function in cells that do not require ARH may explain why ARH patients have lower plasma LDL levels than do patients with homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia who have no functional LDLRs.

  2. [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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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…

  13. 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.

  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. 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.

  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. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  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 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.

  6. 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

  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. 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.

  9. Evolutionary malignant resistance of cells to damaging factors as common biological defence mechanism in neoplastic development. Review of conception.

    PubMed

    Monceviciute-Eringiene, E

    2000-09-01

    Cells have some inborn resistance to harmful factors, which could be called physiological or natural resistance. The mechanisms of multixenobiotic resistance (MXR) and multidrug resistance (MDR) have common features in the formation of acquired resistance in microorganisms, carcinogenesis, tumour metastases and chemotherapy or irradiation. ATP-dependent membrane P-glycoprotein, as an MDR efflux pump, glutathione S-transferases and other products of evolutionary resistance-related genes arised for exportation and detoxification of cytotoxic xenobiotics and drugs are transmitted from bacteria to man. On the one hand, this evolutionary MXR as a common biological defence mechanism is a "driving" power to conserve homeostasis of cells, tissues and organs. On the other hand, mutation, selection and simplification of properties are the causes of functional and morphological changes in tumour cells which regress to a more primitive mode of existence (atavism) for adaptation to survival. In the present work are presented data on the forms of E. coli resistant to antibiotics and of sarcoma 45 resistant to alkylic preparations. They may be helpful in revealing the causes of resistance and acquired accelerated growth of cells. The development of tumours as fibromas 14-15 years following injection of a vital dye trypan blue into human skin supports our conception that neoplastic growth is a particular case of the evolutionary resistance of cells adapted to the damaging factors. So, tumour cells adopting the enhancement mechanisms of general biological persistent resistance, i. e. undergoing repeated cycles of malignancy enhancement, adapt themselves to survive under the changed unfavourable conditions.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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)

  3. 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

  4. [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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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)

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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)

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. A broad molecular phylogeny of ciliates: identification of major evolutionary trends and radiations within the phylum.

    PubMed Central

    Baroin-Tourancheau, A; Delgado, P; Perasso, R; Adoutte, A

    1992-01-01

    The cellular architecture of ciliates is one of the most complex known within eukaryotes. Detailed systematic schemes have thus been constructed through extensive comparative morphological and ultrastructural analysis of the ciliature and of its internal cytoskeletal derivatives (the infraciliature), as well as of the architecture of the oral apparatus. In recent years, a consensus was reached in which the phylum was divided in eight classes as defined by Lynn and Corliss [Lynn, D. H. & Corliss, J. O. (1991) in Microscopic Anatomy of Invertebrates: Protozoa (Wiley-Liss, New York), Vol. 1, pp. 333-467]. By comparing partial sequences of the large subunit rRNA molecule, and by using both distance-matrix and maximum-parsimony-tree construction methods (checked by boot-strapping), we examine the phylogenetic relationships of 22 species belonging to seven of these eight classes. At low taxonomic levels, the traditional grouping of the species is generally confirmed. At higher taxonomic levels, the branching pattern of these seven classes is resolved in several deeply separated major branches. Surprisingly, the first emerging one contains the heterotrichs and is strongly associated with a karyorelictid but deeply separated from hypotrichs. The litostomes, the oligohymenophorans, and the hypotrichs separate later in a bush-like topology hindering the resolution of their order of diversification. These results show a much more ancient origin of heterotrichs than was classically assumed, indicating that asymmetric, abundantly ciliated oral apparatuses do not correspond to "highly evolved" traits as previously thought. They also suggest the occurrence of a major radiative explosion in the evolutionary history of the ciliates, yielding five of the eight classes of the phylum. These classes appear to differ essentially according to the cytoskeletal architecture used to shape and sustain the cellular cortex (a process of essential adaptative and morphogenetic importance in

  12. 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 gene trees, in conjunction with divergence time estimation and ancestral area reconstruction, indicates that both ancient and relatively recent introgressive hybridization events occurred in the evolution of sect. Quinquefoliae, particularly in northeastern Asia and northwestern North America. In addition, the phylogenetic analysis suggests that the species of subsect. Strobus from subtropical eastern Asia and neighboring areas may have a single origin, although species non-monophyly is very widespread in the nuclear gene trees. Moreover, our study seems to support a Tethyan origin of sect. Quinquefoliae given the distributions and

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. [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.

  17. 3D molecular modeling and evolutionary study of the Trypanosoma brucei DNA Topoisomerase IB, as a new emerging pharmacological target.

    PubMed

    Vlachakis, Dimitrios; Pavlopoulou, Athanasia; Roubelakis, Maria G; Feidakis, Christos; Anagnou, Nikolaos P; Kossida, Sophia

    2014-01-01

    In the present study, an outline is proposed that may lead to specific drug design targeting of the Trypanosoma brucei DNA Topoisomerase IB. In this direction, an unequivocally specific platform was designed for the development of selective modulators. The designed platform is focused on the unique structural and catalytic features of the enzyme. Extensive phylogenetic analysis based on all available published genomes indicated a broad distribution of DNA topoisomerases across eukaryotic species and revealed structurally important amino acids which could be assigned as potentially strong contributors to the regulation of the mechanism of the T. brucei DNA Topoisomerase IB. Based on the above, we propose a comprehensive in silico 3D model for the structure of the T. brucei DNA Topoisomerase IB. Our approach provides an efficient intergraded platform with both evolutionary and structural insights for the rational design of pharmacophore models as well as novel modulators as the anti-T. brucei DNA Topoisomerase IB agents with therapeutic potential.

  18. Hormones and phenotypic plasticity in an ecological context: linking physiological mechanisms to evolutionary processes.

    PubMed

    Lema, Sean C

    2014-11-01

    Hormones are chemical signaling molecules that regulate patterns of cellular physiology and gene expression underlying phenotypic traits. Hormone-signaling pathways respond to an organism's external environment to mediate developmental stage-specific malleability in phenotypes, so that environmental variation experienced at different stages of development has distinct effects on an organism's phenotype. Studies of hormone-signaling are therefore playing a central role in efforts to understand how plastic phenotypic responses to environmental variation are generated during development. But, how do adaptive, hormonally mediated phenotypes evolve if the individual signaling components (hormones, conversion enzymes, membrane transporters, and receptors) that comprise any hormone-signaling pathway show expressional flexibility in response to environmental variation? What relevance do these components hold as molecular targets for selection to couple or decouple correlated hormonally mediated traits? This article explores how studying the endocrine underpinnings of phenotypic plasticity in an ecologically relevant context can provide insights into these, and other, crucial questions into the role of phenotypic plasticity in evolution, including how plasticity itself evolves. These issues are discussed in the light of investigations into how thyroid hormones mediate morphological plasticity in Death Valley's clade of pupfishes (Cyprinodon spp.). Findings from this work with pupfish illustrate that the study of hormone-signaling from an ecological perspective can reveal how phenotypic plasticity contributes to the generation of phenotypic novelty, as well as how physiological mechanisms developmentally link an organism's phenotype to its environmental experiences.

  19. Molecular signature of the D-loop in the brown pencilfish Nannostomus eques (Characiformes, Lebiasinidae) reveals at least two evolutionary units in the Rio Negro basin, Brazil.

    PubMed

    Terencio, M L; Schneider, C H; Porto, J I R

    2012-07-01

    The genetic variability of the brown pencilfish Nannostomus eques was studied, based on an analysis of sequences from the control region (1084 bp) of mitochondrial (mt)DNA in 125 individuals collected from eight tributaries along the upper (Açaituba, Miuá, Jaradi and Arixanã), middle (Demini), and lower (Jacundá, Maguari and Catalão) Rio Negro (Brazil). Phylogenetic inferences using mtDNA data from N. eques revealed two evolutionary units. Genetic distance between them ranged from 5.5 to 8.3% and differed by 8.5-11.8% from the sister species pencilfish Nannostomus unifasciatus. The time of divergence between the two evolutionary units was estimated to be the Middle Pliocene (c. 2.99 million years before present). Population genetic analysis (DNA polymorphism, AMOVA and Mantel test) showed high haplotype diversity (HD, >0.90) in each evolutionary unit, a strong population genetic structure in the Demini River that formed a monophyletic group and a correlation between genetic divergence and geographical distance in only one of these units (evolutionary unit 1). On the basis of molecular data, the rapids and waterfalls near São Gabriel da Cachoeira (Upper Rio Negro) were the main barriers to gene flow within evolutionary unit 1 in some localities. The emergences of the Branco River and the Anavilhanas Archipelago were apparently responsible for the discrepancy in distribution of the two evolutionary units, except at Jacundá, where the evolutionary units were sympatric. In view of the differences between the evolutionary units, N. eques cannot be treated as a single stock in the Rio Negro basin. These results may have important implications for the fishery management of this ornamental fish.

  20. 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

  1. Evolutionary relationships of Metazoa within the eukaryotes based on molecular data from Porifera.

    PubMed Central

    Schütze, J; Krasko, A; Custodio, M R; Efremova, S M; Müller, I M; Müller, W E

    1999-01-01

    Recent molecular data provide strong support for the view that all metazoan phyla, including Porifera, are of monophyletic origin. The relationship of Metazoa, including the Porifera, to Plantae, Fungi and unicellular eukaryotes has only rarely been studied by using cDNAs coding for proteins. Sequence data from rDNA suggested a relationship of Porifera to unicellular eukaryotes (choanoflagellates). However, ultrastructural studies of choanocytes did not support these findings. In the present study, we compared amino acid sequences that are found in a variety of metazoans (including sponges) with those of Plantae, Fungi and unicellular eukaryotes, to obtain an answer to this question. We used the four sequences from 70 kDa heat-shock proteins, the serine-threonine kinase domain found in protein kinases, beta-tubulin and calmodulin. The latter two sequences were deduced from cDNAs, isolated from the sponge Geodia cydonium for the phylogenetic analyses presented. These revealed that the sponge molecules were grouped into the same branch as the Metazoa, which is statistically (significantly) separated from those branches that comprise the sequences from Fungi, Plantae and unicellular eukaryotes. From our molecular data it seems evident that the unicellular eukaryotes existed at an earlier stage of evolution, and the Plantae and especially the Fungi and the Metazoa only appeared later. PMID:10081159

  2. Molecular clocks provide new insights into the evolutionary history of Galeichthyine sea catfishes.

    PubMed

    Betancur-R, Ricardo; Armbruster, Jonathan W

    2009-05-01

    Intercontinental distributions in the southern hemisphere can either be the result of Gondwanan vicariance or more recent transoceanic dispersal. Transoceanic dispersal has come into vogue for explaining many intercontinental distributions; however, it has been used mainly for organisms that can float or raft between the continents. Despite their name, the Sea Catfishes (Ariidae) have limited dispersal ability, and there are no examples of nearshore ariid genera with a transoceanic distribution except for Galeichthys where three species occur in southern Africa and one in the Peruvian coast. A previous study suggested that the group originated in Gondwana, and that the species arrived at their current range after the breakup of the supercontinent in the Early Cretaceous. To test this hypothesis, we infer molecular phylogenies (mitochondrial cytochrome b, ATP synthase 8/6, 12S, and 16S; nuclear rag2; total approximately 4 kb) and estimate intercontinental divergence via molecular clocks (penalized-likelihood, Bayesian relaxed clock, and universal clock rates in fishes). Age ranges for cladogenesis of African and South American lineages are 15.4-2.5 my, far more recent than would be suggested by Gondwanan vicariance; thus, the distribution of galeichthyines must be explained by dispersal or more recent vicariant events. The nested position of the Peruvian species (Galeichthys peruvianus) within the African taxa is robust, suggesting that the direction of the dispersal was from Africa to South America. The progenitor of the Peruvian species likely arrived at its current distribution with the aid of ocean currents, and several scenarios are discussed.

  3. Molecular evolutionary rates predict both extinction and speciation in temperate angiosperm lineages

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background A positive relationship between diversification (i.e., speciation) and nucleotide substitution rates is commonly reported for angiosperm clades. However, the underlying cause of this relationship is often unknown because multiple intrinsic and extrinsic factors can affect the relationship, and these have confounded previous attempts infer causation. Determining which factor drives this oft-reported correlation can lend insight into the macroevolutionary process. Results Using a new database of 13 time-calibrated angiosperm phylogenies based on internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequences, and controlling for extrinsic variables of life history and habitat, I evaluated several potential intrinsic causes of this correlation. Speciation rates (λ) and relative extinction rates (ε) were positively correlated with mean substitution rates, but were uncorrelated with substitution rate heterogeneity. It is unlikely that the positive diversification-substitution correlation is due to accelerated molecular evolution during speciation (e.g., via enhanced selection or drift), because punctuated increases in ITS rate (i.e., greater mean and variation in ITS rate for rapidly speciating clades) were not observed. Instead, fast molecular evolution likely increases speciation rate (via increased mutational variation as a substrate for selection and reproductive isolation) but also increases extinction (via mutational genetic load). Conclusions In general, these results predict that clades with higher background substitution rates may undergo successful diversification under new conditions while clades with lower substitution rates may experience decreased extinction during environmental stasis. PMID:20515493

  4. [Molecular genetic and epigenetic mechanisms of hepatocarcinogenesis].

    PubMed

    Xue, Kai-Xian

    2005-06-01

    Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a major type of primary liver cancer and one of the most frequent human malignant neoplasms. Common risk factors of human HCC include chronic hepatitis virus (HBV and HCV) infection, dietary aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) ingestion, chronic alcohol abuse, and cirrhosis associated with genetic liver diseases. Hepatocarcinogenesis is the result of interaction between hereditary and environmental factors. Inheritance determines individual susceptibility to cancer; environment determines which susceptible individuals express cancer. Studies of genetic and epigenetic mechanisms of hepatocarcinogenesis showed that HCC development is a complex polygene and multipathway process; the activation of proto-oncogenes and the inactivation of tumor suppressor genes induced by genetic and epigenetic alterations are core biological processes of hepatocarcinogenesis; RB1, p53, and Wnt pathways are commonly affected in HCCs of different etiologies, which may reflect common pathologic sequence of HCC: chronic liver injury, cirrhosis, atypical hyperplastic nodules, and HCC of early stages. Hepatitis virus infection-associated HCCs have frequent alterations in RB1 pathway, including methylation of p16INK4a and RB1 genes and amplification of Cyclin D1. AFB1 exposure-associated HCCs have frequent alterations in p53 pathway; the G-->T mutation of p53 gene at codon 249 has been identified as a genetic hallmark of HCC caused by AFB1. Alcoholism-associated HCCs have frequent alterations in both RB1 and p53 pathways. The roles of some important genes related to cell apoptosis, DNA repair, drug metabolism, and tumor metastasis in hepatocarcinogenesis had been discussed.

  5. Molecular mechanisms of dominant expression in porphyria.

    PubMed

    Badminton, M N; Elder, G H

    2005-01-01

    Partial deficiency of enzymes in the haem synthetic pathway gives rise to a group of seven inherited metabolic disorders, the porphyrias. Each deficiency is associated with a characteristic increase in haem precursors that correlates with the symptoms associated with individual porphyrias and allows accurate diagnosis. Two types of clinical presentation occur separately or in combination; acute life-threatening neurovisceral attacks and/or cutaneous symptoms. Five of the porphyrias are low-penetrance autosomal dominant conditions in which clinical expression results from additional factors that act by increasing demand for haem or by causing an additional decrease in enzyme activity or by a combination of these effects. These include both genetic and environmental factors. In familial porphyria cutanea tarda (PCTF), environmental factors that include alcohol, exogenous oestrogens and hepatotropic viruses result in inhibition of hepatic enzyme activity via a mechanism that involves excess iron accumulation. In erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP), co-inheritance of a functional polymorphism in trans to a null ferrochelatase allele accounts for most clinically overt cases. In the autosomal dominant acute hepatic porphyrias (acute intermittent porphyria, variegate porphyria, hereditary coproporphyria), acute neurovisceral attacks occur in a minority of those who inherit one of these disorders. Although various exogenous (e.g. drugs, alcohol) and endogenous factors (e.g. hormones) have been identified as provoking acute attacks, these do not provide a full explanation for the low penetrance of these disorders. It seems probable that genetic background influences susceptibility to acute attacks, but the genes that are involved have not yet been identified.

  6. Evolutionary history of tall fescue morphotypes inferred from molecular phylogenetics of the Lolium-Festuca species complex

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background The agriculturally important pasture grass tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb. syn. Lolium arundinaceum (Schreb.) Darbysh.) is an outbreeding allohexaploid, that may be more accurately described as a species complex consisting of three major (Continental, Mediterranean and rhizomatous) morphotypes. Observation of hybrid infertility in some crossing combinations between morphotypes suggests the possibility of independent origins from different diploid progenitors. This study aims to clarify the evolutionary relationships between each tall fescue morphotype through phylogenetic analysis using two low-copy nuclear genes (encoding plastid acetyl-CoA carboxylase [Acc1] and centroradialis [CEN]), the nuclear ribosomal DNA internal transcribed spacer (rDNA ITS) and the chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) genome-located matK gene. Other taxa within the closely related Lolium-Festuca species complex were also included in the study, to increase understanding of evolutionary processes in a taxonomic group characterised by multiple inter-specific hybridisation events. Results Putative homoeologous sequences from both nuclear genes were obtained from each polyploid species and compared to counterparts from 15 diploid taxa. Phylogenetic reconstruction confirmed F. pratensis and F. arundinacea var. glaucescens as probable progenitors to Continental tall fescue, and these species are also likely to be ancestral to the rhizomatous morphotype. However, these two morphotypes are sufficiently distinct to be located in separate clades based on the ITS-derived data set. All four of the generated data sets suggest independent evolution of the Mediterranean and Continental morphotypes, with minimal affinity between cognate sequence haplotypes. No obvious candidate progenitor species for Mediterranean tall fescues were identified, and only two putative sub-genome-specific haplotypes were identified for this morphotype. Conclusions This study describes the first phylogenetic analysis of

  7. Principles of cellular-molecular mechanisms underlying neuron functions.

    PubMed

    Ratushnyak, Alexander S; Zapara, Tatiana A

    2009-12-01

    In the present work, it was experimentally shown that a neuron in vitro was capable of responding in a manner similar to habituation, Pavlov's reflex and avoidance of the reinforcements. The locality of plastic property modifications and molecular morphology, as well as the connection between functional activity and cytoskeleton have been revealed. A hypothesis is formulated that the neuron is a molecular system which may exercise the control, forecast, recognition, and classification. The basic principles of the molecular mechanisms of the responses underlying integrative activity, learning and memory at the neuronal level are discussed.

  8. Graph-drawing algorithms geometries versus molecular mechanics in fullereness

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kaufman, M.; Pisanski, T.; Lukman, D.; Borštnik, B.; Graovac, A.

    1996-09-01

    The algorithms of Kamada-Kawai (KK) and Fruchterman-Reingold (FR) have been recently generalized (Pisanski et al., Croat. Chem. Acta 68 (1995) 283) in order to draw molecular graphs in three-dimensional space. The quality of KK and FR geometries is studied here by comparing them with the molecular mechanics (MM) and the adjacency matrix eigenvectors (AME) algorithm geometries. In order to compare different layouts of the same molecule, an appropriate method has been developed. Its application to a series of experimentally detected fullerenes indicates that the KK, FR and AME algorithms are able to reproduce plausible molecular geometries.

  9. Evolutionary mechanisms of rib loss in anurans: a comparative developmental approach.

    PubMed

    Blanco, M J; Sanchiz, B

    2000-04-01

    ABSTRACT The presence of free ribs is presumed to be a primitive morphological character observed only in a few families of Recent anurans, whereas the absence of ribs has been considered to be a derived condition that is widespread within this order. A comparative study of rib development based on representatives of several anuran lineages (Alytes, Bombina, Bufo, Discoglossus, Hyla, Pelobates, Pelodytes, Rana, and Xenopus) reveals a previously undetected diversity of developmental features in the formation and interaction between neural arches and ribs. The absence of free ribs at premetamorphic or later stages is verified in some groups, but we present for the first time evidence of the existence of larval rib rudiments in others, both in the anterior (Rana, Hyla) and posterior (Bufo, Discoglossus, Pelobates) presacral regions. Heterochrony seems to have played a major role in the processes underlying rib reduction. The intracolumnar differences between anterior (V(2)-V(4)) and posterior (V(5)-V(8)) regions are based on perturbations in the timing of early differentiation. Furthermore, a clear shift in the relative timing of ossification among evolutionary lineages was detected. In this respect Xenopus has a highly derived condition. The use of the morphological character of "rib loss" in phylogenetic analyses must be reconsidered due to the different convergent developmental paths described here. The phylogenetic analysis of a "sequence units" matrix of rib development is compared with current anuran phylogenies. Some evolutionary information appears to be clearly present in the ontogenetic data of this "missing morphology," but its value for evolutionary inferences is rather limited.

  10. Housing helpful invaders: the evolutionary and molecular architecture underlying plant root-mutualist microbe interactions

    PubMed Central

    Lagunas, B.; Schäfer, P.; Gifford, M. L.

    2015-01-01

    Plant root rhizosphere interactions with mutualistic microbes are diverse and numerous, having evolved over time in response to selective pressures on plants to attain anchorage and nutrients. These relationships can be considered to be formed through a combination of architectural connections: molecular architecture interactions that control root–microbe perception and regulate the balance between host and symbiont and developmental architecture interactions that enable the microbes to be ‘housed’ in the root and enable the exchange of compounds. Recent findings that help to understand the common architecture that exists between nodulation and mycorrhizal interactions, and how this architecture could be re-tuned to develop new symbioses, are discussed here. PMID:25743160

  11. Molecular and evolutionary history of melanism in North American gray wolves.

    PubMed

    Anderson, Tovi M; vonHoldt, Bridgett M; Candille, Sophie I; Musiani, Marco; Greco, Claudia; Stahler, Daniel R; Smith, Douglas W; Padhukasahasram, Badri; Randi, Ettore; Leonard, Jennifer A; Bustamante, Carlos D; Ostrander, Elaine A; Tang, Hua; Wayne, Robert K; Barsh, Gregory S

    2009-03-06

    Morphological diversity within closely related species is an essential aspect of evolution and adaptation. Mutations in the Melanocortin 1 receptor (Mc1r) gene contribute to pigmentary diversity in natural populations of fish, birds, and many mammals. However, melanism in the gray wolf, Canis lupus, is caused by a different melanocortin pathway component, the K locus, that encodes a beta-defensin protein that acts as an alternative ligand for Mc1r. We show that the melanistic K locus mutation in North American wolves derives from past hybridization with domestic dogs, has risen to high frequency in forested habitats, and exhibits a molecular signature of positive selection. The same mutation also causes melanism in the coyote, Canis latrans, and in Italian gray wolves, and hence our results demonstrate how traits selected in domesticated species can influence the morphological diversity of their wild relatives.

  12. Molecular deformation mechanisms of the wood cell wall material.

    PubMed

    Jin, Kai; Qin, Zhao; Buehler, Markus J

    2015-02-01

    Wood is a biological material with outstanding mechanical properties resulting from its hierarchical structure across different scales. Although earlier work has shown that the cellular structure of wood is a key factor that renders it excellent mechanical properties at light weight, the mechanical properties of the wood cell wall material itself still needs to be understood comprehensively. The wood cell wall material features a fiber reinforced composite structure, where cellulose fibrils act as stiff fibers, and hemicellulose and lignin molecules act as soft matrix. The angle between the fiber direction and the loading direction has been found to be the key factor controlling the mechanical properties. However, how the interactions between theses constitutive molecules contribute to the overall properties is still unclear, although the shearing between fibers has been proposed as a primary deformation mechanism. Here we report a molecular model of the wood cell wall material with atomistic resolution, used to assess the mechanical behavior under shear loading in order to understand the deformation mechanisms at the molecular level. The model includes an explicit description of cellulose crystals, hemicellulose, as well as lignin molecules arranged in a layered nanocomposite. The results obtained using this model show that the wood cell wall material under shear loading deforms in an elastic and then plastic manner. The plastic regime can be divided into two parts according to the different deformation mechanisms: yielding of the matrix and sliding of matrix along the cellulose surface. Our molecular dynamics study provides insights of the mechanical behavior of wood cell wall material at the molecular level, and paves a way for the multi-scale understanding of the mechanical properties of wood.

  13. Evolutionary Description of Giant Molecular Cloud Mass Functions on Galactic Disks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kobayashi, Masato I. N.; Inutsuka, Shu-ichiro; Kobayashi, Hiroshi; Hasegawa, Kenji

    2017-02-01

    Recent radio observations show that giant molecular cloud (GMC) mass functions noticeably vary across galactic disks. High-resolution magnetohydrodynamics simulations show that multiple episodes of compression are required for creating a molecular cloud in the magnetized interstellar medium. In this article, we formulate the evolution equation for the GMC mass function to reproduce the observed profiles, for which multiple compressions are driven by a network of expanding shells due to H ii regions and supernova remnants. We introduce the cloud–cloud collision (CCC) terms in the evolution equation in contrast to previous work (Inutsuka et al.). The computed time evolution suggests that the GMC mass function slope is governed by the ratio of GMC formation timescale to its dispersal timescale, and that the CCC effect is limited only in the massive end of the mass function. In addition, we identify a gas resurrection channel that allows the gas dispersed by massive stars to regenerate GMC populations or to accrete onto pre-existing GMCs. Our results show that almost all of the dispersed gas contributes to the mass growth of pre-existing GMCs in arm regions whereas less than 60% contributes in inter-arm regions. Our results also predict that GMC mass functions have a single power-law exponent in the mass range <105.5 {M}ȯ (where {M}ȯ represents the solar mass), which is well characterized by GMC self-growth and dispersal timescales. Measurement of the GMC mass function slope provides a powerful method to constrain those GMC timescales and the gas resurrecting factor in various environments across galactic disks.

  14. Reaction Mechanism of Mycobacterium Tuberculosis Glutamine Synthetase Using Quantum Mechanics/Molecular Mechanics Calculations.

    PubMed

    Moreira, Cátia; Ramos, Maria J; Fernandes, Pedro Alexandrino

    2016-06-27

    This paper is devoted to the understanding of the reaction mechanism of mycobacterium tuberculosis glutamine synthetase (mtGS) with atomic detail, using computational quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) methods at the ONIOM M06-D3/6-311++G(2d,2p):ff99SB//B3LYP/6-31G(d):ff99SB level of theory. The complete reaction undergoes a three-step mechanism: the spontaneous transfer of phosphate from ATP to glutamate upon ammonium binding (ammonium quickly loses a proton to Asp54), the attack of ammonia on phosphorylated glutamate (yielding protonated glutamine), and the deprotonation of glutamine by the leaving phosphate. This exothermic reaction has an activation free energy of 21.5 kcal mol(-1) , which is consistent with that described for Escherichia coli glutamine synthetase (15-17 kcal mol(-1) ). The participating active site residues have been identified and their role and energy contributions clarified. This study provides an insightful atomic description of the biosynthetic reaction that takes place in this enzyme, opening doors for more accurate studies for developing new anti-tuberculosis therapies.

  15. [Progress in researches of molecular mechanism of schistosome cercariae infection].

    PubMed

    Du, Xiaofeng; Ju, Chuan; Hu, Wei

    2013-12-01

    Schistosome cercariae must penetrate skin as an initial step to successfully infect the final host. Proteolytic enzymes secreted from the acetabular glands of cercariae contribute significantly to the invasion process. Nowadays, the researches of molecular mechanism of schistosome infection mainly focus on the cercarial secretions including serine protease and cysteine protease. Previous researches already showed that Schistosoma mansoni penetrates the skin mainly depend on cercarial elastease secreted by cercariae while Schistosoma japonicum penetrates the skin chiefly by cathepsin B2. The illustration of molecular mechanism of schistosome cecariae infection will accelerate the identification of novel vaccines and drug targets.

  16. Common molecular mechanisms in explicit and implicit memory.

    PubMed

    Barco, Angel; Bailey, Craig H; Kandel, Eric R

    2006-06-01

    Cellular and molecular studies of both implicit and explicit memory suggest that experience-dependent modulation of synaptic strength and structure is a fundamental mechanism by which these memories are encoded and stored within the brain. In this review, we focus on recent advances in our understanding of two types of memory storage: (i) sensitization in Aplysia, a simple form of implicit memory, and (ii) formation of explicit spatial memories in the mouse hippocampus. These two processes share common molecular mechanisms that have been highly conserved through evolution.

  17. Quantum mechanical/molecular mechanical study on the mechanism of the enzymatic Baeyer-Villiger reaction.

    PubMed

    Polyak, Iakov; Reetz, Manfred T; Thiel, Walter

    2012-02-08

    We report a combined quantum mechanical/molecular mechanical (QM/MM) study on the mechanism of the enzymatic Baeyer-Villiger reaction catalyzed by cyclohexanone monooxygenase (CHMO). In QM/MM geometry optimizations and reaction path calculations, density functional theory (B3LYP/TZVP) is used to describe the QM region consisting of the substrate (cyclohexanone), the isoalloxazine ring of C4a-peroxyflavin, the side chain of Arg-329, and the nicotinamide ring and the adjacent ribose of NADP(+), while the remainder of the enzyme is represented by the CHARMM force field. QM/MM molecular dynamics simulations and free energy calculations at the semiempirical OM3/CHARMM level employ the same QM/MM partitioning. According to the QM/MM calculations, the enzyme-reactant complex contains an anionic deprotonated C4a-peroxyflavin that is stabilized by strong hydrogen bonds with the Arg-329 residue and the NADP(+) cofactor. The CHMO-catalyzed reaction proceeds via a Criegee intermediate having pronounced anionic character. The initial addition reaction has to overcome an energy barrier of about 9 kcal/mol. The formed Criegee intermediate occupies a shallow minimum on the QM/MM potential energy surface and can undergo fragmentation to the lactone product by surmounting a second energy barrier of about 7 kcal/mol. The transition state for the latter migration step is the highest point on the QM/MM energy profile. Gas-phase reoptimizations of the QM region lead to higher barriers and confirm the crucial role of the Arg-329 residue and the NADP(+) cofactor for the catalytic efficiency of CHMO. QM/MM calculations for the CHMO-catalyzed oxidation of 4-methylcyclohexanone reproduce and rationalize the experimentally observed (S)-enantioselectivity for this substrate, which is governed by the conformational preferences of the corresponding Criegee intermediate and the subsequent transition state for the migration step.

  18. The Baldwin effect and genetic assimilation: revisiting two mechanisms of evolutionary change mediated by phenotypic plasticity.

    PubMed

    Crispo, Erika

    2007-11-01

    Two different, but related, evolutionary theories pertaining to phenotypic plasticity were proposed by James Mark Baldwin and Conrad Hal Waddington. Unfortunately, these theories are often confused with one another. Baldwin's notion of organic selection posits that plasticity influences whether an individual will survive in a new environment, thus dictating the course of future evolution. Heritable variations can then be selected upon to direct phenotypic evolution (i.e., "orthoplasy"). The combination of these two processes (organic selection and orthoplasy) is now commonly referred to as the "Baldwin effect." Alternately, Waddington's genetic assimilation is a process whereby an environmentally induced phenotype, or "acquired character," becomes canalized through selection acting upon the developmental system. Genetic accommodation is a modern term used to describe the process of heritable changes that occur in response to a novel induction. Genetic accommodation is a key component of the Baldwin effect, and genetic assimilation is a type of genetic accommodation. I here define both the Baldwin effect and genetic assimilation in terms of genetic accommodation, describe cases in which either should occur in nature, and propose that each could play a role in evolutionary diversification.

  19. 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.

  20. Natural Variation of Plant Metabolism: Genetic Mechanisms, Interpretive Caveats, and Evolutionary and Mechanistic Insights1

    PubMed Central

    Soltis, Nicole E.; Kliebenstein, Daniel J.

    2015-01-01

    Combining quantitative genetics studies with metabolomics/metabolic profiling platforms, genomics, and transcriptomics is creating significant progress in identifying the causal genes controlling natural variation in metabolite accumulations and profiles. In this review, we discuss key mechanistic and evolutionary insights that are arising from these studies. This includes the potential role of transport and other processes in leading to a separation of the site of mechanistic causation and metabolic consequence. A reilluminated observation is the potential for genomic variation in the organelle to alter phenotypic variation alone and in epistatic interaction with the nuclear genetic variation. These studies are also highlighting new aspects of metabolic pleiotropy both in terms of the breadth of loci altering metabolic variation as well as the potential for broader effects on plant defense regulation of the metabolic variation than has previously been predicted. We also illustrate caveats that can be overlooked when translating quantitative genetics descriptors such as heritability and per-locus r2 to mechanistic or evolutionary interpretations. PMID:26272883

  1. Novel molecular, structural and evolutionary characteristics of the phosphoketolases from bifidobacteria and Coriobacteriales

    PubMed Central

    Nanda, Anish; Khadka, Bijendra

    2017-01-01

    Members from the order Bifidobacteriales, which include many species exhibiting health promoting effects, differ from all other organisms in using a unique pathway for carbohydrate metabolism, known as the “bifid shunt”, which utilizes the enzyme phosphoketolase (PK) to carry out the phosphorolysis of both fructose-6-phosphate (F6P) and xylulose-5-phosphate (X5P). In contrast to bifidobacteria, the PKs found in other organisms (referred to XPK) are able to metabolize primarily X5P and show very little activity towards F6P. Presently, very little is known about the molecular or biochemical basis of the differences in the two forms of PKs. Comparative analyses of PK sequences from different organisms reported here have identified multiple high-specific sequence features in the forms of conserved signature inserts and deletions (CSIs) in the PK sequences that clearly distinguish the X5P/F6P phosphoketolases (XFPK) of bifidobacteria from the XPK homologs found in most other organisms. Interestingly, most of the molecular signatures that are specific for the XFPK from bifidobacteria are also shared by the PK homologs from the Coriobacteriales order of Actinobacteria. Similarly to the Bifidobacteriales, the order Coriobacteriales is also made up of commensal organisms, that are saccharolytic and able to metabolize wide variety of carbohydrates, producing lactate and other metabolites. Phylogenetic studies provide evidence that the XFPK from bifidobacteria are specifically related to those found in the Coriobacteriales and suggest that the gene for PK (XFPK) was horizontally transferred between these two groups. A number of the identified CSIs in the XFPK sequence, which serve to distinguish the XFPK homologs from XPK homologs, are located at the subunit interface in the structure of the XFPK dimer protein. The results of protein modelling and subunit docking studies indicate that these CSIs are involved in the formation/stabilization of the protein dimer. The

  2. Molecular systematics of Serrasalmidae: Deciphering the identities of piranha species and unraveling their evolutionary histories

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Freeman, B.; Nico, L.G.; Osentoski, M.; Jelks, H.L.; Collins, T.M.

    2007-01-01

    Piranhas and their relatives have proven to be a challenging group from a systematic perspective, with difficulties in identification of species, linking of juveniles to adults, diagnosis of genera, and recognition of higher-level clades. In this study we add new molecular data consisting of three mitochondrial regions for museum vouchered and photo-documented representatives of the Serrasalmidae. These are combined with existing serrasalmid sequences in GenBank to address species and higher-level questions within the piranhas using parsimony and Bayesian methods. We found robust support for the monophyly of Serrasalmus manueli, but not for Serrasalmus gouldingi when GenBank specimens identified as S. gouldingi were included in the analysis. "Serrasalmus gouldingi" sequences in GenBank may, however, be misidentified. Linking of juveniles to adults of the same species was greatly facilitated by the addition of sequence data. Based on our sampling and identifications, our data robustly reject the monophyly of the genera Serrasalmus and Pristobrycon. We found evidence for a well-supported clade comprised of Serrasalmus, Pygocentrus, and Pristobrycon (in part). This clade was robustly supported in separate and combined analyses of gene regions, and was also supported by a unique molecular character, the loss of a tandem repeat in the control region. Analysis of specimens and a literature review suggest this clade is also characterized by the presence of a pre-anal spine and ectopterygoid teeth. A persistent polytomy at the base of this clade was dated using an independent calibration as 1.8 million years old, corresponding to the beginning of the Pleistocene Epoch, and suggesting an origin for this clade more recent than dates cited in the recent literature. The sister group to this clade is also robustly supported, and consists of Catoprion, Pygopristis, and Pristobrycon striolatus. If the term piranha is to refer to a monophyletic clade, it should be restricted to

  3. The dynamical evolution of molecular clouds near the Galactic Centre - I. Orbital structure and evolutionary timeline

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kruijssen, J. M. Diederik; Dale, James E.; Longmore, Steven N.

    2015-02-01

    We recently proposed that the star-forming potential of dense molecular clouds in the Central Molecular Zone (CMZ, i.e. the central few 100 pc) of the Milky Way is intimately linked to their orbital dynamics, potentially giving rise to an absolute-time sequence of star-forming clouds. In this paper, we present an orbital model for the gas stream(s) observed in the CMZ. The model is obtained by integrating orbits in the empirically constrained gravitational potential and represents a good fit (χ _red^2=2.0) to the observed position-velocity distribution of dense (n > several 103 cm-3) gas, reproducing all of its key properties. The orbit is also consistent with observational constraints not included in the fitting process, such as the 3D space velocities of Sgr B2 and the Arches and Quintuplet clusters. It differs from previous, parametric models in several respects: (1) the orbit is open rather than closed due to the extended mass distribution in the CMZ, (2) its orbital velocity (100-200 km s-1) is twice as high as in previous models, and (3) Sgr A* coincides with the focus of the (eccentric) orbit rather than being offset. Our orbital solution supports the recently proposed scenario in which the dust ridge between G0.253+0.016 (`the Brick') and Sgr B2 represents an absolute-time sequence of star-forming clouds, of which the condensation was triggered by the tidal compression during their most recent pericentre passage. We position the clouds on a common timeline and find that their pericentre passages occurred 0.30-0.74 Myr ago. Given their short free-fall times (tff ˜ 0.34 Myr), the quiescent cloud G0.253+0.016 and the vigorously star-forming complex Sgr B2 are separated by a single free-fall time of evolution, implying that star formation proceeds rapidly once collapse has been initiated. We provide the complete orbital solution, as well as several quantitative predictions of our model (e.g. proper motions and the positions of star formation `hotspots'). The

  4. Novel molecular, structural and evolutionary characteristics of the phosphoketolases from bifidobacteria and Coriobacteriales.

    PubMed

    Gupta, Radhey S; Nanda, Anish; Khadka, Bijendra

    2017-01-01

    Members from the order Bifidobacteriales, which include many species exhibiting health promoting effects, differ from all other organisms in using a unique pathway for carbohydrate metabolism, known as the "bifid shunt", which utilizes the enzyme phosphoketolase (PK) to carry out the phosphorolysis of both fructose-6-phosphate (F6P) and xylulose-5-phosphate (X5P). In contrast to bifidobacteria, the PKs found in other organisms (referred to XPK) are able to metabolize primarily X5P and show very little activity towards F6P. Presently, very little is known about the molecular or biochemical basis of the differences in the two forms of PKs. Comparative analyses of PK sequences from different organisms reported here have identified multiple high-specific sequence features in the forms of conserved signature inserts and deletions (CSIs) in the PK sequences that clearly distinguish the X5P/F6P phosphoketolases (XFPK) of bifidobacteria from the XPK homologs found in most other organisms. Interestingly, most of the molecular signatures that are specific for the XFPK from bifidobacteria are also shared by the PK homologs from the Coriobacteriales order of Actinobacteria. Similarly to the Bifidobacteriales, the order Coriobacteriales is also made up of commensal organisms, that are saccharolytic and able to metabolize wide variety of carbohydrates, producing lactate and other metabolites. Phylogenetic studies provide evidence that the XFPK from bifidobacteria are specifically related to those found in the Coriobacteriales and suggest that the gene for PK (XFPK) was horizontally transferred between these two groups. A number of the identified CSIs in the XFPK sequence, which serve to distinguish the XFPK homologs from XPK homologs, are located at the subunit interface in the structure of the XFPK dimer protein. The results of protein modelling and subunit docking studies indicate that these CSIs are involved in the formation/stabilization of the protein dimer. The

  5. Evolutionary adaptation of plant annexins has diversified their molecular structures, interactions and functional roles.

    PubMed

    Clark, Greg B; Morgan, Reginald O; Fernandez, Maria-Pilar; Roux, Stanley J

    2012-11-01

    Annexins are an homologous, structurally related superfamily of proteins known to associate with membrane lipid and cytoskeletal components. Their involvement in membrane organization, vesicle trafficking and signaling is fundamental to cellular processes such as growth, differentiation, secretion and repair. Annexins exist in some prokaryotes and all eukaryotic phyla within which plant annexins represent a monophyletic clade of homologs descended from green algae. Genomic, proteomic and transcriptomic approaches have provided data on the diversity, cellular localization and expression patterns of different plant annexins. The availability of 35 complete plant genomes has enabled systematic comparative analysis to determine phylogenetic relationships, characterize structures and observe functional specificity between and within individual subfamilies. Short amino termini and selective erosion of the canonical type 2 calcium coordinating sites in domains 2 and 3 are typical of plant annexins. The convergent evolution of alternate functional motifs such as 'KGD', redox-sensitive Cys and hydrophobic Trp/Phe residues argues for their functional relevance and contribution to mechanistic diversity in plant annexins. This review examines recent findings and advances in plant annexin research with special focus on their structural diversity, cellular and molecular interactions and their potential integrated functions in the broader context of physiological responses.

  6. Evolutionary redefinition of immunoglobulin light chain isotypes in tetrapods using molecular markers.

    PubMed

    Das, Sabyasachi; Nikolaidis, Nikolas; Klein, Jan; Nei, Masatoshi

    2008-10-28

    The phylogenetic relationships of Ig light chain (IGL) genes are difficult to resolve, because these genes are short and evolve relatively fast. Here, we classify the IGL sequences from 12 tetrapod species into three distinct groups (kappa, lambda, and sigma isotypes) using conserved amino acid residues, recombination signal sequences, and genomic organization of IGL genes as cladistic markers. From the distribution of the markers we conclude that the earliest extant tetrapods, the amphibians, possess three IGL isotypes: kappa, lambda, and sigma. Of these, two (kappa and lambda) are also found in reptiles and some mammals. The lambda isotype is found in all tetrapods tested to date, whereas the kappa isotype seems to have been lost at least in some birds and in the microbat. Conservation of the cladistic molecular markers suggests that they are associated with functional specialization of the three IGL isotypes. The genomic maps of IGL loci reveal multiple gene rearrangements that occurred in the evolution of tetrapod species. These rearrangements have resulted in interspecific variation of the genomic lengths of the IGL loci and the number and order of IGL constituent genes, but the overall organization of the IGL loci has not changed.

  7. Molecular characterization and evolutionary study of spider tubuliform (eggcase) silk protein.

    PubMed

    Tian, Maozhen; Lewis, Randolph V

    2005-06-07

    As a result of hundreds of millions of years of evolution, orb-web-weaving spiders have developed the use of seven different silks produced by different abdominal glands for various functions. Tubuliform silk (eggcase silk) is unique among these spider silks due to its high serine and very low glycine content. In addition, tubuliform silk is the only silk produced just during a short period of time, the reproductive season, in the spider's life. To understand the molecular characteristics of the proteins composing this silk, we constructed tubuliform-gland-specific cDNA libraries from three different spider families, Nephila clavipes, Argiope aurantia, and Araneus gemmoides. Sequencing of tubuliform silk cDNAs reveals the repetitive architecture of its coding sequence and novel amino acid motifs. The inferred protein, tubuliform spidroin 1 (TuSp1), contains highly homogenized repeats in all three spiders. Amino acid composition comparison of the predicted tubuliform silk protein sequence to tubuliform silk indicates that TuSp1 is the major component of tubuliform silk. Repeat unit alignment of TuSp1 among three spider species shows high sequence conservation among tubuliform silk protein orthologue groups. Sequence comparison among TuSp1 repetitive units within species suggests intragenic concerted evolution, presumably through gene conversion and unequal crossover events. Comparative analysis demonstrates that TuSp1 represents a new orthologue in the spider silk gene family.

  8. Molecular cloning and evolutionary analysis of the GJA1 (connexin43) gene from bats (Chiroptera).

    PubMed

    Wang, Li; Li, Gang; Wang, Jinhong; Ye, Shaohui; Jones, Gareth; Zhang, Shuyi

    2009-04-01

    Gap junction protein connexin43 (Cx43), encoded by the GJA1 gene, is the most abundant connexin in the cardiovascular system and was reported as a crucial factor maintaining cardiac electrical conduction, as well as having a very important function in facilitating the recycling of potassium ions from hair cells in the cochlea back into the cochlear endolymph during auditory transduction processes. In mammals, bats are the only taxon possessing powered flight, placing exceptional demand on many organismal processes. To meet the demands of flying, the hearts of bats show many specialties. Moreover, ultrasonic echolocation allows bat species to orientate and often detect and locate food in darkness. In this study, we cloned the full-length coding region of GJA1 gene from 12 different species of bats and obtained orthologous sequences from other mammals. We used the maximum likelihood method to analyse the evolution of GJA1 gene in mammals and the lineage of bats. Our results showed this gene is much conserved in mammals, as well as in bats' lineage. Compared with other mammals, we found one private amino acid substitution shared by bats, which is located on the inner loop domain, as well as some species-specific amino acid substitutions. The evolution rate analyses showed the signature of purifying selection on not only different classification level lineages but also the different domains and amino acid residue sites of this gene. Also, we suggested that GJA1 gene could be used as a good molecular marker to do the phylogenetic reconstruction.

  9. Evolutionary History of the PER3 Variable Number of Tandem Repeats (VNTR): Idiosyncratic Aspect of Primate Molecular Circadian Clock

    PubMed Central

    Sabino, Flávia Cal; Ribeiro, Amanda Oliveira; Tufik, Sérgio; Torres, Laila Brito; Oliveira, José Américo; Mello, Luiz Eugênio Araújo Moraes; Cavalcante, Jeferson Souza; Pedrazzoli, Mario

    2014-01-01

    The PER3 gene is one of the clock genes, which function in the core mammalian molecular circadian system. A variable number of tandem repeats (VNTR) locus in the 18th exon of this gene has been strongly associated to circadian rhythm phenotypes and sleep organization in humans, but it has not been identified in other mammals except primates. To better understand the evolution and the placement of the PER3 VNTR in a phylogenetical context, the present study enlarges the investigation about the presence and the structure of this variable region in a large sample of primate species and other mammals. The analysis of the results has revealed that the PER3 VNTR occurs exclusively in simiiforme primates and that the number of copies of the primitive unit ranges from 2 to 11 across different primate species. Two transposable elements surrounding the 18th exon of PER3 were found in primates with published genome sequences, including the tarsiiforme Tarsius syrichta, which lacks the VNTR. These results suggest that this VNTR may have evolved in a common ancestor of the simiiforme branch and that the evolutionary copy number differentiation of this VNTR may be associated with primate simiiformes sleep and circadian phenotype patterns. PMID:25222750

  10. 3D computational mechanics elucidate the evolutionary implications of orbit position and size diversity of early amphibians.

    PubMed

    Marcé-Nogué, Jordi; Fortuny, Josep; De Esteban-Trivigno, Soledad; Sánchez, Montserrat; Gil, Lluís; Galobart, Àngel

    2015-01-01

    For the first time in vertebrate palaeontology, the potential of joining Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and Parametrical Analysis (PA) is used to shed new light on two different cranial parameters from the orbits to evaluate their biomechanical role and evolutionary patterns. The early tetrapod group of Stereospondyls, one of the largest groups of Temnospondyls is used as a case study because its orbits position and size vary hugely within the members of this group. An adult skull of Edingerella madagascariensis was analysed using two different cases of boundary and loading conditions in order to quantify stress and deformation response under a bilateral bite and during skull raising. Firstly, the variation of the original geometry of its orbits was introduced in the models producing new FEA results, allowing the exploration of the ecomorphology, feeding strategy and evolutionary patterns of these top predators. Secondly, the quantitative results were analysed in order to check if the orbit size and position were correlated with different stress patterns. These results revealed that in most of the cases the stress distribution is not affected by changes in the size and position of the orbit. This finding supports the high mechanical plasticity of this group during the Triassic period. The absence of mechanical constraints regarding the orbit probably promoted the ecomorphological diversity acknowledged for this group, as well as its ecological niche differentiation in the terrestrial Triassic ecosystems in clades as lydekkerinids, trematosaurs, capitosaurs or metoposaurs.

  11. Are Pharmaceuticals with Evolutionary Conserved Molecular Drug Targets More Potent to Cause Toxic Effects in Non-Target Organisms?

    PubMed Central

    Furuhagen, Sara; Fuchs, Anne; Lundström Belleza, Elin; Breitholtz, Magnus; Gorokhova, Elena

    2014-01-01

    The ubiquitous use of pharmaceuticals has resulted in a continuous discharge into wastewater and pharmaceuticals and their metabolites are found in the environment. Due to their design towards specific drug targets, pharmaceuticals may be therapeutically active already at low environmental concentrations. Several human drug targets are evolutionary conserved in aquatic organisms, raising concerns about effects of these pharmaceuticals in non-target organisms. In this study, we hypothesized that the toxicity of a pharmaceutical towards a non-target invertebrate depends on the presence of the human drug target orthologs in this species. This was tested by assessing toxicity of pharmaceuticals with (miconazole and promethazine) and without (levonorgestrel) identified drug target orthologs in the cladoceran Daphnia magna. The toxicity was evaluated using general toxicity endpoints at individual (immobility, reproduction and development), biochemical (RNA and DNA content) and molecular (gene expression) levels. The results provide evidence for higher toxicity of miconazole and promethazine, i.e. the drugs with identified drug target orthologs. At the individual level, miconazole had the lowest effect concentrations for immobility and reproduction (0.3 and 0.022 mg L−1, respectively) followed by promethazine (1.6 and 0.18 mg L−1, respectively). At the biochemical level, individual RNA content was affected by miconazole and promethazine already at 0.0023 and 0.059 mg L−1, respectively. At the molecular level, gene expression for cuticle protein was significantly suppressed by exposure to both miconazole and promethazine; moreover, daphnids exposed to miconazole had significantly lower vitellogenin expression. Levonorgestrel did not have any effects on any endpoints in the concentrations tested. These results highlight the importance of considering drug target conservation in environmental risk assessments of pharmaceuticals. PMID:25140792

  12. Phylogeny, evolutionary trends and classification of the Spathelia–Ptaeroxylon clade: morphological and molecular insights

    PubMed Central

    Appelhans, M. S.; Smets, E.; Razafimandimbison, S. G.; Haevermans, T.; van Marle, E. J.; Couloux, A.; Rabarison, H.; Randrianarivelojosia, M.; Keßler, P. J. A.

    2011-01-01

    Background and Aims The Spathelia–Ptaeroxylon clade is a group of morphologically diverse plants that have been classified together as a result of molecular phylogenetic studies. The clade is currently included in Rutaceae and recognized at a subfamilial level (Spathelioideae) despite the fact that most of its genera have traditionally been associated with other families and that there are no obvious morphological synapomorphies for the clade. The aim of the present study is to construct phylogenetic trees for the Spathelia–Ptaeroxylon clade and to investigate anatomical characters in order to decide whether it should be kept in Rutaceae or recognized at the familial level. Anatomical characters were plotted on a cladogram to help explain character evolution within the group. Moreover, phylogenetic relationships and generic limits within the clade are also addressed. Methods A species-level phylogenetic analysis of the Spathelia–Ptaeroxylon clade based on five plastid DNA regions (rbcL, atpB, trnL–trnF, rps16 and psbA–trnH) was conducted using Bayesian, maximum parsimony and maximum likelihood methods. Leaf and seed anatomical characters of all genera were (re)investigated by light and scanning electron microscopy. Key Results With the exception of Spathelia, all genera of the Spathelila–Ptaeroxylon clade are monophyletic. The typical leaf and seed anatomical characters of Rutaceae were found. Further, the presence of oil cells in the leaves provides a possible synapomorphy for the clade. Conclusions The Spathelia–Ptaeroxylon clade is well placed in Rutaceae and it is reasonable to unite the genera into one subfamily (Spathelioideae). We propose a new tribal classification of Spathelioideae. A narrow circumscription of Spathelia is established to make the genus monophyletic, and Sohnreyia is resurrected to accommodate the South American species of Spathelia. The most recent common ancestor of Spathelioideae probably had leaves with secretory cavities

  13. Morphological and molecular evidence for a stepwise evolutionary transition from teeth to baleen in mysticete whales.

    PubMed

    Deméré, Thomas A; McGowen, Michael R; Berta, Annalisa; Gatesy, John

    2008-02-01

    The origin of baleen in mysticete whales represents a major transition in the phylogenetic history of Cetacea. This key specialization, a keratinous sieve that enables filter-feeding, permitted exploitation of a new ecological niche and heralded the evolution of modern baleen-bearing whales, the largest animals on Earth. To date, all formally described mysticete fossils conform to two types: toothed species from Oligocene-age rocks ( approximately 24 to 34 million years old) and toothless species that presumably utilized baleen to feed (Recent to approximately 30 million years old). Here, we show that several Oligocene toothed mysticetes have nutrient foramina and associated sulci on the lateral portions of their palates, homologous structures in extant mysticetes house vessels that nourish baleen. The simultaneous occurrence of teeth and nutrient foramina implies that both teeth and baleen were present in these early mysticetes. Phylogenetic analyses of a supermatrix that includes extinct taxa and new data for 11 nuclear genes consistently resolve relationships at the base of Mysticeti. The combined data set of 27,340 characters supports a stepwise transition from a toothed ancestor, to a mosaic intermediate with both teeth and baleen, to modern baleen whales that lack an adult dentition but retain developmental and genetic evidence of their ancestral toothed heritage. Comparative sequence data for ENAM (enamelin) and AMBN (ameloblastin) indicate that enamel-specific loci are present in Mysticeti but have degraded to pseudogenes in this group. The dramatic transformation in mysticete feeding anatomy documents an apparently rare, stepwise mode of evolution in which a composite phenotype bridged the gap between primitive and derived morphologies; a combination of fossil and molecular evidence provides a multifaceted record of this macroevolutionary pattern.

  14. The Shark Alar Hypothalamus: Molecular Characterization of Prosomeric Subdivisions and Evolutionary Trends.

    PubMed

    Santos-Durán, Gabriel N; Ferreiro-Galve, Susana; Menuet, Arnaud; Quintana-Urzainqui, Idoia; Mazan, Sylvie; Rodríguez-Moldes, Isabel; Candal, Eva

    2016-01-01

    The hypothalamus is an important physiologic center of the vertebrate brain involved in the elaboration of individual and species survival responses. To better understand the ancestral organization of the alar hypothalamus we revisit previous data on ScOtp, ScDlx2/5, ScTbr1, ScNkx2.1 expression and Pax6 immunoreactivity jointly with new data on ScNeurog2, ScLhx9, ScLhx5, and ScNkx2.8 expression, in addition to immunoreactivity to serotonin (5-HT) and doublecortin (DCX) in the catshark Scyliorhinus canicula, a key species for this purpose since cartilaginous fishes are basal representatives of gnathostomes (jawed vertebrates). Our study revealed a complex genoarchitecture for the chondrichthyan alar hypothalamus. We identified terminal (rostral) and peduncular (caudal) subdivisions in the prosomeric paraventricular and subparaventricular areas (TPa/PPa and TSPa/PSPa, respectively) evidenced by the expression pattern of developmental genes like ScLhx5 (TPa) and immunoreactivity against Pax6 (PSPa) and 5-HT (PPa and PSPa). Dorso-ventral subdivisions were only evidenced in the SPa (SPaD, SPaV; respectively) by means of Pax6 and ScNkx2.8 (respectively). Interestingly, ScNkx2.8 expression overlaps over the alar-basal boundary, as Nkx2.2 does in other vertebrates. Our results reveal evidences for the existence of different groups of tangentially migrated cells expressing ScOtp, Pax6, and ScDlx2. The genoarchitectonic comparative analysis suggests alternative interpretations of the rostral-most alar plate in prosomeric terms and reveals a conserved molecular background for the vertebrate alar hypothalamus likely acquired before/during the agnathan-gnathostome transition, on which Otp, Pax6, Lhx5, and Neurog2 are expressed in the Pa while Dlx and Nkx2.2/Nkx2.8 are expressed in the SPa.

  15. Matrix Gla protein in Xenopus laevis: molecular cloning, tissue distribution, and evolutionary considerations.

    PubMed

    Cancela, M L; Ohresser, M C; Reia, J P; Viegas, C S; Williamson, M K; Price, P A

    2001-09-01

    Matrix Gla protein (MGP) belongs to the family of vitamin K-dependent, Gla-containing proteins and in higher vertebrates, is found in the extracellular matrix of mineralized tissues and soft tissues. MGP synthesis is highly regulated at the transcription and posttranscription levels and is now known to be involved in the regulation of extracellular matrix calcification and maintenance of cartilage and soft tissue integrity during growth and development. However, its mode of action at the molecular level remains unknown. Because there is a large degree of conservation between amino acid sequences of shark and human MGP, the function of MGP probably has been conserved throughout evolution. Given the complexity of the mammalian system, the study of MGP in a lower vertebrate might be advantageous to relate the onset of MGP expression with specific events during development. Toward this goal, MGP was purified from Xenopus long bones and its N-terminal amino acid sequence was determined and used to clone the Xenopus MGP complementary DNA (cDNA) by a mixture of reverse-transcription (RT)- and 5'- rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE)-polymerase chain reaction (PCR). MGP messenger RNA (mRNA) was present in all tissues analyzed although predominantly expressed in Xenopus bone and heart and its presence was detected early in development at the onset of chondrocranium development and long before the appearance of the first calcified structures and metamorphosis. These results show that in this system, as in mammals, MGP may be required to delay or prevent mineralization of cartilage and soft tissues during the early stages of development and indicate that Xenopus is an adequate model organism to further study MGP function during growth and development.

  16. The Shark Alar Hypothalamus: Molecular Characterization of Prosomeric Subdivisions and Evolutionary Trends

    PubMed Central

    Santos-Durán, Gabriel N.; Ferreiro-Galve, Susana; Menuet, Arnaud; Quintana-Urzainqui, Idoia; Mazan, Sylvie; Rodríguez-Moldes, Isabel; Candal, Eva

    2016-01-01

    The hypothalamus is an important physiologic center of the vertebrate brain involved in the elaboration of individual and species survival responses. To better understand the ancestral organization of the alar hypothalamus we revisit previous data on ScOtp, ScDlx2/5, ScTbr1, ScNkx2.1 expression and Pax6 immunoreactivity jointly with new data on ScNeurog2, ScLhx9, ScLhx5, and ScNkx2.8 expression, in addition to immunoreactivity to serotonin (5-HT) and doublecortin (DCX) in the catshark Scyliorhinus canicula, a key species for this purpose since cartilaginous fishes are basal representatives of gnathostomes (jawed vertebrates). Our study revealed a complex genoarchitecture for the chondrichthyan alar hypothalamus. We identified terminal (rostral) and peduncular (caudal) subdivisions in the prosomeric paraventricular and subparaventricular areas (TPa/PPa and TSPa/PSPa, respectively) evidenced by the expression pattern of developmental genes like ScLhx5 (TPa) and immunoreactivity against Pax6 (PSPa) and 5-HT (PPa and PSPa). Dorso-ventral subdivisions were only evidenced in the SPa (SPaD, SPaV; respectively) by means of Pax6 and ScNkx2.8 (respectively). Interestingly, ScNkx2.8 expression overlaps over the alar-basal boundary, as Nkx2.2 does in other vertebrates. Our results reveal evidences for the existence of different groups of tangentially migrated cells expressing ScOtp, Pax6, and ScDlx2. The genoarchitectonic comparative analysis suggests alternative interpretations of the rostral-most alar plate in prosomeric terms and reveals a conserved molecular background for the vertebrate alar hypothalamus likely acquired before/during the agnathan-gnathostome transition, on which Otp, Pax6, Lhx5, and Neurog2 are expressed in the Pa while Dlx and Nkx2.2/Nkx2.8 are expressed in the SPa. PMID:27932958

  17. Use of phylogenetics in the molecular epidemiology and evolutionary studies of viral infections.

    PubMed

    Lam, Tommy Tsan-Yuk; Hon, Chung-Chau; Tang, Julian W

    2010-01-01

    Since DNA sequencing techniques first became available almost 30 years ago, the amount of nucleic acid sequence data has increased enormously. Phylogenetics, which is widely applied to compare and analyze such data, is particularly useful for the analysis of genes from rapidly evolving viruses. It has been used extensively to describe the molecular epidemiology and transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the origins and subsequent evolution of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-associated coronavirus (SCoV), and, more recently, the evolving epidemiology of avian influenza as well as seasonal and pandemic human influenza viruses. Recent advances in phylogenetic methods can infer more in-depth information about the patterns of virus emergence, adding to the conventional approaches in viral epidemiology. Examples of this information include estimations (with confidence limits) of the actual time of the origin of a new viral strain or its emergence in a new species, viral recombination and reassortment events, the rate of population size change in a viral epidemic, and how the virus spreads and evolves within a specific population and geographical region. Such sequence-derived information obtained from the phylogenetic tree can assist in the design and implementation of public health and therapeutic interventions. However, application of many of these advanced phylogenetic methods are currently limited to specialized phylogeneticists and statisticians, mainly because of their mathematical basis and their dependence on the use of a large number of computer programs. This review attempts to bridge this gap by presenting conceptual, technical, and practical aspects of applying phylogenetic methods in studies of influenza, HIV, and SCoV. It aims to provide, with minimal mathematics and statistics, a practical overview of how phylogenetic methods can be incorporated into virological studies by clinical and laboratory specialists.

  18. Antigenic variation: Molecular and genetic mechanisms of relapsing disease

    SciTech Connect

    Cruse, J.M.; Lewis, R.E.

    1987-01-01

    This book contains 10 chapters. They are: Contemporary Concepts of Antigenic Variation; Antigenic Variation in the Influenza Viruses; Mechanisms of Escape of Visna Lentiviruses from Immunological Control; A Review of Antigenic Variation by the Equine Infectious Anemia Virus; Biologic and Molecular Variations in AIDS Retrovirus Isolates; Rabies Virus Infection: Genetic Mutations and the Impact on Viral Pathogenicity and Immunity; Immunobiology of Relapsing Fever; Antigenic Variation in African Trypanosomes; Antigenic Variation and Antigenic Diversity in Malaria; and Mechanisms of Immune Evasion in Schistosomiasis.

  19. Combination of metformin with chemotherapeutic drugs via different molecular mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Peng, Mei; Darko, Kwame Oteng; Tao, Ting; Huang, Yanjun; Su, Qiongli; He, Caimei; Yin, Tao; Liu, Zhaoqian; Yang, Xiaoping

    2017-03-01

    Metformin, a widely prescribed drug for treating type II diabetes, is one of the most extensively recognized metabolic modulators which has shown an important anti-cancer property. However, fairly amount of clinical trials on its single administration have not demonstrated a convincing efficiency yet. Thus, recent studies tend to combine metformin with clinical commonly used chemotherapeutic drugs to decrease their toxicity and attenuate their tumor resistance. These strategies have displayed promising clinical benefits. Interestingly, metformin experiences a diversity of molecular mechanisms when it combines different chemotherapeutic drugs. For example, AMPK/mTOR signaling pathway activation plays a major role when it combines with hormone modulating drugs. In contrast, suppression of HIF-1, p-gp and MRP1 protein expression is its main mechanism when metformin combines with anti-metabolites. Furthermore, when combining of metformin with antibiotics, inhibition of oxidative stress and inflammatory signaling pathway becomes a novel pharmaceutical mechanism for its cardio-protective effect. Induction of apoptotic mitochondria and nucleus could be the major player for the synergistic effect of its combination with cisplatin. In contrast, down-regulation of lipoprotein or cholesterol synthesis might be the undefined molecular base when metformin combines with taxane. Thus, deep exploration of molecular mechanisms of metformin with these different drugs is critical to understand its synergistic effect and help for personalized administration. In this mini-review, detailed molecular mechanisms of these combinations are discussed and summarized. This work will promote better understanding of molecular mechanisms of metformin and provide precise targets to identify specific patient groups to achieve satisfactory treatment efficacy.

  20. Combined quantum mechanical/molecular mechanics modeling for large organometallic and metallobiochemical systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leong, Max Kangchien

    A method of combined quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics has been developed to model larger organometallic and metallobiochemical systems where neither quantum mechanics nor molecular mechanics, applied separately, can solve the problem. An electronically transparent interface, which allows charge transfers between the quantum and classical fragments, is devised and realized by employing a special iterative procedure of double (intrafragment and interfragment) self-consistent calculations. The combined QM/MM scheme was successfully applied to model iron picket-fence porphyrin, vitamin B12, aquocobalamin, and vitamin B12 coenzyme molecules.

  1. Resolving the molecular mechanism of cadherin catch bond formation

    SciTech Connect

    Manibog, Kristine; Li, Hui; Rakshit, Sabyasachi; Sivasankar, Sanjeevi

    2014-06-02

    Classical cadherin Ca(2+)-dependent cell-cell adhesion proteins play key roles in embryogenesis and in maintaining tissue integrity. Cadherins mediate robust adhesion by binding in multiple conformations. One of these adhesive states, called an X-dimer, forms catch bonds that strengthen and become longer lived in the presence of mechanical force. Here we use single-molecule force-clamp spectroscopy with an atomic force microscope along with molecular dynamics and steered molecular dynamics simulations to resolve the molecular mechanisms underlying catch bond formation and the role of Ca(2+) ions in this process. Our data suggest that tensile force bends the cadherin extracellular region such that they form long-lived, force-induced hydrogen bonds that lock X-dimers into tighter contact. When Ca(2+) concentration is decreased, fewer de novo hydrogen bonds are formed and catch bond formation is eliminated

  2. The molecular mechanisms of hemodialysis vascular access failure

    PubMed Central

    Franzoni, Marco; Misra, Sanjay

    2016-01-01

    The arteriovenous fistula has been used for more than 50 years to provide vascular access for patients undergoing hemodialysis. More than 1.5 million patients worldwide have end stage renal disease and this population will continue to grow. The arteriovenous fistula is the preferred vascular access for patients, but its patency rate at 1 year is only 60%. The majority of arteriovenous fistulas fail because of intimal hyperplasia. In recent years, there have been many studies investigating the molecular mechanisms responsible for intimal hyperplasia and subsequent thrombosis. These studies have identified common pathways including inflammation, uremia, hypoxia, sheer stress, and increased thrombogenicity. These cellular mechanisms lead to increased proliferation, migration, and eventually stenosis. These pathways work synergistically through shared molecular messengers. In this review, we will examine the literature concerning the molecular basis of hemodialysis vascular access malfunction. PMID:26806833

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-08-01

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

  4. Unraveling the mechanism of molecular doping in organic semiconductors.

    PubMed

    Mityashin, Alexander; Olivier, Yoann; Van Regemorter, Tanguy; Rolin, Cedric; Verlaak, Stijn; Martinelli, Nicolas G; Beljonne, David; Cornil, Jérôme; Genoe, Jan; Heremans, Paul

    2012-03-22

    The mechanism by which molecular dopants donate free charge carriers to the host organic semiconductor is investigated and is found to be quite different from the one in inorganic semiconductors. In organics, a strong correlation between the doping concentration and its charge donation efficiency is demonstrated. Moreover, there is a threshold doping level below which doping simply has no electrical effect.

  5. A Molecular Mechanics Study of Monensin B Ion Selectivity.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    well known knot theorist working with Jon Simon under the math part of the ONR stereochemical topology project. 2) The 5-rung THYME diol-ditosylate has...trefoil knot, which will posses 100 atoms in the ring. 3) The first molecular mechanics studies on the THYME system have been accomplished. 4) Preliminary

  6. A Molecular Mechanics Analysis of Molecular Recognition by Cyclodextrin Mimics of Alpha-Chymotrypsin

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1989-05-26

    Recognition By Cyclodextrin Mimics of Alpha-Chymotrypsin i by C.A. Venanzi. P.M. Canzius, Z. Zhang, and J.D. Bunce LT IC To Be Published in CLECTE JUN 0 51...Clasification) A Molecular Mechanics Analysis of Molecular Recognition By Cyclodextrin Mimics of Alpha-Chymotrypsin. 12. PERSONAL AUTHOR(S) C.A. Venanzil... CYCLODEXTRIN MIMICS OF 0( -CHYMOTRYPSIN Carol A. Venanzi1 , Preston M. Canzius, Zhifeng Zhang, and Jeffrey D. Bunce Department of Chemical Engineering

  7. Mechanistic insights into Mg2+-independent prenylation by CloQ from classical molecular mechanics and hybrid quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics molecular dynamics simulations.

    PubMed

    Bayse, Craig A; Merz, Kenneth M

    2014-08-05

    Understanding the mechanism of prenyltransferases is important to the design of engineered proteins capable of synthesizing derivatives of naturally occurring therapeutic agents. CloQ is a Mg(2+)-independent aromatic prenyltransferase (APTase) that transfers a dimethylallyl group to 4-hydroxyphenylpyruvate in the biosynthetic pathway for clorobiocin. APTases consist of a common ABBA fold that defines a β-barrel containing the reaction cavity. Positively charged basic residues line the inside of the β-barrel of CloQ to activate the pyrophosphate leaving group to replace the function of the Mg(2+) cofactor in other APTases. Classical molecular dynamics simulations of CloQ, its E281G and F68S mutants, and the related NovQ were used to explore the binding of the 4-hydroxyphenylpyruvate (4HPP) and dimethylallyl diphosphate substrates in the reactive cavity and the role of various conserved residues. Hybrid quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics potential of mean force (PMF) calculations show that the effect of the replacement of the Mg(2+) cofactor with basic residues yields a similar activation barrier for prenylation to Mg(2+)-dependent APTases like NphB. The topology of the binding pocket for 4HPP is important for selective prenylation at the ortho position of the ring. Methylation at this position alters the conformation of the substrate for O-prenylation at the phenol group. Further, a two-dimensional PMF scan shows that a "reverse" prenylation product may be a possible target for protein engineering.

  8. Investigation of deformation mechanisms of staggered nanocomposites using molecular dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mathiazhagan, S.; Anup, S.

    2016-08-01

    Biological materials with nanostructure of regularly or stair-wise staggered arrangements of hard platelets reinforced in a soft protein matrix have superior mechanical properties. Applications of these nanostructures to ceramic matrix composites could enhance their toughness. Using molecular dynamics simulations, mechanical behaviour of the bio-inspired nanocomposites is studied. Regularly staggered model shows better flow behaviour compared to stair-wise staggered model due to the symmetrical crack propagation along the interface. Though higher stiffness and strength are obtained for stair-wise staggered models, rapid crack propagation reduces the toughness. Arresting this crack propagation could lead to superior mechanical properties in stair-wise staggered models.

  9. Molecular mechanisms underlying the fetal programming of adult disease.

    PubMed

    Vo, Thin; Hardy, Daniel B

    2012-08-01

    Adverse events in utero can be critical in determining quality of life and overall health. It is estimated that up to 50 % of metabolic syndrome diseases can be linked to an adverse fetal environment. However, the mechanisms linking impaired fetal development to these adult diseases remain elusive. This review uncovers some of the molecular mechanisms underlying how normal physiology may be impaired in fetal and postnatal life due to maternal insults in pregnancy. By understanding the mechanisms, which include epigenetic, transcriptional, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, and reactive oxygen species (ROS), we also highlight how intervention in fetal and neonatal life may be able to prevent these diseases long-term.

  10. Novel molecular mechanisms and regeneration therapy for heart failure.

    PubMed

    Oka, Toru; Morita, Hiroyuki; Komuro, Issei

    2016-03-01

    Heart failure (HF) is one of the leading causes of mortality in the world. Various molecular mechanisms have been proposed for HF, but its precise mechanisms are still largely unknown. In this review, summarizing the "President's Distinguished Lecture Award" of XX World Congress of International Society for Heart Research 2010 in Kyoto, Japan, we introduce recent our studies on HF, including 1) p53-induced suppression of Hif-1-induced angiogenesis as a novel mechanism of HF, 2) angiogenesis as a potential therapeutic strategy for HF, and 3) IGFBP-4 as a novel factor for cardiomyogenesis by inhibiting canonical Wnt signaling.

  11. Molecular mechanisms of neuropathological changes in Alzheimer's disease: a review.

    PubMed

    Serý, Omar; Povová, Jana; Míšek, Ivan; Pešák, Lukáš; Janout, Vladimir

    2013-01-01

    More than 100 years after description of Alzheimer's disease (AD), two major pathological processes observed already by Alois Alzheimer, remain as the main explanation of the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease. Important molecular interactions leading to AD neuropathology were described in amyloid cascade and in tau protein function. No clinical trials with novel therapies based on amyloid cascade and tau protein hypotheses have been successful. The main aim of recent research is focused on the question what is primary mechanism leading to the molecular development of AD pathology. Promising explanation of triggering mechanism can be seen in vascular pathology that have direct influence on the development of pathological processes typical for Alzheimer disease. Novel insight into a number of cellular signaling mechanisms, as well as mitochondrial function in Alzheimer disease could also bring explanations of initial processes leading to the development of this pathology.

  12. Molecular mechanics of mineralized collagen fibrils in bone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nair, Arun K.; Gautieri, Alfonso; Chang, Shu-Wei; Buehler, Markus J.

    2013-04-01

    Bone is a natural composite of collagen protein and the mineral hydroxyapatite. The structure of bone is known to be important to its load-bearing characteristics, but relatively little is known about this structure or the mechanism that govern deformation at the molecular scale. Here we perform full-atomistic calculations of the three-dimensional molecular structure of a mineralized collagen protein matrix to try to better understand its mechanical characteristics under tensile loading at various mineral densities. We find that as the mineral density increases, the tensile modulus of the network increases monotonically and well beyond that of pure collagen fibrils. Our results suggest that the mineral crystals within this network bears up to four times the stress of the collagen fibrils, whereas the collagen is predominantly responsible for the material’s deformation response. These findings reveal the mechanism by which bone is able to achieve superior energy dissipation and fracture resistance characteristics beyond its individual constituents.

  13. Molecular Mechanisms in Mood Regulation Involving the Circadian Clock.

    PubMed

    Albrecht, Urs

    2017-01-01

    The circadian system coordinates activities and functions in cells and tissues in order to optimize body functions in anticipation to daily changes in the environment. Disruption of the circadian system, due to irregular lifestyle such as rotating shift work, frequent travel across time-zones, or chronic stress, is correlated with several diseases such as obesity, cancer, and neurological disorders. Molecular mechanisms linking the circadian clock with neurological functions have been uncovered suggesting that disruption of the clock may be critically involved in the development of mood disorders. In this mini-review, I will summarize molecular mechanisms in which clock components play a central role for mood regulation. Such mechanisms have been identified in the monoaminergic system, the HPA axis, and neurogenesis.

  14. Molecular Mechanisms in Mood Regulation Involving the Circadian Clock

    PubMed Central

    Albrecht, Urs

    2017-01-01

    The circadian system coordinates activities and functions in cells and tissues in order to optimize body functions in anticipation to daily changes in the environment. Disruption of the circadian system, due to irregular lifestyle such as rotating shift work, frequent travel across time-zones, or chronic stress, is correlated with several diseases such as obesity, cancer, and neurological disorders. Molecular mechanisms linking the circadian clock with neurological functions have been uncovered suggesting that disruption of the clock may be critically involved in the development of mood disorders. In this mini-review, I will summarize molecular mechanisms in which clock components play a central role for mood regulation. Such mechanisms have been identified in the monoaminergic system, the HPA axis, and neurogenesis. PMID:28223962

  15. Submillisecond Elastic Recoil Reveals Molecular Origins of Fibrin Fiber Mechanics

    PubMed Central

    Hudson, Nathan E.; Ding, Feng; Bucay, Igal; O’Brien, E. Timothy; Gorkun, Oleg V.; Superfine, Richard; Lord, Susan T.; Dokholyan, Nikolay V.; Falvo, Michael R.

    2013-01-01

    Fibrin fibers form the structural scaffold of blood clots. Thus, their mechanical properties are of central importance to understanding hemostasis and thrombotic disease. Recent studies have revealed that fibrin fibers are elastomeric despite their high degree of molecular ordering. These results have inspired a variety of molecular models for fibrin’s elasticity, ranging from reversible protein unfolding to rubber-like elasticity. An important property that has not been explored is the timescale of elastic recoil, a parameter that is critical for fibrin’s mechanical function and places a temporal constraint on molecular models of fiber elasticity. Using high-frame-rate imaging and atomic force microscopy-based nanomanipulation, we measured the recoil dynamics of individual fibrin fibers and found that the recoil was orders of magnitude faster than anticipated from models involving protein refolding. We also performed steered discrete molecular-dynamics simulations to investigate the molecular origins of the observed recoil. Our results point to the unstructured αC regions of the otherwise structured fibrin molecule as being responsible for the elastic recoil of the fibers. PMID:23790375

  16. Suppression of neuronal excitability by the secretion of the lamprey (Lampetra japonica) provides a mechanism for its evolutionary stability.

    PubMed

    Chi, Shaopeng; Xiao, Rong; Li, Qingwei; Zhou, Liwei; He, Rongqiao; Qi, Zhi

    2009-07-01

    Lampreys are one of the most primitive vertebrates still living today. They attach themselves to the body surface of the host fish through their sucker-like mouths and suck blood of the host for days. Recent fossil evidence has indicated that morphology of lampreys in the late Devonian period, over 360 million years ago, already possessed the present day major characteristics, suggesting the evolutionary stability of a highly specialized parasitic feeding habit. Obviously, nociceptive responses and hemostasis of the host are two major barriers to long-term feeding of the parasitic lamprey. It has been found, to counteract hemostasis of the host, that paired buccal glands of lampreys secrete antihemostatic compounds to prevent blood of the host from coagulation. However, it is not known how lampreys make the host lose nociceptive responses. Here, we prepared components of the crude extract from the buccal glands of the lampreys (Lampetra japonica). Then, we show that crude extract and one of its purified components reduce the firing frequency of neuronal action potentials probably through inhibiting the voltage-dependent Na(+) channels. As the voltage-gated Na(+) channels are highly conserved throughout evolution, we argue that the secretion of the lampreys could exert the similar effect on the Na(+) channels of their host fish as well. Therefore, together with its antihemostatic effect, the secretion due to its inhibitory effect on neuronal excitability might provide a mechanism for the parasitic lampreys to keep their evolutionary stability.

  17. Evolutionary dynamics of phenotype-structured populations: from individual-level mechanisms to population-level consequences

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chisholm, Rebecca H.; Lorenzi, Tommaso; Desvillettes, Laurent; Hughes, Barry D.

    2016-08-01

    Epigenetic mechanisms are increasingly recognised as integral to the adaptation of species that face environmental changes. In particular, empirical work has provided important insights into the contribution of epigenetic mechanisms to the persistence of clonal species, from which a number of verbal explanations have emerged that are suited to logical testing by proof-of-concept mathematical models. Here, we present a stochastic agent-based model and a related deterministic integrodifferential equation model for the evolution of a phenotype-structured population composed of asexually-reproducing and competing organisms which are exposed to novel environmental conditions. This setting has relevance to the study of biological systems where colonising asexual populations must survive and rapidly adapt to hostile environments, like pathogenesis, invasion and tumour metastasis. We explore how evolution might proceed when epigenetic variation in gene expression can change the reproductive capacity of individuals within the population in the new environment. Simulations and analyses of our models clarify the conditions under which certain evolutionary paths are possible and illustrate that while epigenetic mechanisms may facilitate adaptation in asexual species faced with environmental change, they can also lead to a type of "epigenetic load" and contribute to extinction. Moreover, our results offer a formal basis for the claim that constant environments favour individuals with low rates of stochastic phenotypic variation. Finally, our model provides a "proof of concept" of the verbal hypothesis that phenotypic stability is a key driver in rescuing the adaptive potential of an asexual lineage and supports the notion that intense selection pressure can, to an extent, offset the deleterious effects of high phenotypic instability and biased epimutations, and steer an asexual population back from the brink of an evolutionary dead end.

  18. Molecular mechanics methods for individual carbon nanotubes and nanotube assemblies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eberhardt, Oliver; Wallmersperger, Thomas

    2015-04-01

    Since many years, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have been considered for a wide range of applications due to their outstanding mechanical properties. CNTs are tubular structures, showing a graphene like hexagonal lattice. Our interest in the calculation of the mechanical properties is motivated by several applications which demand the knowledge of the material behavior. One application in which the knowledge of the material behavior is vital is the CNT based fiber. Due to the excellent stiffness and strength of the individual CNTs, these fibers are expected to be a promising successor for state of the art carbon fibers. However, the mechanical properties of the fibers fall back behind the properties of individual CNTs. It is assumed that this gap in the properties is a result of the van-der-Waals interactions of the individual CNTs within the fiber. In order to understand the mechanical behavior of the fibers we apply a molecular mechanics approach. The mechanical properties of the individual CNTs are investigated by using a modified structural molecular mechanics approach. This is done by calculating the properties of a truss-beam element framework representing the CNT with the help of a chemical force field. Furthermore, we also investigate the interactions of CNTs arranged in basic CNT assemblies, mimicking the ones in a simple CNT fiber. We consider the van-der-Waals interactions in the structure and calculate the potential surface of the CNT assemblies.

  19. Molecular mechanisms of peritoneal dissemination in gastric cancer

    PubMed Central

    Kanda, Mitsuro; Kodera, Yasuhiro

    2016-01-01

    Peritoneal dissemination represents a devastating form of gastric cancer (GC) progression with a dismal prognosis. There is no effective therapy for this condition. The 5-year survival rate of patients with peritoneal dissemination is 2%, even including patients with only microscopic free cancer cells without macroscopic peritoneal nodules. The mechanism of peritoneal dissemination of GC involves several steps: detachment of cancer cells from the primary tumor, survival in the free abdominal cavity, attachment to the distant peritoneum, invasion into the subperitoneal space and proliferation with angiogenesis. These steps are not mutually exclusive, and combinations of different molecular mechanisms can occur in each process of peritoneal dissemination. A comprehensive understanding of the molecular events involved in peritoneal dissemination is important and should be systematically pursued. It is crucial to identify novel strategies for the prevention of this condition and for identification of markers of prognosis and the development of molecular-targeted therapies. In this review, we provide an overview of recently published articles addressing the molecular mechanisms of peritoneal dissemination of GC to provide an update on what is currently known in this field and to propose novel promising candidates for use in diagnosis and as therapeutic targets. PMID:27570420

  20. Dissecting molecular mechanisms in the living brain of dementia patients.

    PubMed

    Barrio, Jorge R; Satyamurthy, Nagichettiar; Huang, Sung-Cheng; Petric, Andrej; Small, Gary W; Kepe, Vladimir

    2009-07-21

    Understanding the molecular mechanisms associated with the development of dementia is essential for designing successful interventions. Dementia, like cancer and cardiovascular disease, requires early detection to potentially arrest or prevent further disease progression. By the time a neurologist begins to manage clinical symptoms, the disease has often damaged the brain significantly. Because successful treatment is the logical goal, detecting the disease when brain damage is still limited is of the essence. The role of chemistry in this discovery process is critical. With the advent of molecular imaging, the understanding of molecular mechanisms in human neurodegenerative diseases has exploded. Traditionally, knowledge of enzyme and neurotransmitter function in humans has been extrapolated from animal studies, but now we can acquire data directly from both healthy and diseased human subjects. In this Account, we describe the use of molecular imaging probes to elucidate the biochemical and cellular bases of dementia (e.g., Alzheimer's disease) and the application of these discoveries to the design of successful therapeutic interventions. Molecular imaging permits observation and evaluation of the basic molecular mechanisms of disease progression in the living brains of patients. 2-Deoxy-2-[(18)F]fluoro-d-glucose is used to assess the effect of Alzheimer's disease progression on neuronal circuits projecting from and to the temporal lobe (one of the earliest metabolic signs of the disease). Recently, we have developed imaging probes for detection of amyloid neuropathology (both tau and beta-amyloid peptide deposits) and neuronal losses. These probes allow us to visualize the development of pathology in the living brain of dementia patients and its consequences, such as losses of critical neurons associated with memory deficits and other neuropsychiatric impairments. Because inflammatory processes are tightly connected to the brain degenerative processes

  1. Molecular mechanisms involved in mammalian primary sex determination.

    PubMed

    She, Zhen-Yu; Yang, Wan-Xi

    2014-08-01

    Sex determination refers to the developmental decision that directs the bipotential genital ridge to develop as a testis or an ovary. Genetic studies on mice and humans have led to crucial advances in understanding the molecular fundamentals of sex determination and the mutually antagonistic signaling pathway. In this review, we summarize the current molecular mechanisms of sex determination by focusing on the known critical sex determining genes and their related signaling pathways in mammalian vertebrates from mice to humans. We also discuss the underlying delicate balance between testis and ovary sex determination pathways, concentrating on the antagonisms between major sex determining genes.

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

    PubMed Central

    Dardick, Chris; Callahan, Ann M.

    2014-01-01

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

  3. Comparative mitochondrial genome analysis reveals the evolutionary rearrangement mechanism in Brassica.

    PubMed

    Yang, J; Liu, G; Zhao, N; Chen, S; Liu, D; Ma, W; Hu, Z; Zhang, M

    2016-05-01

    The genus Brassica has many species that are important for oil, vegetable and other food products. Three mitochondrial genome types (mitotype) originated from its common ancestor. In this paper, a B. nigra mitochondrial main circle genome with 232,407 bp was generated through de novo assembly. Synteny analysis showed that the mitochondrial genomes of B. rapa and B. oleracea had a better syntenic relationship than B. nigra. Principal components analysis and development of a phylogenetic tree indicated maternal ancestors of three allotetraploid species in Us triangle of Brassica. Diversified mitotypes were found in allotetraploid B. napus, in which napus-type B. napus was derived from B. oleracea, while polima-type B. napus was inherited from B. rapa. In addition, the mitochondrial genome of napus-type B. napus was closer to botrytis-type than capitata-type B. oleracea. The sub-stoichiometric shifting of several mitochondrial genes suggested that mitochondrial genome rearrangement underwent evolutionary selection during domestication and/or plant breeding. Our findings clarify the role of diploid species in the maternal origin of allotetraploid species in Brassica and suggest the possibility of breeding selection of the mitochondrial genome.

  4. Evolutionary History of the Grey-Faced Sengi, Rhynchocyon udzungwensis, from Tanzania: A Molecular and Species Distribution Modelling Approach

    PubMed Central

    Ricci, Silvia; Rovero, Francesco

    2013-01-01

    Rhynchocyon udzungwensis is a recently described and poorly understood sengi (giant elephant-shrew) endemic to two small montane forests in Southern Tanzania, and surrounded in lower forests by R. cirnei reichardi. In this study, we investigate the molecular genetic relationship between R. udzungwensis and R. c. reichardi, and the possible role that shifting species distributions in response to climate fluctuations may have played in shaping their evolutionary history. Rhynchocyon udzungwensis and R. c. reichardi individuals were sampled from five localities for genetic analyses. Three mitochondrial and two nuclear loci were used to construct species trees for delimitation and to determine whether introgression was detectable either from ancient or ongoing hybridization. All species-tree results show R. udzungwensis and R. c. reichardi as distinct lineages, though mtDNA shows evidence of introgression in some populations. Nuclear loci of each species were monophyletic, implying introgression is exclusively historical. Because we found evidence of introgression, we used distribution data and species distribution modelling for present, glacial, and interglacial climate cycles to predict how shifting species distributions may have facilitated hybridization in some populations. Though interpretations are affected by the limited range of these species, a likely scenario is that the mtDNA introgression found in eastern mid-elevation populations was facilitated by low numbers of R. udzungwensis that expanded into lowland heavily occupied R. c. reichardi areas during interglacial climate cycles. These results imply that relationships within the genus Rhynchocyon may be confounded by porous species boundaries and introgression, even if species are not currently sympatric. PMID:24015252

  5. A quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics study on the hydrolysis mechanism of New Delhi metallo-β-lactamase-1.

    PubMed

    Zhu, Kongkai; Lu, Junyan; Liang, Zhongjie; Kong, Xiangqian; Ye, Fei; Jin, Lu; Geng, Heji; Chen, Yong; Zheng, Mingyue; Jiang, Hualiang; Li, Jun-Qian; Luo, Cheng

    2013-03-01

    New Delhi metallo-β-lactamase-1 (NDM-1) has emerged as a major global threat to human health for its rapid rate of dissemination and ability to make pathogenic microbes resistant to almost all known β-lactam antibiotics. In addition, effective NDM-1 inhibitors have not been identified to date. In spite of the plethora of structural and kinetic data available, the accurate molecular characteristics of and details on the enzymatic reaction of NDM-1 hydrolyzing β-lactam antibiotics remain incompletely understood. In this study, a combined computational approach including molecular docking, molecular dynamics simulations and quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics calculations was performed to characterize the catalytic mechanism of meropenem catalyzed by NDM-1. The quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics results indicate that the ionized D124 is beneficial to the cleavage of the C-N bond within the β-lactam ring. Meanwhile, it is energetically favorable to form an intermediate if no water molecule coordinates to Zn2. Moreover, according to the molecular dynamics results, the conserved residue K211 plays a pivotal role in substrate binding and catalysis, which is quite consistent with previous mutagenesis data. Our study provides detailed insights into the catalytic mechanism of NDM-1 hydrolyzing meropenem β-lactam antibiotics and offers clues for the discovery of new antibiotics against NDM-1 positive strains in clinical studies.

  6. A quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics study on the hydrolysis mechanism of New Delhi metallo-β-lactamase-1

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhu, Kongkai; Lu, Junyan; Liang, Zhongjie; Kong, Xiangqian; Ye, Fei; Jin, Lu; Geng, Heji; Chen, Yong; Zheng, Mingyue; Jiang, Hualiang; Li, Jun-Qian; Luo, Cheng

    2013-03-01

    New Delhi metallo-β-lactamase-1 (NDM-1) has emerged as a major global threat to human health for its rapid rate of dissemination and ability to make pathogenic microbes resistant to almost all known β-lactam antibiotics. In addition, effective NDM-1 inhibitors have not been identified to date. In spite of the plethora of structural and kinetic data available, the accurate molecular characteristics of and details on the enzymatic reaction of NDM-1 hydrolyzing β-lactam antibiotics remain incompletely understood. In this study, a combined computational approach including molecular docking, molecular dynamics simulations and quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics calculations was performed to characterize the catalytic mechanism of meropenem catalyzed by NDM-1. The quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics results indicate that the ionized D124 is beneficial to the cleavage of the C-N bond within the β-lactam ring. Meanwhile, it is energetically favorable to form an intermediate if no water molecule coordinates to Zn2. Moreover, according to the molecular dynamics results, the conserved residue K211 plays a pivotal role in substrate binding and catalysis, which is quite consistent with previous mutagenesis data. Our study provides detailed insights into the catalytic mechanism of NDM-1 hydrolyzing meropenem β-lactam antibiotics and offers clues for the discovery of new antibiotics against NDM-1 positive strains in clinical studies.

  7. Evolutionary mechanism of the defects in the fluoride-containing phosphate based glasses induced by gamma radiation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Pengfei; He, Quanlong; Lu, Min; Li, Weinan; Peng, Bo

    2016-01-01

    In the laser driven inertial confinement fusion (ICF) experimental target chamber, like the 3ω (351 nm) laser irradiation, the irradiation of gamma ray and X-rays, will also cause the formation and increase of various defects in the investigated series of fluoride-containing phosphate based glasses that have potential use in novel high performance color separation optics. The induced defects contribute to the increase of absorption in the UV region, which will make the UV performance of these laser glasses deteriorated. Some of the induced defects can be bleached to some extent through the subsequent thermal treatment process, resulting from the release and capture of the electrons in conduction band. Through the gamma radiation and post-heat treatment experiments, a general model of the evolutionary mechanism of the defects in these fluoride-containing phosphate based glasses was proposed.

  8. Atomistic insight into the catalytic mechanism of glycosyltransferases by combined quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) methods.

    PubMed

    Tvaroška, Igor

    2015-02-11

    Glycosyltransferases catalyze the formation of glycosidic bonds by assisting the transfer of a sugar residue from donors to specific acceptor molecules. Although structural and kinetic data have provided insight into mechanistic strategies employed by these enzymes, molecular modeling studies are essential for the understanding of glycosyltransferase catalyzed reactions at the atomistic level. For such modeling, combined quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) methods have emerged as crucial. These methods allow the modeling of enzymatic reactions by using quantum mechanical methods for the calculation of the electronic structure of the active site models and treating the remaining enzyme environment by faster molecular mechanics methods. Herein, the application of QM/MM methods to glycosyltransferase catalyzed reactions is reviewed, and the insight from modeling of glycosyl transfer into the mechanisms and transition states structures of both inverting and retaining glycosyltransferases are discussed.

  9. Mechanisms of Evolutionary Innovation Point to Genetic Control Logic as the Key Difference Between Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes.

    PubMed

    Bains, William; Schulze-Makuch, Dirk

    2015-08-01

    The evolution of life from the simplest, original form to complex, intelligent animal life occurred through a number of key innovations. Here we present a new tool to analyze these key innovations by proposing that the process of evolutionary innovation may follow one of three underlying processes, namely a Random Walk, a Critical Path, or a Many Paths process, and in some instances may also constitute a "Pull-up the Ladder" event. Our analysis is based on the occurrence of function in modern biology, rather than specific structure or mechanism. A function in modern biology may be classified in this way either on the basis of its evolution or the basis of its modern mechanism. Characterizing key innovations in this way helps identify the likelihood that an innovation could arise. In this paper, we describe the classification, and methods to classify functional features of modern organisms into these three classes based on the analysis of how a function is implemented in modern biology. We present the application of our categorization to the evolution of eukaryotic gene control. We use this approach to support the argument that there are few, and possibly no basic chemical differences between the functional constituents of the machinery of gene control between eukaryotes, bacteria and archaea. This suggests that the difference between eukaryotes and prokaryotes that allows the former to develop the complex genetic architecture seen in animals and plants is something other than their chemistry. We tentatively identify the difference as a difference in control logic, that prokaryotic genes are by default 'on' and eukaryotic genes are by default 'off.' The Many Paths evolutionary process suggests that, from a 'default off' starting point, the evolution of the genetic complexity of higher eukaryotes is a high probability event.

  10. Of Fighting Flies, Mice, and Men: Are Some of the Molecular and Neuronal Mechanisms of Aggression Universal in the Animal Kingdom?

    PubMed Central

    Dierick, Herman A.

    2015-01-01

    Aggressive behavior is widespread in the animal kingdom, but the degree of molecular conservation between distantly related species is still unclear. Recent reports suggest that at least some of the molecular mechanisms underlying this complex behavior in flies show remarkable similarities with such mechanisms in mice and even humans. Surprisingly, some aspects of neuronal control of aggression also show remarkable similarity between these distantly related species. We will review these recent findings, address the evolutionary implications, and discuss the potential impact for our understanding of human diseases characterized by excessive aggression. PMID:26312756

  11. Of Fighting Flies, Mice, and Men: Are Some of the Molecular and Neuronal Mechanisms of Aggression Universal in the Animal Kingdom?

    PubMed

    Thomas, Amanda L; Davis, Shaun M; Dierick, Herman A

    2015-08-01

    Aggressive behavior is widespread in the animal kingdom, but the degree of molecular conservation between distantly related species is still unclear. Recent reports suggest that at least some of the molecular mechanisms underlying this complex behavior in flies show remarkable similarities with such mechanisms in mice and even humans. Surprisingly, some aspects of neuronal control of aggression also show remarkable similarity between these distantly related species. We will review these recent findings, address the evolutionary implications, and discuss the potential impact for our understanding of human diseases characterized by excessive aggression.

  12. Inactivation mechanism of glycerol dehydration by diol dehydratase from combined quantum mechanical/molecular mechanical calculations.

    PubMed

    Doitomi, Kazuki; Kamachi, Takashi; Toraya, Tetsuo; Yoshizawa, Kazunari

    2012-11-13

    Inactivation of diol dehydratase during the glycerol dehydration reaction is studied on the basis of quantum mechanical/molecular mechanical calculations. Glycerol is not a chiral compound but contains a prochiral carbon atom. Once it is bound to the active site, the enzyme adopts two binding conformations. One is predominantly responsible for the product-forming reaction (G(R) conformation), and the other primarily contributes to inactivation (G(S) conformation). Reactant radical is converted into a product and byproduct in the product-forming reaction and inactivation, respectively. The OH group migrates from C2 to C1 in the product-forming reaction, whereas the transfer of a hydrogen from the 3-OH group of glycerol to C1 takes place during the inactivation. The activation barrier of the hydrogen transfer does not depend on the substrate-binding conformation. On the other hand, the activation barrier of OH group migration is sensitive to conformation and is 4.5 kcal/mol lower in the G(R) conformation than in the G(S) conformation. In the OH group migration, Glu170 plays a critical role in stabilizing the reactant radical in the G(S) conformation. Moreover, the hydrogen bonding interaction between Ser301 and the 3-OH group of glycerol lowers the activation barrier in G(R)-TS2. As a result, the difference in energy between the hydrogen transfer and the OH group migration is reduced in the G(S) conformation, which shows that the inactivation is favored in the G(S) conformation.

  13. Molecular mechanisms of sound amplification in the mammalian cochlea.

    PubMed

    Ashmore, J F; Géléoc, G S; Harbott, L

    2000-10-24

    Mammalian hearing depends on the enhanced mechanical properties of the basilar membrane within the cochlear duct. The enhancement arises through the action of outer hair cells that act like force generators within the organ of Corti. Simple considerations show that underlying mechanism of somatic motility depends on local area changes within the lateral membrane of the cell. The molecular basis for this phenomenon is a dense array of particles that are inserted into the basolateral membrane and that are capable of sensing membrane potential field. We show here that outer hair cells selectively take up fructose, at rates high enough to suggest that a sugar transporter may be part of the motor complex. The relation of these findings to a recent candidate for the molecular motor is also discussed.

  14. Self-renewal molecular mechanisms of colorectal cancer stem cells

    PubMed Central

    Pan, Tianhui; Xu, Jinghong; Zhu, Yongliang

    2017-01-01

    Colorectal cancer stem cells (CCSCs) represent a small fraction of the colorectal cancer cell population that possess self-renewal and multi-lineage differentiation potential and drive tumorigenicity. Self-renewal is essential for the malignant biological behaviors of colorectal cancer stem cells. While the self-renewal molecular mechanisms of colorectal cancer stem cells are not yet fully understood, the aberrant activation of signaling pathways, such as Wnt, Notch, transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β)/bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) and Hedgehog-Gli (HH-GLI), specific roles mediated by cell surface markers and micro-environmental factors are involved in the regulation of self-renewal. The elucidation of the molecular mechanisms behind self-renewal may lead to the development of novel targeted interventions for the treatment of colorectal cancer. PMID:27909729

  15. Some Fundamental Molecular Mechanisms of Contractility in Fibrous Macromolecules

    PubMed Central

    Mandelkern, L.

    1967-01-01

    The fundamental molecular mechanisms of contractility and tension development in fibrous macromolecules are developed from the point of view of the principles of polymer physical chemistry. The problem is treated in a general manner to encompass the behavior of all macromolecular systems irrespective of their detailed chemical structure and particular function, if any. Primary attention is given to the contractile process which accompanies the crystal-liquid transition in axially oriented macromolecular systems. The theoretical nature of the process is discussed, and many experimental examples are given from the literature which demonstrate the expected behavior. Experimental attention is focused on the contraction of fibrous proteins, and the same underlying molecular mechanism is shown to be operative for a variety of different systems. PMID:6050598

  16. Separating Mechanical and Chemical Contributions to Molecular-Level Friction

    SciTech Connect

    KIM,HYUN I.; HOUSTON,JACK E.

    2000-08-14

    The authors use force-probe microscopy to study the friction force and the adhesive interaction for molecular monolayer self-assembled on both Au probe tips and substrate surfaces. By systematically varying the chemical nature of the end groups on these monolayers the authors have, for the first time, delineated the mechanical and chemical origins of molecular-level friction. They use chemically inert {double_bond}CH{sub 3} groups on both interracial surfaces to establish the purely mechanical component of the friction and contrast the results with the findings for chemically active {double_bond}COOH end-groups. In addition, by using odd or even numbers of methylene groups in the alkyl backbones of the molecules they are able to determine the levels of inter-film and intra-film hydrogen bonding.

  17. Molecular mechanisms of desiccation tolerance in resurrection plants.

    PubMed

    Gechev, Tsanko S; Dinakar, Challabathula; Benina, Maria; Toneva, Valentina; Bartels, Dorothea

    2012-10-01

    Resurrection plants are a small but diverse group of land plants characterized by their tolerance to extreme drought or desiccation. They have the unique ability to survive months to years without water, lose most of the free water in their vegetative tissues, fall into anabiosis, and, upon rewatering, quickly regain normal activity. Thus, they are fundamentally different from other drought-surviving plants such as succulents or ephemerals, which cope with drought by maintaining higher steady state water potential or via a short life cycle, respectively. This review describes the unique physiological and molecular adaptations of resurrection plants enabling them to withstand long periods of desiccation. The recent transcriptome analysis of Craterostigma plantagineum and Haberlea rhodopensis under drought, desiccation, and subsequent rehydration revealed common genetic pathways with other desiccation-tolerant species as well as unique genes that might contribute to the outstanding desiccation tolerance of the two resurrection species. While some of the molecular responses appear to be common for both drought stress and desiccation, resurrection plants also possess genes that are highly induced or repressed during desiccation with no apparent sequence homologies to genes of other species. Thus, resurrection plants are potential sources for gene discovery. Further proteome and metabolome analyses of the resurrection plants contributed to a better understanding of molecular mechanisms that are involved in surviving severe water loss. Understanding the cellular mechanisms of desiccation tolerance in this unique group of plants may enable future molecular improvement of drought tolerance in crop plants.

  18. Integrative network analysis reveals molecular mechanisms of blood pressure regulation

    PubMed Central

    Huan, Tianxiao; Meng, Qingying; Saleh, Mohamed A; Norlander, Allison E; Joehanes, Roby; Zhu, Jun; Chen, Brian H; Zhang, Bin; Johnson, Andrew D; Ying, Saixia; Courchesne, Paul; Raghavachari, Nalini; Wang, Richard; Liu, Poching; O'Donnell, Christopher J; Vasan, Ramachandran; Munson, Peter J; Madhur, Meena S; Harrison, David G; Yang, Xia; Levy, Daniel

    2015-01-01

    Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified numerous loci associated with blood pressure (BP). The molecular mechanisms underlying BP regulation, however, remain unclear. We investigated BP-associated molecular mechanisms by integrating BP GWAS with whole blood mRNA expression profiles in 3,679 individuals, using network approaches. BP transcriptomic signatures at the single-gene and the coexpression network module levels were identified. Four coexpression modules were identified as potentially causal based on genetic inference because expression-related SNPs for their corresponding genes demonstrated enrichment for BP GWAS signals. Genes from the four modules were further projected onto predefined molecular interaction networks, revealing key drivers. Gene subnetworks entailing molecular interactions between key drivers and BP-related genes were uncovered. As proof-of-concept, we validated SH2B3, one of the top key drivers, using Sh2b3−/− mice. We found that a significant number of genes predicted to be regulated by SH2B3 in gene networks are perturbed in Sh2b3−/− mice, which demonstrate an exaggerated pressor response to angiotensin II infusion. Our findings may help to identify novel targets for the prevention or treatment of hypertension. PMID:25882670

  19. Molecular mechanism of Ca(2+)-catalyzed fusion of phospholipid micelles.

    PubMed

    Tsai, Hui-Hsu Gavin; Juang, Wei-Fu; Chang, Che-Ming; Hou, Tsai-Yi; Lee, Jian-Bin

    2013-11-01

    Although membrane fusion plays key roles in intracellular trafficking, neurotransmitter release, and viral infection, its underlying molecular mechanism and its energy landscape are not well understood. In this study, we employed all-atom molecular dynamics simulations to investigate the fusion mechanism, catalyzed by Ca(2+) ions, of two highly hydrated 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-3-phosphoethanolamine (POPE) micelles. This simulation system mimics the small contact zone between two large vesicles at which the fusion is initiated. Our simulations revealed that Ca(2+) ions are capable of catalyzing the fusion of POPE micelles; in contrast, we did not observe close contact of the two micelles in the presence of only Na(+) or Mg(2+) ions. Determining the free energy landscape of fusion allowed us to characterize the underlying molecular mechanism. The Ca(2+) ions play a key role in catalyzing the micelle fusion in three aspects: creating a more-hydrophobic surface on the micelles, binding two micelles together, and enhancing the formation of the pre-stalk state. In contrast, Na(+) or Mg(2+) ions have relatively limited effects. Effective fusion proceeds through sequential formation of pre-stalk, stalk, hemifused-like, and fused states. The pre-stalk state is the state featuring lipid tails exposed to the inter-micellar space; its formation is the rate-limiting step. The stalk state is the state where a localized hydrophobic core is formed connecting two micelles; its formation occurs in conjunction with water expulsion from the inter-micellar space. This study provides insight into the molecular mechanism of fusion from the points of view of energetics, structure, and dynamics.

  20. Molecular Transport Mechanisms for Associating and Solvating Penetrant in Polymers

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2007-11-02

    PIB ) at different vapor activities in order to understand complex diffusion mechanisms and probe molecular structures above the glass tranisition. The...the individual diffusion coefficients can be separated and that they are equal to each other for the acetic acid/ PIB system. The values of the...BOH) mixtures in polyisobutylene ( PIB ) was studied at varying mixture compositions. Diffusion coefficients and hydrogen bonding interactions were

  1. Molecular mechanisms of metabolic regulation by insulin in Drosophila.

    PubMed

    Teleman, Aurelio A

    2009-12-14

    The insulin signalling pathway is highly conserved from mammals to Drosophila. Insulin signalling in the fly, as in mammals, regulates a number of physiological functions, including carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, tissue growth and longevity. In the present review, I discuss the molecular mechanisms by which insulin signalling regulates metabolism in Drosophila, comparing and contrasting with the mammalian system. I discuss both the intracellular signalling network, as well as the communication between organs in the fly.

  2. Underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms in childhood irritable bowel syndrome.

    PubMed

    Chumpitazi, Bruno P; Shulman, Robert J

    2016-12-01

    Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects a large number of children throughout the world. The symptom expression of IBS is heterogeneous, and several factors which may be interrelated within the IBS biopsychosocial model play a role. These factors include visceral hyperalgesia, intestinal permeability, gut microbiota, psychosocial distress, gut inflammation, bile acids, food intolerance, colonic bacterial fermentation, and genetics. The molecular and cellular mechanisms of these factors are being actively investigated. In this mini-review, we present updates of these mechanisms and, where possible, relate the findings to childhood IBS. Mechanistic elucidation may lead to the identification of biomarkers as well as personalized childhood IBS therapies.

  3. Molecular Mechanisms Regulating TGF-β-Induced Foxp3 Expression

    PubMed Central

    Xu, Lili; Kitani, Atsushi; Strober, Warren

    2013-01-01

    Molecular mechanisms regulating TGF-β induction of Foxp3 expression and thus induction of iTregs has been the focus of a great deal of study in recent years. It has become clear that this process is influenced by a number of factors as perhaps might be predicted by the fact that there is an overarching need of the immune system to fine-tune response to environmental antigens. In this review we discuss these mechanisms, with the aim of presenting a broad picture of how the various observations fit together to form an integrated regulatory regime. PMID:20404810

  4. Mechanical instability of α-quartz: A molecular dynamics study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tse, John S.; Klug, Dennis D.

    1991-12-01

    Pressure-induced amorphization in α-quartz has been investigated using constant-pressure molecular-dynamics calculations with the two-body potential of van Beest, Kramer, and van Santen. Both the static properties and the crystalline-to-amorphous phase transition were very well reproduced. Through an analysis of the elastic moduli, the mechanism for the transformation is shown to be a mechanical instability driven mainly by a cooperative twisting and compression of the helical tetrahedral silicate units with an abrupt decrease in the C12, C23, C13, C14, and C33 elastic moduli.

  5. Water Exchange Rates and Molecular Mechanism around Aqueous Halide Ions

    SciTech Connect

    Annapureddy, Harsha V.; Dang, Liem X.

    2014-07-17

    Molecular dynamics simulations were performed to systematically study the water-exchange mechanism around aqueous chloride, bromide, and iodide ions. Transition state theory, Grote-Hynes theory, and the reactive flux method were employed to compute water exchange rates. We computed the pressure dependence of rate constants and the corresponding activation volumes to investigate the mechanism of the solvent exchange event. The activation volumes obtained using the transition state theory rate constants are negative for all the three anions, thus indicating an associative mechanism. Contrary to the transition state theory results, activation volumes obtained using rate constants from Grote-Hynes theory and the reactive flux method are positive, thus indicating a dissociative mechanism. The Division of Chemical Sciences, Geosciences, and Biosciences, Office of Basic Energy Sciences (BES), of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funded this work. Battelle operates Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for DOE. The calculations were carried out using computer resources provided by BES.

  6. Kainate receptor trafficking: physiological roles and molecular mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Isaac, John T R; Mellor, Jack; Hurtado, David; Roche, Katherine W

    2004-12-01

    Recently, there has been intense interest in the mechanisms regulating the trafficking and synaptic targeting of kainate receptors in neurons. This topic is still in its infancy when compared with studies of trafficking of other ionotropic glutamate receptors; however, it is already clear that mechanisms exist for subunit- and splice variant-specific trafficking of kainate receptors. There is also enormous diversity of kainate receptor targeting, with the best-studied neurons in this regard being hippocampal CA3 pyramidal neurons and CA1 GABAergic interneurons. This review summarizes the current state of knowledge on this topic, focusing on the molecular mechanisms of kainate receptor trafficking and the potential for these mechanisms to regulate neuronal kainate receptor function.

  7. Simulated scaling method for localized enhanced sampling and simultaneous "alchemical" free energy simulations: a general method for molecular mechanical, quantum mechanical, and quantum mechanical/molecular mechanical simulations.

    PubMed

    Li, Hongzhi; Fajer, Mikolai; Yang, Wei

    2007-01-14

    A potential scaling version of simulated tempering is presented to efficiently sample configuration space in a localized region. The present "simulated scaling" method is developed with a Wang-Landau type of updating scheme in order to quickly flatten the distributions in the scaling parameter lambdam space. This proposal is meaningful for a broad range of biophysical problems, in which localized sampling is required. Besides its superior capability and robustness in localized conformational sampling, this simulated scaling method can also naturally lead to efficient "alchemical" free energy predictions when dual-topology alchemical hybrid potential is applied; thereby simultaneously, both of the chemically and conformationally distinct portions of two end point chemical states can be efficiently sampled. As demonstrated in this work, the present method is also feasible for the quantum mechanical and quantum mechanical/molecular mechanical simulations.

  8. Molecular mechanisms of hookworm disease: stealth, virulence, and vaccines.

    PubMed

    Pearson, Mark S; Tribolet, Leon; Cantacessi, Cinzia; Periago, Maria Victoria; Valero, Maria Adela; Valerio, Maria Adela; Jariwala, Amar R; Hotez, Peter; Diemert, David; Loukas, Alex; Bethony, Jeffrey

    2012-07-01

    Hookworms produce a vast repertoire of structurally and functionally diverse molecules that mediate their long-term survival and pathogenesis within a human host. Many of these molecules are secreted by the parasite, after which they interact with critical components of host biology, including processes that are key to host survival. The most important of these interactions is the hookworm's interruption of nutrient acquisition by the host through its ingestion and digestion of host blood. This results in iron deficiency and eventually the microcytic hypochromic anemia or iron deficiency anemia that is the clinical hallmark of hookworm infection. Other molecular mechanisms of hookworm infection cause a systematic suppression of the host immune response to both the parasite and to bystander antigens (eg, vaccines or allergens). This is achieved by a series of molecules that assist the parasite in the stealthy evasion of the host immune response. This review will summarize the current knowledge of the molecular mechanisms used by hookworms to survive for extended periods in the human host (up to 7 years or longer) and examine the pivotal contributions of these molecular mechanisms to chronic hookworm parasitism and host clinical outcomes.

  9. Fault bars in bird feathers: mechanisms, and ecological and evolutionary causes and consequences.

    PubMed

    Jovani, Roger; Rohwer, Sievert

    2017-05-01

    Fault bars are narrow malformations in feathers oriented almost perpendicular to the rachis where the feather vein and even the rachis may break. Breaks in the barbs and barbules result in small pieces of the feather vein being lost, while breaks in the rachis result in loss of the distal portion of the feather. Here, we provide a comprehensive review of 74 papers on fault bar formation in hopes of providing a clearer approach to their study. First, we review the evidence that the propensity to develop fault bars is modified by natural selection. Given that fault bars persist in the face of survival costs, we conclude that they must be an unfortunate consequence of some alternative adaptation that outweighs the fitness costs of fault bars. Second, we summarize evidence that the development of fault bars is triggered by psychological stress such as that of handling or predation attempts, and that they persist because the sudden contractions of the muscles in the feather follicle that control fright moults also causes the development of fault bars in growing feathers. Third, we review external and physiological (e.g. corticosterone) agents that may affect the likelihood that an acute stress will result in a growing feather exhibiting a fault bar. These modifying factors have often been treated as fundamental causes in the earlier literature on fault bars. Fourth, we then use this classification to propose a tentative model where fault bars of different severity (from light to severe) are the outcome of the interaction between the propensity to produce fault bars (which differs between species, individuals and feather follicles within individuals) and the intensity of the perturbation. This model helps to explain contradictory results in the literature, to identify gaps in our knowledge, and to suggest further studies. Lastly, we discuss ways in which better understanding of fault bars can inform us about other aspects of avian evolutionary ecology, such as the

  10. Molecular structure and elastic properties of thermotropic liquid crystals: integrated molecular dynamics--statistical mechanical theory vs molecular field approach.

    PubMed

    Ilk Capar, M; Nar, A; Ferrarini, A; Frezza, E; Greco, C; Zakharov, A V; Vakulenko, A A

    2013-03-21

    The connection between the molecular structure of liquid crystals and their elastic properties, which control the director deformations relevant for electro-optic applications, remains a challenging objective for theories and computations. Here, we compare two methods that have been proposed to this purpose, both characterized by a detailed molecular level description. One is an integrated molecular dynamics-statistical mechanical approach, where the bulk elastic constants of nematics are calculated from the direct correlation function (DCFs) and the single molecule orientational distribution function [D. A. McQuarrie, Statistical Mechanics (Harper & Row, New York, 1973)]. The latter is obtained from atomistic molecular dynamics trajectories, together with the radial distribution function, from which the DCF is then determined by solving the Ornstein-Zernike equation. The other approach is based on a molecular field theory, where the potential of mean torque experienced by a mesogen in the liquid crystal phase is parameterized according to its molecular surface. In this case, the calculation of elastic constants is combined with the Monte Carlo sampling of single molecule conformations. Using these different approaches, but the same description, at the level of molecular geometry and torsional potentials, we have investigated the elastic properties of the nematic phase of two typical mesogens, 4'-n-pentyloxy-4-cyanobiphenyl and 4'-n-heptyloxy-4-cyanobiphenyl. Both methods yield K3(bend) >K1 (splay) >K2 (twist), although there are some discrepancies in the average elastic constants and in their anisotropy. These are interpreted in terms of the different approximations and the different ways of accounting for the structural properties of molecules in the two approaches. In general, the results point to the role of the molecular shape, which is modulated by the conformational freedom and cannot be fully accounted for by a single descriptor such as the aspect ratio.

  11. Molecular structure and elastic properties of thermotropic liquid crystals: Integrated molecular dynamics—Statistical mechanical theory vs molecular field approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Capar, M. Ilk; Nar, A.; Ferrarini, A.; Frezza, E.; Greco, C.; Zakharov, A. V.; Vakulenko, A. A.

    2013-03-01

    The connection between the molecular structure of liquid crystals and their elastic properties, which control the director deformations relevant for electro-optic applications, remains a challenging objective for theories and computations. Here, we compare two methods that have been proposed to this purpose, both characterized by a detailed molecular level description. One is an integrated molecular dynamics-statistical mechanical approach, where the bulk elastic constants of nematics are calculated from the direct correlation function (DCFs) and the single molecule orientational distribution function [D. A. McQuarrie, Statistical Mechanics (Harper & Row, New York, 1973)]. The latter is obtained from atomistic molecular dynamics trajectories, together with the radial distribution function, from which the DCF is then determined by solving the Ornstein-Zernike equation. The other approach is based on a molecular field theory, where the potential of mean torque experienced by a mesogen in the liquid crystal phase is parameterized according to its molecular surface. In this case, the calculation of elastic constants is combined with the Monte Carlo sampling of single molecule conformations. Using these different approaches, but the same description, at the level of molecular geometry and torsional potentials, we have investigated the elastic properties of the nematic phase of two typical mesogens, 4'-n-pentyloxy-4-cyanobiphenyl and 4'-n-heptyloxy-4-cyanobiphenyl. Both methods yield K3(bend) >K1 (splay) >K2 (twist), although there are some discrepancies in the average elastic constants and in their anisotropy. These are interpreted in terms of the different approximations and the different ways of accounting for the structural properties of molecules in the two approaches. In general, the results point to the role of the molecular shape, which is modulated by the conformational freedom and cannot be fully accounted for by a single descriptor such as the aspect ratio.

  12. Nanostructure and molecular mechanics of spider dragline silk protein assemblies.

    PubMed

    Keten, Sinan; Buehler, Markus J

    2010-12-06

    Spider silk is a self-assembling biopolymer that outperforms most known materials in terms of its mechanical performance, despite its underlying weak chemical bonding based on H-bonds. While experimental studies have shown that the molecular structure of silk proteins has a direct influence on the stiffness, toughness and failure strength of silk, no molecular-level analysis of the nanostructure and associated mechanical properties of silk assemblies have been reported. Here, we report atomic-level structures of MaSp1 and MaSp2 proteins from the Nephila clavipes spider dragline silk sequence, obtained using replica exchange molecular dynamics, and subject these structures to mechanical loading for a detailed nanomechanical analysis. The structural analysis reveals that poly-alanine regions in silk predominantly form distinct and orderly beta-sheet crystal domains, while disorderly regions are formed by glycine-rich repeats that consist of 3₁-helix type structures and beta-turns. Our structural predictions are validated against experimental data based on dihedral angle pair calculations presented in Ramachandran plots, alpha-carbon atomic distances, as well as secondary structure content. Mechanical shearing simulations on selected structures illustrate that the nanoscale behaviour of silk protein assemblies is controlled by the distinctly different secondary structure content and hydrogen bonding in the crystalline and semi-amorphous regions. Both structural and mechanical characterization results show excellent agreement with available experimental evidence. Our findings set the stage for extensive atomistic investigations of silk, which may contribute towards an improved understanding of the source of the strength and toughness of this biological superfibre.

  13. Importance of gene duplication in the evolution of genomic imprinting revealed by molecular evolutionary analysis of the type I MADS-box gene family in Arabidopsis species.

    PubMed

    Yoshida, Takanori; Kawabe, Akira

    2013-01-01

    The pattern of molecular evolution of imprinted genes is controversial and the entire picture is still to be unveiled. Recently, a relationship between the formation of imprinted genes and gene duplication was reported in genome-wide survey of imprinted genes in Arabidopsis thaliana. Because gene duplications influence the molecular evolution of the duplicated gene family, it is necessary to investigate both the pattern of molecular evolution and the possible relationship between gene duplication and genomic imprinting for a better understanding of evolutionary aspects of imprinted genes. In this study, we investigated the evolutionary changes of type I MADS-box genes that include imprinted genes by using relative species of Arabidopsis thaliana (two subspecies of A. lyrata and three subspecies of A. halleri). A duplicated gene family enables us to compare DNA sequences between imprinted genes and its homologs. We found an increased number of gene duplications within species in clades containing the imprinted genes, further supporting the hypothesis that local gene duplication is one of the driving forces for the formation of imprinted genes. Moreover, data obtained by phylogenetic analysis suggested "rapid evolution" of not only imprinted genes but also its closely related orthologous genes, which implies the effect of gene duplication on molecular evolution of imprinted genes.

  14. Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene: Mechanics, Morphology, and Clinical Behavior

    PubMed Central

    Sobieraj, MC; Rimnac, CM

    2013-01-01

    Ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) is a semicrystalline polymer that has been used for over four decades as a bearing surface in total joint replacements. The mechanical properties and wear properties of UHMWPE are of interest with respect to the in vivo performance of UHMWPE joint replacement components. The mechanical properties of the polymer are dependent on both its crystalline and amorphous phases. Altering either phase (i.e., changing overall crystallinity, crystalline morphology, or crosslinking the amorphous phase) can affect the mechanical behavior of the material. There is also evidence that the morphology of UHMWPE, and, hence, its mechanical properties evolve with loading. UHMWPE has also been shown to be susceptible to oxidative degradation following gamma radiation sterilization with subsequent loss of mechanical properties. Contemporary UHMWPE sterilization methods have been developed to reduce or eliminate oxidative degradation. Also, crosslinking of UHMWPE has been pursued to improve the wear resistance of UHMWPE joint components. The 1st generation of highly crosslinked UHMWPEs have resulted in clinically reduced wear; however, the mechanical properties of these materials, such as ductility and fracture toughness, are reduced when compared to the virgin material. Therefore, a 2nd generation of highly crosslinked UHMWPEs are being introduced to preserve the wear resistance of the 1st generation while also seeking to provide oxidative stability and improved mechanical properties. PMID:19627849

  15. Evolutionary mechanisms driving the evolution of a large polydnavirus gene family coding for protein tyrosine phosphatases

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background Gene duplications have been proposed to be the main mechanism involved in genome evolution and in acquisition of new functions. Polydnaviruses (PDVs), symbiotic viruses associated with parasitoid wasps, are ideal model systems to study mechanisms of gene duplications given that PDV genomes consist of virulence genes organized into multigene families. In these systems the viral genome is integrated in a wasp chromosome as a provirus and virus particles containing circular double-stranded DNA are injected into the parasitoids’ hosts and are essential for parasitism success. The viral virulence factors, organized in gene families, are required collectively to induce host immune suppression and developmental arrest. The gene family which encodes protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs) has undergone spectacular expansion in several PDV genomes with up to 42 genes. Results Here, we present strong indications that PTP gene family expansion occurred via classical mechanisms: by duplication of large segments of the chromosomally integrated form of the virus sequences (segmental duplication), by tandem duplications within this form and by dispersed duplications. We also propose a novel duplication mechanism specific to PDVs that involves viral circle reintegration into the wasp genome. The PTP copies produced were shown to undergo conservative evolution along with episodes of adaptive evolution. In particular recently produced copies have undergone positive selection in sites most likely involved in defining substrate selectivity. Conclusion The results provide evidence about the dynamic nature of polydnavirus proviral genomes. Classical and PDV-specific duplication mechanisms have been involved in the production of new gene copies. Selection pressures associated with antagonistic interactions with parasitized hosts have shaped these genes used to manipulate lepidopteran physiology with evidence for positive selection involved in adaptation to host targets. PMID

  16. Hyperthermophilic Enzymes: Sources, Uses, and Molecular Mechanisms for Thermostability

    PubMed Central

    Vieille, Claire; Zeikus, Gregory J.

    2001-01-01

    Enzymes synthesized by hyperthermophiles (bacteria and archaea with optimal growth temperatures of >80°C), also called hyperthermophilic enzymes, are typically thermostable (i.e., resistant to irreversible inactivation at high temperatures) and are optimally active at high temperatures. These enzymes share the same catalytic mechanisms with their mesophilic counterparts. When cloned and expressed in mesophilic hosts, hyperthermophilic enzymes usually retain their thermal properties, indicating that these properties are genetically encoded. Sequence alignments, amino acid content comparisons, crystal structure comparisons, and mutagenesis experiments indicate that hyperthermophilic enzymes are, indeed, very similar to their mesophilic homologues. No single mechanism is responsible for the remarkable stability of hyperthermophilic enzymes. Increased thermostability must be found, instead, in a small number of highly specific alterations that often do not obey any obvious traffic rules. After briefly discussing the diversity of hyperthermophilic organisms, this review concentrates on the remarkable thermostability of their enzymes. The biochemical and molecular properties of hyperthermophilic enzymes are described. Mechanisms responsible for protein inactivation are reviewed. The molecular mechanisms involved in protein thermostabilization are discussed, including ion pairs, hydrogen bonds, hydrophobic interactions, disulfide bridges, packing, decrease of the entropy of unfolding, and intersubunit interactions. Finally, current uses and potential applications of thermophilic and hyperthermophilic enzymes as research reagents and as catalysts for industrial processes are described. PMID:11238984

  17. The superspreading mechanism unveiled via molecular dynamics simulations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Theodorakis, Panagiotis; Muller, Erich; Craster, Richard; Matar, Omar

    2014-11-01

    Superspreading, by which aqueous droplets laden with specific surfactants wet hydrophobic substrates, is an unusual and dramatic phenomenon. This is attributed to various factors, e.g., a particular surfactant geometry, Marangoni flow, unique solid-fluid interactions, however, direct evidence for a plausible mechanism for superspreading has not yet been provided. Here, we use molecular dynamics simulations of a coarse-grained model with force fields obtained from the SAFT- γ equation of state to capture the superspreading mechanism of water drops with surfactants on model surfaces. Our simulations highlight and monitor the main features of the molecular behavior that lead to the superspreading mechanism, and reproduce and explain the experimentally-observed characteristic maxima of the spreading rate of the droplet vs. surfactant concentration and wettability. We also present a comparison between superspreading and non-superspreading surfactants underlining the main morphological and energetic characteristics of superspreaders. We believe that this is the first time a plausible superspreading mechanism based on a microscopic description is proposed; this will enable the design of surfactants with enhanced spreading ability specifically tailored for applications. EPSRC Grant Number EP/J010502/1.

  18. Linking traits based on their shared molecular mechanisms

    PubMed Central

    Oren, Yael; Nachshon, Aharon; Frishberg, Amit; Wilentzik, Roni; Gat-Viks, Irit

    2015-01-01

    There is growing recognition that co-morbidity and co-occurrence of disease traits are often determined by shared genetic and molecular mechanisms. In most cases, however, the specific mechanisms that lead to such trait–trait relationships are yet unknown. Here we present an analysis of a broad spectrum of behavioral and physiological traits together with gene-expression measurements across genetically diverse mouse strains. We develop an unbiased methodology that constructs potentially overlapping groups of traits and resolves their underlying combination of genetic loci and molecular mechanisms. For example, our method predicts that genetic variation in the Klf7 gene may influence gene transcripts in bone marrow-derived myeloid cells, which in turn affect 17 behavioral traits following morphine injection; this predicted effect of Klf7 is consistent with an in vitro perturbation of Klf7 in bone marrow cells. Our analysis demonstrates the utility of studying hidden causative mechanisms that lead to relationships between complex traits. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.04346.001 PMID:25781485

  19. Evolutionary constraints over microsatellite abundance in larger mammals as a potential mechanism against carcinogenic burden

    PubMed Central

    Park, Jung Youn; An, Yong-Rock; An, Chul-Min; Kang, Jung-Ha; Kim, Eun Mi; Kim, Heebal; Cho, Seoae; Kim, Jaemin

    2016-01-01

    Larger organisms tend to live longer, have more potentially carcinogenic cells, and undergo more cell divisions. While one might intuitively expect cancer incidence to scale with body size, this assertion does not hold over the range of different mammals. Explaining this lack of correlation, so-called ‘Peto’s paradox’ can likely increase our understanding of how cancer defense mechanisms are shaped by natural selection. Here, we study the occurrence of microsatellite in mammal genomes and observe that animals with expanded body size restrain the number of microsatellite. To take into account of higher mutation rate in the microsatellite region compared to that of genome, limiting the abundance of somatic mutations might explain how larger organisms could overcome the burden of cancer. These observations may serve as the basis to better understand how evolution has modeled protective mechanisms against cancer development. PMID:27125812

  20. An evolutionary view of the mechanism for immune and genome diversity.

    PubMed

    Kato, Lucia; Stanlie, Andre; Begum, Nasim A; Kobayashi, Maki; Aida, Masatoshi; Honjo, Tasuku

    2012-04-15

    An ortholog of activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID) was, evolutionarily, the first enzyme to generate acquired immune diversity by catalyzing gene conversion and probably somatic hypermutation (SHM). AID began to mediate class switch recombination (CSR) only after the evolution of frogs. Recent studies revealed that the mechanisms for generating immune and genetic diversity share several critical features. Meiotic recombination, V(D)J recombination, CSR, and SHM all require H3K4 trimethyl histone modification to specify the target DNA. Genetic instability related to dinucleotide or triplet repeats depends on DNA cleavage by topoisomerase 1, which also initiates DNA cleavage in both SHM and CSR. These similarities suggest that AID hijacked the basic mechanism for genome instability when AID evolved in jawless fish. Thus, the risk of introducing genome instability into nonimmunoglobulin loci is unavoidable but tolerable compared with the advantage conferred on the host of being protected against pathogens by the enormous Ig diversification.

  1. Molecular mechanisms of coronavirus RNA capping and methylation.

    PubMed

    Chen, Yu; Guo, Deyin

    2016-02-01

    The 5'-cap structures of eukaryotic mRNAs are important for RNA stability, pre-mRNA splicing, mRNA export, and protein translation. Many viruses have evolved mechanisms for generating their own cap structures with methylation at the N7 position of the capped guanine and the ribose 2'-Oposition of the first nucleotide, which help viral RNAs escape recognition by the host innate immune system. The RNA genomes of coronavirus were identified to have 5'-caps in the early 1980s. However, for decades the RNA capping mechanisms of coronaviruses remained unknown. Since 2003, the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus has drawn increased attention and stimulated numerous studies on the molecular virology of coronaviruses. Here, we review the current understanding of the mechanisms adopted by coronaviruses to produce the 5'-cap structure and methylation modification of viral genomic RNAs.

  2. Physiological, Molecular and Genetic Mechanisms of Long-Term Habituation

    SciTech Connect

    Calin-Jageman, Robert J

    2009-09-12

    Work funded on this grant has explored the mechanisms of long-term habituation, a ubiquitous form of learning that plays a key role in basic cognitive functioning. Specifically, behavioral, physiological, and molecular mechanisms of habituation have been explored using a simple model system, the tail-elicited siphon-withdrawal reflex (T-SWR) in the marine mollusk Aplysia californica. Substantial progress has been made on the first and third aims, providing some fundamental insights into the mechanisms by which memories are stored. We have characterized the physiological correlates of short- and long-term habituation. We found that short-term habituation is accompanied by a robust sensory adaptation, whereas long-term habituation is accompanied by alterations in sensory and interneuron synaptic efficacy. Thus, our data indicates memories can be shifted between different sites in a neural network as they are consolidated from short to long term. At the molecular level, we have accomplished microarray analysis comparing gene expression in both habituated and control ganglia. We have identified a network of putatively regulated transcripts that seems particularly targeted towards synaptic changes (e.g. SNAP25, calmodulin) . We are now beginning additional work to confirm regulation of these transcripts and build a more detailed understanding of the cascade of molecular events leading to the permanent storage of long-term memories. On the third aim, we have fostered a nascent neuroscience program via a variety of successful initiatives. We have funded over 11 undergraduate neuroscience scholars, several of whom have been recognized at national and regional levels for their research. We have also conducted a pioneering summer research program for community college students which is helping enhance access of underrepresented groups to life science careers. Despite minimal progress on the second aim, this project has provided a) novel insight into the network mechanisms by

  3. Molecular Mechanisms of Aging and Immune System Regulation in Drosophila

    PubMed Central

    Eleftherianos, Ioannis; Castillo, Julio Cesar

    2012-01-01

    Aging is a complex process that involves the accumulation of deleterious changes resulting in overall decline in several vital functions, leading to the progressive deterioration in physiological condition of the organism and eventually causing disease and death. The immune system is the most important host-defense mechanism in humans and is also highly conserved in insects. Extensive research in vertebrates has concluded that aging of the immune function results in increased susceptibility to infectious disease and chronic inflammation. Over the years, interest has grown in studying the molecular interaction between aging and the immune response to pathogenic infections. The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster is an excellent model system for dissecting the genetic and genomic basis of important biological processes, such as aging and the innate immune system, and deciphering parallel mechanisms in vertebrate animals. Here, we review the recent advances in the identification of key players modulating the relationship between molecular aging networks and immune signal transduction pathways in the fly. Understanding the details of the molecular events involved in aging and immune system regulation will potentially lead to the development of strategies for decreasing the impact of age-related diseases, thus improving human health and life span. PMID:22949833

  4. Discovering novel ligands for understanding molecular mechanism of bacteria chemotaxis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lai, Luhua

    2015-03-01

    In order to understand the molecular mechanism of bacteria chemotaxis, we used a combined experimental and computational approach to discover novel chemoeffector molecules and compare their binding features, as well as the conformational changes they produce. We first used molecular docking to computationally screen a large chemical library and tested binding strengths of the top-ranking molecules for the E. coli chemoreceptor Tar. Chemotactic properties of the binding molecules were then studied using a specially designed microfluidic device. Novel attractant and antagonist molecules were identified that bind directly with the E. coli chemoreceptor Tar. Molecular dynamics simulations showed that attractant and antagonist binding result in distinct conformational changes in Tar. Differences of antagonist and attractant binding suggest that molecules lacking triggering interaction with the receptor behave as antagonist. For Tar, the triggering interaction is mediated by the hydrogen bonds formed between a donor group in the attractant and the main-chain carbonyls in the fourth helix of Tar. This ?bind-and-trigger? mechanism of receptor signaling is verified experimentally by converting an antagonist into an attractant when introducing an NH group into the antagonist compound. Similar conformational changes were also observed in the E. coli Tsr system.

  5. Non Equilibrium Transformations of Molecular Compounds Induced Mechanically

    SciTech Connect

    Descamps, M.; Willart, J. F.; Dudognon, E.

    2006-05-05

    Results clarifying the effects of mechanical milling on molecular solids are shortly reviewed. Special attention has been paid to the temperature of milling with regard to the glass transition temperature of the compounds. It is shown that decreasing the grinding temperature has for incidence to increase the amorphization tendency whereas milling above Tg produces a crystal-to-crystal transformation between polymorphic varieties. These observations contradict the usual proposition that grinding transforms the physical state only by a heating effect which induces a local melting. Equilibrium thermodynamics does not seem to be appropriate for describing the process. The driven alloys concept offers a more rational framework to interpret the effect of the milling temperature. Other results are presented which demonstrate the possibility for grinding to realize low temperature solid state alloying which offers new promising ways to stabilize amorphous molecular solids. In a second part the effect of dehydration of a molecular hydrate is described. It is shown that the rate of the dehydration process is a driving force for this other type of mechanical non equilibrium transformation.

  6. Studies on the molecular mechanisms of seed germination.

    PubMed

    Han, Chao; Yang, Pingfang

    2015-05-01

    Seed germination that begins with imbibition and ends with radicle emergence is the first step for plant growth. Successful germination is not only crucial for seedling establishment but also important for crop yield. After being dispersed from mother plant, seed undergoes continuous desiccation in ecosystem and selects proper environment to trigger germination. Owing to the contribution of transcriptomic, proteomic, and molecular biological studies, molecular aspect of seed germination is elucidated well in Arabidopsis. Recently, more and more proteomic and genetic studies concerning cereal seed germination were performed on rice (Oryza sativa) and barley (Hordeum vulgare), which possess completely different seed structure and domestication background with Arabidopsis. In this review, both the common features and the distinct mechanisms of seed germination are compared among different plant species including Arabidopsis, rice, and maize. These features include morphological changes, cell and its related structure recovery, metabolic activation, hormone behavior, and transcription and translation activation. This review will provide more comprehensive insights into the molecular mechanisms of seed germination.

  7. Molecular mechanisms of foliar water uptake in a desert tree

    PubMed Central

    Yan, Xia; Zhou, Maoxian; Dong, Xicun; Zou, Songbing; Xiao, Honglang; Ma, Xiao-Fei

    2015-01-01

    Water deficits severely affect growth, particularly for the plants in arid and semiarid regions of the world. In addition to precipitation, other subsidiary water, such as dew, fog, clouds and small rain showers, may also be absorbed by leaves in a process known as foliar water uptake. With the severe scarcity of water in desert regions, this process is increasingly becoming a necessity. Studies have reported on physical and physiological processes of foliar water uptake. However, the molecular mechanisms remain less understood. As major channels for water regulation and transport, aquaporins (AQPs) are involved in this process. However, due to the regulatory complexity and functional diversity of AQPs, their molecular mechanism for foliar water uptake remains unclear. In this study, Tamarix ramosissima, a tree species widely distributed in desert regions, was investigated for gene expression patterns of AQPs and for sap flow velocity. Our results suggest that the foliar water uptake of T. ramosissima occurs in natural fields at night when the humidity is over a threshold of 85 %. The diurnal gene expression pattern of AQPs suggests that most AQP gene expressions display a circadian rhythm, and this could affect both photosynthesis and transpiration. At night, the PIP2-1 gene is also upregulated with increased relative air humidity. This gene expression pattern may allow desert plants to regulate foliar water uptake to adapt to extreme drought. This study suggests a molecular basis of foliar water uptake in desert plants. PMID:26567212

  8. Modeling and experimental research on a removal mechanism during chemical mechanical polishing at the molecular scale

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wei, An; Yongwu, Zhao; Yongguang, Wang

    2010-11-01

    In order to understand the fundamentals of the chemical mechanical polishing (CMP) material removal mechanism, the indentation depth of a slurry particle into a wafer surface is determined using the in situ nanomechanical testing system tribo-indenter by Hysitron. It was found that the removal mechanism in CMP is most probably a molecular scale removal theory. Furthermore, a comprehensive mathematical model was modified and used to pinpoint the effects of wafer/pad relative velocity, which has not been modeled previously. The predicted results based on the current model are shown to be consistent with the published experimental data. Results and analysis may lead to further understanding of the microscopic removal mechanism at the molecular scale in addition to its underlying theoretical foundation.

  9. Evolutionary novelties.

    PubMed

    Wagner, Günter P; Lynch, Vincent J

    2010-01-26

    How novel traits arise in organisms has long been a major problem in biology. Indeed, the sharpest critiques of Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection often centered on explaining how novel body parts arose. In his response to The Origin of Species, St. George J. Mivart challenged Darwin to explain the origin of evolutionary novelties such as the mammary gland, asking if it was "conceivable that the young of any animal was ever saved from destruction by accidentally sucking a drop of scarcely nutritious fluid from an accidentally hypertrophied cutaneous gland of its mother?" It is only now that modern molecular and genomic tools are being brought to bear on this question that we are finally in a position to answer Mivart's challenge and explain one of the most fundamental questions of biology: how does novelty arise in evolution?

  10. Soy isoflavones and prostate cancer: a review of molecular mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Mahmoud, Abeer M; Yang, Wancai; Bosland, Maarten C

    2014-03-01

    Soy isoflavones are dietary components for which an association has been demonstrated with reduced risk of prostate cancer (PCa) in Asian populations. However, the exact mechanism by which these isoflavones may prevent the development or progression of PCa is not completely understood. There are a growing number of animal and in vitro studies that have attempted to elucidate these mechanisms. The predominant and most biologically active isoflavones in soy products, genistein, daidzein, equol, and glycetin, inhibit prostate carcinogenesis in some animal models. Cell-based studies show that soy isoflavones regulate genes that control cell cycle and apoptosis. In this review, we discuss the literature relevant to the molecular events that may account for the benefit of soy isoflavones in PCa prevention or treatment. These reports show that although soy isoflavone-induced growth arrest and apoptosis of PCa cells are plausible mechanisms, other chemo protective mechanisms are also worthy of consideration. These possible mechanisms include antioxidant defense, DNA repair, inhibition of angiogenesis and metastasis, potentiation of radio- and chemotherapeutic agents, and antagonism of estrogen- and androgen-mediated signaling pathways. Moreover, other cells in the cancer milieu, such as the fibroblastic stromal cells, endothelial cells, and immune cells, may be targeted by soy isoflavones, which may contribute to soy-mediated prostate cancer prevention. In this review, these mechanisms are discussed along with considerations about the doses and the preclinical models that have been used.

  11. Molecular mechanisms of cognitive dysfunction following traumatic brain injury

    PubMed Central

    Walker, Kendall R.; Tesco, Giuseppina

    2013-01-01

    Traumatic brain injury (TBI) results in significant disability due to cognitive deficits particularly in attention, learning and memory, and higher-order executive functions. The role of TBI in chronic neurodegeneration and the development of neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's disease (PD), Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and most recently chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is of particular importance. However, despite significant effort very few therapeutic options exist to prevent or reverse cognitive impairment following TBI. In this review, we present experimental evidence of the known secondary injury mechanisms which contribute to neuronal cell loss, axonal injury, and synaptic dysfunction and hence cognitive impairment both acutely and chronically following TBI. In particular we focus on the mechanisms linking TBI to the development of two forms of dementia: AD and CTE. We provide evidence of potential molecular mechanisms involved in modulating Aβ and Tau following TBI and provide evidence of the role of these mechanisms in AD pathology. Additionally we propose a mechanism by which Aβ generated as a direct result of TBI is capable of exacerbating secondary injury mechanisms thereby establishing a neurotoxic cascade that leads to chronic neurodegeneration. PMID:23847533

  12. Locomotor loading mechanics in the hindlimbs of tegu lizards (Tupinambis merianae): comparative and evolutionary implications.

    PubMed

    Sheffield, K Megan; Butcher, Michael T; Shugart, S Katherine; Gander, Jennifer C; Blob, Richard W

    2011-08-01

    Skeletal elements are usually able to withstand several times their usual load before they yield, and this ratio is known as the bone's safety factor. Limited studies on amphibians and non-avian reptiles have shown that they have much higher limb bone safety factors than birds and mammals. It has been hypothesized that this difference is related to the difference in posture between upright birds and mammals and sprawling ectotherms; however, limb bone loading data from a wider range of sprawling species are needed in order to determine whether the higher safety factors seen in amphibians and non-avian reptiles are ancestral or derived conditions. Tegus (family Teiidae) are an ideal lineage with which to expand sampling of limb bone loading mechanics for sprawling taxa, particularly for lizards, because they are from a different clade than previously sampled iguanas and exhibit different foraging and locomotor habits (actively foraging carnivore versus burst-activity herbivore). We evaluated the mechanics of locomotor loading for the femur of the Argentine black and white tegu (Tupinambus merianae) using three-dimensional measurements of the ground reaction force and hindlimb kinematics, in vivo bone strains and femoral mechanical properties. Peak bending stresses experienced by the femur were low (tensile: 10.4 ± 1.1 MPa; compressive: -17.4 ± 0.9 MPa) and comparable to those in other reptiles, with moderate shear stresses and strains also present. Analyses of peak femoral stresses and strains led to estimated safety factor ranges of 8.8-18.6 in bending and 7.8-17.5 in torsion, both substantially higher than typical for birds and mammals but similar to other sprawling tetrapods. These results broaden the range of reptilian and amphibian taxa in which high femoral safety factors have been evaluated and further indicate a trend for the independent evolution of lower limb bone safety factors in endothermic taxa.

  13. Combined quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) methods in computational enzymology.

    PubMed

    van der Kamp, Marc W; Mulholland, Adrian J

    2013-04-23

    Computational enzymology is a rapidly maturing field that is increasingly integral to understanding mechanisms of enzyme-catalyzed reactions and their practical applications. Combined quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) methods are important in this field. By treating the reacting species with a quantum mechanical method (i.e., a method that calculates the electronic structure of the active site) and including the enzyme environment with simpler molecular mechanical methods, enzyme reactions can be modeled. Here, we review QM/MM methods and their application to enzyme-catalyzed reactions to investigate fundamental and practical problems in enzymology. A range of QM/MM methods is available, from cheaper and more approximate methods, which can be used for molecular dynamics simulations, to highly accurate electronic structure methods. We discuss how modeling of reactions using such methods can provide detailed insight into enzyme mechanisms and illustrate this by reviewing some recent applications. We outline some practical considerations for such simulations. Further, we highlight applications that show how QM/MM methods can contribute to the practical development and application of enzymology, e.g., in the interpretation and prediction of the effects of mutagenesis and in drug and catalyst design.

  14. Molecular mechanism of selective binding of peptides to silicon surface.

    PubMed

    Ramakrishnan, Sathish Kumar; Martin, Marta; Cloitre, Thierry; Firlej, Lucyna; Gergely, Csilla

    2014-07-28

    Despite extensive recent research efforts on material-specific peptides, the fundamental problem to be explored yet is the molecular interactions between peptides and inorganic surfaces. Here we used computer simulations (density functional theory and classical molecular dynamics) to investigate the adsorption mechanism of silicon-binding peptides and the role of individual amino acids in the affinity of peptides for an n-type silicon (n(+)-Si) semiconductor. Three silicon binding 12-mer peptides previously elaborated using phage display technology have been studied. The peptides' conformations close to the surface have been determined and the best-binding amino acids have been identified. Adsorption energy calculations explain the experimentally observed different degrees of affinity of the peptides for n(+)-Si. Our residual scanning analysis demonstrates that the binding affinity relies on both the identity of the amino acid and its location in the peptide sequence.

  15. The molecular mechanism and physiological role of cytoplasmic streaming.

    PubMed

    Tominaga, Motoki; Ito, Kohji

    2015-10-01

    Cytoplasmic streaming occurs widely in plants ranging from algae to angiosperms. However, the molecular mechanism and physiological role of cytoplasmic streaming have long remained unelucidated. Recent molecular genetic approaches have identified specific myosin members (XI-2 and XI-K as major and XI-1, XI-B, and XI-I as minor motive forces) for the generation of cytoplasmic streaming among 13 myosin XIs in Arabidopsis thaliana. Simultaneous knockout of these myosin XI members led to a reduced velocity of cytoplasmic streaming and marked defects of plant development. Furthermore, the artificial modifications of myosin XI-2 velocity changed plant and cell sizes along with the velocity of cytoplasmic streaming. Therefore, we assume that cytoplasmic streaming is one of the key regulators in determining plant size.

  16. Extrapolated gradientlike algorithms for molecular dynamics and celestial mechanics simulations.

    PubMed

    Omelyan, I P

    2006-09-01

    A class of symplectic algorithms is introduced to integrate the equations of motion in many-body systems. The algorithms are derived on the basis of an advanced gradientlike decomposition approach. Its main advantage over the standard gradient scheme is the avoidance of time-consuming evaluations of force gradients by force extrapolation without any loss of precision. As a result, the efficiency of the integration improves significantly. The algorithms obtained are analyzed and optimized using an error-function theory. The best among them are tested in actual molecular dynamics and celestial mechanics simulations for comparison with well-known nongradient and gradient algorithms such as the Störmer-Verlet, Runge-Kutta, Cowell-Numerov, Forest-Ruth, Suzuki-Chin, and others. It is demonstrated that for moderate and high accuracy, the extrapolated algorithms should be considered as the most efficient for the integration of motion in molecular dynamics simulations.

  17. Neural tube closure: cellular, molecular and biomechanical mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Nikolopoulou, Evanthia; Galea, Gabriel L; Rolo, Ana; Greene, Nicholas D E; Copp, Andrew J

    2017-02-15

    Neural tube closure has been studied for many decades, across a range of vertebrates, as a paradigm of embryonic morphogenesis. Neurulation is of particular interest in view of the severe congenital malformations - 'neural tube defects' - that result when closure fails. The process of neural tube closure is complex and involves cellular events such as convergent extension, apical constriction and interkinetic nuclear migration, as well as precise molecular control via the non-canonical Wnt/planar cell polarity pathway, Shh/BMP signalling, and the transcription factors Grhl2/3, Pax3, Cdx2 and Zic2. More recently, biomechanical inputs into neural tube morphogenesis have also been identified. Here, we review these cellular, molecular and biomechanical mechanisms involved in neural tube closure, based on studies of various vertebrate species, focusing on the most recent advances in the field.

  18. Lack of lipogenesis in parasitoids: a review of physiological mechanisms and evolutionary implications.

    PubMed

    Visser, Bertanne; Ellers, Jacintha

    2008-09-01

    The ability of organisms to adapt to fluctuating food conditions is essential for their survival and reproduction. Accumulating energy reserves, such as lipids, in anticipation of harsh conditions, will reduce negative effects of a low food supply. For Hymenoptera and Diptera, several parasitoid species lack adult lipogenesis, and are unable to store excess energy in the form of lipid reserves. The aim of this review is to provide a synthesis of current knowledge regarding the inability to accumulate lipids in parasitoids, leading to new insights and prospects for further research. We will emphasize physiological mechanisms underlying lack of lipogenesis, the evolution of this adaptation in parasitoids and its biological implications with regard to life history traits. We suggest the occurrence of lack of lipogenesis in parasitoids to be dependent on the extent of host exploitation through metabolic manipulation. Currently available data shows lack of lipogenesis to have evolved independently at least twice, in parasitic Hymenoptera and Diptera. The underlying genetic mechanism, however, remains to be solved. Furthermore, due to the inability to replenish adult fat reserves, parasitoids are severely constrained in resource allocation strategies, in particular the trade-off between survival and reproduction.

  19. Antigenic diversity is generated by distinct evolutionary mechanisms in African trypanosome species.

    PubMed

    Jackson, Andrew P; Berry, Andrew; Aslett, Martin; Allison, Harriet C; Burton, Peter; Vavrova-Anderson, Jana; Brown, Robert; Browne, Hilary; Corton, Nicola; Hauser, Heidi; Gamble, John; Gilderthorp, Ruth; Marcello, Lucio; McQuillan, Jacqueline; Otto, Thomas D; Quail, Michael A; Sanders, Mandy J; van Tonder, Andries; Ginger, Michael L; Field, Mark C; Barry, J David; Hertz-Fowler, Christiane; Berriman, Matthew

    2012-02-28

    Antigenic variation enables pathogens to avoid the host immune response by continual switching of surface proteins. The protozoan blood parasite Trypanosoma brucei causes human African trypanosomiasis ("sleeping sickness") across sub-Saharan Africa and is a model system for antigenic variation, surviving by periodically replacing a monolayer of variant surface glycoproteins (VSG) that covers its cell surface. We compared the genome of Trypanosoma brucei with two closely related parasites Trypanosoma congolense and Trypanosoma vivax, to reveal how the variant antigen repertoire has evolved and how it might affect contemporary antigenic diversity. We reconstruct VSG diversification showing that Trypanosoma congolense uses variant antigens derived from multiple ancestral VSG lineages, whereas in Trypanosoma brucei VSG have recent origins, and ancestral gene lineages have been repeatedly co-opted to novel functions. These historical differences are reflected in fundamental differences between species in the scale and mechanism of recombination. Using phylogenetic incompatibility as a metric for genetic exchange, we show that the frequency of recombination is comparable between Trypanosoma congolense and Trypanosoma brucei but is much lower in Trypanosoma vivax. Furthermore, in showing that the C-terminal domain of Trypanosoma brucei VSG plays a crucial role in facilitating exchange, we reveal substantial species differences in the mechanism of VSG diversification. Our results demonstrate how past VSG evolution indirectly determines the ability of contemporary parasites to generate novel variant antigens through recombination and suggest that the current model for antigenic variation in Trypanosoma brucei is only one means by which these parasites maintain chronic infections.

  20. Universal effect of dynamical reinforcement learning mechanism in spatial evolutionary games

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Hai-Feng; Wu, Zhi-Xi; Wang, Bing-Hong

    2012-06-01

    One of the prototypical mechanisms in understanding the ubiquitous cooperation in social dilemma situations is the win-stay, lose-shift rule. In this work, a generalized win-stay, lose-shift learning model—a reinforcement learning model with dynamic aspiration level—is proposed to describe how humans adapt their social behaviors based on their social experiences. In the model, the players incorporate the information of the outcomes in previous rounds with time-dependent aspiration payoffs to regulate the probability of choosing cooperation. By investigating such a reinforcement learning rule in the spatial prisoner's dilemma game and public goods game, a most noteworthy viewpoint is that moderate greediness (i.e. moderate aspiration level) favors best the development and organization of collective cooperation. The generality of this observation is tested against different regulation strengths and different types of network of interaction as well. We also make comparisons with two recently proposed models to highlight the importance of the mechanism of adaptive aspiration level in supporting cooperation in structured populations.

  1. Zika Virus-Induced Microcephaly and Its Possible Molecular Mechanism.

    PubMed

    Faizan, Md Imam; Abdullah, Mohd; Ali, Sher; Naqvi, Irshad H; Ahmed, Anwar; Parveen, Shama

    2016-01-01

    Zika virus is an arthropod-borne re-emerging pathogen associated with the global pandemic of 2015-2016. The devastating effect of Zika viral infection is reflected by its neurological manifestations such as microcephaly in newborns. This scenario evoked our interest to uncover the neurotropic localization, multiplication of the virus, and the mechanism of microcephaly. The present report provides an overview of a possible molecular mechanism of Zika virus-induced microcephaly based on recent publications. Transplacental transmission of Zika viral infection from mother to foetus during the first trimester of pregnancy results in propagation of the virus in human neural progenitor cells (hNPCs), where entry is facilitated by the receptor (AXL protein) leading to the alteration of signalling and immune pathways in host cells. Further modification of the viral-induced TLR3-mediated immune network in the infected hNPCs affects viral replication. Downregulation of neurogenesis and upregulation of apoptosis in hNPCs leads to cell cycle arrest and death of the developing neurons. In addition, it is likely that the environmental, physiological, immunological, and genetic factors that determine in utero transmission of Zika virus are also involved in neurotropism. Despite the global concern regarding the Zika-mediated epidemic, the precise molecular mechanism of neuropathogenesis remains elusive.

  2. Sexual polyploidization in plants – cytological mechanisms and molecular regulation

    PubMed Central

    De Storme, Nico; Geelen, Danny

    2013-01-01

    In the plant kingdom, events of whole genome duplication or polyploidization are generally believed to occur via alterations of the sexual reproduction process. Thereby, diploid pollen and eggs are formed that contain the somatic number of chromosomes rather than the gametophytic number. By participating in fertilization, these so-called 2n gametes generate polyploid offspring and therefore constitute the basis for the establishment of polyploidy in plants. In addition, diplogamete formation, through meiotic restitution, is an essential component of apomixis and also serves as an important mechanism for the restoration of F1 hybrid fertility. Characterization of the cytological mechanisms and molecular factors underlying 2n gamete formation is therefore not only relevant for basic plant biology and evolution, but may also provide valuable cues for agricultural and biotechnological applications (e.g. reverse breeding, clonal seeds). Recent data have provided novel insights into the process of 2n pollen and egg formation and have revealed multiple means to the same end. Here, we summarize the cytological mechanisms and molecular regulatory networks underlying 2n gamete formation, and outline important mitotic and meiotic processes involved in the ectopic induction of sexual polyploidization. PMID:23421646

  3. DNA intercalation optimized by two-step molecular lock mechanism

    PubMed Central

    Almaqwashi, Ali A.; Andersson, Johanna; Lincoln, Per; Rouzina, Ioulia; Westerlund, Fredrik; Williams, Mark C.

    2016-01-01

    The diverse properties of DNA intercalators, varying in affinity and kinetics over several orders of magnitude, provide a wide range of applications for DNA-ligand assemblies. Unconventional intercalation mechanisms may exhibit high affinity and slow kinetics, properties desired for potential therapeutics. We used single-molecule force spectroscopy to probe the free energy landscape for an unconventional intercalator that binds DNA through a novel two-step mechanism in which the intermediate and final states bind DNA through the same mono-intercalating moiety. During this process, DNA undergoes significant structural rearrangements, first lengthening before relaxing to a shorter DNA-ligand complex in the intermediate state to form a molecular lock. To reach the final bound state, the molecular length must increase again as the ligand threads between disrupted DNA base pairs. This unusual binding mechanism results in an unprecedented optimized combination of high DNA binding affinity and slow kinetics, suggesting a new paradigm for rational design of DNA intercalators. PMID:27917863

  4. Enlightening molecular mechanisms through study of protein interactions

    PubMed Central

    Rizo, Josep; Rosen, Michael K.; Gardner, Kevin H.

    2012-01-01

    The investigation of molecular mechanisms is a fascinating area of current biological research that unites efforts from scientists with very diverse expertise. This review provides a perspective on the characterization of protein interactions as a central aspect of this research. We discuss case studies on the neurotransmitter release machinery that illustrate a variety of principles and emphasize the power of combining nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy with other biophysical techniques, particularly X-ray crystallography. These studies have shown that: (i) the soluble SNAP receptor (SNARE) proteins form a tight complex that brings the synaptic vesicle and plasma membranes together, which is key for membrane fusion; (ii) the SNARE syntaxin-1 adopts an autoinhibitory closed conformation; (iii) Munc18-1 plays crucial functions through interactions with closed syntaxin-1 and with the SNARE complex; (iv) Munc13s mediate the opening of syntaxin-1; (v) complexins play dual roles through distinct interactions with the SNARE complex; (vi) synaptotagmin-1 acts a Ca2+ sensor, interacting simultaneously with the membranes and the SNAREs; and (vii) a Munc13 homodimer to Munc13-RIM heterodimer switch modulates neurotransmitter release. Overall, this research underlines the complexities involved in elucidating molecular mechanisms and how these mechanisms can depend critically on an interplay between strong and weak protein interactions. PMID:22735643

  5. Lipid Raft Redox Signaling: Molecular Mechanisms in Health and Disease

    PubMed Central

    Zhou, Fan; Katirai, Foad

    2011-01-01

    Abstract Lipid rafts, the sphingolipid and cholesterol-enriched membrane microdomains, are able to form different membrane macrodomains or platforms upon stimulations, including redox signaling platforms, which serve as a critical signaling mechanism to mediate or regulate cellular activities or functions. In particular, this raft platform formation provides an important driving force for the assembling of NADPH oxidase subunits and the recruitment of other related receptors, effectors, and regulatory components, resulting, in turn, in the activation of NADPH oxidase and downstream redox regulation of cell functions. This comprehensive review attempts to summarize all basic and advanced information about the formation, regulation, and functions of lipid raft redox signaling platforms as well as their physiological and pathophysiological relevance. Several molecular mechanisms involving the formation of lipid raft redox signaling platforms and the related therapeutic strategies targeting them are discussed. It is hoped that all information and thoughts included in this review could provide more comprehensive insights into the understanding of lipid raft redox signaling, in particular, of their molecular mechanisms, spatial-temporal regulations, and physiological, pathophysiological relevances to human health and diseases. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 15, 1043–1083. PMID:21294649

  6. Advancing neuroscience through epigenetics: molecular mechanisms of learning and memory.

    PubMed

    Molfese, David L

    2011-01-01

    Humans share 96% of our 30,000 genes with Chimpanzees. The 1,200 genes that differ appear at first glance insufficient to describe what makes us human and them apes. However, we are now discovering that the mechanisms that regulate how genes are expressed tell a much richer story than our DNA alone. Sections of our DNA are constantly being turned on or off, marked for easy access, or secluded and hidden away, all in response to ongoing cellular activity. In the brain, neurons encode information-in effect memories-at the cellular level. Yet while memories may last a lifetime, neurons are dynamic structures. Every protein in the synapse undergoes some form of turnover, some with half-lives of only hours. How can a memory persist beyond the lifetimes of its constitutive molecular building blocks? Epigenetics-changes in gene expression that do not alter the underlying DNA sequence-may be the answer. In this article, epigenetic mechanisms including DNA methylation and acetylation or methylation of the histone proteins that package DNA are described in the context of animal learning. Through the interaction of these modifications a "histone code" is emerging wherein individual memories leave unique memory traces at the molecular level with distinct time courses. A better understanding of these mechanisms has implications for treatment of memory disorders caused by normal aging or diseases including schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, depression, and drug addiction.

  7. Steered Molecular Dynamics Methods Applied to Enzyme Mechanism and Energetics.

    PubMed

    Ramírez, C L; Martí, M A; Roitberg, A E

    2016-01-01

    One of the main goals of chemistry is to understand the underlying principles of chemical reactions, in terms of both its reaction mechanism and the thermodynamics that govern it. Using hybrid quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM)-based methods in combination with a biased sampling scheme, it is possible to simulate chemical reactions occurring inside complex environments such as an enzyme, or aqueous solution, and determining the corresponding free energy profile, which provides direct comparison with experimental determined kinetic and equilibrium parameters. Among the most promising biasing schemes is the multiple steered molecular dynamics method, which in combination with Jarzynski's Relationship (JR) allows obtaining the equilibrium free energy profile, from a finite set of nonequilibrium reactive trajectories by exponentially averaging the individual work profiles. However, obtaining statistically converged and accurate profiles is far from easy and may result in increased computational cost if the selected steering speed and number of trajectories are inappropriately chosen. In this small review, using the extensively studied chorismate to prephenate conversion reaction, we first present a systematic study of how key parameters such as pulling speed, number of trajectories, and reaction progress are related to the resulting work distributions and in turn the accuracy of the free energy obtained with JR. Second, and in the context of QM/MM strategies, we introduce the Hybrid Differential Relaxation Algorithm, and show how it allows obtaining more accurate free energy profiles using faster pulling speeds and smaller number of trajectories and thus smaller computational cost.

  8. Molecular-dynamics study of detonation. II. The reaction mechanism

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rice, Betsy M.; Mattson, William; Grosh, John; Trevino, S. F.

    1996-01-01

    In this work, we investigate mechanisms of chemical reactions that sustain an unsupported detonation. The chemical model of an energetic crystal used in this study consists of heteronuclear diatomic molecules that, at ambient pressure, dissociate endothermically. Subsequent association of the products to form homonuclear diatomic molecules provides the energy release that sustains the detonation. A many-body interaction is used to simulate changes in the electronic bonding as a function of local atomic environment. The consequence of the many-body interaction in this model is that the intramolecular bond is weakened with increasing density. The mechanism of the reaction for this model was extracted by investigating the details of the molecular properties in the reaction zone with two-dimensional molecular dynamics. The mechanism for the initiation of the reaction in this model is pressure-induced atomization. There was no evidence of excitation of vibrational modes to dissociative states. This particular result is directly attributable to the functional form and choice of parameters for this model, but might also have more general applicability.

  9. Type I interferon receptors in goose: molecular cloning, structural identification, evolutionary analysis and age-related tissue expression profile.

    PubMed

    Zhou, Hao; Chen, Shun; Qi, Yulin; Zhou, Qin; Wang, Mingshu; Jia, Renyong; Zhu, Dekang; Liu, Mafeng; Sun, Kunfeng; Liu, Fei; Chen, Xiaoyue; Cheng, Anchun

    2015-04-25

    The cDNAs encoding two distinct type I interferon receptors were firstly cloned from the spleen of white goose (the Chinese goose, Anser cygnoides). The cDNA of goose IFNAR1 consisted of 1616 bp and encoded 406 amino acids with a predicted molecular weight of 46.4 kDa, while the cDNA of goose IFNAR2 consisted of 1525 bp and encoded 294 amino acids with a predicted molecular weight of 32.6 kDa. The IFNAR1 shared 85.4% identity in deduced amino acid sequence with duck IFNAR1, while IFNAR2 amino acid sequence showed 86% identity with that of duck IFNAR2. The age-related analysis of gene expression revealed that goose IFNα and IFNARs were all highly transcribed in pancreas, which may due to a reasonable amount of dendritic cells aggregated in pancreas. And goose IFNα and its cognate receptors had different structural features and tissue expression patterns during the period from embryonic goose to adult goose, suggesting that IFNα and IFNARs may maintain a developmental dynamic immune competence in unstimulated states. The data provided in this study may contribute to future understanding of the interaction between interferon and interferon receptors in immune mechanism. And it also helps us to understand the age-related susceptibility to pathogens in birds better.

  10. United polarizable multipole water model for molecular mechanics simulation

    PubMed Central

    Qi, Rui; Wang, Lee-Ping; Wang, Qiantao; Pande, Vijay S.; Ren, Pengyu

    2015-01-01

    We report the development of a united AMOEBA (uAMOEBA) polarizable water model, which is computationally 3–5 times more efficient than the three-site AMOEBA03 model in molecular dynamics simulations while providing comparable accuracy for gas-phase and liquid properties. In this coarse-grained polarizable water model, both electrostatic (permanent and induced) and van der Waals representations have been reduced to a single site located at the oxygen atom. The permanent charge distribution is described via the molecular dipole and quadrupole moments and the many-body polarization via an isotropic molecular polarizability, all located at the oxygen center. Similarly, a single van der Waals interaction site is used for each water molecule. Hydrogen atoms are retained only for the purpose of defining local frames for the molecular multipole moments and intramolecular vibrational modes. The parameters have been derived based on a combination of ab initio quantum mechanical and experimental data set containing gas-phase cluster structures and energies, and liquid thermodynamic properties. For validation, additional properties including dimer interaction energy, liquid structures, self-diffusion coefficient, and shear viscosity have been evaluated. The results demonstrate good transferability from the gas to the liquid phase over a wide range of temperatures, and from nonpolar to polar environments, due to the presence of molecular polarizability. The water coordination, hydrogen-bonding structure, and dynamic properties given by uAMOEBA are similar to those derived from the all-atom AMOEBA03 model and experiments. Thus, the current model is an accurate and efficient alternative for modeling water. PMID:26156485

  11. United polarizable multipole water model for molecular mechanics simulation

    SciTech Connect

    Qi, Rui; Wang, Qiantao; Ren, Pengyu; Wang, Lee-Ping; Pande, Vijay S.

    2015-07-07

    We report the development of a united AMOEBA (uAMOEBA) polarizable water model, which is computationally 3–5 times more efficient than the three-site AMOEBA03 model in molecular dynamics simulations while providing comparable accuracy for gas-phase and liquid properties. In this coarse-grained polarizable water model, both electrostatic (permanent and induced) and van der Waals representations have been reduced to a single site located at the oxygen atom. The permanent charge distribution is described via the molecular dipole and quadrupole moments and the many-body polarization via an isotropic molecular polarizability, all located at the oxygen center. Similarly, a single van der Waals interaction site is used for each water molecule. Hydrogen atoms are retained only for the purpose of defining local frames for the molecular multipole moments and intramolecular vibrational modes. The parameters have been derived based on a combination of ab initio quantum mechanical and experimental data set containing gas-phase cluster structures and energies, and liquid thermodynamic properties. For validation, additional properties including dimer interaction energy, liquid structures, self-diffusion coefficient, and shear viscosity have been evaluated. The results demonstrate good transferability from the gas to the liquid phase over a wide range of temperatures, and from nonpolar to polar environments, due to the presence of molecular polarizability. The water coordination, hydrogen-bonding structure, and dynamic properties given by uAMOEBA are similar to those derived from the all-atom AMOEBA03 model and experiments. Thus, the current model is an accurate and efficient alternative for modeling water.

  12. United polarizable multipole water model for molecular mechanics simulation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Qi, Rui; Wang, Lee-Ping; Wang, Qiantao; Pande, Vijay S.; Ren, Pengyu

    2015-07-01

    We report the development of a united AMOEBA (uAMOEBA) polarizable water model, which is computationally 3-5 times more efficient than the three-site AMOEBA03 model in molecular dynamics simulations while providing comparable accuracy for gas-phase and liquid properties. In this coarse-grained polarizable water model, both electrostatic (permanent and induced) and van der Waals representations have been reduced to a single site located at the oxygen atom. The permanent charge distribution is described via the molecular dipole and quadrupole moments and the many-body polarization via an isotropic molecular polarizability, all located at the oxygen center. Similarly, a single van der Waals interaction site is used for each water molecule. Hydrogen atoms are retained only for the purpose of defining local frames for the molecular multipole moments and intramolecular vibrational modes. The parameters have been derived based on a combination of ab initio quantum mechanical and experimental data set containing gas-phase cluster structures and energies, and liquid thermodynamic properties. For validation, additional properties including dimer interaction energy, liquid structures, self-diffusion coefficient, and shear viscosity have been evaluated. The results demonstrate good transferability from the gas to the liquid phase over a wide range of temperatures, and from nonpolar to polar environments, due to the presence of molecular polarizability. The water coordination, hydrogen-bonding structure, and dynamic properties given by uAMOEBA are similar to those derived from the all-atom AMOEBA03 model and experiments. Thus, the current model is an accurate and efficient alternative for modeling water.

  13. Is eating behavior manipulated by the gastrointestinal microbiota? Evolutionary pressures and potential mechanisms

    PubMed Central

    Alcock, Joe; Maley, Carlo C; Aktipis, C Athena

    2014-01-01

    Microbes in the gastrointestinal tract are under selective pressure to manipulate host eating behavior to increase their fitness, sometimes at the expense of host fitness. Microbes may do this through two potential strategies: (i) generating cravings for foods that they specialize on or foods that suppress their competitors, or (ii) inducing dysphoria until we eat foods that enhance their fitness. We review several potential mechanisms for microbial control over eating behavior including microbial influence on reward and satiety pathways, production of toxins that alter mood, changes to receptors including taste receptors, and hijacking of the vagus nerve, the neural axis between the gut and the brain. We also review the evidence for alternative explanations for cravings and unhealthy eating behavior. Because microbiota are easily manipulatable by prebiotics, probiotics, antibiotics, fecal transplants, and dietary changes, altering our microbiota offers a tractable approach to otherwise intractable problems of obesity and unhealthy eating. PMID:25103109

  14. Evolutionary Conservation of a GPCR-Independent Mechanism of Trimeric G Protein Activation

    PubMed Central

    Coleman, Brantley D.; Marivin, Arthur; Parag-Sharma, Kshitij; DiGiacomo, Vincent; Kim, Seongseop; Pepper, Judy S.; Casler, Jason; Nguyen, Lien T.; Koelle, Michael R.; Garcia-Marcos, Mikel

    2016-01-01

    Trimeric G protein signaling is a fundamental mechanism of cellular communication in eukaryotes. The core of this mechanism consists of activation of G proteins by the guanine-nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) activity of G protein coupled receptors. However, the duration and amplitude of G protein-mediated signaling are controlled by a complex network of accessory proteins that appeared and diversified during evolution. Among them, nonreceptor proteins with GEF activity are the least characterized. We recently found that proteins of the ccdc88 family possess a Gα-binding and activating (GBA) motif that confers GEF activity and regulates mammalian cell behavior. A sequence similarity-based search revealed that ccdc88 genes are highly conserved across metazoa but the GBA motif is absent in most invertebrates. This prompted us to investigate whether the GBA motif is present in other nonreceptor proteins in invertebrates. An unbiased bioinformatics search in Caenorhabditis elegans identified GBAS-1 (GBA and SPK domain containing-1) as a GBA motif-containing protein with homologs only in closely related worm species. We demonstrate that GBAS-1 has GEF activity for the nematode G protein GOA-1 and that the two proteins are coexpressed in many cells of living worms. Furthermore, we show that GBAS-1 can activate mammalian Gα-subunits and provide structural insights into the evolutionarily conserved determinants of the GBA–G protein interface. These results demonstrate that the GBA motif is a functional GEF module conserved among highly divergent proteins across evolution, indicating that the GBA-Gα binding mode is strongly constrained under selective pressure to mediate receptor-independent G protein activation in metazoans. PMID:26659249

  15. Forces in molecular recognition: Comparison of experimental data and molecular mechanics calculations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Waltho, J. P.; Vinter, J. G.; Davis, A.; Williams, D. H.

    1988-04-01

    NMR studies of the rotation barrier of the disaccharide of the glycopeptide antibiotic vancomycin have been used to test the performance of computer simulation techniques using molecular mechanics. In the absence of any solvated water, no correlation could be found between experiment and calculation. By introducing solvent water molecules into the binding region of the antibiotic, the NMR results could be simulated both qualitatively and quantitatively within experimental error without using massive computational resources.

  16. The molecular evolutionary dynamics of the vomeronasal receptor (class 1) genes in primates: a gene family on the verge of a functional breakdown

    PubMed Central

    Yoder, Anne D.; Larsen, Peter A.

    2014-01-01

    Olfaction plays a critical role in both survival of the individual and in the propagation of species. Studies from across the mammalian clade have found a remarkable correlation between organismal lifestyle and molecular evolutionary properties of receptor genes in both the main olfactory system (MOS) and the vomeronasal system (VNS). When a large proportion of intact (and putatively functional) copies is observed, the inference is made that a particular mode of chemoreception is critical for an organism’s fit to its environment and is thus under strong positive selection. Conversely, when the receptors in question show a disproportionately large number of pseudogene copies, this contraction is interpreted as evidence of relaxed selection potentially leading to gene family extinction. Notably, it appears that a risk factor for gene family extinction is a high rate of nonsynonymous substitution. A survey of intact vs. pseudogene copies among primate vomeronasal receptor Class one genes (V1Rs) appears to substantiate this hypothesis. Molecular evolutionary complexities in the V1R gene family combine rapid rates of gene duplication, gene conversion, lineage-specific expansions, deletions, and/or pseudogenization. An intricate mix of phylogenetic footprints and current adaptive landscapes have left their mark on primate V1Rs suggesting that the primate clade offers an ideal model system for exploring the molecular evolutionary and functional properties of the VNS of mammals. Primate V1Rs tell a story of ancestral function and divergent selection as species have moved into ever diversifying adaptive regimes. The sensitivity to functional collapse in these genes, consequent to their precariously high rates of nonsynonymous substitution, confer a remarkable capacity to reveal the lifestyles of the genomes that they presently occupy as well as those of their ancestors. PMID:25565978

  17. The molecular evolutionary dynamics of the vomeronasal receptor (class 1) genes in primates: a gene family on the verge of a functional breakdown.

    PubMed

    Yoder, Anne D; Larsen, Peter A

    2014-01-01

    Olfaction plays a critical role in both survival of the individual and in the propagation of species. Studies from across the mammalian clade have found a remarkable correlation between organismal lifestyle and molecular evolutionary properties of receptor genes in both the main olfactory system (MOS) and the vomeronasal system (VNS). When a large proportion of intact (and putatively functional) copies is observed, the inference is made that a particular mode of chemoreception is critical for an organism's fit to its environment and is thus under strong positive selection. Conversely, when the receptors in question show a disproportionately large number of pseudogene copies, this contraction is interpreted as evidence of relaxed selection potentially leading to gene family extinction. Notably, it appears that a risk factor for gene family extinction is a high rate of nonsynonymous substitution. A survey of intact vs. pseudogene copies among primate vomeronasal receptor Class one genes (V1Rs) appears to substantiate this hypothesis. Molecular evolutionary complexities in the V1R gene family combine rapid rates of gene duplication, gene conversion, lineage-specific expansions, deletions, and/or pseudogenization. An intricate mix of phylogenetic footprints and current adaptive landscapes have left their mark on primate V1Rs suggesting that the primate clade offers an ideal model system for exploring the molecular evolutionary and functional properties of the VNS of mammals. Primate V1Rs tell a story of ancestral function and divergent selection as species have moved into ever diversifying adaptive regimes. The sensitivity to functional collapse in these genes, consequent to their precariously high rates of nonsynonymous substitution, confer a remarkable capacity to reveal the lifestyles of the genomes that they presently occupy as well as those of their ancestors.

  18. Molecular mechanisms of l-DOPA-induced dyskinesia.

    PubMed

    Fisone, Gilberto; Bezard, Erwan

    2011-01-01

    Parkinson's disease (PD), a common neurodegenerative disorder caused by the loss of the dopaminergic input to the basal ganglia, is commonly treated with l-DOPA. Use of this drug, however, is severely limited by the development of dystonic and choreic motor complications, or dyskinesia. This chapter describes the molecular mechanisms implicated in the emergence and manifestation of l-DOPA-induced dyskinesia (LID). Particular emphasis is given to the role played in this condition by abnormalities in signal transduction at the level of the medium spiny neurons (MSNs) of the striatum, which are the principal target of l-DOPA. Recent evidence pointing to pre-synaptic dysregulation is also discussed.

  19. On molecular mechanism of the photodynamic therapy of tumors

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mostovnikov, Vasili A.; Mostovnikova, Galina R.; Plavski, Vitali Y.; Tretjakov, S. A.

    1995-01-01

    In this work we present the experimental results indicating that the photodestruction (inactivation) of glycolysis enzymes located in mitochondria and responsible for the energy providing of malignant tumors, could serve as a possible molecular mechanism of a photodynamic therapy of cancer. The formation of complexes between the glycolysis enzymes and sensitizer favors can lead to an effective photodestruction of the former [in the experiments lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), pyruvate kinase (PK), glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) and water-soluble tetra(carboxiphenyl)porphyrine [T(CP)P] (the analogue of coprorphyrin) were used as photosensitizer.

  20. Dietary flavonoids: molecular mechanisms of action as anti- inflammatory agents.

    PubMed

    Marzocchella, Laura; Fantini, Massimo; Benvenuto, Monica; Masuelli, Laura; Tresoldi, Ilaria; Modesti, Andrea; Bei, Roberto

    2011-09-01

    Flavonoids are a large group of polyphenolic compounds, which are ubiquitously expressed in plants. They are grouped according to their chemical structure and function into flavonols, flavones, flavan-3-ols, anthocyanins, flavanones and isoflavones. Many of flavonoids are found in fruits, vegetables and beverages. Flavonoids have been demonstrated to have advantageous effects on human health because their anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, anti-platelet aggregation, anti-tumor and anti-oxidant behavior. This report reviews the current knowledge on the molecular mechanisms of action of flavonoids as anti-inflammatory agents and also discusses the relevant patents.

  1. Molecular and Electrophysiological Mechanisms Underlying Cardiac Arrhythmogenesis in Diabetes Mellitus

    PubMed Central

    Tse, Vivian; Yeo, Jie Ming

    2016-01-01

    Diabetes is a common endocrine disorder with an ever increasing prevalence globally, placing significant burdens on our healthcare systems. It is associated with significant cardiovascular morbidities. One of the mechanisms by which it causes death is increasing the risk of cardiac arrhythmias. The aim of this article is to review the cardiac (ion channel abnormalities, electrophysiological and structural remodelling) and extracardiac factors (neural pathway remodelling) responsible for cardiac arrhythmogenesis in diabetes. It is concluded by an outline of molecular targets for future antiarrhythmic therapy for the diabetic population. PMID:27642609

  2. The mechanism of selective molecular capture in carbon nanotube networks.

    PubMed

    Wan, Yu; Guan, Jun; Yang, Xudong; Zheng, Quanshui; Xu, Zhiping

    2014-07-28

    Recently, air pollution issues have drawn significant attention to the development of efficient air filters, and one of the most promising materials for this purpose is nanofibers. We explore here the mechanism of selective molecular capture of volatile organic compounds in carbon nanotube networks by performing atomistic simulations. The results are discussed with respect to the two key parameters that define the performance of nanofiltration, i.e. the capture efficiency and flow resistance, which demonstrate the advantages of carbon nanotube networks with high surface-to-volume ratio and atomistically smooth surfaces. We also reveal the important roles of interfacial adhesion and diffusion that govern selective gas transport through the network.

  3. Molecular mechanics of dihydroxyphenylalanine at a silica interface

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Qin, Zhao; Buehler, Markus

    2012-08-01

    L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA) is an amazing biological glue secreted by marine mussels. Through enhanced sampling molecular dynamics, here we demonstrate that proteins with DOPA residues have a strong affinity to a silica surface with an interfacial strength of several hundreds of thousand N/cm2. The mechanism of such strong adhesion is a pair of hydrogen bonds that forms between DOPA and the substrate, enabling enhanced cooperativity as the DOPA residue lays flat on top the surface. Our predicted adhesion force (743 pN) agrees well with experimental measurements (847 ± 157 pN), including the orientation of the DOPA residue on the surface.

  4. Molecular mechanisms of methicillin resistance in Staphylococcus aureus.

    PubMed

    Domínguez, M A; Liñares, J; Martín, R

    1997-09-01

    Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains are among the most common nosocomial pathogens. The most significant mechanism of resistance to methicillin in this-species is the acquisition of a genetic determinant (mecA gene). However, resistance seems to have a more complex molecular basis, since additional chromosomal material is involved in such resistance. Besides, overproduction of penicillinase and/or alterations in the PBPs can contribute to the formation of resistance phenotypes. Genetic and environmental factors leading to MRSA are reviewed.

  5. Molecular mechanisms of cisplatin resistance in cervical cancer

    PubMed Central

    Zhu, Haiyan; Luo, Hui; Zhang, Wenwen; Shen, Zhaojun; Hu, Xiaoli; Zhu, Xueqiong

    2016-01-01

    Patients with advanced or recurrent cervical cancer have poor prognosis, and their 1-year survival is only 10%–20%. Chemotherapy is considered as the standard treatment for patients with advanced or recurrent cervical cancer, and cisplatin appears to treat the disease effectively. However, resistance to cisplatin may develop, thus substantially compromising the efficacy of cisplatin to treat advanced or recurrent cervical cancer. In this article, we systematically review the recent literature and summarize the recent advances in our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying cisplatin resistance in cervical cancer. PMID:27354763

  6. The evolutionary history of histone H3 suggests a deep eukaryotic root of chromatin modifying mechanisms

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background The phenotype of an organism is an outcome of both its genotype, encoding the primary sequence of proteins, and the developmental orchestration of gene expression. The substrate of gene expression in eukaryotes is the chromatin, whose fundamental units are nucleosomes composed of DNA wrapped around each two of the core histone types H2A, H2B, H3 and H4. Key regulatory steps involved in the determination of chromatin conformations are posttranslational modifications (PTM) at histone tails as well as the assembly of histone variants into nucleosomal arrays. Although the mechanistic background is fragmentary understood, it appears that the chromatin signature of metazoan cell types is inheritable over generations. Even less understood is the conservation of epigenetic mechanisms among eukaryotes and their origins. Results In the light of recent progress in understanding the tree of eukaryotic life we discovered the origin of histone H3 by phylogenetic analyses of variants from all supergroups, which allowed the reconstruction of ancestral states. We found that H3 variants evolved frequently but independently within related species of almost all eukaryotic supergroups. Interestingly, we found all core histone types encoded in the genome of a basal dinoflagellate and H3 variants in two other species, although is was reported that dinoflagellate chromatin is not organized into nucleosomes. Most probably one or more animal/nuclearid H3.3-like variants gave rise to H3 variants of all opisthokonts (animals, choanozoa, fungi, nuclearids, Amoebozoa). H3.2 and H3.1 as well as H3.1t are derivatives of H3.3, whereas H3.2 evolved already in early branching animals, such as Trichoplax. H3.1 and H3.1t are probably restricted to mammals. We deduced a model for protoH3 of the last eukaryotic common ancestor (LECA) confirming a remarkable degree of sequence conservation in comparison to canonical human H3.1. We found evidence that multiple PTMs are conserved even in

  7. Molecular View of Protein Crystal Growth: Molecular Interactions, Surface Reconstruction and Growth Mechanism

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nadarajah, Arunan; Li, Huayu; Konnert, John H.; Pusey, Marc L.

    2000-01-01

    Studies of the growth and molecular packing of tetragonal lysozyme crystals suggest that there is an underlying molecular growth mechanism, in addition to the classical one involving screw dislocation/2D) nucleation growth. These crystals are constructed by strongly bonded molecular chains forming helices about the 43 axes. The helices are connected to each other by weaker bonds. Crystal growth proceeds by the formation of these 4(sub 3) helices, which would explain some unexpected observations by earlier investigators, such as bimolecular growth steps on the (110) face. Another consequence of these molecular considerations is that only one of two possible packing arrangements could occur on the crystal faces and that their growth unit was at least a tetramer corresponding to the 4(sub 3) helix. Two new high resolution atomic force microscopy (AFM) techniques were developed to directly confirm these predictions on tetragonal lysozyme crystals. Most earlier investigations of protein crystal growth with AFM were in the low resolution mode which is adequate to investigate the classical growth mechanisms, but cannot resolve molecular features and mechanisms. Employing the first of the newly developed techniques, high resolution AFM images of the (110) face were compared with the theoretically constructed images for the two possible packing arrangements on this face. The prediction that the molecular packing arrangement of these faces corresponded to that for complete 4(sub 3) helices was confirmed in this manner. This investigation also showed the occurrence of surface reconstruction on protein crystals. The molecules on the surface of the (110) face were found to pack closer along the 4(sub 3) axes than those in the interior. The second new AFM technique was used to follow the growth process by measuring the dimensions of individual growth units on the (110) face. Linescans across a growth step, performed near the saturation limit of the crystals, allowed the growth

  8. A quest to understand molecular mechanisms for genetic stability.

    PubMed

    Sekiguchi, Mutsuo

    2006-06-10

    In the midst of the post-war turmoil in Japan, I fortunately followed a path to become a scientist. Sometime at an early stage of my career, I encountered the problem of the cellular response to DNA damage and had the chance to discover a DNA repair enzyme. This event greatly influenced the subsequent course of my research, and I extended my studies toward elucidating the molecular mechanisms of mutagenesis as well as of carcinogenesis. Through these studies I came to understand the importance of mechanisms for dealing with the actions of reactive oxygen species to the living systems. These recollections deal with these endeavors with emphasis on the early part of my scientific career.

  9. Molecular mechanisms of the membrane sculpting ESCRT pathway.

    PubMed

    Henne, William Mike; Stenmark, Harald; Emr, Scott D

    2013-09-01

    The endosomal sorting complexes required for transport (ESCRT) drive multivesicular body (MVB) biogenesis and cytokinetic abscission. Originally identified through genetics and cell biology, more recent work has begun to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of ESCRT-mediated membrane remodeling, with special focus on the ESCRT-III complex. In particular, several light and electron microscopic studies provide high-resolution imaging of ESCRT-III rings and spirals that purportedly drive MVB morphogenesis and abscission. These studies highlight unifying principles to ESCRT-III function, in particular: (1) the ordered assembly of the ESCRT-III monomers into a heteropolymer, (2) ESCRT-III as a dynamic complex, and (3) the role of the AAA ATPase Vps4 as a contributing factor in membrane scission. Mechanistic comparisons of ESCRT-III function in MVB morphogenesis and cytokinesis suggest common mechanisms in membrane remodeling.

  10. Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms Underpinning Macrophage Activation during Remyelination

    PubMed Central

    Lloyd, Amy F.; Miron, Veronique E.

    2016-01-01

    Remyelination is an example of central nervous system (CNS) regeneration, whereby myelin is restored around demyelinated axons, re-establishing saltatory conduction and trophic/metabolic support. In progressive multiple sclerosis, remyelination is limited or fails altogether which is considered to contribute to axonal damage/loss and consequent disability. Macrophages have critical roles in both CNS damage and regeneration, such as remyelination. This diverse range in functions reflects the ability of macrophages to acquire tissue microenvironment-specific activation states. This activation is dynamically regulated during efficient regeneration, with a switch from pro-inflammatory to inflammation-resolution/pro-regenerative phenotypes. Although, some molecules and pathways have been implicated in the dynamic activation of macrophages, such as NFκB, the cellular and molecular mechanisms underpinning plasticity of macrophage activation are unclear. Identifying mechanisms regulating macrophage activation to pro-regenerative phenotypes may lead to novel therapeutic strategies to promote remyelination in multiple sclerosis. PMID:27446913

  11. Molecular mechanism of action of microtubule-stabilizing anticancer agents.

    PubMed

    Prota, Andrea E; Bargsten, Katja; Zurwerra, Didier; Field, Jessica J; Díaz, José Fernando; Altmann, Karl-Heinz; Steinmetz, Michel O

    2013-02-01

    Microtubule-stabilizing agents (MSAs) are efficacious chemotherapeutic drugs widely used for the treatment of cancer. Despite the importance of MSAs for medical applications and basic research, their molecular mechanisms of action on tubulin and microtubules remain elusive. We determined high-resolution crystal structures of αβ-tubulin in complex with two unrelated MSAs, zampanolide and epothilone A. Both compounds were bound to the taxane pocket of β-tubulin and used their respective side chains to induce structuring of the M-loop into a short helix. Because the M-loop establishes lateral tubulin contacts in microtubules, these findings explain how taxane-site MSAs promote microtubule assembly and stability. Further, our results offer fundamental structural insights into the control mechanisms of microtubule dynamics.

  12. Molecular mechanisms in the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy: an update.

    PubMed

    Arora, Mandeep Kumar; Singh, Umesh Kumar

    2013-04-01

    Diabetes mellitus is known to trigger retinopathy, neuropathy and nephropathy. Diabetic nephropathy, a long-term major microvascular complication of uncontrolled hyperglycemia, affects a large population worldwide. Recent findings suggest that numerous pathways are activated during the course of diabetes mellitus and that these pathways individually or collectively play a role in the induction and progression of diabetic nephropathy. However, clinical strategies targeting these pathways to manage diabetic nephropathy remain unsatisfactory, as the number of diabetic patients with nephropathy is increasing yearly. To develop ground-breaking therapeutic options to prevent the development and progression of diabetic nephropathy, a comprehensive understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of the disease is mandatory. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to discuss the underlying mechanisms and downstream pathways involved in the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy.

  13. Molecular mechanisms driving homeostatic plasticity of neurotransmitter release

    PubMed Central

    Lazarevic, Vesna; Pothula, Santosh; Andres-Alonso, Maria; Fejtova, Anna

    2013-01-01

    Homeostatic plasticity is a process by which neurons adapt to the overall network activity to keep their firing rates in a reasonable range. At the cellular level this kind of plasticity comprises modulation of cellular excitability and tuning of synaptic strength. In this review we concentrate on presynaptic homeostatic plasticity controlling the efficacy of neurotransmitter release from presynaptic boutons. While morphological and electrophysiological approaches were successful to describe homeostatic plasticity-induced changes in the presynaptic architecture and function, cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying those modifications remained largely unknown for a long time. We summarize the latest progress made in the understanding of homeostasis-induced regulation of different steps of the synaptic vesicle cycle and the molecular machineries involved in this process. We particularly focus on the role of presynaptic scaffolding proteins, which functionally and spatially organize synaptic vesicle clusters, neurotransmitter release sites and the associated endocytic machinery. These proteins turned out to be major presynaptic substrates for remodeling during homeostatic plasticity. Finally, we discuss cellular processes and signaling pathways acting during homeostatic molecular remodeling and their potential involvement in the maladaptive plasticity occurring in multiple neuropathologic conditions such as neurodegeneration, epilepsy and neuropsychiatric disorders. PMID:24348337

  14. Molecular mechanism of statin-mediated LOX-1 inhibition.

    PubMed

    Biocca, Silvia; Iacovelli, Federico; Matarazzo, Sara; Vindigni, Giulia; Oteri, Francesco; Desideri, Alessandro; Falconi, Mattia

    2015-01-01

    Statins are largely used in clinics in the treatment of patients with cardiovascular diseases for their effect on lowering circulating cholesterol. Lectin-like oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LOX-1), the primary receptor for ox-LDL, plays a central role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disorders. We have recently shown that chronic exposure of cells to lovastatin disrupts LOX-1 receptor cluster distribution in plasma membranes, leading to a marked loss of LOX-1 function. Here we investigated the molecular mechanism of statin-mediated LOX-1 inhibition and we demonstrate that all tested statins are able to displace the binding of fluorescent ox-LDL to LOX-1 by a direct interaction with LOX-1 receptors in a cell-based binding assay. Molecular docking simulations confirm the interaction and indicate that statins completely fill the hydrophobic tunnel that crosses the C-type lectin-like (CTLD) recognition domain of LOX-1. Classical molecular dynamics simulation technique applied to the LOX-1 CTLD, considered in the entire receptor structure with or without a statin ligand inside the tunnel, indicates that the presence of a ligand largely increases the dimer stability. Electrophoretic separation and western blot confirm that different statins binding stabilize the dimer assembly of LOX-1 receptors in vivo. The simulative and experimental results allow us to propose a CTLD clamp motion, which enables the receptor-substrate coupling. These findings reveal a novel and significant functional effect of statins.

  15. Lactobacilli as multifaceted probiotics with poorly disclosed molecular mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Turpin, Williams; Humblot, Christèle; Thomas, Muriel; Guyot, Jean-Pierre

    2010-10-15

    Lactic acid bacteria and more particularly lactobacilli have been used for the production of fermented foods for centuries. Several lactobacilli have been recognized as probiotics due to their wide range of health-promoting effects in humans. However, little is known about the molecular mechanisms underpinning their probiotic functions. Here we reviewed the main beneficial effects of lactobacilli and discussed, when the information is available, the molecular machinery involved in their probiotic function. Among the beneficial effects, lactobacilli can improve digestion, absorption and availability of nutrients. As an example, some strains are able to degrade carbohydrates such as lactose or α-galactosides that may cause abdominal pain. Furthermore, they can hydrolyze compounds that limit the bioavailability of minerals like tannin and phytate due to tannin acylhydrolase and phytase activities. In addition, it was shown that some lactobacilli strains can improve mineral absorption in Caco-2 cells. Lactobacilli can also contribute to improve the nutritional status of the host by producing B group vitamins. More recently, the role of lactobacilli in energy homeostasis, particularly in obese patients, is the object of an increased interest. Lactobacilli are also involved in the prevention of diseases. They have potential to prevent carcinogenesis through the modulation of enzymes involved in the xenobiotic pathway, and may prevent cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension through the production of a bioactive peptide that may have angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor activity. Lactobacilli are increasingly studied for the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases and exhibit interesting potential in the reduction of pain perception. The ability of some strains to bind to intestinal cells, their pathogen-associated molecular patterns and the metabolites they produce confer interesting immunomodulatory effects. Finally, pathogenic fungi, virus or bacteria can be

  16. Molecular Mechanisms of Pulmonary Vascular Remodeling in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension

    PubMed Central

    Leopold, Jane A.; Maron, Bradley A.

    2016-01-01

    Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a devastating disease that is precipitated by hypertrophic pulmonary vascular remodeling of distal arterioles to increase pulmonary artery pressure and pulmonary vascular resistance in the absence of left heart, lung parenchymal, or thromboembolic disease. Despite available medical therapy, pulmonary artery remodeling and its attendant hemodynamic consequences result in right ventricular dysfunction, failure, and early death. To limit morbidity and mortality, attention has focused on identifying the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying aberrant pulmonary artery remodeling to identify pathways for intervention. While there is a well-recognized heritable genetic component to PAH, there is also evidence of other genetic perturbations, including pulmonary vascular cell DNA damage, activation of the DNA damage response, and variations in microRNA expression. These findings likely contribute, in part, to dysregulation of proliferation and apoptosis signaling pathways akin to what is observed in cancer; changes in cellular metabolism, metabolic flux, and mitochondrial function; and endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition as key signaling pathways that promote pulmonary vascular remodeling. This review will highlight recent advances in the field with an emphasis on the aforementioned molecular mechanisms as contributors to the pulmonary vascular disease pathophenotype. PMID:27213345

  17. Molecular mechanisms of ROS production and oxidative stress in diabetes.

    PubMed

    Newsholme, Philip; Cruzat, Vinicius Fernandes; Keane, Kevin Noel; Carlessi, Rodrigo; de Bittencourt, Paulo Ivo Homem

    2016-12-15

    Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation are known to be associated with the development of metabolic diseases, including diabetes. Oxidative stress, an imbalance between oxidative and antioxidative systems of cells and tissues, is a result of over production of oxidative-free radicals and associated reactive oxygen species (ROS). One outcome of excessive levels of ROS is the modification of the structure and function of cellular proteins and lipids, leading to cellular dysfunction including impaired energy metabolism, altered cell signalling and cell cycle control, impaired cell transport mechanisms and overall dysfunctional biological activity, immune activation and inflammation. Nutritional stress, such as that caused by excess high-fat and/or carbohydrate diets, promotes oxidative stress as evident by increased lipid peroxidation products, protein carbonylation and decreased antioxidant status. In obesity, chronic oxidative stress and associated inflammation are the underlying factors that lead to the development of pathologies such as insulin resistance, dysregulated pathways of metabolism, diabetes and cardiovascular disease through impaired signalling and metabolism resulting in dysfunction to insulin secretion, insulin action and immune responses. However, exercise may counter excessive levels of oxidative stress and thus improve metabolic and inflammatory outcomes. In the present article, we review the cellular and molecular origins and significance of ROS production, the molecular targets and responses describing how oxidative stress affects cell function including mechanisms of insulin secretion and action, from the point of view of possible application of novel diabetic therapies based on redox regulation.

  18. Molecular Mechanisms of Phosphorus Metabolism and Transport during Leaf Senescence

    PubMed Central

    Stigter, Kyla A.; Plaxton, William C.

    2015-01-01

    Leaf senescence, being the final developmental stage of the leaf, signifies the transition from a mature, photosynthetically active organ to the attenuation of said function and eventual death of the leaf. During senescence, essential nutrients sequestered in the leaf, such as phosphorus (P), are mobilized and transported to sink tissues, particularly expanding leaves and developing seeds. Phosphorus recycling is crucial, as it helps to ensure that previously acquired P is not lost to the environment, particularly under the naturally occurring condition where most unfertilized soils contain low levels of soluble orthophosphate (Pi), the only form of P that roots can directly assimilate from the soil. Piecing together the molecular mechanisms that underpin the highly variable efficiencies of P remobilization from senescing leaves by different plant species may be critical for devising effective strategies for improving overall crop P-use efficiency. Maximizing Pi remobilization from senescing leaves using selective breeding and/or biotechnological strategies will help to generate P-efficient crops that would minimize the use of unsustainable and polluting Pi-containing fertilizers in agriculture. This review focuses on the molecular mechanisms whereby P is remobilized from senescing leaves and transported to sink tissues, which encompasses the action of hormones, transcription factors, Pi-scavenging enzymes, and Pi transporters. PMID:27135351

  19. Zinc and diabetes--clinical links and molecular mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Jansen, Judith; Karges, Wolfram; Rink, Lothar

    2009-06-01

    Zinc is an essential trace element crucial for the function of more than 300 enzymes and it is important for cellular processes like cell division and apoptosis. Hence, the concentration of zinc in the human body is tightly regulated and disturbances of zinc homeostasis have been associated with several diseases including diabetes mellitus, a disease characterized by high blood glucose concentrations as a consequence of decreased secretion or action of insulin. Zinc supplementation of animals and humans has been shown to ameliorate glycemic control in type 1 and 2 diabetes, the two major forms of diabetes mellitus, but the underlying molecular mechanisms have only slowly been elucidated. Zinc seems to exert insulin-like effects by supporting the signal transduction of insulin and by reducing the production of cytokines, which lead to beta-cell death during the inflammatory process in the pancreas in the course of the disease. Furthermore, zinc might play a role in the development of diabetes, since genetic polymorphisms in the gene of zinc transporter 8 and in metallothionein (MT)-encoding genes could be demonstrated to be associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus. The fact that antibodies against this zinc transporter have been detected in type 1 diabetic patients offers new diagnostic possibilities. This article reviews the influence of zinc on the diabetic state including the molecular mechanisms, the role of the zinc transporter 8 and MT for diabetes development and the resulting diagnostic and therapeutic options.

  20. Molecular mechanism of fluoroquinolones resistance in Mycoplasma hominis clinical isolates.

    PubMed

    Meng, Dong-Ya; Sun, Chang-Jian; Yu, Jing-Bo; Ma, Jun; Xue, Wen-Cheng

    2014-01-01

    To evaluate the molecular mechanism of fluoroquinolones resistance in Mycoplasma hominis (MH) clinical strains isolated from urogenital specimens. 15 MH clinical isolates with different phenotypes of resistance to fluoroquinolones antibiotics were screened for mutations in the quinolone resistance-determining regions (QRDRs) of DNA gyrase (gyrA and gyrB) and topoisomerase IV (parC and parE) in comparison with the reference strain PG21, which is susceptible to fluoroquinolones antibiotics. 15 MH isolates with three kinds of quinolone resistance phenotypes were obtained. Thirteen out of these quinolone-resistant isolates were found to carry nucleotide substitutions in either gyrA or parC. There were no alterations in gyrB and no mutations were found in the isolates with a phenotype of resistance to Ofloxacin (OFX), intermediate resistant to Levofloxacin (LVX) and Sparfloxacin (SFX), and those susceptible to all three tested antibiotics. The molecular mechanism of fluoroquinolone resistance in clinical isolates of MH was reported in this study. The single amino acid mutation in ParC of MH may relate to the resistance to OFX and LVX and the high-level resistance to fluoroquinolones for MH is likely associated with mutations in both DNA gyrase and the ParC subunit of topoisomerase IV.

  1. Molecular mechanisms of the plant heat stress response

    SciTech Connect

    Qu, Ai-Li; Ding, Yan-Fei; Jiang, Qiong; Zhu, Cheng

    2013-03-08

    Highlights: ► This review elaborates the response networks of heat stress in plants. ► It elaborates proteins responding to heat stress in special physiological period. ► The proteins and pathways have formed a basic network of the heat stress response. ► Achievements of the various technologies are also combined. -- Abstract: High temperature has become a global concern, which seriously affects the growth and production of plants, particularly crops. Thus, the molecular mechanism of the heat stress response and breeding of heat-tolerant plants is necessary to protect food production and ensure crop safety. This review elaborates on the response networks of heat stress in plants, including the Hsf and Hsp response pathways, the response of ROS and the network of the hormones. In addition, the production of heat stress response elements during particular physiological periods of the plant is described. We also discuss the existing problems and future prospects concerning the molecular mechanisms of the heat stress response in plants.

  2. Remembering the evolutionary Freud.