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Sample records for molecular evolutionary mechanisms

  1. Reconstruction of Ancestral Metabolic Enzymes Reveals Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Evolutionary Innovation through Gene Duplication

    PubMed Central

    Vanneste, Kevin; van der Zande, Elisa; Voet, Arnout; Maere, Steven; Verstrepen, Kevin J.

    2012-01-01

    Gene duplications are believed to facilitate evolutionary innovation. However, the mechanisms shaping the fate of duplicated genes remain heavily debated because the molecular processes and evolutionary forces involved are difficult to reconstruct. Here, we study a large family of fungal glucosidase genes that underwent several duplication events. We reconstruct all key ancestral enzymes and show that the very first preduplication enzyme was primarily active on maltose-like substrates, with trace activity for isomaltose-like sugars. Structural analysis and activity measurements on resurrected and present-day enzymes suggest that both activities cannot be fully optimized in a single enzyme. However, gene duplications repeatedly spawned daughter genes in which mutations optimized either isomaltase or maltase activity. Interestingly, similar shifts in enzyme activity were reached multiple times via different evolutionary routes. Together, our results provide a detailed picture of the molecular mechanisms that drove divergence of these duplicated enzymes and show that whereas the classic models of dosage, sub-, and neofunctionalization are helpful to conceptualize the implications of gene duplication, the three mechanisms co-occur and intertwine. PMID:23239941

  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. 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

  5. "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

  6. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-10-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  9. 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

  10. Molecular-clock methods for estimating evolutionary rates and timescales.

    PubMed

    Ho, Simon Y W; Duchêne, Sebastián

    2014-12-01

    The molecular clock presents a means of estimating evolutionary rates and timescales using genetic data. These estimates can lead to important insights into evolutionary processes and mechanisms, as well as providing a framework for further biological analyses. To deal with rate variation among genes and among lineages, a diverse range of molecular-clock methods have been developed. These methods have been implemented in various software packages and differ in their statistical properties, ability to handle different models of rate variation, capacity to incorporate various forms of calibrating information and tractability for analysing large data sets. Choosing a suitable molecular-clock model can be a challenging exercise, but a number of model-selection techniques are available. In this review, we describe the different forms of evolutionary rate heterogeneity and explain how they can be accommodated in molecular-clock analyses. We provide an outline of the various clock methods and models that are available, including the strict clock, local clocks, discrete clocks and relaxed clocks. Techniques for calibration and clock-model selection are also described, along with methods for handling multilocus data sets. We conclude our review with some comments about the future of molecular clocks.

  11. Evo-Devo: evolutionary developmental mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Hall, Brian K

    2003-01-01

    Evolutionary developmental biology (Evo-Devo) as a discipline is concerned, among other things, with discovering and understanding the role of changes in developmental mechanisms in the evolutionary origin of aspects of the phenotype. In a very real sense, Evo-Devo opens the black box between genotype and phenotype, or more properly, phenotypes as multiple life history stages arise in many organisms from a single genotype. Changes in the timing or positioning of an aspect of development in a descendant relative to an ancestor (heterochrony and heterotopy) were two evolutionary developmental mechanisms identified by Ernst Haeckel in the 1870s. Many more have since been identified, in large part because of our enhanced understanding of development and because new mechanisms emerge as development proceeds: the transfer from maternal to zygotic genomic control; cell-to-cell interactions; cell differentiation and cell migration; embryonic inductions; functional interactions at the tissue and organ levels; growth. Within these emergent processes, gene networks and gene cascades (genetic modules) link the genotype with morphogenetic units (cellular modules, namely germ layers, embryonic fields or cellular condensations), while epigenetic processes such as embryonic inductions, tissue interactions and functional integration, link morphogenetic units to the phenotype. Evolutionary developmental mechanisms also include interactions between individuals of the same species, individuals of different species, and species and their biotic and/or abiotic environment. Such interactions link ecological communities. Importantly, there is little to distinguish the causality that underlies these interactions from that which underlies inductive interactions within embryos. PMID:14756324

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

    PubMed

    Fernández, Jose D; Vico, Francisco J

    2011-11-01

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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. PMID:25541518

  15. Molecular evolutionary analyses of insect societies

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

  16. 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.

  17. “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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. The molecular origins of evolutionary innovations.

    PubMed

    Wagner, Andreas

    2011-10-01

    The history of life is a history of evolutionary innovations, qualitatively new phenotypic traits that endow their bearers with new, often game-changing abilities. We know many individual examples of innovations and their natural history, but we know little about the fundamental principles of phenotypic variability that permit new phenotypes to arise. Most phenotypic innovations result from changes in three classes of systems: metabolic networks, regulatory circuits, and macromolecules. I here highlight two important features that these classes of systems share. The first is the ubiquity of vast genotype networks - connected sets of genotypes with the same phenotype. The second is the great phenotypic diversity of small neighborhoods around different genotypes in genotype space. I here explain that both features are essential for the phenotypic variability that can bring forth qualitatively new phenotypes. Both features emerge from a common cause, the robustness of phenotypes to perturbations, whose origins are linked to life in changing environments. PMID:21872964

  1. Mechanical sensitivity reveals evolutionary dynamics of mechanical systems.

    PubMed

    Anderson, P S L; Patek, S N

    2015-04-01

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

  2. Mechanical sensitivity reveals evolutionary dynamics of mechanical systems

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  3. Automatic Molecular Design using Evolutionary Techniques

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1998-01-01

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

  4. Transposable elements as a molecular evolutionary force

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fedoroff, N. V.

    1999-01-01

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

  5. 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

  6. Mechanics of molecular motors

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Visscher, Koen

    2001-03-01

    Molecular motors convert chemical energy into work by mechanisms that researchers are just starting to uncover. We have studied the coupling of chemistry to mechanics for kinesin, a motor protein that moves in a stepwise fashion along microtubules and is energized by the hydrolysis of ATP. Velocities of individual kinesin molecules at varying ATP concentrations and loads were recorded using a molecular force cl& a feedback-driven optical trap, which maintains constant loads on individual moving motor molecules. These measurements showed that kinesin requires only a single ATP molecule per mechanical step, and revealed the load-dependant biochemical transitions in the kinesin cycle where conformational changes are likely to occur. Modeling of the velocity data showed that kinesin mechanochemistry can be characterized by a mechanism that involves a thermally-activated and load-dependent isomerization directly following ATP binding. The model quantitatively accounts for velocity data over a wide range of loads and ATP concentrations, and indicates that movement may be accomplished through two sequential, non-identical, 4-nm sized substeps.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. Burning phylogenies: fire, molecular evolutionary rates, and diversification.

    PubMed

    Verdú, Miguel; Pausas, Juli G; Segarra-Moragues, José Gabriel; Ojeda, Fernando

    2007-09-01

    Mediterranean-type ecosystems are among the most remarkable plant biodiversity "hot spots" on the earth, and fire has traditionally been invoked as one of the evolutionary forces explaining this exceptional diversity. In these ecosystems, adult plants of some species are able to survive after fire (resprouters), whereas in other species fire kills the adults and populations are only maintained by an effective post-fire recruitment (seeders). Seeders tend to have shorter generation times than resprouters, particularly under short fire return intervals, thus potentially increasing their molecular evolutionary rates and, ultimately, their diversification. We explored whether seeder lineages actually have higher rates of molecular evolution and diversification than resprouters. Molecular evolutionary rates in different DNA regions were compared in 45 phylogenetically paired congeneric taxa from fire-prone Mediterranean-type ecosystems with contrasting seeder and resprouter life histories. Differential diversification was analyzed with both topological and chronological approaches in five genera (Banksia, Daviesia, Lachnaea, Leucadendron, and Thamnochortus) from two fire-prone regions (Australia and South Africa). We found that seeders had neither higher molecular rates nor higher diversification than resprouters. Such lack of differences in molecular rates between seeders and resprouters-which did not agree with theoretical predictions-may occur if (1) the timing of the switch from seeding to resprouting (or vice versa) occurs near the branch tip, so that most of the branch length evolves under the opposite life-history form; (2) resprouters suffer more somatic mutations and therefore counterbalancing the replication-induced mutations of seeders; and (3) the rate of mutations is not related to shorter generation times because plants do not undergo determinate germ-line replication. The absence of differential diversification is to be expected if seeders and resprouters

  10. Molecular approaches for inferring evolutionary relationships among protistan parasites.

    PubMed

    Barta, J R

    2001-11-22

    Within the diverse group of parasites broadly recognized as protists, there are limited morphological characters that can be used to distinguish species and even fewer characters that can infer evolutionary relationships among species. For this reason, molecular data are commonly used to infer relationships among species and strains. These studies most commonly rely on sequences associated with the ribosomal RNA genes but increasingly other nuclear, mitochondrial or plastid genes are contributing data. Molecular systematics has been invaluable in expanding the range of characters that are available for inferring relationships among protistan taxa. As an adjunct to morphological characters, sequence data allow us to better understand the evolutionary history of this group of parasites and thereby erect a well-supported taxonomic framework that reflects these historical relationships. Importantly, the predictive nature of such a framework can aid the search for therapeutic compounds (e.g. via shared biochemical pathways) and highlight organisms that should be tested for cross-reactivity in immunological or molecular diagnostic methods (e.g. use of the closest relatives to assess test specificity). For emergent and poorly known parasites, molecular characterization and placement within the broader phylogenetic framework can help predict likely life history traits, including possible or likely definitive hosts.

  11. MOLECULAR MECHANISMS OF PHARMACONUTRIENTS

    PubMed Central

    Santora, R; Kozar, RA

    2009-01-01

    Nutritional supplementation has become the standard of care for management of critically ill patients. Traditionally, nutritional support in this patient population was intended to replete substrate deficiencies secondary to stress-induced catabolism. Recognition of the influence of certain nutrients on the immune and inflammatory response of the critically ill has led to the evolution of more sophisticated nutritional strategies and concepts. Administration of immune-enhancing formulas supplemented with a combination of glutamine, arginine, omega-3 fatty acids and nucleotides have been shown in most studies to reduce infectious outcomes. More recently, the separation of nutritional support from the provision of key nutrients, has led to a further appreciation of the immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory benefits of isolated nutrients, such as glutamine and antioxidants. The purpose of this article is to review the molecular mechanisms that are unique to each class of frequently utilized nutrients. A better understanding of the specific molecular targets of immunonutrients will facilitate application of more refined nutritional therapies in critically ill patients. PMID:20080249

  12. Novel evolutionary pathways of sex-determining mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Schwanz, L E; Ezaz, T; Gruber, B; Georges, A

    2013-12-01

    Evolutionary transitions between sex-determining mechanisms (SDMs) are an enigma. Among vertebrates, individual sex (male or female) is primarily determined by either genes (genotypic sex determination, GSD) or embryonic incubation temperature (temperature-dependent sex determination, TSD), and these mechanisms have undergone repeated evolutionary transitions. Despite this evolutionary lability, transitions from GSD (i.e. from male heterogamety, XX/XY, or female heterogamety, ZZ/ZW) to TSD are an evolutionary conundrum, as they appear to require crossing a fitness valley arising from the production of genotypes with reduced viability owing to being homogametic for degenerated sex chromosomes (YY or WW individuals). Moreover, it is unclear whether alternative (e.g. mixed) forms of sex determination can persist across evolutionary time. It has previously been suggested that transitions would be easy if temperature-dependent sex reversal (e.g. XX male or XY female) was asymmetrical, occurring only in the homogametic sex. However, only recently has a mechanistic model of sex determination emerged that may allow such asymmetrical sex reversal. We demonstrate that selection for TSD in a realistic sex-determining system can readily drive evolutionary transitions from GSD to TSD that do not require the production of YY or WW individuals. In XX/XY systems, sex reversal (female to male) occurs in a portion of the XX individuals only, leading to the loss of the Y allele (or chromosome) from the population as XX individuals mate with each other. The outcome is a population of XX individuals whose sex is determined by incubation temperature (TSD). Moreover, our model reveals a novel evolutionarily stable state representing a mixed-mechanism system that has not been revealed by previous approaches. This study solves two long-standing puzzles of the evolution of sex-determining mechanisms by illuminating the evolutionary pathways and endpoints.

  13. 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.

  14. MOLECULAR MECHANISMS OF PREECLAMPSIA

    PubMed Central

    Mutter, Walter P.; Karumanchi, S. Ananth

    2008-01-01

    Preeclampsia is a major cause of maternal, fetal, and neonatal mortality worldwide. The mechanisms that initiate preeclampsia in humans have been elusive, but some parts of the puzzle have begun to come together. A key discovery in the field was the realization that its major phenotypes, such as hypertension and proteinuria, are due to excess circulating soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 (sFlt-1, also referred to as sVEGFR-1). sFlt-1 is an endogenous anti-angiogenic protein that is made by the placenta and acts by neutralizing the pro-angiogenic proteins vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and placental growth factor (PlGF). More recently, soluble endoglin, another circulating anti-angiogenic protein was found to synergize with sFlt1 and contribute to the pathogenesis of preeclampsia. Abnormalities in these circulating angiogenic proteins are not only present during clinical preeclampsia, but also antedate clinical symptoms by several weeks. This review will summarize our current understanding of the molecular mechanism of preeclampsia, with an emphasis on the recently characterized circulating anti-angiogenic proteins. PMID:17553534

  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. 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. PMID:12496741

  17. 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. PMID:22710640

  18. Molecular mechanisms of anesthesia.

    PubMed

    Ueda, I

    2001-03-01

    Anesthesia was a blessing to humankind. It is a miracle that simple molecules such as chloroform (CHCl3), diethyl ether (CH3.CH2.O.CH2.CH3), or nitrous oxide (N2O) induce a state of unconsciousness where patients can tolerate surgery. The diversity of the structures of these molecules indicates that there are no common receptors. The action of anesthetics is nonspecific and physical. After the demonstration by Meyer and Overton that anesthetic potencies correlate to their solubility into olive oil, the nonspecific lipid theories monopolized anesthesia theories for almost a century. The dominance of lipid theories invited repulsions against the nonspecificity idea. Protein theories that stress receptor bindings became the top mode. Nevertheless, the wide varieties of anesthetic molecules and the wide varieties of responding systems are difficult to reconcile with the specific interaction concept. This article discusses the recent progress and controversies on the molecular mechanisms of anesthesia. Anesthetics are unique drugs in pharmacology. They affect all macromolecules. The only comparable drugs are disinfectants. Both are nonspecific drugs. We use alcohols and phenols to wipe off the injection sites. We do not use penicillin or any other antibiotics for this purpose, because they are specific binders. Interestingly, these two nonspecific drugs opened the window for the modern medicine.

  19. Molecular mechanisms of robustness in plants

    PubMed Central

    Lempe, Janne; Lachowiec, Jennifer; Sullivan, Alessandra. M.; Queitsch, Christine

    2012-01-01

    Robustness, the ability of organisms to buffer phenotypes against perturbations, has drawn renewed interest among developmental biologists and geneticists. A growing body of research supports an important role of robustness in the genotype to phenotype translation, with far- reaching implications for evolutionary processes and disease susceptibility. Like for animals and fungi, plant robustness is a function of genetic network architecture. Most perturbations are buffered; however, perturbation of network hubs destabilizes many traits. Here, we review recent advances in identifying molecular robustness mechanisms in plants that have been enabled by a combination of classical genetics and population genetics with genome-scale data. PMID:23279801

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2013-09-20

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

  1. Molecular synapomorphies resolve evolutionary relationships of extant jawed vertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Venkatesh, Byrappa; Erdmann, Mark V.; Brenner, Sydney

    2001-01-01

    The evolutionary relationships of gnathostomes (jawed vertebrates), which comprise chondrichthyans (cartilaginous fishes), lobe-finned fishes (coelacanths and lungfishes), tetrapods, and actinopterygians (ray-finned fishes), have been debated for almost a century. Phylogenetic analyses based on fossils, morphology, and molecular sequences have generated different models of relationships that remain unresolved. We identified 13 derived shared molecular markers (synapomorphies) that define clades in the vertebrate lineage and used them to resolve the phylogenetic relationships of extant jawed vertebrates. Our markers include the presence or absence of insertions and deletions in coding sequences, nuclear introns, and alternatively spliced transcripts. The synapomorphies identified by us are congruent with each other and give rise to a single phylogenetic tree. This tree confirms that chondrichthyans are basal to all living gnathostomes, that lungfishes (Dipnoi) are the closest living relatives of tetrapods, and that bichirs (Cladistia) are the living members of the most ancient family of ray-finned fishes. Our study also provides molecular evidence to support the monophyly of living tetrapods and teleosts. PMID:11553795

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-10-01

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

  3. On the Nature and Evolutionary Impact of Phenotypic Robustness Mechanisms

    PubMed Central

    Leu, Jun-Yi

    2015-01-01

    Biologists have long observed that physiological and developmental processes are insensitive, or robust, to many genetic and environmental perturbations. A complete understanding of the evolutionary causes and consequences of this robustness is lacking. Recent progress has been made in uncovering the regulatory mechanisms that underlie environmental robustness in particular. Less is known about robustness to the effects of mutations, and indeed the evolution of mutational robustness remains a controversial topic. The controversy has spread to related topics, in particular the evolutionary relevance of cryptic genetic variation. This review aims to synthesize current understanding of robustness mechanisms and to cut through the controversy by shedding light on what is and is not known about mutational robustness. Some studies have confused mutational robustness with non-additive interactions between mutations (epistasis). We conclude that a profitable way forward is to focus investigations (and rhetoric) less on mutational robustness and more on epistasis. PMID:26034410

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. Molecular mechanisms of meditation.

    PubMed

    Jindal, Vishal; Gupta, Sorab; Das, Ritwik

    2013-12-01

    Meditation is a complex process involving change in cognition, memory, and social and emotional control, and causes improvement in various cardiovascular, neurological, autoimmune, and renal pathologies. Meditation also become widely used in medical and psychological treatment therapies for stress-related physical and mental disorders. But still, biological mechanisms in terms of effect on brain and body are poorly understood. This paper explains the basic changes due to meditation in cerebral cortex, prefrontal area, cingulate gyrus, neurotransmitters, white matter, autonomic nervous system, limbic system, cytokines, endorphins, hormones, etc. The following is a review of the current literature regarding the various neurophysiological mechanisms, neuro-endocrine mechanisms, neurochemical substrates, etc. that underlies the complex processes of meditation. PMID:23737355

  7. Molecular mechanisms of meditation.

    PubMed

    Jindal, Vishal; Gupta, Sorab; Das, Ritwik

    2013-12-01

    Meditation is a complex process involving change in cognition, memory, and social and emotional control, and causes improvement in various cardiovascular, neurological, autoimmune, and renal pathologies. Meditation also become widely used in medical and psychological treatment therapies for stress-related physical and mental disorders. But still, biological mechanisms in terms of effect on brain and body are poorly understood. This paper explains the basic changes due to meditation in cerebral cortex, prefrontal area, cingulate gyrus, neurotransmitters, white matter, autonomic nervous system, limbic system, cytokines, endorphins, hormones, etc. The following is a review of the current literature regarding the various neurophysiological mechanisms, neuro-endocrine mechanisms, neurochemical substrates, etc. that underlies the complex processes of meditation.

  8. Molecular mechanism of preconditioning.

    PubMed

    Das, Manika; Das, Dipak K

    2008-04-01

    During the last 20 years, since the appearance of the first publication on ischemic preconditioning (PC), our knowledge of this phenomenon has increased exponentially. PC is defined as an increased tolerance to ischemia and reperfusion induced by previous sublethal period ischemia. This is the most powerful mechanism known to date for limiting the infract size. This adaptation occurs in a biphasic pattern (i) early preconditioning (lasts for 2-3 h) and (ii) late preconditioning (starting at 24 h lasting until 72-96 h after initial ischemia). Early preconditioning is more potent than delayed preconditioning in reducing infract size. Late preconditioning attenuates myocardial stunning and requires genomic activation with de novo protein synthesis. Early preconditioning depends on adenosine, opioids and to a lesser degree, on bradykinin and prostaglandins, released during ischemia. These molecules activate G-protein-coupled receptor, initiate activation of K(ATP) channel and generate oxygen-free radicals, and stimulate a series of protein kinases, which include protein kinase C, tyrosine kinase, and members of MAP kinase family. Late preconditioning is triggered by a similar sequence of events, but in addition essentially depends on newly synthesized proteins, which comprise iNOS, COX-2, manganese superoxide dismutase, and possibly heat shock proteins. The final mechanism of PC is still not very clear. The present review focuses on the possible role signaling molecules that regulate cardiomyocyte life and death during ischemia and reperfusion. PMID:18344203

  9. 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

  10. Sharing the sandbox: Evolutionary mechanisms that maintain bacterial cooperation.

    PubMed

    Bruger, Eric; Waters, Christopher

    2015-01-01

    Microbes are now known to participate in an extensive repertoire of cooperative behaviors such as biofilm formation, production of extracellular public-goods, group motility, and higher-ordered multicellular structures. A fundamental question is how these cooperative tasks are maintained in the face of non-cooperating defector cells. Recently, a number of molecular mechanisms including facultative participation, spatial sorting, and policing have been discovered to stabilize cooperation. Often these different mechanisms work in concert to reinforce cooperation. In this review, we describe bacterial cooperation and the current understanding of the molecular mechanisms that maintain it. PMID:26918128

  11. Sharing the sandbox: Evolutionary mechanisms that maintain bacterial cooperation.

    PubMed

    Bruger, Eric; Waters, Christopher

    2015-01-01

    Microbes are now known to participate in an extensive repertoire of cooperative behaviors such as biofilm formation, production of extracellular public-goods, group motility, and higher-ordered multicellular structures. A fundamental question is how these cooperative tasks are maintained in the face of non-cooperating defector cells. Recently, a number of molecular mechanisms including facultative participation, spatial sorting, and policing have been discovered to stabilize cooperation. Often these different mechanisms work in concert to reinforce cooperation. In this review, we describe bacterial cooperation and the current understanding of the molecular mechanisms that maintain it.

  12. Sharing the sandbox: Evolutionary mechanisms that maintain bacterial cooperation

    PubMed Central

    Bruger, Eric; Waters, Christopher

    2015-01-01

    Microbes are now known to participate in an extensive repertoire of cooperative behaviors such as biofilm formation, production of extracellular public-goods, group motility, and higher-ordered multicellular structures. A fundamental question is how these cooperative tasks are maintained in the face of non-cooperating defector cells. Recently, a number of molecular mechanisms including facultative participation, spatial sorting, and policing have been discovered to stabilize cooperation. Often these different mechanisms work in concert to reinforce cooperation. In this review, we describe bacterial cooperation and the current understanding of the molecular mechanisms that maintain it. PMID:26918128

  13. 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. PMID:24619185

  14. 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

  15. Molecular mechanisms of dendrite stability

    PubMed Central

    Koleske, Anthony J.

    2014-01-01

    In the developing brain, dendrite branches and dendritic spines form and turn over dynamically. By contrast, most dendrite arbors and dendritic spines in the adult brain are stable for months, years and possibly even decades. Emerging evidence reveals that dendritic spine and dendrite arbor stability have crucial roles in the correct functioning of the adult brain and that loss of stability is associated with psychiatric disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. Recent findings have provided insights into the molecular mechanisms that underlie long-term dendrite stabilization, how these mechanisms differ from those used to mediate structural plasticity and how they are disrupted in disease. PMID:23839597

  16. 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

  17. Superspreading: mechanisms and molecular design.

    PubMed

    Theodorakis, Panagiotis E; Müller, Erich A; Craster, Richard V; Matar, Omar K

    2015-03-01

    The intriguing ability of certain surfactant molecules to drive the superspreading of liquids to complete wetting on hydrophobic substrates is central to numerous applications that range from coating flow technology to enhanced oil recovery. Despite significant experimental efforts, the precise mechanisms underlying superspreading remain unknown to date. Here, we isolate these mechanisms by analyzing coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations of surfactant molecules of varying molecular architecture and substrate affinity. We observe that for superspreading to occur, two key conditions must be simultaneously satisfied: the adsorption of surfactants from the liquid-vapor surface onto the three-phase contact line augmented by local bilayer formation. Crucially, this must be coordinated with the rapid replenishment of liquid-vapor and solid-liquid interfaces with surfactants from the interior of the droplet. This article also highlights and explores the differences between superspreading and conventional surfactants, paving the way for the design of molecular architectures tailored specifically for applications that rely on the control of wetting.

  18. Deep evolutionary conservation of an intramolecular protein kinase activation mechanism.

    PubMed

    Han, Jingfen; Miranda-Saavedra, Diego; Luebbering, Nathan; Singh, Aman; Sibbet, Gary; Ferguson, Michael A J; Cleghon, Vaughn

    2012-01-01

    DYRK-family kinases employ an intramolecular mechanism to autophosphorylate a critical tyrosine residue in the activation loop. Once phosphorylated, DYRKs lose tyrosine kinase activity and function as serine/threonine kinases. DYRKs have been characterized in organisms from yeast to human; however, all entities belong to the Unikont supergroup, only one of five eukaryotic supergroups. To assess the evolutionary age and conservation of the DYRK intramolecular kinase-activation mechanism, we surveyed 21 genomes representing four of the five eukaryotic supergroups for the presence of DYRKs. We also analyzed the activation mechanism of the sole DYRK (class 2 DYRK) present in Trypanosoma brucei (TbDYRK2), a member of the excavate supergroup and separated from Drosophila by ∼850 million years. Bioinformatics showed the DYRKs clustering into five known subfamilies, class 1, class 2, Yaks, HIPKs and Prp4s. Only class 2 DYRKs were present in all four supergroups. These diverse class 2 DYRKs also exhibited conservation of N-terminal NAPA regions located outside of the kinase domain, and were shown to have an essential role in activation loop autophosphorylation of Drosophila DmDYRK2. Class 2 TbDYRK2 required the activation loop tyrosine conserved in other DYRKs, the NAPA regions were critical for this autophosphorylation event, and the NAPA-regions of Trypanosoma and human DYRK2 complemented autophosphorylation by the kinase domain of DmDYRK2 in trans. Finally, sequential deletion analysis was used to further define the minimal region required for trans-complementation. Our analysis provides strong evidence that class 2 DYRKs were present in the primordial or root eukaryote, and suggest this subgroup may be the oldest, founding member of the DYRK family. The conservation of activation loop autophosphorylation demonstrates that kinase self-activation mechanisms are also primitive.

  19. Molecular Mechanism of TRP Channels

    PubMed Central

    Zheng, Jie

    2013-01-01

    Transient receptor potential (TRP) channels are cellular sensors for a wide spectrum of physical and chemical stimuli. They are involved in the formation of sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste, temperature, and pain sensation. TRP channels also play fundamental roles in cell signaling and allow the host cell to respond to benign or harmful environmental changes. As TRP channel activation is controlled by very diverse processes and, in many cases, exhibits complex polymodal properties, understanding how each TRP channel responds to its unique forms of activation energy is both crucial and challenging. The past two decades witnessed significant advances in understanding the molecular mechanisms that underlie TRP channels activation. This review focuses on our current understanding of the molecular determinants for TRP channel activation. PMID:23720286

  20. SPICA/SAFARI Fourier transform spectrometer mechanism evolutionary design

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2012-09-01

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

  1. MEGA3: Integrated software for Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis and sequence alignment.

    PubMed

    Kumar, Sudhir; Tamura, Koichiro; Nei, Masatoshi

    2004-06-01

    With its theoretical basis firmly established in molecular evolutionary and population genetics, the comparative DNA and protein sequence analysis plays a central role in reconstructing the evolutionary histories of species and multigene families, estimating rates of molecular evolution, and inferring the nature and extent of selective forces shaping the evolution of genes and genomes. The scope of these investigations has now expanded greatly owing to the development of high-throughput sequencing techniques and novel statistical and computational methods. These methods require easy-to-use computer programs. One such effort has been to produce Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis (MEGA) software, with its focus on facilitating the exploration and analysis of the DNA and protein sequence variation from an evolutionary perspective. Currently in its third major release, MEGA3 contains facilities for automatic and manual sequence alignment, web-based mining of databases, inference of the phylogenetic trees, estimation of evolutionary distances and testing evolutionary hypotheses. This paper provides an overview of the statistical methods, computational tools, and visual exploration modules for data input and the results obtainable in MEGA.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. Molecular mechanisms of regulated necrosis.

    PubMed

    Galluzzi, Lorenzo; Kepp, Oliver; Krautwald, Stefan; Kroemer, Guido; Linkermann, Andreas

    2014-11-01

    It is now clear that apoptosis does not constitute the sole genetically encoded form of cell death. Rather, cells can spontaneously undertake or exogenously be driven into a cell death subroutine that manifests with necrotic features, yet can be inhibited by pharmacological and genetic interventions. As regulated necrosis (RN) plays a major role in both physiological scenarios (e.g., embryonic development) and pathological settings (e.g., ischemic disorders), consistent efforts have been made throughout the last decade toward the characterization of the molecular mechanisms that underlie this cell death modality. Contrarily to initial beliefs, RN does not invariably result from the activation of a receptor interacting protein kinase 3 (RIPK3)-dependent signaling pathway, but may be ignited by distinct molecular networks. Nowadays, various types of RN have been characterized, including (but not limited to) necroptosis, mitochondrial permeability transition (MPT)-dependent RN and parthanatos. Of note, the inhibition of only one of these modules generally exerts limited cytoprotective effects in vivo, underscoring the degree of interconnectivity that characterizes RN. Here, we review the signaling pathways, pathophysiological relevance and therapeutic implications of the major molecular cascades that underlie RN. PMID:24582829

  5. Molecular mechanisms of temperature adaptation.

    PubMed

    Bagriantsev, Sviatoslav N; Gracheva, Elena O

    2015-08-15

    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.

  6. 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

  7. Molecular mechanisms of temperature adaptation.

    PubMed

    Bagriantsev, Sviatoslav N; Gracheva, Elena O

    2015-08-15

    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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-10-10

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

  9. Evolutionary transitions between sex-determining mechanisms: a review of theory.

    PubMed

    van Doorn, G S

    2014-01-01

    The extraordinary diversity of sex-determining mechanisms found in nature is thought to have arisen by the addition, modification or replacement of regulators at the upstream end of the sex-determining pathway. The spread of a novel regulator of sex determination can manifest itself by an evolutionary transition between environmental and genetic sex determination, for example, or between male and female heterogamety. Both kinds of transition have occurred frequently in the course of evolution. In this paper, various evolutionary forces acting on sex-determining mutations that can bias transitions in one direction or the other are reviewed. Furthermore, the adaptive significance of the main modes of sex determination are discussed, and the common principle underlying ultimate explanations for environmental sex determination, genetic sex determination and maternal control over sex determination in the offspring are highlighted. Most of the current theory concentrates on the population-genetic aspects of sex determination transitions, using models that do not reflect the developmental mechanisms involved in sex determination. However, the increasing availability of molecular data creates opportunities for the future development of mechanistic models that will further clarify how selection and developmental architecture interact to direct the evolution of sex determination genes. PMID:24335102

  10. Molecular mechanisms of cryptococcal meningitis

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Tong-Bao; Perlin, David; 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. PMID:22460646

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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. PMID:20051671

  14. Molecular mechanisms of penile erection.

    PubMed

    Mas, Manuel

    2010-10-01

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

  15. Molecular mechanisms of pancreatic carcinogenesis.

    PubMed

    Furukawa, Toru; Sunamura, Makoto; Horii, Akira

    2006-01-01

    Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is one of the most fatal malignancies. Intensive investigation of molecular pathogenesis might lead to identifying useful molecules for diagnosis and treatment of the disease. Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma harbors complicated aberrations of alleles including losses of 1p, 6q, 9p, 12q, 17p, 18q, and 21q, and gains of 8q and 20q. Pancreatic cancer is usually initiated by mutation of KRAS and aberrant expression of SHH. Overexpression of AURKA mapping on 20q13.2 may significantly enhance overt tumorigenesity. Aberrations of tumor suppressor genes synergistically accelerate progression of the carcinogenic pathway through pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN) to invasive ductal adenocarcinoma. Abrogation of CDKN2A occurs in low-grade/early PanIN, whereas aberrations of TP53 and SMAD4 occur in high-grade/late PanIN. SMAD4 may play suppressive roles in tumorigenesis by inhibition of angiogenesis. Loss of 18q precedes SMAD4 inactivation, and restoration of chromosome 18 in pancreatic cancer cells results in tumor suppressive phenotypes regardless of SMAD4 status, indicating the possible existence of a tumor suppressor gene(s) other than SMAD4 on 18q. DUSP6 at 12q21-q22 is frequently abrogated by loss of expression in invasive ductal adenocarcinomas despite fairly preserved expression in PanIN, which suggests that DUSP6 works as a tumor suppressor in pancreatic carcinogenesis. Restoration of chromosome 12 also suppresses growths of pancreatic cancer cells despite the recovery of expression of DUSP6; the existence of yet another tumor suppressor gene on 12q is strongly suggested. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of pancreatic carcinogenesis will likely provide novel clues for preventing, detecting, and ultimately curing this life-threatening disease. PMID:16367914

  16. Intrinsic disorder in pathogen effectors: protein flexibility as an evolutionary hallmark in a molecular arms race.

    PubMed

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

    2013-09-01

    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.

  17. Molecular toxicity mechanism of nanosilver.

    PubMed

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

    2014-03-01

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

  18. Molecular mechanisms of 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

  19. Ferric Enterochelin Transport in Yersinia enterocolitica: Molecular and Evolutionary Aspects

    PubMed Central

    Schubert, S.; Fischer, D.; Heesemann, J.

    1999-01-01

    Yersinia enterocolitica is well equipped for siderophore piracy, encompassing the utilization of siderophores such as ferrioxamine, ferrichrome, and ferrienterochelin. In this study, we report on the molecular and functional characterization of the Yersinia fep-fes gene cluster orthologous to the Escherichia coli ferrienterochelin transport genes (fepA, fepDGC, and fepB) and the esterase gene fes. In vitro transcription-translation analysis identified polypeptides of 30 and 35 kDa encoded by fepC and fes, respectively. A frameshift mutation within the fepA gene led to expression of a truncated polypeptide of 40 kDa. The fepD, fepG, and fes genes of Y. enterocolitica were shown to complement corresponding E. coli mutants. Insertional mutagenesis of fepD or fes genes abrogates enterochelin-supported growth of Y. enterocolitica on iron-chelated media. In contrast to E. coli, the fep-fes gene cluster in Y. enterocolitica consists solely of genes required for uptake and utilization of enterochelin (fep) and not of enterochelin synthesis genes such as entF. By Southern hybridization, fepDGC and fes sequences could be detected in Y. enterocolitica biotypes IB, IA, and II but not in biotype IV strains, Yersinia pestis, and Yersinia pseudotuberculosis strains. According to sequence alignment data and the coherent structure of the Yersinia fep-fes gene cluster, we suggest early genetic divergence of ferrienterochelin uptake determinants among species of the family Enterobacteriaceae. PMID:10515929

  20. Molecular evolutionary genetics of isozymes: pattern, theory, and application.

    PubMed

    Nevo, E

    1990-01-01

    Isozyme studies at the population genetics-ecology interface conducted at the Institute of Evolution, University of Haifa, during 15 years, 1974-1989, are reviewed in terms of the evidence, theoretical, and practical implications. These studies involve numerous individuals, populations, species, and higher taxa in nature of plants, animals, and humans tested for variation at 15 to 50 primary isozyme loci. The isozyme studies have been conducted mainly in individuals sampled in natural populations at the local, regional, and global levels. Two of the species studied were wild cereals, the progenitors of wheat and barley in the Near East Fertile Crescent. These studies have been complemented by laboratory controlled a priori experimentation of inorganic and organic pollution biology. The human genetics laboratory compared isozyme structure of Jewish and non-Jewish populations. Our results indicate that: (i) isozyme diversity in nature in abundant, at least partly adaptive, and is oriented and maintained primarily by ecological factors. (ii) Natural selection in action is highlighted by stresses involving among others thermal, chemical, and climatic factors. (iii) Speciation can occur with little change in isozyme diversity. (iv) Jews from diverse countries, and in spite of 2,000 years of Diaspora, retain in the frequencies of some isozymes their Near Eastern origins. (v) Wild cereals harbor rich genetic resources exploitable in breeding either directly as adaptive structures, or indirectly as genetic markers for genotypic production of elite agronomic traits. (vi) Isozymes have been utilized as genetic monitors of marine pollution thereby contributing to environmental quality and conservation. (vii) Isozymes can substantially contribute to conservation biology. (viii) Isozymes have been successfully utilized in constructing molecular phylogenies and in revealing new sibling species. (ix) Future theoretical and practical directions of isozyme studies at the protein

  1. Molecular evolutionary genetics of isozymes: pattern, theory, and application.

    PubMed

    Nevo, E

    1990-01-01

    Isozyme studies at the population genetics-ecology interface conducted at the Institute of Evolution, University of Haifa, during 15 years, 1974-1989, are reviewed in terms of the evidence, theoretical, and practical implications. These studies involve numerous individuals, populations, species, and higher taxa in nature of plants, animals, and humans tested for variation at 15 to 50 primary isozyme loci. The isozyme studies have been conducted mainly in individuals sampled in natural populations at the local, regional, and global levels. Two of the species studied were wild cereals, the progenitors of wheat and barley in the Near East Fertile Crescent. These studies have been complemented by laboratory controlled a priori experimentation of inorganic and organic pollution biology. The human genetics laboratory compared isozyme structure of Jewish and non-Jewish populations. Our results indicate that: (i) isozyme diversity in nature in abundant, at least partly adaptive, and is oriented and maintained primarily by ecological factors. (ii) Natural selection in action is highlighted by stresses involving among others thermal, chemical, and climatic factors. (iii) Speciation can occur with little change in isozyme diversity. (iv) Jews from diverse countries, and in spite of 2,000 years of Diaspora, retain in the frequencies of some isozymes their Near Eastern origins. (v) Wild cereals harbor rich genetic resources exploitable in breeding either directly as adaptive structures, or indirectly as genetic markers for genotypic production of elite agronomic traits. (vi) Isozymes have been utilized as genetic monitors of marine pollution thereby contributing to environmental quality and conservation. (vii) Isozymes can substantially contribute to conservation biology. (viii) Isozymes have been successfully utilized in constructing molecular phylogenies and in revealing new sibling species. (ix) Future theoretical and practical directions of isozyme studies at the protein

  2. [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.

  3. 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

  4. Molecular Evolutionary Dynamics of Respiratory Syncytial Virus Group A in Recurrent Epidemics in Coastal Kenya

    PubMed Central

    Agoti, Charles N.; Gitahi, Caroline W.; Bett, Ann; Ngama, Mwanajuma; Medley, Graham F.; Cane, Patricia A.; Nokes, D. James

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT The characteristic recurrent epidemics of human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) within communities may result from the genetic variability of the virus and associated evolutionary adaptation, reducing the efficiency of preexisting immune responses. We analyzed the molecular evolutionary changes in the attachment (G) glycoprotein of RSV-A viruses collected over 13 epidemic seasons (2000 to 2012) in Kilifi (n = 649), Kenya, and contemporaneous sequences (n = 1,131) collected elsewhere within Kenya and 28 other countries. Genetic diversity in the G gene in Kilifi was dynamic both within and between epidemics, characterized by frequent new variant introductions and limited variant persistence between consecutive epidemics. Four RSV-A genotypes were detected in Kilifi: ON1 (11.9%), GA2 (75.5%), GA5 (12.3%), and GA3 (0.3%), with predominant genotype replacement of GA5 by GA2 and then GA2 by ON1. Within these genotypes, there was considerable variation in potential N-glycosylation sites, with GA2 and ON1 viruses showing up to 15 different patterns involving eight possible sites. Further, we identified 15 positively selected and 34 genotype-distinguishing codon sites, with six of these sites exhibiting both characteristics. The mean substitution rate of the G ectodomain for the Kilifi data set was estimated at 3.58 × 10−3 (95% highest posterior density interval = 3.04 to 4.16) nucleotide substitutions/site/year. Kilifi viruses were interspersed in the global phylogenetic tree, clustering mostly with Kenyan and European sequences. Our findings highlight ongoing genetic evolution and high diversity of circulating RSV-A strains, locally and globally, with potential antigenic differences. Taken together, these provide a possible explanation on the nature of recurrent local RSV epidemics. IMPORTANCE The mechanisms underlying recurrent epidemics of RSV are poorly understood. We observe high genetic diversity in circulating strains within and between epidemics in

  5. Molecular mechanisms involved in convergent crop domestication.

    PubMed

    Lenser, Teresa; Theißen, Günter

    2013-12-01

    Domestication has helped to understand evolution. We argue that, vice versa, novel insights into evolutionary principles could provide deeper insights into domestication. Molecular analyses have demonstrated that convergent phenotypic evolution is often based on molecular changes in orthologous genes or pathways. Recent studies have revealed that during plant domestication the causal mutations for convergent changes in key traits are likely to be located in particular genes. These insights may contribute to defining candidate genes for genetic improvement during the domestication of new plant species. Such efforts may help to increase the range of arable crops available, thus increasing crop biodiversity and food security to help meet the predicted demands of the continually growing global population under rapidly changing environmental conditions.

  6. Molecular mechanisms of hepatic apoptosis

    PubMed Central

    Wang, K

    2014-01-01

    Apoptosis is a prominent feature of liver diseases. Causative factors such as alcohol, viruses, toxic bile acids, fatty acids, drugs, and immune response, can induce apoptotic cell death via membrane receptors and intracellular stress. Apoptotic signaling network, including membrane death receptor-mediated cascade, reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, lysosomal permeabilization, and mitochondrial dysfunction, is intermixed each other, but one mechanism may dominate at a particular stage. Mechanisms of hepatic apoptosis are complicated by multiple signaling pathways. The progression of liver disease is affected by the balance between apoptotic and antiapoptotic capabilities. Therapeutic options of liver injury are impacted by the clear understanding toward mechanisms of hepatic apoptosis. PMID:24434519

  7. Ab initio NMR Confirmed Evolutionary Structure Prediction for Organic Molecular Crystals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pham, Cong-Huy; Kucukbenli, Emine; de Gironcoli, Stefano

    2015-03-01

    Ab initio crystal structure prediction of even small organic compounds is extremely challenging due to polymorphism, molecular flexibility and difficulties in addressing the dispersion interaction from first principles. We recently implemented vdW-aware density functionals and demonstrated their success in energy ordering of aminoacid crystals. In this work we combine this development with the evolutionary structure prediction method to study cholesterol polymorphs. Cholesterol crystals have paramount importance in various diseases, from cancer to atherosclerosis. The structure of some polymorphs (e.g. ChM, ChAl, ChAh) have already been resolved while some others, which display distinct NMR spectra and are involved in disease formation, are yet to be determined. Here we thoroughly assess the applicability of evolutionary structure prediction to address such real world problems. We validate the newly predicted structures with ab initio NMR chemical shift data using secondary referencing for an improved comparison with experiments.

  8. Time-dependent estimates of molecular evolutionary rates: evidence and causes.

    PubMed

    Ho, Simon Y W; Duchêne, Sebastián; Molak, Martyna; Shapiro, Beth

    2015-12-01

    We are writing in response to a recent critique by Emerson & Hickerson (2015), who challenge the evidence of a time-dependent bias in molecular rate estimates. This bias takes the form of a negative relationship between inferred evolutionary rates and the ages of the calibrations on which these estimates are based. Here, we present a summary of the evidence obtained from a broad range of taxa that supports a time-dependent bias in rate estimates, with a consideration of the potential causes of these observed trends. We also describe recent progress in improving the reliability of evolutionary rate estimation and respond to the concerns raised by Emerson & Hickerson (2015) about the validity of rates estimated from time-structured sequence data. In doing so, we hope to dispel some misconceptions and to highlight several research directions that will improve our understanding of time-dependent biases in rate estimates. PMID:26769402

  9. MEGA-MD: molecular evolutionary genetics analysis software with mutational diagnosis of amino acid variation.

    PubMed

    Stecher, Glen; Liu, Li; Sanderford, Maxwell; Peterson, Daniel; Tamura, Koichiro; Kumar, Sudhir

    2014-05-01

    Computational diagnosis of amino acid variants in the human exome is the first step in assessing the disruptive impacts of non-synonymous single nucleotide variants (nsSNVs) on human health and disease. The Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis software with mutational diagnosis (MEGA-MD) is a suite of tools developed to forecast the deleteriousness of nsSNVs using multiple methods and to explore nsSNVs in the context of the variability permitted in the long-term evolution of the affected position. In its graphical interface for use on desktops, it enables interactive computational diagnosis and evolutionary exploration of nsSNVs. As a web service, MEGA-MD is suitable for diagnosing variants on an exome scale. The MEGA-MD suite intends to serve the needs for conducting low- and high-throughput analysis of nsSNVs in diverse applications.

  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. Unraveling the Entry Mechanism of Baculoviruses and Its Evolutionary Implications

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Manli; Wang, Jue; Yin, Feifei; Tan, Ying; Deng, Fei; Chen, Xinwen; Jehle, Johannes A.; Vlak, Just M.; Hu, Zhihong

    2014-01-01

    The entry of baculovirus budded virus into host cells is mediated by two distinct types of envelope fusion proteins (EFPs), GP64 and F protein. Phylogenetic analysis suggested that F proteins were ancestral baculovirus EFPs, whereas GP64 was acquired by progenitor group I alphabaculovirus more recently and may have stimulated the formation of the group I lineage. This study was designed to experimentally recapitulate a possible major step in the evolution of baculoviruses. We demonstrated that the infectivity of an F-null group II alphabaculovirus (Helicoverpa armigera nucleopolyhedrovirus [HearNPV]) can be functionally rescued by coinsertion of GP64 along with the nonfusogenic Fdef (furin site mutated HaF) from HearNPV. Interestingly, HearNPV enters cells by endocytosis and, less efficiently, by direct membrane fusion at low pH. However, this recombinant HearNPV coexpressing Fdef and GP64 mimicked group I virus not only in its EFP composition but also in its abilities to enter host cells via low-pH-triggered direct fusion pathway. Neutralization assays indicated that the nonfusogenic F proteins contribute mainly to binding to susceptible cells, while GP64 contributes to fusion. Coinsertion of GP64 with an F-like protein (Ac23) from group I virus led to efficient rescue of an F-null group II virus. In summary, these recombinant viruses and their entry modes are considered to resemble an evolutionary event of the acquisition of GP64 by an ancestral group I virus and subsequent adaptive inactivation of the original F protein. The study described here provides the first experimental evidence to support the hypothesis of the evolution of baculovirus EFPs. PMID:24335309

  12. 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)

  13. 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.

  14. Molecular pathogenesis and mechanisms of thyroid cancer

    PubMed Central

    Xing, Mingzhao

    2013-01-01

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

  15. Molecular mechanism of sweetness sensation.

    PubMed

    DuBois, Grant E

    2016-10-01

    The current understanding of peripheral molecular events involved in sweet taste sensation in humans is reviewed. Included are discussions of the sweetener receptor T1R2/T1R3, its agonists, antagonists, positive allosteric modulators, the transduction of its activation in taste bud cells and the coding of its signaling to the CNS. Areas of incomplete understanding include 1) signal communication with afferent nerve fibers, 2) contrasting concentration/response (C/R) functions for high-potency (HP) sweeteners (hyperbolic) and carbohydrate (CHO) sweeteners (linear), 3) contrasting temporal profiles for HP sweeteners (delayed onset and extinction) and CHO sweeteners (rapid onset and extinction) and 4) contrasting adaptation behaviors for HP sweeteners (moderate to strong adaptation) and CHO sweeteners (low adaptation). Evidence based on the sweet water aftertastes of several novel sweetness inhibitors is presented providing new support for constitutive activity in T1R2/T1R3. And a model is developed to rationalize the linear C/R functions of CHO sweeteners and hyperbolic C/R functions of HP sweeteners, where the former may activate T1R2/T1R3 by both binding and constitutive activity modulation (i.e., without binding) and the latter activate T1R2/T1R3 only by binding. PMID:26992959

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

    PubMed Central

    Campennì, Marco

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Campennì, Marco; Schino, Gabriele

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Campennì, Marco; Schino, Gabriele

    2016-01-01

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

  19. Evolutionary and molecular aspects of Indian tomato leaf curl virus coat protein.

    PubMed

    Kumar, Sivakumar Prasanth; Patel, Saumya K; Kapopara, Ravi G; Jasrai, Yogesh T; Pandya, Himanshu A

    2012-01-01

    Tomato leaf curl disease (ToLCD) is manifested by yellowing of leaf lamina with upward leaf curl, leaf distortion, shrinking of the leaf surface, and stunted plant growth caused by tomato leaf curl virus (ToLCV). In the present study, using computational methods we explored the evolutionary and molecular prospects of viral coat protein derived from an isolate of Vadodara district, Gujarat (ToLCGV-[Vad]), India. We found that the amino acids in coat protein required for systemic infection, viral particle formation, and insect transmission to host cells were conserved amongst Indian strains. Phylogenetic studies on Indian ToLCV coat proteins showed evolutionary compatibility with other viral taxa. Modeling of coat protein revealed a topology similar to characteristic Geminate viral particle consisting of antiparallel β-barrel motif with N-terminus α-helix. The molecular interaction of coat protein with the viral DNA required for encapsidation and nuclear shuttling was investigated through sequence- and structure-based approaches. We further emphasized the role of loops in coat protein structure as molecular recognition interface.

  20. 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. PMID:26692539

  1. Molecular mechanisms of ventricular hypoplasia.

    PubMed

    Srivastava, D; Gottlieb, P D; Olson, E N

    2002-01-01

    We have established the beginnings of a road map to understand how ventricular cells become specified, differentiate, and expand into a functional cardiac chamber (Fig. 5). The transcriptional networks described here provide clear evidence that disruption of pathways affecting ventricular growth could be the underlying etiology in a subset of children born with malformation of the right or left ventricle. As we learn details of the precise mechanisms through which the critical factors function, the challenge will lie in devising innovative methods to augment or modify the effects of gene mutations on ventricular development. Because most congenital heart disease likely occurs in a setting of heterozygous, predisposing mutations of one or more genes, modulation of activity of critical pathways in a preventive fashion may be useful in averting disease in genetically susceptible individuals. PMID:12858532

  2. 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. PMID:25646522

  3. 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

  4. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Quental, Tiago B; Marshall, Charles R

    2009-12-01

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

  6. Molecular Clock of Neutral Mutations in a Fitness-Increasing Evolutionary Process.

    PubMed

    Kishimoto, Toshihiko; Ying, Bei-Wen; Tsuru, Saburo; Iijima, Leo; Suzuki, Shingo; Hashimoto, Tomomi; Oyake, Ayana; Kobayashi, Hisaka; Someya, Yuki; Narisawa, Dai; Yomo, Tetsuya

    2015-07-01

    The molecular clock of neutral mutations, which represents linear mutation fixation over generations, is theoretically explained by genetic drift in fitness-steady evolution or hitchhiking in adaptive evolution. The present study is the first experimental demonstration for the molecular clock of neutral mutations in a fitness-increasing evolutionary process. The dynamics of genome mutation fixation in the thermal adaptive evolution of Escherichia coli were evaluated in a prolonged evolution experiment in duplicated lineages. The cells from the continuously fitness-increasing evolutionary process were subjected to genome sequencing and analyzed at both the population and single-colony levels. Although the dynamics of genome mutation fixation were complicated by the combination of the stochastic appearance of adaptive mutations and clonal interference, the mutation fixation in the population was simply linear over generations. Each genome in the population accumulated 1.6 synonymous and 3.1 non-synonymous neutral mutations, on average, by the spontaneous mutation accumulation rate, while only a single genome in the population occasionally acquired an adaptive mutation. The neutral mutations that preexisted on the single genome hitchhiked on the domination of the adaptive mutation. The successive fixation processes of the 128 mutations demonstrated that hitchhiking and not genetic drift were responsible for the coincidence of the spontaneous mutation accumulation rate in the genome with the fixation rate of neutral mutations in the population. The molecular clock of neutral mutations to the fitness-increasing evolution suggests that the numerous neutral mutations observed in molecular phylogenetic trees may not always have been fixed in fitness-steady evolution but in adaptive evolution.

  7. 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

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

    PubMed

    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

  9. Mechanisms of Resistance in Bacteria: An Evolutionary Approach

    PubMed Central

    Martins, Ana; Hunyadi, Attila; Amaral, Leonard

    2013-01-01

    Acquisition of resistance is one of the major causes of failure in therapy of bacterial infections. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), thousands of deaths caused by Salmonella sp., Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus or Mycobacteria tuberculosis are due to failure in therapy caused by resistance to the chemotherapeutic agents. Understanding the mechanisms of resistance acquisition by the bacterial strains is therefore essential to prevent and overcome resistance. However, it is very difficult to extrapolate from in vitro studies, where the variables are far less and under constant control, as compared to what happens in vivo where the chosen chemotherapeutic, its effective dose, and the patient’s immune system are variables that differ substantially case-by-case. The aim of this review is to provide a new perspective on the possible ways by which resistance is acquired by the bacterial strains within the patient, with a special emphasis on the adaptive response of the infecting bacteria to the administered antibiotic. PMID:23560029

  10. Molecular Mechanisms of Failure in Polymer Nanocomposites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gersappe, Dilip

    2002-07-01

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

    2016-01-01

    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. PMID:27525850

  13. 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.

  14. Osteoarthritis Pathogenesis: A Review of Molecular Mechanisms

    PubMed Central

    Xia, Bingjiang; Chen, Di; Zhang, Jushi; Hu, Songfeng; Jin, Hongting; Tong, Peijian

    2016-01-01

    Osteoarthritis (OA), the most prevalent chronic joint disease, increases in prevalence with age, and affects majority of individuals over the age of 65 and is a leading musculoskeletal cause of impaired mobility in the elderly. Because the precise molecular mechanisms which are involved in the degradation of cartilage matrix and development of OA are poorly understood and there are currently no effective interventions to decelerate the progression of OA or retard the irreversible degradation of cartilage except for total joint replacement surgery. In this paper, the important molecular mechanisms related to OA pathogenesis will be summarized and new insights into potential molecular targets for the prevention and treatment of OA will be provided. PMID:25311420

  15. Neuroprotection by natural polyphenols: molecular mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Campos-Esparza, Maria del Rosario; Torres-Ramos, Mónica Adriana

    2010-12-01

    Polyphenols are the most abundant antioxidants in diet. These can be found in fruits, vegetables, beverages (tea, wine, juices, etc.), plants and some herbs. These compounds are capable of protecting neuronal cells in different in vivo and in vitro models through diverse intracellular targets. The focus of this review is aimed at presenting the role of some polyphenols on the molecular mechanism involve in neuroprotection through different biological processes like oxidative stress, excitotoxicity, apoptotic neuronal death, regulation of the kinase signal cascade and modulation of Ubiquitin-Proteasome pathway. The study of the molecular mechanisms involved in neuroprotection and the molecular targets of natural polyphenols are important in the discovery of a valuable tool for new and more advanced therapy in neurodegenerative diseases.

  16. 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

  17. 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 ...

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-11-01

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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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. PMID:27494227

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. Cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying presynapse formation

    PubMed Central

    Chia, Poh Hui; Li, Pengpeng

    2013-01-01

    Synapse formation is a highly regulated process that requires the coordination of many cell biological events. Decades of research have identified a long list of molecular components involved in assembling a functioning synapse. Yet how the various steps, from transporting synaptic components to adhering synaptic partners and assembling the synaptic structure, are regulated and precisely executed during development and maintenance is still unclear. With the improvement of imaging and molecular tools, recent work in vertebrate and invertebrate systems has provided important insight into various aspects of presynaptic development, maintenance, and trans-synaptic signals, thereby increasing our understanding of how extrinsic organizers and intracellular mechanisms contribute to presynapse formation. PMID:24127213

  8. Reconciling morphological and molecular classification of predatory ciliates: Evolutionary taxonomy of dileptids (Ciliophora, Litostomatea, Rhynchostomatia).

    PubMed

    Vd'ačný, Peter; Rajter, L'ubomír

    2015-09-01

    The order Dileptida is a small group of predatory ciliates characterized by a proboscis serving for prey capture. Although monophyly of the order is strongly supported, generic relationships between dileptid taxa were left mostly unresolved in 18S rRNA gene phylogenies. To overcome this problem, we applied the synergistic effect of combining multiple molecular markers with morphological data. Furthermore, we inferred dileptid evolutionary history by a multifaceted analysis strategy, including tree-building methods, phylogenetic networks, split spectrum analysis, quartet likelihood mapping, and reconstruction of ancestral morphologies. This complex approach revealed: (1) monophyly of the families Dimacrocaryonidae and Dileptidae; (2) polyphyly of Microdileptus, Pseudomonilicaryon, and Rimaleptus; and (3) homoplastic nature of several generic diagnostic features, viz., macronuclear pattern, size of oral bulge opening, and orientation of preoral kineties. Controversies in the internal phylogeny of the family Dimacrocaryonidae could be elucidated after reconstruction of ancestral morphologies at deeper nodes of phylogenetic trees in a combination with budding evolutionary processes. Moreover, we solved the "Rimaleptus" dilemma by splitting the family Dimacrocaryonidae into two new subfamilies, the Dimacrocaryoninae with two-rowed dorsal brush and the Rimaleptinae with multi-rowed brush as well as by establishing a new genus, Rurikoplites, from whose species several dimacrocaryonid genera very likely evolved by budding.

  9. Molecular systematics and evolutionary biogeography of the genus Talpa (Soricomorpha: Talpidae).

    PubMed

    Colangelo, P; Bannikova, A A; Krystufek, B; Lebedev, V S; Annesi, F; Capanna, E; Loy, A

    2010-05-01

    The range of the genus Talpa covers almost all Europe up to Western Asia. This genus has never been the object of comprehensive systematic studies using molecular and genetic techniques, such that the evolutionary relationships among species remain unclear. Talpa shows high levels of endemism, and the influence of past glaciation cycles on the distribution pattern of several species has been hypothesized. In this work, we assessed the molecular systematics of the genus using the mitochondrial gene cytochrome b from eight of the nine extant species of Talpa moles. Furthermore, molecular clock estimations were used to hypothesize a biogeographic scenario in concordance with fossil data. Results suggest a monophyletic origin of the genus and a common ancestor for the western European moles T. europaea, T. caeca, T. romana and T. occidentalis. The eastern species T. altaica and T. caucasica are basally divergent. The estimated ages of divergence among lineages are in accordance with a Miocene origin of the extant moles. The genus likely originated in Asia, spreading into Europe during the Pliocene. The evolution of moles appears to have been driven by changes in moisture levels that influenced extinction and speciation events during the Miocene and the Pliocene. Pleistocene climatic oscillations likely caused the range shrinkages and expansions that led to the current distribution pattern of most Talpa species.

  10. Functionalization of carbon nanomaterials by evolutionary molecular engineering: potential application in drug delivery systems.

    PubMed

    Shiba, Kiyotaka

    2006-01-01

    By virtue of the progress made in evolutionary molecular engineering, peptide aptamers that specifically recognize target molecules are now routinely created using a peptide phage display system. The system was originally developed for isolating peptides that specifically recognized biomacromolecules (e.g. proteinous receptors), but are now also being used to acquire peptide motifs that bind to inorganic materials, such as semiconductors, metals and carbon nanomaterials. We have created the peptide aptamer against carbon nanohorns, a vesicular carbon nanomaterial whose size is 80-100 nm in diameter. By combining the peptide motif that has affinity to the surfaces of carbon nanohorns with peptide aptamers that can target specific organs, we can functionalize the carbon nanomaterial to provide novel types of carriers for drug delivery systems. PMID:17046797

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

    PubMed

    Kumar, Sudhir; Stecher, Glen; Tamura, Koichiro

    2016-07-01

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

  12. Improving the sampling efficiency of Monte Carlo molecular simulations: an evolutionary approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leblanc, Benoit; Braunschweig, Bertrand; Toulhoat, Hervé; Lutton, Evelyne

    We present a new approach in order to improve the convergence of Monte Carlo (MC) simulations of molecular systems belonging to complex energetic landscapes: the problem is redefined in terms of the dynamic allocation of MC move frequencies depending on their past efficiency, measured with respect to a relevant sampling criterion. We introduce various empirical criteria with the aim of accounting for the proper convergence in phase space sampling. The dynamic allocation is performed over parallel simulations by means of a new evolutionary algorithm involving 'immortal' individuals. The method is bench marked with respect to conventional procedures on a model for melt linear polyethylene. We record significant improvement in sampling efficiencies, thus in computational load, while the optimal sets of move frequencies are liable to allow interesting physical insights into the particular systems simulated. This last aspect should provide a new tool for designing more efficient new MC moves.

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

    PubMed

    Kumar, Sudhir; Stecher, Glen; Tamura, Koichiro

    2016-07-01

    We present the latest version of the Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis (Mega) software, which contains many sophisticated methods and tools for phylogenomics and phylomedicine. In this major upgrade, Mega has been optimized for use on 64-bit computing systems for analyzing larger datasets. Researchers can now explore and analyze tens of thousands of sequences in Mega The new version also provides an advanced wizard for building timetrees and includes a new functionality to automatically predict gene duplication events in gene family trees. The 64-bit Mega is made available in two interfaces: graphical and command line. The graphical user interface (GUI) is a native Microsoft Windows application that can also be used on Mac OS X. The command line Mega is available as native applications for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. They are intended for use in high-throughput and scripted analysis. Both versions are available from www.megasoftware.net free of charge. PMID:27004904

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  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. PMID:26969610

  18. Molecular mechanism of the sweet taste enhancers

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

  19. Molecular mechanism for the umami taste synergism

    PubMed Central

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

    2008-01-01

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

  20. Molecular mechanism of the sweet taste enhancers.

    PubMed

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

    2010-03-01

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

  1. Molecular mechanism for the umami taste synergism.

    PubMed

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

    2008-12-30

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

  2. 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.

  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 MECHANISMS OF FEAR LEARNING AND MEMORY

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

  5. 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.

  6. A mechanical micro molecular mass sensor

    PubMed Central

    Kurhekar, A. S.; Apte, P. R.

    2014-01-01

    One of the bio-sensing mechanisms is mechanical. Rather than measuring shift in resonance frequency, we adopt to measure the change in spring constant due to adsorption, as one of the fundamental sensing mechanism. This study explains determination of spring constant of a surface functionalized micro machined micro cantilever, which resonates in a trapezoidal cavity-on Silicon <100> wafer, with the resonating frequency of 7000 cycles per second. This thin-flimsy-oxide micro-cantilever has a typical shape, and the tip of the micro-cantilever is dip-coated with chemically and biologically active material. The change in mass, due to adsorption, is detected by measuring the change in spring constant. The Force-Distance spectroscopy is used to detect the change in spring constant. The experimental results, show that the mechanical sensing scheme used, permit this surface functionalized micro machined micro cantilever to be used as a molecular mass sensor. The mechanical spring behaviour of a micro-cantilever, a micro-mechanical device can be used to develop ultra-tech micro-mechanical system using computer interface. PMID:24459585

  7. 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.

  8. 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. PMID:12116641

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

    PubMed

    Sanjuán, Rafael

    2012-01-01

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

  10. 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.

  11. Fossil and molecular evidence constrain scenarios for the early evolutionary and biogeographic history of hystricognathous rodents.

    PubMed

    Sallam, Hesham M; Seiffert, Erik R; Steiper, Michael E; Simons, Elwyn L

    2009-09-29

    The early evolutionary and paleobiogeographic history of the diverse rodent clade Hystricognathi, which contains Hystricidae (Old World porcupines), Caviomorpha (the endemic South American rodents), and African Phiomorpha (cane rats, dassie rats, and blesmols) is of great interest to students of mammalian evolution, but remains poorly understood because of a poor early fossil record. Here we describe the oldest well-dated hystricognathous rodents from an earliest late Eocene (approximately 37 Ma) fossil locality in the Fayum Depression of northern Egypt. These taxa exhibit a combination of primitive and derived features, the former shared with Asian "baluchimyine" rodents, and the latter shared with Oligocene phiomorphs and caviomorphs. Phylogenetic analysis incorporating morphological, temporal, geographic, and molecular information places the new taxa as successive sister groups of crown Hystricognathi, and supports an Asian origin for stem Hystricognathi and an Afro-Arabian origin for crown Hystricognathi, stem Hystricidae, and stem Caviomorpha. Molecular dating of early divergences within Hystricognathi, using a Bayesian "relaxed clock" approach and multiple fossil calibrations, suggests that the split between Hystricidae and the phiomorph-caviomorph clade occurred approximately 39 Ma, and that phiomorphs and caviomorphs diverged approximately 36 Ma. These results are remarkably congruent with our phylogenetic results and the fossil record of hystricognathous rodent evolution in Afro-Arabia and South America. PMID:19805363

  12. 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

  13. Molecular Mechanisms of Renal Ischemic Conditioning Strategies.

    PubMed

    Kierulf-Lassen, Casper; Nieuwenhuijs-Moeke, Gertrude J; Krogstrup, Nicoline V; Oltean, Mihai; Jespersen, Bente; Dor, Frank J M F

    2015-01-01

    Ischemia-reperfusion injury is the leading cause of acute kidney injury in a variety of clinical settings such as renal transplantation and hypovolemic and/or septic shock. Strategies to reduce ischemia-reperfusion injury are obviously clinically relevant. Ischemic conditioning is an inherent part of the renal defense mechanism against ischemia and can be triggered by short periods of intermittent ischemia and reperfusion. Understanding the signaling transduction pathways of renal ischemic conditioning can promote further clinical translation and pharmacological advancements in this era. This review summarizes research on the molecular mechanisms underlying both local and remote ischemic pre-, per- and postconditioning of the kidney. The different types of conditioning strategies in the kidney recruit similar powerful pro-survival mechanisms. Likewise, renal ischemic conditioning mobilizes many of the same protective signaling pathways as in other organs, but differences are recognized. PMID:26330099

  14. Molecular mechanisms of chemoresistance in gastric cancer.

    PubMed

    Shi, Wen-Jia; Gao, Jin-Bo

    2016-09-15

    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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. Molecular mechanisms of curcumin action: gene expression.

    PubMed

    Shishodia, Shishir

    2013-01-01

    Curcumin derived from the tropical plant Curcuma longa has a long history of use as a dietary agent, food preservative, and in traditional Asian medicine. It has been used for centuries to treat biliary disorders, anorexia, cough, diabetic wounds, hepatic disorders, rheumatism, and sinusitis. The preventive and therapeutic properties of curcumin are associated with its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer properties. Extensive research over several decades has attempted to identify the molecular mechanisms of curcumin action. Curcumin modulates numerous molecular targets by altering their gene expression, signaling pathways, or through direct interaction. Curcumin regulates the expression of inflammatory cytokines (e.g., TNF, IL-1), growth factors (e.g., VEGF, EGF, FGF), growth factor receptors (e.g., EGFR, HER-2, AR), enzymes (e.g., COX-2, LOX, MMP9, MAPK, mTOR, Akt), adhesion molecules (e.g., ELAM-1, ICAM-1, VCAM-1), apoptosis related proteins (e.g., Bcl-2, caspases, DR, Fas), and cell cycle proteins (e.g., cyclin D1). Curcumin modulates the activity of several transcription factors (e.g., NF-κB, AP-1, STAT) and their signaling pathways. Based on its ability to affect multiple targets, curcumin has the potential for the prevention and treatment of various diseases including cancers, arthritis, allergies, atherosclerosis, aging, neurodegenerative disease, hepatic disorders, obesity, diabetes, psoriasis, and autoimmune diseases. This review summarizes the molecular mechanisms of modulation of gene expression by curcumin.

  19. Molecular mechanisms of curcumin action: gene expression.

    PubMed

    Shishodia, Shishir

    2013-01-01

    Curcumin derived from the tropical plant Curcuma longa has a long history of use as a dietary agent, food preservative, and in traditional Asian medicine. It has been used for centuries to treat biliary disorders, anorexia, cough, diabetic wounds, hepatic disorders, rheumatism, and sinusitis. The preventive and therapeutic properties of curcumin are associated with its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer properties. Extensive research over several decades has attempted to identify the molecular mechanisms of curcumin action. Curcumin modulates numerous molecular targets by altering their gene expression, signaling pathways, or through direct interaction. Curcumin regulates the expression of inflammatory cytokines (e.g., TNF, IL-1), growth factors (e.g., VEGF, EGF, FGF), growth factor receptors (e.g., EGFR, HER-2, AR), enzymes (e.g., COX-2, LOX, MMP9, MAPK, mTOR, Akt), adhesion molecules (e.g., ELAM-1, ICAM-1, VCAM-1), apoptosis related proteins (e.g., Bcl-2, caspases, DR, Fas), and cell cycle proteins (e.g., cyclin D1). Curcumin modulates the activity of several transcription factors (e.g., NF-κB, AP-1, STAT) and their signaling pathways. Based on its ability to affect multiple targets, curcumin has the potential for the prevention and treatment of various diseases including cancers, arthritis, allergies, atherosclerosis, aging, neurodegenerative disease, hepatic disorders, obesity, diabetes, psoriasis, and autoimmune diseases. This review summarizes the molecular mechanisms of modulation of gene expression by curcumin. PMID:22996381

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Molecular mechanisms of prolactin and its receptor.

    PubMed

    Brooks, Charles L

    2012-08-01

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

  4. Measuring the mechanical properties of molecular conformers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-09-01

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

  5. Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of AKI.

    PubMed

    Agarwal, Anupam; Dong, Zheng; Harris, Raymond; Murray, Patrick; Parikh, Samir M; Rosner, Mitchell H; Kellum, John A; Ronco, Claudio

    2016-05-01

    In this article, we review the current evidence for the cellular and molecular mechanisms of AKI, focusing on epithelial cell pathobiology and related cell-cell interactions, using ischemic AKI as a model. Highlighted are the clinical relevance of cellular and molecular targets that have been investigated in experimental models of ischemic AKI and how such models might be improved to optimize translation into successful clinical trials. In particular, development of more context-specific animal models with greater relevance to human AKI is urgently needed. Comorbidities that could alter patient susceptibility to AKI, such as underlying diabetes, aging, obesity, cancer, and CKD, should also be considered in developing these models. Finally, harmonization between academia and industry for more clinically relevant preclinical testing of potential therapeutic targets and better translational clinical trial design is also needed to achieve the goal of developing effective interventions for AKI. PMID:26860342

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. Learning from evolutionary optimisation: what are toughening mechanisms good for in dentine, a nonrepairing bone tissue?

    PubMed

    Zaslansky, Paul; Currey, John D; Fleck, Claudia

    2016-01-01

    The main mass of material found in teeth is dentine, a bone-like tissue, riddled with micron-sized tubules and devoid of living cells. It provides support to the outer wear-resistant layer of enamel, and exhibits toughening mechanisms which contribute to crack resistance. And yet unlike most bone tissues, dentine does not remodel and consequently any accumulated damage does not 'self repair'. Because damage containment followed by tissue replacement is a prime reason for the crack-arresting microstructures found in most bones, the occurrence of toughening mechanisms without the biological capability to repair is puzzling. Here we consider the notion that dentine might be overdesigned for strength, because it has to compensate for the lack of cell-mediated healing mechanisms. Based on our own and on literature-reported observations, including quasistatic and fatigue properties, dentine design principles are discussed in light of the functional conditions under which teeth evolved. We conclude that dentine is only slightly overdesigned for everyday cyclic loading because usual mastication stresses may come close to its endurance strength. The in-built toughening mechanisms constitute an evolutionary benefit because they prevent catastrophic failure during rare overload events, which was probably very advantageous in our hunter gatherer ancestor times. From a bio-inspired perspective, understanding the extent of evolutionary overdesign might be useful for optimising biomimetic structures used for load bearing. PMID:27615450

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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. PMID:22020792

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-12-01

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

  17. 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

  18. [Molecular mechanisms regulating the activity of macrophages].

    PubMed

    Onoprienko, L V

    2011-01-01

    This article reviews modern concepts of the most common types of macrophage activation: classical, alternative, and type II. Molecular mechanisms of induction and regulation of these three types of activation are discussed. Any population of macrophages was shown to change its properties depending on its microenvironment and concrete biological situation (the "functional plasticity of macrophages"). Many intermediate states of macrophages were described along with the most pronounced and well-known activation types (classical activation, alternative activation, and type II activation). These intermediate states are characterized by a variety of combinations of their biological properties, including elements of the three afore mentioned types of activation. Macrophage activity is regulated by a complex network of interrelated cascade mechanisms.

  19. Plasticity of oxidative metabolism in variable climates: molecular mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Seebacher, Frank; Brand, Martin D; Else, Paul L; Guderley, Helga; Hulbert, Anthony J; Moyes, Christopher D

    2010-01-01

    Converting food to chemical energy (ATP) that is usable by cells is a principal requirement to sustain life. The rate of ATP production has to be sufficient for housekeeping functions, such as protein synthesis and maintaining membrane potentials, as well as for growth and locomotion. Energy metabolism is temperature sensitive, and animals respond to environmental variability at different temporal levels, from within-individual to evolutionary timescales. Here we review principal molecular mechanisms that underlie control of oxidative ATP production in response to climate variability. Nuclear transcription factors and coactivators control expression of mitochondrial proteins and abundance of mitochondria. Fatty acid and phospholipid concentrations of membranes influence the activity of membrane-bound proteins as well as the passive leak of protons across the mitochondrial membrane. Passive proton leak as well as protein-mediated proton leak across the inner mitochondrial membrane determine the efficacy of ATP production but are also instrumental in endothermic heat production and as a defense against reactive oxygen species. Both transcriptional mechanisms and membrane composition interact with environmental temperature and diet, and this interaction between diet and temperature in determining mitochondrial function links the two major environmental variables that are affected by changing climates. The limits to metabolic plasticity could be set by the production of reactive oxygen species leading to cellular damage, limits to substrate availability in mitochondria, and a disproportionally large increase in proton leak over ATP production. PMID:20586603

  20. 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

  1. Molecular machinery and mechanism of cell secretion.

    PubMed

    Jena, Bhanu P

    2005-05-01

    Secretion occurs in all living cells and involves the delivery of intracellular products to the cell exterior. Secretory products are packaged and stored in membranous sacs or vesicles within the cell. When the cell needs to secrete these products, the secretory vesicles containing them dock and fuse at plasma membrane-associated supramolecular structures, called porosomes, to release their contents. Specialized cells for neurotransmission, enzyme secretion, or hormone release use a highly regulated secretory process. Similar to other fundamental cellular processes, cell secretion is precisely regulated. During secretion, swelling of secretory vesicles results in a build-up of intravesicular pressure, allowing expulsion of vesicular contents. The extent of vesicle swelling dictates the amount of vesicular contents expelled. The discovery of the porosome as the universal secretory machinery, its isolation, its structure and dynamics at nanometer resolution and in real time, and its biochemical composition and functional reconstitution into artificial lipid membrane have been determined. The molecular mechanism of secretory vesicle swelling and the fusion of opposing bilayers, that is, the fusion of secretory vesicle membrane at the base of the porosome membrane, have also been resolved. These findings reveal, for the first time, the universal molecular machinery and mechanism of secretion in cells.

  2. Molecular Mechanisms of Thoracic Aortic Dissection

    PubMed Central

    Wu, Darrell; Shen, Ying H.; Russell, Ludivine; Coselli, Joseph S.; LeMaire, Scott A.

    2013-01-01

    Thoracic aortic dissection (TAD) is a highly lethal vascular disease. In many patients with TAD, the aorta progressively dilates and ultimately ruptures. Dissection formation, progression, and rupture cannot be reliably prevented pharmacologically because the molecular mechanisms of aortic wall degeneration are poorly understood. The key histopathologic feature of TAD is medial degeneration, a process characterized by smooth muscle cell depletion and extracellular matrix degradation. These structural changes have a profound impact on the functional properties of the aortic wall and can result from excessive protease-mediated destruction of the extracellular matrix, altered signaling pathways, and altered gene expression. Review of the literature reveals differences in the processes that lead to ascending versus descending and sporadic versus hereditary TAD. These differences add to the complexity of this disease. Although tremendous progress has been made in diagnosing and treating TAD, a better understanding of the molecular, cellular, and genetic mechanisms that cause this disease is necessary to developing more effective preventative and therapeutic treatment strategies. PMID:23856125

  3. 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

  4. Molecular evolutionary signatures reveal the role of host ecological dynamics in viral disease emergence and spread

    PubMed Central

    Duke-Sylvester, Scott M.; Biek, Roman; Real, Leslie A.

    2013-01-01

    RNA viruses account for numerous emerging and perennial infectious diseases, and are characterized by rapid rates of molecular evolution. The ecological dynamics of most emerging RNA viruses are still poorly understood and difficult to ascertain. The availability of genome sequence data for many RNA viruses, in principle, could be used to infer ecological dynamics if changes in population numbers produced a lasting signature within the pattern of genome evolution. As a result, the rapidly emerging phylogeographic structure of a pathogen, shaped by the rise and fall in the number of infections and their spatial distribution, could be used as a surrogate for direct ecological assessments. Based on rabies virus as our example, we use a model combining ecological and evolutionary processes to test whether variation in the rate of host movement results in predictive diagnostic patterns of pathogen genetic structure. We identify several linearizable relationships between host dispersal rate and measures of phylogenetic structure suggesting genetic information can be used to directly infer ecological process. We also find phylogenetic structure may be more revealing than demography for certain ecological processes. Our approach extends the reach of current analytic frameworks for infectious disease dynamics by linking phylogeography back to underlying ecological processes. PMID:23382419

  5. 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

  6. Inside the Melanoplinae: new molecular evidence for the evolutionary history of the Eurasian Podismini (Orthoptera: Acrididae).

    PubMed

    Chintauan-Marquier, Ioana C; Amédégnato, Christiane; Nichols, Richard A; Pompanon, François; Grandcolas, Philippe; Desutter-Grandcolas, Laure

    2014-02-01

    The Podismini are melanopline grasshoppers with a Holarctic distribution and well represented in the Eurasian fauna. To investigate their controversial taxonomy and evolutionary history, we studied 86%, 78% and 33% respectively of the Eurasian, European and Asian Palaearctic genera (Otte, 1995; Eades et al., 2013). We reconstructed parsimony, maximum likelihood and Bayesian phylogenies using fragments of four genes (ITS1, 16S, 12S, CO2). We applied a Bayesian molecular clock to estimate the times of species divergence, and the event-based parsimony method to depict the biogeographic framework of the diversification. Our results suggest that the selected Eurasian Podismini constitute a monophyletic group inside the Melanoplinae, provided it includes the North American genus Phaulotettix. The clades proposed by the present study inside the Podismini do not fit the older morphological or cytological classifications, but are in agreement with more recent proposals. Furthermore, our results can be explained by a plausible biogeographic history in which the present geographical distribution of the Eurasian Podismini resulted from known changes, to the Cenozoic climate and vegetation, induced by major geological events including the genesis of high mountain chains (e.g., Himalayas, Altay, Alps) and large deserts (e.g., Gobi, Karakoum, Taklamakan), and the opening of marginal seas (e.g., Bering, Japanese and Yellow Seas).

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  8. 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

  9. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-07-01

    The scaffolding protein KIBRA (also called WWC1) is involved in the regulation of important intracellular transport processes and the establishment of cell polarity. Furthermore, KIBRA/WWC1 is an upstream regulator of the Hippo signaling pathway that controls cell proliferation and organ size in animals. KIBRA/WWC1 represents only one member of the WWC protein family that also includes the highly similar proteins WWC2 and WWC3. Although the function of KIBRA/WWC1 was studied intensively in cells and animal models, the importance of WWC2 and WWC3 was not yet elucidated. Here, we describe evolutionary, molecular, and functional aspects of the WWC family. We show that the WWC genes arose in the ancestor of bilateral animals (clades such as insects and vertebrates) from a single founder gene most similar to the present KIBRA/WWC1-like sequence of Drosophila. This situation was still maintained until the common ancestor of lancelet and vertebrates. In fish, a progenitor-like sequence of mammalian KIBRA/WWC1 and WWC2 is expressed together with WWC3. Finally, in all tetrapods, the three family members, KIBRA/WWC1, WWC2, and WWC3, are found, except for a large genomic deletion including WWC3 in Mus musculus. At the molecular level, the highly conserved WWC proteins share a similar primary structure, the ability to form homo- and heterodimers and the interaction with a common set of binding proteins. Furthermore, all WWC proteins negatively regulate cell proliferation and organ growth due to a suppression of the transcriptional activity of YAP, the major effector of the Hippo pathway. PMID:24682284

  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. Advances and trends in the molecular systematics of anisakid nematodes, with implications for their evolutionary ecology and host-parasite co-evolutionary processes.

    PubMed

    Mattiucci, Simonetta; Nascetti, Giuseppe

    2008-01-01

    The application of molecular systematics to the anisakid nematodes of the genera Anisakis, Pseudoterranova and Contracaecum, parasites of aquatic organisms, over the last two decades, has advanced the understanding of their systematics, taxonomy, ecology and phylogeny substantially. Here the results of this effort on this group of species from the early genetic works to the current status of their revised taxonomy, ecology and evolutionary aspects are reviewed for each of three parasitic groups. It has been shown that many anisakid morphospecies of Anisakis, Contracaecum and Pseudoterranova include a certain number of sibling species. Molecular genetic markers provided a rapid, precise means to screen and identify several species that serve as definitive and intermediate and or/paratenic hosts of the so far genetically characterized species. Patterns of differential distribution of anisakid nematodes in various definitive and intermediate hosts are presented. Differences in the life history of related species can be due both to differential host-parasite co-adaptation and co-evolution, and/or to interspecific competition, that can reduce the range of potential hosts in sympatric conditions. Phylogenetic hypotheses attempted for anisakid nematodes and the possible evolutionary scenarios that have been proposed inferred from molecular data, also with respect to the phylogeny of their hosts are presented for the parasite-host associations Anisakis-cetaceans and Contracaecum-pinnipeds, showing that codivergence and host-switching events could have accompanied the evolution of these groups of parasites. Finally, examples in which anisakid nematodes recognized genetically at the species level in definitive and intermediate/paratenic hosts from various geographical areas of the Boreal and Austral regions and their infection levels have been used as biological indicators of fish stocks and food-web integrity in areas at high versus low levels of habitat disturbance

  13. Screened Electrostatic Interactions in Molecular Mechanics.

    PubMed

    Wang, Bo; Truhlar, Donald G

    2014-10-14

    In a typical application of molecular mechanics (MM), the electrostatic interactions are calculated from parametrized partial atomic charges treated as point charges interacting by radial Coulomb potentials. This does not usually yield accurate electrostatic interactions at van der Waals distances, but this is compensated by additional parametrized terms, for example Lennard-Jones potentials. In the present work, we present a scheme involving radial screened Coulomb potentials that reproduces the accurate electrostatics much more accurately. The screening accounts for charge penetration of one subsystem's charge cloud into that of another subsystem, and it is incorporated into the interaction potential in a way similar to what we proposed in a previous article (J. Chem. Theory Comput. 2010, 6, 3330) for combined quantum mechanical and molecular mechanical (QM/MM) simulations, but the screening parameters are reoptimized for MM. The optimization is carried out with electrostatic-potential-fitted partial atomic charges, but the optimized parameters should be useful with any realistic charge model. In the model we employ, the charge density of an atom is approximated as the sum of a point charge representing the nucleus and inner electrons and a smeared charge representing the outermost electrons; in particular, for all atoms except hydrogens, the smeared charge represents the two outermost electrons in the present model. We find that the charge penetration effect can cause very significant deviations from the popular point-charge model, and by comparison to electrostatic interactions calculated by symmetry-adapted perturbation theory, we find that the present results are considerably more accurate than point-charge electrostatic interactions. The mean unsigned error in electrostatics for a large and diverse data set (192 interaction energies) decreases from 9.2 to 3.3 kcal/mol, and the error in the electrostatics for 10 water dimers decreases from 1.7 to 0.5 kcal

  14. Screened Electrostatic Interactions in Molecular Mechanics.

    PubMed

    Wang, Bo; Truhlar, Donald G

    2014-10-14

    In a typical application of molecular mechanics (MM), the electrostatic interactions are calculated from parametrized partial atomic charges treated as point charges interacting by radial Coulomb potentials. This does not usually yield accurate electrostatic interactions at van der Waals distances, but this is compensated by additional parametrized terms, for example Lennard-Jones potentials. In the present work, we present a scheme involving radial screened Coulomb potentials that reproduces the accurate electrostatics much more accurately. The screening accounts for charge penetration of one subsystem's charge cloud into that of another subsystem, and it is incorporated into the interaction potential in a way similar to what we proposed in a previous article (J. Chem. Theory Comput. 2010, 6, 3330) for combined quantum mechanical and molecular mechanical (QM/MM) simulations, but the screening parameters are reoptimized for MM. The optimization is carried out with electrostatic-potential-fitted partial atomic charges, but the optimized parameters should be useful with any realistic charge model. In the model we employ, the charge density of an atom is approximated as the sum of a point charge representing the nucleus and inner electrons and a smeared charge representing the outermost electrons; in particular, for all atoms except hydrogens, the smeared charge represents the two outermost electrons in the present model. We find that the charge penetration effect can cause very significant deviations from the popular point-charge model, and by comparison to electrostatic interactions calculated by symmetry-adapted perturbation theory, we find that the present results are considerably more accurate than point-charge electrostatic interactions. The mean unsigned error in electrostatics for a large and diverse data set (192 interaction energies) decreases from 9.2 to 3.3 kcal/mol, and the error in the electrostatics for 10 water dimers decreases from 1.7 to 0.5 kcal

  15. 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. PMID:27087851

  16. 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.

  17. Molecular mechanisms that control endothelial cell contacts.

    PubMed

    Vestweber, D

    2000-02-01

    Endothelial cell contacts control the permeability of the blood vessel wall. This allows the endothelium to form a barrier for solutes, macromolecules, and leukocytes between the vessel lumen and the interstitial space. Loss of this barrier function in pathophysiological situations can lead to extracellular oedema. The ability of leukocytes to enter tissue at sites of inflammation is dependent on molecular mechanisms that allow leukocytes to adhere to the endothelium and to migrate through the endothelial cell layer and the underlying basal lamina. It is a commonly accepted working hypothesis that inter-endothelial cell contacts are actively opened and closed during this process. Angiogenesis is another important process that requires well-controlled regulation of inter-endothelial cell contacts. The formation of new blood vessels by sprouting from pre-existing vessels depends on the loosening of established endothelial cell contacts and the migration of endothelial cells that form the outgrowing sprouts. This review focuses on the molecular composition of endothelial cell surface proteins and proteins of the cytoskeletal undercoat of the plasma membrane at sites of inter-endothelial cell contacts and discusses the current knowledge about the potential role of such molecules in the regulation of endothelial cell contacts. PMID:10685062

  18. Measuring the mechanical properties of molecular conformers

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  19. Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Palatogenesis

    PubMed Central

    Lan, Yu; Xu, Jingyue; Jiang, Rulang

    2015-01-01

    Palatogenesis involves the initiation, growth, morphogenesis, and fusion of the primary and secondary palatal shelves from initially separate facial prominences during embryogenesis to form the intact palate separating the oral cavity from the nostrils. The palatal shelves consist mainly of cranial neural crest-derived mesenchyme cells covered under a simple embryonic epithelium. Growth and patterning of the palatal shelves are controlled by reciprocal epithelial-mesenchymal interactions regulated by multiple signaling pathways and transcription factors. During palatal shelf outgrowth, the embryonic epithelium develops a “teflon” coat consisting of a single, continuous layer of periderm cells that prevents the facial prominences and palatal shelves from forming aberrant inter-epithelial adhesions. Palatal fusion involves not only spatiotemporally-regulated disruption of the periderm but also dynamic cellular and molecular processes that result in adhesion and intercalation of the palatal medial edge epithelia to form an inter-shelf epithelial seam, and subsequent dissolution of the epithelial seam to form the intact roof of the oral cavity. The complexity of regulation of these morphogenetic processes is reflected by the common occurrence of cleft palate in humans. This review will summarize major recent advances and discuss major remaining gaps in the understanding of cellular and molecular mechanisms controlling palatogenesis. PMID:26589921

  20. Molecular mechanism of mitochondrial membrane fusion.

    PubMed

    Griffin, Erik E; Detmer, Scott A; Chan, David C

    2006-01-01

    Mitochondrial fusion requires coordinated fusion of the outer and inner membranes. This process leads to exchange of contents, controls the shape of mitochondria, and is important for mitochondrial function. Two types of mitochondrial GTPases are essential for mitochondrial fusion. On the outer membrane, the fuzzy onions/mitofusin proteins form complexes in trans that mediate homotypic physical interactions between adjacent mitochondria and are likely directly involved in outer membrane fusion. Associated with the inner membrane, the OPA1 dynamin-family GTPase maintains membrane structure and is a good candidate for mediating inner membrane fusion. In yeast, Ugo1p binds to both of these GTPases to form a fusion complex, although a related protein has yet to be found in mammals. An understanding of the molecular mechanism of fusion may have implications for Charcot-Marie-Tooth subtype 2A and autosomal dominant optic atrophy, neurodegenerative diseases caused by mutations in Mfn2 and OPA1.

  1. Unraveling proteins: a molecular mechanics study.

    PubMed Central

    Rohs, R; Etchebest, C; Lavery, R

    1999-01-01

    An internal coordinate molecular mechanics study of unfolding peptide chains by external stretching has been carried out to predict the type of force spectra that may be expected from single-molecule manipulation experiments currently being prepared. Rather than modeling the stretching of a given protein, we have looked at the behavior of simple secondary structure elements (alpha-helix, beta-ribbon, and interacting alpha-helices) to estimate the magnitude of the forces involved in their unfolding or separation and the dependence of these forces on the way pulling is carried out as well as on the length of the structural elements. The results point to a hierarchy of forces covering a surprisingly large range and to important orientational effects in the response to external stress. PMID:10233091

  2. Hybridization of Evolutionary Mechanisms for Feature Subset Selection in Unsupervised Learning

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Torres, Dolores; Ponce-de-León, Eunice; Torres, Aurora; Ochoa, Alberto; Díaz, Elva

    Feature subset selection for unsupervised learning, is a very important topic in artificial intelligence because it is the base for saving computational resources. In this implementation we use a typical testor’s methodology in order to incorporate an importance index for each variable. This paper presents the general framework and the way two hybridized meta-heuristics work in this NP-complete problem. The evolutionary mechanisms are based on the Univariate Marginal Distribution Algorithm (UMDA) and the Genetic Algorithm (GA). GA and UMDA - Estimation of Distribution Algorithm (EDA) use a very useful rapid operator implemented for finding typical testors on a very large dataset and also, both algorithms, have a local search mechanism for improving time and fitness. Experiments show that EDA is faster than GA because it has a better exploitation performance; nevertheless, GA’ solutions are more consistent.

  3. 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.

  4. [The evolutionary role of predatory mammals and mechanisms of its realization].

    PubMed

    Severtsov, A S; Shubkina, A V

    2015-01-01

    Considered are the interactions within food chains that allow to refine the mechanisms of selective prey taking, which is important for better understanding of the evolutionary role of predation. By use of greyhounds, the hunting by wild canids is modelled for the purpose of repeated reproduction of searching for, chasing, and taking off the prey. It is found out that parameters of chasing (i.e., speed, distance, duration) are important for hunting but not determinative. There can be a high actual selectivity determined by prey conditions and, at the same time, low success of chasing. The mechanisms of recognition of potential prey availability or unavailability are analyzed. The data are presented that indicate that superficial microflora can be considered as a common marker of various, deviations in the state of a prey. Unlike stabilizing selection, which preserves separate traits, selection by predation stabilizes the phenotype as a whole. PMID:26606789

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

    PubMed

    Sun, Qiming; Chan, Garnet Kin-Lic

    2014-09-01

    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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

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

    PubMed

    Baldwin, David V

    2013-09-01

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. Scale invariant correlations between genes and SNPs on Human chromosome 1 reveal potential evolutionary mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Kendal, Wayne S

    2007-03-21

    The local density of gene structures and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) along human chromosomes appears inhomogeneous. In chromosome 1, the density patterns from both these elements are shown here to exhibit similar scale invariant clustering, as well as long-ranged and scale invariant auto- and cross-correlations. The local densities of these elements sites can be accurately represented by the scale invariant exponential dispersion models, a group of stochastic models that act as limiting distributions for a wide range of generalized linear models. The scale invariant Poisson-gamma (PG) distribution is the most applicable of these models, since it describes the above findings and it lends itself to a stochastic mechanism for the accumulation of segmental chromosomal changes. This PG model describes the summation of neutral chromosomal mutations, deletions, rearrangements and recombinations, within chromosomal segments that are distinguished by their evolutionary genealogies. Scale invariance is a necessary property if such a description is to remain valid at different measurement scales. The observed density patterns, and proposed model, presumably represent the convergent summation of multiple stochastic processes within the evolutionary history of the chromosome. PMID:17137602

  16. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-12-01

    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.

  18. Molecular mechanisms of hypolipidemic effects of curcumin.

    PubMed

    Zingg, Jean-Marc; Hasan, Syeda T; Meydani, Mohsen

    2013-01-01

    Recent evidence suggests potential benefits from phytochemicals and micronutrients in reducing the elevated oxidative and lipid-mediated stress associated with inflammation, obesity, and atherosclerosis. These compounds may either directly scavenge reactive oxygen or nitrogen species or they may modulate the activity of signal transduction enzymes leading to changes in the expression of antioxidant genes. Alternatively, they may reduce plasma lipid levels by modulating lipid metabolic genes in tissues and thus reduce indirectly lipid-mediated oxidative and endoplasmic reticulum stress through their hypolipidemic effect. Here we review the proposed molecular mechanisms by which curcumin, a polyphenol present in the rhizomes of turmeric (Curcuma longa) spice, influences oxidative and lipid-mediated stress in the vascular system. At the molecular level, mounting experimental evidence suggests that curcumin may act chemically as scavenger of free radicals and/or influences signal transduction (e.g., Akt, AMPK) and modulates the activity of specific transcription factors (e.g., FOXO1/3a, NRF2, SREBP1/2, CREB, CREBH, PPARγ, and LXRα) that regulate the expression of genes involved in free radicals scavenging (e.g., catalase, MnSOD, and heme oxygenase-1) and lipid homeostasis (e.g., aP2/FABP4, CD36, HMG-CoA reductase, and carnitine palmitoyltransferase-I (CPT-1)). At the cellular level, curcumin may induce a mild oxidative and lipid-metabolic stress leading to an adaptive cellular stress response by hormetic stimulation of these cellular antioxidant defense systems and lipid metabolic enzymes. The resulting lower oxidative and lipid-mediated stress may not only explain the beneficial effects of curcumin on inflammation, cardiovascular, and neurodegenerative disease, but may also contribute to the increase in maximum life-span observed in animal models.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2014-08-23

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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Psychological Stress and Cancer.

    PubMed

    Shin, Kyeong Jin; Lee, Yu Jin; Yang, Yong Ryoul; Park, Seorim; Suh, Pann-Ghill; Follo, Matilde Yung; Cocco, Lucio; Ryu, Sung Ho

    2016-01-01

    Psychological stress is an emotion experienced when people are under mental pressure or encounter unexpected problems. Extreme or repetitive stress increases the risk of developing human disease, including cardiovascular disease (CVD), immune diseases, mental disorders, and cancer. Several studies have shown an association between psychological stress and cancer growth and metastasis in animal models and case studies of cancer patients. Stress induces the secretion of stress-related mediators, such as catecholamine, cortisol, and oxytocin, via the activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis or the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). These stress-related hormones and neurotransmitters adversely affect stress-induced tumor progression and cancer therapy. Catecholamine is the primary factor that influences tumor progression. It can regulate diverse cellular signaling pathways through adrenergic receptors (ADRs), which are expressed by several types of cancer cells. Activated ADRs enhance the proliferation and invasion abilities of cancer cells, alter cell activity in the tumor microenvironment, and regulate the interaction between cancer and its microenvironment to promote tumor progression. Additionally, other stress mediators, such as glucocorticoids and oxytocin, and their cognate receptors are involved in stress-induced cancer growth and metastasis. Here, we will review how each receptor-mediated signal cascade contributes to tumor initiation and progression and discuss how we can use these molecular mechanisms for cancer therapy.

  7. 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

  8. Molecular mechanisms of failure in polymer nanocomposites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gersappe, Dilip

    2003-03-01

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

  9. Cellular and molecular mechanisms in liver fibrogenesis.

    PubMed

    Novo, Erica; Cannito, Stefania; Paternostro, Claudia; Bocca, Claudia; Miglietta, Antonella; Parola, Maurizio

    2014-04-15

    Liver fibrogenesis is a dynamic and highly integrated molecular, tissue and cellular process, potentially reversible, that drives the progression of chronic liver diseases (CLD) towards liver cirrhosis and hepatic failure. Hepatic myofibroblasts (MFs), the pro-fibrogenic effector cells, originate mainly from activation of hepatic stellate cells and portal fibroblasts being characterized by a proliferative and survival attitude. MFs also contract in response to vasoactive agents, sustain angiogenesis and recruit and modulate activity of cells of innate or adaptive immunity. Chronic activation of wound healing and oxidative stress as well as derangement of epithelial-mesenchymal interactions are "major" pro-fibrogenic mechanisms, whatever the etiology. However, literature has outlined a complex network of pro-fibrogenic factors and mediators proposed to modulate CLD progression, with some of them being at present highly debated in the field, including the role of epithelial to mesenchymal transition and Hedgehog signaling pathways. Hypoxia and angiogenesis as well as inflammasomes are recently emerged as ubiquitous pro-inflammatory and pro-fibrogenic determinants whereas adipokines are mostly involved in CLD related to metabolic disturbances (metabolic syndrome and/or obesity and type 2 diabetes). Finally, autophagy as well as natural killer and natural killer-T cells have been recently proposed to significantly affect fibrogenic CLD progression. PMID:24631571

  10. [Molecular mechanisms of peroxisome biogenesis in yeasts].

    PubMed

    Sibirnyĭ, A A

    2012-01-01

    Peroxisomes contain oxidases generating hydrogen peroxide, and catalase degrading this toxic compound. Another characteristic function of each eukaryotic peroxisome, from yeast to man, is fatty acid beta-oxidation. However, in peroxisomes a variety of other metabolic pathways are located. In fungi, peroxisomes contain enzymes involved in catabolism of unusual carbon and nitrogen sources (methanol, purines, D-amino acids, pipecolynic acid, sarcosine, glycolate, spermidine etc) as well as biosynthesis of lysine in yeasts and penicillin in mycelial fungi. Impairment of peroxisomal structure and functions causes many human disorders. The similar defects have been identified in yeast mutants defective in peroxisomal biogenesis. Peroxisomal biogenesis is actively studied during last two decades using uni- and multicellular model systems. It was observed that many aspects of peroxisomal biogenesis and proteins involved in this process display striking similarity between all eukaryotes, from yeasts to humans. Yeast is a convenient model system for this kind of research. Current review summarizes data on molecular events of peroxisomal biogenesis, functions of peroxine proteins, import of peroxisomal matrix and membrane proteins and on mechanisms of peroxisomedivision and inheritance. PMID:22642098

  11. Sex ratio meiotic drive as a plausible evolutionary mechanism for hybrid male sterility.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Linbin; Sun, Tianai; Woldesellassie, Fitsum; Xiao, Hailian; Tao, Yun

    2015-03-01

    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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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. PMID:12417523

  15. 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.

  16. Relations among fields: Mendelian, cytological and molecular mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Darden, Lindley

    2005-06-01

    Philosophers have proposed various kinds of relations between Mendelian genetics and molecular biology: reduction, replacement, explanatory extension. This paper argues that the two fields are best characterized as investigating different, serially integrated, hereditary mechanisms. The mechanisms operate at different times and contain different working entities. The working entities of the mechanisms of Mendelian heredity are chromosomes, whose movements serve to segregate alleles and independently assort genes in different linkage groups. The working entities of numerous mechanisms of molecular biology are larger and smaller segments of DNA plus related molecules. Discovery of molecular DNA mechanisms filled black boxes that were noted, but unilluminated, by Mendelian genetics.

  17. Evolutionary Origin of the Mitochondrial Cholesterol Transport Machinery Reveals a Universal Mechanism of Steroid Hormone Biosynthesis in Animals

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:24124589

  18. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-07-01

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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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…

  3. 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…

  4. 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.

  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. The Molecular Evolutionary Patterns of the Insulin/FOXO Signaling Pathway

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Minghui; Wang, Qishan; Wang, Zhen; Wang, Qingping; Zhang, Xiangzhe; Pan, Yuchun

    2013-01-01

    The insulin/insulin growth factor-1(IGF1)/FOXO (IIF) signal transduction pathway plays a core role in the endocrine system. Although the components of this pathway have been well characterized, the evolutionary pattern remains poorly understood. Here, we perform a comprehensive analysis to study whether the differences of signaling transduction elements exist as well as to determine whether the genes are subject to equivalent evolutionary forces and how natural selection shapes the evolution pattern of proteins in an interacting system. Our results demonstrate that most IIF pathway components are present throughout all animal phyla investigated here, and they are under strong selective constraint. Remarkably, we detect that the components in the middle of the pathway undergo stronger purifying selection, which is different from previous similar reports. We also find that the dN/dS may be influenced by quite complicated factors including codon bias, protein length among others. PMID:23362368

  7. The cognitive life of mechanical molecular models.

    PubMed

    Charbonneau, Mathieu

    2013-12-01

    The use of physical models of molecular structures as research tools has been central to the development of biochemistry and molecular biology. Intriguingly, it has received little attention from scholars of science. In this paper, I argue that these physical models are not mere three-dimensional representations but that they are in fact very special research tools: they are cognitive augmentations. Despite the fact that they are external props, these models serve as cognitive tools that augment and extend the modeler's cognitive capacities and performance in molecular modeling tasks. This cognitive enhancement is obtained because of the way the modeler interacts with these models, the models' materiality contributing to the solving of the molecule's structure. Furthermore, I argue that these material models and their component parts were designed, built and used specifically to serve as cognitive facilitators and cognitive augmentations.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-03-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-03-01

    Myriad tiny insect species take to the air to engage in windborne migration, but entomology also has its 'charismatic megafauna' of butterflies, large moths, dragonflies and locusts. The spectacular migrations of large day-flying insects have long fascinated humankind, and since the advent of radar entomology much has been revealed about high-altitude night-time insect migrations. Over the last decade, there have been significant advances in insect migration research, which we review here. In particular, we highlight: (1) notable improvements in our understanding of lepidopteran navigation strategies, including the hitherto unsuspected capabilities of high-altitude migrants to select favourable winds and orientate adaptively, (2) progress in unravelling the neuronal mechanisms underlying sun compass orientation and in identifying the genetic complex underpinning key traits associated with migration behaviour and performance in the monarch butterfly, and (3) improvements in our knowledge of the multifaceted interactions between disease agents and insect migrants, in terms of direct effects on migration success and pathogen spread, and indirect effects on the evolution of migratory systems. We conclude by highlighting the progress that can be made through inter-phyla comparisons, and identify future research areas that will enhance our understanding of insect migration strategies within an eco-evolutionary perspective. PMID:25611117

  11. 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.

  12. Molecular evolutionary and structural analysis of the cytosolic DNA sensor cGAS and STING

    PubMed Central

    Wu, Xiaomei; Wu, Fei-Hua; Wang, Xiaoqiang; Wang, Lilin; Siedow, James N.; Zhang, Weiguo; Pei, Zhen-Ming

    2014-01-01

    Cyclic GMP-AMP (cGAMP) synthase (cGAS) is recently identified as a cytosolic DNA sensor and generates a non-canonical cGAMP that contains G(2′,5′)pA and A(3′,5′)pG phosphodiester linkages. cGAMP activates STING which triggers innate immune responses in mammals. However, the evolutionary functions and origins of cGAS and STING remain largely elusive. Here, we carried out comprehensive evolutionary analyses of the cGAS-STING pathway. Phylogenetic analysis of cGAS and STING families showed that their origins could be traced back to a choanoflagellate Monosiga brevicollis. Modern cGAS and STING may have acquired structural features, including zinc-ribbon domain and critical amino acid residues for DNA binding in cGAS as well as carboxy terminal tail domain for transducing signals in STING, only recently in vertebrates. In invertebrates, cGAS homologs may not act as DNA sensors. Both proteins cooperate extensively, have similar evolutionary characteristics, and thus may have co-evolved during metazoan evolution. cGAS homologs and a prokaryotic dinucleotide cyclase for canonical cGAMP share conserved secondary structures and catalytic residues. Therefore, non-mammalian cGAS may function as a nucleotidyltransferase and could produce cGAMP and other cyclic dinucleotides. Taken together, assembling signaling components of the cGAS-STING pathway onto the eukaryotic evolutionary map illuminates the functions and origins of this innate immune pathway. PMID:24981511

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

  14. Network-level molecular evolutionary analysis of the insulin/TOR signal transduction pathway across 12 Drosophila genomes

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

    Biological function is based on complex networks consisting of large numbers of interacting molecules. The evolutionary properties of molecular networks and, in particular, the impact of network architecture on the sequence evolution of its individual components are, nonetheless, still poorly understood. Here, we conducted a fine-scale network-level molecular evolutionary analysis of the insulin/TOR pathway across 12 species of Drosophila. We found that the insulin/TOR pathway components are completely conserved across these species and that two genes located at major network branch points show evidence for positive selection. Remarkably, we detected a gradient in the strength of purifying selection along the pathway, increasing from the upstream to the downstream genes. We also found that physically interacting proteins tend to have more similar levels of selective constraint, even though this feature might represent a byproduct of the correlation between selective constraint and the pathway position. Our results clearly indicate that the levels of functional constraint do depend on the position of the proteins in the pathway and, consequently, the architecture of the pathway constrains gene sequence evolution. PMID:19141596

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

    PubMed Central

    Qin, Sheng; Chen, Liming; Ma, Fei

    2012-01-01

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

  16. Frontotemporal dementia: from molecular mechanisms to therapy.

    PubMed

    Haass, Christian; Neumann, Manuela

    2016-08-01

    Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a heterogeneous clinical syndrome characterized by frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). Neuropathologically, FTLD is characterized by abnormal protein deposits and almost all cases can now be classified into three major molecular subgroups based on specific accumulating proteins with the most common being FTLD-tau and FTLD-TDP (accounting for ~40% and 50%, respectively) and FTLD-FET (accounting for ~5-10%). In this special issue, the molecular and genetic basics as well as clinical approaches and therapeutics are reviewed in a series of articles. This article is part of the Frontotemporal Dementia special issue. PMID:27502123

  17. 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.

  18. MEGA4: Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis (MEGA) software version 4.0.

    PubMed

    Tamura, Koichiro; Dudley, Joel; Nei, Masatoshi; Kumar, Sudhir

    2007-08-01

    We announce the release of the fourth version of MEGA software, which expands on the existing facilities for editing DNA sequence data from autosequencers, mining Web-databases, performing automatic and manual sequence alignment, analyzing sequence alignments to estimate evolutionary distances, inferring phylogenetic trees, and testing evolutionary hypotheses. Version 4 includes a unique facility to generate captions, written in figure legend format, in order to provide natural language descriptions of the models and methods used in the analyses. This facility aims to promote a better understanding of the underlying assumptions used in analyses, and of the results generated. Another new feature is the Maximum Composite Likelihood (MCL) method for estimating evolutionary distances between all pairs of sequences simultaneously, with and without incorporating rate variation among sites and substitution pattern heterogeneities among lineages. This MCL method also can be used to estimate transition/transversion bias and nucleotide substitution pattern without knowledge of the phylogenetic tree. This new version is a native 32-bit Windows application with multi-threading and multi-user supports, and it is also available to run in a Linux desktop environment (via the Wine compatibility layer) and on Intel-based Macintosh computers under the Parallels program. The current version of MEGA is available free of charge at (http://www.megasoftware.net).

  19. 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.

  20. Molecular and evolutionary bases of within-patient genotypic and phenotypic diversity in Escherichia coli extraintestinal infections.

    PubMed

    Levert, Maxime; Zamfir, Oana; Clermont, Olivier; Bouvet, Odile; Lespinats, Sylvain; Hipeaux, Marie Claire; Branger, Catherine; Picard, Bertrand; Saint-Ruf, Claude; Norel, Françoise; Balliau, Thierry; Zivy, Michel; Le Nagard, Hervé; Cruveiller, Stéphane; Cruvellier, Stéphane; Chane-Woon-Ming, Béatrice; Nilsson, Susanna; Gudelj, Ivana; Phan, Katherine; Ferenci, Thomas; Tenaillon, Olivier; Denamur, Erick

    2010-09-30

    Although polymicrobial infections, caused by combinations of viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites, are being recognised with increasing frequency, little is known about the occurrence of within-species diversity in bacterial infections and the molecular and evolutionary bases of this diversity. We used multiple approaches to study the genomic and phenotypic diversity among 226 Escherichia coli isolates from deep and closed visceral infections occurring in 19 patients. We observed genomic variability among isolates from the same site within 11 patients. This diversity was of two types, as patients were infected either by several distinct E. coli clones (4 patients) or by members of a single clone that exhibit micro-heterogeneity (11 patients); both types of diversity were present in 4 patients. A surprisingly wide continuum of antibiotic resistance, outer membrane permeability, growth rate, stress resistance, red dry and rough morphotype characteristics and virulence properties were present within the isolates of single clones in 8 of the 11 patients showing genomic micro-heterogeneity. Many of the observed phenotypic differences within clones affected the trade-off between self-preservation and nutritional competence (SPANC). We showed in 3 patients that this phenotypic variability was associated with distinct levels of RpoS in co-existing isolates. Genome mutational analysis and global proteomic comparisons in isolates from a patient revealed a star-like relationship of changes amongst clonally diverging isolates. A mathematical model demonstrated that multiple genotypes with distinct RpoS levels can co-exist as a result of the SPANC trade-off. In the cases involving infection by a single clone, we present several lines of evidence to suggest diversification during the infectious process rather than an infection by multiple isolates exhibiting a micro-heterogeneity. Our results suggest that bacteria are subject to trade-offs during an infectious process and that

  1. Evolutionary and cellular mechanisms regulating intestinal performance of amphibians and reptiles.

    PubMed

    Secor, Stephen M

    2005-04-01

    Vertebrate intestinal tracts possess an array of structural and functional adaptations to the wide diversity of food and feeding habits. In addition to well-described differences in form and function between herbivores and carnivores, the intestine exhibits adaptive plasticity to variation in digestive demand. The capacity to which intestinal performance responds to changes in digestive demands is a product of evolutionary and cellular mechanisms. In this report, I have taken an integrative approach to exploring the mechanisms responsible for the regulation of intestinal performance with feeding and fasting among amphibians and reptiles. Intestinal performance is presented as the total small intestinal capacity to absorb nutrients, quantified as a product of small intestinal mass and mass-specific rates of nutrient uptake. For sit-and-wait foraging snakes and estivating anurans, both of which naturally experience long episodes of fasting, the dramatic downregulation of intestinal morphology and function with fasting reduces energy expenditure during extended fasts. In contrast, frequently-feeding species modestly regulate intestinal performance with fasting and feeding, trading higher basal rates of metabolism during fasting for the frequent expense of upregulating the gut with feeding. Surveying the magnitude by which intestinal uptake capacity is regulated among 26 families of amphibians and reptiles has revealed potentially five lineages that have independently evolved the capacity to widely regulate intestinal performance. The extent to which intestinal performance is downregulated with fasting among amphibians and reptiles, ranging from 0 to 90%, is largely a function of the degree by which mass-specific rates of nutrient transport are depressed, given that loss of intestinal mass with fasting is a common characteristic of vertebrates. In exploring the underlying mechanisms regulating intestinal nutrient uptake, use of the Burmese python has revealed a

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. Molecular Mechanisms of External Genitalia Development

    PubMed Central

    Blaschko, Sarah D.; Cunha, Gerald R.; Baskin, Laurence S.

    2012-01-01

    External genitalia development occurs through a combination of hormone independent, hormone dependent, and endocrine pathways. Perturbation of these pathways can lead to abnormal external genitalia development. We review human and animal mechanisms of normal and abnormal external genitalia development, and we evaluate abnormal mechanisms that lead to hypospadias. We also discuss recent laboratory findings that further our understanding of animal models of hypospadias. PMID:22790208

  5. 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)

  6. 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.

  7. Brain mechanisms of acoustic communication in humans and nonhuman primates: an evolutionary perspective.

    PubMed

    Ackermann, Hermann; Hage, Steffen R; Ziegler, Wolfram

    2014-12-01

    Any account of "what is special about the human brain" (Passingham 2008) must specify the neural basis of our unique ability to produce speech and delineate how these remarkable motor capabilities could have emerged in our hominin ancestors. Clinical data suggest that the basal ganglia provide a platform for the integration of primate-general mechanisms of acoustic communication with the faculty of articulate speech in humans. Furthermore, neurobiological and paleoanthropological data point at a two-stage model of the phylogenetic evolution of this crucial prerequisite of spoken language: (i) monosynaptic refinement of the projections of motor cortex to the brainstem nuclei that steer laryngeal muscles, presumably, as part of a "phylogenetic trend" associated with increasing brain size during hominin evolution; (ii) subsequent vocal-laryngeal elaboration of cortico-basal ganglia circuitries, driven by human-specific FOXP2 mutations.;>This concept implies vocal continuity of spoken language evolution at the motor level, elucidating the deep entrenchment of articulate speech into a "nonverbal matrix" (Ingold 1994), which is not accounted for by gestural-origin theories. Moreover, it provides a solution to the question for the adaptive value of the "first word" (Bickerton 2009) since even the earliest and most simple verbal utterances must have increased the versatility of vocal displays afforded by the preceding elaboration of monosynaptic corticobulbar tracts, giving rise to enhanced social cooperation and prestige. At the ontogenetic level, the proposed model assumes age-dependent interactions between the basal ganglia and their cortical targets, similar to vocal learning in some songbirds. In this view, the emergence of articulate speech builds on the "renaissance" of an ancient organizational principle and, hence, may represent an example of "evolutionary tinkering" (Jacob 1977).

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

    PubMed Central

    Auld, S KJR; Tinsley, M C

    2015-01-01

    Many parasitic infections, including those of humans, are caused by complex lifecycle parasites (CLPs): parasites that sequentially infect different hosts over the course of their lifecycle. CLPs come from a wide range of taxonomic groups—from single-celled bacteria to multicellular flatworms—yet share many common features in their life histories. Theory tells us when CLPs should be favoured by selection, but more empirical studies are required in order to quantify the costs and benefits of having a complex lifecycle, especially in parasites that facultatively vary their lifecycle complexity. In this article, we identify ecological conditions that favour CLPs over their simple lifecycle counterparts and highlight how a complex lifecycle can alter transmission rate and trade-offs between growth and reproduction. We show that CLPs participate in dynamic host–parasite coevolution, as more mobile hosts can fuel CLP adaptation to less mobile hosts. Then, we argue that a more general understanding of the evolutionary ecology of CLPs is essential for the development of effective frameworks to manage the many diseases they cause. More research is needed identifying the genetics of infection mechanisms used by CLPs, particularly into the role of gene duplication and neofunctionalisation in lifecycle evolution. We propose that testing for signatures of selection in infection genes will reveal much about how and when complex lifecycles evolved, and will help quantify complex patterns of coevolution between CLPs and their various hosts. Finally, we emphasise four key areas where new research approaches will provide fertile opportunities to advance this field. PMID:25227255

  9. Molecular and trophic mechanisms of tumorigenesis.

    PubMed

    Levy, Andy

    2008-03-01

    A significant proportion of pituitary macroadenomas, and by definition all microadenomas, regain trophic stability after an initial period of deregulated growth. Classical proto-oncogene activation and tumor suppressor mutation are rarely responsible, and no histologic or molecular markers reliably predict behavior. GNAS1 activation and the mutations associated with multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 and Carney complex, aryl hydrocarbon receptor interacting protein gene mutations, and a narrowing region of chromosome 11q13 in familial isolated acromegaly together account for such a small proportion of pituitary adenomas that the pituitary adenoma pathogenic epiphany is surely yet to come. PMID:18226729

  10. Autosomal recessive primary microcephaly (MCPH): a review of clinical, molecular, and evolutionary findings.

    PubMed

    Woods, C Geoffrey; Bond, Jacquelyn; Enard, Wolfgang

    2005-05-01

    Autosomal recessive primary microcephaly (MCPH) is a neurodevelopmental disorder. It is characterized by two principal features, microcephaly present at birth and nonprogressive mental retardation. The microcephaly is the consequence of a small but architecturally normal brain, and it is the cerebral cortex that shows the greatest size reduction. There are at least seven MCPH loci, and four of the genes have been identified: MCPH1, encoding Microcephalin; MCPH3, encoding CDK5RAP2; MCPH5, encoding ASPM; and MCPH6, encoding CENPJ. These findings are starting to have an impact on the clinical management of families affected with MCPH. Present data suggest that MCPH is the consequence of deficient neurogenesis within the neurogenic epithelium. Evolutionary interest in MCPH has been sparked by the suggestion that changes in the MCPH genes might also be responsible for the increase in brain size during human evolution. Indeed, evolutionary analyses of Microcephalin and ASPM reveal evidence for positive selection during human and great ape evolution. So an understanding of this rare genetic disorder may offer us significant insights into neurogenic mitosis and the evolution of the most striking differences between us and our closest living relatives: brain size and cognitive ability. PMID:15806441

  11. Single nucleotide polymorphism screening, molecular characterization, and evolutionary aspects of chicken Piwi genes.

    PubMed

    Wang, H Z; Ma, T; Chang, G B; Wan, F; Liu, X P; Lu, L; Xu, L; Chen, J; Chen, G H

    2015-01-01

    The P-element-induced wimpy testis (Piwi) gene is involved in germline stem cell self-renewal, meiosis, RNA silencing, and transcriptional regulation. Piwi genes are relatively well conserved in many species, but their function in poultry species is unclear. In this study, Piwi genes were sequenced using a target-sequence capture assay in quail and 28 breeds of chicken. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and evolutionary aspects of these chicken breeds were then analyzed. We found that SNP sites existed mainly in the introns of a few chicken breeds, and we selected an SNP on intron 4 for further verification by Sanger sequencing, the results of which were similar to those obtained by the target-capture sequencing assay. The evolutionary analysis revealed that there were more mutations in the Chahua and Leghorn breeds than in the other breeds, and that the phylogenetic tree was divided into four main categories that suggested that Piwi is evolutionarily conserved, and mutations in the introns might be associated with gametogenesis. The screened SNPs can be used as candidate markers for Piwi, and our results provide basic information for the further study of Piwi function in poultry.

  12. Etiologies and molecular mechanisms of communication disorders

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Shelley D.; Grigorenko, Elena; Willcutt, Erik; Pennington, Bruce F.; Olson, Richard K.; DeFries, John C.

    2010-01-01

    Quantitative behavioral genetic studies have made it clear that communication disorders such as reading disability (RD), language impairment (LI), and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) follow some basic principles: 1) Complex disorders have complex causes, in that each clinical disorder is influenced by a number of separate genes; and 2) at least some behaviorally related disorders are influenced by the same genes. Recent advances in molecular and statistical methods have confirmed these principles and are now leading to an understanding of the genes that may be involved in these disorders and how their disruption may affect the development of the brain. The prospect is that the genes involved in these disorders will define a network of interacting neurologic functions, and that perturbations of different elements of this network will produce susceptibilities for different disorders. Such knowledge would clarify the underlying deficits in these disorders and could lead to revised diagnostic conceptions. These goals are still in the future, however. Identifying the individual genes in such a network is painstaking, and there have been seemingly contradictory studies along the way. Improvements in study design and additional functional analysis of genes is gradually clarifying many of these issues. When combined with careful phenotypic studies, molecular genetic studies have the potential to refine the clinical definitions of communication disorders and influence their remediation. PMID:20814255

  13. 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

  14. 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. PMID:26740804

  15. 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.

  16. 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)

  17. Molecular Mechanisms of Action of BPA

    PubMed Central

    Acconcia, Filippo; Pallottini, Valentina

    2015-01-01

    Bisphenol A (BPA) exposure has been associated with serious endocrine-disrupting effects in humans and wildlife. Toxicological and epidemiological studies evidenced that BPA increases body mass index and disrupts normal cardiovascular physiology by interfering with endogenous hormones in rodents, nonhuman primates, and cell culture test systems. The BPA concentration derived from these experiments were used by government regulatory agencies to determine the safe exposure levels of BPA in humans. However, accumulating literature in vivo and in vitro indicate that at concentrations lower than that reported in toxicological studies, BPA could elicit a different endocrine-disrupting capacity. To further complicate this picture, BPA effects rely on several and diverse mechanisms that converge upon endocrine and reproductive systems. If all or just few of these mechanisms concur to the endocrine-disrupting potential of low doses of BPA is at present still unclear. Thus, taking into account that the incidence and/or prevalence of health problems associated with endocrine disruption have increased worldwide, the goal of the present review is to give an overview of the many mechanisms of BPA action in order to decipher whether different mechanisms are at the root of the effect of low dose of BPA on endocrine system. PMID:26740804

  18. 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.

  19. Molecular data and ecological niche modelling reveal a highly dynamic evolutionary history of the East Asian Tertiary relict Cercidiphyllum (Cercidiphyllaceae).

    PubMed

    Qi, Xin-Shuai; Chen, Chen; Comes, Hans Peter; Sakaguchi, Shota; Liu, Yi-Hui; Tanaka, Nobuyuki; Sakio, Hitoshi; Qiu, Ying-Xiong

    2012-10-01

    East Asia's temperate deciduous forests served as sanctuary for Tertiary relict trees, but their ages and response to past climate change remain largely unknown. To address this issue, we elucidated the evolutionary and population demographic history of Cercdiphyllum, comprising species in China/Japan (Cercdiphyllum japonicum) and central Japan (Cercdiphyllum magnificum). Fifty-three populations were genotyped using chloroplast and ribosomal DNA sequences and microsatellite loci to assess molecular structure and diversity in relation to past (Last Glacial Maximum) and present distributions based on ecological niche modelling. Late Tertiary climate cooling was reflected in a relatively recent speciation event, dated at the Mio-/Pliocene boundary. During glacials, the warm-temperate C. japonicum experienced massive habitat losses in some areas (north-central China/north Japan) but increases in others (southwest/-east China, East China Sea landbridge, south Japan). In China, the Sichuan Basin and/or the middle-Yangtze were source areas of postglacial northward recolonization; in Japan, this may have been facilitated through introgressive hybridization with the cool-temperate C. magnificum. Our findings challenge the notion of relative evolutionary and demographic stability of Tertiary relict trees, and may serve as a guideline for assessing the impact of Neogene climate change on the evolution and distribution of East Asian temperate plants. PMID:22845876

  20. 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.

  1. Molecular data and ecological niche modelling reveal a highly dynamic evolutionary history of the East Asian Tertiary relict Cercidiphyllum (Cercidiphyllaceae).

    PubMed

    Qi, Xin-Shuai; Chen, Chen; Comes, Hans Peter; Sakaguchi, Shota; Liu, Yi-Hui; Tanaka, Nobuyuki; Sakio, Hitoshi; Qiu, Ying-Xiong

    2012-10-01

    East Asia's temperate deciduous forests served as sanctuary for Tertiary relict trees, but their ages and response to past climate change remain largely unknown. To address this issue, we elucidated the evolutionary and population demographic history of Cercdiphyllum, comprising species in China/Japan (Cercdiphyllum japonicum) and central Japan (Cercdiphyllum magnificum). Fifty-three populations were genotyped using chloroplast and ribosomal DNA sequences and microsatellite loci to assess molecular structure and diversity in relation to past (Last Glacial Maximum) and present distributions based on ecological niche modelling. Late Tertiary climate cooling was reflected in a relatively recent speciation event, dated at the Mio-/Pliocene boundary. During glacials, the warm-temperate C. japonicum experienced massive habitat losses in some areas (north-central China/north Japan) but increases in others (southwest/-east China, East China Sea landbridge, south Japan). In China, the Sichuan Basin and/or the middle-Yangtze were source areas of postglacial northward recolonization; in Japan, this may have been facilitated through introgressive hybridization with the cool-temperate C. magnificum. Our findings challenge the notion of relative evolutionary and demographic stability of Tertiary relict trees, and may serve as a guideline for assessing the impact of Neogene climate change on the evolution and distribution of East Asian temperate plants.

  2. The molecular mechanism of the catalase reaction.

    PubMed

    Alfonso-Prieto, Mercedes; Biarnés, Xevi; Vidossich, Pietro; Rovira, Carme

    2009-08-26

    Catalases are ubiquitous enzymes that prevent cell oxidative damage by degrading hydrogen peroxide to water and oxygen (2H(2)O(2) --> 2 H(2)O + O(2)) with high efficiency. The enzyme is first oxidized to a high-valent iron intermediate, known as Compound I (Cpd I) which, in contrast to other hydroperoxidases, is reduced back to the resting state by further reacting with H(2)O(2). By means of hybrid QM/MM Car-Parrinello metadynamics simulations, we have investigated the mechanism of the reduction of Compound I by H(2)O(2) in Helicobacter pylori catalase (HPC) and Penicillium vitale catalase (PVC). We found that the Cpd I-H(2)O(2) complex evolves to a Cpd II-like species through the transfer of a hydrogen atom from the peroxide to the oxoferryl unit. To complete the reaction, two mechanisms may be operative: a His-mediated (Fita-Rossmann) mechanism, which involves the distal His as an acid-base catalyst mediating the transfer of a proton (associated with an electron transfer), and a direct mechanism, in which a hydrogen atom transfer occurs. Independently of the mechanism, the reaction proceeds by two one-electron transfers rather than one two-electron transfer, as has long been the lore. The calculations provide a detailed view of the atomic and electronic reorganizations during the reaction, and highlight the key role of the distal residues to assist the reaction. Additional calculations on the in silico HPC His56Gly mutant and gas-phase models provide clues to understand the requirements for the reaction to proceed with low barriers. PMID:19653683

  3. Mechanism of Molecular Exchange in Copolymer Micelles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Choi, Soo-Hyung; Lodge, Timothy; Bates, Frank

    2010-03-01

    Compared to thermodynamic structure, much less has been known about the kinetics of block copolymer micelles which should underlay the attainment of thermodynamic equilibrium. In this presentation, molecular exchange between spherical micelles formed by isotopically labeled diblock copolymers was investigated using time-resolved small-angle neutron scattering. Two pairs of structurally matched poly(styrene-b-ethylene-alt-propylene) (PS-PEP) were synthesized and dispersed in isotopic mixture of squalane, highly selective to PEP block. Each pair includes polymers with fully deuterated (dPS-PEP) and a normal (hPS-PEP) PS blocks. Temperature dependence of the micelle exchange rate R(t) is consistent with melt dynamics for the core polymer. Furthermore, R(t) is significantly sensitive to the core block length N due to the thermodynamic penalty associated with ejecting a core block into the solvent. This hypersensitivity, combined with modest polydispersity in N, leads to an approximately logarithmic decay in R(t).

  4. Molecular mechanisms in multiple myeloma drug resistance

    PubMed Central

    Nikesitch, Nicholas; Ling, Silvia C W

    2016-01-01

    Multiple myeloma (MM) is predominantly an incurable malignancy despite high-dose chemotherapy, autologous stem cell transplant and novel agents. MM is a genetically heterogeneous disease and the complexity increases as the disease progresses to a more aggressive stage. MM arises from a plasma cell, which produces and secretes non-functioning immunoglobulins. Most MM cells are sensitive to proteasome inhibitors (PIs), which have become the main drug in the treatment of newly diagnosed and relapsed MM. However, not all MM is sensitive to PIs. This review summarises the literature regarding molecular biology of MM with a focus on the unfolded protein response and explores how this could affect drug sensitivity and progression of disease. PMID:26598624

  5. Molecular mechanisms of synaptic remodeling in alcoholism.

    PubMed

    Kyzar, Evan J; Pandey, Subhash C

    2015-08-01

    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.

  6. 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.

  7. Emerging mechanisms of molecular pathology in ALS.

    PubMed

    Peters, Owen M; Ghasemi, Mehdi; Brown, Robert H

    2015-05-01

    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating degenerative disease characterized by progressive loss of motor neurons in the motor cortex, brainstem, and spinal cord. Although defined as a motor disorder, ALS can arise concurrently with frontotemporal lobal dementia (FTLD). ALS begins focally but disseminates to cause paralysis and death. About 10% of ALS cases are caused by gene mutations, and more than 40 ALS-associated genes have been identified. While important questions about the biology of this disease remain unanswered, investigations of ALS genes have delineated pathogenic roles for (a) perturbations in protein stability and degradation, (b) altered homeostasis of critical RNA- and DNA-binding proteins, (c) impaired cytoskeleton function, and (d) non-neuronal cells as modifiers of the ALS phenotype. The rapidity of progress in ALS genetics and the subsequent acquisition of insights into the molecular biology of these genes provide grounds for optimism that meaningful therapies for ALS are attainable. PMID:25932674

  8. Molecular mechanisms of polyploidy and hybrid vigor

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Z. Jeffrey

    2010-01-01

    Hybrids such as maize (Zea mays) or domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) grow bigger and stronger than their parents. This is also true for allopolyploids such as wheat (Triticum spp.) or frog (i.e. Xenopus and Silurana) that contain two or more sets of chromosomes from different species. The phenomenon, known as hybrid vigor or heterosis, was systematically characterized by Charles Darwin (1876). The rediscovery of heterosis in maize a century ago has revolutionized plant and animal breeding and production. Although genetic models for heterosis have been rigorously tested, the molecular bases remain elusive. Recent studies have determined the roles of nonadditive gene expression, small RNAs, and epigenetic regulation, including circadian-mediated metabolic pathways, in hybrid vigor and incompatibility, which could lead to better use and exploitation of the increased biomass and yield in hybrids and allopolyploids for food, feed, and biofuels. PMID:20080432

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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. PMID:24657804

  12. Molecular phylogeny of Myriapoda provides insights into evolutionary patterns of the mode in post-embryonic development

    PubMed Central

    Miyazawa, Hideyuki; Ueda, Chiaki; Yahata, Kensuke; Su, Zhi-Hui

    2014-01-01

    Myriapoda, a subphylum of Arthropoda, comprises four classes, Chilopoda, Diplopoda, Pauropoda, and Symphyla. While recent molecular evidence has shown that Myriapoda is monophyletic, the internal phylogeny, which is pivotal for understanding the evolutionary history of myriapods, remains unresolved. Here we report the results of phylogenetic analyses and estimations of divergence time and ancestral state of myriapods. Phylogenetic analyses were performed based on three nuclear protein-coding genes determined from 19 myriapods representing the four classes (17 orders) and 11 outgroup species. The results revealed that Symphyla whose phylogenetic position has long been debated is the sister lineage to all other myriapods, and that the interordinal relationships within classes were consistent with traditional classifications. Ancestral state estimation based on the tree topology suggests that myriapods evolved from an ancestral state that was characterized by a hemianamorphic mode of post-embryonic development and had a relatively low number of body segments and legs. PMID:24535281

  13. Molecular 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. Hidden diversity and evolutionary trends in malacosporean parasites (Cnidaria: Myxozoa) identified using molecular phylogenetics.

    PubMed

    Bartošová-Sojková, Pavla; Hrabcová, Martina; Pecková, Hana; Patra, Sneha; Kodádková, Alena; Jurajda, Pavel; Tyml, Tomáš; Holzer, Astrid Sibylle

    2014-07-01

    Malacosporeans represent a small fraction of myxozoan biodiversity with only two genera and three species described. They cycle between bryozoans and freshwater fish. In this study, we (i) microscopically examine and screen different freshwater/marine fish species from various geographic locations and habitats for the presence of malacosporeans using PCR; (ii) study the morphology, prevalence, host species/habitat preference and distribution of malacosporeans; (iii) perform small subunit/large subunit rDNA and Elongation factor 2 based phylogenetic analyses of newly gathered data, together with all available malacosporean data in GenBank; and (iv) investigate the evolutionary trends of malacosporeans by mapping the morphology of bryozoan-related stages, host species, habitat and geographic data on the small subunit rDNA-based phylogenetic tree. We reveal a high prevalence and diversity of malacosporeans in several fish hosts in European freshwater habitats by adding five new species of Buddenbrockia and Tetracapsuloides from cyprinid and perciform fishes. Comprehensive phylogenetic analyses revealed that, apart from Buddenbrockia and Tetracapsuloides clades, a novel malacosporean lineage (likely a new genus) exists. The fish host species spectrum was extended for Buddenbrockia plumatellae and Buddenbrockia sp. 2. Co-infections of up to three malacosporean species were found in individual fish. The significant increase in malacosporean species richness revealed in the present study points to a hidden biodiversity in this parasite group. This is most probably due to the cryptic nature of malacosporean sporogonic and presporogonic stages and mostly asymptomatic infections in the fish hosts. The potential existence of malacosporean life cycles in the marine environment as well as the evolution of worm- and sac-like morphology is discussed. This study improves the understanding of the biodiversity, prevalence, distribution, habitat and host preference of malacosporeans

  17. 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

  18. Evolutionary conservation of mechanisms for neural regionalization, proliferation and interconnection in brain development

    PubMed Central

    Reichert, Heinrich

    2008-01-01

    Comparative studies of brain development in vertebrate and invertebrate model systems demonstrate remarkable similarities in expression and action of developmental control genes during embryonic patterning, neural proliferation and circuit formation in the brain. Thus, comparable sets of developmental control genes are involved in specifying the early brain primordium as well as in regionalized patterning along its anteroposterior and dorsoventral axes. Furthermore, similar cellular and molecular mechanisms underlie the formation and proliferation of neural stem cell-like progenitors that generate the neurons in the central nervous systems. Finally, neural identity and some complex circuit interconnections in specific brain domains appear to be comparable in vertebrates and invertebrates and may depend on similar developmental control genes. PMID:18755655

  19. Physical mechanisms of biological molecular motors

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miller, John H., Jr.; Vajrala, Vijayanand; Infante, Hans L.; Claycomb, James R.; Palanisami, Akilan; Fang, Jie; Mercier, George T.

    2009-03-01

    Biological motors generally fall into two categories: (1) those that convert chemical into mechanical energy via hydrolysis of a nucleoside triphosphate, usually adenosine triphosphate, regarded as life's chemical currency of energy and (2) membrane bound motors driven directly by an ion gradient and/or membrane potential. Here we argue that electrostatic interactions play a vital role for both types of motors and, therefore, the tools of physics can greatly contribute to understanding biological motors.

  20. Molecular mechanisms for tumour resistance to chemotherapy.

    PubMed

    Pan, Shu-Ting; Li, Zhi-Ling; He, Zhi-Xu; Qiu, Jia-Xuan; Zhou, Shu-Feng

    2016-08-01

    Chemotherapy is one of the prevailing methods used to treat malignant tumours, but the outcome and prognosis of tumour patients are not optimistic. Cancer cells gradually generate resistance to almost all chemotherapeutic drugs via a variety of distinct mechanisms and pathways. Chemotherapeutic resistance, either intrinsic or acquired, is caused and sustained by reduced drug accumulation and increased drug export, alterations in drug targets and signalling transduction molecules, increased repair of drug-induced DNA damage, and evasion of apoptosis. In order to better understand the mechanisms of chemoresistance, this review highlights our current knowledge of the role of altered drug metabolism and transport and deregulation of apoptosis and autophagy in the development of tumour chemoresistance. Reduced intracellular activation of prodrugs (e.g. thiotepa and tegafur) or enhanced drug inactivation by Phase I and II enzymes contributes to the development of chemoresistance. Both primary and acquired resistance can be caused by alterations in the transport of anticancer drugs which is mediated by a variety of drug transporters such as P-glycoprotein (P-gp), multidrug resistance associated proteins, and breast cancer resistance protein. Presently there is a line of evidence indicating that deregulation of programmed cell death including apoptosis and autophagy is also an important mechanism for tumour resistance to anticancer drugs. Reversal of chemoresistance is likely via pharmacological and biological approaches. Further studies are warranted to grasp the full picture of how each type of cancer cells develop resistance to anticancer drugs and to identify novel strategies to overcome it.

  1. 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. PMID:26838262

  2. Molecular mechanisms for tumour resistance to chemotherapy.

    PubMed

    Pan, Shu-Ting; Li, Zhi-Ling; He, Zhi-Xu; Qiu, Jia-Xuan; Zhou, Shu-Feng

    2016-08-01

    Chemotherapy is one of the prevailing methods used to treat malignant tumours, but the outcome and prognosis of tumour patients are not optimistic. Cancer cells gradually generate resistance to almost all chemotherapeutic drugs via a variety of distinct mechanisms and pathways. Chemotherapeutic resistance, either intrinsic or acquired, is caused and sustained by reduced drug accumulation and increased drug export, alterations in drug targets and signalling transduction molecules, increased repair of drug-induced DNA damage, and evasion of apoptosis. In order to better understand the mechanisms of chemoresistance, this review highlights our current knowledge of the role of altered drug metabolism and transport and deregulation of apoptosis and autophagy in the development of tumour chemoresistance. Reduced intracellular activation of prodrugs (e.g. thiotepa and tegafur) or enhanced drug inactivation by Phase I and II enzymes contributes to the development of chemoresistance. Both primary and acquired resistance can be caused by alterations in the transport of anticancer drugs which is mediated by a variety of drug transporters such as P-glycoprotein (P-gp), multidrug resistance associated proteins, and breast cancer resistance protein. Presently there is a line of evidence indicating that deregulation of programmed cell death including apoptosis and autophagy is also an important mechanism for tumour resistance to anticancer drugs. Reversal of chemoresistance is likely via pharmacological and biological approaches. Further studies are warranted to grasp the full picture of how each type of cancer cells develop resistance to anticancer drugs and to identify novel strategies to overcome it. PMID:27097837

  3. 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

  4. Effects of oxygen on growth and size: synthesis of molecular, organismal, and evolutionary studies with Drosophila melanogaster.

    PubMed

    Harrison, Jon F; Haddad, Gabriel G

    2011-01-01

    Drosophila melanogaster is a model genetic organism with an exceptional hypoxia tolerance relative to mammals. Forward genetic, microarray, and P-element manipulations and selection experiments have revealed multiple mechanisms of severe hypoxia tolerance, including RNA editing, downregulation of metabolism, and prevention of protein unfolding. Drosophila live in microbe-rich, semiliquid food in which hypoxia likely indicates deteriorating environments. Hypoxia reduces growth and size by multiple mechanisms, influencing larval feeding rates, protein synthesis, imaginal cell size, and control of molting. In moderate hypoxia, these effects appear to occur without ATP limitation and are instead mediated by signaling systems, including hypoxia-inducible factor and atypical guanyl cyclase sensing of oxygen, with downstream actions on behavior, anabolism, and the cell cycle. In hypoxia, flies develop smaller sizes, but size does not evolve, whereas in hyperoxia, flies evolve larger sizes without exhibiting developmental size plasticity, suggesting differential evolutionary responses to natural versus novel directions of oxygen change.

  5. [Molecular mechanism at the presynaptic active zone].

    PubMed

    Ohtsuka, Toshihisa

    2011-07-01

    Our higher brain functions such as learning and memory, emotion, and consciousness depend on the precise regulation of complicated neural networks in the brain. Neurons communicate with each other through the synapse, which comprise 3 regions: the presynapse, synaptic cleft, and postsynapse. The active zone (AZ) beneath the presynaptic membrane is the principal site for Ca2+ -dependent neurotransmitter release: AZ is involved in determining the site for docking and synaptic vesicle fusion. Presently, the full molecular composition of AZ is unclear, but it is known to contain several AZ-specific proteins, including cytomatrix of the active zone-associated protein (CAST)/ERC2, ELKS, RIM1, Munc13-1, Piccolo/Aczonin, and Bassoon. CAST and ELKS are novel active zone proteins that directly bind to Rab3-interacting molecules (RIMs), Bassoon, and Piccolo, and are thought to play a role in neurotransmitter release by binding these to AZ proteins. In this review, current advances in studies on AZ structure and function have been summarized, and the focus is mainly on protein-protein interactions among the AZ proteins.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. Salinity Tolerance Mechanism of Economic Halophytes From Physiological to Molecular Hierarchy for Improving Food Quality.

    PubMed

    Xu, Chongzhi; Tang, Xiaoli; Shao, Hongbo; Wang, Hongyan

    2016-06-01

    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

  11. 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.

  12. 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. PMID:27528656

  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. Photodynamic therapy: Biophysical mechanisms and molecular responses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mitra, Soumya

    In photodynamic therapy (PDT), photochemical reactions induced by optical activation of sensitizer molecules cause destruction of the target tissue. In this thesis we present results of several related studies, which investigated the influence of photophysical properties and photobleaching mechanisms of sensitizers and oxygen-dependent tissue optical properties on PDT treatment efficacy. The bleaching mechanism of the sensitizer meso-tetra hydroxyphenyl chlorin (mTHPC) is examined indirectly using measurements of photochemical oxygen consumption during PDT irradiation of multicell tumor spheroids. Analysis of the results with a theoretical model of oxygen diffusion that incorporates the effects of sensitizer photobleaching shows that mTHPC is degraded via a singlet-oxygen (1O2)-mediated bleaching process. The analysis allows us to extract photophysical parameters of mTHPC which are used to account for its enhanced clinical photodynamic potency in comparison to that of Photofrin. Evaluation of the spatially-resolved fluorescence in confocal optical sections of intact spheroids during PDT irradiation allows for the direct experimental verification of mTHPC's 1O2-mediated bleaching mechanism. The technique is also used to investigate the complex bleaching kinetics of Photofrin. The results allow us to successfully reconcile apparently contradictory experimental observations and to confirm the predictions of a new theoretical model in which both 1O2 and excited triplet sensitizer molecules are allowed to contribute to photobleaching. Based on studies performed in tissue-simulating erythrocyte phantoms and in a murine tumor model in vivo, we present clinically relevant results which indicate that a shift toward increased hemoglobin-oxygen saturation due to improved tissue oxygenation reduces PDT treatment beam attenuation and may allow for more effective treatment of deeper lesions. Finally, we investigate the induction of the stress protein, heat shock protein 70 (HSP

  15. MOLECULAR TARGETS AND MECHANISMS FOR ETHANOL ACTION IN GLYCINE RECEPTORS

    PubMed Central

    Perkins, Daya I.; Trudell, James R.; Crawford, Daniel K.; Alkana, Ronald L.; Davies, Daryl L.

    2010-01-01

    Glycine receptors (GlyRs) are recognized as the primary mediators of neuronal inhibition in the spinal cord, brain stem and higher brain regions known to be sensitive to ethanol. Building evidence supports the notion that ethanol acting on GlyRs causes at least a subset of its behavioral effects and may be involved in modulating ethanol intake. For over two decades, GlyRs have been studied at the molecular level as targets for ethanol action. Despite the advances in understanding the effects of ethanol in vivo and in vitro, the precise molecular sites and mechanisms of action for ethanol in ligand-gated ion channels in general, and in GlyRs specifically, are just now starting to become understood. The present review focuses on advances in our knowledge produced by using molecular biology, pressure antagonism, electrophysiology and molecular modeling strategies over the last two decades to probe, identify and model the initial molecular sites and mechanisms of ethanol action in GlyRs. The molecular targets on the GlyR are covered on a global perspective, which includes the intracellular, transmembrane and extracellular domains. The latter has received increasing attention in recent years. Recent molecular models of the sites of ethanol action in GlyRs and their implications to our understanding of possible mechanism of ethanol action and novel targets for drug development in GlyRs are discussed. PMID:20399807

  16. Rectification mechanism in diblock oligomer molecular diodes.

    PubMed

    Oleynik, I I; Kozhushner, M A; Posvyanskii, V S; Yu, L

    2006-03-10

    We investigated a mechanism of rectification in diblock oligomer diode molecules that have recently been synthesized and showed a pronounced asymmetry in the measured I-V spectrum. The observed rectification effect is due to the resonant nature of electron transfer in the system and the localization properties of bound state wave functions of resonant states of the tunneling electron interacting with an asymmetric molecule in an electric field. The asymmetry of the tunneling wave function is enhanced or weakened depending on the polarity of the applied bias. The conceptually new theoretical approach, the Green's function theory of sub-barrier scattering, is able to provide a physically transparent explanation of this rectification effect based on the concept of the bound state spectrum of a tunneling electron. The theory predicts the characteristic features of the I-V spectrum in qualitative agreement with experiment. PMID:16606295

  17. Uncovering the evolutionary origin of plant molecular processes: comparison of Coleochaete (Coleochaetales) and Spirogyra (Zygnematales) transcriptomes

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background The large and diverse land plant lineage is nested within a clade of fresh water green algae, the charophytes. Collection of genome-scale data for land plants and other organisms over the past decade has invigorated the field of evolutionary biology. One of the core questions in the field asks: how did a colonization event by a green algae over 450 mya lead to one of the most successful lineages on the tree of life? This question can best be answered using the comparative method, the first step of which is to gather genome-scale data across closely related lineages to land plants. Before sequencing an entire genome it is useful to first gather transcriptome data: it is less expensive, it targets the protein coding regions of the genome, and provides support for gene models for future genome sequencing. We built Expressed Sequence Tag (EST) libraries for two charophyte species, Coleochaete orbicularis (Coleochaetales) and Spirogyra pratensis (Zygnematales). We used both Sanger sequencing and next generation 454 sequencing to cover as much of the transcriptome as possible. Results Our sequencing effort for Spirogyra pratensis yielded 9,984 5' Sanger reads plus 598,460 GS FLX Standard 454 sequences; Coleochaete orbicularis yielded 4,992 5' Sanger reads plus 673,811 GS FLX Titanium 454 sequences. After clustering S. pratensis yielded 12,000 unique transcripts, or unigenes, and C. orbicularis yielded 19,000. Both transcriptomes were very plant-like, i.e. most of the transcripts were more similar to streptophytes (land plants + charophyte green algae) than to other green algae in the sister group chlorophytes. BLAST results of several land plant genes hypothesized to be important in early land plant evolution resulted in high quality hits in both transcriptomes revealing putative orthologs ripe for follow-up studies. Conclusions Two main conclusions were drawn from this study. One illustrates the utility of next generation sequencing for transcriptome studies

  18. Molecular mechanisms of DAX1 action.

    PubMed

    Iyer, Anita K; McCabe, Edward R B

    2004-01-01

    DAX1 (dosage sensitive sex reversal (DSS), adrenal hypoplasia congenita (AHC) critical region on the X chromosome, gene 1) encoded by the gene NR0B1, is an unusual orphan nuclear receptor that when mutated causes AHC with associated hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (HH), and when duplicated causes DSS. DAX1 expression has been shown in all regions of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-gonadal (HPAG) axis during development and in adult tissues, suggesting a critical role for DAX1 in the normal development and function of this axis. Steroidogenic factor 1 (SF1, NR5A1) knockout mice show similar developmental defects as AHC and HH patients, but paradoxically, DAX1 is a negative coregulator of SF1 transactivation. The function of DAX1 as an antagonist of SF1 in gonadal development is consistent with the fact that in humans, duplication of the region of the X chromosome containing DAX1 causes a similar phenotype as mutations in SF1. However, how disruption of DAX1 leads to adrenal, hypothalamic, and pituitary developmental defects similar to SF1 disruption remains to be clarified. The exact mechanism of DAX1 action in each of these tissues during adulthood and critical stages of development are not fully understood. Recent evidence suggests a broader functional role for DAX1 as a negative coregulator of estrogen receptor (ER, NR3A1-2), liver receptor homologue-1 (LRH-1, NR5A2), androgen receptor (AR, NR3C4), and progesterone receptor (PR, NR3C3), each by distinct repression mechanisms. DAX1 may have pleiotropic roles in addition to its function as a negative regulator of steroidogenesis during the development and adult function of the HPAG axis.

  19. 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)

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. Evolutionary principles and synthetic biology: avoiding a molecular tragedy of the commons with an engineered phage

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background In prior work, adding a gene to phage T7 that degraded the host K1 capsule facilitated growth when plated on capsulated hosts. However, the transgenic protein (an endosialidase) is expressed as an exoenzyme, released from the cell at lysis but unattached to the phage particle. There is thus the possibility that the gene will be subject to a tragedy of the commons and be selected against, if the enzyme benefits other genomes. Results This evolutionary perspective was supported in short term experiments. The genome carrying the endosialidase gene was favored on a capsulated host if grown in physical isolation of control genomes (lacking the gene) but was selected against otherwise. Conclusions These results challenge efforts to engineer phages with exoenzymes that degrade biofilm polymers. If biofilms do not facilitate spatially structured phage growth, the transgenic enzymes may be rapidly eliminated from the phage population after release in the environment, even if the transgene benefits overall phage growth on the biofilm. PMID:22947166

  3. Molecular phylogenetics unveils the ancient evolutionary origins of the enigmatic fairy armadillos.

    PubMed

    Delsuc, Frédéric; Superina, Mariella; Tilak, Marie-Ka; Douzery, Emmanuel J P; Hassanin, Alexandre

    2012-02-01

    Fairy armadillos or pichiciegos (Xenarthra, Dasypodidae) are among the most elusive mammals. Due to their subterranean and nocturnal lifestyle, their basic biology and evolutionary history remain virtually unknown. Two distinct species with allopatric distributions are recognized: Chlamyphorus truncatus is restricted to central Argentina, while Calyptophractus retusus occurs in the Gran Chaco of Argentina, Paraguay, and Bolivia. To test their monophyly and resolve their phylogenetic affinities within armadillos, we obtained sequence data from modern and museum specimens for two mitochondrial genes (12S RNA [MT-RNR1] and NADH dehydrogenase 1 [MT-ND1]) and two nuclear exons (breast cancer 1 early onset exon 11 [BRCA1] and von Willebrand factor exon 28 [VWF]). Phylogenetic analyses provided a reference phylogeny and timescale for living xenarthran genera. Our results reveal monophyletic pichiciegos as members of a major armadillo subfamily (Chlamyphorinae). Their strictly fossorial lifestyle probably evolved as a response to the Oligocene aridification that occurred in South America after their divergence from Tolypeutinae around 32 million years ago (Mya). The ancient divergence date (∼17Mya) for separation between the two species supports their taxonomic classification into distinct genera. The synchronicity with Middle Miocene marine incursions along the Paraná river basin suggests a vicariant origin for pichiciegos by the disruption of their ancestral range. Their phylogenetic distinctiveness and rarity in the wild argue in favor of high conservation priority.

  4. 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

  5. Molecular Mechanisms of α-Synuclein Neurodegeneration

    PubMed Central

    Waxman, Elisa A.; Giasson, Benoit I.

    2009-01-01

    α-Synuclein is an abundant highly charged protein that is normally predominantly localized around synaptic vesicles in presynatic terminals. Although the function of this protein is still ill-defined, genetic studies have demonstrated that point mutations or genetic alteration (duplications or triplications) that increase the number of copies of the α-synuclein (SCNA) gene can cause Parkinson’s disease or the related disorder dementia with Lewy bodies. α-Synuclein can aberrantly polymerize into fibrils with typical amyloid properties, and these fibrils are the major component of many types of pathological inclusions, including Lewy bodies, which are associated with neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease. Genetic studies have clearly established that alteration in the α-synuclein gene can lead to neuronal demise. Although there is substantial evidence supporting the toxic nature of α-synuclein inclusions, other modes of toxicity such as oligomers have been proposed. In this review, some of the evidence for the different mechanisms of α-synuclein toxicity is presented and discussed. PMID:18955133

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. The evolutionary diversity of insect retinal mosaics: common design principles and emerging molecular logic.

    PubMed

    Wernet, Mathias F; Perry, Michael W; Desplan, Claude

    2015-06-01

    Independent evolution has resulted in a vast diversity of eyes. Despite the lack of a common Bauplan or ancestral structure, similar developmental strategies are used. For instance, different classes of photoreceptor cells (PRs) are distributed stochastically and/or localized in different regions of the retina. Here, we focus on recent progress made towards understanding the molecular principles behind patterning retinal mosaics of insects, one of the most diverse groups of animals adapted to life on land, in the air, under water, or on the water surface. Morphological, physiological, and behavioral studies from many species provide detailed descriptions of the vast variation in retinal design and function. By integrating this knowledge with recent progress in the characterization of insect Rhodopsins as well as insight from the model organism Drosophila melanogaster, we seek to identify the molecular logic behind the adaptation of retinal mosaics to the habitat and way of life of an animal.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Molecular phylogeny, evolutionary rates, and divergence timing of the symbiotic dinoflagellate genus Symbiodinium.

    PubMed

    Pochon, Xavier; Montoya-Burgos, Juan I; Stadelmann, Benoit; Pawlowski, Jan

    2006-01-01

    Symbiotic dinoflagellates belonging to the genus Symbiodinium are found in association with a wide variety of shallow-water invertebrates and protists dwelling in tropical and subtropical coral-reef ecosystems. Molecular phylogeny of Symbiodinium, initially inferred using nuclear ribosomal genes, was recently confirmed by studies of chloroplastic and mitochondrial genes, but with limited taxon sampling and low resolution. Here, we present the first complete view of Symbiodinium phylogeny based on concatenated partial sequences of chloroplast 23S-rDNA (cp23S) and nuclear 28S-rDNA (nr28S) genes, including all known Symbiodinium lineages. Our data produced a well resolved phylogenetic tree and provide a strong statistical support for the eight distinctive clades (A-H) that form the major taxa of Symbiodinium. The relative-rate tests did not show particularly high differences between lineages and both analysed markers. However, maximum likelihood ratio tests rejected a global molecular clock. Therefore, we applied a relaxed molecular clock method to infer the divergence times of all extant lineages of Symbiodinium, calibrating its phylogenetic tree with the fossil record of soritid foraminifera. Our analysis suggests that Symbiodinium originated in early Eocene, and that the majority of extant lineages diversified since mid-Miocene, about 15 million years ago.

  12. 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

  13. Molecular mechanisms responsible for formation of Golgi ribbon.

    PubMed

    Mironov, Alexander A; Beznoussenko, Galina V

    2011-01-01

    The formation of the Golgi ribbon takes place in protists and metazoans. It is especially prominent in mammalian cells during interphase. Golgi ribbon formation represents an orchestrated sequence of events based not only on different molecular mechanisms but also on discrete cellular functions. Mechanisms responsible for the generation of the Golgi ribbon include Golgi centralization, cis- and trans-Golgins, molecular machines responsible for the fusion of cargo domains with cisternal rims, and several other less studied factors. Here, we substantiate the hypothesis that cis-Golgins function mostly not as tethering factors, but are responsible for the attachment of the cis-most cisternae to the medial Golgi stacks, whereas trans-Golgins are responsible for the attachment of the trans-most cisterna to the medial Golgi stacks. This hypothesis is tested analyzing predictions derived from it and related to molecular mechanisms responsible for mitotic fragmentation of Golgi stacks.

  14. Molecular and Physiological Mechanisms of Membrane Receptor Systems Functioning

    PubMed Central

    Severin, E.S.; Savvateeva, M.V.

    2011-01-01

    Molecular physiology is a new interdisciplinary field of knowledge that looks into how complicated biological systems function. The living cell is a relatively simple, but at the same time very sophisticated biological system. After the sequencing of the human genome, molecular physiology has endeavored to investigate the systems of cellular interactions at a completely new level based on knowledge of the spatial organization and functions of receptors, their ligands, and protein-protein interactions. In recent years, the achievements in molecular physiology have centered on the study of sensor reception mechanisms and intercellular data transfer, as well as the immune system physiology, amongst other processes. PMID:22649671

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. Molecular markers based on LTR retrotransposons BARE-1 and Jeli uncover different strata of evolutionary relationships in diploid wheats.

    PubMed

    Konovalov, Fedor A; Goncharov, Nikolay P; Goryunova, Svetlana; Shaturova, Aleksandra; Proshlyakova, Tatyana; Kudryavtsev, Alexander

    2010-06-01

    Molecular markers based on retrotransposon insertions are widely used for various applications including phylogenetic analysis. Multiple cases were described where retrotransposon-based markers, namely sequence-specific amplification polymorphism (SSAP), were superior to other marker types in resolving the phylogenetic relationships due to their higher variability and informativeness. However, the patterns of evolutionary relationships revealed by SSAP may be dependent on the underlying retrotransposon activity in different periods of time. Hence, the proper choice of retrotransposon family is essential for obtaining significant results. We compared the phylogenetic trees for a diverse set of diploid A-genome wheat species (Triticum boeoticum, T. urartu and T. monococcum) based on two unrelated retrotransposon families, BARE-1 and Jeli. BARE-1 belongs to Copia class and has a uniform distribution between common wheat (T. aestivum) genomes of different origin (A, B and D), indicating similar activity in the respective diploid genome donors. Gypsy-class family Jeli was found by us to be an A-genome retrotransposon with >70% copies residing in A genome of hexaploid common wheat, suggesting a burst of transposition in the history of A-genome progenitors. The results indicate that a higher Jeli transpositional activity was associated with T. urartu versus T. boeoticum speciation, while BARE-1 produced more polymorphic insertions during subsequent intraspecific diversification; as an outcome, each retrotransposon provides more informative markers at the corresponding level of phylogenetic relationships. We conclude that multiple retroelement families should be analyzed for an image of evolutionary relationships to be solid and comprehensive. PMID:20407790

  18. A large-scale genomic approach affords unprecedented resolution for the molecular epidemiology and evolutionary history of contagious caprine pleuropneumonia.

    PubMed

    Dupuy, Virginie; Verdier, Axel; Thiaucourt, François; Manso-Silván, Lucía

    2015-01-01

    Contagious caprine pleuropneumonia (CCPP), caused by Mycoplasma capricolum subsp. capripneumoniae (Mccp), is a devastating disease of domestic goats and of some wild ungulate species. The disease is currently spreading in Africa and Asia and poses a serious threat to disease-free areas. A comprehensive view of the evolutionary history and dynamics of Mccp is essential to understand the epidemiology of CCPP. Yet, analysing the diversity of genetically monomorphic pathogens, such as Mccp, is complicated due to their low variability. In this study, the molecular epidemiology and evolution of CCPP was investigated using a large-scale genomic approach based on next-generation sequencing technologies, applied to a sample of strains representing the global distribution of this disease. A highly discriminatory multigene typing system was developed, allowing the differentiation of 24 haplotypes among 25 Mccp strains distributed in six genotyping groups, which showed some correlation with geographic origin. A Bayesian approach was used to infer the first robust phylogeny of the species and to date the principal events of its evolutionary history. The emergence of Mccp was estimated only at about 270 years ago, which explains the low genetic diversity of this species despite its high mutation rate, evaluated at 1.3 × 10(-6) substitutions per site per year. Finally, plausible scenarios were proposed to elucidate the evolution and dynamics of CCPP in Asia and Africa, though limited by the paucity of Mccp strains, particularly in Asia. This study shows how combining large-scale genomic data with spatial and temporal data makes it possible to obtain a comprehensive view of the epidemiology of CCPP, a precondition for the development of improved disease surveillance and control measures. PMID:26149260

  19. 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.

  20. 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. PMID:27225077

  1. Molecular Mimicry as a Mechanism of Autoimmune Disease

    PubMed Central

    Cusick, Matthew F.; Libbey, Jane E.; Fujinami, Robert S.

    2012-01-01

    A variety of mechanisms have been suggested as the means by which infections can initiate and/or exacerbate autoimmune diseases. One mechanism is molecular mimicry, where a foreign antigen shares sequence or structural similarities with self-antigens. Molecular mimicry has typically been characterized on an antibody or T cell level. However, structural relatedness between pathogen and self does not account for T cell activation in a number of autoimmune diseases. A proposed mechanism that could have been misinterpreted for molecular mimicry is the expression of dual T cell receptors (TCR) on a single T cell. These T cells have dual reactivity to both foreign and self-antigens leaving the host vulnerable to foreign insults capable of triggering an autoimmune response. In this review, we briefly discuss what is known about molecular mimicry followed by a discussion of the current understanding of dual TCRs. Finally, we discuss three mechanisms, including molecular mimicry, dual TCRs and chimeric TCRs, by which dual reactivity of the T cell may play a role in autoimmune diseases. PMID:22095454

  2. Physiological and molecular biochemical mechanisms of bile formation

    PubMed Central

    Reshetnyak, Vasiliy Ivanovich

    2013-01-01

    This review considers the physiological and molecular biochemical mechanisms of bile formation. The composition of bile and structure of a bile canaliculus, biosynthesis and conjugation of bile acids, bile phospholipids, formation of bile micellar structures, and enterohepatic circulation of bile acids are described. In general, the review focuses on the molecular physiology of the transporting systems of the hepatocyte sinusoidal and apical membranes. Knowledge of physiological and biochemical basis of bile formation has implications for understanding the mechanisms of development of pathological processes, associated with diseases of the liver and biliary tract. PMID:24259965

  3. 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

    2015-01-01

    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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-04-01

    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.

  5. Evolutionary Genomics of Staphylococcus aureus Reveals Insights into the Origin and Molecular Basis of Ruminant Host Adaptation

    PubMed Central

    Guinane, Caitriona M.; Ben Zakour, Nouri L.; Tormo-Mas, Maria A.; Weinert, Lucy A.; Lowder, Bethan V.; Cartwright, Robyn A.; Smyth, Davida S.; Smyth, Cyril J.; Lindsay, Jodi A.; Gould, Katherine A.; Witney, Adam; Hinds, Jason; Bollback, Jonathan P.; Rambaut, Andrew; Penadés, José R.; Fitzgerald, J. Ross

    2010-01-01

    Phenotypic biotyping has traditionally been used to differentiate bacteria occupying distinct ecological niches such as host species. For example, the capacity of Staphylococcus aureus from sheep to coagulate ruminant plasma, reported over 60 years ago, led to the description of small ruminant and bovine S. aureus ecovars. The great majority of small ruminant isolates are represented by a single, widespread clonal complex (CC133) of S. aureus, but its evolutionary origin and the molecular basis for its host tropism remain unknown. Here, we provide evidence that the CC133 clone evolved as the result of a human to ruminant host jump followed by adaptive genome diversification. Comparative whole-genome sequencing revealed molecular evidence for host adaptation including gene decay and diversification of proteins involved in host–pathogen interactions. Importantly, several novel mobile genetic elements encoding virulence proteins with attenuated or enhanced activity in ruminants were widely distributed in CC133 isolates, suggesting a key role in its host-specific interactions. To investigate this further, we examined the activity of a novel staphylococcal pathogenicity island (SaPIov2) found in the great majority of CC133 isolates which encodes a variant of the chromosomally encoded von Willebrand-binding protein (vWbpSov2), previously demonstrated to have coagulase activity for human plasma. Remarkably, we discovered that SaPIov2 confers the ability to coagulate ruminant plasma suggesting an important role in ruminant disease pathogenesis and revealing the origin of a defining phenotype of the classical S. aureus biotyping scheme. Taken together, these data provide broad new insights into the origin and molecular basis of S. aureus ruminant host specificity. PMID:20624747

  6. 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. PMID:22747807

  7. 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.

  8. Evolutionary origins, molecular cloning and expression of carotenoid hydroxylases in eukaryotic photosynthetic algae

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Xanthophylls, oxygenated derivatives of carotenes, play critical roles in photosynthetic apparatus of cyanobacteria, algae, and higher plants. Although the xanthophylls biosynthetic pathway of algae is largely unknown, it is of particular interest because they have a very complicated evolutionary history. Carotenoid hydroxylase (CHY) is an important protein that plays essential roles in xanthophylls biosynthesis. With the availability of 18 sequenced algal genomes, we performed a comprehensive comparative analysis of chy genes and explored their distribution, structure, evolution, origins, and expression. Results Overall 60 putative chy genes were identified and classified into two major subfamilies (bch and cyp97) according to their domain structures. Genes in the bch subfamily were found in 10 green algae and 1 red alga, but absent in other algae. In the phylogenetic tree, bch genes of green algae and higher plants share a common ancestor and are of non-cyanobacterial origin, whereas that of red algae is of cyanobacteria. The homologs of cyp97a/c genes were widespread only in green algae, while cyp97b paralogs were seen in most of algae. Phylogenetic analysis on cyp97 genes supported the hypothesis that cyp97b is an ancient gene originated before the formation of extant algal groups. The cyp97a gene is more closely related to cyp97c in evolution than to cyp97b. The two cyp97 genes were isolated from the green alga Haematococcus pluvialis, and transcriptional expression profiles of chy genes were observed under high light stress of different wavelength. Conclusions Green algae received a β-xanthophylls biosynthetic pathway from host organisms. Although red algae inherited the pathway from cyanobacteria during primary endosymbiosis, it remains unclear in Chromalveolates. The α-xanthophylls biosynthetic pathway is a common feature in green algae and higher plants. The origination of cyp97a/c is most likely due to gene duplication before divergence of

  9. 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

  10. Evolutionary medicine.

    PubMed

    Swynghedauw, B

    2004-04-01

    Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution. Evolutionary, or darwinian, medicine takes the view that contemporary diseases result from incompatibility between the conditions under which the evolutionary pressure had modified our genetic endowment and the lifestyle and dietary habits in which we are currently living, including the enhanced lifespan, the changes in dietary habits and the lack of physical activity. An evolutionary trait express a genetic polymorphism which finally improve fitness, it needs million years to become functional. A limited genetic diversity is a necessary prerequisite for evolutionary medicine. Nevertheless, search for a genetic endowment would become nearly impossible if the human races were genetically different. From a genetic point of view, homo sapiens, is homogeneous, and the so-called human races have only a socio-economic definition. Historically, Heart Failure, HF, had an infectious origin and resulted from mechanical overload which triggered mechanoconversion by using phylogenically ancient pleiotropic pathways. Adaptation was mainly caused by negative inotropism. Recently, HF was caused by a complex remodelling caused by the trophic effects of mechanics, ischemia, senescence, diabetes and, neurohormones. The generally admitted hypothesis is that cancers were largely caused by a combination of modern reproductive and dietary lifestyles mismatched with genotypic traits, plus the longer time available for a confrontation. Such a concept is illustrated for skin and breast cancers, and also for the link between cancer risk and dietary habits.

  11. 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

  12. Molecular and Evolutionary History of Melanism in North American Gray Wolves

    PubMed Central

    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.

    2010-01-01

    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. PMID:19197024

  13. Molecular systematics and evolutionary origins of the genus Petaurus (Marsupialia: Petauridae) in Australia and New Guinea.

    PubMed

    Malekian, Mansoureh; Cooper, Steven J B; Norman, Janette A; Christidis, Les; Carthew, Susan M

    2010-01-01

    The glider genus Petaurus comprises a group of arboreal and nocturnal marsupial species from New Guinea and Australia. Molecular data were generated in order to examine phylogenetic relationships among species within the genus and explore the time-scale of diversification and biogeographic history of the genus in Australia and New Guinea. All known species and subspecies of Petaurus (with the exception of P. biacensis) were sequenced for two mitochondrial genes (ND2 and ND4) and one nuclear marker (omega-globin gene). Phylogenetic analyses confirmed the monophyly of the genus relative to other petaurids and showed a sister relationship of P. australis to the rest of Petaurus. The analyses revealed that currently recognised species of Petaurus formed distinct mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) clades. Considerable mtDNA diversity and seven distinct clades were identified within the species P. breviceps, with the distribution of each clade showing no correspondence with the distributional limits of known subspecies. Molecular dating analyses using BEAST suggested an early to mid-Miocene origin (18-24 mya) for the genus. Ancestral area reconstructions, using BayesTraits, did not resolve the location for the centre of origin of Petaurus, but provided evidence for at least one dispersal event from New Guinea to Australia that led to the evolution of extant Australian populations of P. breviceps, P. norfolcensis and P. gracilis. The timing of this dispersal event appears to pre-date the Pleistocene, adding to the growing number of studies that suggest faunal connections occurred between Australia and New Guinea in the Late Miocene to Pliocene period.

  14. 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.

  15. Resveratrol and calcium signaling: molecular mechanisms and clinical relevance.

    PubMed

    McCalley, Audrey E; Kaja, Simon; Payne, Andrew J; Koulen, Peter

    2014-06-05

    Resveratrol is a naturally occurring compound contributing to cellular defense mechanisms in plants. Its use as a nutritional component and/or supplement in a number of diseases, disorders, and syndromes such as chronic diseases of the central nervous system, cancer, inflammatory diseases, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases has prompted great interest in the underlying molecular mechanisms of action. The present review focuses on resveratrol, specifically its isomer trans-resveratrol, and its effects on intracellular calcium signaling mechanisms. As resveratrol's mechanisms of action are likely pleiotropic, its effects and interactions with key signaling proteins controlling cellular calcium homeostasis are reviewed and discussed. The clinical relevance of resveratrol's actions on excitable cells, transformed or cancer cells, immune cells and retinal pigment epithelial cells are contrasted with a review of the molecular mechanisms affecting calcium signaling proteins on the plasma membrane, cytoplasm, endoplasmic reticulum, and mitochondria. The present review emphasizes the correlation between molecular mechanisms of action that have recently been identified for resveratrol and their clinical implications.

  16. Wilson's disease: a comprehensive review of the molecular mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Wu, Fei; Wang, Jing; Pu, Chunwen; Qiao, Liang; Jiang, Chunmeng

    2015-01-01

    Wilson's disease (WD), also known as hepatolenticular degeneration, is an autosomal recessive inherited disorder resulting from abnormal copper metabolism. Reduced copper excretion causes an excessive deposition of the copper in many organs such as the liver, central nervous system (CNS), cornea, kidney, joints, and cardiac muscle where the physiological functions of the affected organs are impaired. The underlying molecular mechanisms for WD have been extensively studied. It is now believed that a defect in P-type adenosine triphosphatase (ATP7B), the gene encoding the copper transporting P-type ATPase, is responsible for hepatic copper accumulation. Deposited copper in the liver produces toxic effects via modulating several molecular pathways. WD can be a lethal disease if left untreated. A better understanding of the molecular mechanisms causing the aberrant copper deposition and organ damage is the key to developing effective management approaches.

  17. Molecular mechanism of bacterial type 1 and P pili assembly.

    PubMed

    Busch, Andreas; Phan, Gilles; Waksman, Gabriel

    2015-03-01

    The formation of adhesive surface structures called pili or fimbriae ('bacterial hair') is an important contributor towards bacterial pathogenicity and persistence. To fight often chronic or recurrent bacterial infections such as urinary tract infections, it is necessary to understand the molecular mechanism of the nanomachines assembling such pili. Here, we focus on the so far best-known pilus assembly machinery: the chaperone-usher pathway producing the type 1 and P pili, and highlight the most recently acquired structural knowledge. First, we describe the subunits' structure and the molecular role of the periplasmic chaperone. Second, we focus on the outer-membrane usher structure and the catalytic mechanism of usher-mediated pilus biogenesis. Finally, we describe how the detailed understanding of the chaperone-usher pathway at a molecular level has paved the way for the design of a new generation of bacterial inhibitors called 'pilicides'. PMID:25624519

  18. 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

  19. Molecular Mechanisms of Bone 18F-NaF Deposition

    PubMed Central

    Czernin, Johannes; Satyamurthy, Nagichettiar; Schiepers, Christiaan

    2011-01-01

    There is renewed interest in 18F-NaF bone imaging with PET or PET/CT. The current brief discussion focuses on the molecular mechanisms of 18F-NaF deposition in bone and presents model-based approaches to quantifying bone perfusion and metabolism in the context of preclinical and clinical applications of bone imaging with PET. PMID:21078790

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. DNA barcode and evolutionary relationship within Laemolyta Cope 1872 (Characiformes: Anostomidae) through molecular analyses.

    PubMed

    Ramirez, Jorge L; Galetti, Pedro M

    2015-12-01

    The Laemolyta genus is a monophyletic group with five valid species. Phylogenetic relationships among the species of this genus are unknown. We analyzed four nominal Laemolyta species. The COI gene for all individuals was amplified and the genetic distances were estimated. We performed genetic distance analyses to determine the different MOTUs. Two mitochondrial (COI and CytB) and three nuclear (Myh6, RAG1 and RAG2) markers were amplified for one individual of each identified MOTU. Maximum Parsimony and Maximum Likelihood were conducted using concatenate alignment. In addition, multilocus Bayesian species tree was carried out. By using DNA barcode, we identified six different MOTUs. The COI inter-MOTU distances ranged from 0.92% to 5.76%. The normalized mean intra-MOTU distance was 0.13%. The DNA barcode was useful to diagnose all species. Two clades showing distinct color patterns were recovered in all molecular phylogenetic trees. Clade A joined fishes with no vertical bars (L. garmani, L. taeniata 1 and L. taeniata 2) and clade B, fishes with vertical dark bars (L. fernandezi Araguaia, L. fernandezi Xingu, and L. proxima). The results were able to identify the cryptic biodiversity within the group and obtained the most complete Laemolyta phylogeny. PMID:26238459

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

    PubMed

    Tian, Maozhen; Lewis, Randolph V

    2005-06-01

    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.

  5. Evolutionary relationships among the Scarabaeini (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) based on combined molecular and morphological data.

    PubMed

    Forgie, Shaun A; Kryger, Ute; Bloomer, Paulette; Scholtz, Clarke H

    2006-09-01

    The Scarabaeini is an old world tribe of ball-rolling dung beetles that have origins dating back to at least the mid-upper Miocene (19-8 million years ago). The tribe has received little to no attention in morphological or molecular phylogenetics. We obtained sequence data from the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I (1,197 bp) and 16S ribosomal RNA (461 bp) genes for 25 species of the Scarabaeini in an attempt to further resolve broad phylogenetic relationships within this tribe. Sequence data from both markers along with 216 morphological and 3 biological characters were analysed separately and combined. Independent analyses showed poorly resolved trees with many of the intermediate and basal nodes collapsed by low bootstrap values. Many sites in both genes exhibited strong A+T nucleotide bias and high interlineage divergences. The combined analysis revealed a number of well supported relationships such as the monophyly of the nocturnal species Scarabaeus satyrus, S. [Neateuchus] proboscideus, and S. zambesianus. Furthermore, the total evidence tree suggested to elevate S. (Pachysoma) to the status of an independent genus, Pachysoma, as a sister taxon to a clade containing Pachylomerus femoralis and Scarabaeus sensu lato. Within the latter, the following subgenera were maintained by the combination of data sets: S. (Scarabaeolus), S. (Sceliages), and S. (Kheper). Both, feeding specialisation and food relocation behaviour, were inferred to be polyphyletic in the Scarabaeini. Total evidence analysis found no support for common ancestry of Scarabaeini and Eucraniini.

  6. 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.

  7. Evolutionary history of the PER3 variable number of tandem repeats (VNTR): idiosyncratic aspect of primate molecular circadian clock.

    PubMed

    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.

  8. Is the rate of insertion and deletion mutation male biased?: Molecular evolutionary analysis of avian and primate sex chromosome sequences.

    PubMed Central

    Sundström, Hannah; Webster, Matthew T; Ellegren, Hans

    2003-01-01

    The rate of mutation for nucleotide substitution is generally higher among males than among females, likely owing to the larger number of DNA replications in spermatogenesis than in oogenesis. For insertion and deletion (indel) mutations, data from a few human genetic disease loci indicate that the two sexes may mutate at similar rates, possibly because such mutations arise in connection with meiotic crossing over. To address origin- and sex-specific rates of indel mutation we have conducted the first large-scale molecular evolutionary analysis of indels in noncoding DNA sequences from sex chromosomes. The rates are similar on the X and Y chromosomes of primates but about twice as high on the avian Z chromosome as on the W chromosome. The fact that indels are not uncommon on the nonrecombining Y and W chromosomes excludes meiotic crossing over as the main cause of indel mutation. On the other hand, the similar rates on X and Y indicate that the number of DNA replications (higher for Y than for X) is also not the main factor. Our observations are therefore consistent with a role of both DNA replication and recombination in the generation of short insertion and deletion mutations. A significant excess of deletion compared to insertion events is observed on the avian W chromosome, consistent with gradual DNA loss on a nonrecombining chromosome. PMID:12750337

  9. Elucidating the evolutionary conserved DNA-binding specificities of WRKY transcription factors by molecular dynamics and in vitro binding assays

    PubMed Central

    Brand, Luise H.; Fischer, Nina M.; Harter, Klaus; Kohlbacher, Oliver; Wanke, Dierk

    2013-01-01

    WRKY transcription factors constitute a large protein family in plants that is involved in the regulation of developmental processes and responses to biotic or abiotic stimuli. The question arises how stimulus-specific responses are mediated given that the highly conserved WRKY DNA-binding domain (DBD) exclusively recognizes the ‘TTGACY’ W-box consensus. We speculated that the W-box consensus might be more degenerate and yet undetected differences in the W-box consensus of WRKYs of different evolutionary descent exist. The phylogenetic analysis of WRKY DBDs suggests that they evolved from an ancestral group IIc-like WRKY early in the eukaryote lineage. A direct descent of group IIc WRKYs supports a monophyletic origin of all other group II and III WRKYs from group I by loss of an N-terminal DBD. Group I WRKYs are of paraphyletic descent and evolved multiple times independently. By homology modeling, molecular dynamics simulations and in vitro DNA–protein interaction-enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay with AtWRKY50 (IIc), AtWRKY33 (I) and AtWRKY11 (IId) DBDs, we revealed differences in DNA-binding specificities. Our data imply that other components are essentially required besides the W-box-specific binding to DNA to facilitate a stimulus-specific WRKY function. PMID:23975197

  10. 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

  11. Are pharmaceuticals with evolutionary conserved molecular drug targets more potent to cause toxic effects in non-target organisms?

    PubMed

    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.

  12. 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

    2014-08-01

    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.

  13. 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.

  14. EVOLUTIONARY STATUS OF BRIGHTEST AND YOUNGEST SOURCE IN THE ORION MOLECULAR CLOUD -3 REGION

    SciTech Connect

    Takahashi, Satoko; Ho, Paul T. P.; Tang, Ya-Wen; Kawabe, Ryohei; Saito, Masao

    2009-10-20

    The brightest continuum source in the Orion molecular cloud-3 region (OMC-3), MMS 6, was observed with the Very Large Array (VLA), the Nobeyama Millimeter Array (NMA), and the Submillimeter Array (SMA). Our data were supplemented by near- to mid-infrared archival data taken by Spitzer Space Telescope. The compact continuum source, MMS 6-main, was detected with an H{sub 2} mass of 3.0 M {sub sun} with a size of 510 AU. Despite its compact and well-condensed appearance, neither clear CO outflow, radio jet, nor infrared sources (at a wavelength shorter than 8 mum) were detected at MMS 6-main even with the present high angular resolution and high-sensitivity observations. The derived H{sub 2} column density, 2.6 x 10{sup 25} cm{sup -2}, corresponds to a visual extinction of A{sub v} approx 15, 000 mag, and the derived number density is at least two orders of magnitude higher than for the other OMC-2/3 continuum sources. The volume density profile of the source was estimated to have a power-law index of 2 or steeper down to a radius of approx450 AU. The timescale to form a protostar at the center or the timescale elapsed after its formation is estimated to be 830 to 7600 yr. This is much shorter than the typical lifetime of the Class 0/I protostars, which is approx10{sup 4}-10{sup 5} yr, suggesting that MMS 6-main is probably in either the earliest stage of the protostellar core or in the latest stage of the prestellar phase.

  15. 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

  16. Evolutionary, behavioural and molecular ecology must meet to achieve long-term conservation goals.

    PubMed

    Keogh, J Scott

    2009-09-01

    Founder populations in reintroduction programmes can experience a genetic bottleneck simply because of their small size. The influence of reproductive skew brought on by polygynous or polyandrous mating systems in these populations can exacerbate already difficult conservation genetic problems, such as inbreeding depression and loss of adaptive potential. Without an understanding of reproductive skew in a target species, and the effect it can have on genetic diversity retained over generations, long-term conservation goals will be compromised. In this issue of Molecular Ecology, Miller et al. (2009a) test how founder group size and variance in male reproductive success influence the maintenance of genetic diversity following reintroduction on a long-term scale. They evaluated genetic diversity in two wild populations of the iconic New Zealand tuatara (Fig. 1), which differ greatly in population size and genetic diversity, and compared this to genetic diversity in multiple founder populations sourced from both populations. Population viability analysis on the maintenance of genetic diversity over 400 years (10 generations) demonstrated that while the loss of heterozygosity was low when compared with both source populations (1-14%), the greater the male reproductive skew, the greater the predicted losses of genetic diversity. Importantly however, the loss of genetic diversity was ameliorated after population size exceeded 250 animals, regardless of the level of reproductive skew. This study demonstrates that highly informed conservation decisions could be made when you build on a solid foundation of demographic, natural history and behavioural ecology data. These data, when informed by modern population and genetic analysis, mean that fundamental applied conservation questions (how many animals should make up a founder population?) can be answered accurately and with an eye to the long-term consequences of management decisions.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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. PMID:26107295

  1. LDSO: a program to simulate pedigrees and molecular information under various evolutionary forces.

    PubMed

    Ytournel, F; Teyssèdre, S; Roldan, D; Erbe, M; Simianer, H; Boichard, D; Gilbert, H; Druet, T; Legarra, A

    2012-10-01

    Simulations are a major tool to evaluate new statistical methods and optimize experimental designs in the genomic era. However, this can only be achieved when the simulations are close enough to reality, as well as diverse enough to be realistic. For mapping studies, it is thus critical to re-create as much as possible the forces generating linkage (mutation, random drift, changes in population sizes, selection and pedigree structure) and the mechanisms producing trait genetic architecture (additivity, dominance, epistasis). We present here a computer program (ldso) simulating these phenomena. Optional outputs provide statistics on the linkage disequilibrium (LD) structure and the identity by descent between chromosomal segments, facilitating further data analyses. Furthermore, ldso enables the simulation of genomic data in known pedigrees, which sticks as precisely as possible to recent population history and structures of the long-range LD, allowing optimization of fine-mapping strategies.

  2. Electron transport properties of single molecular junctions under mechanical modulations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhou, Jianfeng; Guo, Cunlan; Xu, Bingqian

    2012-04-01

    Electron transport behaviors of single molecular junctions are very sensitive to the atomic scale molecule-metal electrode contact interfaces, which have been difficult to control. We used a modified scanning probe microscope-break junction technique (SPM-BJT) to control the dynamics of the contacts and simultaneously monitor both the conductance and force. First, by fitting the measured data into a modified multiple tunneling barrier model, the static contact resistances, corresponding to the different contact conformations of single alkanedithiol and alkanediamine molecular junctions, were identified. Second, the changes of contact decay constant were measured under mechanical extensions of the molecular junctions, which helped to classify the different single molecular conductance sets into specific microscopic conformations of the molecule-electrode contacts. Third, by monitoring the changes of force and contact decay constant with the mechanical extensions, the changes of conductance were found to be caused by the changes of contact bond length and by the atomic reorganizations near the contact bond. This study provides a new insight into the understanding of the influences of contact conformations, especially the effect of changes of dynamic contact conformation on electron transport through single molecular junctions.

  3. 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

  4. Molecular mechanisms of peritoneal dissemination in gastric cancer.

    PubMed

    Kanda, Mitsuro; Kodera, Yasuhiro

    2016-08-14

    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

  5. Chordoma: an update on the pathophysiology and molecular mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Sun, Xin; Hornicek, Francis; Schwab, Joseph H

    2015-12-01

    Chordoma is a rare low-grade primary malignant skeletal tumor, which is presumed to derive from notochord remnants. The pathogenesis of chordoma has not been fully elucidated. However, recent advances in the molecular biology studies have identified brachyury underlying the initiation and progression of chordoma cells. More efforts have been made on accumulating evidence of the notochordal origin of chordoma, discovering signaling pathways and identifying crucial targets in chordomagenesis. In this review, we summarize the most recent research findings and focus on the pathophysiology and molecular mechanisms of chordoma.

  6. 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. PMID:26249034

  7. 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.

  8. Structural insights into the molecular mechanism of the m(6)A writer complex.

    PubMed

    Śledź, Paweł; Jinek, Martin

    2016-01-01

    Methylation of adenosines at the N(6) position (m(6)A) is a dynamic and abundant epitranscriptomic mark that regulates critical aspects of eukaryotic RNA metabolism in numerous biological processes. The RNA methyltransferases METTL3 and METTL14 are components of a multisubunit m(6)A writer complex whose enzymatic activity is substantially higher than the activities of METTL3 or METTL14 alone. The molecular mechanism underpinning this synergistic effect is poorly understood. Here we report the crystal structure of the catalytic core of the human m(6)A writer complex comprising METTL3 and METTL14. The structure reveals the heterodimeric architecture of the complex and donor substrate binding by METTL3. Structure-guided mutagenesis indicates that METTL3 is the catalytic subunit of the complex, whereas METTL14 has a degenerate active site and plays non-catalytic roles in maintaining complex integrity and substrate RNA binding. These studies illuminate the molecular mechanism and evolutionary history of eukaryotic m(6)A modification in post-transcriptional genome regulation. PMID:27627798

  9. Structural insights into the molecular mechanism of the m6A writer complex

    PubMed Central

    Śledź, Paweł; Jinek, Martin

    2016-01-01

    Methylation of adenosines at the N6 position (m6A) is a dynamic and abundant epitranscriptomic mark that regulates critical aspects of eukaryotic RNA metabolism in numerous biological processes. The RNA methyltransferases METTL3 and METTL14 are components of a multisubunit m6A writer complex whose enzymatic activity is substantially higher than the activities of METTL3 or METTL14 alone. The molecular mechanism underpinning this synergistic effect is poorly understood. Here we report the crystal structure of the catalytic core of the human m6A writer complex comprising METTL3 and METTL14. The structure reveals the heterodimeric architecture of the complex and donor substrate binding by METTL3. Structure-guided mutagenesis indicates that METTL3 is the catalytic subunit of the complex, whereas METTL14 has a degenerate active site and plays non-catalytic roles in maintaining complex integrity and substrate RNA binding. These studies illuminate the molecular mechanism and evolutionary history of eukaryotic m6A modification in post-transcriptional genome regulation. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.18434.001 PMID:27627798

  10. 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

  11. Buffering by gene duplicates: an analysis of molecular correlates and evolutionary conservation

    PubMed Central

    Hannay, Kevin; Marcotte, Edward M; Vogel, Christine

    2008-01-01

    Background One mechanism to account for robustness against gene knockouts or knockdowns is through buffering by gene duplicates, but the extent and general correlates of this process in organisms is still a matter of debate. To reveal general trends of this process, we provide a comprehensive comparison of gene essentiality, duplication and buffering by duplicates across seven bacteria (Mycoplasma genitalium, Bacillus subtilis, Helicobacter pylori, Haemophilus influenzae, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli), and four eukaryotes (Saccharomyces cerevisiae (yeast), Caenorhabditis elegans (worm), Drosophila melanogaster (fly), Mus musculus (mouse)). Results In nine of the eleven organisms, duplicates significantly increase chances of survival upon gene deletion (P-value ≤ 0.05), but only by up to 13%. Given that duplicates make up to 80% of eukaryotic genomes, the small contribution is surprising and points to dominant roles of other buffering processes, such as alternative metabolic pathways. The buffering capacity of duplicates appears to be independent of the degree of gene essentiality and tends to be higher for genes with high expression levels. For example, buffering capacity increases to 23% amongst highly expressed genes in E. coli. Sequence similarity and the number of duplicates per gene are weak predictors of the duplicate's buffering capacity. In a case study we show that buffering gene duplicates in yeast and worm are somewhat more similar in their functions than non-buffering duplicates and have increased transcriptional and translational activity. Conclusion In sum, the extent of gene essentiality and buffering by duplicates is not conserved across organisms and does not correlate with the organisms' apparent complexity. This heterogeneity goes beyond what would be expected from differences in experimental approaches alone. Buffering by duplicates contributes to robustness in several organisms, but to a small extent

  12. 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.

  13. Environmental changes bridge evolutionary valleys

    PubMed Central

    Steinberg, Barrett; Ostermeier, Marc

    2016-01-01

    In the basic fitness landscape metaphor for molecular evolution, evolutionary pathways are presumed to follow uphill steps of increasing fitness. How evolution can cross fitness valleys is an open question. One possibility is that environmental changes alter the fitness landscape such that low-fitness sequences reside on a hill in alternate environments. We experimentally test this hypothesis on the antibiotic resistance gene TEM-15 β-lactamase by comparing four evolutionary strategies shaped by environmental changes. The strategy that included initial steps of selecting for low antibiotic resistance (negative selection) produced superior alleles compared with the other three strategies. We comprehensively examined possible evolutionary pathways leading to one such high-fitness allele and found that an initially deleterious mutation is key to the allele’s evolutionary history. This mutation is an initial gateway to an otherwise relatively inaccessible area of sequence space and participates in higher-order, positive epistasis with a number of neutral to slightly beneficial mutations. The ability of negative selection and environmental changes to provide access to novel fitness peaks has important implications for natural evolutionary mechanisms and applied directed evolution. PMID:26844293

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

    PubMed

    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.

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

    PubMed

    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

    2015-04-01

    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.

  16. Molecular Mechanisms of the Formation and Progression of Intracranial Aneurysms

    PubMed Central

    KATAOKA, Hiroharu

    2015-01-01

    Until recently, only a little was understood about molecular mechanisms of the development of an intracranial aneurysm (IA). Recent advancements over the last decade in the field of genetics and molecular biology have provided us a wide variety of evidences supporting the notion that chronic inflammation is closely associated with the pathogenesis of IA development. In the field of genetics, large-scale Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) has identified some IA susceptible loci and genes related to cell cycle and endothelial function. Researches in molecular biology using human samples and animal models have revealed the common pathway of the initiation, progression, and rupture of IAs. IA formation begins with endothelial dysfunction followed by pathological remodeling with degenerative changes of vascular walls. Medical treatments inhibiting inflammatory cascades in IA development are likely to prevent IA progression and rupture. Statins and aspirin are expected to suppress IA progression by their anti-inflammatory effects. Decoy oligodeoxynucleotides (ODNs) inhibiting inflammatory transcription factors such as nuclear factor kappa-B (NF-κB) and Ets-1 are the other promising choice of the prevention of IA development. Further clarification of molecular mechanisms of the formation and progression of IAs will shed light to the pathogenesis of IA development and provide insight into novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for IAs. PMID:25761423

  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. Polycystic liver diseases: advanced insights into the molecular mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Perugorria, Maria J; Masyuk, Tatyana V; Marin, Jose J; Marzioni, Marco; Bujanda, Luis; LaRusso, Nicholas F; Banales, Jesus M

    2014-12-01

    Polycystic liver diseases are genetic disorders characterized by progressive bile duct dilatation and/or cyst development. The large volume of hepatic cysts causes different symptoms and complications such as abdominal distension, local pressure with back pain, hypertension, gastro-oesophageal reflux and dyspnea as well as bleeding, infection and rupture of the cysts. Current therapeutic strategies are based on surgical procedures and pharmacological management, which partially prevent or ameliorate the disease. However, as these treatments only show short-term and/or modest beneficial effects, liver transplantation is the only definitive therapy. Therefore, interest in understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in disease pathogenesis is increasing so that new targets for therapy can be identified. In this Review, the genetic mechanisms underlying polycystic liver diseases and the most relevant molecular pathways of hepatic cystogenesis are discussed. Moreover, the main clinical and preclinical studies are highlighted and future directions in basic as well as clinical research are indicated.

  19. Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Arrhythmia by Oxidative Stress

    PubMed Central

    Sovari, Ali A.

    2016-01-01

    Current therapies for arrhythmia using ion channel blockade, catheter ablation, or an implantable cardioverter defibrillator have limitations, and it is important to search for new antiarrhythmic therapeutic targets. Both atrial fibrillation and heart failure, a condition with increased arrhythmic risk, are associated with excess amount of reactive oxygen species (ROS). There are several possible ways for ROS to induce arrhythmia. ROS can cause focal activity and reentry. ROS alter multiple cardiac ionic currents. ROS promote cardiac fibrosis and impair gap junction function, resulting in reduced myocyte coupling and facilitation of reentry. In order to design effective antioxidant drugs for treatment of arrhythmia, it is essential to explore the molecular mechanisms by which ROS exert these arrhythmic effects. Activation of Ca2+/CaM-dependent kinase II, c-Src tyrosine kinase, protein kinase C, and abnormal splicing of cardiac sodium channels are among the recently discovered molecular mechanisms of ROS-induced arrhythmia. PMID:26981310

  20. Derivation of a Molecular Mechanics Force Field for Cholesterol

    SciTech Connect

    Cournia, Zoe; Vaiana, Andrea C.; Smith, Jeremy C.; Ullmann, G. Matthias M.

    2004-01-01

    As a necessary step toward realistic cholesterol:biomembrane simulations, we have derived CHARMM molecular mechanics force-field parameters for cholesterol. For the parametrization we use an automated method that involves fitting the molecular mechanics potential to both vibrational frequencies and eigenvector projections derived from quantum chemical calculations. Results for another polycyclic molecule, rhodamine 6G, are also given. The usefulness of the method is thus demonstrated by the use of reference data from two molecules at different levels of theory. The frequency-matching plots for both cholesterol and rhodamine 6G show overall agreement between the CHARMM and quantum chemical normal modes, with frequency matching for both molecules within the error range found in previous benchmark studies.

  1. [Molecular mechanisms of the plague pathogenic agent interaction with invertebrates].

    PubMed

    Kutyrev, V V; Eroshenko, G A; Popov, N V; Vidiaeva, N A; Konnov, N P

    2009-01-01

    Microbe Russian Anti-Plague Research Institute, Saratov, Russia The literature data and experimental results of the authors on the molecular basis of plague agent interaction with invertebrates are discussed. The details of the plague agent life cycle, its genome organization, and molecular genetic mechanisms of its survival in flea vector and on the nematode cuticule are discussed. The experimental data about the ability to form biofilms at abiotic and biotic surfaces in the Yersinia pestis strains of the main and non-main subspecies are presented. Mechanisms of horizontal and vertical transmission of plague agent are considered. The suggestion about participation of the new member in the complex parasitic biocenosis (nematode, vector parasite) is put forward. PMID:20050160

  2. 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

  3. Engineering molecular mechanics: an efficient static high temperature molecular simulation technique.

    PubMed

    Subramaniyan, Arun K; Sun, C T

    2008-07-16

    Inspired by the need for an efficient molecular simulation technique, we have developed engineering molecular mechanics (EMM) as an alternative molecular simulation technique to model high temperature (T>0 K) phenomena. EMM simulations are significantly more computationally efficient than conventional techniques such as molecular dynamics simulations. The advantage of EMM is achieved by converting the dynamic atomistic system at high temperature (T>0 K) into an equivalent static system. Fundamentals of the EMM methodology are derived using thermal expansion to modify the interatomic potential. Temperature dependent interatomic potentials are developed to account for the temperature effect. The efficiency of EMM simulations is demonstrated by simulating the temperature dependence of elastic constants of copper and nickel and the thermal stress developed in a confined copper system.

  4. Evolutionary change in flowering phenology in the iteroparous herb Beta vulgaris ssp. maritima: a search for the underlying mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Van Dijk, Henk

    2009-01-01

    The potential for evolutionary change in flowering time has gained considerable attention in view of the current global climate change. To explore this potential and its underlying mechanisms in the iteroparous perennial Beta vulgaris ssp. maritima (sea beet), artificial selection for earlier and later flowering date was applied under semi-natural greenhouse conditions. Mean flowering date occurred more than 30 d earlier in 13 generations in the early selection line, but response was weaker in the late selection line. Taking advantage of the growing knowledge on the genetics and the physiology of flowering induction, particularly in Arabidopsis thaliana, the results obtained here were analysed in terms of the four different pathways of flowering induction known in this species. A first significant correlated response was stem elongation (bolting) in the vegetative stage, suggesting that plants were thus able to flower earlier as long as other requirements were satisfied. Vernalization had a clear influence on flowering date and its influence increased during the selection process, together with sensitivity to photoperiod. Vernalization and photoperiod could compensate for each other: each additional week of vernalization at 5 degrees C decreased the necessary daylength for flowering by about 15 min during the later selection stages, while in unselected plants, it was about 7 min. Devernalizing effects were observed at short days combined with higher temperatures. Special attention was given to the role of the B (bolting) gene that cancels the vernalization requirement. The results here obtained suggest that all four known pathways may simultaneously participate in evolutionary change.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. The strawberry plant defense mechanism: a molecular review.

    PubMed

    Amil-Ruiz, Francisco; Blanco-Portales, Rosario; Muñoz-Blanco, Juan; Caballero, José L

    2011-11-01

    Strawberry, a small fruit crop of great importance throughout the world, has been considered a model plant system for Rosaceae, and is susceptible to a large variety of phytopathogenic organisms. Most components and mechanisms of the strawberry defense network remain poorly understood. However, from current knowledge, it seems clear that the ability of a strawberry plant to respond efficiently to pathogens relies first on the physiological status of injured tissue (pre-formed mechanisms of defense) and secondly on the general ability to recognize and identify the invaders by surface plant receptors, followed by a broad range of induced mechanisms, which include cell wall reinforcement, production of reactive oxygen species, phytoalexin generation and pathogenesis-related protein accumulation. Dissection of these physiological responses at a molecular level will provide valuable information to improve future breeding strategies for new strawberry varieties and to engineer strawberry plants for durable and broad-spectrum disease resistance. In turn, this will lead to a reduction in use of chemicals and in environmental risks. Advances in the understanding of the molecular interplay between plant (mainly those considered model systems) and various classes of microbial pathogens have been made in the last two decades. However, major progress in the genetics and molecular biology of strawberry is still needed to uncover fully the way in which this elaborate plant innate immune system works. These fundamental insights will provide a conceptual framework for rational human intervention through new strawberry research approaches. In this review, we will provide a comprehensive overview and discuss recent advances in molecular research on strawberry defense mechanisms against pathogens.

  8. Molecular simulation of the reversible mechanical unfolding of proteins.

    PubMed

    Rathore, Nitin; Yan, Qiliang; de Pablo, Juan J

    2004-03-22

    In this work we have combined a Wang-Landau sampling scheme [F. Wang and D. Landau, Phys. Rev. Lett. 86, 2050 (2001)] with an expanded ensemble formalism to yield a simple and powerful method for computing potentials of mean force. The new method is implemented to investigate the mechanical deformation of proteins. Comparisons are made with analytical results for simple model systems such as harmonic springs and Rouse chains. The method is then illustrated on a model 15-residue alanine molecule in an implicit solvent. Results for mechanical unfolding of this oligopeptide are compared to those of steered molecular dynamics calculations.

  9. Mechanisms of Ventricular Arrhythmias: From Molecular Fluctuations to Electrical Turbulence

    PubMed Central

    Qu, Zhilin; Weiss, James N.

    2015-01-01

    Ventricular arrhythmias have complex causes and mechanisms. Despite extensive investigation involving many clinical, experimental, and computational studies, effective biological therapeutics are still very limited. In this article, we review our current understanding of the mechanisms of ventricular arrhythmias by summarizing the state of knowledge spanning from the molecular scale to electrical wave behavior at the tissue and organ scales and how the complex nonlinear interactions integrate into the dynamics of arrhythmias in the heart. We discuss the challenges that we face in synthesizing these dynamics to develop safe and effective novel therapeutic approaches. PMID:25340965

  10. The molecular mechanisms of acquired proteasome inhibitor resistance

    PubMed Central

    Kale, Andrew J.; Moore, Bradley S.

    2012-01-01

    The development of proteasome inhibitors (PIs) has transformed the treatment of multiple myeloma and mantle cell lymphoma. To date, two PIs have been FDA approved, the boronate peptide bortezomib and, most recently, the epoxyketone peptide carfilzomib. However, intrinsic and acquired resistance to PIs, for which the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood, may limit their efficacy. In this perspective, we discuss recent advances in the molecular understanding of PI resistance through acquired bortezomib resistance in human cell lines to evolved saliniosporamide A (marizomib) resistance in nature. Resistance mechanisms discussed include the upregulation of proteasome subunits and mutations of the catalytic β-subunits. Additionally, we explore potential strategies to overcome PI resistance. PMID:22978849

  11. Multiscale mechanobiology: mechanics at the molecular, cellular, and tissue levels.

    PubMed

    Guo, Chin-Lin; Harris, Nolan C; Wijeratne, Sithara S; Frey, Eric W; Kiang, Ching-Hwa

    2013-06-03

    Mechanical force is present in all aspects of living systems. It affects the conformation of molecules, the shape of cells, and the morphology of tissues. All of these are crucial in architecture-dependent biological functions. Nanoscience of advanced materials has provided knowledge and techniques that can be used to understand how mechanical force is involved in biological systems, as well as to open new avenues to tailor-made bio-mimetic materials with desirable properties.In this article, we describe models and show examples of how force is involved in molecular functioning, cell shape patterning, and tissue morphology.

  12. 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.

  13. Molecular mechanisms and proposed targets for selected anticancer gold compounds.

    PubMed

    Casini, Angela; Messori, Luigi

    2011-01-01

    Nowadays, gold compounds constitute a family of very promising experimental agents for cancer treatment. Indeed, several gold(I) and gold(III) compounds were shown to manifest outstanding antiproliferative properties in vitro against selected human tumor cell lines and some of them performed remarkably well even in tumor models in vivo. Notably, the peculiar chemical properties of the gold centre impart innovative pharmacological profiles to gold-based metallodrugs most likely in relation to novel molecular mechanisms. The precise mechanisms through which cytotoxic gold compounds produce their biological effects are still largely unknown. Within this frame, the major aim of this review is to define the possible modes of action and the most probable biomolecular targets for a few representative gold compounds on which extensive biochemical and cellular data have been gathered. In particular, we will focus on auranofin and analogues, on gold(III) porphyrins and gold(III) dithiocarbamates. For these three families markedly distinct molecular mechanisms were recently invoked: a direct mitochondrial mechanism involving thioredoxin reductase inhibition in the case of the gold(I) complexes, the influence on some apoptotic proteins--i.e. MAPKs and Bcl-2--for gold(III) porphyrins, and the proteasome inhibition for gold(III) dithiocarbamates. In a few cases the distinct mechanisms may overlap. The general perspectives for the development of new gold compounds as effective anticancer agents with innovative modes of action are critically discussed. PMID:22039866

  14. Molecular mechanisms for vascular complications of targeted cancer therapies.

    PubMed

    Gopal, Srila; Miller, Kenneth B; Jaffe, Iris Z

    2016-10-01

    Molecularly targeted anti-cancer therapies have revolutionized cancer treatment by improving both quality of life and survival in cancer patients. However, many of these drugs are associated with cardiovascular toxicities that are sometimes dose-limiting. Moreover, the long-term cardiovascular consequences of these drugs, some of which are used chronically, are not yet known. Although the scope and mechanisms of the cardiac toxicities are better defined, the mechanisms for vascular toxicities are only beginning to be elucidated. This review summarizes what is known about the vascular adverse events associated with three classes of novel anti-cancer therapies: vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitors, breakpoint cluster-Abelson (BCR-ABL) kinase inhibitors used to treat chronic myelogenous leukaemia (CML) and immunomodulatory agents (IMiDs) used in myeloma therapeutics. Three of the best described vascular toxicities are reviewed including hypertension, increased risk of acute cardiovascular ischaemic events and arteriovenous thrombosis. The available data regarding the mechanism by which each therapy causes vascular complication are summarized. When data are limited, potential mechanisms are inferred from the known effects of inhibiting each target on vascular cell function and disease. Enhanced understanding of the molecular mechanisms of vascular side effects of targeted cancer therapy is necessary to effectively manage cancer patients and to design safer targeted cancer therapies for the future. PMID:27612952

  15. 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.

  16. Molecular Mechanisms of Neurodegeneration in Spinal Muscular Atrophy

    PubMed Central

    Ahmad, Saif; Bhatia, Kanchan; Kannan, Annapoorna; Gangwani, Laxman

    2016-01-01

    Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an autosomal recessive motor neuron disease with a high incidence and is the most common genetic cause of infant mortality. SMA is primarily characterized by degeneration of the spinal motor neurons that leads to skeletal muscle atrophy followed by symmetric limb paralysis, respiratory failure, and death. In humans, mutation of the Survival Motor Neuron 1 (SMN1) gene shifts the load of expression of SMN protein to the SMN2 gene that produces low levels of full-length SMN protein because of alternative splicing, which are sufficient for embryonic development and survival but result in SMA. The molecular mechanisms of the (a) regulation of SMN gene expression and (b) degeneration of motor neurons caused by low levels of SMN are unclear. However, some progress has been made in recent years that have provided new insights into understanding of the cellular and molecular basis of SMA pathogenesis. In this review, we have briefly summarized recent advances toward understanding of the molecular mechanisms of regulation of SMN levels and signaling mechanisms that mediate neurodegeneration in SMA. PMID:27042141

  17. Genomic and molecular mechanisms for efficient biodegradation of aromatic dye.

    PubMed

    Sun, Su; Xie, Shangxian; Chen, Hu; Cheng, Yanbing; Shi, Yan; Qin, Xing; Dai, Susie Y; Zhang, Xiaoyu; Yuan, Joshua S

    2016-01-25

    Understanding the molecular mechanisms for aromatic compound degradation is crucial for the development of effective bioremediation strategies. We report the discovery of a novel phenomenon for improved degradation of Direct Red 5B azo dye by Irpex lacteus CD2 with lignin as a co-substrate. Transcriptomics analysis was performed to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of aromatic degradation in white rot fungus by comparing dye, lignin, and dye/lignin combined treatments. A full spectrum of lignin degradation peroxidases, oxidases, radical producing enzymes, and other relevant components were up-regulated under DR5B and lignin treatments. Lignin induced genes complemented the DR5B induced genes to provide essential enzymes and redox conditions for aromatic compound degradation. The transcriptomics analysis was further verified by manganese peroxidase (MnP) protein over-expression, as revealed by proteomics, dye decolorization assay by purified MnP and increased hydroxyl radical levels, as indicated by an iron reducing activity assay. Overall, the molecular and genomic mechanisms indicated that effective aromatic polymer degradation requires synergistic enzymes and radical-mediated oxidative reactions to form an effective network of chemical processes. This study will help to guide the development of effective bioremediation and biomass degradation strategies.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. Developmental and genetic mechanisms for evolutionary diversification of serial repeats: eyespot size in Bicyclus anynana butterflies.

    PubMed

    Beldade, Patrícia; French, Vernon; Brakefield, Paul Martin

    2008-03-15

    Serially repeated pattern elements on butterfly wings offer the opportunity for integrating genetic, developmental, and functional aspects towards understanding morphological diversification and the evolution of individuality. We use captive populations of Bicyclus anynana butterflies, an emerging model in evolutionary developmental biology, to explore the genetic and developmental basis of compartmentalized changes in eyespot patterns. There is much variation for different aspects of eyespot morphology, and knowledge about the genetic pathways and developmental processes involved in eyespot formation. Also, despite the strong correlations across all eyespots in one butterfly, B. anynana shows great potential for independent changes in the size of individual eyespots. It is, however, unclear to what extent the genetic and developmental processes underlying eyespot formation change in a localized manner to enable such individualization. We use micromanipulations of developing wings to dissect the contribution of different components of eyespot development to quantitative differences in eyespot size on one wing surface. Reciprocal transplants of presumptive eyespot foci between artificial selection lines and controls suggest that while localized antagonistic changes in eyespot size rely mostly on localized changes in focal signal strength, concerted changes depend greatly on epidermal response sensitivities. This potentially reflects differences between the signal-response components of eyespot formation in the degrees of compartmentalization and/or the temporal pattern of selection. We also report on the phenotypic analysis of a number of mutant stocks demonstrating how single alleles can affect different eyespots in concert or independently, and thus contribute to the individualization of serially repeated traits. PMID:17577201

  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. PMID:27079962

  4. Developmental and genetic mechanisms for evolutionary diversification of serial repeats: eyespot size in Bicyclus anynana butterflies.

    PubMed

    Beldade, Patrícia; French, Vernon; Brakefield, Paul Martin

    2008-03-15

    Serially repeated pattern elements on butterfly wings offer the opportunity for integrating genetic, developmental, and functional aspects towards understanding morphological diversification and the evolution of individuality. We use captive populations of Bicyclus anynana butterflies, an emerging model in evolutionary developmental biology, to explore the genetic and developmental basis of compartmentalized changes in eyespot patterns. There is much variation for different aspects of eyespot morphology, and knowledge about the genetic pathways and developmental processes involved in eyespot formation. Also, despite the strong correlations across all eyespots in one butterfly, B. anynana shows great potential for independent changes in the size of individual eyespots. It is, however, unclear to what extent the genetic and developmental processes underlying eyespot formation change in a localized manner to enable such individualization. We use micromanipulations of developing wings to dissect the contribution of different components of eyespot development to quantitative differences in eyespot size on one wing surface. Reciprocal transplants of presumptive eyespot foci between artificial selection lines and controls suggest that while localized antagonistic changes in eyespot size rely mostly on localized changes in focal signal strength, concerted changes depend greatly on epidermal response sensitivities. This potentially reflects differences between the signal-response components of eyespot formation in the degrees of compartmentalization and/or the temporal pattern of selection. We also report on the phenotypic analysis of a number of mutant stocks demonstrating how single alleles can affect different eyespots in concert or independently, and thus contribute to the individualization of serially repeated traits.

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

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:26732043

  6. 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.

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:26732043

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. Toward an evolutionary model of cancer: Considering the mechanisms that govern the fate of somatic mutations.

    PubMed

    Rozhok, Andrii I; DeGregori, James

    2015-07-21

    Our understanding of cancer has greatly advanced since Nordling [Nordling CO (1953) Br J Cancer 7(1):68-72] and Armitage and Doll [Armitage P, Doll R (1954) Br J Cancer 8(1):1-12] put forth the multistage model of carcinogenesis. However, a number of observations remain poorly understood from the standpoint of this paradigm in its contemporary state. These observations include the similar age-dependent exponential rise in incidence of cancers originating from stem/progenitor pools differing drastically in size, age-dependent cell division profiles, and compartmentalization. This common incidence pattern is characteristic of cancers requiring different numbers of oncogenic mutations, and it scales to very divergent life spans of mammalian species. Also, bigger mammals with larger underlying stem cell pools are not proportionally more prone to cancer, an observation known as Peto's paradox. Here, we present a number of factors beyond the occurrence of oncogenic mutations that are unaccounted for in the current model of cancer development but should have significant impacts on cancer incidence. Furthermore, we propose a revision of the current understanding for how oncogenic and other functional somatic mutations affect cellular fitness. We present evidence, substantiated by evolutionary theory, demonstrating that fitness is a dynamic environment-dependent property of a phenotype and that oncogenic mutations should have vastly different fitness effects on somatic cells dependent on the tissue microenvironment in an age-dependent manner. Combined, this evidence provides a firm basis for understanding the age-dependent incidence of cancers as driven by age-altered systemic processes regulated above the cell level. PMID:26195756

  12. [Evolution of evolutionary physiology].

    PubMed

    Natochin, Iu V

    2008-09-01

    In 19th century and at the beginning 20th century, reports appeared in the field of comparative and ontogenetic physiology and the value of these methods for understanding of evolution of functions. The term "evolutionary physiology" was suggested by A. N. Severtsov in 1914. In the beginning of 30s, in the USSR, laboratories for researches in problems of evolutionary physiology were created, the results of these researches having been published. In 1956 in Leningrad, the Institute of Evolutionary Physiology was founded by L. A. Orbeli. He formulates the goals and methods of evolutionary physiology. In the following half a century, the evolutionary physiology was actively developed. The evolutionary physiology solves problems of evolution of function of functions evolution, often involving methods of adjacent sciences, including biochemistry, morphology, molecular biology.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. Molecular mechanisms of mutagenesis determined by the recombinant DNA technology

    SciTech Connect

    Lee, W.R.

    1985-01-01

    A study of the alteration of the DNA in the mutant gene can determine mechanisms of mutation by distinguishing between mutations induced by transition, transversion, frameshifts of a single base and deletions involving many base pairs. The association of a specific pattern of response with a mutagen will permit detecting mutants induced by the mutagen with a reduced background by removing mutations induced by other mechanisms from the pool of potential mutants. From analyses of studies that have been conducted, it is quite apparent that there are substantial differences among mutagens in their modes of action. Of 31 x-ray induced mutants, 20 were large deletions while only 3 showed normal Southern blots. Only one mutant produced a sub-unit polypeptide of normal molecular weight and charge in the in vivo test whereas in vitro synthesis produced a second one. In contrast, nine of thirteen EMS induced mutants produced cross-reacting proteins with sub-unit polypeptide molecular weights equivalent to wild type. Two of three ENU induced mutants recently analyzed in our laboratory produced protein with sub-unit polypeptide molecular weight and electrical charge similar to the wild type stock in which the mutants were induced. One ENU induced mutation is a large deletion. 21 refs., 1 fig.

  16. 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. PMID:25597791

  17. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-11-12

    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.

  19. Molecular cytotoxicity mechanisms of allyl alcohol (acrolein) in budding yeast.

    PubMed

    Golla, Upendarrao; Bandi, Goutham; Tomar, Raghuvir S

    2015-06-15

    Allyl alcohol (AA) is one of the environmental pollutants used as a herbicide and industrial chemical. AA undergoes enzymatic oxidation in vivo to form Acrolein (Acr), a highly reactive and ubiquitous environmental toxicant. The exposure to AA/Acr has detrimental effects on cells and is highly fatal. In corroboration to the current literature describing AA/Acr toxicity, this study aimed to investigate the molecular cytotoxicity mechanisms of AA/Acr using budding yeast as a eukaryotic model organism. Genome-wide transcriptome analysis of cells treated with a sublethal dose of AA (0.4 mM) showed differential regulation of approximately 30% of the yeast genome. Functional enrichment analysis of the AA transcriptome revealed that genes belong to diverse cellular processes including the cell cycle, DNA damage repair, metal homeostasis, stress response genes, ribosomal biogenesis, metabolism, meiosis, ubiquitination, cell morphogenesis, and transport. Moreover, we have identified novel molecular targets of AA/Acr through genetic screening, which belongs to oxidative stress, DNA damage repair, iron homeostasis, and cell wall integrity. This study also demonstrated the epigenetic basis of AA/Acr toxicity mediated through histone tails and chromatin modifiers. Interestingly, our study disclosed the use of pyrazole and ethanol as probable antidotes for AA intoxication. For the first time, this study also demonstrated the reproductive toxicity of AA/Acr using the yeast gametogenesis (spermatogenesis) model. Altogether, this study unravels the molecular mechanisms of AA/Acr cytotoxicity and facilitates the prediction of biomarkers for toxicity assessment and therapeutic approaches. PMID:25919230

  20. Genetic and molecular mechanisms leading to eosinophilic esophagitis.

    PubMed

    Holvoet, S; Blanchard, C

    2014-04-01

    From the epidemiologic studies, to the first genome wide association study in 2010, the understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of EoE has been both inspiring and puzzling. Epidemiologic studies have highlighted the contribution of the genetic in the EoE disease by emphasizing the presence of familial type of EoE, but has also revealed the complexity of its transmission that does not follow a Mendelian inheritance. The molecular pathogenesis advances have helped in the understanding of the mechanisms underlying this esophageal inflammation but has also allow the identification of candidate genes for which single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) are associated with the disease. Recently, the genome wide analysis of more than half a million single nucleotide polymorphism has allowed the identification of gene variations associated with the EoE disease and has led to substantial advance in the understanding of the molecular mechanisms leading to EoE. Undeniably, EoE is a complex polygenic disease and we certainly are only at the ground level of its detailed comprehension. PMID:25075658

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

    PubMed

    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

  2. Deciphering molecular mechanism underlying hypolipidemic activity of echinocystic Acid.

    PubMed

    Han, Li; Lai, Peng; Du, Jun-Rong

    2014-01-01

    Our previous study showed that a triterpene mixture, consisting of echinocystic acid (EA) and oleanolic acid (OA) at a ratio of 4 : 1, dose-dependently ameliorated the hyperlipidemia and atherosclerosis in rabbits fed with high fat/high cholesterol diets. This study was aimed at exploring the mechanisms underlying antihyperlipidemic effect of EA. Molecular docking simulation of EA was performed using Molegro Virtual Docker (version: 4.3.0) to investigate the potential targets related to lipid metabolism. Based on the molecular docking information, isotope labeling method or spectrophotometry was applied to examine the effect of EA on the activity of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase, acyl-CoA:cholesterol acyltransferase (ACAT), and diacylglycerol acyltransferase (DGAT) in rat liver microsomes. Our results revealed a strong affinity of EA towards ACAT and DGAT in molecular docking analysis, while low binding affinity existed between EA and HMG-CoA reductase as well as between EA and cholesteryl ester transfer protein. Consistent with the results of molecular docking, in vitro enzyme activity assays showed that EA inhibited ACAT and DGAT, with IC50 values of 103 and 139  μ M, respectively, and exhibited no significant effect on HMG-CoA reductase activity. The present findings suggest that EA may exert hypolipidemic effect by inhibiting the activity of ACAT and DGAT. PMID:24669228

  3. 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

  4. 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. PMID:17025782

  5. 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.

  6. Molecular Mechanisms of Compartmentalization and Biomineralization in Magnetotactic Bacteria

    PubMed Central

    Komeili, Arash

    2011-01-01

    Magnetotactic bacteria are remarkable organisms with the ability to exploit the earth’s magnetic field for navigational purposes. To do this, they build specialized compartments called magnetosomes that consist of a lipid membrane and a crystalline magnetic mineral. These organisms have the potential to serve as models for the study of compartmentalization as well as biomineralization in bacteria. Additionally, they offer the opportunity to design applications that take advantage of the particular properties of magnetosomes. In recent years, a sustained effort to identify the molecular basis of this process has resulted in a clearer understanding of the magnetosome formation and biomineralization. Here, I present an overview of magnetotactic bacteria and explore the possible molecular mechanisms of membrane remodeling, protein sorting, cytoskeletal organization, iron transport and biomineralization that lead to the formation of a functional magnetosome organelle. PMID:22092030

  7. Survivin and Tumorigenesis: Molecular Mechanisms and Therapeutic Strategies

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Xun; Duan, Ning; Zhang, Caiguo; Zhang, Wentao

    2016-01-01

    Survivin is the smallest member of the inhibitor of apoptosis protein family, which has key roles in regulating cell division and inhibiting apoptosis by blocking caspase activation. Survivin is highly expressed in most human cancers, such as lung, pancreatic and breast cancers, relative to normal tissues. Aberrant survivin expression is associated with tumor cell proliferation, progression, angiogenesis, therapeutic resistance, and poor prognosis. Studies on the underlying molecular mechanisms indicate that survivin is involved in the regulation of cytokinesis and cell cycle progression, as well as participates in a variety of signaling pathways such as the p53, Wnt, hypoxia, transforming growth factor, and Notch signaling pathways. In this review, recent progress in understanding the molecular basis of survivin is discussed. Therapeutic strategies targeting survivin in preclinical studies are also briefly summarized. PMID:26918045

  8. 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.

  9. Mechanical actuators at the nanoscale: molecular propellers, paddles and wheels

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vukovic, Lela; Wang, Boyang; Kral, Petr

    2010-03-01

    We model by molecular dynamics simulations nanosystems that could realize mechanical action in nanofluidics. First, we study molecular propellers formed by carbon nanotube rotors with attached aromatic blades that can pump liquids with efficiency dependent on the chemistry of the liquid-blade interface [1]. Next, we investigate nanorods with photoactive surfaces that can roll on water when driven by light [2]. Their rolling motion is realized when chromophores attached to their surfaces become anisotropically polarized by light and attracted to water. Finally, we examine nanoscale pumping induced by deformable nanoscale blades [3]. We show that the length, polarity, frequency and amplitude of oscillations of the nanoblades control their efficiency of water pumping.[4pt] [1] B. Wang and P. Kr'al, . Rev. Lett. 98, 266102 (2007).[0pt] [2] L. Vukovic and P. Kr'al, submitted.[0pt] [3] L. Vukovic, D. Astumian and P. Kr'al, in preparation.

  10. 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.

  11. Molecular mechanism underlying promiscuous polyamine recognition by spermidine acetyltransferase.

    PubMed

    Sugiyama, Shigeru; Ishikawa, Sae; Tomitori, Hideyuki; Niiyama, Mayumi; Hirose, Mika; Miyazaki, Yuma; Higashi, Kyohei; Murata, Michio; Adachi, Hiroaki; Takano, Kazufumi; Murakami, Satoshi; Inoue, Tsuyoshi; Mori, Yusuke; Kashiwagi, Keiko; Igarashi, Kazuei; Matsumura, Hiroyoshi

    2016-07-01

    Spermidine acetyltransferase (SAT) from Escherichia coli, which catalyses the transfer of acetyl groups from acetyl-CoA to spermidine, is a key enzyme in controlling polyamine levels in prokaryotic cells. In this study, we determined the crystal structure of SAT in complex with spermidine (SPD) and CoA at 2.5Å resolution. SAT is a dodecamer organized as a hexamer of dimers. The secondary structural element and folding topology of the SAT dimer resemble those of spermidine/spermine N(1)-acetyltransferase (SSAT), suggesting an evolutionary link between SAT and SSAT. However, the polyamine specificity of SAT is distinct from that of SSAT and is promiscuous. The SPD molecule is also located at the inter-dimer interface. The distance between SPD and CoA molecules is 13Å. A deep, highly acidic, water-filled cavity encompasses the SPD and CoA binding sites. Structure-based mutagenesis and in-vitro assays identified SPD-bound residues, and the acidic residues lining the walls of the cavity are mostly essential for enzymatic activities. Based on mutagenesis and structural data, we propose an acetylation mechanism underlying promiscuous polyamine recognition for SAT. PMID:27163532

  12. A molecular mechanism that stabilizes cooperative secretions in Pseudomonas aeruginosa

    PubMed Central

    Kim, Wook

    2010-01-01

    Summary Bacterial populations frequently act as a collective by secreting a wide range of compounds necessary for cell-cell communication, host colonization and virulence. However, how such behaviors avoid exploitation by spontaneous ‘cheater’ mutants that use but do not contribute to secretions remains unclear. We investigate this question using Pseudomonas aeruginosa swarming, a collective surface motility requiring massive secretions of rhamnolipid biosurfactants. We first show that swarming is immune to the evolution of rhlA− ‘cheaters’. We then demonstrate that P. aeruginosa resists cheating through metabolic prudence: wild-type cells secrete biosurfactants only when the cost of their production and impact on individual fitness is low, therefore preventing non-secreting strains from gaining an evolutionary advantage. Metabolic prudence works because the carbon-rich biosurfactants are only produced when growth is limited by another growth limiting nutrient, the nitrogen source. By genetically manipulating a strain to produce the biosurfactants constitutively we show that swarming becomes cheatable: a non-producing strain rapidly outcompetes and replaces this obligate cooperator. We argue that metabolic prudence, which may first evolve as a direct response to cheating or simply to optimize growth, can explain the maintenance of massive secretions in many bacteria. More generally, prudent regulation is a mechanism to stabilize cooperation. PMID:21166901

  13. 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.

  14. Molecular and Mechanical Causes of Microtubule Catastrophe and Aging.

    PubMed

    Zakharov, Pavel; Gudimchuk, Nikita; Voevodin, Vladimir; Tikhonravov, Alexander; Ataullakhanov, Fazoil I; Grishchuk, Ekaterina L

    2015-12-15

    Tubulin polymers, microtubules, can switch abruptly from the assembly to shortening. These infrequent transitions, termed "catastrophes", affect numerous cellular processes but the underlying mechanisms are elusive. We approached this complex stochastic system using advanced coarse-grained molecular dynamics modeling of tubulin-tubulin interactions. Unlike in previous simplified models of dynamic microtubules, the catastrophes in this model arise owing to fluctuations in the composition and conformation of a growing microtubule tip, most notably in the number of protofilament curls. In our model, dynamic evolution of the stochastic microtubule tip configurations over a long timescale, known as the system's "aging", gives rise to the nonexponential distribution of microtubule lifetimes, consistent with experiment. We show that aging takes place in the absence of visible changes in the microtubule wall or tip, as this complex molecular-mechanical system evolves slowly and asymptotically toward the steady-state level of the catastrophe-promoting configurations. This new, to our knowledge, theoretical basis will assist detailed mechanistic investigations of the mechanisms of action of different microtubule-binding proteins and drugs, thereby enabling accurate control over the microtubule dynamics to treat various pathologies. PMID:26682815

  15. 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

  16. 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. PMID:27497165

  17. Molecular mechanisms of dominance evolution in Müllerian mimicry.

    PubMed

    Llaurens, V; Joron, M; Billiard, S

    2015-12-01

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

  18. 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.

  19. United polarizable multipole water model for molecular mechanics simulation.

    PubMed

    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.

  20. 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.

  1. Gene sequencing reveals heterokaryotic variations and evolutionary mechanisms in Puccinia striiformis

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Puccinia striiformis (Ps), the causal agent of stripe rust, is an obligate biotrophic fungus. The objective of this study was to identify polymorphic genes for determining the mechanisms of the pathogen variation. Primers were designed for seven important putative genes including beta-tubulin (BT), ...

  2. Molecular mechanisms in autoimmune type 1 diabetes: a critical review.

    PubMed

    Xie, Zhiguo; Chang, Christopher; Zhou, Zhiguang

    2014-10-01

    Autoimmune type 1 diabetes is characterized by selective destruction of insulin-secreting beta cells in the pancreas of genetically susceptible individuals. The mechanisms underlying the development of type 1 diabetes are not fully understood. However, a widely accepted point is that type 1 diabetes is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Although most type 1 diabetes patients do not have a family history, genetic susceptibility does play a vital role in beta cell autoimmunity and destruction. Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) regions are the strongest genetic determinants, which can contribute 40-50 % of the genetic risk to type 1 diabetes. Other genes, including INS also contribute to disease risk. The mechanisms of the susceptible genes in type 1 diabetes may relate to their respective roles in antigen presentation, beta cell autoimmunity, immune tolerance, and autoreactive T cell response. Environmental susceptibility factors also contribute to the risk of developing type 1 diabetes. From an epigenetic standpoint, the pathologic mechanisms involved in the development of type 1 diabetes may include DNA methylation, histone modification, microRNA, and molecular mimicry. These mechanisms may act through regulating of gene expression, thereby affecting the immune system response toward islet beta cells. One of the characteristics of type 1 diabetes is the recognition of islet autoantigens by autoreactive CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells and autoantibodies. Autoantibodies against islet autoantigens are involved in autoantigen processing and presentation by HLA molecules. This review will mainly focus on the molecular mechanism by which genetic, epigenetic, and environmental factors contribute to the risk of type 1 diabetes. PMID:24752371

  3. Molecular mechanisms in autoimmune type 1 diabetes: a critical review.

    PubMed

    Xie, Zhiguo; Chang, Christopher; Zhou, Zhiguang

    2014-10-01

    Autoimmune type 1 diabetes is characterized by selective destruction of insulin-secreting beta cells in the pancreas of genetically susceptible individuals. The mechanisms underlying the development of type 1 diabetes are not fully understood. However, a widely accepted point is that type 1 diabetes is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Although most type 1 diabetes patients do not have a family history, genetic susceptibility does play a vital role in beta cell autoimmunity and destruction. Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) regions are the strongest genetic determinants, which can contribute 40-50 % of the genetic risk to type 1 diabetes. Other genes, including INS also contribute to disease risk. The mechanisms of the susceptible genes in type 1 diabetes may relate to their respective roles in antigen presentation, beta cell autoimmunity, immune tolerance, and autoreactive T cell response. Environmental susceptibility factors also contribute to the risk of developing type 1 diabetes. From an epigenetic standpoint, the pathologic mechanisms involved in the development of type 1 diabetes may include DNA methylation, histone modification, microRNA, and molecular mimicry. These mechanisms may act through regulating of gene expression, thereby affecting the immune system response toward islet beta cells. One of the characteristics of type 1 diabetes is the recognition of islet autoantigens by autoreactive CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells and autoantibodies. Autoantibodies against islet autoantigens are involved in autoantigen processing and presentation by HLA molecules. This review will mainly focus on the molecular mechanism by which genetic, epigenetic, and environmental factors contribute to the risk of type 1 diabetes.

  4. Molecular mechanisms underlying the onset of degenerative aortic valve disease.

    PubMed

    Hakuno, Daihiko; Kimura, Naritaka; Yoshioka, Masatoyo; Fukuda, Keiichi

    2009-01-01

    Morbidity from degenerative aortic valve disease is increasing worldwide, concomitant with the ageing of the general population and the habitual consumption of diets high in calories and cholesterol. Immunohistologic studies have suggested that the molecular mechanism occurring in the degenerate aortic valve resembles that of atherosclerosis, prompting the testing of HMG CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) for the prevention of progression of native and bioprosthetic aortic valve degeneration. However, the effects of these therapies remain controversial. Although the molecular mechanisms underlying the onset of aortic valve degeneration are largely unknown, research in this area is advancing rapidly. The signaling components involved in embryonic valvulogenesis, such as Wnt, TGF-beta(1), BMP, and Notch, are also involved in the onset of aortic valve degeneration. Furthermore, investigations into extracellular matrix remodeling, angiogenesis, and osteogenesis in the aortic valve have been reported. Having noted avascularity of normal cardiac valves, we recently identified chondromodulin-I (chm-I) as a crucial anti-angiogenic factor. The expression of chm-I is restricted to cardiac valves from late embryogenesis to adulthood in the mouse, rat, and human. In human degenerate atherosclerotic valves, the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and matrix metalloproteinases and angiogenesis is observed in the area of chm-I downregulation. Gene targeting of chm-I resulted in VEGF expression, angiogenesis, and calcification in the aortic valves of aged mice, and aortic stenosis is detected by echocardiography, indicating that chm-I is a crucial factor for maintaining normal cardiac valvular function by preventing angiogenesis. The present review focuses on the animal models of aortic valve degeneration and recent studies on the molecular mechanisms underlying the onset of degenerative aortic valve disease. PMID:18766323

  5. Drugs meeting the molecular basis of diabetic kidney disease: bridging from molecular mechanism to personalized medicine.

    PubMed

    Lambers Heerspink, Hiddo J; Oberbauer, Rainer; Perco, Paul; Heinzel, Andreas; Heinze, Georg; Mayer, Gert; Mayer, Bernd

    2015-08-01

    Diabetic kidney disease (DKD) is a complex, multifactorial disease and is associated with a high risk of renal and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Clinical practice guidelines for diabetes recommend essentially identical treatments for all patients without taking into account how the individual responds to the instituted therapy. Yet, individuals vary widely in how they respond to medications and therefore optimal therapy differs between individuals. Understanding the underlying molecular mechanisms of variability in drug response will help tailor optimal therapy. Polymorphisms in genes related to drug pharmacokinetics have been used to explore mechanisms of response variability in DKD, but with limited success. The complex interaction between genetic make-up and environmental factors on the abundance of proteins and metabolites renders pharmacogenomics alone insufficient to fully capture response variability. A complementary approach is to attribute drug response variability to individual variability in underlying molecular mechanisms involved in the progression of disease. The interplay of different processes (e.g. inflammation, fibrosis, angiogenesis, oxidative stress) appears to drive disease progression, but the individual contribution of each process varies. Drugs at the other hand address specific targets and thereby interfere in certain disease-associated processes. At this level, biomarkers may help to gain insight into which specific pathophysiological processes are involved in an individual followed by a rational assessment whether a specific drug's mode of action indeed targets the relevant process at hand. This article describes the conceptual background and data-driven workflow developed by the SysKid consortium aimed at improving characterization of the molecular mechanisms underlying DKD at the interference of the molecular impact of individual drugs in order to tailor optimal therapy to individual patients. PMID:26209732

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. Buckling of microtubules: An insight by molecular and continuum mechanics

    SciTech Connect

    Zhang, Jin; Meguid, S. A.

    2014-10-27

    The molecular structural mechanics method has been extended to investigate the buckling of microtubules (MTs) with various configurations. The results indicate that for relative short MTs the shear deformation effect, rather than the nonlocal effect, is mainly responsible for the limitation of their widely used Euler beam description and the observed length-dependence of their bending stiffness. In addition, the configuration effect of MTs is also studied and considered as an explanation for the large scattering of the critical buckling force and bending stiffness observed in existing experiments. This configuration effect is also found to mainly originate from the geometry of the MTs and is mainly determined by the protofilament number.

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

    PubMed

    Tse, Gary; Lai, Eric Tsz Him; 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

  10. 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

  11. Molecular mechanisms associated with 46,XX disorders of sex development.

    PubMed

    Knarston, Ingrid; Ayers, Katie; Sinclair, Andrew

    2016-03-01

    In the female gonad, distinct signalling pathways activate ovarian differentiation while repressing the formation of testes. Human disorders of sex development (DSDs), such as 46,XX DSDs, can arise when this signalling is aberrant. Here we review the current understanding of the genetic mechanisms that control gonadal development, with particular emphasis on those that drive or inhibit ovarian differentiation. We discuss how disruption to these molecular pathways can lead to 46,XX disorders of ovarian development. Finally, we look at recently characterized novel genes and pathways that contribute and speculate how advances in technology will aid in further characterization of normal and disrupted human ovarian development.

  12. [Biochemistry, molecular mechanism of action and biological effects of endotoxin].

    PubMed

    Burgmann, H; Breyer, S

    1995-01-01

    This review is a brief attempt at providing an overview of a subject of enormous complexity-endotoxins and the mediators associated with its biological effects. More specifically it deals with biochemistry and biology of endotoxin, detection of endotoxin with the Limulus amebocyte lysate test, the molecular mechanisms and biological effects, and in the last part with future aspects of therapeutical strategies. It seems certain that the subject will become even more complex and possibly controversial as scientific knowledge further involves. However, because of the high mortality rate of patients suffering from gram-negative sepsis all efforts have to be made to find effective therapeutical strategies.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Molecular and biochemical mechanisms of drug resistance in fungi.

    PubMed

    Yamaguchi, H

    1999-01-01

    This paper reviews the current status of our understanding of resistance mechanisms of three major classes of antifungal drugs for systemic use, amphotericin B (AMPH), flucytosine (5-FC) and several azole antifungals, in particular fluconazole (FLCZ), at the molecular and cellular levels. Although the number of reports of AMPH- or 5-FC-resistant fungal species and strains is limited, several mechanisms of resistance have been described. AMPH-resistant Candida have a marked decrease in ergosterol content compared with AMPH-susceptible control isolates. A lesion in the UMP-pyrophosphorylase is the most frequent determinant of 5-FC resistance in C. albicans. Recently resistance of C. albicans to azoles has become an increasing problem. Extensive biochemical studies have highlighted a significant diversity in mechanisms conferring resistance to FLCZ and other azoles, which include alterations in sterol biosynthesis, target site, uptake and efflux. Among them, the most important mechanism clinically is reduced access of the drug to the intracellular P450 14 DM target, probably because of the action of a multidrug resistance efflux pump, and overproduction of that target. However, other possible resistance mechanisms for azoles remain to be identified.

  16. 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

  17. Molecular Mechanisms of Survival Strategies in Extreme Conditions

    PubMed Central

    Magazù, Salvatore; Migliardo, Federica; Gonzalez, Miguel A.; Mondelli, Claudia; Parker, Stewart F.; Vertessy, Beata G.

    2012-01-01

    Today, one of the major challenges in biophysics is to disclose the molecular mechanisms underlying biological processes. In such a frame, the understanding of the survival strategies in extreme conditions received a lot of attention both from the scientific and applicative points of view. Since nature provides precious suggestions to be applied for improving the quality of life, extremophiles are considered as useful model-systems. The main goal of this review is to present an overview of some systems, with a particular emphasis on trehalose playing a key role in several extremophile organisms. The attention is focused on the relation among the structural and dynamic properties of biomolecules and bioprotective mechanisms, as investigated by complementary spectroscopic techniques at low- and high-temperature values. PMID:25371270

  18. Anisotropic mechanical properties of graphene: a molecular dynamics study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yu, Ming; Zeng, Anna; Zeng, Kevin

    2014-03-01

    The anisotropic mechanical properties of monolayer graphene with different shapes have been studied using an efficient quantum mechanics molecular dynamics scheme based on a semi-empirical Hamiltonian (refereed as SCED-LCAO) [PRB 74, 15540; PHYSE 42, 1]. We have found the anisotropic nature of the membrane stress. The stresses along the armchair direction are slightly stronger than that along the zigzag direction, showing strong direction selectivity. The graphene with the rectangular shape could sustain strong load (i . e ., 20%) in both armchair and zigzag directions. The graphene with the rhombus shape show large difference in the strain direction: it will quickly crack after 18 % of strain in armchair the direction, but slowly destroyed after 20% in the zigzag direction. The obtained 2D Young's modulus at infinitesimal strain and the third-order (effective nonlinear) elastic modulus are in good consistent with the experimental observation.

  19. RNA processing-associated molecular mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases.

    PubMed

    Tang, Anna Y

    2016-08-01

    Dysfunctions of RNA processing and mutations of RNA binding proteins (RBPs) play a fundamental role in the pathogenesis of many neurodegenerative diseases. To elucidate the function of RNA processing and RBPs mutations in neuronal cells and to increase our understanding on the pathogenic mechanisms of neurodegeneration, I have reviewed recent advances on RNA processing-associated molecular mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases, including RBPs-mediated dysfunction of RNA processing, dysfunctional microRNA (miRNA)-based regulation of gene expression, and oxidative RNA modification. I have focused on neurodegeneration induced by RBPs mutations, by dysfunction of miRNA regulation, and by the oxidized RNAs within neurons, and discuss how these dysfunctions have pathologically contributed to neurodegenerative diseases. The advances overviewed above will be valuable to basic investigation and clinical application of target diagnostic tests and therapies.

  20. 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

  1. Molecular Mechanisms of Two-Component Signal Transduction.

    PubMed

    Zschiedrich, Christopher P; Keidel, Victoria; Szurmant, Hendrik

    2016-09-25

    Two-component systems (TCS) comprising sensor histidine kinases and response regulator proteins are among the most important players in bacterial and archaeal signal transduction and also occur in reduced numbers in some eukaryotic organisms. Given their importance to cellular survival, virulence, and cellular development, these systems are among the most scrutinized bacterial proteins. In the recent years, a flurry of bioinformatics, genetic, biochemical, and structural studies have provided detailed insights into many molecular mechanisms that underlie the detection of signals and the generation of the appropriate response by TCS. Importantly, it has become clear that there is significant diversity in the mechanisms employed by individual systems. This review discusses the current knowledge on common themes and divergences from the paradigm of TCS signaling. An emphasis is on the information gained by a flurry of recent structural and bioinformatics studies.

  2. Molecular mechanism of resolving trinucleotide repeat hairpin by helicases.

    PubMed

    Qiu, Yupeng; Niu, Hengyao; Vukovic, Lela; Sung, Patrick; Myong, Sua

    2015-06-01

    Trinucleotide repeat (TNR) expansion is the root cause for many known congenital neurological and muscular disorders in human including Huntington's disease, fragile X syndrome, and Friedreich's ataxia. The stable secondary hairpin structures formed by TNR may trigger fork stalling during replication, causing DNA polymerase slippage and TNR expansion. Srs2 and Sgs1 are two helicases in yeast that resolve TNR hairpins during DNA replication and prevent genome expansion. Using single-molecule fluorescence, we investigated the unwinding mechanism by which Srs2 and Sgs1 resolves TNR hairpin and compared it with unwinding of duplex DNA. While Sgs1 unwinds both structures indiscriminately, Srs2 displays repetitive unfolding of TNR hairpin without fully unwinding it. Such activity of Srs2 shows dependence on the folding strength and the total length of TNR hairpin. Our results reveal a disparate molecular mechanism of Srs2 and Sgs1 that may contribute differently to efficient resolving of the TNR hairpin. PMID:26004439

  3. The molecular basis of mechanisms underlying polarization vision

    PubMed Central

    Roberts, Nicholas W.; Porter, Megan L.; Cronin, Thomas W.

    2011-01-01

    The underlying mechanisms of polarization sensitivity (PS) have long remained elusive. For rhabdomeric photoreceptors, questions remain over the high levels of PS measured experimentally. In ciliary photoreceptors, and specifically cones, little direct evidence supports any type of mechanism. In order to promote a greater interest in these fundamental aspects of polarization vision, we examined a varied collection of studies linking membrane biochemistry, protein–protein interactions, molecular ordering and membrane phase behaviour. While initially these studies may seem unrelated to polarization vision, a common narrative emerges. A surprising amount of evidence exists demonstrating the importance of protein–protein interactions in both rhabdomeric and ciliary photoreceptors, indicating the possible long-range ordering of the opsin protein for increased PS. Moreover, we extend this direction by considering how such protein paracrystalline organization arises in all cell types from controlled membrane phase behaviour and propose a universal pathway for PS to occur in both rhabdomeric and cone photoreceptors. PMID:21282166

  4. Molecular mechanism of size control in development and human diseases

    PubMed Central

    Yang, Xiaolong; Xu, Tian

    2011-01-01

    How multicellular organisms control their size is a fundamental question that fascinated generations of biologists. In the past 10 years, tremendous progress has been made toward our understanding of the molecular mechanism underlying size control. Original studies from Drosophila showed that in addition to extrinsic nutritional and hormonal cues, intrinsic mechanisms also play important roles in the control of organ size during development. Several novel signaling pathways such as insulin and Hippo-LATS signaling pathways have been identified that control organ size by regulating cell size and/or cell number through modulation of cell growth, cell division, and cell death. Later studies using mammalian cell and mouse models also demonstrated that the signaling pathways identified in flies are also conserved in mammals. Significantly, recent studies showed that dysregulation of size control plays important roles in the development of many human diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and hypertrophy. PMID:21483452

  5. High Cholesterol Deteriorates Bone Health: New Insights into Molecular Mechanisms

    PubMed Central

    Mandal, Chandi C.

    2015-01-01

    Many epidemiological studies show a positive connection between cardiovascular diseases and risk of osteoporosis, suggesting a role of hyperlipidemia and/or hypercholesterolemia in regulating osteoporosis. The majority of the studies indicated a correlation between high cholesterol and high LDL-cholesterol level with low bone mineral density, a strong predictor of osteoporosis. Similarly, bone metastasis is a serious complication of cancer for patients. Several epidemiological and basic studies have established that high cholesterol is associated with increased cancer risk. Moreover, osteoporotic bone environment predisposes the cancer cells for metastatic growth in the bone microenvironment. This review focuses on how cholesterol and cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins) regulate the functions of bone residential osteoblast and osteoclast cells to augment or to prevent bone deterioration. Moreover, this study provides an insight into molecular mechanisms of cholesterol-mediated bone deterioration. It also proposes a potential mechanism by which cellular cholesterol boosts cancer-induced bone metastasis. PMID:26557105

  6. Molecular Mechanisms of the Membrane Sculpting ESCRT Pathway

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

    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. PMID:24003212

  7. Huntington’s disease: underlying molecular mechanisms and emerging concepts

    PubMed Central

    Labbadia, John; Morimoto, Richard I.

    2013-01-01

    Huntington’s disease (HD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder for which no disease modifying treatments exist. Many molecular changes and cellular consequences that underlie HD are observed in other neurological disorders suggesting that common pathological mechanisms and pathways may exist. Recent findings have enhanced our understanding of the way cells regulate and respond to expanded polyglutamine proteins such as mutant huntingtin. These studies demonstrate that in addition to effects on folding, aggregation, and clearance pathways, a general transcriptional mechanism also dictates the expression of polyglutamine proteins. Here we summarize the key pathways and networks that are important in HD in the context of recent therapeutic advances and highlight how their interplay may be of relevance to other protein folding disorders. PMID:23768628

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

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:25950192

  9. Probing the Molecular Mechanisms of the Fracture of Semicrystalline Polyethylene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Benkoski, J. J.; Flores, P.; Kramer, E. J.

    2003-03-01

    The effects of molecular architecture on the fracture properties of semicrystalline polymers were probed at diblock copolymer-reinforced interfaces between polystyrene (PS) and polyethylene (PE). The PE used for this study was a model ethylene-butene copolymer which was chosen for its compatibility with hydrogenated poly(styrene-b-1,4-tetradeuteriobutadiene). For a series of these diblock copolymers, the areal chain density (Σ) and the molecular weight of the PE block (M_n) were varied systematically to observe their effects on the interfacial fracture energy (G_c). At low Σ, Gc stayed relatively constant, and was roughly 1 J/m^2. Above a critical value of Σ, the fracture energy climbed rapidly. This critical value decreased with increasing M_n. The detection of deuterium on the fracture surfaces indicated that pullout of the PE block was the predominant failure mechanism when Mn <= 30 kg/mol. Since the entanglement molecular weight of PE is approximately 1 kg/mol, interfacial reinforcement does not appear to depend on the formation of entanglements for this system. The critical Mn coincides instead with the point at which the root-mean-square end-to-end length of the PE block exceeds the long period of the PE crystal lamellae (L).

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  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. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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 orthophosph