Contrasting taxonomic and phylogenetic diversity responses to forest modifications: comparisons of taxa and successive plant life stages in South african scarp forest
Eike Lena Neuschulz
- The degradation of natural forests to modified forests threatens subtropical and tropical biodiversity worldwide. Yet, species responses to forest modification vary considerably. Furthermore, effects of forest modification can differ, whether with respect to diversity components (taxonomic or phylogenetic) or to local (α-diversity) and regional (β-diversity) spatial scales. This real-world complexity has so far hampered our understanding of subtropical and tropical biodiversity patterns in human-modified forest landscapes. In a subtropical South African forest landscape, we studied the responses of three successive plant life stages (adult trees, saplings, seedlings) and of birds to five different types of forest modification distinguished by the degree of within-forest disturbance and forest loss. Responses of the two taxa differed markedly. Thus, the taxonomic α-diversity of birds was negatively correlated with the diversity of all plant life stages and, contrary to plant diversity, increased with forest disturbance. Conversely, forest disturbance reduced the phylogenetic α-diversity of all plant life stages but not that of birds. Forest loss neither affected taxonomic nor phylogenetic diversity of any taxon. On the regional scale, taxonomic but not phylogenetic β-diversity of both taxa was well predicted by variation in forest disturbance and forest loss. In contrast to adult trees, the phylogenetic diversity of saplings and seedlings showed signs of contemporary environmental filtering. In conclusion, forest modification in this subtropical landscape strongly shaped both local and regional biodiversity but with contrasting outcomes. Phylogenetic diversity of plants may be more threatened than that of mobile species such as birds. The reduced phylogenetic diversity of saplings and seedlings suggests losses in biodiversity that are not visible in adult trees, potentially indicating time-lags and contemporary shifts in forest regeneration. The different responses of taxonomic and phylogenetic diversity to forest modifications imply that biodiversity conservation in this subtropical landscape requires the preservation of natural and modified forests.
Disentangling the relationship of the Australian marsupial orders using retrotransposon and evolutionary network analyses
Maria A. Nilsson
- The ancestors to the Australian marsupials entered Australia around 60 (54-72) million years ago from Antarctica, and radiated into the four living orders Peramelemorphia, Dasyuromorphia, Diprotodontia and Notoryctemorphia. The relationship between the four Australian marsupial orders has been a long-standing question, because different phylogenetic studies were not able to consistently reconstruct the same topology. Initial in silico analysis of the Tasmanian devil genome and experimental screening in the seven marsupial orders revealed 20 informative transposable element insertions for resolving the inter- and intraordinal relationships of Australian and South American orders. However, the retrotransposon insertions support three conflicting topologies regarding Peramelemorphia, Dasyuromorphia and Notoryctemorphia, indicating that the split between the three orders may be best understood as a network. This finding is supported by a phylogenetic re-analysis of nuclear gene sequences, using a consensus network approach that allows depicting hidden phylogenetic conflict, otherwise lost when forcing the data into a bifurcating tree. The consensus network analysis agrees with the transposable element analysis in that all possible topologies regarding Peramelemorphia, Dasyuromorphia, and Notoryctemorphia in a rooted four-taxon topology are equally well supported. In addition, retrotransposon insertion data supports the South American order Didelphimorphia being the sistergroup to all other living marsupial orders. The four Australian orders originated within three million years at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary. The rapid divergences left conflicting phylogenetic information in the genome possibly generated by incomplete lineage sorting or introgressive hybridisation, leaving the relationship among Australian marsupial orders unresolvable as a bifurcating process million years later.
Habilitationsordnung der Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftlichen Fachbereiche der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main vom 4. Februar 1992 : genehmigt durch Beschluss des Präsidiums der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main am 19. November 2013
Herstellung eines Phaffia rhodozyma : Stamms mit verstärkter Astaxanthin-Synthese über gezielte genetische Modifikation chemisch mutagenisierter Stämme
- Ziel dieser Arbeit war es erstmals durch eine Kombination aus chemischer Mutagenese und gezielter genetischer Modifikation (hier: „metabolic engineering“) einen Phaffia-Stamm herzustellen, welcher über die Mutagenese hinaus über eine weiter verstärkte Astaxanthin-Synthese verfügt.
Die von „DSM Nutritional Products“ bereitgestellten chemischen Mutanten wurden analysiert und über einen Selektionsprozess auf Pigmentstabilität und Wachstum hin optimiert, da die Stämme aus cryogenisierter Dauerkultur starke Pigmentinstabilitäten und ein verzögertes Wachstum aufwiesen.
Über eine exploratorische Phase wurde die Carotinoidsynthese analysiert und festgestellt, dass in den Mutanten keine Einzelreaktionen betroffen sind, welche für die Heraufregulierung der Carotinoidsynthese in den Mutanten verantwortlich sind. Hierbei wurden Limitierungen identifiziert und diese durch Transformation von Expressionsplasmiden mit geeigneten Genen aufgehoben, um damit eine noch effizientere Metabolisierung von Astaxanthin-Vorstufen hin zu Astaxanthin zu erreichen. Eine Überexpression der Phytoensynthase/Lycopinzyklase crtYB resultierte in einem gesteigerten Carotinoidgehalt bei gleichbleibendem Astaxanthin- Anteil. Durch eine zweite Transformation mit einer Expressionskassette für die Astaxanthin-Synthase asy konnte der Carotinoidgehalt weiter gesteigert und zusätzlich eine Limitierung der Metabolisierung von Astaxanthin-Vorstufen behoben werden, sodass die Transformante nahezu alle Intermediate der Astaxanthinsynthese zu Astaxanthin metabolisieren konnte (Gassel et al. 2013). Es konnte gezeigt werden, dass auch in den Mutanten, aus Experimenten mit dem Wildtyp bekannte, Limitierungen identifiziert und ausgeglichen werden konnten.
Investigation of the biosynthesis of bacterial natural products
- Natural products (NPs) have been a rich source for pharmaceutically used anti-infectives and other drugs. However, the application of anti-infectives inevitably causes the development of resistant and multiresistant pathogens, which have to be treated with novel anti-infectives. The industrial research for novel anti-infectives has been concentrating on members of the bacterial Actinomycetales for a long time. Due to several reasons, e.g. the rediscovery of already known NPs, pharmaceutical companies abandoned their NP-research and focused on drug development based on combinatorial chemistry. However, the limited structural diversity of merely synthetic compound libraries has not been a fruitful source for bioactive compounds. Hence the discovery of novel bioactive NPs as a source for anti-infectives is still of economical and humanitarian interest and will remain to be an important branch of research in the future. One strategy to circumvent the rediscovery of bioactive NPs is the analysis of yet unexplored bacterial taxa. Based on this assumption, this work aimed at the discovery of novel NPs from the entomopathogenic bacterial genera Xenorhabdus and Photorhabdus and other promising taxa, as well as the investigation of their biosynthesis. ...
Lateralization of Travelling Wave Response in the Hearing Organ of Bushcrickets
Arun Palghat Udayashankar
- Travelling waves are the physical basis of frequency discrimination in many vertebrate and invertebrate taxa, including mammals, birds, and some insects. In bushcrickets (Tettigoniidae), the crista acustica is the hearing organ that has been shown to use sound-induced travelling waves. Up to now, data on mechanical characteristics of sound-induced travelling waves were only available along the longitudinal (proximal-distal) direction. In this study, we use laser Doppler vibrometry to investigate in-vivo radial (anterior-posterior) features of travelling waves in the tropical bushcricket Mecopoda elongata. Our results demonstrate that the maximum of sound-induced travelling wave amplitude response is always shifted towards the anterior part of the crista acustica. This lateralization of the travelling wave response induces a tilt in the motion of the crista acustica, which presumably optimizes sensory transduction by exerting a shear motion on the sensory cilia in this hearing organ.
pH- and sodium-induced changes in a sodium/proton antiporter
- We examined substrate-induced conformational changes in MjNhaP1, an archaeal electroneutral Na+/H+-antiporter resembling the human antiporter NHE1, by electron crystallography of 2D crystals in a range of physiological pH and Na+ conditions. In the absence of sodium, changes in pH had no major effect. By contrast, changes in Na+ concentration caused a marked conformational change that was largely pH-independent. Crystallographically determined, apparent dissociation constants indicated ∼10-fold stronger Na+ binding at pH 8 than at pH 4, consistent with substrate competition for a common ion-binding site. Projection difference maps indicated helix movements by about 2 Å in the 6-helix bundle region of MjNhaP1 that is thought to contain the ion translocation site. We propose that these movements convert the antiporter from the proton-bound, outward-open state to the Na+-bound, inward-open state. Oscillation between the two states would result in rapid Na+/H+ antiport.
Genetic diversity and geneflow between Arctic and Antarctic populations of the lichen Cetraria aculeata along the Andes and the Rocky Mountains
Fernando Fernández Mendoza
- Lichens are present in most land ecosystems, frequently occupying habitats where few other organisms are able to survive. Their contribution to the ecosystems in terms of biomass and ground cover increases with latitude and altitude, being, together with bryophytes, the most conspicuous component of alpine and polar landscapes. Whereas some polar lichens have reduced distributions and are restricted to high latitudes, most of them have very wide distributional ranges, which oven extend over several climatic regions. Many of them are common to Polar Regions of both hemispheres, a distributional pattern that has been denominated as bipolar, antitropical or amphitropical. Bipolar distributions are not exclusive to lichens, but common to many groups of organisms. The bipolar element in lichens is exceptional as it includes a large number of species, while in most other land organisms it includes genera or families but very seldom species.
In this dissertation I use the bipolar lichen Cetraria aculeata to give a first insight into the phylogeography of this biogeographic element in lichens. I discuss how and when the disjunct distribution of C. aculeata came to be, and try to partial out the roles that historical and ecological processes played in shaping its distribution.
Sampling was designed to cover a wide geographic extension. The main e"ort was made to collect in boreal, temperate and tropical mountain ranges in North and South America, as well to include Mediterranean populations in which specimens with deviant morphologies are observed.
I found that Cetraria aculeata forms a genetically congruent taxon. Although whether it should include C. muricata remains unsolved, I excluded all specimens identified as the latter from our analyses. Thee populations of both algal and fungal symbionts have a strong geographic structure. The study of the lichen fungus suggested that the species originated in the Eurasian continent and later expanded to acquire its current distribution during the Pleistocene. The results showed that all American populations originated from an ancestral population, more similar to the extant Arctic populations than to the Mediterranean ones.
The comparison between the structure of fungal and algal populations showed a high degree of coherence between them. However, the similarity in photobiont use between Arctic and Antarctic populations suggests that photobiont use responds not only to a history of codispersal in vegetative propagula, but it is also a result of a selective process related to climate. Since this climatic pattern of similarity is also found in the community of Alphaproteobacteria associated with C. aculeata, we concluded that lichens might be able to accommodate or to respond to different environmental conditions by selectively associating with different symbiotic partners.
Lastly, we found the Mediterranean populations of C. aculeata to be genetically differentiated in algal and fungal symbionts from the rest of the populations. While we found no grounds to believe that the overgrown morphs encountered in the region are due to the association with different algal lineages, I believe that a switch in photobiont use might be responsible for the pattern of genetic isolation encountered. Furthermore, I suggest that the Mediterranean and bipolar C. aculeata could be two different species, since both are ecologically, genetically and at least in part morphologically divergent.
Transcriptome data reveal Syndermatan relationships and suggest the evolution of endoparasitism in Acanthocephala via an epizoic stage
Alexandra R. Wey-Fabrizius
David B. Mark Welch
- The taxon Syndermata comprises the biologically interesting wheel animals (“Rotifera”: Bdelloidea + Monogononta + Seisonidea) and thorny-headed worms (Acanthocephala), and is central for testing superordinate phylogenetic hypotheses (Platyzoa, Gnathifera) in the metazoan tree of life. Recent analyses of syndermatan phylogeny suggested paraphyly of Eurotatoria (free-living bdelloids and monogononts) with respect to endoparasitic acanthocephalans. Data of epizoic seisonids, however, were absent, which may have affected the branching order within the syndermatan clade. Moreover, the position of Seisonidea within Syndermata should help in understanding the evolution of acanthocephalan endoparasitism. Here, we report the first phylogenomic analysis that includes all four higher-ranked groups of Syndermata. The analyzed data sets comprise new transcriptome data for Seison spec. (Seisonidea), Brachionus manjavacas (Monogononta), Adineta vaga (Bdelloidea), and Paratenuisentis ambiguus (Acanthocephala). Maximum likelihood and Bayesian trees for a total of 19 metazoan species were reconstructed from up to 410 functionally diverse proteins. The results unanimously place Monogononta basally within Syndermata, and Bdelloidea appear as the sister group to a clade comprising epizoic Seisonidea and endoparasitic Acanthocephala. Our results support monophyly of Syndermata, Hemirotifera (Bdelloidea + Seisonidea + Acanthocephala), and Pararotatoria (Seisonidea + Acanthocephala), rejecting monophyly of traditional Rotifera and Eurotatoria. This serves as an indication that early acanthocephalans lived epizoically or as ectoparasites on arthropods, before their complex lifecycle with arthropod intermediate and vertebrate definite hosts evolved.
Novel three-dimensional in vitro models of ovarian endometriosis
Nagesh P. Rao
Simon A. Gayther
- Background: Endometriosis is characterized by the presence of functional endometrial tissue outside of the uterine cavity. It affects 1 in 10 women of reproductive age. This chronic condition commonly leads to consequences such as pelvic pain, dysmenorrhea, infertility and an elevated risk of epithelial ovarian cancer. Despite the prevalence of endometriosis and its impact on women's lives, there are relatively few in vitro and in vivo models available for studying the complex disease biology, pathophysiology, and for use in the preclinical development of novel therapies. The goal of this study was to develop a novel three-dimensional (3D) cell culture model of ovarian endometriosis and to test whether it is more reflective of endometriosis biology than traditional two dimensional (2D) monolayer cultures.
Methods: A novel ovarian endometriosis epithelial cell line (EEC16) was isolated from a 34-year old female with severe endometriosis. After characterization of cells using in vitro assays, western blotting and RNA-sequencing, this cell line and a second, already well characterized endometriosis cell line, EEC12Z, were established as in vitro 3D spheroid models. We compared biological features of 3D spheroids to 2D cultures and human endometriosis lesions using immunohistochemistry and real-time semi-quantitative PCR.
Results: In comparison to normal ovarian epithelial cells, EEC16 displayed features of neoplastic transformation in in vitro assays. When cultured in 3D, EEC16 and EEC12Z showed differential expression of endometriosis-associated genes compared to 2D monolayer cultures, and more closely mimicked the molecular and histological features of human endometriosis lesions.
Conclusions: To our knowledge, this represents the first report of an in vitro spheroid model of endometriosis. 3D endometriosis models represent valuable experimental tools for studying EEC biology and the development of novel therapeutic approaches.