Metabolic Changes in Summer Active and Anuric Hibernating Free-Ranging Brown Bears (Ursus arctos)
Abdul Rashid Qureshi
Richard J. Johnson
- The brown bear (Ursus arctos) hibernates for 5 to 6 months each winter and during this time ingests no food or water and remains anuric and inactive. Despite these extreme conditions, bears do not develop azotemia and preserve their muscle and bone strength. To date most renal studies have been limited to small numbers of bears, often in captive environments. Sixteen free-ranging bears were darted and had blood drawn both during hibernation in winter and summer. Samples were collected for measurement of creatinine and urea, markers of inflammation, the calcium-phosphate axis, and nutritional parameters including amino acids. In winter the bear serum creatinine increased 2.5 fold despite a 2-fold decrease in urea, indicating a remarkable ability to recycle urea nitrogen during hibernation. During hibernation serum calcium remained constant despite a decrease in serum phosphate and a rise in FGF23 levels. Despite prolonged inactivity and reduced renal function, inflammation does not ensue and bears seem to have enhanced antioxidant defense mechanisms during hibernation. Nutrition parameters showed high fat stores, preserved amino acids and mild hyperglycemia during hibernation. While total, essential, non-essential and branched chain amino acids concentrations do not change during hibernation anorexia, changes in individual amino acids ornithine, citrulline and arginine indicate an active, although reduced urea cycle and nitrogen recycling to proteins. Serum uric acid and serum fructose levels were elevated in summer and changes between seasons were positively correlated. Further studies to understand how bears can prevent the development of uremia despite minimal renal function during hibernation could provide new therapeutic avenues for the treatment of human kidney disease.
Human CLPP reverts the longevity phenotype of a fungal ClpP deletion strain
Heinz D. Osiewacz
- Mitochondrial maintenance crucially depends on the quality control of proteins by various chaperones, proteases and repair enzymes. While most of the involved components have been studied in some detail, little is known on the biological role of the CLPXP protease complex located in the mitochondrial matrix. Here we show that deletion of PaClpP, encoding the CLP protease proteolytic subunit CLPP, leads to an unexpected healthy phenotype and increased lifespan of the fungal ageing model organism Podospora anserina. This phenotype can be reverted by expression of human ClpP in the fungal deletion background, demonstrating functional conservation of human and fungal CLPP. Our results show that the biological role of eukaryotic CLP proteases can be studied in an experimentally accessible model organism.
QuateXelero: an accelerated exact network motif detection algorithm
- Finding motifs in biological, social, technological, and other types of networks has become a widespread method to gain more knowledge about these networks’ structure and function. However, this task is very computationally demanding, because it is highly associated with the graph isomorphism which is an NP problem (not known to belong to P or NP-complete subsets yet). Accordingly, this research is endeavoring to decrease the need to call NAUTY isomorphism detection method, which is the most time-consuming step in many existing algorithms. The work provides an extremely fast motif detection algorithm called QuateXelero, which has a Quaternary Tree data structure in the heart. The proposed algorithm is based on the well-known ESU (FANMOD) motif detection algorithm. The results of experiments on some standard model networks approve the overal superiority of the proposed algorithm, namely QuateXelero, compared with two of the fastest existing algorithms, G-Tries and Kavosh. QuateXelero is especially fastest in constructing the central data structure of the algorithm from scratch based on the input network.
Transcription of Genes Involved in Sulfolipid and Polyacyltrehalose Biosynthesis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Experimental Latent Tuberculosis Infection
Jimmy E. Rodríguez
Ana S. Ramírez
Laura P. Salas
Jorge Gonzalez y Merchand
Carlos Y. Soto
- he Influence of trehalose-based glycolipids in the virulence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) is recognised; however, the actual role of these cell-wall glycolipids in latent infection is unknown. As an initial approach, we determined by two-dimensional thin-layer chromatography the sulfolipid (SL) and diacyltrehalose/polyacyltrehalose (DAT/PAT) profile of the cell wall of hypoxic Mtb. Then, qRT-PCR was extensively conducted to determine the transcription profile of genes involved in the biosynthesis of these glycolipids in non-replicating persistent 1 (NRP1) and anaerobiosis (NRP2) models of hypoxia (Wayne model), and murine models of chronic and progressive pulmonary tuberculosis. A diminished content of SL and increased amounts of glycolipids with chromatographic profile similar to DAT were detected in Mtb grown in the NRP2 stage. A striking decrease in the transcription of mmpL8 and mmpL10 transporter genes and increased transcription of the pks (polyketidesynthase) genes involved in SL and DAT biosynthesis were detected in both the NRP2 stage and the murine model of chronic infection. All genes were found to be up-regulated in the progressive disease. These results suggest that SL production is diminished during latent infection and the DAT/PAT precursors can be accumulated inside tubercle bacilli and are possibly used in reactivation processes.
Evolution of microgastropods (Ellobioidea, Carychiidae): integrating taxonomic, phylogenetic and evolutionary hypotheses
- BACKGROUND: Current biodiversity patterns are considered largely the result of past climatic and tectonic changes. In an integrative approach, we combine taxonomic and phylogenetic hypotheses to analyze temporal and geographic diversification of epigean (Carychium) and subterranean (Zospeum) evolutionary lineages in Carychiidae (Eupulmonata, Ellobioidea). We explicitly test three hypotheses: 1) morphospecies encompass unrecognized evolutionary lineages, 2) limited dispersal results in a close genetic relationship of geographical proximally distributed taxa and 3) major climatic and tectonic events had an impact on lineage diversification within Carychiidae.
RESULTS: Initial morphospecies assignments were investigated by different molecular delimitation approaches (threshold, ABGD, GMYC and SP). Despite a conservative delimitation strategy, carychiid morphospecies comprise a great number of unrecognized evolutionary lineages. We attribute this phenomenon to historic underestimation of morphological stasis and phenotypic variability amongst lineages. The first molecular phylogenetic hypothesis for the Carychiidae (based on COI, 16S and H3) reveals Carychium and Zospeum to be reciprocally monophyletic. Geographical proximally distributed lineages are often closely related. The temporal diversification of Carychiidae is best described by a constant rate model of diversification. The evolution of Carychiidae is characterized by relatively few (long distance) colonization events. We find support for an Asian origin of Carychium. Zospeum may have arrived in Europe before extant members of Carychium. Distantly related Carychium clades inhabit a wide spectrum of the available bioclimatic niche and demonstrate considerable niche overlap.
CONCLUSIONS: Carychiid taxonomy is in dire need of revision. An inferred wide distribution and variable phenotype suggest underestimated diversity in Zospeum. Several Carychium morphospecies are results of past taxonomic lumping. By collecting populations at their type locality, molecular investigations are able to link historic morphospecies assignments to their respective evolutionary lineage. We propose that rare founder populations initially colonized a continent or cave system. Subsequent passive dispersal into adjacent areas led to in situ pan-continental or mountain range diversifications. Major environmental changes did not influence carychiid diversification. However, certain molecular delimitation methods indicated a recent decrease in diversification rate. We attribute this decrease to protracted speciation.
SymGRASS: a database of sugarcane orthologous genes involved in arbuscular mycorrhiza and root nodule symbiosis : from Seventh International Meeting on Computational Intelligence Methods for Bioinformatics and Biostatistics, (CIBB 2010), Palermo, Italy, 16 - 18 September 2010
Luis Carlos Belarmino
Roberta Lane de Oliveira Silva
Nina da Mota Soares Cavalcanti
Ederson Akio Kido
Ana Maria Benko-Iseppon
- Background: The rationale for gathering information from plants procuring nitrogen through symbiotic interactions controlled by a common genetic program for a sustainable biofuel production is the high energy demanding application of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers. We curated sequence information publicly available for the biofuel plant sugarcane, performed an analysis of the common SYM pathway known to control symbiosis in other plants, and provide results, sequences and literature links as an online database.
Methods: Sugarcane sequences and informations were downloaded from the nucEST database, cleaned and trimmed with seqclean, assembled with TGICL plus translating mapping method, and annotated. The annotation is based on BLAST searches against a local formatted plant Uniprot90 generated with CD-HIT for functional assignment, rpsBLAST to CDD database for conserved domain analysis, and BLAST search to sorghum's for Gene Ontology (GO) assignment. Gene expression was normalized according the Unigene standard, presented as ESTs/100 kb. Protein sequences known in the SYM pathway were used as queries to search the SymGRASS sequence database. Additionally, antimicrobial peptides described in the PhytAMP database served as queries to retrieve and generate expression profiles of these defense genes in the libraries compared to the libraries obtained under symbiotic interactions.
Results: We describe the SymGRASS, a database of sugarcane orthologous genes involved in arbuscular mycorrhiza (AM) and root nodule (RN) symbiosis. The database aggregates knowledge about sequences, tissues, organ, developmental stages and experimental conditions, and provides annotation and level of gene expression for sugarcane transcripts and SYM orthologous genes in sugarcane through a web interface. Several candidate genes were found for all nodes in the pathway, and interestingly a set of symbiosis specific genes was found.
Conclusions: The knowledge integrated in SymGRASS may guide studies on molecular, cellular and physiological mechanisms by which sugarcane controls the establishment and efficiency of endophytic associations. We believe that the candidate sequences for the SYM pathway together with the pool of exclusively expressed tentative consensus (TC) sequences are crucial for the design of molecular studies to unravel the mechanisms controlling the establishment of symbioses in sugarcane, ultimately serving as a basis for the improvement of grass crops.
SchussenAktivplus: reduction of micropollutants and of potentially pathogenic bacteria for further water quality improvement of the river Schussen, a tributary of Lake Constance, Germany
- The project focuses on the efficiency of combined technologies to reduce the release of micropollutants and bacteria into surface waters via sewage treatment plants of different size and via stormwater overflow basins of different types. As a model river in a highly populated catchment area, the river Schussen and, as a control, the river Argen, two tributaries of Lake Constance, Southern Germany, are under investigation in this project. The efficiency of the different cleaning technologies is monitored by a wide range of exposure and effect analyses including chemical and microbiological techniques as well as effect studies ranging from molecules to communities.
40S ribosome biogenesis co-factors are essential for gametophyte and embryo development
Benjamin L. Weis
- Ribosome biogenesis is well described in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In contrast only very little information is available on this pathway in plants. This study presents the characterization of five putative protein co-factors of ribosome biogenesis in Arabidopsis thaliana, namely Rrp5, Pwp2, Nob1, Enp1 and Noc4. The characterization of the proteins in respect to localization, enzymatic activity and association with pre-ribosomal complexes is shown. Additionally, analyses of T-DNA insertion mutants aimed to reveal an involvement of the plant co-factors in ribosome biogenesis. The investigated proteins localize mainly to the nucleolus or the nucleus, and atEnp1 and atNob1 co-migrate with 40S pre-ribosomal complexes. The analysis of T-DNA insertion lines revealed that all proteins are essential in Arabidopsis thaliana and mutant plants show alterations of rRNA intermediate abundance already in the heterozygous state. The most significant alteration was observed in the NOB1 T-DNA insertion line where the P-A3 fragment, a 23S-like rRNA precursor, accumulated. The transmission of the T-DNA through the male and female gametophyte was strongly inhibited indicating a high importance of ribosome co-factor genes in the haploid stages of plant development. Additionally impaired embryogenesis was observed in some mutant plant lines. All results support an involvement of the analyzed proteins in ribosome biogenesis but differences in rRNA processing, gametophyte and embryo development suggested an alternative regulation in plants.
Use of axonal projection patterns for the homologisation of cerebral nerves in Opisthobranchia, Mollusca and Gastropoda
Roger P. Croll
- Introduction: Gastropoda are guided by several sensory organs in the head region, referred to as cephalic sensory organs (CSOs). These CSOs are innervated by distinct nerves. This study proposes a unified terminology for the cerebral nerves and the categories of CSOs and then investigates the neuroanatomy and cellular innervation patterns of these cerebral nerves, in order to homologise them. The homologisation of the cerebral nerves in conjunction with other data, e.g. ontogenetic development or functional morphology, may then provide insights into the homology of the CSOs themselves.
Results: Nickel-lysine axonal tracing (“backfilling”) was used to stain the somata projecting into specific nerves in representatives of opisthobranch Gastropoda. Tracing patterns revealed the occurrence, size and relative position of somata and their axons and enabled these somata to be mapped to specific cell clusters. Assignment of cells to clusters followed a conservative approach based primarily on relative location of the cells. Each of the four investigated cerebral nerves could be uniquely identified due to a characteristic set of soma clusters projecting into the respective nerves via their axonal pathways.
Conclusions: As the described tracing patterns are highly conserved morphological characters, they can be used to homologise nerves within the investigated group of gastropods. The combination of adequate number of replicates and a comparative approach allows us to provide preliminary hypotheses on homologies for the cerebral nerves. Based on the hypotheses regarding cerebral nerve homology together with further data on ultrastructure and immunohistochemistry of CSOs published elsewhere, we can propose preliminary hypotheses regarding homology for the CSOs of the Opisthobranchia themselves.
Is a persistent global bias necessary for the establishment of planar cell polarity?
Nicholas A. M. Monk
Markus R. Owen
- Planar cell polarity (PCP)–the coordinated polarisation of a whole field of cells within the plane of a tissue–relies on the interaction of three modules: a global module that couples individual cellular polarity to the tissue axis, a local module that aligns the axis of polarisation of neighbouring cells, and a readout module that directs the correct outgrowth of PCP-regulated structures such as hairs and bristles. While much is known about the molecular components that are required for PCP, the functional details of–and interactions between–the modules remain unclear. In this work, we perform a mathematical and computational analysis of two previously proposed computational models of the local module (Amonlirdviman et al., Science, 307, 2005; Le Garrec et al., Dev. Dyn., 235, 2006). Both models can reproduce wild-type and mutant phenotypes of PCP observed in the Drosophila wing under the assumption that a tissue-wide polarity cue from the global module persists throughout the development of PCP. We demonstrate that both models can also generate tissue-level PCP when provided with only a transient initial polarity cue. However, in these models such transient cues are not sufficient to ensure robustness of the resulting cellular polarisation.