Validation of novel reference genes for reverse transcription quantitative real-time PCR in drought-stressed sugarcane
Roberta Lane de Oliveira Silva
Manassés Daniel Silva
José Ribamar Costa Ferreira Neto
Claudia Huerta de Nardi
Sabrina Moutinho Chabregas
William Lee Burnquist
Ana Maria Benko-Iseppon
Ederson Akio Kido
- One of the most challenging aspects of RT-qPCR data analysis is the identification of reliable reference genes. Ideally, they should be neither induced nor repressed under different experimental conditions. To date, few reference genes have been adequately studied for sugarcane (Saccharum spp.) using statistical approaches. In this work, six candidate genes (αTUB, GAPDH, H1, SAMDC, UBQ, and 25S rRNA) were tested for gene expression normalization of sugarcane root tissues from drought-tolerant and -sensitive accessions after continuous dehydration (24 h). By undergoing different approaches (GeNorm, NormFinder, and BestKeeper), it was shown that most of them could be used in combinations for normalization purposes, with the exception of SAMDC. Nevertheless three of them (H1, αTUB, and GAPDH) were considered the most reliable reference genes. Their suitability as reference genes validated the expression profiles of two targets (AS and PFPα1), related to SuperSAGE unitags, in agreement with results revealed by previous in silico analysis. The other two sugarcane unitags (ACC oxidase and PIP1-1), after salt stress (100 mM NaCl), presented their expressions validated in the same way. In conclusion, these reference genes will be useful for dissecting gene expression in sugarcane roots under abiotic stress, especially in transcriptomic studies using SuperSAGE or RNAseq approaches.
Bears in a forest of gene trees: phylogenetic inference is complicated by incomplete lineage sorting and gene flow
Verena E. Kutschera
Julia L. Rodi
Steven R. Fain
- Ursine bears are a mammalian subfamily that comprises six morphologically and ecologically distinct extant species. Previous phylogenetic analyses of concatenated nuclear genes could not resolve all relationships among bears, and appeared to conflict with the mitochondrial phylogeny. Evolutionary processes such as incomplete lineage sorting and introgression can cause gene tree discordance and complicate phylogenetic inferences, but are not accounted for in phylogenetic analyses of concatenated data. We generated a high-resolution data set of autosomal introns from several individuals per species and of Y-chromosomal markers. Incorporating intraspecific variability in coalescence-based phylogenetic and gene flow estimation approaches, we traced the genealogical history of individual alleles. Considerable heterogeneity among nuclear loci and discordance between nuclear and mitochondrial phylogenies were found. A species tree with divergence time estimates indicated that ursine bears diversified within less than 2 My. Consistent with a complex branching order within a clade of Asian bear species, we identified unidirectional gene flow from Asian black into sloth bears. Moreover, gene flow detected from brown into American black bears can explain the conflicting placement of the American black bear in mitochondrial and nuclear phylogenies. These results highlight that both incomplete lineage sorting and introgression are prominent evolutionary forces even on time scales up to several million years. Complex evolutionary patterns are not adequately captured by strictly bifurcating models, and can only be fully understood when analyzing multiple independently inherited loci in a coalescence framework. Phylogenetic incongruence among gene trees hence needs to be recognized as a biologically meaningful signal.
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.
Posttranscriptional regulation of the microRNA-17-92a cluster
- By far not all genetic information is expressed by mRNA coding regions of the DNA. 98% of the human genome is not encoding for proteins. Therefore, these non-coding regions have been considered as “junk DNA” for a long time [1, 2]. The last years, new high throughput sequencing techniques have allowed the elucidation of the heterogeneous population of non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs, Table 1). RNAs longer than 200 nucleotides (nt) belong to the family of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). They can exhibit numerous functions: The biggest family of RNAs is represented by the ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs). Together with the transfer RNAs (tRNAs) they are essential for the translation of mRNA into an amino acid sequence.
Neben dem Periodensystem hängt der genetische Code : Gerhard Quinkert schuf das Frankfurter Modell der Chemischen Biologie
- Mit dem Namen Gerhard Quinkert verbindet man in Frankfurt vor allem die Öffnung der Chemie für die Biologie. Das war damals ein außergewöhnlicher Schritt, der dank einer gezielten Berufungspolitik realisiert wurde. Der Organische Chemiker hat das »Frankfurter Modell« Ende der 1970er Jahre entwickelt.
Wo bleibt die Zeit für den Blick auf das große Ganze? : Von den Zwängen der Spezialisierung und dem Wunsch, den Überblick zu bewahren
- Jetzt, nach Beendigung vieler Jahre der Lehre und Forschung an der Goethe-Universität, kann ich diese Zeit mit einem Abstand überdenken. Der Freiraum für solch nicht zweckgerichtetes Verhalten ist während der praktischen Tätigkeit an der Universität äußerst gering und muss hart erkämpft werden, wie jedes Stück Freiheit. Rückblickend sehe ich, dass der Wunsch, über das Detailwissen hinaus ganzheitliche Zusammenhänge zu betrachten und über die eigene Fachgrenze hinauszugehen, meinen Weg geprägt hat.
A Description of Biremis panamae sp. nov., a New Diatom Species from the Marine Littoral, with an Account of the Phylogenetic Position of Biremis D.G. Mann et E.J. Cox (Bacillariophyceae)
David G. Mann
Jascha L. F. Weisenborn
Matt P. Ashworth
Krzysztof J. Kurzydłowski
- Here we present a formal description of Biremis panamae Barka, Witkowski et Weisenborn sp. nov., which was isolated from the marine littoral environment of the Pacific Ocean coast of Panama. The description is based on morphology (light and electron microscopy) and the rbcL, psbC and SSU sequences of one clone of this species. The new species is included in Biremis due to its morphological features; i.e. two marginal rows of foramina, chambered striae, and girdle composed of numerous punctate copulae. The new species also possesses a striated valve face which is not seen in most known representatives of marine littoral Biremis species. In this study we also present the relationship of Biremis to other taxa using morphology, DNA sequence data and observations of auxosporulation. Our results based on these three sources point to an evolutionary relationship between Biremis, Neidium and Scoliopleura. The unusual silicified incunabular caps present in them are known otherwise only in Muelleria, which is probably related to the Neidiaceae and Scoliotropidaceae. We also discuss the relationship between Biremis and the recently described Labellicula and Olifantiella.
Untersuchungen zur sozialen Arbeitsteilung am Beispiel des Brutwärmens von Honigbienen (Apis mellifera L.)
Julia Katrin Dickel
- Die soziale Arbeitsteilung bei Honigbienen ist ein komplexes selbstorganisatorisches System, welches auf zwei Ebenen der biologischen Organisation zu verorten ist: dem Individuum und der Kolonie. Die Regulation der Bruttemperatur ist ebenfalls diesen Gesetzmäßigkeiten unterworfen. Die Arbeits-bereitschaft einzelner Bienen bildet die Grundlage für die Temperaturregulierung des kolonialen Brutnestes.
In dieser Arbeit wird dieses Zusammenspiel aus individuellen Beteiligungen der Arbeiterinnen sowie der erbrachten Gesamtleistung der Kolonie während des Brutwärmens untersucht. Dazu wird eine kleine Bienengruppe auf einer Brutwabe einer thermischen Belastung ausgesetzt. Ein speziell für diese Untersuchungen entwickelter Versuchsaufbau integriert erstmals die Infrarot-Thermografie mit den Temperaturmessungen einer Brutfläche. Somit ist es möglich, die Thoraxtemperaturen der einzelnen, am Brutwärmen beteiligten Arbeiterinnen störungsfrei zu messen und gleichzeitig das erzeugte räumliche und zeitliche Temperaturmuster der Brutwabe zu ermitteln. Zusätzlich wird der Temperaturverlauf der Außentemperatur sowie der zellumgebenden Luft untersucht.
Es kann gezeigt werden, dass die Lufttemperatur im Innenraum eines Bienenstocks ein wichtiger Faktor in der Temperaturregulierung des Brutnestes ist, da sie die untere Temperaturgrenze im Bienenstock bildet. Weiterhin wird der Einfluss der brutwärmenden Arbeiterinnen auf die Temperaturentwicklung einer Brutfläche sichtbar. Durch das flexible Verhalten der Arbeiterinnen kann einer Brutfläche bei thermischer Belastung durch lokal wechselndes Brutwärmen optimal Wärme zugeführt werden. Es gibt es Hinweise auf eine zyklische Periodizität im zeitlichen Temperaturverlauf der Brutzellen, welche auf einen Brutwärmrhythmus durch die Bienen schließen lässt. Durch den Einsatz zweier Unterarten (Apis mellifera carnica & Apis mellifera mellifera) wird sichtbar, dass es zwischen den Gruppen Unterschiede in der Aufrechterhaltung der Lufttemperatur über der Wabe gibt.
Identification of biomarkers for the fruiting body formation in Myxococcus xanthus
- Myxobacteria are on order of Gram-negative, soil dwelling bacteria that feature an impressive number of properties: they can glide on solid surfaces by using two different motility motors, subsist by preying on other microorganisms, are often producers of multiple natural products, and upon adverse environmental conditions, they are able to form multicellular structures called “fruiting bodies”. The process, in which these macroscopically visible structures arise from independent single cells, has been the predominant subject of myxobacterial research for many decades. More precisely, researchers have strived for the discovery of genes, proteins and small molecules that act as signals, receivers or modulators of this complex process. In this regard, the species Myxococcus xanthus has evolved into the model organism due to its relatively simple and reliable handling in a laboratory environment. The research underlying this thesis focused on the identification and biosynthesis of lipids that may act as intercellular signaling molecules during the course of fruiting body formation of the myxobacterium Myxococcus xanthus as part of the “E-signal” system. In general, lipids containing branched-chain fatty acids with an uneven number of carbon atoms were found to be important players in this particular process. Nevertheless, their exact roles remain largely unknown as of this day. The first publication that is part of this thesis deals with an aspect that even strengthened the importance of role of iso-branched compounds in myxobacteria: myxobacterial metabolism is able to transform precursors of iso-lipids to isoprenoids. It addresses the question whether isoprenoids in general are important for fruiting body formation. Phenotypic analysis of mutants impaired in the biosynthesis of the central isoprenoid precursor 3-hydroxymethylglutaryl-Coenzyme A (3-HMG-CoA) from acetate and/or branched chain keto acids and their genetic and metabolic complementation clearly showed that isoprenoids are essential for fruiting body formation and confirmed that leucine derived isovalerate is an important source for isoprenoid precursors in myxobacteria. The second, and by far and away most tedious and sophisticated study, addressed the question as to how myxobacteria form fatty acid derived iso-branched ether lipids and to what extent they are important for fruiting body formation and sporulation. In a previous study, those unusual lipids were identified as specific biomarkers for myxobacterial development. No biochemical pathways to ether lipids specific for prokaryotes were known by then. In this study, a putative candidate gene that may be in involved in ether lipid biosynthesis was investigated. A combination of gene disruption and complementation experiments, phenotypic analysis and monitoring of ether lipid formation by means of GC-MS demonstrated its involvement in myxobacterial ether lipid biosynthesis and the importance of these lipids for the developmental process. Heterologous expression and biochemical testing of this gene together with in-silico sequence analysis and docking experiments confirmed the functions of its predicted domains. The discussion section provides an additional suggestion on how the ether bond formation is performed. Furthermore and most importantly, iso-branched ether lipids were found to be essential for sporulation but not for fruiting body formation. In summary, one or several molecules derived from an iso-branched alkylglycerol seem to play a role during sporulation in M. xanthus and a multidomain enzyme unique for myxobacteria is involved in their biosynthesis. The last manuscript addresses the complexity of lipid metabolism in myxobacteria. Prior to this work, there was limited knowledge about the exact composition of the myxobacterial lipidome and no method was available to monitor putative changes in the myxobacterial lipidome down to the single molecular species for studying lipid biosynthesis or regulation. An ultra-performance liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry based method with electrospray ionization (UPLC-ESI-MS) utilizing standard equipment and a water/acetonitrile/isopropanol based eluent system proved to be geared for the construction of lipid profiles for wild type and mutant cells of M. xanthus and to show their differences. Fragmentation spectra based structure elucidation of lipid molecular species resulted in the identification of 99 molecular species comprising glycerophosphoethanolamines, glycerophosphoglycerols, glycerolipids, ceramides and ceramide phosphoinositols. The latter have never been described for any prokaryotes before. Three dimensional plots were created from the relative intensity differences of the single molecular ion species between the different samples to provide an efficient and versatile visualization of the data and enable the researcher to quickly detect differences.
Identification of novel base methyltransferases of the 25S rRNA in Saccharomyces cerevisiae
- RNA modifications are present in all three kingdoms of life and detected in all classes of cellular RNAs. RNA modifications are diverse, with more than 100 types of chemical modifications identified to date. These chemical modifications expand the topological repertoire of RNAs and are expected to fine-tune their functions. Ribosomal RNA (rRNA) contains two types of covalent modifications, either methylation on the sugar (Nm) or bases (mN), or base isomerization (conversion of uridine into pseudouridines, "). Pseudouridylations and ribose methylations are catalyzed by site-specific H/ACA and C/D box snoRNPs, respectively. The RNA component (snoRNA) of both types of snoRNPs is responsible for the site selection by base pairing with the rRNA substrate, whereas the protein component catalyzes the modification reaction: Nop1 in C/D box and Cbf5 in H/ACA box snoRNPs. Contrastingly, base methylations are performed by snoRNA independent, ‘protein-only’, methyltransferases (MTases). rRNA modifications occur at highly conserved positions, all clustering around functional ribosomal sites. Mutations in factors involved in rRNA modification have been linked to severe human diseases (e.g. X-linked Dyskeratosis congenita). Emerging evidences indicate that heterogeneity in RNA modification prevails, i.e. not all positions are modified at all time, and the concept of ‘specialized ribosomes’ has been coined. rRNA modification heterogeneity has been correlated with disease etiology (cancer), and shown to play a role in cell differentiation(hematopoiesis). Remarkably, alteration in rRNA modification patterns profoundly affects the preference of ribosomes for cap- versus IRESdependent translation initiation, with major consequences on cell physiology.