Biologische Hochschulschriften (Goethe-Universität)
The impact of land-use intensification on pollination and seed-dispersal interactions in the wild cherry (Prunus avium L.)
- Menschliche Aktivitäten beeinflussen beinahe alle Bereiche des Lebens auf der Erde (MEA
2005a; UNEP 2007). Die Zerstörung und Veränderung natürlicher Lebensräume sind als
Hauptursache für den weltweiten Biodiversitätsverlust identifiziert (Harrison and Bruna 1999;
Dale et al. 2000; Foley et al. 2005; MEA 2005a). Zusammen mit dem Klimawandel wird die
Landnutzungsveränderung daher als einflussreichster Aspekt anthropogen verursachten
globalen Wandels betrachtet (MEA 2005a). Landnutzungsveränderung schließt sowohl die
Umwandlung natürlicher Habitate in Agrarland oder Siedlungen als auch die Landnutzungsintensivierung
in bereits kultivierten Landschaften mit ein. Diese Veränderungen haben weitreichende
Konsequenzen für die Artenvielfalt und resultieren häufig in dem Verlust von Arten
mit zunehmender Intensität der Landnutzung (Scholes and Biggs 2005).
Biodiversität und Ökosysteme stellen viele verschiedene Funktionen zur Verfügung, wie z. B.
die Sauerstoffproduktion, die Reinigung von Wasser und die Bestäubung von Nutzpflanzen.
Einige dieser Funktionen sind hilfreich, andere wichtig und wieder andere notwendig für das
menschliche Wohlergehen (MEA 2005b; UNEP 2007). Mittlerweile sind Ökosystemfunktionen
und die vielen Nutzen, die sie erbringen, zu einem zentralen Thema der interdisziplinären
Forschung von Sozialwissenschaften und Naturwissenschaften geworden (Barkmann et al.
2008 und darin enthaltene Referenzen). Dadurch bedingt ist es zu einiger Verwirrung bezüglich
der verwendeten Begriffe der "Ökosystemfunktion" (engl. "ecosystem function") und dem der
"Ökosystemdienstleistung" (engl. "ecosystem service") gekommen (deGroot et al. 2002). Da der
Fokus meiner Arbeit auf grundlegenden Funktionen von Ökosystemen liegt, verwende ich im
Folgenden den Begriff der Ökosystemfunktion.
Für viele Ökosystemfunktionen ist noch sehr unzureichend bekannt, wie diese von externen
Störungen beeinflusst werden (Kremen and Ostfeld 2005; Balvanera et al. 2006). Ökosystemfunktionen
werden selten von nur einer einzigen Art aufrechterhalten, sondern meist von einer
ganzen Reihe unterschiedlicher taxonomischer Gruppen – alle mit ihren ganz eigenen
Ansprüchen. Diese Arten, wie auch deren intra- und interspezifischen Interaktionen, können durchaus unterschiedlich auf die gleiche Störungsquelle oder Störungsintensität reagieren. Dies
kann Vorhersagen zum Verhalten von Ökosystemfunktionen extrem erschweren. ...
Biochemical characterization of Fucoxanthin Chlorophyll a/c binding proteins in the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum
- Diatoms contribute largely to the total primary production of the ecosphere and are key players in global biogeochemical cycles. Their chloroplasts are surrounded by four membranes owing to their secondary endosymbiotic origin. Their thylakoids are arranged into three parallel bands and differentiation of thylakoid membranes into grana or stroma is not observed. The fucoxanthin chlorophyll a/c binding proteins act as the light harvesting proteins and play a role in photoprotection during excess light as well. The diatom genome encodes three different families of antenna proteins. Family I are the classical light harvesting proteins called "Lhcf". Family II are the red algae related Lhca-R1/2 proteins called "Lhcr" and family III are the photoprotective LI818 related proteins called "Lhcx".
All known Fcps have a molecular weight in the range of 17-23 kDa. They are membrane proteins and have shorter loops and termini compared to LHCs of higher plants and are therefore extremely hydrophobic. This makes the isolation of single specific Fcps using routine protein purification techniques difficult.
The purification of a specific Fcp containing complex has not been achieved so far and until this is done several questions concerning light harvesting antenna systems of diatoms cannot be answered. For e.g. Which proteins interact specifically? Are various Fcps differently pigmented? Which pigments interact with each other and how? Which proteins contribute to photosystem specific antenna systems? Can pure Fcps be reconstituted into crystals like LHCII proteins? In order to answer these questions specific Fcp containing complexes have to be purified. ...
The socio-economic importance of non-timber forest products for rural livelihoods in West African savanna ecosystems: current status and future trends
- For millennia, rural West African communities living in or adjacent of savanna ecosystems have been collecting components of local plant species (e.g. fruits, leaves, bark) in order to fulfil essential household subsistence needs (alimentation, medical care, energy demand etc.), to generate cash income and to overcome times of (financial) crisis. Thus, these non-timber forest products (NTFPs) make a considerable contribution to the well-being of local households. However, climate and land use change severely impact West African savanna ecosystems and, consequently, the safe-guarding of dependent rural livelihoods. The conversion of savanna area into cultivated land for subsistence farming owing to the ongoing population growth, as well as the progressive promotion of cash crops (e.g. cotton) is ever-increasing. As a consequence, present land-use management in West Africa has to cope with serious trade-offs. Within this decision-making NTFPs have been constantly understated due to a lack of appropriate economic figures to use within common cost-benefit analysis, and, thus, have been frequently outcompeted by seemingly more profitable land-use options. Therefore, it is crucial to provide appropriate economic data for NTFPs in order to create positive incentives for both decision-makers and NTFP beneficiaries to conserve NTFP-providing trees. The key finding of this analysis is that income from NTFPs accounts for 39 % on average of an annual total household income in Northern Benin, representing the second largest income share next to crop income and proving the respective households to be economically heavily dependent on NTFPs. Thereby, socio-economic characteristics of NTFP users tremendously shape their preferences for woody species. Particularly ethnicity has a major impact on the species used and the economic return obtained by them. Moreover, the study investigated the impacts of climate and land use change on the economic benefits derived from the three economically most important tree species in the region Vitellaria paradoxa, Parkia biglobosa and Adansonia digitata in 2050: Environmental changes will have primarily negative effects on the economic returns from all the three species. At large, the study underpins the economic relevance of NTFPs for rural communities in West African savannas and, consequently, the necessity to appropriately sustain them in order to safe-guard local livelihoods. Providing key figures on the current and future economic benefits obtained from NTFPs can augment common cost-benefit analysis, and, delivering detailed information about peoples’ use preferences for local species, this study clearly contributes to improve the basis of decision-making with reference to local land-use policies.
Identification of a physiological substrate of Abcg2 and its potential role in stem cells
- Stem cells are often referred to as potential candidates for the treatment of different pathologies. Their ability to differentiate into various tissue specific cell types offers the possibility to engineer cell systems or organs for replacement. One of the main questions in stem cell biology is how stemness properties are regulated and to what extend this regulation is intrinsic or conveyed by the direct microenvironment (‘niche’). In order to elucidate such regulatory processes, it is informative to analyze processes or molecules that are shared between different stem cell populations.
One such molecule that is expressed on a wide range of different embryonic and adult as well as tumor stem cells is the ABC transporter Abcg2. ABC transporters in general are transmembrane proteins that actively extrude endo- and exotoxins as well as xenobiotics, thereby protecting cells and organs. Additionally, ABC transporters are responsible for drug resistance in many cancers. A well-described characteristic of stem cells expressing Abcg2 is the formation of the ‘side population’ (SP) phenotype: An active Abcg2 transporter mediates the efflux of a particular fluorescent dye that is taken up by all cells, thus leading to a less brightly stained population. This phenomenon is widely used to characterize and isolate the most primitive stem cell subpopulation from embryonic and adult tissues, including tumors. Besides its role as toxin transporter little is known about the function of Abcg2 in stem cells. This is mainly due to the fact that its physiological substrate in stem cells remains unknown. The identification of such substrates is therefore of high interest because it would directly link the activity of ABC transporters to regulatory mechanisms in stem cell biology.
In the present study we wanted to test the hypothesis that the sphingolipid ceramide is a physiological substrate of the ABC transporter Abcg2. Sphingolipids are potent second messengers and are known to have regulatory functions in stem cells. In particular, the sphingolipid ceramide is described as a mediator of controlled cell death and inducer of differentiation. It is suggested that stem cells need to keep their intracellular ceramide content at low levels in order to prevent apoptosis or differentiation. We propose that Abcg2 and ceramide interact and that this interaction leads to changes in the absolute or relative amounts of ceramide. This in turn influences basic stem cell functions such as self renewal and differentiation.
We show that Abcg2 prevents cells from accumulating fluorescence labeled ceramide. Furthermore, exogenously applied ceramides inhibit the transport activity of Abcg2, measured by a decrease of the side population phenotype. This inhibitory effect is consistent with a competitive inhibition mechanism. Additionally, we show that active Abcg2 can increase the ceramide concentration in cell culture supernatant. Finally we demonstrate that Abcg2 protects from ceramide induced cytotoxicity in human cell lines. In summary, these in vitro results strongly suggest that Abcg2 has the ability to regulate ceramide levels.
Murine hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are the best characterized adult stem cell system so far. By using 7-colour fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) we established the purification of the most primitive HSCs, reflected by their high engraftment capability when transplanted to lethally irradiated mice. By using this sorted cell populations it was in addition possible to establish a system to reproducibly manipulate HSCs ex vivo. This experimental system will serve in further elucidating the physiological consequences of Abcg2 mediated changes in ceramide levels on stem cells in vivo.
Taken together, this study shows that Abcg2 has the ability to regulate ceramide levels in cells. This in turn can lead to cellular protection from ceramide induced apoptosis. Additionally, the experimental techniques to further analyze the role of Abcg2 and ceramide in the most primitive hematopoietic stem cells were successfully established, enabling more detailed analysis in the future.
Spatial and temporal fluctuations in bird communities along a forest-farmland gradient in western Kenya
Ronald K. Mulwa
- The impacts of human activities, notably the conversion of tropical forests into farmland
habitat, has profound impacts on biological diversity and ecosystem functions
(Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005). It is widely debated to what extent human modified
landscapes can maintain tropical biodiversity and their ecosystem
functionality (e.g. Waltert et al. 2004, Sekercioglu et al. 2007). In this thesis, I have used a huge and temporarily replicated dataset to assess the value of different habitat types differing in land-use intensities for bird communities in tropical East Africa. I investigated bird abundance and species richness along a forest-farmland habitat gradient and assessed spatial and temporal fluctuations of bird assemblages and their food resources.
I could show that forest and farmland habitats harbor distinct bird communities.
Moreover, the protection of natural forests merits the highest priority for conserving the high diversity of forest-dependent bird species. My study, however, also shows that farmland habitats in the proximity of natural forest can support a high bird diversity. High bird diversity in tropical farmlands depends on a high structural complexity, such
as in small-scale subsistence farmlands. From my findings, I conclude that the
conversion of forest to farmland leads to substantial losses in bird diversity, in
particular in specialized feeding guilds such as insectivores, while the conversion of structurally heterogeneous subsistence farmlands to sugarcane plantation causes erosion of bird diversity in agricultural ecosystems. Both findings are important for
conservation planning in times when tropical forests and agroecosystems are under constantly high pressure due to increasing human population numbers and global
demands for biofuel crops (Gibbs et al. 2008).
From an ecosystem function perspective, my study demonstrates the potential of
agroecosystems in supporting important ecosystem functions, such as seed dispersal by frugivorous birds and pest control by insectivorous birds. I could show that bird abundances in both frugivorous and insectivorous guilds were strongly predicted by
their respective food resources, implying that seasonal shifts in fruit and invertebrate abundance at Kakamega forest and surrounding farmlands affect community dynamics and appear to influence local movement patterns of birds. The most interesting finding of this study was that feeding guilds responded idiosyncratically to resource fluctuations. Frugivore richness fluctuated asynchronously in forest and farmland habitats, suggesting foraging movements and fruit tracking across habitat borders. In contrast, I found that insectivores fluctuated synchronously in the two habitat types, suggesting a lack of inter-habitat movements. I therefore predict that insectivorous bird communities in this forest-farmland landscape may be more susceptible to the
combined effects of land-use and climate change, due to their narrow habitat niche and
limited capacity to track their resources.
The fact that a number of bird species regularly moved across the landscape mosaic in my study system implies that birds are able to provide long-distance seed
dispersal across habitat borders. Thus, birds may enhance forest regeneration in
human-modified landscapes, such as those in most parts of tropical Africa, given that
forest remnants are protected within an agricultural habitat matrix. In order to
effectively conserve tropical biodiversity within forest-farmland mosaics, this study
advocates for conservation strategies that go beyond forest protection and explicitly integrate farmlands into forest management plans and policies. This should emphasize the retention of keystone habitat elements within tropical farmland landscapes, such as
indigenous trees, forest galleries and hedgerows, whose presence enhance species
diversity. Such grassroot-level approaches can be operationalized for instance through providing incentives to farmers to maintain their traditional subsistence land-use
practices and through community-based livelihood projects aiming at enhancing local habitat heterogeneity and inter-habitat connectivity.
Avian range dynamics: traits, biotic interactions and niches in changing environments
Functional analysis of human transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP) and its modulation by lipids
- The adaptive immune system of jawed vertebrates is based on recognition and elimination of cells that are either invaded by intracellular pathogens or malignantly transformed. One essential component of these processes is the cell surface presentation of antigenic peptides via major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules to cytotoxic T-cells (CTLs). Cells degrade defective ribosomal products and misfolded or unwanted proteins by the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. The resulting degradation products are recognized and translocated by the transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP) into the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) lumen, where they are loaded onto MHC I molecules. Assembled peptide-MHC complexes are then shuttled by the secretory pathway to the cell surface for antigen presentation to CTLs, leading in the case of viral infection or malignant transformation to lysis and apoptosis of the target cell. Due to the fact that the TAP complex represents a key control point within the antigen presentation pathway, several viruses have evolved sophisticated strategies to evade immune surveillance by interfering with TAP function.
Detailed studies of the TAP mechanism or its viral inhibition have been severely impeded by difficulties in expressing sufficient amounts of functional heterodimeric TAP complex. Thus, the overexpression of TAP in the methylotrophic yeast Pichia pastoris was established for functional analysis of this important ABC complex. Biomass production was scaled up by fermentation using classical batch and feed methods. Extensive screening of optimal solubilization and purification conditions allowed the isolation of the heterodimeric transport complex. Notably, only the very mild detergent digitonin preserved TAP function. Hereby, the optimal solubilization and purification strategy yielded in 30 mg TAP transporter per liter culture. Remarkably, the protein amount was 50-fold increased compared to previously described expression/purification in cultured insect cells.
The high yield and quality of TAP produced in P. pastoris allowed an extensive analysis of substrate binding and transport kinetics of the transport complex in the membrane, its solubilized and purified state, as well as the reconstituted state. Thereby, a strong and direct effect of the lipid bilayer on ATP hydrolysis and peptide transport was discovered. These important results were extended further by successful functional reconstitution of the antigen translocation machinery in different lipid environments. For the first time, a stimulation of the transport activity by phosphatidylinositol (PI) and phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) was observed, whereas cholesterol was identified as an inhibitor of TAP activity.
Purification of TAP and subsequent thin-layer chromatography (TLC)/liquid chromatography Fourier transform-mass spectrometry (LC FT-MS) fingerprinting of residual lipids exhibited specifically associated glycerophospholipids; mainly PC, PE, and PI species. Strikingly, these lipids not only represent the primary class of phospholipids of the ER but were also shown to be essential for functional reactivation of delipidated, and thus inactive, TAP. The results demonstrate that transport of antigenic peptides by the ABC transporter TAP strictly requires specific glycerophospholipids.
In addition to the biochemical characterization of heterologous produced TAP, the soluble domain of the viral inhibitor US6 from human cytomegalovirus was expressed in E. coli. Optimization of the purification and refolding strategy yielded in functional protein, with a 35-fold increased protein amount compared to previous purification procedures. Protein activity was analyzed by specific inhibition of ATP binding to TAP. Furthermore, high protein yields allowed detailed investigation of TAP-dependent spatial and mechanistic separation of MHC I restricted cross-presentation in professional antigen presenting cells (pAPC).
European pea crabs - taxonomy, morphology, and host-ecology (Crustacea: Brachyura: Pinnotheridae)
- Pinnotherids are small crabs symbiotic to a variety of invertebrates. The European species infest bivalves and sea squirts. Their way of life is parasitic and poses a threat to commercially exploited bivalves. While juveniles of both sexes still look very similar - being agile swimmers and partially free living - a metamorphosis takes place in the female after mating and results in a conspicuous sexual dimorphism. Thereafter, the female settles in its host definitely and is morphologically strongly adapted to the parasitic life phase. A very high reproductive output was demonstrated among several pea crab species infesting bivalves. Despite from that, hardly any information is present in the literature on the pinnotherids’ reproductive biology and the underlying morphology.
Due to their cryptic way of life, the sexual dimorphism, and the different morphotypes of the female, the taxonomy of the Pinnotheridae is a serious challenge. Two widely accepted species are recognized on European coasts: Pinnotheres pisum and Nepinnotheres pinnotheres. Pinnotheres pectunculi was so far only known from the bivalve Glycymeris glycymeris in its type locality Roscoff (France), while Pinnotheres ascidicola and Pinnotheres marioni were described as living exclusively in ascidians without careful comparison with the previously described species. In order to produce standardized comparative descriptions, pea crabs were collected and studied from different hosts and localities in the Northeast Atlantic and in the Mediterranean. Nepinnotheres pinnotheres and Pinnotheres pisum were redescribed with consideration to characters of female and male. According to our morphological analysis, Pinnotheres ascidicola and Pinnotheres marioni are junior synonyms of Nepinnotheres pinnotheres, whereas the status of Pinnotheres pectunculi as a valid species was ascertained. Important characters are the mouthparts, the male gonopods, and especially chelipeds that showed consistent characteristics among different crab stages of both sexes.
Based on our sampling, we estimated the host-range of the European species. Nepinnotheres pinnotheres lives in ascidians and in the pen shell Pinna nobilis. Pinnotheres pisum infests numerous bivalve species - Pinna nobilis included. For Pinnotheres pectunculi novel host records are presented, all from the bivalve family Veneridae. Furthermore, feeding of the Pinnotheres-species was observed. They use a setae comb ventrally on the claw to brush mucus (and the accumulated food particles) from the bivalve gills. Feeding strategies and host-ecology will be thoroughly discussed in consideration to other Pinnotheridae.
We investigated the reproductive systems of European pinnotherids by histological methods, scanning and transmission electron microscopy, and confocal laser scanning microscopy.
The Eubrachyura have internal fertilization: paired vaginas enlarge into storage structures, the spermathecae, which are connected to the ovaries by oviducts. Sperm is stored until the oocytes are mature and transported into the spermathecae, where fertilization takes place. In the investigated pinnotherids, the vagina is of the ‘concave pattern’. Musculature is attached alongside flexible parts of the vagina-wall to control the dimension of its lumen. The genital opening is closed by a muscular mobile operculum.
The spermatheca can be divided into two distinct regions by function and morphology. The ventral part includes the connection with vagina and oviduct and is regarded as the zone where fertilization takes place. It is lined with cuticle except where the oviduct enters the spermatheca by the ‘holocrine transfer tissue’. At ovulation, the oocytes have to pass through this multi-layered glandular epithelium, which has a holocrine mode secretion. The dorsal part of the spermatheca is lined by a highly secretory apocrine glandular epithelium, which was to date only found in fiddler crabs of the genus Uca.
The male internal reproductive system consists of paired testes and corresponding vasa deferentia. The sperm morphology of pinnotherids conforms to other thoracotremes, with slight differences between Nepinnotheres pinnotheres and Pinnotheres pisum. Spermatozoa become enveloped into spermatophores in the secretory proximal vas deferens. The medial vas deferens is strongly enlarged and stores spermatophores embedded in seminal plasma. The distal vas deferens holds tubular appendices, which extend into the ventral cephalothorax and slightly into the pleon. These appendices produce and store vast quantities of seminal plasma. The copulatory system of the Brachyura is formed by paired penes and two pairs of gonopods, which function in sperm transfer. In pinnotherids, the long first gonopods transfers the sperm mass to the female. It holds the ejaculatory canal inside, which opens proximally and distally. The second gonopod is solid, short and conical. During copulation, the penis and the second gonopod are inserted into the base of the tubular first gonopod. The second gonopod functions in the transport of the sperm mass inside the ejaculatory canal towards its distal opening. The specific shape of the second gonopod is strongly adapted for a sealing of the tubular first gonopod with longitudinal cuticle foldings that interlock inside the first gonopod. The presented results are discussed concerning their function in reproduction and in respect of the systematic account.
The role of secretion in sperm transfer, storage and fertilization among the Brachyura is still under debate. It is notable that structure and function of secretion are more complex in pinnotherids and probably more efficient than in other brachyuran crabs, which will be discussed, in view of the parasitic way of life and the high fecundity of pinnotherids.
A new method for examining hominin dietary strategy: occlusal microwear vector analysis of the Sangiran 7 Homo erectus molars
- Many hominin species are best physically represented and understood by the
sum of their dental morphologies. Generally, taxonomic affinities and evolutionary
trends in development (ontogeny) and morphology (phylogeny) can be deduced from
dental analyses. More specifically, the study of dental remains can yield a wealth of
information on many facets of hominin evolution, life history, physiology and ecological
adaptation; in short, the organisms paleobiomics. Functionally, teeth present information
about dietary preferences, that is, the dietary niche in ecological context and, in turn,
As the amount and types of information that can be gleaned from 2-dimensional
tooth measurement exhaust themselves, 3-dimensional microscopic modeling and
analysis presents a largely fertile ground for reexamination and reinterpretation of dental
characteristics (Bromage et al., 2005). As such, a novel, non-destructive approach has
been developed which combines the work of two established technologies (confocal
microscopy and 3D modeling) adapted specifically for the purpose of mineralized tissue
imaging. Through this method, 3D functional masticatory and therefore occlusal molar
microwear is able to be visualized, quantified and comparatively analyzed to assess
dietary preference in Javanese Homo erectus. This method differs from other microwear
investigative techniques (defining 'pits'- vs- 'scratches', microtexture analysis etc.) in
that it defines a molars masticatory microwear functional interactions in 3-dimensions as
its baseline dataset for further interpretations and analyses.
Due to poor specimen collection techniques employed during the first half of the
20th century, the very complex geologic nature of the Sangiran Dome and disagreements over its chronostratigraphy, only very few scientific works have
addressed the Sangiran 7 (S7) Homo erectus molar collection (n=25) (e.g. Grine and
Franzen, 1994; Kaifu, 2006). Grine and Franzen's (1994) work was a predominantly
qualitative initial assessment of the specimens and identified five specimens that might
better be ascribed to a fossil pongid rather than H. erectus. They also noted several
molars to which tooth position (M1 or M2) was unable to be ascribed (Grine and
Franzen, 1994). Kaifu (2006) comparatively examined crown sizes in several S7 molars.
The Sangiran 7 collection originates from two distinct geologic horizons: ten from
the older Sangiran Formation (S7a, ~1.7 to 1.0mya) and fifteen from the younger,
overlying Bapang Formation (S7b, ~1.0 to .7mya). During this million year period, Java
was connected to the mainland during various glacio-eustatic low-stands in sea level.
These mainland connections varied in size, extent, climatic condition and therefore in
faunal and floral composition. As the S7 sample may be representative of the earliest
Homo erectus migrants into Java and spans long durations of occupation, its
investigation yields potential to understand the various influences climatic and
ecogeographic fluctuations had on these populations. Since the sample consists only of
teeth, an ecodietary approach has been deemed the most logical and appropriate
investigative approach. Questions regarding the intra- and inter- S7 sample
relationships will also be addressed.
By comparing various aspects of the H. erectus dentition against that of hunter/
gatherer's (H/G) whose diet is known, functional dietary similarity can be directly
correlated. Thus a comparative molar sample consisting of the below historic hunter/
gather's (n=63) has been included in order to assess H. erectus's diet in ecological context: Inuit (n=9), Pacific Northwest Tribes (n=11), Fuegians (n=11), Australian
Aborigines (n=12) and Bushman (n=20).
Methodologically, this approach produces a 3D facet microwear vector (fmv)
signature for each molar which can then be compared for statistical similarity.
Microwear (and, as such, the fmv signatures) was defined by the regular, parallel
striations found on specific cusp facets known to arise from patterned, directional
masticatory movements. This differs significantly from post-mortem or taphonomic
microwear which produces striations at irregular angles on multiple, non-masticatory
surfaces (Peuch et al.1985, Teaford, 1988). A 'match value' is produced to determine
the similarity of two molars fmv's. The 'match values' are ranked (high to low) and these
rankings are used to statistically analyze and infer dietary preference: between
Sangiran 7 (as an entire sample) compared against that of the historic hunter/ gatherer
H. sapiens whose diet and ecogeography is known; within S7a and S7b and then
among the S7 sample (eg. S7a-vs-S7b); whether the purported Pongo molars actually
affiliate well with H. erectus, the hunter-gatherer's or if they demonstrate distinctly
different fmv signatures altogether; whether fmv signatures are useful in distinguishing
molars whose tooth position is in doubt (eg. M1 or M2).
When compared against individual H/G molars, the results show that Sangiran 7
H. erectus most closely correlates with Bushmen across all areas of fmv signature
analysis. However, within broader dietary categories (yearly reliant on proteinaceous
foods; seasonally reliant on proteinaceous foods; not reliant on proteinaceous foods), it
was found that H. erectus most closely allied with the two hunter/ gatherer subpopulations
associated with the 'Seasonally reliant on proteinaceous foods' (Australian Aboriginals and Pacific Northwest Tribes). There was also evidence for dietary change
or specialization over time. As the environment changed during occupation by the
earlier Sangiran to the later Bapang individuals, the dietary preference shifted from a
focus on vegetative foods to a diet much more inclusive of proteinaceous resources.
These results are considered logical within the larger ecogeographic and
chronostratigraphic context of the Sangiran Dome during the Pleistocene. However, a
larger sample would be needed to confirm this. Although general dietary preferences
can be drawn from this method, it is not possible at present to define specific foods
consumed on a daily basis (eg. tubers or tortoise meat).
Out of the five specimens possibly allied with Pongo, S7-14 matched at the 'high'
designation with a hunter/ gatherer, S7-62 matched 'moderately', S7-20 matched 'low'
while the remaining two were not able to be matched with any other teeth for various
reasons. Although designation to Pongo cannot be ruled on at this time using this
method, it does demonstrate that at least two of the teeth correlate well with various
hunter/ gatherer's who do not share dietary similarity with Pongo. This suggests their
designation as Pongo should be more closely reevaluated. As for the four specimens
whose tooth position was unsure, S7-14 matched 'highly' with 1st molars, S7-62 and S7-
78 matched 'moderately' with 2nd and 1st molars respectively while S7-20 only matched
at the 'low' designation. Although this approach is still exploratory, it adds another
analytical tool for use in defining tooth position.
In sum, this method has demonstrated its usefulness in defining and functionally
analyzing a novel 3D molar microwear dataset to interpret dietary preference. Future
work would include a pan- H. erectus molar sample in order to illuminate broader populational, taxonomic and dietary correlations within and amoung all H. erectus
specimens. A larger, more heterogenous historic H/G sample would also be included in
order to provide a wider dietary comparative population. This method can be further
extended to include and compare any and all hominins as well as any organism which
produces micro wear upon it molars. Also, the data obtained and resultant fmv signature
diagrams have the potential to be incorporated into 3D VR reconstructions of
mandibular movement thus recreating mastication in extinct organisms and leading to
more robust anatomical and physiological investigations especially when viewed in the
context of larger environmental conditions or changes.
Die Rolle der Epoxyeicosatriensäuren (EETs) bei der nozizeptiven Verarbeitung
- Im Rahmen dieser Arbeit wurden Epoxyeicosatriensäuren (EETs) hinsichtlich ihrer Beteiligung an der Verarbeitung nozizeptiver Information untersucht. Im ersten Teil der Arbeit lag der Fokus auf der löslichen Epoxidhydrolase (sEH) und der drei von ihr metabolisierten EETs, 8,9-, 11,12-, und 14,15-EET. Dabei stellte sich heraus, dass sEH-defiziente Mäuse eine verlängerte mechanische Hyperalgesie bei zymosan-induziertem pathophysiologischen Nozizeptorschmerz aufwiesen. Anhand von Lipidmessungen mittels LC-MS/MS konnte gezeigt werden, dass zum Zeitpunkt des stärksten Schmerzempfindens (48 Stunden nach Zymosan-Injektion) vorwiegend 8,9-EET in den Dorsalwurzelganglien der sEH-defizienten Mäuse akkumuliert. Zudem wurde anhand von Calcium-Imaging-Versuchen gezeigt, dass 8,9-EET Calcium-Einströme in primär afferenten Neuronen von Wildtyp-Mäusen hervorruft, und eine Stimulation von Ischiasnerven mit 8,9-EET zu erhöhter Freisetzung des pronozizeptiven Peptids CGRP führt. Schließlich konnte gezeigt werden, dass Wildtyp-Mäuse nach intraplantarer 8,9-EET-Injektion eine geringere mechanische Schmerzschwelle aufweisen. Die Resultate dieses Teils der Arbeit weisen darauf hin, dass die lösliche Epoxidhydrolase (sEH) eine wichtige Rolle in der späten Phase des pathophy-siologischen Nozizeptorschmerzes spielt, indem sie 8,9-EET zu seinem bioinaktiven Metaboliten 8,9-DHET umsetzt. Im zweiten Teil der Arbeit wurde 5,6-EET gesondert untersucht, da es nicht durch sEH metabolisiert wird. Dabei wurde beobachtet, dass 5,6-EET bei akutem Schmerz in DRGs freigesetzt wird. In Calcium-Imaging-Versuchen mit DRG-Neuronen aus Wildtyp- TRPV4- und TRPA1-defizienten Mäusen sowie transfizierten Zelllinien zeigte sich, dass schon geringe Konzentrationen an 5,6-EET den TRPA1- (transient receptor potetntial ankyrin 1-) Kanal aktivieren (EC50 193 nM) und den TRPV1-Kanal sensibilisieren können. Auch die CGRP-Freisetzung am Ischiasnerv ist nach 5,6-EET-Stimulation signifikant erhöht. Zudem konnte beobachtet werden dass eine periphere Injektion von 5,6-EET zu akuter mechanischer Hyperalgesie in Wildtyp-, aber nicht in TRPA1-defizienten Mäusen führt. Die Resultate dieses Teils der Arbeit weisen 5,6-EET als bisher potentesten endogenen TRPA1-Aktivator aus, und implizieren eine wichtige Rolle dieses Lipids beim Übergang von physiologischem zu pathophysiologischem Nozizeptorschmerz und zu neruogener Inflammation. Darüber hinaus leisten die Resultate einen Beitrag zum grundlegenden Verständnis endogener TRP-Kanal-Aktivatoren bei der Schmerzwahrnehmung.