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Bibliography on: Evolution of Multicelluarity

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Robert J. Robbins is a biologist, an educator, a science administrator, a publisher, an information technologist, and an IT leader and manager who specializes in advancing biomedical knowledge and supporting education through the application of information technology. More About:  RJR | OUR TEAM | OUR SERVICES | THIS WEBSITE

RJR: Recommended Bibliography 14 Oct 2019 at 01:32 Created: 

Evolution of Multicelluarity

Created with PubMed® Query: (evolution OR origin) AND (multicellularity OR multicellular) NOT pmcbook NOT ispreviousversion

Citations The Papers (from PubMed®)

RevDate: 2019-10-12

Ramon-Mateu J, Ellison ST, Angelini TE, et al (2019)

Regeneration in the ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi occurs in the absence of a blastema, requires cell division, and is temporally separable from wound healing.

BMC biology, 17(1):80 pii:10.1186/s12915-019-0695-8.

BACKGROUND: The ability to regenerate is a widely distributed but highly variable trait among metazoans. A variety of modes of regeneration has been described for different organisms; however, many questions regarding the origin and evolution of these strategies remain unanswered. Most species of ctenophore (or "comb jellies"), a clade of marine animals that branch off at the base of the animal tree of life, possess an outstanding capacity to regenerate. However, the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying this ability are unknown. We have used the ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi as a system to study wound healing and adult regeneration and provide some first-time insights of the cellular mechanisms involved in the regeneration of one of the most ancient extant group of multicellular animals.

RESULTS: We show that cell proliferation is activated at the wound site and is indispensable for whole-body regeneration. Wound healing occurs normally in the absence of cell proliferation forming a scar-less wound epithelium. No blastema-like structure is generated at the cut site, and pulse-chase experiments and surgical intervention show that cells originating in the main regions of cell proliferation (the tentacle bulbs) do not seem to contribute to the formation of new structures after surgical challenge, suggesting a local source of cells during regeneration. While exposure to cell-proliferation blocking treatment inhibits regeneration, the ability to regenerate is recovered when the treatment ends (days after the original cut), suggesting that ctenophore regenerative capabilities are constantly ready to be triggered and they are somehow separable of the wound healing process.

CONCLUSIONS: Ctenophore regeneration takes place through a process of cell proliferation-dependent non-blastemal-like regeneration and is temporally separable of the wound healing process. We propose that undifferentiated cells assume the correct location of missing structures and differentiate in place. The remarkable ability to replace missing tissue, the many favorable experimental features (e.g., optical clarity, high fecundity, rapid regenerative performance, stereotyped cell lineage, sequenced genome), and the early branching phylogenetic position in the animal tree, all point to the emergence of ctenophores as a new model system to study the evolution of animal regeneration.

RevDate: 2019-10-11

Agić H, Högström AES, Moczydłowska M, et al (2019)

Organically-preserved multicellular eukaryote from the early Ediacaran Nyborg Formation, Arctic Norway.

Scientific reports, 9(1):14659 pii:10.1038/s41598-019-50650-x.

Eukaryotic multicellularity originated in the Mesoproterozoic Era and evolved multiple times since, yet early multicellular fossils are scarce until the terminal Neoproterozoic and often restricted to cases of exceptional preservation. Here we describe unusual organically-preserved fossils from mudrocks, that provide support for the presence of organisms with differentiated cells (potentially an epithelial layer) in the late Neoproterozoic. Cyathinema digermulense gen. et sp. nov. from the Nyborg Formation, Vestertana Group, Digermulen Peninsula in Arctic Norway, is a new carbonaceous organ-taxon which consists of stacked tubes with cup-shaped ends. It represents parts of a larger organism (multicellular eukaryote or a colony), likely with greater preservation potential than its other elements. Arrangement of open-ended tubes invites comparison with cells of an epithelial layer present in a variety of eukaryotic clades. This tissue may have benefitted the organism in: avoiding overgrowth, limiting fouling, reproduction, or water filtration. C. digermulense shares characteristics with extant and fossil groups including red algae and their fossils, demosponge larvae and putative sponge fossils, colonial protists, and nematophytes. Regardless of its precise affinity, C. digermulense was a complex and likely benthic marine eukaryote exhibiting cellular differentiation, and a rare occurrence of early multicellularity outside of Konservat-Lagerstätten.

RevDate: 2019-10-09

Kieninger AK, Forchhammer K, I Maldener (2019)

A nanopore array in the septal peptidoglycan hosts gated septal junctions for cell-cell communication in multicellular cyanobacteria.

International journal of medical microbiology : IJMM pii:S1438-4221(18)30639-8 [Epub ahead of print].

Some filamentous cyanobacteria are phototrophic bacteria with a true multicellular life style. They show patterned cell differentiation with the distribution of metabolic tasks between different cell types. This life style requires a system of cell-cell communication and metabolite exchange along the filament. During our study of the cell wall of species Nostoc punctiforme and Anabaena sp. PCC 7120 we discovered regular perforations in the septum between neighboring cells, which we called nanopore array. AmiC-like amidases are drilling the nanopores with a diameter of 20 nm, and are essential for communication and cell differentiation. NlpD-like regulators of AmiC activity and septum localized proteins SepJ, FraC and FraD are also involved in correct nanopore formation. By focused ion beam (FIB) milling and electron cryotomography we could visualize the septal junctions, which connect adjacent cells and pass thru the nanopores. They consist of cytoplasmic caps, which are missing in the fraD mutant, a plug inside the cytoplasmic membrane and a tube like conduit. A destroyed membrane potential and other stress factors lead to a conformational change in the cap structure and loss of cell-cell communication. These gated septal junctions of cyanobacteria are ancient structures that represent an example of convergent evolution, predating metazoan gap junctions.

RevDate: 2019-10-08
CmpDate: 2019-10-08

Guo JS, Zhang Z, Qiao M, et al (2019)

Phalangispora sinensis sp. nov. from Yunnan, China and two new members of Wiesneriomycetaceae.

International journal of systematic and evolutionary microbiology, 69(10):3207-3213.

Phalangispora sinensis, an aquatic hyphomycete collected from south-western PR China, is described as a new species. This new species is characterized by having multicellular branched conidia composed of a curved main axis and one or two laterals, with the laterals arising from the third or fourth cell of the base of the main axis. Combined analyses of the LSU, SSU, RPB2 and TEF1 gene sequence data revealed that Phalangispora and another aquatic hyphomycete genus, Setosynnema, belonged to Wiesneriomycetaceae, Tubeufiales, Dothideomycetes, Ascomycota.

RevDate: 2019-10-07

Arcas A, Wilkinson DG, MÁ Nieto (2019)

The evolutionary history of Ephs and ephrins: towards multicellular organisms.

Molecular biology and evolution pii:5582654 [Epub ahead of print].

Eph receptor (Eph) and ephrin signalling regulates fundamental developmental processes through both forward and reverse signalling triggered upon cell-cell contact. In vertebrates, they are both classified into classes A and B, and some representatives have been identified in many metazoan groups, where their expression and functions have been well studied. We have extended previous phylogenetic analyses and examined the presence of Eph and ephrins in the tree of life to determine their origin and evolution. We have found that (i) premetazoan choanoflagellates may already have rudimental Eph/ephrin signalling as they have an Eph-/ephrin-like pair and homologues of downstream signalling genes; (ii) both forward and reverse downstream signalling might already occur in Porifera since sponges have most genes involved in these types of signalling; (iii) the non-vertebrate metazoan Eph is a type-B receptor that can bind ephrins regardless of their membrane anchoring structure, glycosylphosphatidylinositol or transmembrane; (iv) Eph/ephrin cross-class binding is specific to Gnathostomata and (v) kinase-dead Eph receptors can be traced back to Gnathostomata. We conclude that Eph/ephrin signalling is of older origin than previously believed. We also examined the presence of protein domains associated with functional characteristics and the appearance and conservation of downstream signalling pathways to understand the original and derived functions of Ephs and ephrins. We find that the evolutionary history of these gene families points to an ancestral function in cell-cell interactions that could contribute to the emergence of multicellularity and, in particular, to the required segregation of cell populations.

RevDate: 2019-10-07

López-Escardó D, Grau-Bové X, Guillaumet-Adkins A, et al (2019)

Reconstruction of protein domain evolution using single-cell amplified genomes of uncultured choanoflagellates sheds light on the origin of animals.

Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 374(1786):20190088.

Understanding the origins of animal multicellularity is a fundamental biological question. Recent genome data have unravelled the role that co-option of pre-existing genes played in the origin of animals. However, there were also some important genetic novelties at the onset of Metazoa. To have a clear understanding of the specific genetic innovations and how they appeared, we need the broadest taxon sampling possible, especially among early-branching animals and their unicellular relatives. Here, we take advantage of single-cell genomics to expand our understanding of the genomic diversity of choanoflagellates, the sister-group to animals. With these genomes, we have performed an updated and taxon-rich reconstruction of protein evolution from the Last Eukaryotic Common Ancestor (LECA) to animals. Our novel data re-defines the origin of some genes previously thought to be metazoan-specific, like the POU transcription factor, which we show appeared earlier in evolution. Moreover, our data indicate that the acquisition of new genes at the stem of Metazoa was mainly driven by duplications and protein domain rearrangement processes at the stem of Metazoa. Furthermore, our analysis allowed us to reveal protein domains that are essential to the maintenance of animal multicellularity. Our analyses also demonstrate the utility of single-cell genomics from uncultured taxa to address evolutionary questions. This article is part of a discussion meeting issue 'Single cell ecology'.

RevDate: 2019-09-30

Thakur R, Shiratori T, KI Ishida (2019)

Taxon-rich Multigene Phylogenetic Analyses Resolve the Phylogenetic Relationship Among Deep-branching Stramenopiles.

Protist, 170(5):125682 pii:S1434-4610(18)30086-5 [Epub ahead of print].

Stramenopiles are one of the major eukaryotic assemblages. This group comprises a wide range of species including photosynthetic unicellular and multicellular algae, fungus-like osmotrophic organisms and many free-living phagotrophic flagellates. However, the phylogeny of the Stramenopiles, especially relationships among deep-branching heterotrophs, has not yet been resolved because of a lack of adequate transcriptomic data for representative lineages. In this study, we performed multigene phylogenetic analyses of deep-branching Stramenopiles with improved taxon sampling. We sequenced transcriptomes of three deep-branching Stramenopiles: Incisomonas marina, Pseudophyllomitus vesiculosus and Platysulcus tardus. Phylogenetic analyses using 120 protein-coding genes and 56 taxa indicated that Pl. tardus is sister to all other Stramenopiles while Ps. vesiculosus is sister to MAST-4 and form a robust clade with the Labyrinthulea. The resolved phylogenetic relationships of deep-branching Stramenopiles provide insights into the ancestral traits of the Stramenopiles.

RevDate: 2019-09-30

Newman SA (2019)

Cell differentiation: what have we learned in 50 years?.

Journal of theoretical biology pii:S0022-5193(19)30401-1 [Epub ahead of print].

I revisit two theories of cell differentiation in multicellular organisms published a half-century ago, Stuart Kauffman's global gene regulatory dynamics (GGRD) model and Roy Britten's and Eric Davidson's modular gene regulatory network (MGRN) model, in light of newer knowledge of mechanisms of gene regulation in the metazoans (animals). The two models continue to inform hypotheses and computational studies of differentiation of lineage-adjacent cell types. However, their shared notion (based on bacterial regulatory systems) of gene switches and networks built from them, have constrained progress in understanding the dynamics and evolution of differentiation. Recent work has described unique write-read-rewrite chromatin-based expression encoding in eukaryotes, as well metazoan-specific processes of gene activation and silencing in condensed-phase, enhancer-recruiting regulatory hubs, employing disordered proteins, including transcription factors, with context-dependent identities. These findings suggest an evolutionary scenario in which the origination of differentiation in animals, rather than depending exclusively on adaptive natural selection, emerged as a consequence of a type of multicellularity in which the novel metazoan gene regulatory apparatus was readily mobilized to amplify and exaggerate inherent cell functions of unicellular ancestors. The plausibility of this hypothesis is illustrated by the evolution of the developmental role of Grainyhead-like in the formation of epithelium.

RevDate: 2019-09-30

Gilbert SF (2019)

Evolutionary transitions revisited: Holobiont evo-devo.

Journal of experimental zoology. Part B, Molecular and developmental evolution [Epub ahead of print].

John T. Bonner lists four essential transformations in the evolution of life: the emergence of the eukaryotic cell, meiosis, multicellularity, and the nervous system. This paper analyses the mechanisms for those transitions in light of three of Dr. Bonner's earlier hypotheses: (a) that the organism is its life cycle, (b) that evolution consists of alterations of the life cycle, and (c) that development extends beyond the body and into interactions with other organisms. Using the notion of the holobiont life cycle, this paper attempts to show that these evolutionary transitions can be accomplished through various means of symbiosis. Perceiving the organism both as an interspecies consortium and as a life cycle supports a twofold redefinition of the organism as a holobiont constructed by integrating together the life cycles of several species. These findings highlight the importance of symbiosis and the holobiont development in analyses of evolution.

RevDate: 2019-09-29

Hernández-Hernández V, Benítez M, A Boudaoud (2019)

Interplay between turgor pressure and plasmodesmata during plant development.

Journal of experimental botany pii:5575975 [Epub ahead of print].

Plasmodesmata traverse cell walls, generating connections between neighboring cells. They allow intercellular movement of molecules such as transcription factors, hormones, and sugars, and thus create a symplasmic continuity within a tissue. One important factor that determines plasmodesmal permeability is their aperture which is regulated during developmental and physiological processes. Regulation of aperture has been shown to affect developmental events such as vascular differentiation in the root, initiation of lateral roots, or transition to flowering. Extensive research has unraveled molecular factors involved in the regulation of plasmodesmal permeability. Nevertheless, many plant developmental processes appear to involve feedbacks mediated by mechanical forces, raising the question of whether mechanical forces and plasmodesmal permeability affect each other. Here, we review experimental data on how one of these forces, turgor pressure, and plasmodesmal permeability may mutually influence each other during plant development, and we discuss the questions raised by these data. Addressing such questions will improve our knowledge of how cellular patterns emerge during development, shedding light on the evolution of complex multicellular plants.

RevDate: 2019-09-25

Wanninger A, T Wollesen (2020)

Methods in Brain Development of Molluscs.

Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), 2047:311-324.

Representatives of the phylum Mollusca have long been important models in neurobiological research. Recently, the routine application of immunocytochemistry and gene expression analyses in combination with confocal laserscanning microscopy has allowed fast generation of highly detailed reconstructions of neural structures of even the smallest multicellular animals, including early developmental stages. As a consequence, large-scale comparative analyses of neurogenesis-an important prerequisite for inferences concerning the evolution of animal nervous systems-are now possible in a reasonable amount of time. Herein, we describe immunocytochemical staining and in situ hybridization protocols for both, whole-mount preparations of developmental stages-usually 70-300 μm in size-as well as for vibratome and cryostat sections of complex brains. Although our procedures have been optimized for marine molluscs, they may easily be adapted to other (marine) organisms by the creative neurobiologist.

RevDate: 2019-09-22

Barger SR, James ML, Pellenz CD, et al (2019)

Human myosin 1e tail but not motor domain replaces fission yeast Myo1 domains to support myosin-I function during endocytosis.

Experimental cell research pii:S0014-4827(19)30487-2 [Epub ahead of print].

In both unicellular and multicellular organisms, long-tailed class I myosins function in clathrin-mediated endocytosis. Myosin 1e (Myo1e) in vertebrates and Myo1 in fission yeast have similar domain organization, yet whether these proteins or their individual protein domains are functionally interchangeable remains unknown. In an effort to assess functional conservation of class I myosins, we tested whether human Myo1e could replace Myo1 in fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe and found that it was unable to substitute for yeast Myo1. To determine if any individual protein domain is responsible for the inability of Myo1e to function in yeast, we created human-yeast myosin-I chimeras. By functionally testing these chimeric myosins in vivo, we concluded that the Myo1e motor domain is unable to function in yeast, even when combined with the yeast Myo1 tail and a full complement of yeast regulatory light chains. Conversely, the Myo1e tail, when attached to the yeast Myo1 motor domain, supports localization to endocytic actin patches and partially rescues the endocytosis defect in myo1Δ cells. Further dissection showed that both the TH1 and TH2-SH3 domains in the human Myo1e tail are required for localization and function of chimeric myosin-I at endocytic sites. Overall, this study provides insights into the role of individual myosin-I domains, expands the utility of fission yeast as a simple model system to study the effects of disease-associated MYO1E mutations, and supports a model of co-evolution between a myosin motor and its actin track.

RevDate: 2019-09-21

Pukhlyakova EA, Kirillova AO, Kraus YA, et al (2019)

Cadherin switch marks germ layer formation in the diploblastic sea anemone Nematostella vectensis.

Development (Cambridge, England) pii:dev.174623 [Epub ahead of print].

Morphogenesis is a shape-building process during development of multicellular organisms. During this process the establishment and modulation of cell-cell contacts play an important role. Cadherins, the major cell adhesion molecules, form adherens junctions connecting epithelial cells. Numerous studies in Bilateria have shown that cadherins are associated with the regulation of cell differentiation, cell shape changes, cell migration and tissue morphogenesis. To date, the role of Cadherins in non-bilaterians is unknown. Here, we study the expression and the function of two paralogous classical cadherins, cadherin1 and cadherin3, in the diploblastic animal, the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis We show that a cadherin switch is accompanying the formation of germ layers. Using specific antibodies, we show that both cadherins are localized to adherens junctions at apical and basal positions in ectoderm and endoderm. During gastrulation, partial EMT of endodermal cells is marked by a step-wise down-regulation of cadherin3 and up-regulation of cadherin1. Knockdown experiments show that both cadherins are required for maintenance of tissue integrity and tissue morphogenesis. Thus, both sea anemones and bilaterians use independently duplicated cadherins combinatorially for tissue morphogenesis and germ layer differentiation.

RevDate: 2019-09-21

Denes V, Geck P, Mester A, et al (2019)

Pituitary Adenylate Cyclase-Activating Polypeptide: 30 Years in Research Spotlight and 600 Million Years in Service.

Journal of clinical medicine, 8(9): pii:jcm8091488.

Emerging from the depths of evolution, pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) and its receptors (i.e., PAC1, VPAC1, VPAC2) are present in multicellular organisms from Tunicates to humans and govern a remarkable number of physiological processes. Consequently, the clinical relevance of PACAP systems spans a multifaceted palette that includes more than 40 disorders. We aimed to present the versatility of PACAP1-38 actions with a focus on three aspects: (1) when PACAP1-38 could be a cause of a malfunction, (2) when PACAP1-38 could be the cure for a malfunction, and (3) when PACAP1-38 could either improve or impair biology. PACAP1-38 is implicated in the pathophysiology of migraine and post-traumatic stress disorder whereas an outstanding protective potential has been established in ischemia and in Alzheimer's disease. Lastly, PACAP receptors could mediate opposing effects both in cancers and in inflammation. In the light of the above, the duration and concentrations of PACAP agents must be carefully set at any application to avoid unwanted consequences. An enormous amount of data accumulated since its discovery (1989) and the first clinical trials are dated in 2017. Thus in the field of PACAP research: "this is not the end, not even the beginning of the end, but maybe the end of the beginning."

RevDate: 2019-09-19

Moger-Reischer R, JT Lennon (2019)

Microbial ageing and longevity.

Nature reviews. Microbiology pii:10.1038/s41579-019-0253-y [Epub ahead of print].

Longevity reflects the ability to maintain homeostatic conditions necessary for life as an organism ages. A long-lived organism must contend not only with environmental hazards but also with internal entropy and macromolecular damage that result in the loss of fitness during ageing, a phenomenon known as senescence. Although central to many of the core concepts in biology, ageing and longevity have primarily been investigated in sexually reproducing, multicellular organisms. However, growing evidence suggests that microorganisms undergo senescence, and can also exhibit extreme longevity. In this Review, we integrate theoretical and empirical insights to establish a unified perspective on senescence and longevity. We discuss the evolutionary origins, genetic mechanisms and functional consequences of microbial ageing. In addition to having biomedical implications, insights into microbial ageing shed light on the role of ageing in the origin of life and the upper limits to longevity.

RevDate: 2019-09-18

Powell R, MA O'Malley (2019)

Metabolic and microbial perspectives on the "evolution of evolution".

Journal of experimental zoology. Part B, Molecular and developmental evolution [Epub ahead of print].

Identifying and theorizing major turning points in the history of life generates insights into not only world-changing evolutionary events but also the processes that bring these events about. In his treatment of these issues, Bonner identifies the evolution of sex, multicellularity, and nervous systems as enabling the "evolution of evolution," which involves fundamental transformations in how evolution occurs. By contextualizing his framework within two decades of theorizing about major transitions in evolution, we identify some basic problems that Bonner's theory shares with much of the prevailing literature. These problems include implicit progressivism, theoretical disunity, and a limited ability to explain major evolutionary transformations. We go on to identify events and processes that are neglected by existing views. In contrast with the "vertical" focus on replication, hierarchy, and morphology that preoccupies most of the literature on major transitions, we propose a "horizontal" dimension in which metabolism and microbial innovations play a central explanatory role in understanding the broad-scale organization of life.

RevDate: 2019-09-18

Erwin DH (2019)

Tempos and modes of collectivity in the history of life.

Theory in biosciences = Theorie in den Biowissenschaften pii:10.1007/s12064-019-00303-4 [Epub ahead of print].

Collective integration and processing of information have increased through the history of life, through both the formation of aggregates in which the entities may have very different properties and which jointly coarse-grained environmental variables (ranging from widely varying metabolism in microbial consortia to the ecological diversity of species on reefs) and through collectives of similar entities (such as cells within an organism or social groups). Such increases have been implicated in significant transitions in the history of life, including aspects of the origin of life, the generation of pangenomes among microbes and microbial communities such as stromatolites, multicellularity and social insects. This contribution provides a preliminary overview of the dominant modes of collective information processing in the history of life, their phylogenetic distribution and extent of convergence, and the effects of new modes for integrating and acting upon information on the tempo of evolutionary change.

RevDate: 2019-09-15

Rausch P, Rühlemann M, Hermes BM, et al (2019)

Comparative analysis of amplicon and metagenomic sequencing methods reveals key features in the evolution of animal metaorganisms.

Microbiome, 7(1):133 pii:10.1186/s40168-019-0743-1.

BACKGROUND: The interplay between hosts and their associated microbiome is now recognized as a fundamental basis of the ecology, evolution, and development of both players. These interdependencies inspired a new view of multicellular organisms as "metaorganisms." The goal of the Collaborative Research Center "Origin and Function of Metaorganisms" is to understand why and how microbial communities form long-term associations with hosts from diverse taxonomic groups, ranging from sponges to humans in addition to plants.

METHODS: In order to optimize the choice of analysis procedures, which may differ according to the host organism and question at hand, we systematically compared the two main technical approaches for profiling microbial communities, 16S rRNA gene amplicon and metagenomic shotgun sequencing across our panel of ten host taxa. This includes two commonly used 16S rRNA gene regions and two amplification procedures, thus totaling five different microbial profiles per host sample.

CONCLUSION: While 16S rRNA gene-based analyses are subject to much skepticism, we demonstrate that many aspects of bacterial community characterization are consistent across methods. The resulting insight facilitates the selection of appropriate methods across a wide range of host taxa. Overall, we recommend single- over multi-step amplification procedures, and although exceptions and trade-offs exist, the V3 V4 over the V1 V2 region of the 16S rRNA gene. Finally, by contrasting taxonomic and functional profiles and performing phylogenetic analysis, we provide important and novel insight into broad evolutionary patterns among metaorganisms, whereby the transition of animals from an aquatic to a terrestrial habitat marks a major event in the evolution of host-associated microbial composition.

RevDate: 2019-09-13

de Araújo Silva-Cardoso IM, Meira FS, Gomes ACMM, et al (2019)

Histology, histochemistry and ultrastructure of pre-embryogenic cells determined for direct somatic embryogenesis in the palm tree Syagrus oleracea.

Physiologia plantarum [Epub ahead of print].

Somatic embryogenesis in palm trees is, in general, a slow and highly complex process, with a predominance of the indirect route and, consequently, a lack of knowledge about the direct route. We present new knowledge related to the morphological, histochemical, and ultrastructural aspects of the transition from somatic to embryogenic cells and direct formation of somatic embryos from mature zygotic embryos of Syagrus oleracea, a palm tree. The results support the general concept that 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid plays a critical role for the formation of somatic embryos of direct and multicellular origin. Seven days in medium with auxin were enough for the identification of embryogenic cells. These cells had a set of characteristics that fit them into the concept of totipotent stem cells. At fourteen days in induction medium, nodular formations were observed in the distal region of inoculated embryos, which evolved into globular somatic embryos. At 120 days in induction medium, the quality of the somatic embryos was compromised. The dynamics of the mobilization of reserve compounds was also demonstrated, with emphasis on starch and protein as energy sources required for the embryogenic process. This study shows for the first time the anatomical and ultrastructural events involved in direct somatic embryogenesis in a palm tree and incites the scientific community to return to the discussion of classical concepts related to direct somatic embryogenesis, especially regarding the characteristics and location of determined pre-embryogenic cells. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2019-09-10

Kiss E, Hegedüs B, Virágh M, et al (2019)

Comparative genomics reveals the origin of fungal hyphae and multicellularity.

Nature communications, 10(1):4080 pii:10.1038/s41467-019-12085-w.

Hyphae represent a hallmark structure of multicellular fungi. The evolutionary origins of hyphae and of the underlying genes are, however, hardly known. By systematically analyzing 72 complete genomes, we here show that hyphae evolved early in fungal evolution probably via diverse genetic changes, including co-option and exaptation of ancient eukaryotic (e.g. phagocytosis-related) genes, the origin of new gene families, gene duplications and alterations of gene structure, among others. Contrary to most multicellular lineages, the origin of filamentous fungi did not correlate with expansions of kinases, receptors or adhesive proteins. Co-option was probably the dominant mechanism for recruiting genes for hypha morphogenesis, while gene duplication was apparently less prevalent, except in transcriptional regulators and cell wall - related genes. We identified 414 novel gene families that show correlated evolution with hyphae and that may have contributed to its evolution. Our results suggest that hyphae represent a unique multicellular organization that evolved by limited fungal-specific innovations and gene duplication but pervasive co-option and modification of ancient eukaryotic functions.

RevDate: 2019-09-04

Fisher RM, B Regenberg (2019)

Multicellular group formation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 286(1910):20191098.

Understanding how and why cells cooperate to form multicellular organisms is a central aim of evolutionary biology. Multicellular groups can form through clonal development (where daughter cells stick to mother cells after division) or by aggregation (where cells aggregate to form groups). These different ways of forming groups directly affect relatedness between individual cells, which in turn can influence the degree of cooperation and conflict within the multicellular group. It is hard to study the evolution of multicellularity by focusing only on obligately multicellular organisms, like complex animals and plants, because the factors that favour multicellular cooperation cannot be disentangled, as cells cannot survive and reproduce independently. We support the use of Saccharomyces cerevisiae as an ideal model for studying the very first stages of the evolution of multicellularity. This is because it can form multicellular groups both clonally and through aggregation and uses a family of proteins called 'flocculins' that determine the way in which groups form, making it particularly amenable to laboratory experiments. We briefly review current knowledge about multicellularity in S. cerevisiae and then propose a framework for making predictions about the evolution of multicellular phenotypes in yeast based on social evolution theory. We finish by explaining how S. cerevisiae is a particularly useful experimental model for the analysis of open questions concerning multicellularity.

RevDate: 2019-09-02

Gonçalves AP, Heller J, Span EA, et al (2019)

Allorecognition upon Fungal Cell-Cell Contact Determines Social Cooperation and Impacts the Acquisition of Multicellularity.

Current biology : CB pii:S0960-9822(19)30940-6 [Epub ahead of print].

Somatic cell fusion and conspecific cooperation are crucial social traits for microbial unicellular-to-multicellular transitions, colony expansion, and substrate foraging but are also associated with risks of parasitism. We identified a cell wall remodeling (cwr) checkpoint that acts upon cell contact to assess genetic compatibility and regulate cell wall dissolution during somatic cell fusion in a wild population of the filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa. Non-allelic interactions between two linked loci, cwr-1 and cwr-2, were necessary and sufficient to block cell fusion: cwr-1 encodes a polysaccharide monooxygenase (PMO), a class of enzymes associated with extracellular degradative capacities, and cwr-2 encodes a predicted transmembrane protein. Mutations of sites in CWR-1 essential for PMO catalytic activity abolished the block in cell fusion between formerly incompatible strains. In Neurospora, alleles cwr-1 and cwr-2 were highly polymorphic, fell into distinct haplogroups, and showed trans-species polymorphisms. Distinct haplogroups and trans-species polymorphisms at cwr-1 and cwr-2 were also identified in the distantly related genus Fusarium, suggesting convergent evolution. Proteins involved in chemotropic processes showed extended localization at contact sites, suggesting that cwr regulates the transition between chemotropic growth and cell wall dissolution. Our work revealed an allorecognition surveillance system based on kind discrimination that inhibits cooperative behavior in fungi by blocking cell fusion upon contact, contributing to fungal immunity by preventing formation of chimeras between genetically non-identical colonies.

RevDate: 2019-09-01

Vostinar AE, Goldsby HJ, C Ofria (2019)

Suicidal selection: Programmed cell death can evolve in unicellular organisms due solely to kin selection.

Ecology and evolution, 9(16):9129-9136 pii:ECE35460.

Abstract: Unicellular organisms can engage in a process by which a cell purposefully destroys itself, termed programmed cell death (PCD). While it is clear that the death of specific cells within a multicellular organism could increase inclusive fitness (e.g., during development), the origin of PCD in unicellular organisms is less obvious. Kin selection has been shown to help maintain instances of PCD in existing populations of unicellular organisms; however, competing hypotheses exist about whether additional factors are necessary to explain its origin. Those factors could include an environmental shift that causes latent PCD to be expressed, PCD hitchhiking on a large beneficial mutation, and PCD being simply a common pathology. Here, we present results using an artificial life model to demonstrate that kin selection can, in fact, be sufficient to give rise to PCD in unicellular organisms. Furthermore, when benefits to kin are direct-that is, resources provided to nearby kin-PCD is more beneficial than when benefits are indirect-that is, nonkin are injured, thus increasing the relative amount of resources for kin. Finally, when considering how strict organisms are in determining kin or nonkin (in terms of mutations), direct benefits are viable in a narrower range than indirect benefits.

Open Research Badges: This article has been awarded Open Data and Open Materials Badges. All materials and data are publicly accessible via the Open Science Framework at https://github.com/anyaevostinar/SuicidalAltruismDissertation/tree/master/LongTerm.

RevDate: 2019-09-05

Romero-Mujalli D, Jeltsch F, R Tiedemann (2019)

Elevated mutation rates are unlikely to evolve in sexual species, not even under rapid environmental change.

BMC evolutionary biology, 19(1):175 pii:10.1186/s12862-019-1494-0.

BACKGROUND: Organisms are expected to respond to changing environmental conditions through local adaptation, range shift or local extinction. The process of local adaptation can occur by genetic changes or phenotypic plasticity, and becomes especially relevant when dispersal abilities or possibilities are somehow constrained. For genetic changes to occur, mutations are the ultimate source of variation and the mutation rate in terms of a mutator locus can be subject to evolutionary change. Recent findings suggest that the evolution of the mutation rate in a sexual species can advance invasion speed and promote adaptation to novel environmental conditions. Following this idea, this work uses an individual-based model approach to investigate if the mutation rate can also evolve in a sexual species experiencing different conditions of directional climate change, under different scenarios of colored stochastic environmental noise, probability of recombination and of beneficial mutations. The color of the noise mimicked investigating the evolutionary dynamics of the mutation rate in different habitats.

RESULTS: The results suggest that the mutation rate in a sexual species experiencing directional climate change scenarios can evolve and reach relatively high values mainly under conditions of complete linkage of the mutator locus and the adaptation locus. In contrast, when they are unlinked, the mutation rate can slightly increase only under scenarios where at least 50% of arising mutations are beneficial and the rate of environmental change is relatively fast. This result is robust under different scenarios of stochastic environmental noise, which supports the observation of no systematic variation in the mutation rate among organisms experiencing different habitats.

CONCLUSIONS: Given that 50% beneficial mutations may be an unrealistic assumption, and that recombination is ubiquitous in sexual species, the evolution of an elevated mutation rate in a sexual species experiencing directional climate change might be rather unlikely. Furthermore, when the percentage of beneficial mutations and the population size are small, sexual species (especially multicellular ones) producing few offspring may be expected to react to changing environments not by adaptive genetic change, but mainly through plasticity. Without the ability for a plastic response, such species may become - at least locally - extinct.

RevDate: 2019-09-01

Cleri F (2019)

Agent-based model of multicellular tumor spheroid evolution including cell metabolism.

The European physical journal. E, Soft matter, 42(8):112 pii:10.1140/epje/i2019-11878-7.

Computational models aiming at the spatio-temporal description of cancer evolution are a suitable framework for testing biological hypotheses from experimental data, and generating new ones. Building on our recent work (J. Theor. Biol. 389, 146 (2016)) we develop a 3D agent-based model, capable of tracking hundreds of thousands of interacting cells, over time scales ranging from seconds to years. Cell dynamics is driven by a Monte Carlo solver, incorporating partial differential equations to describe chemical pathways and the activation/repression of "genes", leading to the up- or down-regulation of specific cell markers. Each cell-agent of different kind (stem, cancer, stromal etc.) runs through its cycle, undergoes division, can exit to a dormant, senescent, necrotic state, or apoptosis, according to the inputs from its systemic network. The basic network at this stage describes glucose/oxygen/ATP cycling, and can be readily extended to cancer-cell specific markers. Eventual accumulation of chemical/radiation damage to each cell's DNA is described by a Markov chain of internal states, and by a damage-repair network, whose evolution is linked to the cell systemic network. Aimed at a direct comparison with experiments of tumorsphere growth from stem cells, the present model will allow to quantitatively study the role of transcription factors involved in the reprogramming and variable radio-resistance of simulated cancer-stem cells, evolving in a realistic computer simulation of a growing multicellular tumorsphere.

RevDate: 2019-08-25

Annunziata R, Andrikou C, Perillo M, et al (2019)

Development and evolution of gut structures: from molecules to function.

Cell and tissue research pii:10.1007/s00441-019-03093-9 [Epub ahead of print].

The emergence of a specialized system for food digestion and nutrient absorption was a crucial innovation for multicellular organisms. Digestive systems with different levels of complexity evolved in different animals, with the endoderm-derived one-way gut of most bilaterians to be the prevailing and more specialized form. While the molecular events regulating the early phases of embryonic tissue specification have been deeply investigated in animals occupying different phylogenetic positions, the mechanisms underlying gut patterning and gut-associated structures differentiation are still mostly obscure. In this review, we describe the main discoveries in gut and gut-associated structures development in echinoderm larvae (mainly for sea urchin and, when available, for sea star) and compare them with existing information in vertebrates. An impressive degree of conservation emerges when comparing the transcription factor toolkits recruited for gut cells and tissue differentiation in animals as diverse as echinoderms and vertebrates, thus suggesting that their function emerged in the deuterostome ancestor.

RevDate: 2019-08-24

Wu F, Ma C, Han B, et al (2019)

Behavioral, physiological, and molecular changes in alloparental care givers may be responsible for selection response for female reproductive investment in honey bees.

Molecular ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Reproductive investment is a central life history variable that influences all aspects of life. Hormones coordinate reproduction in multicellular organisms, but the mechanisms controlling the collective reproductive investment of social insects are largely unexplored. One important aspect of honey bee (Apis mellifera) reproductive investment consists of raising female-destined larvae into new queens by alloparental care of nurse bees in form of royal jelly provisioning. Artificial selection for commercial royal jelly production over 40 years has increased this reproductive investment by an order of magnitude. In a cross-fostering experiment, we establish that this shift in social phenotype is caused by nurse bees. We find no evidence for changes in larval signaling. Instead, the antennae of the nurse bees of the selected stock are more responsive to brood pheromones than control bees. Correspondingly, the selected royal jelly bee nurses are more attracted to brood pheromones than unselected control nurses. Comparative proteomics of the antennae from the selected and unselected stocks indicate putative molecular mechanisms, primarily changes in chemosensation and energy metabolism. We report expression differences of several candidate genes that correlate with the differences in reproductive investment. The functional relevance of these genes is supported by demonstrating that the corresponding proteins can competitively bind one previously described and one newly discovered brood pheromone. Thus, we suggest several chemosensory genes, most prominently OBP16 and CSP4, as candidate mechanisms controlling queen rearing, a key reproductive investment, in honey bees. These findings reveal novel aspects of pheromonal communication in honey bees and explain how sensory changes affect communication and lead to a drastic shift in colony-level resource allocation to sexual reproduction. Thus, pheromonal and hormonal communication may play similar roles for reproductive investment in superorganisms and multicellular organisms, respectively. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2019-08-24

Draper GW, Shoemark DK, JC Adams (2019)

Modelling the early evolution of extracellular matrix from modern Ctenophores and Sponges.

Essays in biochemistry pii:EBC20180048 [Epub ahead of print].

Animals (metazoans) include some of the most complex living organisms on Earth, with regard to their multicellularity, numbers of differentiated cell types, and lifecycles. The metazoan extracellular matrix (ECM) is well-known to have major roles in the development of tissues during embryogenesis and in maintaining homoeostasis throughout life, yet insight into the ECM proteins which may have contributed to the transition from unicellular eukaryotes to multicellular animals remains sparse. Recent phylogenetic studies place either ctenophores or poriferans as the closest modern relatives of the earliest emerging metazoans. Here, we review the literature and representative genomic and transcriptomic databases for evidence of ECM and ECM-affiliated components known to be conserved in bilaterians, that are also present in ctenophores and/or poriferans. Whereas an extensive set of related proteins are identifiable in poriferans, there is a strikingly lack of conservation in ctenophores. From this perspective, much remains to be learnt about the composition of ctenophore mesoglea. The principal ECM-related proteins conserved between ctenophores, poriferans, and bilaterians include collagen IV, laminin-like proteins, thrombospondin superfamily members, integrins, membrane-associated proteoglycans, and tissue transglutaminase. These are candidates for a putative ancestral ECM that may have contributed to the emergence of the metazoans.

RevDate: 2019-08-20

D'Ario M, R Sablowski (2019)

Cell Size Control in Plants.

Annual review of genetics [Epub ahead of print].

The genetic control of the characteristic cell sizes of different species and tissues is a long-standing enigma. Plants are convenient for studying this question in a multicellular context, as their cells do not move and are easily tracked and measured from organ initiation in the meristems to subsequent morphogenesis and differentiation. In this article, we discuss cell size control in plants compared with other organisms. As seen from yeast cells to mammalian cells, size homeostasis is maintained cell autonomously in the shoot meristem. In developing organs, vacuolization contributes to cell size heterogeneity and may resolve conflicts between growth control at the cellular and organ levels. Molecular mechanisms for cell size control have implications for how cell size responds to changes in ploidy, which are particularly important in plant development and evolution. We also discuss comparatively the functional consequences of cell size and their potential repercussions at higher scales, including genome evolution. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Genetics, Volume 53 is November 23, 2019. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.

RevDate: 2019-08-20

Kjeldsen KU, Schreiber L, Thorup CA, et al (2019)

On the evolution and physiology of cable bacteria.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America pii:1903514116 [Epub ahead of print].

Cable bacteria of the family Desulfobulbaceae form centimeter-long filaments comprising thousands of cells. They occur worldwide in the surface of aquatic sediments, where they connect sulfide oxidation with oxygen or nitrate reduction via long-distance electron transport. In the absence of pure cultures, we used single-filament genomics and metagenomics to retrieve draft genomes of 3 marine Candidatus Electrothrix and 1 freshwater Ca. Electronema species. These genomes contain >50% unknown genes but still share their core genomic makeup with sulfate-reducing and sulfur-disproportionating Desulfobulbaceae, with few core genes lost and 212 unique genes (from 197 gene families) conserved among cable bacteria. Last common ancestor analysis indicates gene divergence and lateral gene transfer as equally important origins of these unique genes. With support from metaproteomics of a Ca. Electronema enrichment, the genomes suggest that cable bacteria oxidize sulfide by reversing the canonical sulfate reduction pathway and fix CO2 using the Wood-Ljungdahl pathway. Cable bacteria show limited organotrophic potential, may assimilate smaller organic acids and alcohols, fix N2, and synthesize polyphosphates and polyglucose as storage compounds; several of these traits were confirmed by cell-level experimental analyses. We propose a model for electron flow from sulfide to oxygen that involves periplasmic cytochromes, yet-unidentified conductive periplasmic fibers, and periplasmic oxygen reduction. This model proposes that an active cable bacterium gains energy in the anodic, sulfide-oxidizing cells, whereas cells in the oxic zone flare off electrons through intense cathodic oxygen respiration without energy conservation; this peculiar form of multicellularity seems unparalleled in the microbial world.

RevDate: 2019-08-25

Miller WB, Torday JS, F Baluška (2019)

The N-Space episenome unifies cellular information space-time within Cognition-Based Evolution.

Progress in biophysics and molecular biology pii:S0079-6107(19)30148-8 [Epub ahead of print].

Self-referential cellular homeostasis is maintained by the measured assessment of both internal status and external conditions based within an integrated cellular information field. This cellular field attachment to biologic information space-time coordinates environmental inputs by connecting the cellular senome, as the sum of the sensory experiences of the cell, with its genome and epigenome. In multicellular organisms, individual cellular information fields aggregate into a collective information architectural matrix, termed a N-space Episenome, that enables mutualized organism-wide information management. It is hypothesized that biological organization represents a dual heritable system constituted by both its biological materiality and a conjoining N-space Episenome. It is further proposed that morphogenesis derives from reciprocations between these inter-related facets to yield coordinated multicellular growth and development. The N-space Episenome is conceived as a whole cell informational projection that is heritable, transferable via cell division and essential for the synchronous integration of the diverse self-referential cells that constitute holobionts.

RevDate: 2019-08-18

Fields C, M Levin (2019)

Somatic multicellularity as a satisficing solution to the prediction-error minimization problem.

Communicative & integrative biology, 12(1):119-132 pii:1643666.

Adaptive success in the biosphere requires the dynamic ability to adjust physiological, transcriptional, and behavioral responses to environmental conditions. From chemical networks to organisms to whole communities, biological entities at all levels of organization seek to optimize their predictive power. Here, we argue that this fundamental drive provides a novel perspective on the origin of multicellularity. One way for unicellular organisms to minimize surprise with respect to external inputs is to be surrounded by reproductively-disabled, i.e. somatic copies of themselves - highly predictable agents which in effect reduce uncertainty in their microenvironments. We show that the transition to multicellularity can be modeled as a phase transition driven by environmental threats. We present modeling results showing how multicellular bodies can arise if non-reproductive somatic cells protect their reproductive parents from environmental lethality. We discuss how a somatic body can be interpreted as a Markov blanket around one or more reproductive cells, and how the transition to somatic multicellularity can be represented as a transition from exposure of reproductive cells to a high-uncertainty environment to their protection from environmental uncertainty by this Markov blanket. This is, effectively, a transition by the Markov blanket from transparency to opacity for the variational free energy of the environment. We suggest that the ability to arrest the cell cycle of daughter cells and redirect their resource utilization from division to environmental threat amelioration is the key innovation of obligate multicellular eukaryotes, that the nervous system evolved to exercise this control over long distances, and that cancer is an escape by somatic cells from the control of reproductive cells. Our quantitative model illustrates the evolutionary dynamics of this system, provides a novel hypothesis for the origin of multicellular animal bodies, and suggests a fundamental link between the architectures of complex organisms and information processing in proto-cognitive cellular agents.

RevDate: 2019-08-16

Kuzdzal-Fick JJ, Chen L, G Balázsi (2019)

Disadvantages and benefits of evolved unicellularity versus multicellularity in budding yeast.

Ecology and evolution, 9(15):8509-8523 pii:ECE35322.

Multicellular organisms appeared on Earth through several independent major evolutionary transitions. Are such transitions reversible? Addressing this fundamental question entails understanding the benefits and costs of multicellularity versus unicellularity. For example, some wild yeast strains form multicellular clumps, which might be beneficial in stressful conditions, but this has been untested. Here, we show that unicellular yeast evolve from clump-forming ancestors by propagating samples from suspension after larger clumps have settled. Unicellular yeast strains differed from their clumping ancestors mainly by mutations in the AMN1 (Antagonist of Mitotic exit Network) gene. Ancestral yeast clumps were more resistant to freeze/thaw, hydrogen peroxide, and ethanol stressors than their unicellular counterparts, but they grew slower without stress. These findings suggest disadvantages and benefits to multicellularity and unicellularity that may have impacted the emergence of multicellular life forms.

RevDate: 2019-08-31

Small CM, Currey M, Beck EA, et al (2019)

Highly Reproducible 16S Sequencing Facilitates Measurement of Host Genetic Influences on the Stickleback Gut Microbiome.

mSystems, 4(4): pii:4/4/e00331-19.

Multicellular organisms interact with resident microbes in important ways, and a better understanding of host-microbe interactions is aided by tools such as high-throughput 16S sequencing. However, rigorous evaluation of the veracity of these tools in a different context from which they were developed has often lagged behind. Our goal was to perform one such critical test by examining how variation in tissue preparation and DNA isolation could affect inferences about gut microbiome variation between two genetically divergent lines of threespine stickleback fish maintained in the same laboratory environment. Using careful experimental design and intensive sampling of individuals, we addressed technical and biological sources of variation in 16S-based estimates of microbial diversity. After employing a two-tiered bead beating approach that comprised tissue homogenization followed by microbial lysis in subsamples, we found an extremely minor effect of DNA isolation protocol relative to among-host microbial diversity differences. Abundance estimates for rare operational taxonomic units (OTUs), however, showed much lower reproducibility. Gut microbiome composition was highly variable across fish-even among cohoused siblings-relative to technical replicates, but a subtle effect of host genotype (stickleback line) was nevertheless detected for some microbial taxa.IMPORTANCE Our findings demonstrate the importance of appropriately quantifying biological and technical variance components when attempting to understand major influences on high-throughput microbiome data. Our focus was on understanding among-host (biological) variance in community metrics and its magnitude in relation to within-host (technical) variance, because meaningful comparisons among individuals are necessary in addressing major questions in host-microbe ecology and evolution, such as heritability of the microbiome. Our study design and insights should provide a useful example for others desiring to quantify microbiome variation at biological levels in the face of various technical factors in a variety of systems.

RevDate: 2019-08-08

Blum P, S Payne (2019)

Evidence of an Epigenetics System in Archaea.

Epigenetics insights, 12:2516865719865280 pii:10.1177_2516865719865280.

Changes in the phenotype of a cell or organism that are heritable but do not involve changes in DNA sequence are referred to as epigenetic. They occur primarily through the gain or loss of chemical modification of chromatin protein or DNA. Epigenetics is therefore a non-Mendelian process. The study of epigenetics in eukaryotes is expanding with advances in knowledge about the relationship between mechanism and phenotype and as a requirement for multicellularity and cancer. However, life also includes other groups or domains, notably the bacteria and archaea. The occurrence of epigenetics in these deep lineages is an emerging topic accompanied by controversy. In these non-eukaryotic organisms, epigenetics is critically important because it stimulates new evolutionary theory and refines perspective about biological action.

RevDate: 2019-08-05

Newman SA (2019)

Inherent forms and the evolution of evolution.

Journal of experimental zoology. Part B, Molecular and developmental evolution [Epub ahead of print].

John Bonner presented a provocative conjecture that the means by which organisms evolve has itself evolved. The elements of his postulated nonuniformitarianism in the essay under discussion-the emergence of sex, the enhanced selection pressures on larger multicellular forms-center on a presumed close mapping of genotypic to phenotypic change. A different view emerges from delving into earlier work of Bonner's in which he proposed the concept of "neutral phenotypes" and "neutral morphologies" allied to D'Arcy Thompson's analysis of physical determinants of form and studied the conditional elicitation of intrinsic organizational properties of cell aggregates in social amoebae. By comparing the shared and disparate mechanistic bases of morphogenesis and developmental outcomes in the embryos of metazoans (animals), closely related nonmetazoan holozoans, more distantly related dictyostelids, and very distantly related volvocine algae, I conclude, in agreement with Bonner's earlier proposals, that understanding the evolution of multicellular evolution requires knowledge of the inherent forms of diversifying lineages, and that the relevant causative factors extend beyond genes and adaptation to the physics of materials.

RevDate: 2019-08-13

Yeoh LM, Goodman CD, Mollard V, et al (2019)

Alternative splicing is required for stage differentiation in malaria parasites.

Genome biology, 20(1):151 pii:10.1186/s13059-019-1756-6.

BACKGROUND: In multicellular organisms, alternative splicing is central to tissue differentiation and identity. Unicellular protists lack multicellular tissue but differentiate into variable cell types during their life cycles. The role of alternative splicing in transitions between cell types and establishing cellular identity is currently unknown in any unicellular organism.

RESULTS: To test whether alternative splicing in unicellular protists plays a role in cellular differentiation, we conduct RNA-seq to compare splicing in female and male sexual stages to asexual intraerythrocytic stages in the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium berghei. We find extensive changes in alternative splicing between stages and a role for alternative splicing in sexual differentiation. Previously, general gametocyte differentiation was shown to be modulated by specific transcription factors. Here, we show that alternative splicing establishes a subsequent layer of regulation, controlling genes relating to consequent sex-specific differentiation of gametocytes.

CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrate that alternative splicing is reprogrammed during cellular differentiation of a unicellular protist. Disruption of an alternative splicing factor, PbSR-MG, perturbs sex-specific alternative splicing and decreases the ability of the parasites to differentiate into male gametes and oocysts, thereby reducing transmission between vertebrate and insect hosts. Our results reveal alternative splicing as an integral, stage-specific phenomenon in these protists and as a regulator of cellular differentiation that arose early in eukaryotic evolution.

RevDate: 2019-08-07

Olin-Sandoval V, Yu JSL, Miller-Fleming L, et al (2019)

Lysine harvesting is an antioxidant strategy and triggers underground polyamine metabolism.

Nature, 572(7768):249-253.

Both single and multicellular organisms depend on anti-stress mechanisms that enable them to deal with sudden changes in the environment, including exposure to heat and oxidants. Central to the stress response are dynamic changes in metabolism, such as the transition from the glycolysis to the pentose phosphate pathway-a conserved first-line response to oxidative insults1,2. Here we report a second metabolic adaptation that protects microbial cells in stress situations. The role of the yeast polyamine transporter Tpo1p3-5 in maintaining oxidant resistance is unknown6. However, a proteomic time-course experiment suggests a link to lysine metabolism. We reveal a connection between polyamine and lysine metabolism during stress situations, in the form of a promiscuous enzymatic reaction in which the first enzyme of the polyamine pathway, Spe1p, decarboxylates lysine and forms an alternative polyamine, cadaverine. The reaction proceeds in the presence of extracellular lysine, which is taken up by cells to reach concentrations up to one hundred times higher than those required for growth. Such extensive harvest is not observed for the other amino acids, is dependent on the polyamine pathway and triggers a reprogramming of redox metabolism. As a result, NADPH-which would otherwise be required for lysine biosynthesis-is channelled into glutathione metabolism, leading to a large increase in glutathione concentrations, lower levels of reactive oxygen species and increased oxidant tolerance. Our results show that nutrient uptake occurs not only to enable cell growth, but when the nutrient availability is favourable it also enables cells to reconfigure their metabolism to preventatively mount stress protection.

RevDate: 2019-07-26

Lu TM, Kanda M, Furuya H, et al (2019)

Dicyemid mesozoans: a unique parasitic lifestyle with reduced genome.

Genome biology and evolution pii:5536717 [Epub ahead of print].

Dicyemids, previously called "mesozoans" (intermediates between unicellular protozoans and multicellular metazoans), are an enigmatic animal group. They have a highly simplified adult body, comprising only ∼30 cells, and they have a unique parasitic lifestyle. Recently, dicyemids were shown to be spiralians, with affinities to the Platyhelminthes. In order to understand molecular mechanisms involved in evolution of this odd animal, we sequenced the genome of Dicyema japonicum and a reference transcriptome assembly using mixed-stage samples. The D. japonicum genome features a high proportion of repetitive sequences that account for 49% of the genome. The dicyemid genome is reduced to approximately 67.5 Mb with 5,012 protein-coding genes. Only four Hox genes exist in the genome, with no clustering. Gene distribution in KEGG pathways shows that D. japonicum has fewer genes in most pathways. Instead of eliminating entire critical metabolic pathways, parasitic lineages likely simplify pathways by eliminating pathway-specific genes, while genes with fundamental functions may be retained in multiple pathways. In principle, parasites can stand to lose genes that are unnecessary, in order to conserve energy. However, whether retained genes in incomplete pathways serve intermediate functions and how parasites overcome the physiological needs served by lost genes, remain to be investigated in future studies.

RevDate: 2019-08-10

Perez-Lamarque B, H Morlon (2019)

Characterizing symbiont inheritance during host-microbiota evolution: Application to the great apes gut microbiota.

Molecular ecology resources [Epub ahead of print].

Microbiota play a central role in the functioning of multicellular life, yet understanding their inheritance during host evolutionary history remains an important challenge. Symbiotic microorganisms are either acquired from the environment during the life of the host (i.e. environmental acquisition), transmitted across generations with a faithful association with their hosts (i.e. strict vertical transmission), or transmitted with occasional host switches (i.e. vertical transmission with horizontal switches). These different modes of inheritance affect microbes' diversification, which at the two extremes can be independent from that of their associated host or follow host diversification. The few existing quantitative tools for investigating the inheritance of symbiotic organisms rely on cophylogenetic approaches, which require knowledge of both host and symbiont phylogenies, and are therefore often not well adapted to DNA metabarcoding microbial data. Here, we develop a model-based framework for identifying vertically transmitted microbial taxa. We consider a model for the evolution of microbial sequences on a fixed host phylogeny that includes vertical transmission and horizontal host switches. This model allows estimating the number of host switches and testing for strict vertical transmission and independent evolution. We test our approach using simulations. Finally, we illustrate our framework on gut microbiota high-throughput sequencing data of the family Hominidae and identify several microbial taxonomic units, including fibrolytic bacteria involved in carbohydrate digestion, that tend to be vertically transmitted.

RevDate: 2019-07-31

Boscaro V, Husnik F, Vannini C, et al (2019)

Symbionts of the ciliate Euplotes: diversity, patterns and potential as models for bacteria-eukaryote endosymbioses.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 286(1907):20190693.

Endosymbioses between bacteria and eukaryotes are enormously important in ecology and evolution, and as such are intensely studied. Despite this, the range of investigated hosts is narrow in the context of the whole eukaryotic tree of life: most of the information pertains to animal hosts, while most of the diversity is found in unicellular protists. A prominent case study is the ciliate Euplotes, which has repeatedly taken up the bacterium Polynucleobacter from the environment, triggering its transformation into obligate endosymbiont. This multiple origin makes the relationship an excellent model to understand recent symbioses, but Euplotes may host bacteria other than Polynucleobacter, and a more detailed knowledge of these additional interactions is needed in order to correctly interpret the system. Here, we present the first systematic survey of Euplotes endosymbionts, adopting a classical as well as a metagenomic approach, and review the state of knowledge. The emerging picture is indeed quite complex, with some Euplotes harbouring rich, stable prokaryotic communities not unlike those of multicellular animals. We provide insights into the distribution, evolution and diversity of these symbionts (including the establishment of six novel bacterial taxa), and outline differences and similarities with the most well-understood group of eukaryotic hosts: insects.

RevDate: 2019-09-04

Newman SA (2019)

Inherency and homomorphy in the evolution of development.

Current opinion in genetics & development, 57:1-8 pii:S0959-437X(18)30148-5 [Epub ahead of print].

Organismal development occurs when expression of certain genes leads to the mobilization of physical forces and effects that shape and pattern multicellular clusters. All materials exhibit preferred forms, but the inherent morphological motifs of some, such as liquids and crystalline solids are well-characterized. Recent work has shown that the origin of the animals (Metazoa) was accompanied by the acquisition by their developing tissues of liquid-like and liquid-crystalline properties. This and the novel capacity to produce stiff internal substrata (basal laminae) set these organisms apart from their closest relatives by the propensity (predictable from their material nature) to form complex bodies and organs. Once functional forms became established, however, they were susceptible to further genetic change as well as partial or full supplanting of original physical determinants by different ones. This results in the increasingly recognized phenomenon of homomorphy, the presence of the same structure in descendent organisms, brought about by transformed developmental mechanisms.

RevDate: 2019-08-20

Joukov V, A De Nicolo (2019)

The Centrosome and the Primary Cilium: The Yin and Yang of a Hybrid Organelle.

Cells, 8(7): pii:cells8070701.

Centrosomes and primary cilia are usually considered as distinct organelles, although both are assembled with the same evolutionary conserved, microtubule-based templates, the centrioles. Centrosomes serve as major microtubule- and actin cytoskeleton-organizing centers and are involved in a variety of intracellular processes, whereas primary cilia receive and transduce environmental signals to elicit cellular and organismal responses. Understanding the functional relationship between centrosomes and primary cilia is important because defects in both structures have been implicated in various diseases, including cancer. Here, we discuss evidence that the animal centrosome evolved, with the transition to complex multicellularity, as a hybrid organelle comprised of the two distinct, but intertwined, structural-functional modules: the centriole/primary cilium module and the pericentriolar material/centrosome module. The evolution of the former module may have been caused by the expanding cellular diversification and intercommunication, whereas that of the latter module may have been driven by the increasing complexity of mitosis and the requirement for maintaining cell polarity, individuation, and adhesion. Through its unique ability to serve both as a plasma membrane-associated primary cilium organizer and a juxtanuclear microtubule-organizing center, the animal centrosome has become an ideal integrator of extracellular and intracellular signals with the cytoskeleton and a switch between the non-cell autonomous and the cell-autonomous signaling modes. In light of this hypothesis, we discuss centrosome dynamics during cell proliferation, migration, and differentiation and propose a model of centrosome-driven microtubule assembly in mitotic and interphase cells. In addition, we outline the evolutionary benefits of the animal centrosome and highlight the hierarchy and modularity of the centrosome biogenesis networks.

RevDate: 2019-07-23

Yang YJ, Singh RP, Lan X, et al (2019)

Whole transcriptome analysis and gene deletion to understand the chloramphenicol resistance mechanism and develop a screening method for homologous recombination in Myxococcus xanthus.

Microbial cell factories, 18(1):123 pii:10.1186/s12934-019-1172-3.

BACKGROUND: Myxococcus xanthus DK1622 is a model system for studying multicellular development, predation, cellular differentiation, and evolution. Furthermore, it is a rich source of novel secondary metabolites and is widely used as heterologous expression host of exogenous biosynthetic gene clusters. For decades, genetic modification of M. xanthus DK1622 has mainly relied on kanamycin and tetracycline selection systems.

RESULTS: Here, we introduce an alternative selection system based on chloramphenicol (Cm) to broaden the spectrum of available molecular tools. A chloramphenicol-resistant growth phase and a chloramphenicol-susceptible growth phase before and after chloramphenicol-induction were prepared, and later sequenced to identify specific genes related to chloramphenicol-repercussion and drug-resistance. A total of 481 differentially expressed genes were revealed in chloramphenicol-resistant Cm5_36h and 1920 differentially expressed genes in chloramphenicol-dormant Cm_8h. Moreover, the gene expression profile in the chloramphenicol-dormant strain Cm_8h was quite different from that of Cm5_36 which had completely adapted to Cm, and 1513 differentially expression genes were identified between these two phenotypes. Besides upregulated acetyltransferases, several transporter encoding genes, including ABC transporters, major facilitator superfamily transporters (MFS), resistance-nodulation-cell division (RND) super family transporters and multidrug and toxic compound extrusion family transporters (MATE) were found to be involved in Cm resistance. After the knockout of the most highly upregulated MXAN_2566 MFS family gene, mutant strain DK-2566 was proved to be sensitive to Cm by measuring the growth curve in the Cm-added condition. A plasmid with a Cm resistance marker was constructed and integrated into chromosomes via homologous recombination and Cm screening. The integration efficiency was about 20% at different concentrations of Cm.

CONCLUSIONS: This study provides a new antibiotic-based selection system, and will help to understand antibiotic resistance mechanisms in M. xanthus DK1622.

RevDate: 2019-08-15

Rezaei-Lotfi S, Hunter N, RM Farahani (2019)

Coupled cycling programs multicellular self-organization of neural progenitors.

Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.), 18(17):2040-2054.

Self-organization is central to the morphogenesis of multicellular organisms. However, the molecular platform that coordinates the robust emergence of complex morphological patterns from local interactions between cells remains unresolved. Here we demonstrate that neural self- organization is driven by coupled cycling of progenitor cells. In a coupled cycling mode, intercellular contacts relay extrinsic cues to override the intrinsic cycling rhythm of an individual cell and synchronize the population. The stringency of coupling and hence the synchronicity of the population is programmed by recruitment of a key coupler, β-catenin, into junctional complexes. As such, multicellular self-organization is driven by the same basic mathematical principle that governs synchronized behavior of macro-scale biological systems as diverse as the synchronized chirping of crickets, flashing of fireflies and schooling of fish; that is synchronization by coupling. It is proposed that coupled cycling foreshadows a fundamental adaptive change that facilitated evolution and diversification of multicellular life forms.

RevDate: 2019-07-30

Staps M, van Gestel J, CE Tarnita (2019)

Emergence of diverse life cycles and life histories at the origin of multicellularity.

Nature ecology & evolution, 3(8):1197-1205.

The evolution of multicellularity has given rise to a remarkable diversity of multicellular life cycles and life histories. Whereas some multicellular organisms are long-lived, grow through cell division, and repeatedly release single-celled propagules (for example, animals), others are short-lived, form by aggregation, and propagate only once, by generating large numbers of solitary cells (for example, cellular slime moulds). There are no systematic studies that explore how diverse multicellular life cycles can come about. Here, we focus on the origin of multicellularity and develop a mechanistic model to examine the primitive life cycles that emerge from a unicellular ancestor when an ancestral gene is co-opted for cell adhesion. Diverse life cycles readily emerge, depending on ecological conditions, group-forming mechanism, and ancestral constraints. Among these life cycles, we recapitulate both extremes of long-lived groups that propagate continuously and short-lived groups that propagate only once, with the latter type of life cycle being particularly favoured when groups can form by aggregation. Our results show how diverse life cycles and life histories can easily emerge at the origin of multicellularity, shaped by ancestral constraints and ecological conditions. Beyond multicellularity, this finding has similar implications for other major transitions, such as the evolution of sociality.

RevDate: 2019-07-03

Etxebeste O, Otamendi A, Garzia A, et al (2019)

Rewiring of transcriptional networks as a major event leading to the diversity of asexual multicellularity in fungi.

Critical reviews in microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

Complex multicellularity (CM) is characterized by the generation of three-dimensional structures that follow a genetically controlled program. CM emerged at least five times in evolution, one of them in fungi. There are two types of CM programs in fungi, leading, respectively, to the formation of sexual or asexual spores. Asexual spores foment the spread of mycoses, as they are the main vehicle for dispersion. In spite of this key dependence, there is great morphological diversity of asexual multicellular structures in fungi. To advance the understanding of the mechanisms that control initiation and progression of asexual CM and how they can lead to such a remarkable morphological diversification, we studied 503 fungal proteomes, representing all phyla and subphyla, and most known classes. Conservation analyses of 33 regulators of asexual development suggest stepwise emergence of transcription factors. While velvet proteins constitute one of the most ancient systems, the central regulator BrlA emerged late in evolution (with the class Eurotiomycetes). Some factors, such as MoConX4, seem to be species-specific. These observations suggest that the emergence and evolution of transcriptional regulators rewire transcriptional networks. This process could reach the species level, resulting in a vast diversity of morphologies.

RevDate: 2019-08-30

Falz AL, SJ Müller-Schüssele (2019)

Physcomitrella as a model system for plant cell biology and organelle-organelle communication.

Current opinion in plant biology, 52:7-13 pii:S1369-5266(18)30178-X [Epub ahead of print].

In multicellular eukaryotic cells, metabolism and growth are sustained by the cooperative functioning of organelles in combination with cell-to-cell communication at the organism level. In land plants, multiple strategies have evolved to adapt to life outside water. As basal land plant, the moss Physcomitrella patens is used for comparative genomics, allowing to study lineage-specific features, as well as to track the evolution of fundamental parameters of plant cell organisation and physiology. P. patens is a versatile model for cell biology research, especially to investigate adaptive growth, stress biology as well as organelle dynamics and interactions. Recent advances include the use of genetically encoded biosensors for in vivo imaging of physiological parameters.

RevDate: 2019-07-07

Aufrecht JA, Fowlkes JD, Bible AN, et al (2019)

Pore-scale hydrodynamics influence the spatial evolution of bacterial biofilms in a microfluidic porous network.

PloS one, 14(6):e0218316 pii:PONE-D-18-34329.

Bacteria occupy heterogeneous environments, attaching and growing within pores in materials, living hosts, and matrices like soil. Systems that permit high-resolution visualization of dynamic bacterial processes within the physical confines of a realistic and tractable porous media environment are rare. Here we use microfluidics to replicate the grain shape and packing density of natural sands in a 2D platform to study the flow-induced spatial evolution of bacterial biofilms underground. We discover that initial bacterial dispersal and grain attachment is influenced by bacterial transport across pore space velocity gradients, a phenomenon otherwise known as rheotaxis. We find that gravity-driven flow conditions activate different bacterial cell-clustering phenotypes depending on the strain's ability to product extracellular polymeric substances (EPS). A wildtype, biofilm-producing bacteria formed compact, multicellular patches while an EPS-defective mutant displayed a linked-cell phenotype in the presence of flow. These phenotypes subsequently influenced the overall spatial distribution of cells across the porous media network as colonies grew and altered the fluid dynamics of their microenvironment.

RevDate: 2019-06-29

Ågren JA, Davies NG, KR Foster (2019)

Enforcement is central to the evolution of cooperation.

Nature ecology & evolution, 3(7):1018-1029.

Cooperation occurs at all levels of life, from genomes, complex cells and multicellular organisms to societies and mutualisms between species. A major question for evolutionary biology is what these diverse systems have in common. Here, we review the full breadth of cooperative systems and find that they frequently rely on enforcement mechanisms that suppress selfish behaviour. We discuss many examples, including the suppression of transposable elements, uniparental inheritance of mitochondria and plastids, anti-cancer mechanisms, reciprocation and punishment in humans and other vertebrates, policing in eusocial insects and partner choice in mutualisms between species. To address a lack of accompanying theory, we develop a series of evolutionary models that show that the enforcement of cooperation is widely predicted. We argue that enforcement is an underappreciated, and often critical, ingredient for cooperation across all scales of biological organization.

RevDate: 2019-06-28

Robu A, Mironov V, A Neagu (2019)

Using Sacrificial Cell Spheroids for the Bioprinting of Perfusable 3D Tissue and Organ Constructs: A Computational Study.

Computational and mathematical methods in medicine, 2019:7853586.

A long-standing problem in tissue engineering is the biofabrication of perfusable tissue constructs that can be readily connected to the patient's vasculature. It was partially solved by three-dimensional (3D) printing of sacrificial material (e.g., hydrogel) strands: upon incorporation in another cell-laden hydrogel, the strands were removed, leaving behind perfusable channels. Their complexity, however, did not match that of the native vasculature. Here, we propose to use multicellular spheroids as a sacrificial material and investigate their potential benefits in the context of 3D bioprinting of cell aggregates and/or cell-laden hydrogels. Our study is based on computer simulations of postprinting cellular rearrangements. The computational model of the biological system is built on a cubic lattice, whereas its evolution is simulated using the Metropolis Monte Carlo algorithm. The simulations describe structural changes in three types of tissue constructs: a tube made of a single cell type, a tube made of two cell types, and a cell-laden hydrogel slab that incorporates a branching tube. In all three constructs, the lumen is obtained after the elimination of the sacrificial cell population. Our study suggests that sacrificial cell spheroids (sacrospheres) enable one to print tissue constructs outfitted with a finer and more complex network of channels than the ones obtained so far. Moreover, cellular interactions might give rise to a tissue microarchitecture that lies beyond the bioprinter's resolution. Although more expensive than inert materials, sacrificial cells have the potential to bring further progress towards the biofabrication of fully vascularized tissue substitutes.

RevDate: 2019-07-15

Tian L, Zhang B, Zhang J, et al (2019)

A magnetic compass guides the direction of foraging in a bat.

Journal of comparative physiology. A, Neuroethology, sensory, neural, and behavioral physiology, 205(4):619-627.

Previously, two studies have provided evidence that bats can use magnetic field cues for homing or roosting. For insectivorous bats, it is well established that foraging represents one of the most fundamental behaviors in animals relies on their ability to echolocate. Whether echolocating bats can also use magnetic cues during foraging remains unknown, however. Here, we tested the orientation behavior of Chinese noctules (Nyctalus plancyi) during foraging in a plus-shaped, 4-channel apparatus under different magnetic field conditions. To minimize the effects of spatial memory on orientation from repeated experiments, naïve bats were tested only once in each experimental condition. As expected, under geomagnetic field and a food resource offered conditions, the bats significantly preferred to enter the channel containing food, indicating that they primarily relied on direct sensory signals unrelated to magnetic cues. In contrast, when we offered food simultaneously in all four channels and minimized any differences in all other sensory signals available, the bats exhibited a clear directional preference to forage along the magnetic field direction under either geomagnetic field or a magnetic field in which the horizontal component was rotated by 90°. Our study offers a novel evidence for the importance of a geomagnetic field during foraging.

RevDate: 2019-07-23
CmpDate: 2019-07-23

Muras V, Toulouse C, Fritz G, et al (2019)

Respiratory Membrane Protein Complexes Convert Chemical Energy.

Sub-cellular biochemistry, 92:301-335.

The invention of a biological membrane which is used as energy storage system to drive the metabolism of a primordial, unicellular organism represents a key event in the evolution of life. The innovative, underlying principle of this key event is respiration. In respiration, a lipid bilayer with insulating properties is chosen as the site for catalysis of an exergonic redox reaction converting substrates offered from the environment, using the liberated Gibbs free energy (ΔG) for the build-up of an electrochemical H+ (proton motive force, PMF) or Na+ gradient (sodium motive force, SMF) across the lipid bilayer. Very frequently , several redox reactions are performed in a consecutive manner, with the first reaction delivering a product which is used as substrate for the second redox reaction, resulting in a respiratory chain. From today's perspective, the (mostly) unicellular bacteria and archaea seem to be much simpler and less evolved when compared to multicellular eukaryotes. However, they are overwhelmingly complex with regard to the various respiratory chains which permit survival in very different habitats of our planet, utilizing a plethora of substances to drive metabolism. This includes nitrogen, sulfur and carbon compounds which are oxidized or reduced by specialized, respiratory enzymes of bacteria and archaea which lie at the heart of the geochemical N, S and C-cycles. This chapter gives an overview of general principles of microbial respiration considering thermodynamic aspects, chemical reactions and kinetic restraints. The respiratory chains of Escherichia coli and Vibrio cholerae are discussed as models for PMF- versus SMF-generating processes, respectively. We introduce main redox cofactors of microbial respiratory enzymes, and the concept of intra-and interelectron transfer. Since oxygen is an electron acceptor used by many respiratory chains, the formation and removal of toxic oxygen radicals is described. Promising directions of future research are respiratory enzymes as novel bacterial targets, and biotechnological applications relying on respiratory complexes.

RevDate: 2019-06-18

Bonner JT (2019)

The evolution of evolution.

Journal of experimental zoology. Part B, Molecular and developmental evolution [Epub ahead of print].

In the past, most biologists, myself included, did not think of evolution as changing over time. The wonders of natural selection were always at hand and went into operation once there was life. However, with a little reflection it becomes obvious that evolution has changed-there has been an evolution of evolution. Evolution can be separated into four phases, or eras, that may or may not overlap. The first era starts with the evolution of life on earth, which led to single cells that multiply asexually. The second era takes advantage of the invention of sexual reproduction as evolution could now gallop forward because of a richer fare of diverse offspring for natural selection. The third era begins with the introduction of multicellularity. In the fourth era there is a radical innovation: the nervous system that arises animals by standard Darwinian selection. This has allowed major rapid changes to proceed, such as language that led to all the rapid progress we call civilization; a true revolution, and one that does not depend on the slow genetic changes of all other standard gene-controlled evolutionary steps.

RevDate: 2019-06-14

Pirkmajer S, AV Chibalin (2019)

Hormonal regulation of Na+-K+-ATPase from the evolutionary perspective.

Current topics in membranes, 83:315-351.

Na+-K+-ATPase, an α/β heterodimer, is an ancient enzyme that maintains Na+ and K+ gradients, thus preserving cellular ion homeostasis. In multicellular organisms, this basic housekeeping function is integrated to fulfill the needs of specialized organs and preserve whole-body homeostasis. In vertebrates, Na+-K+-ATPase is essential for many fundamental physiological processes, such as nerve conduction, muscle contraction, nutrient absorption, and urine excretion. During vertebrate evolution, three key developments contributed to diversification and integration of Na+-K+-ATPase functions. Generation of novel α- and β-subunits led to formation of multiple Na+-K+-ATPase isoenyzmes with distinct functional characteristics. Development of a complex endocrine system enabled efficient coordination of diverse Na+-K+-ATPase functions. Emergence of FXYDs, small transmembrane proteins that regulate Na+-K+-ATPase, opened new ways to modulate its function. FXYDs are a vertebrate innovation and an important site of hormonal action, suggesting they played an especially prominent role in evolving interaction between Na+-K+-ATPase and the endocrine system in vertebrates.

RevDate: 2019-06-27

Sogabe S, Hatleberg WL, Kocot KM, et al (2019)

Pluripotency and the origin of animal multicellularity.

Nature, 570(7762):519-522.

A widely held-but rarely tested-hypothesis for the origin of animals is that they evolved from a unicellular ancestor, with an apical cilium surrounded by a microvillar collar, that structurally resembled modern sponge choanocytes and choanoflagellates1-4. Here we test this view of animal origins by comparing the transcriptomes, fates and behaviours of the three primary sponge cell types-choanocytes, pluripotent mesenchymal archaeocytes and epithelial pinacocytes-with choanoflagellates and other unicellular holozoans. Unexpectedly, we find that the transcriptome of sponge choanocytes is the least similar to the transcriptomes of choanoflagellates and is significantly enriched in genes unique to either animals or sponges alone. By contrast, pluripotent archaeocytes upregulate genes that control cell proliferation and gene expression, as in other metazoan stem cells and in the proliferating stages of two unicellular holozoans, including a colonial choanoflagellate. Choanocytes in the sponge Amphimedon queenslandica exist in a transient metastable state and readily transdifferentiate into archaeocytes, which can differentiate into a range of other cell types. These sponge cell-type conversions are similar to the temporal cell-state changes that occur in unicellular holozoans5. Together, these analyses argue against homology of sponge choanocytes and choanoflagellates, and the view that the first multicellular animals were simple balls of cells with limited capacity to differentiate. Instead, our results are consistent with the first animal cell being able to transition between multiple states in a manner similar to modern transdifferentiating and stem cells.

RevDate: 2019-07-08

Qian XX, Santini CL, Kosta A, et al (2019)

Juxtaposed membranes underpin cellular adhesion and display unilateral cell division of multicellular magnetotactic prokaryotes.

Environmental microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

Multicellular magnetotactic prokaryotes (MMPs) exhibit peculiar coordination of swimming along geomagnetic field lines. Approximately 40-80 cells assemble, with a helical geometry or axisymmetry, into spherical or ellipsoidal MMPs respectively. To contribute to a comprehensive understanding of bacterial multicellularity here we took multiple microscopic approaches to study the diversity, assembly, reproduction and motility of ellipsoidal MMPs. Using correlative fluorescence in situ hybridization and scanning electron microscopy analysis, we found an unexpected diversity in populations of ellipsoidal MMPs in the Mediterranean Sea. The high-pressure freezing/freeze substitution fixation technique allowed us to show, for the first time, that cells adhere via juxtaposed membranes and are held together by a rimming lattice. Fluorescence confocal microscopy and ultrathin section images revealed not only the one-layer hollow three-dimensional architecture, but also periphery-core unilateral constriction of constituent cells and unidirectional binary fission of the ellipsoidal MMPs. This finding suggests the evolution toward MMPs multicellularity via the mechanism of incomplete separation of offspring. Remarkably, thousands of flagellar at the periphery surface of cells underpin the coordinated swimming of MMPs in response to mechanical, chemical, magnetic and optical stimuli, including a magnetotactic photokinesis behaviour. Together these results unveil the unique structure and function property of ellipsoidal MMPs.

RevDate: 2019-08-05

Yamashita S, H Nozaki (2019)

Embryogenesis of flattened colonies implies the innovation required for the evolution of spheroidal colonies in volvocine green algae.

BMC evolutionary biology, 19(1):120 pii:10.1186/s12862-019-1452-x.

BACKGROUND: Volvocine algae provide a suitable model for investigation of the evolution of multicellular organisms. Within this group, evolution of the body plan from flattened to spheroidal colonies is thought to have occurred independently in two different lineages, Volvocaceae and Astrephomene. Volvocacean species undergo inversion to form a spheroidal cell layer following successive cell divisions during embryogenesis. During inversion, the daughter protoplasts change their shape and develop acute chloroplast ends (opposite to basal bodies). By contrast, Astrephomene does not undergo inversion; rather, its daughter protoplasts rotate during successive cell divisions to form a spheroidal colony. However, the evolutionary pathways of these cellular events involved in the two tactics for formation of spheroidal colony are unclear, since the embryogenesis of extant volvocine genera with ancestral flattened colonies, such as Gonium and Tetrabaena, has not previously been investigated in detail.

RESULTS: We conducted time-lapse imaging by light microscopy and indirect immunofluorescence microscopy with staining of basal bodies, nuclei, and microtubules to observe embryogenesis in G. pectorale and T. socialis, which form 16-celled or 4-celled flattened colonies, respectively. In G. pectorale, a cup-shaped cell layer of the 16-celled embryo underwent gradual expansion after successive cell divisions, with the apical ends (position of basal bodies) of the square embryo's peripheral protoplasts separated from each other. In T. socialis, on the other hand, there was no apparent expansion of the daughter protoplasts in 4-celled embryos after successive cell divisions, however the two pairs of diagonally opposed daughter protoplasts shifted slightly and flattened after hatching. Neither of these two species exhibited rotation of daughter protoplasts during successive cell divisions as in Astrephomene or the formation of acute chloroplast ends of daughter protoplasts as in volvocacean inversion.

CONCLUSIONS: The present results indicate that the ancestor of Astrephomene might have newly acquired the rotation of daughter protoplasts after it diverged from the ancestor of Gonium, while the ancestor of Volvocaceae might have newly acquired the formation of acute chloroplast ends to complete inversion after divergence from the ancestor of Goniaceae (Gonium and Astrephomene).

RevDate: 2019-06-30

Roy M, SD Finley (2019)

Metabolic reprogramming dynamics in tumor spheroids: Insights from a multicellular, multiscale model.

PLoS computational biology, 15(6):e1007053 pii:PCOMPBIOL-D-18-01871.

Mathematical modeling provides the predictive ability to understand the metabolic reprogramming and complex pathways that mediate cancer cells' proliferation. We present a mathematical model using a multiscale, multicellular approach to simulate avascular tumor growth, applied to pancreatic cancer. The model spans three distinct spatial and temporal scales. At the extracellular level, reaction diffusion equations describe nutrient concentrations over a span of seconds. At the cellular level, a lattice-based energy driven stochastic approach describes cellular phenomena including adhesion, proliferation, viability and cell state transitions, occurring on the timescale of hours. At the sub-cellular level, we incorporate a detailed kinetic model of intracellular metabolite dynamics on the timescale of minutes, which enables the cells to uptake and excrete metabolites and use the metabolites to generate energy and building blocks for cell growth. This is a particularly novel aspect of the model. Certain defined criteria for the concentrations of intracellular metabolites lead to cancer cell growth, proliferation or death. Overall, we model the evolution of the tumor in both time and space. Starting with a cluster of tumor cells, the model produces an avascular tumor that quantitatively and qualitatively mimics experimental measurements of multicellular tumor spheroids. Through our model simulations, we can investigate the response of individual intracellular species under a metabolic perturbation and investigate how that response contributes to the response of the tumor as a whole. The predicted response of intracellular metabolites under various targeted strategies are difficult to resolve with experimental techniques. Thus, the model can give novel predictions as to the response of the tumor as a whole, identifies potential therapies to impede tumor growth, and predicts the effects of those therapeutic strategies. In particular, the model provides quantitative insight into the dynamic reprogramming of tumor cells at the intracellular level in response to specific metabolic perturbations. Overall, the model is a useful framework to study targeted metabolic strategies for inhibiting tumor growth.

RevDate: 2019-06-11

Chaplain MAJ, Lorenzi T, FR Macfarlane (2019)

Bridging the gap between individual-based and continuum models of growing cell populations.

Journal of mathematical biology pii:10.1007/s00285-019-01391-y [Epub ahead of print].

Continuum models for the spatial dynamics of growing cell populations have been widely used to investigate the mechanisms underpinning tissue development and tumour invasion. These models consist of nonlinear partial differential equations that describe the evolution of cellular densities in response to pressure gradients generated by population growth. Little prior work has explored the relation between such continuum models and related single-cell-based models. We present here a simple stochastic individual-based model for the spatial dynamics of multicellular systems whereby cells undergo pressure-driven movement and pressure-dependent proliferation. We show that nonlinear partial differential equations commonly used to model the spatial dynamics of growing cell populations can be formally derived from the branching random walk that underlies our discrete model. Moreover, we carry out a systematic comparison between the individual-based model and its continuum counterparts, both in the case of one single cell population and in the case of multiple cell populations with different biophysical properties. The outcomes of our comparative study demonstrate that the results of computational simulations of the individual-based model faithfully mirror the qualitative and quantitative properties of the solutions to the corresponding nonlinear partial differential equations. Ultimately, these results illustrate how the simple rules governing the dynamics of single cells in our individual-based model can lead to the emergence of complex spatial patterns of population growth observed in continuum models.

RevDate: 2019-08-09

Kees ED, Pendleton AR, Paquete CM, et al (2019)

Secreted Flavin Cofactors for Anaerobic Respiration of Fumarate and Urocanate by Shewanella oneidensis: Cost and Role.

Applied and environmental microbiology, 85(16): pii:AEM.00852-19.

Shewanella oneidensis strain MR-1, a facultative anaerobe and model organism for dissimilatory metal reduction, uses a periplasmic flavocytochrome, FccA, both as a terminal fumarate reductase and as a periplasmic electron transfer hub for extracellular respiration of a variety of substrates. It is currently unclear how maturation of FccA and other periplasmic flavoproteins is achieved, specifically in the context of flavin cofactor loading, and the fitness cost of flavin secretion has not been quantified. We demonstrate that deletion of the inner membrane flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) exporter Bfe results in a 23% slower growth rate than that of the wild type during fumarate respiration and an 80 to 90% loss in fumarate reductase activity. Exogenous flavin supplementation does not restore FccA activity in a Δbfe mutant unless the gene encoding the periplasmic FAD hydrolase UshA is also deleted. We demonstrate that the small Bfe-independent pool of FccA is sufficient for anaerobic growth with fumarate. Strains lacking Bfe were unable to grow using urocanate as the sole electron acceptor, which relies on the periplasmic flavoprotein UrdA. We show that periplasmic flavoprotein maturation occurs in careful balance with periplasmic FAD hydrolysis, and that the current model for periplasmic flavin cofactor loading must account for a Bfe-independent mechanism for flavin transport. Finally, we determine that the metabolic burden of flavin secretion is not significant during growth with flavin-independent anaerobic electron acceptors. Our work helps frame the physiological motivations that drove evolution of flavin secretion by ShewanellaIMPORTANCEShewanella species are prevalent in marine and aquatic environments, throughout stratified water columns, in mineral-rich sediments, and in association with multicellular marine and aquatic organisms. The diversity of niches shewanellae can occupy are due largely to their respiratory versatility. Shewanella oneidensis is a model organism for dissimilatory metal reduction and can respire a diverse array of organic and inorganic compounds, including dissolved and solid metal oxides. The fumarate reductase FccA is a highly abundant multifunctional periplasmic protein that acts to bridge the periplasm and temporarily store electrons in a variety of respiratory nodes, including metal, nitrate, and dimethyl sulfoxide respiration. However, maturation of this central protein, particularly flavin cofactor acquisition, is poorly understood. Here, we quantify the fitness cost of flavin secretion and describe how free flavins are acquired by FccA and a homologous periplasmic flavoprotein, UrdA.

RevDate: 2019-08-19

St-Georges-Robillard A, Cahuzac M, Péant B, et al (2019)

Long-term fluorescence hyperspectral imaging of on-chip treated co-culture tumour spheroids to follow clonal evolution.

Integrative biology : quantitative biosciences from nano to macro, 11(4):130-141.

Multicellular tumour spheroids are an ideal in vitro tumour model to study clonal heterogeneity and drug resistance in cancer research because different cell types can be mixed at will. However, measuring the individual response of each cell population over time is challenging: current methods are either destructive, such as flow cytometry, or cannot image throughout a spheroid, such as confocal microscopy. Our group previously developed a wide-field fluorescence hyperspectral imaging system to study spheroids formed and cultured in microfluidic chips. In the present study, two subclones of a single parental ovarian cancer cell line transfected to express different fluorophores were produced and co-culture spheroids were formed on-chip using ratios forming highly asymmetric subpopulations. We performed a 3D proliferation assay on each cell population forming the spheroids that matched the 2D growth behaviour. Response assays to PARP inhibitors and platinum-based drugs were also performed to follow the clonal evolution of mixed populations. Our experiments show that hyperspectral imaging can detect spheroid response before observing a decrease in spheroid diameter. Hyperspectral imaging and microfluidic-based spheroid assays provide a versatile solution to study clonal heterogeneity, able to measure response in subpopulations presenting as little as 10% of the initial spheroid.

RevDate: 2019-06-19
CmpDate: 2019-06-17

Rossy T, Nadell CD, A Persat (2019)

Cellular advective-diffusion drives the emergence of bacterial surface colonization patterns and heterogeneity.

Nature communications, 10(1):2471 pii:10.1038/s41467-019-10469-6.

Microorganisms navigate and divide on surfaces to form multicellular structures called biofilms, the most widespread survival strategy found in the bacterial world. One common assumption is that cellular components guide the spatial architecture and arrangement of multiple species in a biofilm. However, bacteria must contend with mechanical forces generated through contact with surfaces and under fluid flow, whose contributions to colonization patterns are poorly understood. Here, we show how the balance between motility and flow promotes the emergence of morphological patterns in Caulobacter crescentus biofilms. By modeling transport of single cells by flow and Brownian-like swimming, we show that the emergence of these patterns is guided by an effective Péclet number. By analogy with transport phenomena we show that, counter-intuitively, fluid flow represses mixing of distinct clonal lineages, thereby affecting the interaction landscapes between biofilm-dwelling bacteria. This demonstrates that hydrodynamics influence species interaction and evolution within surface-associated communities.

RevDate: 2019-06-22

Edgar JA (2019)

L-ascorbic acid and the evolution of multicellular eukaryotes.

Journal of theoretical biology, 476:62-73.

The lifeless earth was formed around 4.5 billion years ago and the first anaerobic unicellular "organisms" may have appeared half a billion years later. Despite subsequent prokaryotes (bacteria and archaea) evolving quite complex biochemistry and some eukaryote characteristics, the transition from unicellular prokaryotes to multicellular, aerobic eukaryotes took a further 2.5 billion years to begin. The key factor or factors that eventually caused this long-delayed transition is a question that has been a focus of considerable research and a topic of discussion over many years. On the basis of the extensive literature available and consideration of some of the characteristics that distinguish multicellular eukaryotes from prokaryotes, it is proposed that, as well as the development of oxygenic photosynthesis producing high levels of environmental oxygen and the formation of vital organelles such as aerobic adenosine triphosphate-generating mitochondria, the concurrent evolution of the L-ascorbic acid redox system should be considered as a key factor that led to the evolution of multicellular eukaryotes and it remains vitally involved in the maintenance of multicellularity and many other eukaryote characteristics.

RevDate: 2019-06-18

Thomas F, Madsen T, Giraudeau M, et al (2019)

Transmissible cancer and the evolution of sex.

PLoS biology, 17(6):e3000275 pii:PBIOLOGY-D-19-00513.

The origin and subsequent maintenance of sex and recombination are among the most elusive and controversial problems in evolutionary biology. Here, we propose a novel hypothesis, suggesting that sexual reproduction not only evolved to reduce the negative effects of the accumulation of deleterious mutations and processes associated with pathogen and/or parasite resistance but also to prevent invasion by transmissible selfish neoplastic cheater cells, henceforth referred to as transmissible cancer cells. Sexual reproduction permits systematic change of the multicellular organism's genotype and hence an enhanced detection of transmissible cancer cells by immune system. Given the omnipresence of oncogenic processes in multicellular organisms, together with the fact that transmissible cancer cells can have dramatic effects on their host fitness, our scenario suggests that the benefits of sex and concomitant recombination will be large and permanent, explaining why sexual reproduction is, despite its costs, the dominant mode of reproduction among eukaryotes.

RevDate: 2019-06-06

Siddiqui S, Singh A, Faizi N, et al (2019)

Cell cannibalism in oral cancer: A sign of aggressiveness, de-evolution, and retroversion of multicellularity.

Journal of cancer research and therapeutics, 15(3):631-637.

Background: According to Darwin's theory of evolution, complex creatures evolve from more simplistic ancestors. Dollo's law of irreversibility states that evolution is irreversible. However, cancer cells tend to follow anti-Dollo's law. Unfavorable conditions such as hypoxia, acidic pH and low nutrients cause the cancer cells to switch their lifestyle atavistically in order to survive. They start behaving like a unicellular organism. There is a switch from normal metabolism to Warburg effect and finally cannibalism. Cannibalism is a cell eating cell phenomenon. It is defined as a large cell enclosing a smaller one within its cytoplasm and is known by odd names such as "bird's eye cells" or "signet ring cells." Smaller tumor cells are found in the cytoplasm of larger tumor cells with crescent-shaped nucleus. Cannibalistic cells (CCs) are a feature of aggressive tumors. These cell types are vulnerable to metastasis.

Aim: The aim of this study is to identify CCs in various histological grades of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) and to relate them with the pattern of invasion, lymphocytic response (LR), and mitotic figures (Mfs). The purpose of the article is to establish it as a marker of aggressiveness and metastasis and as an evidence of de-evolution and retroversion of multicellularity.

Materials and Methods: Sixty-five histologically confirmed cases of OSCC were studied. Pattern of invasion, LR, number of CCs, and Mfs were recorded on 5 μ hematoxylin and eosin-stained tissue sections. ANOVA and t-test were applied; P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

Results: CCs were more in sections with patchy LR, increased Mfs, and grade IV pattern of invasion.

Conclusion: With increase in dedifferentiation, tumor cells start behaving like unicellular organisms with cell eating cell characteristics.

RevDate: 2019-06-04

Ostrowski EA (2019)

Enforcing Cooperation in the Social Amoebae.

Current biology : CB, 29(11):R474-R484.

Cooperation has been essential to the evolution of biological complexity, but many societies struggle to overcome internal conflicts and divisions. Dictyostelium discoideum, or the social amoeba, has been a useful model system for exploring these conflicts and how they can be resolved. When starved, these cells communicate, gather into groups, and build themselves into a multicellular fruiting body. Some cells altruistically die to form the rigid stalk, while the remainder sit atop the stalk, become spores, and disperse. Evolutionary theory predicts that conflict will arise over which cells die to form the stalk and which cells become spores and survive. The power of the social amoeba lies in the ability to explore how cooperation and conflict work across multiple levels, ranging from proximate mechanisms (how does it work?) to ultimate evolutionary answers (why does it work?). Recent studies point to solutions to the problem of ensuring fairness, such as the ability to suppress selfishness and to recognize and avoid unrelated individuals. This work confirms a central role for kin selection, but also suggests new explanations for how social amoebae might enforce cooperation. New approaches based on genomics are also enabling researchers to decipher for the first time the evolutionary history of cooperation and conflict and to determine its role in shaping the biology of multicellular organisms.

RevDate: 2019-06-04

Smith P, M Schuster (2019)

Public goods and cheating in microbes.

Current biology : CB, 29(11):R442-R447.

Communication and cooperation are not restricted to complex, higher organisms. Microbes, too, perform a variety of collective, multicellular behaviors, including biofilm formation, quorum sensing, nutrient acquisition, and dispersal. The products of these microbial cooperative behaviors are generally referred to as public goods. Here we describe the nature of microbial public goods, the associated problem of cheating, and ways in which microbes maintain public goods in the face of cheating. We highlight work in a growing field at the interface of microbiology, evolution, and ecology that combines multiple approaches in experimental evolution, genetics, and mathematical modeling.

RevDate: 2019-06-03

Russell SL, Chappell L, W Sullivan (2019)

A symbiont's guide to the germline.

Current topics in developmental biology, 135:315-351.

Microbial symbioses exhibit astounding adaptations, yet all symbionts face the problem of how to reliably associate with host offspring every generation. A common strategy is vertical transmission, in which symbionts are directly transmitted from the female to her offspring. The diversity of symbionts and vertical transmission mechanisms is as expansive as the diversity of eukaryotic host taxa that house them. However, there are several common themes among these mechanisms based on the degree to which symbionts associate with the host germline during transmission. In this review, we detail three distinct vertical transmission strategies, starting with associations that are transmitted from host somatic cells to offspring somatic cells, either due to lacking a germline or avoiding it. A second strategy involves somatically-localized symbionts that migrate into the germline during host development. The third strategy we discuss is one in which the symbiont maintains continuous association with the germline throughout development. Unexpectedly, the vast majority of documented vertically inherited symbionts rely on the second strategy: soma-to-germline migration. Given that not all eukaryotes contain a sequestered germline and instead produce offspring from somatic stem cell lineages, this soma-to-germline migration is discussed in the context of multicellular evolution. Lastly, as recent genomics data have revealed an abundance of horizontal gene transfer events from symbiotic and non-symbiotic bacteria to host genomes, we discuss their impact on eukaryotic host evolution.

RevDate: 2019-05-31

Moreno MA, C Ofria (2019)

Toward Open-Ended Fraternal Transitions in Individuality.

Artificial life, 25(2):117-133.

The emergence of new replicating entities from the union of simpler entities characterizes some of the most profound events in natural evolutionary history. Such transitions in individuality are essential to the evolution of the most complex forms of life. Thus, understanding these transitions is critical to building artificial systems capable of open-ended evolution. Alas, these transitions are challenging to induce or detect, even with computational organisms. Here, we introduce the DISHTINY (Distributed Hierarchical Transitions in Individuality) platform, which provides simple cell-like organisms with the ability and incentive to unite into new individuals in a manner that can continue to scale to subsequent transitions. The system is designed to encourage these transitions so that they can be studied: Organisms that coordinate spatiotemporally can maximize the rate of resource harvest, which is closely linked to their reproductive ability. We demonstrate the hierarchical emergence of multiple levels of individuality among simple cell-like organisms that evolve parameters for manually designed strategies. During evolution, we observe reproductive division of labor and close cooperation among cells, including resource-sharing, aggregation of resource endowments for propagules, and emergence of an apoptosis response to somatic mutation. Many replicate populations evolved to direct their resources toward low-level groups (behaving like multicellular individuals), and many others evolved to direct their resources toward high-level groups (acting as larger-scale multicellular individuals).

RevDate: 2019-06-16

Sweeney EG, Nishida A, Weston A, et al (2019)

Agent-Based Modeling Demonstrates How Local Chemotactic Behavior Can Shape Biofilm Architecture.

mSphere, 4(3): pii:4/3/e00285-19.

Bacteria are often found living in aggregated multicellular communities known as biofilms. Biofilms are three-dimensional structures that confer distinct physical and biological properties to the collective of cells living within them. We used agent-based modeling to explore whether local cellular interactions were sufficient to give rise to global structural features of biofilms. Specifically, we asked whether chemorepulsion from a self-produced quorum-sensing molecule, autoinducer-2 (AI-2), was sufficient to recapitulate biofilm growth and cellular organization observed for biofilms of Helicobacter pylori, a common bacterial resident of human stomachs. To carry out this modeling, we modified an existing platform, Individual-based Dynamics of Microbial Communities Simulator (iDynoMiCS), to incorporate three-dimensional chemotaxis, planktonic cells that could join or leave the biofilm structure, and cellular production of AI-2. We simulated biofilm growth of previously characterized H. pylori strains with various AI-2 production and sensing capacities. Using biologically plausible parameters, we were able to recapitulate both the variation in biofilm mass and cellular distributions observed with these strains. Specifically, the strains that were competent to chemotax away from AI-2 produced smaller and more heterogeneously spaced biofilms, whereas the AI-2 chemotaxis-defective strains produced larger and more homogeneously spaced biofilms. The model also provided new insights into the cellular demographics contributing to the biofilm patterning of each strain. Our analysis supports the idea that cellular interactions at small spatial and temporal scales are sufficient to give rise to larger-scale emergent properties of biofilms.IMPORTANCE Most bacteria exist in aggregated, three-dimensional structures called biofilms. Although biofilms play important ecological roles in natural and engineered settings, they can also pose societal problems, for example, when they grow in plumbing systems or on medical implants. Understanding the processes that promote the growth and disassembly of biofilms could lead to better strategies to manage these structures. We had previously shown that Helicobacter pylori bacteria are repulsed by high concentrations of a self-produced molecule, AI-2, and that H. pylori mutants deficient in AI-2 sensing form larger and more homogeneously spaced biofilms. Here, we used computer simulations of biofilm formation to show that local H. pylori behavior of repulsion from high AI-2 could explain the overall architecture of H. pylori biofilms. Our findings demonstrate that it is possible to change global biofilm organization by manipulating local cell behaviors, which suggests that simple strategies targeting cells at local scales could be useful for controlling biofilms in industrial and medical settings.

RevDate: 2019-06-10

Liu T, Wang X, Wang G, et al (2019)

Evolution of Complex Thallus Alga: Genome Sequencing of Saccharina japonica.

Frontiers in genetics, 10:378.

Saccharina, as one of the most important brown algae (Phaeophyceae) with multicellular thallus, has a very remarkable evolutionary history, and globally accounts for most of the economic marine aquaculture production worldwide. Here, we present the 580.5 million base pairs of genome sequence of Saccharina japonica, whose current assembly contains 35,725 protein-coding genes. In a comparative analysis with Ectocarpus siliculosus, the integrated virus sequence suggested the genome evolutionary footprints, which derived from their co-ancestry and experienced genomic arrangements. Furthermore, the gene expansion was found to be an important strategy for functional evolution, especially with regard to extracelluar components, stress-related genes, and vanadium-dependent haloperoxidases, and we proposed a hypothesis that gene duplication events were the main driving force for the evolution history from multicellular filamentous algae to thallus algae. The sequenced Saccharina genome paves the way for further molecular studies and is useful for genome-assisted breeding of S. japonica and other related algae species.

RevDate: 2019-06-13

Loron CC, François C, Rainbird RH, et al (2019)

Early fungi from the Proterozoic era in Arctic Canada.

Nature, 570(7760):232-235.

Fungi are crucial components of modern ecosystems. They may have had an important role in the colonization of land by eukaryotes, and in the appearance and success of land plants and metazoans1-3. Nevertheless, fossils that can unambiguously be identified as fungi are absent from the fossil record until the middle of the Palaeozoic era4,5. Here we show, using morphological, ultrastructural and spectroscopic analyses, that multicellular organic-walled microfossils preserved in shale of the Grassy Bay Formation (Shaler Supergroup, Arctic Canada), which dates to approximately 1,010-890 million years ago, have a fungal affinity. These microfossils are more than half a billion years older than previously reported unambiguous occurrences of fungi, a date which is consistent with data from molecular clocks for the emergence of this clade6,7. In extending the fossil record of the fungi, this finding also pushes back the minimum date for the appearance of eukaryotic crown group Opisthokonta, which comprises metazoans, fungi and their protist relatives8,9.

RevDate: 2019-05-22

Ballinger MJ, SJ Perlman (2019)

The defensive Spiroplasma.

Current opinion in insect science, 32:36-41.

Defensive microbes are of great interest for their roles in arthropod health, disease transmission, and biocontrol efforts. Obligate bacterial passengers of arthropods, such as Spiroplasma, confer protection against the natural enemies of their hosts to improve their own fitness. Although known for less than a decade, Spiroplasma's defensive reach extends to diverse parasites, both microbial and multicellular. We provide an overview of known defensive phenotypes against nematodes, parasitoid wasps, and fungi, and highlight recent studies supporting the role of Spiroplasma-encoded ribosome-inactivating proteins in protection. With cellular features well-suited for life in the hemolymph, broad distribution among invertebrate hosts, and the capacity to repeatedly evolve vertical transmission, Spiroplasma may be uniquely equipped to form intimate, defensive associations to combat extracellular parasites. Along with insights into defensive mechanisms, recent significant advances have been made in male-killing - a phenotype with interesting evolutionary ties to defense. Finally, we look forward to an exciting decade using the genetic tools of Drosophila, and the rapidly-advancing tractability of Spiroplasma itself, to better understand mechanisms and evolution in defensive symbiosis.

RevDate: 2019-06-10

Khan MAW, Stephens WZ, Mohammed AD, et al (2019)

Does MHC heterozygosity influence microbiota form and function?.

PloS one, 14(5):e0215946 pii:PONE-D-18-12229.

MHC molecules are essential for the adaptive immune response, and they are the most polymorphic genetic loci in vertebrates. Extreme genetic variation at these loci is paradoxical given their central importance to host health. Classic models of MHC gene evolution center on antagonistic host-pathogen interactions to promote gene diversification and allelic diversity in host populations. However, all multicellular organisms are persistently colonized by their microbiota that perform essential metabolic functions for their host and protect from infection. Here, we provide data to support the hypothesis that MHC heterozygote advantage (a main force of selection thought to drive MHC gene evolution), may operate by enhancing fitness advantages conferred by the host's microbiome. We utilized fecal 16S rRNA gene sequences and their predicted metagenome datasets collected from multiple MHC congenic homozygote and heterozygote mouse strains to describe the influence of MHC heterozygosity on microbiome form and function. We find that in contrast to homozygosity at MHC loci, MHC heterozygosity promotes functional diversification of the microbiome, enhances microbial network connectivity, and results in enrichment for a variety of microbial functions that are positively associated with host fitness. We demonstrate that taxonomic and functional diversity of the microbiome is positively correlated in MHC heterozygote but not homozygote animals, suggesting that heterozygote microbiomes are more functionally adaptive under similar environmental conditions than homozygote microbiomes. Our data complement previous observations on the role of MHC polymorphism in sculpting microbiota composition, but also provide functional insights into how MHC heterozygosity may enhance host health by modulating microbiome form and function. We also provide evidence to support that MHC heterozygosity limits functional redundancy among commensal microbes and may enhance the metabolic versatility of their microbiome. Results from our analyses yield multiple testable predictions regarding the role of MHC heterozygosity on the microbiome that will help guide future research in the area of MHC-microbiome interactions.

RevDate: 2019-06-13

Pichugin Y, Park HJ, A Traulsen (2019)

Evolution of simple multicellular life cycles in dynamic environments.

Journal of the Royal Society, Interface, 16(154):20190054.

The mode of reproduction is a critical characteristic of any species, as it has a strong effect on its evolution. As any other trait, the reproduction mode is subject to natural selection and may adapt to the environment. When the environment varies over time, different reproduction modes could be optimal at different times. The natural response to a dynamic environment seems to be bet hedging, where multiple reproductive strategies are stochastically executed. Here, we develop a framework for the evolution of simple multicellular life cycles in a dynamic environment. We use a matrix population model of undifferentiated multicellular groups undergoing fragmentation and ask which mode maximizes the population growth rate. Counterintuitively, we find that natural selection in dynamic environments generally tends to promote deterministic, not stochastic, reproduction modes.

RevDate: 2019-06-10

Gao Y, Traulsen A, Y Pichugin (2019)

Interacting cells driving the evolution of multicellular life cycles.

PLoS computational biology, 15(5):e1006987 pii:PCOMPBIOL-D-19-00097.

Evolution of complex multicellular life began from the emergence of a life cycle involving the formation of cell clusters. The opportunity for cells to interact within clusters provided them with an advantage over unicellular life forms. However, what kind of interactions may lead to the evolution of multicellular life cycles? Here, we combine evolutionary game theory with a model for the emergence of multicellular groups to investigate how cell interactions can influence reproduction modes during the early stages of the evolution of multicellularity. In our model, the presence of both cell types is maintained by stochastic phenotype switching during cell division. We identify evolutionary optimal life cycles as those which maximize the population growth rate. Among all interactions captured by two-player games, the vast majority promotes two classes of life cycles: (i) splitting into unicellular propagules or (ii) fragmentation into two offspring clusters of equal (or almost equal) size. Our findings indicate that the three most important characteristics, determining whether multicellular life cycles will evolve, are the average performance of homogeneous groups, heterogeneous groups, and solitary cells.

RevDate: 2019-06-14

Vinogradov AE, OV Anatskaya (2019)

Evolutionary framework of the human interactome: Unicellular and multicellular giant clusters.

Bio Systems, 181:82-87.

The main contradiction of multicellularity (MCM) is between the unicellular (UC) and multicellular (MC) levels. In human interactome we revealed two giant clusters with MC and UC medians (and several smaller ones with MC medians). The enrichment of these clusters by phylostrata and by functions support the MC versus UC division. The total interactome and the giant clusters show a core-periphery evolutionary growth. From viewpoint of the MCM, the most important is the placement of genes, appearing at UC evolutionary stage, in the MC clusters. Thus, genes involved in vesicle-mediated transport, cell cycle, cellular responses to stress, post-translational modifications and many diseases appeared at UC evolutionary stage but are placed mostly in MC clusters. Genes downregulated with age are enriched in UC cluster, whereas the upregulated genes are preferentially placed in MC giant cluster. The tumor suppressor and pluripotency regulating pathways are also enriched in MC giant cluster. Therefore, this cluster probably operates as 'internal manager' constraining runaway unicellularity. The clusters have denser interactions within than between them, therefore they can serve as attractors (stable states of dynamic systems) of cellular programs. Importantly, the UC cluster have a higher inside/outside connection ratio compared with MC clusters, which suggests a stronger attractor effect and may explain why cells of MC organisms are prone to oncogenesis. The evolutionary clustering of human interactome elucidates the MC control over functions appearing at UC evolutionary stage and can build a framework for biosystems studies focusing on the interplay between UC and MC levels.

RevDate: 2019-05-12

Erkenbrack EM, JR Thompson (2019)

Cell type phylogenetics informs the evolutionary origin of echinoderm larval skeletogenic cell identity.

Communications biology, 2:160 pii:417.

The multiplicity of cell types comprising multicellular organisms begs the question as to how cell type identities evolve over time. Cell type phylogenetics informs this question by comparing gene expression of homologous cell types in distantly related taxa. We employ this approach to inform the identity of larval skeletogenic cells of echinoderms, a clade for which there are phylogenetically diverse datasets of spatial gene expression patterns. We determined ancestral spatial expression patterns of alx1, ets1, tbr, erg, and vegfr, key components of the skeletogenic gene regulatory network driving identity of the larval skeletogenic cell. Here we show ancestral state reconstructions of spatial gene expression of extant eleutherozoan echinoderms support homology and common ancestry of echinoderm larval skeletogenic cells. We propose larval skeletogenic cells arose in the stem lineage of eleutherozoans during a cell type duplication event that heterochronically activated adult skeletogenic cells in a topographically distinct tissue in early development.

RevDate: 2019-05-12

Wang P, Liang J, Shi LZ, et al (2018)

Visualizing Spatiotemporal Dynamics of Intercellular Mechanotransmission upon Wounding.

ACS photonics, 5(9):3565-3574.

During cell-to-cell communications, the interplay between physical and biochemical cues is essential for informational exchange and functional coordination, especially in multicellular organisms. However, it remains a challenge to visualize intercellular signaling dynamics in single live cells. Here, we report a photonic approach, based on laser microscissors and Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) microscopy, to study intercellular signaling transmission. First, using our high-throughput screening platform, we developed a highly sensitive FRET-based biosensor (SCAGE) for Src kinase, a key regulator of intercellular interactions and signaling cascades. Notably, SCAGE showed a more than 40-fold sensitivity enhancement than the original biosensor in live mammalian cells. Next, upon local severance of physical intercellular connections by femtosecond laser pulses, SCAGE enabled the visualization of a transient Src activation across neighboring cells. Lastly, we found that this observed transient Src activation following the loss of cell-cell contacts depends on the passive structural support of cytoskeleton but not on the active actomyosin contractility. Hence, by precisely introducing local physical perturbations and directly visualizing spatiotemporal transmission of ensuing signaling events, our integrated approach could be broadly applied to mimic and investigate the wounding process at single-cell resolutions. This integrated approach with highly sensitive FRET-based biosensors provides a unique system to advance our in-depth understanding of molecular mechanisms underlying the physical-biochemical basis of intercellular coupling and wounding processes.

RevDate: 2019-08-02

Turan ZG, Parvizi P, Dönertaş HM, et al (2019)

Molecular footprint of Medawar's mutation accumulation process in mammalian aging.

Aging cell, 18(4):e12965.

Medawar's mutation accumulation hypothesis explains aging by the declining force of natural selection with age: Slightly deleterious germline mutations expressed in old age can drift to fixation and thereby lead to aging-related phenotypes. Although widely cited, empirical evidence for this hypothesis has remained limited. Here, we test one of its predictions that genes relatively highly expressed in old adults should be under weaker purifying selection than genes relatively highly expressed in young adults. Combining 66 transcriptome datasets (including 16 tissues from five mammalian species) with sequence conservation estimates across mammals, here we report that the overall conservation level of expressed genes is lower at old age compared to young adulthood. This age-related decrease in transcriptome conservation (ADICT) is systematically observed in diverse mammalian tissues, including the brain, liver, lung, and artery, but not in others, most notably in the muscle and heart. Where observed, ADICT is driven partly by poorly conserved genes being up-regulated during aging. In general, the more often a gene is found up-regulated with age among tissues and species, the lower its evolutionary conservation. Poorly conserved and up-regulated genes have overlapping functional properties that include responses to age-associated tissue damage, such as apoptosis and inflammation. Meanwhile, these genes do not appear to be under positive selection. Hence, genes contributing to old age phenotypes are found to harbor an excess of slightly deleterious alleles, at least in certain tissues. This supports the notion that genetic drift shapes aging in multicellular organisms, consistent with Medawar's mutation accumulation hypothesis.

RevDate: 2019-07-18

Singer D, Mitchell EAD, Payne RJ, et al (2019)

Dispersal limitations and historical factors determine the biogeography of specialized terrestrial protists.

Molecular ecology, 28(12):3089-3100.

Recent studies show that soil eukaryotic diversity is immense and dominated by micro-organisms. However, it is unclear to what extent the processes that shape the distribution of diversity in plants and animals also apply to micro-organisms. Major diversification events in multicellular organisms have often been attributed to long-term climatic and geological processes, but the impact of such processes on protist diversity has received much less attention as their distribution has often been believed to be largely cosmopolitan. Here, we quantified phylogeographical patterns in Hyalosphenia papilio, a large testate amoeba restricted to Holarctic Sphagnum-dominated peatlands, to test if the current distribution of its genetic diversity can be explained by historical factors or by the current distribution of suitable habitats. Phylogenetic diversity was higher in Western North America, corresponding to the inferred geographical origin of the H. papilio complex, and was lower in Eurasia despite extensive suitable habitats. These results suggest that patterns of phylogenetic diversity and distribution can be explained by the history of Holarctic Sphagnum peatland range expansions and contractions in response to Quaternary glaciations that promoted cladogenetic range evolution, rather than the contemporary distribution of suitable habitats. Species distributions were positively correlated with climatic niche breadth, suggesting that climatic tolerance is key to dispersal ability in H. papilio. This implies that, at least for large and specialized terrestrial micro-organisms, propagule dispersal is slow enough that historical processes may contribute to their diversification and phylogeographical patterns and may partly explain their very high overall diversity.

RevDate: 2019-07-18

Li J, Zhang H, Liu P, et al (2019)

Phylogenetic and Structural Identification of a Novel Magnetotactic Deltaproteobacteria Strain, WYHR-1, from a Freshwater Lake.

Applied and environmental microbiology, 85(14): pii:AEM.00731-19.

Magnetotactic bacteria (MTB) are phylogenetically diverse prokaryotes that are able to biomineralize intracellular, magnetic chains of magnetite or greigite nanocrystals called magnetosomes. Simultaneous characterization of MTB phylogeny and biomineralization is crucial but challenging because most MTB are extremely difficult to culture. We identify a large rod, bean-like MTB (tentatively named WYHR-1) from freshwater sediments of Weiyang Lake, Xi'an, China, using a coupled fluorescence and scanning electron microscopy approach at the single-cell scale. Phylogenetic analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences indicates that WYHR-1 is a novel genus from the Deltaproteobacteria class. Transmission electron microscope observations reveal that WYHR-1 cells contain tens of magnetite magnetosomes that are organized into a single chain bundle along the cell long axis. Mature WYHR-1 magnetosomes are bullet-shaped, straight, and elongated along the [001] direction, with a large flat end terminated by a {100} face at the base and a conical top. This crystal morphology is distinctively different from bullet-shaped magnetosomes produced by other MTB in the Deltaproteobacteria class and the Nitrospirae phylum. This indicates that WYHR-1 may have a different crystal growth process and mechanism from other species, which results from species-specific magnetosome biomineralization in MTB.IMPORTANCE Magnetotactic bacteria (MTB) represent a model system for understanding biomineralization and are also studied intensively in biogeomagnetic and paleomagnetic research. However, many uncultured MTB strains have not been identified phylogenetically or investigated structurally at the single-cell level, which limits comprehensive understanding of MTB diversity and their role in biomineralization. We have identified a novel MTB strain, WYHR-1, from a freshwater lake using a coupled fluorescence and scanning electron microscopy approach at the single-cell scale. Our analyses further indicate that strain WYHR-1 represents a novel genus from the Deltaproteobacteria class. In contrast to bullet-shaped magnetosomes produced by other MTB in the Deltaproteobacteria class and the Nitrospirae phylum, WYHR-1 magnetosomes are bullet-shaped, straight, and highly elongated along the [001] direction, are terminated by a large {100} face at their base, and have a conical top. Our findings imply that, consistent with phylogenetic diversity of MTB, bullet-shaped magnetosomes have diverse crystal habits and growth patterns.

RevDate: 2019-08-22

Biscotti MA, Barucca M, Carducci F, et al (2019)

The p53 gene family in vertebrates: Evolutionary considerations.

Journal of experimental zoology. Part B, Molecular and developmental evolution, 332(6):171-178.

The origin of the p53 gene family predates multicellular life since TP53 members of this gene family have been found in unicellular eukaryotes. In invertebrates one or two genes attributable to a TP53-like or TP63/73-like gene are present. The radiation into three genes, TP53, TP63, and TP73, has been reported as a vertebrate invention. TP53 is considered the "guardian of the genome" given its role in protecting cells against the DNA damage and cellular stressors. TP63 and TP73 play a role in epithelial development and neurogenesis, respectively. The evolution of the p53 gene family has been the subject of considerable analyses even if several questions remain still open. In this study we addressed the evolutionary history of the p53 gene family in vertebrates performing an extended microsyntenic investigation coupled with a phylogenetic analysis, together with protein domain organization and structure assessment. On the basis of our results we discussed a possible evolutionary scenario according to which a TP53/63/73 ancestor form gave rise to the current TP53 and a TP63/73 form, which in turn independently duplicated into two genes in agnathe and gnathostome lineages.

RevDate: 2019-05-19

Salvi M, Morbiducci U, Amadeo F, et al (2019)

Automated Segmentation of Fluorescence Microscopy Images for 3D Cell Detection in human-derived Cardiospheres.

Scientific reports, 9(1):6644 pii:10.1038/s41598-019-43137-2.

The 'cardiosphere' is a 3D cluster of cardiac progenitor cells recapitulating a stem cell niche-like microenvironment with a potential for disease and regeneration modelling of the failing human myocardium. In this multicellular 3D context, it is extremely important to decrypt the spatial distribution of cell markers for dissecting the evolution of cellular phenotypes by direct quantification of fluorescent signals in confocal microscopy. In this study, we present a fully automated method, named CARE ('CARdiosphere Evaluation'), for the segmentation of membranes and cell nuclei in human-derived cardiospheres. The proposed method is tested on twenty 3D-stacks of cardiospheres, for a total of 1160 images. Automatic results are compared with manual annotations and two open-source software designed for fluorescence microscopy. CARE performance was excellent in cardiospheres membrane segmentation and, in cell nuclei detection, the algorithm achieved the same performance as two expert operators. To the best of our knowledge, CARE is the first fully automated algorithm for segmentation inside in vitro 3D cell spheroids, including cardiospheres. The proposed approach will provide, in the future, automated quantitative analysis of markers distribution within the cardiac niche-like environment, enabling predictive associations between cell mechanical stresses and dynamic phenotypic changes.

RevDate: 2019-04-30

Borisenko I, Podgornaya OI, AV Ereskovsky (2019)

From traveler to homebody: Which signaling mechanisms sponge larvae use to become adult sponges?.

Advances in protein chemistry and structural biology, 116:421-449.

Cell-to-cell signaling is responsible for regulation of many developmental processes such as proliferation, cell migration, survival, cell fate specification and axis patterning. In this article we discussed the role of signaling in the metamorphosis of sponges with a focus on epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) accompanying this event. Sponges (Porifera) are an ancient lineage of morphologically simple animals occupying a basal position on the tree of life. The study of these animals is necessary for understanding the origin of multicellularity and the evolution of developmental processes. Development of sponges is quite diverse. It finishes with the metamorphosis of a free-swimming larva into a young settled sponge. The outer surface of sponge larvae consists of a ciliated epithelial sheath, which ensures locomotion, while their internal structure varies from genus to genus. The fate of larval ciliated cells is the most intriguing aspect of metamorphosis. In this review we discuss the fate of larval ciliated cells, the processes going on in cells during metamorphosis at the molecular level and the regulation of this process. The review is based on information about several sponge species with a focus on Halisarca dujardini, Sycon ciliatum and Amphimedon queenslandica. In our model sponge, H. dujardini, ciliated cells leave the larval epithelium during metamorphosis and migrate to the internal cell mass as amoeboid cells to be differentiated into choanocytes of the juvenile sponge. Ciliated cells undergo EMT and internalize within minutes. As EMT involves the disappearance of adherens junctions and as cadherin, the main adherens junction protein, was identified in the transcriptome of several sponges, we suppose that EMT is regulated through cadherin-containing adherens junctions between ciliated cells. We failed to identify the master genes of EMT in the H. dujardini transcriptome, possibly because transcription was absent in the sequenced stages. They may be revealed by a search in the genome. The master genes themselves are controlled by various signaling pathways. Sponges have all the six signaling pathways conserved in Metazoa: Wnt, TGF-beta, Hedgehog, Notch, FGF and NO-dependent pathways. Summarizing the new data about intercellular communication in sponges, we can put forward two main questions regarding metamorphosis: (1) Which of the signaling pathways and in what hierarchical order are involved in metamorphosis? (2) How is the organization of a young sponge related to that of the larva or, in other words, is there a heredity of axes between the larva and the adult sponge?

RevDate: 2019-05-01

Rivera-Yoshida N, Arzola AV, Arias Del Angel JA, et al (2019)

Plastic multicellular development of Myxococcus xanthus: genotype-environment interactions in a physical gradient.

Royal Society open science, 6(3):181730 pii:rsos181730.

In order to investigate the contribution of the physical environment to variation in multicellular development of Myxococcus xanthus, phenotypes developed by different genotypes in a gradient of substrate stiffness conditions were quantitatively characterized. Statistical analysis showed that plastic phenotypes result from the genotype, the substrate conditions and the interaction between them. Also, phenotypes were expressed in two distinguishable scales, the individual and the population levels, and the interaction with the environment showed scale and trait specificity. Overall, our results highlight the constructive role of the physical context in the development of microbial multicellularity, with both ecological and evolutionary implications.

RevDate: 2019-05-01

Hajheidari M, Koncz C, M Bucher (2019)

Chromatin Evolution-Key Innovations Underpinning Morphological Complexity.

Frontiers in plant science, 10:454.

The history of life consists of a series of major evolutionary transitions, including emergence and radiation of complex multicellular eukaryotes from unicellular ancestors. The cells of multicellular organisms, with few exceptions, contain the same genome, however, their organs are composed of a variety of cell types that differ in both structure and function. This variation is largely due to the transcriptional activity of different sets of genes in different cell types. This indicates that complex transcriptional regulation played a key role in the evolution of complexity in eukaryotes. In this review, we summarize how gene duplication and subsequent evolutionary innovations, including the structural evolution of nucleosomes and chromatin-related factors, contributed to the complexity of the transcriptional system and provided a basis for morphological diversity.

RevDate: 2019-06-28
CmpDate: 2019-06-28

Krishnan A, Degnan BM, SM Degnan (2019)

The first identification of complete Eph-ephrin signalling in ctenophores and sponges reveals a role for neofunctionalization in the emergence of signalling domains.

BMC evolutionary biology, 19(1):96 pii:10.1186/s12862-019-1418-z.

BACKGROUND: Animals have a greater diversity of signalling pathways than their unicellular relatives, consistent with the evolution and expansion of these pathways occurring in parallel with the origin of animal multicellularity. However, the genomes of sponges and ctenophores - non-bilaterian basal animals - typically encode no, or far fewer, recognisable signalling ligands compared to bilaterians and cnidarians. For instance, the largest subclass of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) in bilaterians, the Eph receptors (Ephs), are present in sponges and ctenophores, but their cognate ligands, the ephrins, have not yet been detected.

RESULTS: Here, we use an iterative HMM analysis to identify for the first time membrane-bound ephrins in sponges and ctenophores. We also expand the number of Eph-receptor subtypes identified in these animals and in cnidarians. Both sequence and structural analyses are consistent with the Eph ligand binding domain (LBD) and the ephrin receptor binding domain (RBD) having evolved via the co-option of ancient galactose-binding (discoidin-domain)-like and monodomain cupredoxin domains, respectively. Although we did not detect a complete Eph-ephrin signalling pathway in closely-related unicellular holozoans or in other non-metazoan eukaryotes, truncated proteins with Eph receptor LBDs and ephrin RBDs are present in some choanoflagellates. Together, these results indicate that Eph-ephrin signalling was present in the last common ancestor of extant metazoans, and perhaps even in the last common ancestor of animals and choanoflagellates. Either scenario pushes the origin of Eph-ephrin signalling back much earlier than previously reported.

CONCLUSIONS: We propose that the Eph-LBD and ephrin-RBD, which were ancestrally localised in the cytosol, became linked to the extracellular parts of two cell surface proteins before the divergence of sponges and ctenophores from the rest of the animal kingdom. The ephrin-RBD lost the ancestral capacity to bind copper, and the Eph-LBD became linked to an ancient RTK. The identification of divergent ephrin ligands in sponges and ctenophores suggests that these ligands evolve faster than their cognate receptors. As this may be a general phenomena, we propose that the sequence-structure approach used in this study may be usefully applied to other signalling systems where no, or a small number of, ligands have been identified.

RevDate: 2019-07-23

Gunaratne PH, Pan Y, Rao AK, et al (2019)

Activating p53 family member TAp63: A novel therapeutic strategy for targeting p53-altered tumors.

Cancer, 125(14):2409-2422.

BACKGROUND: Over 96% of high-grade ovarian carcinomas and 50% of all cancers are characterized by alterations in the p53 gene. Therapeutic strategies to restore and/or reactivate the p53 pathway have been challenging. By contrast, p63, which shares many of the downstream targets and functions of p53, is rarely mutated in cancer.

METHODS: A novel strategy is presented for circumventing alterations in p53 by inducing the tumor-suppressor isoform TAp63 (transactivation domain of tumor protein p63) through its direct downstream target, microRNA-130b (miR-130b), which is epigenetically silenced and/or downregulated in chemoresistant ovarian cancer.

RESULTS: Treatment with miR-130b resulted in: 1) decreased migration/invasion in HEYA8 cells (p53 wild-type) and disruption of multicellular spheroids in OVCAR8 cells (p53-mutant) in vitro, 2) sensitization of HEYA8 and OVCAR8 cells to cisplatin (CDDP) in vitro and in vivo, and 3) transcriptional activation of TAp63 and the B-cell lymphoma (Bcl)-inhibitor B-cell lymphoma 2-like protein 11 (BIM). Overexpression of TAp63 was sufficient to decrease cell viability, suggesting that it is a critical downstream effector of miR-130b. In vivo, combined miR-130b plus CDDP exhibited greater therapeutic efficacy than miR-130b or CDDP alone. Mice that carried OVCAR8 xenograft tumors and were injected with miR-130b in 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphatidylcholine (DOPC) liposomes had a significant decrease in tumor burden at rates similar to those observed in CDDP-treated mice, and 20% of DOPC-miR-130b plus CDDP-treated mice were living tumor free. Systemic injections of scL-miR-130b plus CDDP in a clinically tested, tumor-targeted nanocomplex (scL) improved survival in 60% and complete remissions in 40% of mice that carried HEYA8 xenografts.

CONCLUSIONS: The miR-130b/TAp63 axis is proposed as a new druggable pathway that has the potential to uncover broad-spectrum therapeutic options for the majority of p53-altered cancers.

RevDate: 2019-06-06

Sudianto E (2019)

Digest: Banding together to battle adversaries has its consequences.

Evolution; international journal of organic evolution, 73(6):1320-1321.

Why did life evolve from single-celled to multicellular organisms? Could there be advantages to this transition? What about associated fitness costs? Kapsetaki and West found that although multicellularity allows Chlorella sorokiniana to avoid predation from similarly-sized predators, it also reduces their competitiveness when resources are limited.

RevDate: 2019-04-19

Lehtonen J, GA Parker (2019)

Evolution of the Two Sexes under Internal Fertilization and Alternative Evolutionary Pathways.

The American naturalist, 193(5):702-716.

Transition from isogamy to anisogamy, hence males and females, leads to sexual selection, sexual conflict, sexual dimorphism, and sex roles. Gamete dynamics theory links biophysics of gamete limitation, gamete competition, and resource requirements for zygote survival and assumes broadcast spawning. It makes testable predictions, but most comparative tests use volvocine algae, which feature internal fertilization. We broaden this theory by comparing broadcast-spawning predictions with two plausible internal-fertilization scenarios: gamete casting/brooding (one mating type retains gametes internally, the other broadcasts them) and packet casting/brooding (one type retains gametes internally, the other broadcasts packets containing gametes, which are released for fertilization). Models show that predictions are remarkably robust to these radical changes, yielding (1) isogamy under low gamete limitation, low gamete competition, and similar required resources for gametes and zygotes, (2) anisogamy when gamete competition and/or limitation are higher and when zygotes require more resources than gametes, as is likely as multicellularity develops, (3) a positive correlation between multicellular complexity and anisogamy ratio, and (4) under gamete competition, only brooders becoming female. Thus, gamete dynamics theory represents a potent rationale for isogamy/anisogamy and makes similar testable predictions for broadcast spawners and internal fertilizers, regardless of whether anisogamy or internal fertilization evolved first.

RevDate: 2019-04-19

Olito C, T Connallon (2019)

Sexually Antagonistic Variation and the Evolution of Dimorphic Sexual Systems.

The American naturalist, 193(5):688-701.

Multicellular Eukaryotes use a broad spectrum of sexual reproduction strategies, ranging from simultaneous hermaphroditism to complete dioecy (separate sexes). The evolutionary pathway from hermaphroditism to dioecy involves the spread of sterility alleles that eliminate female or male reproductive functions, producing unisexual individuals. Classical theory predicts that evolutionary transitions to dioecy are feasible when female and male sex functions genetically trade off with one another (allocation to sex functions is sexually antagonistic) and rates of self-fertilization and inbreeding depression are high within the ancestral hermaphrodite population. We show that genetic linkage between sterility alleles and loci under sexually antagonistic selection significantly alters these classical predictions. We identify three specific consequences of linkage for the evolution of dimorphic sexual systems. First, linkage broadens conditions for the invasion of unisexual sterility alleles, facilitating transitions to sexual systems that are intermediate between hermaphroditism and dioecy (androdioecy and gynodioecy). Second, linkage elevates the equilibrium frequencies of unisexual individuals within androdioecious and gynodioecious populations, which promotes subsequent transitions to full dioecy. Third, linkage dampens the role of inbreeding during transitions to androdioecy and gynodioecy, making these transitions feasible in outbred populations. We discuss implications of these results for the evolution of dimorphic reproductive systems and sex chromosomes.

RevDate: 2019-04-16

Pérez P, Soto T, Gómez-Gil E, et al (2019)

Functional interaction between Cdc42 and the stress MAPK signaling pathway during the regulation of fission yeast polarized growth.

International microbiology : the official journal of the Spanish Society for Microbiology pii:10.1007/s10123-019-00072-6 [Epub ahead of print].

Cell polarization can be defined as the generation and maintenance of directional cellular organization. The spatial distribution and protein or lipid composition of the cell are not symmetric but organized in specialized domains which allow cells to grow and acquire a certain shape that is closely linked to their physiological function. The establishment and maintenance of polarized growth requires the coordination of diverse processes including cytoskeletal dynamics, membrane trafficking, and signaling cascade regulation. Some of the major players involved in the selection and maintenance of sites for polarized growth are Rho GTPases, which recognize the polarization site and transmit the signal to regulatory proteins of the cytoskeleton. Additionally, cytoskeletal organization, polarized secretion, and endocytosis are controlled by signaling pathways including those mediated by mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs). Rho GTPases and the MAPK signaling pathways are strongly conserved from yeast to mammals, suggesting that the basic mechanisms of polarized growth have been maintained throughout evolution. For this reason, the study of how polarized growth is established and regulated in simple organisms such as the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe has contributed to broaden our knowledge about these processes in multicellular organisms. We review here the function of the Cdc42 GTPase and the stress activated MAPK (SAPK) signaling pathways during fission yeast polarized growth, and discuss the relevance of the crosstalk between both pathways.

RevDate: 2019-05-16

Qian XX, Liu J, Menguy N, et al (2019)

Identification of novel species of marine magnetotactic bacteria affiliated with Nitrospirae phylum.

Environmental microbiology reports, 11(3):330-337.

Magnetotactic bacteria (MTB) are a group of Gram-negative bacteria characterized by synthesizing magnetosomes and swimming along geomagnetic field lines. Phylogenetically, they belong to different taxonomic lineages including Proteobacteria, Nitrospirae, Omnitrophica, Latescibacteria and Planctomycetes phyla on the phylogenetic tree. To date, six Nitrospirae MTB phylotypes have been identified from freshwater or low-salinity environments and described in the literature. Here, we report the identification of two Nitrospirae MTB phylotypes collected, for the first time, from the marine environment. Both have a spherical morphology with a cell size of ~ 5 μM and similar motility but are different colours (black-brown and ivory-white) under the optic microscope. They synthesized bullet-shaped iron-oxide magnetosomes that were arranged in multiple bundles of chains. Moreover, the cytoplasm of the black-brown Nitrospirae MTB contained sulphur inclusions that conferred on cells a rough, granular appearance. Phylogenetic analysis based on their 16S rRNA gene sequences revealed that they are two novel species and cluster with the previously reported MTB affiliated with the phylum Nitrospirae, thus extending the distribution of Nitrospirae MTB from freshwater to the marine environment.

RevDate: 2019-05-08

Laundon D, Larson BT, McDonald K, et al (2019)

The architecture of cell differentiation in choanoflagellates and sponge choanocytes.

PLoS biology, 17(4):e3000226 pii:PBIOLOGY-D-18-01101.

Although collar cells are conserved across animals and their closest relatives, the choanoflagellates, little is known about their ancestry, their subcellular architecture, or how they differentiate. The choanoflagellate Salpingoeca rosetta expresses genes necessary for animal development and can alternate between unicellular and multicellular states, making it a powerful model for investigating the origin of animal multicellularity and mechanisms underlying cell differentiation. To compare the subcellular architecture of solitary collar cells in S. rosetta with that of multicellular 'rosette' colonies and collar cells in sponges, we reconstructed entire cells in 3D through transmission electron microscopy on serial ultrathin sections. Structural analysis of our 3D reconstructions revealed important differences between single and colonial choanoflagellate cells, with colonial cells exhibiting a more amoeboid morphology consistent with higher levels of macropinocytotic activity. Comparison of multiple reconstructed rosette colonies highlighted the variable nature of cell sizes, cell-cell contact networks, and colony arrangement. Importantly, we uncovered the presence of elongated cells in some rosette colonies that likely represent a distinct and differentiated cell type, pointing toward spatial cell differentiation. Intercellular bridges within choanoflagellate colonies displayed a variety of morphologies and connected some but not all neighbouring cells. Reconstruction of sponge choanocytes revealed ultrastructural commonalities but also differences in major organelle composition in comparison to choanoflagellates. Together, our comparative reconstructions uncover the architecture of cell differentiation in choanoflagellates and sponge choanocytes and constitute an important step in reconstructing the cell biology of the last common ancestor of animals.

RevDate: 2019-06-11

Rêgo A, Messina FJ, Z Gompert (2019)

Dynamics of genomic change during evolutionary rescue in the seed beetle Callosobruchus maculatus.

Molecular ecology, 28(9):2136-2154.

Rapid adaptation can prevent extinction when populations are exposed to extremely marginal or stressful environments. Factors that affect the likelihood of evolutionary rescue from extinction have been identified, but much less is known about the evolutionary dynamics (e.g., rates and patterns of allele frequency change) and genomic basis of successful rescue, particularly in multicellular organisms. We conducted an evolve-and-resequence experiment to investigate the dynamics of evolutionary rescue at the genetic level in the cowpea seed beetle, Callosobruchus maculatus, when it is experimentally shifted to a stressful host plant, lentil. Low survival (~1%) at the onset of the experiment caused population decline. But adaptive evolution quickly rescued the population, with survival rates climbing to 69% by the F5 generation and 90% by the F10 generation. Population genomic data showed that rescue likely was caused by rapid evolutionary change at multiple loci, with many alleles fixing or nearly fixing within five generations of selection on lentil. Selection on these loci was only moderately consistent in time, but parallel evolutionary changes were evident in sublines formed after the lentil line had passed through a bottleneck. By comparing estimates of selection and genomic change on lentil across five independent C. maculatus lines (the new lentil-adapted line, three long-established lines and one case of failed evolutionary rescue), we found that adaptation on lentil occurred via somewhat idiosyncratic evolutionary changes. Overall, our results suggest that evolutionary rescue in this system can be caused by very strong selection on multiple loci driving rapid and pronounced genomic change.

RevDate: 2019-04-10

Nguyen H, Koehl MAR, Oakes C, et al (2019)

Effects of cell morphology and attachment to a surface on the hydrodynamic performance of unicellular choanoflagellates.

Journal of the Royal Society, Interface, 16(150):20180736.

Choanoflagellates, eukaryotes that are important predators on bacteria in aquatic ecosystems, are closely related to animals and are used as a model system to study the evolution of animals from protozoan ancestors. The choanoflagellate Salpingoeca rosetta has a complex life cycle with different morphotypes, some unicellular and some multicellular. Here we use computational fluid dynamics to study the hydrodynamics of swimming and feeding by different unicellular stages of S. rosetta: a swimming cell with a collar of prey-capturing microvilli surrounding a single flagellum, a thecate cell attached to a surface and a dispersal-stage cell with a slender body, long flagellum and short collar. We show that a longer flagellum increases swimming speed, longer microvilli reduce speed and cell shape only affects speed when the collar is very short. The flux of prey-carrying water into the collar capture zone is greater for swimming than sessile cells, but this advantage decreases with collar size. Stalk length has little effect on flux for sessile cells. We show that ignoring the collar, as earlier models have done, overestimates flux and greatly overestimates the benefit to feeding performance of swimming versus being attached, and of a longer stalk for attached cells.

RevDate: 2019-04-11

Baade T, Paone C, Baldrich A, et al (2019)

Clustering of integrin β cytoplasmic domains triggers nascent adhesion formation and reveals a protozoan origin of the integrin-talin interaction.

Scientific reports, 9(1):5728 pii:10.1038/s41598-019-42002-6.

Integrins and integrin-dependent cell-matrix adhesions are essential for a number of physiological processes. Integrin function is tightly regulated via binding of cytoplasmic proteins to integrin intracellular domains. Yet, the complexity of cell-matrix adhesions in mammals, with more than 150 core adhesome proteins, complicates the analysis of integrin-associated protein complexes. Interestingly, the evolutionary origin of integrins dates back before the transition from unicellular life to complex multicellular animals. Though unicellular relatives of metazoa have a less complex adhesome, nothing is known about the initial steps of integrin activation and adhesion complex assembly in protozoa. Therefore, we developed a minimal, microscope-based system using chimeric integrins to investigate receptor-proximal events during focal adhesion assembly. Clustering of the human integrin β1 tail led to recruitment of talin, kindlin, and paxillin and mutation of the known talin binding site abolished recruitment of this protein. Proteins indirectly linked to integrins, such as vinculin, migfilin, p130CAS, or zyxin were not enriched around the integrin β1 tail. With the exception of integrin β4 and integrin β8, the cytoplasmic domains of all human integrin β subunits supported talin binding. Likewise, the cytoplasmic domains of integrin β subunits expressed by the protozoan Capsaspora owczarzaki readily recruited talin and this interaction was based on an evolutionary conserved NPXY/F amino acid motif. The results we present here validate the use of our novel microscopic assay to uncover details of integrin-based protein-protein interactions in a cellular context and suggest that talin binding to integrin β cytoplasmic tails is an ancient feature of integrin regulation.

RevDate: 2019-04-07

Bohlin J, JH Pettersson (2019)

Evolution of Genomic Base Composition: From Single Cell Microbes to Multicellular Animals.

Computational and structural biotechnology journal, 17:362-370 pii:S2001-0370(18)30183-1.

Whole genome sequencing (WGS) of thousands of microbial genomes has provided considerable insight into evolutionary mechanisms in the microbial world. While substantially fewer eukaryotic genomes are available for analyses the number is rapidly increasing. This mini-review summarizes broadly evolutionary dynamics of base composition in the different domains of life from the perspective of prokaryotes. Common and different evolutionary mechanisms influencing genomic base composition in eukaryotes and prokaryotes are discussed. The conclusion from the data currently available suggests that while there are similarities there are also striking differences in how genomic base composition has evolved within prokaryotes and eukaryotes. For instance, homologous recombination appears to increase GC content locally in eukaryotes due to a non-selective process termed GC-biased gene conversion (gBGC). For prokaryotes on the other hand, increase in genomic GC content seems to be driven by the environment and selection. We find that similar phenomena observed for some organisms in each respective domain may be caused by very different mechanisms: while gBGC and recombination rates appear to explain the negative correlation between GC3 (GC content based on the third codon nucleotides) and genome size in some eukaryotes uptake of AT rich DNA sequences is the main reason for a similar negative correlation observed in prokaryotes. We provide further examples that indicate that base composition in prokaryotes and eukaryotes have evolved under very different constraints.

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RJR Experience and Expertise

Researcher

Robbins holds BS, MS, and PhD degrees in the life sciences. He served as a tenured faculty member in the Zoology and Biological Science departments at Michigan State University. He is currently exploring the intersection between genomics, microbial ecology, and biodiversity — an area that promises to transform our understanding of the biosphere.

Educator

Robbins has extensive experience in college-level education: At MSU he taught introductory biology, genetics, and population genetics. At JHU, he was an instructor for a special course on biological database design. At FHCRC, he team-taught a graduate-level course on the history of genetics. At Bellevue College he taught medical informatics.

Administrator

Robbins has been involved in science administration at both the federal and the institutional levels. At NSF he was a program officer for database activities in the life sciences, at DOE he was a program officer for information infrastructure in the human genome project. At the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, he served as a vice president for fifteen years.

Technologist

Robbins has been involved with information technology since writing his first Fortran program as a college student. At NSF he was the first program officer for database activities in the life sciences. At JHU he held an appointment in the CS department and served as director of the informatics core for the Genome Data Base. At the FHCRC he was VP for Information Technology.

Publisher

While still at Michigan State, Robbins started his first publishing venture, founding a small company that addressed the short-run publishing needs of instructors in very large undergraduate classes. For more than 20 years, Robbins has been operating The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project, a web site dedicated to the digital publishing of critical works in science, especially classical genetics.

Speaker

Robbins is well-known for his speaking abilities and is often called upon to provide keynote or plenary addresses at international meetings. For example, in July, 2012, he gave a well-received keynote address at the Global Biodiversity Informatics Congress, sponsored by GBIF and held in Copenhagen. The slides from that talk can be seen HERE.

Facilitator

Robbins is a skilled meeting facilitator. He prefers a participatory approach, with part of the meeting involving dynamic breakout groups, created by the participants in real time: (1) individuals propose breakout groups; (2) everyone signs up for one (or more) groups; (3) the groups with the most interested parties then meet, with reports from each group presented and discussed in a subsequent plenary session.

Designer

Robbins has been engaged with photography and design since the 1960s, when he worked for a professional photography laboratory. He now prefers digital photography and tools for their precision and reproducibility. He designed his first web site more than 20 years ago and he personally designed and implemented this web site. He engages in graphic design as a hobby.

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Collection of publications by R J Robbins

Reprints and preprints of publications, slide presentations, instructional materials, and data compilations written or prepared by Robert Robbins. Most papers deal with computational biology, genome informatics, using information technology to support biomedical research, and related matters.

Research Gate page for R J Robbins

ResearchGate is a social networking site for scientists and researchers to share papers, ask and answer questions, and find collaborators. According to a study by Nature and an article in Times Higher Education , it is the largest academic social network in terms of active users.

Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

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Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

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