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22 Jan 2021 at 01:39
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Bibliography on: Evolution of Multicelluarity


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RJR: Recommended Bibliography 22 Jan 2021 at 01:39 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: 2021-01-20

Miele L, S De Monte (2021)

Aggregative cycles evolve as a solution to conflicts in social investment.

PLoS computational biology, 17(1):e1008617 pii:PCOMPBIOL-D-20-01189 [Epub ahead of print].

Multicellular organization is particularly vulnerable to conflicts between different cell types when the body forms from initially isolated cells, as in aggregative multicellular microbes. Like other functions of the multicellular phase, coordinated collective movement can be undermined by conflicts between cells that spend energy in fuelling motion and 'cheaters' that get carried along. The evolutionary stability of collective behaviours against such conflicts is typically addressed in populations that undergo extrinsically imposed phases of aggregation and dispersal. Here, via a shift in perspective, we propose that aggregative multicellular cycles may have emerged as a way to temporally compartmentalize social conflicts. Through an eco-evolutionary mathematical model that accounts for individual and collective strategies of resource acquisition, we address regimes where different motility types coexist. Particularly interesting is the oscillatory regime that, similarly to life cycles of aggregative multicellular organisms, alternates on the timescale of several cell generations phases of prevalent solitary living and starvation-triggered aggregation. Crucially, such self-organized oscillations emerge as a result of evolution of cell traits associated to conflict escalation within multicellular aggregates.

RevDate: 2021-01-20

Xu L, Zhang M, Shi L, et al (2021)

Neural stemness contributes to cell tumorigenicity.

Cell & bioscience, 11(1):21.

BACKGROUND: Previous studies demonstrated the dependence of cancer on nerve. Recently, a growing number of studies reveal that cancer cells share the property and regulatory network with neural stem/progenitor cells. However, relationship between the property of neural stemness and cell tumorigenicity is unknown.

RESULTS: We show that neural stem/progenitor cells, but not non-neural embryonic or somatic stem/progenitor cell types, exhibit tumorigenicity and the potential for differentiation into tissue types of all germ layers when they are placed in non-native environment by transplantation into immunodeficient nude mice. Likewise, cancer cells capable of tumor initiation have the property of neural stemness because of their abilities in neurosphere formation in neural stem cell-specific serum-free medium and in differentiation potential, in addition to their neuronal differentiation potential that was characterized previously. Moreover, loss of a pro-differentiation factor in myoblasts, which have no tumorigenicity, lead to the loss of myoblast identity, and gain of the property of neural stemness, tumorigenicity and potential for re-differentiation. By contrast, loss of neural stemness via differentiation results in the loss of tumorigenicity. These suggest that the property of neural stemness contributes to cell tumorigenicity, and tumor phenotypic heterogeneity might be an effect of differentiation potential of neural stemness. Bioinformatic analysis reveals that neural genes in general are correlated with embryonic development and cancer, in addition to their role in neural development; whereas non-neural genes are not. Most of neural specific genes emerged in typical species representing transition from unicellularity to multicellularity during evolution. Genes in Monosiga brevicollis, a unicellular species that is a closest known relative of metazoans, are biased toward neural cells.

CONCLUSIONS: We suggest that the property of neural stemness is the source of cell tumorigenicity. This is due to that neural biased unicellular state is the ground state for multicellularity and hence cell type diversification or differentiation during evolution, and tumorigenesis is a process of restoration of neural ground state in somatic cells along a default route that is pre-determined by an evolutionary advantage of neural state.

RevDate: 2021-01-18

Schrankel CS, A Hamdoun (2021)

Early patterning of ABCB, ABCC, and ABCG transporters establishes unique territories of small molecule transport in the embryonic mesoderm and endoderm.

Developmental biology pii:S0012-1606(21)00006-3 [Epub ahead of print].

Directed intercellular movement of diverse small molecules, including metabolites, signal molecules and xenobiotics, is a key feature of multicellularity. Networks of small molecule transporters (SMTs), including several ATP Binding Cassette (ABC) transporters, are central to this process. While small molecule transporters are well described in differentiated organs, little is known about their patterns of expression in early embryogenesis. Here we report the pattern of ABC-type SMT expression and activity during the early development of sea urchins. Of the six major ABCs in this embryo (ABCB1, -B4, -C1, -C4, -C5 and -G2), three expression patterns were observed: 1) ABCB1 and ABCC1 are first expressed ubiquitously, and then become enriched in endoderm and ectoderm-derived structures. 2) ABCC4 and ABCC5 are restricted to a ring of mesoderm in the blastula and ABCC4 is later expressed in the coelomic pouches, the embryonic niche of the primordial germ cells. 3) ABCB4 and ABCG2 are expressed exclusively in endoderm-fated cells. Assays with fluorescent substrates and inhibitors of transporters revealed a ring of ABCC4 efflux activity emanating from ABCC4+ mesodermal cells. Similarly, ABCB1 and ABCB4 efflux activity was observed in the developing gut, prior to the onset of feeding. This study reveals the early establishment of unique territories of small molecule transport during embryogenesis. A pattern of ABCC4/C5 expression is consistent with signaling functions during gut invagination and germ line development, while a later pattern of ABCB1/B4 and ABCG2 is consistent with roles in the embryonic gut. This work provides a conceptual framework with which to examine the function and evolution of SMT networks and define the specific developmental pathways that drive the expression of these genes.

RevDate: 2021-01-15

Duran-Nebreda S, Pla J, Vidiella B, et al (2021)

Synthetic Lateral Inhibition in Periodic Pattern Forming Microbial Colonies.

ACS synthetic biology [Epub ahead of print].

Multicellular entities are characterized by intricate spatial patterns, intimately related to the functions they perform. These patterns are often created from isotropic embryonic structures, without external information cues guiding the symmetry breaking process. Mature biological structures also display characteristic scales with repeating distributions of signals or chemical species across space. Many candidate patterning modules have been used to explain processes during development and typically include a set of interacting and diffusing chemicals or agents known as morphogens. Great effort has been put forward to better understand the conditions in which pattern-forming processes can occur in the biological domain. However, evidence and practical knowledge allowing us to engineer symmetry-breaking is still lacking. Here we follow a different approach by designing a synthetic gene circuit in E. coli that implements a local activation long-range inhibition mechanism. The synthetic gene network implements an artificial differentiation process that changes the physicochemical properties of the agents. Using both experimental results and modeling, we show that the proposed system is capable of symmetry-breaking leading to regular spatial patterns during colony growth. Studying how these patterns emerge is fundamental to further our understanding of the evolution of biocomplexity and the role played by self-organization. The artificial system studied here and the engineering perspective on embryogenic processes can help validate developmental theories and identify universal properties underpinning biological pattern formation, with special interest for the area of synthetic developmental biology.

RevDate: 2021-01-15

Stadler T, Pybus OG, MPH Stumpf (2021)

Phylodynamics for cell biologists.

Science (New York, N.Y.), 371(6526):.

Multicellular organisms are composed of cells connected by ancestry and descent from progenitor cells. The dynamics of cell birth, death, and inheritance within an organism give rise to the fundamental processes of development, differentiation, and cancer. Technical advances in molecular biology now allow us to study cellular composition, ancestry, and evolution at the resolution of individual cells within an organism or tissue. Here, we take a phylogenetic and phylodynamic approach to single-cell biology. We explain how "tree thinking" is important to the interpretation of the growing body of cell-level data and how ecological null models can benefit statistical hypothesis testing. Experimental progress in cell biology should be accompanied by theoretical developments if we are to exploit fully the dynamical information in single-cell data.

RevDate: 2021-01-14

Takahashi T (2021)

Multiple Roles for Cholinergic Signaling from the Perspective of Stem Cell Function.

International journal of molecular sciences, 22(2): pii:ijms22020666.

Stem cells have extensive proliferative potential and the ability to differentiate into one or more mature cell types. The mechanisms by which stem cells accomplish self-renewal provide fundamental insight into the origin and design of multicellular organisms. These pathways allow the repair of damage and extend organismal life beyond that of component cells, and they probably preceded the evolution of complex metazoans. Understanding the true nature of stem cells can only come from discovering how they are regulated. The concept that stem cells are controlled by particular microenvironments, also known as niches, has been widely accepted. Technical advances now allow characterization of the zones that maintain and control stem cell activity in several organs, including the brain, skin, and gut. Cholinergic neurons release acetylcholine (ACh) that mediates chemical transmission via ACh receptors such as nicotinic and muscarinic receptors. Although the cholinergic system is composed of organized nerve cells, the system is also involved in mammalian non-neuronal cells, including stem cells, embryonic stem cells, epithelial cells, and endothelial cells. Thus, cholinergic signaling plays a pivotal role in controlling their behaviors. Studies regarding this signal are beginning to unify our understanding of stem cell regulation at the cellular and molecular levels, and they are expected to advance efforts to control stem cells therapeutically. The present article reviews recent findings about cholinergic signaling that is essential to control stem cell function in a cholinergic niche.

RevDate: 2021-01-14

Bredon M, Depuydt E, Brisson L, et al (2021)

Effects of Dysbiosis and Dietary Manipulation on the Digestive Microbiota of a Detritivorous Arthropod.

Microorganisms, 9(1): pii:microorganisms9010148.

The crucial role of microbes in the evolution, development, health, and ecological interactions of multicellular organisms is now widely recognized in the holobiont concept. However, the structure and stability of microbiota are highly dependent on abiotic and biotic factors, especially in the gut, which can be colonized by transient bacteria depending on the host's diet. We studied these impacts by manipulating the digestive microbiota of the detritivore Armadillidium vulgare and analyzing the consequences on its structure and function. Hosts were exposed to initial starvation and then were fed diets that varied the different components of lignocellulose. A total of 72 digestive microbiota were analyzed according to the type of the diet (standard or enriched in cellulose, lignin, or hemicellulose) and the period following dysbiosis. The results showed that microbiota from the hepatopancreas were very stable and resilient, while the most diverse and labile over time were found in the hindgut. Dysbiosis and selective diets may have affected the host fitness by altering the structure of the microbiota and its predicted functions. Overall, these modifications can therefore have effects not only on the holobiont, but also on the "eco-holobiont" conceptualization of macroorganisms.

RevDate: 2021-01-13

Chaikeeratisak V, Birkholz EA, Prichard AM, et al (2021)

Viral speciation through subcellular genetic isolation and virogenesis incompatibility.

Nature communications, 12(1):342.

Understanding how biological species arise is critical for understanding the evolution of life on Earth. Bioinformatic analyses have recently revealed that viruses, like multicellular life, form reproductively isolated biological species. Viruses are known to share high rates of genetic exchange, so how do they evolve genetic isolation? Here, we evaluate two related bacteriophages and describe three factors that limit genetic exchange between them: 1) A nucleus-like compartment that physically separates replicating phage genomes, thereby limiting inter-phage recombination during co-infection; 2) A tubulin-based spindle that orchestrates phage replication and forms nonfunctional hybrid polymers; and 3) A nuclear incompatibility factor that reduces phage fitness. Together, these traits maintain species differences through Subcellular Genetic Isolation where viral genomes are physically separated during co-infection, and Virogenesis Incompatibility in which the interaction of cross-species components interferes with viral production.

RevDate: 2021-01-08

Sagova-Mareckova M, Boenigk J, Bouchez A, et al (2020)

Expanding ecological assessment by integrating microorganisms into routine freshwater biomonitoring.

Water research, 191:116767 pii:S0043-1354(20)31300-2 [Epub ahead of print].

Bioindication has become an indispensable part of water quality monitoring in most countries of the world, with the presence and abundance of bioindicator taxa, mostly multicellular eukaryotes, used for biotic indices. In contrast, microbes (bacteria, archaea and protists) are seldom used as bioindicators in routine assessments, although they have been recognized for their importance in environmental processes. Recently, the use of molecular methods has revealed unexpected diversity within known functional groups and novel metabolic pathways that are particularly important in energy and nutrient cycling. In various habitats, microbial communities respond to eutrophication, metals, and natural or anthropogenic organic pollutants through changes in diversity and function. In this review, we evaluated the common trends in these changes, documenting that they have value as bioindicators and can be used not only for monitoring but also for improving our understanding of the major processes in lotic and lentic environments. Current knowledge provides a solid foundation for exploiting microbial taxa, community structures and diversity, as well as functional genes, in novel monitoring programs. These microbial community measures can also be combined into biotic indices, improving the resolution of individual bioindicators. Here, we assess particular molecular approaches complemented by advanced bioinformatic analysis, as these are the most promising with respect to detailed bioindication value. We conclude that microbial community dynamics are a missing link important for our understanding of rapid changes in the structure and function of aquatic ecosystems, and should be addressed in the future environmental monitoring of freshwater ecosystems.

RevDate: 2021-01-07

Costa M, Blaschke TF, Amara SG, et al (2021)

Introduction to the Theme "Old and New Toxicology: Interfaces with Pharmacology".

Annual review of pharmacology and toxicology, 61:1-7.

The theme of Volume 61 is "Old and New Toxicology: Interfaces with Pharmacology." Old toxicology is exemplified by the authors of the autobiographical articles: B.M. Olivera's work on toxins and venoms from cone snails and P. Taylor's studies of acetylcholinesterase and the nicotinic cholinergic receptor, which serve as sites of action for numerous pesticides and venoms. Other articles in this volume focus on new understanding and new types of toxicology, including (a) arsenic toxicity, which is an ancient poison that, through evolution, has caused most multicellular organisms to express an active arsenic methyltransferase to methylate arsenite, which accelerates the excretion of arsenic from the body; (b) small molecules that react with lipid dicarbonyls, which are now considered the most toxic oxidative stress end products; (c) immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs), which have revolutionized cancer therapy but have numerous immune-related adverse events, including cardiovascular complications; (d) autoimmunity caused by the environment; (e) idiosyncratic drug-induced liver disease, which together with the toxicity of ICIs represents new toxicology interfacing with pharmacology; and (f) sex differences in the development of cardiovascular disease, with men more susceptible than women to vascular inflammation that initiates and perpetuates disease. These articles and others in Volume 61 reflect the interface and close integration of pharmacology and toxicology that began long ago but continues today.

RevDate: 2021-01-03

Furumizu C, S Sawa (2021)

Insight into early diversification of leucine-rich repeat receptor-like kinases provided by the sequenced moss and hornwort genomes.

Plant molecular biology [Epub ahead of print].

KEY MESSAGE: Identification of the subfamily X leucine-rich repeat receptor-like kinases in the recently sequenced moss and hornwort genomes points to their diversification into distinct groups during early evolution of land plants. Signal transduction mediated through receptor-ligand interactions plays key roles in controlling developmental and physiological processes of multicellular organisms, and plants employ diverse receptors in signaling. Leucine-rich repeat receptor-like kinases (LRR-RLKs) represent one of the largest receptor classes in plants and are structurally classified into subfamilies. LRR-RLKs of the subfamily X are unique in the variety of their signaling roles; they include receptors for steroid or peptide hormones as well as negative regulators of signaling through binding to other LRR-RLKs, raising a question as to how they diversified. However, our understanding of diversification processes of LRR-RLKs has been hindered by the paucity of genomic data in non-seed plants and limited taxa sampling in previous phylogenetic analyses. Here we analyzed the phylogeny of LRR-RLK X sequences collected from all major land plant lineages and show that this subfamily diversified into six major clades before the divergence between bryophytes and vascular plants. Notably, we have identified homologues of the brassinosteroid receptor, BRASSINOSTEROID INSENSITIVE 1 (BRI1), in the genomes of Sphagnum mosses, hornworts, and ferns, contrary to earlier reports that postulate the origin of BRI1-like LRR-RLKs in the seed plant lineage. The phylogenetic distribution of major clades illustrates that the current receptor repertoire was shaped through lineage-specific gene family expansion and independent gene losses, highlighting dynamic changes in the evolution of LRR-RLKs.

RevDate: 2020-12-29

Montoro R, Heine VM, Kemp S, et al (2020)

Evolution of Adrenoleukodystrophy Model Systems.

Journal of inherited metabolic disease [Epub ahead of print].

X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD) is a neurometabolic disorder affecting the adrenal glands, testes, spinal cord and brain. The disease is caused by mutations in the ABCD1 gene resulting in a defect in peroxisomal degradation of very long-chain fatty acids (VLCFA) and their accumulation in plasma and tissues. Males with ALD have a near 100% life-time risk to develop myelopathy. The life-time prevelance to develop progressive cerebral white matter lesions (known as cerebral ALD) is about 60%. Adrenal insufficiency occurs in about 80% of male patients. In adulthood, 80% of women with ALD also develop myelopathy, but adrenal insufficiency or cerebral ALD are very rare. The complex clinical presentation and the absence of a genotype-phenotype correlation are complicating our understanding of the disease. In an attempt to understand the pathophysiology of ALD various model systems have been developed. While these model systems share the basic genetics and biochemistry of ALD they fail to fully recapitulate the complex neurodegenerative etiology of ALD. Each model system recapitulates certain aspects of the disorder. This exposes the complexity of ALD and therefore the challenge to create a comprehensive model system to fully understand ALD. In this review, we provide an overview of the different ALD modelling strategies from single-celled to multicellular organisms and from in vitro to in vivo approaches, and introduce how emerging iPSC-derived technologies could improve the understanding of this highly complex disorder. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2020-12-23

Fritsche E, Haarmann-Stemmann T, Kapr J, et al (2020)

Stem Cells for Next Level Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century.

Small (Weinheim an der Bergstrasse, Germany) [Epub ahead of print].

The call for a paradigm change in toxicology from the United States National Research Council in 2007 initiates awareness for the invention and use of human-relevant alternative methods for toxicological hazard assessment. Simple 2D in vitro systems may serve as first screening tools, however, recent developments infer the need for more complex, multicellular organotypic models, which are superior in mimicking the complexity of human organs. In this review article most critical organs for toxicity assessment, i.e., skin, brain, thyroid system, lung, heart, liver, kidney, and intestine are discussed with regards to their functions in health and disease. Embracing the manifold modes-of-action how xenobiotic compounds can interfere with physiological organ functions and cause toxicity, the need for translation of such multifaceted organ features into the dish seems obvious. Currently used in vitro methods for toxicological applications and ongoing developments not yet arrived in toxicity testing are discussed, especially highlighting the potential of models based on embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells of human origin. Finally, the application of innovative technologies like organs-on-a-chip and genome editing point toward a toxicological paradigm change moves into action.

RevDate: 2020-12-17

Clairambault J (2020)

Stepping From Modeling Cancer Plasticity to the Philosophy of Cancer.

Frontiers in genetics, 11:579738.

RevDate: 2020-12-17

Lal A, Vo TTB, Sanjaya IGNPW, et al (2020)

Nanovirus Disease Complexes: An Emerging Threat in the Modern Era.

Frontiers in plant science, 11:558403.

Multipartite viruses package their genomic segments independently and mainly infect plants; few target animals. Nanoviridae is a family of multipartite single-stranded DNA plant viruses that individually encapsidate single-stranded DNAs of approximately 1 kb and transmit them through aphids without replication in the aphid vectors, thereby causing important diseases of leguminous crops and banana. Significant findings regarding nanoviruses have recently been made on important features, such as their multicellular way of life, the transmission of distinct encapsidated genome segments through the vector body, evolutionary ambiguities, mode of infection, host range and geographical distribution. This review deals with all the above-mentioned features in view of recent advances with special emphasis on the emergence of new species and recognition of new host range of nanoviruses and aims to shed light on the evolutionary linkages, the potentially devastating impact on the world economy, and the future challenges imposed by nanoviruses.

RevDate: 2020-12-14
CmpDate: 2020-12-04

Du K, Luo Q, Yin L, et al (2020)

OsChz1 acts as a histone chaperone in modulating chromatin organization and genome function in rice.

Nature communications, 11(1):5717.

While the yeast Chz1 acts as a specific histone-chaperone for H2A.Z, functions of CHZ-domain proteins in multicellular eukaryotes remain obscure. Here, we report on the functional characterization of OsChz1, a sole CHZ-domain protein identified in rice. OsChz1 interacts with both the canonical H2A-H2B dimer and the variant H2A.Z-H2B dimer. Within crystal structure the C-terminal region of OsChz1 binds H2A-H2B via an acidic region, pointing to a previously unknown recognition mechanism. Knockout of OsChz1 leads to multiple plant developmental defects. At genome-wide level, loss of OsChz1 causes mis-regulations of thousands of genes and broad alterations of nucleosome occupancy as well as reductions of H2A.Z-enrichment. While OsChz1 associates with chromatin regions enriched of repressive histone marks (H3K27me3 and H3K4me2), its loss does not affect the genome landscape of DNA methylation. Taken together, it is emerging that OsChz1 functions as an important H2A/H2A.Z-H2B chaperone in dynamic regulation of chromatin for higher eukaryote development.

RevDate: 2020-12-14
CmpDate: 2020-12-04

Martínez-Soto D, Velez-Haro JM, León-Ramírez CG, et al (2020)

Multicellular growth of the Basidiomycota phytopathogen fungus Sporisorium reilianum induced by acid conditions.

Folia microbiologica, 65(3):511-521.

Fungi are considered model organisms for the analysis of important phenomena of eukaryotes. For example, some of them have been described as models to understand the phenomenon of multicellularity acquisition by different unicellular organisms phylogenetically distant. Interestingly, in this work, we describe the multicellular development in the model fungus S. reilianum. We observed that Sporisorium reilianum, a Basidiomycota cereal pathogen that at neutral pH grows with a yeast-like morphology during its saprophytic haploid stage, when incubated at acid pH grew in the form of multicellular clusters. The multicellularity observed in S. reilianum was of clonal type, where buds of "stem" cells growing as yeasts remain joined by their cell wall septa, after cytokinesis. The elaboration and analysis of a regulatory network of S. reilianum showed that the putative zinc finger transcription factor CBQ73544.1 regulates a number of genes involved in cell cycle, cellular division, signal transduction pathways, and biogenesis of cell wall. Interestingly, homologous of these genes have been found to be regulated during Saccharomyces cerevisiae multicellular growth. In adddition, some of these genes were found to be negatively regulated during multicellularity of S. reilianum. With these data, we suggest that S. reilianum is an interesting model for the study of multicellular development.

RevDate: 2020-12-14
CmpDate: 2020-12-08

Root A (2020)

Do cells use passwords in cell-state transitions? Is cell signaling sometimes encrypted?.

Theory in biosciences = Theorie in den Biowissenschaften, 139(1):87-93.

Organisms must maintain proper regulation including defense and healing. Life-threatening problems may be caused by pathogens or by a multicellular organism's own cells through cancer or autoimmune disorders. Life evolved solutions to these problems that can be conceptualized through the lens of information security, which is a well-developed field in computer science. Here I argue that taking an information security view of cells is not merely semantics, but useful to explain features of signaling, regulation, and defense. An information security perspective also offers a conduit for cross-fertilization of advanced ideas from computer science and the potential for biology to inform computer science. First, I consider whether cells use passwords, i.e., initiation sequences that are required for subsequent signals to have effects, by analyzing the concept of pioneer transcription factors in chromatin regulation and cellular reprogramming. Second, I consider whether cells may encrypt signal transduction cascades. Encryption could benefit cells by making it more difficult for pathogens or oncogenes to hijack cell networks. By using numerous molecules, cells may gain a security advantage in particular against viruses, whose genome sizes are typically under selection pressure. I provide a simple conceptual argument for how cells may perform encryption through posttranslational modifications, complex formation, and chromatin accessibility. I invoke information theory to provide a criterion of an entropy spike to assess whether a signaling cascade has encryption-like features. I discuss how the frequently invoked concept of context dependency may oversimplify more advanced features of cell signaling networks, such as encryption. Therefore, by considering that biochemical networks may be even more complex than commonly realized we may be better able to understand defenses against pathogens and pathologies.

RevDate: 2020-12-11

Giam M, Wong CK, Low JS, et al (2020)

P53 induces senescence in the unstable progeny of aneuploid cells.

Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.) [Epub ahead of print].

Aneuploidy is the condition of having an imbalanced karyotype, which is associated with tumor initiation, evolution, and acquisition of drug-resistant features, possibly by generating heterogeneous populations of cells with distinct genotypes and phenotypes. Multicellular eukaryotes have therefore evolved a range of extrinsic and cell-autonomous mechanisms for restraining proliferation of aneuploid cells, including activation of the tumor suppressor protein p53. However, accumulating evidence indicates that a subset of aneuploid cells can escape p53-mediated growth restriction and continue proliferating in vitro. Here we show that such aneuploid cell lines display a robust modal karyotype and low frequency of chromosomal aberrations despite ongoing chromosome instability. Indeed, while these aneuploid cells are able to survive for extended periods in vitro, their chromosomally unstable progeny remain subject to p53-induced senescence and growth restriction, leading to subsequent elimination from the aneuploid pool. This mechanism helps maintain low levels of heterogeneity in aneuploid populations and may prevent detrimental evolutionary processes such as cancer progression and development of drug resistance.

RevDate: 2020-12-09

Zhang J, Gu C, Song Q, et al (2020)

Identifying cancer-associated fibroblasts as emerging targets for hepatocellular carcinoma.

Cell & bioscience, 10(1):127 pii:10.1186/s13578-020-00488-y.

The tumor microenvironment (TME) is a complex multicellular functional compartment that includes fibroblasts, myofibroblasts, endothelial cells, immune cells, and extracellular matrix (ECM) elements. The microenvironment provides an optimum condition for the initiation, growth, and dissemination of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). As one of the critical and abundant components in tumor microenvironment, cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) have been implicated in the progression of HCC. Through secreting various growth factors and cytokines, CAFs contribute to the ECM remodeling, stem features, angiogenesis, immunosuppression, and vasculogenic mimicry (VM), which reinforce the initiation and development of HCC. In order to restrain the CAFs-initiated HCC progression, current strategies include targeting specific markers, engineering CAFs with tumor-suppressive phenotype, depleting CAFs' precursors, and repressing the secretions or downstream signaling. In this review, we update the emerging understanding of CAFs in HCC, with particular emphasis on cellular origin, phenotypes, biological functions and targeted strategies. It provides insights into the targeting CAFs for HCC treatment.

RevDate: 2020-12-04

Ruiz-Trillo I, A de Mendoza (2020)

Towards understanding the origin of animal development.

Development (Cambridge, England), 147(23): pii:147/23/dev192575.

Almost all animals undergo embryonic development, going from a single-celled zygote to a complex multicellular adult. We know that the patterning and morphogenetic processes involved in development are deeply conserved within the animal kingdom. However, the origins of these developmental processes are just beginning to be unveiled. Here, we focus on how the protist lineages sister to animals are reshaping our view of animal development. Most intriguingly, many of these protistan lineages display transient multicellular structures, which are governed by similar morphogenetic and gene regulatory processes as animal development. We discuss here two potential alternative scenarios to explain the origin of animal embryonic development: either it originated concomitantly at the onset of animals or it evolved from morphogenetic processes already present in their unicellular ancestors. We propose that an integrative study of several unicellular taxa closely related to animals will allow a more refined picture of how the last common ancestor of animals underwent embryonic development.

RevDate: 2020-12-03

Lyall R, Nikoloski Z, T Gechev (2020)

Comparative Analysis of ROS Network Genes in Extremophile Eukaryotes.

International journal of molecular sciences, 21(23): pii:ijms21239131.

The reactive oxygen species (ROS) gene network, consisting of both ROS-generating and detoxifying enzymes, adjusts ROS levels in response to various stimuli. We performed a cross-kingdom comparison of ROS gene networks to investigate how they have evolved across all Eukaryotes, including protists, fungi, plants and animals. We included the genomes of 16 extremotolerant Eukaryotes to gain insight into ROS gene evolution in organisms that experience extreme stress conditions. Our analysis focused on ROS genes found in all Eukaryotes (such as catalases, superoxide dismutases, glutathione reductases, peroxidases and glutathione peroxidase/peroxiredoxins) as well as those specific to certain groups, such as ascorbate peroxidases, dehydroascorbate/monodehydroascorbate reductases in plants and other photosynthetic organisms. ROS-producing NADPH oxidases (NOX) were found in most multicellular organisms, although several NOX-like genes were identified in unicellular or filamentous species. However, despite the extreme conditions experienced by extremophile species, we found no evidence for expansion of ROS-related gene families in these species compared to other Eukaryotes. Tardigrades and rotifers do show ROS gene expansions that could be related to their extreme lifestyles, although a high rate of lineage-specific horizontal gene transfer events, coupled with recent tetraploidy in rotifers, could explain this observation. This suggests that the basal Eukaryotic ROS scavenging systems are sufficient to maintain ROS homeostasis even under the most extreme conditions.

RevDate: 2020-12-02

Kaczanowski S (2020)

Symbiotic Origin of Apoptosis.

Results and problems in cell differentiation, 69:253-280.

The progress of evolutionary biology has revealed that symbiosis played a basic role in the evolution of complex eukaryotic organisms, including humans. Mitochondria are actually simplified endosymbiotic bacteria currently playing the role of cellular organelles. Mitochondrial domestication occurred at the very beginning of eukaryotic evolution. Mitochondria have two different basic functions: they produce energy using oxidative respiration, and they initiate different forms of apoptotic programmed/regulated cell death. Apoptotic programmed cell death may have different cytological forms. Mechanisms of apoptotic programmed cell death exist even in the unicellular organisms, and they play a basic role in the development of complex multicellular organisms, such as fungi, green plants, and animals. Multicellularity was independently established many times among eukaryotes. There are indications that apoptotic programmed cell death is a trait required for the establishment of multicellularity. Regulated cell death is initiated by many different parallel biochemical pathways. It is generally accepted that apoptosis evolved during mitochondrial domestication. However, there are different hypothetical models of the origin of apoptosis. The phylogenetic studies of my group indicate that apoptosis probably evolved during an evolutionary arms race between host ancestral eukaryotic predators and ancestral prey mitochondria (named protomitochondria). Protomitochondrial prey produced many different toxins as a defense against predators. From these toxins evolved extant apoptotic factors. There are indications that aerobic respiration and apoptosis co-evolved and are functionally linked in extant organisms. Perturbations of apoptosis and oxidative respiration are frequently observed during neoplastic transition. Our group showed that perturbations of apoptosis in yeasts also cause perturbations of oxidative respiration.

RevDate: 2020-12-02

McEvoy E, Han YL, Guo M, et al (2020)

Gap junctions amplify spatial variations in cell volume in proliferating tumor spheroids.

Nature communications, 11(1):6148 pii:10.1038/s41467-020-19904-5.

Sustained proliferation is a significant driver of cancer progression. Cell-cycle advancement is coupled with cell size, but it remains unclear how multiple cells interact to control their volume in 3D clusters. In this study, we propose a mechano-osmotic model to investigate the evolution of volume dynamics within multicellular systems. Volume control depends on an interplay between multiple cellular constituents, including gap junctions, mechanosensitive ion channels, energy-consuming ion pumps, and the actomyosin cortex, that coordinate to manipulate cellular osmolarity. In connected cells, we show that mechanical loading leads to the emergence of osmotic pressure gradients between cells with consequent increases in cellular ion concentrations driving swelling. We identify how gap junctions can amplify spatial variations in cell volume within multicellular spheroids and, further, describe how the process depends on proliferation-induced solid stress. Our model may provide new insight into the role of gap junctions in breast cancer progression.

RevDate: 2020-12-01

König SG, AM Nedelcu (2020)

The genetic basis for the evolution of soma: mechanistic evidence for the co-option of a stress-induced gene into a developmental master regulator.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 287(1940):20201414.

In multicellular organisms with specialized cells, the most significant distinction among cell types is between reproductive (germ) cells and non-reproductive/somatic cells (soma). Although soma contributed to the marked increase in complexity of many multicellular lineages, little is known about its evolutionary origins. We have previously suggested that the evolution of genes responsible for the differentiation of somatic cells involved the co-option of life history trade-off genes that in unicellular organisms enhanced survival at a cost to immediate reproduction. In the multicellular green alga, Volvox carteri, cell fate is established early in development by the differential expression of a master regulatory gene known as regA. A closely related RegA-Like Sequence (RLS1) is present in its single-celled relative, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. RLS1 is expressed in response to stress, and we proposed that an environmentally induced RLS1-like gene was co-opted into a developmental pathway in the lineage leading to V. carteri. However, the exact evolutionary scenario responsible for the postulated co-option event remains to be determined. Here, we show that in addition to being developmentally regulated, regA can also be induced by environmental cues, indicating that regA has maintained its ancestral regulation. We also found that the absence of a functional RegA protein confers increased sensitivity to stress, consistent with RegA having a direct or indirect role in stress responses. Overall, this study (i) provides mechanistic evidence for the co-option of an environmentally induced gene into a major developmental regulator, (ii) supports the view that major morphological innovations can evolve via regulatory changes and (iii) argues for the role of stress in the evolution of multicellular complexity.

RevDate: 2020-12-01

Retzinger AC, GS Retzinger (2020)

Mites, ticks, anaphylaxis and allergy: The Acari hypothesis.

Medical hypotheses, 144:110257.

Anaphylaxis is a poorly understood immune process in which a Th2-/IgE-mediated adaptive response commandeers cellular machinery, typically reserved for defense against multicellular ectoparasites, to activate against otherwise benign molecules. Its clinical manifestations consist of rapid pathophysiological reflexes that target epithelial surfaces. The galactose-α-1,3-galactose hypersensitivity response is a compelling model of anaphylaxis for which causation has been demonstrated. At the core of the model, a tick bite sensitizes a recipient to a tick foodstuff. As proposed herein, the model likely informs on the origin of all allergic inflammation; namely, allergy is not intended to protect against seemingly harmless and irrelevant materials, but is, instead, intended to rid epithelial surfaces of pathogen-bearing Acari, i.e., mites and ticks. The demonstrated adjuvant activity of acarian gastrointestinal secretions, when paired with the polyphagous diet of mites, renders acarians eminently suited to accounting, mechanistically, for many, if not all, human allergies.

RevDate: 2020-11-28

Chi S, Wang G, Liu T, et al (2020)

Transcriptomic and Proteomic Analysis of Mannitol-metabolism-associated Genes in Saccharina japonica.

Genomics, proteomics & bioinformatics pii:S1672-0229(20)30130-3 [Epub ahead of print].

As a carbon-storage compound and osmoprotectant in brown algae, mannitol is synthesized and then accumulated at high levels in Saccharina japonica (Sja); however, the underlying control mechanisms have not been studied. Our analysis of genomic and transcriptomic data from Sja shows that mannitol metabolism is a cyclic pathway composed of four distinct steps. A mannitol-1-phosphate dehydrogenase (M1PDH2) and two mannitol-1-phosphatases (M1Pase) work together or in combination to exhibit full enzymatic properties. Based on comprehensive transcriptomic data from different tissues, generations, and sexes as well as under different stress conditions, coupled with droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) and proteomic confirmation, we suggest that SjaM1Pase1 plays a major role in mannitol biosynthesis and that the basic mannitol anabolism and the carbohydrate pool dynamics are responsible for carbon storage and anti-stress mechanism. Our proteomic data indicate that mannitol metabolism remains constant during diurnal cycle in Sja. In addition, we discover that mannitol-metabolism-associated (MMA) genes show differential expression between the multicellular filamentous (gametophyte) and large parenchymal thallus (sporophyte) generations and respond differentially to environmental stresses, such as hyposaline and hyperthermic conditions. Our results indicate that the ecophysiological significance of such differentially expressed genes may be attributable to the evolution of heteromorphic generations (filamentous and thallus) and environmental adaptation of Laminariales.

RevDate: 2020-11-27

Boutry J, Dujon AM, Gerard AL, et al (2020)

Ecological and Evolutionary Consequences of Anticancer Adaptations.

iScience, 23(11):101716.

Cellular cheating leading to cancers exists in all branches of multicellular life, favoring the evolution of adaptations to avoid or suppress malignant progression, and/or to alleviate its fitness consequences. Ecologists have until recently largely neglected the importance of cancer cells for animal ecology, presumably because they did not consider either the potential ecological or evolutionary consequences of anticancer adaptations. Here, we review the diverse ways in which the evolution of anticancer adaptations has significantly constrained several aspects of the evolutionary ecology of multicellular organisms at the cell, individual, population, species, and ecosystem levels and suggest some avenues for future research.

RevDate: 2020-11-29

Xu Z, Wang S, Zhao C, et al (2020)

Photosynthetic hydrogen production by droplet-based microbial micro-reactors under aerobic conditions.

Nature communications, 11(1):5985 pii:10.1038/s41467-020-19823-5.

The spontaneous self-assembly of multicellular ensembles into living materials with synergistic structure and function remains a considerable challenge in biotechnology and synthetic biology. Here, we exploit the aqueous two-phase separation of dextran-in-PEG emulsion micro-droplets for the capture, spatial organization and immobilization of algal cells or algal/bacterial cell communities to produce discrete multicellular spheroids capable of both aerobic (oxygen producing) and hypoxic (hydrogen producing) photosynthesis in daylight under air. We show that localized oxygen depletion results in hydrogen production from the core of the algal microscale reactor, and demonstrate that enhanced levels of hydrogen evolution can be achieved synergistically by spontaneously enclosing the photosynthetic cells within a shell of bacterial cells undergoing aerobic respiration. Our results highlight a promising droplet-based environmentally benign approach to dispersible photosynthetic microbial micro-reactors comprising segregated cellular micro-niches with dual functionality, and provide a step towards photobiological hydrogen production under aerobic conditions.

RevDate: 2020-11-24

Hammerschmidt K, Landan G, Tria FDK, et al (2020)

The order of trait emergence in the evolution of cyanobacterial multicellularity.

Genome biology and evolution pii:5999801 [Epub ahead of print].

The transition from unicellular to multicellular organisms is one of the most significant events in the history of life. Key to this process is the emergence of Darwinian individuality at the higher level: groups must become single entities capable of reproduction for selection to shape their evolution. Evolutionary transitions in individuality are characterized by cooperation between the lower level entities and by division of labor. Theory suggests that division of labor may drive the transition to multicellularity by eliminating the trade-off between two incompatible processes that cannot be performed simultaneously in one cell. Here we examine the evolution of the most ancient multicellular transition known today, that of cyanobacteria, where we reconstruct the sequence of ecological and phenotypic trait evolution. Our results show that the prime driver of multicellularity in cyanobacteria was the expansion in metabolic capacity offered by nitrogen fixation, which was accompanied by the emergence of the filamentous morphology and succeeded by a reproductive life cycle. This was followed by the progression of multicellularity into higher complexity in the form of differentiated cells and patterned multicellularity.

RevDate: 2020-11-24

Coelho SM, JM Cock (2020)

Brown Algal Model Organisms.

Annual review of genetics, 54:71-92.

Model organisms are extensively used in research as accessible and convenient systems for studying a particular area or question in biology. Traditionally, only a limited number of organisms have been studied in detail, but modern genomic tools are enabling researchers to extend beyond the set of classical model organisms to include novel species from less-studied phylogenetic groups. This review focuses on model species for an important group of multicellular organisms, the brown algae. The development of genetic and genomic tools for the filamentous brown alga Ectocarpus has led to it emerging as a general model system for this group, but additional models, such as Fucus or Dictyota dichotoma, remain of interest for specific biological questions. In addition, Saccharina japonica has emerged as a model system to directly address applied questions related to algal aquaculture. We discuss the past, present, and future of brown algal model organisms in relation to the opportunities and challenges in brown algal research.

RevDate: 2020-12-01

Anatskaya OV, Vinogradov AE, Vainshelbaum NM, et al (2020)

Phylostratic Shift of Whole-Genome Duplications in Normal Mammalian Tissues towards Unicellularity Is Driven by Developmental Bivalent Genes and Reveals a Link to Cancer.

International journal of molecular sciences, 21(22):.

Tumours were recently revealed to undergo a phylostratic and phenotypic shift to unicellularity. As well, aggressive tumours are characterized by an increased proportion of polyploid cells. In order to investigate a possible shared causation of these two features, we performed a comparative phylostratigraphic analysis of ploidy-related genes, obtained from transcriptomic data for polyploid and diploid human and mouse tissues using pairwise cross-species transcriptome comparison and principal component analysis. Our results indicate that polyploidy shifts the evolutionary age balance of the expressed genes from the late metazoan phylostrata towards the upregulation of unicellular and early metazoan phylostrata. The up-regulation of unicellular metabolic and drug-resistance pathways and the downregulation of pathways related to circadian clock were identified. This evolutionary shift was associated with the enrichment of ploidy with bivalent genes (p < 10-16). The protein interactome of activated bivalent genes revealed the increase of the connectivity of unicellulars and (early) multicellulars, while circadian regulators were depressed. The mutual polyploidy-c-MYC-bivalent genes-associated protein network was organized by gene-hubs engaged in both embryonic development and metastatic cancer including driver (proto)-oncogenes of viral origin. Our data suggest that, in cancer, the atavistic shift goes hand-in-hand with polyploidy and is driven by epigenetic mechanisms impinging on development-related bivalent genes.

RevDate: 2020-11-20

Snyder-Beattie AE, Sandberg A, Drexler KE, et al (2020)

The Timing of Evolutionary Transitions Suggests Intelligent Life Is Rare.

Astrobiology [Epub ahead of print].

It is unknown how abundant extraterrestrial life is, or whether such life might be complex or intelligent. On Earth, the emergence of complex intelligent life required a preceding series of evolutionary transitions such as abiogenesis, eukaryogenesis, and the evolution of sexual reproduction, multicellularity, and intelligence itself. Some of these transitions could have been extraordinarily improbable, even in conducive environments. The emergence of intelligent life late in Earth's lifetime is thought to be evidence for a handful of rare evolutionary transitions, but the timing of other evolutionary transitions in the fossil record is yet to be analyzed in a similar framework. Using a simplified Bayesian model that combines uninformative priors and the timing of evolutionary transitions, we demonstrate that expected evolutionary transition times likely exceed the lifetime of Earth, perhaps by many orders of magnitude. Our results corroborate the original argument suggested by Brandon Carter that intelligent life in the Universe is exceptionally rare, assuming that intelligent life elsewhere requires analogous evolutionary transitions. Arriving at the opposite conclusion would require exceptionally conservative priors, evidence for much earlier transitions, multiple instances of transitions, or an alternative model that can explain why evolutionary transitions took hundreds of millions of years without appealing to rare chance events. Although the model is simple, it provides an initial basis for evaluating how varying biological assumptions and fossil record data impact the probability of evolving intelligent life, and also provides a number of testable predictions, such as that some biological paradoxes will remain unresolved and that planets orbiting M dwarf stars are uninhabitable.

RevDate: 2020-11-19

Pichugin Y, A Traulsen (2020)

Evolution of multicellular life cycles under costly fragmentation.

PLoS computational biology, 16(11):e1008406 pii:PCOMPBIOL-D-20-00157 [Epub ahead of print].

A fascinating wealth of life cycles is observed in biology, from unicellularity to the concerted fragmentation of multicellular units. However, the understanding of factors driving their evolution is still limited. We show that costs of fragmentation have a major impact on the evolution of life cycles due to their influence on the growth rates of the associated populations. We model a group structured population of undifferentiated cells, where cell clusters reproduce by fragmentation. Fragmentation events are associated with a cost expressed by either a fragmentation delay, an additional risk, or a cell loss. The introduction of such fragmentation costs vastly increases the set of possible life cycles. Based on these findings, we suggest that the evolution of life cycles involving splitting into multiple offspring can be directly associated with the fragmentation cost. Moreover, the impact of this cost alone is strong enough to drive the emergence of multicellular units that eventually split into many single cells, even under scenarios that strongly disfavour collectives compared to solitary individuals.

RevDate: 2020-11-19

Aubier TG, Galipaud M, Erten EY, et al (2020)

Transmissible cancers and the evolution of sex under the Red Queen hypothesis.

PLoS biology, 18(11):e3000916 pii:PBIOLOGY-D-20-00851.

The predominance of sexual reproduction in eukaryotes remains paradoxical in evolutionary theory. Of the hypotheses proposed to resolve this paradox, the 'Red Queen hypothesis' emphasises the potential of antagonistic interactions to cause fluctuating selection, which favours the evolution and maintenance of sex. Whereas empirical and theoretical developments have focused on host-parasite interactions, the premises of the Red Queen theory apply equally well to any type of antagonistic interactions. Recently, it has been suggested that early multicellular organisms with basic anticancer defences were presumably plagued by antagonistic interactions with transmissible cancers and that this could have played a pivotal role in the evolution of sex. Here, we dissect this argument using a population genetic model. One fundamental aspect distinguishing transmissible cancers from other parasites is the continual production of cancerous cell lines from hosts' own tissues. We show that this influx dampens fluctuating selection and therefore makes the evolution of sex more difficult than in standard Red Queen models. Although coevolutionary cycling can remain sufficient to select for sex under some parameter regions of our model, we show that the size of those regions shrinks once we account for epidemiological constraints. Altogether, our results suggest that horizontal transmission of cancerous cells is unlikely to cause fluctuating selection favouring sexual reproduction. Nonetheless, we confirm that vertical transmission of cancerous cells can promote the evolution of sex through a separate mechanism, known as similarity selection, that does not depend on coevolutionary fluctuations.

RevDate: 2020-11-17

Li HJ, WC Yang (2020)

Central Cell in Flowering Plants: Specification, Signaling, and Evolution.

Frontiers in plant science, 11:590307.

During the reproduction of animals and lower plants, one sperm cell usually outcompetes the rivals to fertilize a single egg cell. But in flowering plants, two sperm cells fertilize the two adjacent dimorphic female gametes, the egg and central cell, respectively, to initiate the embryo and endosperm within a seed. The endosperm nourishes the embryo development and is also the major source of nutrition in cereals for humankind. Central cell as one of the key innovations of flowering plants is the biggest cell in the multicellular haploid female gametophyte (embryo sac). The embryo sac differentiates from the meiotic products through successive events of nuclear divisions, cellularization, and cell specification. Nowadays, accumulating lines of evidence are raveling multiple roles of the central cell rather than only the endosperm precursor. In this review, we summarize the current understanding on its cell fate specification, intercellular communication, and evolution. We also highlight some key unsolved questions for the further studies in this field.

RevDate: 2020-11-17

Pessione E (2020)

The Russian Doll Model: How Bacteria Shape Successful and Sustainable Inter-Kingdom Relationships.

Frontiers in microbiology, 11:573759.

Successful inter-kingdom relationships are based upon a dynamic balance between defense and cooperation. A certain degree of competition is necessary to guarantee life spread and development. On the other hand, cooperation is a powerful tool to ensure a long lasting adaptation to changing environmental conditions and to support evolution to a higher level of complexity. Bacteria can interact with their (true or potential) parasites (i.e., phages) and with their multicellular hosts. In these model interactions, bacteria learnt how to cope with their inner and outer host, transforming dangerous signals into opportunities and modulating responses in order to achieve an agreement that is beneficial for the overall participants, thus giving rise to a more complex "organism" or ecosystem. In this review, particular attention will be addressed to underline the minimal energy expenditure required for these successful interactions [e.g., moonlighting proteins, post-translational modifications (PTMs), and multitasking signals] and the systemic vision of these processes and ways of life in which the system proves to be more than the sum of the single components. Using an inside-out perspective, I will examine the possibility of multilevel interactions, in which viruses help bacteria to cope with the animal host and bacteria support the human immune system to counteract viral infection in a circular vision. In this sophisticated network, bacteria represent the precious link that insures system stability with relative low energy expenditure.

RevDate: 2020-11-13

Castillo SP, Keymer JE, PA Marquet (2020)

Do microenvironmental changes disrupt multicellular organisation with ageing, enacting and favouring the cancer cell phenotype?.

BioEssays : news and reviews in molecular, cellular and developmental biology [Epub ahead of print].

Cancer is a singular cellular state, the emergence of which destabilises the homeostasis reached through the evolution to multicellularity. We present the idea that the onset of the cellular disobedience to the metazoan functional and structural architecture, known as the cancer phenotype, is triggered by changes in the cell's external environment that occur with ageing: what ensues is a breach of the social contract of multicellular life characteristic of metazoans. By integrating old ideas with new evidence, we propose that with ageing the environmental information that maintains a multicellular organisation is eroded, rewiring internal processes of the cell, and resulting in an internal shift towards an ancestral condition resulting in the pseudo-multicellular cancer phenotype. Once that phenotype emerges, a new local social contract is built, different from the homeostatic one, leading to tumour formation and the foundation of a novel local ecosystem.

RevDate: 2020-12-01

Konarska A, B Łotocka (2020)

Glandular trichomes of Robinia viscosa Vent. var. hartwigii (Koehne) Ashe (Faboideae, Fabaceae)-morphology, histochemistry and ultrastructure.

Planta, 252(6):102.

MAIN CONCLUSION: Permanent glandular trichomes of Robinia viscosa var. hartwigii produce viscous secretion containing several secondary metabolites, as lipids, mucilage, flavonoids, proteins and alkaloids. Robinia viscosa var. hartwigii (Hartweg's locust) is an ornamental tree with high apicultural value. It can be planted in urban greenery and in degraded areas. The shoots, leaves, and inflorescences of this plant are equipped with numerous persistent glandular trichomes producing sticky secretion. The distribution, origin, development, morphology, anatomy, and ultrastructure of glandular trichomes of Hartweg's locust flowers as well as the localisation and composition of their secretory products were investigated for the first time. To this end, light, scanning, and transmission electron microscopy combined with histochemical and fluorescence techniques were used. The massive glandular trichomes differing in the distribution, length, and stage of development were built of a multicellular and multiseriate stalk and a multicellular head. The secretory cells in the stalk and head had large nuclei with nucleoli, numerous chloroplasts with thylakoids and starch grains, mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum profiles, Golgi apparatus, vesicles, and multivesicular bodies. Many vacuoles contained phenolic compounds dissolved or forming various condensed deposits. The secretion components were transported through symplast elements, and the granulocrine and eccrine modes of nectar secretion were observed. The secretion was accumulated in the subcuticular space at the trichome apex and released through a pore in the cuticle. Histochemical and fluorescence assays showed that the trichomes and secretion contained lipophilic and polyphenol compounds, polysaccharides, proteins, and alkaloids. We suggest that these metabolites may serve an important function in protection of plants against biotic stress conditions and may also be a source of phytopharmaceuticals in the future.

RevDate: 2020-11-09

Blackstone NW, JU Gutterman (2020)

Can natural selection and druggable targets synergize? Of nutrient scarcity, cancer, and the evolution of cooperation.

BioEssays : news and reviews in molecular, cellular and developmental biology [Epub ahead of print].

Since the dawn of molecular biology, cancer therapy has focused on druggable targets. Despite some remarkable successes, cell-level evolution remains a potent antagonist to this approach. We suggest that a deeper understanding of the breakdown of cooperation can synergize the evolutionary and druggable-targets approaches. Complexity requires cooperation, whether between cells of different species (symbiosis) or between cells of the same organism (multicellularity). Both forms of cooperation may be associated with nutrient scarcity, which in turn may be associated with a chemiosmotic metabolism. A variety of examples from modern organisms supports these generalities. Indeed, mammalian cancers-unicellular, glycolytic, and fast-replicating-parallel these examples. Nutrient scarcity, chemiosmosis, and associated signaling may favor cooperation, while under conditions of nutrient abundance a fermentative metabolism may signal the breakdown of cooperation. Manipulating this metabolic milieu may potentiate the effects of targeted therapeutics. Specific opportunities are discussed in this regard, including avicins, a novel plant product.

RevDate: 2020-11-13

Willman S, Peel JS, Ineson JR, et al (2020)

Ediacaran Doushantuo-type biota discovered in Laurentia.

Communications biology, 3(1):647.

The Ediacaran period (635-541 Ma) was a time of major environmental change, accompanied by a transition from a microbial world to the animal world we know today. Multicellular, macroscopic organisms preserved as casts and molds in Ediacaran siliciclastic rocks are preserved worldwide and provide snapshots of early organismal, including animal, evolution. Remarkable evolutionary advances are also witnessed by diverse cellular and subcellular phosphatized microfossils described from the Doushantuo Formation in China, the only source showing a diversified assemblage of microfossils. Here, we greatly extend the known distribution of this Doushantuo-type biota in reporting an Ediacaran Lagerstätte from Laurentia (Portfjeld Formation, North Greenland), with phosphatized animal-like eggs, embryos, acritarchs, and cyanobacteria, the age of which is constrained by the Shuram-Wonoka anomaly (c. 570-560 Ma). The discovery of these Ediacaran phosphatized microfossils from outside East Asia extends the distribution of the remarkable biota to a second palaeocontinent in the other hemisphere of the Ediacaran world, considerably expanding our understanding of the temporal and environmental distribution of organisms immediately prior to the Cambrian explosion.

RevDate: 2020-11-20
CmpDate: 2020-11-20

Katoh T, M Satoh (2020)

[Environment and immunity-Allergies and autoimmune diseases from epidemiological perspective].

Nihon eiseigaku zasshi. Japanese journal of hygiene, 75(0):.

Immunity, which denotes the protection of multicellular organisms against various bacterial and viral infections, is an essential protective mechanism for living organisms. Allergy is a reaction to a foreign substance existing in the environment that is basically not a component of the self. Additionally, autoimmune diseases are associated with the dysfunction in the recognition of self and non-self, and are pathological conditions caused by immune cells attacking their own tissues and cells. In this paper, we outline the current status of immunity with respect to the environment from the epidemiological perspective with regard to the following: (1) evolution and immunity, (2) allergy, (3) autoantibodies, (4) autoimmune diseases, (5) relationships of immunity with the environment, allergy, autoantibodies, and autoimmune diseases, and (6) celiac disease.

RevDate: 2020-11-28

Burdukiewicz M, Sidorczuk K, Rafacz D, et al (2020)

CancerGram: An Effective Classifier for Differentiating Anticancer from Antimicrobial Peptides.

Pharmaceutics, 12(11):.

Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) constitute a diverse group of bioactive molecules that provide multicellular organisms with protection against microorganisms, and microorganisms with weaponry for competition. Some AMPs can target cancer cells; thus, they are called anticancer peptides (ACPs). Due to their small size, positive charge, hydrophobicity and amphipathicity, AMPs and ACPs interact with negatively charged components of biological membranes. AMPs preferentially permeabilize microbial membranes, but ACPs additionally target mitochondrial and plasma membranes of cancer cells. The preference towards mitochondrial membranes is explained by their membrane potential, membrane composition resulting from α-proteobacterial origin and the fact that mitochondrial targeting signals could have evolved from AMPs. Taking into account the therapeutic potential of ACPs and millions of deaths due to cancer annually, it is of vital importance to find new cationic peptides that selectively destroy cancer cells. Therefore, to reduce the costs of experimental research, we have created a robust computational tool, CancerGram, that uses n-grams and random forests for predicting ACPs. Compared to other ACP classifiers, CancerGram is the first three-class model that effectively classifies peptides into: ACPs, AMPs and non-ACPs/non-AMPs, with AU1U amounting to 0.89 and a Kappa statistic of 0.65. CancerGram is available as a web server and R package on GitHub.

RevDate: 2020-11-03

Ostrowski EA (2020)

Evolution of Multicellularity: One from Many or Many from One?.

Current biology : CB, 30(21):R1306-R1308.

Multicellularity has evolved many times. A new study explores why some forms of multicellularity may be better than others.

RevDate: 2020-11-16
CmpDate: 2020-11-16

Staps M, C Tarnita (2020)

How geometry shapes division of labor.

eLife, 9:.

A mathematical model shows how the shape of early multicellular organisms may have helped cells evolve specialized roles.

RevDate: 2020-11-28

Ingargiola C, Turqueto Duarte G, Robaglia C, et al (2020)

The Plant Target of Rapamycin: A Conduc TOR of Nutrition and Metabolism in Photosynthetic Organisms.

Genes, 11(11):.

Living organisms possess many mechanisms to sense nutrients and favorable conditions, which allow them to grow and develop. Photosynthetic organisms are very diverse, from green unicellular algae to multicellular flowering plants, but most of them are sessile and thus unable to escape from the biotic and abiotic stresses they experience. The Target of Rapamycin (TOR) signaling pathway is conserved in all eukaryotes and acts as a central regulatory hub between growth and extrinsic factors, such as nutrients or stress. However, relatively little is known about the regulations and roles of this pathway in plants and algae. Although some features of the TOR pathway seem to have been highly conserved throughout evolution, others clearly differ in plants, perhaps reflecting adaptations to different lifestyles and the rewiring of this primordial signaling module to adapt to specific requirements. Indeed, TOR is involved in plant responses to a vast array of signals including nutrients, hormones, light, stresses or pathogens. In this review, we will summarize recent studies that address the regulations of TOR by nutrients in photosynthetic organisms, and the roles of TOR in controlling important metabolic pathways, highlighting similarities and differences with the other eukaryotes.

RevDate: 2020-11-03

Lin W, Zhang W, Paterson GA, et al (2020)

Expanding magnetic organelle biogenesis in the domain Bacteria.

Microbiome, 8(1):152.

BACKGROUND: The discovery of membrane-enclosed, metabolically functional organelles in Bacteria has transformed our understanding of the subcellular complexity of prokaryotic cells. Biomineralization of magnetic nanoparticles within magnetosomes by magnetotactic bacteria (MTB) is a fascinating example of prokaryotic organelles. Magnetosomes, as nano-sized magnetic sensors in MTB, facilitate cell navigation along the local geomagnetic field, a behaviour referred to as magnetotaxis or microbial magnetoreception. Recent discovery of novel MTB outside the traditionally recognized taxonomic lineages suggests that MTB diversity across the domain Bacteria are considerably underestimated, which limits understanding of the taxonomic distribution and evolutionary origin of magnetosome organelle biogenesis.

RESULTS: Here, we perform the most comprehensive metagenomic analysis available of MTB communities and reconstruct metagenome-assembled MTB genomes from diverse ecosystems. Discovery of MTB in acidic peatland soils suggests widespread MTB occurrence in waterlogged soils in addition to subaqueous sediments and water bodies. A total of 168 MTB draft genomes have been reconstructed, which represent nearly a 3-fold increase over the number currently available and more than double the known MTB species at the genome level. Phylogenomic analysis reveals that these genomes belong to 13 Bacterial phyla, six of which were previously not known to include MTB. These findings indicate a much wider taxonomic distribution of magnetosome organelle biogenesis across the domain Bacteria than previously thought. Comparative genome analysis reveals a vast diversity of magnetosome gene clusters involved in magnetosomal biogenesis in terms of gene content and synteny residing in distinct taxonomic lineages. Phylogenetic analyses of core magnetosome proteins in this largest available and taxonomically diverse dataset support an unexpectedly early evolutionary origin of magnetosome biomineralization, likely ancestral to the origin of the domain Bacteria.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings expand the taxonomic and phylogenetic diversity of MTB across the domain Bacteria and shed new light on the origin and evolution of microbial magnetoreception. Potential biogenesis of the magnetosome organelle in the close descendants of the last bacterial common ancestor has important implications for our understanding of the evolutionary history of bacterial cellular complexity and emphasizes the biological significance of the magnetosome organelle. Video Abstract.

RevDate: 2020-11-14

Combarnous Y, TMD Nguyen (2020)

Cell Communications among Microorganisms, Plants, and Animals: Origin, Evolution, and Interplays.

International journal of molecular sciences, 21(21):.

Cellular communications play pivotal roles in multi-cellular species, but they do so also in uni-cellular species. Moreover, cells communicate with each other not only within the same individual, but also with cells in other individuals belonging to the same or other species. These communications occur between two unicellular species, two multicellular species, or between unicellular and multicellular species. The molecular mechanisms involved exhibit diversity and specificity, but they share common basic features, which allow common pathways of communication between different species, often phylogenetically very distant. These interactions are possible by the high degree of conservation of the basic molecular mechanisms of interaction of many ligand-receptor pairs in evolutionary remote species. These inter-species cellular communications played crucial roles during Evolution and must have been positively selected, particularly when collectively beneficial in hostile environments. It is likely that communications between cells did not arise after their emergence, but were part of the very nature of the first cells. Synchronization of populations of non-living protocells through chemical communications may have been a mandatory step towards their emergence as populations of living cells and explain the large commonality of cell communication mechanisms among microorganisms, plants, and animals.

RevDate: 2020-11-28

Kulkarni P (2020)

Intrinsically Disordered Proteins: Insights from Poincaré, Waddington, and Lamarck.

Biomolecules, 10(11):.

The past quarter-century may justly be referred to as a period analogous to the "Cambrian explosion" in the history of proteins. This period is marked by the appearance of the intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) on the scene since their discovery in the mid-1990s. Here, I first reflect on how we accidentally stumbled on these fascinating molecules. Next, I describe our research on the IDPs over the past decade and identify six areas as important for future research in this field. In addition, I draw on discoveries others in the field have made to present a more comprehensive essay. More specifically, I discuss the role of IDPs in two fundamental aspects of life: in phenotypic switching, and in multicellularity that marks one of the major evolutionary transitions. I highlight how serendipity, imagination, and an interdisciplinary approach embodying empirical evidence and theoretical insights from the works of Poincaré, Waddington, and Lamarck, shaped our thinking, and how this led us to propose the MRK hypothesis, a conceptual framework addressing phenotypic switching, the emergence of new traits, and adaptive evolution via nongenetic and IDP conformation-based mechanisms. Finally, I present a perspective on the evolutionary link between phenotypic switching and the origin of multicellularity.

RevDate: 2020-10-30

Gu X, Brennan A, Wei W, et al (2020)

Vesicle Transport in Plants: A Revised Phylogeny of SNARE Proteins.

Evolutionary bioinformatics online, 16:1176934320956575.

Communication systems within and between plant cells involve the transfer of ions and molecules between compartments, and are essential for development and responses to biotic and abiotic stresses. This in turn requires the regulated movement and fusion of membrane systems with their associated cargo. Recent advances in genomics has provided new resources with which to investigate the evolutionary relationships between membrane proteins across plant species. Members of the soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptors (SNAREs) are known to play important roles in vesicle trafficking across plant, animal and microbial species. Using recent public expression and transcriptomic data from 9 representative green plants, we investigated the evolution of the SNARE classes and linked protein changes to functional specialization (expression patterns). We identified an additional 3 putative SNARE genes in the model plant Arabidopsis. We found that all SNARE classes have expanded in number to a greater or lesser degree alongside the evolution of multicellularity, and that within-species expansions are also common. These gene expansions appear to be associated with the accumulation of amino acid changes and with sub-functionalization of SNARE family members to different tissues. These results provide an insight into SNARE protein evolution and functional specialization. The work provides a platform for hypothesis-building and future research into the precise functions of these proteins in plant development and responses to the environment.

RevDate: 2020-11-27

Véron E, Vernoux T, Y Coudert (2020)

Phyllotaxis from a Single Apical Cell.

Trends in plant science pii:S1360-1385(20)30292-2 [Epub ahead of print].

Phyllotaxis, the geometry of leaf arrangement around stems, determines plant architecture. Molecular interactions coordinating the formation of phyllotactic patterns have mainly been studied in multicellular shoot apical meristems of flowering plants. Phyllotaxis evolved independently in the major land plant lineages. In mosses, it arises from a single apical cell, raising the question of how asymmetric divisions of a single-celled meristem create phyllotactic patterns and whether associated genetic processes are shared across lineages. We present an overview of the mechanisms governing shoot apical cell specification and activity in the model moss, Physcomitrium patens, and argue that similar molecular regulatory modules have been deployed repeatedly across evolution to operate at different scales and drive apical function in convergent shoot forms.

RevDate: 2020-11-20

Soubigou A, Ross EG, Touhami Y, et al (2020)

Regeneration in the sponge Sycon ciliatum partly mimics postlarval development.

Development (Cambridge, England), 147(22): pii:dev.193714.

Somatic cells dissociated from an adult sponge can reorganize and develop into a juvenile-like sponge, a remarkable phenomenon of regeneration. However, the extent to which regeneration recapitulates embryonic developmental pathways has remained enigmatic. We have standardized and established a sponge Sycon ciliatum regeneration protocol from dissociated cells. Morphological analysis demonstrated that dissociated sponge cells follow a series of morphological events resembling postembryonic development. We performed high-throughput sequencing on regenerating samples and compared the data with that from regular postlarval development. Our comparative transcriptomic analysis revealed that sponge regeneration is as equally dynamic as embryogenesis. We found that sponge regeneration is orchestrated by recruiting pathways similar to those utilized in embryonic development. We also demonstrated that sponge regeneration is accompanied by cell death at early stages, revealing the importance of apoptosis in remodelling the primmorphs to initiate re-development. Because sponges are likely to be the first branch of extant multicellular animals, we suggest that this system can be explored to study the genetic features underlying the evolution of multicellularity and regeneration.

RevDate: 2020-10-27

Hammarlund EU, Flashman E, Mohlin S, et al (2020)

Oxygen-sensing mechanisms across eukaryotic kingdoms and their roles in complex multicellularity.

Science (New York, N.Y.), 370(6515):.

Oxygen-sensing mechanisms of eukaryotic multicellular organisms coordinate hypoxic cellular responses in a spatiotemporal manner. Although this capacity partly allows animals and plants to acutely adapt to oxygen deprivation, its functional and historical roots in hypoxia emphasize a broader evolutionary role. For multicellular life-forms that persist in settings with variable oxygen concentrations, the capacity to perceive and modulate responses in and between cells is pivotal. Animals and higher plants represent the most complex life-forms that ever diversified on Earth, and their oxygen-sensing mechanisms demonstrate convergent evolution from a functional perspective. Exploring oxygen-sensing mechanisms across eukaryotic kingdoms can inform us on biological innovations to harness ever-changing oxygen availability at the dawn of complex life and its utilization for their organismal development.

RevDate: 2020-10-20

Teulière J, Bernard G, E Bapteste (2020)

The Distribution of Genes Associated With Regulated Cell Death Is Decoupled From the Mitochondrial Phenotypes Within Unicellular Eukaryotic Hosts.

Frontiers in cell and developmental biology, 8:536389.

Genetically regulated cell death (RCD) occurs in all domains of life. In eukaryotes, the evolutionary origin of the mitochondrion and of certain forms of RCD, in particular apoptosis, are thought to coincide, suggesting a central general role for mitochondria in cellular suicide. We tested this mitochondrial centrality hypothesis across a dataset of 67 species of protists, presenting 5 classes of mitochondrial phenotypes, including functional mitochondria, metabolically diversified mitochondria, functionally reduced mitochondria (Mitochondrion Related Organelle or MRO) and even complete absence of mitochondria. We investigated the distribution of genes associated with various forms of RCD. No homologs for described mammalian regulators of regulated necrosis could be identified in our set of 67 unicellular taxa. Protists with MRO and the secondarily a mitochondriate Monocercomonoides exilis display heterogeneous reductions of apoptosis gene sets with respect to typical mitochondriate protists. Remarkably, despite the total lack of mitochondria in M. exilis, apoptosis-associated genes could still be identified. These same species of protists with MRO and M. exilis harbored non-reduced autophagic cell death gene sets. Moreover, transiently multicellular protist taxa appeared enriched in apoptotic and autophagy associated genes compared to free-living protists. This analysis suggests that genes associated with apoptosis in animals and the presence of the mitochondria are significant yet non-essential biological components for RCD in protists. More generally, our results support the hypothesis of a selection for RCD, including both apoptosis and autophagy, as a developmental mechanism linked to multicellularity.

RevDate: 2020-11-27

Palazzo AF, EV Koonin (2020)

Functional Long Non-coding RNAs Evolve from Junk Transcripts.

Cell, 183(5):1151-1161.

Transcriptome studies reveal pervasive transcription of complex genomes, such as those of mammals. Despite popular arguments for functionality of most, if not all, of these transcripts, genome-wide analysis of selective constraints indicates that most of the produced RNA are junk. However, junk is not garbage. On the contrary, junk transcripts provide the raw material for the evolution of diverse long non-coding (lnc) RNAs by non-adaptive mechanisms, such as constructive neutral evolution. The generation of many novel functional entities, such as lncRNAs, that fuels organismal complexity does not seem to be driven by strong positive selection. Rather, the weak selection regime that dominates the evolution of most multicellular eukaryotes provides ample material for functional innovation with relatively little adaptation involved.

RevDate: 2020-11-26
CmpDate: 2020-11-26

Liu XB, Xia EH, Li M, et al (2020)

Transcriptome data reveal conserved patterns of fruiting body development and response to heat stress in the mushroom-forming fungus Flammulina filiformis.

PloS one, 15(10):e0239890.

Mushroom-forming fungi are complex multicellular organisms that form the basis of a large industry, yet, our understanding of the mechanisms of mushroom development and its responses to various stresses remains limited. The winter mushroom (Flammulina filiformis) is cultivated at a large commercial scale in East Asia and is a species with a preference for low temperatures. This study investigated fruiting body development in F. filiformis by comparing transcriptomes of 4 developmental stages, and compared the developmental genes to a 200-genome dataset to identify conserved genes involved in fruiting body development, and examined the response of heat sensitive and -resistant strains to heat stress. Our data revealed widely conserved genes involved in primordium development of F. filiformis, many of which originated before the emergence of the Agaricomycetes, indicating co-option for complex multicellularity during evolution. We also revealed several notable fruiting-specific genes, including the genes with conserved stipe-specific expression patterns and the others which related to sexual development, water absorption, basidium formation and sporulation, among others. Comparative analysis revealed that heat stress induced more genes in the heat resistant strain (M1) than in the heat sensitive one (XR). Of particular importance are the hsp70, hsp90 and fes1 genes, which may facilitate the adjustment to heat stress in the early stages of fruiting body development. These data highlighted novel genes involved in complex multicellular development in fungi and aid further studies on gene function and efforts to improve the productivity and heat tolerance in mushroom-forming fungi.

RevDate: 2020-11-13

Colizzi ES, Vroomans RM, RM Merks (2020)

Evolution of multicellularity by collective integration of spatial information.

eLife, 9:.

At the origin of multicellularity, cells may have evolved aggregation in response to predation, for functional specialisation or to allow large-scale integration of environmental cues. These group-level properties emerged from the interactions between cells in a group, and determined the selection pressures experienced by these cells. We investigate the evolution of multicellularity with an evolutionary model where cells search for resources by chemotaxis in a shallow, noisy gradient. Cells can evolve their adhesion to others in a periodically changing environment, where a cell's fitness solely depends on its distance from the gradient source. We show that multicellular aggregates evolve because they perform chemotaxis more efficiently than single cells. Only when the environment changes too frequently, a unicellular state evolves which relies on cell dispersal. Both strategies prevent the invasion of the other through interference competition, creating evolutionary bi-stability. Therefore, collective behaviour can be an emergent selective driver for undifferentiated multicellularity.

RevDate: 2020-10-22

Arias Del Angel JA, Nanjundiah V, Benítez M, et al (2020)

Interplay of mesoscale physics and agent-like behaviors in the parallel evolution of aggregative multicellularity.

EvoDevo, 11:21.

Myxobacteria and dictyostelids are prokaryotic and eukaryotic multicellular lineages, respectively, that after nutrient depletion aggregate and develop into structures called fruiting bodies. The developmental processes and resulting morphological outcomes resemble one another to a remarkable extent despite their independent origins, the evolutionary distance between them and the lack of traceable homology in molecular mechanisms. We hypothesize that the morphological parallelism between the two lineages arises as the consequence of the interplay within multicellular aggregates between generic processes, physical and physicochemical processes operating similarly in living and non-living matter at the mesoscale (~10-3-10-1 m) and agent-like behaviors, unique to living systems and characteristic of the constituent cells, considered as autonomous entities acting according to internal rules in a shared environment. Here, we analyze the contributions of generic and agent-like determinants in myxobacteria and dictyostelid development and their roles in the generation of their common traits. Consequent to aggregation, collective cell-cell contacts mediate the emergence of liquid-like properties, making nascent multicellular masses subject to novel patterning and morphogenetic processes. In both lineages, this leads to behaviors such as streaming, rippling, and rounding-up, as seen in non-living fluids. Later the aggregates solidify, leading them to exhibit additional generic properties and motifs. Computational models suggest that the morphological phenotypes of the multicellular masses deviate from the predictions of generic physics due to the contribution of agent-like behaviors of cells such as directed migration, quiescence, and oscillatory signal transduction mediated by responses to external cues. These employ signaling mechanisms that reflect the evolutionary histories of the respective organisms. We propose that the similar developmental trajectories of myxobacteria and dictyostelids are more due to shared generic physical processes in coordination with analogous agent-type behaviors than to convergent evolution under parallel selection regimes. Insights from the biology of these aggregative forms may enable a unified understanding of developmental evolution, including that of animals and plants.

RevDate: 2020-10-27
CmpDate: 2020-10-27

Toda S, McKeithan WL, Hakkinen TJ, et al (2020)

Engineering synthetic morphogen systems that can program multicellular patterning.

Science (New York, N.Y.), 370(6514):327-331.

In metazoan tissues, cells decide their fates by sensing positional information provided by specialized morphogen proteins. To explore what features are sufficient for positional encoding, we asked whether arbitrary molecules (e.g., green fluorescent protein or mCherry) could be converted into synthetic morphogens. Synthetic morphogens expressed from a localized source formed a gradient when trapped by surface-anchoring proteins, and they could be sensed by synthetic receptors. Despite their simplicity, these morphogen systems yielded patterns reminiscent of those observed in vivo. Gradients could be reshaped by altering anchor density or by providing a source of competing inhibitor. Gradient interpretation could be altered by adding feedback loops or morphogen cascades to receiver cell response circuits. Orthogonal cell-cell communication systems provide insight into morphogen evolution and a platform for engineering tissues.

RevDate: 2020-10-28

Wright RJ, Clegg RJ, Coker TLR, et al (2020)

Damage Repair versus Aging in an Individual-Based Model of Biofilms.

mSystems, 5(5):.

The extent of senescence due to damage accumulation-or aging-is evidently evolvable as it differs hugely between species and is not universal, suggesting that its fitness advantages depend on life history and environment. In contrast, repair of damage is present in all organisms studied. Despite the fundamental trade-off between investing resources into repair or into growth, repair and segregation of damage have not always been considered alternatives. For unicellular organisms, unrepaired damage could be divided asymmetrically between daughter cells, leading to senescence of one and rejuvenation of the other. Repair of "unicells" has been predicted to be advantageous in well-mixed environments such as chemostats. Most microorganisms, however, live in spatially structured systems, such as biofilms, with gradients of environmental conditions and cellular physiology as well as a clonal population structure. To investigate whether this clonal structure might favor senescence by damage segregation (a division-of-labor strategy akin to the germline-soma division in multicellular organisms), we used an individual-based computational model and developed an adaptive repair strategy where cells respond to their current intracellular damage levels by investing into repair machinery accordingly. Our simulations showed that the new adaptive repair strategy was advantageous provided that growth was limited by substrate availability, which is typical for biofilms. Thus, biofilms do not favor a germline-soma-like division of labor between daughter cells in terms of damage segregation. We suggest that damage segregation is beneficial only when extrinsic mortality is high, a degree of multicellularity is present, and an active mechanism makes segregation effective.IMPORTANCE Damage is an inevitable consequence of life. For unicellular organisms, this leads to a trade-off between allocating resources into damage repair or into growth coupled with segregation of damage upon cell division, i.e., aging and senescence. Few studies considered repair as an alternative to senescence. None considered biofilms, where the majority of unicellular organisms live, although fitness advantages in well-mixed systems often turn into disadvantages in spatially structured systems such as biofilms. We compared the fitness consequences of aging versus an adaptive repair mechanism based on sensing damage, using an individual-based model of a generic unicellular organism growing in biofilms. We found that senescence is not beneficial provided that growth is limited by substrate availability. Instead, it is useful as a stress response to deal with damage that failed to be repaired when (i) extrinsic mortality was high; (ii) a degree of multicellularity was present; and (iii) damage segregation was effective.

RevDate: 2020-11-10

Essen LO, Vogt MS, HU Mösch (2020)

Diversity of GPI-anchored fungal adhesins.

Biological chemistry, 401(12):1389-1405.

Selective adhesion of fungal cells to one another and to foreign surfaces is fundamental for the development of multicellular growth forms and the successful colonization of substrates and host organisms. Accordingly, fungi possess diverse cell wall-associated adhesins, mostly large glycoproteins, which present N-terminal adhesion domains at the cell surface for ligand recognition and binding. In order to function as robust adhesins, these glycoproteins must be covalently linkedto the cell wall via C-terminal glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchors by transglycosylation. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge on the structural and functional diversity of so far characterized protein families of adhesion domains and set it into a broad context by an in-depth bioinformatics analysis using sequence similarity networks. In addition, we discuss possible mechanisms for the membrane-to-cell wall transfer of fungal adhesins by membrane-anchored Dfg5 transglycosidases.

RevDate: 2020-10-19

Gao JG (2020)

Tracking the evolutionary innovations of plant terrestrialization.

Gene pii:S0378-1119(20)30872-6 [Epub ahead of print].

The gradual transition of the algal ancestor from the freshwater to land has always attracted evolutionary biologists. The recent report of high-quality reference genomes of five Charophyta algae (Spirogloea muscicola, Mesotaenium endlicherianum, Mesostigma viride, Chlorokybus atmophyticus and Penium margaritaceum) and one hornwort (Anthoceros angustus) species sheds light on this fascinating transition. These early diverging plants and algae could have gained new genes from soil bacteria and fungi through horizontal gene transfer (HGT), which was so common during plant terrestrialization and may outrun our expectations. Through reviewing and critical thinking about the advancements on these plant genomes, here, I propose three prospective research directions that need to address in the future: (i) due to the ubiquitous nature of viruses that is similar to soil bacteria and fungi, there is less attention to viruses that probably also play an important role in the genome evolution of plants via HGT; (ii) multicellularity has occurred many times independently, but we still know a little about the biological and ecological mechanisms leading to multi-cellularity in Streptophyta; (iii) and most importantly, the quantitative relationships between genetic innovations and environmental variables such as temperature, precipitation and solar radiation, need pioneering research collaborated by biological evolutionists, computer scientists, and ecologists, which are crucial for understanding the macroevolution of plants and could also be used to simulate the evolution of plants under future climate change.

RevDate: 2020-10-10

Jiang L, Lu Y, Zheng L, et al (2020)

The algal selenoproteomes.

BMC genomics, 21(1):699.

BACKGROUND: Selenium is an essential trace element, and selenocysteine (Sec, U) is its predominant form in vivo. Proteins that contain Sec are selenoproteins, whose special structural features include not only the TGA codon encoding Sec but also the SECIS element in mRNA and the conservation of the Sec-flanking region. These unique features have led to the development of a series of bioinformatics methods to predict and research selenoprotein genes. There have been some studies and reports on the evolution and distribution of selenoprotein genes in prokaryotes and multicellular eukaryotes, but the systematic analysis of single-cell eukaryotes, especially algae, has been very limited.

RESULTS: In this study, we predicted selenoprotein genes in 137 species of algae by using a program we previously developed. More than 1000 selenoprotein genes were obtained. A database website was built to record these algae selenoprotein genes (www.selenoprotein.com). These genes belong to 42 selenoprotein families, including three novel selenoprotein gene families.

CONCLUSIONS: This study reveals the primordial state of the eukaryotic selenoproteome. It is an important clue to explore the significance of selenium for primordial eukaryotes and to determine the complete evolutionary spectrum of selenoproteins in all life forms.

RevDate: 2020-10-07

Ibrahim-Hashim A, Luddy K, Abrahams D, et al (2020)

Artificial selection for host resistance to tumour growth and subsequent cancer cell adaptations: an evolutionary arms race.

British journal of cancer pii:10.1038/s41416-020-01110-1 [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: Cancer progression is governed by evolutionary dynamics in both the tumour population and its host. Since cancers die with the host, each new population of cancer cells must reinvent strategies to overcome the host's heritable defences. In contrast, host species evolve defence strategies over generations if tumour development limits procreation.

METHODS: We investigate this "evolutionary arms race" through intentional breeding of immunodeficient SCID and immunocompetent Black/6 mice to evolve increased tumour suppression. Over 10 generations, we injected Lewis lung mouse carcinoma cells [LL/2-Luc-M38] and selectively bred the two individuals with the slowest tumour growth at day 11. Their male progeny were hosts in the subsequent round.

RESULTS: The evolved SCID mice suppressed tumour growth through biomechanical restriction from increased mesenchymal proliferation, and the evolved Black/6 mice suppressed tumour growth by increasing immune-mediated killing of cancer cells. However, transcriptomic changes of multicellular tissue organisation and function genes allowed LL/2-Luc-M38 cells to adapt through increased matrix remodelling in SCID mice, and reduced angiogenesis, increased energy utilisation and accelerated proliferation in Black/6 mice.

CONCLUSION: Host species can rapidly evolve both immunologic and non-immunologic tumour defences. However, cancer cell plasticity allows effective phenotypic and population-based counter strategies.

RevDate: 2020-10-06

Chambers J, Sparks N, Sydney N, et al (2020)

Comparative genomics and pan-genomics of the Myxococcaceae, including a description of five novel species: Myxococcus eversor sp. nov., Myxococcus llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogochensis sp. nov., Myxococcus vastator sp. nov., Pyxidicoccus caerfyrddinensis sp. nov. and Pyxidicoccus trucidator sp. nov.

Genome biology and evolution pii:5918458 [Epub ahead of print].

Members of the predatory Myxococcales (myxobacteria) possess large genomes, undergo multicellular development and produce diverse secondary metabolites, which are being actively prospected for novel drug discovery. To direct such efforts, it is important to understand the relationships between myxobacterial ecology, evolution, taxonomy and genomic variation. This study investigated the genomes and pan-genomes of organisms within the Myxococcaceae, including the genera Myxococcus and Corallococcus, the most abundant myxobacteria isolated from soils. Previously, ten species of Corallococcus were known, while six species of Myxococcus phylogenetically surrounded a third genus (Pyxidicoccus) composed of a single species. Here, we describe draft genome sequences of five novel species within the Myxococcaceae (Myxococcus eversor, Myxococcus llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogochensis, Myxococcus vastator, Pyxidicoccus caerfyrddinensis and Pyxidicoccus trucidator), and for the Pyxidicoccus type species strain, Pyxidicoccus fallax DSM 14698T. Genomic and physiological comparisons demonstrated clear differences between the five novel species and every other Myxococcus or Pyxidicoccus spp. type strain. Subsequent analyses of type strain genomes showed that both the Corallococcus pan-genome and the combined Myxococcus and Pyxidicoccus (Myxococcus/Pyxidicoccus) pan-genome are large and open, but with clear differences. Genomes of Corallococcus spp. are generally smaller than those of Myxococcus/Pyxidicoccus spp., but have core genomes three times larger. Myxococcus/Pyxidicoccus spp. genomes are more variable in size, with larger and more unique sets of accessory genes than those of Corallococcus species. In both genera, biosynthetic gene clusters are relatively enriched in the shell pan-genomes, implying they grant a greater evolutionary benefit than other shell genes, presumably by conferring selective advantages during predation.

RevDate: 2020-10-20

Rochman ND, Wolf YI, EV Koonin (2020)

Deep phylogeny of cancer drivers and compensatory mutations.

Communications biology, 3(1):551.

Driver mutations (DM) are the genetic impetus for most cancers. The DM are assumed to be deleterious in species evolution, being eliminated by purifying selection unless compensated by other mutations. We present deep phylogenies for 84 cancer driver genes and investigate the prevalence of 434 DM across gene-species trees. The DM are rare in species evolution, and 181 are completely absent, validating their negative fitness effect. The DM are more common in unicellular than in multicellular eukaryotes, suggesting a link between these mutations and cell proliferation control. 18 DM appear as the ancestral state in one or more major clades, including 3 among mammals. We identify within-gene, compensatory mutations for 98 DM and infer likely interactions between the DM and compensatory sites in protein structures. These findings elucidate the evolutionary status of DM and are expected to advance the understanding of the functions and evolution of oncogenes and tumor suppressors.

RevDate: 2020-10-02

Michalakis Y, S Blanc (2020)

The Curious Strategy of Multipartite Viruses.

Annual review of virology, 7(1):203-218.

Multipartite virus genomes are composed of several segments, each packaged in a distinct viral particle. Although this puzzling genome architecture is found in ∼17% of known viral species, its distribution among hosts or among distinct types of genome-composing nucleic acid remains poorly understood. No convincing advantage of multipartitism has been identified, yet the maintenance of genomic integrity appears problematic. Here we review recent studies shedding light on these issues. Multipartite viruses rapidly modify the copy number of each segment/gene from one host species to another, a putative benefit if host switches are common. One multipartite virus functions in a multicellular way: The segments do not all need to be present in the same cell and can functionally complement across cells, maintaining genome integrity within hosts. The genomic integrity maintenance during host-to-host transmission needs further elucidation. These features challenge several virology foundations and could apply to other multicomponent viral systems.

RevDate: 2020-10-10

Liu P, Liu Y, Zhao X, et al (2020)

Diverse phylogeny and morphology of magnetite biomineralized by magnetotactic cocci.

Environmental microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

Magnetotactic bacteria (MTB) are diverse prokaryotes that produce magnetic nanocrystals within intracellular membranes (magnetosomes). Here, we present a large-scale analysis of diversity and magnetosome biomineralization in modern magnetotactic cocci, which are the most abundant MTB morphotypes in nature. Nineteen novel magnetotactic cocci species are identified phylogenetically and structurally at the single-cell level. Phylogenetic analysis demonstrates that the cocci cluster into an independent branch from other Alphaproteobacteria MTB, that is, within the Etaproteobacteria class in the Proteobacteria phylum. Statistical analysis reveals species-specific biomineralization of magnetosomal magnetite morphologies. This further confirms that magnetosome biomineralization is controlled strictly by the MTB cell and differs among species or strains. The post-mortem remains of MTB are often preserved as magnetofossils within sediments or sedimentary rocks, yet paleobiological and geological interpretation of their fossil record remains challenging. Our results indicate that magnetofossil morphology could be a promising proxy for retrieving paleobiological information about ancient MTB.

RevDate: 2020-10-01

Yamagata M (2020)

Structure and Functions of Sidekicks.

Frontiers in molecular neuroscience, 13:139.

Many of the immunoglobulin superfamily (IgSF) molecules play pivotal roles in cell communication. The Sidekick (Sdk) gene, first described in Drosophila, encodes the single-pass transmembrane protein, Sdk, which is one of the largest among IgSF membrane proteins. Sdk first appeared in multicellular animals during the Precambrian age and later evolved to Sdk1 and Sdk2 in vertebrates by gene duplication. In flies, a single Sdk is involved in positioning photoreceptor neurons and their axons in the visual system and is responsible for dynamically rearranging cell shapes by strictly populating tricellular adherens junctions in epithelia. In vertebrates, Sdk1 and Sdk2 are expressed by unique sets of cell types and distinctively participate in the formation and/or maintenance of neural circuits in the retina, indicating that they are determinants of synaptic specificity. These functions are mediated by specific homophilic binding of their ectodomains and by intracellular association with PDZ scaffold proteins. Recent human genetic studies as well as animal experiments implicate that Sdk genes may influence various neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders, such as autism spectrum disorders, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, addiction, and depression. The gigantic Sdk1 gene is susceptible to erratic gene rearrangements or mutations in both somatic and germ-line cells, potentially contributing to neurological disorders and some types of cancers. This review summarizes what is known about the structure and roles of Sdks.

RevDate: 2020-09-25

Pande S, Pérez Escriva P, Yu YN, et al (2020)

Cooperation and Cheating among Germinating Spores.

Current biology : CB pii:S0960-9822(20)31281-1 [Epub ahead of print].

Many microbes produce stress-resistant spores to survive unfavorable conditions [1-4] and enhance dispersal [1, 5]. Cooperative behavior is integral to the process of spore formation in some species [3, 6], but the degree to which germination of spore populations involves social interactions remains little explored. Myxococcus xanthus is a predatory soil bacterium that upon starvation forms spore-filled multicellular fruiting bodies that often harbor substantial diversity of endemic origin [7, 8]. Here we demonstrate that germination of M. xanthus spores formed during fruiting-body development is a social process involving at least two functionally distinct social molecules. Using pairs of natural isolates each derived from a single fruiting body that emerged on soil, we first show that spore germination exhibits positive density dependence due to a secreted "public-good" germination factor. Further, we find that a germination defect of one strain under saline stress in pure culture is complemented by addition of another strain that germinates well in saline environments and mediates cheating by the defective strain. Glycine betaine, an osmo-protectant utilized in all domains of life, is found to mediate saline-specific density dependence and cheating. Density dependence in non-saline conditions is mediated by a distinct factor, revealing socially complex spore germination involving multiple social molecules.

RevDate: 2020-09-26

Petre B (2020)

Toward the Discovery of Host-Defense Peptides in Plants.

Frontiers in immunology, 11:1825.

Defense peptides protect multicellular eukaryotes from infections. In biomedical sciences, a dominant conceptual framework refers to defense peptides as host-defense peptides (HDPs), which are bifunctional peptides with both direct antimicrobial and immunomodulatory activities. No HDP has been reported in plants so far, and the very concept of HDP has not been captured yet by the plant science community. Plant science thus lacks the conceptual framework that would coordinate research efforts aimed at discovering plant HDPs. In this perspective article, I used bibliometric and literature survey approaches to raise awareness about the HDP concept among plant scientists, and to encourage research efforts aimed at discovering plant HDPs. Such discovery would enrich our comprehension of the function and evolution of the plant immune system, and provide us with novel molecular tools to develop innovative strategies to control crop diseases.

RevDate: 2020-09-28

Gatenby RA, Avdieiev S, Tsai KY, et al (2020)

Integrating genetic and nongenetic drivers of somatic evolution during carcinogenesis: The biplane model.

Evolutionary applications, 13(7):1651-1659.

The multistep transition from a normal to a malignant cellular phenotype is often termed "somatic evolution" caused by accumulating random mutations. Here, we propose an alternative model in which the initial genetic state of a cancer cell is the result of mutations that occurred throughout the lifetime of the host. However, these mutations are not carcinogenic because normal cells in multicellular organism cannot ordinarily evolve. That is, proliferation and death of normal cells are controlled by local tissue constraints typically governed by nongenomic information dynamics in the cell membrane. As a result, the cells of a multicellular organism have a fitness that is identical to the host, which is then the unit of natural selection. Somatic evolution of a cell can occur only when its fate becomes independent of host constraints. Now, survival, proliferation, and death of individual cells are dependent on Darwinian dynamics. This cellular transition from host-defined fitness to self-defined fitness may, consistent with the conventional view of carcinogenesis, result from mutations that render the cell insensitive to host controls. However, an identical state will result when surrounding tissue cannot exert control because of injury, inflammation, aging, or infection. Here, all surviving cells within the site of tissue damage default to self-defined fitness functions allowing them to evolve so that the mutations accumulated over the lifetime of the host now serve as the genetic heritage of an evolutionary unit of selection. Furthermore, tissue injury generates a new ecology cytokines and growth factors that might promote proliferation in cells with prior receptor mutations. This model integrates genetic and nongenetic dynamics into cancer development and is consistent with both clinical observations and prior experiments that divided carcinogenesis to initiation, promotion, and progression steps.

RevDate: 2020-11-13

Yanni D, Jacobeen S, Márquez-Zacarías P, et al (2020)

Topological constraints in early multicellularity favor reproductive division of labor.

eLife, 9:.

Reproductive division of labor (e.g. germ-soma specialization) is a hallmark of the evolution of multicellularity, signifying the emergence of a new type of individual and facilitating the evolution of increased organismal complexity. A large body of work from evolutionary biology, economics, and ecology has shown that specialization is beneficial when further division of labor produces an accelerating increase in absolute productivity (i.e. productivity is a convex function of specialization). Here we show that reproductive specialization is qualitatively different from classical models of resource sharing, and can evolve even when the benefits of specialization are saturating (i.e. productivity is a concave function of specialization). Through analytical theory and evolutionary individual-based simulations, we demonstrate that reproductive specialization is strongly favored in sparse networks of cellular interactions that reflect the morphology of early, simple multicellular organisms, highlighting the importance of restricted social interactions in the evolution of reproductive specialization.

RevDate: 2020-10-02
CmpDate: 2020-09-30

Kinsella CM, Bart A, Deijs M, et al (2020)

Entamoeba and Giardia parasites implicated as hosts of CRESS viruses.

Nature communications, 11(1):4620.

Metagenomic techniques have enabled genome sequencing of unknown viruses without isolation in cell culture, but information on the virus host is often lacking, preventing viral characterisation. High-throughput methods capable of identifying virus hosts based on genomic data alone would aid evaluation of their medical or biological relevance. Here, we address this by linking metagenomic discovery of three virus families in human stool samples with determination of probable hosts. Recombination between viruses provides evidence of a shared host, in which genetic exchange occurs. We utilise networks of viral recombination to delimit virus-host clusters, which are then anchored to specific hosts using (1) statistical association to a host organism in clinical samples, (2) endogenous viral elements in host genomes, and (3) evidence of host small RNA responses to these elements. This analysis suggests two CRESS virus families (Naryaviridae and Nenyaviridae) infect Entamoeba parasites, while a third (Vilyaviridae) infects Giardia duodenalis. The trio supplements five CRESS virus families already known to infect eukaryotes, extending the CRESS virus host range to protozoa. Phylogenetic analysis implies CRESS viruses infecting multicellular life have evolved independently on at least three occasions.

RevDate: 2020-09-28

Cai Y, Huang J, Xu H, et al (2020)

Synthesis, characterization and application of magnetoferritin nanoparticle by using human H chain ferritin expressed by Pichia pastoris.

Nanotechnology, 31(48):485709.

Protein-based nanoparticles have developed rapidly in areas such as drug delivery, biomedical imaging and biocatalysis. Ferritin possesses unique properties that make it attractive as a potential platform for a variety of nanobiotechnological applications. Here we synthesized magnetoferritin (P-MHFn) nanoparticles for the first time by using the human H chain of ferritin that was expressed by Pichia pastoris (P-HFn). Western blot results showed that recombinant P-HFn was successfully expressed after methanol induction. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) showed the spherical cage-like shape and monodispersion of P-HFn. The synthesized magnetoferritin (P-MHFn) retained the properties of magnetoferritin nanoparticles synthesized using HFn expressed by E. coli (E-MHFn): superparamagnetism under ambient conditions and peroxidase-like activity. It is stable under a wider range of pH values (from 5.0 to 11.0), likely due to post-translational modifications such as N-glycosylation on P-HFn. In vivo near-infrared fluorescence imaging experiments revealed that P-MHFn nanoparticles can accumulate in tumors, which suggests that P-MHFn could be used in tumor imaging and therapy. An acute toxicity study of P-MHFn in Sprague Dawley rats showed no abnormalities at a dose up to 20 mg Fe Kg-1 body weight. Therefore, this study shed light on the development of magnetoferritin nanoparticles using therapeutic HFn expressed by Pichia pastoris for biomedical applications.

RevDate: 2020-09-15

Salas-Vidal E, Méndez-Cruz FJ, Ramírez-Corona A, et al (2020)

Oxygen, reactive oxygen species and developmental redox networks: Evo-Devo Evil-Devils?.

The International journal of developmental biology pii:200170es [Epub ahead of print].

Molecular oxygen (O2), reactive oxygen species (ROS), and associated redox networks are cornerstones of aerobic life, these molecules and networks have gained recognition as fundamental players in mechanisms that regulate the development of multicellular organisms. First, we present a brief review in which we provide a historical description of some relevant discoveries that led to this recognition. We also discuss that despite its abundance in nature, oxygen is a limiting factor, and its high availability variation impacted the evolution of adaptive mechanisms to guarantee the proper development of diverse species under such extreme environments. Finally, some examples when oxygen and ROS were identified as relevant for the control of developmental processes are discussed. We take into account not only the current knowledge on animal redox developmental biology, but also briefly discuss potential scenarios on the origin and evolution of redox developmental mechanisms and the importance of the ever-changing environment.

RevDate: 2020-11-16

Cui Y, Zhao H, Wu S, et al (2020)

Human Female Reproductive System Organoids: Applications in Developmental Biology, Disease Modelling, and Drug Discovery.

Stem cell reviews and reports, 16(6):1173-1184.

Organoid technique has achieved significant progress in recent years, owing to the rapid development of the three-dimensional (3D) culture techniques in adult stem cells (ASCs) and pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) that are capable of self-renewal and induced differentiation. However, our understanding of human female reproductive system organoids is in its infancy. Recently, scientists have established self-organizing 3D organoids for human endometrium, fallopian tubes, oocyte, and trophoblasts by culturing stem cells with a cocktail of cytokines in a 3D scaffold. These organoids express multicellular biomarkers and show functional characteristics similar to those of their origin organs, which provide potential avenues to explore reproductive system development, disease modelling, and patient-specific therapy. Nevertheless, advanced culture methods, such as co-culture system, 3D bioprinting and organoid-on-a-chip technology, remain to be explored, and more efforts should be made for further elucidation of cell-cell crosstalk. This review describes the development and applications of human female reproductive system organoids. Graphical abstract Figure: Applications in developmental biology, disease modelling, and drug discovery of human female reproductive system organoids. ASCs: adult stem cells; PSCs: pluripotent stem cells.

RevDate: 2020-11-19

Mowday AM, Copp JN, Syddall SP, et al (2020)

E. coli nitroreductase NfsA is a reporter gene for non-invasive PET imaging in cancer gene therapy applications.

Theranostics, 10(23):10548-10562.

The use of reporter genes to non-invasively image molecular processes inside cells has significant translational potential, particularly in the context of systemically administered gene therapy vectors and adoptively administered cells such as immune or stem cell based therapies. Bacterial nitroreductase enzymes possess ideal properties for reporter gene imaging applications, being of non-human origin and possessing the ability to metabolize a range of clinically relevant nitro(hetero)cyclic substrates. Methods: A library of eleven Escherichia coli nitroreductase candidates were screened for the ability to efficiently metabolize 2-nitroimidazole based positron emission tomography (PET) probes originally developed as radiotracers for hypoxic cell imaging. Several complementary methods were utilized to detect formation of cell-entrapped metabolites, including various in vitro and in vivo models to establish the capacity of the 2-nitroimidazole PET agent EF5 to quantify expression of a nitroreductase candidate. Proof-of-principle PET imaging studies were successfully conducted using 18F-HX4. Results: Recombinant enzyme kinetics, bacterial SOS reporter assays, anti-proliferative assays and flow cytometry approaches collectively identified the major oxygen-insensitive nitroreductase NfsA from E. coli (NfsA_Ec) as the most promising nitroreductase reporter gene. Cells expressing NfsA_Ec were demonstrably labelled with the imaging agent EF5 in a manner that was quantitatively superior to hypoxia, in monolayers (2D), multicellular layers (3D), and in human tumor xenograft models. EF5 retention correlated with NfsA_Ec positive cell density over a range of EF5 concentrations in 3D in vitro models and in xenografts in vivo and was predictive of in vivo anti-tumor activity of the cytotoxic prodrug PR-104. Following PET imaging with 18F-HX4, a significantly higher tumor-to-blood ratio was observed in two xenograft models for NfsA_Ec expressing tumors compared to the parental tumors thereof, providing verification of this reporter gene imaging approach. Conclusion: This study establishes that the bacterial nitroreductase NfsA_Ec can be utilized as an imaging capable reporter gene, with the ability to metabolize and trap 2-nitroimidazole PET imaging agents for non-invasive imaging of gene expression.

RevDate: 2020-09-15

Cohen IR, A Marron (2020)

The evolution of universal adaptations of life is driven by universal properties of matter: energy, entropy, and interaction.

F1000Research, 9:626.

The evolution of multicellular eukaryotes expresses two sorts of adaptations: local adaptations like fur or feathers, which characterize species in particular environments, and universal adaptations like microbiomes or sexual reproduction, which characterize most multicellulars in any environment. We reason that the mechanisms driving the universal adaptations of multicellulars should themselves be universal, and propose a mechanism based on properties of matter and systems: energy, entropy, and interaction. Energy from the sun, earth and beyond creates new arrangements and interactions. Metabolic networks channel some of this energy to form cooperating, interactive arrangements. Entropy, used here as a term for all forces that dismantle ordered structures (rather than as a physical quantity), acts as a selective force. Entropy selects for arrangements that resist it long enough to replicate, and dismantles those that do not. Interactions, energy-charged and dynamic, restrain entropy and enable survival and propagation of integrated living systems. This fosters survival-of-the-fitted - those entities that resist entropic destruction - and not only of the fittest - the entities with the greatest reproductive success. The "unit" of evolution is not a discrete entity, such as a gene, individual, or species; what evolves are collections of related interactions at multiple scales. Survival-of-the-fitted explains universal adaptations, including resident microbiomes, sexual reproduction, continuous diversification, programmed turnover, seemingly wasteful phenotypes, altruism, co-evolving environmental niches, and advancing complexity. Indeed survival-of-the-fittest may be a particular case of the survival-of-the-fitted mechanism, promoting local adaptations that express reproductive advantages in addition to resisting entropy. Survival-of-the-fitted accounts for phenomena that have been attributed to neutral evolution: in the face of entropy, there is no neutrality; all variations are challenged by ubiquitous energy and entropy, retaining those that are "fit enough". We propose experiments to test predictions of the survival-of-the-fitted theory, and discuss implications for the wellbeing of humans and the biosphere.

RevDate: 2020-10-29

Simões R, Rodrigues A, Ferreira-Dias S, et al (2020)

Chemical Composition of Cuticular Waxes and Pigments and Morphology of Leaves of Quercus suber Trees of Different Provenance.

Plants (Basel, Switzerland), 9(9):.

The chemical composition of cuticular waxes and pigments and the morphological features of cork oak (Quercus suber) leaves were determined for six samples with seeds of different geographical origins covering the natural distribution of the species. The leaves of all samples exhibited a hard texture and oval shape with a dark green colour on the hairless adaxial surface, while the abaxial surface was lighter, with numerous stomata and densely covered with trichomes in the form of stellate multicellular hairs. The results suggest an adaptive role of leaf features among samples of different provenance and the potential role of such variability in dealing with varying temperatures and rainfall regimes through local adaptation and phenotypic plasticity, as was seen in the trial site, since no significant differences in leaf traits among the various specimens were found, for example, specific leaf area 55.6-67.8 cm2/g, leaf size 4.6-6.8 cm2 and photosynthetic pigment (total chlorophyll, 31.8-40.4 µg/cm2). The leaves showed a substantial cuticular wax layer (154.3-235.1 µg/cm2) composed predominantly of triterpenes and aliphatic compounds (61-72% and 17-23% of the identified compounds, respectively) that contributed to forming a nearly impermeable membrane that helps the plant cope with drought conditions. These characteristics are related to the species and did not differ among trees of different seed origin. The major identified compound was lupeol, indicating that cork oak leaves may be considered as a potential source of this bioactive compound.

RevDate: 2020-11-23

Gao M, Mackley IGP, Mesbahi-Vasey S, et al (2020)

Structural characterization and computational analysis of PDZ domains in Monosiga brevicollis.

Protein science : a publication of the Protein Society, 29(11):2226-2244.

Identification of the molecular networks that facilitated the evolution of multicellular animals from their unicellular ancestors is a fundamental problem in evolutionary cellular biology. Choanoflagellates are recognized as the closest extant nonmetazoan ancestors to animals. These unicellular eukaryotes can adopt a multicellular-like "rosette" state. Therefore, they are compelling models for the study of early multicellularity. Comparative studies revealed that a number of putative human orthologs are present in choanoflagellate genomes, suggesting that a subset of these genes were necessary for the emergence of multicellularity. However, previous work is largely based on sequence alignments alone, which does not confirm structural nor functional similarity. Here, we focus on the PDZ domain, a peptide-binding domain which plays critical roles in myriad cellular signaling networks and which underwent a gene family expansion in metazoan lineages. Using a customized sequence similarity search algorithm, we identified 178 PDZ domains in the Monosiga brevicollis proteome. This includes 11 previously unidentified sequences, which we analyzed using Rosetta and homology modeling. To assess conservation of protein structure, we solved high-resolution crystal structures of representative M. brevicollis PDZ domains that are homologous to human Dlg1 PDZ2, Dlg1 PDZ3, GIPC, and SHANK1 PDZ domains. To assess functional conservation, we calculated binding affinities for mbGIPC, mbSHANK1, mbSNX27, and mbDLG-3 PDZ domains from M. brevicollis. Overall, we find that peptide selectivity is generally conserved between these two disparate organisms, with one possible exception, mbDLG-3. Overall, our results provide novel insight into signaling pathways in a choanoflagellate model of primitive multicellularity.

RevDate: 2020-09-28

Han YL, Pegoraro AF, Li H, et al (2020)

Cell swelling, softening and invasion in a three-dimensional breast cancer model.

Nature physics, 16(1):101-108.

Sculpting of structure and function of three-dimensional multicellular tissues depend critically on the spatial and temporal coordination of cellular physical properties, yet the organizational principles that govern these events, and their disruption in disease, remain poorly understood. Using a multicellular mammary cancer organoid model, here we map in three dimensions the spatial and temporal evolution of positions, motions, and physical characteristics of individual cells. Compared with cells in the organoid core, cells at the organoid periphery and the invasive front are found to be systematically softer, larger and more dynamic. These mechanical changes are shown to arise from supracellular fluid flow through gap junctions, suppression of which delays transition to an invasive phenotype. Together, these findings highlight the role of spatiotemporal coordination of cellular physical properties in tissue organization and disease progression.

RevDate: 2020-10-01
CmpDate: 2020-09-21

Fukushima K, DD Pollock (2020)

Amalgamated cross-species transcriptomes reveal organ-specific propensity in gene expression evolution.

Nature communications, 11(1):4459.

The origins of multicellular physiology are tied to evolution of gene expression. Genes can shift expression as organisms evolve, but how ancestral expression influences altered descendant expression is not well understood. To examine this, we amalgamate 1,903 RNA-seq datasets from 182 research projects, including 6 organs in 21 vertebrate species. Quality control eliminates project-specific biases, and expression shifts are reconstructed using gene-family-wise phylogenetic Ornstein-Uhlenbeck models. Expression shifts following gene duplication result in more drastic changes in expression properties than shifts without gene duplication. The expression properties are tightly coupled with protein evolutionary rate, depending on whether and how gene duplication occurred. Fluxes in expression patterns among organs are nonrandom, forming modular connections that are reshaped by gene duplication. Thus, if expression shifts, ancestral expression in some organs induces a strong propensity for expression in particular organs in descendants. Regardless of whether the shifts are adaptive or not, this supports a major role for what might be termed preadaptive pathways of gene expression evolution.

RevDate: 2020-11-30

Sidorova A, Tverdislov V, Levashova N, et al (2020)

A model of autowave self-organization as a hierarchy of active media in the biological evolution.

Bio Systems, 198:104234.

Within the framework of the active media concept, we develop a biophysical model of autowave self-organization which is treated as a hierarchy of active media in the evolution of the biosphere. We also propose a mathematical model of the autowave process of speciation in a flow of mutations for the three main taxonometric groups (prokaryotes, unicellular and multicellular eukaryotes) with a naturally determined lower boundary of living matter (the appearance of prokaryotes) and an open upper boundary for the formation of new species. It is shown that the fluctuation-bifurcation description of the evolution for the formation of new taxonometric groups as a trajectory of transformation of small fluctuations into giant ones adequately reflects the process of self-organization during the formation of taxa. The major concepts of biological evolution, conditions of hierarchy formation as a fundamental manifestation of self-organization and complexity in the evolution of biological systems are considered.

RevDate: 2020-11-04

Pentz JT, Márquez-Zacarías P, Bozdag GO, et al (2020)

Ecological Advantages and Evolutionary Limitations of Aggregative Multicellular Development.

Current biology : CB, 30(21):4155-4164.e6.

All multicellular organisms develop through one of two basic routes: they either aggregate from free-living cells, creating potentially chimeric multicellular collectives, or they develop clonally via mother-daughter cellular adhesion. Although evolutionary theory makes clear predictions about trade-offs between these developmental modes, these have never been experimentally tested in otherwise genetically identical organisms. We engineered unicellular baker's yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) to develop either clonally ("snowflake"; Δace2) or aggregatively ("floc"; GAL1p::FLO1) and examined their fitness in a fluctuating environment characterized by periods of growth and selection for rapid sedimentation. When cultured independently, aggregation was far superior to clonal development, providing a 35% advantage during growth and a 2.5-fold advantage during settling selection. Yet when competed directly, clonally developing snowflake yeast rapidly displaced aggregative floc. This was due to unexpected social exploitation: snowflake yeast, which do not produce adhesive FLO1, nonetheless become incorporated into flocs at a higher frequency than floc cells themselves. Populations of chimeric clusters settle much faster than floc alone, providing snowflake yeast with a fitness advantage during competition. Mathematical modeling suggests that such developmental cheating may be difficult to circumvent; hypothetical "choosy floc" that avoid exploitation by maintaining clonality pay an ecological cost when rare, often leading to their extinction. Our results highlight the conflict at the heart of aggregative development: non-specific cellular binding provides a strong ecological advantage-the ability to quickly form groups-but this very feature leads to its exploitation.

RevDate: 2020-09-15

Ruiz-Arrebola S, Tornero-López AM, Guirado D, et al (2020)

An on-lattice agent-based Monte Carlo model simulating the growth kinetics of multicellular tumor spheroids.

Physica medica : PM : an international journal devoted to the applications of physics to medicine and biology : official journal of the Italian Association of Biomedical Physics (AIFB), 77:194-203.

PURPOSE: To develop an on-lattice agent-based model describing the growth of multicellular tumor spheroids using simple Monte Carlo tools.

METHODS: Cells are situated on the vertices of a cubic grid. Different cell states (proliferative, hypoxic or dead) and cell evolution rules, driven by 10 parameters, and the effects of the culture medium are included. About twenty spheroids of MCF-7 human breast cancer were cultivated and the experimental data were used for tuning the model parameters.

RESULTS: Simulated spheroids showed adequate sizes of the necrotic nuclei and of the hypoxic and proliferative cell phases as a function of the growth time, mimicking the overall characteristics of the experimental spheroids. The relation between the radii of the necrotic nucleus and the whole spheroid obtained in the simulations was similar to the experimental one and the number of cells, as a function of the spheroid volume, was well reproduced. The statistical variability of the Monte Carlo model described the whole volume range observed for the experimental spheroids. Assuming that the model parameters vary within Gaussian distributions it was obtained a sample of spheroids that reproduced much better the experimental findings.

CONCLUSIONS: The model developed allows describing the growth of in vitro multicellular spheroids and the experimental variability can be well reproduced. Its flexibility permits to vary both the agents involved and the rules that govern the spheroid growth. More general situations, such as, e. g., tumor vascularization, radiotherapy effects on solid tumors, or the validity of the tumor growth mathematical models can be studied.

RevDate: 2020-10-01

Saucedo LJ, Triolo RE, KE Segar (2020)

How Drosophila Can Inform the Emerging Paradigm of the Role of Antioxidants in Cancer.

Molecular cancer research : MCR pii:1541-7786.MCR-20-0172 [Epub ahead of print].

Drosophila melanogaster has proven to be an effective model system in uncovering both genetic and cellular contributions to human cancer. Many elusive genes and signaling pathways that control oncogenic growth were first identified using flies. In many cases, these discoveries were not driven by a direct search for novel genes involved in cancer but rather stemmed from research programs to uncover mechanisms that control growth and development. However, the bounty of genetic tools and the shared evolution of multicellular organisms places Drosophila in a powerful position to purposefully elucidate observations seen in human cancers. In the past decade, the role of antioxidants in cancer progression has shifted dramatically. This review highlights major findings driving this change in perspective and underscores an array of existing work and resources in laboratories using Drosophila that can make significant contributions to how the redox environment affects cancer progression.

RevDate: 2020-09-01

Futo M, Opašić L, Koska S, et al (2020)

Embryo-like features in developing Bacillus subtilis biofilms.

Molecular biology and evolution pii:5900268 [Epub ahead of print].

Correspondence between evolution and development has been discussed for more than two centuries. Recent work reveals that phylogeny-ontogeny correlations are indeed present in developmental transcriptomes of eukaryotic clades with complex multicellularity. Nevertheless, it has been largely ignored that the pervasive presence of phylogeny-ontogeny correlations is a hallmark of development in eukaryotes. This perspective opens a possibility to look for similar parallelisms in biological settings where developmental logic and multicellular complexity are more obscure. For instance, it has been increasingly recognized that multicellular behaviour underlies biofilm formation in bacteria. However, it remains unclear whether bacterial biofilm growth shares some basic principles with development in complex eukaryotes. Here we show that the ontogeny of growing Bacillus subtilis biofilms recapitulates phylogeny at the expression level. Using time-resolved transcriptome and proteome profiles, we found that biofilm ontogeny correlates with the evolutionary measures, in a way that evolutionary younger and more diverged genes were increasingly expressed towards later timepoints of biofilm growth. Molecular and morphological signatures also revealed that biofilm growth is highly regulated and organized into discrete ontogenetic stages, analogous to those of eukaryotic embryos. Together, this suggests that biofilm formation in Bacillus is a bona fide developmental process comparable to organismal development in animals, plants and fungi. Given that most cells on Earth reside in the form of biofilms and that biofilms represent the oldest known fossils, we anticipate that the widely-adopted vision of the first life as a single-cell and free-living organism needs rethinking.

RevDate: 2020-11-30

Stewart JE (2020)

Towards a general theory of the major cooperative evolutionary transitions.

Bio Systems, 198:104237.

Major Cooperative Evolutionary Transitions occur when smaller-scale entities cooperate together to give rise to larger-scale entities that evolve and adapt as coherent wholes. Key examples of cooperative transitions are the emergence of the complex eukaryote cell from communities of simpler cells, the transition from eukaryote cells to multicellular organisms, and the organization of humans into complex, modern societies. A number of attempts have been made to develop a general theory of the major cooperative transitions. This paper begins by critiquing key aspects of these previous attempts. Largely, these attempts comprise poorly-integrated collections of separate models that were each originally developed to explain particular transitions. In contrast, this paper sets out to identify processes that are common to all cooperative transitions. It develops an alternative theoretical framework known as Management Theory. This general framework suggests that all major cooperative transitions are the result of the emergence of powerful, evolvable 'managers' that derive benefit from using their power to organize smaller-scale entities into larger-scale cooperatives. Management Theory is a contribution to the development of a general, "all levels" understanding of major cooperative transitions that is capable of identifying those features that are level-specific, those that are common across levels and those that are involved in trends across levels.

RevDate: 2020-11-04

Parra-Acero H, Harcet M, Sánchez-Pons N, et al (2020)

Integrin-Mediated Adhesion in the Unicellular Holozoan Capsaspora owczarzaki.

Current biology : CB, 30(21):4270-4275.e4.

In animals, cell-matrix adhesions are essential for cell migration, tissue organization, and differentiation, which have central roles in embryonic development [1-6]. Integrins are the major cell surface adhesion receptors mediating cell-matrix adhesion in animals. They are heterodimeric transmembrane proteins that bind extracellular matrix (ECM) molecules on one side and connect to the actin cytoskeleton on the other [7]. Given the importance of integrin-mediated cell-matrix adhesion in development of multicellular animals, it is of interest to discover when and how this machinery arose during evolution. Comparative genomic analyses have shown that core components of the integrin adhesome pre-date the emergence of animals [8-11]; however, whether it mediates cell adhesion in non-metazoan taxa remains unknown. Here, we investigate cell-substrate adhesion in Capsaspora owczarzaki, the closest unicellular relative of animals with the most complete integrin adhesome [11, 12]. Previous work described that the life cycle of C. owczarzaki (hereafter, Capsaspora) includes three distinct life stages: adherent; cystic; and aggregative [13]. Using an adhesion assay, we show that, during the adherent life stage, C. owczarzaki adheres to surfaces using actin-dependent filopodia. We show that integrin β2 and its associated protein vinculin localize as distinct patches in the filopodia. We also demonstrate that substrate adhesion and integrin localization are enhanced by mammalian fibronectin. Finally, using a specific antibody for integrin β2, we inhibited cell adhesion to a fibronectin-coated surface. Our results suggest that adhesion to the substrate in C. owczarzaki is mediated by integrins. We thus propose that integrin-mediated adhesion pre-dates the emergence of animals.

RevDate: 2020-09-28

Zhang W, Ji R, Liu J, et al (2020)

Two Metagenome-Assembled Genome Sequences of Magnetotactic Bacteria in the Order Magnetococcales.

Microbiology resource announcements, 9(35):.

Magnetotactic bacteria represent a valuable model system for the study of microbial biomineralization and magnetotaxis. Here, we report two metagenome-assembled genome sequences of uncultivated magnetotactic bacteria belonging to the order Magnetococcales These genomes contain nearly complete magnetosome gene clusters responsible for magnetosome biomineralization.

RevDate: 2020-08-28

Pérez-Hernández CA, Kern CC, Butkeviciute E, et al (2020)

Mitochondrial Signature in Human Monocytes and Resistance to Infection in C. elegans During Fumarate-Induced Innate Immune Training.

Frontiers in immunology, 11:1715.

Monocytes can develop immunological memory, a functional characteristic widely recognized as innate immune training, to distinguish it from memory in adaptive immune cells. Upon a secondary immune challenge, either homologous or heterologous, trained monocytes/macrophages exhibit a more robust production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α, than untrained monocytes. Candida albicans, β-glucan, and BCG are all inducers of monocyte training and recent metabolic profiling analyses have revealed that training induction is dependent on glycolysis, glutaminolysis, and the cholesterol synthesis pathway, along with fumarate accumulation; interestingly, fumarate itself can induce training. Since fumarate is produced by the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle within mitochondria, we asked whether extra-mitochondrial fumarate has an effect on mitochondrial function. Results showed that the addition of fumarate to monocytes induces mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake, fusion, and increased membrane potential (Δψm), while mitochondrial cristae became closer to each other, suggesting that immediate (from minutes to hours) mitochondrial activation plays a role in the induction phase of innate immune training of monocytes. To establish whether fumarate induces similar mitochondrial changes in vivo in a multicellular organism, effects of fumarate supplementation were tested in the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans. This induced mitochondrial fusion in both muscle and intestinal cells and also increased resistance to infection of the pharynx with E. coli. Together, these findings contribute to defining a mitochondrial signature associated with the induction of innate immune training by fumarate treatment, and to the understanding of whole organism infection resistance.

RevDate: 2020-09-14
CmpDate: 2020-09-14

Du P, Zhao H, Zhang H, et al (2020)

De novo design of an intercellular signaling toolbox for multi-channel cell-cell communication and biological computation.

Nature communications, 11(1):4226.

Intercellular signaling is indispensable for single cells to form complex biological structures, such as biofilms, tissues and organs. The genetic tools available for engineering intercellular signaling, however, are quite limited. Here we exploit the chemical diversity of biological small molecules to de novo design a genetic toolbox for high-performance, multi-channel cell-cell communications and biological computations. By biosynthetic pathway design for signal molecules, rational engineering of sensing promoters and directed evolution of sensing transcription factors, we obtain six cell-cell signaling channels in bacteria with orthogonality far exceeding the conventional quorum sensing systems and successfully transfer some of them into yeast and human cells. For demonstration, they are applied in cell consortia to generate bacterial colony-patterns using up to four signaling channels simultaneously and to implement distributed bio-computation containing seven different strains as basic units. This intercellular signaling toolbox paves the way for engineering complex multicellularity including artificial ecosystems and smart tissues.

RevDate: 2020-08-24

Márquez-Zacarías P, Pineau RM, Gomez M, et al (2020)

Evolution of Cellular Differentiation: From Hypotheses to Models.

Trends in ecology & evolution pii:S0169-5347(20)30208-1 [Epub ahead of print].

Cellular differentiation is one of the hallmarks of complex multicellularity, allowing individual organisms to capitalize on among-cell functional diversity. The evolution of multicellularity is a major evolutionary transition that allowed for the increase of organismal complexity in multiple lineages, a process that relies on the functional integration of cell-types within an individual. Multiple hypotheses have been proposed to explain the origins of cellular differentiation, but we lack a general understanding of what makes one cell-type distinct from others, and how such differentiation arises. Here, we describe how the use of Boolean networks (BNs) can aid in placing empirical findings into a coherent conceptual framework, and we emphasize some of the standing problems when interpreting data and model behaviors.

RevDate: 2020-08-28

Ramisetty BCM, PA Sudhakari (2020)

'Bacterial Programmed Cell Death': cellular altruism or genetic selfism?.

FEMS microbiology letters, 367(16):.

Cell-dependent propagation of the 'self' is the driver of all species, organisms and even genes. Conceivably, elimination of these entities is caused by cellular death. Then, how can genes that cause the death of the same cell evolve? Programmed cell death (PCD) is the gene-dependent self-inflicted death. In multicellular organisms, PCD of a cell confers fitness to the surviving rest of the organism, which thereby allows the selection of genes responsible for PCD. However, PCD in free-living bacteria is intriguing; the death of the cell is the death of the organism. How can such PCD genes be selected in unicellular organisms? The bacterial PCD in a population is proposed to confer fitness to the surviving kin in the form of sporulation, nutrition, infection-containment and matrix materials. While the cell-centred view leading to propositions of 'altruism' is enticing, the gene-centred view of 'selfism' is neglected. In this opinion piece, we reconceptualize the PCD propositions as genetic selfism (death due to loss/mutation of selfish genes) rather than cellular altruism (death for the conferment of fitness to kin). Within the scope and the available evidence, we opine that some of the PCD-like observations in bacteria seem to be the manifestation of genetic selfism by Restriction-Modification systems and Toxin-Antitoxin systems.

RevDate: 2020-09-10

Chen H, Li D, Cai Y, et al (2020)

Bacteriophytochrome from Magnetospirillum magneticum affects phototactic behavior in response to light.

FEMS microbiology letters, 367(17):.

Phytochromes are a class of photoreceptors found in plants and in some fungi, cyanobacteria, and photoautotrophic and heterotrophic bacteria. Although phytochromes have been structurally characterized in some bacteria, their biological and ecological roles in magnetotactic bacteria remain unexplored. Here, we describe the biochemical characterization of recombinant bacteriophytochrome (BphP) from magnetotactic bacteria Magnetospirillum magneticum AMB-1 (MmBphP). The recombinant MmBphP displays all the characteristic features, including the property of binding to biliverdin (BV), of a genuine phytochrome. Site-directed mutagenesis identified that cysteine-14 is important for chromophore covalent binding and photoreversibility. Arginine-240 and histidine-246 play key roles in binding to BV. The N-terminal photosensory core domain of MmBphP lacking the C-terminus found in other phytochromes is sufficient to exhibit the characteristic red/far-red-light-induced fast photoreversibility of phytochromes. Moreover, our results showed MmBphP is involved in the phototactic response, suggesting its conservative role as a stress protectant. This finding provided us a better understanding of the physiological function of this group of photoreceptors and photoresponse of magnetotactic bacteria.

RevDate: 2020-09-28

Birtwell D, Luebeck G, CC Maley (2020)

The evolution of metapopulation dynamics and the number of stem cells in intestinal crypts and other tissue structures in multicellular bodies.

Evolutionary applications, 13(7):1771-1783.

Carcinogenesis is a process of somatic evolution. Previous models of stem and transient amplifying cells in epithelial proliferating units like colonic crypts showed that intermediate numbers of stem cells in a crypt should optimally prevent progression to cancer. If a stem cell population is too small, it is easy for a mutator mutation to drift to fixation. If it is too large, it is easy for selection to drive cell fitness enhancing carcinogenic mutations to fixation. Here, we show that a multiscale microsimulation, that captures both within-crypt and between-crypt evolutionary dynamics, leads to a different conclusion. Epithelial tissues are metapopulations of crypts. We measured time to initiation of a neoplasm, implemented as inactivation of both alleles of a tumor suppressor gene. In our model, time to initiation is dependent on the spread of mutator clones in the crypts. The proportion of selectively beneficial and deleterious mutations in somatic cells is unknown and so was explored with a parameter. When the majority of non-neutral mutations are deleterious, the fitness of mutator clones tends to decline. When crypts are maintained by few stem cells, intercrypt competition tends to remove crypts with fixed mutators. When there are many stem cells within a crypt, there is virtually no crypt turnover, but mutator clones are suppressed by within-crypt competition. If the majority of non-neutral mutations are beneficial to the clone, then these results are reversed and intermediate-sized crypts provide the most protection against initiation. These results highlight the need to understand the dynamics of turnover and the mechanisms that control homeostasis, both at the level of stem cells within proliferative units and at the tissue level of competing proliferative units. Determining the distribution of fitness effects of somatic mutations will also be crucial to understanding the dynamics of tumor initiation and progression.

RevDate: 2020-08-15

Ho AT, LD Hurst (2020)

Effective population size predicts local rates but not local mitigation of read-through errors in eukaryotic genes.

Molecular biology and evolution pii:5892771 [Epub ahead of print].

In correctly predicting that selection efficiency is positively correlated with the effective population size (Ne), the nearly-neutral theory provides a coherent understanding of between-species variation in numerous genomic parameters, including heritable error (germline mutation) rates. Does the same theory also explain variation in phenotypic error rates and in abundance of error mitigation mechanisms? Translational read-through provides a model to investigate both issues as it is common, mostly non-adaptive, and has good proxy for rate (TAA being the least leaky stop codon) and potential error mitigation via "fail-safe" 3' additional stop codons (ASCs). Prior theory of translational read-through has suggested that when population sizes are high, weak selection for local mitigation can be effective thus predicting a positive correlation between ASC enrichment and Ne. Contra to prediction, we find that ASC enrichment is not correlated with Ne. ASC enrichment, while highly phylogenetically patchy, is, however, more common both in unicellular species and in genes expressed in unicellular modes in multicellular species. By contrast, Ne does positively correlate with TAA enrichment. These results imply that local phenotypic error rates, not local mitigation rates, are consistent with a drift barrier/nearly-neutral model.

RevDate: 2020-08-26

Chen H, Li K, Cai Y, et al (2020)

Light regulation of resistance to oxidative damage and magnetic crystal biogenesis in Magnetospirillum magneticum mediated by a Cys-less LOV-like protein.

Applied microbiology and biotechnology, 104(18):7927-7941.

Light-oxygen-voltage (LOV) proteins are ubiquitous photoreceptors that can interact with other regulatory proteins and then mediate their activities, which results in cellular adaptation and subsequent physiological changes. Upon blue-light irradiation, a conserved cysteine (Cys) residue in LOV covalently binds to flavin to form a flavin-Cys adduct, which triggers a subsequent cascade of signal transduction and reactions. We found a group of natural Cys-less LOV-like proteins in magnetotactic bacteria (MTB) and investigated its physiological functions by conducting research on one of these unusual LOV-like proteins, Amb2291, in Magnetospirillum magneticum. In-frame deletion of amb2291 or site-directive substitution of alanine-399 for Cys mutants impaired the protective responses against hydrogen peroxide, thereby causing stress and growth impairment. Consequently, gene expression and magnetosome formation were affected, which led to high sensitivity to oxidative damage and defective phototactic behaviour. The purified wild-type and A399C-mutated LOV-like proteins had similar LOV blue-light response spectra, but Amb2291A399C exhibited a faster reaction to blue light. We especially showed that LOV-like protein Amb2291 plays a role in magnetosome synthesis and resistance to oxidative stress of AMB-1 when this bacterium was exposed to red light and hydrogen peroxide. This finding expands our knowledge of the physiological function of this widely distributed group of photoreceptors and deepens our understanding of the photoresponse of MTB. KEY POINTS: • We found a group of Cys-less light-oxygen-voltage (LOV) photoreceptors in magnetotactic bacteria, which prompted us to study the light-response and biological roles of these proteins in these non-photosynthetic bacteria. • The Cys-less LOV-like protein participates in the light-regulated signalling pathway and improves resistance to oxidative damage and magnetic crystal biogenesis in Magnetospirillum magneticum. • This result will contribute to our understanding of the structural and functional diversity of the LOV-like photoreceptor and help us understand the complexity of light-regulated model organisms.

RevDate: 2020-10-28
CmpDate: 2020-10-28

Xin Y, Le Poul Y, Ling L, et al (2020)

Enhancer evolutionary co-option through shared chromatin accessibility input.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 117(34):20636-20644.

The diversity of forms in multicellular organisms originates largely from the spatial redeployment of developmental genes [S. B. Carroll, Cell 134, 25-36 (2008)]. Several scenarios can explain the emergence of cis-regulatory elements that govern novel aspects of a gene expression pattern [M. Rebeiz, M. Tsiantis, Curr. Opin. Genet. Dev. 45, 115-123 (2017)]. One scenario, enhancer co-option, holds that a DNA sequence producing an ancestral regulatory activity also becomes the template for a new regulatory activity, sharing regulatory information. While enhancer co-option might fuel morphological diversification, it has rarely been documented [W. J. Glassford et al., Dev. Cell 34, 520-531 (2015)]. Moreover, if two regulatory activities are borne from the same sequence, their modularity, considered a defining feature of enhancers [J. Banerji, L. Olson, W. Schaffner, Cell 33, 729-740 (1983)], might be affected by pleiotropy. Sequence overlap may thereby play a determinant role in enhancer function and evolution. Here, we investigated this problem with two regulatory activities of the Drosophila gene yellow, the novel spot enhancer and the ancestral wing blade enhancer. We used precise and comprehensive quantification of each activity in Drosophila wings to systematically map their sequences along the locus. We show that the spot enhancer has co-opted the sequences of the wing blade enhancer. We also identified a pleiotropic site necessary for DNA accessibility of a shared regulatory region. While the evolutionary steps leading to the derived activity are still unknown, such pleiotropy suggests that enhancer accessibility could be one of the molecular mechanisms seeding evolutionary co-option.


RJR Experience and Expertise


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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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E-mail: RJR8222@gmail.com

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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RJR Picks from Around the Web (updated 11 MAY 2018 )