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23 Mar 2019 at 01:38
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Bibliography on: Evolution of Multicelluarity


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RJR: Recommended Bibliography 23 Mar 2019 at 01:38 Created: 

Evolution of Multicelluarity

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

Citations The Papers (from PubMed®)

RevDate: 2019-03-22

Wielgoss S, Wolfensberger R, Sun L, et al (2019)

Social genes are selection hotspots in kin groups of a soil microbe.

Science (New York, N.Y.), 363(6433):1342-1345.

The composition of cooperative systems, including animal societies, organismal bodies, and microbial groups, reflects their past and shapes their future evolution. However, genomic diversity within many multiunit systems remains uncharacterized, limiting our ability to understand and compare their evolutionary character. We have analyzed genomic and social-phenotype variation among 120 natural isolates of the cooperative bacterium Myxococcus xanthus derived from six multicellular fruiting bodies. Each fruiting body was composed of multiple lineages radiating from a unique recent ancestor. Genomic evolution was concentrated in selection hotspots associated with evolutionary change in social phenotypes. Synonymous mutations indicated that kin lineages within the same fruiting body often first diverged from a common ancestor more than 100 generations ago. Thus, selection appears to promote endemic diversification of kin lineages that remain together over long histories of local interaction, thereby potentiating social coevolution.

RevDate: 2019-03-19

Talbert PB, Meers MP, S Henikoff (2019)

Old cogs, new tricks: the evolution of gene expression in a chromatin context.

Nature reviews. Genetics pii:10.1038/s41576-019-0105-7 [Epub ahead of print].

Sophisticated gene-regulatory mechanisms probably evolved in prokaryotes billions of years before the emergence of modern eukaryotes, which inherited the same basic enzymatic machineries. However, the epigenomic landscapes of eukaryotes are dominated by nucleosomes, which have acquired roles in genome packaging, mitotic condensation and silencing parasitic genomic elements. Although the molecular mechanisms by which nucleosomes are displaced and modified have been described, just how transcription factors, histone variants and modifications and chromatin regulators act on nucleosomes to regulate transcription is the subject of considerable ongoing study. We explore the extent to which these transcriptional regulatory components function in the context of the evolutionarily ancient role of chromatin as a barrier to processes acting on DNA and how chromatin proteins have diversified to carry out evolutionarily recent functions that accompanied the emergence of differentiation and development in multicellular eukaryotes.

RevDate: 2019-03-19

Xu S, Stapley J, Gablenz S, et al (2019)

Low genetic variation is associated with low mutation rate in the giant duckweed.

Nature communications, 10(1):1243 pii:10.1038/s41467-019-09235-5.

Mutation rate and effective population size (Ne) jointly determine intraspecific genetic diversity, but the role of mutation rate is often ignored. Here we investigate genetic diversity, spontaneous mutation rate and Ne in the giant duckweed (Spirodela polyrhiza). Despite its large census population size, whole-genome sequencing of 68 globally sampled individuals reveals extremely low intraspecific genetic diversity. Assessed under natural conditions, the genome-wide spontaneous mutation rate is at least seven times lower than estimates made for other multicellular eukaryotes, whereas Ne is large. These results demonstrate that low genetic diversity can be associated with large-Ne species, where selection can reduce mutation rates to very low levels. This study also highlights that accurate estimates of mutation rate can help to explain seemingly unexpected patterns of genome-wide variation.

RevDate: 2019-03-18

Kapsetaki SE, SA West (2019)

The costs and benefits of multicellular group formation in algae.

Evolution; international journal of organic evolution [Epub ahead of print].

The first step in the evolution of complex multicellular organisms involves single cells forming a cooperative group. Consequently, to understand multicellularity, we need to understand the costs and benefits associated with multicellular group formation. We found that in the facultatively multicellular algae Chlorella sorokiniana: (1) the presence of the flagellate Ochromonas danica or the crustacean Daphnia magna leads to the formation of multicellular groups; (2) the formation of multicellular groups reduces predation by O. danica, but not by the larger predator D. magna; (3) under conditions of relatively low light intensity, where competition for light is greater, multicellular groups grow slower than single cells; (4) in the absence of live predators, the proportion of cells in multicellular groups decreases at a rate that does not vary with light intensity. These results can explain why, in cases such as this algae species, multicellular group formation is facultative, in response to the presence of predators. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2019-03-16

Goh GH, Maloney SK, Mark PJ, et al (2019)

Episodic Ultradian Events-Ultradian Rhythms.

Biology, 8(1): pii:biology8010015.

In the fast lane of chronobiology, ultradian events are short-term rhythms that have been observed since the beginning of modern biology and were quantified about a century ago. They are ubiquitous in all biological systems and found in all organisms, from unicellular organisms to mammals, and from single cells to complex biological functions in multicellular animals. Since these events are aperiodic and last for a few minutes to a few hours, they are better classified as episodic ultradian events (EUEs). Their origin is unclear. However, they could have a molecular basis and could be controlled by hormonal inputs-in vertebrates, they originate from the activity of the central nervous system. EUEs are receiving increasing attention but their aperiodic nature requires specific sampling and analytic tools. While longer scale rhythms are adaptations to predictable changes in the environment, in theory, EUEs could contribute to adaptation by preparing organisms and biological functions for unpredictability.

RevDate: 2019-03-13

Shoemark DK, Ziegler B, Watanabe H, et al (2019)

Emergence of a Thrombospondin Superfamily at the Origin of Metazoans.

Molecular biology and evolution pii:5377293 [Epub ahead of print].

Extracellular matrix (ECM) is considered central to the evolution of metazoan multicellularity, however the repertoire of ECM proteins in non-bilaterians remains unclear. Thrombospondins (TSPs) are known to be well-conserved from cnidarians to vertebrates, yet to date have been considered a unique family, principally studied for matricellular functions in vertebrates. Through searches utilizing the highly-conserved C-terminal region of TSPs we identify undisclosed new families of thrombospondin-related proteins in metazoans, designated mega-thrombospondin, sushi-thrombospondin and poriferan-thrombospondin, each with a distinctive phylogenetic distribution. These proteins share the TSP C-terminal region domain architecture, as determined by domain composition and analysis of molecular models against known structures. Mega-thrombospondins, the only form identified in ctenophores, are typically >2700aa and are also characterized by N-terminal leucine-rich repeats and central cadherin/immunoglobulin domains. In cnidarians, which have a well-defined ECM, Mega-TSP was expressed throughout embryogenesis in Nematostella vectensis, with dynamic endodermal expression in larvae and primary polyps and widespread ectodermal expression in adult N. vectensis and Hydra magnipapillata polyps. Hydra Mega-TSP was also expressed during regeneration and siRNA-silencing of Mega-TSP in Hydra caused specific blockade of head regeneration. Molecular phylogenetic analyses based on the conserved TSP C-terminal region identified each of the TSP-related groups to form clades distinct from the canonical TSPs. We discuss models for the evolution of the newly-defined TSP superfamily by gene duplications, radiation and gene losses from a debut in the last metazoan common ancestor. Together, the data provide new insight into the evolution of ECM and tissue organization in metazoans.

RevDate: 2019-03-13

Lenhart BA, Meeks B, HA Murphy (2019)

Variation in Filamentous Growth and Response to Quorum-Sensing Compounds in Environmental Isolates of Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

G3 (Bethesda, Md.) pii:g3.119.400080 [Epub ahead of print].

In fungi, filamentous growth is a major developmental transition that occurs in response to environmental cues. In diploid Saccharomyces cerevisiae, it is known as pseudohyphal growth and presumed to be a foraging mechanism. Rather than unicellular growth, multicellular filaments composed of elongated, attached cells spread over and into surfaces. This morphogenetic switch can be induced through quorum sensing with the aromatic alcohols phenylethanol and tryptophol. Most research investigating pseudohyphal growth has been conducted in a single lab background, ∑1278b. To investigate the natural variation in this phenotype and its induction, we assayed the diverse 100-genomes collection of environmental isolates. Using computational image analysis, we quantified the production of pseudohyphae and observed a large amount of variation. Population origin was significantly associated with pseudohyphal growth, with the West African population having the most. Surprisingly, most strains showed little or no response to exogenous phenylethanol or tryptophol. We also investigated the amount of natural genetic variation in pseudohyphal growth using a mapping population derived from a highly-heterozygous clinical isolate that contained as much phenotypic variation as the environmental panel. A bulk-segregant analysis uncovered five major peaks with candidate loci that have been implicated in the ∑1278b background. Our results indicate that the filamentous growth response is a generalized, highly variable phenotype in natural populations, while response to quorum sensing molecules is surprisingly rare. These findings highlight the importance of coupling studies in tractable lab strains with natural isolates in order to understand the relevance and distribution of well-studied traits.

RevDate: 2019-03-12

Sicard A, Pirolles E, Gallet R, et al (2019)

A multicellular way of life for a multipartite virus.

eLife, 8: pii:43599.

A founding paradigm in virology is that the spatial unit of the viral replication cycle is an individual cell. Multipartite viruses have a segmented genome where each segment is encapsidated separately. In this situation the viral genome is not recapitulated in a single virus particle but in the viral population. How multipartite viruses manage to efficiently infect individual cells with all segments, thus with the whole genome information, is a long-standing but perhaps deceptive mystery. By localizing and quantifying the genome segments of a nanovirus in host plant tissues we show that they rarely co-occur within individual cells. We further demonstrate that distinct segments accumulate independently in different cells and that the viral system is functional through complementation across cells. Our observation deviates from the classical conceptual framework in virology and opens an alternative possibility (at least for nanoviruses) where the infection can operate at a level above the individual cell level, defining a viral multicellular way of life.

RevDate: 2019-03-12

Muley VY, Akhter Y, S Galande (2019)

PDZ Domains Across the Microbial World: Molecular Link to the Proteases, Stress Response, and Protein Synthesis.

Genome biology and evolution, 11(3):644-659.

The PSD-95/Dlg-A/ZO-1 (PDZ) domain is highly expanded, diversified, and well distributed across metazoa where it assembles diverse signaling components by virtue of interactions with other proteins in a sequence-specific manner. In contrast, in the microbial world they are reported to be involved in protein quality control during stress response. The distribution, functions, and origins of PDZ domain-containing proteins in the prokaryotic organisms remain largely unexplored. We analyzed 7,852 PDZ domain-containing proteins in 1,474 microbial genomes in this context. PDZ domain-containing proteins from planctomycetes, myxobacteria, and other eubacteria occupying terrestrial and aquatic niches are found to be in multiple copies within their genomes. Over 93% of the 7,852 PDZ domain-containing proteins were classified into 12 families including six novel families based on additional structural and functional domains present in these proteins. The higher PDZ domain encoding capacity of the investigated organisms was observed to be associated with adaptation to the ecological niche where multicellular life might have originated and flourished. Predicted subcellular localization of PDZ domain-containing proteins and their genomic context argue in favor of crucial roles in translation and membrane remodeling during stress response. Based on rigorous sequence, structure, and phylogenetic analyses, we propose that the highly diverse PDZ domain of the uncharacterized Fe-S oxidoreductase superfamily, exclusively found in gladobacteria and several anaerobes and acetogens, might represent the most ancient form among all the existing PDZ domains.

RevDate: 2019-03-12
CmpDate: 2019-03-12

Presting GG (2018)

Centromeric retrotransposons and centromere function.

Current opinion in genetics & development, 49:79-84.

The centromeric DNA of most multicellular eukaryotes consists of tandem repeats (TR) that bind centromere-specific proteins and act as a substrate for the efficient repair of frequent double-stranded DNA breaks. Some retrotransposons target active centromeres during integration with such specificity that they can be used to deduce current and historic centromere positions. The roles of transposons in centromere function remain incompletely understood but appear to include maintaining centromere size and increasing the repeat content of neocentromeres that lack TR. Retrotransposons are known to give rise to TR. Centromere-targeting elements thus have the potential to replace centromeric TR essentially in situ, providing a mechanism to explain the centromere paradox, that is, the presence of unrelated centromeric TRs in closely related species.

RevDate: 2019-03-11
CmpDate: 2019-03-11

Halatek J, Brauns F, E Frey (2018)

Self-organization principles of intracellular pattern formation.

Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 373(1747):.

Dynamic patterning of specific proteins is essential for the spatio-temporal regulation of many important intracellular processes in prokaryotes, eukaryotes and multicellular organisms. The emergence of patterns generated by interactions of diffusing proteins is a paradigmatic example for self-organization. In this article, we review quantitative models for intracellular Min protein patterns in Escherichia coli, Cdc42 polarization in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and the bipolar PAR protein patterns found in Caenorhabditis elegans By analysing the molecular processes driving these systems we derive a theoretical perspective on general principles underlying self-organized pattern formation. We argue that intracellular pattern formation is not captured by concepts such as 'activators', 'inhibitors' or 'substrate depletion'. Instead, intracellular pattern formation is based on the redistribution of proteins by cytosolic diffusion, and the cycling of proteins between distinct conformational states. Therefore, mass-conserving reaction-diffusion equations provide the most appropriate framework to study intracellular pattern formation. We conclude that directed transport, e.g. cytosolic diffusion along an actively maintained cytosolic gradient, is the key process underlying pattern formation. Thus the basic principle of self-organization is the establishment and maintenance of directed transport by intracellular protein dynamics.This article is part of the theme issue 'Self-organization in cell biology'.

RevDate: 2019-02-27

Peyraud R, Mbengue M, Barbacci A, et al (2019)

Intercellular cooperation in a fungal plant pathogen facilitates host colonization.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 116(8):3193-3201.

Cooperation is associated with major transitions in evolution such as the emergence of multicellularity. It is central to the evolution of many complex traits in nature, including growth and virulence in pathogenic bacteria. Whether cells of multicellular parasites function cooperatively during infection remains, however, largely unknown. Here, we show that hyphal cells of the fungal pathogen Sclerotinia sclerotiorum reprogram toward division of labor to facilitate the colonization of host plants. Using global transcriptome sequencing, we reveal that gene expression patterns diverge markedly in cells at the center and apex of hyphae during Arabidopsis thaliana colonization compared with in vitro growth. We reconstructed a genome-scale metabolic model for S. sclerotiorum and used flux balance analysis to demonstrate metabolic heterogeneity supporting division of labor between hyphal cells. Accordingly, continuity between the central and apical compartments of invasive hyphae was required for optimal growth in planta Using a multicell model of fungal hyphae, we show that this cooperative functioning enhances fungal growth predominantly during host colonization. Our work identifies cooperation in fungal hyphae as a mechanism emerging at the multicellular level to support host colonization and virulence.

RevDate: 2019-03-06

Ruiz MC, Kljun J, Turel I, et al (2019)

Comparative antitumor studies of organoruthenium complexes with 8-hydroxyquinolines on 2D and 3D cell models of bone, lung and breast cancer.

Metallomics : integrated biometal science [Epub ahead of print].

The purpose of this work was to screen the antitumor actions of two metal organoruthenium-8-hydroxyquinolinato (Ru-hq) complexes to find a potential novel agent for bone, lung and breast chemotherapies. We showed that ruthenium compounds (1 and 2) impaired the cell viability of human bone (MG-63), lung (A549) and breast (MCF7) cancer cells with greater selectivity and specificity than cisplatin. Besides, complexes 1 and 2 decreased proliferation, migration and invasion on cell monolayers at lower concentrations (2.5-10 μM). In addition, both compounds induced genotoxicity revealed by the micronucleus test, which led to G2/M cell cycle arrest and induced the tumor cells to undergo apoptosis. On the other hand, in multicellular 3D models (multicellular spheroids; MCS), 1 and 2 overcame CDDP presenting lower IC50 values only in MCS of lung origin. Moreover, 1 outperformed 2 in MCS of bone and breast origin. Finally, our findings revealed that both compounds inhibited the cell invasion of multicellular spheroids, showing that complex 1 exhibited the most important antimetastatic action. Taken together, these results indicate that compound 1 is an interesting candidate to be tested on in vivo models as a novel strategy for anticancer therapy.

RevDate: 2019-03-03

Fillinger RJ, MZ Anderson (2019)

Seasons of change: Mechanisms of genome evolution in human fungal pathogens.

Infection, genetics and evolution : journal of molecular epidemiology and evolutionary genetics in infectious diseases pii:S1567-1348(19)30030-9 [Epub ahead of print].

Fungi are a diverse kingdom of organisms capable of thriving in various niches across the world including those in close association with multicellular eukaryotes. Fungal pathogens that contribute to human disease reside both within the host as commensal organisms of the microbiota and the environment. Their niche of origin dictates how infection initiates but also places specific selective pressures on the fungal pathogen that contributes to its genome organization and genetic repertoire. Recent efforts to catalogue genomic variation among major human fungal pathogens have unveiled evolutionary themes that shape the fungal genome. Mechanisms ranging from large scale changes such as aneuploidy and ploidy cycling as well as more targeted mutations like base substitutions and gene copy number variations contribute to the evolution of these species, which are often under multiple competing selective pressures with their host, environment, and other microbes. Here, we provide an overview of the major selective pressures and mechanisms acting to evolve the genome of clinically important fungal pathogens of humans.

RevDate: 2019-03-02

Kabir M, Wenlock S, Doig AJ, et al (2019)

The Essentiality Status of Mouse Duplicate Gene Pairs Correlates with Developmental Co-Expression Patterns.

Scientific reports, 9(1):3224 pii:10.1038/s41598-019-39894-9.

During the evolution of multicellular eukaryotes, gene duplication occurs frequently to generate new genes and/or functions. A duplicated gene may have a similar function to its ancestral gene. Therefore, it may be expected that duplicated genes are less likely to be critical for the survival of an organism, since there are multiple copies of the gene rendering each individual copy redundant. In this study, we explored the developmental expression patterns of duplicate gene pairs and the relationship between development co-expression and phenotypes resulting from the knockout of duplicate genes in the mouse. We define genes that generate lethal phenotypes in single gene knockout experiments as essential genes. We found that duplicate gene pairs comprised of two essential genes tend to be expressed at different stages of development, compared to duplicate gene pairs with at least one non-essential member, showing that the timing of developmental expression affects the ability of one paralogue to compensate for the loss of the other. Gene essentiality, developmental expression and gene duplication are thus closely linked.

RevDate: 2019-02-27

El Albani A, Mangano MG, Buatois LA, et al (2019)

Organism motility in an oxygenated shallow-marine environment 2.1 billion years ago.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 116(9):3431-3436.

Evidence for macroscopic life in the Paleoproterozoic Era comes from 1.8 billion-year-old (Ga) compression fossils [Han TM, Runnegar B (1992) Science 257:232-235; Knoll et al. (2006) Philos Trans R Soc Lond B 361:1023-1038], Stirling biota [Bengtson S et al. (2007) Paleobiology 33:351-381], and large colonial organisms exhibiting signs of coordinated growth from the 2.1-Ga Francevillian series, Gabon. Here we report on pyritized string-shaped structures from the Francevillian Basin. Combined microscopic, microtomographic, geochemical, and sedimentologic analyses provide evidence for biogenicity, and syngenicity and suggest that the structures underwent fossilization during early diagenesis close to the sediment-water interface. The string-shaped structures are up to 6 mm across and extend up to 170 mm through the strata. Morphological and 3D tomographic reconstructions suggest that the producer may have been a multicellular or syncytial organism able to migrate laterally and vertically to reach food resources. A possible modern analog is the aggregation of amoeboid cells into a migratory slug phase in cellular slime molds at times of starvation. This unique ecologic window established in an oxygenated, shallow-marine environment represents an exceptional record of the biosphere following the crucial changes that occurred in the atmosphere and ocean in the aftermath of the great oxidation event (GOE).

RevDate: 2019-02-26

Trigos AS, Pearson RB, Papenfuss AT, et al (2019)

Somatic mutations in early metazoan genes disrupt regulatory links between unicellular and multicellular genes in cancer.

eLife, 8: pii:40947 [Epub ahead of print].

Extensive transcriptional alterations are observed in cancer, many of which activate core biological processes established in unicellular organisms or suppress differentiation pathways formed in metazoans. Through rigorous, integrative analysis of genomics data from a range of solid tumours, we show many transcriptional changes in tumours are tied to mutations disrupting regulatory interactions between unicellular and multicellular genes within human gene regulatory networks (GRNs). Recurrent point mutations were enriched in regulator genes linking unicellular and multicellular subnetworks, while copy-number alterations affected downstream target genes in distinctly unicellular and multicellular regions of the GRN. Our results depict drivers of tumourigenesis as genes that created key regulatory links during the evolution of early multicellular life, whose dysfunction creates widespread dysregulation of primitive elements of the GRN. Several genes we identified as important in this process were associated with drug response, demonstrating the potential clinical value of our approach.

RevDate: 2019-02-25

Xie P, Gao M, Wang C, et al (2019)

SuperCT: a supervised-learning framework for enhanced characterization of single-cell transcriptomic profiles.

Nucleic acids research pii:5364134 [Epub ahead of print].

Characterization of individual cell types is fundamental to the study of multicellular samples. Single-cell RNAseq techniques, which allow high-throughput expression profiling of individual cells, have significantly advanced our ability of this task. Currently, most of the scRNA-seq data analyses are commenced with unsupervised clustering. Clusters are often assigned to different cell types based on the enriched canonical markers. However, this process is inefficient and arbitrary. In this study, we present a technical framework of training the expandable supervised-classifier in order to reveal the single-cell identities as soon as the single-cell expression profile is input. Using multiple scRNA-seq datasets we demonstrate the superior accuracy, robustness, compatibility and expandability of this new solution compared to the traditional methods. We use two examples of the model upgrade to demonstrate how the projected evolution of the cell-type classifier is realized.

RevDate: 2019-02-23

Zhang L, Tan Y, Fan S, et al (2019)

Phylostratigraphic analysis of gene co-expression network reveals the evolution of functional modules for ovarian cancer.

Scientific reports, 9(1):2623 pii:10.1038/s41598-019-40023-9.

Ovarian cancer (OV) is an extremely lethal disease. However, the evolutionary machineries of OV are still largely unknown. Here, we used a method that combines phylostratigraphy information with gene co-expression networks to extensively study the evolutionary compositions of OV. The present co-expression network construction yielded 18,549 nodes and 114,985 edges based on 307 OV expression samples obtained from the Genome Data Analysis Centers database. A total of 20 modules were identified as OV related clusters. The human genome sequences were divided into 19 phylostrata (PS), the majority (67.45%) of OV genes was already present in the eukaryotic ancestor. There were two strong peaks of the emergence of OV genes screened by hypergeometric test: the evolution of the multicellular metazoan organisms (PS5 and PS6, P value = 0.002) and the emergence of bony fish (PS11 and PS12, P value = 0.009). Hence, the origin of OV is far earlier than its emergence. The integrated analysis of the topology of OV modules and the phylogenetic data revealed an evolutionary pattern of OV in human, namely, OV modules have arisen step by step during the evolution of the respective lineages. New genes have evolved and become locked into a pathway, where more and more biological pathways are fixed into OV modules by recruiting new genes during human evolution.

RevDate: 2019-02-21

Herron MD, Borin JM, Boswell JC, et al (2019)

De novo origins of multicellularity in response to predation.

Scientific reports, 9(1):2328 pii:10.1038/s41598-019-39558-8.

The transition from unicellular to multicellular life was one of a few major events in the history of life that created new opportunities for more complex biological systems to evolve. Predation is hypothesized as one selective pressure that may have driven the evolution of multicellularity. Here we show that de novo origins of simple multicellularity can evolve in response to predation. We subjected outcrossed populations of the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii to selection by the filter-feeding predator Paramecium tetraurelia. Two of five experimental populations evolved multicellular structures not observed in unselected control populations within ~750 asexual generations. Considerable variation exists in the evolved multicellular life cycles, with both cell number and propagule size varying among isolates. Survival assays show that evolved multicellular traits provide effective protection against predation. These results support the hypothesis that selection imposed by predators may have played a role in some origins of multicellularity.

RevDate: 2019-02-21

Dunning LT, Olofsson JK, Parisod C, et al (2019)

Lateral transfers of large DNA fragments spread functional genes among grasses.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America pii:1810031116 [Epub ahead of print].

A fundamental tenet of multicellular eukaryotic evolution is that vertical inheritance is paramount, with natural selection acting on genetic variants transferred from parents to offspring. This lineal process means that an organism's adaptive potential can be restricted by its evolutionary history, the amount of standing genetic variation, and its mutation rate. Lateral gene transfer (LGT) theoretically provides a mechanism to bypass many of these limitations, but the evolutionary importance and frequency of this process in multicellular eukaryotes, such as plants, remains debated. We address this issue by assembling a chromosome-level genome for the grass Alloteropsis semialata, a species surmised to exhibit two LGTs, and screen it for other grass-to-grass LGTs using genomic data from 146 other grass species. Through stringent phylogenomic analyses, we discovered 57 additional LGTs in the A. semialata nuclear genome, involving at least nine different donor species. The LGTs are clustered in 23 laterally acquired genomic fragments that are up to 170 kb long and have accumulated during the diversification of Alloteropsis. The majority of the 59 LGTs in A. semialata are expressed, and we show that they have added functions to the recipient genome. Functional LGTs were further detected in the genomes of five other grass species, demonstrating that this process is likely widespread in this globally important group of plants. LGT therefore appears to represent a potent evolutionary force capable of spreading functional genes among distantly related grass species.

RevDate: 2019-02-15

Lipinska AP, Serrano-Serrano ML, Cormier A, et al (2019)

Rapid turnover of life-cycle-related genes in the brown algae.

Genome biology, 20(1):35 pii:10.1186/s13059-019-1630-6.

BACKGROUND: Sexual life cycles in eukaryotes involve a cyclic alternation between haploid and diploid phases. While most animals possess a diploid life cycle, many plants and algae alternate between multicellular haploid (gametophyte) and diploid (sporophyte) generations. In many algae, gametophytes and sporophytes are independent and free-living and may present dramatic phenotypic differences. The same shared genome can therefore be subject to different, even conflicting, selection pressures during each of the life cycle generations. Here, we analyze the nature and extent of genome-wide, generation-biased gene expression in four species of brown algae with contrasting levels of dimorphism between life cycle generations.

RESULTS: We show that the proportion of the transcriptome that is generation-specific is broadly associated with the level of phenotypic dimorphism between the life cycle stages. Importantly, our data reveals a remarkably high turnover rate for life-cycle-related gene sets across the brown algae and highlights the importance not only of co-option of regulatory programs from one generation to the other but also of a role for newly emerged, lineage-specific gene expression patterns in the evolution of the gametophyte and sporophyte developmental programs in this major eukaryotic group. Moreover, we show that generation-biased genes display distinct evolutionary modes, with gametophyte-biased genes evolving rapidly at the coding sequence level whereas sporophyte-biased genes tend to exhibit changes in their patterns of expression.

CONCLUSION: Our analysis uncovers the characteristics, expression patterns, and evolution of generation-biased genes and underlines the selective forces that shape this previously underappreciated source of phenotypic diversity.

RevDate: 2019-02-14

Raza Q, Choi JY, Li Y, et al (2019)

Evolutionary rate covariation analysis of E-cadherin identifies Raskol as a regulator of cell adhesion and actin dynamics in Drosophila.

PLoS genetics, 15(2):e1007720 pii:PGENETICS-D-18-01886.

The adherens junction couples the actin cytoskeletons of neighboring cells to provide the foundation for multicellular organization. The core of the adherens junction is the cadherin-catenin complex that arose early in the evolution of multicellularity to link actin to intercellular adhesions. Over time, evolutionary pressures have shaped the signaling and mechanical functions of the adherens junction to meet specific developmental and physiological demands. Evolutionary rate covariation (ERC) identifies proteins with correlated fluctuations in evolutionary rate that can reflect shared selective pressures and functions. Here we use ERC to identify proteins with evolutionary histories similar to the Drosophila E-cadherin (DE-cad) ortholog. Core adherens junction components α-catenin and p120-catenin displayed positive ERC correlations with DE-cad, indicating that they evolved under similar selective pressures during evolution between Drosophila species. Further analysis of the DE-cad ERC profile revealed a collection of proteins not previously associated with DE-cad function or cadherin-mediated adhesion. We then analyzed the function of a subset of ERC-identified candidates by RNAi during border cell (BC) migration and identified novel genes that function to regulate DE-cad. Among these, we found that the gene CG42684, which encodes a putative GTPase activating protein (GAP), regulates BC migration and adhesion. We named CG42684 raskol ("to split" in Russian) and show that it regulates DE-cad levels and actin protrusions in BCs. We propose that Raskol functions with DE-cad to restrict Ras/Rho signaling and help guide BC migration. Our results demonstrate that a coordinated selective pressure has shaped the adherens junction and this can be leveraged to identify novel components of the complexes and signaling pathways that regulate cadherin-mediated adhesion.

RevDate: 2019-02-14

Chen IK, Satinsky BM, Velicer GJ, et al (2019)

sRNA-pathway genes regulating myxobacterial development exhibit clade-specific evolution.

Evolution & development [Epub ahead of print].

Small non-coding RNAs (sRNAs) control bacterial gene expression involved in a wide range of important cellular processes. In the highly social bacterium Myxococcus xanthus, the sRNA Pxr prevents multicellular fruiting-body development when nutrients are abundant. Pxr was discovered from the evolution of a developmentally defective strain (OC) into a developmentally proficient strain (PX). In OC, Pxr is constitutively expressed and blocks development even during starvation. In PX, one mutation deactivates Pxr allowing development to proceed. We screened for transposon mutants that suppress the OC defect and thus potentially reveal new Pxr-pathway components. Insertions significantly restoring development were found in four genes-rnd, rnhA, stkA and Mxan_5793-not previously associated with an sRNA activity. Phylogenetic analysis suggests that the Pxr pathway was constructed within the Cystobacterineae suborder both by co-option of genes predating the Myxococcales order and incorporation of a novel gene (Mxan_5793). Further, the sequence similarity of rnd, rnhA and stkA homologs relative to M. xanthus alleles was found to decrease greatly among species beyond the Cystobacterineae suborder compared to the housekeeping genes examined. Finally, ecological context differentially affected the developmental phenotypes of distinct mutants, with implications for the evolution of development in variable environments.

RevDate: 2019-02-14

Dipp-Álvarez M, A Cruz-Ramírez (2019)

A Phylogenetic Study of the ANT Family Points to a preANT Gene as the Ancestor of Basal and euANT Transcription Factors in Land Plants.

Frontiers in plant science, 10:17.

Comparative genomics has revealed that members of early divergent lineages of land plants share a set of highly conserved transcription factors (TFs) with flowering plants. While gene copy numbers have expanded through time, it has been predicted that diversification, co-option, and reassembly of gene regulatory networks implicated in development are directly related to morphological innovations that led to more complex land plant bodies. Examples of key networks have been deeply studied in Arabidopsis thaliana, such as those involving the AINTEGUMENTA (ANT) gene family that encodes AP2-type TFs. These TFs play significant roles in plant development such as the maintenance of stem cell niches, the correct development of the embryo and the formation of lateral organs, as well as fatty acid metabolism. Previously, it has been hypothesized that the common ancestor of mosses and vascular plants encoded two ANT genes that later diversified in seed plants. However, algae and bryophyte sequences have been underrepresented from such phylogenetic analyses. To understand the evolution of ANT in a complete manner, we performed phylogenetic analyses of ANT protein sequences of representative species from across the Streptophyta clade, including algae, liverworts, and hornworts, previously unrepresented. Moreover, protein domain architecture, selection analyses, and regulatory cis elements prediction, allowed us to propose a scenario of how the evolution of ANT genes occurred. In this study we show that a duplication of a preANT-like gene in the ancestor of embryophytes may have given rise to the land plant-exclusive basalANT and euANT lineages. We hypothesize that the absence of euANT-type and basalANT-type sequences in algae, and its presence in extant land plant species, suggests that the divergence of pre-ANT into basal and eu-ANT clades in embryophytes may have influenced the conquest of land by plants, as ANT TFs play important roles in tolerance to desiccation and the establishment, maintenance, and development of complex multicellular structures which either became more complex or appeared in land plants.

RevDate: 2019-02-14

Junqueira Alves C, Yotoko K, Zou H, et al (2019)

Origin and evolution of plexins, semaphorins, and Met receptor tyrosine kinases.

Scientific reports, 9(1):1970 pii:10.1038/s41598-019-38512-y.

The transition from unicellular to multicellular organisms poses the question as to when genes that regulate cell-cell interactions emerged during evolution. The receptor and ligand pairing of plexins and semaphorins regulates cellular interactions in a wide range of developmental and physiological contexts. We surveyed here genomes of unicellular eukaryotes and of non-bilaterian and bilaterian Metazoa and performed phylogenetic analyses to gain insight into the evolution of plexin and semaphorin families. Remarkably, we detected plexins and semaphorins in unicellular choanoflagellates, indicating their evolutionary origin in a common ancestor of Choanoflagellida and Metazoa. The plexin domain structure is conserved throughout all clades; in contrast, semaphorins are structurally diverse. Choanoflagellate semaphorins are transmembrane proteins with multiple fibronectin type III domains following the N-terminal Sema domain (termed Sema-FN). Other previously not yet described semaphorin classes include semaphorins of Ctenophora with tandem immunoglobulin domains (Sema-IG) and secreted semaphorins of Echinoderamata (Sema-SP, Sema-SI). Our study also identified Met receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs), which carry a truncated plexin extracellular domain, in several bilaterian clades, indicating evolutionary origin in a common ancestor of Bilateria. In addition, a novel type of Met-like RTK with a complete plexin extracellular domain was detected in Lophotrochozoa and Echinodermata (termed Met-LP RTK). Our findings are consistent with an ancient function of plexins and semaphorins in regulating cytoskeletal dynamics and cell adhesion that predates their role as axon guidance molecules.

RevDate: 2019-02-14

Ferrari C, Proost S, Janowski M, et al (2019)

Kingdom-wide comparison reveals the evolution of diurnal gene expression in Archaeplastida.

Nature communications, 10(1):737 pii:10.1038/s41467-019-08703-2.

Plants have adapted to the diurnal light-dark cycle by establishing elaborate transcriptional programs that coordinate many metabolic, physiological, and developmental responses to the external environment. These transcriptional programs have been studied in only a few species, and their function and conservation across algae and plants is currently unknown. We performed a comparative transcriptome analysis of the diurnal cycle of nine members of Archaeplastida, and we observed that, despite large phylogenetic distances and dramatic differences in morphology and lifestyle, diurnal transcriptional programs of these organisms are similar. Expression of genes related to cell division and the majority of biological pathways depends on the time of day in unicellular algae but we did not observe such patterns at the tissue level in multicellular land plants. Hence, our study provides evidence for the universality of diurnal gene expression and elucidates its evolutionary history among different photosynthetic eukaryotes.

RevDate: 2019-02-11

Oborník M (2019)

In the beginning was the word: How terminology drives our understanding of endosymbiotic organelles.

Microbial cell (Graz, Austria), 6(2):134-141 pii:MIC0178E150.

The names we give objects of research, to some extent, predispose our ways of thinking about them. Misclassifications of Oomycota, Microsporidia, Myxosporidia, and Helicosporidia have obviously affected not only their formal taxonomic names, but also the methods and approaches with which they have been investigated. Therefore, it is important to name biological entities with accurate terms in order to avoid discrepancies in researching them. The endosymbiotic origin of mitochondria and plastids is now the most accepted scenario for their evolution. Since it is apparent that there is no natural definitive border between bacteria and semiautonomous organelles, I propose that mitochondria and plastids should be called bacteria and classified accordingly, in the bacterial classification system. I discuss some consequences of this approach, including: i) the resulting "changes" in the abundances of bacteria, ii) the definitions of terms like microbiome or multicellularity, and iii) the concept of endosymbiotic domestication.

RevDate: 2019-02-07

Tan J, He Q, Pentz JT, et al (2019)

Copper oxide nanoparticles promote the evolution of multicellularity in yeast.

Nanotoxicology [Epub ahead of print].

Engineered nanomaterials are rapidly becoming an essential component of modern technology. Thousands of tons of nanomaterials are manufactured, used, and subsequently released into the environment annually. While the presence of these engineered nanomaterials in the environment has profound effects on various biological systems in the short term, little work has been done to understand their consequences over long, evolutionary timescales. The evolution of multicellularity is a critical step in the origin of complex life on Earth and a unique strategy for microorganisms to alleviate adverse environmental impacts, yet the selective pressures that favor the evolution of multicellular groups remain poorly understood. Here, we show that engineered nanomaterials, specifically copper oxide nanoparticles (CuO NPs), promote the evolution of undifferentiated multicellularity in Baker's yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain Y55). Transcriptomic analysis suggests that multicellularity mitigates the negative effects of CuO NPs in yeast cells and shifts their metabolism from alcoholic fermentation towards aerobic respiration, potentially increasing resource efficiency and providing a fitness benefit during CuO NP exposure. Competition assays also confirm that the multicellular yeast possesses a fitness advantage when exposed to CuO NPs. Our results, therefore, demonstrate that nanoparticles can have profound and unexpected evolutionary consequences, underscoring the need for a more comprehensive understanding of the long-term biological impacts of nanomaterial pollution.

RevDate: 2019-02-05

Fischer MS, Jonkers W, NL Glass (2019)

Integration of Self and Non-self Recognition Modulates Asexual Cell-to-Cell Communication in Neurospora crassa.

Genetics pii:genetics.118.301780 [Epub ahead of print].

Cells rarely exist alone, which drives the evolution of diverse mechanisms for identifying and responding appropriately to the presence of other nearby cells. Filamentous fungi depend on somatic cell-to-cell communication and fusion for the development and maintenance of a multicellular, interconnected colony that is characteristic of this group of organisms. The filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa is a model for investigating the mechanisms of somatic cell-to-cell communication and fusion. N. crassa cells chemotropically grow toward genetically similar cells, which ultimately make physical contact and undergo cell fusion. Here, we describe the development of a Pprm1-luciferase reporter system that differentiates whether genes function upstream or downstream of a conserved MAP-Kinase (MAPK) signaling complex by using a set of mutants required for communication and cell fusion. The vast majority of these mutants are deficient for self-fusion and for fusion when paired with wild type cells. However, the Δham-11 mutant is unique in that fails to undergo self-fusion, but chemotropic interactions and cell fusion are restored in Δham-11 + wild-type interactions. In genetically dissimilar cells, chemotropic interactions are regulated by genetic differences at doc-1 and doc-2, which regulate pre-fusion non-self recognition; cells with dissimilar doc-1 and doc-2 alleles show greatly reduced cell fusion frequencies. Here, we show that HAM-11 functions in parallel with the DOC-1 and DOC-2 proteins to regulate activity of the MAPK signaling complex. Together our data support a model of integrated self and non-self recognition processes that modulate somatic cell-to-cell communication in N. crassa.

RevDate: 2019-02-05

Gonçalves DS, Ferreira MDS, AJ Guimarães (2019)

Extracellular Vesicles from the Protozoa Acanthamoeba castellanii: Their Role in Pathogenesis, Environmental Adaptation and Potential Applications.

Bioengineering (Basel, Switzerland), 6(1): pii:bioengineering6010013.

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are membranous compartments of distinct cellular origin and biogenesis, displaying different sizes and include exosomes, microvesicles, and apoptotic bodies. The EVs have been described in almost every living organism, from simple unicellular to higher evolutionary scale multicellular organisms, such as mammals. Several functions have been attributed to these structures, including roles in energy acquisition, cell-to-cell communication, gene expression modulation and pathogenesis. In this review, we described several aspects of the recently characterized EVs of the protozoa Acanthamoeba castellanii, a free-living amoeba (FLA) of emerging epidemiological importance, and compare their features to other parasites' EVs. These A. castellanii EVs are comprised of small microvesicles and exosomes and carry a wide range of molecules involved in many biological processes like cell signaling, carbohydrate metabolism and proteolytic activity, such as kinases, glucanases, and proteases, respectively. Several biomedical applications of these EVs have been proposed lately, including their use in vaccination, biofuel production, and the pharmaceutical industry, such as platforms for drug delivery.

RevDate: 2019-02-04

Baluška F, A Reber (2019)

Sentience and Consciousness in Single Cells: How the First Minds Emerged in Unicellular Species.

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

A reductionistic, bottom-up, cellular-based concept of the origins of sentience and consciousness has been put forward. Because all life is based on cells, any evolutionary theory of the emergence of sentience and consciousness must be grounded in mechanisms that take place in prokaryotes, the simplest unicellular species. It has been posited that subjective awareness is a fundamental property of cellular life. It emerges as an inherent feature of, and contemporaneously with, the very first life-forms. All other varieties of mentation are the result of evolutionary mechanisms based on this singular event. Therefore, all forms of sentience and consciousness evolve from this original instantiation in prokaryotes. It has also been identified that three cellular structures and mechanisms that likely play critical roles here are excitable membranes, oscillating cytoskeletal polymers, and structurally flexible proteins. Finally, basic biophysical principles are proposed to guide those processes that underly the emergence of supracellular sentience from cellular sentience in multicellular organisms.

RevDate: 2019-02-01

Kosach V, Shkarina K, Kravchenko A, et al (2018)

Nucleocytoplasmic distribution of S6K1 depends on the density and motility of MCF-7 cells in vitro.

F1000Research, 7:1332.

Background: The ribosomal protein S6 kinase 1 (S6K1) is one of the main components of the mTOR/S6K signal transduction pathway, which controls cellular metabolism, autophagy, growth, and proliferation. Overexpression of S6K1 was detected in tumors of different origin including breast cancer, which was associated with a worse disease outcome. In addition, significant accumulation of S6K1 was found in the nuclei of breast carcinoma cells suggesting the implication of kinase nuclear substrates in tumor progression. However, this aspect of S6K1 functioning is poorly understood. The main aim of the present work was to study the subcellular localization of S6K1 in breast cancer cells with focus on cell migration. Methods: Multicellular spheroids of MCF-7 cells were generated using agarose-coated Petri dishes. Cell migration was initiated by spheroids seeding onto growth surface and subsequent cultivation for 24 and 72 hours. S6K1 subcellular localization was studied in human breast cancer and normal tissue, 2D and 3D MCF-7 cell culture using immunofluorescence analysis and confocal microscopy. Results: Analysis of histological sections of human breast cancer and normal tissue revealed predominantly nuclear localization of S6K1 in breast malignant cells and mainly cytoplasmic one in conditionally normal cells. In vitro studies of MCF-7 cells showed that the subcellular localization of S6K1 depends on the cell density in the monolayer culture. S6K1 relocalization from the cytoplasm into the nucleus was detected in MCF-7 cells migrating from multicellular spheroids onto growth surface. Immunofluorescence analysis of S6K1 and immunocoprecipitation assay revealed the colocalization and interaction between S6K1 and transcription factor TBR2 (T-box brain protein 2) in MCF-7 cells. Bioinformatical analysis revealed existence of several phosphorylation sites in TBR2 for S6K1 suggesting that TBR2 can be a target for phosphorylation and regulation by S6K1. Conclusions: Subcellular localization of S6K1 depends on the density and locomotor activity of the MCF-7 cells.

RevDate: 2019-01-30

Helsen J, Frickel J, Jelier R, et al (2019)

Network hubs affect evolvability.

PLoS biology, 17(1):e3000111 pii:PBIOLOGY-D-18-01275 [Epub ahead of print].

The regulatory processes in cells are typically organized into complex genetic networks. However, it is still unclear how this network structure modulates the evolution of cellular regulation. One would expect that mutations in central and highly connected modules of a network (so-called hubs) would often result in a breakdown and therefore be an evolutionary dead end. However, a new study by Koubkova-Yu and colleagues finds that in some circumstances, altering a hub can offer a quick evolutionary advantage. Specifically, changes in a hub can induce significant phenotypic changes that allow organisms to move away from a local fitness peak, whereas the fitness defects caused by the perturbed hub can be mitigated by mutations in its interaction partners. Together, the results demonstrate how network architecture shapes and facilitates evolutionary adaptation.

RevDate: 2019-01-28

Parey E, A Crombach (2019)

Evolution of the D. melanogaster chromatin landscape and its associated proteins.

Genome biology and evolution pii:5303545 [Epub ahead of print].

In the nucleus of eukaryotic cells, genomic DNA associates with numerous protein complexes and RNAs, forming the chromatin landscape. Through a genome-wide study of chromatin-associated proteins in Drosophila cells, five major chromatin types were identified as a refinement of the traditional binary division into hetero- and euchromatin. These five types were given colour names in reference to the Greek word chroma. They are defined by distinct but overlapping combinations of proteins and differ in biological and biochemical properties, including transcriptional activity, replication timing, and histone modifications. In this work, we assess the evolutionary relationships of chromatin-associated proteins and present an integrated view of the evolution and conservation of the fruit fly D. melanogaster chromatin landscape. We combine homology prediction across a wide range of species with gene age inference methods to determine the origin of each chromatin-associated protein. This provides insight into the evolution of the different chromatin types. Our results indicate that for the euchromatic types, YELLOW and RED, young associated proteins are more specialized than old ones. And for genes found in either chromatin type, intron/exon structure is lineage-specific. Next, we provide evidence that a subset of GREEN-associated proteins is involved in a centromere drive in D. melanogaster. Our results on BLUE chromatin support the hypothesis that the emergence of Polycomb Group proteins is linked to eukaryotic multicellularity. In light of these results, we discuss how the regulatory complexification of chromatin links to the origins of eukaryotic multicellularity.

RevDate: 2019-01-27

Nedelcu AM (2019)

Independent evolution of complex development in animals and plants: deep homology and lateral gene transfer.

Development genes and evolution pii:10.1007/s00427-019-00626-8 [Epub ahead of print].

The evolution of multicellularity is a premier example of phenotypic convergence: simple multicellularity evolved independently many times, and complex multicellular phenotypes are found in several distant groups. Furthermore, both animal and plant lineages have independently reached extreme levels of morphological, functional, and developmental complexity. This study explores the genetic basis for the parallel evolution of complex multicellularity and development in the animal and green plant (i.e., green algae and land plants) lineages. Specifically, the study (i) identifies the SAND domain-a DNA-binding domain with important roles in the regulation of cell proliferation and differentiation, as unique to animals, green algae, and land plants; and (ii) suggests that the parallel deployment of this ancestral domain in similar regulatory roles could have contributed to the independent evolution of complex development in these distant groups. Given the deep animal-green plant divergence, the limited distribution of the SAND domain is best explained by invoking a lateral gene transfer (LGT) event from a green alga to an early metazoan. The presence of a sequence motif specifically shared by a family of SAND-containing transcription factors involved in the evolution of complex multicellularity in volvocine algae and two types of SAND proteins that emerged early in the evolution of animals is consistent with this scenario. Overall, these findings imply that (i) in addition to be involved in the evolution of similar phenotypes, deep homologous sequences can also contribute to shaping parallel evolutionary trajectories in distant lineages, and (ii) LGT could provide an additional source of latent homologous sequences that can be deployed in analogous roles and affect the evolutionary potentials of distantly related groups.

RevDate: 2019-01-24
CmpDate: 2019-01-24

Titus MA, HV Goodson (2018)

Developing Evolutionary Cell Biology.

Developmental cell, 47(4):395-396.

Recent advances in both phylogenetic comparisons and the development of experimentally tractable organisms, in the growing field of evolutionary cell biology, pave the way for gaining a molecular understanding of the development of multicellularity in the animal lineage.

RevDate: 2019-01-22

Passow CN, Bronikowski AM, Blackmon H, et al (2019)

Contrasting patterns of rapid molecular evolution within the p53 network across mammal and sauropsid lineages.

Genome biology and evolution pii:5298316 [Epub ahead of print].

Cancer is a threat to multicellular organisms, yet the molecular evolution of pathways that prevent the accumulation of genetic damage has been largely unexplored. The p53 network regulates how cells respond to DNA-damaging stressors. While there has been research on the p53 gene and the transcription factors it encodes, we know little about p53 network regulation. In this study, we performed comparative genetic analyses of the p53 network to quantify the number of genes within the network that are rapidly evolving and constrained, and the association between lifespan and the patterns of evolution. Based on our previous published dataset, we used genomes and transcriptomes of 34 sauropsids and 32 mammals to analyze the molecular evolution of 45 genes within the p53 network. We found that genes in the network exhibited evidence of positive selection and divergent molecular evolution in mammals and sauropsids. Specifically, we found more evidence of positive selection in sauropsids than mammals, indicating that sauropsids have different targets of selection. In sauropsids, more genes upstream in the network exhibited positive selection, and this observation is driven by positive selection in squamates, which is consistent with previous work showing rapid divergence and adaptation of metabolic and stress pathways in this group. Finally, we identified a negative correlation between maximum lifespan and the number of genes with evidence of divergent molecular evolution, indicating that species with longer lifespans likely experienced less variation in selection across the network. In summary, our study offers evidence that comparative genomic approaches can provide insights into how molecular networks have evolved across diverse species.

RevDate: 2019-01-22

Coelho SM, Mignerot L, JM Cock (2019)

Origin and evolution of sex-determination systems in the brown algae.

The New phytologist [Epub ahead of print].

Sexual reproduction is a nearly universal feature of eukaryotic organisms. Meiosis appears to have had a single ancient origin but the mechanisms underlying male or female sex determination are diverse and have emerged repeatedly and independently in the different eukaryotic groups. The brown algae are a group of multicellular photosynthetic eukaryotes that have a distinct evolutionary history compared with animals and plants, as they have been evolving independently for over a billion years. Here, we review recent work using the brown alga Ectocarpus as a model organism to study haploid sex chromosomes, and highlight how the diversity of reproductive and life cycle features of the brown algae offer unique opportunities to characterise the evolutionary forces and the mechanisms underlying the evolution of sex determination. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2019-01-21

Peel S, Corrigan AM, Ehrhardt B, et al (2019)

Introducing an automated high content confocal imaging approach for Organs-on-Chips.

Lab on a chip [Epub ahead of print].

Organ-Chips are micro-engineered systems that aim to recapitulate the organ microenvironment. Implementation of Organ-Chips within the pharmaceutical industry aims to improve the probability of success of drugs reaching late stage clinical trial by generating models for drug discovery that are of human origin and have disease relevance. We are adopting the use of Organ-Chips for enhancing pre-clinical efficacy and toxicity evaluation and prediction. Whilst capturing cellular phenotype via imaging in response to drug exposure is a useful readout in these models, application has been limited due to difficulties in imaging the chips at scale. Here we created an end-to-end, automated workflow to capture and analyse confocal images of multicellular Organ-Chips to assess detailed cellular phenotype across large batches of chips. By automating this process, we not only reduced acquisition time, but we also minimised process variability and user bias. This enabled us to establish, for the first time, a framework of statistical best practice for Organ-Chip imaging, creating the capability of using Organ-Chips and imaging for routine testing in drug discovery applications that rely on quantitative image data for decision making. We tested our approach using benzbromarone, whose mechanism of toxicity has been linked to mitochondrial damage with subsequent induction of apoptosis and necrosis, and staurosporine, a tool inducer of apoptosis. We also applied this workflow to assess the hepatotoxic effect of an active AstraZeneca drug candidate illustrating its applicability in drug safety assessment beyond testing tool compounds. Finally, we have demonstrated that this approach could be adapted to Organ-Chips of different shapes and sizes through application to a Kidney-Chip.

RevDate: 2019-01-21

Bogdan MJ, T Savin (2018)

Fingering instabilities in tissue invasion: an active fluid model.

Royal Society open science, 5(12):181579 pii:rsos181579.

Metastatic tumours often invade healthy neighbouring tissues by forming multicellular finger-like protrusions emerging from the cancer mass. To understand the mechanical context behind this phenomenon, we here develop a minimalist fluid model of a self-propelled, growing biological tissue. The theory involves only four mechanical parameters and remains analytically trackable in various settings. As an application of the model, we study the evolution of a two-dimensional circular droplet made of our active and expanding fluid, and embedded in a passive non-growing tissue. This system could be used to model the evolution of a carcinoma in an epithelial layer. We find that our description can explain the propensity of tumour tissues to fingering instabilities, as conditioned by the magnitude of active traction and the growth kinetics. We are also able to derive predictions for the tumour size at the onset of metastasis, and for the number of subsequent invasive fingers. Our active fluid model may help describe a wider range of biological processes, including wound healing and developmental patterning.

RevDate: 2019-01-19

Rodríguez-Pascual F (2019)

How evolution made the matrix punch at the multicellularity party.

The Journal of biological chemistry, 294(3):770-771.

The basement membrane is a specialized sheet-like form of the extracellular matrix that provides structural support to epithelial cells and tissues, while influencing multiple biological functions, and was essential in the transition to multicellularity. By exploring a variety of genomes, Darris et al. provide evidence that the emergence and divergence of a multifunctional Goodpasture antigen-binding protein (GPBP), a basement membrane constituent, played a role in this transition. These findings help to explain how GPBP contributed to the formation of these extracellular matrices and to more precisely define the transition to multicellular organisms.

RevDate: 2019-01-17

Yoshida T, Prudent M, A D'alessandro (2019)

Red blood cell storage lesion: causes and potential clinical consequences.

Blood transfusion = Trasfusione del sangue, 17(1):27-52.

Red blood cells (RBCs) are a specialised organ that enabled the evolution of multicellular organisms by supplying a sufficient quantity of oxygen to cells that cannot obtain oxygen directly from ambient air via diffusion, thereby fueling oxidative phosphorylation for highly efficient energy production. RBCs have evolved to optimally serve this purpose by packing high concentrations of haemoglobin in their cytosol and shedding nuclei and other organelles. During their circulatory lifetimes in humans of approximately 120 days, RBCs are poised to transport oxygen by metabolic/redox enzymes until they accumulate damage and are promptly removed by the reticuloendothelial system. These elaborate evolutionary adaptions, however, are no longer effective when RBCs are removed from the circulation and stored hypothermically in blood banks, where they develop storage-induced damages ("storage lesions") that accumulate over the shelf life of stored RBCs. This review attempts to provide a comprehensive view of the literature on the subject of RBC storage lesions and their purported clinical consequences by incorporating the recent exponential growth in available data obtained from "omics" technologies in addition to that published in more traditional literature. To summarise this vast amount of information, the subject is organised in figures with four panels: i) root causes; ii) RBC storage lesions; iii) physiological effects; and iv) reported outcomes. The driving forces for the development of the storage lesions can be roughly classified into two root causes: i) metabolite accumulation/depletion, the target of various interventions (additive solutions) developed since the inception of blood banking; and ii) oxidative damages, which have been reported for decades but not addressed systemically until recently. Downstream physiological consequences of these storage lesions, derived mainly by in vitro studies, are described, and further potential links to clinical consequences are discussed. Interventions to postpone the onset and mitigate the extent of the storage lesion development are briefly reviewed. In addition, we briefly discuss the results from recent randomised controlled trials on the age of stored blood and clinical outcomes of transfusion.

RevDate: 2019-01-17

Patthy L (2019)

Exon skipping-rich transcriptomes of animals reflect the significance of exon-shuffling in metazoan proteome evolution.

Biology direct, 14(1):2 pii:10.1186/s13062-019-0231-3.

ᅟ: Animals are known to have higher rates of exon skipping than other eukaryotes. In a recent study, Grau-Bové et al. (Genome Biology 19:135, 2018) have used RNA-seq data across 65 eukaryotic species to investigate when and how this high prevalence of exon skipping evolved. They have found that bilaterian Metazoa have significantly increased exon skipping frequencies compared to all other eukaryotic groups and that exon skipping in nearly all animals, including non-bilaterians, is strongly enriched for frame-preserving events. The authors have hypothesized that "the increase of exon skipping rates in animals followed a two-step process. First, exon skipping in early animals became enriched for frame-preserving events. Second, bilaterian ancestors dramatically increased their exon skipping frequencies, likely driven by the interplay between a shift in their genome architectures towards more exon definition and recruitment of frame-preserving exon skipping events to functionally diversify their cell-specific proteomes." Here we offer a different explanation for the higher frequency of frame-preserving exon skipping in Metzoa than in all other eukaryotes. In our view these observations reflect the fact that the majority of multidomain proteins unique to metazoa and indispensable for metazoan type multicellularity were assembled by exon-shuffling from 'symmetrical' modules (i.e. modules flanked by introns of the same phase), whereas this type of protein evolution played a minor role in other groups of eukaryotes, including plants. The higher frequency of 'symmetrical' exons in Metazoan genomes provides an explanation for the enrichment for frame-preserving events since skipping or inclusion of 'symmetrical' modules during alternative splicing does not result in a reading-frame shift. REVIEWERS: This article was reviewed by Manuel Irimia, Ashish Lal and Erez Levanon. The reviewers were nominated by the Editorial Board.

RevDate: 2019-01-16

Russell SL (2019)

Transmission mode is associated with environment type and taxa across bacteria-eukaryote symbioses: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

FEMS microbiology letters pii:5289862 [Epub ahead of print].

Symbiotic associations between bacteria and eukaryotes exhibit a range of transmission strategies. The rates and distributions of transmission modes have not been thoroughly investigated across associations, despite their consequences on symbiont and host evolution. To address this empirically, I compiled data from the literature on bacteria-multicellular eukaryote associations for which transmission mode data was available. Of the total 528 analyzed symbioses, 21.2% were strictly horizontally transmitted, 36.0% exhibited some form of mixed mode transmission, and 42.8% were strictly vertically transmitted. Controlling for phylogenetically independent symbiosis events revealed modes were approximately equally distributed among the 113 independent associations, at 32.1 + /-0.57% horizontal, 37.8 + /-1.4% mixed mode, and 31.1 + /-1.3% vertical transmission. Binning symbioses by environment revealed an abundance of vertical transmission on land and a lack of it in aquatic environments. The naturally-occurring uneven distribution of taxa among environments prevented controlling for host/symbiont phylogeny. However, the results were robust over a large number of independently evolved associations, suggesting that many vertically transmitted bacteria are capable of horizontal transmission and barriers exist that reduce the rate of these events. Thus, both the environment type and host/symbiont taxa influence symbiont transmission mode evolution.

RevDate: 2019-01-15

Arun A, Coelho SM, Peters AF, et al (2019)

Convergent recruitment of TALE homeodomain life cycle regulators to direct sporophyte development in land plants and brown algae.

eLife, 8: pii:43101 [Epub ahead of print].

Three amino acid loop extension homeodomain transcription factors (TALE HD TFs) act as life cycle regulators in green algae and land plants. In mosses these regulators are required for the deployment of the sporophyte developmental program. We demonstrate that mutations in either of two TALE HD TF genes, OUROBOROS or SAMSARA, in the brown alga Ectocarpus result in conversion of the sporophyte generation into a gametophyte. The OUROBOROS and SAMSARA proteins heterodimerise in a similar manner to TALE HD TF life cycle regulators in the green lineage. These observations demonstrate that TALE-HD-TF-based life cycle regulation systems have an extremely ancient origin, and that these systems have been independently recruited to regulate sporophyte developmental programs in at least two different complex multicellular eukaryotic supergroups, Archaeplastida and Chromalveolata.

RevDate: 2019-01-10

Oxford JT, Reeck JC, MJ Hardy (2019)

Extracellular Matrix in Development and Disease.

International journal of molecular sciences, 20(1): pii:ijms20010205.

The evolution of multicellular metazoan organisms was marked by the inclusion of an extracellular matrix (ECM), a multicomponent, proteinaceous network between cells that contributes to the spatial arrangement of cells and the resulting tissue organization. [...].

RevDate: 2019-01-09

Li XG, Zhang WJ, Xiao X, et al (2018)

Pressure-Regulated Gene Expression and Enzymatic Activity of the Two Periplasmic Nitrate Reductases in the Deep-Sea Bacterium Shewanella piezotolerans WP3.

Frontiers in microbiology, 9:3173.

Shewanella species are widely distributed in marine environments, from the shallow coasts to the deepest sea bottom. Most Shewanella species possess two isoforms of periplasmic nitrate reductases (NAP-α and NAP-β) and are able to generate energy through nitrate reduction. However, the contributions of the two NAP systems to bacterial deep-sea adaptation remain unclear. In this study, we found that the deep-sea denitrifier Shewanella piezotolerans WP3 was capable of performing nitrate respiration under high hydrostatic pressure (HHP) conditions. In the wild-type strain, NAP-β played a dominant role and was induced by both the substrate and an elevated pressure, whereas NAP-α was constitutively expressed at a relatively lower level. Genetic studies showed that each NAP system alone was sufficient to fully sustain nitrate-dependent growth and that both NAP systems exhibited substrate and pressure inducible expression patterns when the other set was absent. Biochemical assays further demonstrated that NAP-α had a higher tolerance to elevated pressure. Collectively, we report for the first time the distinct properties and contributions of the two NAP systems to nitrate reduction under different pressure conditions. The results will shed light on the mechanisms of bacterial HHP adaptation and nitrogen cycling in the deep-sea environment.

RevDate: 2019-01-08

Huitzil S, Sandoval-Motta S, Frank A, et al (2018)

Modeling the Role of the Microbiome in Evolution.

Frontiers in physiology, 9:1836.

There is undeniable evidence showing that bacteria have strongly influenced the evolution and biological functions of multicellular organisms. It has been hypothesized that many host-microbial interactions have emerged so as to increase the adaptive fitness of the holobiont (the host plus its microbiota). Although this association has been corroborated for many specific cases, general mechanisms explaining the role of the microbiota in the evolution of the host are yet to be understood. Here we present an evolutionary model in which a network representing the host adapts in order to perform a predefined function. During its adaptation, the host network (HN) can interact with other networks representing its microbiota. We show that this interaction greatly accelerates and improves the adaptability of the HN without decreasing the adaptation of the microbial networks. Furthermore, the adaptation of the HN to perform several functions is possible only when it interacts with many different bacterial networks in a specialized way (each bacterial network participating in the adaptation of one function). Disrupting these interactions often leads to non-adaptive states, reminiscent of dysbiosis, where none of the networks the holobiont consists of can perform their respective functions. By considering the holobiont as a unit of selection and focusing on the adaptation of the host to predefined but arbitrary functions, our model predicts the need for specialized diversity in the microbiota. This structural and dynamical complexity in the holobiont facilitates its adaptation, whereas a homogeneous (non-specialized) microbiota is inconsequential or even detrimental to the holobiont's evolution. To our knowledge, this is the first model in which symbiotic interactions, diversity, specialization and dysbiosis in an ecosystem emerge as a result of coevolution. It also helps us understand the emergence of complex organisms, as they adapt more easily to perform multiple tasks than non-complex ones.

RevDate: 2019-01-07

Bowman JL, Briginshaw LN, SN Florent (2019)

Evolution and co-option of developmental regulatory networks in early land plants.

Current topics in developmental biology, 131:35-53.

Land plants evolved from an ancestral alga from which they inherited developmental and physiological characters. A key innovation of land plants is a life cycle with an alternation of generations, with both haploid gametophyte and diploid sporophyte generations having complex multicellular bodies. The origins of the developmental genetic programs patterning these bodies, whether inherited from an algal ancestor or evolved de novo, and whether programs were co-opted between generations, are largely open questions. We first provide a framework for land plant evolution and co-option of developmental regulatory pathways and then examine two cases in more detail.

RevDate: 2019-01-07

Hackenberg D, D Twell (2019)

The evolution and patterning of male gametophyte development.

Current topics in developmental biology, 131:257-298.

The reproductive adaptations of land plants have played a key role in their terrestrial colonization and radiation. This encompasses mechanisms used for the production, dispersal and union of gametes to support sexual reproduction. The production of small motile male gametes and larger immotile female gametes (oogamy) in specialized multicellular gametangia evolved in the charophyte algae, the closest extant relatives of land plants. Reliance on water and motile male gametes for sexual reproduction was retained by bryophytes and basal vascular plants, but was overcome in seed plants by the dispersal of pollen and the guided delivery of non-motile sperm to the female gametes. Here we discuss the evolutionary history of male gametogenesis in streptophytes (green plants) and the underlying developmental biology, including recent advances in bryophyte and angiosperm models. We conclude with a perspective on research trends that promise to deliver a deeper understanding of the evolutionary and developmental mechanisms of male gametogenesis in plants.

RevDate: 2019-01-07

Szövényi P, Waller M, A Kirbis (2019)

Evolution of the plant body plan.

Current topics in developmental biology, 131:1-34.

Land plants evolved about 470 million years ago or even earlier, in a biological crust-dominated terrestrial flora. The origin of land plants was probably one of the most significant events in Earth's history, which ultimately contributed to the greening of the terrestrial environment and opened up the way for the diversification of both plant and non-plant lineages. Fossil and phylogenetic evidence suggest that land plants have evolved from fresh-water charophycean algae, which were physiologically, genetically, and developmentally potentiated to make the transition to land. Since all land plants have biphasic life cycles, in contrast to the haplontic life cycle of Charophytes, the evolution of land plants was linked to the origin of a multicellular sporophytic phase. Land plants have evolved complex body plans in a way that overall complexity increased toward the tip of the land plant tree of life. Early forms were unbranched, with terminal sporangia and simple rhizoid rooting structures but without vasculature and leaves. Later on, branched forms with lateral sporangia appeared and paved the route for the evolution for indeterminacy. Finally, leaves and roots evolved to enable efficient nutrient transport to support a large plant body. The fossil record also suggests that almost all plant organs, such as leaves and roots, evolved multiple times independently over the course of land plant evolution. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge on the evolution of the land plant body plan by combining evidence of the fossil record, phylogenetics, and developmental biology.

RevDate: 2019-01-03

Murre C (2019)

Helix-loop-helix proteins and the advent of cellular diversity: 30 years of discovery.

Genes & development, 33(1-2):6-25.

Helix-loop-helix (HLH) proteins are dimeric transcription factors that control lineage- and developmental-specific gene programs. Genes encoding for HLH proteins arose in unicellular organisms >600 million years ago and then duplicated and diversified from ancestral genes across the metazoan and plant kingdoms to establish multicellularity. Hundreds of HLH proteins have been identified with diverse functions in a wide variety of cell types. HLH proteins orchestrate lineage specification, commitment, self-renewal, proliferation, differentiation, and homing. HLH proteins also regulate circadian clocks, protect against hypoxic stress, promote antigen receptor locus assembly, and program transdifferentiation. HLH proteins deposit or erase epigenetic marks, activate noncoding transcription, and sequester chromatin remodelers across the chromatin landscape to dictate enhancer-promoter communication and somatic recombination. Here the evolution of HLH genes, the structures of HLH domains, and the elaborate activities of HLH proteins in multicellular life are discussed.

RevDate: 2018-12-27

Tsitsekian D, Daras G, Alatzas A, et al (2018)

Comprehensive analysis of Lon proteases in plants highlights independent gene duplication events.

Journal of experimental botany pii:5260396 [Epub ahead of print].

The degradation of damaged proteins is essential for cell viability. Lon is a highly conserved ATP-dependent serine-lysine protease that maintains proteostasis. We performed a comparative genome-wide analysis to determine the evolutionary history of Lon proteases. Prokaryotes and unicellular eukaryotes retained a single Lon copy, whereas multicellular eukaryotes acquired a peroxisomal copy, in addition to the mitochondrial gene, to sustain the evolution of higher order organ structures. Land plants developed small Lon gene families. Despite the Lon2 peroxisomal paralog, Lon genes triplicated in the Arabidopsis lineage through sequential evolutionary events including whole-genome and tandem duplications. The retention of Lon1, Lon4, and Lon3 triplicates relied on their differential and even contrasting expression patterns, distinct subcellular targeting mechanisms, and functional divergence. Lon1 seems similar to the pre-duplication ancestral gene unit, whereas the duplication of Lon3 and Lon4 is evolutionarily recent. In the wider context of plant evolution, papaya is the only genome with a single ancestral Lon1-type gene. The evolutionary trend among plants is to acquire Lon copies with ambiguous pre-sequences for dual-targeting to mitochondria and chloroplasts, and a substrate recognition domain that deviates from the ancestral Lon1 type. Lon genes constitute a paradigm of dynamic evolution contributing to understanding the functional fate of gene duplicates.

RevDate: 2018-12-27

Måløy M, Måløy F, Lahoz-Beltrá R, et al (2018)

An extended Moran process that captures the struggle for fitness.

Mathematical biosciences pii:S0025-5564(18)30234-7 [Epub ahead of print].

When a new type of individual appears in a stable population, the newcomer is typically not advantageous. Due to stochasticity, the new type can grow in numbers, but the newcomers can only become advantageous if they manage to change the environment in such a way that they increase their fitness. This dynamics is observed in several situations in which a relatively stable population is invaded by an alternative strategy, for instance the evolution of cooperation among bacteria, the invasion of cancer in a multicellular organism and the evolution of ideas that contradict social norms. These examples also show that, by generating different versions of itself, the new type increases the probability of winning the struggle for fitness. Our model captures the imposed cooperation whereby the first generation of newcomers dies while changing the environment such that the next generations become more advantageous.

RevDate: 2018-12-26

Denbo S, Aono K, Kai T, et al (2018)

Revision of the Capsaspora genome using read mating information adjusts the view on premetazoan genome.

Development, growth & differentiation [Epub ahead of print].

The genome sequences of unicellular holozoans, the closest relatives to animals, are shedding light on the evolution of animal multicellularity, shaping the genetic contents of the putative premetazoans. However, the assembly quality of the genomes remains poor compared to the major model organisms such as human and fly. Improving the assembly is critical for precise comparative genomics studies and further molecular biological studies requiring accurate sequence information such as enhancer analysis and genome editing. In this report, we present a new strategy to improve the assembly by fully exploiting the information of Illumina mate-pair reads. By visualizing the distance and orientation of the mapped read pairs, we could highlight the regions where possible assembly errors exist in the genome sequence of Capsaspora, a lineage of unicellular holozoans. Manual modification of these errors repaired 590 assembly problems in total and reassembled 84 supercontigs into 55. Our telomere prediction analysis using the read pairs containing the pan-eukaryotic telomere-like sequence identified at least 13 chromosomes. The resulting new assembly posed us a re-annotation of 112 genes, including 15 putative receptor protein tyrosine kinases. Our strategy thus provides a useful approach for improving assemblies of draft genomes, and the new Capsaspora genome offers us an opportunity to adjust the view on the genome of the unicellular animal ancestor.

RevDate: 2018-12-21

Ortega-Escalante JA, Kwok O, SM Miller (2018)

New Selectable Markers for Volvox carteri Transformation.

Protist, 170(1):52-63 pii:S1434-4610(18)30119-6 [Epub ahead of print].

Volvox carteri is an excellent model for investigating the evolution of multicellularity and cell differentiation, and the rate of future progress with this system will depend on improved molecular genetic tools. Several selectable markers for nuclear transformation of V. carteri have been developed, including the nitrate reductase (nitA) gene, but it would be useful to have additional markers to multiplex transgenes in this species. To further facilitate molecular genetic analyses of V. carteri, we developed two new selectable markers that provide rapid, easily selected, and stable resistance to the antibiotics hygromycin and blasticidin. We generated constructs with Volvox-specific regulatory sequences and codon-optimized hygromycin (VcHyg) and blasticidin (VcBlast) resistance genes from Coccidioides posadasii and Bacillus cereus, respectively. With these constructs, transformants were obtained via biolistic bombardment at rates of 0.5-13 per million target cells bombarded. Antibiotic-resistant survivors were readily isolated 7days post bombardment. VcHyg and VcBlast transgenes and transcripts were detected in transformants. Co-transformation rates using the VcHyg or VcBlast markers with unselected genes were comparable to those obtained with nitA. These results indicate that the pVcHyg and pVcBlast plasmids are highly efficient and convenient for transforming and co-transforming a broad range of V. carteri strains.

RevDate: 2018-12-21

Cai Y, Wang Y, Xu H, et al (2018)

Positive magnetic resonance angiography using ultrafine ferritin-based iron oxide nanoparticles.

Nanoscale [Epub ahead of print].

Iron oxide nanoparticles with good biocompatibility can serve as safe magnetic resonance imaging contrast agents. Herein, we report that ultrafine ferritin-based iron oxide (hematite/maghemite) nanoparticles synthesized by controlled biomimetic mineralization using genetically recombinant human H chain ferritin can be used as a positive contrast agent in magnetic resonance angiography. The synthesized magnetoferritin with an averaged core size of 2.2 ± 0.7 nm (hereafter named M-HFn-2.2) shows a r1 value of 0.86 mM-1 s-1 and a r2/r1 ratio of 25.1 at a 7 T magnetic field. Blood pool imaging on mice using the M-HFn-2.2 nanoparticles that were injected through a tail vein by single injection at a dose of 0.54 mM Fe per kg mouse body weight enabled detecting detailed vascular nets at 3 minutes post-injection; the MR signal intensity continuously enhanced up to 2 hours post-injection, which is much longer than that of the commercial magnevist (Gd-DTPA) contrast. Moreover, biodistribution examination indicates that organs such as liver, spleen and kidney safely cleared the injected nanoparticles within one day after the injection, demonstrating no risk of iron overload in test mice. Therefore, this study sheds light on developing high-performance gadolinium free positive magnetic resonance contrast agents for biomedical applications.

RevDate: 2018-12-20

Chen Y, Ikeda K, Yoneshiro T, et al (2018)

Thermal stress induces glycolytic beige fat formation via a myogenic state.

Nature pii:10.1038/s41586-018-0801-z [Epub ahead of print].

Environmental cues profoundly affect cellular plasticity in multicellular organisms. For instance, exercise promotes a glycolytic-to-oxidative fibre-type switch in skeletal muscle, and cold acclimation induces beige adipocyte biogenesis in adipose tissue. However, the molecular mechanisms by which physiological or pathological cues evoke developmental plasticity remain incompletely understood. Here we report a type of beige adipocyte that has a critical role in chronic cold adaptation in the absence of β-adrenergic receptor signalling. This beige fat is distinct from conventional beige fat with respect to developmental origin and regulation, and displays enhanced glucose oxidation. We therefore refer to it as glycolytic beige fat. Mechanistically, we identify GA-binding protein α as a regulator of glycolytic beige adipocyte differentiation through a myogenic intermediate. Our study reveals a non-canonical adaptive mechanism by which thermal stress induces progenitor cell plasticity and recruits a distinct form of thermogenic cell that is required for energy homeostasis and survival.

RevDate: 2018-12-19

Solórzano-Cascante P, Sánchez-Chiang N, VM Jiménez (2018)

Explant Type, Culture System, 6-Benzyladenine, Meta-Topolin and Encapsulation Affect Indirect Somatic Embryogenesis and Regeneration in Carica papaya L.

Frontiers in plant science, 9:1769.

A protocol to propagate papaya hybrid plants through indirect somatic embryogenesis was developed considering the effect of explant type, culture system, particular cytokinins and encapsulation, in different stages of the process. Optimal 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) concentrations for non-embryogenic callus formation ranged between 9.0 and 27.1 μM in half-cut seeds, while higher concentrations were harmful. Non-embryogenic callus was also obtained with 22-158 μM 2,4-D from hypocotyl segments. Callus with embryogenic structures was only obtained in half-cut seeds cultured in the darkness on half-strength Murashige and Skoog culture medium supplemented with 2,4-D, while hypocotyl segments and isolated zygotic embryos failed to produce this type of callus regardless of the 2,4-D and sucrose (30 and 70 g l-1) concentrations tested in this study. Both, embryogenic callus development and quantity of somatic embryos formed per embryogenic callus, which ranged between 11 and 31 units after 14 months, required 2,4-D, but without any effect of the concentration. Histological studies confirmed the multicellular origin of the somatic embryos. In further steps, liquid medium induced over four times more somatic embryos than agar-gelled medium and showed significantly higher production of globular somatic embryos (85 vs. 57%). Both, 6-benzyladenine (BA) and meta-topolin (Mtop) stimulated sprouting (40-45%) of the somatic embryos (development of shoots only) in concentrations of up to 2.7 and 10 μM, respectively. Sprouting probability showed a 2nd order polynomial trend despite the range of concentration used for each cytokinin. This is the first report about the positive effect of Mtop on the apical shoot development of Carica papaya somatic embryos known to the authors. Radicle growth was observed in 5% or less of the cultivated embryos, regardless of the BA concentration. Finally, all encapsulation conditions tested (2.5, 3.5, and 4.5% sodium alginate, combined with 50 and 100 mM CaCl2) reduced sprouting of somatic embryos when compared to the non-encapsulated ones, whereas capsule hardness showed low correlation with embryo sprouting. Embryos were further cultivated until they became plantlets approximately 5 cm long. They were acclimatized and afterward planted in the field, where they flowered and produced fruit.

RevDate: 2018-12-18

Millán I, Piñero-Ramos JD, Lara I, et al (2018)

Oxidative Stress in the Newborn Period: Useful Biomarkers in the Clinical Setting.

Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland), 7(12): pii:antiox7120193.

Aerobic metabolism is highly efficient in providing energy for multicellular organisms. However, even under physiological conditions, an incomplete reduction of oxygen produces reactive oxygen species and, subsequently, oxidative stress. Some of these chemical species are highly reactive free radicals capable of causing functional and structural damage to cell components (protein, lipids, or nucleotides). Oxygen is the most used drug in ill-adapted patients during the newborn period. The use of oxygen may cause oxidative stress-related diseases that increase mortality and cause morbidity with adverse long-term outcomes. Conditions such as prematurity or birth asphyxia are frequently treated with oxygen supplementation. Both pathophysiological situations of hypoxia⁻reoxygenation in asphyxia and hyperoxia in premature infants cause a burst of reactive oxygen species and oxidative stress. Recently developed analytical assays using mass spectrometry have allowed us to determine highly specific biomarkers with minimal samples. The detection of these metabolites will help improve the diagnosis, evolution, and response to therapy in oxidative stress-related conditions during the newborn period.

RevDate: 2018-12-17

Stein WD (2018)

The ages of the cancer-associated genes.

Seminars in oncology pii:S0093-7754(18)30227-6 [Epub ahead of print].

In the accompanying manuscript (Litman and Stein, 2018) we list the ages of all the protein-coding genes and of many of the noncoding genes of the human genome. The present manuscript uses those results to derive the ages of the genes on the COSMIC list of somatic mutations in cancer. The lymphoma-associated genes in the COSMIC list are younger than the sarcoma-associated or the carcinoma-associated genes, or the genes shared by lymphomas and carcinomas. Genes that accreted to the evolving genome with the appearance of the fish are major contributors to the sarcoma-, lymphoma-, or carcinoma-associated gene sets, but it is genes accreted during the development of multicellularity that contribute most to the genes common to the classes. Genes arising with the evolution of the fish are also dominant in a list of noncoding genes associated with cancer. A list is provided of the COSMIC genes which have not yet been reported as drug targets.

RevDate: 2018-12-16

Taggart JC, GW Li (2018)

Production of Protein-Complex Components Is Stoichiometric and Lacks General Feedback Regulation in Eukaryotes.

Cell systems pii:S2405-4712(18)30472-1 [Epub ahead of print].

Constituents of multiprotein complexes are required at well-defined levels relative to each other. However, it remains unknown whether eukaryotic cells typically produce precise amounts of subunits, or instead rely on degradation to mitigate imprecise production. Here, we quantified the production rates of multiprotein complexes in unicellular and multicellular eukaryotes using ribosome profiling. By resolving read-mapping ambiguities, which occur for a large fraction of ribosome footprints and distort quantitation accuracy in eukaryotes, we found that obligate components of multiprotein complexes are produced in proportion to their stoichiometry, indicating that their abundances are already precisely tuned at the synthesis level. By systematically interrogating the impact of gene dosage variations in budding yeast, we found a general lack of negative feedback regulation protecting the normally precise rates of subunit synthesis. These results reveal a core principle of proteome homeostasis and highlight the evolution toward quantitative control at every step in the central dogma.

RevDate: 2018-12-14

Herron MD, Zamani-Dahaj SA, WC Ratcliff (2018)

Trait heritability in major transitions.

BMC biology, 16(1):145 pii:10.1186/s12915-018-0612-6.

BACKGROUND: Increases in biological complexity and the origins of life's hierarchical organization are described by the "major transitions" framework. A crucial component of this paradigm is that after the transition in complexity or organization, adaptation occurs primarily at the level of the new, higher-level unit. For collective-level adaptations to occur, though, collective-level traits-properties of the group, such as collective size-must be heritable. Since collective-level trait values are functions of lower-level trait values, collective-level heritability is related to particle-level heritability. However, the nature of this relationship has rarely been explored in the context of major transitions.

RESULTS: We examine relationships between particle-level heritability and collective-level heritability for several functions that express collective-level trait values in terms of particle-level trait values. For clonal populations, when a collective-level trait value is a linear function of particle-level trait values and the number of particles per collective is fixed, the heritability of a collective-level trait is never less than that of the corresponding particle-level trait and is higher under most conditions. For more complicated functions, collective-level heritability is higher under most conditions, but can be lower when the environment experienced by collectives is heterogeneous. Within-genotype variation in collective size reduces collective-level heritability, but it can still exceed particle-level heritability when phenotypic variance among particles within collectives is large. These results hold for a diverse sample of biologically relevant traits.

CONCLUSIONS: Rather than being an impediment to major transitions, we show that, under a wide range of conditions, the heritability of collective-level traits is actually higher than that of the corresponding particle-level traits. High levels of collective-level trait heritability thus arise "for free," with important implications not only for major transitions but for multilevel selection in general.

RevDate: 2018-12-13

Hayakawa IS, K Inouye (2018)

Species recognition in social amoebae.

Journal of biosciences, 43(5):1025-1036.

Aggregative multicellularity requires the ability of cells to recognise conspecifics. Social amoebae are among the best studied of such organisms, but the mechanism and evolutionary background of species recognition remained to be investigated. Here we show that heterologous expression of a single Dictyostelium purpureum gene is sufficient for D. discoideum cells to efficiently make chimaeric fruiting bodies with D. purpureum cells. This gene forms a bidirectional pair with another gene on the D. purpureum genome, and they are both highly polymorphic among independent wild isolates of the same mating group that do not form chimaeric fruiting bodies with each other. These paired genes are both structurally similar to D. discoideum tgrB1/C1 pair, which is responsible for clonal discrimination within that species, suggesting that these tgr genes constitute the species recognition system that has attained a level of precision capable of discriminating between clones within a species. Analysis of the available genome sequences of social amoebae revealed that such gene pairs exist only within the clade composed of species that produce precursors of sterile stalk cells (prestalk cells), suggesting concurrent evolution of a precise allorecognition system and a new 'worker' cell-type dedicated to transporting and supporting the reproductive cells.

RevDate: 2018-12-12

Higo A, Kawashima T, Borg M, et al (2018)

Transcription factor DUO1 generated by neo-functionalization is associated with evolution of sperm differentiation in plants.

Nature communications, 9(1):5283 pii:10.1038/s41467-018-07728-3.

Evolutionary mechanisms underlying innovation of cell types have remained largely unclear. In multicellular eukaryotes, the evolutionary molecular origin of sperm differentiation is unknown in most lineages. Here, we report that in algal ancestors of land plants, changes in the DNA-binding domain of the ancestor of the MYB transcription factor DUO1 enabled the recognition of a new cis-regulatory element. This event led to the differentiation of motile sperm. After neo-functionalization, DUO1 acquired sperm lineage-specific expression in the common ancestor of land plants. Subsequently the downstream network of DUO1 was rewired leading to sperm with distinct morphologies. Conjugating green algae, a sister group of land plants, accumulated mutations in the DNA-binding domain of DUO1 and lost sperm differentiation. Our findings suggest that the emergence of DUO1 was the defining event in the evolution of sperm differentiation and the varied modes of sexual reproduction in the land plant lineage.

RevDate: 2018-12-12
CmpDate: 2018-12-12

Moroni M, Servin-Vences MR, Fleischer R, et al (2018)

Voltage gating of mechanosensitive PIEZO channels.

Nature communications, 9(1):1096.

Mechanosensitive PIEZO ion channels are evolutionarily conserved proteins whose presence is critical for normal physiology in multicellular organisms. Here we show that, in addition to mechanical stimuli, PIEZO channels are also powerfully modulated by voltage and can even switch to a purely voltage-gated mode. Mutations that cause human diseases, such as xerocytosis, profoundly shift voltage sensitivity of PIEZO1 channels toward the resting membrane potential and strongly promote voltage gating. Voltage modulation may be explained by the presence of an inactivation gate in the pore, the opening of which is promoted by outward permeation. Older invertebrate (fly) and vertebrate (fish) PIEZO proteins are also voltage sensitive, but voltage gating is a much more prominent feature of these older channels. We propose that the voltage sensitivity of PIEZO channels is a deep property co-opted to add a regulatory mechanism for PIEZO activation in widely different cellular contexts.

RevDate: 2018-12-11

Shan M, Dai D, Vudem A, et al (2018)

Multi-scale computational study of the Warburg effect, reverse Warburg effect and glutamine addiction in solid tumors.

PLoS computational biology, 14(12):e1006584 pii:PCOMPBIOL-D-18-00648.

Cancer metabolism has received renewed interest as a potential target for cancer therapy. In this study, we use a multi-scale modeling approach to interrogate the implications of three metabolic scenarios of potential clinical relevance: the Warburg effect, the reverse Warburg effect and glutamine addiction. At the intracellular level, we construct a network of central metabolism and perform flux balance analysis (FBA) to estimate metabolic fluxes; at the cellular level, we exploit this metabolic network to calculate parameters for a coarse-grained description of cellular growth kinetics; and at the multicellular level, we incorporate these kinetic schemes into the cellular automata of an agent-based model (ABM), iDynoMiCS. This ABM evaluates the reaction-diffusion of the metabolites, cellular division and motion over a simulation domain. Our multi-scale simulations suggest that the Warburg effect provides a growth advantage to the tumor cells under resource limitation. However, we identify a non-monotonic dependence of growth rate on the strength of glycolytic pathway. On the other hand, the reverse Warburg scenario provides an initial growth advantage in tumors that originate deeper in the tissue. The metabolic profile of stromal cells considered in this scenario allows more oxygen to reach the tumor cells in the deeper tissue and thus promotes tumor growth at earlier stages. Lastly, we suggest that glutamine addiction does not confer a selective advantage to tumor growth with glutamine acting as a carbon source in the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, any advantage of glutamine uptake must come through other pathways not included in our model (e.g., as a nitrogen donor). Our analysis illustrates the importance of accounting explicitly for spatial and temporal evolution of tumor microenvironment in the interpretation of metabolic scenarios and hence provides a basis for further studies, including evaluation of specific therapeutic strategies that target metabolism.

RevDate: 2018-12-11

Khasin M, Cahoon RR, Nickerson KW, et al (2018)

Molecular machinery of auxin synthesis, secretion, and perception in the unicellular chlorophyte alga Chlorella sorokiniana UTEX 1230.

PloS one, 13(12):e0205227 pii:PONE-D-17-29763.

Indole-3-acetic acid is a ubiquitous small molecule found in all domains of life. It is the predominant and most active auxin in seed plants, where it coordinates a variety of complex growth and development processes. The potential origin of auxin signaling in algae remains a matter of some controversy. In order to clarify the evolutionary context of algal auxin signaling, we undertook a genomic survey to assess whether auxin acts as a signaling molecule in the emerging model chlorophyte Chlorella sorokiniana UTEX 1230. C. sorokiniana produces the auxin indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), which was present in both the cell pellet and in the supernatant at a concentration of ~ 1 nM, and its genome encodes orthologs of genes related to auxin synthesis, transport, and signaling in higher plants. Candidate orthologs for the canonical AUX/IAA signaling pathway were not found; however, auxin-binding protein 1 (ABP1), an alternate auxin receptor, is present and highly conserved at essential auxin binding and zinc coordinating residues. Additionally, candidate orthologs for PIN proteins, responsible for intercellular, vectorial auxin transport in higher plants, were not found, but PILs (PIN-Like) proteins, a recently discovered family that mediates intracellular auxin transport, were identified. The distribution of auxin related gene in this unicellular chlorophyte demonstrates that a core suite of auxin signaling components was present early in the evolution of plants. Understanding the simplified auxin signaling pathways in chlorophytes will aid in understanding phytohormone signaling and crosstalk in seed plants, and in understanding the diversification and integration of developmental signals during the evolution of multicellular plants.

RevDate: 2018-12-11
CmpDate: 2018-12-11

Pehr K, Love GD, Kuznetsov A, et al (2018)

Ediacara biota flourished in oligotrophic and bacterially dominated marine environments across Baltica.

Nature communications, 9(1):1807.

Middle-to-late Ediacaran (575-541 Ma) marine sedimentary rocks record the first appearance of macroscopic, multicellular body fossils, yet little is known about the environments and food sources that sustained this enigmatic fauna. Here, we perform a lipid biomarker and stable isotope (δ15Ntotal and δ13CTOC) investigation of exceptionally immature late Ediacaran strata (<560 Ma) from multiple locations across Baltica. Our results show that the biomarker assemblages encompass an exceptionally wide range of hopane/sterane ratios (1.6-119), which is a broad measure of bacterial/eukaryotic source organism inputs. These include some unusually high hopane/sterane ratios (22-119), particularly during the peak in diversity and abundance of the Ediacara biota. A high contribution of bacteria to the overall low productivity may have bolstered a microbial loop, locally sustaining dissolved organic matter as an important organic nutrient. These oligotrophic, shallow-marine conditions extended over hundreds of kilometers across Baltica and persisted for more than 10 million years.

RevDate: 2018-12-11
CmpDate: 2018-12-11

Baldauf SL, Romeralo M, Fiz-Palacios O, et al (2018)

A Deep Hidden Diversity of Dictyostelia.

Protist, 169(1):64-78.

Dictyostelia is a monophyletic group of transiently multicellular (sorocarpic) amoebae, whose study is currently limited to laboratory culture. This tends to favour faster growing species with robust sorocarps, while species with smaller more delicate sorocarps constitute most of the group's taxonomic breadth. The number of known species is also small (∼150) given Dictyostelia's molecular depth and apparent antiquity (>600 myr). Nonetheless, dictyostelid sequences are rarely recovered in culture independent sampling (ciPCR) surveys. We developed ciPCR primers to specifically target dictyostelid small subunit (SSU or 18S) rDNA and tested them on total DNAs extracted from a wide range of soils from five continents. The resulting clone libraries show mostly dictyostelid sequences (∼90%), and phylogenetic analyses of these sequences indicate novel lineages in all four dictyostelid families and most genera. This is especially true for the species-rich Heterostelium and Dictyosteliaceae but also the less species-rich Raperosteliaceae. However, the most novel deep branches are found in two very species-poor taxa, including the deepest branch yet seen in the highly divergent Cavenderiaceae. These results confirm a deep hidden diversity of Dictyostelia, potentially including novel morphologies and developmental schemes. The primers and protocols presented here should also enable more comprehensive studies of dictyostelid ecology.

RevDate: 2018-12-06

Rebolleda-Gómez M, M Travisano (2018)

Adaptation, chance, and history in experimental evolutionary reversals to unicellularity.

Evolution; international journal of organic evolution [Epub ahead of print].

Evolution is often deemed irreversible. The evolution of complex traits that require many mutations makes their reversal unlikely. Even in simpler traits, reversals might become less likely as neutral or beneficial mutations, with deleterious effects in the ancestral context, become fixed in the novel background. This is especially true in changes that involve large re-organizations of the organism and its interactions with the environment. The evolution of multicellularity involves the reorganization of previously autonomous cells into a more complex organism; despite the complexity of this change, single cells have repeatedly evolved from multicellular ancestors. These repeated reversals to unicellularity undermine the generality of Dollo's law. In this paper we evaluated the dynamics of reversals to unicellularity from recently evolved multicellular phenotypes of the brewers yeast Saccharomyces cerevisae. Even though multicellularity in this system evolved recently, it involves the evolution of new levels of selection. Strong selective pressures against multicellularity lead to rapid reversibility to single cells in all of our replicate lines, whereas counterselection favoring multicellularity led to minimal reductions to the rates of reversal. History and chance played an important role in the tempo and mode of reversibility, highlighting the interplay of deterministic and stochastic events in evolutionary reversals. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2018-12-06

Fux JE, Mehta A, Moffat J, et al (2018)

Eukaryotic Voltage-Gated Sodium Channels: On Their Origins, Asymmetries, Losses, Diversification and Adaptations.

Frontiers in physiology, 9:1406.

The appearance of voltage-gated, sodium-selective channels with rapid gating kinetics was a limiting factor in the evolution of nervous systems. Two rounds of domain duplications generated a common 24 transmembrane segment (4 × 6 TM) template that is shared amongst voltage-gated sodium (Nav1 and Nav2) and calcium channels (Cav1, Cav2, and Cav3) and leak channel (NALCN) plus homologs from yeast, different single-cell protists (heterokont and unikont) and algae (green and brown). A shared architecture in 4 × 6 TM channels include an asymmetrical arrangement of extended extracellular L5/L6 turrets containing a 4-0-2-2 pattern of cysteines, glycosylated residues, a universally short III-IV cytoplasmic linker and often a recognizable, C-terminal PDZ binding motif. Six intron splice junctions are conserved in the first domain, including a rare U12-type of the minor spliceosome provides support for a shared heritage for sodium and calcium channels, and a separate lineage for NALCN. The asymmetrically arranged pores of 4x6 TM channels allows for a changeable ion selectivity by means of a single lysine residue change in the high field strength site of the ion selectivity filter in Domains II or III. Multicellularity and the appearance of systems was an impetus for Nav1 channels to adapt to sodium ion selectivity and fast ion gating. A non-selective, and slowly gating Nav2 channel homolog in single cell eukaryotes, predate the diversification of Nav1 channels from a basal homolog in a common ancestor to extant cnidarians to the nine vertebrate Nav1.x channel genes plus Nax. A close kinship between Nav2 and Nav1 homologs is evident in the sharing of most (twenty) intron splice junctions. Different metazoan groups have lost their Nav1 channel genes altogether, while vertebrates rapidly expanded their gene numbers. The expansion in vertebrate Nav1 channel genes fills unique functional niches and generates overlapping properties contributing to redundancies. Specific nervous system adaptations include cytoplasmic linkers with phosphorylation sites and tethered elements to protein assemblies in First Initial Segments and nodes of Ranvier. Analogous accessory beta subunit appeared alongside Nav1 channels within different animal sub-phyla. Nav1 channels contribute to pace-making as persistent or resurgent currents, the former which is widespread across animals, while the latter is a likely vertebrate adaptation.

RevDate: 2018-12-06

Rosental B, Kowarsky M, Seita J, et al (2018)

Complex mammalian-like haematopoietic system found in a colonial chordate.

Nature pii:10.1038/s41586-018-0783-x [Epub ahead of print].

Haematopoiesis is an essential process that evolved in multicellular animals. At the heart of this process are haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), which are multipotent and self-renewing, and generate the entire repertoire of blood and immune cells throughout an animal's life1. Although there have been comprehensive studies on self-renewal, differentiation, physiological regulation and niche occupation in vertebrate HSCs, relatively little is known about the evolutionary origin and niches of these cells. Here we describe the haematopoietic system of Botryllus schlosseri, a colonial tunicate that has a vasculature and circulating blood cells, and interesting stem-cell biology and immunity characteristics2-8. Self-recognition between genetically compatible B. schlosseri colonies leads to the formation of natural parabionts with shared circulation, whereas incompatible colonies reject each other3,4,7. Using flow cytometry, whole-transcriptome sequencing of defined cell populations and diverse functional assays, we identify HSCs, progenitors, immune effector cells and an HSC niche, and demonstrate that self-recognition inhibits allospecific cytotoxic reactions. Our results show that HSC and myeloid lineage immune cells emerged in a common ancestor of tunicates and vertebrates, and also suggest that haematopoietic bone marrow and the B. schlosseri endostyle niche evolved from a common origin.

RevDate: 2018-12-04

Kayser J, Schreck CF, Gralka M, et al (2018)

Collective motion conceals fitness differences in crowded cellular populations.

Nature ecology & evolution pii:10.1038/s41559-018-0734-9 [Epub ahead of print].

Many cellular populations are tightly packed, such as microbial colonies and biofilms, or tissues and tumours in multicellular organisms. The movement of one cell in these crowded assemblages requires motion of others, so that cell displacements are correlated over many cell diameters. Whenever movement is important for survival or growth, these correlated rearrangements could couple the evolutionary fate of different lineages. However, little is known about the interplay between mechanical forces and evolution in dense cellular populations. Here, by tracking slower-growing clones at the expanding edge of yeast colonies, we show that the collective motion of cells prevents costly mutations from being weeded out rapidly. Joint pushing by neighbouring cells generates correlated movements that suppress the differential displacements required for selection to act. This mechanical screening of fitness differences allows slower-growing mutants to leave more descendants than expected under non-mechanical models, thereby increasing their chance for evolutionary rescue. Our work suggests that, in crowded populations, cells cooperate with surrounding neighbours through inevitable mechanical interactions. This effect has to be considered when predicting evolutionary outcomes, such as the emergence of drug resistance or cancer evolution.

RevDate: 2018-11-30

Medina-Castellanos E, Villalobos-Escobedo JM, Riquelme M, et al (2018)

Danger signals activate a putative innate immune system during regeneration in a filamentous fungus.

PLoS genetics, 14(11):e1007390 pii:PGENETICS-D-18-00898 [Epub ahead of print].

The ability to respond to injury is a biological process shared by organisms of different kingdoms that can even result in complete regeneration of a part or structure that was lost. Due to their immobility, multicellular fungi are prey to various predators and are therefore constantly exposed to mechanical damage. Nevertheless, our current knowledge of how fungi respond to injury is scarce. Here we show that activation of injury responses and hyphal regeneration in the filamentous fungus Trichoderma atroviride relies on the detection of two danger or alarm signals. As an early response to injury, we detected a transient increase in cytosolic free calcium ([Ca2+]c) that was promoted by extracellular ATP, and which is likely regulated by a mechanism of calcium-induced calcium-release. In addition, we demonstrate that the mitogen activated protein kinase Tmk1 plays a key role in hyphal regeneration. Calcium- and Tmk1-mediated signaling cascades activated major transcriptional changes early following injury, including induction of a set of regeneration associated genes related to cell signaling, stress responses, transcription regulation, ribosome biogenesis/translation, replication and DNA repair. Interestingly, we uncovered the activation of a putative fungal innate immune response, including the involvement of HET domain genes, known to participate in programmed cell death. Our work shows that fungi and animals share danger-signals, signaling cascades, and the activation of the expression of genes related to immunity after injury, which are likely the result of convergent evolution.

RevDate: 2018-11-30

Billerbeck S, Brisbois J, Agmon N, et al (2018)

A scalable peptide-GPCR language for engineering multicellular communication.

Nature communications, 9(1):5057 pii:10.1038/s41467-018-07610-2.

Engineering multicellularity is one of the next breakthroughs for Synthetic Biology. A key bottleneck to building multicellular systems is the lack of a scalable signaling language with a large number of interfaces that can be used simultaneously. Here, we present a modular, scalable, intercellular signaling language in yeast based on fungal mating peptide/G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) pairs harnessed from nature. First, through genome-mining, we assemble 32 functional peptide-GPCR signaling interfaces with a range of dose-response characteristics. Next, we demonstrate that these interfaces can be combined into two-cell communication links, which serve as assembly units for higher-order communication topologies. Finally, we show 56 functional, two-cell links, which we use to assemble three- to six-member communication topologies and a three-member interdependent community. Importantly, our peptide-GPCR language is scalable and tunable by genetic encoding, requires minimal component engineering, and should be massively scalable by further application of our genome mining pipeline or directed evolution.

RevDate: 2018-11-28

Trosko JE (2018)

The Role of the Mitochondria in the Evolution of Stem Cells, Including MUSE Stem Cells and Their Biology.

Advances in experimental medicine and biology, 1103:131-152.

From the transition of single-cell organisms to multicellularity of metazoans, evolutionary pressures selected new genes and phenotypes to cope with the oxygenation of the Earth's environment, especially via the symbiotic acquisition of the mitochondrial organelle. There were many new genes and phenotypes that appeared, namely, stem cells, low-oxygen-micro-environments to house these genes ("niches"), new epigenetic mechanisms to regulate , selectively, the gene repertoire to control proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis, senescence and DNA protection mechanisms, including antioxidant genes and DNA repair. This transition required a critical regulation of the metabolism of glucose to produce energy for both the stem cell quiescent state and the energy-requiring differentiated state. While the totipotent-, embryonic-, pluripotent-, and a few adult organ-specific stem cells were recognized, only relatively recently, because of the isolation of somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) stem cells and "induced pluripotent stem" cells, challenges to the origin of these "iPS" cells have been made. The isolation and characterization of human MUSE stem cells and more adult organ-specific adult stem cells have indicated that these MUSE cells have many shared characteristics of the "iPS" cells, yet they do not form teratomas but can give rise to the trigeminal cell layers. While the MUSE cells are a subset of human fibroblastic cells, they have not been characterized, yet, for the mitochondrial metabolic genes, either in the stem cell state or during their differentiation processes. A description of other human adult stem cells will be made to set future studies of how the MUSE stem cells compare to all other stem cells.

RevDate: 2018-11-27

Pollier J, Vancaester E, Kuzhiumparambil U, et al (2018)

A widespread alternative squalene epoxidase participates in eukaryote steroid biosynthesis.

Nature microbiology pii:10.1038/s41564-018-0305-5 [Epub ahead of print].

Steroids are essential triterpenoid molecules that are present in all eukaryotes and modulate the fluidity and flexibility of cell membranes. Steroids also serve as signalling molecules that are crucial for growth, development and differentiation of multicellular organisms1-3. The steroid biosynthetic pathway is highly conserved and is key in eukaryote evolution4-7. The flavoprotein squalene epoxidase (SQE) catalyses the first oxygenation reaction in this pathway and is rate limiting. However, despite its conservation in animals, plants and fungi, several phylogenetically widely distributed eukaryote genomes lack an SQE-encoding gene7,8. Here, we discovered and characterized an alternative SQE (AltSQE) belonging to the fatty acid hydroxylase superfamily. AltSQE was identified through screening of a gene library of the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum in a SQE-deficient yeast. In accordance with its divergent protein structure and need for cofactors, we found that AltSQE is insensitive to the conventional SQE inhibitor terbinafine. AltSQE is present in many eukaryotic lineages but is mutually exclusive with SQE and shows a patchy distribution within monophyletic clades. Our discovery provides an alternative element for the conserved steroid biosynthesis pathway, raises questions about eukaryote metabolic evolution and opens routes to develop selective SQE inhibitors to control hazardous organisms.

RevDate: 2018-11-26

Gruenheit N, Parkinson K, Brimson CA, et al (2018)

Cell Cycle Heterogeneity Can Generate Robust Cell Type Proportioning.

Developmental cell, 47(4):494-508.e4.

Cell-cell heterogeneity can facilitate lineage choice during embryonic development because it primes cells to respond to differentiation cues. However, remarkably little is known about the origin of heterogeneity or whether intrinsic and extrinsic variation can be controlled to generate reproducible cell type proportioning seen in vivo. Here, we use experimentation and modeling in D. discoideum to demonstrate that population-level cell cycle heterogeneity can be optimized to generate robust cell fate proportioning. First, cell cycle position is quantitatively linked to responsiveness to differentiation-inducing signals. Second, intrinsic variation in cell cycle length ensures cells are randomly distributed throughout the cell cycle at the onset of multicellular development. Finally, extrinsic perturbation of optimal cell cycle heterogeneity is buffered by compensatory changes in global signal responsiveness. These studies thus illustrate key regulatory principles underlying cell-cell heterogeneity optimization and the generation of robust and reproducible fate choice in development.

RevDate: 2018-11-22

Beji O, Adouani N, Poncin S, et al (2018)

Mineral pollutants removal through immobilized microalgae-bacterial flocs in a multitrophic microreactor.

Environmental technology [Epub ahead of print].

Microalgae-bacterial flocs (MaB-flocs) immobilization technique using polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) crosslinked with sodium alginate represent a novel approach for sustainable pollutants removal. The present work was performed to evaluate the performance of a multitrophic batch reactor at microscale for treating two synthetic wastewater solutions prepared with two different initial Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD): 200 mg.L-1 and 450 mg.L-1, respectively. Three MaB-flocs concentrations were entrapped into PVA-alginate beads: C1 (2%, v/v), C2 (5%, v/v) and C3 (10%, v/v), without O2 supply, during three periods 2, 4 and 6 days of batch incubation. PVA-alginate beads containing the highest concentration C3 of MaB-flocs improved the performance of the microreactor to remove significantly NH4+ and PO43- of about 61% and 82%, respectively, from wastewater more than two other concentrations used. This result confirms that C3 of MaB-flocs displays not only a good potential for nutrients removals but also the highest MaB-flocs morphological progression after 6 days of treatment with the highest COD of 450 mg.L-1. The feasibility of the PVA-alginate for cells immobilization, investigated through microscopy analysis, reveals that the evolution of multicellularity in MaB-flocs, for all experiments.

RevDate: 2018-11-16

Shekhar Saxena A, Salomon MP, Matsuba C, et al (2018)

Evolution of the mutational process under relaxed selection in Caenorhabditis elegans.

Molecular biology and evolution pii:5184273 [Epub ahead of print].

The mutational process varies at many levels, from within genomes to among taxa. Many mechanisms have been linked to variation in mutation, but understanding of the evolution of the mutational process is rudimentary. Physiological condition is often implicated as a source of variation in microbial mutation rate and may contribute to mutation rate variation in multicellular organisms.Deleterious mutations are a ubiquitous source of variation in condition. We test the hypothesis that the mutational process depends on the underlying mutation load in two groups of Caenorhabditis elegans mutation accumulation (MA) lines that differ in their starting mutation loads. "First-Order MA" (O1MA) lines maintained under minimal selection for ∼250 generations were divided into high-fitness and low-fitness groups and sets of "second-order MA" (O2MA) lines derived from each O1MA line were maintained for ∼150 additional generations. Genomes of 48 O2MA lines and their progenitors were sequenced. There is significant variation among O2MA lines in base-substitution rate (µbs), but no effect of initial fitness; the indel rate is greater in high-fitness O2MA lines. Overall, µbs is positively correlated with recombination and proximity to short tandem repeats and negatively correlated with 10 bp and 1 Kb GC content. However, probability of mutation is sufficiently predicted by the three-nucleotide motif alone. ∼90% of the variance in standing nucleotide variation is explained by mutability. Total mutation rate increased in the O2MA lines, as predicted by the "drift barrier" model of mutation rate evolution. These data, combined with experimental estimates of fitness, suggest that epistasis is synergistic.

RevDate: 2018-11-16

Rebolleda-Gómez M, M Travisano (2018)

The Cost of Being Big: Local Competition, Importance of Dispersal, and Experimental Evolution of Reversal to Unicellularity.

The American naturalist, 192(6):731-744.

Multicellularity provides multiple benefits. Nonetheless, unicellularity is ubiquitous, and there have been multiple cases of evolutionary reversal to a unicellular organization. In this article, we explore some of the costs of multicellularity as well as the possibility and dynamics of evolutionary reversals to unicellularity. We hypothesize that recently evolved multicellular organisms would face a high cost of increased competition for local resources in spatially structured environments because of larger size and increased cell densities. To test this hypothesis we conducted competition assays, computer simulations, and selection experiments using isolates of Saccharomyces cerevisiae that recently evolved multicellularity. In well-mixed environments, multicellular isolates had lower growth rates relative to their unicellular ancestor because of limitations of space and resource acquisition. In structured environments with localized resources, cells in both multicellular and unicellular isolates grew at a similar rate. Despite similar growth, higher local density of cells in multicellular groups led to increased competition and higher fitness costs in spatially structured environments. In structured environments all of the multicellular isolates rapidly evolved a predominantly unicellular life cycle, while in well-mixed environments reversal was more gradual. Taken together, these results suggest that a lack of dispersal, leading to higher local competition, might have been one of the main constraints in the evolution of early multicellular forms.

RevDate: 2018-11-15

Ayoubian H, Ludwig N, Fehlmann T, et al (2018)

Infection of cell lines derived from diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) alters the miRNA loading of the Ago2-complex.

Journal of virology pii:JVI.01297-18 [Epub ahead of print].

Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is an aggressive lymphoid tumor which is occasionally Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-positive and is further subtyped as activated B-cell (ABC) and germinal center B-cell (GCB) DLBCL, which has implications for prognosis and treatment.We performed Ago2-RNA immunoprecipitation followed by high throughput RNA sequencing (Ago2-RIP-Seq) to capture functionally active miRNAs in EBV-negative ABC-DLBCL and GC-DLBCL cell lines and their EBV-infected counterparts. In parallel, total miRNomes of these cells were sequenced to capture the cellular miRNA profile for comparison with the functionally active profile. Selected miRNAs with differential abundance were validated using RT-qPCR and Northern Blot. We found 6 miRNAs with differential abundance (2 upregulated and 4 downregulated miRNAs) between EBV-neg. and pos. ABC-DLBCL, and 12 miRNAs with differential abundance (3 upregulated and 9 downregulated miRNAs) between EBV-neg and -pos GC-DLBCL. Eight and twelve miRNAs were confirmed using RT-qPCR in ABC-DLBCL and GC-DLBCL, respectively. Selected miRNs were analyzed in additional type I/II vs. type III EBV latency DLBCL cell lines. Furthermore, up regulation of miR-221-3p and down regulation of let-7c-5p in ABC-DLBCL and up regulation of miR-363-3p and down regulation of 423-5p in GC-DLBCL was verified using RIP-Northern blot.Our comprehensive sequence analysis of the DLBCL miRNomes identified sets of deregulated miRNAs in the Ago2-RIP-seq. Our Ago2-IP-seq miRNomes profile could be considered as an important data set for detection of deregulated functionally active miRNAs in DLBCL and could possibly lead to identification of miRNAs as biomarkers for classification of DLBCL or even as targets for personalized targeted treatment.Importance: Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is a highly aggressive tumor of lymphoid origin which is occasionally Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-positive. MicroRNAs are found in most multicellular organisms and even in viruses such as EBV. They regulate the synthesis of proteins by binding to their cognate messenger RNA (mRNA). MicroRNAs are tethered to their target mRNAs by "Argonaute" proteins. Here we compared the overall content of by differential loading of the Ago2-complex in comparison to the overall content of miRNAs in two DLBCL cell lines and their EBV-converted counterparts. In all cell lines, the Ago2-load was different from the overall expression of miRNAs. In addition, the loading of the Ago2-complex was changed upon infection with EBV. This indicates that the virus changes not only the overall content of miRNAs but also influences the expression of proteins by affecting the Ago-complexes.

RevDate: 2018-11-28

Schneider P, Greischar MA, Birget PLG, et al (2018)

Adaptive plasticity in the gametocyte conversion rate of malaria parasites.

PLoS pathogens, 14(11):e1007371 pii:PPATHOGENS-D-18-00778.

Sexually reproducing parasites, such as malaria parasites, experience a trade-off between the allocation of resources to asexual replication and the production of sexual forms. Allocation by malaria parasites to sexual forms (the conversion rate) is variable but the evolutionary drivers of this plasticity are poorly understood. We use evolutionary theory for life histories to combine a mathematical model and experiments to reveal that parasites adjust conversion rate according to the dynamics of asexual densities in the blood of the host. Our model predicts the direction of change in conversion rates that returns the greatest fitness after perturbation of asexual densities by different doses of antimalarial drugs. The loss of a high proportion of asexuals is predicted to elicit increased conversion (terminal investment), while smaller losses are managed by reducing conversion (reproductive restraint) to facilitate within-host survival and future transmission. This non-linear pattern of allocation is consistent with adaptive reproductive strategies observed in multicellular organisms. We then empirically estimate conversion rates of the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium chabaudi in response to the killing of asexual stages by different doses of antimalarial drugs and forecast the short-term fitness consequences of these responses. Our data reveal the predicted non-linear pattern, and this is further supported by analyses of previous experiments that perturb asexual stage densities using drugs or within-host competition, across multiple parasite genotypes. Whilst conversion rates, across all datasets, are most strongly influenced by changes in asexual density, parasites also modulate conversion according to the availability of red blood cell resources. In summary, increasing conversion maximises short-term transmission and reducing conversion facilitates in-host survival and thus, future transmission. Understanding patterns of parasite allocation to reproduction matters because within-host replication is responsible for disease symptoms and between-host transmission determines disease spread.

RevDate: 2018-11-15

García-Jiménez B, García JL, J Nogales (2018)

FLYCOP: metabolic modeling-based analysis and engineering microbial communities.

Bioinformatics (Oxford, England), 34(17):i954-i963.

Motivation: Synthetic microbial communities begin to be considered as promising multicellular biocatalysts having a large potential to replace engineered single strains in biotechnology applications, in pharmaceutical, chemical and living architecture sectors. In contrast to single strain engineering, the effective and high-throughput analysis and engineering of microbial consortia face the lack of knowledge, tools and well-defined workflows. This manuscript contributes to fill this important gap with a framework, called FLYCOP (FLexible sYnthetic Consortium OPtimization), which contributes to microbial consortia modeling and engineering, while improving the knowledge about how these communities work. FLYCOP selects the best consortium configuration to optimize a given goal, among multiple and diverse configurations, in a flexible way, taking temporal changes in metabolite concentrations into account.

Results: In contrast to previous systems optimizing microbial consortia, FLYCOP has novel characteristics to face up to new problems, to represent additional features and to analyze events influencing the consortia behavior. In this manuscript, FLYCOP optimizes a Synechococcus elongatus-Pseudomonas putida consortium to produce the maximum amount of bio-plastic (PHA, polyhydroxyalkanoate), and highlights the influence of metabolites exchange dynamics in a four auxotrophic Escherichia coli consortium with parallel growth. FLYCOP can also provide an explanation about biological evolution driving evolutionary engineering endeavors by describing why and how heterogeneous populations emerge from monoclonal ones.

Code reproducing the study cases described in this manuscript are available on-line: https://github.com/beatrizgj/FLYCOP.

Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Morris JJ (2018)

What is the hologenome concept of evolution?.

F1000Research, 7:.

All multicellular organisms are colonized by microbes, but a gestalt study of the composition of microbiome communities and their influence on the ecology and evolution of their macroscopic hosts has only recently become possible. One approach to thinking about the topic is to view the host-microbiome ecosystem as a "holobiont". Because natural selection acts on an organism's realized phenotype, and the phenotype of a holobiont is the result of the integrated activities of both the host and all of its microbiome inhabitants, it is reasonable to think that evolution can act at the level of the holobiont and cause changes in the "hologenome", or the collective genomic content of all the individual bionts within the holobiont. This relatively simple assertion has nevertheless been controversial within the microbiome community. Here, I provide a review of recent work on the hologenome concept of evolution. I attempt to provide a clear definition of the concept and its implications and to clarify common points of disagreement.

RevDate: 2018-11-15

Pönisch W, Eckenrode KB, Alzurqa K, et al (2018)

Pili mediated intercellular forces shape heterogeneous bacterial microcolonies prior to multicellular differentiation.

Scientific reports, 8(1):16567 pii:10.1038/s41598-018-34754-4.

Microcolonies are aggregates of a few dozen to a few thousand cells exhibited by many bacteria. The formation of microcolonies is a crucial step towards the formation of more mature bacterial communities known as biofilms, but also marks a significant change in bacterial physiology. Within a microcolony, bacteria forgo a single cell lifestyle for a communal lifestyle hallmarked by high cell density and physical interactions between cells potentially altering their behaviour. It is thus crucial to understand how initially identical single cells start to behave differently while assembling in these tight communities. Here we show that cells in the microcolonies formed by the human pathogen Neisseria gonorrhoeae (Ng) present differential motility behaviors within an hour upon colony formation. Observation of merging microcolonies and tracking of single cells within microcolonies reveal a heterogeneous motility behavior: cells close to the surface of the microcolony exhibit a much higher motility compared to cells towards the center. Numerical simulations of a biophysical model for the microcolonies at the single cell level suggest that the emergence of differential behavior within a multicellular microcolony of otherwise identical cells is of mechanical origin. It could suggest a route toward further bacterial differentiation and ultimately mature biofilms.

RevDate: 2018-11-21

Gao A, Shrinivas K, Lepeudry P, et al (2018)

Evolution of weak cooperative interactions for biological specificity.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 115(47):E11053-E11060.

A hallmark of biological systems is that particular functions and outcomes are realized in specific contexts, such as when particular signals are received. One mechanism for mediating specificity is described by Fisher's "lock and key" metaphor, exemplified by enzymes that bind selectively to a particular substrate via specific finely tuned interactions. Another mechanism, more prevalent in multicellular organisms, relies on multivalent weak cooperative interactions. Its importance has recently been illustrated by the recognition that liquid-liquid phase transitions underlie the formation of membraneless condensates that perform specific cellular functions. Based on computer simulations of an evolutionary model, we report that the latter mechanism likely became evolutionarily prominent when a large number of tasks had to be performed specifically for organisms to function properly. We find that the emergence of weak cooperative interactions for mediating specificity results in organisms that can evolve to accomplish new tasks with fewer, and likely less lethal, mutations. We argue that this makes the system more capable of undergoing evolutionary changes robustly, and thus this mechanism has been repeatedly positively selected in increasingly complex organisms. Specificity mediated by weak cooperative interactions results in some useful cross-reactivity for related tasks, but at the same time increases susceptibility to misregulation that might lead to pathologies.

RevDate: 2018-11-08

Palmer WH, Joosten J, Overheul GJ, et al (2018)

Induction and suppression of NF-κB signalling by a DNA virus of Drosophila.

Journal of virology pii:JVI.01443-18 [Epub ahead of print].

Interactions between the insect immune system and RNA viruses have been extensively studied in Drosophila, where RNA interference, NF-κB and JAK-STAT pathways underlie antiviral immunity. In response to RNA interference, insect viruses have convergently evolved suppressors of this pathway that act by diverse mechanisms to permit viral replication. However, interactions between the insect immune system and DNA viruses have received less attention, primarily because few Drosophila-infecting DNA virus isolates are available. Here, we use a recently-isolated DNA virus of Drosophila melanogaster, Kallithea virus (family Nudiviridae), to probe known antiviral immune responses and virus evasion tactics in the context of DNA virus infection. We find that fly mutants for RNA interference and Immune deficiency (Imd), but not Toll, pathways are more susceptible to Kallithea virus infection. We identify the Kallithea virus-encoded protein gp83 as a potent inhibitor of Toll signalling, suggesting that Toll mediates antiviral defense against Kallithea virus infection, but that it is suppressed by the virus. We find that Kallithea virus gp83 inhibits Toll signalling through the regulation of NF-κB transcription factors. Furthermore, we find that gp83 of the closely related Drosophila innubila nudivirus (DiNV) suppresses D. melanogaster Toll signalling, suggesting an evolutionary conserved function of Toll in defense against DNA viruses. Together, these results provide a broad description of known antiviral pathways in the context of DNA virus infection and identify the first Toll pathway inhibitor in a Drosophila virus, extending the known diversity of insect virus-encoded immune inhibitors.IMPORTANCE Co-evolution of multicellular organisms and their natural viruses may lead to an intricate relationship in which host survival requires effective immunity, and virus survival depends on evasion of such responses. Insect antiviral immunity, and reciprocal virus immune suppression tactics, have been well-studied in Drosophila melanogaster, primarily during RNA, but not DNA, virus infection. Therefore, we describe interactions between a recently-isolated Drosophila DNA virus (Kallithea virus - KV) and immune processes known to control RNA viruses, such as RNAi and Imd pathways. We find that KV suppresses the Toll pathway, and identify gp83 as a KV-encoded protein that underlies this suppression. This immunosuppressive ability is conserved in another nudivirus, suggesting the Toll pathway has conserved antiviral activity against DNA nudiviruses, which have evolved suppressors in response. Together, these results indicate that DNA viruses induce and suppress NF-κB responses, and advance the application of KV as a model to study insect immunity.

RevDate: 2018-11-18

Joo S, Wang MH, Lui G, et al (2018)

Common ancestry of heterodimerizing TALE homeobox transcription factors across Metazoa and Archaeplastida.

BMC biology, 16(1):136 pii:10.1186/s12915-018-0605-5.

BACKGROUND: Complex multicellularity requires elaborate developmental mechanisms, often based on the versatility of heterodimeric transcription factor (TF) interactions. Homeobox TFs in the TALE superclass are deeply embedded in the gene regulatory networks that orchestrate embryogenesis. Knotted-like homeobox (KNOX) TFs, homologous to animal MEIS, have been found to drive the haploid-to-diploid transition in both unicellular green algae and land plants via heterodimerization with other TALE superclass TFs, demonstrating remarkable functional conservation of a developmental TF across lineages that diverged one billion years ago. Here, we sought to delineate whether TALE-TALE heterodimerization is ancestral to eukaryotes.

RESULTS: We analyzed TALE endowment in the algal radiations of Archaeplastida, ancestral to land plants. Homeodomain phylogeny and bioinformatics analysis partitioned TALEs into two broad groups, KNOX and non-KNOX. Each group shares previously defined heterodimerization domains, plant KNOX-homology in the KNOX group and animal PBC-homology in the non-KNOX group, indicating their deep ancestry. Protein-protein interaction experiments showed that the TALEs in the two groups all participated in heterodimerization.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study indicates that the TF dyads consisting of KNOX/MEIS and PBC-containing TALEs must have evolved early in eukaryotic evolution. Based on our results, we hypothesize that in early eukaryotes, the TALE heterodimeric configuration provided transcription-on switches via dimerization-dependent subcellular localization, ensuring execution of the haploid-to-diploid transition only when the gamete fusion is correctly executed between appropriate partner gametes. The TALE switch then diversified in the several lineages that engage in a complex multicellular organization.

RevDate: 2018-11-16

Ten Tusscher K (2018)

Of mice and plants: Comparative developmental systems biology.

Developmental biology pii:S0012-1606(18)30612-2 [Epub ahead of print].

Multicellular animals and plants represent independent evolutionary experiments with complex multicellular bodyplans. Differences in their life history, a mobile versus sessile lifestyle, and predominant embryonic versus postembryonic development, have led to the evolution of highly different body plans. However, also many intriguing parallels exist. Extension of the vertebrate body axis and its segmentation into somites bears striking resemblance to plant root growth and the concomittant prepatterning of lateral root competent sites. Likewise, plant shoot phyllotaxis displays similarities with vertebrate limb and digit patterning. Additionally, both plants and animals use complex signalling systems combining systemic and local signals to fine tune and coordinate organ growth across their body. Identification of these striking examples of convergent evolution provides support for the existence of general design principles: the idea that for particular patterning demands, evolution is likely to arrive at highly similar developmental patterning mechanisms. Furthermore, focussing on these parallels may aid in identifying core mechanistic principles, often obscured by the highly complex nature of multiscale patterning processes.

RevDate: 2018-11-03

Bull JK, Flynn JM, Chain FJJ, et al (2018)

Fitness and Genomic Consequences of Chronic Exposure to Low Levels of Copper and Nickel in Daphnia pulex Mutation Accumulation Lines.

G3 (Bethesda, Md.) pii:g3.118.200797 [Epub ahead of print].

In at least some unicellular organisms, mutation rates are temporarily raised upon exposure to environmental stress, potentially contributing to the evolutionary response to stress. Whether this is true for multicellular organisms, however, has received little attention. This study investigated the effects of chronic mild stress, in the form of low-level copper and nickel exposure, on mutational processes in Daphnia pulex using a combination of mutation accumulation, whole genome sequencing and life-history assays. After over 100 generations of mutation accumulation, we found no effects of metal exposure on the rates of single nucleotide mutations and of loss of heterozygosity events, the two mutation classes that occurred in sufficient numbers to allow statistical analysis. Similarly, rates of decline in fitness, as measured by intrinsic rate of population increase and of body size at first reproduction, were negligibly affected by metal exposure. We can reject the possibility that Daphnia were insufficiently stressed to invoke genetic responses as we have previously shown rates of large-scale deletions and duplications are elevated under metal exposure in this experiment. Overall, the mutation accumulation lines did not significantly depart from initial values for phenotypic traits measured, indicating the lineage used was broadly mutationally robust. Taken together, these results indicate that the mutagenic effects of chronic low-level exposure to these metals are restricted to certain mutation classes and that fitness consequences are likely minor and therefore unlikely to be relevant in determining the evolutionary responses of populations exposed to these stressors.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Yap GS, WC Gause (2018)

Helminth Infections Induce Tissue Tolerance Mitigating Immunopathology but Enhancing Microbial Pathogen Susceptibility.

Frontiers in immunology, 9:2135.

Helminths are ubiquitous and have chronically infected vertebrates throughout their evolution. As such helminths have likely exerted considerable selection pressure on our immune systems. The large size of multicellular helminths and their limited replicative capacity in the host necessarily elicits different host protective mechanisms than the immune response evoked by microbial pathogens such as bacteria, viruses and intracellular parasites. The cellular damage resulting from helminth migration through tissues is a major trigger of the type 2 and regulatory immune responses, which activates wound repair mechanisms that increases tissue tolerance to injury and resistance mechanisms that enhance resistance to further colonization with larval stages. While these wound healing and anti-inflammatory responses may be beneficial to the helminth infected host, they may also compromise the host's ability to mount protective immune responses to microbial pathogens. In this review we will first describe helminth-induced tolerance mechanisms that develop in specific organs including the lung and the intestine, and how adaptive immunity may contribute to these responses through differential activation of T cells in the secondary lymphoid organs. We will then integrate studies that have examined how the immune response is modulated in these specific tissues during coinfection of helminths with viruses, protozoa, and bacteria.

RevDate: 2018-10-31

Darris C, Revert F, Revert-Ros F, et al (2018)

Unicellular ancestry and mechanisms of diversification of Goodpasture-antigen binding protein.

The Journal of biological chemistry pii:RA118.006225 [Epub ahead of print].

The emergence of the basement membrane (BM), a specialized form of extracellular matrix, was essential in the unicellular transition to multicellularity. Yet, the mechanism is unknown. Goodpasture antigen-binding protein (GPBP), aBM protein, was uniquely poised to play diverse roles in this transition owing to its multiple isoforms (GPBP-1, -2 and -3) with varied intracellular and extracellular functions (ceramide trafficker and protein kinase). We sought to determine the evolutionary origin of GPBP isoforms. Our findings reveal the presence of GPBP in unicellular protists, with GPBP-2 as the most ancient isoform.In vertebrates GPBP-1 assumed extracellular function which is further enhanced by membrane bound GPBP-3 in mammalians, while GPBP-2 retained intracellular function. Moreover, GPBP-2 possesses a dual intracellular/extracellular functionin cnidarians, an early non-bilaterian group. We conclude that GPBP functioning both inside and outside the cell was of fundamental importance for the evolutionary transition to animal multicellularity and tissue evolution.

RevDate: 2018-10-28

Niklas KJ, Wayne R, Benítez M, et al (2018)

Polarity, planes of cell division, and the evolution of plant multicellularity.

Protoplasma pii:10.1007/s00709-018-1325-y [Epub ahead of print].

Organisms as diverse as bacteria, fungi, plants, and animals manifest a property called "polarity." The literature shows that polarity emerges as a consequence of different mechanisms in different lineages. However, across all unicellular and multicellular organisms, polarity is evident when cells, organs, or organisms manifest one or more of the following: orientation, axiation, and asymmetry. Here, we review the relationships among these three features in the context of cell division and the evolution of multicellular polarity primarily in plants (defined here to include the algae). Data from unicellular and unbranched filamentous organisms (e.g., Chlamydomonas and Ulothrix) show that cell orientation and axiation are marked by cytoplasmic asymmetries. Branched filamentous organisms (e.g., Cladophora and moss protonema) require an orthogonal reorientation of axiation, or a localized cell asymmetry (e.g., "tip" growth in pollen tubes and fungal hyphae). The evolution of complex multicellular meristematic polarity required a third reorientation of axiation. These transitions show that polarity and the orientation of the future plane(s) of cell division are dyadic dynamical patterning modules that were critical for multicellular eukaryotic organisms.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Castiglione GM, BS Chang (2018)

Functional trade-offs and environmental variation shaped ancient trajectories in the evolution of dim-light vision.

eLife, 7: pii:35957.

Trade-offs between protein stability and activity can restrict access to evolutionary trajectories, but widespread epistasis may facilitate indirect routes to adaptation. This may be enhanced by natural environmental variation, but in multicellular organisms this process is poorly understood. We investigated a paradoxical trajectory taken during the evolution of tetrapod dim-light vision, where in the rod visual pigment rhodopsin, E122 was fixed 350 million years ago, a residue associated with increased active-state (MII) stability but greatly diminished rod photosensitivity. Here, we demonstrate that high MII stability could have likely evolved without E122, but instead, selection appears to have entrenched E122 in tetrapods via epistatic interactions with nearby coevolving sites. In fishes by contrast, selection may have exploited these epistatic effects to explore alternative trajectories, but via indirect routes with low MII stability. Our results suggest that within tetrapods, E122 and high MII stability cannot be sacrificed-not even for improvements to rod photosensitivity.

RevDate: 2018-10-25

Fitzgerald RS (2018)

O2/CO2: Biological Detection to Homeostatic Control.

Advances in experimental medicine and biology, 1071:1-12.

Oxygen (O2) and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) are the two gases to be detected and controlled. Of interest might be a query of the evolutionary origin of each. From the cooling of the Big Bang (~13.8 Billion Years Ago [BYA]) came a quark-gluon plasma from which protons and neutrons emerged, producing H, He, Li. As H and He collapsed into the first stars at ~13.3 BYA carbon and monatomic oxygen were generated. Some 3 billion years ago greater amounts of diatomic oxygen (O2) were provided by earth's photosynthesizing bacteria until earth's atmosphere had sufficient amounts to sustain the life processes of multicellular animals, and finally higher vertebrates. Origin of CO2 is somewhat unclear, though it probably came from the erupting early volcanoes. Photosynthesis produced sugars with O2 a waste product. Animal life took sugars and O2 needed for life. Clearly, animal detection and control of each was critical. Many chapters involving great heroes describe phases involved in detecting each, both in the CNS and in peripheral detectors. The carotid body (CB) has played a crucial role in the detection of each. What reflex responses the stimulated CB generates, and the mechanisms as to how it does so have been a fascinating story over the last 1.5 centuries, but principally over the last 50 years. Explorations to detect these gases have proceeded from the organismal/system/ organ levels down to the sub-cell and genetic levels.

RevDate: 2018-11-14

Kin K, Forbes G, Cassidy A, et al (2018)

Cell-type specific RNA-Seq reveals novel roles and regulatory programs for terminally differentiated Dictyostelium cells.

BMC genomics, 19(1):764 pii:10.1186/s12864-018-5146-3.

BACKGROUND: A major hallmark of multicellular evolution is increasing complexity by the evolution of new specialized cell types. During Dictyostelid evolution novel specialization occurred within taxon group 4. We here aim to retrace the nature and ancestry of the novel "cup" cells by comparing their transcriptome to that of other cell types.

RESULTS: RNA-Seq was performed on purified mature spore, stalk and cup cells and on vegetative amoebas. Clustering and phylogenetic analyses showed that cup cells were most similar to stalk cells, suggesting that they share a common ancestor. The affinity between cup and stalk cells was also evident from promoter-reporter studies of newly identified cell-type genes, which revealed late expression in cups of many stalk genes. However, GO enrichment analysis reveal the unexpected prominence of GTPase mediated signalling in cup cells, in contrast to enrichment of autophagy and cell wall synthesis related transcripts in stalk cells. Combining the cell type RNA-Seq data with developmental expression profiles revealed complex expression dynamics in each cell type as well as genes exclusively expressed during terminal differentiation. Most notable were nine related hssA-like genes that were highly and exclusively expressed in cup cells.

CONCLUSIONS: This study reveals the unique transcriptomes of the mature cup, stalk and spore cells of D. discoideum and provides insight into the ancestry of cup cells and roles in signalling that were not previously realized. The data presented in this study will serve as an important resource for future studies into the regulation and evolution of cell type specialization.

RevDate: 2018-10-31

Miller WB, Torday JS, F Baluška (2018)

Biological evolution as defense of 'self'.

Progress in biophysics and molecular biology pii:S0079-6107(18)30151-2 [Epub ahead of print].

Although the origin of self-referential consciousness is unknown, it can be argued that the instantiation of self-reference was the commencement of the living state as phenomenal experientiality. As self-referential cognition is demonstrated by all living organisms, life can be equated with the sustenance of cellular homeostasis in the continuous defense of 'self'. It is proposed that the epicenter of 'self' is perpetually embodied within the basic cellular form in which it was instantiated. Cognition-Based Evolution argues that all of biological and evolutionary development represents the perpetual autopoietic defense of self-referential basal cellular states of homeostatic preference. The means by which these states are attained and maintained is through self-referential measurement of information and its communication. The multicellular forms, either as biofilms or holobionts, represent the cellular attempt to achieve maximum states of informational distinction and energy efficiency through individual and collective means. In this frame, consciousness, self-consciousness and intelligence can be identified as forms of collective cellular phenotype directed towards the defense of fundamental cellular self-reference.


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

short personal version

Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

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