About | BLOGS | Portfolio | Misc | Recommended | What's New | What's Hot

About | BLOGS | Portfolio | Misc | Recommended | What's New | What's Hot


Bibliography Options Menu

22 Apr 2024 at 01:44
Hide Abstracts   |   Hide Additional Links
Long bibliographies are displayed in blocks of 100 citations at a time. At the end of each block there is an option to load the next block.

Bibliography on: Evolution of Multicelluarity


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

RJR: Recommended Bibliography 22 Apr 2024 at 01:44 Created: 

Evolution of Multicelluarity

Created with PubMed® Query: ( (evolution OR origin) AND (multicellularity OR multicellular) NOT 33634751[PMID] ) NOT pmcbook NOT ispreviousversion

Citations The Papers (from PubMed®)


RevDate: 2024-04-15

Nelson DR, Mystikou A, Jaiswal A, et al (2024)

Macroalgal deep genomics illuminate multiple paths to aquatic, photosynthetic multicellularity.

Molecular plant pii:S1674-2052(24)00084-4 [Epub ahead of print].

Macroalgae are multicellular, aquatic autotrophs that play vital roles in global climate maintenance and have diverse applications in biotechnology and eco-engineering, which are directly linked to their multicellularity phenotypes. However, their genomic diversity and the evolutionary mechanisms underlying multicellularity in these organisms remain uncharacterized. In this study, we sequenced 110 macroalgal genomes from diverse climates and phyla, and identified key genomic features that distinguish them from their microalgal relatives. Genes for cell adhesion, extracellular matrix formation, cell polarity, transport, and cell differentiation distinguish macroalgae from microalgae across all three major phyla, constituting conserved and unique gene sets supporting multicellular processes. Adhesome genes show phylum- and climate-specific expansions that may facilitate niche adaptation. Collectively, our study reveals genetic determinants of convergent and divergent evolutionary trajectories that have shaped morphological diversity in macroalgae and provides genome-wide frameworks to understand photosynthetic multicellular evolution in aquatic environments.

RevDate: 2024-04-15
CmpDate: 2024-04-15

Deng S, Gong H, Zhang D, et al (2024)

A statistical method for quantifying progenitor cells reveals incipient cell fate commitments.

Nature methods, 21(4):597-608.

Quantifying the number of progenitor cells that found an organ, tissue or cell population is of fundamental importance for understanding the development and homeostasis of a multicellular organism. Previous efforts rely on marker genes that are specifically expressed in progenitors. This strategy is, however, often hindered by the lack of ideal markers. Here we propose a general statistical method to quantify the progenitors of any tissues or cell populations in an organism, even in the absence of progenitor-specific markers, by exploring the cell phylogenetic tree that records the cell division history during development. The method, termed targeting coalescent analysis (TarCA), computes the probability that two randomly sampled cells of a tissue coalesce within the tissue-specific monophyletic clades. The inverse of this probability then serves as a measure of the progenitor number of the tissue. Both mathematic modeling and computer simulations demonstrated the high accuracy of TarCA, which was then validated using real data from nematode, fruit fly and mouse, all with related cell phylogenetic trees. We further showed that TarCA can be used to identify lineage-specific upregulated genes during embryogenesis, revealing incipient cell fate commitments in mouse embryos.

RevDate: 2024-04-13
CmpDate: 2024-04-12

Lindsey CR, Knoll AH, Herron MD, et al (2024)

Fossil-calibrated molecular clock data enable reconstruction of steps leading to differentiated multicellularity and anisogamy in the Volvocine algae.

BMC biology, 22(1):79.

BACKGROUND: Throughout its nearly four-billion-year history, life has undergone evolutionary transitions in which simpler subunits have become integrated to form a more complex whole. Many of these transitions opened the door to innovations that resulted in increased biodiversity and/or organismal efficiency. The evolution of multicellularity from unicellular forms represents one such transition, one that paved the way for cellular differentiation, including differentiation of male and female gametes. A useful model for studying the evolution of multicellularity and cellular differentiation is the volvocine algae, a clade of freshwater green algae whose members range from unicellular to colonial, from undifferentiated to completely differentiated, and whose gamete types can be isogamous, anisogamous, or oogamous. To better understand how multicellularity, differentiation, and gametes evolved in this group, we used comparative genomics and fossil data to establish a geologically calibrated roadmap of when these innovations occurred.

RESULTS: Our ancestral-state reconstructions, show that multicellularity arose independently twice in the volvocine algae. Our chronograms indicate multicellularity evolved during the Carboniferous-Triassic periods in Goniaceae + Volvocaceae, and possibly as early as the Cretaceous in Tetrabaenaceae. Using divergence time estimates we inferred when, and in what order, specific developmental changes occurred that led to differentiated multicellularity and oogamy. We find that in the volvocine algae the temporal sequence of developmental changes leading to differentiated multicellularity is much as proposed by David Kirk, and that multicellularity is correlated with the acquisition of anisogamy and oogamy. Lastly, morphological, molecular, and divergence time data suggest the possibility of cryptic species in Tetrabaenaceae.

CONCLUSIONS: Large molecular datasets and robust phylogenetic methods are bringing the evolutionary history of the volvocine algae more sharply into focus. Mounting evidence suggests that extant species in this group are the result of two independent origins of multicellularity and multiple independent origins of cell differentiation. Also, the origin of the Tetrabaenaceae-Goniaceae-Volvocaceae clade may be much older than previously thought. Finally, the possibility of cryptic species in the Tetrabaenaceae provides an exciting opportunity to study the recent divergence of lineages adapted to live in very different thermal environments.

RevDate: 2024-04-09
CmpDate: 2024-04-08

Wang H, Guan Z, L Zheng (2024)

Single-cell RNA sequencing explores the evolution of the ecosystem from leukoplakia to head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.

Scientific reports, 14(1):8097.

It has been found that progression from leukoplakia to head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is a long-term process that may involve changes in the multicellular ecosystem. We acquired scRNA-seq samples information from gene expression omnibus and UCSC Xena database. The BEAM function was used to construct the pseudotime trajectory and analyze the differentially expressed genes in different branches. We used the ssGSEA method to explore the correlation between each cell subgroup and survival time, and obtained the cell subgroup related to prognosis. During the progression from leukoplakia to HNSCC, we found several prognostic cell subgroups, such as AURKB + epithelial cells, SFRP1 + fibroblasts, SLC7A8 + macrophages, FCER1A + CD1C + dendritic cells, and TRGC2 + NK/T cells. All cell subgroups had two different fates, one tending to cell proliferation, migration, and enhancement of angiogenesis capacity, and the other tending to inflammatory immune response, leukocyte chemotaxis, and T cell activation. Tumor-promoting genes such as CD163 and CD209 were highly expressed in the myeloid cells, and depletion marker genes such as TIGIT, LAG3 were highly expressed in NK/T cells. Our study may provide a reference for the molecular mechanism of HNSCC and theoretical basis for the development of new therapeutic strategies.

RevDate: 2024-04-09
CmpDate: 2024-04-09

Shao S, Liu K, Du J, et al (2024)

Functional characterization of serine proteinase inhibitor Kazal-Type in the red claw crayfish Cherax quadricarinatus.

Fish & shellfish immunology, 148:109525.

Serine protease inhibitors Kazal type (SPINKs) function in physiological and immunological processes across multicellular organisms. In the present study, we identified a SPINK gene, designated as CqSPINK, in the red claw crayfish Cherax quadricarinatus, which is the ortholog of human SPINK5. The deduced CqSPINK contains two Kazal domains consisting of 45 amino acid residues with a typical signature motif C-X3-C-X5-PVCG-X5-Y-X3-C-X6-C-X12-14-C. Each Kazal domain contains six conserved cysteine residues forming three pairs of disulfide bonds, segmenting the structure into three rings. Phylogenetic analysis revealed CqSPINK as a homolog of human SPINK5. CqSPINK expression was detected exclusively in hepatopancreas and epithelium, with rapid up-regulation in hepatopancreas upon Vibrio parahaemolyticus E1 challenge. Recombinant CqSPINK protein (rCqSPINK) was heterologously expressed in Escherichia coli and purified for further study. Proteinase inhibition assays demonstrated that rCqSPINK could potently inhibit proteinase K and subtilisin A, weakly inhibit α-chymotrypsin and elastase, but extremely weak inhibit trypsin. Furthermore, CqSPINK inhibited bacterial secretory proteinase activity from Bacillus subtilis, E. coli, and Staphylococcus aureus, and inhibited B. subtilis growth. These findings suggest CqSPINK's involvement in antibacterial immunity through direct inhibition of bacterial proteases, contributing to resistance against pathogen invasion.

RevDate: 2024-03-30

Deng Y, Xia L, Zhang J, et al (2024)

Multicellular ecotypes shape progression of lung adenocarcinoma from ground-glass opacity toward advanced stages.

Cell reports. Medicine pii:S2666-3791(24)00135-6 [Epub ahead of print].

Lung adenocarcinoma is a type of cancer that exhibits a wide range of clinical radiological manifestations, from ground-glass opacity (GGO) to pure solid nodules, which vary greatly in terms of their biological characteristics. Our current understanding of this heterogeneity is limited. To address this gap, we analyze 58 lung adenocarcinoma patients via machine learning, single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq), and whole-exome sequencing, and we identify six lung multicellular ecotypes (LMEs) correlating with distinct radiological patterns and cancer cell states. Notably, GGO-associated neoantigens in early-stage cancers are recognized by CD8[+] T cells, indicating an immune-active environment, while solid nodules feature an immune-suppressive LME with exhausted CD8[+] T cells, driven by specific stromal cells such as CTHCR1[+] fibroblasts. This study also highlights EGFR(L858R) neoantigens in GGO samples, suggesting potential CD8[+] T cell activation. Our findings offer valuable insights into lung adenocarcinoma heterogeneity, suggesting avenues for targeted therapies in early-stage disease.

RevDate: 2024-03-30

Kapsetaki SE, Cisneros LH, CC Maley (2024)

Cell-in-cell phenomena across the tree of life.

Scientific reports, 14(1):7535.

Cells in obligately multicellular organisms by definition have aligned fitness interests, minimum conflict, and cannot reproduce independently. However, some cells eat other cells within the same body, sometimes called cell cannibalism. Such cell-in-cell events have not been thoroughly discussed in the framework of major transitions to multicellularity. We performed a systematic screening of 508 articles, from which we chose 115 relevant articles in a search for cell-in-cell events across the tree of life, the age of cell-in-cell-related genes, and whether cell-in-cell events are associated with normal multicellular development or cancer. Cell-in-cell events are found across the tree of life, from some unicellular to many multicellular organisms, including non-neoplastic and neoplastic tissue. Additionally, out of the 38 cell-in-cell-related genes found in the literature, 14 genes were over 2.2 billion years old, i.e., older than the common ancestor of some facultatively multicellular taxa. All of this suggests that cell-in-cell events may have originated before the origins of obligate multicellularity. Thus, our results show that cell-in-cell events exist in obligate multicellular organisms, but are not a defining feature of them. The idea of eradicating cell-in-cell events from obligate multicellular organisms as a way of treating cancer, without considering that cell-in-cell events are also part of normal development, should be abandoned.

RevDate: 2024-03-28

Odelgard A, Hägglund E, Guy L, et al (2024)

Phylogeny and Expansion of Serine/Threonine Kinases in Phagocytotic Bacteria in the Phylum Planctomycetota.

Genome biology and evolution pii:7637138 [Epub ahead of print].

The recently isolated bacterium "Candidatus Uabimicrobium amorphum" is the only known prokaryote that can engulf other bacterial cells. Its proteome contains a high fraction of proteins involved in signal transduction systems, which is a feature normally associated with multicellularity in eukaryotes. Here, we present a protein-based phylogeny which shows that "Ca. Uabimicrobium amorphum" represents an early diverging lineage that clusters with the Saltatorellus clade within the phylum Planctomycetota. A gene flux analysis indicated a gain of 126 protein families for signal transduction functions in "Ca. Uabimicrobium amorphum", of which 66 families contained eukaryotic-like Serine/Threonine kinases (STKs) with Pkinase domains. In total, we predicted 525 functional STKs in "Ca. Uabimicrobium amorphum", which represent 8% of the proteome and is the highest fraction of STKs in a bacterial proteome. The majority of STKs in this species are membrane proteins and 30% contain long, tandem arrays of WD40 or TPR domains. The pKinase domain was predicted to be located in the cytoplasm, while the WD40 and TPR domains were predicted to be located in the periplasm. Such domain combinations were also identified in the STKs of other species in the Planctomycetota, although in much lower abundances. A phylogenetic analysis of the STKs in the Planctomycetota inferred from the Pkinase domain alone provided support for lineage-specific expansions of the STKs in "Ca. Uabimicrobium amorphum". The results imply that expansions of eukaryotic-like signal transduction systems are not restricted to multicellular organisms, but have occurred in parallel in prokaryotes with predatory lifestyles and phagocytotic-like behaviors.

RevDate: 2024-03-28
CmpDate: 2024-03-28

Domazet-Lošo M, Široki T, Šimičević K, et al (2024)

Macroevolutionary dynamics of gene family gain and loss along multicellular eukaryotic lineages.

Nature communications, 15(1):2663.

The gain and loss of genes fluctuate over evolutionary time in major eukaryotic clades. However, the full profile of these macroevolutionary trajectories is still missing. To give a more inclusive view on the changes in genome complexity across the tree of life, here we recovered the evolutionary dynamics of gene family gain and loss ranging from the ancestor of cellular organisms to 352 eukaryotic species. We show that in all considered lineages the gene family content follows a common evolutionary pattern, where the number of gene families reaches the highest value at a major evolutionary and ecological transition, and then gradually decreases towards extant organisms. This supports theoretical predictions and suggests that the genome complexity is often decoupled from commonly perceived organismal complexity. We conclude that simplification by gene family loss is a dominant force in Phanerozoic genomes of various lineages, probably underpinned by intense ecological specializations and functional outsourcing.

RevDate: 2024-03-27
CmpDate: 2024-03-27

Li R, Chen X, X Yang (2024)

Navigating the landscapes of spatial transcriptomics: How computational methods guide the way.

Wiley interdisciplinary reviews. RNA, 15(2):e1839.

Spatially resolved transcriptomics has been dramatically transforming biological and medical research in various fields. It enables transcriptome profiling at single-cell, multi-cellular, or sub-cellular resolution, while retaining the information of geometric localizations of cells in complex tissues. The coupling of cell spatial information and its molecular characteristics generates a novel multi-modal high-throughput data source, which poses new challenges for the development of analytical methods for data-mining. Spatial transcriptomic data are often highly complex, noisy, and biased, presenting a series of difficulties, many unresolved, for data analysis and generation of biological insights. In addition, to keep pace with the ever-evolving spatial transcriptomic experimental technologies, the existing analytical theories and tools need to be updated and reformed accordingly. In this review, we provide an overview and discussion of the current computational approaches for mining of spatial transcriptomics data. Future directions and perspectives of methodology design are proposed to stimulate further discussions and advances in new analytical models and algorithms. This article is categorized under: RNA Methods > RNA Analyses in Cells RNA Evolution and Genomics > Computational Analyses of RNA RNA Export and Localization > RNA Localization.

RevDate: 2024-03-25

Wielgoss S, Van Dyken JD, GJ Velicer (2024)

Mutation rate and effective population size of the model cooperative bacterium Myxococcus xanthus.

Genome biology and evolution pii:7634483 [Epub ahead of print].

Intrinsic rates of genetic mutation have diverged greatly across taxa and exhibit statistical associations with several other parameters and features. These include effective population size (Ne), genome size, and gametic multicellularity, with the latter being associated with both increased mutation rates and decreased effective population sizes. However, data sufficient to test for possible relationships between microbial multicellularity and mutation rate (µ) are lacking. Here we report estimates of two key population-genetic parameters, Ne and µ, for Myxococcus xanthus, a bacterial model organism for the study of aggregative multicellular development, predation, and social swarming. To estimate µ, we conducted an ∼400-day mutation-accumulation (MA) experiment with 46 lineages subjected to regular single colony bottlenecks prior to clonal regrowth. Upon conclusion, we sequenced one clonal-isolate genome per lineage. Given collective evolution for 85,323 generations across all lines, we calculate a per base-pair mutation rate of ∼5.5 × 10-10 per site per generation, one of the highest mutation rates among free-living eubacteria. Given our estimate of µ, we derived Ne at ∼107 from neutral diversity at four-fold degenerate sites across two dozen M. xanthus natural isolates. This estimate is below average for eubacteria and strengthens an already clear negative correlation between µ and Ne in prokaryotes. The higher and lower than average mutation rate and Ne for M. xanthus, respectively, amplify the question of whether any features of its multicellular life-cycle - such as group-size reduction during fruiting-body development - or its highly structured spatial distribution have significantly influenced how these parameters have evolved.

RevDate: 2024-03-23

Anonymous (2024)

Multicellularity drives ecological diversity in a long-term evolution experiment.

Nature ecology & evolution [Epub ahead of print].

RevDate: 2024-03-25
CmpDate: 2024-03-25

Carreira de Paula J, García Olmedo P, Gómez-Moracho T, et al (2024)

Promastigote EPS secretion and haptomonad biofilm formation as evolutionary adaptations of trypanosomatid parasites for colonizing honeybee hosts.

NPJ biofilms and microbiomes, 10(1):27.

Bees are major pollinators involved in the maintenance of all terrestrial ecosystems. Biotic and abiotic factors placing these insects at risk is a research priority for ecological and agricultural sustainability. Parasites are one of the key players of this global decline and the study of their mechanisms of action is essential to control honeybee colony losses. Trypanosomatid parasites and particularly the Lotmaria passim are widely spread in honeybees, however their lifestyle is poorly understood. In this work, we show how these parasites are able to differentiate into a new parasitic lifestyle: the trypanosomatid biofilms. Using different microscopic techniques, we demonstrated that the secretion of Extracellular Polymeric Substances by free-swimming unicellular promastigote forms is a prerequisite for the generation and adherence of multicellular biofilms to solid surfaces in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, compared to human-infective trypanosomatid parasites our study shows how trypanosomatid parasites of honeybees increases their resistance and thus resilience to drastic changes in environmental conditions such as ultralow temperatures and hypoosmotic shock, which would explain their success thriving within or outside their hosts. These results set up the basis for the understanding of the success of this group of parasites in nature and to unveil the impact of such pathogens in honeybees, a keystones species in most terrestrial ecosystems.

RevDate: 2024-03-23

Phillips JE, D Pan (2024)

The Hippo kinase cascade regulates a contractile cell behavior and cell density in a close unicellular relative of animals.

eLife, 12:.

The genomes of close unicellular relatives of animals encode orthologs of many genes that regulate animal development. However, little is known about the function of such genes in unicellular organisms or the evolutionary process by which these genes came to function in multicellular development. The Hippo pathway, which regulates cell proliferation and tissue size in animals, is present in some of the closest unicellular relatives of animals, including the amoeboid organism Capsaspora owczarzaki. We previously showed that the Capsaspora ortholog of the Hippo pathway nuclear effector Yorkie/YAP/TAZ (coYki) regulates actin dynamics and the three-dimensional morphology of Capsaspora cell aggregates, but is dispensable for cell proliferation control (Phillips et al., 2022). However, the function of upstream Hippo pathway components, and whether and how they regulate coYki in Capsaspora, remained unknown. Here, we analyze the function of the upstream Hippo pathway kinases coHpo and coWts in Capsaspora by generating mutant lines for each gene. Loss of either kinase results in increased nuclear localization of coYki, indicating an ancient, premetazoan origin of this Hippo pathway regulatory mechanism. Strikingly, we find that loss of either kinase causes a contractile cell behavior and increased density of cell packing within Capsaspora aggregates. We further show that this increased cell density is not due to differences in proliferation, but rather actomyosin-dependent changes in the multicellular architecture of aggregates. Given its well-established role in cell density-regulated proliferation in animals, the increased density of cell packing in coHpo and coWts mutants suggests a shared and possibly ancient and conserved function of the Hippo pathway in cell density control. Together, these results implicate cytoskeletal regulation but not proliferation as an ancestral function of the Hippo pathway kinase cascade and uncover a novel role for Hippo signaling in regulating cell density in a proliferation-independent manner.

RevDate: 2024-03-22

Dsilva GJ, S Galande (2024)

From sequence to consequence: Deciphering the complex cisregulatory landscape.

Journal of biosciences, 49:.

Cell type-specific expression of genes plays a pivotal role in the development and evolution of multicellular organisms over millions of years. The majority of regulatory control resides within the non-coding regions of the genome, referred to as 'dark matter', which contains cis-regulatory modules. These cis-regulatory modules function collectively and can impact gene expression even when located far from the target gene, exhibiting context-specific behaviour. Consequently, the cis-regulatory code governing gene expression patterns is intricate, in contrast to the universally understood genetic code. This overview centres on the current knowledge regarding cis-regulatory elements, primarily enhancers and their role in governing the spatiotemporal gene expression patterns, and how they have evolved and adapted across different species.

RevDate: 2024-03-21

Luthringer R, Raphalen M, Guerra C, et al (2024)

Repeated co-option of HMG-box genes for sex determination in brown algae and animals.

Science (New York, N.Y.), 383(6689):eadk5466.

In many eukaryotes, genetic sex determination is not governed by XX/XY or ZW/ZZ systems but by a specialized region on the poorly studied U (female) or V (male) sex chromosomes. Previous studies have hinted at the existence of a dominant male-sex factor on the V chromosome in brown algae, a group of multicellular eukaryotes distantly related to animals and plants. The nature of this factor has remained elusive. Here, we demonstrate that an HMG-box gene acts as the male-determining factor in brown algae, mirroring the role HMG-box genes play in sex determination in animals. Over a billion-year evolutionary timeline, these lineages have independently co-opted the HMG box for male determination, representing a paradigm for evolution's ability to recurrently use the same genetic "toolkit" to accomplish similar tasks.

RevDate: 2024-03-20

Narula K, Sinha A, Choudhary P, et al (2024)

Combining extracellular matrix proteome and phosphoproteome of chickpea and meta-analysis reveal novel proteoforms and evolutionary significance of clade-specific wall-associated events in plant.

Plant direct, 8(3):e572.

Extracellular matrix (ECM) plays central roles in cell architecture, innate defense and cell wall integrity (CWI) signaling. During transition to multicellularity, modular domain structures of ECM proteins and proteoforms have evolved due to continuous adaptation across taxonomic clades under different ecological niche. Although this incredible diversity has to some extent been investigated at protein level, extracellular phosphorylation events and molecular evolution of ECM proteoform families remains unexplored. We developed matrisome proteoform atlas in a grain legume, chickpea and performed meta-analyses of 74 plant matrisomes. MS/MS analysis identified 1,424 proteins and 315 phosphoproteins involved in diverse functions. Cross-species ECM protein network identified proteoforms associated with CWI maintenance system. Phylogenetic characterization of eighteen matrix protein families highlighted the role of taxon-specific paralogs and orthologs. Novel information was acquired on gene expansion and loss, co-divergence, sub functionalization and neofunctionalization during evolution. Modular networks of matrix protein families and hub proteins showed higher diversity across taxonomic clades than among organs. Furthermore, protein families differ in nonsynonymous to synonymous substitution rates. Our study pointed towards the matrix proteoform functionality, sequence divergence variation, interactions between wall remodelers and molecular evolution using a phylogenetic framework. This is the first report on comprehensive matrisome proteoform network illustrating presence of CWI signaling proteins in land plants.

RevDate: 2024-03-20
CmpDate: 2024-03-20

Földi C, Merényi Z, Balázs B, et al (2024)

Snowball: a novel gene family required for developmental patterning of fruiting bodies of mushroom-forming fungi (Agaricomycetes).

mSystems, 9(3):e0120823.

UNLABELLED: The morphogenesis of sexual fruiting bodies of fungi is a complex process determined by a genetically encoded program. Fruiting bodies reached the highest complexity levels in the Agaricomycetes; yet, the underlying genetics is currently poorly known. In this work, we functionally characterized a highly conserved gene termed snb1, whose expression level increases rapidly during fruiting body initiation. According to phylogenetic analyses, orthologs of snb1 are present in almost all agaricomycetes and may represent a novel conserved gene family that plays a substantial role in fruiting body development. We disrupted snb1 using CRISPR/Cas9 in the agaricomycete model organism Coprinopsis cinerea. snb1 deletion mutants formed unique, snowball-shaped, rudimentary fruiting bodies that could not differentiate caps, stipes, and lamellae. We took advantage of this phenotype to study fruiting body differentiation using RNA-Seq analyses. This revealed differentially regulated genes and gene families that, based on wild-type RNA-Seq data, were upregulated early during development and showed tissue-specific expression, suggesting a potential role in differentiation. Taken together, the novel gene family of snb1 and the differentially expressed genes in the snb1 mutants provide valuable insights into the complex mechanisms underlying developmental patterning in the Agaricomycetes.

IMPORTANCE: Fruiting bodies of mushroom-forming fungi (Agaricomycetes) are complex multicellular structures, with a spatially and temporally integrated developmental program that is, however, currently poorly known. In this study, we present a novel, conserved gene family, Snowball (snb), termed after the unique, differentiation-less fruiting body morphology of snb1 knockout strains in the model mushroom Coprinopsis cinerea. snb is a gene of unknown function that is highly conserved among agaricomycetes and encodes a protein of unknown function. A comparative transcriptomic analysis of the early developmental stages of differentiated wild-type and non-differentiated mutant fruiting bodies revealed conserved differentially expressed genes which may be related to tissue differentiation and developmental patterning fruiting body development.

RevDate: 2024-03-18

Piccini C, Martínez de la Escalera G, Segura A, et al (2024)

The Microcystis-microbiome interactions: origins of the colonial lifestyle.

FEMS microbiology ecology pii:7631344 [Epub ahead of print].

Species of the Microcystis genus are the most common bloom-forming toxic cyanobacteria worldwide. They belong to a clade of unicellular cyanobacteria whose ability to reach high biomasses during blooms is linked to the formation of colonies. Colonial lifestyle provides several advantages under stressing conditions of light intensity, ultraviolet light, toxic substances and grazing. The progression from a single-celled organism to multicellularity in Microcystis has usually been interpreted as individual phenotypic responses of the cyanobacterial cells to the environment. Here, we synthesize current knowledge about Microcystis colonial lifestyle and its role in the organism ecology. We then briefly review the available information on Microcystis microbiome and propose that changes leading from single cells to colonies are the consequence of specific and tightly regulated signals between the cyanobacterium and its microbiome through a biofilm-like mechanism. The resulting colony is a multi-specific community of interdependent microorganisms.

RevDate: 2024-03-18

Bozdag GO, Szeinbaum N, Conlin PL, et al (2024)

Chapter 5: Major Biological Innovations in the History of Life on Earth.

Astrobiology, 24(S1):S107-S123.

All organisms living on Earth descended from a single, common ancestral population of cells, known as LUCA-the last universal common ancestor. Since its emergence, the diversity and complexity of life have increased dramatically. This chapter focuses on four key biological innovations throughout Earth's history that had a significant impact on the expansion of phylogenetic diversity, organismal complexity, and ecospace habitation. First is the emergence of the last universal common ancestor, LUCA, which laid the foundation for all life-forms on Earth. Second is the evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis, which resulted in global geochemical and biological transformations. Third is the appearance of a new type of cell-the eukaryotic cell-which led to the origin of a new domain of life and the basis for complex multicellularity. Fourth is the multiple independent origins of multicellularity, resulting in the emergence of a new level of complex individuality. A discussion of these four key events will improve our understanding of the intertwined history of our planet and its inhabitants and better inform the extent to which we can expect life at different degrees of diversity and complexity elsewhere.

RevDate: 2024-03-18

Hörandl E (2024)

Apomixis and the paradox of sex in plants.

Annals of botany pii:7630939 [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: The predominance of sex in eukaryotes, despite the high costs of meiosis and mating, is still an evolutionary enigma. Many theories have been proposed, none of them being conclusive on its own, and they are partly not well applicable to land plants. Sexual reproduction is obligate in embryophytes for the great majority of species.

SCOPE: This review will compare the main forms of sexual and asexual reproduction in ferns and angiosperms, based on the generation cycling of sporophyte and gametophyte (leaving vegetative propagation aside). The benefits of sexual reproduction for maintenance of genomic integrity compared to asexuality will be discussed in the light of developmental, evolutionary, genetic and phylogenetic studies.

CONCLUSIONS: Asexual reproduction represents modifications of the sexual pathway, with various forms of facultative sexuality. For sexual land plants, meiosis provides direct DNA repair mechanisms of oxidative damage in reproductive tissues. The ploidy alternations of meiosis-syngamy cycles, and prolonged, multicellular stages in the haploid phase in the gametophytes provide a high efficiency of purifying selection against recessive deleterious mutations. Asexual lineages might buffer effects of such mutations via polyploidy, and can purge the mutational load via facultative sexuality. The role of organelle-nuclear genome compatibility for maintenance of genome integrity is still not well understood. The costs of mating are in plants in general low because of predominant hermaphroditism. Phylogenetic patterns in the Archaeplastid clade suggest that high frequencies of sexuality in land plants are concomitant with a stepwise increase of intrinsic and extrinsic stress factors. Furthermore, expansion of genome size in land plants would increase the potential mutational load. Sexual reproduction appears to be essential for keeping long term genomic integrity, and only rare combinations of extrinsic and intrinsic factors allow for shifts to asexuality.

RevDate: 2024-03-18
CmpDate: 2024-03-18

Bing J, Guan Z, Zheng T, et al (2024)

Rapid evolution of an adaptive multicellular morphology of Candida auris during systemic infection.

Nature communications, 15(1):2381.

Candida auris has become a serious threat to public health. The mechanisms of how this fungal pathogen adapts to the mammalian host are poorly understood. Here we report the rapid evolution of an adaptive C. auris multicellular aggregative morphology in the murine host during systemic infection. C. auris aggregative cells accumulate in the brain and exhibit obvious advantages over the single-celled yeast-form cells during systemic infection. Genetic mutations, specifically de novo point mutations in genes associated with cell division or budding processes, underlie the rapid evolution of this aggregative phenotype. Most mutated C. auris genes are associated with the regulation of cell wall integrity, cytokinesis, cytoskeletal properties, and cellular polarization. Moreover, the multicellular aggregates are notably more recalcitrant to the host antimicrobial peptides LL-37 and PACAP relative to the single-celled yeast-form cells. Overall, to survive in the host, C. auris can rapidly evolve a multicellular aggregative morphology via genetic mutations.

RevDate: 2024-03-16

Li X, Gao T, Ma X, et al (2024)

Extraction and identification of exosomes from three different sources of human ovarian granulosa cells and analysis of their differential miRNA expression profiles.

Journal of assisted reproduction and genetics [Epub ahead of print].

OBJECTIVE: As important functional cells in the ovary, ovarian granulosa cells are involved in the regulation of oocyte growth and development and play an important role in the study of female fertility preservation. Based on the importance of granulosa cell functionalism, in this study, we analyzed the exosome secretion capacity of human ovarian granulosa cells (SVOG/KGN-cell line, PGC-primary cells) and the differences in their miRNA expression.

METHODS: Cells were identified by hematoxylin-eosin staining (HE) and FSHR immunofluorescence staining; CCK8 and colony-forming assay were performed to compare cell proliferation capacity; exosomes were extracted and identified by ultra-high speed centrifugation, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA), and western blot analysis (WB), and the expression profile of each cellular exosomal miRNA was analyzed by miRNA high-throughput sequencing.

RESULTS: The proliferative abilities of the three granulosa cells differed, but all had the ability to secrete exosomes. In the exosomes of SVOG, KGN, and PGC cells, 218, 327, and 471 miRNAs were detected, respectively. When compared to the exosomal miRNAs of PGC cells, 111 miRNAs were significantly different in SVOG, and 70 miRNAs were washed two significantly different in KGN cells. These differential miRNA functions were mainly enriched in the cell cycle, cell division/differentiation, multicellular biogenesis, and protein binding.

CONCLUSION: Human ovarian granulosa cells of different origins are capable of secreting exosomes, but there are still some differences in their exosomes and exosomal miRNAs, and experimental subjects should be selected rationally according to the actual situation.

RevDate: 2024-03-15

Pineau RM, Libby E, Demory D, et al (2024)

Emergence and maintenance of stable coexistence during a long-term multicellular evolution experiment.

Nature ecology & evolution [Epub ahead of print].

The evolution of multicellular life spurred evolutionary radiations, fundamentally changing many of Earth's ecosystems. Yet little is known about how early steps in the evolution of multicellularity affect eco-evolutionary dynamics. Through long-term experimental evolution, we observed niche partitioning and the adaptive divergence of two specialized lineages from a single multicellular ancestor. Over 715 daily transfers, snowflake yeast were subjected to selection for rapid growth, followed by selection favouring larger group size. Small and large cluster-forming lineages evolved from a monomorphic ancestor, coexisting for over ~4,300 generations, specializing on divergent aspects of a trade-off between growth rate and survival. Through modelling and experimentation, we demonstrate that coexistence is maintained by a trade-off between organismal size and competitiveness for dissolved oxygen. Taken together, this work shows how the evolution of a new level of biological individuality can rapidly drive adaptive diversification and the expansion of a nascent multicellular niche, one of the most historically impactful emergent properties of this evolutionary transition.

RevDate: 2024-03-15
CmpDate: 2024-03-15

Wu Z, Liu D, Ou Y, et al (2024)

Mechanism and endoscopic-treatment-induced evolution of biliary non-anastomotic stricture after liver transplantation revealed by single-cell RNA sequencing.

Clinical and translational medicine, 14(3):e1622.

BACKGROUND: Biliary complications, especially non-anastomotic stricture (NAS), are the main complications after liver transplantation. Insufficient sampling and no recognized animal models obstruct the investigation. Thus, the mechanisms and alterations that occur during endoscopic treatment (ET) of NAS remain unclear.

METHODS: Samples were obtained with endoscopic forceps from the hilar bile ducts of NAS patients receiving continuous biliary stent implantation after diagnosis. Retrospective analysis of multiple studies indicated that the duration of ET for NAS was approximately 1-2 years. Thus, we divided the patients into short-term treatment (STT) and long-term treatment (LTT) groups based on durations of less or more than 1 year. Samples were subjected to single-cell RNA sequencing. Transcriptomic differences between STT and normal groups were defined as the NAS mechanism. Similarly, alterations from STT to LTT groups were regarded as endoscopic-treatment-induced evolution.

RESULTS: In NAS, inflammation and immune-related pathways were upregulated in different cell types, with nonimmune cells showing hypoxia pathway upregulation and immune cells showing ATP metabolism pathway upregulation, indicating heterogeneity. We confirmed a reduction in bile acid metabolism-related SPP1[+] epithelial cells in NAS. Increases in proinflammatory and profibrotic fibroblast subclusters indicated fibrotic progression in NAS. Furthermore, immune disorders in NAS were exacerbated by an increase in plasma cells and dysfunction of NK and NKT cells. ET downregulated multicellular immune and inflammatory responses and restored epithelial and endothelial cell proportions.

CONCLUSIONS: This study reveals the pathophysiological and genetic mechanisms and evolution of NAS induced by ET, thereby providing preventive and therapeutic insights into NAS.

HIGHLIGHTS: For the first time, single-cell transcriptome sequencing was performed on the bile ducts of patients with biliary complications. scRNA-seq analysis revealed distinct changes in the proportion and phenotype of multiple cell types during Nonanastomotic stricture (NAS) and endoscopic treatment. A reduction in bile acid metabolism-related SPP1+ epithelial cells and VEGFA+ endothelial cells, along with explosive infiltration of plasma cells and dysfunction of T and NK cells in NAS patients. SPP1+ macrophages and BST2+ T cells might serve as a surrogate marker for predicting endoscopic treatment.

RevDate: 2024-03-14

von Hoyningen-Huene AJE, Bang C, Rausch P, et al (2024)

The archaeome in metaorganism research, with a focus on marine models and their bacteria-archaea interactions.

Frontiers in microbiology, 15:1347422.

Metaorganism research contributes substantially to our understanding of the interaction between microbes and their hosts, as well as their co-evolution. Most research is currently focused on the bacterial community, while archaea often remain at the sidelines of metaorganism-related research. Here, we describe the archaeome of a total of eleven classical and emerging multicellular model organisms across the phylogenetic tree of life. To determine the microbial community composition of each host, we utilized a combination of archaea and bacteria-specific 16S rRNA gene amplicons. Members of the two prokaryotic domains were described regarding their community composition, diversity, and richness in each multicellular host. Moreover, association with specific hosts and possible interaction partners between the bacterial and archaeal communities were determined for the marine models. Our data show that the archaeome in marine hosts predominantly consists of Nitrosopumilaceae and Nanoarchaeota, which represent keystone taxa among the porifera. The presence of an archaeome in the terrestrial hosts varies substantially. With respect to abundant archaeal taxa, they harbor a higher proportion of methanoarchaea over the aquatic environment. We find that the archaeal community is much less diverse than its bacterial counterpart. Archaeal amplicon sequence variants are usually host-specific, suggesting adaptation through co-evolution with the host. While bacterial richness was higher in the aquatic than the terrestrial hosts, a significant difference in diversity and richness between these groups could not be observed in the archaeal dataset. Our data show a large proportion of unclassifiable archaeal taxa, highlighting the need for improved cultivation efforts and expanded databases.

RevDate: 2024-03-14
CmpDate: 2024-03-14

Jung J, Loschko T, Reich S, et al (2024)

Newly identified nematodes from the Great Salt Lake are associated with microbialites and specially adapted to hypersaline conditions.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 291(2018):20232653.

Extreme environments enable the study of simplified food-webs and serve as models for evolutionary bottlenecks and early Earth ecology. We investigated the biodiversity of invertebrate meiofauna in the benthic zone of the Great Salt Lake (GSL), Utah, USA, one of the most hypersaline lake systems in the world. The hypersaline bays within the GSL are currently thought to support only two multicellular animals: brine fly larvae and brine shrimp. Here, we report the presence, habitat, and microbial interactions of novel free-living nematodes. Nematode diversity drops dramatically along a salinity gradient from a freshwater river into the south arm of the lake. In Gilbert Bay, nematodes primarily inhabit reef-like organosedimentary structures built by bacteria called microbialites. These structures likely provide a protective barrier to UV and aridity, and bacterial associations within them may support life in hypersaline environments. Notably, sampling from Owens Lake, another terminal lake in the Great Basin that lacks microbialites, did not recover nematodes from similar salinities. Phylogenetic divergence suggests that GSL nematodes represent previously undescribed members of the family Monhysteridae-one of the dominant fauna of the abyssal zone and deep-sea hydrothermal vents. These findings update our understanding of halophile ecosystems and the habitable limit of animals.

RevDate: 2024-03-13

Jiménez-López D, Xoconostle-Cázares B, Calderón-Pérez B, et al (2024)

Evolutionary and Structural Analysis of PP16 in Viridiplantae.

International journal of molecular sciences, 25(5): pii:ijms25052839.

Members of the phloem protein 16 (PP16) gene family are induced by elicitors in rice and the corresponding proteins from cucurbits, which display RNA binding and intercellular transport activities, are accumulated in phloem sap. These proteins facilitate the movement of protein complexes through the phloem translocation flow and may be involved in the response to water deficit, among other functions. However, there is scant information regarding their function in other plants, including the identification of paralog genes in non-vascular plants and chlorophytes. In the present work, an evolutionary and structural analysis of the PP16 family in green plants (Viridiplantae) was carried out. Data mining in different databases indicated that PP16 likely originated from a larger gene present in an ancestral lineage that gave rise to chlorophytes and multicellular plants. This gene encodes a protein related to synaptotagmin, which is involved in vesicular transport in animal systems, although other members of this family play a role in lipid turnover in endomembranes and organelles. These proteins contain a membrane-binding C2 domain shared with PP16 proteins in vascular plants. In silico analysis of the predicted structure of the PP16 protein family identified several β-sheets, one α-helix, and intrinsically disordered regions. PP16 may have been originally involved in vesicular trafficking and/or membrane maintenance but specialized in long-distance signaling during the emergence of the plant vascular system.

RevDate: 2024-03-12

Cui L, Zhu K, Li R, et al (2024)

The Cambrian microfossil Qingjiangonema reveals the co-evolution of sulfate-reducing bacteria and the oxygenation of Earth's surface.

Science bulletin pii:S2095-9273(24)00145-2 [Epub ahead of print].

Sulfate reduction is an essential metabolism that maintains biogeochemical cycles in marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Sulfate reducers are exclusively prokaryotic, phylogenetically diverse, and may have evolved early in Earth's history. However, their origin is elusive and unequivocal fossils are lacking. Here we report a new microfossil, Qingjiangonema cambria, from ∼518-million-year-old black shales that yield the Qingjiang biota. Qingjiangonema is a long filamentous form comprising hundreds of cells filled by equimorphic and equidimensional pyrite microcrystals with a light sulfur isotope composition. Multiple lines of evidence indicate Qingjiangonema was a sulfate-reducing bacterium that exhibits similar patterns of cell organization to filamentous forms within the phylum Desulfobacterota, including the sulfate-reducing Desulfonema and sulfide-oxidizing cable bacteria. Phylogenomic analyses confirm separate, independent origins of multicellularity in Desulfonema and in cable bacteria. Molecular clock analyses infer that the Desulfobacterota, which encompass a majority of sulfate-reducing taxa, diverged ∼2.41 billion years ago during the Paleoproterozoic Great Oxygenation Event, while cable bacteria diverged ∼0.56 billion years ago during or immediately after the Neoproterozoic Oxygenation Event. Taken together, we interpret Qingjiangonema as a multicellular sulfate-reducing microfossil and propose that cable bacteria evolved from a multicellular filamentous sulfate-reducing ancestor. We infer that the diversification of the Desulfobacterota and the origin of cable bacteria may have been responses to oxygenation events in Earth's history.

RevDate: 2024-03-11

Borland G, Wilkie SE, Thomson J, et al (2024)

Polr3b heterozygosity in mice induces both beneficial and deleterious effects on health during ageing with no effect on lifespan.

Aging cell [Epub ahead of print].

The genetic pathways that modulate ageing in multicellular organisms are typically highly conserved across wide evolutionary distances. Recently RNA polymerase III (Pol III) was shown to promote ageing in yeast, C. elegans and D. melanogaster. In this study we investigated the role of Pol III in mammalian ageing using C57BL/6N mice heterozygous for Pol III (Polr3b[+/-]). We identified sexually dimorphic, organ-specific beneficial as well as detrimental effects of the Polr3b[+/-] mutation on health. Female Polr3b[+/-] mice displayed improved bone health during ageing, but their ability to maintain an effective gut barrier function was compromised and they were susceptible to idiopathic dermatitis (ID). In contrast, male Polr3b[+/-] mice were lighter than wild-type (WT) males and had a significantly improved gut barrier function in old age. Several metabolic parameters were affected by both age and sex, but no genotype differences were detected. Neither male nor female Polr3b[+/-] mice were long-lived compared to WT controls. Overall, we find no evidence that a reduced Pol III activity extends mouse lifespan but we do find some potential organ- and sex-specific benefits for old-age health.

RevDate: 2024-03-10

Libertini G (2023)

Phenoptosis and the Various Types of Natural Selection.

Biochemistry. Biokhimiia, 88(12):2007-2022.

In the first description of evolution, the fundamental mechanism is the natural selection favoring the individuals best suited for survival and reproduction (selection at the individual level or classical Darwinian selection). However, this is a very reductive description of natural selection that does not consider or explain a long series of known phenomena, including those in which an individual sacrifices or jeopardizes his life on the basis of genetically determined mechanisms (i.e., phenoptosis). In fact, in addition to (i) selection at the individual level, it is essential to consider other types of natural selection such as those concerning: (ii) kin selection and some related forms of group selection; (iii) the interactions between the innumerable species that constitute a holobiont; (iv) the origin of the eukaryotic cell from prokaryotic organisms; (v) the origin of multicellular eukaryotic organisms from unicellular organisms; (vi) eusociality (e.g., in many species of ants, bees, termites); (vii) selection at the level of single genes, or groups of genes; (viii) the interactions between individuals (or more precisely their holobionts) of the innumerable species that make up an ecosystem. These forms of natural selection, which are all effects and not violations of the classical Darwinian selection, also show how concepts as life, species, individual, and phenoptosis are somewhat not entirely defined and somehow arbitrary. Furthermore, the idea of organisms selected on the basis of their survival and reproduction capabilities is intertwined with that of organisms also selected on the basis of their ability to cooperate and interact, even by losing their lives or their distinct identities.

RevDate: 2024-03-11
CmpDate: 2024-03-11

Stanojković A, Skoupý S, Johannesson H, et al (2024)

The global speciation continuum of the cyanobacterium Microcoleus.

Nature communications, 15(1):2122.

Speciation is a continuous process driven by genetic, geographic, and ecological barriers to gene flow. It is widely investigated in multicellular eukaryotes, yet we are only beginning to comprehend the relative importance of mechanisms driving the emergence of barriers to gene flow in microbial populations. Here, we explored the diversification of the nearly ubiquitous soil cyanobacterium Microcoleus. Our dataset consisted of 291 genomes, of which 202 strains and eight herbarium specimens were sequenced for this study. We found that Microcoleus represents a global speciation continuum of at least 12 lineages, which radiated during Eocene/Oligocene aridification and exhibit varying degrees of divergence and gene flow. The lineage divergence has been driven by selection, geographical distance, and the environment. Evidence of genetic divergence and selection was widespread across the genome, but we identified regions of exceptional differentiation containing candidate genes associated with stress response and biosynthesis of secondary metabolites.

RevDate: 2024-03-10

Montrose K, Lac DT, Burnetti AJ, et al (2024)

Proteostatic tuning underpins the evolution of novel multicellular traits.

Science advances, 10(10):eadn2706.

The evolution of multicellularity paved the way for the origin of complex life on Earth, but little is known about the mechanistic basis of early multicellular evolution. Here, we examine the molecular basis of multicellular adaptation in the multicellularity long-term evolution experiment (MuLTEE). We demonstrate that cellular elongation, a key adaptation underpinning increased biophysical toughness and organismal size, is convergently driven by down-regulation of the chaperone Hsp90. Mechanistically, Hsp90-mediated morphogenesis operates by destabilizing the cyclin-dependent kinase Cdc28, resulting in delayed mitosis and prolonged polarized growth. Reinstatement of Hsp90 or Cdc28 expression resulted in shortened cells that formed smaller groups with reduced multicellular fitness. Together, our results show how ancient protein folding systems can be tuned to drive rapid evolution at a new level of biological individuality by revealing novel developmental phenotypes.

RevDate: 2024-03-06

Park S, SW Cho (2024)

Bioengineering toolkits for potentiating organoid therapeutics.

Advanced drug delivery reviews pii:S0169-409X(24)00060-7 [Epub ahead of print].

Organoids are three-dimensional, multicellular constructs that recapitulate the structural and functional features of specific organs. Because of these characteristics, organoids have been widely applied in biomedical research in recent decades. Remarkable advancements in organoid technology have positioned them as promising candidates for regenerative medicine. However, current organoids still have limitations, such as the absence of internal vasculature, limited functionality, and a small size that is not commensurate with that of actual organs. These limitations hinder their survival and regenerative effects after transplantation. Another significant concern is the reliance on mouse tumor-derived matrix in organoid culture, which is unsuitable for clinical translation due to its tumor origin and safety issues. Therefore, our aim is to describe engineering strategies and alternative biocompatible materials that can facilitate the practical applications of organoids in regenerative medicine. Furthermore, we highlight meaningful progress in organoid transplantation, with a particular emphasis on the functional restoration of various organs.

RevDate: 2024-03-05

Prondzynski M, Pioner JM, Sala L, et al (2024)

Editorial: Advances in pluripotent stem cell-based in vitro models of the human heart for cardiac physiology, disease modeling and clinical applications.

Frontiers in physiology, 15:1378495 pii:1378495.

RevDate: 2024-03-04

Szathmáry E (2024)

Nonadaptive onset of complex multicellularity.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 121(11):e2401220121.

RevDate: 2024-03-04

Matsumoto H, M Ueda (2024)

Polarity establishment in the plant zygote at a glance.

Journal of cell science, 137(5):.

The complex structures of multicellular organisms originate from a unicellular zygote. In most angiosperms, including Arabidopsis thaliana, the zygote is distinctly polar and divides asymmetrically to produce an apical cell, which generates the aboveground part of the plant body, and a basal cell, which generates the root tip and extraembryonic suspensor. Thus, zygote polarity is pivotal for establishing the apical-basal axis running from the shoot apex to the root tip of the plant body. The molecular mechanisms and spatiotemporal dynamics behind zygote polarization remain elusive. However, advances in live-cell imaging of plant zygotes have recently made significant insights possible. In this Cell Science at a Glance article and the accompanying poster, we summarize our understanding of the early steps in apical-basal axis formation in Arabidopsis, with a focus on de novo transcriptional activation after fertilization and the intracellular dynamics leading to the first asymmetric division of the zygote.

RevDate: 2024-02-29

Bayer EM, Y Benitez-Alfonso (2024)

Plasmodesmata: Channels Under Pressure.

Annual review of plant biology [Epub ahead of print].

Multicellularity has emerged multiple times in evolution, enabling groups of cells to share a living space and reducing the burden of solitary tasks. While unicellular organisms exhibit individuality and independence, cooperation among cells in multicellular organisms brings specialization and flexibility. However, multicellularity also necessitates intercellular dependence and relies on intercellular communication. In plants, this communication is facilitated by plasmodesmata: intercellular bridges that allow the direct (cytoplasm-to-cytoplasm) transfer of information between cells. Plasmodesmata transport essential molecules that regulate plant growth, development, and stress responses. They are embedded in the extracellular matrix but exhibit flexibility, adapting intercellular flux to meet the plant's needs. In this review, we delve into the formation and functionality of plasmodesmata and examine the capacity of the plant communication network to respond to developmental and environmental cues. We illustrate how environmental pressure shapes cellular interactions and aids the plant in adapting its growth. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Plant Biology, Volume 75 is May 2024. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.

RevDate: 2024-03-04
CmpDate: 2024-03-04

Nino Barreat JG, A Katzourakis (2024)

Ecological and evolutionary dynamics of cell-virus-virophage systems.

PLoS computational biology, 20(2):e1010925.

Microbial eukaryotes, giant viruses and virophages form a unique hyperparasitic system. Virophages are parasites of the virus transcription machinery and can interfere with virus replication, resulting in a benefit to the eukaryotic host population. Surprisingly, virophages can integrate into the genomes of their cell or virus hosts, and have been shown to reactivate during coinfection. This raises questions about the role of integration in the dynamics of cell-virus-virophage systems. We use mathematical models and computational simulations to understand the effect of virophage integration on populations of cells and viruses. We also investigate multicellularity and programmed cell-death (PCD) as potential antiviral defence strategies used by cells. We found that virophages which enter the cell independently of the host virus, such as Mavirus, are expected to integrate commonly into the genomes of their cell hosts. Our models suggest that integrations from virophages without an independent mode of entry like Sputnik, are less likely to become fixed in the cell host population. Alternatively, we found that Sputnik virophages can stably persist integrated in the virus population, as long as they do not completely inhibit virus replication. We also show that increasing virophage inhibition can stabilise oscillatory dynamics, which may explain the long-term persistence of viruses and virophages in the environment. Our results demonstrate that inhibition by virophages and multicellularity are effective antiviral strategies that may act in synergy against viral infection in microbial species.

RevDate: 2024-02-24

Woudenberg S, Hadid F, Weijers D, et al (2024)

The maternal embrace: the protection of plant embryos.

Journal of experimental botany pii:7613627 [Epub ahead of print].

All land plants - the embryophytes - produce multicellular embryos, as other multicellular organisms, such as brown algae and animals. A unique characteristic of plant embryos is their immobile and confined nature. Their embedding in maternal tissues may offer protection from the environment, but also physically constrains development. Across the different land plants, a huge discrepancy is present between their reproductive structures whilst leading to similarly complex embryos. Therefore, we review the roles that maternal tissues play in the control of embryogenesis across land plants. These nurturing, constraining, and protective roles include both direct and indirect effects. In this review, we explore how the maternal surroundings affect embryogenesis and which chemical and mechanical barriers are in place. We regard these questions through the lens of evolution, and identify key questions for future research.

RevDate: 2024-02-22

Ratajczak MZ, J Ratajczak (2024)

Leukemogenesis occurs in a microenvironment enriched by extracellular microvesicles/exosomes: recent discoveries and questions to be answered.

Leukemia [Epub ahead of print].

In single-cell organisms, extracellular microvesicles (ExMVs) were one of the first cell-cell communication platforms that emerged very early during evolution. Multicellular organisms subsequently adapted this mechanism. Evidence indicates that all types of cells secrete these small circular structures surrounded by a lipid membrane that may be encrusted by ligands and receptors interacting with target cells and harboring inside a cargo comprising RNA species, proteins, bioactive lipids, signaling nucleotides, and even entire organelles "hijacked" from the cells of origin. ExMVs are secreted by normal cells and at higher levels by malignant cells, and there are some differences in their cargo. On the one hand, ExMVs secreted from malignant cells interact with cells in the microenvironment, and in return, they are exposed by a "two-way mechanism" to ExMVs secreted by non-leukemic cells. Therefore, leukemogenesis occurs and progresses in ExMVs enriched microenvironments, and this biological fact has pathologic, diagnostic, and therapeutic implications. We are still trying to decipher this intriguing cell-cell communication language better. We will present a current point of view on this topic and review some selected most recent discoveries and papers.

RevDate: 2024-02-22

Ilker E, M Hinczewski (2024)

Bioenergetic costs and the evolution of noise regulation by microRNAs.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 121(9):e2308796121.

Noise control, together with other regulatory functions facilitated by microRNAs (miRNAs), is believed to have played important roles in the evolution of multicellular eukaryotic organisms. miRNAs can dampen protein fluctuations via enhanced degradation of messenger RNA (mRNA), but this requires compensation by increased mRNA transcription to maintain the same expression levels. The overall mechanism is metabolically expensive, leading to questions about how it might have evolved in the first place. We develop a stochastic model of miRNA noise regulation, coupled with a detailed analysis of the associated metabolic costs. Additionally, we calculate binding free energies for a range of miRNA seeds, the short sequences which govern target recognition. We argue that natural selection may have fine-tuned the Michaelis-Menten constant [Formula: see text] describing miRNA-mRNA affinity and show supporting evidence from analysis of experimental data. [Formula: see text] is constrained by seed length, and optimal noise control (minimum protein variance at a given energy cost) is achievable for seeds of 6 to 7 nucleotides in length, the most commonly observed types. Moreover, at optimality, the degree of noise reduction approaches the theoretical bound set by the Wiener-Kolmogorov linear filter. The results illustrate how selective pressure toward energy efficiency has potentially shaped a crucial regulatory pathway in eukaryotes.

RevDate: 2024-02-22

Hesse E, S O'Brien (2024)

Ecological dependencies and the illusion of cooperation in microbial communities.

Microbiology (Reading, England), 170(2):.

Ecological dependencies - where organisms rely on other organisms for survival - are a ubiquitous feature of life on earth. Multicellular hosts rely on symbionts to provide essential vitamins and amino acids. Legume plants similarly rely on nitrogen-fixing rhizobia to convert atmospheric nitrogen to ammonia. In some cases, dependencies can arise via loss-of-function mutations that allow one partner to benefit from the actions of another. It is common in microbiology to label ecological dependencies between species as cooperation - making it necessary to invoke cooperation-specific frameworks to explain the phenomenon. However, in many cases, such traits are not (at least initially) cooperative, because they are not selected for because of the benefits they confer on a partner species. In contrast, dependencies in microbial communities may originate from fitness benefits gained from genomic-streamlining (i.e. Black Queen Dynamics). Here, we outline how the Black Queen Hypothesis predicts the formation of metabolic dependencies via loss-of-function mutations in microbial communities, without needing to invoke any cooperation-specific explanations. Furthermore we outline how the Black Queen Hypothesis can act as a blueprint for true cooperation as well as discuss key outstanding questions in the field. The nature of interactions in microbial communities can predict the ability of natural communities to withstand and recover from disturbances. Hence, it is vital to gain a deeper understanding of the factors driving these dynamic interactions over evolutionary time.

RevDate: 2024-02-21

Mikhailovsky GE (2024)

Life, its definition, origin, evolution, and four-dimensional hierarchical structure.

Bio Systems pii:S0303-2647(24)00043-1 [Epub ahead of print].

The main unique features of biological systems are reviewed, and four necessary and sufficient attributes of life are formulated, based on the ideas of Ervin Bauer. The possibility of the occurrence of each of these attributes during the origin of life is analyzed. As a result, different scenarios for the origin of life are presented, with all their pros and cons. Next, the mainstream of biological evolution is discussed, considering it as a special case of general complexification, and structuredness is defined as a quantitative measure of structural complexity. By introducing the concepts of post-dissipative structure and ratcheting process based on "frozen" patterns, their role in the generation of biological structures underlying biological evolution is demonstrated. Furthermore, it is proposed that all living things can be divided into micro- (unicellular) and macro- (multicellular) creatures, which differ from each other even more radically than the difference between prokaryotes and unicellular eukaryotes. Then the fifth, sufficient, but not necessary attribute of life, hierarchicality, is formulated, which is fully applicable only to macrolife. It is also shown that living organisms are primarily chemodynamic rather than thermodynamic systems, and three basic laws of biochemodynamics are formulated. Finally, fifteen basic features of living beings, grouped into four basic blocks, are summarized.

RevDate: 2024-02-22

Kidner RQ, Goldstone EB, Laidemitt MR, et al (2024)

Host lipids regulate multicellular behavior of a predator of a human pathogen.

bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology.

As symbionts of animals, microbial eukaryotes benefit and harm their hosts in myriad ways. A model microeukaryote (Capsaspora owczarzaki) is a symbiont of Biomphalaria glabrata snails and may prevent transmission of parasitic schistosomes from snails to humans. However, it is unclear which host factors determine Capsaspora's ability to colonize snails. Here, we discovered that Capsaspora forms multicellular aggregates when exposed to snail hemolymph. We identified a molecular cue for aggregation: a hemolymph-derived phosphatidylcholine, which becomes elevated in schistosome-infected snails. Therefore, Capsaspora aggregation may be a response to the physiological state of its host, and it may determine its ability to colonize snails and exclude parasitic schistosomes. Furthermore, Capsaspora is an evolutionary model organism whose aggregation may be ancestral to animals. This discovery, that a prevalent lipid induces Capsaspora multicellularity, suggests that this aggregation phenotype may be ancient. Additionally, the specific lipid will be a useful tool for further aggregation studies.

RevDate: 2024-02-20

Edelbroek B, Kjellin J, Biryukova I, et al (2024)

Evolution of microRNAs in Amoebozoa and implications for the origin of multicellularity.

Nucleic acids research pii:7611030 [Epub ahead of print].

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are important and ubiquitous regulators of gene expression in both plants and animals. They are thought to have evolved convergently in these lineages and hypothesized to have played a role in the evolution of multicellularity. In line with this hypothesis, miRNAs have so far only been described in few unicellular eukaryotes. Here, we investigate the presence and evolution of miRNAs in Amoebozoa, focusing on species belonging to Acanthamoeba, Physarum and dictyostelid taxonomic groups, representing a range of unicellular and multicellular lifestyles. miRNAs that adhere to both the stringent plant and animal miRNA criteria were identified in all examined amoebae, expanding the total number of protists harbouring miRNAs from 7 to 15. We found conserved miRNAs between closely related species, but the majority of species feature only unique miRNAs. This shows rapid gain and/or loss of miRNAs in Amoebozoa, further illustrated by a detailed comparison between two evolutionary closely related dictyostelids. Additionally, loss of miRNAs in the Dictyostelium discoideum drnB mutant did not seem to affect multicellular development and, hence, demonstrates that the presence of miRNAs does not appear to be a strict requirement for the transition from uni- to multicellular life.

RevDate: 2024-02-17

Kriete A (2024)

Dissipative scaling of development and aging in multicellular organisms.

Bio Systems pii:S0303-2647(24)00042-X [Epub ahead of print].

Evolution, self-replication and ontogenesis are highly dynamic, irreversible and self-organizing processes dissipating energy. While progress has been made to decipher the role of thermodynamics in cellular fission, it is not yet clear how entropic balances shape organism growth and aging. This paper derives a general dissipation theory for the life-history of organisms. It implies a self-regulated entropy production facilitating exponential growth within a hierarchical and entropy lowering self-organization. The theory predicts ceilings in energy expenditures imposed by geometric constrains, which promote thermal optimality during development, and a dissipative scaling across organisms consistent with ecological scaling laws combining isometric and allometric terms. The theory also illustrates how growing organisms can tolerate damage through continuous extension and production of new dissipative structures low in entropy. However, when organisms reduce their rate of cell division and reach a steady adult state, they become thermodynamically unstable, increase internal entropy by accumulating damage, and age.

RevDate: 2024-02-16
CmpDate: 2024-02-16

Doré H, Eisenberg AR, Junkins EN, et al (2024)

Targeted hypermutation of putative antigen sensors in multicellular bacteria.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 121(9):e2316469121.

Diversity-generating retroelements (DGRs) are used by bacteria, archaea, and viruses as a targeted mutagenesis tool. Through error-prone reverse transcription, DGRs introduce random mutations at specific genomic loci, enabling rapid evolution of these targeted genes. However, the function and benefits of DGR-diversified proteins in cellular hosts remain elusive. We find that 82% of DGRs from one of the major monophyletic lineages of DGR reverse transcriptases are encoded by multicellular bacteria, which often have two or more DGR loci in their genomes. Using the multicellular purple sulfur bacterium Thiohalocapsa sp. PB-PSB1 as an example, we characterized nine distinct DGR loci capable of generating 10[282] different combinations of target proteins. With environmental metagenomes from individual Thiohalocapsa aggregates, we show that most of PB-PSB1's DGR target genes are diversified across its biogeographic range, with spatial heterogeneity in the diversity of each locus. In Thiohalocapsa PB-PSB1 and other bacteria hosting this lineage of cellular DGRs, the diversified target genes are associated with NACHT-domain anti-phage defenses and putative ternary conflict systems previously shown to be enriched in multicellular bacteria. We propose that these DGR-diversified targets act as antigen sensors that confer a form of adaptive immunity to their multicellular consortia, though this remains to be experimentally tested. These findings could have implications for understanding the evolution of multicellularity, as the NACHT-domain anti-phage systems and ternary systems share both domain homology and conceptual similarities with the innate immune and programmed cell death pathways of plants and metazoans.

RevDate: 2024-02-14

Iwaï H, Beyer HM, Johansson JEM, et al (2024)

The three-dimensional structure of the Vint domain from Tetrahymena thermophila suggests a ligand-regulated cleavage mechanism by the HINT fold.

FEBS letters [Epub ahead of print].

Vint proteins have been identified in unicellular metazoans as a novel hedgehog-related gene family, merging the von Willebrand factor type A domain and the Hedgehog/INTein (HINT) domains. We present the first three-dimensional structure of the Vint domain from Tetrahymena thermophila corresponding to the auto-processing domain of hedgehog proteins, shedding light on the unique features, including an adduct recognition region (ARR). Our results suggest a potential binding between the ARR and sulfated glycosaminoglycans like heparin sulfate. Moreover, we uncover a possible regulatory role of the ARR in the auto-processing by Vint domains, expanding our understanding of the HINT domain evolution and their use in biotechnological applications. Vint domains might have played a crucial role in the transition from unicellular to multicellular organisms.

RevDate: 2024-02-09

Wang R, Meng Q, Wang X, et al (2024)

Comparative genomic analysis of symbiotic and free-living Fluviibacter phosphoraccumulans strains provides insights into the evolutionary origins of obligate Euplotes-bacterial endosymbioses.

Applied and environmental microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

Endosymbiosis is a widespread and important phenomenon requiring diverse model systems. Ciliates are a widespread group of protists that often form symbioses with diverse microorganisms. Endosymbioses between the ciliate Euplotes and heritable bacterial symbionts are common in nature, and four essential symbionts were described: Polynucleobacter necessarius, "Candidatus Protistobacter heckmanni," "Ca. Devosia symbiotica," and "Ca. Devosia euplotis." Among them, only the genus Polynucleobacter comprises very close free-living and symbiotic representatives, which makes it an excellent model for investigating symbiont replacements and recent symbioses. In this article, we characterized a novel endosymbiont inhabiting the cytoplasm of Euplotes octocarinatus and found that it is a close relative of the free-living bacterium Fluviibacter phosphoraccumulans (Betaproteobacteria and Rhodocyclales). We present the complete genome sequence and annotation of the symbiotic Fluviibacter. Comparative analyses indicate that the genome of symbiotic Fluviibacter is small in size and rich in pseudogenes when compared with free-living strains, which seems to fit the prediction for recently established endosymbionts undergoing genome erosion. Further comparative analysis revealed reduced metabolic capacities in symbiotic Fluviibacter, which implies that the symbiont relies on the host Euplotes for carbon sources, organic nitrogen and sulfur, and some cofactors. We also estimated substitution rates between symbiotic and free-living Fluviibacter pairs for 233 genes; the results showed that symbiotic Fluviibacter displays higher dN/dS mean value than free-living relatives, which suggested that genetic drift is the main driving force behind molecular evolution in endosymbionts.IMPORTANCEIn the long history of symbiosis research, most studies focused mainly on organelles or bacteria within multicellular hosts. The single-celled protists receive little attention despite harboring an immense diversity of symbiotic associations with bacteria and archaea. One subgroup of the ciliate Euplotes species is strictly dependent on essential symbionts for survival and has emerged as a valuable model for understanding symbiont replacements and recent symbioses. However, almost all of our knowledge about the evolution and functions of Euplotes symbioses comes from the Euplotes-Polynucleobacter system. In this article, we report a novel essential symbiont, which also has very close free-living relatives. Genome analysis indicated that it is a recently established endosymbiont undergoing genome erosion and relies on the Euplotes host for many essential molecules. Our results provide support for the notion that essential symbionts of the ciliate Euplotes evolve from free-living progenitors in the natural water environment.

RevDate: 2024-02-14
CmpDate: 2024-02-14

Zhang C, Zhu Z, Jiang A, et al (2023)

Genome-wide identification of the mitogen-activated kinase gene family from Limonium bicolor and functional characterization of LbMAPK2 under salt stress.

BMC plant biology, 23(1):565.

BACKGROUND: Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) are ubiquitous signal transduction components in eukaryotes. In plants, MAPKs play an essential role in growth and development, phytohormone regulation, and abiotic stress responses. The typical recretohalophyte Limonium bicolor (Bunge) Kuntze has multicellular salt glands on its stems and leaves; these glands secrete excess salt ions from its cells to mitigate salt damage. The number, type, and biological function of L. bicolor MAPK genes are unknown.

RESULTS: We identified 20 candidate L. bicolor MAPK genes, which can be divided into four groups. Of these 20 genes, 17 were anchored to 7 chromosomes, while LbMAPK18, LbMAPK19, and LbMAPK20 mapped to distinct scaffolds. Structure analysis showed that the predicted protein LbMAPK19 contains the special structural motif TNY in its activation loop, whereas the other LbMAPK members harbor the conserved TEY or TDY motif. The promoters of most LbMAPK genes carry cis-acting elements related to growth and development, phytohormones, and abiotic stress. LbMAPK1, LbMAPK2, LbMAPK16, and LbMAPK20 are highly expressed in the early stages of salt gland development, whereas LbMAPK4, LbMAPK5, LbMAPK6, LbMAPK7, LbMAPK11, LbMAPK14, and LbMAPK15 are highly expressed during the late stages. These 20 LbMAPK genes all responded to salt, drought and ABA stress. We explored the function of LbMAPK2 via virus-induced gene silencing: knocking down LbMAPK2 transcript levels in L. bicolor resulted in fewer salt glands, lower salt secretion ability from leaves, and decreased salt tolerance. The expression of several genes [LbTTG1 (TRANSPARENT TESTA OF GL1), LbCPC (CAPRICE), and LbGL2 (GLABRA2)] related to salt gland development was significantly upregulated in LbMAPK2 knockdown lines, while the expression of LbEGL3 (ENHANCER OF GL3) was significantly downregulated.

CONCLUSION: These findings increase our understanding of the LbMAPK gene family and will be useful for in-depth studies of the molecular mechanisms behind salt gland development and salt secretion in L. bicolor. In addition, our analysis lays the foundation for exploring the biological functions of MAPKs in an extreme halophyte.

RevDate: 2024-02-09

Bowles AMC, Williamson CJ, Williams TA, et al (2024)

Cryogenian origins of multicellularity in Archaeplastida.

Genome biology and evolution pii:7604131 [Epub ahead of print].

Earth was impacted by global glaciations during the Cryogenian (720-635 million years ago; Ma), events invoked to explain both the origins of multicellularity in Archaeplastida and radiation of the first land plants. However, the temporal relationship between these environmental and biological events is poorly established, due to a paucity of molecular and fossil data, precluding resolution of the phylogeny and timescale of archaeplastid evolution. We infer a time-calibrated phylogeny of early archaeplastid evolution based on a revised molecular dataset and reappraisal of the fossil record. Phylogenetic topology testing resolves deep archaeplastid relationships, identifying two clades of Viridiplantae and placing Bryopsidales as sister to the Chlorophyceae. Our molecular clock analysis infers an origin of Archaeplastida in the late-Paleoproterozoic to early-Mesoproterozoic (1712-1387 Ma). Ancestral state reconstruction of cytomorphological traits on this time-calibrated tree reveals many of the independent origins of multicellularity span the Cryogenian, consistent with the Cryogenian multicellularity hypothesis. Multicellular rhodophytes emerged 902-655Ma while crown-Anydrophyta (Zygnematophyceae and Embryophyta) originated 796-671Ma, broadly compatible with the Cryogenian plant terrestrialisation hypothesis. Our analyses resolve the timetree of Archaeplastida with age estimates for ancestral multicellular archaeplastids coinciding with the Cryogenian, compatible with hypotheses that propose a role of Snowball Earth in plant evolution.

RevDate: 2024-02-08

Gupta P, Bermejo-Rodriguez C, Kocher H, et al (2024)

Chemotherapy Assessment in Advanced Multicellular 3D Models of Pancreatic Cancer: Unravelling the Importance of Spatiotemporal Mimicry of the Tumor Microenvironment.

Advanced biology [Epub ahead of print].

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a challenge for global health with very low survival rate and high therapeutic resistance. Hence, advanced preclinical models for treatment screening are of paramount importance. Herein, chemotherapeutic (gemcitabine) assessment on novel (polyurethane) scaffold-based spatially advanced 3D multicellular PDAC models is carried out. Through comprehensive image-based analysis at the protein level, and expression analysis at the mRNA level, the importance of stromal cells is confirmed, primarily activated stellate cells in the chemoresistance of PDAC cells within the models. Furthermore, it is demonstrated that, in addition to the presence of activated stellate cells, the spatial architecture of the scaffolds, i.e., segregation/compartmentalization of the cancer and stromal zones, affect the cellular evolution and is necessary for the development of chemoresistance. These results highlight that, further to multicellularity, mapping the tumor structure/architecture and zonal complexity in 3D cancer models is important for better mimicry of the in vivo therapeutic response.

RevDate: 2024-02-06

Glass DS, Bren A, Vaisbourd E, et al (2024)

A synthetic differentiation circuit in Escherichia coli for suppressing mutant takeover.

Cell pii:S0092-8674(24)00061-8 [Epub ahead of print].

Differentiation is crucial for multicellularity. However, it is inherently susceptible to mutant cells that fail to differentiate. These mutants outcompete normal cells by excessive self-renewal. It remains unclear what mechanisms can resist such mutant expansion. Here, we demonstrate a solution by engineering a synthetic differentiation circuit in Escherichia coli that selects against these mutants via a biphasic fitness strategy. The circuit provides tunable production of synthetic analogs of stem, progenitor, and differentiated cells. It resists mutations by coupling differentiation to the production of an essential enzyme, thereby disadvantaging non-differentiating mutants. The circuit selected for and maintained a positive differentiation rate in long-term evolution. Surprisingly, this rate remained constant across vast changes in growth conditions. We found that transit-amplifying cells (fast-growing progenitors) underlie this environmental robustness. Our results provide insight into the stability of differentiation and demonstrate a powerful method for engineering evolutionarily stable multicellular consortia.

RevDate: 2024-02-06

Donoghue PCJ, JW Clark (2024)

Plant evolution: Streptophyte multicellularity, ecology, and the acclimatisation of plants to life on land.

Current biology : CB, 34(3):R86-R89.

Land plants are celebrated as one of the three great instances of complex multicellularity, but new phylogenomic and phenotypic analyses are revealing deep evolutionary roots of multicellularity among algal relatives, prompting questions about the causal basis of this major evolutionary transition.

RevDate: 2024-02-05

Bingham EP, WC Ratcliff (2024)

A nonadaptive explanation for macroevolutionary patterns in the evolution of complex multicellularity.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 121(7):e2319840121.

"Complex multicellularity," conventionally defined as large organisms with many specialized cell types, has evolved five times independently in eukaryotes, but never within prokaryotes. A number of hypotheses have been proposed to explain this phenomenon, most of which posit that eukaryotes evolved key traits (e.g., dynamic cytoskeletons, alternative mechanisms of gene regulation, or subcellular compartments) which were a necessary prerequisite for the evolution of complex multicellularity. Here, we propose an alternative, nonadaptive hypothesis for this broad macroevolutionary pattern. By binning cells into groups with finite genetic bottlenecks between generations, the evolution of multicellularity greatly reduces the effective population size (Ne) of cellular populations, increasing the role of genetic drift in evolutionary change. While both prokaryotes and eukaryotes experience this phenomenon, they have opposite responses to drift: eukaryotes tend to undergo genomic expansion, providing additional raw genetic material for subsequent multicellular innovation, while prokaryotes generally face genomic erosion. Taken together, we hypothesize that these idiosyncratic lineage-specific evolutionary dynamics play a fundamental role in the long-term divergent evolution of complex multicellularity across the tree of life.

RevDate: 2024-02-05
CmpDate: 2024-02-05

Siljestam M, I Martinossi-Allibert (2024)

Anisogamy Does Not Always Promote the Evolution of Mating Competition Traits in Males.

The American naturalist, 203(2):230-253.

AbstractAnisogamy has evolved in most sexually reproducing multicellular organisms allowing the definition of male and female sexes, producing small and large gametes. Anisogamy, as the initial sexual dimorphism, is a good starting point to understand the evolution of further sexual dimorphisms. For instance, it is generally accepted that anisogamy sets the stage for more intense mating competition in males than in females. We argue that this idea stems from a restrictive assumption on the conditions under which anisogamy evolved in the first place: the absence of sperm limitation (assuming that all female gametes are fertilized). Here, we relax this assumption and present a model that considers the coevolution of gamete size with a mating competition trait, starting in a population without dimorphism. We vary gamete density to produce different scenarios of gamete limitation. We show that while at high gamete density the evolution of anisogamy always results in male investment in competition, gamete limitation at intermediate gamete densities allows for either females or males to invest more into mating competition. Our results thus suggest that anisogamy does not always promote mating competition among males. The conditions under which anisogamy evolves matter, as does the competition trait.

RevDate: 2024-02-01

Mihalič F, Arcila D, Pettersson ME, et al (2024)

Conservation of affinity rather than sequence underlies a dynamic evolution of the motif-mediated p53/MDM2 interaction in ray-finned fishes.

Molecular biology and evolution pii:7596109 [Epub ahead of print].

The transcription factor and cell cycle regulator p53 is marked for degradation by the ubiquitin ligase MDM2. The interaction between these two proteins is mediated by a conserved binding motif in the disordered p53 transactivation domain (p53TAD) and the folded SWIB domain in MDM2. The conserved motif in p53TAD from zebrafish displays a 20-fold weaker interaction with MDM2, compared to the interaction in human and chicken. To investigate this apparent difference, we tracked the molecular evolution of the p53TAD/MDM2 interaction among ray-finned fishes (Actinopterygii), the largest vertebrate clade. Intriguingly, phylogenetic analyses, ancestral sequence reconstructions, and binding experiments showed that different loss-of-affinity changes in the canonical binding motif within p53TAD have occurred repeatedly and convergently in different fish lineages, resulting in relatively low extant affinities (KD = 0.5-5 μM). However, for eleven different fish p53TAD/MDM2 interactions, non-conserved regions flanking the canonical motif increased the affinity 4 to 73-fold to be on par with the human interaction. Our findings suggest that compensating changes at conserved and non-conserved positions within the motif, as well as in flanking regions of low conservation, underlie a stabilizing selection of "functional affinity" in the p53TAD/MDM2 interaction. Such interplay complicates bioinformatic prediction of binding and call for experimental validation. Motif-mediated protein-protein interactions involving short binding motifs and folded interaction domains are very common across multicellular life. It is likely that evolution of affinity in motif-mediated interactions often involves an interplay between specific interactions made by conserved motif residues and non-specific interactions by non-conserved disordered regions.

RevDate: 2024-01-26

Krämer U (2024)

Metal Homeostasis in Land Plants: A Perpetual Balancing Act Beyond the Fulfilment of Metalloproteome Cofactor Demands.

Annual review of plant biology [Epub ahead of print].

One of life's decisive innovations was to harness the catalytic power of metals for cellular chemistry. With life's expansion, global atmospheric and biogeochemical cycles underwent dramatic changes. Although initially harmful, they permitted the evolution of multicellularity and the colonization of land. In land plants as primary producers, metal homeostasis faces heightened demands, in part because soil is a challenging environment for nutrient balancing. To avoid both nutrient metal limitation and metal toxicity, plants must maintain the homeostasis of metals within tighter limits than the homeostasis of other minerals. This review describes the present model of protein metalation and sketches its transfer from unicellular organisms to land plants as complex multicellular organisms. The inseparable connection between metal and redox homeostasis increasingly draws our attention to more general regulatory roles of metals. Mineral co-option, the use of nutrient or other metals for functions other than nutrition, is an emerging concept beyond that of nutritional immunity. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Plant Biology, Volume 75 is May 2024. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.

RevDate: 2024-02-01
CmpDate: 2024-02-01

Dadras N, Hasanpur K, Razeghi J, et al (2024)

Different transcription of novel, functional long non-coding RNA genes by UV-B in green algae, Volvox carteri.

International microbiology : the official journal of the Spanish Society for Microbiology, 27(1):213-225.

Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are identified as important regulatory molecules related to diverse biological processes. In recent years, benefiting from the rapid development of high-throughput sequencing technology, RNA-seq, and analysis methods, more lncRNAs have been identified and discovered in various plant and algal species. However, so far, only limited studies related to algal lncRNAs are available. Volvox carteri f. nagariensis is the best multicellular model organism to study in developmental and evolutionary biology; therefore, studying and increasing information about this species is important. This study identified lncRNAs in the multicellular green algae Volvox carteri and 1457 lncRNAs were reported, using RNA-seq data and with the help of bioinformatics tools and software. This study investigated the effect of low-dose UV-B radiation on changes in the expression profile of lncRNAs in gonidial and somatic cells. The differential expression of lncRNAs was analyzed between the treatment (UV-B) and the control (WL) groups in gonidial and somatic cells. A total of 37 and 26 lncRNAs with significant differential expression in gonidial and somatic cells, respectively, were reported. Co-expression analysis between the lncRNAs and their neighbor protein-coding genes (in the interval of ± 10 Kb) was accomplished. In gonidial cells, 184 genes with a positive correlation and 13 genes with a negative correlation (greater than 0.95), and in somatic cells, 174 genes with a positive correlation, and 18 genes with a negative correlation were detected. Functional analysis of neighboring coding genes was also performed based on gene ontology. The results of the current work may help gain deeper insight into the regulation of gene expression in the studied model organism, Volvox carteri.

RevDate: 2024-01-29
CmpDate: 2024-01-29

Pennisi E (2024)

Tiny fossils upend timeline of multicellular life.

Science (New York, N.Y.), 383(6681):352-353.

Eukaryotes organized into multicellular forms 1.6 billion years ago.

RevDate: 2024-01-26
CmpDate: 2024-01-26

Briolay T, Fresquet J, Meyer D, et al (2024)

Specific Targeting of Mesothelin-Expressing Malignant Cells Using Nanobody-Functionalized Magneto-Fluorescent Nanoassemblies.

International journal of nanomedicine, 19:633-650.

INTRODUCTION: Most current anti-cancer therapies are associated with major side effects due to a lack of tumor specificity. Appropriate vectorization of drugs using engineered nanovectors is known to increase local concentration of therapeutic molecules in tumors while minimizing their side effects. Mesothelin (MSLN) is a well-known tumor associated antigen overexpressed in many malignancies, in particular in malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), and various MSLN-targeting anticancer therapies are currently evaluated in preclinical and clinical assays. In this study, we described, for the first time, the functionalization of fluorescent organic nanoassemblies (NA) with a nanobody (Nb) targeting MSLN for the specific targeting of MSLN expressing MPM cancer cells.

METHODS: Cell lines from different cancer origin expressing or not MSLN were used. An Nb directed against MSLN was coupled to fluorescent NA using click chemistry. A panel of endocytosis inhibitors was used to study targeted NA internalization by cells. Cancer cells were grown in 2D or 3D and under a flow to evaluate the specificity of the targeted NA. Binding and internalization of the targeted NA were studied using flow cytometry, confocal microscopy and transmission electron microscopy.

RESULTS: We show that the targeted NA specifically bind to MSLN-expressing tumor cells. Moreover, such functionalized NA appear to be internalized more rapidly and in significantly larger proportions compared to naked ones in MSLN+ MPM cells, thereby demonstrating both the functionality and interest of the active targeting strategy. We demonstrated that targeted NA are mainly internalized through a clathrin-independent/dynamin-dependent endocytosis pathway and are directed to lysosomes for degradation. A 3D cell culture model based on MSLN-expressing multicellular tumor spheroids reveals NA penetration in the first superficial layers.

CONCLUSION: Altogether, these results open the path to novel anticancer strategies based on MSLN-activated internalization of NA incorporating drugs to promote specific accumulation of active treatments in tumors.

RevDate: 2024-01-24

Chapman H, Hsiung KC, Rawlinson I, et al (2024)

Colony level fitness analysis identifies a trade-off between population growth rate and dauer yield in Caenorhabditis elegans.

BMC ecology and evolution, 24(1):13.

BACKGROUND: In the evolution from unicellular to multicellular life forms, natural selection favored reduced cell proliferation and even programmed cell death if this increased organismal fitness. Could reduced individual fertility or even programmed organismal death similarly increase the fitness of colonies of closely-related metazoan organisms? This possibility is at least consistent with evolutionary theory, and has been supported by computer modelling. Caenorhabditis elegans has a boom and bust life history, where populations of nematodes that are sometimes near clonal subsist on and consume food patches, and then generate dauer larva dispersal propagules. A recent study of an in silico model of C. elegans predicted that one determinant of colony fitness (measured as dauer yield) is minimization of futile food consumption (i.e. that which does not contribute to dauer yield). One way to achieve this is to optimize colony population structure by adjustment of individual fertility.

RESULTS: Here we describe development of a C. elegans colony fitness assay, and its use to investigate the effect of altering population structure on colony fitness after population bust. Fitness metrics measured were speed of dauer production, and dauer yield, an indirect measure of efficiency of resource utilization (i.e. conversion of food into dauers). We find that with increasing founder number, speed of dauer production increases (due to earlier bust) but dauer yield rises and falls. In addition, some dauer recovery was detected soon after the post-colony bust peak of dauer yield, suggesting possible bet hedging among dauers.

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest the presence of a fitness trade-off at colony level between speed and efficiency of resource utilization in C. elegans. They also provide indirect evidence that population structure is a determinant of colony level fitness, potentially by affecting level of futile food consumption.

RevDate: 2024-01-23

Choi SW, Graf L, Choi JW, et al (2024)

Ordovician origin and subsequent diversification of the brown algae.

Current biology : CB pii:S0960-9822(23)01769-4 [Epub ahead of print].

Brown algae are the only group of heterokont protists exhibiting complex multicellularity. Since their origin, brown algae have adapted to various marine habitats, evolving diverse thallus morphologies and gamete types. However, the evolutionary processes behind these transitions remain unclear due to a lack of a robust phylogenetic framework and problems with time estimation. To address these issues, we employed plastid genome data from 138 species, including heterokont algae, red algae, and other red-derived algae. Based on a robust phylogeny and new interpretations of algal fossils, we estimated the geological times for brown algal origin and diversification. The results reveal that brown algae first evolved true multicellularity, with plasmodesmata and reproductive cell differentiation, during the late Ordovician Period (ca. 450 Ma), coinciding with a major diversification of marine fauna (the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event) and a proliferation of multicellular green algae. Despite its early Paleozoic origin, the diversification of major orders within this brown algal clade accelerated only during the Mesozoic Era, coincident with both Pangea rifting and the diversification of other heterokont algae (e.g., diatoms), coccolithophores, and dinoflagellates, with their red algal-derived plastids. The transition from ancestral isogamy to oogamy was followed by three simultaneous reappearances of isogamy during the Cretaceous Period. These are concordant with a positive character correlation between parthenogenesis and isogamy. Our new brown algal timeline, combined with a knowledge of past environmental conditions, shed new light on brown algal diversification and the intertwined evolution of multicellularity and sexual reproduction.

RevDate: 2024-01-23

Gazzellone A, E Sangiorgi (2024)

From Churchill to Elephants: The Role of Protective Genes against Cancer.

Genes, 15(1): pii:genes15010118.

Richard Peto's paradox, first described in 1975 from an epidemiological perspective, established an inverse correlation between the probability of developing cancer in multicellular organisms and the number of cells. Larger animals exhibit fewer tumors compared to smaller ones, though exceptions exist. Mice are more susceptible to cancer than humans, while elephants and whales demonstrate significantly lower cancer prevalence rates than humans. How nature and evolution have addressed the issue of cancer in the animal kingdom remains largely unexplored. In the field of medicine, much attention has been devoted to cancer-predisposing genes, as they offer avenues for intervention, including blocking, downregulating, early diagnosis, and targeted treatment. Predisposing genes also tend to manifest clinically earlier and more aggressively, making them easier to identify. However, despite significant strides in modern medicine, the role of protective genes lags behind. Identifying genes with a mild predisposing effect poses a significant challenge. Consequently, comprehending the protective function conferred by genes becomes even more elusive, and their very existence is subject to questioning. While the role of variable expressivity and penetrance defects of the same variant in a family is well-documented for many hereditary cancer syndromes, attempts to delineate the function of protective/modifier alleles have been restricted to a few instances. In this review, we endeavor to elucidate the role of protective genes observed in the animal kingdom, within certain genetic syndromes that appear to act as cancer-resistant/repressor alleles. Additionally, we explore the role of protective alleles in conditions predisposing to cancer. The ultimate goal is to discern why individuals, like Winston Churchill, managed to live up to 91 years of age, despite engaging in minimal physical activity, consuming large quantities of alcohol daily, and not abstaining from smoking.

RevDate: 2024-01-23

Skene KR (2024)

Systems theory, thermodynamics and life: Integrated thinking across ecology, organization and biological evolution.

Bio Systems, 236:105123 pii:S0303-2647(24)00008-X [Epub ahead of print].

In this paper we explore the relevance and integration of system theory and thermodynamics in terms of the Earth system. It is proposed that together, these fields explain the evolution, organization, functionality and directionality of life on Earth. We begin by summarizing historical and current thinking on the definition of life itself. We then investigate the evidence for a single unit of life. Given that any definition of life and its levels of organization are intertwined, we explore how the Earth system is structured and functions from an energetic perspective, by outlining relevant thermodynamic theory relating to molecular, metabolic, cellular, individual, population, species, ecosystem and biome organization. We next investigate the fundamental relationships between systems theory and thermodynamics in terms of the Earth system, examining the key characteristics of self-assembly, self-organization (including autonomy), emergence, non-linearity, feedback and sub-optimality. Finally, we examine the relevance of systems theory and thermodynamics with reference to two specific aspects: the tempo and directionality of evolution and the directional and predictable process of ecological succession. We discuss the importance of the entropic drive in understanding altruism, multicellularity, mutualistic and antagonistic relationships and how maximum entropy production theory may explain patterns thought to evidence the intermediate disturbance hypothesis.

RevDate: 2024-01-22

Corrales J, Ramos-Alonso L, González-Sabín J, et al (2024)

Characterization of a selective, iron-chelating antifungal compound that disrupts fungal metabolism and synergizes with fluconazole.

Microbiology spectrum [Epub ahead of print].

Fungal infections are a growing global health concern due to the limited number of available antifungal therapies as well as the emergence of fungi that are resistant to first-line antimicrobials, particularly azoles and echinocandins. Development of novel, selective antifungal therapies is challenging due to similarities between fungal and mammalian cells. An attractive source of potential antifungal treatments is provided by ecological niches co-inhabited by bacteria, fungi, and multicellular organisms, where complex relationships between multiple organisms have resulted in evolution of a wide variety of selective antimicrobials. Here, we characterized several analogs of one such natural compound, collismycin A. We show that NR-6226C has antifungal activity against several pathogenic Candida species, including C. albicans and C. glabrata, whereas it only has little toxicity against mammalian cells. Mechanistically, NR-6226C selectively chelates iron, which is a limiting factor for pathogenic fungi during infection. As a result, NR-6226C treatment causes severe mitochondrial dysfunction, leading to formation of reactive oxygen species, metabolic reprogramming, and a severe reduction in ATP levels. Using an in vivo model for fungal infections, we show that NR-6226C significantly increases survival of Candida-infected Galleria mellonella larvae. Finally, our data indicate that NR-6226C synergizes strongly with fluconazole in inhibition of C. albicans. Taken together, NR-6226C is a promising antifungal compound that acts by chelating iron and disrupting mitochondrial functions.IMPORTANCEDrug-resistant fungal infections are an emerging global threat, and pan-resistance to current antifungal therapies is an increasing problem. Clearly, there is a need for new antifungal drugs. In this study, we characterized a novel antifungal agent, the collismycin analog NR-6226C. NR-6226C has a favorable toxicity profile for human cells, which is essential for further clinical development. We unraveled the mechanism of action of NR-6226C and found that it disrupts iron homeostasis and thereby depletes fungal cells of energy. Importantly, NR-6226C strongly potentiates the antifungal activity of fluconazole, thereby providing inroads for combination therapy that may reduce or prevent azole resistance. Thus, NR-6226C is a promising compound for further development into antifungal treatment.

RevDate: 2024-01-20

Bierenbroodspot MJ, Darienko T, de Vries S, et al (2024)

Phylogenomic insights into the first multicellular streptophyte.

Current biology : CB pii:S0960-9822(23)01770-0 [Epub ahead of print].

Streptophytes are best known as the clade containing the teeming diversity of embryophytes (land plants).[1][,][2][,][3][,][4] Next to embryophytes are however a range of freshwater and terrestrial algae that bear important information on the emergence of key traits of land plants. Among these, the Klebsormidiophyceae stand out. Thriving in diverse environments-from mundane (ubiquitous occurrence on tree barks and rocks) to extreme (from the Atacama Desert to the Antarctic)-Klebsormidiophyceae can exhibit filamentous body plans and display remarkable resilience as colonizers of terrestrial habitats.[5][,][6] Currently, the lack of a robust phylogenetic framework for the Klebsormidiophyceae hampers our understanding of the evolutionary history of these key traits. Here, we conducted a phylogenomic analysis utilizing advanced models that can counteract systematic biases. We sequenced 24 new transcriptomes of Klebsormidiophyceae and combined them with 14 previously published genomic and transcriptomic datasets. Using an analysis built on 845 loci and sophisticated mixture models, we establish a phylogenomic framework, dividing the six distinct genera of Klebsormidiophyceae in a novel three-order system, with a deep divergence more than 830 million years ago. Our reconstructions of ancestral states suggest (1) an evolutionary history of multiple transitions between terrestrial-aquatic habitats, with stem Klebsormidiales having conquered land earlier than embryophytes, and (2) that the body plan of the last common ancestor of Klebsormidiophyceae was multicellular, with a high probability that it was filamentous whereas the sarcinoids and unicells in Klebsormidiophyceae are likely derived states. We provide evidence that the first multicellular streptophytes likely lived about a billion years ago.

RevDate: 2024-01-12

Nakamura YT, Himeoka Y, Saito N, et al (2024)

Evolution of hierarchy and irreversibility in theoretical cell differentiation model.

PNAS nexus, 3(1):pgad454.

The process of cell differentiation in multicellular organisms is characterized by hierarchy and irreversibility in many cases. However, the conditions and selection pressures that give rise to these characteristics remain poorly understood. By using a mathematical model, here we show that the network of differentiation potency (differentiation diagram) becomes necessarily hierarchical and irreversible by increasing the number of terminally differentiated states under certain conditions. The mechanisms generating these characteristics are clarified using geometry in the cell state space. The results demonstrate that the hierarchical organization and irreversibility can manifest independently of direct selection pressures associated with these characteristics, instead they appear to evolve as byproducts of selective forces favoring a diversity of differentiated cell types. The study also provides a new perspective on the structure of gene regulatory networks that produce hierarchical and irreversible differentiation diagrams. These results indicate some constraints on cell differentiation, which are expected to provide a starting point for theoretical discussion of the implicit limits and directions of evolution in multicellular organisms.

RevDate: 2024-01-11
CmpDate: 2024-01-11

Howe J, Cornwallis CK, AS Griffin (2024)

Conflict-reducing innovations in development enable increased multicellular complexity.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 291(2014):20232466.

Obligately multicellular organisms, where cells can only reproduce as part of the group, have evolved multiple times across the tree of life. Obligate multicellularity has only evolved when clonal groups form by cell division, rather than by cells aggregating, as clonality prevents internal conflict. Yet obligately multicellular organisms still vary greatly in 'multicellular complexity' (the number of cells and cell types): some comprise a few cells and cell types, while others have billions of cells and thousands of types. Here, we test whether variation in multicellular complexity is explained by two conflict-suppressing mechanisms, namely a single-cell bottleneck at the start of development, and a strict separation of germline and somatic cells. Examining the life cycles of 129 lineages of plants, animals, fungi and algae, we show using phylogenetic comparative analyses that an early segregation of the germline stem-cell lineage is key to the evolution of more cell types, driven by a strong correlation in the Metazoa. By contrast, the presence of a strict single-cell bottleneck was not related to either the number of cells or the number of cell types, but was associated with early germline segregation. Our results suggest that segregating the germline earlier in development enabled greater evolutionary innovation, although whether this is a consequence of conflict reduction or other non-conflict effects, such as developmental flexibility, is unclear.

RevDate: 2024-01-10

Pequeno PACL (2024)

Resource adaptation drives the size-complexity rule in termites.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 291(2014):20232363.

The size-complexity rule posits that the evolution of larger cooperative groups should favour more division of labour. Examples include more cell types in larger multicellular organisms, and more polymorphic castes in larger eusocial colonies. However, a correlation between division of labour and group size may reflect a shared response of both traits to resource availability and/or profitability. Here, this possibility was addressed by investigating the evolution of sterile caste number (worker and soldier morphotypes) in termites, a major clade of eusocial insects in which the drivers of caste polymorphism are poorly understood. A novel dataset on 90 termite species was compiled from the published literature. The analysis showed that sterile caste number did increase markedly with colony size. However, after controlling for resource adaptations and phylogeny, there was no evidence for this relationship. Rather, sterile caste number increased with increasing nest-food separation and decreased with soil-feeding, through changes in worker (but not soldier) morphotype number. Further, colony size increased with nest-food separation, thus driving the false correlation between sterile caste number and colony size. These findings support adaptation to higher energy acquisition as key to the rise of complex insect societies, with larger size being a by-product.

RevDate: 2024-01-09

Hall R, Bandara A, D Charlebois (2024)

Fitness effects of a demography-dispersal trade-off in expandingSaccharomyces cerevisiaemats.

Physical biology [Epub ahead of print].

Fungi expand in space and time to form complex multicellular communities. The mechanisms by which they do so can vary dramatically and determine the life-history and dispersal traits of expanding populations. These traits influence deterministic and stochastic components of evolution, resulting in complex eco-evolutionary dynamics during colony expansion. We perform experiments on budding yeast strains genetically-engineered to display rough-surface and smooth-surface phenotypes in colony-like structures called ``mats''. Previously, it was shown that the rough-surface strain has a competitive advantage over the smooth-surface strain when grown on semi-solid media. We experimentally observe the emergence and expansion of segments with a distinct smooth-surface phenotype during rough-surface mat development. We propose a trade-off between dispersal and local carrying capacity to explain the relative fitness of these two phenotypes. Using a modified stepping-stone model, we demonstrate that this trade-off gives the high-dispersing, rough-surface phenotype a competitive advantage from standing variation, but that it inhibits this phenotype's ability to invade a resident smooth-surface population via mutation. However, the trade-off improves the ability of the smooth-surface phenotype to invade in rough-surface mats, replicating the frequent emergence of smooth-surface segments in experiments. Together, these computational and experimental findings advance our understanding of the complex eco-evolutionary dynamics of fungal mat expansion.

RevDate: 2024-01-09

Schuster CD, Salvatore F, Moens L, et al (2024)

Globin phylogeny, evolution and function, the newest update.

Proteins [Epub ahead of print].

Our globin census update allows us to refine our vision of globin origin, evolution, and structure to function relationship in the context of the currently accepted tree of life. The modern globin domain originates as a single domain, three-over-three α-helical folded structure before the diversification of the kingdoms of life (Bacteria, Archaea, Eukarya). Together with the diversification of prokaryotes, three monophyletic globin families (M, S, and T) emerged, most likely in Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria, displaying specific sequence and structural features, and spread by vertical and horizontal gene transfer, most probably already present in the last universal common ancestor (LUCA). Non-globin domains were added, and eventually lost again, creating multi-domain structures in key branches of M- (FHb and Adgb) and the vast majority of S globins, which with their coevolved multi-domain architectures, have predominantly "sensor" functions. Single domain T-family globins diverged into four major groups and most likely display functions related to reactive nitrogen and oxygen species (RNOS) chemistry, as well as oxygen storage/transport which drives the evolution of its major branches with their characteristic key distal residues (B10, E11, E7, and G8). M-family evolution also lead to distinctive major types (FHb and Fgb, Ngb, Adgb, GbX vertebrate Gbs), and shows the shift from high oxygen affinity controlled by TyrB10-Gln/AsnE11 likely related to RNOS chemistry in microorganisms, to a moderate oxygen affinity storage/transport function controlled by hydrophobic B10/E11-HisE7 in multicellular animals.

RevDate: 2024-01-08

Petreš M, Loc M, Budakov D, et al (2024)

First report of brown spot on stored apple fruits caused by Stemphylium vesicarium in Serbia.

Plant disease [Epub ahead of print].

Apple is one of the most economically important fruit crops worldwide, and fungal postharvest diseases can cause significant losses during storage (Petreš et al. 2020). Apple fruits (cultivar Fuji) with necrosis symptoms were collected during the fall of 2022 from the cold storage facility (ULO - Ultra Low Oxygen) in Titel, Serbia. The fruits originated from the apple orchard in Titel, Serbia (45°12'47.1"N, 20°15'23.6"E). The pathogens were isolated from collected fruit samples using standard phytopathological techniques. Fruits were surface-sterilized, rinsed with sterile water, aseptically cut in half, and small fragments collected from the border of healthy and diseased tissue were placed into Petri dishes on Potato Dextrose Agar medium (PDA) and incubated at 25±1 °C in dark for seven days. The obtained 11 isolates were identified to the genus level as Alternaria (incidence 46%), Penicillium (36%), Fusarium (9%) and Stemphylium (9%) based on morphological characteristics. Pathogenicity of all isolates was confirmed on apple fruits of cultivars Fuji and Golden Delicious. The fruits were surface-sterilized, sprayed with 5 ml conidial suspension (1×10[5] conidia/ml) and incubated at room temperature for 21 days. Symptoms developed on inoculated fruits were the same as symptoms observed on apple fruit samples collected from cold storage. Reisolation from artificially inoculated fruits resulted in colonies that morphologically corresponded with the colonies used for inoculation. Stemphylium isolate was the only one included in further research. Initial symptoms and symptoms on artificially inoculated apple fruits caused by Stemphylium sp. occurred as circular dark brown necrosis located near the calyx, without visible sporulation on the fruit surface. The isolate and reisolate formed aerial, white to light brown mycelia. The pigmentation of the culture medium was pale to dark brown. Conidia were singular, cylindrical and multicellular, brown to dark brown, 22-35.1 long and 12.6-18.9 μm wide. Based on morphological properties, isolate and reisolate were identified as Stemphylium vesicarium which is in line with the description reported by Sharifi et al. (2021) and Gilardi et al. (2022). The identification of S. vesicarium isolate was confirmed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) by amplifying and sequencing three regions using following primer pairs: Bt2a (5'- GGT AAC CAA ATC GGT GCT GCT TTC -3') and Bt2b (5'-ACC CTC AGT GTA GTG ACC CTT GGC-3') for β-tubulin region (Nasri et al. 2015), ITS1 (5'-TCC GTA GGT GAA CCT GCG G - 3') and ITS4 (5'- TCC TCC GCT TAT TGA TAT GC-3') for ITS region (White et al. 1990), and EF1 (5' - ATG GGT AAG GAG GAC AAG AC - 3') and EF2 (5'- GGA AGT ACC AGT GAT CAT GTT - 3') for TEF-1α region (O'Donnell et al. 1998). PCR products were separated by horizontal gel electrophoresis in 1.5% agarose gel, stained with ethidium bromide, and visualization under UV light revealed amplified fragments of the expected size of 500 bp for Bt2a/ Bt2b primer pair, 600 bp for ITS1/ITS4 primer pair, and 700 bp for EF1/EF2 primer pair. The obtained amplicons were Sanger sequenced (Macrogen Europe BV) in both directions. BLASTn analysis showed the identity of amplified fragments of the isolates with sequences of S. vesicarium present in the GenBank of 100% (MT881940.1 and JQ671944.1) for the β-tubulin region, 99.40% (MT520589.1 and OR256793.1) for the ITS region, and 99.49% (DQ471090.2 and MT394642.1) for the TEF-1α region. The sequences were deposited to NCBI GenBank (Accession No. OQ653540 for the β-tubulin region, OQ678016 for the ITS region, and OR232710 for the TEF-1α region). To our knowledge, this is the first finding of S. vesicarium on apple fruits in the Republic of Serbia, and the finding of a new causal agent of postharvest apple fruit rot.

RevDate: 2024-01-08

Roggenbuck EC, Hall EA, Hanson IB, et al (2024)

Let's talk about sex: Mechanisms of neural sexual differentiation in Bilateria.

WIREs mechanisms of disease [Epub ahead of print].

In multicellular organisms, sexed gonads have evolved that facilitate release of sperm versus eggs, and bilaterian animals purposefully combine their gametes via mating behaviors. Distinct neural circuits have evolved that control these physically different mating events for animals producing eggs from ovaries versus sperm from testis. In this review, we will describe the developmental mechanisms that sexually differentiate neural circuits across three major clades of bilaterian animals-Ecdysozoa, Deuterosomia, and Lophotrochozoa. While many of the mechanisms inducing somatic and neuronal sex differentiation across these diverse organisms are clade-specific rather than evolutionarily conserved, we develop a common framework for considering the developmental logic of these events and the types of neuronal differences that produce sex-differentiated behaviors. This article is categorized under: Congenital Diseases > Stem Cells and Development Neurological Diseases > Stem Cells and Development.

RevDate: 2024-01-08
CmpDate: 2024-01-08

Qi Z, Lu P, Long X, et al (2024)

Adaptive advantages of restorative RNA editing in fungi for resolving survival-reproduction trade-offs.

Science advances, 10(1):eadk6130.

RNA editing in various organisms commonly restores RNA sequences to their ancestral state, but its adaptive advantages are debated. In fungi, restorative editing corrects premature stop codons in pseudogenes specifically during sexual reproduction. We characterized 71 pseudogenes and their restorative editing in Fusarium graminearum, demonstrating that restorative editing of 16 pseudogenes is crucial for germ tissue development in fruiting bodies. Our results also revealed that the emergence of premature stop codons is facilitated by restorative editing and that premature stop codons corrected by restorative editing are selectively favored over ancestral amino acid codons. Furthermore, we found that ancestral versions of pseudogenes have antagonistic effects on reproduction and survival. Restorative editing eliminates the survival costs of reproduction caused by antagonistic pleiotropy and provides a selective advantage in fungi. Our findings highlight the importance of restorative editing in the evolution of fungal complex multicellularity and provide empirical evidence that restorative editing serves as an adaptive mechanism enabling the resolution of genetic trade-offs.

RevDate: 2024-01-04

Lyman GH, Lyman CH, NM Kuderer (2024)

THE NATURE, ORIGIN, AND EVOLUTION OF LIFE: Part IV Cellular Differentiation and the Emergence of Multicellular Life.

RevDate: 2023-12-28

Kong Z, Zhu L, Liu Y, et al (2023)

Effects of azithromycin exposure during pregnancy at different stages, doses and courses on testicular development in fetal mice.

Biomedicine & pharmacotherapy = Biomedecine & pharmacotherapie, 170:116063 pii:S0753-3322(23)01861-9 [Epub ahead of print].

Azithromycin is a commonly used antibiotic during pregnancy, but some studies have suggested its potential developmental toxicity. Currently, the effects and mechanisms of prenatal azithromycin exposure (PAzE) on fetal testicular development are still unclear. The effects of prenatal exposure to the same drug on fetal testicular development could vary depending on different stages, doses, and courses. Hence, in this study, based on clinical medication characteristics, Kunming mice was administered intragastrically with azithromycin at different stages (mid-/late-pregnancy), doses (50, 100, 200 mg/kg·d), and courses (single-/multi-course). Fetal blood and testicular samples were collected on GD18 for relevant assessments. The results indicated that PAzE led to changes in fetal testicular morphology, reduced cell proliferation, increased apoptosis, and decreased expression of markers related to Leydig cells (Star), Sertoli cells (Wt1), and spermatogonia (Plzf). Further investigation revealed that the effects of PAzE on fetal testicular development were characterized by mid-pregnancy, high dose (clinical dose), and single course having more pronounced effects. Additionally, the TGFβ/Smad and Nrf2 signaling pathways may be involved in the changes in fetal testicular development induced by PAzE. In summary, this study confirmed that PAzE influences fetal testicular morphological development and multicellular function. It provided theoretical and experimental evidence for guiding the rational use of azithromycin during pregnancy and further exploring the mechanisms underlying its developmental toxicity on fetal testicles.

RevDate: 2023-12-29
CmpDate: 2023-12-29

Bich L (2023)

Integrating Multicellular Systems: Physiological Control and Degrees of Biological Individuality.

Acta biotheoretica, 72(1):1.

This paper focuses on physiological integration in multicellular systems, a notion often associated with biological individuality, but which has not received enough attention and needs a thorough theoretical treatment. Broadly speaking, physiological integration consists in how different components come together into a cohesive unit in which they are dependent on one another for their existence and activity. This paper argues that physiological integration can be understood by considering how the components of a biological multicellular system are controlled and coordinated in such a way that their activities can contribute to the maintenance of the system. The main implication of this perspective is that different ways of controlling their parts may give rise to multicellular organizations with different degrees of integration. After defining control, this paper analyses how control is realized in two examples of multicellular systems located at different ends of the spectrum of multicellularity: biofilms and animals. It focuses on differences in control ranges, and it argues that a high degree of integration implies control exerted at both medium and long ranges, and that insofar as biofilms lack long-range control (relative to their size) they can be considered as less integrated than other multicellular systems. It then discusses the implication of this account for the debate on physiological individuality and the idea that degrees of physiological integration imply degrees of individuality.

RevDate: 2023-12-25

Wu W, Yang R, Liu J, et al (2023)

Origins of the Ediacaran Doushantuo High-Grade Primary Phosphorites at Kaiyang, Guizhou Province, China.

ACS omega, 8(50):47938-47953.

The Ediacaran Doushantuo phosphate deposit in Kaiyang, Guizhou Province, China, contains thick phosphate ores. Most of the ores are reconstituted phosphorite, and there have been few studies of the primary phosphorites, which has led to controversy regarding the origins and nature of mineralization of these phosphate-rich deposits. We identified high-grade primary phosphorites in the Kaiyang area and undertook a stratigraphic, petrological, sedimentological, geochemical, and isotopic study of these rocks. Moving up-section, the Longshui phosphate ore deposit comprises granular, micritic, stromatolitic, honeycomb, and sandy phosphorites. The first four types of phosphorite contain abundant biological structures, such as spherical, lobe-like, and amorphous forms. These are mainly fossils of benthic multicellular red algae, along with other types of algae. These fossils comprise >70% of the phosphorites, indicating that these are protist phosphorites. The ores are massive, unstratified, and contain numerous layered cavity structures, indicating that the ore bed was originally a reef. The phosphorites have P2O5 contents of 38.6-40.2 wt %, with an average of 38.9 wt %. The Al2O3 + TiO2 values are 0.02-0.44 wt %. The δ[18]O values of the samples vary from 13.76 to 16.57‰, with an average of 14.60‰, and δ[13]C values range from -15.789 to -8.697‰, with an average of -13.133‰. The samples exhibit rare-earth element patterns that are enriched with middle rare-earth elements and have strongly negative Ce anomalies. The geochemical features show that the reef was deposited in clear and oxidized waters. The discovery of this high-grade protist phosphorite shows that the involvement of algae was key to the formation of the Kaiyang phosphate-rich deposit.

RevDate: 2023-12-28
CmpDate: 2023-12-28

Pinion AK, Britz R, Kubicek KM, et al (2023)

The larval attachment organ of the bowfin Amia ocellicauda Richardson, 1836 (Amiiformes: Amiidae) and its phylogenetic significance.

Journal of fish biology, 103(6):1300-1311.

Larval attachment organs (LAOs) are unicellular or multicellular organs that enable the larvae of many actinopterygian fishes to adhere to a substrate before yolk-sac absorption and the free-swimming stage. Bowfins (Amiiformes) exhibit a sizable LAO on the snout, which was first described in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In this study, we document the LAO of Amia ocellicauda (Richardson, 1836) using a combination of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and light microscopy, and histochemistry. We examined material representing three stages with SEM ranging in size from 5.8 to 11.2 mm in notochord length and one stage histochemically. We compare the LAO of A. ocellicauda to that of the lepisosteid Atractosteus tropicus Gill, 1863 and show that although the LAOs of A. ocellicauda and A. tropicus are both super-organs, the two differ in the ultrastructure of the entire organ. A. ocellicauda possesses two distinct lobes, with the organs arranged on the periphery with none in the middle, whereas A. tropicus also possesses two lobes, but with the organs scattered evenly across the super-organ. The individual organs of A. ocellicauda possess adhesive cells set deep to support cells with the adhesive substance released through a pore, whereas A. tropicus possesses both support cells and adhesive cells sitting at a similar level, with the adhesive substance released directly onto the surface of the organ. We additionally provide a table summarizing vertebrate genera in which attachment organs have been documented and discuss the implications of our study for hypotheses of the homology of attachment organs in the Holostei.

RevDate: 2023-12-19

Kotarska K, Gąsior Ł, Rudnicka J, et al (2023)

Long-run real-time PCR analysis of repetitive nuclear elements as a novel tool for DNA damage quantification in single cells: an approach validated on mouse oocytes and fibroblasts.

Journal of applied genetics [Epub ahead of print].

Since DNA damage is of great importance in various biological processes, its rate is frequently assessed both in research studies and in medical diagnostics. The most precise methods of quantifying DNA damage are based on real-time PCR. However, in the conventional version, they require a large amount of genetic material and therefore their usefulness is limited to multicellular samples. Here, we present a novel approach to long-run real-time PCR-based DNA-damage quantification (L1-LORD-Q), which consists in amplification of long interspersed nuclear elements (L1) and allows for analysis of single-cell genomes. The L1-LORD-Q was compared with alternative methods of measuring DNA breaks (Bioanalyzer system, γ-H2AX foci staining), which confirmed its accuracy. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that the L1-LORD-Q is sensitive enough to distinguish between different levels of UV-induced DNA damage. The method was validated on mouse oocytes and fibroblasts, but the general idea is universal and can be applied to various types of cells and species.

RevDate: 2023-12-18

Wong W, Bravo P, Yunker PJ, et al (2023)

Examining the role of oxygen-binding proteins on the early evolution of multicellularity.

bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology pii:2023.12.01.569647.

Oxygen availability is a key factor in the evolution of multicellularity, as larger and more sophisticated organisms often require mechanisms allowing efficient oxygen delivery to their tissues. One such mechanism is the presence of oxygen-binding proteins, such as globins and hemerythrins, which arose in the ancestor of bilaterian animals. Despite their importance, the precise mechanisms by which oxygen-binding proteins influenced the early stages of multicellular evolution under varying environmental oxygen levels are not yet clear. We addressed this knowledge gap by heterologously expressing the oxygen binding proteins myoglobin and myohemerythrin in snowflake yeast, a model system of simple, undifferentiated multicellularity. These proteins increased the depth and rate of oxygen diffusion, increasing the fitness of snowflake yeast growing aerobically. Experiments show that, paradoxically, oxygen-binding proteins confer a greater fitness benefit for larger organisms under high, not low, O 2 conditions. We show via biophysical modeling that this is because facilitated diffusion is more efficient when oxygen is abundant, transporting a greater quantity of O 2 which can be used for metabolism. By alleviating anatomical diffusion limitations to oxygen consumption, the evolution of O 2 -binding proteins in the oxygen-rich Neoproterozoic may have been a key breakthrough enabling the evolution of increasingly large, complex multicellular metazoan lineages.

RevDate: 2023-12-16

Yu Y, Li YP, Ren K, et al (2023)

A brief history of metal recruitment in protozoan predation.

Trends in microbiology pii:S0966-842X(23)00326-8 [Epub ahead of print].

Metals and metalloids are used as weapons for predatory feeding by unicellular eukaryotes on prokaryotes. This review emphasizes the role of metal(loid) bioavailability over the course of Earth's history, coupled with eukaryogenesis and the evolution of the mitochondrion to trace the emergence and use of the metal(loid) prey-killing phagosome as a feeding strategy. Members of the genera Acanthamoeba and Dictyostelium use metals such as zinc (Zn) and copper (Cu), and possibly metalloids, to kill their bacterial prey after phagocytosis. We provide a potential timeline on when these capacities first evolved and how they correlate with perceived changes in metal(loid) bioavailability through Earth's history. The origin of phagotrophic eukaryotes must have postdated the Great Oxidation Event (GOE) in agreement with redox-dependent modification of metal(loid) bioavailability for phagotrophic poisoning. However, this predatory mechanism is predicted to have evolved much later - closer to the origin of the multicellular metazoans and the evolutionary development of the immune systems.

RevDate: 2023-12-13

Miklós M, Cseri K, Laczkó L, et al (2023)

Environmental bacteria increase population growth of hydra at low temperature.

Frontiers in microbiology, 14:1294771.

Multicellular organisms engage in complex ecological interactions with microorganisms, some of which are harmful to the host's health and fitness (e.g., pathogens or toxin-producing environmental microbiota), while others are either beneficial or have a neutral impact (as seen in components of host-associated microbiota). Although environmental microorganisms are generally considered to have no significant impact on animal fitness, there is evidence suggesting that exposure to these microbes might be required for proper immune maturation and research in vertebrates has shown that developing in a sterile environment detrimentally impacts health later in life. However, it remains uncertain whether such beneficial effects of environmental microorganisms are present in invertebrates that lack an adaptive immune system. In the present study, we conducted an experiment with field-collected Hydra oligactis, a cold-adapted freshwater cnidarian. We cultured these organisms in normal and autoclaved lake water at two distinct temperatures: 8°C and 12°C. Our findings indicated that polyps maintained in sterilized lake water displayed reduced population growth that depended on temperature, such that the effect was only present on 8°C. To better understand the dynamics of microbial communities both inhabiting polyps and their surrounding environment we conducted 16S sequencing before and after treatment, analyzing samples from both the polyps and the water. As a result of culturing in autoclaved lake water, the polyps showed a slightly altered microbiota composition, with some microbial lineages showing significant reduction in abundance, while only a few displayed increased abundances. The autoclaved lake water was recolonized, likely from the surface of hydra polyps, by a complex albeit different community of bacteria, some of which (such as Pseudomonas, Flavobacteriaceae) might be pathogenic to hydra. The abundance of the intracellular symbiont Polynucleobacter was positively related to hydra population size. These findings indicate that at low temperature environmental microbiota can enhance population growth rate in hydra, suggesting that environmental microorganisms can provide benefits to animals even in the absence of an adaptive immune system.

RevDate: 2023-12-11

Schaible GA, Jay ZJ, Cliff J, et al (2023)

Multicellular magnetotactic bacterial consortia are metabolically differentiated and not clonal.

bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology pii:2023.11.27.568837.

UNLABELLED: Consortia of multicellular magnetotactic bacteria (MMB) are currently the only known example of bacteria without a unicellular stage in their life cycle. Because of their recalcitrance to cultivation, most previous studies of MMB have been limited to microscopic observations. To study the biology of these unique organisms in more detail, we use multiple culture-independent approaches to analyze the genomics and physiology of MMB consortia at single cell resolution. We separately sequenced the metagenomes of 22 individual MMB consortia, representing eight new species, and quantified the genetic diversity within each MMB consortium. This revealed that, counter to conventional views, cells within MMB consortia are not clonal. Single consortia metagenomes were then used to reconstruct the species-specific metabolic potential and infer the physiological capabilities of MMB. To validate genomic predictions, we performed stable isotope probing (SIP) experiments and interrogated MMB consortia using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) combined with nano-scale secondary ion mass spectrometry (NanoSIMS). By coupling FISH with bioorthogonal non-canonical amino acid tagging (BONCAT) we explored their in situ activity as well as variation of protein synthesis within cells. We demonstrate that MMB consortia are mixotrophic sulfate reducers and that they exhibit metabolic differentiation between individual cells, suggesting that MMB consortia are more complex than previously thought. These findings expand our understanding of MMB diversity, ecology, genomics, and physiology, as well as offer insights into the mechanisms underpinning the multicellular nature of their unique lifestyle.

SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: The emergence of multicellular lifeforms represents a pivotal milestone in Earth's history, ushering in a new era of biological complexity. Because of the relative scarcity of multicellularity in the domains Bacteria and Archaea , research on the evolution of multicellularity has predominantly focused on eukaryotic model organisms. In this study, we explored the complexity of the only known bacteria without a unicellular stage in their life cycle, consortia of multicellular magnetotactic bacteria (MMB). Genomic and physiological analyses revealed that cells within individual MMB consortia are not clonal and exhibit metabolic differentiation. This implies a higher level of complexity than previously assumed for MMB consortia, prompting a reevaluation of the evolutionary factors that have led to the emergence of multicellularity. Because of their unique biology MMB consortia are ideally suited to become a model system to explore the underpinnings of bacterial multicellularity.

RevDate: 2023-12-09

Chen H, Shi H, Chen C, et al (2023)

Effects of static magnetic field on the sulfate metabolic pathway involved in Magnetospirillum magneticum AMB-1 cell growth and magnetosome formation.

Journal of applied microbiology pii:7464061 [Epub ahead of print].

AIMS: Magnetotactic bacteria (MTB) can use their unique intracellular magnetosome organelles to swim along the Earth's magnetic field. They play important roles in the biogeochemical cycles of iron and sulfur. Previous studies have shown that the applied magnetic fields could affect the magnetosome formation and antioxidant defense systems in MTB. However, the molecular mechanisms by which magnetic fields affect MTB cells remain unclear. We aim to better understand the interactions between magnetic fields and cells, and the mechanism of MTB adaptation to magnetic field at molecular levels.

METHODS AND RESULTS: We performed microbiological, transcriptomic and genetic experiments to analyze the effects of a weak static magnetic field (SMF) exposure on the cell growth and magnetosome formation in MTB strain Magnetospirillum magneticum AMB-1. The results showed that a 1.5 mT SMF significantly promoted the cell growth but reduced magnetosome formation in AMB-1, compared to the geomagnetic field. Transcriptomic analysis revealed decreased expressions of genes primarily involved in the sulfate reduction pathway. Consistently, knockout mutant lacking adenylyl-sulfate kinase CysC did no more react to the SMF and the differences in growth and Cmag were disappeared. Together with experimental findings of increased reactive oxidative species in the SMF-treated Wild-type strain, we proposed that cysC, as a key gene, can participate in the cells growth and mineralization in AMB-1 by SMF regulation.

CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that the magnetic field exposure can trigger a bacterial oxidative stress response involved in AMB-1 growth and magnetosome mineralization by regulating sulfur metabolism pathway. CysC may serve as a pivotal enzyme in mediating sulfur metabolism to synchronize the impact of SMF on both growth and magnetization of AMB-1.

RevDate: 2023-12-07

Romei M, Carpentier M, Chomilier J, et al (2023)

Origins and Functional Significance of Eukaryotic Protein Folds.

Journal of molecular evolution [Epub ahead of print].

Folds are the architecture and topology of a protein domain. Categories of folds are very few compared to the astronomical number of sequences. Eukaryotes have more protein folds than Archaea and Bacteria. These folds are of two types: shared with Archaea and/or Bacteria on one hand and specific to eukaryotic clades on the other hand. The first kind of folds is inherited from the first endosymbiosis and confirms the mixed origin of eukaryotes. In a dataset of 1073 folds whose presence or absence has been evidenced among 210 species equally distributed in the three super-kingdoms, we have identified 28 eukaryotic folds unambiguously inherited from Bacteria and 40 eukaryotic folds unambiguously inherited from Archaea. Compared to previous studies, the repartition of informational function is higher than expected for folds originated from Bacteria and as high as expected for folds inherited from Archaea. The second type of folds is specifically eukaryotic and associated with an increase of new folds within eukaryotes distributed in particular clades. Reconstructed ancestral states coupled with dating of each node on the tree of life provided fold appearance rates. The rate is on average twice higher within Eukaryota than within Bacteria or Archaea. The highest rates are found in the origins of eukaryotes, holozoans, metazoans, metazoans stricto sensu, and vertebrates: the roots of these clades correspond to bursts of fold evolution. We could correlate the functions of some of the fold synapomorphies within eukaryotes with significant evolutionary events. Among them, we find evidence for the rise of multicellularity, adaptive immune system, or virus folds which could be linked to an ecological shift made by tetrapods.

RevDate: 2023-12-06

Shelake RM, Pramanik D, JY Kim (2023)

CRISPR base editor-based targeted random mutagenesis (BE-TRM) toolbox for directed evolution.

Directed evolution (DE) of desired locus by targeted random mutagenesis (TRM) tools is a powerful approach for generating genetic variations with novel or improved functions, particularly in complex genomes. TRM-based DE involves developing a mutant library of targeted DNA sequences and screening the variants for the desired properties. However, DE methods have for a long time been confined to bacteria and yeasts. Lately, CRISPR/Cas and DNA deaminase-based tools that circumvent enduring barriers such as longer life cycle, small library sizes, and low mutation rates have been developed to facilitate DE in native genetic environments of multicellular organisms. Notably, deaminase-based base editing-TRM (BE-TRM) tools have greatly expanded the scope and efficiency of DE schemes by enabling base substitutions and randomization of targeted DNA sequences. BE-TRM tools provide a robust platform for the continuous molecular evolution of desired proteins, metabolic pathway engineering, creation of a mutant library of desired locus to evolve novel functions, and other applications, such as predicting mutants conferring antibiotic resistance. This review provides timely updates on the recent advances in BE-TRM tools for DE, their applications in biology, and future directions for further improvements.

RevDate: 2023-12-01

Mulvey H, L Dolan (2023)

RHO of plant signaling was established early in streptophyte evolution.

Current biology : CB pii:S0960-9822(23)01520-8 [Epub ahead of print].

The algal ancestors of land plants underwent a transition from a unicellular to a multicellular body plan.[1] This transition likely took place early in streptophyte evolution, sometime after the divergence of the Chlorokybophyceae/Mesostigmatophyceae lineage, but before the divergence of the Klebsormidiophyceae lineage.[2] How this transition was brought about is unknown; however, it was likely facilitated by the evolution of novel mechanisms to spatially regulate morphogenesis. In land plants, RHO of plant (ROP) signaling plays a conserved role in regulating polarized cell growth and cell division orientation to orchestrate morphogenesis.[3][,][4][,][5][,][6][,][7][,][8] ROP constitutes a plant-specific subfamily of the RHO GTPases, which are more widely conserved throughout eukaryotes.[9][,][10] Although the RHO family originated in early eukaryotes,[11][,][12] how and when the ROP subfamily originated had remained elusive. Here, we demonstrate that ROP signaling was established early in the streptophyte lineage, sometime after the divergence of the Chlorokybophyceae/Mesostigmatophyceae lineage, but before the divergence of the Klebsormidiophyceae lineage. This period corresponds to when the unicellular-to-multicellular transition likely took place in the streptophytes. In addition to being critical for the complex morphogenesis of extant land plants, we speculate that ROP signaling contributed to morphological evolution in early streptophytes.

RevDate: 2023-12-01

Arnoux-Courseaux M, Y Coudert (2023)

Re-examining meristems through the lens of evo-devo.

Trends in plant science pii:S1360-1385(23)00362-X [Epub ahead of print].

The concept of the meristem was introduced in 1858 to characterize multicellular, formative, and proliferative tissues that give rise to the entire plant body, based on observations of vascular plants. Although its original definition did not encompass bryophytes, this concept has been used and continuously refined over the past 165 years to describe the diverse apices of all land plants. Here, we re-examine this matter in light of recent evo-devo research and show that, despite displaying high anatomical diversity, land plant meristems are unified by shared genetic control. We also propose a modular view of meristem function and highlight multiple evolutionary mechanisms that are likely to have contributed to the assembly and diversification of the varied meristems during the course of plant evolution.

RevDate: 2023-11-29

Liu N, Jiang T, Cui WP, et al (2023)

The TorRS two component system regulates expression of TMAO reductase in response to high hydrostatic pressure in Vibrio fluvialis.

Frontiers in microbiology, 14:1291578.

High hydrostatic pressure (HHP) regulated gene expression is one of the most commonly adopted strategies for microbial adaptation to the deep-sea environments. Previously we showed that the HHP-inducible trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) reductase improves the pressure tolerance of deep-sea strain Vibrio fluvialis QY27. Here, we investigated the molecular mechanism of HHP-responsive regulation of TMAO reductase TorA. By constructing torR and torS deletion mutants, we demonstrated that the two-component regulator TorR and sensor TorS are responsible for the HHP-responsive regulation of torA. Unlike known HHP-responsive regulatory system, the abundance of torR and torS was not affected by HHP. Complementation of the ΔtorS mutant with TorS altered at conserved phosphorylation sites revealed that the three sites were indispensable for substrate-induced regulation, but only the histidine located in the alternative transmitter domain was involved in pressure-responsive regulation. Taken together, we demonstrated that the induction of TMAO reductase by HHP is mediated through the TorRS system and proposed a bifurcation of signal transduction in pressure-responsive regulation from the substrate-induction. This work provides novel knowledge of the pressure regulated gene expression and will promote the understanding of the microbial adaptation to the deep-sea HHP environment.

RevDate: 2023-11-29

Yoshida K, Kato D, Sugio S, et al (2023)

Activity-dependent oligodendrocyte calcium dynamics and their changes in Alzheimer's disease.

Frontiers in cellular neuroscience, 17:1154196.

Oligodendrocytes (OCs) form myelin around axons, which is dependent on neuronal activity. This activity-dependent myelination plays a crucial role in training and learning. Previous studies have suggested that neuronal activity regulates proliferation and differentiation of oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) and myelination. In addition, deficient activity-dependent myelination results in impaired motor learning. However, the functional response of OC responsible for neuronal activity and their pathological changes is not fully elucidated. In this research, we aimed to understand the activity-dependent OC responses and their different properties by observing OCs using in vivo two-photon microscopy. We clarified that the Ca[2+] activity in OCs is neuronal activity dependent and differentially regulated by neurotransmitters such as glutamate or adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Furthermore, in 5-month-old mice models of Alzheimer's disease, a period before the appearance of behavioral abnormalities, the elevated Ca[2+] responses in OCs are ATP dependent, suggesting that OCs receive ATP from damaged tissue. We anticipate that our research will help in determining the correct therapeutic strategy for neurodegenerative diseases beyond the synapse.

RevDate: 2023-11-29

Digel L, Mierzwa M, Bonné R, et al (2023)

Cable Bacteria Skeletons as Catalytically Active Electrodes.

Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English) [Epub ahead of print].

Cable bacteria are multicellular, filamentous bacteria that use internal conductive fibers to transport electrons over centimeter distances from donors within anoxic sediment layers to oxygen at the surface. We extracted the fibers and used them as free-standing bio-based electrodes to investigate their electrocatalytic behavior. The fibers catalyzed the reversible interconversion of oxygen and water, and an electric current was running through the fibers even when the potential difference was generated solely by a gradient of oxygen concentration. Oxygen reduction as well as oxygen evolution were confirmed by optical measurements. Within living cable bacteria, oxygen reduction by direct electrocatalysis on the fibers and not by membrane-bound proteins readily explains exceptionally high cell-specific oxygen consumption rates observed in the oxic zone, while electrocatalytic water oxidation may provide oxygen to cells in the anoxic zone.

RevDate: 2023-11-28

Zhang Y, Fu M, Wang H, et al (2023)

Advances in the Construction and Application of Thyroid Organoids.

Physiological research, 72(5):557-564.

Organoids are complex multicellular structures that stem cells self-organize in three-dimensional (3D) cultures into anatomical structures and functional units similar to those seen in the organs from which they originate. This review describes the construction of thyroid organoids and the research progress that has occurred in models of thyroid-related disease. As a novel tool for modeling in a 3D multicellular environment, organoids help provide some useful references for the study of the pathogenesis of thyroid disease.

RevDate: 2023-11-28

Bingham EP, WC Ratcliff (2023)

A non-adaptive explanation for macroevolutionary patterns in the evolution of complex multicellularity.

bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology pii:2023.11.11.566713.

"Complex multicellularity", conventionally defined as large organisms with many specialized cell types, has evolved five times independently in eukaryotes, but never within prokaryotes. A number hypotheses have been proposed to explain this phenomenon, most of which posit that eukaryotes evolved key traits (e . g ., dynamic cytoskeletons, alternative mechanisms of gene regulation, or subcellular compartments) which were a necessary prerequisite for the evolution of complex multicellularity. Here we propose an alternative, non-adaptive hypothesis for this broad macroevolutionary pattern. By binning cells into groups with finite genetic bottlenecks between generations, the evolution of multicellularity greatly reduces the effective population size (Ne) of cellular populations, increasing the role of genetic drift in evolutionary change. While both prokaryotes and eukaryotes experience this phenomenon, they have opposite responses to drift: mutational biases in eukaryotes tend to drive genomic expansion, providing additional raw genetic material for subsequent multicellular innovation, while prokaryotes generally face genomic erosion. These effects become more severe as organisms evolve larger size and more stringent genetic bottlenecks between generations- both of which are hallmarks of complex multicellularity. Taken together, we hypothesize that it is these idiosyncratic lineagespecific mutational biases, rather than cell-biological innovations within eukaryotes, that underpins the long-term divergent evolution of complex multicellularity across the tree of life.

RevDate: 2023-11-27
CmpDate: 2023-11-27

Ongenae V, Kempff A, van Neer V, et al (2023)

Genome sequence and characterization of Streptomyces phages Vanseggelen and Verabelle, representing two new species within the genus Camvirus.

Scientific reports, 13(1):20153.

Despite the rising interest in bacteriophages, little is known about their infection cycle and lifestyle in a multicellular host. Even in the model system Streptomyces, only a small number of phages have been sequenced and well characterized so far. Here, we report the complete characterization and genome sequences of Streptomyces phages Vanseggelen and Verabelle isolated using Streptomyces coelicolor as a host. A wide range of Streptomyces strains could be infected by both phages, but neither of the two phages was able to infect members of the closely related sister genus Kitasatospora. The phages Vanseggelen and Verabelle have a double-stranded DNA genome with lengths of 48,720 and 48,126 bp, respectively. Both phage genomes contain 72 putative genes, and the presence of an integrase encoding protein indicates a lysogenic lifestyle. Characterization of the phages revealed their stability over a wide range of temperatures (30-45 °C) and pH values (4-10). In conclusion, Streptomyces phage Vanseggelen and Streptomyces phage Verabelle are newly isolated phages that can be classified as new species in the genus Camvirus, within the subfamily Arquattrovirinae.

RevDate: 2023-11-27

Goehring L, Huang TT, DJ Smith (2023)

Transcription-Replication Conflicts as a Source of Genome Instability.

Annual review of genetics, 57:157-179.

Transcription and replication both require large macromolecular complexes to act on a DNA template, yet these machineries cannot simultaneously act on the same DNA sequence. Conflicts between the replication and transcription machineries (transcription-replication conflicts, or TRCs) are widespread in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes and have the capacity to both cause DNA damage and compromise complete, faithful replication of the genome. This review will highlight recent studies investigating the genomic locations of TRCs and the mechanisms by which they may be prevented, mitigated, or resolved. We address work from both model organisms and mammalian systems but predominantly focus on multicellular eukaryotes owing to the additional complexities inherent in the coordination of replication and transcription in the context of cell type-specific gene expression and higher-order chromatin organization.

RevDate: 2023-11-25

Toch K, Buczek M, MK Labocha (2023)

Genetic Interactions in Various Environmental Conditions in Caenorhabditis elegans.

Genes, 14(11): pii:genes14112080.

Although it is well known that epistasis plays an important role in many evolutionary processes (e.g., speciation, evolution of sex), our knowledge on the frequency and prevalent sign of epistatic interactions is mainly limited to unicellular organisms or cell cultures of multicellular organisms. This is even more pronounced in regard to how the environment can influence genetic interactions. To broaden our knowledge in that respect we studied gene-gene interactions in a whole multicellular organism, Caenorhabditis elegans. We screened over one thousand gene interactions, each one in standard laboratory conditions, and under three different stressors: heat shock, oxidative stress, and genotoxic stress. Depending on the condition, between 7% and 22% of gene pairs showed significant genetic interactions and an overall sign of epistasis changed depending on the condition. Sign epistasis was quite common, but reciprocal sign epistasis was extremally rare. One interaction was common to all conditions, whereas 78% of interactions were specific to only one environment. Although epistatic interactions are quite common, their impact on evolutionary processes will strongly depend on environmental factors.

RevDate: 2023-11-23

Spradling AC (2024)

The Ancient Origin and Function of Germline Cysts.

Results and problems in cell differentiation, 71:3-21.

Gamete production in most animal species is initiated within an evolutionarily ancient multicellular germline structure, the germline cyst, whose interconnected premeiotic cells synchronously develop from a single progenitor arising just downstream from a stem cell. Cysts in mice, Drosophila, and many other animals protect developing sperm, while in females, cysts generate nurse cells that guard sister oocytes from transposons (TEs) and help them grow and build a Balbiani body. However, the origin and extreme evolutionary conservation of germline cysts remains a mystery. We suggest that cysts arose in ancestral animals like Hydra and Planaria whose multipotent somatic and germline stem cells (neoblasts) express genes conserved in all animal germ cells and frequently begin differentiation in cysts. A syncytial state is proposed to help multipotent stem cell chromatin transition to an epigenetic state with heterochromatic domains suitable for TE repression and specialized function. Most modern animals now lack neoblasts but have retained stem cells and cysts in their early germlines, which continue to function using this ancient epigenetic strategy.


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.

963 Red Tail Lane
Bellingham, WA 98226


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

long standard version

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