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Bibliography on: Origin of Multicellular Eukaryotes

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

RJR: Recommended Bibliography 19 Nov 2018 at 01:35 Created: 

Origin of Multicellular Eukaryotes

Created with PubMed® Query: (origin OR evolution) and (eukaryotes OR eukaryota) AND (multicelluarity OR multicellular) NOT pmcbook NOT ispreviousversion

Citations The Papers (from PubMed®)

RevDate: 2018-11-15
CmpDate: 2018-11-15

Thomas F, Kareva I, Raven N, et al (2018)

Evolved Dependence in Response to Cancer.

Trends in ecology & evolution, 33(4):269-276.

Evolved dependence is a process through which one species becomes 'dependent' on another following a long evolutionary history of interaction. This happens when adaptations selected in the first species for interacting lead to fitness costs when the second species is not encountered. Evolved dependence is frequent in host-parasite interactions, where hosts may achieve a higher fitness in the presence of the parasite than in its absence. Since oncogenic manifestations are (i) ubiquitous across multicellular life, (ii) involved in parasitic-like interactions with their hosts, and (iii) have effectively driven the selection of numerous adaptations, it is possible that multicellular organisms display evolved dependence in response to oncogenic processes. We provide a comprehensive overview of the topic, including the implications for cancer prevention and treatment.

RevDate: 2018-11-14
CmpDate: 2018-11-14

Milholland B, Dong X, Zhang L, et al (2017)

Differences between germline and somatic mutation rates in humans and mice.

Nature communications, 8:15183 pii:ncomms15183.

The germline mutation rate has been extensively studied and has been found to vary greatly between species, but much less is known about the somatic mutation rate in multicellular organisms, which remains very difficult to determine. Here, we present data on somatic mutation rates in mice and humans, obtained by sequencing single cells and clones derived from primary fibroblasts, which allows us to make the first direct comparison with germline mutation rates in these two species. The results indicate that the somatic mutation rate is almost two orders of magnitude higher than the germline mutation rate and that both mutation rates are significantly higher in mice than in humans. Our findings demonstrate both the privileged status of germline genome integrity and species-specific differences in genome maintenance.

RevDate: 2018-11-13
CmpDate: 2018-11-13

Deb J, Bland HM, L Østergaard (2018)

Developmental cartography: coordination via hormonal and genetic interactions during gynoecium formation.

Current opinion in plant biology, 41:54-60.

Development in multicellular organisms requires the establishment of tissue identity through polarity cues. The Arabidopsis gynoecium presents an excellent model to study this coordination, as it comprises a complex tissue structure which is established through multiple polarity systems. The gynoecium is derived from the fusion of two carpels and forms in the centre of the flower. Many regulators of carpel development also have roles in leaf development, emphasizing the evolutionary origin of carpels as modified leaves. The gynoecium can therefore be considered as having evolved from a simple setup followed by adjustment in tissue polarity to facilitate efficient reproduction. Here, we discuss concepts to understand how hormonal and genetic systems interact to pattern the gynoecium.

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

Jong LW, Fujiwara T, Nozaki H, et al (2017)

Cell size for commitment to cell division and number of successive cell divisions in multicellular volvocine green algae Tetrabaena socialis and Gonium pectorale.

Proceedings of the Japan Academy. Series B, Physical and biological sciences, 93(10):832-840.

Volvocine algae constitute a green algal lineage comprising unicellular Chlamydomonas, four-celled Tetrabaena, eight to 32-celled Gonium, and others up to Volvox spp., which consist of up to 50,000 cells. These algae proliferate by multiple fissions with cellular growth up to several fold in size and subsequent successive cell divisions. Chlamydomonas reinhardtii cells produce two to 32 daughter cells by one to five divisions, depending on cellular growth in the G1 phase. By contrast, in this study, we found that Tetrabaena socialis and Gonium pectorale cells mostly produced four and eight daughter cells by two and three successive divisions, respectively. In contrast to C. reinhardtii, which is committed to cell division when the cell has grown two-fold, T. socialis and G. pectorale are committed only when the cells have grown four- and eight-fold, respectively. Thus, our results suggest that evolutionary changes in cellular size for commitment largely contributes to the emergence and evolution of multicellularity in volvocine algae.

RevDate: 2018-11-06

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

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

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2018-10-30
CmpDate: 2018-10-30

Gao Q, Xu S, Zhu X, et al (2018)

Genome-wide identification and characterization of the RIO atypical kinase family in plants.

Genes & genomics, 40(6):669-683.

Members of the right open reading frame (RIO) atypical kinase family are present in all three domains of life. In eukaryotes, three subfamilies have been identified: RIO1, RIO2, and RIO3. Studies have shown that the yeast and human RIO1 and RIO2 kinases are essential for the biogenesis of small ribosomal subunits. Thus far, RIO3 has been found only in multicellular eukaryotes. In this study, we systematically identified members of the RIO gene family in 37 species representing the major evolutionary lineages in Viridiplantae. A total of 84 RIO genes were identified; among them, 41 were classified as RIO1 and 43 as RIO2. However, no RIO3 gene was found in any of the species examined. Phylogenetic trees constructed for plant RIO1 and RIO2 proteins were generally congruent with the species phylogeny. Subcellular localization analyses showed that the plant RIO proteins were localized mainly in the nucleus and/or cytoplasm. Expression profile analysis of rice, maize, and Arabidopsis RIO genes in different tissues revealed similar expression patterns between RIO1 and RIO2 genes, and their expression levels were high in certain tissues. In addition, the expressions of plant RIO genes were regulated by two drugs: mycophenolic acid and actinomycin D. Function prediction using genome-wide coexpression analysis revealed that most plant RIO genes may be involved in ribosome biogenesis. Our results will be useful for the evolutionary analysis of the ancient RIO kinase family and provide a basis for further functional characterization of RIO genes in plants.

RevDate: 2018-10-30
CmpDate: 2018-10-30

Nishiyama E, K Ohshima (2018)

Cross-Kingdom Commonality of a Novel Insertion Signature of RTE-Related Short Retroposons.

Genome biology and evolution, 10(6):1471-1483.

In multicellular organisms, such as vertebrates and flowering plants, horizontal transfer (HT) of genetic information is thought to be a rare event. However, recent findings unveiled unexpectedly frequent HT of RTE-clade LINEs. To elucidate the molecular footprints of the genomic integration machinery of RTE-related retroposons, the sequence patterns surrounding the insertion sites of plant Au-like SINE families were analyzed in the genomes of a wide variety of flowering plants. A novel and remarkable finding regarding target site duplications (TSDs) for SINEs was they start with thymine approximately one helical pitch (ten nucleotides) downstream of a thymine stretch. This TSD pattern was found in RTE-clade LINEs, which share the 3'-end sequence of these SINEs, in the genome of leguminous plants. These results demonstrably show that Au-like SINEs were mobilized by the enzymatic machinery of RTE-clade LINEs. Further, we discovered the same TSD pattern in animal SINEs from lizard and mammals, in which the RTE-clade LINEs sharing the 3'-end sequence with these animal SINEs showed a distinct TSD pattern. Moreover, a significant correlation was observed between the first nucleotide of TSDs and microsatellite-like sequences found at the 3'-ends of SINEs and LINEs. We propose that RTE-encoded protein could preferentially bind to a DNA region that contains a thymine stretch to cleave a phosphodiester bond downstream of the stretch. Further, determination of cleavage sites and/or efficiency of primer sites for reverse transcription may depend on microsatellite-like repeats in the RNA template. Such a unique mechanism may have enabled retroposons to successfully expand in frontier genomes after HT.

RevDate: 2018-10-30
CmpDate: 2018-10-30

Tarver JE, Taylor RS, Puttick MN, et al (2018)

Well-Annotated microRNAomes Do Not Evidence Pervasive miRNA Loss.

Genome biology and evolution, 10(6):1457-1470.

microRNAs are conserved noncoding regulatory factors implicated in diverse physiological and developmental processes in multicellular organisms, as causal macroevolutionary agents and for phylogeny inference. However, the conservation and phylogenetic utility of microRNAs has been questioned on evidence of pervasive loss. Here, we show that apparent widespread losses are, largely, an artefact of poorly sampled and annotated microRNAomes. Using a curated data set of animal microRNAomes, we reject the view that miRNA families are never lost, but they are rarely lost (92% are never lost). A small number of families account for a majority of losses (1.7% of families account for >45% losses), and losses are associated with lineages exhibiting phenotypic simplification. Phylogenetic analyses based on the presence/absence of microRNA families among animal lineages, and based on microRNA sequences among Osteichthyes, demonstrate the power of these small data sets in phylogenetic inference. Perceptions of widespread evolutionary loss of microRNA families are due to the uncritical use of public archives corrupted by spurious microRNA annotations, and failure to discriminate false absences that occur because of incomplete microRNAome annotation.

RevDate: 2018-10-24
CmpDate: 2018-10-24

Ye AY, Dou Y, Yang X, et al (2018)

A model for postzygotic mosaicisms quantifies the allele fraction drift, mutation rate, and contribution to de novo mutations.

Genome research, 28(7):943-951.

The allele fraction (AF) distribution, occurrence rate, and evolutionary contribution of postzygotic single-nucleotide mosaicisms (pSNMs) remain largely unknown. In this study, we developed a mathematical model to describe the accumulation and AF drift of pSNMs during the development of multicellular organisms. By applying the model, we quantitatively analyzed two large-scale data sets of pSNMs identified from human genomes. We found that the postzygotic mutation rate per cell division during early embryogenesis, especially during the first cell division, was higher than the average mutation rate in either male or female gametes. We estimated that the stochastic cell death rate per cell cleavage during human embryogenesis was ∼5%, and parental pSNMs occurring during the first three cell divisions contributed to ∼10% of the de novo mutations observed in children. We further demonstrated that the genomic profiles of pSNMs could be used to measure the divergence distance between tissues. Our results highlight the importance of pSNMs in estimating recurrence risk and clarified the quantitative relationship between postzygotic and de novo mutations.

RevDate: 2018-10-18
CmpDate: 2018-10-18

Cramer JM, Pohlmann D, Gomez F, et al (2017)

Methylation specific targeting of a chromatin remodeling complex from sponges to humans.

Scientific reports, 7:40674 pii:srep40674.

DNA cytosine methylation and methyl-cytosine binding domain (MBD) containing proteins are found throughout all vertebrate species studied to date. However, both the presence of DNA methylation and pattern of methylation varies among invertebrate species. Invertebrates generally have only a single MBD protein, MBD2/3, that does not always contain appropriate residues for selectively binding methylated DNA. Therefore, we sought to determine whether sponges, one of the most ancient extant metazoan lineages, possess an MBD2/3 capable of recognizing methylated DNA and recruiting the associated nucleosome remodeling and deacetylase (NuRD) complex. We find that Ephydatia muelleri has genes for each of the NuRD core components including an EmMBD2/3 that selectively binds methylated DNA. NMR analyses reveal a remarkably conserved binding mode, showing almost identical chemical shift changes between binding to methylated and unmethylated CpG dinucleotides. In addition, we find that EmMBD2/3 and EmGATAD2A/B proteins form a coiled-coil interaction known to be critical for the formation of NuRD. Finally, we show that knockdown of EmMBD2/3 expression disrupts normal cellular architecture and development of E. muelleri. These data support a model in which the MBD2/3 methylation-dependent functional role emerged with the earliest multicellular organisms and has been maintained to varying degrees across animal evolution.

RevDate: 2018-10-15
CmpDate: 2018-10-15

Hauser CJ, LE Otterbein (2018)

Danger signals from mitochondrial DAMPS in trauma and post-injury sepsis.

European journal of trauma and emergency surgery : official publication of the European Trauma Society, 44(3):317-324.

In all multicellular organisms, immediate host responses to both sterile and infective threat are initiated by very primitive systems now grouped together under the general term 'danger responses'. Danger signals are generated when primitive 'pattern recognition receptors' (PRR) encounter activating 'alarmins'. These molecular species may be of pathogenic infective origin (pathogen-associated molecular patterns) or of sterile endogenous origin (danger-associated molecular patterns). There are many sterile and infective alarmins and there is considerable overlap in their ability to activate PRR, but in all cases the end result is inflammation. It is the overlap between sterile and infective signals acting via a relatively limited number of PRR that generally underlies the great clinical similarity we see between sterile and infective systemic inflammatory responses. Mitochondria (MT) are evolutionarily derived from bacteria, and thus they sit at the crossroads between sterile and infective danger signal pathways. Many of the molecular species in mitochondria are alarmins, and so the release of MT from injured cells results in a wide variety of inflammatory events. This paper discusses the known participation of MT in inflammation and reviews what is known about how the major.

RevDate: 2018-10-15
CmpDate: 2018-10-15

Hillmann F, Forbes G, Novohradská S, et al (2018)

Multiple Roots of Fruiting Body Formation in Amoebozoa.

Genome biology and evolution, 10(2):591-606.

Establishment of multicellularity represents a major transition in eukaryote evolution. A subgroup of Amoebozoa, the dictyosteliids, has evolved a relatively simple aggregative multicellular stage resulting in a fruiting body supported by a stalk. Protosteloid amoeba, which are scattered throughout the amoebozoan tree, differ by producing only one or few single stalked spores. Thus, one obvious difference in the developmental cycle of protosteliids and dictyosteliids seems to be the establishment of multicellularity. To separate spore development from multicellular interactions, we compared the genome and transcriptome of a Protostelium species (Protostelium aurantium var. fungivorum) with those of social and solitary members of the Amoebozoa. During fruiting body formation nearly 4,000 genes, corresponding to specific pathways required for differentiation processes, are upregulated. A comparison with genes involved in the development of dictyosteliids revealed conservation of >500 genes, but most of them are also present in Acanthamoeba castellanii for which fruiting bodies have not been documented. Moreover, expression regulation of those genes differs between P. aurantium and Dictyostelium discoideum. Within Amoebozoa differentiation to fruiting bodies is common, but our current genome analysis suggests that protosteliids and dictyosteliids used different routes to achieve this. Most remarkable is both the large repertoire and diversity between species in genes that mediate environmental sensing and signal processing. This likely reflects an immense adaptability of the single cell stage to varying environmental conditions. We surmise that this signaling repertoire provided sufficient building blocks to accommodate the relatively simple demands for cell-cell communication in the early multicellular forms.

RevDate: 2018-10-11
CmpDate: 2018-10-11

Cocorocchio M, Baldwin AJ, Stewart B, et al (2018)

Curcumin and derivatives function through protein phosphatase 2A and presenilin orthologues in Dictyostelium discoideum.

Disease models & mechanisms, 11(1): pii:dmm.032375.

Natural compounds often have complex molecular structures and unknown molecular targets. These characteristics make them difficult to analyse using a classical pharmacological approach. Curcumin, the main curcuminoid of turmeric, is a complex molecule possessing wide-ranging biological activities, cellular mechanisms and roles in potential therapeutic treatment, including Alzheimer's disease and cancer. Here, we investigate the physiological effects and molecular targets of curcumin in Dictyostelium discoideum We show that curcumin exerts acute effects on cell behaviour, reduces cell growth and slows multicellular development. We employed a range of structurally related compounds to show the distinct role of different structural groups in curcumin's effects on cell behaviour, growth and development, highlighting active moieties in cell function, and showing that these cellular effects are unrelated to the well-known antioxidant activity of curcumin. Molecular mechanisms underlying the effect of curcumin and one synthetic analogue (EF24) were then investigated to identify a curcumin-resistant mutant lacking the protein phosphatase 2A regulatory subunit (PsrA) and an EF24-resistant mutant lacking the presenilin 1 orthologue (PsenB). Using in silico docking analysis, we then showed that curcumin might function through direct binding to a key regulatory region of PsrA. These findings reveal novel cellular and molecular mechanisms for the function of curcumin and related compounds.

RevDate: 2018-10-11
CmpDate: 2018-10-11

Matt GY, JG Umen (2018)

Cell-Type Transcriptomes of the Multicellular Green Alga Volvox carteri Yield Insights into the Evolutionary Origins of Germ and Somatic Differentiation Programs.

G3 (Bethesda, Md.), 8(2):531-550 pii:g3.117.300253.

Germ-soma differentiation is a hallmark of complex multicellular organisms, yet its origins are not well understood. Volvox carteri is a simple multicellular green alga that has recently evolved a simple germ-soma dichotomy with only two cell-types: large germ cells called gonidia and small terminally differentiated somatic cells. Here, we provide a comprehensive characterization of the gonidial and somatic transcriptomes of V. carteri to uncover fundamental differences between the molecular and metabolic programming of these cell-types. We found extensive transcriptome differentiation between cell-types, with somatic cells expressing a more specialized program overrepresented in younger, lineage-specific genes, and gonidial cells expressing a more generalist program overrepresented in more ancient genes that shared striking overlap with stem cell-specific genes from animals and land plants. Directed analyses of different pathways revealed a strong dichotomy between cell-types with gonidial cells expressing growth-related genes and somatic cells expressing an altruistic metabolic program geared toward the assembly of flagella, which support organismal motility, and the conversion of storage carbon to sugars, which act as donors for production of extracellular matrix (ECM) glycoproteins whose secretion enables massive organismal expansion. V. carteri orthologs of diurnally controlled genes from C. reinhardtii, a single-celled relative, were analyzed for cell-type distribution and found to be strongly partitioned, with expression of dark-phase genes overrepresented in somatic cells and light-phase genes overrepresented in gonidial cells- a result that is consistent with cell-type programs in V. carteri arising by cooption of temporal regulons in a unicellular ancestor. Together, our findings reveal fundamental molecular, metabolic, and evolutionary mechanisms that underlie the origins of germ-soma differentiation in V. carteri and provide a template for understanding the acquisition of germ-soma differentiation in other multicellular lineages.

RevDate: 2018-10-11
CmpDate: 2018-10-11

Deines P, Lachnit T, TCG Bosch (2017)

Competing forces maintain the Hydra metaorganism.

Immunological reviews, 279(1):123-136.

Our conventional view of multicellular organisms often overlooks the fact that they are metaorganisms. They consist of a host, which is comprised of both a community of self-replicating cells that can compete as well as cooperate and a community of associated microorganisms. This newly discovered complexity raises a profound challenge: How to maintain such a multicellular association that includes independently replicating units and even different genotypes? Here, we identify competing forces acting at the host tissue level, the host-microbe interface, and within the microbial community as key factors to maintain the metaorganism Hydra. Maintenance of host tissue integrity, as well as proper regulation and management of the multiorganismic interactions are fundamental to organismal survival and health. Findings derived from the in vivo context of the Hydra model may provide one of the simplest possible systems to address questions on how a metaorganism is established and remains in balance over time.

RevDate: 2018-10-09
CmpDate: 2018-10-09

Park B, Kim H, TJ Jeon (2018)

Loss of RapC causes defects in cytokinesis, cell migration, and multicellular development of Dictyostelium.

Biochemical and biophysical research communications, 499(4):783-789.

The small GTPase Ras proteins are involved in diverse cellular processes. We investigated the functions of RapC, one of 15 Ras subfamily GTPases in Dictyostelium. Loss of RapC resulted in a spread shape of cells; severe defects in cytokinesis leading to multinucleation; decrease of migration speed in chemoattractant-mediated cell migration, likely through increased cell adhesion; and aberrations in multicellular development producing abnormal multiple tips from one mound and multi-branched developmental structures. Defects in cells lacking RapC were rescued by expressing GFP-RapC in rapC null cells. Our results demonstrate that RapC, despite its high sequence homology with Rap1, plays a negative role in cell spreading and cell adhesion, in contrast to Rap1, which is a key regulator of cell adhesion and cytoskeleton rearrangement. In addition, RapC appears to have a unique function in multicellular development and is involved in tip formation from mounds. This study contributes to the understanding of Ras-mediated cellular processes.

RevDate: 2018-10-08
CmpDate: 2018-10-08

Vijay K (2018)

Toll-like receptors in immunity and inflammatory diseases: Past, present, and future.

International immunopharmacology, 59:391-412.

The immune system is a very diverse system of the host that evolved during evolution to cope with various pathogens present in the vicinity of environmental surroundings inhabited by multicellular organisms ranging from achordates to chordates (including humans). For example, cells of immune system express various pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) that detect danger via recognizing specific pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) and mount a specific immune response. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are one of these PRRs expressed by various immune cells. However, they were first discovered in the Drosophila melanogaster (common fruit fly) as genes/proteins important in embryonic development and dorso-ventral body patterning/polarity. Till date, 13 different types of TLRs (TLR1-TLR13) have been discovered and described in mammals since the first discovery of TLR4 in humans in late 1997. This discovery of TLR4 in humans revolutionized the field of innate immunity and thus the immunology and host-pathogen interaction. Since then TLRs are found to be expressed on various immune cells and have been targeted for therapeutic drug development for various infectious and inflammatory diseases including cancer. Even, Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) among various TLR genes have been identified among the different human population and their association with susceptibility/resistance to certain infections and other inflammatory diseases. Thus, in the present review the current and future importance of TLRs in immunity, their pattern of expression among various immune cells along with TLR based therapeutic approach is reviewed.

RevDate: 2018-10-05

Stiller JW, Yang C, Collén J, et al (2018)

Evolution and expression of core SWI/SNF genes in red algae.

Journal of phycology [Epub ahead of print].

Red algae are the oldest identifiable multicellular eukaryotes, with a fossil record dating back more than a billion years. During that time two major rhodophyte lineages, bangiophytes and florideophytes, have evolved varied levels of morphological complexity. These two groups are distinguished, in part, by different patterns of multicellular development, with florideophytes exhibiting a far greater diversity of morphologies. Interestingly, during their long evolutionary history, there is no record of a rhodophyte achieving the kinds of cellular and tissue-specific differentiation present in other multicellular algal lineages. To date, the genetic underpinnings of unique aspects of red algal development are largely unexplored; however, they must reflect the complements and patterns of expression of key regulatory genes. Here we report comparative evolutionary and gene expression analyses of core subunits of the SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling complex, which is implicated in cell differentiation and developmental regulation in more well studied multicellular groups. Our results suggest that a single, canonical SWI/SNF complex was present in the rhodophyte ancestor, with gene duplications and evolutionary diversification of SWI/SNF subunits accompanying the evolution of multicellularity in the common ancestor of bangiophytes and florideophytes. Differences in how SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling evolved subsequently, in particular gene losses and more rapid divergence of SWI3 and SNF5 in bangiophytes, could help to explain why they exhibit a more limited range of morphological complexity than their florideophyte cousins. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2018-10-02
CmpDate: 2018-10-02

Liu Y, Liu D, Khan AR, et al (2018)

NbGIS regulates glandular trichome initiation through GA signaling in tobacco.

Plant molecular biology, 98(1-2):153-167.

KEY MESSAGE: A novel gene NbGIS positively regulates glandular trichome initiation through GA Signaling in tobacco. NbMYB123-like regulates glandular trichome initiation by acting downstream of NbGIS in tobacco. Glandular trichome is a specialized multicellular structure which has capability to synthesize and secrete secondary metabolites and protects plants from biotic and abiotic stresses. Our previous results revealed that a C2H2 zinc-finger transcription factor GIS and its sub-family genes act upstream of GL3/EGL3-GL1-TTG1 transcriptional activator complex to regulate trichome initiation in Arabidopsis. In this present study, we found that NbGIS could positively regulate glandular trichome development in Nicotiana benthamiana (tobacco). Our result demonstrated that 35S:NbGIS lines exhibited much higher densities of trichome on leaves, main stems, lateral branches and sepals than WT plants, while NbGIS:RNAi lines had the opposite phenotypes. Furthermore, our results also showed that NbGIS was required in response to GA signal to control glandular trichome initiation in Nicotiana benthamiana. In addition, our results also showed that NbGIS significantly influenced GA accumulation and expressions of marker genes of the GA biosynthesis, might result in the changes of growth and maturation in tobacco. Lastly, our results also showed that NbMYB123-like regulated glandular trichome initiation in tobacco by acting downstream of NbGIS. These findings provide new insights to discover the molecular mechanism by which C2H2 transcriptional factors regulates glandular trichome initiation through GA signaling pathway in tobacco.

RevDate: 2018-10-01
CmpDate: 2018-10-01

Joachimczak M, Suzuki R, T Arita (2016)

Artificial Metamorphosis: Evolutionary Design of Transforming, Soft-Bodied Robots.

Artificial life, 22(3):271-298.

We show how the concept of metamorphosis, together with a biologically inspired model of multicellular development, can be used to evolve soft-bodied robots that are adapted to two very different tasks, such as being able to move in an aquatic and in a terrestrial environment. Each evolved solution defines two pairs of morphologies and controllers, together with a process of transforming one pair into the other. Animats develop from a single cell and grow through cellular divisions and deaths until they reach an initial larval form adapted to a first environment. To obtain the adult form adapted to a second environment, the larva undergoes metamorphosis, during which new cells are added or removed and its controller is modified. Importantly, our approach assumes nothing about what morphologies or methods of locomotion are preferred. Instead, it successfully searches the vast space of possible designs and comes up with complex, surprising, lifelike solutions that are reminiscent of amphibian metamorphosis. We analyze obtained solutions and investigate whether the morphological changes during metamorphosis are indeed adaptive. We then compare the effectiveness of three different types of selective pressures used to evolve metamorphic individuals. Finally, we investigate potential advantages of using metamorphosis to automatically produce soft-bodied designs by comparing the performance of metamorphic individuals with their specialized counterparts and designs that are robust to both environments.

RevDate: 2018-09-25
CmpDate: 2018-09-25

Dickson LB, Ghozlane A, Volant S, et al (2018)

Diverse laboratory colonies of Aedes aegypti harbor the same adult midgut bacterial microbiome.

Parasites & vectors, 11(1):207 pii:10.1186/s13071-018-2780-1.

BACKGROUND: Host-associated microbes, collectively known as the microbiota, play an important role in the biology of multicellular organisms. In mosquito vectors of human pathogens, the gut bacterial microbiota influences vectorial capacity and has become the subject of intense study. In laboratory studies of vector biology, genetic effects are often inferred from differences between geographically and genetically diverse colonies of mosquitoes that are reared in the same insectary. It is unclear, however, to what extent genetic effects can be confounded by uncontrolled differences in the microbiota composition among mosquito colonies. To address this question, we used 16S metagenomics to compare the midgut bacterial microbiome of six laboratory colonies of Aedes aegypti recently derived from wild populations representing the geographical range and genetic diversity of the species.

RESULTS: We found that the diversity, abundance, and community structure of the midgut bacterial microbiome was remarkably similar among the six different colonies of Ae. aegypti, regardless of their geographical origin. We also confirmed the relatively low complexity of bacterial communities inhabiting the mosquito midgut.

CONCLUSIONS: Our finding that geographically diverse colonies of Ae. aegypti reared in the same insectary harbor a similar gut bacterial microbiome supports the conclusion that the gut microbiota of adult mosquitoes is environmentally determined regardless of the host genotype. Thus, uncontrolled differences in microbiota composition are unlikely to represent a significant confounding factor in genetic studies of vector biology.

RevDate: 2018-09-19
CmpDate: 2018-09-19

Elsner D, Meusemann K, J Korb (2018)

Longevity and transposon defense, the case of termite reproductives.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 115(21):5504-5509.

Social insects are promising new models in aging research. Within single colonies, longevity differences of several magnitudes exist that can be found elsewhere only between different species. Reproducing queens (and, in termites, also kings) can live for several decades, whereas sterile workers often have a lifespan of a few weeks only. We studied aging in the wild in a highly social insect, the termite Macrotermes bellicosus, which has one of the most pronounced longevity differences between reproductives and workers. We show that gene-expression patterns differed little between young and old reproductives, implying negligible aging. By contrast, old major workers had many genes up-regulated that are related to transposable elements (TEs), which can cause aging. Strikingly, genes from the PIWI-interacting RNA (piRNA) pathway, which are generally known to silence TEs in the germline of multicellular animals, were down-regulated only in old major workers but not in reproductives. Continued up-regulation of the piRNA defense commonly found in the germline of animals can explain the long life of termite reproductives, implying somatic cooption of germline defense during social evolution. This presents a striking germline/soma analogy as envisioned by the superorganism concept: the reproductives and workers of a colony reflect the germline and soma of multicellular animals, respectively. Our results provide support for the disposable soma theory of aging.

RevDate: 2018-09-17
CmpDate: 2018-09-17

Glöckner G, Lawal HM, Felder M, et al (2016)

The multicellularity genes of dictyostelid social amoebas.

Nature communications, 7:12085 pii:ncomms12085.

The evolution of multicellularity enabled specialization of cells, but required novel signalling mechanisms for regulating cell differentiation. Early multicellular organisms are mostly extinct and the origins of these mechanisms are unknown. Here using comparative genome and transcriptome analysis across eight uni- and multicellular amoebozoan genomes, we find that 80% of proteins essential for the development of multicellular Dictyostelia are already present in their unicellular relatives. This set is enriched in cytosolic and nuclear proteins, and protein kinases. The remaining 20%, unique to Dictyostelia, mostly consists of extracellularly exposed and secreted proteins, with roles in sensing and recognition, while several genes for synthesis of signals that induce cell-type specialization were acquired by lateral gene transfer. Across Dictyostelia, changes in gene expression correspond more strongly with phenotypic innovation than changes in protein functional domains. We conclude that the transition to multicellularity required novel signals and sensors rather than novel signal processing mechanisms.

RevDate: 2018-09-07
CmpDate: 2018-09-07

Smith CCR, Tittes S, Mendieta JP, et al (2018)

Genetics of alternative splicing evolution during sunflower domestication.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 115(26):6768-6773.

Alternative splicing enables organisms to produce the diversity of proteins necessary for multicellular life by using relatively few protein-coding genes. Although differences in splicing have been identified among divergent taxa, the shorter-term evolution of splicing is understudied. The origins of novel splice forms, and the contributions of alternative splicing to major evolutionary transitions, are largely unknown. This study used transcriptomes of wild and domesticated sunflowers to examine splice differentiation and regulation during domestication. We identified substantial splicing divergence between wild and domesticated sunflowers, mainly in the form of intron retention. Transcripts with divergent splicing were enriched for seed-development functions, suggesting that artificial selection impacted splicing patterns. Mapping of quantitative trait loci (QTLs) associated with 144 differential splicing cases revealed primarily trans-acting variation affecting splicing patterns. A large proportion of identified QTLs contain known spliceosome proteins and are associated with splicing variation in multiple genes. Examining a broader set of wild and domesticated sunflower genotypes revealed that most differential splicing patterns in domesticated sunflowers likely arose from standing variation in wild Helianthus annuus and gained frequency during the domestication process. However, several domesticate-associated splicing patterns appear to be introgressed from other Helianthus species. These results suggest that sunflower domestication involved selection on pleiotropic regulatory alleles. More generally, our findings indicate that substantial differences in isoform abundances arose rapidly during a recent evolutionary transition and appear to contribute to adaptation and population divergence.

RevDate: 2018-09-07
CmpDate: 2018-09-07

Zheng S, Long J, Liu Z, et al (2018)

Identification and Evolution of TGF-β Signaling Pathway Members in Twenty-Four Animal Species and Expression in Tilapia.

International journal of molecular sciences, 19(4): pii:ijms19041154.

Transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) signaling controls diverse cellular processes during embryogenesis as well as in mature tissues of multicellular animals. Here we carried out a comprehensive analysis of TGF-β pathway members in 24 representative animal species. The appearance of the TGF-β pathway was intrinsically linked to the emergence of metazoan. The total number of TGF-β ligands, receptors, and smads changed slightly in all invertebrates and jawless vertebrates analyzed. In contrast, expansion of the pathway members, especially ligands, was observed in jawed vertebrates most likely due to the second round of whole genome duplication (2R) and additional rounds in teleosts. Duplications of TGFB2, TGFBR2, ACVR1, SMAD4 and SMAD6, which were resulted from 2R, were first isolated. Type II receptors may be originated from the ACVR2-like ancestor. Interestingly, AMHR2 was not identified in Chimaeriformes and Cypriniformes even though they had the ligand AMH. Based on transcriptome data, TGF-β ligands exhibited a tissue-specific expression especially in the heart and gonads. However, most receptors and smads were expressed in multiple tissues indicating they were shared by different ligands. Spatial and temporal expression profiles of 8 genes in gonads of different developmental stages provided a fundamental clue for understanding their important roles in sex determination and reproduction. Taken together, our findings provided a global insight into the phylogeny and expression patterns of the TGF-β pathway genes, and hence contribute to the greater understanding of their biological roles in the organism especially in teleosts.

RevDate: 2018-09-07
CmpDate: 2018-09-07

Padder SA, Prasad R, AH Shah (2018)

Quorum sensing: A less known mode of communication among fungi.

Microbiological research, 210:51-58.

Quorum sensing (QS), a density-dependent signaling mechanism of microbial cells, involves an exchange and sense of low molecular weight signaling compounds called autoinducers. With the increase in population density, the autoinducers accumulate in the extracellular environment and once their concentration reaches a threshold, many genes are either expressed or repressed. This cell density-dependent signaling mechanism enables single cells to behave as multicellular organisms and regulates different microbial behaviors like morphogenesis, pathogenesis, competence, biofilm formation, bioluminescence, etc guided by environmental cues. Initially, QS was regarded to be a specialized system of certain bacteria. The discovery of filamentation control in pathogenic polymorphic fungus Candida albicans by farnesol revealed the phenomenon of QS in fungi as well. Pathogenic microorganisms primarily regulate the expression of virulence genes using QS systems. The indirect role of QS in the emergence of multiple drug resistance (MDR) in microbial pathogens necessitates the finding of alternative antimicrobial therapies that target QS and inhibit the same. A related phenomenon of quorum sensing inhibition (QSI) performed by small inhibitor molecules called quorum sensing inhibitors (QSIs) has an ability for efficient reduction of gene expression regulated by quorum sensing. In the present review, recent advancements in the study of different fungal quorum sensing molecules (QSMs) and quorum sensing inhibitors (QSIs) of fungal origin along with their mechanism of action and/or role/s are discussed.

RevDate: 2018-08-27
CmpDate: 2018-08-27

Kenny NJ, de Goeij JM, de Bakker DM, et al (2018)

Towards the identification of ancestrally shared regenerative mechanisms across the Metazoa: A Transcriptomic case study in the Demosponge Halisarca caerulea.

Marine genomics, 37:135-147.

Regeneration is an essential process for all multicellular organisms, allowing them to recover effectively from internal and external injury. This process has been studied extensively in a medical context in vertebrates, with pathways often investigated mechanistically, both to derive increased understanding and as potential drug targets for therapy. Several species from other parts of the metazoan tree of life, including Hydra, planarians and echinoderms, noted for their regenerative capabilities, have previously been targeted for study. Less well-documented for their regenerative abilities are sponges. This is surprising, as they are both one of the earliest-branching extant metazoan phyla on Earth, and are rapidly able to respond to injury. Their sessile lifestyle, lack of an external protective layer, inability to respond to predation and filter-feeding strategy all mean that regeneration is often required. In particular the demosponge genus Halisarca has been noted for its fast cell turnover and ability to quickly adjust its cell kinetic properties to repair damage through regeneration. However, while the rate and structure of regeneration in sponges has begun to be investigated, the molecular mechanisms behind this ability are yet to be catalogued. Here we describe the assembly of a reference transcriptome for Halisarca caerulea, along with additional transcriptomes noting response to injury before, shortly following (2h post-), and 12h after trauma. RNAseq reads were assembled using Trinity, annotated, and samples compared, to allow initial insight into the transcriptomic basis of sponge regenerative processes. These resources are deep, with our reference assembly containing >92.6% of the BUSCO Metazoa set of genes, and well-assembled (N50s of 836, 957, 1688 and 2032 for untreated, 2h, 12h and reference transcriptomes respectively), and therefore represent excellent qualitative resources as a bedrock for future study. The generation of transcriptomic resources from sponges before and following deliberate damage has allowed us to study particular pathways within this species responsible for repairing damage. We note particularly the involvement of the Wnt cascades in this process in this species, and detail the contents of this cascade, along with cell cycle, extracellular matrix and apoptosis-linked genes in this work. This resource represents an initial starting point for the continued development of this knowledge, given H. caerulea's ability to regenerate and position as an outgroup for comparing the process of regeneration across metazoan lineages. With this resource in place, we can begin to infer the regenerative capacity of the common ancestor of all extant animal life, and unravel the elements of regeneration in an often-overlooked clade.

RevDate: 2018-08-22
CmpDate: 2018-08-22

Żółtowska-Aksamitowska S, Shaala LA, Youssef DTA, et al (2018)

First Report on Chitin in a Non-Verongiid Marine Demosponge: The Mycale euplectellioides Case.

Marine drugs, 16(2): pii:md16020068.

Sponges (Porifera) are recognized as aquatic multicellular organisms which developed an effective biochemical pathway over millions of years of evolution to produce both biologically active secondary metabolites and biopolymer-based skeletal structures. Among marine demosponges, only representatives of the Verongiida order are known to synthetize biologically active substances as well as skeletons made of structural polysaccharide chitin. The unique three-dimensional (3D) architecture of such chitinous skeletons opens the widow for their recent applications as adsorbents, as well as scaffolds for tissue engineering and biomimetics. This study has the ambitious goal of monitoring other orders beyond Verongiida demosponges and finding alternative sources of naturally prestructured chitinous scaffolds; especially in those demosponge species which can be cultivated at large scales using marine farming conditions. Special attention has been paid to the demosponge Mycale euplectellioides(Heteroscleromorpha: Poecilosclerida: Mycalidae) collected in the Red Sea. For the first time, we present here a detailed study of the isolation of chitin from the skeleton of this sponge, as well as its identification using diverse bioanalytical tools. Calcofluor white staining, Fourier-transform Infrared Spcetcroscopy (FTIR), electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and fluorescence microscopy, as well as a chitinase digestion assay were applied in order to confirm with strong evidence the finding of a-chitin in the skeleton of M. euplectellioides. We suggest that the discovery of chitin within representatives of the Mycale genus is a promising step in their evaluation of these globally distributed sponges as new renewable sources for both biologically active metabolites and chitin, which are of prospective use for pharmacology and biomaterials oriented biomedicine, respectively.

RevDate: 2018-08-21
CmpDate: 2018-08-21

Kennedy P, Baron G, Qiu B, et al (2017)

Deconstructing Superorganisms and Societies to Address Big Questions in Biology.

Trends in ecology & evolution, 32(11):861-872.

Social insect societies are long-standing models for understanding social behaviour and evolution. Unlike other advanced biological societies (such as the multicellular body), the component parts of social insect societies can be easily deconstructed and manipulated. Recent methodological and theoretical innovations have exploited this trait to address an expanded range of biological questions. We illustrate the broadening range of biological insight coming from social insect biology with four examples. These new frontiers promote open-minded, interdisciplinary exploration of one of the richest and most complex of biological phenomena: sociality.

RevDate: 2018-08-20
CmpDate: 2018-08-20

Park B, Shin DY, TJ Jeon (2018)

CBP7 Interferes with the Multicellular Development of Dictyostelium Cells by Inhibiting Chemoattractant-Mediated Cell Aggregation.

Molecules and cells, 41(2):103-109.

Calcium ions are involved in the regulation of diverse cellular processes. Fourteen genes encoding calcium binding proteins have been identified in Dictyostelium. CBP7, one of the 14 CBPs, is composed of 169 amino acids and contains four EF-hand motifs. Here, we investigated the roles of CBP7 in the development and cell migration of Dictyostelium cells and found that high levels of CBP7 exerted a negative effect on cells aggregation during development, possibly by inhibiting chemoattractant-directed cell migration. While cells lacking CBP7 exhibited normal development and chemotaxis similar that of wild-type cells, CBP7 overexpressing cells completely lost their chemotactic abilities to move toward increasing cAMP concentrations. This resulted in inhibition of cellular aggregation, a process required for forming multicellular organisms during development. Low levels of cytosolic free calcium were observed in CBP7 overexpressing cells, which was likely the underlying cause of their lack of chemotaxis. Our results demonstrate that CBP7 plays an important role in cell spreading and cell-substrate adhesion. cbp7 null cells showed decreased cell size and cell-substrate adhesion. The present study contributes to further understanding the role of calcium signaling in regulation of cell migration and development.

RevDate: 2018-08-20
CmpDate: 2018-08-20

Sapir L, S Tzlil (2017)

Talking over the extracellular matrix: How do cells communicate mechanically?.

Seminars in cell & developmental biology, 71:99-105.

Communication between cells enables them to coordinate their activity and is crucial for the differentiation, development, and function of tissues and multicellular organisms. Cell-cell communication is discussed almost exclusively as having a chemical or electrical origin. Only recently, a new mode of cell communication was elucidated: mechanical communication through the extracellular matrix (ECM). Cells can communicate mechanically by responding either to mechanical deformations generated by their neighbors or to a change in the mechanical properties of the ECM induced by a neighboring cell. This newly resolved mode of communication possesses unique features that complement the cellular ability to receive and share information, and to consequently act in a cooperative way with surrounding cells. Herein, we review several examples of mechanical communication, discuss their unique properties, and comment on the major challenges facing the field.

RevDate: 2018-08-14
CmpDate: 2018-08-14

Barber J (2017)

A mechanism for water splitting and oxygen production in photosynthesis.

Nature plants, 3:17041 pii:nplants201741.

Sunlight is absorbed and converted to chemical energy by photosynthetic organisms. At the heart of this process is the most fundamental reaction on Earth, the light-driven splitting of water into its elemental constituents. In this way molecular oxygen is released, maintaining an aerobic atmosphere and creating the ozone layer. The hydrogen that is released is used to convert carbon dioxide into the organic molecules that constitute life and were the origin of fossil fuels. Oxidation of these organic molecules, either by respiration or combustion, leads to the recombination of the stored hydrogen with oxygen, releasing energy and reforming water. This water splitting is achieved by the enzyme photosystem II (PSII). Its appearance at least 3 billion years ago, and linkage through an electron transfer chain to photosystem I, directly led to the emergence of eukaryotic and multicellular organisms. Before this, biological organisms had been dependent on hydrogen/electron donors, such as H2S, NH3, organic acids and Fe2+, that were in limited supply compared with the oceans of liquid water. However, it is likely that water was also used as a hydrogen source before the emergence of PSII, as found today in anaerobic prokaryotic organisms that use carbon monoxide as an energy source to split water. The enzyme that catalyses this reaction is carbon monoxide dehydrogenase (CODH). Similarities between PSII and the iron- and nickel-containing form of this enzyme (Fe-Ni CODH) suggest a possible mechanism for the photosynthetic O-O bond formation.

RevDate: 2018-08-09
CmpDate: 2018-08-09

Ćetković H, Halasz M, M Herak Bosnar (2018)

Sponges: A Reservoir of Genes Implicated in Human Cancer.

Marine drugs, 16(1): pii:md16010020.

Recently, it was shown that the majority of genes linked to human diseases, such as cancer genes, evolved in two major evolutionary transitions-the emergence of unicellular organisms and the transition to multicellularity. Therefore, it has been widely accepted that the majority of disease-related genes has already been present in species distantly related to humans. An original way of studying human diseases relies on analyzing genes and proteins that cause a certain disease using model organisms that belong to the evolutionary level at which these genes have emerged. This kind of approach is supported by the simplicity of the genome/proteome, body plan, and physiology of such model organisms. It has been established for quite some time that sponges are an ideal model system for such studies, having a vast variety of genes known to be engaged in sophisticated processes and signalling pathways associated with higher animals. Sponges are considered to be the simplest multicellular animals and have changed little during evolution. Therefore, they provide an insight into the metazoan ancestor genome/proteome features. This review compiles current knowledge of cancer-related genes/proteins in marine sponges.

RevDate: 2018-08-08
CmpDate: 2018-08-08

Henderson SW, Wege S, M Gilliham (2018)

Plant Cation-Chloride Cotransporters (CCC): Evolutionary Origins and Functional Insights.

International journal of molecular sciences, 19(2): pii:ijms19020492.

Genomes of unicellular and multicellular green algae, mosses, grasses and dicots harbor genes encoding cation-chloride cotransporters (CCC). CCC proteins from the plant kingdom have been comparatively less well investigated than their animal counterparts, but proteins from both plants and animals have been shown to mediate ion fluxes, and are involved in regulation of osmotic processes. In this review, we show that CCC proteins from plants form two distinct phylogenetic clades (CCC1 and CCC2). Some lycophytes and bryophytes possess members from each clade, most land plants only have members of the CCC1 clade, and green algae possess only the CCC2 clade. It is currently unknown whether CCC1 and CCC2 proteins have similar or distinct functions, however they are both more closely related to animal KCC proteins compared to NKCCs. Existing heterologous expression systems that have been used to functionally characterize plant CCC proteins, namely yeast and Xenopus laevis oocytes, have limitations that are discussed. Studies from plants exposed to chemical inhibitors of animal CCC protein function are reviewed for their potential to discern CCC function in planta. Thus far, mutations in plant CCC genes have been evaluated only in two species of angiosperms, and such mutations cause a diverse array of phenotypes-seemingly more than could simply be explained by localized disruption of ion transport alone. We evaluate the putative roles of plant CCC proteins and suggest areas for future investigation.

RevDate: 2018-08-08
CmpDate: 2018-08-08

López JL, Alvarez F, Príncipe A, et al (2018)

Isolation, taxonomic analysis, and phenotypic characterization of bacterial endophytes present in alfalfa (Medicago sativa) seeds.

Journal of biotechnology, 267:55-62.

A growing body of evidence has reinforced the central role of microbiomes in the life of sound multicellular eukaryotes, thus more properly described as true holobionts. Though soil was considered a main source of plant microbiomes, seeds have been shown to be endophytically colonized by microorganisms thus representing natural carriers of a selected microbial inoculum to the young seedlings. In this work we have investigated the type of culturable endophytic bacteria that are carried within surface-sterilized alfalfa seeds. MALDI-TOF analysis revealed the presence of bacteria that belonged to 40 separate genera, distributed within four taxa (Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, Firmicutes, and Bacteroidetes). Nonsymbiotic members of the Rhizobiaceae family were also found. The evaluation of nine different in-vitro biochemical activities demonstrated isolates with complex combinations of traits that, upon a Principal-Component-Analysis, could be classified into four phenotypic groups. That isolates from nearly half of the genera identified had been able to colonize alfalfa plants grown under axenic conditions was remarkable. Further analyses should be addressed to investigating the colonization mechanisms of the alfalfa seeds, the evolutionary significance of the alfalfa-seed endophytes, and also how after germination the seed microbiome competes with spermospheric and rhizospheric soil bacteria to colonize newly emerging seedlings.

RevDate: 2018-08-06

Oka M, Y Yoneda (2018)

Importin α: functions as a nuclear transport factor and beyond.

Proceedings of the Japan Academy. Series B, Physical and biological sciences, 94(7):259-274.

Nucleocytoplasmic transport is an essential process in eukaryotes. The molecular mechanisms underlying nuclear transport that involve the nuclear transport receptor, small GTPase Ran, and the nuclear pore complex are highly conserved from yeast to humans. On the other hand, it has become clear that the nuclear transport system diverged during evolution to achieve various physiological functions in multicellular eukaryotes. In this review, we first summarize the molecular mechanisms of nuclear transport and how these were elucidated. Then, we focus on the diverse functions of importin α, which acts not merely an import factor but also as a multi-functional protein contributing to a variety of cellular functions in higher eukaryotes.

RevDate: 2018-08-06
CmpDate: 2018-08-06

Li L, Aslam M, Rabbi F, et al (2018)

PpORS, an ancient type III polyketide synthase, is required for integrity of leaf cuticle and resistance to dehydration in the moss, Physcomitrella patens.

Planta, 247(2):527-541.

MAIN CONCLUSION: PpORS knockout mutants produced abnormal leaves with increased dye permeability and were more susceptible to dehydration, consistent with PpORS products being constituents of a cuticular structure in the moss. Type III polyketide synthases (PKSs) have co-evolved with terrestrial plants such that each taxon can generate a characteristic collection of polyketides, fine-tuned to its needs. 2'-Oxoalkylresorcinol synthase from Physcomitrella patens (PpORS) is basal to all plant type III PKSs in phylogenetic trees and may closely resemble their most recent common ancestor. To gain insight into the roles that ancestral plant type III PKSs might have played during early land plant evolution, we constructed and phenotypically characterized targeted knockouts of PpORS. Ors gametophores, unless submerged in water while they were developing, displayed various leaf malformations that included grossly misshapen leaves, missing or abnormal midribs, multicellular protuberances and localized necrosis. Ors leaves, particularly abnormal ones, showed increased permeability to the hydrophilic dye, toluidine blue. Ors gametophores lost water faster and were more susceptible to dehydration than those of the control strain. Our findings are consistent with ors leaves possessing a partially defective cuticle and implicate PpORS in synthesis of the intact cuticle. PpORS orthologs are present in a few moss species but have not been found in other plants. However, conceivably an ancestral ORS in early land plants may have contributed to their protection from dehydration.

RevDate: 2018-08-02

Bornens M (2018)

Cell polarity: having and making sense of direction-on the evolutionary significance of the primary cilium/centrosome organ in Metazoa.

Open biology, 8(8):.

Cell-autonomous polarity in Metazoans is evolutionarily conserved. I assume that permanent polarity in unicellular eukaryotes is required for cell motion and sensory reception, integration of these two activities being an evolutionarily constrained function. Metazoans are unique in making cohesive multicellular organisms through complete cell divisions. They evolved a primary cilium/centrosome (PC/C) organ, ensuring similar functions to the basal body/flagellum of unicellular eukaryotes, but in different cells, or in the same cell at different moments. The possibility that this innovation contributed to the evolution of individuality, in being instrumental in the early specification of the germ line during development, is further discussed. Then, using the example of highly regenerative organisms like planarians, which have lost PC/C organ in dividing cells, I discuss the possibility that part of the remodelling necessary to reach a new higher-level unit of selection in multi-cellular organisms has been triggered by conflicts among individual cell polarities to reach an organismic polarity. Finally, I briefly consider organisms with a sensorimotor organ like the brain that requires exceedingly elongated polarized cells for its activity. I conclude that beyond critical consequences for embryo development, the conservation of cell-autonomous polarity in Metazoans had far-reaching implications for the evolution of individuality.

RevDate: 2018-08-01
CmpDate: 2018-08-01

Chi S, Liu T, Wang X, et al (2018)

Functional genomics analysis reveals the biosynthesis pathways of important cellular components (alginate and fucoidan) of Saccharina.

Current genetics, 64(1):259-273.

Although alginate and fucoidan are unique cellular components and have important biological significance in brown algae, and many possible involved genes are present in brown algal genomes, their functions and regulatory mechanisms have not been fully revealed. Both polysaccharides may play important roles in the evolution of multicellular brown algae, but specific and in-depth studies are still limited. In this study, a functional genomics analysis of alginate and fucoidan biosynthesis routes was conducted in Saccharina, and the key events in these pathways in brown algae were identified. First, genes from different sources, including eukaryotic hosts via endosymbiotic gene transfer and bacteria via horizontal gene transfer, were combined to build a complete pathway framework. Then, a critical event occurred to drive these pathways to have real function: one of the mannose-6-phosphate isomerase homologs that arose by gene duplication subsequently adopted the function of the mannose-1-phosphate guanylyltransferase (MGP) gene, which was absent in algal genomes. Further, downstream pathway genes proceeded with gene expansions and complex transcriptional mechanisms, which may be conducive to the synthesis of alginate and fucoidan with diverse structures and contents depending on the developmental stage, tissue structure, and environmental conditions. This study revealed the alginate and fucoidan synthesis pathways and all included genes from separate phylogenetic sources in brown algae. Enzyme assays confirmed the function of key genes and led to the determination of a substitute for the missing MPG. All gene families had constitutively expressed member(s) to maintain the basic synthesis; and the gene function differentiation, enzyme characterization and gene expression regulation differences separated brown algae from other algae lineages and were considered to be the major driving forces for sophisticated system evolution of brown algae.

RevDate: 2018-07-30

Waldron FM, Stone GN, DJ Obbard (2018)

Metagenomic sequencing suggests a diversity of RNA interference-like responses to viruses across multicellular eukaryotes.

PLoS genetics, 14(7):e1007533 pii:PGENETICS-D-18-00517 [Epub ahead of print].

RNA interference (RNAi)-related pathways target viruses and transposable element (TE) transcripts in plants, fungi, and ecdysozoans (nematodes and arthropods), giving protection against infection and transmission. In each case, this produces abundant TE and virus-derived 20-30nt small RNAs, which provide a characteristic signature of RNAi-mediated defence. The broad phylogenetic distribution of the Argonaute and Dicer-family genes that mediate these pathways suggests that defensive RNAi is ancient, and probably shared by most animal (metazoan) phyla. Indeed, while vertebrates had been thought an exception, it has recently been argued that mammals also possess an antiviral RNAi pathway, although its immunological relevance is currently uncertain and the viral small RNAs (viRNAs) are not easily detectable. Here we use a metagenomic approach to test for the presence of viRNAs in five species from divergent animal phyla (Porifera, Cnidaria, Echinodermata, Mollusca, and Annelida), and in a brown alga-which represents an independent origin of multicellularity from plants, fungi, and animals. We use metagenomic RNA sequencing to identify around 80 virus-like contigs in these lineages, and small RNA sequencing to identify viRNAs derived from those viruses. We identified 21U small RNAs derived from an RNA virus in the brown alga, reminiscent of plant and fungal viRNAs, despite the deep divergence between these lineages. However, contrary to our expectations, we were unable to identify canonical (i.e. Drosophila- or nematode-like) viRNAs in any of the animals, despite the widespread presence of abundant micro-RNAs, and somatic transposon-derived piwi-interacting RNAs. We did identify a distinctive group of small RNAs derived from RNA viruses in the mollusc. However, unlike ecdysozoan viRNAs, these had a piRNA-like length distribution but lacked key signatures of piRNA biogenesis. We also identified primary piRNAs derived from putatively endogenous copies of DNA viruses in the cnidarian and the echinoderm, and an endogenous RNA virus in the mollusc. The absence of canonical virus-derived small RNAs from our samples may suggest that the majority of animal phyla lack an antiviral RNAi response. Alternatively, these phyla could possess an antiviral RNAi response resembling that reported for vertebrates, with cryptic viRNAs not detectable through simple metagenomic sequencing of wild-type individuals. In either case, our findings show that the antiviral RNAi responses of arthropods and nematodes, which are highly divergent from each other and from that of plants and fungi, are also highly diverged from the most likely ancestral metazoan state.

RevDate: 2018-07-30
CmpDate: 2018-07-30

Vermeij GJ (2017)

How the Land Became the Locus of Major Evolutionary Innovations.

Current biology : CB, 27(20):3178-3182.e1.

Life originated in the sea and evolved its early metabolic pathways in water [1, 2]. Nevertheless, activities of organisms on land have influenced and enriched marine ecosystems with oxygen and nutrients for billions of years [3-7]. In contrast to the history of species diversity in the sea and on land [8-10] and the flows of resources within and between these two realms [11], little is known about the times and places of origin of major metabolic and ecological innovations during the Phanerozoic. Many innovations among multicellular organisms originated in the sea during or before the Cambrian, including predation and most of its variations, biomineralization, colonial or clonal growth, bioerosion, deposit feeding, bioturbation by animals, communication at a distance by vision and olfaction, photosymbiosis, chemosymbiosis, suspension feeding, osmotrophy, internal fertilization, jet propulsion, undulatory locomotion, and appendages for movement. Activity is less constrained in air than in the denser, more viscous medium of water [9, 12-14]. I therefore predict that high-performance metabolic and ecological innovations should predominantly originate on land after the Ordovician once organisms had conquered the challenges of life away from water and later appeared in the sea, either in marine-colonizing clades or by arising separately in clades that never left the sea. In support of this hypothesis, I show that 11 of 13 major post-Ordovician innovations appeared first or only on land. This terrestrial locus of innovation cannot be explained by the Cretaceous to recent expansion of diversity on land. It reveals one of several irreversible shifts in the history of life.

RevDate: 2018-07-31
CmpDate: 2018-07-31

Hehenberger E, Tikhonenkov DV, Kolisko M, et al (2017)

Novel Predators Reshape Holozoan Phylogeny and Reveal the Presence of a Two-Component Signaling System in the Ancestor of Animals.

Current biology : CB, 27(13):2043-2050.e6.

Our understanding of the origin of animals has been transformed by characterizing their most closely related, unicellular sisters: the choanoflagellates, filastereans, and ichthyosporeans. Together with animals, these lineages make up the Holozoa [1, 2]. Many traits previously considered "animal specific" were subsequently found in other holozoans [3, 4], showing that they evolved before animals, although exactly when is currently uncertain because several key relationships remain unresolved [2, 5]. Here we report the morphology and transcriptome sequencing from three novel unicellular holozoans: Pigoraptor vietnamica and Pigoraptor chileana, which are related to filastereans, and Syssomonas multiformis, which forms a new lineage with Corallochytrium in phylogenomic analyses. All three species are predatory flagellates that feed on large eukaryotic prey, and all three also appear to exhibit complex life histories with several distinct stages, including multicellular clusters. Examination of genes associated with multicellularity in animals showed that the new filastereans contain a cell-adhesion gene repertoire similar to those of other species in this group. Syssomonas multiformis possessed a smaller complement overall but does encode genes absent from the earlier-branching ichthyosporeans. Analysis of the T-box transcription factor domain showed expansion of T-box transcription factors based on combination with a non-T-box domain (a receiver domain), which has not been described outside of vertebrates. This domain and other domains we identified in all unicellular holozoans are part of the two-component signaling system that has been lost in animals, suggesting the continued use of this system in the closest relatives of animals and emphasizing the importance of studying loss of function as well as gain in major evolutionary transitions.

RevDate: 2018-06-28

Dunning Hotopp JC (2018)

Grafting or pruning in the animal tree: lateral gene transfer and gene loss?.

BMC genomics, 19(1):470 pii:10.1186/s12864-018-4832-5.

BACKGROUND: Lateral gene transfer (LGT), also known as horizontal gene transfer, into multicellular eukaryotes with differentiated tissues, particularly gonads, continues to be met with skepticism by many prominent evolutionary and genomic biologists. A detailed examination of 26 animal genomes identified putative LGTs in invertebrate and vertebrate genomes, concluding that there are fewer predicted LGTs in vertebrates/chordates than invertebrates, but there is still evidence of LGT into chordates, including humans. More recently, a reanalysis of a subset of these putative LGTs into vertebrates concluded that there is not horizontal gene transfer in the human genome. One of the genes in dispute is an N-acyl-aromatic-L-amino acid amidohydrolase (ENSG00000132744), which encodes ACY3. This gene was initially identified as a putative bacteria-chordate LGT but was later debunked as it has a significant BLAST match to a more recently deposited genome of Saccoglossus kowalevskii, a flatworm, Metazoan, and hemichordate.

RESULTS: Using BLAST searches, HMM searches, and phylogenetics to assess the evidence for LGT, gene loss, and rate variation in ACY3/ASPA homologues, the most parsimonious explanation for the distribution of ACY3/ASPA genes in eukaryotes involves both gene loss and bacteria-animal LGT, albeit LGT that occurred hundreds of millions of years ago prior to the divergence of gnathostomes.

CONCLUSIONS: ACY3/ASPA is most likely a bacteria-animal LGT. LGTs at these time scales in the ancestors of humans are not unexpected given the many known, well-characterized, and adaptive LGTs from bacteria to insects and nematodes.

RevDate: 2018-06-03

Mustafin RN, EK Khusnutdinova (2018)

[Epigenetic hypothesis of the role of peptides in aging.].

Advances in gerontology = Uspekhi gerontologii, 31(1):10-20.

In regulation of gene expression in the ontogenesis of multicellular eukaryotes, in addition to transcription factors, an important role is played by epigenetic factors that control the release of genetic information in each cell division. Many binding sites for the transcription factors were derived from transposons sequences. Mobile elements are also important sources of non-coding RNA. Due to this, transposons have an indirect effect on gene expression and genome methylation. In evolution, transposons serve as important sources for the origin of new protein and proteins domains. A number of studies have identified that long non-coding RNAs and microRNAs can be translated into functional peptides. At the same time, transposons remain active in the hypothalamus of adult humans, which is consistent with the transcription of non-coding RNAs in these structures, which may be key in aging.

RevDate: 2018-05-22

Maclean AE, Hertle AP, Ligas J, et al (2018)

Absence of Complex I Is Associated with Diminished Respiratory Chain Function in European Mistletoe.

Current biology : CB, 28(10):1614-1619.e3.

Parasitism is a life history strategy found across all domains of life whereby nutrition is obtained from a host. It is often associated with reductive evolution of the genome, including loss of genes from the organellar genomes [1, 2]. In some unicellular parasites, the mitochondrial genome (mitogenome) has been lost entirely, with far-reaching consequences for the physiology of the organism [3, 4]. Recently, mitogenome sequences of several species of the hemiparasitic plant mistletoe (Viscum sp.) have been reported [5, 6], revealing a striking loss of genes not seen in any other multicellular eukaryotes. In particular, the nad genes encoding subunits of respiratory complex I are all absent and other protein-coding genes are also lost or highly diverged in sequence, raising the question what remains of the respiratory complexes and mitochondrial functions. Here we show that oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) in European mistletoe, Viscum album, is highly diminished. Complex I activity and protein subunits of complex I could not be detected. The levels of complex IV and ATP synthase were at least 5-fold lower than in the non-parasitic model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, whereas alternative dehydrogenases and oxidases were higher in abundance. Carbon flux analysis indicates that cytosolic reactions including glycolysis are greater contributors to ATP synthesis than the mitochondrial tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle. Our results describe the extreme adjustments in mitochondrial functions of the first reported multicellular eukaryote without complex I.

RevDate: 2018-04-24

Lee J, Yang EC, Graf L, et al (2018)

Analysis of the draft genome of the red seaweed Gracilariopsis chorda provides insights into genome size evolution in Rhodophyta.

Molecular biology and evolution pii:4982564 [Epub ahead of print].

Red algae (Rhodophyta) underwent two phases of large-scale genome reduction during their early evolution. The red seaweeds did not attain genome sizes or gene inventories typical of other multicellular eukaryotes. We generated a high quality 92.1 Mbp draft genome assembly from the red seaweed Gracilariopsis chorda, including methylation and small (s)RNA data. We analyzed these and other Archaeplastida genomes to address three questions: 1) what is the role of repeats and transposable elements (TEs) in explaining Rhodophyta genome size variation, 2) what is the history of genome duplication and gene family expansion/reduction in these taxa, and 3) is there evidence for TE suppression in red algae? We find the number of predicted genes in red algae is relatively small (4,803-13,125 genes), particularly when compared to land plants, with no evidence of polyploidization. Genome size variation is primarily explained by TE expansion with the red seaweeds having the largest genomes. Long terminal repeat elements and DNA repeats are the major contributors to genome size growth. About 8.3% of the G. chorda genome undergoes cytosine methylation among gene-bodies, promoters, and TEs, and 71.5% of TEs contain methylated-DNA with 57% of these regions associated with sRNAs. These latter results suggest a role for TE-associated sRNAs in RNA-dependent DNA methylation to facilitate silencing. We postulate that the evolution of genome size in red algae is the result of the combined action of TE spread and the concomitant emergence of its epigenetic suppression, together with other important factors such as changes in population size.

RevDate: 2018-05-31

Miller WB, JS Torday (2018)

Four domains: The fundamental unicell and Post-Darwinian Cognition-Based Evolution.

Progress in biophysics and molecular biology pii:S0079-6107(18)30085-3 [Epub ahead of print].

Contemporary research supports the viewpoint that self-referential cognition is the proper definition of life. From that initiating platform, a cohesive alternative evolutionary narrative distinct from standard Neodarwinism can be presented. Cognition-Based Evolution contends that biological variation is a product of a self-reinforcing information cycle that derives from self-referential attachment to biological information space-time with its attendant ambiguities. That information cycle is embodied through obligatory linkages among energy, biological information, and communication. Successive reiterations of the information cycle enact the informational architectures of the basic unicellular forms. From that base, inter-domain and cell-cell communications enable genetic and cellular variations through self-referential natural informational engineering and cellular niche construction. Holobionts are the exclusive endpoints of that self-referential cellular engineering as obligatory multicellular combinations of the essential Four Domains: Prokaryota, Archaea, Eukaryota and the Virome. Therefore, it is advocated that these Four Domains represent the perpetual object of the living circumstance rather than the visible macroorganic forms. In consequence, biology and its evolutionary development can be appraised as the continual defense of instantiated cellular self-reference. As the survival of cells is as dependent upon limitations and boundaries as upon any freedom of action, it is proposed that selection represents only one of many forms of cellular constraint that sustain self-referential integrity.

RevDate: 2018-05-10

Kauko A, K Lehto (2018)

Eukaryote specific folds: Part of the whole.

Proteins [Epub ahead of print].

The origin of eukaryotes is one of the central transitions in the history of life; without eukaryotes there would be no complex multicellular life. The most accepted scenarios suggest the endosymbiosis of a mitochondrial ancestor with a complex archaeon, even though the details regarding the host and the triggering factors are still being discussed. Accordingly, phylogenetic analyses have demonstrated archaeal affiliations with key informational systems, while metabolic genes are often related to bacteria, mostly to the mitochondrial ancestor. Despite of this, there exists a large number of protein families and folds found only in eukaryotes. In this study, we have analyzed structural superfamilies and folds that probably appeared during eukaryogenesis. These folds typically represent relatively small binding domains of larger multidomain proteins. They are commonly involved in biological processes that are particularly complex in eukaryotes, such as signaling, trafficking/cytoskeleton, ubiquitination, transcription and RNA processing, but according to recent studies, these processes also have prokaryotic roots. Thus the folds originating from an eukaryotic stem seem to represent accessory parts that have contributed in the expansion of several prokaryotic processes to a new level of complexity. This might have taken place as a co-evolutionary process where increasing complexity and fold innovations have supported each other.

RevDate: 2018-07-13
CmpDate: 2018-07-13

Clarke EK, Rivera Gomez KA, Mustachi Z, et al (2018)

Manipulation of Ploidy in Caenorhabditis elegans.

Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE.

Mechanisms that involve whole genome polyploidy play important roles in development and evolution; also, an abnormal generation of tetraploid cells has been associated with both the progression of cancer and the development of drug resistance. Until now, it has not been feasible to easily manipulate the ploidy of a multicellular animal without generating mostly sterile progeny. Presented here is a simple and rapid protocol for generating tetraploid Caenorhabditis elegans animals from any diploid strain. This method allows the user to create a bias in chromosome segregation during meiosis, ultimately increasing ploidy in C. elegans. This strategy relies on the transient reduction of expression of the rec-8 gene to generate diploid gametes. A rec-8 mutant produces diploid gametes that can potentially produce tetraploids upon fertilization. This tractable scheme has been used to generate tetraploid strains carrying mutations and chromosome rearrangements to gain insight into chromosomal dynamics and interactions during pairing and synapsis in meiosis. This method is efficient for generating stable tetraploid strains without genetic markers, can be applied to any diploid strain, and can be used to derive triploid C. elegans. This straightforward method is useful for investigating other fundamental biological questions relevant to genome instability, gene dosage, biological scaling, extracellular signaling, adaptation to stress, development of resistance to drugs, and mechanisms of speciation.

RevDate: 2018-06-03

Lherminier P (2018)

[Informative predation: Towards a new species concept].

Comptes rendus biologies, 341(4):209-218.

We distinguish two types of predations: the predation of matter-energy equals the food chain, and the informative predation is the capture of the information brought by the sexual partners. The cell or parent consumes energy and matter to grow, multiply and produce offspring. A fixed amount of resources is divided by the number of organisms, so individual growth and numerical multiplication are limited by depletion resources of the environment. Inversely, fertilization does not destroy information, but instead produces news. The information is multiplied by the number of partners and children, since each fertilization gives rise to a new genome following a combinatorial process that continues without exhaustion. The egg does not swallow the sperm to feed, but exchange good food for quality information. With the discovery of sex, that is, 1.5 Ga ago, life added soft predation to hard predation, i.e. information production within each species to matter-energy flow between species. Replicative and informative structures are subject to two competing biological constraints: replicative fidelity promotes proliferation, but limits adaptive evolution. On the contrary, the offspring of a couple obviously cannot be a copy of both partners, they are a new production, a re-production. Sexual recombination allows the exponential enrichment of the genetic diversity, thus promoting indefinite adaptive and evolutionary capacities. Evolutionary history illustrates this: the bacteria proliferate but have remained at the first purely nutritive stage in which most of the sensory functions, mobility, defense, and feeding have experienced almost no significant novelty in three billion years. Another world appeared with the sexual management of information. Sexual reproduction actually combines two functions: multiplicative by "vertical transfer" and informative by "horizontal transfer". This distinction is very common: polypus - medusa alternations, parasite multiplication cycles, the lytochal and deuterotochal parthenogenesis of aphids, and the innumerable para- and pseudo-sexual strategies of plants opportunistically combine the two modes of asexual replication and sexual combination. However, for the majority of animals and multicellular plants that produce many gametes, numerical proliferation by descendants and informative diversity by sexuality are mutually implicated, for example in the seed. The true discovery of eukaryotes may not be the "true nucleus", as their name implies, but an orderly informative function. The field of recombinations circumscribes a class of partners genetically compatible with each other, each simultaneously prey and predator of the DNA of the other. The mythical Maxwell demon capable of tracing entropy by sorting molecules according to their state does exist: each mate is the other's Maxwell's demon. While a sexless bacterium is simply divided into two cells, two sexual parents work together to produce a single offspring a time. Added to this are the burdens involved in meiosis and crossing-over, cellular diploidy, and mating. Sex produces an information gain that is paid for by a cost of energy-material, and this barter must be fair to survive. The domains of sexual intercourse are very diverse: uniparental reproduction, alternation of asexual proliferation and sexual information, self-fertilization, endogamy, exogamy, panmixis, diffuse or structured polymorphism, fertile or sterile hybridization, horizontal transfers. Each species is a recombination field between two domains, cloning and hybridization. Multiplicative descent and informative fertilization are organically distinct, but selectively associated: the information produced by the parents' sexuality favors the predation of matter-energy and therefore the proliferation of offspring, and this proliferation in turn favors the sexed producers of information. The equation specific to each species is: enough energy to proliferate, enough information to diversify. Alternatively, two other reproductive modes obtain or transmit less information at lower cost: not enough recombinations=repetitive clonal proliferation, and too many recombinations=disordered hybridization. But these marginal modes have poor prospects, as the model of the species is successfully attractive. Better discriminate to better inform. In bacteria, the exchanged and incorporated DNA segments are directly identified by the parity of the complementary strands, which determines simultaneously the similarity, the offspring, and the pairing. In eukaryotes, on the contrary, somatic growth and germinal information are segregated. During speciation, adaptive information is compacted, delocalized, codified and published to inform the species about its own state: the prezygotic relationship governs viable mating. Under the effect of sexual selection, the runaway and the reinforcement of the characters related to courtship testifies to their identifying function, which explains the paradox of the singularity and luxuriance of the sexual hypertrophies. The speciation discretizes a balanced recombination field and validates the informative relations. The species is without degree. Mates of a species recognize each other quickly and well because the logic of coding disengages from the ecological game of adaptations. The system of mate recognition has a function of cohesion and its regularity allows the adaptations of the less regular being, it is neither elitist nor normative, it is subjected neither to a level of aptitudes, nor to sexual performances, but permissive; it protects the variability and polymorphism. Two mutually irreducible relationships triggered the debate between the taxonomists who support the phyletic definition of the species by the descendance, and the proponents of the definition by interfertility. Such a taxonomic disagreement is not insurmountable, but the issue is deeper than taxonomic concepts, because these concepts relate to two different modes of evolution. According to the phyletic model, each species is a lineage passively isolated by external circumstances; on the contrary, in the sexual model each species is actively produced by an internal process of adjustment between replicative costs and informative gains. Each species develops a solution of the equation that matches material-energy expenditures with informative gains. A species concept based on a lasting relationship between these two quantities or on the limits of certain values or their equilibrium is therefore legitimate. It is this equilibrium that all couples resolve, without our formulation being as clearly as biology desires and as physics demands. Energy expenditures and informative gains in sexuality are almost impossible to measure, yet observation and experience allow an approximate ranking of the energy/information ratio. For example, endogamy is more economical, but less diversifying than exogamy, polymorphism increases information, the reinforcement of sexual isolation limits the rate of unproductive fertilization, between neighboring species hybridization allows certain genetic contributions, etc. A closed species evolves naturally towards another just as closed. On the contrary, the artificial transfer of DNA opens the species. The natural boundaries that isolate the species are easily trespassed as energy costs and constraints of sexual recognition are easily controlled; and the perspectives of manipulations are visible, whereas natural selection never anticipates and thus works blindly. Informative, artificially directed predation stimulates the evolution of species.

RevDate: 2018-05-22
CmpDate: 2018-05-22

Bang C, Dagan T, Deines P, et al (2018)

Metaorganisms in extreme environments: do microbes play a role in organismal adaptation?.

Zoology (Jena, Germany), 127:1-19.

From protists to humans, all animals and plants are inhabited by microbial organisms. There is an increasing appreciation that these resident microbes influence the fitness of their plant and animal hosts, ultimately forming a metaorganism consisting of a uni- or multicellular host and a community of associated microorganisms. Research on host-microbe interactions has become an emerging cross-disciplinary field. In both vertebrates and invertebrates a complex microbiome confers immunological, metabolic and behavioural benefits; conversely, its disturbance can contribute to the development of disease states. However, the molecular and cellular mechanisms controlling the interactions within a metaorganism are poorly understood and many key interactions between the associated organisms remain unknown. In this perspective article, we outline some of the issues in interspecies interactions and in particular address the question of how metaorganisms react and adapt to inputs from extreme environments such as deserts, the intertidal zone, oligothrophic seas, and hydrothermal vents.

RevDate: 2018-05-17
CmpDate: 2018-05-17

Alemany A, Florescu M, Baron CS, et al (2018)

Whole-organism clone tracing using single-cell sequencing.

Nature, 556(7699):108-112.

Embryonic development is a crucial period in the life of a multicellular organism, during which limited sets of embryonic progenitors produce all cells in the adult body. Determining which fate these progenitors acquire in adult tissues requires the simultaneous measurement of clonal history and cell identity at single-cell resolution, which has been a major challenge. Clonal history has traditionally been investigated by microscopically tracking cells during development, monitoring the heritable expression of genetically encoded fluorescent proteins and, more recently, using next-generation sequencing technologies that exploit somatic mutations, microsatellite instability, transposon tagging, viral barcoding, CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing and Cre-loxP recombination. Single-cell transcriptomics provides a powerful platform for unbiased cell-type classification. Here we present ScarTrace, a single-cell sequencing strategy that enables the simultaneous quantification of clonal history and cell type for thousands of cells obtained from different organs of the adult zebrafish. Using ScarTrace, we show that a small set of multipotent embryonic progenitors generate all haematopoietic cells in the kidney marrow, and that many progenitors produce specific cell types in the eyes and brain. In addition, we study when embryonic progenitors commit to the left or right eye. ScarTrace reveals that epidermal and mesenchymal cells in the caudal fin arise from the same progenitors, and that osteoblast-restricted precursors can produce mesenchymal cells during regeneration. Furthermore, we identify resident immune cells in the fin with a distinct clonal origin from other blood cell types. We envision that similar approaches will have major applications in other experimental systems, in which the matching of embryonic clonal origin to adult cell type will ultimately allow reconstruction of how the adult body is built from a single cell.

RevDate: 2018-05-31

Lower SS, McGurk MP, Clark AG, et al (2018)

Satellite DNA evolution: old ideas, new approaches.

Current opinion in genetics & development, 49:70-78.

A substantial portion of the genomes of most multicellular eukaryotes consists of large arrays of tandemly repeated sequence, collectively called satellite DNA. The processes generating and maintaining different satellite DNA abundances across lineages are important to understand as satellites have been linked to chromosome mis-segregation, disease phenotypes, and reproductive isolation between species. While much theory has been developed to describe satellite evolution, empirical tests of these models have fallen short because of the challenges in assessing satellite repeat regions of the genome. Advances in computational tools and sequencing technologies now enable identification and quantification of satellite sequences genome-wide. Here, we describe some of these tools and how their applications are furthering our knowledge of satellite evolution and function.

RevDate: 2018-07-09
CmpDate: 2018-07-09

Zielich J, Tzima E, Schröder EA, et al (2018)

Overlapping expression patterns and functions of three paralogous P5B ATPases in Caenorhabditis elegans.

PloS one, 13(3):e0194451 pii:PONE-D-17-43710.

P5B ATPases are present in the genomes of diverse unicellular and multicellular eukaryotes, indicating that they have an ancient origin, and that they are important for cellular fitness. Inactivation of ATP13A2, one of the four human P5B ATPases, leads to early-onset Parkinson's disease (Kufor-Rakeb Syndrome). The presence of an invariant PPALP motif within the putative substrate interaction pocket of transmembrane segment M4 suggests that all P5B ATPases might have similar transport specificity; however, the identity of the transport substrate(s) remains unknown. Nematodes of the genus Caenorhabditis possess three paralogous P5B ATPase genes, catp-5, catp-6 and catp-7, which probably originated from a single ancestral gene around the time of origin of the Caenorhabditid clade. By using CRISPR/Cas9, we have systematically investigated the expression patterns, subcellular localization and biological functions of each of the P5B ATPases of C. elegans. We find that each gene has a unique expression pattern, and that some tissues express more than one P5B. In some tissues where their expression patterns overlap, different P5Bs are targeted to different subcellular compartments (e.g., early endosomes vs. plasma membrane), whereas in other tissues they localize to the same compartment (plasma membrane). We observed lysosomal co-localization between CATP-6::GFP and LMP-1::RFP in transgenic animals; however, this was an artifact of the tagged LMP-1 protein, since anti-LMP-1 antibody staining of native protein revealed that LMP-1 and CATP-6::GFP occupy different compartments. The nematode P5Bs are at least partially redundant, since we observed synthetic sterility in catp-5(0); catp-6(0) and catp-6(0) catp-7(0) double mutants. The double mutants exhibit defects in distal tip cell migration that resemble those of ina-1 (alpha integrin ortholog) and vab-3 (Pax6 ortholog) mutants, suggesting that the nematode P5Bs are required for ina-1and/or vab-3 function. This is potentially a conserved regulatory interaction, since mammalian ATP13A2, alpha integrin and Pax6 are all required for proper dopaminergic neuron function.

RevDate: 2018-05-17

Kritzer JA, Freyzon Y, S Lindquist (2018)

Yeast can accommodate phosphotyrosine: v-Src toxicity in yeast arises from a single disrupted pathway.

FEMS yeast research, 18(3):.

Tyrosine phosphorylation is a key biochemical signal that controls growth and differentiation in multicellular organisms. Saccharomyces cerevisiae and nearly all other unicellular eukaryotes lack intact phosphotyrosine signaling pathways. However, many of these organisms have primitive phosphotyrosine-binding proteins and tyrosine phosphatases, leading to the assumption that the major barrier for emergence of phosphotyrosine signaling was the negative consequences of promiscuous tyrosine kinase activity. In this work, we reveal that the classic oncogene v-Src, which phosphorylates many dozens of proteins in yeast, is toxic because it disrupts a specific spore wall remodeling pathway. Using genetic selections, we find that expression of a specific cyclic peptide, or overexpression of SMK1, a MAP kinase that controls spore wall assembly, both lead to robust growth despite a continuous high level of phosphotyrosine in the yeast proteome. Thus, minimal genetic manipulations allow yeast to tolerate high levels of phosphotyrosine. These results indicate that the introduction of tyrosine kinases within single-celled organisms may not have been a major obstacle to the evolution of phosphotyrosine signaling.

RevDate: 2018-06-05
CmpDate: 2018-06-05

Rosenberg AB, Roco CM, Muscat RA, et al (2018)

Single-cell profiling of the developing mouse brain and spinal cord with split-pool barcoding.

Science (New York, N.Y.), 360(6385):176-182.

To facilitate scalable profiling of single cells, we developed split-pool ligation-based transcriptome sequencing (SPLiT-seq), a single-cell RNA-seq (scRNA-seq) method that labels the cellular origin of RNA through combinatorial barcoding. SPLiT-seq is compatible with fixed cells or nuclei, allows efficient sample multiplexing, and requires no customized equipment. We used SPLiT-seq to analyze 156,049 single-nucleus transcriptomes from postnatal day 2 and 11 mouse brains and spinal cords. More than 100 cell types were identified, with gene expression patterns corresponding to cellular function, regional specificity, and stage of differentiation. Pseudotime analysis revealed transcriptional programs driving four developmental lineages, providing a snapshot of early postnatal development in the murine central nervous system. SPLiT-seq provides a path toward comprehensive single-cell transcriptomic analysis of other similarly complex multicellular systems.

RevDate: 2018-07-09
CmpDate: 2018-07-09

Aruga J, M Hatayama (2018)

Comparative Genomics of the Zic Family Genes.

Advances in experimental medicine and biology, 1046:3-26.

Zic family genes encode five C2H2-type zinc finger domain-containing proteins that have many roles in animal development and maintenance. Recent phylogenetic analyses showed that Zic family genes are distributed in metazoans (multicellular animals), except Porifera (sponges) and Ctenophora (comb jellies). The sequence comparisons revealed that the zinc finger domains were absolutely conserved among the Zic family genes. Zic zinc finger domains are similar to, but distinct from those of the Gli, Glis, and Nkl gene family, and these zinc finger protein families are proposed to have been derived from a common ancestor gene. The Gli-Glis-Nkl-Zic superfamily and some other eukaryotic zinc finger proteins share a tandem CWCH2 (tCWCH2) motif, a hallmark for inter-zinc finger interaction between two adjacent C2H2 zinc fingers. In Zic family proteins, there exist additional evolutionally conserved domains known as ZOC and ZFNC, both of which may have appeared before cnidarian-bilaterian divergence. Comparison of the exon-intron boundaries in the Zic zinc finger domains revealed an intron (A-intron) that was absolutely conserved in bilaterians (metazoans with bilateral symmetry) and a placozoan (a simple nonparasitic metazoan). In vertebrates, there are five to seven Zic paralogs among which Zic1, Zic2, and Zic3 are generated through a tandem gene duplication and carboxy-terminal truncation in a vertebrate common ancestor, sharing a conserved carboxy-terminal sequence. Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain the Zic family phylogeny, including their origin, unique features in the first and second zinc finger motif, evolution of the nuclear localization signal, significance of the animal taxa-selective degeneration, gene multiplication in the vertebrate lineage, and involvement in the evolutionary alteration of the animal body plan.

RevDate: 2018-05-04
CmpDate: 2018-04-02

Simonini S, Stephenson P, L Østergaard (2018)

A molecular framework controlling style morphology in Brassicaceae.

Development (Cambridge, England), 145(5): pii:dev.158105.

Organ formation in multicellular organisms depends on the coordinated activities of regulatory components that integrate developmental and hormonal cues to control gene expression and mediate cell-type specification. For example, development of the Arabidopsis gynoecium is tightly controlled by distribution and synthesis of the plant hormone auxin. The functions of several transcription factors (TFs) have been linked with auxin dynamics during gynoecium development; yet how their activities are coordinated is not known. Here, we show that five such TFs function together to ensure polarity establishment at the gynoecium apex. The auxin response factor ETTIN (ARF3; herein, ETT) is a central component of this framework. Interaction of ETT with TF partners is sensitive to the presence of auxin and our results suggest that ETT forms part of a repressive gene-regulatory complex. We show that this function is conserved between members of the Brassicaceae family and that variation in an ETT subdomain affects interaction strengths and gynoecium morphology. These results suggest that variation in affinities between conserved TFs can lead to morphological differences and thus contribute to the evolution of diverse organ shapes.

RevDate: 2018-03-04

Hörandl E, D Speijer (2018)

How oxygen gave rise to eukaryotic sex.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 285(1872):.

How did full meiotic eukaryotic sex evolve and what was the immediate advantage allowing it to develop? We propose that the crucial determinant can be found in internal reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation at the start of eukaryotic evolution approximately 2 × 109 years ago. The large amount of ROS coming from a bacterial endosymbiont gave rise to DNA damage and vast increases in host genome mutation rates. Eukaryogenesis and chromosome evolution represent adaptations to oxidative stress. The host, an archaeon, most probably already had repair mechanisms based on DNA pairing and recombination, and possibly some kind of primitive cell fusion mechanism. The detrimental effects of internal ROS formation on host genome integrity set the stage allowing evolution of meiotic sex from these humble beginnings. Basic meiotic mechanisms thus probably evolved in response to endogenous ROS production by the 'pre-mitochondrion'. This alternative to mitosis is crucial under novel, ROS-producing stress situations, like extensive motility or phagotrophy in heterotrophs and endosymbiontic photosynthesis in autotrophs. In multicellular eukaryotes with a germline-soma differentiation, meiotic sex with diploid-haploid cycles improved efficient purging of deleterious mutations. Constant pressure of endogenous ROS explains the ubiquitous maintenance of meiotic sex in practically all eukaryotic kingdoms. Here, we discuss the relevant observations underpinning this model.

RevDate: 2018-07-18
CmpDate: 2018-07-18

Exposito-Alonso M, Becker C, Schuenemann VJ, et al (2018)

The rate and potential relevance of new mutations in a colonizing plant lineage.

PLoS genetics, 14(2):e1007155 pii:PGENETICS-D-17-01896.

By following the evolution of populations that are initially genetically homogeneous, much can be learned about core biological principles. For example, it allows for detailed studies of the rate of emergence of de novo mutations and their change in frequency due to drift and selection. Unfortunately, in multicellular organisms with generation times of months or years, it is difficult to set up and carry out such experiments over many generations. An alternative is provided by "natural evolution experiments" that started from colonizations or invasions of new habitats by selfing lineages. With limited or missing gene flow from other lineages, new mutations and their effects can be easily detected. North America has been colonized in historic times by the plant Arabidopsis thaliana, and although multiple intercrossing lineages are found today, many of the individuals belong to a single lineage, HPG1. To determine in this lineage the rate of substitutions-the subset of mutations that survived natural selection and drift-, we have sequenced genomes from plants collected between 1863 and 2006. We identified 73 modern and 27 herbarium specimens that belonged to HPG1. Using the estimated substitution rate, we infer that the last common HPG1 ancestor lived in the early 17th century, when it was most likely introduced by chance from Europe. Mutations in coding regions are depleted in frequency compared to those in other portions of the genome, consistent with purifying selection. Nevertheless, a handful of mutations is found at high frequency in present-day populations. We link these to detectable phenotypic variance in traits of known ecological importance, life history and growth, which could reflect their adaptive value. Our work showcases how, by applying genomics methods to a combination of modern and historic samples from colonizing lineages, we can directly study new mutations and their potential evolutionary relevance.

RevDate: 2018-05-17
CmpDate: 2018-05-17

Cipriano JLD, Cruz ACF, Mancini KC, et al (2018)

Somatic embryogenesis in Carica papaya as affected by auxins and explants, and morphoanatomical-related aspects.

Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciencias, 90(1):385-400.

The aim of this study was to evaluate somatic embryogenesis in juvenile explants of the THB papaya cultivar. Apical shoots and cotyledonary leaves were inoculated in an induction medium composed of different concentrations of 2,4-D (6, 9, 12, 15 and 18 µM) or 4-CPA (19, 22, 25, 28 and 31 µM). The embryogenic calluses were transferred to a maturation medium for 30 days. Histological analysis were done during the induction and scanning electron microscopy after maturing. For both types of auxin, embryogenesis was achieved at higher frequencies with cotyledonary leaves incubated in induction medium than with apical shoots; except for callogenesis. The early-stage embryos (e.g., globular or heart-shape) predominated. Among the auxins, best results were observed in cotyledonary leaves induced with 4-CPA (25 µM). Histological analyses of the cotyledonary leaf-derived calluses confirmed that the somatic embryos (SEs) formed from parenchyma cells, predominantly differentiated via indirect and multicellular origin and infrequently via synchronized embryogenesis. The secondary embryogenesis was observed during induction and maturation phases in papaya THB cultivar. The combination of ABA (0.5 µM) and AC (15 g L-1) in maturation medium resulted in the highest somatic embryogenesis induction frequency (70 SEs callus-1) and the lowest percentage of early germination (4%).

RevDate: 2018-02-06

Wechman SL, Pradhan AK, DeSalle R, et al (2018)

New Insights Into Beclin-1: Evolution and Pan-Malignancy Inhibitor Activity.

Advances in cancer research, 137:77-114.

Autophagy is a functionally conserved self-degradation process that facilitates the survival of eukaryotic life via the management of cellular bioenergetics and maintenance of the fidelity of genomic DNA. The first known autophagy inducer was Beclin-1. Beclin-1 is expressed in multicellular eukaryotes ranging throughout plants to animals, comprising a nonmonophyllic group, as shown in this report via aggressive BLAST searches. In humans, Beclin-1 is a haploinsuffient tumor suppressor as biallelic deletions have not been observed in patient tumors clinically. Therefore, Beclin-1 fails the Knudson hypothesis, implicating expression of at least one Beclin-1 allele is essential for cancer cell survival. However, Beclin-1 is frequently monoallelically deleted in advanced human cancers and the expression of two Beclin-1 allelles is associated with greater anticancer effects. Overall, experimental evidence suggests that Beclin-1 inhibits tumor formation, angiogenesis, and metastasis alone and in cooperation with the tumor suppressive molecules UVRAG, Bif-1, Ambra1, and MDA-7/IL-24 via diverse mechanisms of action. Conversely, Beclin-1 is upregulated in cancer stem cells (CSCs), portending a role in cancer recurrence, and highlighting this molecule as an intriguing molecular target for the treatment of CSCs. Many aspects of Beclin-1's biological effects remain to be studied. The consequences of these BLAST searches on the molecular evolution of Beclin-1, and the eukaryotic branches of the tree of life, are discussed here in greater detail with future inquiry focused upon protist taxa. Also in this review, the effects of Beclin-1 on tumor suppression and cancer malignancy are discussed. Beclin-1 holds significant promise for the development of novel targeted cancer therapeutics and is anticipated to lead to a many advances in our understanding of eukaryotic evolution, multicellularity, and even the treatment of CSCs in the coming decades.

RevDate: 2018-03-09
CmpDate: 2018-03-09

Boyd M, Rosenzweig F, MD Herron (2018)

Analysis of motility in multicellular Chlamydomonas reinhardtii evolved under predation.

PloS one, 13(1):e0192184 pii:PONE-D-17-38313.

The advent of multicellularity was a watershed event in the history of life, yet the transition from unicellularity to multicellularity is not well understood. Multicellularity opens up opportunities for innovations in intercellular communication, cooperation, and specialization, which can provide selective advantages under certain ecological conditions. The unicellular alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii has never had a multicellular ancestor yet it is closely related to the volvocine algae, a clade containing taxa that range from simple unicells to large, specialized multicellular colonies. Simple multicellular structures have been observed to evolve in C. reinhardtii in response to predation or to settling rate-based selection. Structures formed in response to predation consist of individual cells confined within a shared transparent extracellular matrix. Evolved isolates form such structures obligately under culture conditions in which their wild type ancestors do not, indicating that newly-evolved multicellularity is heritable. C. reinhardtii is capable of photosynthesis, and possesses an eyespot and two flagella with which it moves towards or away from light in order to optimize input of radiant energy. Motility contributes to C. reinhardtii fitness because it allows cells or colonies to achieve this optimum. Utilizing phototaxis to assay motility, we determined that newly evolved multicellular strains do not exhibit significant directional movement, even though the flagellae of their constituent unicells are present and active. In C. reinhardtii the first steps towards multicellularity in response to predation appear to result in a trade-off between motility and differential survivorship, a trade-off that must be overcome by further genetic change to ensure long-term success of the new multicellular organism.

RevDate: 2018-07-10

Baig AM, Zohaib R, Tariq S, et al (2018)

Evolution of pH buffers and water homeostasis in eukaryotes: homology between humans and Acanthamoeba proteins.

Future microbiology, 13:195-207.

AIM: This study intended to trace the evolution of acid-base buffers and water homeostasis in eukaryotes. Acanthamoeba castellanii was selected as a model unicellular eukaryote for this purpose. Homologies of proteins involved in pH and water regulatory mechanisms at cellular levels were compared between humans and A. castellanii.

MATERIALS & METHODS: Amino acid sequence homology, structural homology, 3D modeling and docking prediction were done to show the extent of similarities between carbonic anhydrase 1 (CA1), aquaporin (AQP), band-3 protein and H+ pump. Experimental assays were done with acetazolamide (AZM), brinzolamide and mannitol to observe their effects on the trophozoites of A. castellanii.

RESULTS: The human CA1, AQP, band-3 protein and H+-transport proteins revealed similar proteins in Acanthamoeba. Docking showed the binding of AZM on amoebal AQP-like proteins. Acanthamoeba showed transient shape changes and encystation at differential doses of brinzolamide, mannitol and AZM. Conclusion: Water and pH regulating adapter proteins in Acanthamoeba and humans show significant homology, these mechanisms evolved early in the primitive unicellular eukaryotes and have remained conserved in multicellular eukaryotes.

RevDate: 2018-06-14
CmpDate: 2018-06-14

Smakowska-Luzan E, Mott GA, Parys K, et al (2018)

An extracellular network of Arabidopsis leucine-rich repeat receptor kinases.

Nature, 553(7688):342-346.

The cells of multicellular organisms receive extracellular signals using surface receptors. The extracellular domains (ECDs) of cell surface receptors function as interaction platforms, and as regulatory modules of receptor activation. Understanding how interactions between ECDs produce signal-competent receptor complexes is challenging because of their low biochemical tractability. In plants, the discovery of ECD interactions is complicated by the massive expansion of receptor families, which creates tremendous potential for changeover in receptor interactions. The largest of these families in Arabidopsis thaliana consists of 225 evolutionarily related leucine-rich repeat receptor kinases (LRR-RKs), which function in the sensing of microorganisms, cell expansion, stomata development and stem-cell maintenance. Although the principles that govern LRR-RK signalling activation are emerging, the systems-level organization of this family of proteins is unknown. Here, to address this, we investigated 40,000 potential ECD interactions using a sensitized high-throughput interaction assay, and produced an LRR-based cell surface interaction network (CSILRR) that consists of 567 interactions. To demonstrate the power of CSILRR for detecting biologically relevant interactions, we predicted and validated the functions of uncharacterized LRR-RKs in plant growth and immunity. In addition, we show that CSILRR operates as a unified regulatory network in which the LRR-RKs most crucial for its overall structure are required to prevent the aberrant signalling of receptors that are several network-steps away. Thus, plants have evolved LRR-RK networks to process extracellular signals into carefully balanced responses.

RevDate: 2018-07-05
CmpDate: 2018-07-05

Strader ME, Aglyamova GV, MV Matz (2018)

Molecular characterization of larval development from fertilization to metamorphosis in a reef-building coral.

BMC genomics, 19(1):17 pii:10.1186/s12864-017-4392-0.

BACKGROUND: Molecular mechanisms underlying coral larval competence, the ability of larvae to respond to settlement cues, determine their dispersal potential and are potential targets of natural selection. Here, we profiled competence, fluorescence and genome-wide gene expression in embryos and larvae of the reef-building coral Acropora millepora daily throughout 12 days post-fertilization.

RESULTS: Gene expression associated with competence was positively correlated with transcriptomic response to the natural settlement cue, confirming that mature coral larvae are "primed" for settlement. Rise of competence through development was accompanied by up-regulation of sensory and signal transduction genes such as ion channels, genes involved in neuropeptide signaling, and G-protein coupled receptor (GPCRs). A drug screen targeting components of GPCR signaling pathways confirmed a role in larval settlement behavior and metamorphosis.

CONCLUSIONS: These results gives insight into the molecular complexity underlying these transitions and reveals receptors and pathways that, if altered by changing environments, could affect dispersal capabilities of reef-building corals. In addition, this dataset provides a toolkit for asking broad questions about sensory capacity in multicellular animals and the evolution of development.

RevDate: 2017-12-28
CmpDate: 2017-12-28

Kundu P, Blacher E, Elinav E, et al (2017)

Our Gut Microbiome: The Evolving Inner Self.

Cell, 171(7):1481-1493.

The "holobiont" concept, defined as the collective contribution of the eukaryotic and prokaryotic counterparts to the multicellular organism, introduces a complex definition of individuality enabling a new comprehensive view of human evolution and personalized characteristics. Here, we provide snapshots of the evolving microbial-host associations and relations during distinct milestones across the lifespan of a human being. We discuss the current knowledge of biological symbiosis between the microbiome and its host and portray the challenges in understanding these interactions and their potential effects on human physiology, including microbiome-nervous system inter-relationship and its relevance to human variation and individuality.

RevDate: 2018-03-29
CmpDate: 2018-03-19

Arakaki Y, Fujiwara T, Kawai-Toyooka H, et al (2017)

Evolution of cytokinesis-related protein localization during the emergence of multicellularity in volvocine green algae.

BMC evolutionary biology, 17(1):243 pii:10.1186/s12862-017-1091-z.

BACKGROUND: The volvocine lineage, containing unicellular Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and differentiated multicellular Volvox carteri, is a powerful model for comparative studies aiming at understanding emergence of multicellularity. Tetrabaena socialis is the simplest multicellular volvocine alga and belongs to the family Tetrabaenaceae that is sister to more complex multicellular volvocine families, Goniaceae and Volvocaceae. Thus, T. socialis is a key species to elucidate the initial steps in the evolution of multicellularity. In the asexual life cycle of C. reinhardtii and multicellular volvocine species, reproductive cells form daughter cells/colonies by multiple fission. In embryogenesis of the multicellular species, daughter protoplasts are connected to one another by cytoplasmic bridges formed by incomplete cytokinesis during multiple fission. These bridges are important for arranging the daughter protoplasts in appropriate positions such that species-specific integrated multicellular individuals are shaped. Detailed comparative studies of cytokinesis between unicellular and simple multicellular volvocine species will help to elucidate the emergence of multicellularity from the unicellular ancestor. However, the cytokinesis-related genes between closely related unicellular and multicellular species have not been subjected to a comparative analysis.

RESULTS: Here we focused on dynamin-related protein 1 (DRP1), which is known for its role in cytokinesis in land plants. Immunofluorescence microscopy using an antibody against T. socialis DRP1 revealed that volvocine DRP1 was localized to division planes during cytokinesis in unicellular C. reinhardtii and two simple multicellular volvocine species T. socialis and Gonium pectorale. DRP1 signals were mainly observed in the newly formed division planes of unicellular C. reinhardtii during multiple fission, whereas in multicellular T. socialis and G. pectorale, DRP1 signals were observed in all division planes during embryogenesis.

CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that the molecular mechanisms of cytokinesis may be different in unicellular and multicellular volvocine algae. The localization of DRP1 during multiple fission might have been modified in the common ancestor of multicellular volvocine algae. This modification may have been essential for the re-orientation of cells and shaping colonies during the emergence of multicellularity in this lineage.

RevDate: 2018-07-17
CmpDate: 2018-07-17

Sanfilippo P, Wen J, EC Lai (2017)

Landscape and evolution of tissue-specific alternative polyadenylation across Drosophila species.

Genome biology, 18(1):229 pii:10.1186/s13059-017-1358-0.

BACKGROUND: Drosophila melanogaster has one of best-described transcriptomes of any multicellular organism. Nevertheless, the paucity of 3'-sequencing data in this species precludes comprehensive assessment of alternative polyadenylation (APA), which is subject to broad tissue-specific control.

RESULTS: Here, we generate deep 3'-sequencing data from 23 developmental stages, tissues, and cell lines of D. melanogaster, yielding a comprehensive atlas of ~ 62,000 polyadenylated ends. These data broadly extend the annotated transcriptome, identify ~ 40,000 novel 3' termini, and reveal that two-thirds of Drosophila genes are subject to APA. Furthermore, we dramatically expand the numbers of genes known to be subject to tissue-specific APA, such as 3' untranslated region (UTR) lengthening in head and 3' UTR shortening in testis, and characterize new tissue and developmental 3' UTR patterns. Our thorough 3' UTR annotations permit reassessment of post-transcriptional regulatory networks, via conserved miRNA and RNA binding protein sites. To evaluate the evolutionary conservation and divergence of APA patterns, we generate developmental and tissue-specific 3'-seq libraries from Drosophila yakuba and Drosophila virilis. We document broadly analogous tissue-specific APA trends in these species, but also observe significant alterations in 3' end usage across orthologs. We exploit the population of functionally evolving poly(A) sites to gain clear evidence that evolutionary divergence in core polyadenylation signal (PAS) and downstream sequence element (DSE) motifs drive broad alterations in 3' UTR isoform expression across the Drosophila phylogeny.

CONCLUSIONS: These data provide a critical resource for the Drosophila community and offer many insights into the complex control of alternative tissue-specific 3' UTR formation and its consequences for post-transcriptional regulatory networks.

RevDate: 2018-06-18
CmpDate: 2018-06-18

Klein B, Wibberg D, A Hallmann (2017)

Whole transcriptome RNA-Seq analysis reveals extensive cell type-specific compartmentalization in Volvox carteri.

BMC biology, 15(1):111 pii:10.1186/s12915-017-0450-y.

BACKGROUND: One of evolution's most important achievements is the development and radiation of multicellular organisms with different types of cells. Complex multicellularity has evolved several times in eukaryotes; yet, in most lineages, an investigation of its molecular background is considerably challenging since the transition occurred too far in the past and, in addition, these lineages evolved a large number of cell types. However, for volvocine green algae, such as Volvox carteri, multicellularity is a relatively recent innovation. Furthermore, V. carteri shows a complete division of labor between only two cell types - small, flagellated somatic cells and large, immotile reproductive cells. Thus, V. carteri provides a unique opportunity to study multicellularity and cellular differentiation at the molecular level.

RESULTS: This study provides a whole transcriptome RNA-Seq analysis of separated cell types of the multicellular green alga V. carteri f. nagariensis to reveal cell type-specific components and functions. To this end, 246 million quality filtered reads were mapped to the genome and valid expression data were obtained for 93% of the 14,247 gene loci. In the subsequent search for protein domains with assigned molecular function, we identified 9435 previously classified domains in 44% of all gene loci. Furthermore, in 43% of all gene loci we identified 15,254 domains that are involved in biological processes. All identified domains were investigated regarding cell type-specific expression. Moreover, we provide further insight into the expression pattern of previously described gene families (e.g., pherophorin, extracellular matrix metalloprotease, and VARL families). Our results demonstrate an extensive compartmentalization of the transcriptome between cell types: More than half of all genes show a clear difference in expression between somatic and reproductive cells.

CONCLUSIONS: This study constitutes the first transcriptome-wide RNA-Seq analysis of separated cell types of V. carteri focusing on gene expression. The high degree of differential expression indicates a strong differentiation of cell types despite the fact that V. carteri diverged relatively recently from its unicellular relatives. Our expression dataset and the bioinformatic analyses provide the opportunity to further investigate and understand the mechanisms of cell type-specific expression and its transcriptional regulation.

RevDate: 2017-12-19
CmpDate: 2017-12-19

Pichugin Y, Peña J, Rainey PB, et al (2017)

Fragmentation modes and the evolution of life cycles.

PLoS computational biology, 13(11):e1005860 pii:PCOMPBIOL-D-17-00753.

Reproduction is a defining feature of living systems. To reproduce, aggregates of biological units (e.g., multicellular organisms or colonial bacteria) must fragment into smaller parts. Fragmentation modes in nature range from binary fission in bacteria to collective-level fragmentation and the production of unicellular propagules in multicellular organisms. Despite this apparent ubiquity, the adaptive significance of fragmentation modes has received little attention. Here, we develop a model in which groups arise from the division of single cells that do not separate but stay together until the moment of group fragmentation. We allow for all possible fragmentation patterns and calculate the population growth rate of each associated life cycle. Fragmentation modes that maximise growth rate comprise a restrictive set of patterns that include production of unicellular propagules and division into two similar size groups. Life cycles marked by single-cell bottlenecks maximise population growth rate under a wide range of conditions. This surprising result offers a new evolutionary explanation for the widespread occurrence of this mode of reproduction. All in all, our model provides a framework for exploring the adaptive significance of fragmentation modes and their associated life cycles.

RevDate: 2018-06-15
CmpDate: 2017-12-26

Bozler J, Kacsoh BZ, G Bosco (2017)

Nematocytes: Discovery and characterization of a novel anculeate hemocyte in Drosophila falleni and Drosophila phalerata.

PloS one, 12(11):e0188133 pii:PONE-D-17-27687.

Immune challenges, such as parasitism, can be so pervasive and deleterious that they constitute an existential threat to a species' survival. In response to these ecological pressures, organisms have developed a wide array of novel behavioral, cellular, and molecular adaptations. Research into these immune defenses in model systems has resulted in a revolutionary understanding of evolution and functional biology. As the field has expanded beyond the limited number of model organisms our appreciation of evolutionary innovation and unique biology has widened as well. With this in mind, we have surveyed the hemolymph of several non-model species of Drosophila. Here we identify and describe a novel hemocyte, type-II nematocytes, found in larval stages of numerous Drosophila species. Examined in detail in Drosophila falleni and Drosophila phalerata, we find that these remarkable cells are distinct from previously described hemocytes due to their anucleate state (lacking a nucleus) and unusual morphology. Type-II nematocytes are long, narrow cells with spindle-like projections extending from a cell body with high densities of mitochondria and microtubules, and exhibit the ability to synthesize proteins. These properties are unexpected for enucleated cells, and together with our additional characterization, we demonstrate that these type-II nematocytes represent a biological novelty. Surprisingly, despite the absence of a nucleus, we observe through live cell imaging that these cells remain motile with a highly dynamic cellular shape. Furthermore, these cells demonstrate the ability to form multicellular structures, which we suggest may be a component of the innate immune response to macro-parasites. In addition, live cell imaging points to a large nucleated hemocyte, type-I nematocyte, as the progenitor cell, leading to enucleation through a budding or asymmetrical division process rather than nuclear ejection: This study is the first to report such a process of enucleation. Here we describe these cells in detail for the first time and examine their evolutionary history in Drosophila.

RevDate: 2017-12-19

Kempes CP, Wolpert D, Cohen Z, et al (2017)

The thermodynamic efficiency of computations made in cells across the range of life.

Philosophical transactions. Series A, Mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences, 375(2109):.

Biological organisms must perform computation as they grow, reproduce and evolve. Moreover, ever since Landauer's bound was proposed, it has been known that all computation has some thermodynamic cost-and that the same computation can be achieved with greater or smaller thermodynamic cost depending on how it is implemented. Accordingly an important issue concerning the evolution of life is assessing the thermodynamic efficiency of the computations performed by organisms. This issue is interesting both from the perspective of how close life has come to maximally efficient computation (presumably under the pressure of natural selection), and from the practical perspective of what efficiencies we might hope that engineered biological computers might achieve, especially in comparison with current computational systems. Here we show that the computational efficiency of translation, defined as free energy expended per amino acid operation, outperforms the best supercomputers by several orders of magnitude, and is only about an order of magnitude worse than the Landauer bound. However, this efficiency depends strongly on the size and architecture of the cell in question. In particular, we show that the useful efficiency of an amino acid operation, defined as the bulk energy per amino acid polymerization, decreases for increasing bacterial size and converges to the polymerization cost of the ribosome. This cost of the largest bacteria does not change in cells as we progress through the major evolutionary shifts to both single- and multicellular eukaryotes. However, the rates of total computation per unit mass are non-monotonic in bacteria with increasing cell size, and also change across different biological architectures, including the shift from unicellular to multicellular eukaryotes.This article is part of the themed issue 'Reconceptualizing the origins of life'.

RevDate: 2018-05-22
CmpDate: 2018-05-22

Pogozheva ID, AL Lomize (2018)

Evolution and adaptation of single-pass transmembrane proteins.

Biochimica et biophysica acta, 1860(2):364-377.

A comparative analysis of 6039 single-pass (bitopic) membrane proteins from six evolutionarily distant organisms was performed based on data from the Membranome database. The observed repertoire of bitopic proteins is significantly enlarged in eukaryotic cells and especially in multicellular organisms due to the diversification of enzymes, emergence of proteins involved in vesicular trafficking, and expansion of receptors, structural, and adhesion proteins. The majority of bitopic proteins in multicellular organisms are located in the plasma membrane (PM) and involved in cell communication. Bitopic proteins from different membranes significantly diverge in terms of their biological functions, size, topology, domain architecture, physical properties of transmembrane (TM) helices and propensity to form homodimers. Most proteins from eukaryotic PM and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) have the N-out topology. The predicted lengths of TM helices and hydrophobic thicknesses, stabilities and hydrophobicities of TM α-helices are the highest for proteins from eukaryotic PM, intermediate for proteins from prokaryotic cells, ER and Golgi apparatus, and lowest for proteins from mitochondria, chloroplasts, and peroxisomes. Tyr and Phe residues accumulate at the cytoplasmic leaflet of PM and at the outer leaflet of membranes of bacteria, Golgi apparatus, and nucleus. The propensity for dimerization increases from unicellular to multicellular eukaryotes, from enzymes to receptors, and from intracellular membrane proteins to PM proteins. More than half of PM proteins form homodimers with a 2:1 ratio of right-handed to left-handed helix packing arrangements. The inverse ratio (1:2) was observed for dimers from the ER, Golgi and vesicles.

RevDate: 2018-05-04
CmpDate: 2018-01-15

Polychronopoulos D, King JWD, Nash AJ, et al (2017)

Conserved non-coding elements: developmental gene regulation meets genome organization.

Nucleic acids research, 45(22):12611-12624.

Comparative genomics has revealed a class of non-protein-coding genomic sequences that display an extraordinary degree of conservation between two or more organisms, regularly exceeding that found within protein-coding exons. These elements, collectively referred to as conserved non-coding elements (CNEs), are non-randomly distributed across chromosomes and tend to cluster in the vicinity of genes with regulatory roles in multicellular development and differentiation. CNEs are organized into functional ensembles called genomic regulatory blocks-dense clusters of elements that collectively coordinate the expression of shared target genes, and whose span in many cases coincides with topologically associated domains. CNEs display sequence properties that set them apart from other sequences under constraint, and have recently been proposed as useful markers for the reconstruction of the evolutionary history of organisms. Disruption of several of these elements is known to contribute to diseases linked with development, and cancer. The emergence, evolutionary dynamics and functions of CNEs still remain poorly understood, and new approaches are required to enable comprehensive CNE identification and characterization. Here, we review current knowledge and identify challenges that need to be tackled to resolve the impasse in understanding extreme non-coding conservation.

RevDate: 2018-05-31
CmpDate: 2018-05-31

Berger D, Stångberg J, Grieshop K, et al (2017)

Temperature effects on life-history trade-offs, germline maintenance and mutation rate under simulated climate warming.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 284(1866):.

Mutation has a fundamental influence over evolutionary processes, but how evolutionary processes shape mutation rate remains less clear. In asexual unicellular organism, increased mutation rates have been observed in stressful environments and the reigning paradigm ascribes this increase to selection for evolvability. However, this explanation does not apply in sexually reproducing species, where little is known about how the environment affects mutation rate. Here we challenged experimental lines of seed beetle, evolved at ancestral temperature or under simulated climate warming, to repair induced mutations at ancestral and stressful temperature. Results show that temperature stress causes individuals to pass on a greater mutation load to their grand-offspring. This suggests that stress-induced mutation rates, in unicellular and multicellular organisms alike, can result from compromised germline DNA repair in low condition individuals. Moreover, lines adapted to simulated climate warming had evolved increased longevity at the cost of reproduction, and this allocation decision improved germline repair. These results suggest that mutation rates can be modulated by resource allocation trade-offs encompassing life-history traits and the germline and have important implications for rates of adaptation and extinction as well as our understanding of genetic diversity in multicellular organisms.

RevDate: 2018-05-31
CmpDate: 2018-05-31

Stapley J, Feulner PGD, Johnston SE, et al (2017)

Variation in recombination frequency and distribution across eukaryotes: patterns and processes.

Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 372(1736):.

Recombination, the exchange of DNA between maternal and paternal chromosomes during meiosis, is an essential feature of sexual reproduction in nearly all multicellular organisms. While the role of recombination in the evolution of sex has received theoretical and empirical attention, less is known about how recombination rate itself evolves and what influence this has on evolutionary processes within sexually reproducing organisms. Here, we explore the patterns of, and processes governing recombination in eukaryotes. We summarize patterns of variation, integrating current knowledge with an analysis of linkage map data in 353 organisms. We then discuss proximate and ultimate processes governing recombination rate variation and consider how these influence evolutionary processes. Genome-wide recombination rates (cM/Mb) can vary more than tenfold across eukaryotes, and there is large variation in the distribution of recombination events across closely related taxa, populations and individuals. We discuss how variation in rate and distribution relates to genome architecture, genetic and epigenetic mechanisms, sex, environmental perturbations and variable selective pressures. There has been great progress in determining the molecular mechanisms governing recombination, and with the continued development of new modelling and empirical approaches, there is now also great opportunity to further our understanding of how and why recombination rate varies.This article is part of the themed issue 'Evolutionary causes and consequences of recombination rate variation in sexual organisms'.

RevDate: 2018-01-30
CmpDate: 2017-12-29

Björnfot Holmström S, Clark R, Zwicker S, et al (2017)

Gingival Tissue Inflammation Promotes Increased Matrix Metalloproteinase-12 Production by CD200Rlow Monocyte-Derived Cells in Periodontitis.

Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950), 199(12):4023-4035.

Irreversible tissue recession in chronic inflammatory diseases is associated with dysregulated immune activation and production of tissue degradative enzymes. In this study, we identified elevated levels of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-12 in gingival tissue of patients with the chronic inflammatory disease periodontitis (PD). The source of MMP12 was cells of monocyte origin as determined by the expression of CD14, CD68, and CD64. These MMP12-producing cells showed reduced surface levels of the coinhibitory molecule CD200R. Similarly, establishing a multicellular three-dimensional model of human oral mucosa with induced inflammation promoted MMP12 production and reduced CD200R surface expression by monocyte-derived cells. MMP12 production by monocyte-derived cells was induced by CSF2 rather than the cyclooxygenase-2 pathway, and treatment of monocyte-derived cells with a CD200R ligand reduced CSF2-induced MMP12 production. Further, MMP12-mediated degradation of the extracellular matrix proteins tropoelastin and fibronectin in the tissue model coincided with a loss of Ki-67, a protein strictly associated with cell proliferation. Reduced amounts of tropoelastin were confirmed in gingival tissue from PD patients. Thus, this novel association of the CD200/CD200R pathway with MMP12 production by monocyte-derived cells may play a key role in PD progression and will be important to take into consideration in the development of future strategies to diagnose, treat, and prevent PD.

RevDate: 2018-07-16
CmpDate: 2018-07-16

Strasser A, DL Vaux (2018)

Viewing BCL2 and cell death control from an evolutionary perspective.

Cell death and differentiation, 25(1):13-20.

The last 30 years of studying BCL2 have brought cell death research into the molecular era, and revealed its relevance to human pathophysiology. Most, if not all metazoans use an evolutionarily conserved process for cellular self destruction that is controlled and implemented by proteins related to BCL2. We propose the anti-apoptotic BCL2-like and pro-apoptotic BH3-only members of the family arose through duplication and modification of genes for the pro-apoptotic multi-BH domain family members, such as BAX and BAK1. In that way, a cell suicide process that initially evolved as a mechanism for defense against intracellular parasites was then also used in multicellular organisms for morphogenesis and to maintain the correct number of cells in adults by balancing cell production by mitosis.

RevDate: 2018-06-18
CmpDate: 2018-06-18

Sipos G, Prasanna AN, Walter MC, et al (2017)

Genome expansion and lineage-specific genetic innovations in the forest pathogenic fungi Armillaria.

Nature ecology & evolution, 1(12):1931-1941.

Armillaria species are both devastating forest pathogens and some of the largest terrestrial organisms on Earth. They forage for hosts and achieve immense colony sizes via rhizomorphs, root-like multicellular structures of clonal dispersal. Here, we sequenced and analysed the genomes of four Armillaria species and performed RNA sequencing and quantitative proteomic analysis on the invasive and reproductive developmental stages of A. ostoyae. Comparison with 22 related fungi revealed a significant genome expansion in Armillaria, affecting several pathogenicity-related genes, lignocellulose-degrading enzymes and lineage-specific genes expressed during rhizomorph development. Rhizomorphs express an evolutionarily young transcriptome that shares features with the transcriptomes of both fruiting bodies and vegetative mycelia. Several genes show concomitant upregulation in rhizomorphs and fruiting bodies and share cis-regulatory signatures in their promoters, providing genetic and regulatory insights into complex multicellularity in fungi. Our results suggest that the evolution of the unique dispersal and pathogenicity mechanisms of Armillaria might have drawn upon ancestral genetic toolkits for wood-decay, morphogenesis and complex multicellularity.

RevDate: 2018-06-13
CmpDate: 2018-06-13

de Wiljes OO, van Elburg RAJ, FA Keijzer (2017)

Modelling the effects of short and random proto-neural elongations.

Journal of the Royal Society, Interface, 14(135):.

To understand how neurons and nervous systems first evolved, we need an account of the origins of neural elongations: why did neural elongations (axons and dendrites) first originate, such that they could become the central component of both neurons and nervous systems? Two contrasting conceptual accounts provide different answers to this question. Braitenberg's vehicles provide the iconic illustration of the dominant input-output (IO) view. Here, the basic role of neural elongations is to connect sensors to effectors, both situated at different positions within the body. For this function, neural elongations are thought of as comparatively long and specific connections, which require an articulated body involving substantial developmental processes to build. Internal coordination (IC) models stress a different function for early nervous systems. Here, the coordination of activity across extended parts of a multicellular body is held central, in particular, for the contractions of (muscle) tissue. An IC perspective allows the hypothesis that the earliest proto-neural elongations could have been functional even when they were initially simple, short and random connections, as long as they enhanced the patterning of contractile activity across a multicellular surface. The present computational study provides a proof of concept that such short and random neural elongations can play this role. While an excitable epithelium can generate basic forms of patterning for small body configurations, adding elongations allows such patterning to scale up to larger bodies. This result supports a new, more gradual evolutionary route towards the origins of the very first neurons and nervous systems.

RevDate: 2018-05-14
CmpDate: 2018-05-14

Aktipis A, CC Maley (2017)

Cooperation and cheating as innovation: insights from cellular societies.

Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 372(1735):.

The capacity to innovate is often considered a defining feature of human societies, but it is not a capacity that is unique to human societies: innovation occurs in cellular societies as well. Cellular societies such as multicellular bodies and microbial communities, including the human microbiome, are capable of innovation in response to novel opportunities and threats. Multicellularity represents a suite of innovations for cellular cooperation, but multicellularity also opened up novel opportunities for cells to cheat, exploiting the infrastructure and resources of the body. Multicellular bodies evolve less quickly than the cells within them, leaving them vulnerable to cellular innovations that can lead to cancer and infections. In order to counter these threats, multicellular bodies deploy additional innovations including the adaptive immune system and the development of partnerships with preferred microbial partners. What can we learn from examining these innovations in cooperation and cheating in cellular societies? First, innovation in social systems involves a constant tension between novel mechanisms that enable greater size and complexity of cooperative entities and novel ways of cheating. Second, cultivating cooperation with partners who can rapidly and effectively innovate (such as microbes) is important for large entities including multicellular bodies. And third, multicellularity enabled cells to manage risk socially, allowing organisms to survive in challenging environments where life would otherwise be impossible. Throughout, we ask how insights from cellular societies might be translated into new innovations in human health and medicine, promoting and protecting the cellular cooperation that makes us viable multicellular organisms.This article is part of the themed issue 'Process and pattern in innovations from cells to societies'.

RevDate: 2018-05-14
CmpDate: 2018-05-14

Ratcliff WC, Herron M, Conlin PL, et al (2017)

Nascent life cycles and the emergence of higher-level individuality.

Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 372(1735):.

Evolutionary transitions in individuality (ETIs) occur when formerly autonomous organisms evolve to become parts of a new, 'higher-level' organism. One of the first major hurdles that must be overcome during an ETI is the emergence of Darwinian evolvability in the higher-level entity (e.g. a multicellular group), and the loss of Darwinian autonomy in the lower-level units (e.g. individual cells). Here, we examine how simple higher-level life cycles are a key innovation during an ETI, allowing this transfer of fitness to occur 'for free'. Specifically, we show how novel life cycles can arise and lead to the origin of higher-level individuals by (i) mitigating conflicts between levels of selection, (ii) engendering the expression of heritable higher-level traits and (iii) allowing selection to efficiently act on these emergent higher-level traits. Further, we compute how canonical early life cycles vary in their ability to fix beneficial mutations via mathematical modelling. Life cycles that lack a persistent lower-level stage and develop clonally are far more likely to fix 'ratcheting' mutations that limit evolutionary reversion to the pre-ETI state. By stabilizing the fragile first steps of an evolutionary transition in individuality, nascent higher-level life cycles may play a crucial role in the origin of complex life.This article is part of the themed issue 'Process and pattern in innovations from cells to societies'.

RevDate: 2018-06-04
CmpDate: 2018-06-04

Fortier LC (2017)

The Contribution of Bacteriophages to the Biology and Virulence of Pathogenic Clostridia.

Advances in applied microbiology, 101:169-200.

Bacteriophages are key players in the evolution of most bacteria. Temperate phages have been associated with virulence of some of the deadliest pathogenic bacteria. Among the most notorious cases, the genes encoding the botulinum neurotoxin produced by Clostridium botulinum types C and D and the α-toxin (TcnA) produced by Clostridium novyi are both encoded within prophage genomes. Clostridium difficile is another important human pathogen and the recent identification of a complete binary toxin locus (CdtLoc) carried on a C. difficile prophage raises the potential for horizontal transfer of toxin genes by mobile genetic elements. Although the TcdA and TcdB toxins produced by C. difficile have never been found outside the pathogenicity locus (PaLoc), some prophages can still influence their production. Prophages can alter the expression of several metabolic and regulatory genes in C. difficile, as well as cell surface proteins such as CwpV, which confers phage resistance. Homologs of an Agr-like quorum sensing system have been identified in a C. difficile prophage, suggesting that it could possibly participate in cell-cell communication. Yet, other C. difficile prophages contain riboswitches predicted to recognize the secondary messenger molecule c-di-GMP involved in bacterial multicellular behaviors. Altogether, recent findings on clostridial phages underline the diversity of mechanisms and intricate relationship linking phages with their host. Here, milestone discoveries linking phages and virulence of some of the most pathogenic clostridial species will be retraced, with a focus on C. botulinum, C. novyi, C. difficile, and Clostridium perfringens phages, for which evidences are mostly available.

RevDate: 2018-05-31
CmpDate: 2018-05-31

Luebeck EG, Curtius K, Hazelton WD, et al (2017)

Identification of a key role of widespread epigenetic drift in Barrett's esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma.

Clinical epigenetics, 9:113 pii:409.

BACKGROUND: Recent studies have identified age-related changes in DNA methylation patterns in normal and cancer tissues in a process that is called epigenetic drift. However, the evolving patterns, functional consequences, and dynamics of epigenetic drift during carcinogenesis remain largely unexplored. Here we analyze the evolution of epigenetic drift patterns during progression from normal squamous esophagus tissue to Barrett's esophagus (BE) to esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) using 173 tissue samples from 100 (nonfamilial) BE patients, along with publically available datasets including The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA).

RESULTS: Our analysis reveals extensive methylomic drift between normal squamous esophagus and BE tissues in nonprogressed BE patients, with differential drift affecting 4024 (24%) of 16,984 normally hypomethylated cytosine-guanine dinucleotides (CpGs) occurring in CpG islands. The majority (63%) of islands that include drift CpGs are associated with gene promoter regions. Island CpGs that drift have stronger pairwise correlations than static islands, reflecting collective drift consistent with processive DNA methylation maintenance. Individual BE tissues are extremely heterogeneous in their distribution of methylomic drift and encompass unimodal low-drift to bimodal high-drift patterns, reflective of differences in BE tissue age. Further analysis of longitudinally collected biopsy samples from 20 BE patients confirm the time-dependent evolution of these drift patterns. Drift patterns in EAC are similar to those in BE, but frequently exhibit enhanced bimodality and advanced mode drift. To better understand the observed drift patterns, we developed a multicellular stochastic model at the CpG island level. Importantly, we find that nonlinear feedback in the model between mean island methylation and CpG methylation rates is able to explain the widely heterogeneous collective drift patterns. Using matched gene expression and DNA methylation data in EAC from TCGA and other publically available data, we also find that advanced methylomic drift is correlated with significant transcriptional repression of ~ 200 genes in important regulatory and developmental pathways, including several checkpoint and tumor suppressor-like genes.

CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, our findings suggest that epigenetic drift evolution acts to significantly reduce the expression of developmental genes that may alter tissue characteristics and improve functional adaptation during BE to EAC progression.

RevDate: 2018-05-29
CmpDate: 2018-05-29

Jackson MDB, Duran-Nebreda S, GW Bassel (2017)

Network-based approaches to quantify multicellular development.

Journal of the Royal Society, Interface, 14(135):.

Multicellularity and cellular cooperation confer novel functions on organs following a structure-function relationship. How regulated cell migration, division and differentiation events generate cellular arrangements has been investigated, providing insight into the regulation of genetically encoded patterning processes. Much less is known about the higher-order properties of cellular organization within organs, and how their functional coordination through global spatial relations shape and constrain organ function. Key questions to be addressed include: why are cells organized in the way they are? What is the significance of the patterns of cellular organization selected for by evolution? What other configurations are possible? These may be addressed through a combination of global cellular interaction mapping and network science to uncover the relationship between organ structure and function. Using this approach, global cellular organization can be discretized and analysed, providing a quantitative framework to explore developmental processes. Each of the local and global properties of integrated multicellular systems can be analysed and compared across different tissues and models in discrete terms. Advances in high-resolution microscopy and image analysis continue to make cellular interaction mapping possible in an increasing variety of biological systems and tissues, broadening the further potential application of this approach. Understanding the higher-order properties of complex cellular assemblies provides the opportunity to explore the evolution and constraints of cell organization, establishing structure-function relationships that can guide future organ design.

RevDate: 2017-10-26
CmpDate: 2017-10-23

Bowman JL, Kohchi T, Yamato KT, et al (2017)

Insights into Land Plant Evolution Garnered from the Marchantia polymorpha Genome.

Cell, 171(2):287-304.e15.

The evolution of land flora transformed the terrestrial environment. Land plants evolved from an ancestral charophycean alga from which they inherited developmental, biochemical, and cell biological attributes. Additional biochemical and physiological adaptations to land, and a life cycle with an alternation between multicellular haploid and diploid generations that facilitated efficient dispersal of desiccation tolerant spores, evolved in the ancestral land plant. We analyzed the genome of the liverwort Marchantia polymorpha, a member of a basal land plant lineage. Relative to charophycean algae, land plant genomes are characterized by genes encoding novel biochemical pathways, new phytohormone signaling pathways (notably auxin), expanded repertoires of signaling pathways, and increased diversity in some transcription factor families. Compared with other sequenced land plants, M. polymorpha exhibits low genetic redundancy in most regulatory pathways, with this portion of its genome resembling that predicted for the ancestral land plant. PAPERCLIP.

RevDate: 2018-04-29
CmpDate: 2017-10-10

Hinshaw SM, Makrantoni V, Harrison SC, et al (2017)

The Kinetochore Receptor for the Cohesin Loading Complex.

Cell, 171(1):72-84.e13.

The ring-shaped cohesin complex brings together distant DNA domains to maintain, express, and segregate the genome. Establishing specific chromosomal linkages depends on cohesin recruitment to defined loci. One such locus is the budding yeast centromere, which is a paradigm for targeted cohesin loading. The kinetochore, a multiprotein complex that connects centromeres to microtubules, drives the recruitment of high levels of cohesin to link sister chromatids together. We have exploited this system to determine the mechanism of specific cohesin recruitment. We show that phosphorylation of the Ctf19 kinetochore protein by a conserved kinase, DDK, provides a binding site for the Scc2/4 cohesin loading complex, thereby directing cohesin loading to centromeres. A similar mechanism targets cohesin to chromosomes in vertebrates. These findings represent a complete molecular description of targeted cohesin loading, a phenomenon with wide-ranging importance in chromosome segregation and, in multicellular organisms, transcription regulation.

RevDate: 2018-02-13
CmpDate: 2018-02-13

Conigliaro A, Fontana S, Raimondo S, et al (2017)

Exosomes: Nanocarriers of Biological Messages.

Advances in experimental medicine and biology, 998:23-43.

Cell-cell communication is crucial to maintain homeostasis in multicellular organism. Cells communicate each other by direct contact or by releasing factors that, soluble or packaged in membrane vesicles, can reach different regions of the organism. To date numerous studies highlighted the existence of several types of extracellular vesicles that, differing for dimension, origin and contents, play a role in physiological and/or pathological processes. Among extracellular vesicles, exosomes are emerging as efficient players to modulate target cells phenotype and as new non-invasive diagnostic and prognostic tools in multiple diseases. They, in fact, strictly reflect the type and functional status of the producing cells and are able to deliver their contents even over a long distance. The results accumulated in the last two decades and collected in this chapter, indicated that exosomes, can carry RNAs, microRNAs, long non-coding RNAs, DNA, lipids, metabolites and proteins; a deeper understanding of their contents is therefore needed to get the most from this incredible cell product.

RevDate: 2018-01-01
CmpDate: 2018-01-01

Dennis JW (2017)

Genetic code asymmetry supports diversity through experimentation with posttranslational modifications.

Current opinion in chemical biology, 41:1-11.

Protein N-glycosylation has been identified in all three domains of life presumably conserved for its early role in glycoprotein folding. However, the N-glycans added to proteins in the secretory pathway of multicellular organisms are remodeling in the Golgi, increasing structural diversity exponentially and adding new layers of functionality in immunity, metabolism and other systems. The branching and elongation of N-glycan chains found on cell surface receptors generates a gradation of affinities for carbohydrate-binding proteins, the galectin, selectin and siglec families. These interactions adapt cellular responsiveness to environmental conditions, but their complexity presents a daunting challenge to drug design. To gain further insight, I review how N-glycans biosynthesis and biophysical properties provide a selective advantage in the form of tunable and ultrasensitive stimulus-response relationships. In addition, the N-glycosylation motif favors step-wise mutational experimentation with sites. Glycoproteins display accelerated evolution during vertebrate radiation, and the encoding asymmetry of NXS/T(X≠P) has left behind phylogenetic evidence suggesting that the genetic code may have been selected to optimize diversity in part through emerging posttranslational modifications.

RevDate: 2017-12-12
CmpDate: 2017-12-12

Peng L, Wang L, Yang YF, et al (2017)

Transcriptome profiling of the Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae) ovary reveals genes involved in oogenesis.

Gene, 637:90-99.

BACKGROUND: As a specialized organ, the insect ovary performs valuable functions by ensuring fecundity and population survival. Oogenesis is the complex physiological process resulting in the production of mature eggs, which are involved in epigenetic programming, germ cell behavior, cell cycle regulation, etc. Identification of the genes involved in ovary development and oogenesis is critical to better understand the reproductive biology and screening for the potential molecular targets in Plutella xylostella, a worldwide destructive pest of economically major crops.

RESULTS: Based on transcriptome sequencing, a total of 7.88Gb clean nucleotides was obtained, with 19,934 genes and 1861 new transcripts being identified. Expression profiling indicated that 61.7% of the genes were expressed (FPKM≥1) in the P. xylostella ovary. GO annotation showed that the pathways of multicellular organism reproduction and multicellular organism reproduction process, as well as gamete generation and chorion were significantly enriched. Processes that were most likely relevant to reproduction included the spliceosome, ubiquitin mediated proteolysis, endocytosis, PI3K-Akt signaling pathway, insulin signaling pathway, cAMP signaling pathway, and focal adhesion were identified in the top 20 'highly represented' KEGG pathways. Functional genes involved in oogenesis were further analyzed and validated by qRT-PCR to show their potential predominant roles in P. xylostella reproduction.

CONCLUSIONS: Our newly developed P. xylostella ovary transcriptome provides an overview of the gene expression profiling in this specialized tissue and the functional gene network closely related to the ovary development and oogenesis. This is the first genome-wide transcriptome dataset of P. xylostella ovary that includes a subset of functionally activated genes. This global approach will be the basis for further studies on molecular mechanisms of P. xylostella reproduction aimed at screening potential molecular targets for integrated pest management.

RevDate: 2018-01-30
CmpDate: 2018-01-19

Willy NM, Ferguson JP, Huber SD, et al (2017)

Membrane mechanics govern spatiotemporal heterogeneity of endocytic clathrin coat dynamics.

Molecular biology of the cell, 28(24):3480-3488.

Dynamics of endocytic clathrin-coated structures can be remarkably divergent across different cell types, cells within the same culture, or even distinct surfaces of the same cell. The origin of this astounding heterogeneity remains to be elucidated. Here we show that cellular processes associated with changes in effective plasma membrane tension induce significant spatiotemporal alterations in endocytic clathrin coat dynamics. Spatiotemporal heterogeneity of clathrin coat dynamics is also observed during morphological changes taking place within developing multicellular organisms. These findings suggest that tension gradients can lead to patterning and differentiation of tissues through mechanoregulation of clathrin-mediated endocytosis.

RevDate: 2018-06-25
CmpDate: 2018-06-25

He HH, Chi YM, Yuan K, et al (2017)

Functional characterization of a reactive oxygen species modulator 1 gene in Litopenaeus vannamei.

Fish & shellfish immunology, 70:270-279.

Reactive oxygen species (ROS) imparts a dual effect on multicellular organisms, wherein high levels are usually harmful, and low levels could facilitate in combating pathogenic microorganisms; therefore, the regulation of ROS production is critical. Previous studies have suggested that ROS contributes to resistance to the white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) or Vibrio alginolyticus in Litopenaeus vannamei. However, the regulation of ROS metabolism in L. vannamei remains elusive. In the present study, we proved that the overexpression of L. vannamei reactive oxygen species modulator 1 (LvROMO1) increases ROS production in Drosophila Schneider 2 (S2) cells. Real-time RT-PCR analysis indicated that LvROMO1 is induced by WSSV or V. alginolyticus infection and β-glucan or microcystin (MC-LR) injection. Further investigation showed that LvROMO1 responding to MC-LR, thereby inducing hemocytes to undergo apoptosis, and ultimately resulting in hepatopancreatic damage. And LvROMO1 downregulation induced an increase in the cumulative mortality of WSSV-infected shrimp by reducing ROS production and suppressing the expression of antimicrobial peptides genes. The findings of present study suggest that LvROMO1 plays an important role in ROS production in L. vannamei and is involved in innate immunity.

RevDate: 2018-07-03
CmpDate: 2018-06-27

Witting L (2017)

The natural selection of metabolism and mass selects allometric transitions from prokaryotes to mammals.

Theoretical population biology, 117:23-42.

The exponents of inter-specific allometries for several life history (metabolism, lifespan, reproductive rate, survival) and ecological (population density, home range) traits may evolve from the spatial dimensionality (d) of the intra-specific interactive competition that selects net assimilated energy into mass, with 1∕4 exponents being the two-dimensional (2D) case of the more general 1∕2d (Witting, 1995). While the exponents for mass-specific metabolism cluster around the predicted -1/4 and -1/6 in terrestrial and pelagic vertebrates, the allometries of mobile organisms are more diverse than the prediction. An exponent around zero has been reported for protists and protozoa (Makarieva et al., 2005, 2008), and the exponent appears to be strongly positive in prokaryotes with a value of about 5/6 (DeLong et al., 2010). I show that the natural selection of metabolism and mass is sufficient to explain exponents for mass-specific metabolism that decline from 5/6 over zero to -1∕6 in 3D, and from 3/4 over zero to -1∕4 in 2D. These results suggest that mass-specific metabolism is selected as the pace of the resource handling that generates net energy for self-replication and the selection of mass, with the decline in the metabolic exponent following from a decline in the importance of mass-specific metabolism for the selection of mass. The body mass variation in prokaryotes is found to be selected from primary variation in mass-specific metabolism, while the variation in multicellular animals is selected from primary variation in the handling and/or densities of the underlying resources, with protists and protozoa being selected as an intermediate lifeform.

RevDate: 2017-09-29
CmpDate: 2017-09-29

Li DD, Luo Z, Chen GH, et al (2017)

Identification of apoptosis-related genes Bcl2 and Bax from yellow catfish Pelteobagrus fulvidraco and their transcriptional responses to waterborne and dietborne zinc exposure.

Gene, 633:1-8.

Apoptosis plays a key role in the physiology of multicellular organisms, and has been well studied in mammals, but not in teleosts. Zinc (Zn) has been shown to be an important regulator of apoptosis and apoptosis involves in the regulation of lipid metabolism. Moreover, our recent study indicated that waterborne and dietborne Zn exposure differently influenced lipid metabolism in Pelteobagrus fulvidraco, but further mechanism remained unknown. The hypothesis of the present study is that apoptosis mediated the Zn-induced changes of lipid metabolism of P. fulvidraco subjected to different exposure pathways. To this end, we cloned full-length cDNA sequences of Bcl2 and three Bax subtypes involved in apoptosis in P. fulvidraco, explored their mRNA expressions in responses to different Zn exposure pathways. Bcl2 and three Bax subtypes shared similar domain structure as typical pro- and anti-apoptotic Bcl2 family members. Their mRNAs were widely expressed among various tissues, but at variable levels. Waterborne Zn exposure down-regulated mRNA levels of Baxg and ratios of Baxa/Bcl2, and Baxg/Bcl2, but showed no significant effects on mRNA abundances of Bcl2, Baxa and Baxb, and the ratio of Baxb/Bcl2. In contrast, dietborne Zn exposure up-regulated mRNA levels of Bcl2, Baxa, Baxb and Baxg, but reduced the ratios of Baxa/Bcl2, Baxb/Bcl2, and Baxg/Bcl2. Considering their important roles of these genes in apoptosis induced by Zn, apoptosis may mediate the Zn-induced changes of hepatic lipid metabolism of Pelteobagrus fulvidraco under different Zn exposure pathways. For the first time, we characterized the full-length cDNA sequences of Bcl2 and three Bax subtypes, determined their expression profiles and transcriptional responses to different Zn exposure pathways, which would contribute to our understanding of the molecular basis of apoptosis, and also provide new insights into physiological responses to different Zn exposure pathways.

RevDate: 2018-05-09
CmpDate: 2018-05-09

Csaba G (2017)

Is there a hormonal regulation of phagocytosis at unicellular and multicellular levels? A critical review.

Acta microbiologica et immunologica Hungarica, 64(4):357-372.

Phagocytosis is an ancient cell function, which is similar at unicellular and multicellular levels. Unicells synthesize, store, and secrete multicellular (mammalian) hormones, which influence their phagocytosis. Amino acid hormones, such as histamine, serotonin, epinephrine, and melatonin stimulate phagocytosis, whereas peptide hormones, such as adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), insulin, opioids, arginine vasopressin, and atrial natriuretic peptide decreased it, independently on their chemical structure or function in multicellulars. Macrophage phagocytosis of multicellulars is also stimulated by amino acid hormones, such as histamine, epinephrine, melatonin, and thyroid hormones, however, the effect of peptide hormones is not uniform: prolactin, insulin, glucagon, somatostatin, and leptin have positive effects, whereas ACTH, human chorionic gonadotropin, opioids, and ghrelin have negative ones. Steroid hormones, such as estrogen, hydrocortisone, and dexamethasone are stimulating macrophage phagocytosis, whereas progesterone, aldosterone, and testosterone are depressing it. Considering the data and observations there is not a specific phagocytosis hormone, or a hormonal regulation of phagocytosis neither unicellular, nor multicellular level, however, hormones having specific functions in multicellulars also influence phagocytosis at both levels universally (in unicellulars) or individually (in macrophages). Nevertheless, the hormonal influence cannot be neglected, as phagocytosis (as a function) is rather sensitive to minute dose of hormones and endocrine disruptors. The hormonal influence of phagocytosis by macrophages can be deduced to the events at unicellular level.

RevDate: 2018-02-28
CmpDate: 2018-02-28

Votaw HR, EA Ostrowski (2017)

Stalk size and altruism investment within and among populations of the social amoeba.

Journal of evolutionary biology, 30(11):2017-2030.

Reproductive division of labour is common in many societies, including those of eusocial insects, cooperatively breeding vertebrates, and most forms of multicellularity. However, conflict over what is best for the individual vs. the group can prevent an optimal division of labour from being achieved. In the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum, cells aggregate to become multicellular and a fraction behaves altruistically, forming a dead stalk that supports the rest. Theory suggests that intra-organismal conflict over spore-stalk cell fate can drive rapid evolutionary change in allocation traits, leading to polymorphisms within populations or rapid divergence between them. Here, we assess several proxies for stalk size and spore-stalk allocation as metrics of altruism investment among strains and across geographic regions. We observe geographic divergence in stalk height that can be partly explained by differences in multicellular size, as well as variation among strains in clonal spore-stalk allocation, suggesting within-population variation in altruism investment. Analyses of chimeras comprised of strains from the same vs. different populations indicated genotype-by-genotype epistasis, where the morphology of the chimeras deviated significantly from the average morphology of the strains developed clonally. The significantly negative epistasis observed for allopatric pairings suggests that populations are diverging in their spore-stalk allocation behaviours, generating incompatibilities when they encounter one another. Our results demonstrate divergence in microbial social traits across geographically separated populations and demonstrate how quantification of genotype-by-genotype interactions can elucidate the trajectory of social trait evolution in nature.

RevDate: 2017-08-28

Shapiro JA (2017)

Biological action in Read-Write genome evolution.

Interface focus, 7(5):20160115.

Many of the most important evolutionary variations that generated phenotypic adaptations and originated novel taxa resulted from complex cellular activities affecting genome content and expression. These activities included (i) the symbiogenetic cell merger that produced the mitochondrion-bearing ancestor of all extant eukaryotes, (ii) symbiogenetic cell mergers that produced chloroplast-bearing ancestors of photosynthetic eukaryotes, and (iii) interspecific hybridizations and genome doublings that generated new species and adaptive radiations of higher plants and animals. Adaptive variations also involved horizontal DNA transfers and natural genetic engineering by mobile DNA elements to rewire regulatory networks, such as those essential to viviparous reproduction in mammals. In the most highly evolved multicellular organisms, biological complexity scales with 'non-coding' DNA content rather than with protein-coding capacity in the genome. Coincidentally, 'non-coding' RNAs rich in repetitive mobile DNA sequences function as key regulators of complex adaptive phenotypes, such as stem cell pluripotency. The intersections of cell fusion activities, horizontal DNA transfers and natural genetic engineering of Read-Write genomes provide a rich molecular and biological foundation for understanding how ecological disruptions can stimulate productive, often abrupt, evolutionary transformations.

RevDate: 2018-06-04
CmpDate: 2018-06-04

Larsen NB, Liberti SE, Vogel I, et al (2017)

Stalled replication forks generate a distinct mutational signature in yeast.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 114(36):9665-9670.

Proliferating cells acquire genome alterations during the act of DNA replication. This leads to mutation accumulation and somatic cell mosaicism in multicellular organisms, and is also implicated as an underlying cause of aging and tumorigenesis. The molecular mechanisms of DNA replication-associated genome rearrangements are poorly understood, largely due to methodological difficulties in analyzing specific replication forks in vivo. To provide an insight into this process, we analyzed the mutagenic consequences of replication fork stalling at a single, site-specific replication barrier (the Escherichia coli Tus/Ter complex) engineered into the yeast genome. We demonstrate that transient stalling at this barrier induces a distinct pattern of genome rearrangements in the newly replicated region behind the stalled fork, which primarily consist of localized losses and duplications of DNA sequences. These genetic alterations arise through the aberrant repair of a single-stranded DNA gap, in a process that is dependent on Exo1- and Shu1-dependent homologous recombination repair (HRR). Furthermore, aberrant processing of HRR intermediates, and elevated HRR-associated mutagenesis, is detectable in a yeast model of the human cancer predisposition disorder, Bloom's syndrome. Our data reveal a mechanism by which cellular responses to stalled replication forks can actively generate genomic alterations and genetic diversity in normal proliferating cells.

RevDate: 2018-07-18
CmpDate: 2018-04-02

Stajich JE (2017)

Fungal Genomes and Insights into the Evolution of the Kingdom.

Microbiology spectrum, 5(4):.

The kingdom Fungi comprises species that inhabit nearly all ecosystems. Fungi exist as both free-living and symbiotic unicellular and multicellular organisms with diverse morphologies. The genomes of fungi encode genes that enable them to thrive in diverse environments, invade plant and animal cells, and participate in nutrient cycling in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. The continuously expanding databases of fungal genome sequences have been generated by individual and large-scale efforts such as Génolevures, Broad Institute's Fungal Genome Initiative, and the 1000 Fungal Genomes Project (http://1000.fungalgenomes.org). These efforts have produced a catalog of fungal genes and genomic organization. The genomic datasets can be utilized to better understand how fungi have adapted to their lifestyles and ecological niches. Large datasets of fungal genomic and transcriptomic data have enabled the use of novel methodologies and improved the study of fungal evolution from a molecular sequence perspective. Combined with microscopes, petri dishes, and woodland forays, genome sequencing supports bioinformatics and comparative genomics approaches as important tools in the study of the biology and evolution of fungi.

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RJR Experience and Expertise

Researcher

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

Educator

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

Administrator

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

Technologist

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

Publisher

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

Speaker

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

Facilitator

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

Designer

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

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