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26 May 2019 at 01:34
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Bibliography on: Mitochondrial Evolution


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RJR: Recommended Bibliography 26 May 2019 at 01:34 Created: 

Mitochondrial Evolution

The endosymbiotic hypothesis for the origin of mitochondria (and chloroplasts) suggests that mitochondria are descended from specialized bacteria (probably purple nonsulfur bacteria) that somehow survived endocytosis by another species of prokaryote or some other cell type, and became incorporated into the cytoplasm.

Created with PubMed® Query: mitochondria AND evolution NOT 26799652[PMID] NOT pmcbook NOT ispreviousversion

Citations The Papers (from PubMed®)

RevDate: 2019-05-23
CmpDate: 2019-05-23

Bartáková V, Bryja J, Šanda R, et al (2019)

High cryptic diversity of bitterling fish in the southern West Palearctic.

Molecular phylogenetics and evolution, 133:1-11.

South-east Europe, along with the adjacent region of south-west Asia, is an important biodiversity hotspot with high local endemism largely contributed by contemporary continental lineages that retreated to southern refugia during colder Quaternary periods. We investigated the genetic diversity of the European bitterling fish (Rhodeus amarus) species complex (Cyprinidae) across its range in the western Palearctic, but with a particular emphasis in the region of Balkan, Pontic and Caspian refugia. We genotyped 12 polymorphic microsatellite loci and a partial sequence of mitochondrial gene cytochrome b (CYTB) for a set of 1,038 individuals from 60 populations. We used mtDNA sequences to infer phylogenetic relationships and historical demography, and microsatellite markers to describe fine-scale genetic variability and structure. Our mtDNA analysis revealed six well-supported lineages, with limited local co-occurrence. Two lineages are distributed throughout central and western Europe (lineages "A" and "B"), with two zones of secondary contact. Another two lineages were restricted to the Ponto-Aegean region of Greece (lineages "C" and "D") and the final two lineages were restricted south of the Caucasus mountains (lineage "E" from the Black Sea watershed and lineage "F" from the Caspian watershed). A signal of recent expansion was revealed in the two widespread lineages and the Ponto-Aegean lineage "C". The geographic distribution of clusters detected by nuclear microsatellites corresponded well with mitochondrial lineages and demonstrated finely sub-structured populations. A profound population structure suggested a significant role of genetic drift in differentiation among lineages. Lineage divergence in the Ponto-Aegean and Caspian regions are substantial, supporting the validity of two described endemic species (Rhodeus meridionalis as lineage "D" and Rhodeus colchicus as lineage "E") and invite taxonomic evaluation of the other two southern lineages (Thracean "C" and Caspian "F").

RevDate: 2019-05-23
CmpDate: 2019-05-23

Elias-Costa AJ, Confalonieri VA, Lanteri AA, et al (2019)

Game of clones: Is Wolbachia inducing speciation in a weevil with a mixed reproductive mode?.

Molecular phylogenetics and evolution, 133:42-53.

Parthenogenesis is widely distributed in Metazoa but it is especially frequent in weevils (Coleoptera, Curculionidae) with one fifth of all known cases. Previous studies have shown that in the tribe Naupactini parthenogenetic reproduction most likely originated with an infection of the endoparasitic bacterium Wolbachia pipientis. In particular, Pantomorus postfasciatus possess a mixed reproductive mode: some populations have males while in others they are absent, and females produce clones by thelytoky. To better understand this scenario, we studied the population structure and infection status in 64 individuals of P. postfasciatus from Argentina and Brazil. We sequenced two mitochondrial (COI and COII) and one nuclear (ITS-1) fragments and obtained two very divergent haplogroups, one corresponding to the sexual populations uninfected with Wolbachia, and another conforming a monophyletic parthenogenetic (or presumptively parthenogenetic) and infected clade. Each of these haplogroups was identified as an independently evolutionary unit by all species delimitation analyses accomplished: multilocus *BEAST and BP&P, and single locus GMYC and K/θ rule. Additionally, present evidence suggests that Wolbachia infection occurred at least twice in all-female populations of P. postfasciatus with two different bacterial strains. Speciation mediated by Wolbachia is a recently described phenomenon and the case of P. postfasciatus is the first known case in a diplo-diploid insect. A model that describes how thelytoky-inducing phenotypes of Wolbachia could generate new lineages is discussed.

RevDate: 2019-05-20

Dumesic PA, Egan DF, Gut P, et al (2019)

An Evolutionarily Conserved uORF Regulates PGC1α and Oxidative Metabolism in Mice, Flies, and Bluefin Tuna.

Cell metabolism pii:S1550-4131(19)30197-4 [Epub ahead of print].

Mitochondrial abundance and function are tightly controlled during metabolic adaptation but dysregulated in pathological states such as diabetes, neurodegeneration, cancer, and kidney disease. We show here that translation of PGC1α, a key governor of mitochondrial biogenesis and oxidative metabolism, is negatively regulated by an upstream open reading frame (uORF) in the 5' untranslated region of its gene (PPARGC1A). We find that uORF-mediated translational repression is a feature of PPARGC1A orthologs from human to fly. Strikingly, whereas multiple inhibitory uORFs are broadly present in fish PPARGC1A orthologs, they are completely absent in the Atlantic bluefin tuna, an animal with exceptionally high mitochondrial content. In mice, an engineered mutation disrupting the PPARGC1A uORF increases PGC1α protein levels and oxidative metabolism and confers protection from acute kidney injury. These studies identify a translational regulatory element governing oxidative metabolism and highlight its potential contribution to the evolution of organismal mitochondrial function.

RevDate: 2019-05-20
CmpDate: 2019-05-20

Zhang Q, Wu X, Chen P, et al (2018)

The Mitochondrial Unfolded Protein Response Is Mediated Cell-Non-autonomously by Retromer-Dependent Wnt Signaling.

Cell, 174(4):870-883.e17.

The mitochondrial unfolded protein response (UPRmt) can be triggered in a cell-non-autonomous fashion across multiple tissues in response to mitochondrial dysfunction. The ability to communicate information about the presence of mitochondrial stress enables a global response that can ultimately better protect an organism from local mitochondrial challenges. We find that animals use retromer-dependent Wnt signaling to propagate mitochondrial stress signals from the nervous system to peripheral tissues. Specifically, the polyQ40-triggered activation of mitochondrial stress or reduction of cco-1 (complex IV subunit) in neurons of C. elegans results in the Wnt-dependent induction of cell-non-autonomous UPRmt in peripheral cells. Loss-of-function mutations of retromer complex components that are responsible for recycling the Wnt secretion-factor/MIG-14 prevent Wnt secretion and thereby suppress cell-non-autonomous UPRmt. Neuronal expression of the Wnt ligand/EGL-20 is sufficient to induce cell-non-autonomous UPRmt in a retromer complex-, Wnt signaling-, and serotonin-dependent manner, clearly implicating Wnt signaling as a strong candidate for the "mitokine" signal.

RevDate: 2019-05-20
CmpDate: 2019-05-20

Liu M, X Guo (2017)

A novel and stress adaptive alternative oxidase derived from alternative splicing of duplicated exon in oyster Crassostrea virginica.

Scientific reports, 7(1):10785.

Alternative oxidase (AOX) is a mitochondrial inner-membrane oxidase that accepts electrons directly from ubiquinol and reduces oxygen to water without involving cytochrome-linked electron transport chain. It is highly conserved in many non-vertebrate taxa and may protect cells against hypoxia and oxidative stress. We identified two AOX mRNAs in eastern oyster Crassostrea virginica, CvAOXA and CvAOXB, which differ by 170 bp but encode AOXs of the same size. Sequence analyses indicate that CvAOX has 10 exons with a tandem duplication of exon 10, and 3' alternative splicing using either the first or second exon 10 produces the two variants CvAOXB or CvAOXA, respectively. The second exon 10 in CvAOXA is more conserved across taxa, while the first exon 10 in CvAOXB contains novel mutations surrounding key functional sites. Both variants are expressed in all organs with the expression of CvAOXA higher than that of CvAOXB under normal condition. Under stress by air exposure, CvAOXB showed significantly higher expression than CvAOXA and became the dominant variant. This is the first case of alternative splicing of duplicated exon in a mollusc that produces a novel variant adaptive to stress, highlighting genome's versatility in generating diversity and phenotypic plasticity.

RevDate: 2019-05-16

Tian R, Seim I, Ren W, et al (2019)

Contraction of the ROS Scavenging Enzyme Glutathione S-transferase Gene Family in Cetaceans.

G3 (Bethesda, Md.) pii:g3.119.400224 [Epub ahead of print].

Cetaceans are a group of marine mammals whose ancestors were adaptated for life on land. Life in an aquatic environment poses many challenges for air-breathing mammals. Diving marine mammals have adapted to rapid reoxygenation and reactive oxygen species (ROS)-mediated reperfusion injury. Here, we considered the evolution of the glutathione transferase (GST) gene family which has important roles in the detoxification of endogenously-derived ROS and environmental pollutants. We characterized the cytosolic GST gene family in 21 mammalian species; cetaceans, sirenians, pinnipeds, and their terrestrial relatives. All seven GST classes were identified, showing that GSTs are ubiquitous in mammals. Some GST genes are the product of lineage-specific duplications and losses, in line with a birth-and-death evolutionary model. We detected sites with signatures of positive selection that possibly influence GST structure and function, suggesting that adaptive evolution of GST genes is important for defending mammals from various types of noxious environmental compounds. We also found evidence for loss of alpha and mu GST subclass genes in cetacean lineages. Notably, cetaceans have retained a homolog of at least one of the genes GSTA1, GSTA4, and GSTM1; GSTs that are present in both the cytosol and mitochondria. The observed variation in number and selection pressure on GST genes suggest that the gene family structure is dynamic within cetaceans.

RevDate: 2019-05-15

Balzan S, R Cazzolla Gatti (2018)

endogenosymbiosis: from hypothesis to empirical evidence towards a Unified Symbiogenetic Theory (UST).

Theoretical biology forum, 111(1-2):13-26.

In 1967 Lynn (Sagan) Margulis proposed that mitochondria, photosynthetic plastids and cilia were acquired prokaryotes and evolved symbiotically to form anaerobic bacteria, photosynthetic bacteria and eventually algae. Although most of this theory is well-accepted now, the hypothesis that endosymbiotic spirochaetes developed into eukaryotic flagella and cilia, and the following proposals of an endosymbiotic origin of other eukaryotic organelles such as peroxisomes, glyoxysomes, etc. have not received much acceptance, since evidence suggests they lack a genome and do not show ultrastructural similarities to bacteria or archaea. Nevertheless, the idea that over millennia mitochondria, plastids, prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells and even flagella and peroxisomes, as either primary or secondary endosymbionts, transferred some or all of their own DNA to the host cell’s nucleus through a process called «endogenosymbiosis» (i.e. a symbiotic gene transfer, such as the internalisation of the endosymbiont’s DNA with lateral transfer) has been recently suggested. This endogenosymbiosis could take place during the evolutionary transition from the symbiotic interacting community, invoked by Margulis, to a fully-integrated (either prokaryotic or eukaryotic) cell. This process could explain the missing evidence of the presence of DNA in flagella and peroxisomes whose ancestor endosymbionts, during the long endogenosymbiotic evolution, could have transferred their whole genome to the host cell that subsequently integrated it in its own genome, directly controlling its expression. Furthermore, the endogenosymbiosis hypothesis could be the explanation of the transition between an RNA to a DNA world and of some cases of true sympatric evolution of species, apparently inexplicable by the canonical speciation processes. Here, after an introduction to the theoretical basis of endogenosymbiosis and a discussion of the empirical confirming evidence, I show a graphical summary of the integration between this and the former endosymbiosis theories. The Serial Endosymbiosis Theory and the Secondary Endosymbiosis are merged with the Endogenosymbiosis Theory in a Unified Symbiogenetic Theory (UST).

RevDate: 2019-05-16
CmpDate: 2019-05-16

Feng C, Zhou W, Tang Y, et al (2019)

Molecular systematics of the Triplophysa robusta (Cobitoidea) complex: Extensive gene flow in a depauperate lineage.

Molecular phylogenetics and evolution, 132:275-283.

Gene flow between populations assumed to be isolated frequently leads to incorrect inferences of evolutionary history. Understanding gene flow and its causes has long been a key topic in evolutionary biology. In this study, we explored the evolutionary history of the Triplophysa robusta complex, using a combination of multilocus analyses and coalescent simulation. Our multilocus approach detected conspicuous mitonuclear discordances in the T. robusta complex. Mitochondrial results showed reticular clades, whereas the nuclear results corresponded with the morphological data. Coalescent simulation indicated that gene flow was the source of these discordances. Molecular clock analysis combined with geological processes suggest that intense geological upheavals have shaped a complicated evolutionary history for the T. robusta complex since the late Miocene, causing extensive gene flow which has distorted the molecular systematics of the T. robusta complex. We suggest that frequent gene flow may restrict speciation in the T. robusta complex, leading to such a depauperate lineage. Based on this comprehensive understanding, we provide our proposals for taxonomic revision of the T. robusta complex.

RevDate: 2019-05-16
CmpDate: 2019-05-16

Liu J, Yu J, Zhou M, et al (2019)

Complete mitochondrial genome of Japalura flaviceps: Deep insights into the phylogeny and gene rearrangements of Agamidae species.

International journal of biological macromolecules, 125:423-431.

Japalura flaviceps is a subarboreal species, which is endemically distributed in China. Here, we determined the complete mitogenome of J. flaviceps. This mitogenome was a typical circular molecule of 17,140 bp in size, containing 13 protein-coding genes, 22 transfer-RNA-coding genes, two ribosomal-RNA-coding genes, and one control region. Our phylogenetic result using 15 genes divided all Agamidae lizards into six subfamilies and showed (((((Agaminae, Draconinae), Amphibolurinae), Hydrosaurinae), Uromastycinae), Leiolepinae), which was different from the previous studies. J. flaviceps had a closer relationship to Pseudocalotes species than Acanthosaura species, and they formed a well-supported lineage of Draconinae subfamily. There were nine mitochondrial gene rearrangement types among the 27 Agamidae species, and six of them were found in the Agaminae group. The trnP gene of J. flaviceps mitogenome was encoded on the heavy strand instead of its typical light strand position, providing an example of gene inversion in vertebrate mitogenomes. J. flaviceps shared the same gene arrangement type (inverted trnP gene) with other Draconinae species, strongly implying a single occurrence of the trnP inversion in the ancestral draconine lineage. Our study helps to understand mitogenome evolution and phylogenetic relationship of Agamidae species.

RevDate: 2019-05-16
CmpDate: 2019-05-16

Przyboś E, Rautian M, Beliavskaia A, et al (2019)

Evaluation of the molecular variability and characteristics of Paramecium polycaryum and Paramecium nephridiatum, within subgenus Cypriostomum (Ciliophora, Protista).

Molecular phylogenetics and evolution, 132:296-306.

Although some Paramecium species are suitable research objects in many areas of life sciences, the biodiversity structure of other species is almost unknown. In the current survey, we present a molecular analysis of 60 Cypriostomum strains, which for the first time allows for the study of intra- and interspecific relationships within that subgenus, as well as the assessment of the biogeography patterns of its morphospecies. Analysis of COI mtDNA variation revealed three main clades (separated from each other by approximately 130 nucleotide substitutions), each one with internal sub-clusters (differing by 30 to 70 substitutions - a similar range found between P. aurelia cryptic species and P. bursaria syngens). The first clade is represented exclusively by P. polycaryum; the second one includes only four strains identified as P. calkinsi. The third cluster seems to be paraphyletic, as it includes P. nephridiatum, P. woodruffi, and Eucandidatus P. hungarianum. Some strains, previously identified as P. calkinsi, had COI sequences identical or very similar to P. nephridiatum ones. Morphological reinvestigation of several such strains revealed common morphological features with P. nephridiatum. The paper contains new information concerning speciation within particular species, i.e. existence of cryptic species within P. polycaryum (three) and in P. nephridiatum (six).

RevDate: 2019-05-16
CmpDate: 2019-05-16

Boubli JP, Byrne H, da Silva MNF, et al (2019)

On a new species of titi monkey (Primates: Plecturocebus Byrne et al., 2016), from Alta Floresta, southern Amazon, Brazil.

Molecular phylogenetics and evolution, 132:117-137.

The taxonomy of the titi monkeys (Callicebinae) has recently received considerable attention. It is now recognised that this subfamily is composed of three genera with 33 species, seven of them described since 2002. Here, we describe a new species of titi, Plecturocebus, from the municipality of Alta Floresta, Mato Grosso, Brazil. We adopt an integrative taxonomic approach that includes phylogenomic analyses, pelage characters, and locality records. A reduced representation genome-wide approach was employed to assess phylogenetic relationships among species of the eastern Amazonian clade of the Plecturocebus moloch group. Using existing records, we calculated the Extent of Occurrence (EOO) of the new species and estimated future habitat loss for the region based on predictive models. We then evaluated the species' conservation status using the IUCN Red list categories and criteria. The new species presents a unique combination of morphological characters: (1) grey agouti colouration on the crown and dorsal parts; (2) entirely bright red-brown venter; (3) an almost entirely black tail with a pale tip; and (4) light yellow colouration of the hair on the cheeks contrasting with bright red-brown hair on the sides of the face. Our phylogenetic reconstructions based on maximum-likelihood and Bayesian methods revealed well-supported species relationships, with the Alta Floresta taxon as sister to P. moloch + P. vieirai. The species EOO is 10,166,653 ha and we predict a total habitat loss of 86% of its original forest habitat under a "business as usual" scenario in the next 24 years, making the newly discovered titi monkey a Critically Endangered species under the IUCN A3c criterion. We give the new titi monkey a specific epithet based on: (1) clear monophyly of this lineage revealed by robust genomic and mitochondrial data; (2) distinct and diagnosable pelage morphology; and (3) a well-defined geographical distribution with clear separation from other closely related taxa. Urgent conservation measures are needed to safeguard the future of this newly discovered and already critically endangered primate.

RevDate: 2019-05-15

Tan DX (2019)

Aging: An evolutionary competition between host cells and mitochondria.

Medical hypotheses, 127:120-128.

Here, a new theory of aging is proposed. This new theory is referred as the Host-Mitochondria Intracellular Innate Immune Theory of Aging (HMIIITA). The main point of this theory is that the aging is rooted from an evolutionary competition, that is, a never ending coevolutionary race between host cells and mitochondria. Mitochondria are the descendants of bacteria. The host cells will inevitably sense their bacterial origin, particularly their circular mtDNA. The host intracellular innate immune pressure (HIIIP) aims to eliminate mtDNA as more as possible while mitochondria have to adapt the HIIIP for survival. Co-evolution is required for both of them. From biological point of view, the larger, the mtDNA, the higher, the chance, it becomes the target of HIIIP. As a result, mitochondria have to reduce their mtDNA size via deletion. This process has last for 1.5-2 billion yeas and the result is that mitochondria have lost excessive 95% of their DNA. This mtDNA deletion is not associated with free radical attack but a unique trait acquired during evolution. In the postmitotic cells, the deletion is passively selected by the mitochondrial fission-fusion cycles. Eventually, the accumulation of deletion will significantly jeopardize the mitochondrial function. The dysfunctional mitochondria no longer provide sufficient ATP to support host cells' continuous demanding for growth. At this stage, the cell or the organism aging is inevitable.

RevDate: 2019-05-15

Shah A, Hoffman JI, H Schielzeth (2019)

Transcriptome assembly for a colour-polymorphic grasshopper (Gomphocerus sibiricus) with a very large genome size.

BMC genomics, 20(1):370 pii:10.1186/s12864-019-5756-4.

BACKGROUND: The club-legged grasshopper Gomphocerus sibiricus is a Gomphocerinae grasshopper with a promising future as model species for studying the maintenance of colour-polymorphism, the genetics of sexual ornamentation and genome size evolution. However, limited molecular resources are available for this species. Here, we present a de novo transcriptome assembly as reference resource for gene expression studies. We used high-throughput Illumina sequencing to generate 5,070,036 paired-end reads after quality filtering. We then combined the best-assembled contigs from three different de novo transcriptome assemblers (Trinity, SOAPdenovo-trans and Oases/Velvet) into a single assembly.

RESULTS: This resulted in 82,251 contigs with a N50 of 1357 and a TransRate assembly score of 0.325, which compares favourably with other orthopteran transcriptome assemblies. Around 87% of the transcripts could be annotated using InterProScan 5, BLASTx and the dammit! annotation pipeline. We identified a number of genes involved in pigmentation and green pigment metabolism pathways. Furthermore, we identified 76,221 putative single nucleotide polymorphisms residing in 8400 contigs. We also assembled the mitochondrial genome and investigated levels of sequence divergence with other species from the genus Gomphocerus. Finally, we detected and assembled Wolbachia sequences, which revealed close sequence similarity to the strain pel wPip.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study has generated a significant resource for uncovering genotype-phenotype associations in a species with an extraordinarily large genome, while also providing mitochondrial and Wolbachia sequences that will be useful for comparative studies.

RevDate: 2019-05-11

Brunk CF, WF Martin (2019)

Archaeal Histone Contributions to the Origin of Eukaryotes.

Trends in microbiology pii:S0966-842X(19)30095-2 [Epub ahead of print].

The eukaryotic lineage arose from bacterial and archaeal cells that underwent a symbiotic merger. At the origin of the eukaryote lineage, the bacterial partner contributed genes, metabolic energy, and the building blocks of the endomembrane system. What did the archaeal partner donate that made the eukaryotic experiment a success? The archaeal partner provided the potential for complex information processing. Archaeal histones were crucial in that regard by providing the basic functional unit with which eukaryotes organize DNA into nucleosomes, exert epigenetic control of gene expression, transcribe genes with CCAAT-box promoters, and a manifest cell cycle with condensed chromosomes. While mitochondrial energy lifted energetic constraints on eukaryotic protein production, histone-based chromatin organization paved the path to eukaryotic genome complexity, a critical hurdle en route to the evolution of complex cells.

RevDate: 2019-05-10

Castelli M, Sabaneyeva E, Lanzoni O, et al (2019)

Deianiraea, an extracellular bacterium associated with the ciliate Paramecium, suggests an alternative scenario for the evolution of Rickettsiales.

The ISME journal pii:10.1038/s41396-019-0433-9 [Epub ahead of print].

Rickettsiales are a lineage of obligate intracellular Alphaproteobacteria, encompassing important human pathogens, manipulators of host reproduction, and mutualists. Here we report the discovery of a novel Rickettsiales bacterium associated with Paramecium, displaying a unique extracellular lifestyle, including the ability to replicate outside host cells. Genomic analyses show that the bacterium possesses a higher capability to synthesise amino acids, compared to all investigated Rickettsiales. Considering these observations, phylogenetic and phylogenomic reconstructions, and re-evaluating the different means of interaction of Rickettsiales bacteria with eukaryotic cells, we propose an alternative scenario for the evolution of intracellularity in Rickettsiales. According to our reconstruction, the Rickettsiales ancestor would have been an extracellular and metabolically versatile bacterium, while obligate intracellularity would have evolved later, in parallel and independently, in different sub-lineages. The proposed new scenario could impact on the open debate on the lifestyle of the last common ancestor of mitochondria within Alphaproteobacteria.

RevDate: 2019-05-10
CmpDate: 2019-05-10

Wang W, Chen J, Liao B, et al (2019)

Identification and functional characterization of Histone-like DNA-binding protein in Nocardia seriolae (NsHLP) involved in cell apoptosis.

Journal of fish diseases, 42(5):657-666.

Nocardia seriolae, a facultative intracellular bacterium, is the main pathogen of fish nocardiosis. Bioinformatic analysis showed that the histone-like DNA-binding protein (HLP) gene of N. seriolae (nshlp) encoded a secreted protein and might target the mitochondria in the host cell. To further study the preliminary function of HLP in N. seriolae (NsHLP), the gene cloning, extracellular products identification, subcellular localization, overexpression and apoptosis detection assay were carried out in this study. Mass spectrometry analysis of the extracellular products from N. seriolae showed that NsHLP was a secreted protein. Subcellular localization of HLP-GFP fusion proteins mainly assembled in the nucleus, which indicated that the NsHLP was co-located with the nucleus rather than mitochondria in fathead minnow (FHM) cells. Notably, the expression of NsHLP had changed the distribution of mitochondria into lumps in the FHM cell. In addition, apoptotic features were found in the transfected FHM cells by overexpression of NsHLP. Quantitative assays of mitochondrial membrane potential value, caspase-3 activity and pro-apoptotic genes mRNA (Bad, Bid and Bax) expression level demonstrated that the cell apoptosis was induced in the transfected FHM cells. All the results presented in this study provided insight on the function of NsHLP, which suggested that it may participate in the cell apoptosis regulation and play an important role in the pathogenesis of N. seriolae.

RevDate: 2019-05-08

Bertolini MS, Chiurillo MA, Lander N, et al (2019)

MICU1 and MICU2 Play an Essential Role in Mitochondrial Ca2+ Uptake, Growth, and Infectivity of the Human Pathogen Trypanosoma cruzi.

mBio, 10(3): pii:mBio.00348-19.

The mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake in trypanosomatids, which belong to the eukaryotic supergroup Excavata, shares biochemical characteristics with that of animals, which, together with fungi, belong to the supergroup Opisthokonta. However, the composition of the mitochondrial calcium uniporter (MCU) complex in trypanosomatids is quite peculiar, suggesting lineage-specific adaptations. In this work, we used Trypanosoma cruzi to study the role of orthologs for mitochondrial calcium uptake 1 (MICU1) and MICU2 in mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake. T. cruzi MICU1 (TcMICU1) and TcMICU2 have mitochondrial targeting signals, two canonical EF-hand calcium-binding domains, and localize to the mitochondria. Using the CRISPR/Cas9 system (i.e., clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats with Cas9), we generated TcMICU1 and TcMICU2 knockout (-KO) cell lines. Ablation of either TcMICU1 or TcMICU2 showed a significantly reduced mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake in permeabilized epimastigotes without dissipation of the mitochondrial membrane potential or effects on the AMP/ATP ratio or citrate synthase activity. However, none of these proteins had a gatekeeper function at low cytosolic Ca2+ concentrations ([Ca2+]cyt), as occurs with their mammalian orthologs. TcMICU1-KO and TcMICU2-KO epimastigotes had a lower growth rate and impaired oxidative metabolism, while infective trypomastigotes have a reduced capacity to invade host cells and to replicate within them as amastigotes. The findings of this work, which is the first to study the role of MICU1 and MICU2 in organisms evolutionarily distant from animals, suggest that, although these components were probably present in the last eukaryotic common ancestor (LECA), they developed different roles during evolution of different eukaryotic supergroups. The work also provides new insights into the adaptations of trypanosomatids to their particular life styles.IMPORTANCETrypanosoma cruzi is the etiologic agent of Chagas disease and belongs to the early-branching eukaryotic supergroup Excavata. Its mitochondrial calcium uniporter (MCU) subunit shares similarity with the animal ortholog that was important to discover its encoding gene. In animal cells, the MICU1 and MICU2 proteins act as Ca2+ sensors and gatekeepers of the MCU, preventing Ca2+ uptake under resting conditions and favoring it at high cytosolic Ca2+ concentrations ([Ca2+]cyt). Using the CRISPR/Cas9 technique, we generated TcMICU1 and TcMICU2 knockout cell lines and showed that MICU1 and -2 do not act as gatekeepers at low [Ca2+]cyt but are essential for normal growth, host cell invasion, and intracellular replication, revealing lineage-specific adaptations.

RevDate: 2019-05-07
CmpDate: 2019-05-07

Zhao L, Lin XM, Li F, et al (2018)

A survey of argasid ticks and tick-associated pathogens in the Peripheral Oases around Tarim Basin and the first record of Argas japonicus in Xinjiang, China.

PloS one, 13(12):e0208615 pii:PONE-D-18-13907.

Argasid ticks (Acari: Argasidae) carry and transmit a variety of pathogens of animals and humans, including viruses, bacteria and parasites. There are several studies reporting ixodid ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) and associated tick-borne pathogens in Xinjiang, China. However, little is known about the argasid ticks and argasid tick-associated pathogens in this area. In this study, a total of 3829 adult argasid ticks infesting livestock were collected at 12 sampling sites of 10 counties in the Peripheral Oases, which carry 90% of the livestock and humans population, around the Tarim Basin (southern Xinjiang) from 2013 to 2016. Tick specimens were identified to two species from different genera by morphology and sequences of mitochondrial 16S rRNA and 12S rRNA were derived to confirm the species designation. The results showed that the dominant argasid ticks infesting livestock in southern Xinjiang were Ornithodoros lahorensis (87.86%, 3364/3829). Ornithodoros lahorensis was distributed widely and were collected from 10 counties of southern Xinjiang. Argas japonicus was collected from Xinjiang for the first time. In addition, we screened these ticks for tick-associated pathogens and showed the presence of DNA sequences of Rickettsia spp. of Spotted fever group and Anaplasma spp. in the argasid ticks. This finding suggests the potential role for Argas japonicus as a vector of pathogens to livestock and humans.

RevDate: 2019-05-06

Zhao D, Yu Y, Shen Y, et al (2019)

Melatonin Synthesis and Function: Evolutionary History in Animals and Plants.

Frontiers in endocrinology, 10:249.

Melatonin is an ancient molecule that can be traced back to the origin of life. Melatonin's initial function was likely that as a free radical scavenger. Melatonin presumably evolved in bacteria; it has been measured in both α-proteobacteria and in photosynthetic cyanobacteria. In early evolution, bacteria were phagocytosed by primitive eukaryotes for their nutrient value. According to the endosymbiotic theory, the ingested bacteria eventually developed a symbiotic association with their host eukaryotes. The ingested α-proteobacteria evolved into mitochondria while cyanobacteria became chloroplasts and both organelles retained their ability to produce melatonin. Since these organelles have persisted to the present day, all species that ever existed or currently exist may have or may continue to synthesize melatonin in their mitochondria (animals and plants) and chloroplasts (plants) where it functions as an antioxidant. Melatonin's other functions, including its multiple receptors, developed later in evolution. In present day animals, via receptor-mediated means, melatonin functions in the regulation of sleep, modulation of circadian rhythms, enhancement of immunity, as a multifunctional oncostatic agent, etc., while retaining its ability to reduce oxidative stress by processes that are, in part, receptor-independent. In plants, melatonin continues to function in reducing oxidative stress as well as in promoting seed germination and growth, improving stress resistance, stimulating the immune system and modulating circadian rhythms; a single melatonin receptor has been identified in land plants where it controls stomatal closure on leaves. The melatonin synthetic pathway varies somewhat between plants and animals. The amino acid, tryptophan, is the necessary precursor of melatonin in all taxa. In animals, tryptophan is initially hydroxylated to 5-hydroxytryptophan which is then decarboxylated with the formation of serotonin. Serotonin is either acetylated to N-acetylserotonin or it is methylated to form 5-methoxytryptamine; these products are either methylated or acetylated, respectively, to produce melatonin. In plants, tryptophan is first decarboxylated to tryptamine which is then hydroxylated to form serotonin.

RevDate: 2019-05-06
CmpDate: 2019-05-06

Salunke R, Mourier T, Banerjee M, et al (2018)

Highly diverged novel subunit composition of apicomplexan F-type ATP synthase identified from Toxoplasma gondii.

PLoS biology, 16(7):e2006128.

The mitochondrial F-type ATP synthase, a multisubunit nanomotor, is critical for maintaining cellular ATP levels. In T. gondii and other apicomplexan parasites, many subunit components necessary for proper assembly and functioning of this enzyme appear to be missing. Here, we report the identification of 20 novel subunits of T. gondii F-type ATP synthase from mass spectrometry analysis of partially purified monomeric (approximately 600 kDa) and dimeric (>1 MDa) forms of the enzyme. Despite extreme sequence diversification, key FO subunits a, b, and d can be identified from conserved structural features. Orthologs for these proteins are restricted to apicomplexan, chromerid, and dinoflagellate species. Interestingly, their absence in ciliates indicates a major diversion, with respect to subunit composition of this enzyme, within the alveolate clade. Discovery of these highly diversified novel components of the apicomplexan F-type ATP synthase complex could facilitate the development of novel antiparasitic agents. Structural and functional characterization of this unusual enzyme complex will advance our fundamental understanding of energy metabolism in apicomplexan species.

RevDate: 2019-05-06
CmpDate: 2019-05-06

Hill GE (2018)

Mitonuclear Mate Choice: A Missing Component of Sexual Selection Theory?.

BioEssays : news and reviews in molecular, cellular and developmental biology, 40(3):.

The fitness of a eukaryote hinges on the coordinated function of the products of its nuclear and mitochondrial genomes in achieving oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). I propose that sexual selection plays a key role in the maintenance of mitonuclear coadaptation across generations because it enables pre-zygotic sorting for coadapted mitonuclear genotypes. At each new generation, sexual reproduction creates new combinations of nuclear and mitochondrial genes, and the potential arises for mitonuclear incompatibilities and reduced fitness. In reviewing the literature, I hypothesize that individuals engaged in mate choice select partners with correct species-typical mitochondrial and nuclear genotypes as well as individuals with highly functional cellular respiration. The implication is that mate choice for compatible nuclear and mitochondrial genes can play a significant role in generating the patterns of ornamentation and preferences observed in animals. A number of testable predictions emerge from this mitonuclear compatibility hypothesis of sexual selection.

RevDate: 2019-05-02

Nagarajan-Radha V, Rapkin J, Hunt J, et al (2019)

Interactions between mitochondrial haplotype and dietary macronutrient ratios confer sex-specific effects on longevity in Drosophila melanogaster.

The journals of gerontology. Series A, Biological sciences and medical sciences pii:5482495 [Epub ahead of print].

Recent studies have demonstrated that modifications to the ratio of dietary macronutrients affect longevity in a diverse range of species. However, the degree to which levels of natural genotypic variation shape these dietary effects on longevity remains unclear. The mitochondria have long been linked to the ageing process. The mitochondria possess their own genome, and previous studies have shown that mitochondrial genetic variation affects longevity in insects. Furthermore, the mitochondria are the sites in which dietary nutrients are oxidized to produce adenosine triphosphate, suggesting a capacity for dietary quality to mediate the link between mitochondrial genotype and longevity. Here, we measured longevity of male and female fruit flies, across a panel of genetic strains of Drosophila melanogaster, which vary only in their mitochondrial haplotype, when fed one of two isocaloric diets that differed in their protein-to-carbohydrate ratio. The mitochondrial haplotype affected the longevity of flies, but the pattern of these effects differed across the two diets in males, but not in females. We discuss the implications of these results in relation to an evolutionary theory linking maternal inheritance of mitochondria to the accumulation of male-harming mitochondrial mutations, and to the theory exploring the evolution of phenotypic plasticity to novel environments.

RevDate: 2019-04-30

Meyer EH, Welchen E, C Carrie (2019)

Assembly of the Complexes of the Oxidative Phosphorylation System in Land Plant Mitochondria.

Annual review of plant biology, 70:23-50.

Plant mitochondria play a major role during respiration by producing the ATP required for metabolism and growth. ATP is produced during oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS), a metabolic pathway coupling electron transfer with ADP phosphorylation via the formation and release of a proton gradient across the inner mitochondrial membrane. The OXPHOS system is composed of large, multiprotein complexes coordinating metal-containing cofactors for the transfer of electrons. In this review, we summarize the current state of knowledge about assembly of the OXPHOS complexes in land plants. We present the different steps involved in the formation of functional complexes and the regulatory mechanisms controlling the assembly pathways. Because several assembly steps have been found to be ancestral in plants-compared with those described in fungal and animal models-we discuss the evolutionary dynamics that lead to the conservation of ancestral pathways in land plant mitochondria.

RevDate: 2019-04-29

John U, Lu Y, Wohlrab S, et al (2019)

An aerobic eukaryotic parasite with functional mitochondria that likely lacks a mitochondrial genome.

Science advances, 5(4):eaav1110 pii:aav1110.

Dinoflagellates are microbial eukaryotes that have exceptionally large nuclear genomes; however, their organelle genomes are small and fragmented and contain fewer genes than those of other eukaryotes. The genus Amoebophrya (Syndiniales) comprises endoparasites with high genetic diversity that can infect other dinoflagellates, such as those forming harmful algal blooms (e.g., Alexandrium). We sequenced the genome (~100 Mb) of Amoebophrya ceratii to investigate the early evolution of genomic characters in dinoflagellates. The A. ceratii genome encodes almost all essential biosynthetic pathways for self-sustaining cellular metabolism, suggesting a limited dependency on its host. Although dinoflagellates are thought to have descended from a photosynthetic ancestor, A. ceratii appears to have completely lost its plastid and nearly all genes of plastid origin. Functional mitochondria persist in all life stages of A. ceratii, but we found no evidence for the presence of a mitochondrial genome. Instead, all mitochondrial proteins appear to be lost or encoded in the A. ceratii nucleus.

RevDate: 2019-04-29
CmpDate: 2019-04-29

Weber AA, Stöhr S, A Chenuil (2019)

Species delimitation in the presence of strong incomplete lineage sorting and hybridization: Lessons from Ophioderma (Ophiuroidea: Echinodermata).

Molecular phylogenetics and evolution, 131:138-148.

Accurate species delimitation is essential to properly assess biodiversity, but also for management and conservation purposes. Yet, it is not always trivial to accurately define species boundaries in closely related species due to incomplete lineage sorting. Additional difficulties may be caused by hybridization, now evidenced as a frequent phenomenon. The brittle star cryptic species complex Ophioderma longicauda encompasses six mitochondrial lineages, including broadcast spawners and internal brooders, yet the actual species boundaries are unknown. Here, we combined three methods to delimit species in the Ophioderma longicauda complex and to infer its divergence history: (i) unsupervised species discovery based on multilocus genotypes; (ii) divergence time estimation using the multi-species coalescent; (iii) divergence scenario testing (including gene flow) using Approximate Bayesian Computation (ABC) methods. 30 sequence markers (transcriptome-based, mitochondrial or non-coding) for 89 O. longicauda and outgroup individuals were used. First, multivariate analyses revealed six genetic clusters, which globally corresponded to the mitochondrial lineages, yet with many exceptions, suggesting ancient hybridization events and challenging traditional mitochondrial barcoding approaches. Second, multi-species coalescent-based analyses confirmed the occurrence of six species and provided divergence time estimates, but the sole use of this method failed to accurately delimit species, highlighting the power of multilocus genotype clustering to delimit recently diverged species. Finally, Approximate Bayesian Computation showed that the most likely scenario involves hybridization between brooders and broadcasters. Our study shows that despite strong incomplete lineage sorting and past hybridization, accurate species delimitation in Ophioderma was possible using a combination of complementary methods. We propose that these methods, especially multilocus genotype clustering, may be useful to resolve other complex speciation histories.

RevDate: 2019-04-29
CmpDate: 2019-04-29

Barthole G (2018)

[Never alone. Microorganism, ecology, evolution].

Medecine sciences : M/S, 34(6-7):604-607.

RevDate: 2019-04-24

Pogoda CS, Keepers KG, Nadiadi AY, et al (2019)

Genome streamlining via complete loss of introns has occurred multiple times in lichenized fungal mitochondria.

Ecology and evolution, 9(7):4245-4263 pii:ECE35056.

Reductions in genome size and complexity are a hallmark of obligate symbioses. The mitochondrial genome displays clear examples of these reductions, with the ancestral alpha-proteobacterial genome size and gene number having been reduced by orders of magnitude in most descendent modern mitochondrial genomes. Here, we examine patterns of mitochondrial evolution specifically looking at intron size, number, and position across 58 species from 21 genera of lichenized Ascomycete fungi, representing a broad range of fungal diversity and niches. Our results show that the cox1gene always contained the highest number of introns out of all the mitochondrial protein-coding genes, that high intron sequence similarity (>90%) can be maintained between different genera, and that lichens have undergone at least two instances of complete, genome-wide intron loss consistent with evidence for genome streamlining via loss of parasitic, noncoding DNA, in Phlyctis boliviensisand Graphis lineola. Notably, however, lichenized fungi have not only undergone intron loss but in some instances have expanded considerably in size due to intron proliferation (e.g., Alectoria fallacina and Parmotrema neotropicum), even between closely related sister species (e.g., Cladonia). These results shed light on the highly dynamic mitochondrial evolution that is occurring in lichens and suggest that these obligate symbiotic organisms are in some cases undergoing recent, broad-scale genome streamlining via loss of protein-coding genes as well as noncoding, parasitic DNA elements.

RevDate: 2019-04-23

Titov VN, Sazhina NN, NМ Evteeva (2019)

[Ozone oxidizes oleic fatty acid with the highest rate constant and does not oxidize palmitic acid. Different physicochemical parameters of substrates and their role in phylogenesis.].

Klinicheskaia laboratornaia diagnostika, 64(3):132-139.

Physicochemical differences between О3 oxidation parameters for palmitic and oleic fatty acids (FA) during phylogenesis (evolution) are fundamental for а) production of palmitoleic monounsaturated fatty (MFA), b) formation of carnitine palmitoyltransferase as a FA transporter to mitochondria, and c) in vivo production of oleic MFA under humoral regulatory effect of insulin. In the strive for the best kinetic parameters of biological organisms without a possibility of modifying physicochemical and biochemical reactions in the mitochondrial matrix, the mitochondria can be provided with a substrate that increases energy production efficiency and the amount of ATP. Physicochemical parameters of oleic MFA has become the standard of an oxidation substrate for in vivo energy production; this MFA was synthesized in organisms for millions of years. Environmental influences are the second factor which determines kinetic perfection of biological organisms during phylogenesis. Are these influences always beneficial? Mostly, they are not. However, they largely stimulate adaptive functions of the organism, including the biological function of locomotion, cognitive function and the function of positioning in the environment. Biological, energy and kinetic perfection formed in vivo can be easily destroyed if phylogenetically herbivorous Homo sapiens abuses the diet of carnivorous animals (meat) which was not consumed by him and his ancestors during phylogenesis. This abuse is the major cause of metabolic pandemias in human population. They are: insulin resistance, atherosclerosis and atheromatosis, obesity and nonalcoholic liver disease. The most effective measures preventing metabolic pandemias, cardiac heart disease and myocardial infarction are extremely simple. People should remain herbivorous.

RevDate: 2019-04-23

Hsu J, Reilly A, Hayes BJ, et al (2019)

Reprogramming identifies functionally distinct stages of clonal evolution in myelodysplastic syndromes.

Blood pii:blood.2018884338 [Epub ahead of print].

Myeloid neoplasms, including myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), are genetically heterogeneous disorders driven by clonal acquisition of somatic mutations in hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HPCs). The order of premalignant mutations and their impact on HPC self-renewal and differentiation remain poorly understood. We demonstrate that episomal reprogramming of MDS patient samples generates induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from single premalignant cells with a partial complement of mutations, directly informing the temporal order of mutations in the individual patient. Reprogramming preferentially captured early subclones with fewer mutations, which were rare among single patient cells. To evaluate the functional impact of clonal evolution in individual patients, we differentiated isogenic MDS-iPSCs harboring up to four successive clonal abnormalities recapitulating a progressive decrease in hematopoietic differentiation potential. SF3B1, in concert with epigenetic mutations, perturbed mitochondrial function leading to accumulation of damaged mitochondria during disease progression, resulting in apoptosis and ineffective erythropoiesis. Reprogramming also informed the order of premalignant mutations in patients with complex karyotype, and identified 5q deletion [del(5q)] as an early cytogenetic anomaly. Del(5q) cooperated with TP53 mutations to regulate genome stability promoting acquisition of structural and karyotypic abnormalities. Reprogramming thus enables molecular and functional interrogation of preleukemic clonal evolution, identifying mitochondrial function and chromosome stability as key pathways impacted by acquisition of somatic mutations in MDS.

RevDate: 2019-04-20

Tobler M, Barts N, R Greenway (2019)

Mitochondria and the origin of species: bridging genetic and ecological perspectives on speciation processes.

Integrative and comparative biology pii:5475603 [Epub ahead of print].

Mitochondria have been known to be involved in speciation through the generation of Dobzhansky-Muller incompatibilities, where functionally neutral co-evolution between mitochondrial and nuclear genomes can cause dysfunction when alleles are recombined in hybrids. We propose that adaptive mitochondrial divergence between populations can not only produce intrinsic (Dobzhansky-Muller) incompatibilities, but could also contribute to reproductive isolation through natural and sexual selection against migrants, post-mating prezygotic isolation, as well as by causing extrinsic reductions in hybrid fitness. We describe how these reproductive isolating barriers can potentially arise through adaptive divergence of mitochondrial function in the absence of mito-nuclear coevolution, a departure from more established views. While a role for mitochondria in the speciation process appears promising, we also highlight critical gaps of knowledge: (1) many systems with a potential for mitochondrially-mediated reproductive isolation lack crucial evidence directly linking reproductive isolation and mitochondrial function; (2) it often remains to be seen if mitochondrial barriers are a driver or a consequence of reproductive isolation; (3) the presence of substantial gene flow in the presence of mito-nuclear incompatibilities raises questions whether such incompatibilities are strong enough to drive speciation to completion; and (4) it remains to be tested how mitochondrial effects on reproductive isolation compare when multiple mechanisms of reproductive isolation coincide. We hope this perspective and the proposed research plans help to inform future studies of mitochondrial adaptation in a manner that links genotypic changes to phenotypic adaptations, fitness, and reproductive isolation in natural systems, helping to clarify the importance of mitochondria in the formation and maintenance of biological diversity.

RevDate: 2019-04-19

Meany MK, Conner WR, Richter SV, et al (2019)

Loss of cytoplasmic incompatibility and minimal fecundity effects explain relatively low Wolbachia frequencies in Drosophila mauritiana.

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

Maternally transmitted Wolbachia bacteria infect about half of all insect species. Many Wolbachia cause cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI), reduced egg hatch when uninfected females mate with infected males. Although CI produces a frequency-dependent fitness advantage that leads to high equilibrium Wolbachia frequencies, it does not aid Wolbachia spread from low frequencies. Indeed, the fitness advantages that produce initial Wolbachia spread and maintain non-CI Wolbachia remain elusive. wMau Wolbachia infecting Drosophila mauritiana do not cause CI, despite being very similar to CI-causing wNo from D. simulans (0.068% sequence divergence over 682,494 bp), suggesting recent CI loss. Using draft wMau genomes, we identify a deletion in a CI-associated gene, consistent with theory predicting that selection within host lineages does not act to increase or maintain CI. In the laboratory, wMau shows near-perfect maternal transmission; but we find no significant effect on host fecundity, in contrast to published data. Intermediate wMau frequencies on the island Mauritius are consistent with a balance between unidentified small, positive fitness effects and imperfect maternal transmission. Our phylogenomic analyses suggest that group-B Wolbachia, including wMau and wPip, diverged from group-A Wolbachia, such as wMel and wRi, 6-46 million years ago, more recently than previously estimated. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2019-04-19

Nibert ML, Debat HJ, Manny AR, et al (2019)

Mitovirus and Mitochondrial Coding Sequences from Basal Fungus Entomophthora muscae.

Viruses, 11(4): pii:v11040351.

Fungi constituting the Entomophthora muscae species complex (members of subphylum Entomophthoromycotina, phylum Zoopagamycota) commonly kill their insect hosts and manipulate host behaviors in the process. In this study, we made use of public transcriptome data to identify and characterize eight new species of mitoviruses associated with several different E. muscae isolates. Mitoviruses are simple RNA viruses that replicate in host mitochondria and are frequently found in more phylogenetically apical fungi (members of subphylum Glomeromyoctina, phylum Mucoromycota, phylum Basidiomycota and phylum Ascomycota) as well as in plants. E. muscae is the first fungus from phylum Zoopagomycota, and thereby the most phylogenetically basal fungus, found to harbor mitoviruses to date. Multiple UGA (Trp) codons are found not only in each of the new mitovirus sequences from E. muscae but also in mitochondrial core-gene coding sequences newly assembled from E. muscae transcriptome data, suggesting that UGA (Trp) is not a rarely used codon in the mitochondria of this fungus. The presence of mitoviruses in these basal fungi has possible implications for the evolution of these viruses.

RevDate: 2019-04-18

Kanchan S, Sharma P, S Chowdhury (2019)

Evolution of endonuclease IV protein family: an in silico analysis.

3 Biotech, 9(5):168.

DNA repair is one of the key cellular events which balances between evolvability and integrity of the genome. Endonuclease IV enzymes are class II AP endonucleases under base excision repair pathway which act on abasic site and break the phosphodiester bond at the 5' side. The role and activity of endonuclease IV proteins vary among different organisms; even it is absent in higher eukaryotes. The evolution of this protein family was studied by analyzing all homologs of the endonuclease IV protein family through different in silico techniques including phylogenetic tree generation and model building. The sequence analysis revealed four consensus sequence motifs within the AP2EC domain which are functionally important and conserved throughout the evolution process. It was also observed that the species and endonuclease IV gene evolution shape up differently in most of the organisms. Presence of the mitochondria-targeted signal peptides in fungal species Saccharomyces and Coccidioides suggest a possible endosymbiotic transfer of endonuclease IV genes to lower eukaryotes. Evolutionary changes among various clades in the protein-based phylogenetic tree have been investigated by comparison of homology models which suggests the conservation of overall fold of endonuclease IV proteins except for few alterations in loop orientation in few clades.

RevDate: 2019-04-13

Johri P, Marinov GK, Doak TG, et al (2019)

Population genetics of Paramecium mitochondrial genomes: recombination, mutation spectrum, and efficacy of selection.

Genome biology and evolution pii:5454724 [Epub ahead of print].

The evolution of mitochondrial genomes and their population-genetic environment among unicellular eukaryotes are understudied. Ciliate mitochondrial genomes exhibit a unique combination of characteristics, including a linear organization and the presence of multiple genes with no known function or detectable homologs in other eukaryotes. Here we study the variation of ciliate mitochondrial genomes both within and across thirteen highly diverged Paramecium species, including multiple species from the P. aurelia species complex, with four outgroup species: P. caudatum, P. multimicronucleatum, and two strains that may represent novel related species. We observe extraordinary conservation of gene order and protein-coding content in Paramecium mitochondria across species. In contrast, significant differences are observed in tRNA content and copy number, which is highly conserved in species belonging to the P. aurelia complex but variable among and even within the other Paramecium species. There is an increase in GC content from ∼20% to ∼40% on the branch leading to the P. aurelia complex. Patterns of polymorphism in population-genomic data and mutation-accumulation experiments suggest that the increase in GC content is primarily due to changes in the mutation spectra in the P. aurelia species. Finally, we find no evidence of recombination in Paramecium mitochondria and find that the mitochondrial genome appears to experience either similar or stronger efficacy of purifying selection than the nucleus.

RevDate: 2019-04-10

Garcia LE, Zubko MK, Zubko EI, et al (2019)

Elucidating genomic patterns and recombination events in plant cybrid mitochondria.

Plant molecular biology pii:10.1007/s11103-019-00869-z [Epub ahead of print].

KEY MESSAGE: Cybrid plant mitochondria undergo homologous recombination, mainly BIR, keep a single allele for each gene, and maintain exclusive sequences of each parent and a single copy of the homologous regions. The maintenance of a dynamic equilibrium between the mitochondrial and nuclear genomes requires continuous communication and a high level of compatibility between them, so that alterations in one genetic compartment need adjustments in the other. The co-evolution of nuclear and mitochondrial genomes has been poorly studied, even though the consequences and effects of this interaction are highly relevant for human health, as well as for crop improvement programs and for genetic engineering. The mitochondria of plants represent an excellent system to understand the mechanisms of genomic rearrangements, chimeric gene formation, incompatibility between nucleus and cytoplasm, and horizontal gene transfer. We carried out detailed analyses of the mtDNA of a repeated cybrid between the solanaceae Nicotiana tabacum and Hyoscyamus niger. The mtDNA of the cybrid was intermediate between the size of the parental mtDNAs and the sum of them. Noticeably, most of the homologous sequences inherited from both parents were lost. In contrast, the majority of the sequences exclusive of a single parent were maintained. The mitochondrial gene content included a majority of N. tabacum derived genes, but also chimeric, two-parent derived, and H. niger-derived genes in a tobacco nuclear background. Any of these alterations in the gene content could be the cause of CMS in the cybrid. The parental mtDNAs interacted through 28 homologous recombination events and a single case of illegitimate recombination. Three main homologous recombination mechanisms were recognized in the cybrid mitochondria. Break induced replication (BIR) pathway was the most frequent. We propose that BIR could be one of the mechanisms responsible for the loss of the majority of the repeated regions derived from H. niger.

RevDate: 2019-04-10

Mays JN, Camacho-Villasana Y, Garcia-Villegas R, et al (2019)

The mitoribosome-specific protein mS38 is preferentially required for synthesis of cytochrome c oxidase subunits.

Nucleic acids research pii:5436776 [Epub ahead of print].

Message-specific translational regulation mechanisms shape the biogenesis of multimeric oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) enzyme in mitochondria from the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. These mechanisms, driven mainly by the action of mRNA-specific translational activators, help to coordinate synthesis of OXPHOS catalytic subunits by the mitoribosomes with both the import of their nucleus-encoded partners and their assembly to form the holocomplexes. However, little is known regarding the role that the mitoribosome itself may play in mRNA-specific translational regulation. Here, we show that the mitoribosome small subunit protein Cox24/mS38, known to be necessary for mitoribosome-specific intersubunit bridge formation and 15S rRNA H44 stabilization, is required for efficient mitoribogenesis. Consequently, mS38 is necessary to sustain the overall mitochondrial protein synthesis rate, despite an adaptive ∼2-fold increase in mitoribosome abundance in mS38-deleted cells. Additionally, the absence of mS38 preferentially disturbs translation initiation of COX1, COX2, and COX3 mRNAs, without affecting the levels of mRNA-specific translational activators. We propose that mS38 confers the mitochondrial ribosome an intrinsic capacity of translational regulation, probably acquired during evolution from bacterial ribosomes to facilitate the translation of mitochondrial mRNAs, which lack typical anti-Shine-Dalgarno sequences.

RevDate: 2019-04-10

Nelson ED, NV Grishin (2019)

How Often Do Protein Genes Navigate Valleys of Low Fitness?.

Genes, 10(4): pii:genes10040283.

To escape from local fitness peaks, a population must navigate across valleys of low fitness. How these transitions occur, and what role they play in adaptation, have been subjects of active interest in evolutionary genetics for almost a century. However, to our knowledge, this problem has never been addressed directly by considering the evolution of a gene, or group of genes, as a whole, including the complex effects of fitness interactions among multiple loci. Here, we use a precise model of protein fitness to compute the probability P (s , Δ t) that an allele, randomly sampled from a population at time t, has crossed a fitness valley of depth s during an interval t - Δ t , t in the immediate past. We study populations of model genes evolving under equilibrium conditions consistent with those in mammalian mitochondria. From this data, we estimate that genes encoding small protein motifs navigate fitness valleys of depth 2 N s ≳ 30 with probability P ≳ 0 . 1 on a time scale of human evolution, where N is the (mitochondrial) effective population size. The results are consistent with recent findings for Watson⁻Crick switching in mammalian mitochondrial tRNA molecules.

RevDate: 2019-04-10

Hirakawa Y, A Watanabe (2019)

Organellar DNA Polymerases in Complex Plastid-Bearing Algae.

Biomolecules, 9(4): pii:biom9040140.

DNA replication in plastids and mitochondria is generally regulated by nucleus-encoded proteins. In plants and red algae, a nucleus-encoded enzyme called POP (plant and protist organellar DNA polymerase) is involved in DNA replication in both organelles by virtue of its dual localization. POPs are family A DNA polymerases, which include bacterial DNA polymerase I (PolI). POP homologs have been found in a wide range of eukaryotes, including plants, algae, and non-photosynthetic protists. However, the phylogeny and subcellular localizations of POPs remain unclear in many algae, especially in secondary and tertiary plastid-bearing groups. In this study, we report that chlorarachniophytes possess two evolutionarily distinct POPs, and fluorescent protein-tagging experiments demonstrate that they are targeted to the secondary plastids and mitochondria, respectively. The timing of DNA replication is different between the two organelles in the chlorarachniophyte Bigelowiella natans, and this seems to be correlated to the transcription of respective POP genes. Dinoflagellates also carry two distinct POP genes, possibly for their plastids and mitochondria, whereas haptophytes and ochrophytes have only one. Therefore, unlike plants, some algal groups are likely to have evolved multiple DNA polymerases for various organelles. This study provides a new insight into the evolution of organellar DNA replication in complex plastid-bearing organisms.

RevDate: 2019-04-06

Duvvuri B, C Lood (2019)

Cell-Free DNA as a Biomarker in Autoimmune Rheumatic Diseases.

Frontiers in immunology, 10:502.

Endogenous DNA is primarily found intracellularly in nuclei and mitochondria. However, extracellular, cell-free (cf) DNA, has been observed in several pathological conditions, including autoimmune diseases, prompting the interest of developing cfDNA as a potential biomarker. There is an upsurge in studies considering cfDNA to stratify patients, monitor the treatment response and predict disease progression, thus evaluating the prognostic potential of cfDNA for autoimmune diseases. Since the discovery of elevated cfDNA levels in lupus patients in the 1960s, cfDNA research in autoimmune diseases has mainly focused on the overall quantification of cfDNA and the association with disease activity. However, with recent technological advancements, including genomic and methylomic sequencing, qualitative changes in cfDNA are being explored in autoimmune diseases, similar to the ones used in molecular profiling of cfDNA in cancer patients. Further, the intracellular origin, e.g., if derived from mitochondrial or nuclear source, as well as the complexing with carrier molecules, including LL-37 and HMGB1, has emerged as important factors to consider when analyzing the quality and inflammatory potential of cfDNA. The clinical relevance of cfDNA in autoimmune rheumatic diseases is strengthened by mechanistic insights into the biological processes that result in an enhanced release of DNA into the circulation during autoimmune and inflammatory conditions. Prior work have established an important role of accelerated apoptosis and impaired clearance in leakage of nucleic acids into the extracellular environment. Findings from more recent studies, including our own investigations, have demonstrated that NETosis, a neutrophil cell death process, can result in a selective extrusion of inflammatory mitochondrial DNA; a process which is enhanced in patients with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. In this review, we will summarize the evolution of cfDNA, both nuclear and mitochondrial DNA, as biomarkers for autoimmune rheumatic diseases and discuss limitations, challenges and implications to establish cfDNA as a biomarker for clinical use. This review will also highlight recent advancements in mechanistic studies demonstrating mitochondrial DNA as a central component of cfDNA in autoimmune rheumatic diseases.

RevDate: 2019-04-06

Moelling K, F Broecker (2019)

Viruses and Evolution - Viruses First? A Personal Perspective.

Frontiers in microbiology, 10:523.

The discovery of exoplanets within putative habitable zones revolutionized astrobiology in recent years. It stimulated interest in the question about the origin of life and its evolution. Here, we discuss what the roles of viruses might have been at the beginning of life and during evolution. Viruses are the most abundant biological entities on Earth. They are present everywhere, in our surrounding, the oceans, the soil and in every living being. Retroviruses contributed to about half of our genomic sequences and to the evolution of the mammalian placenta. Contemporary viruses reflect evolution ranging from the RNA world to the DNA-protein world. How far back can we trace their contribution? Earliest replicating and evolving entities are the ribozymes or viroids fulfilling several criteria of life. RNA can perform many aspects of life and influences our gene expression until today. The simplest structures with non-protein-coding information may represent models of life built on structural, not genetic information. Viruses today are obligatory parasites depending on host cells. Examples of how an independent lifestyle might have been lost include mitochondria, chloroplasts, Rickettsia and others, which used to be autonomous bacteria and became intracellular parasites or endosymbionts, thereby losing most of their genes. Even in vitro the loss of genes can be recapitulated all the way from coding to non-coding RNA. Furthermore, the giant viruses may indicate that there is no sharp border between living and non-living entities but an evolutionary continuum. Here, it is discussed how viruses can lose and gain genes, and that they are essential drivers of evolution. This discussion may stimulate the thinking about viruses as early possible forms of life. Apart from our view "viruses first", there are others such as "proteins first" and "metabolism first."

RevDate: 2019-04-02

Lama S, Broda M, Abbas Z, et al (2019)

Neofunctionalization of Mitochondrial Proteins and Incorporation into Signaling Networks in Plants.

Molecular biology and evolution pii:5342043 [Epub ahead of print].

Because of their symbiotic origin, many mitochondrial proteins are well conserved across eukaryotic kingdoms. It is however less obvious how specific lineages have obtained novel nuclear-encoded mitochondrial proteins. Here, we report a case of mitochondrial neofunctionalization in plants. Phylogenetic analysis of genes containing the Domain of Unknown Function 295 (DUF295) revealed that the domain likely originated in Angiosperms. The C-terminal DUF295 domain is usually accompanied by an N-terminal F-box domain, involved in ubiquitin ligation via binding with ASK1/SKP1-type proteins. Due to gene duplication, the gene family has expanded rapidly, with 94 DUF295-related genes in Arabidopsis thaliana alone. Two DUF295 family subgroups have uniquely evolved and quickly expanded within Brassicaceae. One of these subgroups has completely lost the F-box, but instead obtained strongly predicted mitochondrial targeting peptides. We show that several representatives of this DUF295 Organellar group are effectively targeted to plant mitochondria and chloroplasts. Furthermore, many DUF295 Organellar genes are induced by mitochondrial dysfunction, whereas F-Box DUF295 genes are not. In agreement, several Brassicaceae-specific DUF295 Organellar genes were incorporated in the evolutionary much older ANAC017-dependent mitochondrial retrograde signaling pathway. Finally, a representative set of DUF295 T-DNA insertion mutants was created. No obvious aberrant phenotypes during normal growth and mitochondrial dysfunction were observed, most likely due to the large extent of gene duplication and redundancy. Overall, this study provides insight into how novel mitochondrial proteins can be created via "intercompartmental" gene duplication events. Moreover, our analysis shows that these newly evolved genes can then be specifically integrated into relevant, pre-existing coexpression networks.

RevDate: 2019-04-04

Degli Esposti M, Mentel M, Martin W, et al (2019)

Oxygen Reductases in Alphaproteobacterial Genomes: Physiological Evolution From Low to High Oxygen Environments.

Frontiers in microbiology, 10:499.

Oxygen reducing terminal oxidases differ with respect to their subunit composition, heme groups, operon structure, and affinity for O2. Six families of terminal oxidases are currently recognized, all of which occur in alphaproteobacterial genomes, two of which are also present in mitochondria. Many alphaproteobacteria encode several different terminal oxidases, likely reflecting ecological versatility with respect to oxygen levels. Terminal oxidase evolution likely started with the advent of O2 roughly 2.4 billion years ago and terminal oxidases diversified in the Proterozoic, during which oxygen levels remained low, around the Pasteur point (ca. 2 μM O2). Among the alphaproteobacterial genomes surveyed, those from members of the Rhodospirillaceae reveal the greatest diversity in oxygen reductases. Some harbor all six terminal oxidase types, in addition to many soluble enzymes typical of anaerobic fermentations in mitochondria and hydrogenosomes of eukaryotes. Recent data have it that O2 levels increased to current values (21% v/v or ca. 250 μM) only about 430 million years ago. Ecological adaptation brought forth different lineages of alphaproteobacteria and different lineages of eukaryotes that have undergone evolutionary specialization to high oxygen, low oxygen, and anaerobic habitats. Some have remained facultative anaerobes that are able to generate ATP with or without the help of oxygen and represent physiological links to the ancient proteobacterial lineage at the origin of mitochondria and eukaryotes. Our analysis reveals that the genomes of alphaproteobacteria appear to retain signatures of ancient transitions in aerobic metabolism, findings that are relevant to mitochondrial evolution in eukaryotes as well.

RevDate: 2019-04-08

Zimorski V, Mentel M, Tielens AGM, et al (2019)

Energy metabolism in anaerobic eukaryotes and Earth's late oxygenation.

Free radical biology & medicine pii:S0891-5849(18)32400-6 [Epub ahead of print].

Eukaryotes arose about 1.6 billion years ago, at a time when oxygen levels were still very low on Earth, both in the atmosphere and in the ocean. According to newer geochemical data, oxygen rose to approximately its present atmospheric levels very late in evolution, perhaps as late as the origin of land plants (only about 450 million years ago). It is therefore natural that many lineages of eukaryotes harbor, and use, enzymes for oxygen-independent energy metabolism. This paper provides a concise overview of anaerobic energy metabolism in eukaryotes with a focus on anaerobic energy metabolism in mitochondria. We also address the widespread assumption that oxygen improves the overall energetic state of a cell. While it is true that ATP yield from glucose or amino acids is increased in the presence of oxygen, it is also true that the synthesis of biomass costs thirteen times more energy per cell in the presence of oxygen than in anoxic conditions. This is because in the reaction of cellular biomass with O2, the equilibrium lies very far on the side of CO2. The absence of oxygen offers energetic benefits of the same magnitude as the presence of oxygen. Anaerobic and low oxygen environments are ancient. During evolution, some eukaryotes have specialized to life in permanently oxic environments (life on land), other eukaryotes have remained specialized to low oxygen habitats. We suggest that the Km of mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase of 0.1-10 μM for O2, which corresponds to about 0.04%-4% (avg. 0.4%) of present atmospheric O2 levels, reflects environmental O2 concentrations that existed at the time that the eukaryotes arose.

RevDate: 2019-03-30

Vays VB, Vangeli IM, Eldarov CM, et al (2019)

Mitochondria in Obliquely Striated Muscles of the Horsehair Worm Gordionus alpestris (Nematomorpha, Gordioidea) with Structural Organization Typical of Cells with Energy-Intensive Processes.

Biochemistry. Biokhimiia, 84(1):56-61.

The ultrastructure of mitochondria in the flattened circomyarian fibers of the horsehair worm Gordionus alpestris (Nemathelminthes) was examined. In contrast to the previously published data, we showed these mitochondria to be giant elongated organelles that densely fill the central cytoplasmic space of the ribbon-like muscle fibers. No fundamental differences were found in the ultrastructure of the muscle tissue mitochondria in actively moving free-living and parasitic G. alpestris worms. The functional significance of the observed ultrastructural organization of mitochondria is discussed in connection with the necessity for an extended mitochondrial membrane system for a uniform supply of active muscle tissue with energy.

RevDate: 2019-03-29

Sudianto E, SM Chaw (2019)

Two independent plastid accD transfers to the nuclear genome of Gnetum and other insights on acetyl-CoA carboxylase evolution in gymnosperms.

Genome biology and evolution pii:5423182 [Epub ahead of print].

Acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACCase) is the key regulator of fatty acid biosynthesis. In most plants, ACCase exists in two locations (cytosol and plastids) and in two forms (homomeric and heteromeric). Heteromeric ACCase comprises four subunits, three of them (ACCA-C) are nuclear-encoded (nr) and the fourth (ACCD) is usually plastid-encoded. Homomeric ACCase is encoded by a single nr-gene (ACC). We investigated the ACCase gene evolution in gymnosperms by examining the transcriptomes of newly sequenced Gnetum ula, combined with 75 transcriptomes and 110 plastomes of other gymnosperms. AccD coding sequences are elongated through the insertion of repetitive DNA in four out of five cupressophyte families (except Sciadopityaceae) and were functionally transferred to the nucleus of gnetophytes and Sciadopitys. We discovered that, among the three genera of gnetophytes, only Gnetum has two copies of nr-accD. Furthermore, using protoplast transient expression assays, we experimentally verified that the nr-accD precursor proteins in Gnetum and Sciadopitys can be delivered to the plastids. Of the two nr-accD copies of Gnetum, one dually targets plastids and mitochondria, while the other potentially targets plastoglobuli. The distinct transit peptides, gene architectures, and flanking sequences between the two Gnetum accDs suggest they have independent origins. Our findings are the first account of two distinctly targeted nr-accDs of any green plants and the most comprehensive analyses of ACCase evolution in gymnosperms to date.

RevDate: 2019-04-06

Aizawa S, Brar G, H Tsukamoto (2019)

Cell Death and Liver Disease.

Gut and liver pii:gnl18486 [Epub ahead of print].

Cell death is now reclassified into several types based on the mechanisms and morphologic phenotype. Understanding of such classifications offers insights into the pathogenesis of liver disease, as well as diagnostic or therapeutic implications. Apoptosis is recognized relatively easily due to its unique morphology, but lytic cell death may occur in the form of accidental necrosis, mitochondria permeability transition-driven necrosis, necroptosis, pyroptosis, ferroptosis, and parthanatos. The cell may be engulfed by neighboring cells due to a loss of integrin signaling or cancer cell competition by entosis, a type of cell death. The classification also includes mechanistically termed cell death such as autophagy-dependent cell death and lysosome-dependent cell death. These different types of cell death may occur uniquely in certain liver diseases but may coexist in the evolution of the disease. They occur in parenchymal and nonparenchymal liver cells, as well as inflammatory cells, causing distinct pathologic consequences. This review briefly covers the recently revised classifications of cell death and discusses their relevance to liver diseases of different etiologies.

RevDate: 2019-03-26

Weaver RJ (2019)

Hypothesized evolutionary consequences of the alternative oxidase (AOX) in animal mitochondria.

Integrative and comparative biology pii:5420160 [Epub ahead of print].

The environment in which eukaryotes first evolved was drastically different from what they experience today, and one of the key limiting factors was the availability of oxygen for mitochondrial respiration. During the transition to a fully oxygenated Earth, other compounds such as sulfide posed a considerable constraint on using mitochondrial aerobic respiration for energy production. The ancestors of animals, and those that first evolved from the simpler eukaryotes have mitochondrial respiratory components that are absent from later-evolving animals. Specifically, mitochondria of most basal metazoans have a sulfide-resistant alternative oxidase (AOX), which provides a secondary oxidative pathway to the classical cytochrome pathway. In this essay, I argue that because of its resistance to sulfide, AOX respiration was critical to the evolution of animals by enabling oxidative metabolism under otherwise inhibitory conditions. I hypothesize that AOX allowed for metabolic flexibility during the stochastic oxygen environment of early Earth which shaped the evolution of basal metazoans. I briefly describe the known functions of AOX, with a particular focus on the decreased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) during stress conditions. Then, I propose three evolutionary consequences of AOX-mediated protection from ROS observed in basal metazoans: 1) adaptation to stressful environments, 2) the persistence of facultative sexual reproduction, and 3) decreased mitochondrial DNA mutation rates. Recognizing the diversity of mitochondrial respiratory systems present in animals may help resolve the mechanisms involved in major evolutionary processes such as adaptation and speciation.

RevDate: 2019-03-26

Arocena M, Landeira M, Di Paolo A, et al (2019)

Using a variant of coverslip hypoxia to visualize tumor cell alterations at increasing distances from an oxygen source.

Journal of cellular physiology [Epub ahead of print].

Early stages in tumor development involve growth in confined spaces, where oxygen diffusion is limited and metabolic waste products accumulate. This hostile microenvironment imposes strong selective pressures on tumor cells, leading eventually to the survival and expansion of aggressive subclones that condition further tumor evolution. To model features of this microenvironment in vitro, a diffusional barrier can be introduced in the form of a coverslip placed on top of cells, a method termed coverslip hypoxia. Using a variant of this method, with larger volume between coverslip and cells and with oxygen diffusion occurring only through a small hole in the center of the coverslip, we have visualized alterations in LNCaP tumor cells as a function of their distance to the oxygen source at the center. We observed remarkable morphological changes in LNCaP cells as the distance from the center increases, with cells becoming highly spread, displaying dynamic membrane protrusions and occasionally adopting a migratory phenotype. Concomitantly, cells farther from the center displayed marked increases in the hypoxia marker hypoxyprobe, whereas extracellular pH decreased in the same direction. Cells with altered morphology displayed prominent increases in fibrillar actin, as well as swollen mitochondria with distorted cristae and accumulation of neutral lipid-containing intracellular vesicles. These results show that an in vitro microenvironment that models diffusional barriers encountered by tumors in situ can have profound effects on tumor cells. The coverslip hypoxia variant we describe can be used to characterize in vitro the response of tumor cells to environmental conditions that play crucial roles in early tumor development.

RevDate: 2019-03-25
CmpDate: 2019-03-25

Liu W, Liu Q, Zhang Z, et al (2019)

Three-dimensional super-resolution imaging of live whole cells using galvanometer-based structured illumination microscopy.

Optics express, 27(5):7237-7248.

Imaging and tracking three-dimensional (3D) nanoscale organizations and functions of live cells is essential for biological research but it remains challenging. Among different 3D super-resolution techniques, 3D structured illumination microscopy (SIM) has the intrinsic advantages for live-cell studies; it is based on wide-field imaging and does not require high light intensities or special fluorescent dyes to double 3D resolution. However, the 3D SIM system has developed relatively slowly, especially in live imaging. Here, we report a more flexible 3D SIM system based on two galvanometer sets conveniently controlling the structured illumination pattern's period and orientation, which is able to study dynamics of live whole cells with high speed. We demonstrate our microscope's capabilities with strong optical sectioning and lateral, axial, and volume temporal resolution of 104 nm, 320 nm and 4 s, respectively. We do this by imaging nanoparticle and microtubule organizations and mitochondria evolution. These characteristics enable our galvanometer-based 3D SIM system to broaden the accessible imaging content of SIM-family microscopes and further facilitate their applications in life sciences.

RevDate: 2019-04-12

Dorrell RG, Azuma T, Nomura M, et al (2019)

Principles of plastid reductive evolution illuminated by nonphotosynthetic chrysophytes.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 116(14):6914-6923.

The division of life into producers and consumers is blurred by evolution. For example, eukaryotic phototrophs can lose the capacity to photosynthesize, although they may retain vestigial plastids that perform other essential cellular functions. Chrysophyte algae have undergone a particularly large number of photosynthesis losses. Here, we present a plastid genome sequence from a nonphotosynthetic chrysophyte, "Spumella" sp. NIES-1846, and show that it has retained a nearly identical set of plastid-encoded functions as apicomplexan parasites. Our transcriptomic analysis of 12 different photosynthetic and nonphotosynthetic chrysophyte lineages reveals remarkable convergence in the functions of these nonphotosynthetic plastids, along with informative lineage-specific retentions and losses. At one extreme, Cornospumella fuschlensis retains many photosynthesis-associated proteins, although it appears to have lost the reductive pentose phosphate pathway and most plastid amino acid metabolism pathways. At the other extreme, Paraphysomonas lacks plastid-targeted proteins associated with gene expression and all metabolic pathways that require plastid-encoded partners, indicating a complete loss of plastid DNA in this genus. Intriguingly, some of the nucleus-encoded proteins that once functioned in the expression of the Paraphysomonas plastid genome have been retained. These proteins were likely to have been dual targeted to the plastid and mitochondria of the chrysophyte ancestor, and are uniquely targeted to the mitochondria in Paraphysomonas Our comparative analyses provide insights into the process of functional reduction in nonphotosynthetic plastids.

RevDate: 2019-03-13

Le Vasseur M, Chen VC, Huang K, et al (2019)

Pannexin 2 Localizes at ER-Mitochondria Contact Sites.

Cancers, 11(3): pii:cancers11030343.

Endomembrane specialization allows functional compartmentalization but imposes physical constraints to information flow within the cell. However, the evolution of an endomembrane system was associated with the emergence of contact sites facilitating communication between membrane-bound organelles. Contact sites between the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and mitochondria are highly conserved in terms of their morphological features but show surprising molecular diversity within and across eukaryote species. ER-mitochondria contact sites are thought to regulate key processes in oncogenesis but their molecular composition remains poorly characterized in mammalian cells. In this study, we investigate the localization of pannexin 2 (Panx2), a membrane channel protein showing tumor-suppressing properties in cancer cells. Using a combination of subcellular fractionation, particle tracking in live-cell, and immunogold electron microscopy, we show that Panx2 localizes at ER-mitochondria contact sites in mammalian cells and sensitizes cells to apoptotic stimuli.

RevDate: 2019-03-29

Oldenkott B, Yang Y, Lesch E, et al (2019)

Plant-type pentatricopeptide repeat proteins with a DYW domain drive C-to-U RNA editing in Escherichia coli.

Communications biology, 2:85 pii:328.

RNA editing converting cytidines into uridines is a hallmark of gene expression in land plant chloroplasts and mitochondria. Pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) proteins have a key role in target recognition, but the functional editosome in the plant organelles has remained elusive. Here we show that individual Physcomitrella patens DYW-type PPR proteins alone can perform efficient C-to-U editing in Escherichia coli reproducing the moss mitochondrial editing. Single amino acid exchanges in the DYW domain abolish RNA editing, confirming it as the functional cytidine deaminase. The modification of RNA targets and the identification of numerous off-targets in the E. coli transcriptome reveal nucleotide identities critical for RNA recognition and cytidine conversion. The straightforward amenability of the new E. coli setup will accelerate future studies on RNA target recognition through PPRs, on the C-to-U editing deamination machinery and towards future establishment of transcript editing in other genetic systems.

RevDate: 2019-03-29

Telschow A, Gadau J, Werren JH, et al (2019)

Genetic Incompatibilities Between Mitochondria and Nuclear Genes: Effect on Gene Flow and Speciation.

Frontiers in genetics, 10:62.

The process of speciation is, according to the biological species concept, the reduction in gene flow between genetically diverging populations. Most of the previous theoretical studies analyzed the effect of nuclear genetic incompatibilities on gene flow. There is, however, an increasing number of empirical examples suggesting that cytoplasmically inherited genetic elements play an important role in speciation. Here, we present a theoretical analysis of mitochondrial driven speciation, in which genetic incompatibilities occur between mitochondrial haplotypes and nuclear alleles. Four population genetic models with mainland-island structure were analyzed that differ with respect to the type of incompatibility and the underlying genetics. Gene flow reduction was measured on selectively neutral alleles of an unlinked locus and quantified by the effective migration rate. Analytical formulae for the different scenarios were derived using the fitness graph method. For the models with haploid genetics, we found that mito-nuclear incompatibilities (MtNI) are as strong as nuclear-nuclear incompatibilities (NNI) in reducing gene flow at the unlinked locus, but only if males and females migrate in equal number. For models with diploid genetics, we found that MtNI reduce gene flow stronger than NNI when incompatibilities are recessive, but weaker when they are dominant. For both haploid and diploid MtNI, we found that gene flow reduction is stronger if females are the migrating sex, but weaker than NNI when males are the migrating sex. These results encourage further examination on the role of mitochondria on genetic divergence and speciation and point toward specific factors (e.g., migrating sex) that could be the focus of an empirical test.

RevDate: 2019-03-29

Han Y, Branon TC, Martell JD, et al (2019)

Directed Evolution of Split APEX2 Peroxidase.

ACS chemical biology [Epub ahead of print].

APEX is an engineered peroxidase that catalyzes the oxidation of a wide range of substrates, facilitating its use in a variety of applications from subcellular staining for electron microscopy to proximity biotinylation for spatial proteomics and transcriptomics. To further advance the capabilities of APEX, we used directed evolution to engineer a split APEX tool (sAPEX). A total of 20 rounds of fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS)-based selections from yeast-displayed fragment libraries, using 3 different surface display configurations, produced a 200-amino-acid N-terminal fragment (with 9 mutations relative to APEX2) called "AP" and a 50-amino-acid C-terminal fragment called "EX". AP and EX fragments were each inactive on their own but were reconstituted to give peroxidase activity when driven together by a molecular interaction. We demonstrate sAPEX reconstitution in the mammalian cytosol, on engineered RNA motifs within a non-coding RNA scaffold, and at mitochondria-endoplasmic reticulum contact sites.

RevDate: 2019-03-07

Thairu MW, AK Hansen (2019)

It's a small, small world: Unravelling the role and evolution of small RNAs in organelle and endosymbiont genomes.

FEMS microbiology letters pii:5371121 [Epub ahead of print].

Organelles and host-restricted bacterial symbionts are characterized by having highly reduced genomes that lack many key regulatory genes and elements. Thus, it has been hypothesized that the eukaryotic nuclear genome is primarily responsible for regulating these symbioses. However, with the discovery of organelle and symbiont expressed small RNAs (sRNAs) there is emerging evidence that these sRNAs may play a role in gene regulation as well. Here, we compare the diversity of organelle and bacterial symbiont sRNAs recently identified using genome-enabled '-omic' technologies and discuss their potential role in gene regulation. We also discuss how the genome architecture of small genomes may influence the evolution of these sRNAs and their potential function. Additionally, these new studies suggest that some sRNAs are conserved within organelle and symbiont taxa and respond to changes in the environment and/or their hosts. In summary, these results suggest that organelle and symbiont sRNAs may play a role in gene regulation in addition to nuclear-encoded host mechanisms.

RevDate: 2019-03-12

Matos I, Machado MP, Schartl M, et al (2019)

Allele-specific expression variation at different ploidy levels in Squalius alburnoides.

Scientific reports, 9(1):3688 pii:10.1038/s41598-019-40210-8.

Allopolyploid plants are long known to be subject to a homoeolog expression bias of varying degree. The same phenomenon was only much later suspected to occur also in animals based on studies of single selected genes in an allopolyploid vertebrate, the Iberian fish Squalius alburnoides. Consequently, this species became a good model for understanding the evolution of gene expression regulation in polyploid vertebrates. Here, we analyzed for the first time genome-wide allele-specific expression data from diploid and triploid hybrids of S. alburnoides and compared homoeolog expression profiles of adult livers and of juveniles. Co-expression of alleles from both parental genomic types was observed for the majority of genes, but with marked homoeolog expression bias, suggesting homoeolog specific reshaping of expression level patterns in hybrids. Complete silencing of one allele was also observed irrespective of ploidy level, but not transcriptome wide as previously speculated. Instead, it was found only in a restricted number of genes, particularly ones with functions related to mitochondria and ribosomes. This leads us to hypothesize that allelic silencing may be a way to overcome intergenomic gene expression interaction conflicts, and that homoeolog expression bias may be an important mechanism in the achievement of sustainable genomic interactions, mandatory to the success of allopolyploid systems, as in S. alburnoides.

RevDate: 2019-03-09

Dixit S, Henderson JC, JD Alfonzo (2019)

Multi-Substrate Specificity and the Evolutionary Basis for Interdependence in tRNA Editing and Methylation Enzymes.

Frontiers in genetics, 10:104.

Among tRNA modification enzymes there is a correlation between specificity for multiple tRNA substrates and heteromultimerization. In general, enzymes that modify a conserved residue in different tRNA sequences adopt a heterodimeric structure. Presumably, such changes in the oligomeric state of enzymes, to gain multi-substrate recognition, are driven by the need to accommodate and catalyze a particular reaction in different substrates while maintaining high specificity. This review focuses on two classes of enzymes where the case for multimerization as a way to diversify molecular recognition can be made. We will highlight several new themes with tRNA methyltransferases and will also discuss recent findings with tRNA editing deaminases. These topics will be discussed in the context of several mechanisms by which heterodimerization may have been achieved during evolution and how these mechanisms might impact modifications in different systems.

RevDate: 2019-03-18
CmpDate: 2019-03-18

Forgione I, Bonavita S, TMR Regina (2019)

Mitochondria of Cedrus atlantica and allied species: A new chapter in the horizontal gene transfer history.

Plant science : an international journal of experimental plant biology, 281:93-101.

The extraordinary incidence of Horizontal Gene Transfer (HGT) mostly in mitochondrial genomes of flowering plants is well known. Here, we report another episode of HGT affecting a large mitochondrial gene region in the evergreen conifer Atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantica). Mitochondria of this Pinaceae species possess an rps3 gene that harbours two introns and shares the same genomic context with a downstream overlapping rpl16 gene, like in the major groups of gymnosperms and angiosperms analyzed so far. Interestingly, C. atlantica contains additional copies of the rps3 and rpl16 sequences that are more closely related to angiosperm counterparts than to those from gymnosperms, as also confirmed by phylogenetic analyses. This suggests that a lateral transfer from a flowering plant donor is the most likely mechanism for the origin of the Atlas cedar extra sequences. Quantitative PCR and reverse-transcription (RT)-PCR analyses demonstrate, respectively, mitochondrial location and lack of expression for the rps3 and rpl16 additional sequences in C. atlantica. Furthermore, our study provides evidence that a similar HGT event takes place in two other Cedrus species, which occurr in Cyprus and North Africa. Only the West Himalayan C. deodara lacks the transferred genes. The potential donor and the molecular mechanism underlying this lateral DNA transfer remain still unclear.

RevDate: 2019-03-12

Kuzminkova AA, Sokol AD, Ushakova KE, et al (2019)

mtProtEvol: the resource presenting molecular evolution analysis of proteins involved in the function of Vertebrate mitochondria.

BMC evolutionary biology, 19(Suppl 1):47 pii:10.1186/s12862-019-1371-x.

BACKGROUND: Heterotachy is the variation in the evolutionary rate of aligned sites in different parts of the phylogenetic tree. It occurs mainly due to epistatic interactions among the substitutions, which are highly complex and make it difficult to study protein evolution. The vast majority of computational evolutionary approaches for studying these epistatic interactions or their evolutionary consequences in proteins require high computational time. However, recently, it has been shown that the evolution of residue solvent accessibility (RSA) is tightly linked with changes in protein fitness and intra-protein epistatic interactions. This provides a computationally fast alternative, based on comparison of evolutionary rates of amino acid replacements with the rates of RSA evolutionary changes in order to recognize any shifts in epistatic interaction.

RESULTS: Based on RSA information, data randomization and phylogenetic approaches, we constructed a software pipeline, which can be used to analyze the evolutionary consequences of intra-protein epistatic interactions with relatively low computational time. We analyzed the evolution of 512 protein families tightly linked to mitochondrial function in Vertebrates and created "mtProtEvol", the web resource with data on protein evolution. In strict agreement with lifespan and metabolic rate data, we demonstrated that different functional categories of mitochondria-related proteins subjected to selection on accelerated and decelerated RSA rates in rodents and primates. For example, accelerated RSA evolution in rodents has been shown for Krebs cycle enzymes, respiratory chain and reactive oxygen species metabolism, while in primates these functions are stress-response, translation and mtDNA integrity. Decelerated RSA evolution in rodents has been demonstrated for translational machinery and oxidative stress response components.

CONCLUSIONS: mtProtEvol is an interactive resource focused on evolutionary analysis of epistatic interactions in protein families involved in Vertebrata mitochondria function and available at http://bioinfodbs.kantiana.ru/mtProtEvol /. This resource and the devised software pipeline may be useful tool for researchers in area of protein evolution.

RevDate: 2019-03-03

Tan Y, Zhu Y, Wen L, et al (2019)

Mitochondria-Responsive Drug Release along with Heat Shock Mediated by Multifunctional Glycolipid Micelles for Precise Cancer Chemo-Phototherapy.

Theranostics, 9(3):691-707 pii:thnov09p0691.

Responsive drug release in tumor mitochondria is a pre-requisite for mitochondria-targeted drug delivery systems to improve the efficacy of this promising therapeutic modality. To this end, a photothermal stimulation strategy for mitochondria-responsive drug release along with heat shock is developed to maximize the antitumor effects with minimal side effects. Methods: This strategy relies on mitochondrial-targeted delivery of doxorubicin (DOX) through a photothermal and lipophilic agent IR-780 iodide (IR780)-modified glycolipid conjugates (CSOSA), which can synergistically triggers high-level reactive oxygen species (ROS) to kill tumor cells. Results: Specifically, upon laser irradiation, the photothermal conversion by IR780-CSOSA can not only weaken the hydrophobic interaction between the core of micelles and DOX and trigger unexpected micelle swelling to release DOX in mitochondria for the amplification of ROS, but also induce mitochondria-specific heat shock to promote the fast evolution of ROS at the same locus to eradicate cancer cells in a more effective way. Furthermore, IR780-CSOSA micelles may independently realize the real-time diagnosis and imaging on multiple tumor models. Deep penetration into tumors by IR780-CSOSA/DOX micelles can be manipulated under laser irradiation. Conclusion: Such multifunctional IR780-CSOSA/DOX micelles with integration of mitochondria-responsive drug release and heat shock are demonstrated to be superior to the non-mitochondria-responsive therapy. This study opens up new avenues for the future cancer diagnosis and treatment.

RevDate: 2019-03-03

Hirata A (2019)

Recent Insights Into the Structure, Function, and Evolution of the RNA-Splicing Endonucleases.

Frontiers in genetics, 10:103.

RNA-splicing endonuclease (EndA) cleaves out introns from archaeal and eukaryotic precursor (pre)-tRNA and is essential for tRNA maturation. In archaeal EndA, the molecular mechanisms underlying complex assembly, substrate recognition, and catalysis have been well understood. Recently, certain studies have reported novel findings including the identification of new subunit types in archaeal EndA structures, providing insights into the mechanism underlying broad substrate specificity. Further, metagenomics analyses have enabled the acquisition of numerous DNA sequences of EndAs and intron-containing pre-tRNAs from various species, providing information regarding the co-evolution of substrate specificity of archaeal EndAs and tRNA genetic diversity, and the evolutionary pathway of archaeal and eukaryotic EndAs. Although the complex structure of the heterothermic form of eukaryotic EndAs is unknown, previous reports regarding their functions indicated that mutations in human EndA cause neurological disorders including pontocerebellar hypoplasia and progressive microcephaly, and yeast EndA significantly cleaves mitochondria-localized mRNA encoding cytochrome b mRNA processing 1 (Cpb1) for mRNA maturation. This mini-review summarizes the aforementioned results, discusses their implications, and offers my personal opinion regarding future directions for the analysis of the structure and function of EndAs.

RevDate: 2019-02-27

Festoff BW, BA Citron (2019)

Thrombin and the Coag-Inflammatory Nexus in Neurotrauma, ALS, and Other Neurodegenerative Disorders.

Frontiers in neurology, 10:59.

This review details our current understanding of thrombin signaling in neurodegeneration, with a focus on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease) as well as future directions to be pursued. The key factors are multifunctional and involved in regulatory pathways, namely innate immune and the coagulation cascade activation, that are essential for normal nervous system function and health. These two major host defense systems have a long history in evolution and include elements and regulators of the coagulation pathway that have significant impacts on both the peripheral and central nervous system in health and disease. The clotting cascade responds to a variety of insults to the CNS including injury and infection. The blood brain barrier is affected by these responses and its compromise also contributes to these detrimental effects. Important molecules in signaling that contribute to or protect against neurodegeneration include thrombin, thrombomodulin (TM), protease activated receptor 1 (PAR1), damage associated molecular patterns (DAMPs), such as high mobility group box protein 1 (HMGB1) and those released from mitochondria (mtDAMPs). Each of these molecules are entangled in choices dependent upon specific signaling pathways in play. For example, the particular cleavage of PAR1 by thrombin vs. activated protein C (APC) will have downstream effects through coupled factors to result in toxicity or neuroprotection. Furthermore, numerous interactions influence these choices such as the interplay between HMGB1, thrombin, and TM. Our hope is that improved understanding of the ways that components of the coagulation cascade affect innate immune inflammatory responses and influence the course of neurodegeneration, especially after injury, will lead to effective therapeutic approaches for ALS, traumatic brain injury, and other neurodegenerative disorders.

RevDate: 2019-04-17

Tang K, Li Y, Yu C, et al (2019)

Structural mechanism for versatile cargo recognition by the yeast class V myosin Myo2.

The Journal of biological chemistry, 294(15):5896-5906.

Class V myosins are actin-dependent motors, which recognize numerous cellular cargos mainly via the C-terminal globular tail domain (GTD). Myo2, a yeast class V myosin, can transport a broad range of organelles. However, little is known about the capacity of Myo2-GTD to recognize such a diverse array of cargos specifically at the molecular level. Here, we solved crystal structures of Myo2-GTD (at 1.9-3.1 Å resolutions) in complex with three cargo adaptor proteins: Smy1 (for polarization of secretory vesicles), Inp2 (for peroxisome transport), and Mmr1 (for mitochondria transport). The structures of Smy1- and Inp2-bound Myo2-GTD, along with site-directed mutagenesis experiments, revealed a binding site in subdomain-I having a hydrophobic groove with high flexibility enabling Myo2-GTD to accommodate different protein sequences. The Myo2-GTD-Mmr1 complex structure confirmed and complemented a previously identified mitochondrion/vacuole-specific binding region. Moreover, differences between the conformations and locations of cargo-binding sites identified here for Myo2 and those reported for mammalian MyoVA (MyoVA) suggest that class V myosins potentially have co-evolved with their specific cargos. Our structural and biochemical analysis not only uncovers a molecular mechanism that explains the diverse cargo recognition by Myo2-GTD, but also provides structural information useful for future functional studies of class V myosins in cargo transport.

RevDate: 2019-02-20

Yan Z, Ye G, JH Werren (2019)

Evolutionary rate correlation between mitochondrial-encoded and mitochondria-associated nuclear-encoded proteins in insects.

Molecular biology and evolution pii:5345565 [Epub ahead of print].

The mitochondrion is a pivotal organelle for energy production, and includes components encoded by both the mitochondrial and nuclear genomes. Functional and evolutionary interactions are expected between the nuclear and mitochondrial encoded components. The topic is of broad interest in biology, with implications to genetics, evolution, and medicine. Here we compare the evolutionary rates of mitochondrial proteins and ribosomal RNAs to rates of mitochondria-associated nuclear-encoded proteins, across the major orders of holometabolous insects. There are significant evolutionary rate correlations (ERCs) between mitochondrial-encoded and mitochondria-associated nuclear-encoded proteins, which is likely driven by different rates of mitochondrial sequence evolution and correlated changes in the interacting nuclear-encoded proteins. The pattern holds after correction for phylogenetic relationships and considering protein conservation levels. Correlations are stronger for both nuclear-encoded OXPHOS proteins that are in contact with mitochondrial OXPHOS proteins and for nuclear-encoded mitochondrial ribosomal amino acids directly contacting the mitochondrial rRNAs. We find that ERC between mitochondrial- and nuclear-encoded proteins is a strong predictor of nuclear-encoded proteins known to interact with mitochondria, and ERC shows promise for identifying new candidate proteins with mitochondrial function. Twenty-three additional candidate nuclear-encoded proteins warrant further study for mitochondrial function based on this approach, including proteins in the minichromosome maintenance helicase (MCM) complex.

RevDate: 2019-04-04

Shin MK, JH Cheong (2019)

Mitochondria-centric bioenergetic characteristics in cancer stem-like cells.

Archives of pharmacal research, 42(2):113-127.

Metabolic and genotoxic stresses that arise during tumor progression and anti-cancer treatment, respectively, can impose a selective pressure to promote cancer evolution in the tumor microenvironment. This process ultimately selects for the most "fit" clones, which generally have a cancer stem cell like phenotype with features of drug resistance, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, invasiveness, and high metastatic potential. From a bioenergetics perspective, these cancer stem-like cells (CSCs) exhibit mitochondria-centric energy metabolism and are capable of opportunistically utilizing available nutrients such as fatty acids to generate ATP and other metabolic substances, providing a selective advantage for their survival in an impermissible environment and metabolic context. Thus, diverse therapeutic strategies are needed to efficiently tackle these CSCs and eliminate their advantage. Here, we review the metabolic and bioenergetic characteristics and vulnerabilities specific to CSCs, which can provide an unprecedented opportunity to curb CSC-driven cancer mortality rates. We particularly focus on the potential of a CSC bioenergetics-targeted strategy as a versatile therapeutic component of treatment modalities applicable to most cancer types. A cancer bioenergetics-targeted strategy can expand the inventory of combinatorial regimens in the current anti-cancer armamentarium.

RevDate: 2019-02-26

Pinard D, Myburg AA, E Mizrachi (2019)

The plastid and mitochondrial genomes of Eucalyptus grandis.

BMC genomics, 20(1):132 pii:10.1186/s12864-019-5444-4.

BACKGROUND: Land plant organellar genomes have significant impact on metabolism and adaptation, and as such, accurate assembly and annotation of plant organellar genomes is an important tool in understanding the evolutionary history and interactions between these genomes. Intracellular DNA transfer is ongoing between the nuclear and organellar genomes, and can lead to significant genomic variation between, and within, species that impacts downstream analysis of genomes and transcriptomes.

RESULTS: In order to facilitate further studies of cytonuclear interactions in Eucalyptus, we report an updated annotation of the E. grandis plastid genome, and the second sequenced and annotated mitochondrial genome of the Myrtales, that of E. grandis. The 478,813 bp mitochondrial genome shows the conserved protein coding regions and gene order rearrangements typical of land plants. There have been widespread insertions of organellar DNA into the E. grandis nuclear genome, which span 141 annotated nuclear genes. Further, we identify predicted editing sites to allow for the discrimination of RNA-sequencing reads between nuclear and organellar gene copies, finding that nuclear copies of organellar genes are not expressed in E. grandis.

CONCLUSIONS: The implications of organellar DNA transfer to the nucleus are often ignored, despite the insight they can give into the ongoing evolution of plant genomes, and the problems they can cause in many applications of genomics. Future comparisons of the transcription and regulation of organellar genes between Eucalyptus genotypes may provide insight to the cytonuclear interactions that impact economically important traits in this widely grown lignocellulosic crop species.

RevDate: 2019-04-11

Kaila T, Saxena S, Ramakrishna G, et al (2019)

Comparative RNA editing profile of mitochondrial transcripts in cytoplasmic male sterile and fertile pigeonpea reveal significant changes at the protein level.

Molecular biology reports, 46(2):2067-2084.

RNA editing is a process which leads to post-transcriptional alteration of the nucleotide sequence of the corresponding mRNA molecule which may or may not lead to changes at the protein level. Apart from its role in providing variability at the transcript and protein levels, sometimes, such changes may lead to abnormal expression of the mitochondrial gene leading to a cytoplasmic male sterile phenotype. Here we report the editing status of 20 major mitochondrial transcripts in both male sterile (AKCMS11) and male fertile (AKPR303) pigeonpea genotypes. The validation of the predicted editing sites was done by mapping RNA-seq reads onto the amplified mitochondrial genes, and 165 and 159 editing sites were observed in bud tissues of the male sterile and fertile plant respectively. Among the resulting amino acid alterations, the most frequent one was the conversion of hydrophilic amino acids to hydrophobic. The alterations thus detected in our study indicates differential editing, but no major change in terms of the abnormal protein structure was detected. However, the above investigation provides an insight into the behaviour of pigeonpea mitochondrial genome in native and alloplasmic state and could hold clues in identification of editing factors and their role in adaptive evolution in pigeonpea.

RevDate: 2019-04-11

Hein A, Brenner S, V Knoop (2019)

Multifarious Evolutionary Pathways of a Nuclear RNA Editing Factor: Disjunctions in Coevolution of DOT4 and Its Chloroplast Target rpoC1eU488SL.

Genome biology and evolution, 11(3):798-813.

Nuclear-encoded pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) proteins are site-specific factors for C-to-U RNA editing in plant organelles coevolving with their targets. Losing an editing target by C-to-T conversion allows for eventual loss of its editing factor, as recently confirmed for editing factors CLB19, CRR28, and RARE1 targeting ancient chloroplast editing sites in flowering plants. Here, we report on alternative evolutionary pathways for DOT4 addressing rpoC1eU488SL, a chloroplast editing site in the RNA polymerase β' subunit mRNA. Upon loss of rpoC1eU488SL by C-to-T conversion, DOT4 got lost multiple times independently in angiosperm evolution with intermediate states of DOT4 orthologs in various stages of degeneration. Surprisingly, we now also observe degeneration and loss of DOT4 despite retention of a C in the editing position (in Carica, Coffea, Vicia, and Spirodela). We find that the cytidine remains unedited, proving that DOT4 was not replaced by another editing factor. Yet another pathway of DOT4 evolution is observed among the Poaceae. Although the rpoC1eU488SL edit has been lost through C-to-T conversion, DOT4 orthologs not only remain conserved but also have their array of PPRs extended by six additional repeats. Here, the loss of the ancient target has likely allowed DOT4 to adapt for a new function. We suggest rps3 antisense transcripts as previously demonstrated in barley (Hordeum vulgare) arising from promotor sequences newly emerging in the rpl16 intron of Poaceae as a new candidate target for the extended PPR stretch of DOT4. Altogether, DOT4 and its target show more flexible pathways for evolution than the previously explored editing factors CLB19, CRR28, and RARE1. Certain plant clades (e.g., Amaranthus, Vaccinium, Carica, the Poaceae, Fabales, and Caryophyllales) show pronounced dynamics in the evolution of editing sites and corresponding factors.

RevDate: 2019-03-26

Teng H, Wang D, Lu J, et al (2019)

Novel insights into the evolution of the caveolin superfamily and mechanisms of antiapoptotic effects and cell proliferation in lamprey.

Developmental and comparative immunology, 95:118-128.

Caveolin-1 is the main structural and functional component of caveolin, and it is involved in the regulation of cholesterol transport, endocytosis, and signal transduction. Moreover, changes in caveolin-1 play an important role in tumorigenesis and inflammatory processes. Previous studies have demonstrated that human caveolin-1 is mainly located in the cell membrane and exhibits cell type- and stage-dependent functional differences during cancer development and inflammatory responses. However, the role of Lamprey-caveolin-like (L-caveolin-like) in lamprey remained unknown. Here, we demonstrated that L-caveolin-like performs anti-inflammation and oncogenic functions and the function of caveolin-1 diverged during vertebrate evolution. Moreover, the results reveal the mechanism underlying the antiapoptotic effects of L-caveolin-like. An L-caveolin-like gene from Lampetra japonica (L. japonica) was identified and characterized. L-Caveolin-like was primarily distributed in the leukocytes, intestines and supraneural bodies (Sp-bodies) immune organs as indicated by Q-PCR and immunohistochemistry assays. The mRNA and protein expression levels of L-caveolin exhibited consistent increases in expression at 2 and 72 h in adult tissues after exposure to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and in leukocytes stimulated by Vibrio anguillarum (V. anguillarum), Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), and Poly I:C. Furthermore, the overexpression of pEGFP-N1-L-caveolin-like was associated with a distinct localization in mitochondria, with decreased cytochrome C (Cyt C) and mitochondrial Cyt C oxidase subunit I (CO I) expression. In addition, increased cellular ATP levels suggested that this protein prevented mitochondrial damage. The overexpression of pEGFP-N1-L-caveolin-like led to the altered expression of factors related to apoptosis, such as decreased Caspase-9, Caspase-3, p53, and Bax expression and increased Bcl-2 expression. In addition, the overexpression of pEGFP-N1-L-caveolin-like promoted cell proliferation associated with upregulated EGF, bFGF, and PDGFB expression. Together, these findings indicated that the L-caveolin-like protein from L. japonica induced the activation of antiapoptotic effects via the mitochondrial Cyt C-mediated Caspase-3 signaling pathway. Our analysis further suggests that L-caveolin-like is an oncogene protein product and anti-inflammatory molecule from lamprey that evolved early in vertebrate evolution.

RevDate: 2019-02-13

Oborník M (2019)

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

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

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

RevDate: 2019-02-13

Gruber A (2019)

What's in a name? How organelles of endosymbiotic origin can be distinguished from endosymbionts.

Microbial cell (Graz, Austria), 6(2):123-133 pii:MIC0178E151.

Mitochondria and plastids evolved from free-living bacteria, but are now considered integral parts of the eukaryotic species in which they live. Therefore, they are implicitly called by the same eukaryotic species name. Historically, mitochondria and plastids were known as "organelles", even before their bacterial origin became fully established. However, since organelle evolution by endosymbiosis has become an established theory in biology, more and more endosymbiotic systems have been discovered that show various levels of host/symbiont integration. In this context, the distinction between "host/symbiont" and "eukaryote/organelle" systems is currently unclear. The criteria that are commonly considered are genetic integration (via gene transfer from the endosymbiont to the nucleus), cellular integration (synchronization of the cell cycles), and metabolic integration (the mutual dependency of the metabolisms). Here, I suggest that these criteria should be evaluated according to the resulting coupling of genetic recombination between individuals and congruence of effective population sizes, which determines if independent speciation is possible for either of the partners. I would like to call this aspect of integration "sexual symbiont integration". If the partners lose their independence in speciation, I think that they should be considered one species. The partner who maintains its genetic recombination mechanisms and life cycle should then be the name giving "host"; the other one would be the organelle. Distinguishing between organelles and symbionts according to their sexual symbiont integration is independent of any particular mechanism or structural property of the endosymbiont/host system under investigation.

RevDate: 2019-03-22
CmpDate: 2019-03-22

Gong L, Jiang H, Zhu K, et al (2019)

Large-scale mitochondrial gene rearrangements in the hermit crab Pagurus nigrofascia and phylogenetic analysis of the Anomura.

Gene, 695:75-83.

Complete mitochondrial genome (mitogenome) provides important information for better understanding of gene rearrangement, molecular evolution and phylogenetic analysis. Currently, only a few Paguridae mitogenomes have been reported. Herein, we described the complete mitogenome of hermit crab Pagurus nigrofascia. The total length was 15,423 bp, containing 13 protein-coding genes (PCGs), two ribosomal RNA, 22 transfer RNA genes, as well as an AT-rich region. The genome composition was highly A + T biased (71.4%), and exhibited a negative AT-skew (-0.006) and GC-skew (-0.138). Eight tRNA genes, two PCGs and an AT-rich region found to be rearranged with respect to the pancrustacean ground pattern gene order. Duplication-random loss and recombination model were adopted to explain the large-scale gene rearrangement events. Two phylogenetic trees of Anomura involving 12 families were constructed. The results showed that all Paguridae species were clustered into one clade except Pagurus longicarpus, which for the first time imposed raises doubt about the morphological taxonomy of this species. Furthermore, the present study found that higher- level phylogenetic relationships within Anomura were controversial, compared with the previous studies. Our results help to better understand gene rearrangements and the evolutionary status of P. nigrofascia and lay foundation for further phylogenetic study of Anomura.

RevDate: 2019-04-11
CmpDate: 2019-04-11

Hrazdilová K, Myśliwy I, Hildebrand J, et al (2019)

Paralogs vs. genotypes? Variability of Babesia canis assessed by 18S rDNA and two mitochondrial markers.

Veterinary parasitology, 266:103-110.

Canine babesiosis caused by Babesia canis sensu stricto became an emerging disease of dogs across Europe calling for attention also in countries where it was an only rare imported disease. An easy accessibility of molecular methods and the growing amount of sequencing data led to the description of intraspecific variability in 18S rDNA sequences designated as "genotypes". Using material from a homogenous cohort of dogs with microscopically confirmed canine babesiosis caused by B. canis, we evaluated Babesia intraspecific variability and amplification sensitivity of three different genes (18S rDNA, COI, Cytb) to assess their potential as diagnostic or phylogenetic markers. In raw sequencing data obtained, we observed at least 3 ambiguous positions in up to 86% of chromatograms within the ∼560 bp fragment of 18S rDNA suggesting the existence of several, not identical copies of this gene. Our COI haplotype analysis resulted in a star-like pattern indicating a recent origin of most haplotypes, but not supporting the existence of two dominant haplotypes. Similarly, the Cytb sequences obtained from samples with all variants of 18S rDNA were identical. We corroborate previous observations from three other European countries and bring the evidence of the existence of 18S rDNA paralogs in B. canis genome replacing currently used "genotype" theory.

RevDate: 2019-02-10

Li XC, Peris D, Hittinger CT, et al (2019)

Mitochondria-encoded genes contribute to evolution of heat and cold tolerance in yeast.

Science advances, 5(1):eaav1848 pii:aav1848.

Genetic analysis of phenotypic differences between species is typically limited to interfertile species. Here, we conducted a genome-wide noncomplementation screen to identify genes that contribute to a major difference in thermal growth profile between two reproductively isolated yeast species, Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Saccharomyces uvarum. The screen identified only a single nuclear-encoded gene with a moderate effect on heat tolerance, but, in contrast, revealed a large effect of mitochondrial DNA (mitotype) on both heat and cold tolerance. Recombinant mitotypes indicate that multiple genes contribute to thermal divergence, and we show that protein divergence in COX1 affects both heat and cold tolerance. Our results point to the yeast mitochondrial genome as an evolutionary hotspot for thermal divergence.

RevDate: 2019-02-10

Speirs MMP, Swensen AC, Chan TY, et al (2019)

Imbalanced sphingolipid signaling is maintained as a core proponent of a cancerous phenotype in spite of metabolic pressure and epigenetic drift.

Oncotarget, 10(4):449-479 pii:26533.

Tumor heterogeneity may arise through genetic drift and environmentally driven clonal selection for metabolic fitness. This would promote subpopulations derived from single cancer cells that exhibit distinct phenotypes while conserving vital pro-survival pathways. We aimed to identify significant drivers of cell fitness in pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PDAC) creating subclones in different nutrient formulations to encourage differential metabolic reprogramming. The genetic and phenotypic expression profiles of each subclone were analyzed relative to a healthy control cell line (hTert-HPNE). The subclones exhibited distinct variations in protein expression and lipid metabolism. Relative to hTert-HPNE, PSN-1 subclones uniformly maintained modified sphingolipid signaling and specifically retained elevated sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) relative to C16 ceramide (C16 Cer) ratios. Each clone utilized a different perturbation to this pathway, but maintained this modified signaling to preserve cancerous phenotypes, such as rapid proliferation and defense against mitochondria-mediated apoptosis. Although the subclones were unique in their sensitivity, inhibition of S1P synthesis significantly reduced the ratio of S1P/C16 Cer, slowed cell proliferation, and enhanced sensitivity to apoptotic signals. This reliance on S1P signaling identifies this pathway as a promising drug-sensitizing target that may be used to eliminate cancerous cells consistently across uniquely reprogrammed PDAC clones.

RevDate: 2019-04-02

Noutahi E, Calderon V, Blanchette M, et al (2019)

Rapid Genetic Code Evolution in Green Algal Mitochondrial Genomes.

Molecular biology and evolution, 36(4):766-783.

Genetic code deviations involving stop codons have been previously reported in mitochondrial genomes of several green plants (Viridiplantae), most notably chlorophyte algae (Chlorophyta). However, as changes in codon recognition from one amino acid to another are more difficult to infer, such changes might have gone unnoticed in particular lineages with high evolutionary rates that are otherwise prone to codon reassignments. To gain further insight into the evolution of the mitochondrial genetic code in green plants, we have conducted an in-depth study across mtDNAs from 51 green plants (32 chlorophytes and 19 streptophytes). Besides confirming known stop-to-sense reassignments, our study documents the first cases of sense-to-sense codon reassignments in Chlorophyta mtDNAs. In several Sphaeropleales, we report the decoding of AGG codons (normally arginine) as alanine, by tRNA(CCU) of various origins that carry the recognition signature for alanine tRNA synthetase. In Chromochloris, we identify tRNA variants decoding AGG as methionine and the synonymous codon CGG as leucine. Finally, we find strong evidence supporting the decoding of AUA codons (normally isoleucine) as methionine in Pycnococcus. Our results rely on a recently developed conceptual framework (CoreTracker) that predicts codon reassignments based on the disparity between DNA sequence (codons) and the derived protein sequence. These predictions are then validated by an evaluation of tRNA phylogeny, to identify the evolution of new tRNAs via gene duplication and loss, and structural modifications that lead to the assignment of new tRNA identities and a change in the genetic code.

RevDate: 2019-02-15
CmpDate: 2019-02-08

El-Sheikh RM, Mansy SS, Nessim IG, et al (2019)

Carbamoyl phosphate synthetase 1 (CPS1) as a prognostic marker in chronic hepatitis C infection.

APMIS : acta pathologica, microbiologica, et immunologica Scandinavica, 127(2):93-105.

This study aims to assess the value of carbamoyl phosphate synthetase 1 (CPS1), as a non-invasive serum marker, for the evolution of chronic HCV infection and hepatic fibrosis. Seventy-two patients with HCV positive serum RNA and 15 health volunteers were enrolled in this study. Out of 72 patients, 10 patients had decompensated liver with ascites. Quantitative analysis of CPS1 was performed in the harvested sera and corresponding liver biopsies using ELISA and immunohistochemistry techniques respectively. Also, mitochondrial count using electron microscopy, urea analysis and conventional liver tests were done. Patients were grouped into (F1 + F2) and (F3 + F4) representing stages of moderate and severe fibrosis respectively. Tissue and serum CPS1 (s.CPS1) correlated significantly in moderate and severe fibrosis. Patients with severe fibrosis showed significantly higher levels of s.CPS1 (p-value ≤ 0.05) and significantly lower mitochondrial counts (p-value = 0.0065) than those with moderate fibrosis. S.urea positively correlated with s.CPS1 only in the decompensated group, at which s.urea reached maximal levels. In conclusion, s.CPS1 is a potential non-invasive marker for the assessment of severity and progression of HCV in relation to mitochondrial dysfunction. Also, increased s.urea with the progression of the disease is mainly due to a concurrent renal malfunction, which needs further investigation.

RevDate: 2019-04-16

Bloomfield G, Paschke P, Okamoto M, et al (2019)

Triparental inheritance in Dictyostelium.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 116(6):2187-2192.

Sex promotes the recombination and reassortment of genetic material and is prevalent across eukaryotes, although our knowledge of the molecular details of sexual inheritance is scant in several major lineages. In social amoebae, sex involves a promiscuous mixing of cytoplasm before zygotes consume the majority of cells, but for technical reasons, sexual progeny have been difficult to obtain and study. We report here genome-wide characterization of meiotic progeny in Dictyostelium discoideum We find that recombination occurs at high frequency in pairwise crosses between all three mating types, despite the absence of the Spo11 enzyme that is normally required to initiate crossover formation. Fusions of more than two gametes to form transient syncytia lead to frequent triparental inheritance, with haploid meiotic progeny bearing recombined nuclear haplotypes from two parents and the mitochondrial genome from a third. Cells that do not contribute genetically to the Dictyostelium zygote nucleus thereby have a stake in the next haploid generation. D. discoideum mitochondrial genomes are polymorphic, and our findings raise the possibility that some of this variation might be a result of sexual selection on genes that can promote the spread of individual organelle genomes during sex. This kind of self-interested mitochondrial behavior may have had important consequences during eukaryogenesis and the initial evolution of sex.

RevDate: 2019-04-02

Backes S, Garg SG, Becker L, et al (2019)

Development of the Mitochondrial Intermembrane Space Disulfide Relay Represents a Critical Step in Eukaryotic Evolution.

Molecular biology and evolution, 36(4):742-756.

The mitochondrial intermembrane space evolved from the bacterial periplasm. Presumably as a consequence of their common origin, most proteins of these compartments are stabilized by structural disulfide bonds. The molecular machineries that mediate oxidative protein folding in bacteria and mitochondria, however, appear to share no common ancestry. Here we tested whether the enzymes Erv1 and Mia40 of the yeast mitochondrial disulfide relay could be functionally replaced by corresponding components of other compartments. We found that the sulfhydryl oxidase Erv1 could be replaced by the Ero1 oxidase or the protein disulfide isomerase from the endoplasmic reticulum, however at the cost of respiration deficiency. In contrast to Erv1, the mitochondrial oxidoreductase Mia40 proved to be indispensable and could not be replaced by thioredoxin-like enzymes, including the cytoplasmic reductase thioredoxin, the periplasmic dithiol oxidase DsbA, and Pdi1. From our studies we conclude that the profound inertness against glutathione, its slow oxidation kinetics and its high affinity to substrates renders Mia40 a unique and essential component of mitochondrial biogenesis. Evidently, the development of a specific mitochondrial disulfide relay system represented a crucial step in the evolution of the eukaryotic cell.

RevDate: 2019-02-28

Kraft LM, LL Lackner (2019)

A conserved mechanism for mitochondria-dependent dynein anchoring.

Molecular biology of the cell, 30(5):691-702.

Mitochondrial anchors have functions that extend beyond simply positioning mitochondria. In budding yeast, mitochondria drive the assembly of the mitochondrial anchor protein Num1 into clusters, which serve to anchor mitochondria as well as dynein to the cell cortex. Here, we explore a conserved role for mitochondria in dynein anchoring by examining the tethering functions of the evolutionarily distant Schizosaccharomyces pombe Num1 homologue. In addition to its function in dynein anchoring, we find that S. pombe Num1, also known as Mcp5, interacts with and tethers mitochondria to the plasma membrane in S. pombe and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Thus, the mitochondria and plasma membrane-binding domains of the Num1 homologues, as well as the membrane features these domains recognize, are conserved. In S. pombe, we find that mitochondria impact the assembly and cellular distribution of Num1 clusters and that Num1 clusters actively engaged in mitochondrial tethering serve as cortical attachment sites for dynein. Thus, mitochondria play a critical and conserved role in the formation and distribution of dynein-anchoring sites at the cell cortex and, as a consequence, impact dynein function. These findings shed light on an ancient mechanism of mitochondria-dependent dynein anchoring that is conserved over more than 450 million years of evolution, raising the intriguing possibility that the role mitochondria play in dynein anchoring and function extends beyond yeast to higher eukaryotes.

RevDate: 2019-04-15
CmpDate: 2019-04-15

Giannoulis T, Plageras D, Stamatis C, et al (2019)

Islands and hybrid zones: combining the knowledge from "Natural Laboratories" to explain phylogeographic patterns of the European brown hare.

BMC evolutionary biology, 19(1):17 pii:10.1186/s12862-019-1354-y.

BACKGROUND: The aim of the study was to use hybrid populations as well as island populations of the European brown hare (Lepus europaeus) to explore the effect of evolutionary events, such as the post-deglaciation translocations, spontaneous and human-mediated, local adaptation and the genetic drift in the shaping of the phylogeographic patterns of the species. For this purpose, we used molecular markers, both nuclear and mitochondrial, that are indicative for local adaptation as well as neutral markers to elucidate the patterns of population differentiation based on geographic isolation and the clade of origin. To broaden our analysis, we included data from our previous studies concerning mainland populations, to explore the genetic differentiation in the base of the geographic origin (mainland/island) of the populations.

RESULTS: Our results suggest that local adaptation shapes the differentiation in both genomes, favoring specific alleles in nuclear genes (e.g. DQA) or haplotypes in mtDNA (e.g. Control Region, CR). mtDNA variation was found to be in a higher level and was able to give a phylogeographic signal for the populations. Furthermore, the degree of variation was influenced not only by the geographic origin, but also by the clade of origin, since specific island populations of Anatolian origin showed a greater degree of variation compared to specific mainland populations of the European clade. Concerning the hybrid population, we confirmed the existence of both clades in the territory and we provided a possible explanation for the lack of introgression between the clades.

CONCLUSION: Our results indicate that the Quaternary's climatic oscillations played a major role in the shaping of the phylogeographic patterns of the species, by isolating populations in the distinct refugia, where they adapted and differentiate in allopatry, leading to genome incompatibilities observed nowadays.

RevDate: 2019-04-15
CmpDate: 2019-04-15

Ceballos SG, Roesti M, Matschiner M, et al (2019)

Phylogenomics of an extra-Antarctic notothenioid radiation reveals a previously unrecognized lineage and diffuse species boundaries.

BMC evolutionary biology, 19(1):13 pii:10.1186/s12862-019-1345-z.

BACKGROUND: The impressive adaptive radiation of notothenioid fishes in Antarctic waters is generally thought to have been facilitated by an evolutionary key innovation, antifreeze glycoproteins, permitting the rapid evolution of more than 120 species subsequent to the Antarctic glaciation. By way of contrast, the second-most species-rich notothenioid genus, Patagonotothen, which is nested within the Antarctic clade of Notothenioidei, is almost exclusively found in the non-Antarctic waters of Patagonia. While the drivers of the diversification of Patagonotothen are currently unknown, they are unlikely to be related to antifreeze glycoproteins, given that water temperatures in Patagonia are well above freezing point. Here we performed a phylogenetic analysis based on genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) derived from restriction site-associated DNA sequencing (RADseq) in a total of twelve Patagonotothen species.

RESULTS: We present a well-supported, time-calibrated phylogenetic hypothesis including closely and distantly related outgroups, confirming the monophyly of the genus Patagonotothen with an origin approximately 3 million years ago and the paraphyly of both the sister genus Lepidonotothen and the family Notothenidae. Our phylogenomic and population genetic analyses highlight a previously unrecognized linage and provide evidence for shared genetic variation between some closely related species. We also provide a mitochondrial phylogeny showing mitonuclear discordance.

CONCLUSIONS: Based on a combination of phylogenomic and population genomic approaches, we provide evidence for the existence of a new, potentially cryptic, Patagonotothen species, and demonstrate that genetic boundaries between some closely related species are diffuse, likely due to recent introgression and/or incomplete linage sorting. The detected mitonuclear discordance highlights the limitations of relying on a single locus for species barcoding. In addition, our time-calibrated phylogenetic hypothesis shows that the early burst of diversification roughly coincides with the onset of the intensification of Quaternary glacial cycles and that the rate of species accumulation may have been stepwise rather than constant. Our phylogenetic framework not only advances our understanding of the origin of a high-latitude marine radiation, but also provides the basis for the study of the ecology and life history of the genus Patagonotothen, as well as for their conservation and commercial management.

RevDate: 2019-02-21
CmpDate: 2019-02-21

Li W, Freudenberg J, J Freudenberg (2019)

Alignment-free approaches for predicting novel Nuclear Mitochondrial Segments (NUMTs) in the human genome.

Gene, 691:141-152.

The nuclear human genome harbors sequences of mitochondrial origin, indicating an ancestral transfer of DNA from the mitogenome. Several Nuclear Mitochondrial Segments (NUMTs) have been detected by alignment-based sequence similarity search, as implemented in the Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLAST). Identifying NUMTs is important for the comprehensive annotation and understanding of the human genome. Here we explore the possibility of detecting NUMTs in the human genome by alignment-free sequence similarity search, such as k-mers (k-tuples, k-grams, oligos of length k) distributions. We find that when k=6 or larger, the k-mer approach and BLAST search produce almost identical results, e.g., detect the same set of NUMTs longer than 3 kb. However, when k=5 or k=4, certain signals are only detected by the alignment-free approach, and these may indicate yet unrecognized, and potentially more ancestral NUMTs. We introduce a "Manhattan plot" style representation of NUMT predictions across the genome, which are calculated based on the reciprocal of the Jensen-Shannon divergence between the nuclear and mitochondrial k-mer frequencies. The further inspection of the k-mer-based NUMT predictions however shows that most of them contain long-terminal-repeat (LTR) annotations, whereas BLAST-based NUMT predictions do not. Thus, similarity of the mitogenome to LTR sequences is recognized, which we validate by finding the mitochondrial k-mer distribution closer to those for transposable sequences and specifically, close to some types of LTR.

RevDate: 2019-03-29

Lynch M, GK Marinov (2018)

Response to Martin and colleagues: mitochondria do not boost the bioenergetic capacity of eukaryotic cells.

Biology direct, 13(1):26 pii:10.1186/s13062-018-0228-3.

A recent paper by (Gerlitz et al., Biol Direct 13:21, 2018) questions the validity of the data underlying prior analyses on the bioenergetics capacities of cells, and continues to promote the idea that the mitochondrion endowed eukaryotic cells with energetic superiority over prokaryotes. The former point has been addressed previously, with no resultant changes in the conclusions, and the latter point remains inconsistent with multiple lines of empirical data.

RevDate: 2019-03-06

Adlakha J, Karamichali I, Sangwallek J, et al (2019)

Characterization of MCU-Binding Proteins MCUR1 and CCDC90B - Representatives of a Protein Family Conserved in Prokaryotes and Eukaryotic Organelles.

Structure (London, England : 1993), 27(3):464-475.e6.

Membrane-bound coiled-coil proteins are important mediators of signaling, fusion, and scaffolding. Here, we delineate a heterogeneous group of trimeric membrane-anchored proteins in prokaryotes and eukaryotic organelles with a characteristic head-neck-stalk-anchor architecture, in which a membrane-anchored coiled-coil stalk projects an N-terminal head domain via a β-layer neck. Based on sequence analysis, we identify different types of head domains and determine crystal structures of two representatives, the archaeal protein Kcr-0859 and the human CCDC90B, which possesses the most widespread head type. Using mitochondrial calcium uniporter regulator 1 (MCUR1), the functionally characterized paralog of CCDC90B, we study the role of individual domains, and find that the head interacts directly with the mitochondrial calcium uniporter (MCU) and is destabilized upon Ca2+ binding. Our data provide structural details of a class of membrane-bound coiled-coil proteins and identify the conserved head domain of the most widespread type as a mediator of their function.

RevDate: 2019-04-09
CmpDate: 2019-04-09

Jelassi R, Khemaissia H, Ghemari C, et al (2019)

Ecotoxicological effects of trace element contamination in talitrid amphipod Orchestia montagui Audouin, 1826.

Environmental science and pollution research international, 26(6):5577-5587.

This study deals with the evaluation of trace element bioaccumulation and histological alterations in the hepatopancreas of the supralittoral amphipod Orchestia montagui Audouin, 1826 due to the exposure to cadmium, copper, and zinc. Orchestia montagui individuals were maintained during 14 days in soils contaminated with different trace elements namely cadmium, copper, and zinc; a control was also prepared. Our results show that the mortality and the body mass vary according to the metal and the nominal concentration used. In general, the mortality increases from the seventh day. However, the body mass shows a decrease with cadmium exposure and an increase with copper and zinc exposures. Furthermore, the concentration factor highlights that this species is considered a macroconcentrator for copper and zinc. The hepatopancreas of unexposed and exposed animals were compared to detect histological changes. Our results show significant alterations in the hepatopancreas of the exposed animals after the experiment. The degree of these alterations was found to be dose-dependent. Among the histological changes in the hepatopancreas in O. montagui, a loss of cell structure was noted, especially cell remoteness and border lyses, the reduction of nuclear volume, an increase in the cytoplasm density with the presence of trace element deposits in both the nucleus and vacuoles, a disorganization and destruction of microvilli, and a condensation of the majority of cell organelles and mitochondria swelling. Through this study, we have confirmed that O. montagui can be a relevant model to assess trace metal element pollution in Tunisian coastal lagoons with the aim of using it in future biomonitoring programs.

RevDate: 2019-02-14

Huang S, Braun HP, Gawryluk RMR, et al (2019)

Mitochondrial complex II of plants: subunit composition, assembly, and function in respiration and signaling.

The Plant journal : for cell and molecular biology [Epub ahead of print].

Complex II [succinate dehydrogenase (succinate-ubiquinone oxidoreductase); EC; SDH] is the only enzyme shared by both the electron transport chain and the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle in mitochondria. Complex II in plants is considered unusual because of its accessory subunits (SDH5-SDH8), in addition to the catalytic subunits of SDH found in all eukaryotes (SDH1-SDH4). Here, we review compositional and phylogenetic analysis and biochemical dissection studies to both clarify the presence and propose a role for these subunits. We also consider the wider functional and phylogenetic evidence for SDH assembly factors and the reports from plants on the control of SDH1 flavination and SDH1-SDH2 interaction. Plant complex II has been shown to influence stomatal opening, the plant defense response and reactive oxygen species-dependent stress responses. Signaling molecules such as salicyclic acid (SA) and nitric oxide (NO) are also reported to interact with the ubiquinone (UQ) binding site of SDH, influencing signaling transduction in plants. Future directions for SDH research in plants and the specific roles of its different subunits and assembly factors are suggested, including the potential for reverse electron transport to explain the succinate-dependent production of reactive oxygen species in plants and new avenues to explore the evolution of plant mitochondrial complex II and its utility.

RevDate: 2019-01-05

Rathore S, Berndtsson J, Marin-Buera L, et al (2019)

Cryo-EM structure of the yeast respiratory supercomplex.

Nature structural & molecular biology, 26(1):50-57.

Respiratory chain complexes execute energy conversion by connecting electron transport with proton translocation over the inner mitochondrial membrane to fuel ATP synthesis. Notably, these complexes form multi-enzyme assemblies known as respiratory supercomplexes. Here we used single-particle cryo-EM to determine the structures of the yeast mitochondrial respiratory supercomplexes III2IV and III2IV2, at 3.2-Å and 3.5-Å resolutions, respectively. We revealed the overall architecture of the supercomplex, which deviates from the previously determined assemblies in mammals; obtained a near-atomic structure of the yeast complex IV; and identified the protein-protein and protein-lipid interactions implicated in supercomplex formation. Take together, our results demonstrate convergent evolution of supercomplexes in mitochondria that, while building similar assemblies, results in substantially different arrangements and structural solutions to support energy conversion.

RevDate: 2019-03-29
CmpDate: 2019-03-28

Clergeot PH, Rode NO, Glémin S, et al (2019)

Estimating the Fitness Effect of Deleterious Mutations During the Two Phases of the Life Cycle: A New Method Applied to the Root-Rot Fungus Heterobasidion parviporum.

Genetics, 211(3):963-976.

Many eukaryote species, including taxa such as fungi or algae, have a lifecycle with substantial haploid and diploid phases. A recent theoretical model predicts that such haploid-diploid lifecycles are stable over long evolutionary time scales when segregating deleterious mutations have stronger effects in homozygous diploids than in haploids and when they are partially recessive in heterozygous diploids. The model predicts that effective dominance-a measure that accounts for these two effects-should be close to 0.5 in these species. It also predicts that diploids should have higher fitness than haploids on average. However, an appropriate statistical framework to conjointly investigate these predictions is currently lacking. In this study, we derive a new quantitative genetic model to test these predictions using fitness data of two haploid parents and their diploid offspring, and genome-wide genetic distance between haploid parents. We apply this model to the root-rot basidiomycete fungus Heterobasidion parviporum-a species where the heterokaryotic (equivalent to the diploid) phase is longer than the homokaryotic (haploid) phase. We measured two fitness-related traits (mycelium growth rate and the ability to degrade wood) in both homokaryons and heterokaryons, and we used whole-genome sequencing to estimate nuclear genetic distance between parents. Possibly due to a lack of power, we did not find that deleterious mutations were recessive or more deleterious when expressed during the heterokaryotic phase. Using this model to compare effective dominance among haploid-diploid species where the relative importance of the two phases varies should help better understand the evolution of haploid-diploid life cycles.

RevDate: 2019-01-08

Su-Keene EJ, Bonilla MM, Padua MV, et al (2018)

Simulated climate warming and mitochondrial haplogroup modulate testicular small non-coding RNA expression in the neotropical pseudoscorpion, Cordylochernes scorpioides.

Environmental epigenetics, 4(4):dvy027 pii:dvy027.

Recent theory suggests that tropical terrestrial arthropods are at significant risk from climate warming. Metabolic rate in such ectothermic species increases exponentially with environmental temperature, and a small temperature increase in a hot environment can therefore have a greater physiological impact than a large temperature increase in a cool environment. In two recent studies of the neotropical pseudoscorpion, Cordylochernes scorpioides, simulated climate warming significantly decreased survival, body size and level of sexual dimorphism. However, these effects were minor compared with catastrophic consequences for male fertility and female fecundity, identifying reproduction as the life stage most vulnerable to climate warming. Here, we examine the effects of chronic high-temperature exposure on epigenetic regulation in C. scorpioides in the context of naturally occurring variation in mitochondrial DNA. Epigenetic mechanisms, including DNA methylation, histone modifications and small non-coding RNA (sncRNA) expression, are particularly sensitive to environmental factors such as temperature, which can induce changes in epigenetic states and phenotypes that may be heritable across generations. Our results indicate that exposure of male pseudoscorpions to elevated temperature significantly altered the expression of >60 sncRNAs in testicular tissue, specifically microRNAs and piwi-interacting RNAs. Mitochondrial haplogroup was also a significant factor influencing both sncRNAs and mitochondrial gene expression. These findings demonstrate that chronic heat stress causes changes in epigenetic profiles that may account for reproductive dysfunction in C. scorpioides males. Moreover, through its effects on epigenetic regulation, mitochondrial DNA polymorphism may provide the potential for an adaptive evolutionary response to climate warming.

RevDate: 2019-04-17

DiMaio J, Ruthel G, Cannon JJ, et al (2018)

The single mitochondrion of the kinetoplastid parasite Crithidia fasciculata is a dynamic network.

PloS one, 13(12):e0202711 pii:PONE-D-18-22992.

Mitochondria are central organelles in cellular metabolism. Their structure is highly dynamic, allowing them to adapt to different energy requirements, to be partitioned during cell division, and to maintain functionality. Mitochondrial dynamics, including membrane fusion and fission reactions, are well studied in yeast and mammals but it is not known if these processes are conserved throughout eukaryotic evolution. Kinetoplastid parasites are some of the earliest-diverging eukaryotes to retain a mitochondrion. Each cell has only a single mitochondrial organelle, making them an interesting model for the role of dynamics in controlling mitochondrial architecture. We have investigated the mitochondrial division cycle in the kinetoplastid Crithidia fasciculata. The majority of mitochondrial biogenesis occurs during the G1 phase of the cell cycle, and the mitochondrion is divided symmetrically in a process coincident with cytokinesis. Live cell imaging revealed that the mitochondrion is highly dynamic, with frequent changes in the topology of the branched network. These remodeling reactions include tubule fission, fusion, and sliding, as well as new tubule formation. We hypothesize that the function of this dynamic remodeling is to homogenize mitochondrial contents and to facilitate rapid transport of mitochondria-encoded gene products from the area containing the mitochondrial nucleoid to other parts of the organelle.

RevDate: 2019-04-16

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

Ferrocenyl-Triphenyltin Complexes as Lysosome-Targeted Imaging and Anticancer Agents.

Inorganic chemistry, 58(2):1710-1718.

In this paper, two ferrocenyl-triphenyltin complexes were synthesized and characterized. Complex 2 is constructed as new multifunctional therapeutic platform for lysosome-targeted imaging and displayed much higher cytotoxicity than its analogue 1 by the introduction of a methyl group instead of a hydrogen atom in acylhydrazone. The cyclic voltammograms and reaction with GSH (glutathione) further confirmed that complex 1 has a reversible redox peak and can react with GSH, which indicate that complex 1 might lose its anticancer effect by undergoing reaction with GSH once it enters the cancer cell. Complex 2 could effectively catalyze the oxidation of NADH (the reduced form of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) to NAD+ and induce the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), lead to caspase-dependent apoptosis through damaged mitochondria, simultaneously, accounting for the mitochondrial vacuolization and karyorrhexis. The caspase-3 activation and cytoplasmic vacuolation karyorrhexis induced by complex 2 revealed that the A549 cell lines might undergo cell death primarily mediated by apoptosis and oncosis; however, 1 cannot reproduce this effect. Taken together, these results indicated that complex 2 has more potential for evolution as a new bioimaging and anticancer agent.

RevDate: 2018-12-27

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

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

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

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

RevDate: 2019-04-17

Łukasik P, Chong RA, Nazario K, et al (2019)

One Hundred Mitochondrial Genomes of Cicadas.

The Journal of heredity, 110(2):247-256.

Mitochondrial genomes can provide valuable information on the biology and evolutionary histories of their host organisms. Here, we present and characterize the complete coding regions of 107 mitochondrial genomes (mitogenomes) of cicadas (Insecta: Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha: Cicadoidea), representing 31 genera, 61 species, and 83 populations. We show that all cicada mitogenomes retain the organization and gene contents thought to be ancestral in insects, with some variability among cicada clades in the length of a region between the genes nad2 and cox1, which encodes 3 tRNAs. Phylogenetic analyses using these mitogenomes recapitulate a recent 5-gene classification of cicadas into families and subfamilies, but also identify a species that falls outside of the established taxonomic framework. While protein-coding genes are under strong purifying selection, tests of relative evolutionary rates reveal significant variation in evolutionary rates across taxa, highlighting the dynamic nature of mitochondrial genome evolution in cicadas. These data will serve as a useful reference for future research into the systematics, ecology, and evolution of the superfamily Cicadoidea.

RevDate: 2019-04-07

Hill GE, Havird JC, Sloan DB, et al (2018)

Assessing the fitness consequences of mitonuclear interactions in natural populations.

Biological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society [Epub ahead of print].

Metazoans exist only with a continuous and rich supply of chemical energy from oxidative phosphorylation in mitochondria. The oxidative phosphorylation machinery that mediates energy conservation is encoded by both mitochondrial and nuclear genes, and hence the products of these two genomes must interact closely to achieve coordinated function of core respiratory processes. It follows that selection for efficient respiration will lead to selection for compatible combinations of mitochondrial and nuclear genotypes, and this should facilitate coadaptation between mitochondrial and nuclear genomes (mitonuclear coadaptation). Herein, we outline the modes by which mitochondrial and nuclear genomes may coevolve within natural populations, and we discuss the implications of mitonuclear coadaptation for diverse fields of study in the biological sciences. We identify five themes in the study of mitonuclear interactions that provide a roadmap for both ecological and biomedical studies seeking to measure the contribution of intergenomic coadaptation to the evolution of natural populations. We also explore the wider implications of the fitness consequences of mitonuclear interactions, focusing on central debates within the fields of ecology and biomedicine.

RevDate: 2019-04-15

Williams AM, Friso G, van Wijk KJ, et al (2019)

Extreme variation in rates of evolution in the plastid Clp protease complex.

The Plant journal : for cell and molecular biology, 98(2):243-259.

Eukaryotic cells represent an intricate collaboration between multiple genomes, even down to the level of multi-subunit complexes in mitochondria and plastids. One such complex in plants is the caseinolytic protease (Clp), which plays an essential role in plastid protein turnover. The proteolytic core of Clp comprises subunits from one plastid-encoded gene (clpP1) and multiple nuclear genes. TheclpP1 gene is highly conserved across most green plants, but it is by far the fastest evolving plastid-encoded gene in some angiosperms. To better understand these extreme and mysterious patterns of divergence, we investigated the history ofclpP1 molecular evolution across green plants by extracting sequences from 988 published plastid genomes. We find thatclpP1 has undergone remarkably frequent bouts of accelerated sequence evolution and architectural changes (e.g. a loss of introns andRNA-editing sites) within seed plants. AlthoughclpP1 is often assumed to be a pseudogene in such cases, multiple lines of evidence suggest that this is rarely true. We applied comparative native gel electrophoresis of chloroplast protein complexes followed by protein mass spectrometry in two species within the angiosperm genusSilene, which has highly elevated and heterogeneous rates ofclpP1 evolution. We confirmed thatclpP1 is expressed as a stable protein and forms oligomeric complexes with the nuclear-encoded Clp subunits, even in one of the most divergentSilene species. Additionally, there is a tight correlation between amino acid substitution rates inclpP1 and the nuclear-encoded Clp subunits across a broad sampling of angiosperms, suggesting continuing selection on interactions within this complex.

RevDate: 2018-12-19

Morsi M, Kobeissy F, Magdeldin S, et al (2018)

A shared comparison of diabetes mellitus and neurodegenerative disorders.

Journal of cellular biochemistry [Epub ahead of print].

Diabetes mellitus (DM), one of the most prevalent metabolic diseases in the world population, is associated with a number of comorbid conditions including obesity, pancreatic endocrine changes, and renal and cardio-cerebrovascular alterations, coupled with peripheral neuropathy and neurodegenerative disease, some of these disorders are bundled into metabolic syndrome. Type 1 DM (T1DM) is an autoimmune disease that destroys the insulin-secreting islet cells. Type 2 DM (T2DM) is diabetes that is associated with an imbalance in the glucagon/insulin homeostasis that leads to the formation of amyloid deposits in the brain, pancreatic islet cells, and possibly in the kidney glomerulus. There are several layers of molecular pathologic alterations that contribute to the DM metabolic pathophysiology and its associated neuropathic manifestations. In this review, we describe the general signature metabolic features of DM and the cross-talk with neurodegeneration. We will assess the underlying molecular key players associated with DM-induced neuropathic disorders that are associated with both T1DM and T2DM. In this context, we will highlight the role of tau and amyloid protein deposits in the brain as well in the pancreatic islet cells, and possibly in the kidney glomerulus. Furthermore, we will discuss the central role of mitochondria, oxidative stress, and the unfolded protein response in mediating the DM-associated neuropathic degeneration. This study will elucidate the relationship between DM and neurodegeneration which may account for the evolution of other neurodegenerative diseases, particularly Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease as discussed later.

RevDate: 2019-02-27

Wynn EL, AC Christensen (2019)

Repeats of Unusual Size in Plant Mitochondrial Genomes: Identification, Incidence and Evolution.

G3 (Bethesda, Md.), 9(2):549-559 pii:g3.118.200948.

Plant mitochondrial genomes have excessive size relative to coding capacity, a low mutation rate in genes and a high rearrangement rate. They also have abundant non-tandem repeats often including pairs of large repeats which cause isomerization of the genome by recombination, and numerous repeats of up to several hundred base pairs that recombine only when the genome is stressed by DNA damaging agents or mutations in DNA repair pathway genes. Early work on mitochondrial genomes led to the suggestion that repeats in the size range from several hundred to a few thousand base pair are underrepresented. The repeats themselves are not well-conserved between species, and are not always annotated in mitochondrial sequence assemblies. We systematically identified and compared these repeats, which are important clues to mechanisms of DNA maintenance in mitochondria. We developed a tool to find and curate non-tandem repeats larger than 50bp and analyzed the complete mitochondrial sequences from 157 plant species. We observed an interesting difference between taxa: the repeats are larger and more frequent in the vascular plants. Analysis of closely related species also shows that plant mitochondrial genomes evolve in dramatic bursts of breakage and rejoining, complete with DNA sequence gain and loss. We suggest an adaptive explanation for the existence of the repeats and their evolution.

RevDate: 2019-02-26

Harman A, C Barth (2018)

The Dictyostelium discoideum homologue of Twinkle, Twm1, is a mitochondrial DNA helicase, an active primase and promotes mitochondrial DNA replication.

BMC molecular biology, 19(1):12 pii:10.1186/s12867-018-0114-7.

BACKGROUND: DNA replication requires contributions from various proteins, such as DNA helicases; in mitochondria Twinkle is important for maintaining and replicating mitochondrial DNA. Twinkle helicases are predicted to also possess primase activity, as has been shown in plants; however this activity appears to have been lost in metazoans. Given this, the study of Twinkle in other organisms is required to better understand the evolution of this family and the roles it performs within mitochondria.

RESULTS: Here we describe the characterization of a Twinkle homologue, Twm1, in the amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum, a model organism for mitochondrial genetics and disease. We show that Twm1 is important for mitochondrial function as it maintains mitochondrial DNA copy number in vivo. Twm1 is a helicase which unwinds DNA resembling open forks, although it can act upon substrates with a single 3' overhang, albeit less efficiently. Furthermore, unlike human Twinkle, Twm1 has primase activity in vitro. Finally, using a novel in bacterio approach, we demonstrated that Twm1 promotes DNA replication.

CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that Twm1 is a replicative mitochondrial DNA helicase which is capable of priming DNA for replication. Our results also suggest that non-metazoan Twinkle could function in the initiation of mitochondrial DNA replication. While further work is required, this study has illuminated several alternative processes of mitochondrial DNA maintenance which might also be performed by the Twinkle family of helicases.

RevDate: 2019-02-15
CmpDate: 2019-02-12

Idnurm A (2018)

Mystique of Phycomyces blakesleeanus is a peculiar mitochondrial genetic element that is highly variable in DNA sequence while subjected to strong negative selection.

Journal of genetics, 97(5):1195-1204.

A DNA region in the mitochondrial genome of the fungus Phycomyces blakesleeanus (Mucorales, Mucoromycota) was characterized in a population of wild-type strains. The region encodes a predicted protein similar to the reverse transcriptases encoded by mitochondrial retroplasmids of Neurospora species and other Sordariomycetes (Ascomycota), but is uncommon in other fungi. DNA sequences of this element, named mystique, are highly variable between the strains, having greater than 2.5% divergence, yet most of the nucleotide differences fall in codon positions that do not change the amino acid sequence. The high proportion of polymorphisms coupled to the rarity of nonsynonymous changes suggests that mystique is subject to counteracting forces of hypermutation and purifying selection. However, while evidence for negative selection may infer that the element provides a fitness benefit, some strains of P. blakesleeanus do not have the element and grow equivalently well as those strains with it. A mechanism to explain the variability between the mystique alleles is proposed, of error-prone replication through an RNA intermediate, reverse transcription and reintegration of the element into the mitochondrial genome.


RJR Experience and Expertise


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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E-mail: RJR8222@gmail.com

Collection of publications by R J Robbins

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

Research Gate page for R J Robbins

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

Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

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Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

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