Climate-linked temporal and spatial patterns in the evolution of African bovidae
Tim Frederic Schikora
- Climate and subsequent environmental changes are regarded as one driver of species evolution. Against this background the present study investigates the evolutionary history of the mammalian family Bovidae (Cetartiodactyla, Mammalia), today the most species-rich family of large herbivores on the African continent. Temporal and spatial patterns in that group’s evolution are the focus of the present study and were investigated using methods and data deriving from multiple disciplines (palaeontology, genetics, climatology, conservation biology). The results serve as a validation of macroevolutionary hypotheses of species evolution.
A major proportion of African mammalian fossils can be assigned to that family. Due to their morphological adaptations, bovid species are highly indicative of their habitats. Hence, bovids are of great importance for paleontology. However, a strong taphonomic bias is present in the fossil record of bovids, favoring large and arid- adapted species. Molecular phylogenies of extant species and species distribution modelling combined with climate reconstructions can help to overcome these limitations.
A molecular phylogeny, based on the cytochrome b gene of 136 bovid species served as basis for analysis of temporal patterns. Divergence events were dated using the relaxed molecular clock approach. The tree was time calibrated at 30 nodes using information inferred from the fossil record. Lineage-Through-Time plots and the respective statistical analyses reveal detailed temporal patterns in the evolutionary history of tribes and groups combining arid- and humid-adapted tribes. The resulting pattern shows three distinct phases. Phase 1 (P1) is dominated by speciation events within the humid group, while the second phase (P2) is marked by a dominance of speciation within the arid group. The switch in diversification rates (BDS) from P1 to P2 is dated to 2.8 million years ago. The third phase (P3) shows low diversification rates for all groups, starting around 1.4 million year ago and culminates in a significantly reduced diversification rate for the complete family at 0.8 million years ago. Both transitions are contemporaneous with global climate changes and turnover events in fossil faunal communities.
To investigate the impact of climate changes onto the habitat availability within the last 3 million years and its putative influence on diversification rates, the species distribution modeling method was applied. For 85 African species and subspecies the climate niches were established and grouped into 5 climate-groups based on their climate preferences. For each group the available habitat for the period before and after the BDS was calculated on continental scale using reconstructed climate scenarios. To evaluate the modeled habitat distributions, regional analyses were performed in test areas surrounding well studied fossil sites (Laetoli, Olduvai, Chiwondo Beds, Lothagam, Koobi Fora, West Turkana, Swartkrans, Sterkfontain und Toros-Menalla). Habitat profiles (HP) permitted the comparison of the model based habitat reconstruction with the interpretations of classic paleontological reconstruction. The validity of the habitat modeling has been shown in particular for East African test areas. The reconstructions for the northern and southern fossil sites does not support the modeled habitats in these areas. Yet, the method of habitat- profiling may serve as suitable tool for environmental reconstruction of areas lacking sufficient paleontological material. A comparison of habitat availability before and after the BDS on continental scale identified a significant loss of habitat for humid adapted groups (7-22%) and habitat gain for arid adapted groups (19-173%). The climatically intermediate group experiences a tremendous gain of habitat (3366%). The greatest environmental change was modeled for East Africa, initiated by a progressive regional aridification.
In addition to the distribution modeling for past climate conditions, the geographical distribution was modeled for the future, i.e. for climate scenarios representing the years 2050 and 2080 under a putative climate change scenario (global surface warming). It was shown that in particular the arid groups have to expect a remarkable loss of habitat (41-76%), while a gain of available habitat can be expected for the humid adapted groups (114-577%). The climatically intermediate group suffers the strongest habitat loss (85%). Regions with locally stable climate conditions were detected and may serve as potential refugia and are already today known as Africa’s hot spots of biodiversity.
The results show a positive correlation of high diversification rates and increasing habitat availability. None of the tested speciation hypotheses taken alone explains the observations (e.g., Turnover-pulse Hypothesis, Relay Model). A major element in these hypotheses is the passive fragmentation of populations induced by unfavorable climate changes. In contrast, the Periodic Model (Grubb 1999) considers natural, periodically recurring climate changes and moreover, the active dispersal of individuals and resulting founder events. I added the effect of a superimposed directed climate trend – like the progressive aridification since the late Pliocene in Africa – which leads to a bias in the proportion and probability towards leading edge effects. This Directed Periodic Model explains the patterns found in the evolution of Bovidae.
The combination of a molecular phylogeny and species distribution modeling, together with information inferred from the fossil record, reveals remarkable temporal and spatial patterns in the evolution of bovids, and helps overcome the limitations of the fossil record. The present study highlights the importance of active dispersal and founder populations in speciation processes. A point widely unattended in speciation hypotheses. The fully dated molecular phylogeny is the most densely sampled tree for the family Bovidae to date and may serve as a framework for a connection of present and future population studies, permitting the connection of medium-scale with long- term effects induced by climate and environmental changes.
Generation and analysis of mouse lines with a defect in platelet secretion and application in mouse models of atherosclerosis and tumor metastasis
- Introduction: The involvement of platelets in various diseases has been increasingly recognized in the recent decades. This contribution is believed to involve platelet secretion and formation of reactive microparticles. Platelets contain two functionally important forms of vesicles, alpha and dense granules, which are secreted upon activation of platelets. Alpha granules incorporate larger molecules such as adhesive proteins, e.g. P-selectin, vWF and fibrinogen; chemokines like PF4 and RANTES and growth hormones like VEGF and PDGF are among the most important proteins attributed to the involvement of platelets in pathological conditions. In contrast, dense granules contain small molecules like ADP, ATP, serotonin and histamine, and they are more rapidly and completely secreted than alpha granules. Like in all secreting cells, regulated exocytosis in platelets is mediated by “zippering” of three different classes of SNARE proteins. The subtypes of these proteins found to be involved in platelet secretion are SNAP-23, syntaxin-2 and -4 and VAMP-3 and -8. Apart from SNARE proteins, other conserved proteins influencing exocytosis by e.g. acting on SNARE proteins have been described, one of the most important ones being Munc13. Platelets contribute to the progression of atherosclerosis by local deposition of inflammatory mediators like PF4, RANTES and CD40L, which leads to enhanced leukocyte recruitment and plaque formation. In 1865, Armand Trousseau first described the correlation between cancer and thrombotic events. Since the 1960s, an increasing number of studies have found an involvement of platelets also in the progression of cancer, especially in the formation of metastases. Platelets bind to circulating tumor cells and may shield them from NK cell attacks and shear stress. Platelets may also facilitate the interaction of tumor cells with other cell types and the vessel wall. Lastly, they may secrete molecules that influence the tumor cell phenotype and invasiveness.
Aims of this study: We sought to generate and describe genetically modified mouse lines with defective platelet secretion and to employ these mouse lines in murine models of atherosclerosis and tumor progression to study the role of platelet secretion under pathological in vivo conditions.
Results: Clostridial toxins cleave members of the SNARE protein family and can thus completely block exocytosis of neuronal and other cells. We generated three transgenic mouse lines expressing tetanus, botulinum-E or -C light chains and two transgenic mouse lines with dominant-negative mutations of SNAP-23 under the control of the platelet-specific PF4 promotor. None of these constructs was able to interfere with platelet secretion despite expression of the transgene. A functional null mutant of the only Munc13 isoform expressed in platelets, Munc13-4, showed complete lack of dense granule secretion, measured by ATP release, while alpha granule release as determined by PF4 and vWF secretion, was unaltered. Morphology, composition and adhesion of these platelets were also normal. Aggregation in response to U46619 and collagen and formation of large aggregates in flow chamber assays was attenuated. Munc13-4-deficient mice showed a severe defect in bleeding time and no formation of stable aggregates in FeCl3 thrombosis model. In response to B16 melanoma and LLC1 carcinoma cells, Munc13-4 KO platelets also showed complete abrogation of dense granule secretion, whereas alpha granule secretion and binding of platelets to tumor cells was unchanged. Interestingly, wild-type platelets, but not Munc13-4 KO platelets, enhanced transmigration of B16 and LLC1 cells through an endothelial cell layer. Exogenous ATP was able to mimic the effect of wild-type platelets and the ATP-degrading enzyme apyrase blocked platelet-mediated tumor cell transmigration. Platelets incubated with tumor cells secreted large amounts of ATP. Murine endothelial cells showed perturbed adherens junctions identified by irregular VE-cadherin staining and gap formation when incubated with supernatants from tumor cell-activated platelets as well as increased permeability under the same conditions. Addition of apyrase preserved normal endothelial morphology and function. In vivo, primary tumor growth and weight was comparable in wild-type and Munc13-4 KO mice upon B16 or LLC1 flank injection but formation of lung metastases was strongly reduced. Number, but not size of metastases was also reduced upon i.v. injection of B16 and LLC1 cells. We found P2Y2 and P2X4 receptors to be the most abundantly expressed endothelial metabotropic and ionotropic ATP receptors, respectively. Neither knock-down nor inhibition of P2X4 in endothelial cells influenced platelet-mediated transendothelial migration of B16 cells, but knock-down of P2Y2, for which no specific antagonist is available, strongly reduced plateletdependent tumor cell transmigration. When B16 melanoma cells were injected i.v. shortly after FITC-dextran (70 kDa) into wild-type mice, prominent leakage of FITC-dextran was observed three hours post-injection at extraluminal sites in the lung. In contrast, leakage into the lung parenchyma was at basal levels in Munc13-4 KO and P2Y2 KO mice after B16 cell injection. Marginal vascular leakage in Munc13-4 KO mice lacking platelet ATP secretion and in P2Y2 KO mice lacking the main endothelial ATP receptor correlated with strongly reduced extravasation of CFSE-labeled B16 melanoma cells 6 hours post-injection in these mice. Consistently, P2Y2 KO mice showed strongly reduced formation of metastases in the lung after i.v. injection of B16 or LLC1 tumor cells. Bone marrow-transplanted LDLR KO mice reconstituted with Munc13-4-deficient or wildtype bone marrow and subjected to 16 weeks of high fat diet showed no significant difference in atherosclerotic plaque formation in the aorta.
Discussion: We hereby provide a thorough analysis of a mouse line with an exclusive defect in platelet dense granule secretion, thus representing a unique genetic tool to study the role of dense granule secretion in various contexts without interfering with other platelet functions. We also provide evidence how extravasation of circulating tumor cells is facilitated by tumor cell-induced ATP release from platelets. This ATP release destabilizes endothelial barriers and facilitates tumor cell extravasation and formation of metastases in the target organ. Since metastasis is the leading cause of cancer death, pharmacological interference with endothelial P2Y2 receptor function may represent a promising therapeutic strategy.
Untersuchungen zur Bedeutung von Superoxid-Dismutasen für die Alterung von Podospora anserina
- Im Rahmen dieser vorliegenden Doktorarbeit sollte die Bedeutung von Superoxid-Dismutasen für das Resistenzverhalten und den Alterungsprozess bei P. anserina untersucht werden. Folgende Befunde aus den Analysen konnten erhalten werden:
1. Lokalisationsstudien der drei PaSods
Aus den biochemischen und fluoreszenzmikroskopischen Untersuchungen der drei verschiedenen PaSODs geht hervor, dass PaSOD1, eine Cu/ZnSOD, überwiegend im Cytosol und zu einem geringen Anteil im mitochondrialen Intermembranraum lokalisiert ist. Eine der beiden MnSODs, PaSOD2, wird vermutlich zur Abwehr von exogenem Superoxid sekretiert. Bei PaSOD3 handelt es sich um eine mitochondriale MnSOD.
2. Generierung von verschiedenen PaSod-Mutanten
Im Rahmen dieser Arbeit wurden von jeder PaSod mindestens drei unabhängige Überexpressionsstämme, ein GFP-Stamm- und ein Deletionsstamm hergestellt. Weiterhin wurden alle möglichen Doppel-Deletionsstämme und die Dreifach-Deletionsmutante erzeugt. Alle Stämme wurden auf DNA-Ebene verifiziert, zusätzlich wurde die Proteinmenge bzw. –Aktivität überprüft.
3. Einfluss der PaSODs auf die ROS-Toleranz
Die Analysen der ROS-Resistenzen haben gezeigt, dass PaSODs eine wichtige Rolle in der Entgiftung von Superoxiden spielt. So ließ sich bei den Deletionsstämmen der PaSods eine gesteigerte Sensitivität gegenüber Paraquat feststellen. Eine Aufsummierung der Sensitivität gegenüber Paraquat ist bei der PaSod-Tripelmutante (ΔPaSod1/2/3) zu erkennen.
Überraschenderweise kann durch die gesteigerten Mengen an aktiver PaSOD in den Überexpressionsstämmen (PaSod1-3_OEx) keine verbesserte Resistenz gegenüber Paraquat erzielt werden. Darüber hinaus führt die Überexpression des Gens für die mitochondriale SOD, PaSOD3, zu massiven negativen Effekten.
4. Einfluss auf die Lebensspanne
Durch eine fehlende Entgiftung von Superoxid in den PaSod-Deletionsmutanten ist eine Verminderung der Lebensspanne nicht festzustellen. Bei PaSod-Mutantenstämme, die eine erhöhte PaSOD-Aktivität und damit eine gesteigerte Abbaurate des Superoxids aufweisen, kann bei den PaSod1- und PaSod2-Überexpressionsstämmen keine verbesserte Lebensspanne unter den gewählten Standardbedingungen erzielt werden. Vielmehr noch ist die Lebensspanne der PaSod3-Überexpressionsstämme stark reduziert.
5. Einfluss der PaSod-Modulation auf andere Komponenten des ROS-Abbausystems
Die PaSOD-Aktivitäten scheinen miteinander co-reguliert zu werden. Des Weiteren scheint es ein Zusammenhang zwischen den beiden sekretierten Enzymen PaSOD2 und PaCATB zu geben. Deutlich wird auch, dass die Modulation der Superoxid-Dismutasen eine weitreichende Auswirkung auf andere Schutzsysteme hat. Beispielweise konnte gezeigt werden, dass Komponenten des mitochondrialen ROS-Schutzsystems und der Protein-Qualitätskontrolle in den PaSod3-Überexpressionsstämmen verändert sind.
Zusammenfassend lassen die Analysen der PaSod-modulierten Stämme den Schluss zu, dass die Superoxid-Dismutase in P. anserina ein wichtiges Enzym zum Abbau des schädlichen Superoxids darstellt, welches aber nur eine untergeordnete Rolle bei der Kontrolle der Lebensspanne unter den gewählten Wachstumsbedingungen im Labor ausübt. Des Weiteren haben die Analysen gezeigt, dass es durch die Modulation der PaSod-Gene zu weitreichenden Änderungen, die das ROS-Schutzsystem (PaSOD, PaCATB und PaPRX1) sowie die Protein-Qualitätskontrolle (PaHSP60, PaLON und PaCLPP) betreffen, kommt. Welche Auswirkung dabei diese Veränderungen in Bezug auf die Lebensspanne hat, kann nur schwer abgeschätzt werden und muss mit weiteren Untersuchungen geklärt werden.
The magnetite-based receptors in the beak of birds and their role in avian navigation
- Iron-rich structures have been described in the beak of homing pigeons, chickens and several species of migratory birds and interpreted as magnetoreceptors. Here, we will briefly review findings associated with these receptors that throw light on their nature, their function and their role in avian navigation. Electrophysiological recordings from the ophthalmic nerve, behavioral studies and a ZENK-study indicate that the trigeminal system, the nerves innervating the beak, mediate information on magnetic changes, with the electrophysiological study suggesting that these are changes in intensity. Behavioral studies support the involvement of magnetite and the trigeminal system in magnetoreception, but clearly show that the inclination compass normally used by birds represents a separate system. However, if this compass is disrupted by certain light conditions, migrating birds show 'fixed direction' responses to the magnetic field, which originate in the receptors in the beak. Together, these findings point out that there are magnetite-based magnetoreceptors located in the upper beak close to the skin. Their natural function appears to be recording magnetic intensity and thus providing one component of the multi-factorial 'navigational map' of birds.
Development of native electrophoretic techniques for the isolation and characterization of mitochondrial complexes
- In the first part of this work, the development of a novel two-dimensional native gel electrophoretic system (2-D BN/hrCNE) is described. This new system simplifies proteomics and biochemical analysis of mega protein complexes that are dissociated into the constituent complexes during 2-D electrophoresis, thereby reducing the complexity of the system considerably. This technique is exceptionally well suited for the in-gel detection of fluorescence-labeled proteins and the identification of individual enzymes and protein complexes by specific in-gel assays on native gels.
In the second part, a new technique for the native immunoblotting of blue native gels (NIBN) was developed. This new technique allows for the identification of conformation-specific antibodies and the discrimination of antibodies recognizing linear epitopes of denatured proteins. Identification of conformation-specific antibodies is becoming increasingly important not only for the electron microscopic identification of native proteins but also for structural investigations in general. For this purpose, a commonly used protocol for Western blotting of blue native gels was modified in such a way that the native state of proteins and protein complexes was retained throughout the complete protocol. Instead of using the denaturing methanol in Western blotting protocols, mild detergents such as Tween 20, digitonin and Brij 35 were used for the obligatory removal of protein bound Coomassie-dye.
The detection of respiratory complex I by activity staining on the blot membrane demonstrated that all three non-ionic detergents preserved the native state of complex I. The native state of the enzyme on the blot membrane was also monitored and confirmed with the help of a set of conformation-specific antibodies. NIBN can be used as a simple alternative method to the demanding native ELISA to screen for conformation-specific antibodies for structural studies. Unlike the time consuming native ELISA, NIBN does not require introduction of appropriate affinity tags and purification of the target protein by chromatography. Thus, the NIBN technique is especially useful for microscale projects and for proteins not easily accessible to genetic manipulation.
The third part aimed at identification of the immediate protein interaction partners of Cox26, a hydrophobic protein that has been identified by our group as a novel component of yeast respiratory supercomplex. Multi-dimensional electrophoretic techniques were applied to identify non-covalent and covalent protein-protein interactions of Cox26. Three-dimensional electrophoresis (BNE/BNE/SDS-PAGE) gave both qualitative and quantitative information on covalent and non-covalent interactions of Cox26 and subunits of cytochrome c oxidase (complex IV), and showed that most of the Cox26 protein was non-covalently bound to the complex IV moiety of the respirasomes. Four-dimensional electrophoresis (BNE/BNE/SDS/SDS-PAGE) applying reducing and non-reducing conditions revealed that a minor fraction of Cox26 used a single cysteine residue in the center of a predicted transmembrane helix to form a disulfide bond with the Cox2 subunit of complex IV. A structural role of Cox26 protein in the assembly/stability of respiratory strings or patches has been suggested.
The last part of this work focused on the isolation and characterization of native and morphologically intact nucleoids from bovine heart mitochondria, since only a few studies on nucleoid organization and composition have been carried out on mammalian tissues. The nucleoids appeared as distinct bands (apparent mass around 30-36 MDa) in blue native-PAGE on large pore gels. The moderate variation in particle size seems to reflect variations in the binding of loosely nucleoid-associated components like respiratory chain complexes. The estimated 30-36 MDa mass of nucleoids on native gels suggested that each nucleoid contains one mtDNA molecule provided that nucleoids contains equal amounts of DNA, protein and RNA (Miyakawa et al., 1987).
Electron microscopic analysis of native nucleoids, which was performed by Dr. Karen Davies from the Max-Planck-Institute of Biophysics, Department of Structural Biology, Frankfurt, showed homogenous pool of particles with dimensions in 85x100 nm (in negative stain) and 100x150 nm (in cryo-tomography). Some of the nucleoids showed dumbbell-shape indicating dimerization of nucleoids. Recent EM and high-resolution light microscopy analysis of mammalian nucleoids have reported that nucleoids have a size of 70 nm in average. We also observed the same size of 70 nm in cryo-tomogramms when we applied harsher treatment of the native nucleoid particles with dimensions 100x150 nm. This observation is in agreement with published nucleoid sizes from both EM and high-resolution light microscopy, if we assume that native nucleoids have been dissociated under harsher treatment.
The protein composition of bovine heart mt-nucleoids was analyzed by a number of complementary approaches to identify low and highly abundant, easily dissociating and tightly bound proteins, and to rank the 90 most abundant mt-nucleoid proteins. Native and denaturing gel electrophoresis techniques were coupled to LC-MS/MS to achieve a comprehensive protein component analysis. Qualitative MS analysis of highly purified nucleoids identified more than 400 proteins, including well known nucleoid proteins such as mitochondrial transcription factor and mtDNA-binding protein (TFAM), mitochondrial single-stranded DNA-binding protein (mtSSB), mitochondrial DNA polymerase subunit gamma-2 (POLG2) and mitochondrial helicase C26H10ORF2 protein (Twinkle). These proteins were ranked according to Mascot scores, and sorted according to presumed functional properties. A large group of proteins involved in protein synthesis comprised an almost complete set of subunits of mitochondrial ribosomes suggesting that the nucleoids contained significant amounts of mitochondrial ribosomes. Identification of sixty six proteins from the oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) system comprising around 100 proteins in total suggested that OXPHOS proteins are also associated with mt-nucleoids.
Interestingly, TFAM, described as a main mtDNA packaging factor in human and other mammalian cells, was not confirmed here as a major nucleoid component from bovine heart mitochondria. Fluorescence staining of protein spots on 2-D IEF/SDS gels clearly identified TFAM, but according to the stain intensity, this protein did not rank in the list of the 90 most abundant nucleoid proteins. Western blot analysis of sucrose gradient fractions revealed an enrichment of putative TFAM isoform in nucleoid fractions. Unexpectedly, the uncharacterized mitochondrial protein Es1 was identified as the most abundant nucleoid protein in bovine heart nucleoids instead. This implicates that nucleoid organization may differ between species and tissues. A functional characterization of Es1 is required to clarify its role in mammalian nucleoids.
Assessing the combined effects of xenobiotics, climate change and predators on aquatic organisms in multiple stressor experiments : a case study with pyrimethanil
- The environmental impact of climate change is meanwhile not only discussed in the scientific community but also in the general public. However, little is known about the interaction between climate change and pollutants like pesticides. A combination of multiple stressors (e.g. temperature, pollutants, predators) may lead to severe alterations for organisms such as changes in time of reproduction, reproductive success and growth performance, mortality and geographic distribution. The questions if aquatic organisms tend to react more sensitive towards incidents under climate change conditions remains. Therefore, within the present thesis the aquatic ecotoxicological profile of the fungicide pyrimethanil, as an exemplarily anthropogenic used contaminant, was examined.
A large test battery of ecotoxicological standard tests and supplement bioassays with non-model species was conducted to investigate if species-specific or life stage-specific differences occur or if temperature alteration may change the impact of the fungicide. Two of the most sensitive species (Chironomus riparius and Daphnia magna) were used to investigate the acute and chronic thermal dependence of pyrimethanil effects. The results clearly depict that the ecotoxicity of pyrimethanil at optimal thermal conditions did not depend on the trophic level, but was species-specific. With regard to EC10 values the acute pyrimethanil toxicity on C. riparius increased with higher temperature (6.78 mg L-1 at 14°C and 3.06 mg L-1 at 26°C). The chronic response of D. magna to the NOEC (no observed effect concentration) of the fungicide (0.5 mg L-1) was examined in an experiment which lasted for several generations under three simulated near-natural temperature regimes (‘cold year, today’ (11 to 22.7°C), ‘warm year, today’ (14 to 25.2°C) and ‘warm year, 2080’ (16.5 to 28.1°C)). A pyrimethanil-induced mortality increase was buffered by the strongly related increase of the general reproductive capacity, while population growth was stronger influenced by temperature than by the fungicide. At a further pyrimethanil concentration (LOEC – lowest observed effect concentration: 1 mg L-1), a second generation could not be established by D. magna under all thermal regimes.
Besides daphnids, the midge C. riparius was used for a second multigeneration study. In a bifactorial test design it was tested if climate change conditions alter or affect the impact of a low fungicide concentration on life history and genetic diversity. The NOAEC/2 (half of the no observed adverse effect concentration derived from a standard toxicity test) was used as a low pyrimethanil concentration to which laboratory populations of the midges were chronically exposed under the mentioned temperature scenarios. During the 140-day-multigeneration study, survival, emergence, reproduction, population growth, and genetic diversity of C. riparius were analyzed. The results reveal that high temperatures and pyrimethanil act synergistically on life history parameters of C. riparius. In simulated present-day scenarios, a NOAEC/2 of pyrimethanil provoked only slight to moderate beneficial or adverse effects. In contrast, an exposure to a NOAEC/2 concentration of pyrimethanil at a thermal situation likely for a summer under the future expactations uncovered adverse effects on mortality and population growth rate. In addition, genetic diversity was considerably reduced by pyrimethanil in the ‘warm year, 2080’ scenario, but only slightly under current climatic conditions. The multigeneration studies under near-natural thermal conditions indicate that not only the impact of climate change, but also low concentrations of pesticides may pose a reasonable risk for aquatic invertebrates in the future. This clearly shows that thermal and multigenerational effects should be considered when appraising the ecotoxicity of pesticides and assessing their future risk for the environment.
In addition to temperature further multiple abiotic and biotic stressors alterate pollutant effects. Moreover, to better discriminate and understand the intrinsic and environmental correlates of changing aquatic ecosystems, it was experimentally unraveled how the effects of a low-dose of pyrimethanil on daphnids becomes modified by different temperatures (15°C, 20°C, 25°C) and in the presence/ absence of predator kairomones of Chaoborus flavicans larvae. The usage of a fractional multifactorial test design provided the possibility to investigate the individual growth, reproduction and population growth rate of Daphnia pulex via different exposure routes to the fungicide pyrimethanil at an environmentally relevant concentration (0.05 mg L-1) - either directly (via the water phase), indirectly (via algae food), dually (via water and food) or for multiple generations (fungicide treated source population).
The number of neonates increased with increasing temperatures. At a temperature of 25°C no significant differences between the individual treatment groups were observed although the growth was overall inhibited due to pyrimethanil. Besides, at 15 and 20°C it is obvious that daphnids which were fed with contaminated algae had the lowest reproduction and growth rate. The obtained results clearly demonstrate that multiple stress factors can modify the response of daphnids to pollutants. The exposure routes of the contaminant are of minor importance, while temperature and the presence of a predator are the dominant factors impacting the reproduction of D. pulex. It can be concluded that low concentrations of pyrimethanil may disturb the zooplankton community at suboptimal temperature conditions, but the effects will become masked if chaoborid larvae are present. Therefore it seems necessary to observe prospectively if the combination of several stress factors like pesticide exposure and suboptimal temperature may influence the life history and sensitivity of several aquatic invertebrates differently.
Besides standard test organisms it is inevitable to conduct test with aquatic invertebrate which are not yet considered regularly in ecotoxicological experiments. For example molluscs represent one of the largest phyla of macroinvertebrates with more than 100.000 species, being ecologically and economically important. Therefore, within the present study embryo, juvenile, half- and full-life cycle toxicity tests with the snail Physella acuta were performed to investigate the impact of pollutants on various life stages. Different concentrations of pyrimethanil (0.06-0.5 or 1.0 mg L-1) assessed at three temperatures (15°C, 20°C, 25°C) revealed that pyrimethanil caused concentration-dependent effects independent of temperature. Interestingly, the ecotoxicity of pyrimethanil was higher at lower temperature for the embryo hatching and F1 reproduction, but its ecotoxicity for the growth of juveniles and the F0 reproduction increased with increasing temperature. More specifically, it could have been observed that especially during the reproduction test high mortality rates occurred at the highest concentration of 1 mg L-1 at all temperatures. Due to high mortality rates no snails were available for the F1 at the highest concentrations (0.5 and 1.0 mg L-1). Compared to the F0, overall more egg masses were produced in the F1, being all fertile and no mortality occurred. For the F1-generation the strongest pyrimethanil effects were detected at 15°C. A comparison of effect concentrations between both generations showed that the F1 is more sensitive than the F0.
These results indicate that an exposure over more than one generation may give a better overview of the impact of xenobiotics. With the establishment of an embryo and reproduction test under different temperatures and various concentrations of pyrimethanil with P. acuta we could successfully show that molluscs can respond more sensitive than model organisms and that both, chemical and thermal stressor strongly influence the behaviour of the pulmonates. It can be concluded that the high susceptibility for the fungicide observed in gastropods clearly demonstrates the complexity of pesticide-temperature interactions and the challenge to draw conclusions for the ecotoxicological risk assessment of pesticides under the impact of global climate change.
Genomic resources for a model in adaptation and speciation research: characterization of the Poecilia mexicana transcriptome
Joanna L. Kelley
Courtney N. Passow
Lenin Arias Rodriguez
- Background: Elucidating the genomic basis of adaptation and speciation is a major challenge in natural systems with large quantities of environmental and phenotypic data, mostly because of the scarcity of genomic resources for non-model organisms. The Atlantic molly (Poecilia mexicana, Poeciliidae) is a small livebearing fish that has been extensively studied for evolutionary ecology research, particularly because this species has repeatedly colonized extreme environments in the form of caves and toxic hydrogen sulfide containing springs. In such extreme environments, populations show strong patterns of adaptive trait divergence and the emergence of reproductive isolation. Here, we used RNA-sequencing to assemble and annotate the first transcriptome of P. mexicana to facilitate ecological genomics studies in the future and aid the identification of genes underlying adaptation and speciation in the system.
Description: We provide the first annotated reference transcriptome of P. mexicana. Our transcriptome shows high congruence with other published fish transcriptomes, including that of the guppy, medaka, zebrafish, and stickleback. Transcriptome annotation uncovered the presence of candidate genes relevant in the study of adaptation to extreme environments. We describe general and oxidative stress response genes as well as genes involved in pathways induced by hypoxia or involved in sulfide metabolism. To facilitate future comparative analyses, we also conducted quantitative comparisons between P. mexicana from different river drainages. 106,524 single nucleotide polymorphisms were detected in our dataset, including potential markers that are putatively fixed across drainages. Furthermore, specimens from different drainages exhibited some consistent differences in gene regulation.
Conclusions: Our study provides a valuable genomic resource to study the molecular underpinnings of adaptation to extreme environments in replicated sulfide spring and cave environments. In addition, this study adds to the increasing number of genomic resources in the family Poeciliidae, which are widely used in comparative analyses of behavior, ecology, evolution, and medical genetics.
Untersuchung der Ribosomen-Biogenese der Hefe Saccharomyces cerevisiae: Funktion der Klasse I Methyltransferase Rrp8
- In dieser Arbeit wurde die physiologische Funktion der Klasse I Methyltransferase Rrp8 bei der Ribosomen-Biogenese der Hefe Saccharomyces cerevisiae untersucht. Ziel war es, die Bedeutung des Proteins für die rRNA-Prozessierungsschritte besser zu verstehen und das Substratmolekül zu identifizieren, das durch die katalytische Aktivität von Rrp8p modifiziert wird.
In einer rrp8-ΔC Mutante, bei der die für die C-terminale Methyltransferase-Domäne codierende Sequenz deletiert vorlag, konnte eine leichte Mengenreduktion der 40S Untereinheit gefunden werden, was für eine Beteiligung von Rrp8p an der Biogenese der kleinen Untereinheit sprach. Unter Anwendung eines artifiziellen Tetrazyklin-Aptamer-Systems, das die Regulation der Expression eines spezifischen Gens erlaubt, wurde eine bereits vorher bekannte synthetische Interaktion mit der essentiellen 90SKomponente Nep1p bestätigt. Mit Hilfe dieses Expressionssystems konnte auch für eine reduzierte Expression von Nop14p, einem Interaktionspartner des Nep1-Proteins, eine synthetisch kranke Beziehung mit rrp8-ΔC festgestellt werden. Zusammen mit der Untersuchung des Sedimentationsverhaltens eines markierten Rrp8-Proteins und bekannten Daten aus der Literatur wiesen die genetischen Analysen darauf hin, dass Rrp8p neben dem Einfluss auf späte Reifungsschritte des 90S prä-Ribosoms auch für die frühen Reifungsschritte der 60S Untereinheit wichtig ist. Weitere Interaktionen mit Faktoren, die an der Translation beteiligt sind (TIF4631, DOM34) und die Messung der Translationsaktivität zeigten, dass der Ausfall von Rrp8p nicht nur die Biogenese verzögert, sondern gleichfalls die Funktionsfähigkeit des Ribosoms beeinflusst.
Die in dieser Arbeit durchgeführte phänotypische Analyse einer rrp8-ΔC tc-GAR1 Doppelmutante unterstützte die Vermutung, dass Rrp8p auch frühe Reifungsschritte der 60S Untereinheit beeinflusst. Mit einem in vitro Experiment konnte die Bindung von SAM an Rrp8p gezeigt werden und RP-HPLC Analysen der 25S rRNA verdeutlichten, dass Rrp8p neben dem Einfluss auf die Prozessierungsstelle A2 für die m1A645 Modifikation in Helix 25.1 verantwortlich ist. Die phänotypische Untersuchung einer von P. Kötter und S. Lamberth angefertigten rRNA Mutante (A645U) zeigte, dass die Sequenzveränderung innerhalb der Helix 25.1 der 25S rRNA, die zugleich zum Verlust der Modifikation führt, eine deutliche Auswirkung auf das Zellwachstum und auf das Polysomenprofil hat. Ähnliche Polysomenprofile wurden in den Mutanten rrp8-G209R und rrp8-G209A beobachtet, die ein punktmutiertes Rrp8-Protein exprimieren. Eine reduzierte SAM-Bindungsaktivität des mutierten Proteins führte ebenfalls zu einer reduzierten Menge an m1A645 modifizierter 25S rRNA. Eine im Unterschied zur rrp8-ΔC Mutante auftretende Reduktion der 60S Untereinheit in den Punktmutanten spricht für einen bisher noch unbekannten Einfluss von Rrp8p auf die Biogenese der 60S Untereinheit.
In Zusammenarbeit mit S. Sharma durchgeführte 2D-DIGE Experimente und quantitative Messungen von Transkriptmengen zeigten, dass im Vergleich zu einem Wildtyp-Stamm in einer rrp8-ΔC Mutante einige glykolytische Enzyme in geringerem Maße exprimiert werden, was in Zusammenhang mit einer in höheren Eukaryoten bekannten nukleolären Stressantwort gebracht werden kann. Dies verdeutlicht die komplexe Wechselwirkung zwischen der Ribosomenfunktion und dem Energiemetabolismus.
Biochemische und funktionelle Analyse des synaptischen Vesikelproteins SV31
- Im Rahmen dieser Arbeit konnte die Bindeeigenschaft des synaptischen Vesikelproteins SV31 zu den divalenten Metallionen Zn2+, Ni2+ sowie Cu2+ nachgewiesen und reproduziert werden. Die Bindung an Zn2+ wurde dabei sowohl in vitro an der Sepharosesäule als auch in vivo in NGF-differenzierten PC12-Zellen bestätigt (3.2.1 - 3.2.3). In einer Kollaboration mit dem Max-Planck-Institut für Biophysik wurde des Weiteren eine mögliche Zinktransportfunktion von SV31 untersucht. Dafür wurde die Ladungstranslokation durch myc-SV31-enthaltene CHO-Zellmembranen nach Zinkzugabe gemessen (3.2.5). Weiterhin konnte durch subzelluläre Fraktionierung von PC12-Zellen ein Verteilungsmuster des neuen Proteins in Mikrosomen unterschiedlicher Dichte dokumentiert werden. Durch die andauernde Expression von SV31-RFP in stabil transfizierten PC12-Zellen kommt es außerdem zur Beeinflussung des Expressionsmusters zahlreicher Markerproteine und damit einhergehend zu einer Dichteverschiebung somatischer Organellen (3.3.1 - 3.3.3). Kolokalisationsstudien von SV31 mit Markerproteinen zahlreicher Zellorganellen ergaben partielle Fluoreszenzüberlagerungen mit synaptischen Vesikelproteinen sowie eine Anreicherung von SV31 in Nähe der Plasmamembran. In diesem Zusammenhang zeigt sich ebenfalls eine Übereinstimmung der Lokalisation von SV31 mit den SNAREProteinen SNAP25 und Syntaxin1A (3.4.1 - 3.4.3). Die Ergebnisse der vorliegenden Arbeit erweitern nicht nur das Wissen um die funktionellen Eigenschaften von SV31, sie geben auch Anlass zum Nachdenken über mögliche Interaktionspartner des neuen Vesikelproteins. Die Fähigkeit zur Zinkbindung und -akkumulation auf präsynaptischer Seite rückt SV31, im Hinblick auf neurodegenerative Erkrankungen wie Alzheimer und Parkinson, auch in einen medizinisch relevanten Kontext. Durch Deduktion der hier aufgezeigten Ergebnisse entsteht ein erweitertes Verständnis der Relevanz von SV31 als funktionelle, zinkbindende Einheit im Rahmen der synaptischen Transmission.
Influence of land use on structure and dynamics of populations of woody plants in savannas, West Africa
- Savanna regions in West Africa are valuable cultural landscapes and provide a wide range of ecosystem services for human well-being and are frequently affected by human-induced disturbances. Aside from agricultural activities (crop production and animal husbandry), the harvesting of timber and non-timber forest products is crucial for household income, alimentation and medicinal purposes. Most indigenous woody species have undergone increasing anthropogenic pressure as social and economic conditions have changed dramatically during recent decades, resulting in further habitat fragmentation and increased disturbance severity. Human land use activities influence growth conditions for plants by altering various abiotic factors, such as light, nutrient availability and water supply. They are found to alter demographic parameters (e.g., germination, seedling and sapling growth, survival and mortality rates) of woody plant individuals and alter the structure and stability of populations. The degree of anthropogenic disturbance varies between land-cover types, distance to settlements, and protection status. In the context of land-use change, there is an urgent need to better understand and evaluate the impact of land-use on savanna vegetation, particularly on the population biology of common savanna woody species. A major conclusion to be drawn from this thesis is that land use influences savanna vegetation in a complex way and does not necessarily lead to a decline or loss of tree populations and species. It is rather that in a constantly changing landscape, as a result of human-induced disturbances, populations of ubiquitous and some common species can be stable over time. The abundance of some species tends to decline consistently, whereas others benefit from human disturbance. Moreover, the study provides an insight into the structure and dynamics of common, dominant and less dominant savanna woody plants in a communal and a protected area. There is a need for further basic studies to assess the impact of land use and ecological preferences of all species, including repeated density studies that look at survivorship and transition probabilities over a number of seasons as well as longterm in-situ experiments in settlement areas in order to better understand woody plant populations in settlement areas as the few remaining semi-natural sites are likely to decrease in the future. A challenge will be the development of strategies to protect species within a landscape under cultivation.