Investigation of the biosynthesis of bacterial natural products
- Natural products (NPs) have been a rich source for pharmaceutically used anti-infectives and other drugs. However, the application of anti-infectives inevitably causes the development of resistant and multiresistant pathogens, which have to be treated with novel anti-infectives. The industrial research for novel anti-infectives has been concentrating on members of the bacterial Actinomycetales for a long time. Due to several reasons, e.g. the rediscovery of already known NPs, pharmaceutical companies abandoned their NP-research and focused on drug development based on combinatorial chemistry. However, the limited structural diversity of merely synthetic compound libraries has not been a fruitful source for bioactive compounds. Hence the discovery of novel bioactive NPs as a source for anti-infectives is still of economical and humanitarian interest and will remain to be an important branch of research in the future. One strategy to circumvent the rediscovery of bioactive NPs is the analysis of yet unexplored bacterial taxa. Based on this assumption, this work aimed at the discovery of novel NPs from the entomopathogenic bacterial genera Xenorhabdus and Photorhabdus and other promising taxa, as well as the investigation of their biosynthesis. ...
Lateralization of Travelling Wave Response in the Hearing Organ of Bushcrickets
Arun Palghat Udayashankar
- Travelling waves are the physical basis of frequency discrimination in many vertebrate and invertebrate taxa, including mammals, birds, and some insects. In bushcrickets (Tettigoniidae), the crista acustica is the hearing organ that has been shown to use sound-induced travelling waves. Up to now, data on mechanical characteristics of sound-induced travelling waves were only available along the longitudinal (proximal-distal) direction. In this study, we use laser Doppler vibrometry to investigate in-vivo radial (anterior-posterior) features of travelling waves in the tropical bushcricket Mecopoda elongata. Our results demonstrate that the maximum of sound-induced travelling wave amplitude response is always shifted towards the anterior part of the crista acustica. This lateralization of the travelling wave response induces a tilt in the motion of the crista acustica, which presumably optimizes sensory transduction by exerting a shear motion on the sensory cilia in this hearing organ.
pH- and sodium-induced changes in a sodium/proton antiporter
- We examined substrate-induced conformational changes in MjNhaP1, an archaeal electroneutral Na+/H+-antiporter resembling the human antiporter NHE1, by electron crystallography of 2D crystals in a range of physiological pH and Na+ conditions. In the absence of sodium, changes in pH had no major effect. By contrast, changes in Na+ concentration caused a marked conformational change that was largely pH-independent. Crystallographically determined, apparent dissociation constants indicated ∼10-fold stronger Na+ binding at pH 8 than at pH 4, consistent with substrate competition for a common ion-binding site. Projection difference maps indicated helix movements by about 2 Å in the 6-helix bundle region of MjNhaP1 that is thought to contain the ion translocation site. We propose that these movements convert the antiporter from the proton-bound, outward-open state to the Na+-bound, inward-open state. Oscillation between the two states would result in rapid Na+/H+ antiport.
Transcriptome Data Reveal Syndermatan Relationships and Suggest the Evolution of Endoparasitism in Acanthocephala via an Epizoic Stage
Alexandra R. Wey-Fabrizius
David B. Mark Welch
- The taxon Syndermata comprises the biologically interesting wheel animals (“Rotifera”: Bdelloidea + Monogononta + Seisonidea) and thorny-headed worms (Acanthocephala), and is central for testing superordinate phylogenetic hypotheses (Platyzoa, Gnathifera) in the metazoan tree of life. Recent analyses of syndermatan phylogeny suggested paraphyly of Eurotatoria (free-living bdelloids and monogononts) with respect to endoparasitic acanthocephalans. Data of epizoic seisonids, however, were absent, which may have affected the branching order within the syndermatan clade. Moreover, the position of Seisonidea within Syndermata should help in understanding the evolution of acanthocephalan endoparasitism. Here, we report the first phylogenomic analysis that includes all four higher-ranked groups of Syndermata. The analyzed data sets comprise new transcriptome data for Seison spec. (Seisonidea), Brachionus manjavacas (Monogononta), Adineta vaga (Bdelloidea), and Paratenuisentis ambiguus (Acanthocephala). Maximum likelihood and Bayesian trees for a total of 19 metazoan species were reconstructed from up to 410 functionally diverse proteins. The results unanimously place Monogononta basally within Syndermata, and Bdelloidea appear as the sister group to a clade comprising epizoic Seisonidea and endoparasitic Acanthocephala. Our results support monophyly of Syndermata, Hemirotifera (Bdelloidea + Seisonidea + Acanthocephala), and Pararotatoria (Seisonidea + Acanthocephala), rejecting monophyly of traditional Rotifera and Eurotatoria. This serves as an indication that early acanthocephalans lived epizoically or as ectoparasites on arthropods, before their complex lifecycle with arthropod intermediate and vertebrate definite hosts evolved.
Genetic diversity and geneflow between Arctic and Antarctic populations of the lichen Cetraria aculeata along the Andes and the Rocky Mountains
Fernando Fernández Mendoza
- Lichens are present in most land ecosystems, frequently occupying habitats where few other organisms are able to survive. Their contribution to the ecosystems in terms of biomass and ground cover increases with latitude and altitude, being, together with bryophytes, the most conspicuous component of alpine and polar landscapes. Whereas some polar lichens have reduced distributions and are restricted to high latitudes, most of them have very wide distributional ranges, which oven extend over several climatic regions. Many of them are common to Polar Regions of both hemispheres, a distributional pattern that has been denominated as bipolar, antitropical or amphitropical. Bipolar distributions are not exclusive to lichens, but common to many groups of organisms. The bipolar element in lichens is exceptional as it includes a large number of species, while in most other land organisms it includes genera or families but very seldom species.
In this dissertation I use the bipolar lichen Cetraria aculeata to give a first insight into the phylogeography of this biogeographic element in lichens. I discuss how and when the disjunct distribution of C. aculeata came to be, and try to partial out the roles that historical and ecological processes played in shaping its distribution.
Sampling was designed to cover a wide geographic extension. The main e"ort was made to collect in boreal, temperate and tropical mountain ranges in North and South America, as well to include Mediterranean populations in which specimens with deviant morphologies are observed.
I found that Cetraria aculeata forms a genetically congruent taxon. Although whether it should include C. muricata remains unsolved, I excluded all specimens identified as the latter from our analyses. Thee populations of both algal and fungal symbionts have a strong geographic structure. The study of the lichen fungus suggested that the species originated in the Eurasian continent and later expanded to acquire its current distribution during the Pleistocene. The results showed that all American populations originated from an ancestral population, more similar to the extant Arctic populations than to the Mediterranean ones.
The comparison between the structure of fungal and algal populations showed a high degree of coherence between them. However, the similarity in photobiont use between Arctic and Antarctic populations suggests that photobiont use responds not only to a history of codispersal in vegetative propagula, but it is also a result of a selective process related to climate. Since this climatic pattern of similarity is also found in the community of Alphaproteobacteria associated with C. aculeata, we concluded that lichens might be able to accommodate or to respond to different environmental conditions by selectively associating with different symbiotic partners.
Lastly, we found the Mediterranean populations of C. aculeata to be genetically differentiated in algal and fungal symbionts from the rest of the populations. While we found no grounds to believe that the overgrown morphs encountered in the region are due to the association with different algal lineages, I believe that a switch in photobiont use might be responsible for the pattern of genetic isolation encountered. Furthermore, I suggest that the Mediterranean and bipolar C. aculeata could be two different species, since both are ecologically, genetically and at least in part morphologically divergent.
Partial Methylation at Am100 in 18S rRNA of Baker's Yeast Reveals Ribosome Heterogeneity on the Level of Eukaryotic rRNA Modification
- Ribosome heterogeneity is of increasing biological significance and several examples have been described for multicellular and single cells organisms. In here we show for the first time a variation in ribose methylation within the 18S rRNA of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Using RNA-cleaving DNAzymes, we could specifically demonstrate that a significant amount of S. cerevisiae ribosomes are not methylated at 2′-O-ribose of A100 residue in the 18S rRNA. Furthermore, using LC-UV-MS/MS of a respective 18S rRNA fragment, we could not only corroborate the partial methylation at A100, but could also quantify the methylated versus non-methylated A100 residue. Here, we exhibit that only 68% of A100 in the 18S rRNA of S.cerevisiae are methylated at 2′-O ribose sugar. Polysomes also contain a similar heterogeneity for methylated Am100, which shows that 40S ribosome subunits with and without Am100 participate in translation. Introduction of a multicopy plasmid containing the corresponding methylation guide snoRNA gene SNR51 led to an increased A100 methylation, suggesting the cellular snR51 level to limit the extent of this modification. Partial rRNA modification demonstrates a new level of ribosome heterogeneity in eukaryotic cells that might have substantial impact on regulation and fine-tuning of the translation process.
Habilitationsordnung der Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftlichen Fachbereiche der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main vom 4. Februar 1992 : genehmigt durch Beschluss des Präsidiums der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main am 19. November 2013
Metabolic Changes in Summer Active and Anuric Hibernating Free-Ranging Brown Bears (Ursus arctos)
Abdul Rashid Qureshi
Richard J. Johnson
- The brown bear (Ursus arctos) hibernates for 5 to 6 months each winter and during this time ingests no food or water and remains anuric and inactive. Despite these extreme conditions, bears do not develop azotemia and preserve their muscle and bone strength. To date most renal studies have been limited to small numbers of bears, often in captive environments. Sixteen free-ranging bears were darted and had blood drawn both during hibernation in winter and summer. Samples were collected for measurement of creatinine and urea, markers of inflammation, the calcium-phosphate axis, and nutritional parameters including amino acids. In winter the bear serum creatinine increased 2.5 fold despite a 2-fold decrease in urea, indicating a remarkable ability to recycle urea nitrogen during hibernation. During hibernation serum calcium remained constant despite a decrease in serum phosphate and a rise in FGF23 levels. Despite prolonged inactivity and reduced renal function, inflammation does not ensue and bears seem to have enhanced antioxidant defense mechanisms during hibernation. Nutrition parameters showed high fat stores, preserved amino acids and mild hyperglycemia during hibernation. While total, essential, non-essential and branched chain amino acids concentrations do not change during hibernation anorexia, changes in individual amino acids ornithine, citrulline and arginine indicate an active, although reduced urea cycle and nitrogen recycling to proteins. Serum uric acid and serum fructose levels were elevated in summer and changes between seasons were positively correlated. Further studies to understand how bears can prevent the development of uremia despite minimal renal function during hibernation could provide new therapeutic avenues for the treatment of human kidney disease.
Live Imaging of Whole Mouse Embryos during Gastrulation: Migration Analyses of Epiblast and Mesodermal Cells
Philipp J. Keller
Ernst H. K. Stelzer
- During gastrulation in the mouse embryo, dynamic cell movements including epiblast invagination and mesodermal layer expansion lead to the establishment of the three-layered body plan. The precise details of these movements, however, are sometimes elusive, because of the limitations in live imaging. To overcome this problem, we developed techniques to enable observation of living mouse embryos with digital scanned light sheet microscope (DSLM). The achieved deep and high time-resolution images of GFP-expressing nuclei and following 3D tracking analysis revealed the following findings: (i) Interkinetic nuclear migration (INM) occurs in the epiblast at embryonic day (E)6 and 6.5. (ii) INM-like migration occurs in the E5.5 embryo, when the epiblast is a monolayer and not yet pseudostratified. (iii) Primary driving force for INM at E6.5 is not pressure from neighboring nuclei. (iv) Mesodermal cells migrate not as a sheet but as individual cells without coordination.
Basement Membrane-Rich Organoids with Functional Human Blood Vessels Are Permissive Niches for Human Breast Cancer Metastasis
Ángel M. Cuesta
Ana M. Álvarez-Méndez
- Metastasic breast cancer is the leading cause of death by malignancy in women worldwide. Tumor metastasis is a multistep process encompassing local invasion of cancer cells at primary tumor site, intravasation into the blood vessel, survival in systemic circulation, and extravasation across the endothelium to metastasize at a secondary site. However, only a small percentage of circulating cancer cells initiate metastatic colonies. This fact, together with the inaccessibility and structural complexity of target tissues has hampered the study of the later steps in cancer metastasis. In addition, most data are derived from in vivo models where critical steps such as intravasation/extravasation of human cancer cells are mediated by murine endothelial cells. Here, we developed a new mouse model to study the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying late steps of the metastatic cascade. We have shown that a network of functional human blood vessels can be formed by co-implantation of human endothelial cells and mesenchymal cells, embedded within a reconstituted basement membrane-like matrix and inoculated subcutaneously into immunodeficient mice. The ability of circulating cancer cells to colonize these human vascularized organoids was next assessed in an orthotopic model of human breast cancer by bioluminescent imaging, molecular techniques and immunohistological analysis. We demonstrate that disseminated human breast cancer cells efficiently colonize organoids containing a functional microvessel network composed of human endothelial cells, connected to the mouse circulatory system. Human breast cancer cells could be clearly detected at different stages of the metastatic process: initial arrest in the human microvasculature, extravasation, and growth into avascular micrometastases. This new mouse model may help us to map the extravasation process with unprecedented detail, opening the way for the identification of relevant targets for therapeutic intervention.