Metal-ion binding and metal-ion induced folding of the adenine-sensing riboswitch aptamer domain
- Divalent cations are important in the folding and stabilization of complex RNA structures. The adenine-sensing riboswitch controls the expression of mRNAs for proteins involved in purine metabolism by directly sensing intracellular adenine levels. Adenine binds with high affinity and specificity to the ligand binding or aptamer domain of the adenine-sensing riboswitch. The X-ray structure of this domain in complex with adenine revealed an intricate RNA-fold consisting of a three-helix junction stabilized by long-range base-pairing interactions and identified five binding sites for hexahydrated Mg2+-ions. Furthermore, a role for Mg2+-ions in the ligand-induced folding of this RNA was suggested. Here, we describe the interaction of divalent cations with the RNA–adenine complex in solution as studied by high-resolution NMR spectroscopy. Paramagnetic line broadening, chemical shift mapping and intermolecular nuclear Overhauser effects (NOEs) indicate the presence of at least three binding sites for divalent cations. Two of them are similar to those in the X-ray structure. The third site, which is important for the folding of this RNA, has not been observed previously. The ligand-free state of the RNA is conformationally heterogeneous and contains base-pairing patterns detrimental to ligand binding in the absence of Mg2+, but becomes partially pre-organized for ligand binding in the presence of Mg2+. Compared to the highly similar guanine-sensing riboswitch, the folding pathway for the adenine-sensing riboswitch aptamer domain is more complex and the influence of Mg2+ is more pronounced.
The contribution of differential hatching success to the fitness of species and interspecific hybrids
- Resting egg banks of microcrustaceans have been used to reconstruct the evolutionary and ecological history of species. However, recent studies provided evidence for a discrepancy between dormant propagules in the sediment and the planktonic population. This pattern raises two questions: First, what is the value of data on resting egg banks for population dynamics over time and second, which component of the reproductive cycle causes the observed inconsistency? In our study we focussed on the second question by comparing the taxon composition of a resting egg bank with the reproductive success of ex-ephippial hatchlings. Species and interspecific hybrid identification of dormant and hatched stages was achieved through the application of restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis of an internal transcribed spacer region. We found no significant deviation between the proportion of hatched Daphnia galeata, D. galeata x hyalina and D. hyalina individuals and the observed taxon composition of the resting egg bank. However, species and hybrids differed in their mode and relative success of reproduction. We conclude that the components of reproductive success in Daphnia contribute differentially to the fitness of species and interspecific hybrids. The discrepancy between resting egg banks and ‘‘active’’ planktonic populations results not from differential hatching of species but from the reproductive success of ex-ephippial females and the timing and frequency of sexual reproduction of the different taxa.
Recombinant measles viruses : use as bivalent vaccine and modulation of their membrane fusion activity
- Life-attenuated measles virus (MV) vaccines have revealed their capacity to routinely induce life-long immunity against MV after just a single or two low-dose injections. Moreover, MV vaccines have been shown to be extensively safe and well tolerated, in general. Thus, MV is a prime candidate for a recombinant vaccine platform to protect also against other pathogens after vaccination. For this purpose, foreign genes can be inserted into additional transcription units (ATU) in recombinant MV genomes so that the encoded foreign proteins are co-expressed with MV proteins in infected cells. These so-called bivalent MV should protect against infection by MV or the pathogen, which the encoded foreign protein had been derived from. Bivalent MVs have already been shown to be effective vaccines against e.g. dengue virus or hepatitis B virus infections by inducing humoral and sometimes also cellular immune responses. In most of these studies, soluble or soluble versions of the pathogens' antigens were used for generation of bivalent MVs.
We hypothesized that the form of the antigen expressed by bivalent MVs is crucial for the potency and constitution of the induced immune responses. Therefore, three different forms of an antigen expressed by bivalent MVs were analyzed, here. The model antigen chosen for this purpose has been the envelope protein (Env) of SIVsmmPBj1.9. In its natural mature form, Env is composed of the surface unit gp120 and the transmembrane unit gp41, which stay non-covalently linked after proteolytic processing of the common precursor protein gp160. However, gp120 can be shed by infected cells or virus particles. Therefore, natural gp160 antigen was used as shedding form. Furthermore, stabilized covalently-linked gp160 variants and soluble gp140 variants were used in this thesis. These different antigen forms were inserted either behind the P or behind the H expression cassettes into the MV genome. The respective bivalent MVs were rescued and characterized. Expression of SIVsmmPBj1.9 Env variants by the bivalent MVs was confirmed by immuno blot and in situ immunoperoxidase assays. Replication curves of bivalent MV showed that growth of MVs expressing the different Env variants was slightly delayed by approximately 24 h compared to control viruses.
For immunization of transgenic, MV-susceptible IFNAR-/--CD46Ge mice, which are the current standard to analyze MV vaccines in a small animal model, an optimal dose of 1x105 TCID50 was determined. For the evaluation of humoral immune responses in transgenic mice, two ELISA systems for the detection of total α-MV and α-SIV antibodies and neutralization assays for detection of neutralizing antibodies against MV and SIV in sera of immunized mice were established. Mice immunized with any of the bivalent MVs showed significant humoral immune responses against MV comparable to those elicited by the parental MV vaccine strain without further genetic modifications. Mice immunized with MVvac2-gp140(P) expressing the soluble gp140 variant revealed highest α-SIV titers with a maximal OD of up to 0.4. Second highest levels of α-SIV antibodies were detected in mice that were immunized with the shedding variants or soluble Env in other positions. MVs expressing the stabilized variants induced only very low α-SIV antibody titers. Neutralizing antibodies directed against SIV could be detected in sera of mice immunized with MVs expressing the soluble or shedding variants, but not in sera of mice immunized with MVs expressing the stabilized variants. In sera of control mice immunized with PBS no antibodies could be detected, as expected. Thus, soluble and shedding antigens induced humoral immune responses, whereas stabilized antigens induced only weak humoral immune responses but no neutralizing antibodies. Analysis of cellular immune responses is still ongoing.
Besides Env, further SIV antigens could be tested for their potency to induce humoral as well as cellular immune responses.
Besides being used as a vaccine platform, recombinant MVs are evaluated as future agent for cancer therapy due to their significant inherent tumor-lytic, so-called oncolytic activity. Currently, the anti-tumoral activity of MV is analyzed in clinical phase I trials. MV strains with high fusion activity are used as oncolytic agents. The fusion protein F of MV strain NSe is highly fusogenic, in contrast to e.g. F of MVwt323, a clone of the pathogenic strain IC-B. Sequence analysis of these two proteins identified one coding nucleotide difference at aa 94 in the F2 domain: a valine (V) in FNSe and a methionine (M) in Fwt323. To evaluate impact of this difference, residues at aa 94 were exchanged. After transient-transfection of MV F and H expression plasmids in receptor-positive cells, V94 in the F2 subunit of FNSe or Fwt323 led to about 6-fold higher fusion activity compared to F proteins with M94. The co-expressed H protein (HNSe or Hwt323) did not influence fusion activity, indicating that the receptor (CD46 or SLAM) bound by H does not quantitatively affect the F proteins' activation. Analysis of F and H showed that formation and transport of MV glycoprotein complexes are not altered by substitution in aa 94 of FNSe or Fwt323.
Furthermore, recombinant MVNSe, MVNSe-F-M94, MVwt323, or MVwt323-F-V94 were rescued. Viral replication revealed slightly higher titers for recombinant MVs expressing M94 in F after 96 h of replication, compared to MVs expressing V94. MVs expressing V94 in F2 showed 2.5-fold higher fusion activity on CD46- and SLAM-positive Vero-hSLAM cells and 2-fold higher fusion activity on B95a cells expressing only SLAM compared to MVs expressing F with M94. Fusion activity of recombinant MVs can thus be modulated by substituting a single aa. V94 in the F protein results in highly fusion active MVs with possibly increased direct cytotoxicity in infected tumors, whereas M94 in F could be associated with decreased fusion activity for therapies, where higher virus titers are required.
Geistig fit durch mediterrane Kost? : Wie Menschen gesünder alt werden können
Gunter P. Eckert
Walter E. Müller
- In südlichen Gefilden wächst so manches, was in Maßen genossen dem Wohlbefinden dient. Dies gilt nicht nur für Heilkräuter und Rotwein, sondern vermutlich auch für andere für den Mittelmeerraum typische Getränke und Speisen. Auf der Suche nach diesen "natürlichen Apotheken" erfassen Wissenschaftler aus Deutschland und sechs weiteren europäischen Ländern derzeit seltene Unterarten bewährter Nutzpflanzen wie Thymian, Olive, Wein und Orange. Sie erforschen, ob die seit Jahrhunderten überlieferten Schutzund Heilungskräfte der Gewächse einer wissenschaftlichen Prüfung standhalten und worauf sie beruhen. Die Frankfurter Gruppe um Prof. Dr. Walter Müller hat dabei insbesondere Stoffe im Blick, die das Nervensystem beeinflussen. Macht mediterrane Kost wirklich geistig fit?
The herpetofauna of selected ecoregions in Bolivia : studies on taxonomy, diversity, and biogeography, with special reference to the Chiquitano Region
- The documentation of life on Earth, that is, the inventorization of nature and the naming and classification of organisms found therein, is a major task for biologists today and a fundamental precondition for nature conservation efforts. This study aimed at contributing to the inventory of amphibians and reptiles in selected, previously understudied ecoregions of Bolivia. I strove to document diversity patterns and seek possible ecological and historical reasons for these patterns. Special attention was paid to the Chiquitano Region situated in the eastern lowlands of Bolivia in a climatic transition zone between the humid evergreen Amazon Forests and the deciduous thorn-scrub vegetation of the Gran Chaco. In congruence with its location in the transition zone, the Chiquitano Region displays a mosaic of habitats: The vegetation is dominated by the endemic Chiquitano Dry Forest, which is probably the largest extant patch of Seasonal Dry Tropical Forest, with enclaves of savanna, the western outliers of the Cerrado biome of central Brazil. Taxonomic revisions: The taxonomic data in this study are used as a tool to measure biodiversity, to assess biogeographic relationships, and to evaluate conservation needs. Since all is predicated on the taxonomic decisions made, an adequate taxonomy is essential, and taxonomy can be regarded as the foundation of this study. The methodology encompassed a variety of herpetological field techniques, such as different survey methods, preparation and documentation of voucher specimens, recording of frog calls, and herpetological laboratory techniques, such as morphology, molecular procedures with mtDNA, phylogenetic analyses, and bioacoustic analysis and descriptions of frog calls. A total of 1251 specimens belonging to 200 species were obtained during this study, including 87 amphibian and 123 reptile species. This constitutes about 36% of the herpetofauna currently known for Bolivia, about 34% of the amphibians currently known for Bolivia and about 40% of the reptiles, respectively. In the course of this study, a new species of frog was described from the study site Caparu in the eastern lowlands of Bolivia; this species, Hydrolaetare caparu Jansen, Gonzales & G. Köhler 2007, differs from the other two congeners in external morphology (e.g., lateral fringes and relative length of fingers, size of palmar tubercle, webbing of toes, and colouration) and advertisement call. Two new colubrid snake species were also described from the study site San Sebastián. Thus far, both are known only from the Chiquitano Region, Provincia Ñuflo de Chávez. Phalotris sansebastiani Jansen & G. Köhler 2008 differs from all the other species in the genus in having a triangular projection of the red snout colouration reaching onto the parietals. Xenopholis werdingorum Jansen, Gonzales & G. Köhler 2009 can be identified as a member of the genus Xenopholis by its vertebral morphology. It differs from the other two species of Xenopholis in having a unique uniform dorsal colour pattern, and from X. scalaris in having two prefrontals and a narrow septum within the neural spine and perpendicular to its long axis as evident in the x-ray images. A review of a small collection of pitvipers from different lowland localities and from the Inter-Andean dry valleys of the region of Pampagrande revealed one new species of Bothrops and one of Bothrocophias (both to be formally described elsewhere). The two pitviper species differ morphologically and genetically from their congeners. The results of a brief review of a small collection of frogs of the genus Scinax (Anura: Hylidae) from different localities in the lowlands, together with analyses of their bioacoustics, suggest an unknown cryptic diversity in Bolivian species of Scinax cf. fuscomarginatus and allies. However, further studies are necessary to clarify the taxonomic status of these populations. In addition, this study provides new data on the morphology (e.g., pholidosis) of snakes, many of them previously known only from few museum specimens. Keys to the Bolivian lizard species of Cercosaura and the Bolivian snake species of Chironius, Clelia, Liophis, Lystrophis, Phalotris, and Xenodon are presented here for the first time. New information on distribution includes many range extensions of amphibian and reptile species, such as five new country records (one frog species, four snake species) and six new departmental records (two frog species, four snake species). Observations on ecology and natural history: Several observations on ecology and natural history were made during field work. Visual signaling, an aspect of territorial behavior that was already known for several species of the genus Phyllomedusa, could be described for the first time for Phyllomedusa boliviana (Jansen & J. Köhler 2007). Furthermore, during audio surveys of an anuran community at the study site San Sebastián from 2005 to 2007, a decline of certain amphibian populations was observed in the rainy season 2006/2007 (Jansen et al., in press). This is possibly related to an extreme drought in the dry season of 2006 where 158 consecutive days without rainfall were recorded. In addition, a new method for measuring intensity of anuran choruses by means of a continuous sound pressure metre was developed (Jansen 2009). The method was suitable to detect calling phenology (during one night), as well as differences in calling activity (between two nights). Biodiversity and biogeographical relationships: Species lists were compiled at the six study sites Pampagrande, Los Volcanes, San Sebastián, Caparú, El Espinal und El Corbalan. The total amphibian and reptile species numbers observed ranged from 37 to 101 with the highest species numbers in San Sebastián (101) and Caparú (89) and the lowest in Los Volcanes (37) and El Espinal (41). A preliminary species list of the herpetofauna of the Chiquitano Region was presented, including 60 amphibian and 84 reptile species. The majority of the amphibians of the Chiquitano Region are classified predominantly as inhabitants of open formations (41 species, 68.3%). Interestingly, even the majority of species recorded from the Chiquitano Dry Forest (32 species) are usually associated with open formations (22 species, 66.7%), followed by the number of species associated with open and forest formations (8 species, 24.4%). Only two of the observed species (6.0%) are predominant forest dwellers. The amphibian assemblage of the Chiquitano Region is most similar in composition to that of the Cerrado biome: 46 species (76.7%) occur in the Cerrado as well, and three species are regarded as Cerrado endemics (5.0%). The Chiquitano Region shares considerably fewer amphibian species with the other biomes (Amazon: 22 species, 36.7%; Gran Chaco: 13 species, 21.7%; Caatinga: 16 species, 26.7%). The reptile assemblage also has significant affinities to the Cerrado, which can be seen in the high proportion of reptile species distributed in that biome (68 species; 81.0%). Affinities to the other biomes are as follows: Amazon (48 species, 57.1%), Chaco (37 species, 40.1%), and Caatinga (30 species, 35.7%). When arranged in mutually exclusive biome categories, reptiles and amphibians showed similar patterns so that the majority of both amphibians and reptiles of the Chiquitano Region can be regarded as widespread. The high proportion of reptile species probably endemic to this region (5 species, 6.0%) is remarkable (i.e. Tropidurus xanthochilus, Apostolepis phillipsi, Phalotris sansebastiani, Xenopholis werdingorum, and Micrurus diana). In an analysis of the biodiversity patterns and biogeographical relationships of the herpetofauna of the study sites, these sites were compared with literature data from 37 localities and included in a presence/absence matrix with a total of 657 amphibian and reptile species in the surrounding South American biomes Amazon, Cerrado and Gran Chaco. The biogeographic relationships between these sites were evaluated using the Coefficient of Biogeographic Resemblance (CBR), cluster analysis, and multidimensional scaling (MDS) of sites. The analyses were first conducted on amphibians and reptiles combined, and than group-specific each for amphibians, reptiles, lizards, and snakes, separately. A “bias-reduced analysis” was developed for a better understanding of the affinities of the amphibians. In this analysis, e.g., the distinct habitat types of the Chiquitano Region, the Chiquitano Dry Forest and the Cerrado were taken into account. Analyses of the biodiversity patterns revealed that the sites in the Amazon comprise highest species numbers, as expected, followed successively by the sites in the Cerrado biome and sites in-between the two biomes. Within the eastern lowlands of Bolivia, the Chiquitano Region is the most rich in species. Comparing it with the other South American sites, the Chiquitano Region has a surprisingly high alpha diversity, especially in amphibians. The microgeographic variation in species composition (beta diversity) in the Chiquitano Region is also remarkably high and obviously related to the mosaic character of the vegetation and habitats. However, the bias-reduced analysis revealed that the amphibian fauna of the open areas and savannas at Hacienda San Sebastián (with 36 species in the Cerrado and pastureland) was one of the most species-rich savanna sites known for amphibians in South America. Considering that the Hacienda San Sebastián site is only ca. 3300 ha (= 1.29 amphibian species per km2), this outcome is particularly suprising. The results of the analyses of the biogeographical relationships suggest that the herpetofauna of Bolivia’s lowlands, including the Beni, the Pantanal and the Chiquitano Region, is as distinct from the herpetofauna of the Gran Chaco, Amazon, and Cerrado as these biomes are from each other. The Chiquitano herpetofauna in particular represents a unique and well-defined herpetofaunal assemblage when compared to all surrounding localities and biomes. This is supported by high CBR-values, findings from the cluster analysis, as well as a clear separation of the Chiquitano sites in the MDS. Biogeographic relations exist in all the surrounding biomes, but are strongest to Cerrado, followed by the Amazon. This study strongly suggests that the Chiquitano herpetofauna is composite and has multiple affinities. This is congruent with a well-defined Chiquitano flora, avifauna and mammalian fauna, suggesting a similar history. The bias-reduced analysis revealed a more detailed picture of the biogeographic relations of the Chiquitano Region, especially the Chiquitano Dry Forest. I argue here that the Chiquitano Dry Forest herpetofauna is a “young”, and “former savanna herpetofauna”. Whereas the Chiquitano Dry Forest is rather poor in amphibian and reptile species, and endemics are lacking from this forest type, the isolated Cerrado enclaves are especially diverse in species and probably contain locally endemic species, such as Phalotris sansebastiani and Xenopholis werdingorum. The colonization of the young Chiquitano Dry Forest may have taken place from savannas by mainly open area species, and only briefly through the Amazon. The results emphasise the importance of bias-reduction in studies of biogeography, e.g., by using group-specific analyses or by taking into account criterias as area size and heterogeneity of compared sites. The different biogeographic patterns of reptiles and amphibians of the Andean valleys indicate a different history of these two groups. In regard to reptiles, dispersals and withdrawals into the valleys in warm humid and dry cool periods in the Pleistocene seem likely, supported by a relation between the valleys and the dry lowland (e.g., Chaco). However, it is more plausible that, during these climatic fluctuations, amphibians migrated to adjacent, more humid regions, such as Yungas. The study verified the known patterns of sister-species pairs in the Inter-Andean Dry Forest and the lowlands. Additionally, pairs of populations with slight differences in morphology were found in the valleys and in the lowlands (Cercosaura parkeri and Xenodon rhapdocephalus). Further studies must test the taxonomic status of these populations. The discovery of new species of Bothrops and Bothrocophias from the Andean valleys has several implications, and possible reasons for the high endemism in the dry valleys are discussed. Conservation and outlook: The high local alpha and beta diversity of the Chiquitano herpetofauna shows that this is a region of complex faunal interaction, which reflects the present heterogeneity of the region, but which is possibly also related to a complex geological and environmental history. The Chiquitano Region can be assessed as a region of distinct regional herpetofaunal diversity charaterised by small scale diversity patterns. It therefore merits recognition as a unique ecoregion, and conservation effort should be increased. Further research is necessary to solve the taxonomic problems addressed in this study. Moreover, future work should be directed towards the development and institution of longterm monitoring programs to evaluate the effects of climate change and changes in land-use on biodiversity, especially that of the Chiquitano Region.
Paleovegetation and paleoclimate of the Turkana basin, Kenya and the Lake Albert region, Uganda during the late Miocene to Pleistocene based on the analysis of bovid communities
- Paleoecology is the study of organismal interactions with the environment in the geological past. Organisms are influenced in their distribution and abundance by abiotic factors such as temperature and precipitation. A change in these factors, for example by major climatic shifts, would then affect the communities of organisms. Studying this hypothesized causal link between climatic and faunal change is especially interesting for the Plio-Pleistocene of East Africa due to the fact that our own ancestors also inhabited these regions. Both the Turkana basin in Kenya and the Lake Albert region in Uganda offer unique opportunities to investigate these paleoecological issues. Their late Miocene through Pleistocene deposits provide a very good record of climatic, vegetation and faunal change in East Africa (Pickford et al. 1993, Leakey et al. 1995, 1998, McDougall & Feibel 2003, Wynn 2004). This study focuses on the mammal family Bovidae as they are good indicator of vegetation and environment (e.g. Vrba 1980, 1995, Shipman & Harris 1988, Bobe & Eck 2001, Bobe & Behrensmeyer 2004, Bobe et al. 2007). Bovidae are quite species-rich and inhabit a wide range of habitats from tropical rain forests to deserts which predicates their array of morphological adaptations (ecovariables) to these environments. Diet is the ecovariable that is most to climate and thus habitat change. Therefore, the fossil Bovidae are especially suitable for reconstructing past environments. The objective of this thesis is to test the hypothesis that, from the late Miocene through the Holocene, Africa has experienced an overall increase in aridity and concomitant pulses of habitat change. The hypothesis predicts that increasing aridity causes a likewise growth in the abundance of taxa adapted to open arid environments. In particular, an increase in bovid grazers should be observed in combination with a decrease of bovid browsers. To test this hypothesis, I examine the fossil bovid communities from each stratigraphic member of Lake Turkana (Lothagam, Kanapoi, West Turkana and Koobi Fora) and Lake Albert (Nkondo-Kaiso region) and through a taxonomic and a functional perspective reconstruct the paleoenvironments and -climates from approximately 8 to 0.6 Ma. This study is the first to use taxonomic and ecomorphological data together to reconstruct the paleoenvironments of the Turkana basin and the Nkondo-Kaiso region of Lake Albert. In a first analysis, mesowear, as introduced by Fortelius & Solounias (2000), is used to gather information about the diet of bovids. As a result of my preliminary investigations on upper vs. lower molars of recent species, the sample of fossil bovid specimens from the Turkana basin and Lake Albert were found to be unsuitable to reveal a meaningful diet reconstruction. Therefore, the bovids are assigned to diet categories based on literature. For each member of the time period from 8.0 to 0.6 Ma, I provide a detailed characterization of the bovid fauna in terms of α- and β- diversity both on tribe and diet level based on presence-absence as well as for the Turkana basin on abundance data. Statistical comparisons between the fossil bovid communities and those in modern protected areas with known vegetation and climatic conditions have yielded modern analogues for each stratigraphic member. Following that I provide paleoclimatic conditions such as assumed mean annual temperature for each member. Based on abundance of diet categories in the bovid communities, the paleoclimate of the Turkana basin was in general cooler and considerably more humid during the late Miocene to the Pleistocene than today. The mean annual temperature at Lothagam is assumed as 22.2 °C, the annual precipitation as 685 mm for 8.0 – 6.54 Ma and 4.9 – 3.4 Ma. The intervening time period is characterized by a slightly lower mean annual temperature and precipitation (20.3 °C, 583 mm). From 4.17 to 4.07 Ma Kanapoi faced 21.3 °C and 592 mm rainfall. In the eastern part of the basin the climate was warmer and more humid (3.4 – 2.68 Ma: 26.2, 961 mm; 2.68 – 1.3 Ma: 27.1 °C, 935 mm) from 3.4 to 1.3 Ma than in the preceeding eras. In the western part, the climate became warmer and more humid ~500,000 years later and was more variable than that in the eastern basin. From 2.94 to 2.52 Ma the mean annual temperature was 26.2 °C and the annual precipitation 961 mm. Between 2.34 and 1.6 Ma the climate again cooled and became drier as before 2.94 Ma. A second shift to higher temperature and precipitation occurred after 1.6 Ma (27.1 °C, 935 mm) lasted until 1.34 Ma. The results of the bovid community analyses do not support the hypothesis of increasing aridity in Eastern Africa during the late Mio- to Pleistocene. Instead, the results show that the bovid communities differed much over time and on a relatively small spatial scale. Regional paleovegetation and paleoclimate exhibit fluctuations through the studied time period at western Turkana and differences between the western and eastern part of the Turkana basin. This is indicative of a patchy habitat distribution both on temporal and spatial levels. Increased climate variability predicts an increase in landscape complexity as proposed by the ‘variability selection hypothesis’ (Potts 1998a+b). Therefore, this thesis research supports the hypothesis of increased landscape complexity on the spatial level. This study has important implications for future research. First, an analysis based on ecovariable characteristics such as diet may be preferred to a taxonomic analysis. Second, abundance data should be used for an ecovariable analysis because the results then provide more precise information on the paleovegetation and –climate than just the presence of these adaptations in the faunal community. Lastly, as this study is based on one mammal family, further studies on other mammal groups should be conducted to increase the database of exploited resource by the entire faunal community. Most significantly this study provides a basis for new interpretations of faunal community distributions. It also raises the question whether small scale spatial community variability is also to be expected at other fossil sites. If so then this methodology has important implications for reconstructions of paleovegetation and paleoclimate.
Role of G-protein G12/13 signaling in angiogenesis
Kishor Kumar Sivaraj
- Angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels from existing ones, is a fundamental biological process required for embryonic development; it also plays an important role during postnatal organ development and various physiological and pathological remodeling processes in the adult organism. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its main receptor, VEGF receptor-2 (VEGFR-2), play a central role in angiogenesis. VEGFR-2 expression is strongly upregulated in angiogenic vessels, but the mechanisms regulating VEGFR-2 expression are not well understood. We found in this study that the G-protein α subunit Gα13 plays an important role in the regulation of VEGFR-2 expression. In vitro, we found that knockdown of Gα13 reduced VEGFR-2 expression in human umbilical vein endothelial cells and impaired responsiveness to VEGF-A. This phenotype was rescued by adenoviral normalization of VEGFR-2 expression. Gα13-dependent VEGFR-2 expression involved activation of the small GTPase RhoA and transcription factor NF-κB; it was abrogated by deletion of the NF-κB binding site at position -84 of the VEGFR-2 promoter. In vivo, endothelial cell-specific loss of Gα13 resulted in reduced VEGFR-2 expression, impaired responsiveness towards VEGF-A in Matrigel assays, and reduced retinal angiogenesis. Importantly, also tumor vascularization was diminished in the absence of endothelial Gα13, resulting in reduced tumor growth. Taken together, we identified Gα13-dependent NF-κB activation as a new pathway underlying the transcriptional regulation of VEGFR-2 during retinal and tumor angiogenesis.
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.
Expression Analysis of Sugarcane Aquaporin Genes under Water Deficit
Manassés Daniel da Silva
Roberta Lane de Oliveira Silva
José Ribamar Costa Ferreira Neto
Ana Carolina Ribeiro Guimarães
Daniela Truffi Veiga
Sabrina Moutinho Chabregas
William Lee Burnquist
Ana Maria Benko-Iseppon
Ederson Akio Kido
- The present work is a pioneer study specifically addressing the aquaporin transcripts in sugarcane transcriptomes. Representatives of the four aquaporin subfamilies (PIP, TIP, SIP, and NIP), already described for higher plants, were identified. Forty-two distinct aquaporin isoforms were expressed in four HT-SuperSAGE libraries from sugarcane roots of drought-tolerant and -sensitive genotypes, respectively. At least 10 different potential aquaporin isoform targets and their respective unitags were considered to be promising for future studies and especially for the development of molecular markers for plant breeding. From those 10 isoforms, four (SoPIP2-4, SoPIP2-6, OsPIP2-4, and SsPIP1-1) showed distinct responses towards drought, with divergent expressions between the bulks from tolerant and sensitive genotypes, when they were compared under normal and stress conditions. Two targets (SsPIP1-1 and SoPIP1-3/PIP1-4) were selected for validation via RT-qPCR and their expression patterns as detected by HT-SuperSAGE were confirmed. The employed validation strategy revealed that different genotypes share the same tolerant or sensitive phenotype, respectively, but may use different routes for stress acclimation, indicating the aquaporin transcription in sugarcane to be potentially genotype-specific.
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.