Wie vertragen sich Artenvielfalt und menschliche Besiedlung? : Städtische Biotope und gefährdete Arten im Rhein-Main-Gebiet
- Ohne das Eingreifen des Menschen wäre Mitteleuropa fast ein reines Waldgebiet. Noch heute beheimaten die Wälder eine große Vielfalt an Pflanzen und Tieren, die für diese Region spezifisch sind. Regionale Besonderheiten gehen aber verloren, je mehr Menschen in die Ökosysteme eingreifen: So unterscheiden sich die Pflanzenarten auf der North Charles Street in Baltimore nur wenig von denjenigen der Mainzer Landstraße in Frankfurt. Gleichzeitig verdrängen zugewanderte und eingeschleppte Arten heimische Tiere und Pflanzen. Allerdings gibt es auch im Frankfurter Stadtgebiet echte Horte der Biodiversität.
Manche mögen’s salzig : Anpassungsstrategien und Biotechnologie Salz liebender Mikroorganismen
- Sie lieben extreme Bedingungen: Einige leben in tiefen Gesteinsschichten oder ohne Licht und Sauerstoff an kochend heißen Quellen der Tiefsee, andere bevorzugen die eisigen Temperaturen der Polargebiete, und wieder andere fühlen sich erst richtig wohl in kochender Schwefelsäure. Doch wie passen sich Mikroorganismen an diese extremen Bedingungen an? Die Forschung hat darauf bereits Antworten gefunden, die sich auch biotechnologisch nutzen lassen.
Molecular similarity for machine learning in drug development : poster presentation
- Poster presentation In pharmaceutical research and drug development, machine learning methods play an important role in virtual screening and ADME/Tox prediction. For the application of such methods, a formal measure of similarity between molecules is essential. Such a measure, in turn, depends on the underlying molecular representation. Input samples have traditionally been modeled as vectors. Consequently, molecules are represented to machine learning algorithms in a vectorized form using molecular descriptors. While this approach is straightforward, it has its shortcomings. Amongst others, the interpretation of the learned model can be difficult, e.g. when using fingerprints or hashing. Structured representations of the input constitute an alternative to vector based representations, a trend in machine learning over the last years. For molecules, there is a rich choice of such representations. Popular examples include the molecular graph, molecular shape and the electrostatic field. We have developed a molecular similarity measure defined directly on the (annotated) molecular graph, a long-standing established topological model for molecules. It is based on the concepts of optimal atom assignments and iterative graph similarity. In the latter, two atoms are considered similar if their neighbors are similar. This recursive definition leads to a non-linear system of equations. We show how to iteratively solve these equations and give bounds on the computational complexity of the procedure. Advantages of our similarity measure include interpretability (atoms of two molecules are assigned to each other, each pair with a score expressing local similarity; this can be visualized to show similar regions of two molecules and the degree of their similarity) and the possibility to introduce knowledge about the target where available. We retrospectively tested our similarity measure using support vector machines for virtual screening on several pharmaceutical and toxicological datasets, with encouraging results. Prospective studies are under way.
Functions, structure, and read-through alternative splicing of feline APOBEC3 genes
Ignacio G. Bravo
Stephen J. O´Brien
- Background Over the past years a variety of host restriction genes have been identified in human and mammals that modulate retrovirus infectivity, replication, assembly, and/or cross-species transmission. Among these host-encoded restriction factors, the APOBEC3 (A3; apolipoprotein B mRNA-editing catalytic polypeptide 3) proteins are potent inhibitors of retroviruses and retrotransposons. While primates encode seven of these genes (A3A to A3H), rodents carry only a single A3 gene. Results Here we identified and characterized several A3 genes in the genome of domestic cat (Felis catus) by analyzing the genomic A3 locus. The cat genome presents one A3H gene and three very similar A3C genes (a-c), probably generated after two consecutive gene duplications. In addition to these four one-domain A3 proteins, a fifth A3, designated A3CH, is expressed by read-through alternative splicing. Specific feline A3 proteins selectively inactivated only defined genera of feline retroviruses: Bet-deficient feline foamy virus was mainly inactivated by feA3Ca, feA3Cb, and feA3Cc, while feA3H and feA3CH were only weakly active. The infectivity of Vif-deficient feline immunodeficiency virus and feline leukemia virus was reduced only by feA3H and feA3CH, but not by any of the feA3Cs. Within Felidae, A3C sequences show significant adaptive selection, but unexpectedly, the A3H sequences present more sites that are under purifying selection. Conclusion Our data support a complex evolutionary history of expansion, divergence, selection and individual extinction of antiviral A3 genes that parallels the early evolution of Placentalia, becoming more intricate in taxa in which the arms race between host and retroviruses is harsher.
An ultrasensitive sorting mechanism for EGF receptor endocytosis
- Background The EGF receptor has been shown to internalize via clathrin-independent endocytosis (CIE) in a ligand concentration dependent manner. From a modeling point of view, this resembles an ultrasensitive response, which is the ability of signaling networks to suppress a response for low input values and to increase to a pre-defined level for inputs exceeding a certain threshold. Several mechanisms to generate this behaviour have been described theoretically, the underlying assumptions of which, however, have not been experimentally demonstrated for the EGF receptor internalization network. Results Here, we present a mathematical model of receptor sorting into alternative pathways that explains the EGF-concentration dependent response of CIE. The described mechanism involves a saturation effect of the dominant clathrin-dependent endocytosis pathway and implies distinct steady-states into which the system is forced for low vs high EGF stimulations. The model is minimal since no experimentally unjustified reactions or parameter assumptions are imposed. We demonstrate the robustness of the sorting effect for large parameter variations and give an analytic derivation for alternative steady-states that are reached. Further, we describe extensibility of the model to more than two pathways which might play a role in contexts other than receptor internalization. Conclusions Our main result is that a scenario where different endocytosis routes consume the same form of receptor corroborates the observation of a clear-cut, stimulus dependent sorting. This is especially important since a receptor modification discriminating between the pathways has not been found. The model is not restricted to EGF receptor internalization and might account for ultrasensitivity in other cellular contexts.
The challenge of conserving amphibian megadiversity in Madagascar
Angus I. Carpenter
Louis du Preez
Joseph R. Mendelson III
Russell A. Mittermeier
Robin D. Moore
Nirhy H. C. Rabibisoa
Noromalala Rasoamampionona Raminosoa
Olga Ravoahangimalala Ramilijaona
Christopher J. Raxworthy
David R. Vieites
The RRM domain of poly(A)-specific ribonuclease has a noncanonical binding site for mRNA cap analog recognition
- The degradation of the poly(A) tail is crucial for posttranscriptional gene regulation and for quality control of mRNA. Poly(A)-specific ribonuclease (PARN) is one of the major mammalian 3’ specific exo-ribonucleases involved in the degradation of the mRNA poly(A) tail, and it is also involved in the regulation of translation in early embryonic development. The interaction between PARN and the m7GpppG cap of mRNA plays a key role in stimulating the rate of deadenylation. Here we report the solution structures of the cap-binding domain of mouse PARN with and without the m7GpppG cap analog. The structure of the cap-binding domain adopts the RNA recognition motif (RRM) with a characteristic a-helical extension at its C-terminus, which covers the b-sheet surface (hereafter referred to as PARN RRM). In the complex structure of PARN RRM with the cap analog, the base of the N7-methyl guanosine (m7G) of the cap analog stacks with the solvent-exposed aromatic side chain of the distinctive tryptophan residue 468, located at the C-terminal end of the second b-strand. These unique structural features in PARN RRM reveal a novel cap-binding mode, which is distinct from the nucleotide recognition mode of the canonical RRM domains.
Varicellovirus UL 49.5 proteins differentially affect the function of the transporter associated with antigen processing, TAP
Marieke C. Verweij
Andrea D. Lipinska
Eric A. Reits
Marisa Marcondes Rezende
Thomas C. Mettenleiter
Mirjam H. M. Heemskerk
Jacques J. Neefjes
Shafiqul I. Chowdhury
Maaike E. Ressing
Frans A. M. Rijsewijk
Emmanuel J. H. J. Wiertz
- Cytotoxic T-lymphocytes play an important role in the protection against viral infections, which they detect through the recognition of virus-derived peptides, presented in the context of MHC class I molecules at the surface of the infected cell. The transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP) plays an essential role in MHC class I–restricted antigen presentation, as TAP imports peptides into the ER, where peptide loading of MHC class I molecules takes place. In this study, the UL49.5 proteins of the varicelloviruses bovine herpesvirus 1 (BHV-1), pseudorabies virus (PRV), and equine herpesvirus 1 and 4 (EHV-1 and EHV-4) are characterized as members of a novel class of viral immune evasion proteins. These UL49.5 proteins interfere with MHC class I antigen presentation by blocking the supply of antigenic peptides through inhibition of TAP. BHV-1, PRV, and EHV-1 recombinant viruses lacking UL49.5 no longer interfere with peptide transport. Combined with the observation that the individually expressed UL49.5 proteins block TAP as well, these data indicate that UL49.5 is the viral factor that is both necessary and sufficient to abolish TAP function during productive infection by these viruses. The mechanisms through which the UL49.5 proteins of BHV-1, PRV, EHV-1, and EHV-4 block TAP exhibit surprising diversity. BHV-1 UL49.5 targets TAP for proteasomal degradation, whereas EHV-1 and EHV-4 UL49.5 interfere with the binding of ATP to TAP. In contrast, TAP stability and ATP recruitment are not affected by PRV UL49.5, although it has the capacity to arrest the peptide transporter in a translocation-incompetent state, a property shared with the BHV-1 and EHV-1 UL49.5. Taken together, these results classify the UL49.5 gene products of BHV-1, PRV, EHV-1, and EHV-4 as members of a novel family of viral immune evasion proteins, inhibiting TAP through a variety of mechanisms.
Mitochondrial targeting adaptation of the hominoid-specific glutamate dehydrogenase driven by positive Darwinian selection
Ana C. Marques
- Many new gene copies emerged by gene duplication in hominoids, but little is known with respect to their functional evolution. Glutamate dehydrogenase (GLUD) is an enzyme central to the glutamate and energy metabolism of the cell. In addition to the single, GLUD-encoding gene present in all mammals (GLUD1), humans and apes acquired a second GLUD gene (GLUD2) through retroduplication of GLUD1, which codes for an enzyme with unique, potentially brain-adapted properties. Here we show that whereas the GLUD1 parental protein localizes to mitochondria and the cytoplasm, GLUD2 is specifically targeted to mitochondria. Using evolutionary analysis and resurrected ancestral protein variants, we demonstrate that the enhanced mitochondrial targeting specificity of GLUD2 is due to a single positively selected glutamic acid-to-lysine substitution, which was fixed in the N-terminal mitochondrial targeting sequence (MTS) of GLUD2 soon after the duplication event in the hominoid ancestor ~18–25 million years ago. This MTS substitution arose in parallel with two crucial adaptive amino acid changes in the enzyme and likely contributed to the functional adaptation of GLUD2 to the glutamate metabolism of the hominoid brain and other tissues. We suggest that rapid, selectively driven subcellular adaptation, as exemplified by GLUD2, represents a common route underlying the emergence of new gene functions.
The crystal structure of Nep1 reveals an extended SPOUT-class methyltransferase fold and a pre-organized SAM-binding site
Alexander B. Taylor
Belinda Z. Leal
P. John Hart
- Ribosome biogenesis in eukaryotes requires the participation of a large number of ribosome assembly factors. The highly conserved eukaryotic nucleolar protein Nep1 has an essential but unknown function in 18S rRNA processing and ribosome biogenesis. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae the malfunction of a temperature-sensitive Nep1 protein (nep1-1ts) was suppressed by the addition of S-adenosylmethionine (SAM). This suggests the participation of Nep1 in a methyltransferase reaction during ribosome biogenesis. In addition, yeast Nep1 binds to a 6-nt RNA-binding motif also found in 18S rRNA and facilitates the incorporation of ribosomal protein Rps19 during the formation of pre-ribosomes. Here, we present the X-ray structure of the Nep1 homolog from the archaebacterium Methanocaldococcus jannaschii in its free form (2.2 Å resolution) and bound to the S-adenosylmethionine analog S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH, 2.15 Å resolution) and the antibiotic and general methyltransferase inhibitor sinefungin (2.25 Å resolution). The structure reveals a fold which is very similar to the conserved core fold of the SPOUT-class methyltransferases but contains a novel extension of this common core fold. SAH and sinefungin bind to Nep1 at a preformed binding site that is topologically equivalent to the cofactor-binding site in other SPOUT-class methyltransferases. Therefore, our structures together with previous genetic data suggest that Nep1 is a genuine rRNA methyltransferase.