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.
From sea to land and beyond : new insights into the evolution of euthyneuran Gastropoda (Mollusca)
- Background The Euthyneura are considered to be the most successful and diverse group of Gastropoda. Phylogenetically, they are riven with controversy. Previous morphology-based phylogenetic studies have been greatly hampered by rampant parallelism in morphological characters or by incomplete taxon sampling. Based on sequences of nuclear 18S rRNA and 28S rRNA as well as mitochondrial 16S rRNA and COI DNA from 56 taxa, we reconstructed the phylogeny of Euthyneura utilising Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian inference methods. The evolution of colonization of freshwater and terrestrial habitats by pulmonate Euthyneura, considered crucial in the evolution of this group of Gastropoda, is reconstructed with Bayesian approaches. Results We found several well supported clades within Euthyneura, however, we could not confirm the traditional classification, since Pulmonata are paraphyletic and Opistobranchia are either polyphyletic or paraphyletic with several clades clearly distinguishable. Sacoglossa appear separately from the rest of the Opisthobranchia as sister taxon to basal Pulmonata. Within Pulmonata, Basommatophora are paraphyletic and Hygrophila and Eupulmonata form monophyletic clades. Pyramidelloidea are placed within Euthyneura rendering the Euthyneura paraphyletic. Conclusion Based on the current phylogeny, it can be proposed for the first time that invasion of freshwater by Pulmonata is a unique evolutionary event and has taken place directly from the marine environment via an aquatic pathway. The origin of colonisation of terrestrial habitats is seeded in marginal zones and has probably occurred via estuaries or semi-terrestrial habitats such as mangroves.
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.
Flora et Vegetatio Sudano-Sambesica : Volume 11 - 2008
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.
Regulation of osmoadaptation in the moderate halophile Halobacillus halophilus : chloride, glutamate and switching osmolyte strategies
Stephan H. Saum
- The moderate halophile Halobacillus halophilus is the paradigm for chloride dependent growth in prokaryotes. Recent experiments shed light on the molecular basis of the chloride dependence that is reviewed here. In the presence of moderate salinities Halobacillus halophilus mainly accumulates glutamine and glutamate to adjust turgor. The transcription of glnA2 (encoding a glutamine synthetase) as well as the glutamine synthetase activity were identified as chloride dependent steps. Halobacillus halophilus switches its osmolyte strategy and produces proline as the main compatible solute at high salinities. Furthermore, Halobacillus halophilus also shifts its osmolyte strategy at the transition from the exponential to the stationary phase where proline is exchanged by ectoine. Glutamate was found as a second messenger" essential for proline production. This observation leads to a new model of sensing salinity by sensing the physico-chemical properties of different anions.
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 plasmodium export element revisited
Jan Alexander Hiß
Jude Marek Przyborski
- We performed a bioinformatical analysis of protein export elements (PEXEL) in the putative proteome of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. A protein family-specific conservation of physicochemical residue profiles was found for PEXEL-flanking sequence regions. We demonstrate that the family members can be clustered based on the flanking regions only and display characteristic hydrophobicity patterns. This raises the possibility that the flanking regions may contain additional information for a family-specific role of PEXEL. We further show that signal peptide cleavage results in a positional alignment of PEXEL from both proteins with, and without, a signal peptide.