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Bibliography on: Evolution of Multicelluarity

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ESP: PubMed Auto Bibliography 05 Jul 2020 at 01:32 Created: 

Evolution of Multicelluarity

Created with PubMed® Query: (evolution OR origin) AND (multicellularity OR multicellular) NOT pmcbook NOT ispreviousversion

Citations The Papers (from PubMed®)


RevDate: 2020-07-03

Seoighe C, Kiniry SJ, Peters A, et al (2020)

Selection Shapes Synonymous Stop Codon Use in Mammals.

Journal of molecular evolution pii:10.1007/s00239-020-09957-x [Epub ahead of print].

Phylogenetic models of the evolution of protein-coding sequences can provide insights into the selection pressures that have shaped them. In the application of these models synonymous nucleotide substitutions, which do not alter the encoded amino acid, are often assumed to have limited functional consequences and used as a proxy for the neutral rate of evolution. The ratio of nonsynonymous to synonymous substitution rates is then used to categorize the selective regime that applies to the protein (e.g., purifying selection, neutral evolution, diversifying selection). Here, we extend the Muse and Gaut model of codon evolution to explore the extent of purifying selection acting on substitutions between synonymous stop codons. Using a large collection of coding sequence alignments, we estimate that a high proportion (approximately 57%) of mammalian genes are affected by selection acting on stop codon preference. This proportion varies substantially by codon, with UGA stop codons far more likely to be conserved. Genes with evidence of selection acting on synonymous stop codons have distinctive characteristics, compared to unconserved genes with the same stop codon, including longer [Formula: see text] untranslated regions (UTRs) and shorter mRNA half-life. The coding regions of these genes are also much more likely to be under strong purifying selection pressure. Our results suggest that the preference for UGA stop codons found in many multicellular eukaryotes is selective rather than mutational in origin.

RevDate: 2020-06-30

Ryu C, Walia A, Ortiz V, et al (2020)

Bioactive Plasma Mitochondrial DNA is Associated with Disease Progression in Scleroderma Associated Interstitial Lung Disease.

Arthritis & rheumatology (Hoboken, N.J.) [Epub ahead of print].

OBJECTIVE: SSc-ILD is characterized by variable clinical outcomes, activation of innate immune pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), and accumulation of αSMA expressing myofibroblasts. The association of these entities with mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), an endogenous ligand for the intracellular DNA-sensing PRRs TLR9 and cGAS-STING, has yet to be determined.

METHODS: Human lung fibroblasts from normal donors (NHLFs) and SSc-ILD explants were treated with synthetic CpG DNA and assayed for αSMA expression and extracellular mtDNA using qPCR for the human MT-ATP6 gene. Plasma MT-ATP6 concentrations were evaluated in two independent SSc-ILD cohorts and demographically matched controls. The ability of control and SSc-ILD plasma to induce TLR9 and cGAS-STING activation was evaluated with commercially available HEK 293 reporter cells. Plasma concentrations of type I interferons, IL-6, and oxidized DNA were measured with using electrochemiluminescence and ELISA-based methods, respectively. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) precipitated from plasma were evaluated for MT-ATP6 concentrations and proteomics via liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry.

RESULTS: NHLFs and SSc-ILD fibroblasts develop increased αSMA expression and MT-ATP6 release following CpG stimulation. Plasma mtDNA concentrations are increased in two SSc-ILD cohorts, reflective of ventilatory decline, and positively associated with both TLR9 and cGAS-STING activation as well as Type I interferon and IL-6 expression. Plasma mtDNA is not oxidized and is conveyed by EVs displaying a proteomics profile consistent with a multicellular origin.

CONCLUSION: These findings demonstrate an unrecognized connection between EV-encapsulated mtDNA, clinical outcomes, and intracellular DNA-sensing PRR activation in SSc-ILD. Further study of these interactions could catalyze novel mechanistic and therapeutic insights into SSc-ILD and related disorders.

RevDate: 2020-06-30

Opalek M, D Wloch-Salamon (2020)

Aspects of Multicellularity in Saccharomyces cerevisiae Yeast: A Review of Evolutionary and Physiological Mechanisms.

Genes, 11(6): pii:genes11060690.

The evolutionary transition from single-celled to multicellular growth is a classic and intriguing problem in biology. Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a useful model to study questions regarding cell aggregation, heterogeneity and cooperation. In this review, we discuss scenarios of group formation and how this promotes facultative multicellularity in S. cerevisiae. We first describe proximate mechanisms leading to aggregation. These mechanisms include staying together and coming together, and can lead to group heterogeneity. Heterogeneity is promoted by nutrient limitation, structured environments and aging. We then characterize the evolutionary benefits and costs of facultative multicellularity in yeast. We summarize current knowledge and focus on the newest state-of-the-art discoveries that will fuel future research programmes aiming to understand facultative microbial multicellularity.

RevDate: 2020-06-27

Lustofin K, Świątek P, Stolarczyk P, et al (2020)

Do food trichomes occur in Pinguicula (Lentibulariaceae) flowers?.

Annals of botany pii:5864102 [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Floral food bodies (including edible trichomes) are a form of floral reward for pollinators. This type of nutritive reward has been recorded in several angiosperm families: Annonaceae, Araceae, Calycanthaceae, Eupomatiaceae, Himantandraceae, Nymphaeaceae, Orchidaceae, Pandanaceae and Winteraceae. Although these bodies are very diverse in their structure, their cells contain food material: starch grains, protein bodies or lipid droplets. In Pinguicula flowers, there are numerous multicellular clavate trichomes. Previous authors have proposed that these trichomes in the Pinguicula flower play the role of "futterhaare" ("feeding hairs") and are eaten by pollinators. The main aim of this paper was to investigate whether the floral non-glandular trichomes of Pinguicula contain food reserves and thus are a reward for pollinators. The trichomes from the Pinguicula groups, which differ in their taxonomy (species from the subgenera: Temnoceras, Pinguicula, Isoloba) as well as the types of their pollinators (butterflies / flies and bees / hummingbirds), were examined. Thus, it was determined whether there are any connections between the occurrence of food trichomes and phylogeny position or pollination biology. Additionally, we determined the phylogenetic history of edible trichomes and pollinator evolution in the Pinguicula species.

METHODS: The species that were sampled were: Pinguicula moctezumae, P. esseriana, P. moranensis, P. emarginata, P. rectifolia, P. mesophytica, P. hemiepiphytica, P. agnata, P. albida, P. ibarrae, P. martinezii, P. filifolia, P. gigantea, P. lusitanica, P. alpina and P. vulgaris. Light microscopy, histochemistry, scanning and transmission electron microscopy were used to address our aims with a phylogenetic perspective based on matK/trnK DNA sequences.

KEY RESULTS: No accumulation of protein bodies or lipid droplets was recorded in the floral non-glandular trichomes of any of the analysed species. Starch grains occurred in the cells of the trichomes of the bee/fly-pollinated species: P. agnata, P. albida, P. ibarrae, P. martinezii, P. filifolia and P. gigantea but not in P. alpina or P. vulgaris. Moreover, starch grains were not recorded in the cells of the trichomes of the Pinguicula species that have long spurs, which are pollinated by Lepidoptera (P. moctezumae,P. esseriana, P. moranensis, P. emarginata, and P. rectifolia) or birds (P. mesophytica, P. hemiepihytica) or in species with a small and whitish corolla that self-pollinate (P. lusitanica). The results on the occurrence of edible trichomes and pollinator syndromes were mapped onto a phylogenetic reconstruction of the genus.

CONCLUSION: Floral non-glandular trichomes play the role of edible trichomes in some Pinguicula species (P. agnata, P. albida, P. ibarrae, P. martinezii, P. filifolia and P. gigantea), which are mainly classified as bee-pollinated species that had originated from Central and South America. It seems that in the Pinguicula that are pollinated by other pollinator groups (Lepidoptera, hummingbirds), the non-glandular trichomes in the flowers play a role other than that of a floral reward for their pollinators. Edible trichomes are symplesiomorphic for the Pinguicula species, and thus do not support a monophyletic group such as a synapomorphy. Nevertheless, edible trichomes are derived and are possibly a specialisation for fly and bee pollinators by acting as a food reward for these visitors.

RevDate: 2020-06-25

Dexheimer PJ, L Cochella (2020)

MicroRNAs: From Mechanism to Organism.

Frontiers in cell and developmental biology, 8:409.

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short, regulatory RNAs that act as post-transcriptional repressors of gene expression in diverse biological contexts. The emergence of small RNA-mediated gene silencing preceded the onset of multicellularity and was followed by a drastic expansion of the miRNA repertoire in conjunction with the evolution of complexity in the plant and animal kingdoms. Along this process, miRNAs became an essential feature of animal development, as no higher metazoan lineage tolerated loss of miRNAs or their associated protein machinery. In fact, ablation of the miRNA biogenesis machinery or the effector silencing factors results in severe embryogenesis defects in every animal studied. In this review, we summarize recent mechanistic insight into miRNA biogenesis and function, while emphasizing features that have enabled multicellular organisms to harness the potential of this broad class of repressors. We first discuss how different mechanisms of regulation of miRNA biogenesis are used, not only to generate spatio-temporal specificity of miRNA production within an animal, but also to achieve the necessary levels and dynamics of expression. We then explore how evolution of the mechanism for small RNA-mediated repression resulted in a diversity of silencing complexes that cause different molecular effects on their targets. Multicellular organisms have taken advantage of this variability in the outcome of miRNA-mediated repression, with differential use in particular cell types or even distinct subcellular compartments. Finally, we present an overview of how the animal miRNA repertoire has evolved and diversified, emphasizing the emergence of miRNA families and the biological implications of miRNA sequence diversification. Overall, focusing on selected animal models and through the lens of evolution, we highlight canonical mechanisms in miRNA biology and their variations, providing updated insight that will ultimately help us understand the contribution of miRNAs to the development and physiology of multicellular organisms.

RevDate: 2020-06-23

Jacqueline C, Parvy JP, Rollin ML, et al (2020)

The role of innate immunity in the protection conferred by a bacterial infection against cancer: study of an invertebrate model.

Scientific reports, 10(1):10106 pii:10.1038/s41598-020-66813-0.

All multicellular organisms are exposed to a diversity of infectious agents and to the emergence and proliferation of malignant cells. The protection conferred by some infections against cancer has been recently linked to the production of acquired immunity effectors such as antibodies. However, the evolution of innate immunity as a mechanism to prevent cancer and how it is jeopardized by infections remain poorly investigated. Here, we explored this question by performing experimental infections in two genetically modified invertebrate models (Drosophila melanogaster) that develop invasive or non-invasive neoplastic brain tumors. After quantifying tumor size and antimicrobial peptide gene expression, we found that Drosophila larvae infected with a naturally occurring bacterium had smaller tumors compared to controls and to fungus-infected larvae. This was associated with the upregulation of genes encoding two antimicrobial peptides-diptericin and drosomycin-that are known to be important mediators of tumor cell death. We further confirmed that tumor regression upon infection was associated with an increase in tumor cell death. Thus, our study suggests that infection could have a protective role through the production of antimicrobial peptides that increase tumor cell death. Finally, our study highlights the need to understand the role of innate immune effectors in the complex interactions between infections and cancer cell communities in order to develop innovative cancer treatment strategies.

RevDate: 2020-06-23

Li XG, Zhang WJ, Qi XQ, et al (2020)

Genome analysis of Crassaminicella sp. SY095, an anaerobic mesophilic marine bacterium isolated from a deep-sea hydrothermal vent on the Southwest Indian Ridge.

Marine genomics, 52:100733.

Crassaminicella sp. strain SY095 is an anaerobic mesophilic marine bacterium that was recently isolated from a deep-sea hydrothermal vent on the Southwest Indian Ridge. Here, we present the complete genome sequence of strain SY095. The genome consists of a chromosome of 3,046,753 bp (G + C content of 30.81%) and a plasmid of 36,627 bp (G + C content of 31.29%), encodes 2966 protein, 135 tRNA genes, and 34 rRNA genes. Numerous genes are related to peptide transport, amino acid metabolism, motility, and sporulation. This agrees with the observation that strain SY095 is a spore-forming, motile, and chemoheterotrophic bacterium. Further, the genome harbors multiple prophages that carry all the genes necessary for viral particle synthesis. Some prophages carry additional genes that may be involved in the regulation of sporulation. This is the first reported genome of a bacterium from the genus Crassaminicella, providing insights into the microbial adaptation strategies to the deep-sea hydrothermal vent environment.

RevDate: 2020-06-20

Merle N, Singh P, Rahman J, et al (2020)

Integrins meet complement: the evolutionary tip of an iceberg orchestrating metabolism and immunity.

British journal of pharmacology [Epub ahead of print].

Immunologists have recently realized that there is more to the classic innate immune sensor systems than just mere protection against invading pathogens. It is becoming increasingly clear that such sensors, including the inflammasomes, toll-like receptors and the complement system, are heavily involved in the regulation of basic cell physiological processes and particularly those of metabolic nature. In fact, their 'non-canonical' activities make sense as no system directing immune cell activity can perform such task without the need for energy. Further, many of these ancient immune sensors appeared early and concurrently during evolution, particularly during the developmental leap from the single cell organisms to multicellularity, and therefore crosstalk heavily with each other. Here, we will review the current knowledge about the emerging cooperation between the major inter-cell communicators, integrins, and the cell-autonomous intracellularly and autocrine active complement, the complosome, during the regulation of single cell metabolism.

RevDate: 2020-06-19

Kuncha SK, Venkadasamy VL, Amudhan G, et al (2020)

Genomic innovation of ATD alleviates mistranslation associated with multicellularity in Animalia.

eLife, 9: pii:58118.

The emergence of multicellularity in Animalia is associated with increase in ROS and expansion of tRNA-isodecoders. tRNA expansion leads to misselection resulting in a critical error of L-Ala mischarged onto tRNAThr, which is proofread by Animalia-specific-tRNA Deacylase (ATD) in vitro. Here we show that in addition to ATD, threonyl-tRNA synthetase (ThrRS) can clear the error in cellular scenario. This two-tier functional redundancy for translation quality control breaks down during oxidative stress, wherein ThrRS is rendered inactive. Therefore, ATD knockout cells display pronounced sensitivity through increased mistranslation of threonine codons leading to cell death. Strikingly, we identify the emergence of ATD along with the error inducing tRNA species starting from Choanoflagellates thus uncovering an important genomic innovation required for multicellularity that occurred in unicellular ancestors of animals. The study further provides a plausible regulatory mechanism wherein the cellular fate of tRNAs can be switched from protein biosynthesis to non-canonical functions.

RevDate: 2020-06-17

Li L, Liu D, Liu A, et al (2020)

Genomic Survey of Tyrosine Kinases Repertoire in Electrophorus electricus With an Emphasis on Evolutionary Conservation and Diversification.

Evolutionary bioinformatics online, 16:1176934320922519 pii:10.1177_1176934320922519.

Tyrosine kinases (TKs) play key roles in the regulation of multicellularity in organisms and involved primarily in cell growth, differentiation, and cell-to-cell communication. Genome-wide characterization of TKs has been conducted in many metazoans; however, systematic information regarding this superfamily in Electrophorus electricus (electric eel) is still lacking. In this study, we identified 114 TK genes in the E electricus genome and investigated their evolution, molecular features, and domain architecture using phylogenetic profiling to gain a better understanding of their similarities and specificity. Our results suggested that the electric eel TK (EeTK) repertoire was shaped by whole-genome duplications (WGDs) and tandem duplication events. Compared with other vertebrate TKs, gene members in Jak, Src, and EGFR subfamily duplicated specifically, but with members lost in Eph, Axl, and Ack subfamily in electric eel. We also conducted an exhaustive survey of TK genes in genomic databases, identifying 1674 TK proteins in 31 representative species covering all the main metazoan lineages. Extensive evolutionary analysis indicated that TK repertoire in vertebrates tended to be remarkably conserved, but the gene members in each subfamily were very variable. Comparative expression profile analysis showed that electric organ tissues and muscle shared a similar pattern with specific highly expressed TKs (ie, epha7, musk, jak1, and pdgfra), suggesting that regulation of TKs might play an important role in specifying an electric organ identity from its muscle precursor. We further identified TK genes exhibiting tissue-specific expression patterns, indicating that members in TKs participated in subfunctionalization representing an evolutionary divergence required for the performance of different tissues. This work generates valuable information for further gene function analysis and identifying candidate TK genes reflecting their unique tissue-function specializations in electric eel.

RevDate: 2020-06-17
CmpDate: 2020-06-17

Ronquist F, Forshage M, Häggqvist S, et al (2020)

Completing Linnaeus's inventory of the Swedish insect fauna: Only 5,000 species left?.

PloS one, 15(3):e0228561.

Despite more than 250 years of taxonomic research, we still have only a vague idea about the true size and composition of the faunas and floras of the planet. Many biodiversity inventories provide limited insight because they focus on a small taxonomic subsample or a tiny geographic area. Here, we report on the size and composition of the Swedish insect fauna, thought to represent roughly half of the diversity of multicellular life in one of the largest European countries. Our results are based on more than a decade of data from the Swedish Taxonomy Initiative and its massive inventory of the country's insect fauna, the Swedish Malaise Trap Project The fauna is considered one of the best known in the world, but the initiative has nevertheless revealed a surprising amount of hidden diversity: more than 3,000 new species (301 new to science) have been documented so far. Here, we use three independent methods to analyze the true size and composition of the fauna at the family or subfamily level: (1) assessments by experts who have been working on the most poorly known groups in the fauna; (2) estimates based on the proportion of new species discovered in the Malaise trap inventory; and (3) extrapolations based on species abundance and incidence data from the inventory. For the last method, we develop a new estimator, the combined non-parametric estimator, which we show is less sensitive to poor coverage of the species pool than other popular estimators. The three methods converge on similar estimates of the size and composition of the fauna, suggesting that it comprises around 33,000 species. Of those, 8,600 (26%) were unknown at the start of the inventory and 5,000 (15%) still await discovery. We analyze the taxonomic and ecological composition of the estimated fauna, and show that most of the new species belong to Hymenoptera and Diptera groups that are decomposers or parasitoids. Thus, current knowledge of the Swedish insect fauna is strongly biased taxonomically and ecologically, and we show that similar but even stronger biases have distorted our understanding of the fauna in the past. We analyze latitudinal gradients in the size and composition of known European insect faunas and show that several of the patterns contradict the Swedish data, presumably due to similar knowledge biases. Addressing these biases is critical in understanding insect biomes and the ecosystem services they provide. Our results emphasize the need to broaden the taxonomic scope of current insect monitoring efforts, a task that is all the more urgent as recent studies indicate a possible worldwide decline in insect faunas.

RevDate: 2020-06-14

Hammarlund EU, Amend SR, KJ Pienta (2020)

The issues with tissues: the wide range of cell fate separation enables the evolution of multicellularity and cancer.

Medical oncology (Northwood, London, England), 37(7):62 pii:10.1007/s12032-020-01387-5.

Our understanding of the rises of animal and cancer multicellularity face the same conceptual hurdles: what makes the clade originate and what makes it diversify. Between the events of origination and diversification lies complex tissue organization that gave rise to novel functionality for organisms and, unfortunately, for malignant transformation in cells. Tissue specialization with distinctly separated cell fates allowed novel functionality at organism level, such as for vertebrate animals, but also involved trade-offs at the cellular level that are potentially disruptive. These trade-offs are under-appreciated and here we discuss how the wide separation of cell phenotypes may contribute to cancer evolution by (a) how factors can reverse differentiated cells into a window of phenotypic plasticity, (b) the reversal to phenotypic plasticity coupled with asexual reproduction occurs in a way that the host cannot adapt, and (c) the power of the transformation factor correlates to the power needed to reverse tissue specialization. The role of reversed cell fate separation for cancer evolution is strengthened by how some tissues and organisms maintain high cell proliferation and plasticity without developing tumours at a corresponding rate. This demonstrates a potential proliferation paradox that requires further explanation. These insights from the cancer field, which observes tissue evolution in real time and closer than any other field, allow inferences to be made on evolutionary events in animal history. If a sweet spot of phenotypic and reproductive versatility is key to transformation, factors stimulating cell fate separation may have promoted also animal diversification on Earth.

RevDate: 2020-06-11

Duraivelan K, D Samanta (2020)

Tracing the evolution of nectin and nectin-like cell adhesion molecules.

Scientific reports, 10(1):9434 pii:10.1038/s41598-020-66461-4.

Nectin and nectin-like cell adhesion molecules (collectively referred as nectin family henceforth) are known to mediate cell-cell adhesion and related functions. While current literature suggests that nectins are prevalent in vertebrates, there are no in-depth analyses regarding the evolution of nectin family as a whole. In this work, we examine the evolutionary origin of the nectin family, using selected multicellular metazoans representing diverse clades whose whole genome sequencing data is available. Our results show that this family may have appeared earlier during metazoan evolution than previously believed. Systematic analyses indicate the order in which various members of nectin family seem to have evolved, with some nectin-like molecules appearing first, followed by the evolution of other members. Furthermore, we also found a few possible ancient homologues of nectins. While our study confirms the previous grouping of the nectin family into nectins and nectin-like molecules, it also shows poliovirus receptor (PVR/nectin-like-5) to possess characteristics that are intermediate between these two groups. Interestingly, except for PVR, the other nectins show surprising sequence conservations across species, suggesting evolutionary constraints due to critical roles played by these proteins.

RevDate: 2020-06-10

Phansopa C, Dunning LT, Reid JD, et al (2020)

Lateral gene transfer acts as an evolutionary shortcut to efficient C4 biochemistry.

Molecular biology and evolution pii:5855680 [Epub ahead of print].

The adaptation of proteins for novel functions often requires changes in their kinetics via amino acid replacement. This process can require multiple mutations, and therefore extended periods of selection. The transfer of genes among distinct species might speed up the process, by providing proteins already adapted for the novel function. However, this hypothesis remains untested in multicellular eukaryotes. The grass Alloteropsis is an ideal system to test this hypothesis due to its diversity of genes encoding phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPC), an enzyme that catalyses one of the key reactions in the C4 pathway. Different accessions of Alloteropsis either use native isoforms relatively recently co-opted from other functions or isoforms that were laterally acquired from distantly related species that evolved the C4 trait much earlier. By comparing the enzyme kinetics we show that native isoforms with few amino acid replacements have substrate KM values similar to the non-C4 ancestral form, but exhibit marked increases in catalytic efficiency. The co-option of native isoforms was therefore followed by rapid catalytic improvements, which appear to rely on standing genetic variation observed within one species. Native C4 isoforms with more amino acid replacements exhibit additional changes in affinities, suggesting that the initial catalytic improvements are followed by gradual modifications. Finally, laterally acquired genes show both strong increases in catalytic efficiency and important changes in substrate handling. We conclude that the transfer of genes among distant species sharing the same physiological novelty creates an evolutionary shortcut toward more efficient enzymes, effectively accelerating evolution.

RevDate: 2020-06-10

Laundon D, Chrismas N, Wheeler G, et al (2020)

Chytrid rhizoid morphogenesis resembles hyphal development in multicellular fungi and is adaptive to resource availability.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 287(1928):20200433.

Key to the ecological prominence of fungi is their distinctive cell biology, our understanding of which has been principally based on dikaryan hyphal and yeast forms. The early-diverging Chytridiomycota (chytrids) are ecologically important and a significant component of fungal diversity, yet their cell biology remains poorly understood. Unlike dikaryan hyphae, chytrids typically attach to substrates and feed osmotrophically via anucleate rhizoids. The evolution of fungal hyphae appears to have occurred from rhizoid-bearing lineages and it has been hypothesized that a rhizoid-like structure was the precursor to multicellular hyphae. Here, we show in a unicellular chytrid, Rhizoclosmatium globosum, that rhizoid development exhibits striking similarities with dikaryan hyphae and is adaptive to resource availability. Rhizoid morphogenesis exhibits analogous patterns to hyphal growth and is controlled by β-glucan-dependent cell wall synthesis and actin polymerization. Chytrid rhizoids growing from individual cells also demonstrate adaptive morphological plasticity in response to resource availability, developing a searching phenotype when carbon starved and spatial differentiation when interacting with particulate organic matter. We demonstrate that the adaptive cell biology and associated developmental plasticity considered characteristic of hyphal fungi are shared more widely across the Kingdom Fungi and therefore could be conserved from their most recent common ancestor.

RevDate: 2020-06-09

Villagra C, D Frías-Lasserre (2020)

Epigenetic Molecular Mechanisms in Insects.

Neotropical entomology pii:10.1007/s13744-020-00777-8 [Epub ahead of print].

Insects are the largest animal group on Earth both in biomass and diversity. Their outstanding success has inspired genetics and developmental research, allowing the discovery of dynamic process explaining extreme phenotypic plasticity and canalization. Epigenetic molecular mechanisms (EMMs) are vital for several housekeeping functions in multicellular organisms, regulating developmental, ontogenetic trajectories and environmental adaptations. In Insecta, EMMs are involved in the development of extreme phenotypic divergences such as polyphenisms and eusocial castes. Here, we review the history of this research field and how the main EMMs found in insects help to understand their biological processes and diversity. EMMs in insects confer them rapid response capacity allowing insect either to change with plastic divergence or to keep constant when facing different stressors or stimuli. EMMs function both at intra as well as transgenerational scales, playing important roles in insect ecology and evolution. We discuss on how EMMs pervasive influences in Insecta require not only the control of gene expression but also the dynamic interplay of EMMs with further regulatory levels, including genetic, physiological, behavioral, and environmental among others, as was earlier proposed by the Probabilistic Epigenesis model and Developmental System Theory.

RevDate: 2020-06-06

Oates AC (2020)

Waiting on the Fringe: cell autonomy and signaling delays in segmentation clocks.

Current opinion in genetics & development, 63:61-70 pii:S0959-437X(20)30051-4 [Epub ahead of print].

The rhythmic and sequential segmentation of the vertebrate body axis into somites during embryogenesis is governed by a multicellular, oscillatory patterning system called the segmentation clock. Despite many overt similarities between vertebrates, differences in genetic and dynamic regulation have been reported, raising intriguing questions about the evolution and conservation of this fundamental patterning process. Recent studies have brought insights into two important and related issues: (1) whether individual cells of segmentation clocks are autonomous oscillators or require cell-cell communication for their rhythm; and (2) the role of delays in the cell-cell communication that synchronizes the population of genetic oscillators. Although molecular details differ between species, conservation may exist at the level of the dynamics, hinting at rules for evolutionary trajectories in the system.

RevDate: 2020-06-04

Booth DS, N King (2020)

Genome editing enables reverse genetics of multicellular development in the choanoflagellate Salpingoeca rosetta.

eLife, 9: pii:56193 [Epub ahead of print].

In a previous study, we established a forward genetic screen to identify genes required for multicellular development in the choanoflagellate, Salpingoeca rosetta (Levin et al., 2014). Yet, the paucity of reverse genetic tools for choanoflagellates has hampered direct tests of gene function and impeded the establishment of choanoflagellates as a model for reconstructing the origin of their closest living relatives, the animals. Here we establish CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genome editing in S. rosetta by engineering a selectable marker to enrich for edited cells. We then use genome editing to disrupt the coding sequence of a S. rosetta C-type lectin gene, rosetteless, and thereby demonstrate its necessity for multicellular rosette development. This work advances S. rosetta as a model system in which to investigate how genes identified from genetic screens and genomic surveys function in choanoflagellates and evolved as critical regulators of animal biology.

RevDate: 2020-06-01
CmpDate: 2020-06-01

Hamant O, Bhat R, Nanjundiah V, et al (2019)

Does resource availability help determine the evolutionary route to multicellularity?.

Evolution & development, 21(3):115-119.

Genetic heterogeneity and homogeneity are associated with distinct sets of adaptive advantages and bottlenecks, both in developmental biology and population genetics. Whereas populations of individuals are usually genetically heterogeneous, most multicellular metazoans are genetically homogeneous. Observing that resource scarcity fuels genetic heterogeneity in populations, we propose that monoclonal development is compatible with the resource-rich and stable internal environments that complex multicellular bodies offer. In turn, polyclonal development persists in tumors and in certain metazoans, both exhibiting a closer dependence on external resources. This eco-evo-devo approach also suggests that multicellularity may originally have emerged through polyclonal development in early metazoans, because of their reduced shielding from environmental fluctuations.

RevDate: 2020-05-30

Lawal HM, Schilde C, Kin K, et al (2020)

Cold climate adaptation is a plausible cause for evolution of multicellular sporulation in Dictyostelia.

Scientific reports, 10(1):8797 pii:10.1038/s41598-020-65709-3.

Unicellular protozoa that encyst individually upon starvation evolved at least eight times into organisms that instead form multicellular fruiting bodies with spores. The Dictyostelia are the largest and most complex group of such organisms. They can be subdivided into 4 major groups, with many species in groups 1-3 having additionally retained encystment. To understand fitness differences between spores and cysts, we measured long-term survival of spores and cysts under climate-mimicking conditions, investigated spore and cyst ultrastructure, and related fitness characteristics to species ecology. We found that spores and cysts survived 22 °C equally well, but that spores survived wet and dry frost better than cysts, with group 4 spores being most resilient. Spore walls consist of three layers and those of cysts of maximally two, while spores were also more compacted than cysts, with group 4 spores being the most compacted. Group 4 species were frequently isolated from arctic and alpine zones, which was rarely the case for group 1-3 species. We inferred a fossil-calibrated phylogeny of Dictyostelia, which showed that its two major branches diverged 0.52 billion years ago, following several global glaciations. Our results suggest that Dictyostelium multicellular sporulation was a likely adaptation to a cold climate.

RevDate: 2020-05-30

Demin SI, Bogolyubov DS, Granovitch AI, et al (2020)

New data on spermatogenic cyst formation and cellular composition of the testis in a marine gastropod, Littorina saxatilis.

International journal of molecular sciences, 21(11): pii:ijms21113792.

Knowledge of the testis structure is important for gastropod taxonomy and phylogeny, particularly for the comparative analysis of sympatric Littorina species. Observing fresh tissue and squashing fixed tissue with gradually increasing pressure, we have recently described a peculiar type of cystic spermatogenesis, rare in mollusks. It has not been documented in most mollusks until now. The testis of adult males consists of numerous lobules filled with multicellular cysts containing germline cells at different stages of differentiation. Each cyst is formed by one cyst cell of somatic origin. Here, we provide evidence for the existence of two ways of cyst formation in Littorina saxatilis. One of them begins with a goniablast cyst formation; it somewhat resembles cyst formation in Drosophila testes. The second way begins with capture of a free spermatogonium by the polyploid cyst cell which is capable to move along the gonad tissues. This way of cyst formation has not been described previously. Our data expand the understanding of the diversity of spermatogenesis types in invertebrates.

RevDate: 2020-05-29

Kuroiwa A (2020)

Enhancers, development, and evolution.

Development, growth & differentiation [Epub ahead of print].

A single-celled fertilized egg develops into a complex, multicellular animal through a series of selection processes of developmental pathways. During these processes, regulatory genes exhibit spatiotemporally restricted expression under the control of the species-specific genetic program, and dictate developmental processes from germ layer formation to cellular differentiation. Elucidation of molecular mechanisms underlying developmental processes and also of mechanistic bases for morphological diversification during evolution is one of the central issues in contemporary developmental biology. Progress has been made due to recent technological innovations, such as high-throughput nucleotide sequencing, live-cell imaging, efficient genetic manipulation, and establishment of the organoid system, opening new avenues to the above issues.

RevDate: 2020-05-28

Casanova JL, L Abel (2020)

The human genetic determinism of life-threatening infectious diseases: genetic heterogeneity and physiological homogeneity?.

Multicellular eukaryotes emerged late in evolution from an ocean of viruses, bacteria, archaea, and unicellular eukaryotes. These macroorganisms are exposed to and infected by a tremendous diversity of microorganisms. Those that are large enough can even be infected by multicellular fungi and parasites. Each interaction is unique, if only because it operates between two unique living organisms, in an infinite diversity of circumstances. This is neatly illustrated by the extraordinarily high level of interindividual clinical variability in human infections, even for a given pathogen, ranging from a total absence of clinical manifestations to death. We discuss here the idea that the determinism of human life-threatening infectious diseases can be governed by single-gene inborn errors of immunity, which are rarely Mendelian and frequently display incomplete penetrance. We briefly review the evidence in support of this notion obtained over the last two decades, referring to a number of focused and thorough reviews published by eminent colleagues in this issue of Human Genetics. It seems that almost any life-threatening infectious disease can be driven by at least one, and, perhaps, a great many diverse monogenic inborn errors, which may nonetheless be immunologically related. While the proportions of monogenic cases remain unknown, a picture in which genetic heterogeneity is combined with physiological homogeneity is emerging from these studies. A preliminary sketch of the human genetic architecture of severe infectious diseases is perhaps in sight.

RevDate: 2020-05-28

Urrejola C, von Dassow P, van den Engh G, et al (2020)

Loss of Filamentous Multicellularity in Cyanobacteria: the Extremophile Gloeocapsopsis sp. Strain UTEX B3054 Retained Multicellular Features at the Genomic and Behavioral Levels.

Journal of bacteriology, 202(12): pii:JB.00514-19.

Multicellularity in Cyanobacteria played a key role in their habitat expansion, contributing to the Great Oxidation Event around 2.45 billion to 2.32 billion years ago. Evolutionary studies have indicated that some unicellular cyanobacteria emerged from multicellular ancestors, yet little is known about how the emergence of new unicellular morphotypes from multicellular ancestors occurred. Our results give new insights into the evolutionary reversion from which the Gloeocapsopsis lineage emerged. Flow cytometry and microscopy results revealed morphological plasticity involving the patterned formation of multicellular morphotypes sensitive to environmental stimuli. Genomic analyses unveiled the presence of multicellularity-associated genes in its genome. Calcein-fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) experiments confirmed that Gloeocapsopsis sp. strain UTEX B3054 carries out cell-to-cell communication in multicellular morphotypes but at slower time scales than filamentous cyanobacteria. Although traditionally classified as unicellular, our results suggest that Gloeocapsopsis displays facultative multicellularity, a condition that may have conferred ecological advantages for thriving as an extremophile for more than 1.6 billion years.IMPORTANCECyanobacteria are among the few prokaryotes that evolved multicellularity. The early emergence of multicellularity in Cyanobacteria (2.5 billion years ago) entails that some unicellular cyanobacteria reverted from multicellular ancestors. We tested this evolutionary hypothesis by studying the unicellular strain Gloeocapsopsis sp. UTEX B3054 using flow cytometry, genomics, and cell-to-cell communication experiments. We demonstrate the existence of a well-defined patterned organization of cells in clusters during growth, which might change triggered by environmental stimuli. Moreover, we found genomic signatures of multicellularity in the Gloeocapsopsis genome, giving new insights into the evolutionary history of a cyanobacterial lineage that has thrived in extreme environments since the early Earth. The potential benefits in terms of resource acquisition and the ecological relevance of this transient behavior are discussed.

RevDate: 2020-05-27

Kim SK, Jang SD, Kim H, et al (2020)

Phenotypic Heterogeneity and Plasticity of Cancer Cell Migration in a Pancreatic Tumor Three-Dimensional Culture Model.

Cancers, 12(5): pii:cancers12051305.

Invasive cancer cell migration is a key feature of metastatic human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), yet the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. Here, we investigated modes of cancer cell invasion using two pancreatic cancer cell lines with differential epithelial-mesenchymal status, PANC-1 and BxPC-3, under 3D culture conditions. Multicellular tumor spheroids (TSs) were grown in a collagen matrix co-cultured with pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) using microchannel chips. PANC-1 cells showed individual migration from TSs via invadopodium formation. BxPC-3 cells showed plasticity between collective and individual migration in either mesenchymal mode, with filopodium-like protrusions, or blebby amoeboid mode. These two cell lines showed significantly different patterns of extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling, with MMP-dependent degradation in a limited area of ECM around invadopodia for PANC-1 cells, or MMP-independent extensive deformation of ECM for BxPC-3 cells. Cancer cell migration out of the collagen channel significantly increased by PSCs and directional cancer cell migration was mediated by fibronectin deposited by PSCs. Our results highlight the phenotypic heterogeneity and plasticity of PDAC cell migration and ECM remodeling under 3D culture conditions. This 3D co-culture model of pancreatic cancer cells and PSCs offers a useful tool for studying cancer cell migration and ECM remodeling to identify and develop potential molecular targets and anti-cancer agents against human PDAC.

RevDate: 2020-05-26

Kumler WE, Jorge J, Kim PM, et al (2020)

Does Formation of Multicellular Colonies by Choanoflagellates Affect Their Susceptibility to Capture by Passive Protozoan Predators?.

The Journal of eukaryotic microbiology [Epub ahead of print].

Microbial eukaryotes, critical links in aquatic food webs, are unicellular, but some, such as choanoflagellates, form multicellular colonies. Are there consequences to predator avoidance of being unicellular versus forming larger colonies? Choanoflagellates share a common ancestor with animals and are used as model organisms to study the evolution of multicellularity. Escape in size from protozoan predators is suggested as a selective factor favoring evolution of multicellularity. Heterotrophic protozoans are categorized as suspension feeders, motile raptors, or passive predators that eat swimming prey which bump into them. We focused on passive predation and measured the mechanisms responsible for the susceptibility of unicellular versus multicellular choanoflagellates, Salpingoeca helianthica, to capture by passive heliozoan predators, Actinosphaerium nucleofilum, which trap prey on axopodia radiating from the cell body. Microvideography showed that unicellular and colonial choanoflagellates entered the predator's capture zone at similar frequencies, but a greater proportion of colonies contacted axopodia. However, more colonies than single cells were lost during transport by axopodia to the cell body. Thus, feeding efficiency (proportion of prey entering the capture zone that were engulfed in phagosomes) was the same for unicellular and multicellular prey, suggesting that colony formation is not an effective defense against such passive predators.

RevDate: 2020-05-26

McQueen E, M Rebeiz (2020)

On the specificity of gene regulatory networks: How does network co-option affect subsequent evolution?.

Current topics in developmental biology, 139:375-405.

The process of multicellular organismal development hinges upon the specificity of developmental programs: for different parts of the organism to form unique features, processes must exist to specify each part. This specificity is thought to be hardwired into gene regulatory networks, which activate cohorts of genes in particular tissues at particular times during development. However, the evolution of gene regulatory networks sometimes occurs by mechanisms that sacrifice specificity. One such mechanism is network co-option, in which existing gene networks are redeployed in new developmental contexts. While network co-option may offer an efficient mechanism for generating novel phenotypes, losses of tissue specificity at redeployed network genes could restrict the ability of the affected traits to evolve independently. At present, there has not been a detailed discussion regarding how tissue specificity of network genes might be altered due to gene network co-option at its initiation, as well as how trait independence can be retained or restored after network co-option. A lack of clarity about network co-option makes it more difficult to speculate on the long-term evolutionary implications of this mechanism. In this review, we will discuss the possible initial outcomes of network co-option, outline the mechanisms by which networks may retain or subsequently regain specificity after network co-option, and comment on some of the possible evolutionary consequences of network co-option. We place special emphasis on the need to consider selectively-neutral outcomes of network co-option to improve our understanding of the role of this mechanism in trait evolution.

RevDate: 2020-05-23

Heaton LLM, Jones NS, MD Fricker (2020)

A mechanistic explanation of the transition to simple multicellularity in fungi.

Nature communications, 11(1):2594 pii:10.1038/s41467-020-16072-4.

Development of multicellularity was one of the major transitions in evolution and occurred independently multiple times in algae, plants, animals, and fungi. However recent comparative genome analyses suggest that fungi followed a different route to other eukaryotic lineages. To understand the driving forces behind the transition from unicellular fungi to hyphal forms of growth, we develop a comparative model of osmotrophic resource acquisition. This predicts that whenever the local resource is immobile, hard-to-digest, and nutrient poor, hyphal osmotrophs outcompete motile or autolytic unicellular osmotrophs. This hyphal advantage arises because transporting nutrients via a contiguous cytoplasm enables continued exploitation of remaining resources after local depletion of essential nutrients, and more efficient use of costly exoenzymes. The model provides a mechanistic explanation for the origins of multicellular hyphal organisms, and explains why fungi, rather than unicellular bacteria, evolved to dominate decay of recalcitrant, nutrient poor substrates such as leaf litter or wood.

RevDate: 2020-05-22

Yang S, Qu G, Fu B, et al (2020)

The function of KptA/Tpt1 gene - a minor review.

Functional plant biology : FPB pii:FP19159 [Epub ahead of print].

Rapid response of uni- and multicellular organisms to environmental changes and their own growth is achieved through a series of molecular mechanisms, often involving modification of macromolecules, including nucleic acids, proteins and lipids. The ADP-ribosylation process has ability to modify these different macromolecules in cells, and is closely related to the biological processes, such as DNA replication, transcription, signal transduction, cell division, stress, microbial aging and pathogenesis. In addition, tRNA plays an essential role in the regulation of gene expression, as effector molecules, no-load tRNA affects the overall gene expression level of cells under some nutritional stress. KptA/Tpt1 is an essential phosphotransferase in the process of pre-tRNA splicing, releasing mature tRNA and participating in ADP-ribose. The objective of this review is concluding the gene structure, the evolution history and the function of KptA/Tpt1 from prokaryote to eukaryote organisms. At the same time, the results of promoter elements analysis were also shown in the present study. Moreover, the problems in the function of KptA/Tpt1 that have not been clarified at the present time are summarised, and some suggestions to solve those problems are given. This review presents no only a summary of clear function of KptA/Tpt1 in the process of tRNA splicing and ADP-ribosylation of organisms, but also gives some proposals to clarify unclear problems of it in the future.

RevDate: 2020-05-20

Krueger-Hadfield SA (2020)

What's ploidy got to do with it? Understanding the evolutionary ecology of macroalgal invasions necessitates incorporating life cycle complexity.

Evolutionary applications, 13(3):486-499 pii:EVA12843.

Biological invasions represent grave threats to terrestrial, aquatic, and marine ecosystems, but our understanding of the role of evolution during invasions remains rudimentary. In marine environments, macroalgae account for a large percentage of invaders, but their complicated life cycles render it difficult to move methodologies and predictions wholesale from species with a single, free-living ploidy stage, such as plants or animals. In haplodiplontic macroalgae, meiosis and fertilization are spatiotemporally separated by long-lived, multicellular haploid and diploid stages, and gametes are produced by mitosis, not meiosis. As a consequence, there are unique eco-evolutionary constraints that are not typically considered in invasions. First, selfing can occur in both monoicious (i.e., hermaphroditic) and dioicious (i.e., separate sexes) haplodiplontic macroalgae. In the former, fertilization between gametes produced by the same haploid thallus results in instantaneous, genome-wide homozygosity. In the latter, cross-fertilization between separate male and female haploids that share the same diploid parent is analogous to selfing in plants or animals. Separate sexes, therefore, cannot be used as a proxy for outcrossing. Second, selfing likely facilitates invasions (i.e., Baker's law) and the long-lived haploid stage may enable purging of deleterious mutations, further contributing to invasion success. Third, asexual reproduction will result in the dominance of one ploidy and/or sex and the loss of the other(s). Whether or not sexual reproduction can be recovered depends on which stage is maintained. Finally, fourth, haplodiplontic life cycles are predicted to be maintained through niche differentiation in the haploid and diploid stages. Empirical tests are rare, but fundamental to our understanding of macroalgal invasion dynamics. By highlighting these four phenomena, we can build a framework with which to empirically and theoretically address important gaps in the literature on marine evolutionary ecology, of which biological invasions can serve as unnatural laboratories.

RevDate: 2020-05-19

Arendt D (2020)

The Evolutionary Assembly of Neuronal Machinery.

Current biology : CB, 30(10):R603-R616.

Neurons are highly specialized cells equipped with a sophisticated molecular machinery for the reception, integration, conduction and distribution of information. The evolutionary origin of neurons remains unsolved. How did novel and pre-existing proteins assemble into the complex machinery of the synapse and of the apparatus conducting current along the neuron? In this review, the step-wise assembly of functional modules in neuron evolution serves as a paradigm for the emergence and modification of molecular machinery in the evolution of cell types in multicellular organisms. The pre-synaptic machinery emerged through modification of calcium-regulated large vesicle release, while the postsynaptic machinery has different origins: the glutamatergic postsynapse originated through the fusion of a sensory signaling module and a module for filopodial outgrowth, while the GABAergic postsynapse incorporated an ancient actin regulatory module. The synaptic junction, in turn, is built around two adhesion modules controlled by phosphorylation, which resemble septate and adherens junctions. Finally, neuronal action potentials emerged via a series of duplications and modifications of voltage-gated ion channels. Based on these origins, key molecular innovations are identified that led to the birth of the first neuron in animal evolution.

RevDate: 2020-05-18

Tollis M, Schneider-Utaka AK, CC Maley (2020)

The Evolution of Human Cancer Gene Duplications across Mammals.

Molecular biology and evolution pii:5839749 [Epub ahead of print].

Cancer is caused by genetic alterations that affect cellular fitness, and multicellular organisms have evolved mechanisms to suppress cancer such as cell cycle checkpoints and apoptosis. These pathways may be enhanced by the addition of tumor suppressor gene paralogs or deletion of oncogenes. To provide insights to the evolution of cancer suppression across the mammalian radiation, we estimated copy numbers for 548 human tumor suppressor gene and oncogene homologs in 63 mammalian genome assemblies. The naked mole rat contained the most cancer gene copies, consistent with the extremely low rates of cancer found in this species. We found a positive correlation between a species' cancer gene copy number and it's longevity, but not body size, contrary to predictions from Peto's Paradox. Extremely long-lived mammals also contained more copies of caretaker genes in their genomes, suggesting that the maintenance of genome integrity is an essential form of cancer prevention in long-lived species. We found the strongest association between longevity and copy numbers of genes that are both germline and somatic tumor suppressor genes, suggesting selection has acted to suppress both hereditary and sporadic cancers. We also found a strong relationship between the number of tumor suppressor genes and the number of oncogenes in mammalian genomes, suggesting complex regulatory networks mediate the balance between cell proliferation and checks on tumor progression. This study is the first to investigate cancer gene expansions across the mammalian radiation and provides a springboard for potential human therapies based on evolutionary medicine.

RevDate: 2020-05-18

Guzmán-Herrera A, Arias Del Angel JA, Rivera-Yoshida N, et al (2020)

Dynamical patterning modules and network motifs as joint determinants of development: Lessons from an aggregative bacterium.

Journal of experimental zoology. Part B, Molecular and developmental evolution [Epub ahead of print].

Development and evolution are dynamical processes under the continuous control of organismic and environmental factors. Generic physical processes, associated with biological materials and certain genes or molecules, provide a morphological template for the evolution and development of organism forms. Generic dynamical behaviors, associated with recurring network motifs, provide a temporal template for the regulation and coordination of biological processes. The role of generic physical processes and their associated molecules in development is the topic of the dynamical patterning module (DPM) framework. The role of generic dynamical behaviors in biological regulation is studied via the identification of the associated network motifs (NMs). We propose a joint DPM-NM perspective on the emergence and regulation of multicellularity focusing on a multicellular aggregative bacterium, Myxococcus xanthus. Understanding M. xanthus development as a dynamical process embedded in a physical substrate provides novel insights into the interaction between developmental regulatory networks and generic physical processes in the evolutionary transition to multicellularity.

RevDate: 2020-05-16

Hörandl E, F Hadacek (2020)

Oxygen, life forms, and the evolution of sexes in multicellular eukaryotes.

Heredity pii:10.1038/s41437-020-0317-9 [Epub ahead of print].

The evolutionary advantage of different sexual systems in multicellular eukaryotes is still not well understood, because the differentiation into male and female individuals halves offspring production compared with asexuality. Here we propose that various physiological adaptations to oxidative stress could have forged sessility versus motility, and consequently the evolution of sexual systems in multicellular animals, plants, and fungi. Photosynthesis causes substantial amounts of oxidative stress in photoautotrophic plants and, likewise, oxidative chemistry of polymer breakdown, cellulose and lignin, for saprotrophic fungi. In both cases, its extent precludes motility, an additional source of oxidative stress. Sessile life form and the lack of neuronal systems, however, limit options for mate recognition and adult sexual selection, resulting in inefficient mate-searching systems. Hence, sessility requires that all individuals can produce offspring, which is achieved by hermaphroditism in plants and/or by multiple mating types in fungi. In animals, motility requires neuronal systems, and muscle activity, both of which are highly sensitive to oxidative damage. As a consequence, motility has evolved in animals as heterotrophic organisms that (1) are not photosynthetically active, and (2) are not primary decomposers. Adaptations to motility provide prerequisites for an active mating behavior and efficient mate-searching systems. These benefits compensate for the "cost of males", and may explain the early evolution of sex chromosomes in metazoans. We conclude that different sexual systems evolved under the indirect physiological constraints of lifestyles.

RevDate: 2020-05-15

Xiao S, Q Tang (2018)

After the boring billion and before the freezing millions: evolutionary patterns and innovations in the Tonian Period.

Emerging topics in life sciences, 2(2):161-171.

The Tonian Period (ca. 1000-720 Ma) follows the 'boring billion' in the Mesoproterozoic Era and precedes 'snowball Earth' glaciations in the Cryogenian Period. It represents a critical transition in Earth history. Geochemical data indicate that the Tonian Period may have witnessed a significant increase in atmospheric pO2 levels and a major transition from predominantly sulfidic to ferruginous mid-depth seawaters. Molecular clock estimates suggest that early animals may have diverged in the Tonian Period, raising the intriguing possibility of coupled environmental changes and evolutionary innovations. The co-evolution of life and its environment during the Tonian Period can be tested against the fossil record by examining diversity trends in the Proterozoic and evolutionary innovations in the Tonian. Compilations of Proterozoic microfossils and macrofossils apparently support a Tonian increase in global taxonomic diversity and morphological range relative to the Mesoproterozoic Era, although this is not reflected in assemblage-level diversity patterns. The fossil record suggests that major eukaryote groups (including Opisthokonta, Amoebozoa, Plantae, and SAR) may have diverged and important evolutionary innovations (e.g. multicellularity and cell differentiation in several groups, eukaryovory, eukaryote biomineralization, and heterocystous cyanobacteria) may have arisen by the Tonian Period, but thus far no convincing animal fossils have been found in the Tonian. Tonian paleontology is still in its nascent stage, and it offers many opportunities to explore Earth-life evolution in this critical geological period.

RevDate: 2020-05-15

Mills DB, Francis WR, DE Canfield (2018)

Animal origins and the Tonian Earth system.

Emerging topics in life sciences, 2(2):289-298.

The Neoproterozoic Era (1000-541 million years ago, Ma) was characterized by dramatic environmental and evolutionary change, including at least two episodes of extensive, low-latitude glaciation, potential changes in the redox structure of the global ocean, and the origin and diversification of animal life. How these different events related to one another remains an active area of research, particularly how these environmental changes influenced, and were influenced by, the earliest evolution of animals. Animal multicellularity is estimated to have evolved in the Tonian Period (1000-720 Ma) and represents one of at least six independent acquisitions of complex multicellularity, characterized by cellular differentiation, three-dimensional body plans, and active nutrient transport. Compared with the other instances of complex multicellularity, animals represent the only clade to have evolved from wall-less, phagotrophic flagellates, which likely placed unique cytological and trophic constraints on the evolution of animal multicellularity. Here, we compare recent molecular clock estimates with compilations of the chromium isotope, micropaleontological, and organic biomarker records, suggesting that, as of now, the origin of animals was not obviously correlated to any environmental-ecological change in the Tonian Period. This lack of correlation is consistent with the idea that the evolution of animal multicellularity was primarily dictated by internal, developmental constraints and occurred independently of the known environmental-ecological changes that characterized the Neoproterozoic Era.

RevDate: 2020-05-15

Okamoto K, Ferreira RJ, Larsson DSD, et al (2020)

Acquired Functional Capsid Structures in Metazoan Totivirus-like dsRNA Virus.

Structure (London, England : 1993) pii:S0969-2126(20)30137-4 [Epub ahead of print].

Non-enveloped icosahedral double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) viruses possess multifunctional capsids required for their proliferation. Whereas protozoan/fungal dsRNA viruses have a relatively simple capsid structure, which suffices for the intracellular phase in their life cycle, metazoan dsRNA viruses have acquired additional structural features as an adaptation for extracellular cell-to-cell transmission in multicellular hosts. Here, we present the first atomic model of a metazoan dsRNA totivirus-like virus and the structure reveals three unique structural traits: a C-terminal interlocking arm, surface projecting loops, and an obstruction at the pore on the 5-fold symmetry axis. These traits are keys to understanding the capsid functions of metazoan dsRNA viruses, such as particle stability and formation, cell entry, and endogenous intraparticle transcription of mRNA. On the basis of molecular dynamics simulations of the obstructed pore, we propose a possible mechanism of intraparticle transcription in totivirus-like viruses, which dynamically switches between open and closed states of the pore(s).

RevDate: 2020-05-15

Yuan F, Pan X, Zeng T, et al (2020)

Identifying Cell-Type Specific Genes and Expression Rules Based on Single-Cell Transcriptomic Atlas Data.

Frontiers in bioengineering and biotechnology, 8:350.

Single-cell sequencing technologies have emerged to address new and longstanding biological and biomedical questions. Previous studies focused on the analysis of bulk tissue samples composed of millions of cells. However, the genomes within the cells of an individual multicellular organism are not always the same. In this study, we aimed to identify the crucial and characteristically expressed genes that may play functional roles in tissue development and organogenesis, by analyzing a single-cell transcriptomic atlas of mice. We identified the most relevant gene features and decision rules classifying 18 cell categories, providing a list of genes that may perform important functions in the process of tissue development because of their tissue-specific expression patterns. These genes may serve as biomarkers to identify the origin of unknown cell subgroups so as to recognize specific cell stages/states during the dynamic process, and also be applied as potential therapy targets for developmental disorders.

RevDate: 2020-05-13

Zardoya R (2020)

Recent advances in understanding mitochondrial genome diversity.

F1000Research, 9:.

Ever since its discovery, the double-stranded DNA contained in the mitochondria of eukaryotes has fascinated researchers because of its bacterial endosymbiotic origin, crucial role in encoding subunits of the respiratory complexes, compact nature, and specific inheritance mechanisms. In the last few years, high-throughput sequencing techniques have accelerated the sequencing of mitochondrial genomes (mitogenomes) and uncovered the great diversity of organizations, gene contents, and modes of replication and transcription found in living eukaryotes. Some early divergent lineages of unicellular eukaryotes retain certain synteny and gene content resembling those observed in the genomes of alphaproteobacteria (the inferred closest living group of mitochondria), whereas others adapted to anaerobic environments have drastically reduced or even lost the mitogenome. In the three main multicellular lineages of eukaryotes, mitogenomes have pursued diverse evolutionary trajectories in which different types of molecules (circular versus linear and single versus multipartite), gene structures (with or without self-splicing introns), gene contents, gene orders, genetic codes, and transfer RNA editing mechanisms have been selected. Whereas animals have evolved a rather compact mitochondrial genome between 11 and 50 Kb in length with a highly conserved gene content in bilaterians, plants exhibit large mitochondrial genomes of 66 Kb to 11.3 Mb with large intergenic repetitions prone to recombination, and fungal mitogenomes have intermediate sizes of 12 to 236 Kb.

RevDate: 2020-05-12

Yu L, Boström C, Franzenburg S, et al (2020)

Somatic genetic drift and multilevel selection in a clonal seagrass.

Nature ecology & evolution pii:10.1038/s41559-020-1196-4 [Epub ahead of print].

All multicellular organisms are genetic mosaics owing to somatic mutations. The accumulation of somatic genetic variation in clonal species undergoing asexual (or clonal) reproduction may lead to phenotypic heterogeneity among autonomous modules (termed ramets). However, the abundance and dynamics of somatic genetic variation under clonal reproduction remain poorly understood. Here we show that branching events in a seagrass (Zostera marina) clone or genet lead to population bottlenecks of tissue that result in the evolution of genetically differentiated ramets in a process of somatic genetic drift. By studying inter-ramet somatic genetic variation, we uncovered thousands of single nucleotide polymorphisms that segregated among ramets. Ultra-deep resequencing of single ramets revealed that the strength of purifying selection on mosaic genetic variation was greater within than among ramets. Our study provides evidence for multiple levels of selection during the evolution of seagrass genets. Somatic genetic drift during clonal propagation leads to the emergence of genetically unique modules that constitute an elementary level of selection and individuality in long-lived clonal species.

RevDate: 2020-05-08

Kimata Y, Leturcq M, R Aradhya (2020)

Emerging roles of metazoan CCRs as coordinators of the cell cycle and differentiation.

FEBS letters [Epub ahead of print].

In multicellular organisms, cell proliferation must be tightly coordinated with other developmental processes to form functional tissues and organs. Despite significant advances in our understanding of how the cell cycle is controlled by conserved cell cycle regulators (CCRs), how the cell cycle is coordinated with cell differentiation in metazoan organisms and how CCRs contribute to this process remain poorly understood. Here we review the emerging roles of metazoan CCRs as intracellular proliferation-differentiation coordinators in multicellular organisms. We illustrate how major CCRs regulate cellular events that are required for cell-fate acquisition and subsequent differentiation. To this end, CCRs employ diverse mechanisms, some of which are separable from those underpinning the conventional cell cycle-regulatory functions of CCRs. By controlling cell type-specific specification/differentiation processes alongside the progression of the cell cycle, CCRs enable spatiotemporal coupling between differentiation and cell proliferation in various developmental contexts in vivo. We discuss the significance and implications of this underappreciated role of metazoan CCRs for development, disease and evolution.

RevDate: 2020-05-05
CmpDate: 2020-05-04

Finoshin AD, Adameyko KI, Mikhailov KV, et al (2020)

Iron metabolic pathways in the processes of sponge plasticity.

PloS one, 15(2):e0228722.

The ability to regulate oxygen consumption evolved in ancestral animals and is intrinsically linked to iron metabolism. The iron pathways have been intensively studied in mammals, whereas data on distant invertebrates are limited. Sea sponges represent the oldest animal phylum and have unique structural plasticity and capacity to reaggregate after complete dissociation. We studied iron metabolic factors and their expression during reaggregation in the White Sea cold-water sponges Halichondria panicea and Halisarca dujardini. De novo transcriptomes were assembled using RNA-Seq data, and evolutionary trends were analyzed with bioinformatic tools. Differential expression during reaggregation was studied for H. dujardini. Enzymes of the heme biosynthesis pathway and transport globins, neuroglobin (NGB) and androglobin (ADGB), were identified in sponges. The globins mutate at higher evolutionary rates than the heme synthesis enzymes. Highly conserved iron-regulatory protein 1 (IRP1) presumably interacts with the iron-responsive elements (IREs) found in mRNAs of ferritin (FTH1) and a putative transferrin receptor NAALAD2. The reaggregation process is accompanied by increased expression of IRP1, the antiapoptotic factor BCL2, the inflammation factor NFκB (p65), FTH1 and NGB, as well as by an increase in mitochondrial density. Our data indicate a complex mechanism of iron regulation in sponge structural plasticity and help to better understand general mechanisms of morphogenetic processes in multicellular species.

RevDate: 2020-05-05
CmpDate: 2020-05-04

Blank-Landeshammer B, Teichert I, Märker R, et al (2019)

Combination of Proteogenomics with Peptide De Novo Sequencing Identifies New Genes and Hidden Posttranscriptional Modifications.

mBio, 10(5):.

Proteogenomics combines proteomics, genomics, and transcriptomics and has considerably improved genome annotation in poorly investigated phylogenetic groups for which homology information is lacking. Furthermore, it can be advantageous when reinvestigating well-annotated genomes. Here, we applied an advanced proteogenomics approach, combining standard proteogenomics with peptide de novo sequencing, to refine annotation of the well-studied model fungus Sordaria macrospora We investigated samples from different developmental and physiological conditions, resulting in the detection of 104 so-far hidden proteins and annotation changes in 575 genes, including 389 splice site refinements. Significantly, our approach provides peptide-level evidence for 113 single-amino-acid variations and 15 C-terminal protein elongations originating from A-to-I RNA editing, a phenomenon recently detected in fungi. Coexpression and phylostratigraphic analysis of the refined proteome suggest that new functions in evolutionarily young genes correlate with distinct developmental stages. In conclusion, our advanced proteogenomics approach supports and promotes functional studies of fungal model systems.IMPORTANCE Next-generation sequencing techniques have considerably increased the number of completely sequenced eukaryotic genomes. These genomes are mostly automatically annotated, and ab initio gene prediction is commonly combined with homology-based search approaches and often supported by transcriptomic data. The latter in particular improve the prediction of intron splice sites and untranslated regions. However, correct prediction of translation initiation sites (TIS), alternative splice junctions, and protein-coding potential remains challenging. Here, we present an advanced proteogenomics approach, namely, the combination of proteogenomics and de novo peptide sequencing analysis, in conjunction with Blast2GO and phylostratigraphy. Using the model fungus Sordaria macrospora as an example, we provide a comprehensive view of the proteome that not only increases the functional understanding of this multicellular organism at different developmental stages but also immensely enhances the genome annotation quality.

RevDate: 2020-03-05
CmpDate: 2020-03-05

Bai SN (2019)

Plant Morphogenesis 123: a renaissance in modern botany?.

Science China. Life sciences, 62(4):453-466.

Plants are a group of multicellular organisms crucial for the biosphere on the Earth. In the 17th century, the founding fathers of modern botany viewed the bud as the basic unit undergoing the plant life cycle. However, for many understandable reasons, the dominant conceptual framework evolved away from the "bud-centered" viewpoint to a "plant-centered" viewpoint that treated the whole plant, consisting of numerous buds, as a unit and considered the entire plant to be the functional equivalent of an animal individual. While this "plant-centered" viewpoint is convenient and great progress has been made using this conceptual framework, some fundamental problems remain logically unsolvable. Previously, I have proposed a new conceptual framework for interpretation of plant morphogenesis, called Plant Morphogenesis 123, which revives a "bud-centered" viewpoint. The perspective of Plant Morphogenesis 123 allows us to address new questions regarding to the mechanisms of plant morphogenesis that are important, and technically accessible, but previously neglected under the "plant-centered" conceptual framework. In addition to describing these questions, I address a more fundamental question for further discussion: why do people study plants?

RevDate: 2020-05-04
CmpDate: 2020-05-04

Hehmeyer J (2019)

Two potential evolutionary origins of the fruiting bodies of the dictyostelid slime moulds.

Biological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, 94(5):1591-1604.

Dictyostelium discoideum and the other dictyostelid slime moulds ('social amoebae') are popular model organisms best known for their demonstration of sorocarpic development. In this process, many cells aggregate to form a multicellular unit that ultimately becomes a fruiting body bearing asexual spores. Several other unrelated microorganisms undergo comparable processes, and in some it is evident that their multicellular development evolved from the differentiation process of encystation. While it has been argued that the dictyostelid fruiting body had similar origins, it has also been proposed that dictyostelid sorocarpy evolved from the unicellular fruiting process found in other amoebozoan slime moulds. This paper reviews the developmental biology of the dictyostelids and other relevant organisms and reassesses the two hypotheses on the evolutionary origins of dictyostelid development. Recent advances in phylogeny, genetics, and genomics and transcriptomics indicate that further research is necessary to determine whether or not the fruiting bodies of the dictyostelids and their closest relatives, the myxomycetes and protosporangids, are homologous.

RevDate: 2020-05-01

Lazzaro BP, Zasloff M, J Rolff (2020)

Antimicrobial peptides: Application informed by evolution.

Science (New York, N.Y.), 368(6490):.

Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are essential components of immune defenses of multicellular organisms and are currently in development as anti-infective drugs. AMPs have been classically assumed to have broad-spectrum activity and simple kinetics, but recent evidence suggests an unexpected degree of specificity and a high capacity for synergies. Deeper evaluation of the molecular evolution and population genetics of AMP genes reveals more evidence for adaptive maintenance of polymorphism in AMP genes than has previously been appreciated, as well as adaptive loss of AMP activity. AMPs exhibit pharmacodynamic properties that reduce the evolution of resistance in target microbes, and AMPs may synergize with one another and with conventional antibiotics. Both of these properties make AMPs attractive for translational applications. However, if AMPs are to be used clinically, it is crucial to understand their natural biology in order to lessen the risk of collateral harm and avoid the crisis of resistance now facing conventional antibiotics.

RevDate: 2020-04-30

Hoffman SK, Seitz KW, Havird JC, et al (2020)

Phenotypic Comparability from Genotypic Variability among Physically Structured Microbial Consortia.

Integrative and comparative biology pii:5827464 [Epub ahead of print].

Microbiomes represent the collective bacteria, archaea, protist, fungi, and virus communities living in or on individual organisms that are typically multicellular eukaryotes. Such consortia have become recognized as having significant impacts on the development, health, and disease status of their hosts. Since understanding the mechanistic connections between an individual's genetic makeup and their complete set of traits (i.e., genome to phenome) requires consideration at different levels of biological organization, this should include interactions with, and the organization of, microbial consortia. To understand microbial consortia organization, we elucidated the genetic constituents amongst phenotypically similar (and hypothesized functionally-analogous) layers (i.e., top orange, second orange, pink, and green layers) in the unique laminated orange cyanobacterial-bacterial crusts endemic to Hawaii's anchialine ecosystem. High-throughput amplicon sequencing of ribosomal RNA hypervariable regions (i.e., Bacteria-specific V6 and Eukarya-biased V9) revealed microbial richness increasing by crust layer depth, with samples of a given layer more similar to different layers from the same geographic site than to their phenotypically-analogous layer from different sites. Furthermore, samples from sites on the same island were more similar to each other, regardless of which layer they originated from, than to analogous layers from another island. However, cyanobacterial and algal taxa were abundant in all surface and bottom layers, with anaerobic and chemoautotrophic taxa concentrated in the middle two layers, suggesting crust oxygenation from both above and below. Thus, the arrangement of oxygenated vs. anoxygenated niches in these orange crusts are functionally distinct relative to other laminated cyanobacterial-bacterial communities examined to date, with convergent evolution due to similar environmental conditions a likely driver for these phenotypically comparable but genetically distinct microbial consortia.

RevDate: 2020-04-21

Rainey L, Deevi RK, McClements J, et al (2020)

Fundamental control of grade-specific colorectal cancer morphology by Src regulation of ezrin-centrosome engagement.

The Journal of pathology [Epub ahead of print].

The phenotypic spectrum of colorectal cancer (CRC) is remarkably diverse with seemingly endless variations of cell shape, mitotic figures, and multicellular configurations. Despite this morphological complexity, histological grading of collective phenotype patterns provides robust prognostic stratification in CRC. While mechanistic understanding is incomplete, previous studies show that the cortical protein ezrin controls diversification of cell shape, mitotic figure geometry and multicellular architecture, in three-dimensional (3D) organotypic CRC cultures. Because ezrin is a substrate of Src tyrosine kinase that is frequently overexpressed in CRC, we investigated Src regulation of ezrin and morphogenic growth in 3D CRC cultures. Here we show that Src perturbations disrupt CRC epithelial spatial organization. Aberrant Src activity suppresses formation of the cortical ezrin cap that anchors interphase centrosomes. In CRC cells with normal centrosome number, these events lead to mitotic spindle misorientation, perturbation of cell cleavage, abnormal epithelial stratification, apical membrane misalignment, multi-lumen formation and evolution of cribriform multicellular morphology, a feature of low-grade cancer. In isogenic CRC cells with centrosome amplification, aberrant Src signalling promotes multipolar mitotic spindle (MMS) formation, pleomorphism and morphological features of high-grade cancer. Translational studies in archival human CRC revealed associations between Src intensity, MMS frequency and high-grade cancer morphology. Collectively, our study reveals Src regulation of CRC morphogenic growth via ezrin-centrosome engagement and uncovers combined perturbations underlying transition to high-grade CRC morphology. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2020-04-19

Friedman DA, Johnson BR, TA Linksvayer (2020)

Distributed physiology and the molecular basis of social life in eusocial insects.

Hormones and behavior pii:S0018-506X(20)30083-0 [Epub ahead of print].

The traditional focus of physiological and functional genomic research is on molecular processes that play out within a single multicellular organism. In the colonial (eusocial) insects such as ants, bees, and termites, molecular and behavioral responses of interacting nestmates are tightly linked, and key physiological processes are regulated at the scale of the colony. Such colony-level physiological processes regulate nestmate physiology in a distributed fashion, through various social communication mechanisms. As a result of physiological decentralization over evolutionary time, organismal mechanisms, for example related to pheromone detection, hormone signaling, and neural signaling pathways, are deployed in novel contexts to influence nestmate and colony traits. Here we explore how functional genomic, physiological, and behavioral studies can benefit from considering the traits of eusocial insects in this light. We highlight functional genomic work exploring how nestmate-level and colony-level traits arise and are influenced by interactions among physiologically-specialized nestmates of various developmental stages. We also consider similarities and differences between nestmate-level (organismal) and colony-level (superorganismal) physiological processes, and make specific hypotheses regarding the physiology of eusocial taxa. Integrating theoretical models of distributed systems with empirical functional genomics approaches will be useful in addressing fundamental questions related to the evolution of eusociality and collective behavior in natural systems.

RevDate: 2020-04-17

Naranjo-Ortiz MA, T Gabaldón (2020)

Fungal evolution: cellular, genomic and metabolic complexity.

Biological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society [Epub ahead of print].

The question of how phenotypic and genomic complexity are inter-related and how they are shaped through evolution is a central question in biology that historically has been approached from the perspective of animals and plants. In recent years, however, fungi have emerged as a promising alternative system to address such questions. Key to their ecological success, fungi present a broad and diverse range of phenotypic traits. Fungal cells can adopt many different shapes, often within a single species, providing them with great adaptive potential. Fungal cellular organizations span from unicellular forms to complex, macroscopic multicellularity, with multiple transitions to higher or lower levels of cellular complexity occurring throughout the evolutionary history of fungi. Similarly, fungal genomes are very diverse in their architecture. Deep changes in genome organization can occur very quickly, and these phenomena are known to mediate rapid adaptations to environmental changes. Finally, the biochemical complexity of fungi is huge, particularly with regard to their secondary metabolites, chemical products that mediate many aspects of fungal biology, including ecological interactions. Herein, we explore how the interplay of these cellular, genomic and metabolic traits mediates the emergence of complex phenotypes, and how this complexity is shaped throughout the evolutionary history of Fungi.

RevDate: 2020-04-14

Masuda T, Inomura K, Takahata N, et al (2020)

Heterogeneous nitrogen fixation rates confer energetic advantage and expanded ecological niche of unicellular diazotroph populations.

Communications biology, 3(1):172 pii:10.1038/s42003-020-0894-4.

Nitrogen fixing plankton provide nitrogen to fuel marine ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles but the factors that constrain their growth and habitat remain poorly understood. Here we investigate the importance of metabolic specialization in unicellular diazotroph populations, using laboratory experiments and model simulations. In clonal cultures of Crocosphaera watsonii and Cyanothece sp. spiked with 15N2, cellular 15N enrichment developed a bimodal distribution within colonies, indicating that N2 fixation was confined to a subpopulation. In a model of population metabolism, heterogeneous nitrogen (N2) fixation rates substantially reduce the respiration rate required to protect nitrogenase from O2. The energy savings from metabolic specialization is highest at slow growth rates, allowing populations to survive in deeper waters where light is low but nutrients are high. Our results suggest that heterogeneous N2 fixation in colonies of unicellular diazotrophs confers an energetic advantage that expands the ecological niche and may have facilitated the evolution of multicellular diazotrophs.

RevDate: 2020-04-14

Annenkova NV, Giner CR, R Logares (2020)

Tracing the Origin of Planktonic Protists in an Ancient Lake.

Microorganisms, 8(4): pii:microorganisms8040543.

Ancient lakes are among the most interesting models for evolution studies because their biodiversity is the result of a complex combination of migration and speciation. Here, we investigate the origin of single celled planktonic eukaryotes from the oldest lake in the world-Lake Baikal (Russia). By using 18S rDNA metabarcoding, we recovered 1414 Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) belonging to protists populating surface waters (1-50 m) and representing pico/nano-sized cells. The recovered communities resembled other lacustrine freshwater assemblages found elsewhere, especially the taxonomically unclassified protists. However, our results suggest that a fraction of Baikal protists could belong to glacial relicts and have close relationships with marine/brackish species. Moreover, our results suggest that rapid radiation may have occurred among some protist taxa, partially mirroring what was already shown for multicellular organisms in Lake Baikal. We found 16% of the OTUs belonging to potential species flocks in Stramenopiles, Alveolata, Opisthokonta, Archaeplastida, Rhizaria, and Hacrobia. Putative flocks predominated in Chrysophytes, which are highly diverse in Lake Baikal. Also, the 18S rDNA of a number of species (7% of the total) differed >10% from other known sequences. These taxa as well as those belonging to the flocks may be endemic to Lake Baikal. Overall, our study points to novel diversity of planktonic protists in Lake Baikal, some of which may have emerged in situ after evolutionary diversification.

RevDate: 2020-04-13

Brun-Usan M, Thies C, RA Watson (2020)

How to fit in: The learning principles of cell differentiation.

PLoS computational biology, 16(4):e1006811 pii:PCOMPBIOL-D-19-00112 [Epub ahead of print].

Cell differentiation in multicellular organisms requires cells to respond to complex combinations of extracellular cues, such as morphogen concentrations. Some models of phenotypic plasticity conceptualise the response as a relatively simple function of a single environmental cues (e.g. a linear function of one cue), which facilitates rigorous analysis. Conversely, more mechanistic models such those implementing GRNs allows for a more general class of response functions but makes analysis more difficult. Therefore, a general theory describing how cells integrate multi-dimensional signals is lacking. In this work, we propose a theoretical framework for understanding the relationships between environmental cues (inputs) and phenotypic responses (outputs) underlying cell plasticity. We describe the relationship between environment and cell phenotype using logical functions, making the evolution of cell plasticity equivalent to a simple categorisation learning task. This abstraction allows us to apply principles derived from learning theory to understand the evolution of multi-dimensional plasticity. Our results show that natural selection is capable of discovering adaptive forms of cell plasticity associated with complex logical functions. However, developmental dynamics cause simpler functions to evolve more readily than complex ones. By using conceptual tools derived from learning theory we show that this developmental bias can be interpreted as a learning bias in the acquisition of plasticity functions. Because of that bias, the evolution of plasticity enables cells, under some circumstances, to display appropriate plastic responses to environmental conditions that they have not experienced in their evolutionary past. This is possible when the selective environment mirrors the bias of the developmental dynamics favouring the acquisition of simple plasticity functions-an example of the necessary conditions for generalisation in learning systems. These results illustrate the functional parallelisms between learning in neural networks and the action of natural selection on environmentally sensitive gene regulatory networks. This offers a theoretical framework for the evolution of plastic responses that integrate information from multiple cues, a phenomenon that underpins the evolution of multicellularity and developmental robustness.

RevDate: 2020-04-11

Hehenberger E, Eitel M, Fortunato SAV, et al (2020)

Early eukaryotic origins and metazoan elaboration of MAPR family proteins.

Molecular phylogenetics and evolution pii:S1055-7903(20)30086-5 [Epub ahead of print].

The membrane-associated progesterone receptor (MAPR) family consists of heme-binding proteins containing a cytochrome b5 (cytb5) domain characterized by the presence of a MAPR-specific interhelical insert region (MIHIR) between helices 3 and 4 of the canonical cytb5-domain fold. Animals possess three MAPR genes (PGRMC-like, Neuferricin and Neudesin). Here we show that all three animal MAPR genes were already present in the common ancestor of the opisthokonts (comprising animals and fungi as well as related single-celled taxa). All three MAPR genes acquired extensions C-terminal to the cytb5 domain, either before or with the evolution of animals. The archetypical MAPR protein, progesterone receptor membrane component 1 (PGRMC1), contains phosphorylated tyrosines Y139 and Y180. The combination of Y139/Y180 appeared in the common ancestor of cnidarians and bilaterians, along with an early embryological organizer and synapsed neurons, and is strongly conserved in all bilaterian animals. A predicted protein interaction motif in the PGRMC1 MIHIR is potentially regulated by Y139 phosphorylation. A multilayered model of animal MAPR function acquisition includes some pre-metazoan functions (e.g., heme binding and cytochrome P450 interactions) and some acquired animal-specific functions that involve regulation of strongly conserved protein interaction motifs acquired by animals (Metazoa). This study provides a conceptual framework for future studies, against which especially PGRMC1's multiple functions can perhaps be stratified and functionally dissected.

RevDate: 2020-04-10

Tikhonenkov DV, Hehenberger E, Esaulov AS, et al (2020)

Insights into the origin of metazoan multicellularity from predatory unicellular relatives of animals.

BMC biology, 18(1):39 pii:10.1186/s12915-020-0762-1.

BACKGROUND: The origin of animals from their unicellular ancestor was one of the most important events in evolutionary history, but the nature and the order of events leading up to the emergence of multicellular animals are still highly uncertain. The diversity and biology of unicellular relatives of animals have strongly informed our understanding of the transition from single-celled organisms to the multicellular Metazoa. Here, we analyze the cellular structures and complex life cycles of the novel unicellular holozoans Pigoraptor and Syssomonas (Opisthokonta), and their implications for the origin of animals.

RESULTS: Syssomonas and Pigoraptor are characterized by complex life cycles with a variety of cell types including flagellates, amoeboflagellates, amoeboid non-flagellar cells, and spherical cysts. The life cycles also include the formation of multicellular aggregations and syncytium-like structures, and an unusual diet for single-celled opisthokonts (partial cell fusion and joint sucking of a large eukaryotic prey), all of which provide new insights into the origin of multicellularity in Metazoa. Several existing models explaining the origin of multicellular animals have been put forward, but these data are interestingly consistent with one, the "synzoospore hypothesis."

CONCLUSIONS: The feeding modes of the ancestral metazoan may have been more complex than previously thought, including not only bacterial prey, but also larger eukaryotic cells and organic structures. The ability to feed on large eukaryotic prey could have been a powerful trigger in the formation and development of both aggregative (e.g., joint feeding, which also implies signaling) and clonal (e.g., hypertrophic growth followed by palintomy) multicellular stages that played important roles in the emergence of multicellular animals.

RevDate: 2020-04-08

Rocha PRF, Schlett P, Schneider L, et al (2015)

Low frequency electric current noise in glioma cell populations.

Journal of materials chemistry. B, 3(25):5035-5039.

Measuring the electrical activity of large and defined populations of cells is currently a major technical challenge to electrophysiology, especially in the picoampere-range. For this purpose, we developed and applied a bidirectional transducer based on a chip with interdigitated gold electrodes to record the electrical response of cultured glioma cells. Recent research determined that also non-neural brain glia cells are electrically active and excitable. Their transformed counterparts, e.g. glioma cells, were suggested to partially retain these electric features. Such electrophysiological studies however are usually performed on individual cells and are limited in their predictive power for the overall electrical activity of the multicellular tumour bulk. Our extremely low-noise measuring system allowed us to detect not only prominent electrical bursts of neuronal cells but also minute, yet constantly occurring and functional, membrane capacitive current oscillations across large populations of C6 glioma cells, which we termed electric current noise. At the same time, tumour cells of non-brain origin (HeLa) proved to be electrically quiescent in comparison. Finally, we determined that the glioma cell activity is primarily caused by the opening of voltage-gated Na+ and K+ ion channels and can be efficiently abolished using specific pharmacological inhibitors. Thus, we offer here a unique approach for studying electrophysiological properties of large cancer cell populations as an in vitro reference for tumour bulks in vivo.

RevDate: 2020-04-08

Simeone P, Bologna G, Lanuti P, et al (2020)

Extracellular Vesicles as Signaling Mediators and Disease Biomarkers across Biological Barriers.

International journal of molecular sciences, 21(7): pii:ijms21072514.

Extracellular vesicles act as shuttle vectors or signal transducers that can deliver specific biological information and have progressively emerged as key regulators of organized communities of cells within multicellular organisms in health and disease. Here, we survey the evolutionary origin, general characteristics, and biological significance of extracellular vesicles as mediators of intercellular signaling, discuss the various subtypes of extracellular vesicles thus far described and the principal methodological approaches to their study, and review the role of extracellular vesicles in tumorigenesis, immunity, non-synaptic neural communication, vascular-neural communication through the blood-brain barrier, renal pathophysiology, and embryo-fetal/maternal communication through the placenta.

RevDate: 2020-04-07

Shao S, Koh M, PG Schultz (2020)

Expanding the genetic code of the human hematopoietic system.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America pii:1914408117 [Epub ahead of print].

The genetic incorporation of noncanonical amino acids (ncAAs) into proteins has been realized in bacteria, yeast, and mammalian cells, and recently, in multicellular organisms including plants and animals. However, the addition of new building blocks to the genetic code of tissues from human origin has not yet been achieved. To this end, we report a self-replicating Epstein-Barr virus-based episomal vector for the long-term encoding of ncAAs in human hematopoietic stem cells and reconstitution of this genetically engineered hematopoietic system in mice.

RevDate: 2020-04-06

Kazer SW, Aicher TP, Muema DM, et al (2020)

Integrated single-cell analysis of multicellular immune dynamics during hyperacute HIV-1 infection.

Nature medicine pii:10.1038/s41591-020-0799-2 [Epub ahead of print].

Cellular immunity is critical for controlling intracellular pathogens, but individual cellular dynamics and cell-cell cooperativity in evolving human immune responses remain poorly understood. Single-cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq) represents a powerful tool for dissecting complex multicellular behaviors in health and disease1,2 and nominating testable therapeutic targets3. Its application to longitudinal samples could afford an opportunity to uncover cellular factors associated with the evolution of disease progression without potentially confounding inter-individual variability4. Here, we present an experimental and computational methodology that uses scRNA-seq to characterize dynamic cellular programs and their molecular drivers, and apply it to HIV infection. By performing scRNA-seq on peripheral blood mononuclear cells from four untreated individuals before and longitudinally during acute infection5, we were powered within each to discover gene response modules that vary by time and cell subset. Beyond previously unappreciated individual- and cell-type-specific interferon-stimulated gene upregulation, we describe temporally aligned gene expression responses obscured in bulk analyses, including those involved in proinflammatory T cell differentiation, prolonged monocyte major histocompatibility complex II upregulation and persistent natural killer (NK) cell cytolytic killing. We further identify response features arising in the first weeks of infection, for example proliferating natural killer cells, which potentially may associate with future viral control. Overall, our approach provides a unified framework for characterizing multiple dynamic cellular responses and their coordination.

RevDate: 2020-04-04

Zheng W, Chen J, Doak TG, et al (2020)

ADFinder: accurate detection of programmed DNA elimination using NGS high-throughput sequencing data.

Bioinformatics (Oxford, England) pii:5815977 [Epub ahead of print].

MOTIVATION: Programmed DNA elimination plays a crucial role in the transitions between germline and somatic genomes in diverse organisms ranging from unicellular ciliates to multicellular nematodes. However, software specific to the detection of DNA splicing events is scarce. In this paper, we describe ADFinder, an efficient detector of programmed DNA eliminations using NGS high-throughput sequencing data. ADFinder can predict programmed DNA eliminations with relatively low sequencing coverage, detect multiple alternative splicing forms in the same genomic location, and calculate the frequency for each splicing event. This software will facilitate research of programmed DNA eliminations and all down-stream analyses.

RESULTS: By analyzing genome-wide DNA splicing events in two micronuclear genomes of Oxytricha trifallax and Tetrahymena thermophila we prove that ADFinder is effective in predicting large scale programmed DNA eliminations.

AVAILABILITY: The source codes and manual of ADFinder are available in our GitHub website:

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

RevDate: 2020-04-03

Copley SD (2020)

The physical basis and practical consequences of biological promiscuity.

Physical biology [Epub ahead of print].

Proteins interact with metabolites, nucleic acids, and other proteins to orchestrate the myriad catalytic, structural and regulatory functions that support life from the simplest microbes to the most complex multicellular organisms. These molecular interactions are often exquisitely specific, but never perfectly so. Adventitious "promiscuous" interactions are ubiquitous due to the thousands of macromolecules and small molecules crowded together in cells. Such interactions may perturb protein function at the molecular level, but as long as they do not compromise organismal fitness, they will not be removed by natural selection. Although promiscuous interactions are physiologically irrelevant, they are important because they can provide a vast reservoir of potential functions that can provide the starting point for evolution of new functions, both in nature and in the laboratory.

RevDate: 2020-04-02

Pienta KJ, Hammarlund EU, Axelrod R, et al (2020)

Convergent evolution, evolving evolvability, and the origins of lethal cancer.

Molecular cancer research : MCR pii:1541-7786.MCR-19-1158 [Epub ahead of print].

Advances in curative treatment to remove the primary tumor have increased survival of localized cancers for most solid tumor types, yet cancers that have spread are typically incurable and account for >90% of cancer-related deaths. Metastatic disease remains incurable because, somehow, tumors evolve resistance to all known compounds, including therapies. In all of these incurable patients, de novo lethal cancer evolves capacities for both metastasis and resistance. Therefore, cancers in different patients appear to follow the same eco-evolutionary path that independently manifests in affected patients. This convergent outcome that always includes the ability to metastasize and exhibit resistance demands an explanation beyond the slow and steady accrual of stochastic mutations. The common denominator may be that cancer starts as a speciation event when a unicellular protist breaks away from its multicellular host and initiates a cancer clade within the patient. As the cancer cells speciate and diversify further, some evolve the capacity to evolve: evolvability. Evolvability becomes a heritable trait that influences the available variation of other phenotypes that can then be acted upon by natural selection. Evolving evolvability may be an adaptation for cancer cells. By generating and maintaining considerable heritable variation, the cancer clade can with high certainty serendipitously produce cells resistant to therapy and cells capable of metastasizing. Understanding that cancer cells can swiftly evolve responses to novel and varied stressors create opportunities for adaptive therapy, double-bind therapies, and extinction therapies; all involving strategic decision making that steers and anticipates the convergent co-evolutionary responses of the cancers.

RevDate: 2020-04-02

Nelson WJ (2020)

The Glue that Binds Us: The Hunt for the Molecular Basis for Multicellularity.

Cell pii:S0092-8674(20)30279-8 [Epub ahead of print].

This year's Canada Gairdner International Prize is shared by Rolf Kemler and Masatoshi Takeichi for the discovery of the cadherin family of Ca2+-dependent cell-cell adhesion proteins, which play essential roles in animal evolution, tissue development, and homeostasis, and are disrupted in human cancers.

RevDate: 2020-04-02
CmpDate: 2020-04-02

Masuyama N, Mori H, N Yachie (2019)

DNA barcodes evolve for high-resolution cell lineage tracing.

Current opinion in chemical biology, 52:63-71.

Mammalian development involves continuous dynamic processes in which cells propagate, differentiate, orchestrate, and decease to produce high-order functions. Although accurate cell lineage information can provide a strong foundation to understand such complex processes, the cell lineages involved in development of the whole mammalian body remain largely unclear, except for in early embryogenesis, which is observable under a microscope. With CRISPR genome editing, the concept of 'evolving DNA barcodes' has rapidly emerged for large-scale, high-resolution cell lineage tracing, where cell-embedded DNA barcodes continuously accumulate random mutations that are inherited from mother to daughter cells. Similar to evolutionary tree reconstruction using species' DNA sequences, cell lineages can be reconstructed using shared mutation patterns in the DNA barcodes identified using massively parallel sequencing. The dramatic developments of single-cell and imaging technologies have enabled analyses of the molecular and spatial architecture of heterogeneous cells. The evolving DNA barcodes can also consolidate this information on a reconstructed cell lineage tree and accelerate our understanding of multicellular organisms.

RevDate: 2020-04-01
CmpDate: 2020-04-01

Vassallo CN, D Wall (2019)

Self-identity barcodes encoded by six expansive polymorphic toxin families discriminate kin in myxobacteria.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 116(49):24808-24818.

Myxobacteria are an example of how single-cell individuals can transition into multicellular life by an aggregation strategy. For these and all organisms that consist of social groups of cells, discrimination against, and exclusion of, nonself is critical. In myxobacteria, TraA is a polymorphic cell surface receptor that identifies kin by homotypic binding, and in so doing exchanges outer membrane (OM) proteins and lipids between cells with compatible receptors. However, TraA variability alone is not sufficient to discriminate against all cells, as traA allele diversity is not necessarily high among local strains. To increase discrimination ability, myxobacteria include polymorphic OM lipoprotein toxins called SitA in their delivered cargo, which poison recipient cells that lack the cognate, allele-specific SitI immunity protein. We previously characterized 3 SitAI toxin/immunity pairs that belong to 2 families. Here, we discover 4 additional SitA families. Each family is unique in sequence, but share the characteristic features of SitA: OM-associated toxins delivered by TraA. We demonstrate that, within a SitA family, C-terminal nuclease domains are polymorphic and often modular. Remarkably, sitA loci are strikingly numerous and diverse, with most genomes possessing >30 and up to 83 distinct sitAI loci. Interestingly, all SitA protein families are serially transferred between cells, allowing a SitA inhibitor cell to poison multiple targets, including cells that never made direct contact. The expansive suites of sitAI loci thus serve as identify barcodes to exquisitely discriminate against nonself to ensure populations are genetically homogenous to conduct cooperative behaviors.

RevDate: 2020-03-31

Xu H, Zhang S, Yi X, et al (2020)

Exploring 3D chromatin contacts in gene regulation: The evolution of approaches for the identification of functional enhancer-promoter interaction.

Computational and structural biotechnology journal, 18:558-570 pii:S2001-0370(19)30363-0.

Mechanisms underlying gene regulation are key to understand how multicellular organisms with various cell types develop from the same genetic blueprint. Dynamic interactions between enhancers and genes are revealed to play central roles in controlling gene transcription, but the determinants to link functional enhancer-promoter pairs remain elusive. A major challenge is the lack of reliable approach to detect and verify functional enhancer-promoter interactions (EPIs). In this review, we summarized the current methods for detecting EPIs and described how developing techniques facilitate the identification of EPI through assessing the merits and drawbacks of these methods. We also reviewed recent state-of-art EPI prediction methods in terms of their rationale, data usage and characterization. Furthermore, we briefly discussed the evolved strategies for validating functional EPIs.

RevDate: 2020-03-31

Mikhailovsky G, R Gordon (2020)

Shuffling type of biological evolution based on horizontal gene transfer and the biosphere gene pool hypothesis.

Bio Systems pii:S0303-2647(20)30036-8 [Epub ahead of print].

Widespread horizontal gene transfer (HGT) may appear a significant factor that accelerates biological evolution. Here we look at HGT primarily from the point of view of prokaryote clones, which we take as the descendants of a single cell, all of whom have exactly the same nucleotide sequence. Any novelty that emerges as a random mutation, creating a new clone, could either disappear before its first HGT, or survive for a period and be transferred to another clone. Due to the chain character of HGT, each gene with an adaptive mutation is thus spread among numerous existing clones, creating further new clones in the process. This makes propagation far faster than elimination, and such genes become practically immortal and form a kind of "biosphere gene pool" (BGP). Not all of these genes exist in every clone, and moreover not all of them are expressed. A significant fraction of the BGP includes of genes repressed by regulatory genes. However, these genes express often enough to be subject to natural selection. In a changing environment, both repressed and expressed genes, after transferring to another clone, may prove useful in an alternative environment, and this will give rise to new clones. This mechanism for testing repressed genes for adaptability can be thought as a "shuffle of a deck of genes" by analogy with shuffling a deck of cards. In the Archean and Proterozoic eons, both BGP and the operational part of each genome were rather poor, and the probability of incorporation of randomly expressed genes into the operational part of each genome was very small. Accordingly, biological evolution during these eons was slow due to rare adaptive mutations. This explains why the realm of prokaryotes as the sole organisms on Earth lasted so long. However, over about 3.5 billion years before the Phanerozoic eon, the BGP gradually accumulated a huge number of genes. Each of them was useful in a certain environment of past eras. We suggest that multicellular eukaryotes that appeared at the end of the Proterozoic eon could shuffle these genes accumulated in BGP via HGT from prokaryotes that live in these multicellular organisms. Perhaps this was the cause of the "Cambrian explosion" and the high (and increasing) rate of evolution in the Phanerozoic eon compared with the Archean and Proterozoic.

RevDate: 2020-03-30
CmpDate: 2020-03-30

Murphy DP, Hughes AE, Lawrence KA, et al (2019)

Cis-regulatory basis of sister cell type divergence in the vertebrate retina.

eLife, 8:.

Multicellular organisms evolved via repeated functional divergence of transcriptionally related sister cell types, but the mechanisms underlying sister cell type divergence are not well understood. Here, we study a canonical pair of sister cell types, retinal photoreceptors and bipolar cells, to identify the key cis-regulatory features that distinguish them. By comparing open chromatin maps and transcriptomic profiles, we found that while photoreceptor and bipolar cells have divergent transcriptomes, they share remarkably similar cis-regulatory grammars, marked by enrichment of K50 homeodomain binding sites. However, cell class-specific enhancers are distinguished by enrichment of E-box motifs in bipolar cells, and Q50 homeodomain motifs in photoreceptors. We show that converting K50 motifs to Q50 motifs represses reporter expression in bipolar cells, while photoreceptor expression is maintained. These findings suggest that partitioning of Q50 motifs within cell type-specific cis-regulatory elements was a critical step in the evolutionary divergence of the bipolar transcriptome from that of photoreceptors.

RevDate: 2020-03-29

Aich M, D Chakraborty (2020)

Role of lncRNAs in stem cell maintenance and differentiation.

Current topics in developmental biology, 138:73-112.

Embryonic Stem cells are widely studied to elucidate the disease and developmental processes because of their capability to differentiate into cells of any lineage, Pervasive transcription is a distinct feature of all multicellular organisms and genomic elements such as enhancers and bidirectional or unidirectional promoters regulate these processes. Thousands of loci in each species produce a class of transcripts called noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs), that are well known for their influential regulatory roles in multiple biological processes including stem cell pluripotency and differentiation. The number of lncRNA species increases in more complex organisms highlighting the importance of RNA-based control in the evolution of multicellular organisms. Over the past decade, numerous studies have shed light on lncRNA biogenesis and functional significance in the cell and the organism. In this review, we focus primarily on lncRNAs affecting the stem cell state and developmental pathways.

RevDate: 2020-03-24

Guo Z, Richardson JJ, Kong B, et al (2020)

Nanobiohybrids: Materials approaches for bioaugmentation.

Science advances, 6(12):eaaz0330 pii:aaz0330.

Nanobiohybrids, synthesized by integrating functional nanomaterials with living systems, have emerged as an exciting branch of research at the interface of materials engineering and biological science. Nanobiohybrids use synthetic nanomaterials to impart organisms with emergent properties outside their scope of evolution. Consequently, they endow new or augmented properties that are either innate or exogenous, such as enhanced tolerance against stress, programmed metabolism and proliferation, artificial photosynthesis, or conductivity. Advances in new materials design and processing technologies made it possible to tailor the physicochemical properties of the nanomaterials coupled with the biological systems. To date, many different types of nanomaterials have been integrated with various biological systems from simple biomolecules to complex multicellular organisms. Here, we provide a critical overview of recent developments of nanobiohybrids that enable new or augmented biological functions that show promise in high-tech applications across many disciplines, including energy harvesting, biocatalysis, biosensing, medicine, and robotics.

RevDate: 2020-03-24

Xu L, J Wang (2020)

Curl Flux as a Dynamical Origin of the Bifurcations/Phase Transitions of Nonequilibrium Systems: Cell Fate Decision Making.

The journal of physical chemistry. B [Epub ahead of print].

The underlying interactions in physical and biological systems often lead to a variety of behaviors and emergent states or phases. Under certain conditions, these phases can be transformed from one to another. The phase transition behaviors can be described by the bifurcation or catastrophe where different stable/unstable states can branch out or meet together with the birth of the new and death of the old states. Despite significant efforts, how the bifurcation and catastrophe actually occur dynamically and the associated mechanisms for nonequilibrium systems are still not very clear. As an example, we study the underlying mechanism of cell differentiation through bifurcations. Cell differentiation is one of the key fate decision-making processes that a cell faces. It is crucial for the development of multicellular organisms. Under induction, gene regulation changes, or stochastic fluctuations, the cell fate decision-making processes can exhibit different types of bifurcations or phase transitions. In order to understand the underlying mechanism, it is crucial to find out where and how the bifurcation occurs. However, this is still largely unknown. In this study, we found that the average of the curl flux as a major component of the driving force for the dynamics in addition to the landscape gradient and the associated entropy production rate both reach maximum near the bifurcation. This indicates that the curl flux and entropy production rate may provide the dynamical and thermodynamic origins of the bifurcation/catastrophe or phase transitions for cell differentiation and this possibly applies to many other nonequilibrium active systems.

RevDate: 2020-03-21

Koehl MAR (2020)

Selective factors in the evolution of multicellularity in choanoflagellates.

Journal of experimental zoology. Part B, Molecular and developmental evolution [Epub ahead of print].

Choanoflagellates, unicellular eukaryotes that can form multicellular colonies by cell division and that share a common ancestor with animals, are used as a model system to study functional consequences of being unicellular versus colonial. This review examines performance differences between unicellular and multicellular choanoflagellates in swimming, feeding, and avoiding predation, to provide insights about possible selective advantages of being multicellular for the protozoan ancestors of animals. Each choanoflagellate cell propels water by beating a single flagellum and captures bacterial prey on a collar of microvilli around the flagellum. Formation of multicellular colonies does not improve the swimming performance, but the flux of prey-bearing water to the collars of some of the cells in colonies of certain configurations can be greater than for single cells. Colony geometry appears to affect whether cells in colonies catch more prey per cell per time than do unicellular choanoflagellates. Although multicellular choanoflagellates show chemokinetic behavior in response to oxygen, only the unicellular dispersal stage (fast swimmers without collars) use pH signals to aggregate in locations where bacterial prey might be abundant. Colonies produce larger hydrodynamic signals than do single cells, and raptorial protozoan predators capture colonies while ignoring single cells. In contrast, ciliate predators entrain both single cells and colonies in their feeding currents, but reject larger colonies, whereas passive heliozoan predators show no preference. Thus, the ability of choanoflagellate cells to differentiate into different morphotypes, including multicellular forms, in response to variable aquatic environments might have provided a selective advantage to the ancestors of animals.

RevDate: 2020-03-19

Merényi Z, Prasanna AN, Wang Z, et al (2020)

Unmatched level of molecular convergence among deeply divergent complex multicellular fungi.

Molecular biology and evolution pii:5810091 [Epub ahead of print].

Convergent evolution is pervasive in nature, but it is poorly understood how various constraints and natural selection limit the diversity of evolvable phenotypes. Here, we analyze the transcriptome across fruiting body development to understand the independent evolution of complex multicellularity in the two largest clades of fungi-the Agarico- and Pezizomycotina. Despite >650 million years of divergence between these clades, we find that very similar sets of genes have convergently been co-opted for complex multicellularity, followed by expansions of their gene families by duplications. Over 82% of shared multicellularity-related gene families were expanding in both clades, indicating a high prevalence of convergence also at the gene-family level. This convergence is coupled with a rich inferred repertoire of multicellularity-related genes in the most recent common ancestor of the Agarico- and Pezizomycotina, consistent with the hypothesis that the coding capacity of ancestral fungal genomes might have promoted the repeated evolution of complex multicellularity. We interpret this repertoire as an indication of evolutionary predisposition of fungal ancestors for evolving complex multicellular fruiting bodies. Our work suggests that evolutionary convergence may happen not only when organisms are closely related or are under similar selection pressures, but also when ancestral genomic repertoires render certain evolutionary trajectories more likely than others, even across large phylogenetic distances.

RevDate: 2020-03-19

Zhang WJ, LF Wu (2020)

Flagella and Swimming Behavior of Marine Magnetotactic Bacteria.

Biomolecules, 10(3): pii:biom10030460.

Marine environments are generally characterized by low bulk concentrations of nutrients that are susceptible to steady or intermittent motion driven by currents and local turbulence. Marine bacteria have therefore developed strategies, such as very fast-swimming and the exploitation of multiple directional sensing-response systems in order to efficiently migrate towards favorable places in nutrient gradients. The magnetotactic bacteria (MTB) even utilize Earth's magnetic field to facilitate downward swimming into the oxic-anoxic interface, which is the most favorable place for their persistence and proliferation, in chemically stratified sediments or water columns. To ensure the desired flagella-propelled motility, marine MTBs have evolved an exquisite flagellar apparatus, and an extremely high number (tens of thousands) of flagella can be found on a single entity, displaying a complex polar, axial, bounce, and photosensitive magnetotactic behavior. In this review, we describe gene clusters, the flagellar apparatus architecture, and the swimming behavior of marine unicellular and multicellular magnetotactic bacteria. The physiological significance and mechanisms that govern these motions are discussed.

RevDate: 2020-03-19

Goyeneche A, Lisio MA, Fu L, et al (2020)

The Capacity of High-Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer Cells to Form Multicellular Structures Spontaneously along Disease Progression Correlates with Their Orthotopic Tumorigenicity in Immunosuppressed Mice.

Cancers, 12(3): pii:cancers12030699.

Many studies have examined the biology, genetics, and chemotherapeutic response of ovarian cancer's solid component; its liquid facet, however, remains critically underinvestigated. Floating within peritoneal effusions known as ascites, ovarian cancer cells form multicellular structures, creating a cancer niche in suspension. This study explores the pathobiology of spontaneously formed, multicellular, ovarian cancer structures derived from serous ovarian cancer cells isolated along disease evolution. It also tests their capacity to cause peritoneal disease in immunosuppressed mice. Results stem from an analysis of cell lines representing the most frequently diagnosed ovarian cancer histotype (high-grade serous ovarian cancer), derived from ascites of the same patient at distinct stages of disease progression. When cultured under adherent conditions, in addition to forming cellular monolayers, the cultures developed areas in which the cells grew upwards, forming densely packed multilayers that ultimately detached from the bottom of the plates and lived as free-floating, multicellular structures. The capacity to form foci and to develop multicellular structures was proportional to disease progression at the time of ascites extraction. Self-assembled in culture, these structures varied in size, were either compact or hollow, irregular, or spheroidal, and exhibited replicative capacity and an epithelial nature. Furthermore, they fully recreated ovarian cancer disease in immunosuppressed mice: accumulation of malignant ascites and pleural effusions; formation of discrete, solid, macroscopic, peritoneal tumors; and microscopic growths in abdominal organs. They also reproduced the histopathological features characteristic of high-grade serous ovarian cancer when diagnosed in patients. The following results encourage the development of therapeutic interventions to interrupt the formation and/or survival of multicellular structures that constitute a floating niche in the peritoneal fluid, which in turn halts disease progression and prevents recurrence.

RevDate: 2020-03-17

Han X, Tomaszewski EJ, Sorwat J, et al (2020)

Effect of Microbial Biomass and Humic Acids on Abiotic and Biotic Magnetite Formation.

Environmental science & technology [Epub ahead of print].

Magnetite (Fe3O4) is an environmentally ubiquitous mixed-valent iron (Fe) mineral, which can form via biotic or abiotic transformation of Fe(III) (oxyhydr)oxides such as ferrihydrite (Fh). It is currently unclear whether environmentally relevant biogenic Fh from Fe(II)-oxidizing bacteria, containing cell-derived organic matter, can transform to magnetite. We compared abiotic and biotic transformation: (1) abiogenic Fh (aFh); (2) abiogenic Fh coprecipitated with humic acids (aFh-HA); (3) biogenic Fh produced by phototrophic Fe(II)-oxidizer Rhodobacter ferrooxidans SW2 (bFh); and (4) biogenic Fh treated with bleach to remove biogenic organic matter (bFh-bleach). Abiotic or biotic transformation of Fh was promoted by Feaq2+ or Fe(III)-reducing bacteria. Feaq2+-catalyzed abiotic reaction with aFh and bFh-bleach led to complete transformation to magnetite. In contrast, aFh-HA only partially (68%) transformed to magnetite, and bFh (17%) transformed to goethite. We hypothesize that microbial biomass stabilized bFh against reaction with Feaq2+. All four Fh substrates were transformed into magnetite during biotic reduction, suggesting that Fh remains bioavailable even when associated with microbial biomass. Additionally, there were poorly ordered magnetic components detected in the biogenic end products for aFh and aFh-HA. Nevertheless, abiotic transformation was much faster than biotic transformation, implying that initial Feaq2+ concentration, passivation of Fh, and/or sequestration of Fe(II) by bacterial cells and associated biomass play major roles in the rate of magnetite formation from Fh. These results improve our understanding of factors influencing secondary mineralization of Fh in the environment.

RevDate: 2020-03-17
CmpDate: 2020-03-17

Shuryak I (2020)

Review of resistance to chronic ionizing radiation exposure under environmental conditions in multicellular organisms.

Journal of environmental radioactivity, 212:106128.

Ionizing radiation resistance occurs among many phylogenetic groups and its mechanisms remain incompletely understood. Tolerances to acute and chronic irradiation do not always correlate because different mechanisms may be involved. The radioresistance phenomenon becomes even more complex in the field than in the laboratory because the effects of radioactive contamination on natural populations are intertwined with those of other factors, such as bioaccumulation of radionuclides, interspecific competition, seasonal variations in environmental conditions, and land use changes due to evacuation of humans from contaminated areas. Previous reviews of studies performed in radioactive sites like the Kyshtym, Chernobyl, and Fukushima accident regions, and of protracted irradiation experiments, often focused on detecting radiation effects at low doses in radiosensitive organisms. Here we review the literature with a different purpose: to identify organisms with high tolerance to chronic irradiation under environmental conditions, which maintained abundant populations and/or outcompeted more radiosensitive species at high dose rates. Taxa for which consistent evidence for radioresistance came from multiple studies conducted in different locations and at different times were found among plants (e.g. willow and birch trees, sedges), invertebrate and vertebrate animals (e.g. rotifers, some insects, crustaceans and freshwater fish). These organisms are not specialized "extremophiles", but tend to tolerate broad ranges of environmental conditions and stresses, have small genomes, reproduce quickly and/or disperse effectively over long distances. Based on these findings, resistance to radioactive contamination can be examined in a more broad context of chronic stress responses.

RevDate: 2020-03-16
CmpDate: 2020-03-16

Garud A, Carrillo AJ, Collier LA, et al (2019)

Genetic relationships between the RACK1 homolog cpc-2 and heterotrimeric G protein subunit genes in Neurospora crassa.

PloS one, 14(10):e0223334.

Receptor for Activated C Kinase-1 (RACK1) is a multifunctional eukaryotic scaffolding protein with a seven WD repeat structure. Among their many cellular roles, RACK1 homologs have been shown to serve as alternative Gβ subunits during heterotrimeric G protein signaling in many systems. We investigated genetic interactions between the RACK1 homolog cpc-2, the previously characterized Gβ subunit gnb-1 and other G protein signaling components in the multicellular filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa. Results from cell fractionation studies and from fluorescent microscopy of a strain expressing a CPC-2-GFP fusion protein revealed that CPC-2 is a cytoplasmic protein. Genetic epistasis experiments between cpc-2, the three Gα genes (gna-1, gna-2 and gna-3) and gnb-1 demonstrated that cpc-2 is epistatic to gna-2 with regards to basal hyphae growth rate and aerial hyphae height, while deletion of cpc-2 mitigates the increased macroconidiation on solid medium observed in Δgnb-1 mutants. Δcpc-2 mutants inappropriately produce conidiophores during growth in submerged culture and mutational activation of gna-3 alleviates this defect. Δcpc-2 mutants are female-sterile and fertility could not be restored by mutational activation of any of the three Gα genes. With the exception of macroconidiation on solid medium, double mutants lacking cpc-2 and gnb-1 exhibited more severe defects for all phenotypic traits, supporting a largely synergistic relationship between GNB-1 and CPC-2 in N. crassa.

RevDate: 2020-03-14

de Maleprade H, Moisy F, Ishikawa T, et al (2020)

Motility and phototaxis of Gonium, the simplest differentiated colonial alga.

Physical review. E, 101(2-1):022416.

Green algae of the Volvocine lineage, spanning from unicellular Chlamydomonas to vastly larger Volvox, are models for the study of the evolution of multicellularity, flagellar dynamics, and developmental processes. Phototactic steering in these organisms occurs without a central nervous system, driven solely by the response of individual cells. All such algae spin about a body-fixed axis as they swim; directional photosensors on each cell thus receive periodic signals when that axis is not aligned with the light. The flagella of Chlamydomonas and Volvox both exhibit an adaptive response to such signals in a manner that allows for accurate phototaxis, but in the former the two flagella have distinct responses, while the thousands of flagella on the surface of spherical Volvox colonies have essentially identical behavior. The planar 16-cell species Gonium pectorale thus presents a conundrum, for its central 4 cells have a Chlamydomonas-like beat that provide propulsion normal to the plane, while its 12 peripheral cells generate rotation around the normal through a Volvox-like beat. Here we combine experiment, theory, and computations to reveal how Gonium, perhaps the simplest differentiated colonial organism, achieves phototaxis. High-resolution cell tracking, particle image velocimetry of flagellar driven flows, and high-speed imaging of flagella on micropipette-held colonies show how, in the context of a recently introduced model for Chlamydomonas phototaxis, an adaptive response of the peripheral cells alone leads to photoreorientation of the entire colony. The analysis also highlights the importance of local variations in flagellar beat dynamics within a given colony, which can lead to enhanced reorientation dynamics.

RevDate: 2020-03-13
CmpDate: 2020-03-13

Wang Y, Wang F, Hong DK, et al (2020)

Molecular characterization of DNA methyltransferase 1 and its role in temperature change of armyworm Mythimna separata Walker.

Archives of insect biochemistry and physiology, 103(4):e21651.

DNA methylation refers to the addition of cytosine residues in a CpG context (5'-cytosine-phosphate-guanine-3'). As one of the most common mechanisms of epigenetic modification, it plays a crucial role in regulating gene expression and in a diverse range of biological processes across all multicellular organisms. The relationship between temperature and DNA methylation and how it acts on the adaptability of migratory insects remain unknown. In the present work, a 5,496 bp full-length complementary DNA encoding 1,436 amino acids (named MsDnmt1) was cloned from the devastating migratory pest oriental armyworm, Mythimna separata Walker. The protein shares 36.8-84.4% identity with other insect Dnmt1 isoforms. Spatial and temporal expression analysis revealed that MsDnmt1 was highly expressed in adult stages and head tissue. The changing temperature decreased the expression of MsDnmt1 in both high and low temperature condition. Besides, we found that M. separata exhibited the shortest duration time from the last instar to pupae under 36°C environment when injected with DNA methylation inhibitor. Therefore, our data highlight a potential role for DNA methylation in thermal resistance, which help us to understand the biological role adaptability and colonization of migratory pest in various environments.

RevDate: 2020-03-12

Nedelcu AM, RE Michod (2020)

Stress Responses Co-Opted for Specialized Cell Types During the Early Evolution of Multicellularity: The Role of Stress in the Evolution of Cell Types Can Be Traced Back to the Early Evolution of Multicellularity.

BioEssays : news and reviews in molecular, cellular and developmental biology [Epub ahead of print].

RevDate: 2020-03-12

Rodríguez-Rojas A, Kim JJ, Johnston P, et al (2020)

Non-lethal exposure to H2O2 boosts bacterial survival and evolvability against oxidative stress.

PLoS genetics, 16(3):e1008649 pii:PGENETICS-D-19-00809 [Epub ahead of print].

Unicellular organisms have the prevalent challenge to survive under oxidative stress of reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). ROS are present as by-products of photosynthesis and aerobic respiration. These reactive species are even employed by multicellular organisms as potent weapons against microbes. Although bacterial defences against lethal and sub-lethal oxidative stress have been studied in model bacteria, the role of fluctuating H2O2 concentrations remains unexplored. It is known that sub-lethal exposure of Escherichia coli to H2O2 results in enhanced survival upon subsequent exposure. Here we investigate the priming response to H2O2 at physiological concentrations. The basis and the duration of the response (memory) were also determined by time-lapse quantitative proteomics. We found that a low level of H2O2 induced several scavenging enzymes showing a long half-life, subsequently protecting cells from future exposure. We then asked if the phenotypic resistance against H2O2 alters the evolution of resistance against oxygen stress. Experimental evolution of H2O2 resistance revealed faster evolution and higher levels of resistance in primed cells. Several mutations were found to be associated with resistance in evolved populations affecting different loci but, counterintuitively, none of them was directly associated with scavenging systems. Our results have important implications for host colonisation and infections where microbes often encounter reactive oxygen species in gradients.

RevDate: 2020-03-08

Fuchs M, JU Lohmann (2020)

Aiming for the top: non-cell autonomous control of shoot stem cells in Arabidopsis.

Journal of plant research pii:10.1007/s10265-020-01174-3 [Epub ahead of print].

In multicellular organisms, not all cells are created equal. Instead, organismal complexity is achieved by specialisation and division of labour between distinct cell types. Therefore, the organism depends on the presence, correct proportion and function of all cell types. It follows that early development is geared towards setting up the basic body plan and to specify cell lineages. Since plants employ a post-embryonic mode of development, the continuous growth and addition of new organs require a source of new cells, as well as a strict regulation of cellular composition throughout the entire life-cycle. To meet these demands, evolution has brought about complex regulatory systems to maintain and control continuously active stem cell systems. Here, we review recent work on the mechanisms of non cell-autonomous control of shoot stem cells in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana with a strong focus on the cell-to-cell mobility and function of the WUSCHEL homeodomain transcription factor.

RevDate: 2020-03-07

Klesen S, Hill K, MCP Timmermans (2020)

Small RNAs as plant morphogens.

Current topics in developmental biology, 137:455-480.

The coordination of cell fate decisions within complex multicellular structures rests on intercellular communication. To generate ordered patterns, cells need to know their relative positions within the growing structure. This is commonly achieved via the production and perception of mobile signaling molecules. In animal systems, such positional signals often act as morphogens and subdivide a field of cells into domains of discrete cell identities using a threshold-based readout of their mobility gradient. Reflecting the independent origin of multicellularity, plants evolved distinct signaling mechanisms to drive cell fate decisions. Many of the basic principles underlying developmental patterning are, however, shared between animals and plants, including the use of signaling gradients to provide positional information. In plant development, small RNAs can act as mobile instructive signals, and similar to classical morphogens in animals, employ a threshold-based readout of their mobility gradient to generate precisely defined cell fate boundaries. Given the distinctive nature of peptide morphogens and small RNAs, how might mechanisms underlying the function of traditionally morphogens be adapted to create morphogen-like behavior using small RNAs? In this review, we highlight the contributions of mobile small RNAs to pattern formation in plants and summarize recent studies that have advanced our understanding regarding the formation, stability, and interpretation of small RNA gradients.

RevDate: 2020-03-05

Horton MB, Hawkins ED, Heinzel S, et al (2020)

Speculations on the evolution of humoral adaptive immunity.

Immunology and cell biology [Epub ahead of print].

The protection of a multicellular organism from infection, at both a cell and humoral level has been a tremendous driver of gene selection and cellular response strategies. Here we focus on a critical event in the development of humoral immunity: The transition from principally innate responses, to a system of adaptive cell selection, with all the attendant mechanical problems that must be solved in order for it to work effectively. Here we review recent advances, but our major goal is to highlight that the development of adaptive immunity resulted from the adoption, reuse and repurposing of an ancient, autonomous cellular programme, that combines and exploits three titratable cellular fate timers. We illustrate how this common cell machinery recurs and appears throughout biology, and has been essential for the evolution of complex organisms, at many levels of scale.

RevDate: 2020-03-05
CmpDate: 2020-03-05

Bruno L, Ramlall V, Studer RA, et al (2019)

Selective deployment of transcription factor paralogs with submaximal strength facilitates gene regulation in the immune system.

Nature immunology, 20(10):1372-1380.

In multicellular organisms, duplicated genes can diverge through tissue-specific gene expression patterns, as exemplified by highly regulated expression of RUNX transcription factor paralogs with apparent functional redundancy. Here we asked what cell-type-specific biologies might be supported by the selective expression of RUNX paralogs during Langerhans cell and inducible regulatory T cell differentiation. We uncovered functional nonequivalence between RUNX paralogs. Selective expression of native paralogs allowed integration of transcription factor activity with extrinsic signals, while non-native paralogs enforced differentiation even in the absence of exogenous inducers. DNA binding affinity was controlled by divergent amino acids within the otherwise highly conserved RUNT domain and evolutionary reconstruction suggested convergence of RUNT domain residues toward submaximal strength. Hence, the selective expression of gene duplicates in specialized cell types can synergize with the acquisition of functional differences to enable appropriate gene expression, lineage choice and differentiation in the mammalian immune system.

RevDate: 2020-02-26
CmpDate: 2020-02-26

Cotter SC, Pincheira-Donoso D, R Thorogood (2019)

Defences against brood parasites from a social immunity perspective.

Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 374(1769):20180207.

Parasitic interactions are so ubiquitous that all multicellular organisms have evolved a system of defences to reduce their costs, whether the parasites they encounter are the classic parasites which feed on the individual, or brood parasites which usurp parental care. Many parallels have been drawn between defences deployed against both types of parasite, but typically, while defences against classic parasites have been selected to protect survival, those against brood parasites have been selected to protect the parent's inclusive fitness, suggesting that the selection pressures they impose are fundamentally different. However, there is another class of defences against classic parasites that have specifically been selected to protect an individual's inclusive fitness, known as social immunity. Social immune responses include the anti-parasite defences typically provided for others in kin-structured groups, such as the antifungal secretions produced by termite workers to protect the brood. Defences against brood parasites, therefore, are more closely aligned with social immune responses. Much like social immunity, host defences against brood parasitism are employed by a donor (a parent) for the benefit of one or more recipients (typically kin), and as with social defences against classic parasites, defences have therefore evolved to protect the donor's inclusive fitness, not the survival or ultimately the fitness of individual recipients This can lead to severe conflicts between the different parties, whose interests are not always aligned. Here, we consider defences against brood parasitism in the light of social immunity, at different stages of parasite encounter, addressing where conflicts occur and how they might be resolved. We finish with considering how this approach could help us to address longstanding questions in our understanding of brood parasitism. This article is part of the theme issue 'The coevolutionary biology of brood parasitism: from mechanism to pattern'.

RevDate: 2020-03-04

González A, Hall MN, Lin SC, et al (2020)

AMPK and TOR: The Yin and Yang of Cellular Nutrient Sensing and Growth Control.

Cell metabolism, 31(3):472-492.

The AMPK (AMP-activated protein kinase) and TOR (target-of-rapamycin) pathways are interlinked, opposing signaling pathways involved in sensing availability of nutrients and energy and regulation of cell growth. AMPK (Yin, or the "dark side") is switched on by lack of energy or nutrients and inhibits cell growth, while TOR (Yang, or the "bright side") is switched on by nutrient availability and promotes cell growth. Genes encoding the AMPK and TOR complexes are found in almost all eukaryotes, suggesting that these pathways arose very early during eukaryotic evolution. During the development of multicellularity, an additional tier of cell-extrinsic growth control arose that is mediated by growth factors, but these often act by modulating nutrient uptake so that AMPK and TOR remain the underlying regulators of cellular growth control. In this review, we discuss the evolution, structure, and regulation of the AMPK and TOR pathways and the complex mechanisms by which they interact.

RevDate: 2020-03-03

Gray MW, Burger G, Derelle R, et al (2020)

The draft nuclear genome sequence and predicted mitochondrial proteome of Andalucia godoyi, a protist with the most gene-rich and bacteria-like mitochondrial genome.

BMC biology, 18(1):22 pii:10.1186/s12915-020-0741-6.

BACKGROUND: Comparative analyses have indicated that the mitochondrion of the last eukaryotic common ancestor likely possessed all the key core structures and functions that are widely conserved throughout the domain Eucarya. To date, such studies have largely focused on animals, fungi, and land plants (primarily multicellular eukaryotes); relatively few mitochondrial proteomes from protists (primarily unicellular eukaryotic microbes) have been examined. To gauge the full extent of mitochondrial structural and functional complexity and to identify potential evolutionary trends in mitochondrial proteomes, more comprehensive explorations of phylogenetically diverse mitochondrial proteomes are required. In this regard, a key group is the jakobids, a clade of protists belonging to the eukaryotic supergroup Discoba, distinguished by having the most gene-rich and most bacteria-like mitochondrial genomes discovered to date.

RESULTS: In this study, we assembled the draft nuclear genome sequence for the jakobid Andalucia godoyi and used a comprehensive in silico approach to infer the nucleus-encoded portion of the mitochondrial proteome of this protist, identifying 864 candidate mitochondrial proteins. The A. godoyi mitochondrial proteome has a complexity that parallels that of other eukaryotes, while exhibiting an unusually large number of ancestral features that have been lost particularly in opisthokont (animal and fungal) mitochondria. Notably, we find no evidence that the A. godoyi nuclear genome has or had a gene encoding a single-subunit, T3/T7 bacteriophage-like RNA polymerase, which functions as the mitochondrial transcriptase in all eukaryotes except the jakobids.

CONCLUSIONS: As genome and mitochondrial proteome data have become more widely available, a strikingly punctuate phylogenetic distribution of different mitochondrial components has been revealed, emphasizing that the pathways of mitochondrial proteome evolution are likely complex and lineage-specific. Unraveling this complexity will require comprehensive comparative analyses of mitochondrial proteomes from a phylogenetically broad range of eukaryotes, especially protists. The systematic in silico approach described here offers a valuable adjunct to direct proteomic analysis (e.g., via mass spectrometry), particularly in cases where the latter approach is constrained by sample limitation or other practical considerations.

RevDate: 2020-02-28

Tan Y, Barnbrook M, Wilson Y, et al (2020)

Shared Mutations in a Novel Glutaredoxin Repressor of Multicellular Trichome Fate Underlie Parallel Evolution of Antirrhinum Species.

Current biology : CB pii:S0960-9822(20)30104-4 [Epub ahead of print].

Most angiosperms produce trichomes-epidermal hairs that have protective or more specialized roles. Trichomes are multicellular in almost all species and, in the majority, secretory. Despite the importance of multicellular trichomes for plant protection and as a source of high-value products, the mechanisms that control their development are only poorly understood. Here, we investigate the control of multicellular trichome patterns using natural variation within the genus Antirrhinum (snapdragons), which has evolved hairy alpine-adapted species or lowland species with a restricted trichome pattern multiple times in parallel. We find that a single gene, Hairy (H), which is needed to repress trichome fate, underlies variation in trichome patterns between all Antirrhinum species except one. We show that H encodes a novel epidermis-specific glutaredoxin and that the pattern of trichome distribution within individuals reflects the location of H expression. Phylogenetic and functional tests suggest that H gained its trichome-repressing role late in the history of eudicots and that the ancestral Antirrhinum had an active H gene and restricted trichome distribution. Loss of H function was involved in an early divergence of alpine and lowland Antirrhinum lineages, and the alleles underlying this split were later reused in parallel evolution of alpines from lowland ancestors, and vice versa. We also find evidence for an evolutionary reversal from a widespread to restricted trichome distribution involving a suppressor mutation and for a pleiotropic effect of H on plant growth that might constrain the evolution of trichome pattern.

RevDate: 2020-02-27

Elliott L, Moore I, C Kirchhelle (2020)

Spatio-temporal control of post-Golgi exocytic trafficking in plants.

Journal of cell science, 133(4): pii:133/4/jcs237065.

A complex and dynamic endomembrane system is a hallmark of eukaryotic cells and underpins the evolution of specialised cell types in multicellular organisms. Endomembrane system function critically depends on the ability of the cell to (1) define compartment and pathway identity, and (2) organise compartments and pathways dynamically in space and time. Eukaryotes possess a complex molecular machinery to control these processes, including small GTPases and their regulators, SNAREs, tethering factors, motor proteins, and cytoskeletal elements. Whereas many of the core components of the eukaryotic endomembrane system are broadly conserved, there have been substantial diversifications within different lineages, possibly reflecting lineage-specific requirements of endomembrane trafficking. This Review focusses on the spatio-temporal regulation of post-Golgi exocytic transport in plants. It highlights recent advances in our understanding of the elaborate network of pathways transporting different cargoes to different domains of the cell surface, and the molecular machinery underpinning them (with a focus on Rab GTPases, their interactors and the cytoskeleton). We primarily focus on transport in the context of growth, but also highlight how these pathways are co-opted during plant immunity responses and at the plant-pathogen interface.

RevDate: 2020-02-27
CmpDate: 2020-02-27

Alcorta J, Vergara-Barros P, Antonaru LA, et al (2019)

Fischerella thermalis: a model organism to study thermophilic diazotrophy, photosynthesis and multicellularity in cyanobacteria.

Extremophiles : life under extreme conditions, 23(6):635-647.

The true-branching cyanobacterium Fischerella thermalis (also known as Mastigocladus laminosus) is widely distributed in hot springs around the world. Morphologically, it has been described as early as 1837. However, its taxonomic placement remains controversial. F. thermalis belongs to the same genus as mesophilic Fischerella species but forms a monophyletic clade of thermophilic Fischerella strains and sequences from hot springs. Their recent divergence from freshwater or soil true-branching species and the ongoing process of specialization inside the thermal gradient make them an interesting evolutionary model to study. F. thermalis is one of the most complex prokaryotes. It forms a cellular network in which the main trichome and branches exchange metabolites and regulators via septal junctions. This species can adapt to a variety of environmental conditions, with its photosynthetic apparatus remaining active in a temperature range from 15 to 58 °C. Together with its nitrogen-fixing ability, this allows it to dominate in hot spring microbial mats and contribute significantly to the de novo carbon and nitrogen input. Here, we review the current knowledge on the taxonomy and distribution of F. thermalis, its morphological complexity, and its physiological adaptations to an extreme environment.

RevDate: 2020-02-24
CmpDate: 2020-02-24

Odendall C, JC Kagan (2019)

Host-Encoded Sensors of Bacteria: Our Windows into the Microbial World.

Microbiology spectrum, 7(3):.

Bacterial pathogens can be very efficient at causing disease and are the cause of some of the worst epidemics that have affected humanity. However, most infections are prevented by the actions of our immune system. Immune activation depends on the rapid detection of bacteria by a diverse family of sensory proteins known as pattern recognition receptors. These receptors detect conserved features of bacteria that are not found in humans but are often necessary for survival within the host or environment. In this review, we discuss the strategies used by pattern recognition receptors to detect bacteria and their products. We also discuss emerging evidence that some pattern recognition receptors can be activated by bacterial pathogens specifically, through the surveillance of host activities that are commonly targeted by virulence factors. This collection of surveillance mechanisms provides an interconnected network of defense, which is important to maintain the germ-free environment of the inner organs of humans and other multicellular organisms.

RevDate: 2020-02-25

Greyson-Gaito CJ, Bartley TJ, Cottenie K, et al (2020)

Into the wild: microbiome transplant studies need broader ecological reality.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 287(1921):20192834.

Gut microbial communities (microbiomes) profoundly shape the ecology and evolution of multicellular life. Interactions between host and microbiome appear to be reciprocal, and ecological theory is now being applied to better understand how hosts and their microbiome influence each other. However, some ecological processes that underlie reciprocal host-microbiome interactions may be obscured by the current convention of highly controlled transplantation experiments. Although these approaches have yielded invaluable insights, there is a need for a broader array of approaches to fully understand host-microbiome reciprocity. Using a directed review, we surveyed the breadth of ecological reality in the current literature on gut microbiome transplants with non-human recipients. For 55 studies, we categorized nine key experimental conditions that impact the ecological reality (EcoReality) of the transplant, including host taxon match and donor environment. Using these categories, we rated the EcoReality of each transplant. Encouragingly, the breadth of EcoReality has increased over time, but some components of EcoReality are still relatively unexplored, including recipient host environment and microbiome state. The conceptual framework we develop here maps the landscape of possible EcoReality to highlight where fundamental ecological processes can be considered in future transplant experiments.

RevDate: 2020-02-25

Moody LA (2020)

Three-dimensional growth: a developmental innovation that facilitated plant terrestrialization.

Journal of plant research pii:10.1007/s10265-020-01173-4 [Epub ahead of print].

One of the most transformative events in the history of life on earth was the transition of plants from water to land approximately 470 million years ago. Within the Charophyte green algae, the closest living relatives of land plants, body plans have evolved from those that comprise simple unicells to those that are morphologically complex, large and multicellular. The Charophytes developed these broad ranging body plans by exploiting a range of one-dimensional and two-dimensional growth strategies to produce filaments, mats and branches. When plants were confronted with harsh conditions on land, they were required to make significant changes to the way they shaped their body plans. One of the fundamental developmental transitions that occurred was the evolution of three-dimensional growth and the acquisition of apical cells with three or more cutting faces. Plants subsequently developed a range of morphological adaptations (e.g. vasculature, roots, flowers, seeds) that enabled them to colonise progressively drier environments. 3D apical growth also evolved convergently in the brown algae, completely independently of the green lineage. This review summarises the evolving developmental complexities observed in the early divergent Charophytes all the way through to the earliest conquerors of land, and investigates 3D apical growth in the brown algae.

RevDate: 2020-02-25

Tang Q, Pang K, Yuan X, et al (2020)

A one-billion-year-old multicellular chlorophyte.

Nature ecology & evolution pii:10.1038/s41559-020-1122-9 [Epub ahead of print].

Chlorophytes (representing a clade within the Viridiplantae and a sister group of the Streptophyta) probably dominated marine export bioproductivity and played a key role in facilitating ecosystem complexity before the Mesozoic diversification of phototrophic eukaryotes such as diatoms, coccolithophorans and dinoflagellates. Molecular clock and biomarker data indicate that chlorophytes diverged in the Mesoproterozoic or early Neoproterozoic, followed by their subsequent phylogenetic diversification, multicellular evolution and ecological expansion in the late Neoproterozoic and Palaeozoic. This model, however, has not been rigorously tested with palaeontological data because of the scarcity of Proterozoic chlorophyte fossils. Here we report abundant millimetre-sized, multicellular and morphologically differentiated macrofossils from rocks approximately 1,000 million years ago. These fossils are described as Proterocladus antiquus new species and are interpreted as benthic siphonocladalean chlorophytes, suggesting that chlorophytes acquired macroscopic size, multicellularity and cellular differentiation nearly a billion years ago, much earlier than previously thought.

RevDate: 2020-02-25

Yahalomi D, Atkinson SD, Neuhof M, et al (2020)

A cnidarian parasite of salmon (Myxozoa: Henneguya) lacks a mitochondrial genome.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America pii:1909907117 [Epub ahead of print].

Although aerobic respiration is a hallmark of eukaryotes, a few unicellular lineages, growing in hypoxic environments, have secondarily lost this ability. In the absence of oxygen, the mitochondria of these organisms have lost all or parts of their genomes and evolved into mitochondria-related organelles (MROs). There has been debate regarding the presence of MROs in animals. Using deep sequencing approaches, we discovered that a member of the Cnidaria, the myxozoan Henneguya salminicola, has no mitochondrial genome, and thus has lost the ability to perform aerobic cellular respiration. This indicates that these core eukaryotic features are not ubiquitous among animals. Our analyses suggest that H. salminicola lost not only its mitochondrial genome but also nearly all nuclear genes involved in transcription and replication of the mitochondrial genome. In contrast, we identified many genes that encode proteins involved in other mitochondrial pathways and determined that genes involved in aerobic respiration or mitochondrial DNA replication were either absent or present only as pseudogenes. As a control, we used the same sequencing and annotation methods to show that a closely related myxozoan, Myxobolus squamalis, has a mitochondrial genome. The molecular results are supported by fluorescence micrographs, which show the presence of mitochondrial DNA in M. squamalis, but not in H. salminicola. Our discovery confirms that adaptation to an anaerobic environment is not unique to single-celled eukaryotes, but has also evolved in a multicellular, parasitic animal. Hence, H. salminicola provides an opportunity for understanding the evolutionary transition from an aerobic to an exclusive anaerobic metabolism.

RevDate: 2020-02-22

Dokanehiifard S, Soltani BM, Ghiasi P, et al (2020)

hsa-miR-766-5p as a new regulator of mitochondrial apoptosis pathway for discriminating of cell death from cardiac differentiation.

Gene, 736:144448 pii:S0378-1119(20)30117-7 [Epub ahead of print].

Dispose of unnecessary cells in multicellular organism take place through apoptosis as a mode of programmed cell death (PCD). This process is triggered through two main pathway including extrinsic pathway or death receptor pathway and intrinsic or mitochondrial pathway. An alternative role for mitochondrial pathway of cell death is its involvement in cell differentiation. Biochemistry of cell differentiation indicates a common origin for differentiation and apoptosis. miRNAs are a group of small non coding mediator RNAs in regulation of many routes such as apoptosis and differentiation. By using bioinformatics tools hsa-miR-766-5p was predicted to target the BAX, BAK and BOK genes involved in mitochondrial apoptosis pathway. RT-qPCR and dual luciferase assay showed targeting of BAX, BAK and BOK 3'UTRs via hsa-miR-766, detected in SW480 and HEK293T cell lines. Caspases 3/7 and 9 activity assay revealed the involvement of hsa-miR-766-5p in mitochondrial apoptosis pathway regulation detected following overexpression and downregulation of this miRNA, detected in SW480 cells treated with 1 μM doxorubicin. Flow cytometry and MTT assay indicated cell death reduction and viability elevation effect of hsa-miR-766 in SW480 cells after its overexpression. Endogenous expression of hsa-miR-766 during the course of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) differentiation into cardiomyocytes revealed an inverse expression status of this miRNA with BOK. However, the expression of this miRNA was inversely related to BAX and BAK for some time points of differentiation. Overall this results show the involvement of hsa-miR-766 in regulation of mitochondrial apoptosis pathway.

RevDate: 2020-02-24

López EH, SR Palumbi (2020)

Somatic Mutations and Genome Stability Maintenance in Clonal Coral Colonies.

Molecular biology and evolution, 37(3):828-838.

One challenge for multicellular organisms is maintaining genome stability in the face of mutagens across long life spans. Imperfect genome maintenance leads to mutation accumulation in somatic cells, which is associated with tumors and senescence in vertebrates. Colonial reef-building corals are often large, can live for hundreds of years, rarely develop recognizable tumors, and are thought to convert somatic cells into gamete producers, so they are a pivotal group in which to understand long-term genome maintenance. To measure rates and patterns of somatic mutations, we analyzed transcriptomes from 17 to 22 branches from each of four Acropora hyacinthus colonies, determined putative single nucleotide variants, and verified them with Sanger resequencing. Unlike for human skin carcinomas, there is no signature of mutations caused by UV damage, indicating either higher efficiency of repair than in vertebrates, or strong sunscreen protection in these shallow water tropical animals. The somatic mutation frequency per nucleotide in A. hyacinthus is on the same order of magnitude (10-7) as noncancerous human somatic cells, and accumulation of mutations with age is similar. Loss of heterozygosity variants outnumber gain of heterozygosity mutations ∼2:1. Although the mutation frequency is similar in mammals and corals, the preponderance of loss of heterozygosity changes and potential selection may reduce the frequency of deleterious mutations in colonial animals like corals. This may limit the deleterious effects of somatic mutations on the coral organism as well as potential offspring.

RevDate: 2020-02-21

Erwin DH (2020)

The origin of animal body plans: a view from fossil evidence and the regulatory genome.

Development (Cambridge, England), 147(4): pii:147/4/dev182899.

The origins and the early evolution of multicellular animals required the exploitation of holozoan genomic regulatory elements and the acquisition of new regulatory tools. Comparative studies of metazoans and their relatives now allow reconstruction of the evolution of the metazoan regulatory genome, but the deep conservation of many genes has led to varied hypotheses about the morphology of early animals and the extent of developmental co-option. In this Review, I assess the emerging view that the early diversification of animals involved small organisms with diverse cell types, but largely lacking complex developmental patterning, which evolved independently in different bilaterian clades during the Cambrian Explosion.


ESP Quick Facts

ESP Origins

In the early 1990's, Robert Robbins was a faculty member at Johns Hopkins, where he directed the informatics core of GDB — the human gene-mapping database of the international human genome project. To share papers with colleagues around the world, he set up a small paper-sharing section on his personal web page. This small project evolved into The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project.

ESP Support

In 1995, Robbins became the VP/IT of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA. Soon after arriving in Seattle, Robbins secured funding, through the ELSI component of the US Human Genome Project, to create the original ESP.ORG web site, with the formal goal of providing free, world-wide access to the literature of classical genetics.

ESP Rationale

Although the methods of molecular biology can seem almost magical to the uninitiated, the original techniques of classical genetics are readily appreciated by one and all: cross individuals that differ in some inherited trait, collect all of the progeny, score their attributes, and propose mechanisms to explain the patterns of inheritance observed.

ESP Goal

In reading the early works of classical genetics, one is drawn, almost inexorably, into ever more complex models, until molecular explanations begin to seem both necessary and natural. At that point, the tools for understanding genome research are at hand. Assisting readers reach this point was the original goal of The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project.

ESP Usage

Usage of the site grew rapidly and has remained high. Faculty began to use the site for their assigned readings. Other on-line publishers, ranging from The New York Times to Nature referenced ESP materials in their own publications. Nobel laureates (e.g., Joshua Lederberg) regularly used the site and even wrote to suggest changes and improvements.

ESP Content

When the site began, no journals were making their early content available in digital format. As a result, ESP was obliged to digitize classic literature before it could be made available. For many important papers — such as Mendel's original paper or the first genetic map — ESP had to produce entirely new typeset versions of the works, if they were to be available in a high-quality format.

ESP Help

Early support from the DOE component of the Human Genome Project was critically important for getting the ESP project on a firm foundation. Since that funding ended (nearly 20 years ago), the project has been operated as a purely volunteer effort. Anyone wishing to assist in these efforts should send an email to Robbins.

ESP Plans

With the development of methods for adding typeset side notes to PDF files, the ESP project now plans to add annotated versions of some classical papers to its holdings. We also plan to add new reference and pedagogical material. We have already started providing regularly updated, comprehensive bibliographies to the ESP.ORG site.

Electronic Scholarly Publishing
961 Red Tail Lane
Bellingham, WA 98226

E-mail: RJR8222 @

Papers in Classical Genetics

The ESP began as an effort to share a handful of key papers from the early days of classical genetics. Now the collection has grown to include hundreds of papers, in full-text format.

Digital Books

Along with papers on classical genetics, ESP offers a collection of full-text digital books, including many works by Darwin (and even a collection of poetry — Chicago Poems by Carl Sandburg).


ESP now offers a much improved and expanded collection of timelines, designed to give the user choice over subject matter and dates.


Biographical information about many key scientists.

Selected Bibliographies

Bibliographies on several topics of potential interest to the ESP community are now being automatically maintained and generated on the ESP site.

ESP Picks from Around the Web (updated 07 JUL 2018 )