Open AccessArticle
Subjective Mood in Young Unmedicated Depressed Women under High and Low Sleep Pressure Conditions
Biology 2016, 5(4), 52; doi:10.3390/biology5040052 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Diurnal mood variations are one of the core symptoms in depression, and total sleep deprivation (SD) can induce rapid, short-lasting clinical improvement in depressed patients. Here, we investigated if differential sleep pressure conditions impact on subjective mood levels in young women with major
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Diurnal mood variations are one of the core symptoms in depression, and total sleep deprivation (SD) can induce rapid, short-lasting clinical improvement in depressed patients. Here, we investigated if differential sleep pressure conditions impact on subjective mood levels in young women with major depressive disorder (MDD) without sleep disturbances, and in healthy controls. Eight healthy and eight MDD women underwent 40-h SD (high sleep pressure) and 40-h multiple NAP (low sleep pressure) protocols under constant routine conditions during which subjective mood was assessed every 30-min. MDD women rated overall significantly worse mood than controls, with minimal values for both groups during the biological night (ca. 4 a.m.), under high and low sleep pressure conditions. During SD, nighttime mood ratings in MDD women were lower than in controls and partially recovered during the second day of SD, but never attained control levels. The degree of this diurnal time-course in mood under SD correlated positively with sleep quality in MDD women. Our data indicate that MDD women without sleep disturbances did not exhibit a SD-induced antidepressant response, suggesting that the mood enhancement response to sleep deprivation might be related to the co-existence of sleep disturbances, which is an association that remains to be fully established. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Anaphase B
Biology 2016, 5(4), 51; doi:10.3390/biology5040051 -
Abstract
Anaphase B spindle elongation is characterized by the sliding apart of overlapping antiparallel interpolar (ip) microtubules (MTs) as the two opposite spindle poles separate, pulling along disjoined sister chromatids, thereby contributing to chromosome segregation and the propagation of all cellular life. The major
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Anaphase B spindle elongation is characterized by the sliding apart of overlapping antiparallel interpolar (ip) microtubules (MTs) as the two opposite spindle poles separate, pulling along disjoined sister chromatids, thereby contributing to chromosome segregation and the propagation of all cellular life. The major biochemical “modules” that cooperate to mediate pole–pole separation include: (i) midzone pushing or (ii) braking by MT crosslinkers, such as kinesin-5 motors, which facilitate or restrict the outward sliding of antiparallel interpolar MTs (ipMTs); (iii) cortical pulling by disassembling astral MTs (aMTs) and/or dynein motors that pull aMTs outwards; (iv) ipMT plus end dynamics, notably net polymerization; and (v) ipMT minus end depolymerization manifest as poleward flux. The differential combination of these modules in different cell types produces diversity in the anaphase B mechanism. Combinations of antagonist modules can create a force balance that maintains the dynamic pre-anaphase B spindle at constant length. Tipping such a force balance at anaphase B onset can initiate and control the rate of spindle elongation. The activities of the basic motor filament components of the anaphase B machinery are controlled by a network of non-motor MT-associated proteins (MAPs), for example the key MT cross-linker, Ase1p/PRC1, and various cell-cycle kinases, phosphatases, and proteases. This review focuses on the molecular mechanisms of anaphase B spindle elongation in eukaryotic cells and briefly mentions bacterial DNA segregation systems that operate by spindle elongation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Exosome Proteome of U-87MG Glioblastoma Cells
Biology 2016, 5(4), 50; doi:10.3390/biology5040050 -
Abstract
Exosomes are small membrane vesicles between 30 and 100 nm in diameter secreted by many cell types, and are associated with a wide range of physiological and/or pathological processes. Exosomes containing proteins, lipids, mRNA, and microRNA contribute to cell-to-cell communication and cell-to-environment regulation,
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Exosomes are small membrane vesicles between 30 and 100 nm in diameter secreted by many cell types, and are associated with a wide range of physiological and/or pathological processes. Exosomes containing proteins, lipids, mRNA, and microRNA contribute to cell-to-cell communication and cell-to-environment regulation, however, their biological functions are not yet fully understood. In this report, exosomes in the glioblastoma cell line, U-87MG, were isolated and the proteome was investigated. In addition, exosome proteome changes in U-87MG cells exposed to a low temperature were investigated to elucidate whether the exosome proteome could respond to an external stimulus. Cell culture medium was collected, and exosomes were isolated by continuous centrifugation eliminating cell debris, nucleic acids, and other particles. The morphology of exosomes was observed by cryo-tunneling electron microscopy. According to 2-dimensional electrophoresis and matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry, certain proteins including collagen type VI alpha 1, putative RNA-binding protein 15B chain A, substrate induced remodeling of the active site regulates HTRA1, coatomer protein complex-subunit beta 2, myosin-heavy chain 1, and keratin-type I cytoskeletal 9 showed differences between the control proteome and the low temperature-exposed proteome. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Decreased STAT3 Phosphorylation Mediates Cell Swelling in Ammonia-Treated Astrocyte Cultures
Biology 2016, 5(4), 48; doi:10.3390/biology5040048 -
Abstract
Brain edema, due largely to astrocyte swelling, and the subsequent increase in intracranial pressure and brain herniation, are major complications of acute liver failure (ALF). Elevated level of brain ammonia has been strongly implicated in the development of astrocyte swelling associated with ALF.
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Brain edema, due largely to astrocyte swelling, and the subsequent increase in intracranial pressure and brain herniation, are major complications of acute liver failure (ALF). Elevated level of brain ammonia has been strongly implicated in the development of astrocyte swelling associated with ALF. The means by which ammonia brings about astrocyte swelling, however, is incompletely understood. Recently, oxidative/nitrosative stress and associated signaling events, including activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), as well as activation of the transcription factor, nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-κB), have been implicated in the mechanism of ammonia-induced astrocyte swelling. Since these signaling events are known to be regulated by the transcription factor, signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3), we examined the state of STAT3 activation in ammonia-treated cultured astrocytes, and determined whether altered STAT3 activation and/or protein expression contribute to the ammonia-induced astrocyte swelling. STAT3 was found to be dephosphorylated (inactivated) at Tyrosine705 in ammonia-treated cultured astrocytes. Total STAT3 protein level was also reduced in ammonia-treated astrocytes. We also found a significant increase in protein tyrosine phosphatase receptor type-1 (PTPRT-1) protein expression in ammonia-treated cultured astrocytes, and that inhibition of PTPRT-1 enhanced the phosphorylation of STAT3 after ammonia treatment. Additionally, exposure of cultured astrocytes to inhibitors of protein tyrosine phosphatases diminished the ammonia-induced cell swelling, while cultured astrocytes over-expressing STAT3 showed a reduction in the astrocyte swelling induced by ammonia. Collectively, these studies strongly suggest that inactivation of STAT3 represents a critical event in the mechanism of the astrocyte swelling associated with acute liver failure. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Protein Phosphatase-1 Regulates Expression of Neuregulin-1
Biology 2016, 5(4), 49; doi:10.3390/biology5040049 -
Abstract
Protein phosphatase 1 (PP1), a cellular serine/threonine phosphatase, is targeted to cellular promoters by its major regulatory subunits, PP1 nuclear targeting subunit, nuclear inhibitor of PP1 (NIPP1) and RepoMan. PP1 is also targeted to RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) by NIPP1 where it can
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Protein phosphatase 1 (PP1), a cellular serine/threonine phosphatase, is targeted to cellular promoters by its major regulatory subunits, PP1 nuclear targeting subunit, nuclear inhibitor of PP1 (NIPP1) and RepoMan. PP1 is also targeted to RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) by NIPP1 where it can dephosphorylate RNAPII and cycle-dependent kinase 9 (CDK9). Here, we show that treatment of cells with a small molecule activator of PP1 increases the abundance of a neuregulin-1 (NRG-1)-derived peptide. NRG-1 mRNA and protein levels were increased in the cells stably or transiently expressing mutant NIPP1 (mNIPP1) that does not bind PP1, but not in the cells expressing NIPP1. Expression of mNIPP1 also activated the NRG-1 promoter in an NF-κB-dependent manner. Analysis of extracts from mNIPP1 expressing cells by glycerol gradient centrifugation showed a redistribution of PP1 and CDK9 between large and small molecular weight complexes, and increased CDK9 Thr-186 phosphorylation. This correlated with the increased CDK9 activity. Further, RNAPII co-precipitated with mNIPP1, and phosphorylation of RNAPII C-terminal domain (CTD) Ser-2 residues was greater in cells expressing mNIPP1. In mNIPP1 expressing cells, okadaic acid, a cell-permeable inhibitor of PP1, did not increase Ser-2 CTD phosphorylation inhibited by flavopiridol, in contrast to the NIPP1 expressing cells, suggesting that PP1 was no longer involved in RNAPII dephosphorylation. Finally, media conditioned with mNIPP1 cells induced the proliferation of wild type 84-31 cells, consistent with a role of neuregulin-1 as a growth promoting factor. Our study indicates that deregulation of PP1/NIPP1 holoenzyme activates NRG-1 expression through RNAPII and CDK9 phosphorylation in a NF-κB dependent manner. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Optimization of Cyanine Dye Stability and Analysis of FRET Interaction on DNA Microarrays
Biology 2016, 5(4), 47; doi:10.3390/biology5040047 -
Abstract
The application of DNA microarrays for high throughput analysis of genetic regulation is often limited by the fluorophores used as markers. The implementation of multi-scan techniques is limited by the fluorophores’ susceptibility to photobleaching when exposed to the scanner laser light. This paper
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The application of DNA microarrays for high throughput analysis of genetic regulation is often limited by the fluorophores used as markers. The implementation of multi-scan techniques is limited by the fluorophores’ susceptibility to photobleaching when exposed to the scanner laser light. This paper presents combined mechanical and chemical strategies which enhance the photostability of cyanine 3 and cyanine 5 as part of solid state DNA microarrays. These strategies are based on scanning the microarrays while the hybridized DNA is still in an aqueous solution with the presence of a reductive/oxidative system (ROXS). Furthermore, the experimental setup allows for the analysis and eventual normalization of Förster-resonance-energy-transfer (FRET) interaction of cyanine-3/cyanine-5 dye combinations on the microarray. These findings constitute a step towards standardization of microarray experiments and analysis and may help to increase the comparability of microarray experiment results between labs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Thermal Resilience of Feeding Kinematics May Contribute to the Spread of Invasive Fishes in Light of Climate Change
Biology 2016, 5(4), 46; doi:10.3390/biology5040046 -
Abstract
As a consequence of global warming, tropical invasive species are expected to expand their range pole-ward, extending their negative impacts to previously undisturbed, high-latitude ecosystems. Investigating the physiological responses of invasive species to environmental temperature is important because the coupled effects of climate
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As a consequence of global warming, tropical invasive species are expected to expand their range pole-ward, extending their negative impacts to previously undisturbed, high-latitude ecosystems. Investigating the physiological responses of invasive species to environmental temperature is important because the coupled effects of climate change and species invasion on ecosystems could be more alarming than the effects of each phenomenon independently. Especially in poikilotherms, the rate of motion in muscle-driven biomechanical systems is expected to double for every 10 °C increase in temperature. In this study, we address the question, “How does temperature affect the speed of jaw-movement during prey-capture in invasive fishes?” Kinematic analysis of invasive-fish prey-capture behavior revealed that (1) movement velocities of key components of the feeding mechanism did not double as water temperature increased from 20 °C to 30 °C; and (2) thermal sensitivity (Q10 values) for gape, hyoid, lower-jaw rotation, and cranial rotation velocities at 20 °C and 30 °C ranged from 0.56 to 1.44 in all three species. With the exception of lower-jaw rotation, Q10 values were significantly less than the expected Q10 = 2.0, indicating that feeding kinematics remains consistent despite the change in environmental temperature. It is conceivable that the ability to maintain peak performance at different temperatures helps facilitate the spread of invasive fishes globally. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Fish Immunoglobulins
Biology 2016, 5(4), 45; doi:10.3390/biology5040045 -
Abstract
The B cell receptor and secreted antibody are at the nexus of humoral adaptive immunity. In this review, we summarize what is known of the immunoglobulin genes of jawed cartilaginous and bony fishes. We focus on what has been learned from genomic or
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The B cell receptor and secreted antibody are at the nexus of humoral adaptive immunity. In this review, we summarize what is known of the immunoglobulin genes of jawed cartilaginous and bony fishes. We focus on what has been learned from genomic or cDNA sequence data, but where appropriate draw upon protein, immunization, affinity and structural studies. Work from major aquatic model organisms and less studied comparative species are both included to define what is the rule for an immunoglobulin isotype or taxonomic group and what exemplifies an exception. Full article
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Open AccessReview
A Cell Biological Perspective on Past, Present and Future Investigations of the Spindle Assembly Checkpoint
Biology 2016, 5(4), 44; doi:10.3390/biology5040044 -
Abstract
The spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) is a quality control mechanism that ensures accurate chromosome segregation during cell division. It consists of a mechanochemical signal transduction mechanism that senses the attachment of chromosomes to the spindle, and a signaling cascade that inhibits cell division
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The spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) is a quality control mechanism that ensures accurate chromosome segregation during cell division. It consists of a mechanochemical signal transduction mechanism that senses the attachment of chromosomes to the spindle, and a signaling cascade that inhibits cell division if one or more chromosomes are not attached. Extensive investigations of both these component systems of the SAC have synthesized a comprehensive understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms. This review recounts the milestone results that elucidated the SAC, compiles a simple model of the complex molecular machinery underlying the SAC, and highlights poorly understood facets of the biochemical design and cell biological operation of the SAC that will drive research forward in the near future. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Use of a Fluorescent Aptamer RNA as an Exonic Sequence to Analyze Self-Splicing Ability of a Group I Intron from Structured RNAs
Biology 2016, 5(4), 43; doi:10.3390/biology5040043 -
Abstract
Group I self-splicing intron constitutes an important class of functional RNA molecules that can promote chemical transformation. Although the fundamental mechanism of the auto-excision from its precursor RNA has been established, convenient assay systems for its splicing activity are still useful for a
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Group I self-splicing intron constitutes an important class of functional RNA molecules that can promote chemical transformation. Although the fundamental mechanism of the auto-excision from its precursor RNA has been established, convenient assay systems for its splicing activity are still useful for a further understanding of its detailed mechanism and of its application. Because some host RNA sequences, to which group I introns inserted form stable three-dimensional (3D) structures, the effects of the 3D structures of exonic elements on the splicing efficiency of group I introns are important but not a fully investigated issue. We developed an assay system for group I intron self-splicing by employing a fluorescent aptamer RNA (spinach RNA) as a model exonic sequence inserted by the Tetrahymena group I intron. We investigated self-splicing of the intron from spinach RNA, serving as a model exonic sequence with a 3D structure. Full article
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Open AccessReview
The Potential of Non-Provitamin A Carotenoids for the Prevention and Treatment of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Biology 2016, 5(4), 42; doi:10.3390/biology5040042 -
Abstract
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is an obesity-associated spectrum of comorbidities defined by the presence of metabolic dysfunction, oxidative stress, inflammation, and fibrosis in the liver. If left untreated, NAFLD can progress to cirrhosis, liver failure, or hepatocellular carcinoma. NAFLD is recognized as
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Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is an obesity-associated spectrum of comorbidities defined by the presence of metabolic dysfunction, oxidative stress, inflammation, and fibrosis in the liver. If left untreated, NAFLD can progress to cirrhosis, liver failure, or hepatocellular carcinoma. NAFLD is recognized as the most common liver disease in the United States, affecting around 30% of the population. Identification of dietary components capable of reducing or preventing NAFLD is therefore essential to battle this condition. Dietary carotenoids including astaxanthin, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin have been demonstrated to be potent antioxidants as well as to exhibit anti-inflammatory effects. Many studies report the protective effect(s) of these carotenoids against different conditions such as atherosclerosis, diabetic complications, age-related macular degeneration, and liver diseases. In this review, we will focus on the effects of these carotenoids in the prevention or reduction of NAFLD as seen in epidemiological observations and clinical trials, as well as the suggested mechanism of action derived from animal and cell studies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
X-ray Diffraction Evidence for Low Force Actin-Attached and Rigor-Like Cross-Bridges in the Contractile Cycle
Biology 2016, 5(4), 41; doi:10.3390/biology5040041 -
Abstract
Defining the structural changes involved in the myosin cross-bridge cycle on actin in active muscle by X-ray diffraction will involve recording of the whole two dimensional (2D) X-ray diffraction pattern from active muscle in a time-resolved manner. Bony fish muscle is the most
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Defining the structural changes involved in the myosin cross-bridge cycle on actin in active muscle by X-ray diffraction will involve recording of the whole two dimensional (2D) X-ray diffraction pattern from active muscle in a time-resolved manner. Bony fish muscle is the most highly ordered vertebrate striated muscle to study. With partial sarcomere length (SL) control we show that changes in the fish muscle equatorial A-band (10) and (11) reflections, along with (10)/(11) intensity ratio and the tension, are much more rapid than without such control. Times to 50% change with SL control were 19.5 (±2.0) ms, 17.0 (±1.1) ms, 13.9 (±0.4) ms and 22.5 (±0.8) ms, respectively, compared to 25.0 (±3.4) ms, 20.5 (±2.6) ms, 15.4 (±0.6) ms and 33.8 (±0.6) ms without control. The (11) intensity and the (10)/(11) intensity ratio both still change ahead of tension, supporting the likelihood of the presence of a head population close to or on actin, but producing little or no force, in the early stages of the contractile cycle. Higher order equatorials (e.g., (30), (31), and (32)), more sensitive to crossbridge conformation and distribution, also change very rapidly and overshoot their tension plateau values by a factor of around two, well before the tension plateau has been reached, once again indicating an early low-force cross-bridge state in the contractile cycle. Modelling of these intensity changes suggests the presence of probably two different actin-attached myosin head structural states (mainly low-force attached and rigor-like). No more than two main attached structural states are necessary and sufficient to explain the observations. We find that 48% of the heads are off actin giving a resting diffraction pattern, 20% of heads are in the weak binding conformation and 32% of the heads are in the strong (rigor-like) state. The strong states account for 96% of the tension at the tetanus plateau. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Minireview on Glutamine Synthetase Deficiency, an Ultra-Rare Inborn Error of Amino Acid Biosynthesis
Biology 2016, 5(4), 40; doi:10.3390/biology5040040 -
Abstract
Glutamine synthetase (GS) is a cytosolic enzyme that produces glutamine, the most abundant free amino acid in the human body. Glutamine is a major substrate for various metabolic pathways, and is thus an important factor for the functioning of many organs; therefore, deficiency
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Glutamine synthetase (GS) is a cytosolic enzyme that produces glutamine, the most abundant free amino acid in the human body. Glutamine is a major substrate for various metabolic pathways, and is thus an important factor for the functioning of many organs; therefore, deficiency of glutamine due to a defect in GS is incompatible with normal life. Mutations in the human GLUL gene (encoding for GS) can cause an ultra-rare recessive inborn error of metabolism—congenital glutamine synthetase deficiency. This disease was reported until now in only three unrelated patients, all of whom suffered from neonatal onset severe epileptic encephalopathy. The hallmark of GS deficiency in these patients was decreased levels of glutamine in body fluids, associated with chronic hyperammonemia. This review aims at recapitulating the clinical history of the three known patients with congenital GS deficiency and summarizes the findings from studies done along with the work-up of these patients. It is the aim of this paper to convince the reader that (i) this disorder is possibly underdiagnosed, since decreased concentrations of metabolites do not receive the attention they deserve; and (ii) early detection of GS deficiency may help to improve the outcome of patients who could be treated early with metabolites that are lacking in this condition. Full article
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Open AccessReview
How Glutamate Is Managed by the Blood–Brain Barrier
Biology 2016, 5(4), 37; doi:10.3390/biology5040037 -
Abstract
A facilitative transport system exists on the blood–brain barrier (BBB) that has been tacitly assumed to be a path for glutamate entry to the brain. However, glutamate is a non-essential amino acid whose brain content is much greater than plasma, and studies in
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A facilitative transport system exists on the blood–brain barrier (BBB) that has been tacitly assumed to be a path for glutamate entry to the brain. However, glutamate is a non-essential amino acid whose brain content is much greater than plasma, and studies in vivo show that glutamate does not enter the brain in appreciable quantities except in those small regions with fenestrated capillaries (circumventricular organs). The situation became understandable when luminal (blood facing) and abluminal (brain facing) membranes were isolated and studied separately. Facilitative transport of glutamate and glutamine exists only on the luminal membranes, whereas Na+-dependent transport systems for glutamate, glutamine, and some other amino acids are present only on the abluminal membrane. The Na+-dependent cotransporters of the abluminal membrane are in a position to actively transport amino acids from the extracellular fluid (ECF) into the endothelial cells of the BBB. These powerful secondary active transporters couple with the energy of the Na+-gradient to move glutamate and glutamine into endothelial cells, whereupon glutamate can exit to the blood on the luminal facilitative glutamate transporter. Glutamine may also exit the brain via separate facilitative transport system that exists on the luminal membranes, or glutamine can be hydrolyzed to glutamate within the BBB, thereby releasing ammonia that is freely diffusible. The γ-glutamyl cycle participates indirectly by producing oxoproline (pyroglutamate), which stimulates almost all secondary active transporters yet discovered in the abluminal membranes of the BBB. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Development of a qPCR Method to Measure Mitochondrial and Genomic DNA Damage with Application to Chemotherapy-Induced DNA Damage and Cryopreserved Cells
Biology 2016, 5(4), 39; doi:10.3390/biology5040039 -
Abstract
DNA damage quantitation assays such as the comet assay have focused on the measurement of total nuclear damage per cell. The adoption of PCR-based techniques to quantify DNA damage has enabled sequence- and organelle-specific assessment of DNA lesions. Here we report on an
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DNA damage quantitation assays such as the comet assay have focused on the measurement of total nuclear damage per cell. The adoption of PCR-based techniques to quantify DNA damage has enabled sequence- and organelle-specific assessment of DNA lesions. Here we report on an adaptation of a qPCR technique to assess DNA damage in nuclear and mitochondrial targets relative to control. Novel aspects of this assay include application of the assay to the Rotor-Gene platform with optimized DNA polymerase/fluorophore/primer set combination in a touchdown PCR protocol. Assay validation was performed using ultraviolet C radiation in A549 and THP1 cancer cell lines. A comparison was made to the comet assay applied to peripheral blood mononuclear cells, and an estimation of the effects of cryopreservation on ultraviolet C-induced DNA damage was carried out. Finally, dose responses for DNA damage were measured in peripheral blood mononuclear cells following exposure to the cytotoxic agents bleomycin and cisplatin. We show reproducible experimental outputs across the tested conditions and concordance with published findings with respect to mitochondrial and nuclear genotoxic susceptibilities. The application of this DNA damage assay to a wide range of clinical and laboratory-derived samples is both feasible and resource-efficient. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Lactate as a Signaling Molecule That Regulates Exercise-Induced Adaptations
Biology 2016, 5(4), 38; doi:10.3390/biology5040038 -
Abstract
Lactate (or its protonated form: lactic acid) has been studied by many exercise scientists. The lactate paradigm has been in constant change since lactate was first discovered in 1780. For many years, it was unfairly seen as primarily responsible for muscular fatigue during
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Lactate (or its protonated form: lactic acid) has been studied by many exercise scientists. The lactate paradigm has been in constant change since lactate was first discovered in 1780. For many years, it was unfairly seen as primarily responsible for muscular fatigue during exercise and a waste product of glycolysis. The status of lactate has slowly changed to an energy source, and in the last two decades new evidence suggests that lactate may play a much bigger role than was previously believed: many adaptations to exercise may be mediated in some way by lactate. The mechanisms behind these adaptations are yet to be understood. The aim of this review is to present the state of lactate science, focusing on how this molecule may mediate exercise-induced adaptations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
How Doth the Little Crocodilian: Analyzing the Influence of Environmental Viscosity on Feeding Performance of Juvenile Alligator mississippiensis
Biology 2016, 5(4), 36; doi:10.3390/biology5040036 -
Abstract
Wetland habitats are used as nursery sites for hatchling and juvenile alligators (Alligator mississippiensis), where they utilize prey from aquatic and terrestrial settings. However, little is known about how viscosity of the medium influences feeding performance. We hypothesized that timing and
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Wetland habitats are used as nursery sites for hatchling and juvenile alligators (Alligator mississippiensis), where they utilize prey from aquatic and terrestrial settings. However, little is known about how viscosity of the medium influences feeding performance. We hypothesized that timing and linear excursion feeding kinematic variables would be different for individuals feeding on prey above the water compared with the same individuals feeding underwater. Individuals were fed immobile fish prey and feeding events were recorded using a high speed video camera. Feeding performance was summarized by analyzing three feeding kinematic variables (maximum gape, maximum gape velocity, duration of feeding bout) and success of strike. Results of a series of paired t-tests indicated no significant difference in kinematic variables between feeding events above water compared with underwater. Similarity in feeding performance could indicate that prey-capture is not altered by environmental viscosity or that feeding behavior can mitigate its influence. Behavioral differences were observed during feeding events with alligators approaching underwater prey having their mouths partially opened versus fully closed when feeding above water. This behavior could be an indication of a strategy used to overcome water viscosity. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Giraffe Stature and Neck Elongation: Vigilance as an Evolutionary Mechanism
Biology 2016, 5(3), 35; doi:10.3390/biology5030035 -
Abstract
Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis), with their long neck and legs, are unique amongst mammals. How these features evolved is a matter of conjecture. The two leading ideas are the high browse and the sexual-selection hypotheses. While both explain many of the characteristics
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Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis), with their long neck and legs, are unique amongst mammals. How these features evolved is a matter of conjecture. The two leading ideas are the high browse and the sexual-selection hypotheses. While both explain many of the characteristics and the behaviour of giraffe, neither is fully supported by the available evidence. The extended viewing horizon afforded by increased height and a need to maintain horizon vigilance, as a mechanism favouring the evolution of increased height is reviewed. In giraffe, vigilance of predators whilst feeding and drinking are important survival factors, as is the ability to interact with immediate herd members, young and male suitors. The evidence regarding giraffe vigilance behaviour is sparse and suggests that over-vigilance has a negative cost, serving as a distraction to feeding. In woodland savannah, increased height allows giraffe to see further, allowing each giraffe to increase the distance between its neighbours while browsing. Increased height allows the giraffe to see the early approach of predators, as well as bull males. It is postulated that the wider panorama afforded by an increase in height and longer neck has improved survival via allowing giraffe to browse safely over wider areas, decreasing competition within groups and with other herbivores. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Individual Differences in the Post-Illumination Pupil Response to Blue Light: Assessment without Mydriatics
Biology 2016, 5(3), 34; doi:10.3390/biology5030034 -
Abstract
Melanopsin-containing retinal ganglion cells play an important role in the non-image forming effects of light, through their direct projections on brain circuits involved in circadian rhythms, mood and alertness. Individual differences in the functionality of the melanopsin-signaling circuitry can be reliably quantified using
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Melanopsin-containing retinal ganglion cells play an important role in the non-image forming effects of light, through their direct projections on brain circuits involved in circadian rhythms, mood and alertness. Individual differences in the functionality of the melanopsin-signaling circuitry can be reliably quantified using the maximum post-illumination pupil response (PIPR) after blue light. Previous protocols for acquiring PIPR relied on the use of mydriatics to dilate the light-exposed eye. However, pharmacological pupil dilation is uncomfortable for the participants and requires ophthalmological expertise. Hence, we here investigated whether an individual’s maximum PIPR can be validly obtained in a protocol that does not use mydriatics but rather increases the intensity of the light stimulus. In 18 participants (5 males, mean age ± SD: 34.6 ± 13.6 years) we evaluated the PIPR after exposure to intensified blue light (550 µW/cm2) provided to an undilated dynamic pupil. The test-retest reliability of the primary PIPR outcome parameter was very high, both between day-to-day assessments (Intraclass Correlation Coefficient (ICC) = 0.85), as well as between winter and summer assessments (ICC = 0.83). Compared to the PIPR obtained with the use of mydriatics and 160 µW/cm2 blue light exposure, the method with intensified light without mydriatics showed almost zero bias according to Bland-Altman plots and had moderate to strong reliability (ICC = 0.67). In conclusion, for PIPR assessments, increasing the light intensity is a feasible and reliable alternative to pupil dilation to relieve the participant’s burden and to allow for performance outside the ophthalmological clinic. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Quantifying Mosaic Development: Towards an Evo-Devo Postmodern Synthesis of the Evolution of Development via Differentiation Trees of Embryos
Biology 2016, 5(3), 33; doi:10.3390/biology5030033 -
Abstract
Embryonic development proceeds through a series of differentiation events. The mosaic version of this process (binary cell divisions) can be analyzed by comparing early development of Cionaintestinalis and Caenorhabditis elegans. To do this, we reorganize lineage trees into differentiation trees using
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Embryonic development proceeds through a series of differentiation events. The mosaic version of this process (binary cell divisions) can be analyzed by comparing early development of Cionaintestinalis and Caenorhabditis elegans. To do this, we reorganize lineage trees into differentiation trees using the graph theory ordering of relative cell volume. Lineage and differentiation trees provide us with means to classify each cell using binary codes. Extracting data characterizing lineage tree position, cell volume, and nucleus position for each cell during early embryogenesis, we conduct several statistical analyses, both within and between taxa. We compare both cell volume distributions and cell volume across developmental time within and between single species and assess differences between lineage tree and differentiation tree orderings. This enhances our understanding of the differentiation events in a model of pure mosaic embryogenesis and its relationship to evolutionary conservation. We also contribute several new techniques for assessing both differences between lineage trees and differentiation trees, and differences between differentiation trees of different species. The results suggest that at the level of differentiation trees, there are broad similarities between distantly related mosaic embryos that might be essential to understanding evolutionary change and phylogeny reconstruction. Differentiation trees may therefore provide a basis for an Evo-Devo Postmodern Synthesis. Full article
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