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Biology, Volume 7, Issue 2 (June 2018)

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Open AccessArticle Variation in Mating Dynamics across Five Species of Leiobunine Harvestmen (Arachnida: Opliones)
Received: 30 April 2018 / Revised: 25 May 2018 / Accepted: 9 June 2018 / Published: 14 June 2018
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Abstract
The study of mating choices often focuses on correlates of traits to the overall outcome of a mating interaction. However, mating interactions can proceed through a series of stages, with opportunities for assessment at each stage. We compared whether male or female size
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The study of mating choices often focuses on correlates of traits to the overall outcome of a mating interaction. However, mating interactions can proceed through a series of stages, with opportunities for assessment at each stage. We compared whether male or female size predicted mating interaction outcome across several stages of mating in five species of North American leiobunine harvestmen (commonly known as daddy longlegs). Leiobunine harvestmen have been previously shown to exhibit incredible morphological diversity consistent with a spectrum of male–female antagonism. Across all of the species, we found a general progression of female size predicting the outcome (success and timing) of early stages of interactions, and male size or male size relative to female size predicting the outcome and timing of later stages of interactions. We also found that size was not a strong predictor of outcome in the two species on the lower end of the antagonism spectrum. The variation in how female and male size predicted outcomes across species and stages of mating suggests that multiple mechanisms may operate to shape mating dynamics within and across species. Given the close relatedness of the species studied, the patterns we uncovered suggest a rapid evolution of the traits and processes predicting the outcome of mating interactions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolution of Mating Choice)
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Open AccessArticle Sensitivity of Yeast Mutants Deficient in Mitochondrial or Vacuolar ABC Transporters to Pathogenesis-Related Protein TcPR-10 of Theobroma cacao
Received: 27 August 2017 / Revised: 24 October 2017 / Accepted: 1 November 2017 / Published: 13 June 2018
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Abstract
Pathogenesis-related proteins (PRs) are induced in plants after infection by pathogens and/or abiotic stress. Among these proteins, the family 10 (PR-10) influences the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites and shows antimicrobial ribonuclease activity. TcPR-10p (Pathogenesis-related Protein 10 of Theobroma cacao) was isolated
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Pathogenesis-related proteins (PRs) are induced in plants after infection by pathogens and/or abiotic stress. Among these proteins, the family 10 (PR-10) influences the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites and shows antimicrobial ribonuclease activity. TcPR-10p (Pathogenesis-related Protein 10 of Theobroma cacao) was isolated from resistant and susceptible Moniliophthora perniciosa cacao cultivars. Cell survival with Saccharomyces cerevisiae mutant lines deficient in ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter proteins indicated the influence on resistance to TcPR-10p. Proteins of the ABC transport type are considered important in the process of resistance to antimicrobials and toxins. Thus, the objective of this work was to observe the sensitivity of ABC transporter yeast mutants in the presence of the TcPR-10p. Chronic exposure of S. cerevisiae mitochondrial (BYatm1Δ and BYmdl1Δ) and vacuole (BYnft1Δ, BYvmr1Δ, BYybt1Δ, BYycf1Δ and BYbpt1Δ) ABC transporter mutants to TcPR-10p (3 μg/mL, 0, 6, 12 and 24 h) was performed. Two TcPR-10p sensitive strains (BYmdl1Δ and BYnft1Δ) were submitted to a fluorescence test with the fluorogenic dihydroethidium (DHE), to visualize the presence of oxidative stress in the cells. Oxidative stress-increased sensitivity was confirmed by flow cytometry indicating induced cell death either via apoptosis or necrosis. This yeast data combined with previous data of literature (of M. perniciosa sensitivity to TcPR-10p) show that increased sensitivity to TcPR-10p in these mutants could be due to the TcPR10p-generated higher levels of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS), leading to increased cell death either via necrosis or apoptosis. Full article
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Open AccessReview Sources and Fates of Carbamyl Phosphate: A Labile Energy-Rich Molecule with Multiple Facets
Received: 24 April 2018 / Revised: 25 May 2018 / Accepted: 7 June 2018 / Published: 12 June 2018
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Abstract
Carbamyl phosphate (CP) is well-known as an essential intermediate of pyrimidine and arginine/urea biosynthesis. Chemically, CP can be easily synthesized from dihydrogen phosphate and cyanate. Enzymatically, CP can be synthesized using three different classes of enzymes: (1) ATP-grasp fold protein based carbamyl phosphate
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Carbamyl phosphate (CP) is well-known as an essential intermediate of pyrimidine and arginine/urea biosynthesis. Chemically, CP can be easily synthesized from dihydrogen phosphate and cyanate. Enzymatically, CP can be synthesized using three different classes of enzymes: (1) ATP-grasp fold protein based carbamyl phosphate synthetase (CPS); (2) Amino-acid kinase fold carbamate kinase (CK)-like CPS (anabolic CK or aCK); and (3) Catabolic transcarbamylase. The first class of CPS can be further divided into three different types of CPS as CPS I, CPS II, and CPS III depending on the usage of ammonium or glutamine as its nitrogen source, and whether N-acetyl-glutamate is its essential co-factor. CP can donate its carbamyl group to the amino nitrogen of many important molecules including the most well-known ornithine and aspartate in the arginine/urea and pyrimidine biosynthetic pathways. CP can also donate its carbamyl group to the hydroxyl oxygen of a variety of molecules, particularly in many antibiotic biosynthetic pathways. Transfer of the carbamyl group to the nitrogen group is catalyzed by the anabolic transcarbamylase using a direct attack mechanism, while transfer of the carbamyl group to the oxygen group is catalyzed by a different class of enzymes, CmcH/NodU CTase, using a different mechanism involving a three-step reaction, decomposition of CP to carbamate and phosphate, transfer of the carbamyl group from carbamate to ATP to form carbamyladenylate and pyrophosphate, and transfer of the carbamyl group from carbamyladenylate to the oxygen group of the substrate. CP is also involved in transferring its phosphate group to ADP to generate ATP in the fermentation of many microorganisms. The reaction is catalyzed by carbamate kinase, which may be termed as catabolic CK (cCK) in order to distinguish it from CP generating CK. CP is a thermally labile molecule, easily decomposed into phosphate and cyanate, or phosphate and carbamate depending on the pH of the solution, or the presence of enzyme. Biological systems have developed several mechanisms including channeling between enzymes, increased affinity of CP to enzymes, and keeping CP in a specific conformation to protect CP from decomposition. CP is highly important for our health as both a lack of, or decreased, CP production and CP accumulation results in many disease conditions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Effect of Overexpressed DdRabS on Development, Cell Death, Vesicular Trafficking, and the Secretion of Lysosomal Glycosidase Enzymes
Received: 4 April 2018 / Revised: 11 May 2018 / Accepted: 21 May 2018 / Published: 28 May 2018
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Abstract
Rab GTPases are essential regulators of many cellular processes and play an important role in downstream signaling vital to proper cell function. We sought to elucidate the role of novel D. discoideum GTPase RabS. Cell lines over-expressing DdRabS and expressing DdRabS N137I (dominant
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Rab GTPases are essential regulators of many cellular processes and play an important role in downstream signaling vital to proper cell function. We sought to elucidate the role of novel D. discoideum GTPase RabS. Cell lines over-expressing DdRabS and expressing DdRabS N137I (dominant negative (DN)) proteins were generated, and it was determined that DdRabS localized to endosomes, ER-Golgi membranes, and the contractile vacuole system. It appeared to function in vesicular trafficking, and the secretion of lysosomal enzymes. Interestingly, microscopic analysis of GFP-tagged DdRabS (DN) cells showed differential localization to lysosomes and endosomes compared to GFP-tagged DdRabS overexpressing cells. Both cell lines over-secreted lysosomal glycosidase enzymes, especially β-glucosidase. Furthermore, DdRabS overexpressing cells were defective in aggregation due to decreased cell–cell cohesion and sensitivity to cAMP, leading to abnormal chemotactic migration, the inability to complete development, and increased induced cell death. These data support a role for DdRabS in trafficking along the vesicular and biosynthetic pathways. We hypothesize that overexpression of DdRabS may interfere with GTP activation of related proteins essential for normal development resulting in a cascade of defects throughout these processes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Inpactor, Integrated and Parallel Analyzer and Classifier of LTR Retrotransposons and Its Application for Pineapple LTR Retrotransposons Diversity and Dynamics
Received: 3 May 2018 / Revised: 16 May 2018 / Accepted: 22 May 2018 / Published: 25 May 2018
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Abstract
One particular class of Transposable Elements (TEs), called Long Terminal Repeats (LTRs), retrotransposons, comprises the most abundant mobile elements in plant genomes. Their copy number can vary from several hundreds to up to a few million copies per genome, deeply affecting genome organization
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One particular class of Transposable Elements (TEs), called Long Terminal Repeats (LTRs), retrotransposons, comprises the most abundant mobile elements in plant genomes. Their copy number can vary from several hundreds to up to a few million copies per genome, deeply affecting genome organization and function. The detailed classification of LTR retrotransposons is an essential step to precisely understand their effect at the genome level, but remains challenging in large-sized genomes, requiring the use of optimized bioinformatics tools that can take advantage of supercomputers. Here, we propose a new tool: Inpactor, a parallel and scalable pipeline designed to classify LTR retrotransposons, to identify autonomous and non-autonomous elements, to perform RT-based phylogenetic trees and to analyze their insertion times using High Performance Computing (HPC) techniques. Inpactor was tested on the classification and annotation of LTR retrotransposons in pineapple, a recently-sequenced genome. The pineapple genome assembly comprises 44% of transposable elements, of which 23% were classified as LTR retrotransposons. Exceptionally, 16.4% of the pineapple genome assembly corresponded to only one lineage of the Gypsy superfamily: Del, suggesting that this particular lineage has undergone a significant increase in its copy numbers. As demonstrated for the pineapple genome, Inpactor provides comprehensive data of LTR retrotransposons’ classification and dynamics, allowing a fine understanding of their contribution to genome structure and evolution. Inpactor is available at https://github.com/simonorozcoarias/Inpactor. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Rare De Novo RAI1 Gene Mutation Affecting BDNF-Enhancer-Driven Transcription Activity Associated with Autism and Atypical Smith-Magenis Syndrome Presentation
Received: 17 April 2018 / Revised: 20 May 2018 / Accepted: 21 May 2018 / Published: 24 May 2018
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Abstract
Deletions and mutations involving the Retinoic Acid Induced 1 (RAI1) gene at 17p11.2 cause Smith-Magenis syndrome (SMS). Here we report a patient with autism as the main clinical presentation, with some SMS-like features and a rare de novo RAI1 gene mutation,
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Deletions and mutations involving the Retinoic Acid Induced 1 (RAI1) gene at 17p11.2 cause Smith-Magenis syndrome (SMS). Here we report a patient with autism as the main clinical presentation, with some SMS-like features and a rare de novo RAI1 gene mutation, c.3440G > A (p.R1147Q). We functionally characterized the RAI1 p.R1147Q mutant protein. The mutation, located near the nuclear localization signal, had no effect on the subcellular localization of the mutant protein. However, similar to previously reported RAI1 missense mutations in SMS patients, the RAI1 p.R1147Q mutant protein showed a significant deficiency in activating in vivo transcription of a reporter gene driven by a BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) intronic enhancer. In addition, expression of other genes associated with neurobehavioral abnormalities and/or neurodevelopmental disorders were found to be altered in this patient. These results suggest a likely contribution of RAI1, either alone or in combination of other factors, to social behavior and reinforce the RAI1 gene as a candidate gene in patients with autistic manifestations or social behavioral abnormalities. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Open Conformation of the Escherichia coli Periplasmic Murein Tripeptide Binding Protein, MppA, at High Resolution
Received: 23 March 2018 / Revised: 11 May 2018 / Accepted: 11 May 2018 / Published: 19 May 2018
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Abstract
Periplasmic ligand-binding proteins (PBPs) bind ligands with a high affinity and specificity. They undergo a large conformational change upon ligand binding, and they have a robust protein fold. These physical features have made them ideal candidates for use in protein engineering projects to
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Periplasmic ligand-binding proteins (PBPs) bind ligands with a high affinity and specificity. They undergo a large conformational change upon ligand binding, and they have a robust protein fold. These physical features have made them ideal candidates for use in protein engineering projects to develop novel biosensors and signaling molecules. The Escherichia coli MppA (murein peptide permease A) PBP binds the murein tripeptide, l-alanyl-γ-d-glutamyl-meso-diaminopimelate, (l-Ala-γ-d-Glu-meso-Dap), which contains both a D-amino acid and a gamma linkage between two of the amino acids. We have solved a high-resolution X-ray crystal structure of E. coli MppA at 1.5 Å resolution in the unliganded, open conformation. Now, structures are available for this member of the PBP protein family in both the liganded/closed form and the unliganded/open form. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Expression of a Synthetic Gene for the Major Cytotoxin (Cyt1Aa) of Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis in the Chloroplast of Wild-Type Chlamydomonas
Received: 9 April 2018 / Revised: 30 April 2018 / Accepted: 4 May 2018 / Published: 8 May 2018
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Abstract
Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (Chlamydomonas) strains that are toxic to mosquito larvae because they express chloroplast transgenes that are based on the mosquitocidal proteins of Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis (Bti) could be very useful in mosquito control. Chlamydomonas has several advantages for this
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Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (Chlamydomonas) strains that are toxic to mosquito larvae because they express chloroplast transgenes that are based on the mosquitocidal proteins of Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis (Bti) could be very useful in mosquito control. Chlamydomonas has several advantages for this approach, including genetic controls not generally available with industrial algae. The Bti toxin is produced by sporulating bacteria and has been used for mosquito control for >30 years without creating highly resistant mosquito populations. The suite of toxins is four main proteins: three Cry proteins and the cytotoxic Cyt1Aa (27 kDa). Cyt1Aa is not very toxic to mosquitoes by itself, but it prevents the development of resistance. The production of Cyt1Aa in other microbes, however, has been challenging due to its affinity for certain membrane phospholipids. Here we report on the production of recombinant Cyt1Aa (rCyt1A) in the chloroplast of photosynthetic Chlamydomonas at levels of at least 0.3% total protein. Live cell bioassays demonstrated toxicity of the rCyt1Aa Chlamydomonas to larvae of Aedes aegypti. We also expressed the chloroplast cyt1Aa gene in a wild-type Chlamydomonas strain (21 gr) that can grow on nitrate. These results have implications for developing a Chlamydomonas strain that will be toxic to mosquito larvae but will not induce strongly resistant populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microalgal Biotechnology)
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Open AccessEssay The Double-Aspect of Life
Received: 13 March 2018 / Revised: 2 May 2018 / Accepted: 4 May 2018 / Published: 7 May 2018
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Abstract
Life is based on two aspects: matter and a non-material, electrical component. In a dynamic system of reciprocal causality, matter and the so-called bioelectricity interact with one another, forming a functional unity. The aim of this essay is to summarize evidence for bioelectricity,
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Life is based on two aspects: matter and a non-material, electrical component. In a dynamic system of reciprocal causality, matter and the so-called bioelectricity interact with one another, forming a functional unity. The aim of this essay is to summarize evidence for bioelectricity, for the sensitivity of biosystems to external physical factors and for the interactions of internal bioelectricity with internal biochemical structures. I propose non-material information of bioelectrical states to be just as inheritable from generation to generation as is the material genetic code. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Sediment Carbon Accumulation in Southern Latitude Saltmarsh Communities of Tasmania, Australia
Received: 23 November 2017 / Revised: 26 April 2018 / Accepted: 26 April 2018 / Published: 2 May 2018
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Abstract
Carbon sequestration values of wetlands are greatest in their sediments. Northern hemisphere research dominates the earlier saltmarsh carbon sequestration literature, recently augmented by analyses across mainland Australia where species assemblages, catchment histories and environmental settings differ. No previous assessment has been made for
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Carbon sequestration values of wetlands are greatest in their sediments. Northern hemisphere research dominates the earlier saltmarsh carbon sequestration literature, recently augmented by analyses across mainland Australia where species assemblages, catchment histories and environmental settings differ. No previous assessment has been made for Tasmania. Carbon stores and accumulation rates in saltmarsh sediments of the Rubicon estuary, Tasmania, were investigated. Carbon was determined from sediment cores by Elemental Analyser, combined with analysis of organic content and bulk density. Carbon accumulation was determined using short-term and long-term sediment accretion indicators. Results showed carbon densities to be lower than global averages, with variation found between carbon stores of native and introduced species zones. Cores from introduced Spartina anglica indicated a trend of higher sediment carbon percentages relative to cores from native saltmarsh Juncus kraussii and Sarcocornia quinqueflora, and in finer grain sizes. Sediment carbon stock of 30 cm depths was 49.5 Mg C ha−1 for native saltmarsh and 55.5 Mg C ha−1 for Spartina. Carbon percentages were low owing to high catchment inorganic sediment yields, however carbon accumulation rates were similar to global averages, particularly under Spartina. Covering 85% of saltmarsh area in the estuary, Spartina contributes the majority to carbon stores, potentially indicating a previously unrecognized value for this invasive species in Australia. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Electrochemical Characterisation of Bio-Bottle-Voltaic (BBV) Systems Operated with Algae and Built with Recycled Materials
Received: 5 January 2018 / Revised: 5 April 2018 / Accepted: 10 April 2018 / Published: 17 April 2018
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Abstract
Photobioelectrochemical systems are an emerging possibility for renewable energy. By exploiting photosynthesis, they transform the energy of light into electricity. This study evaluates a simple, scalable bioelectrochemical system built from recycled plastic bottles, equipped with an anode made from recycled aluminum, and operated
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Photobioelectrochemical systems are an emerging possibility for renewable energy. By exploiting photosynthesis, they transform the energy of light into electricity. This study evaluates a simple, scalable bioelectrochemical system built from recycled plastic bottles, equipped with an anode made from recycled aluminum, and operated with the green alga Chlorella sorokiniana. We tested whether such a system, referred to as a bio-bottle-voltaic (BBV) device, could operate outdoors for a prolonged time period of 35 days. Electrochemical characterisation was conducted by measuring the drop in potential between the anode and the cathode, and this value was used to calculate the rate of charge accumulation. The BBV systems were initially able to deliver ~500 mC·bottle−1·day−1, which increased throughout the experimental run to a maximum of ~2000 mC·bottle−1·day−1. The electrical output was consistently and significantly higher than that of the abiotic BBV system operated without algal cells (~100 mC·bottle−1·day−1). The analysis of the rate of algal biomass accumulation supported the hypothesis that harvesting a proportion of electrons from the algal cells does not significantly perturb the rate of algal growth. Our finding demonstrates that bioelectrochemical systems can be built using recycled components. Prototypes of these systems have been displayed in public events; they could serve as educational toolkits in schools and could also offer a solution for powering low-energy devices off-grid. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microalgal Biotechnology)
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Open AccessArticle Characterization of Chlorella sorokiniana, UTEX 1230
Received: 1 March 2018 / Revised: 8 April 2018 / Accepted: 10 April 2018 / Published: 13 April 2018
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Abstract
This paper characterizes the strain Chlorella sorokiniana UTEX 1230 within a laboratory setting using a 1 L bubble column. The findings show that productivity can be trebled under mixotrophic conditions (from 0.2 g·L−1·d−1 to 0.66 g·L−1·d−1)
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This paper characterizes the strain Chlorella sorokiniana UTEX 1230 within a laboratory setting using a 1 L bubble column. The findings show that productivity can be trebled under mixotrophic conditions (from 0.2 g·L−1·d−1 to 0.66 g·L−1·d−1) with the addition of sodium acetate. The results also indicate that both the growth rate and final yield increase with the cultivation temperature, with most parameters showing an optimum in the range of 30–35 °C. The maximum specific growth rate was found to be in the region of 0.12 h−1 at a surface irradiance between 100–500 µE·m−2·s−1. This high growth rate makes the strain particularly suited to the rapid production of biomass, suitable for either whole cell bioprocessing or bioremediation. However, the relatively low lipid productivity (9.2 mg·L−1·d−1) confirms previous findings which would indicate poor applicability for biodiesel production. The strain shows greater promise in wastewater treatment applications with removal rates of nitrogen and phosphorus in the region of 37 and 30 mg·L−1·d−1 respectively. Furthermore, the findings show that a fed-batch strategy to inorganic nutrient loading can increase the final yield by around 50% compared to a conventional batch run. This is particularly interesting as fed-batch production techniques are rarely used within microalgal cultivation, so provide an interesting avenue for further investigation. Overall, the findings show that C. sorokiniana UTEX 1230 is a robust and fast-growing microalgal strain suitable both for the laboratory and scale-up. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microalgal Biotechnology)
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Open AccessReview Applications of Microalgal Biotechnology for Disease Control in Aquaculture
Received: 26 January 2018 / Revised: 3 April 2018 / Accepted: 10 April 2018 / Published: 12 April 2018
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Abstract
Aquaculture industries, and in particular the farming of fish and crustaceans, are major contributors to the economy of many countries and an increasingly important component in global food supply. However, the severe impact of aquatic microbial diseases on production performance remains a challenge
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Aquaculture industries, and in particular the farming of fish and crustaceans, are major contributors to the economy of many countries and an increasingly important component in global food supply. However, the severe impact of aquatic microbial diseases on production performance remains a challenge to these industries. This article considers the potential applications of microalgal technology in the control of such diseases. At the simplest level, microalgae offer health-promoting benefits as a nutritional supplement in feed meal because of their digestibility and high content of proteins, lipids and essential nutrients. Furthermore, some microalgal species possess natural anti-microbial compounds or contain biomolecules that can serve as immunostimulants. In addition, emerging genetic engineering technologies in microalgae offer the possibility of producing ‘functional feed additives’ in which novel and specific bioactives, such as fish growth hormones, anti-bacterials, subunit vaccines, and virus-targeted interfering RNAs, are components of the algal supplement. The evaluation of such technologies for farm applications is an important step in the future development of sustainable aquaculture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microalgal Biotechnology)
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Open AccessArticle Pseudotime Dynamics in Melanoma Single-Cell Transcriptomes Reveals Different Mechanisms of Tumor Progression
Received: 8 February 2018 / Revised: 27 March 2018 / Accepted: 28 March 2018 / Published: 3 April 2018
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Abstract
Single-cell transcriptomics has been used for analysis of heterogeneous populations of cells during developmental processes and for analysis of tumor cell heterogeneity. More recently, analysis of pseudotime (PT) dynamics of heterogeneous cell populations has been established as a powerful concept to study developmental
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Single-cell transcriptomics has been used for analysis of heterogeneous populations of cells during developmental processes and for analysis of tumor cell heterogeneity. More recently, analysis of pseudotime (PT) dynamics of heterogeneous cell populations has been established as a powerful concept to study developmental processes. Here we perform PT analysis of 3 melanoma short-term cultures with different genetic backgrounds to study specific and concordant properties of PT dynamics of selected cellular programs with impact on melanoma progression. Overall, in our setting of melanoma cells PT dynamics towards higher tumor malignancy appears to be largely driven by cell cycle genes. Single cells of all three short-term cultures show a bipolar expression of microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) and AXL receptor tyrosine kinase (AXL) signatures. Furthermore, opposing gene expression changes are observed for genes regulated by epigenetic mechanisms suggesting epigenetic reprogramming during melanoma progression. The three melanoma short-term cultures show common themes of PT dynamics such as a stromal signature at initiation, bipolar expression of the MITF/AXL signature and opposing regulation of poised and activated promoters. Differences are observed at the late stage of PT dynamics with high, low or intermediate MITF and anticorrelated AXL signatures. These findings may help to identify targets for interference at different stages of tumor progression. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Groundsel Bush (Baccharis halimifolia) Extract Promotes Adipocyte Differentiation In Vitro and Increases Adiponectin Expression in Mature Adipocytes
Received: 11 March 2018 / Revised: 23 March 2018 / Accepted: 23 March 2018 / Published: 25 March 2018
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Abstract
An ethanolic extract of Baccharis halimifolia (groundsel bush, GB), which is a native Louisiana plant with documented use in Creole folk medicine, has been shown to inhibit lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammation in cultured macrophages. Here, we examine the effects of GB on adipocyte development
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An ethanolic extract of Baccharis halimifolia (groundsel bush, GB), which is a native Louisiana plant with documented use in Creole folk medicine, has been shown to inhibit lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammation in cultured macrophages. Here, we examine the effects of GB on adipocyte development and function, as these processes are attractive targets for intervention in insulin resistance. Oil Red O neutral lipid staining, reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR), and immunoblotting were used to measure GB effects on lipid accumulation, gene expression, and protein abundance, respectively. In differentiating 3T3-L1 adipocytes, GB enhanced lipid accumulation and increased expression of several adipogenic genes (GLUT4, aP2, ADPN, CEBPα, FAS, and PPARγ). Protein levels of two of these adipogenic markers (aP2 and adiponectin) were examined and found to be induced by GB treatment. In mature adipocytes, GB reduced the gene expression of resistin, a pro-inflammatory endocrine factor, increased the adiponectin protein levels in a time-dependent manner, and substantially attenuated the TNF-alpha-induced reduction in adiponectin. In macrophages, GB reduced the expression of pro-inflammatory genes that were induced by LPS. GB produces metabolically favorable changes in differentiating adipocytes, mature adipocytes, and macrophages in vitro, suggesting its potential use as a dietary supplement or nutraceutical to support metabolic health and resiliency. Full article
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