Abstract: With the advent of the “-omics” era, biological research has shifted from functionally analyzing single proteins to understanding how entire protein networks connect and adapt to environmental cues. Frequently, pathological processes are initiated by a malfunctioning protein network rather than a single protein. It is therefore crucial to investigate the regulation of proteins in the context of a pathway first and signaling network second. In this study, we demonstrate that a quantitative interaction proteomic approach, combining immunoprecipitation, in-solution digestion and label-free quantification mass spectrometry, provides data of high accuracy and depth. This protocol is applicable, both to tagged, exogenous and untagged, endogenous proteins. Furthermore, it is fast, reliable and, due to a label-free quantitation approach, allows the comparison of multiple conditions. We further show that we are able to generate data in a medium throughput fashion and that we can quantify dynamic interaction changes in signaling pathways in response to mitogenic stimuli, making our approach a suitable method to generate data for system biology approaches.
Abstract: Sunflower is an important oilseed crop, as well as a model system for evolutionary studies, but its 3.6 gigabase genome has proven difficult to assemble, in part because of the high repeat content of its genome. Here we report on the sequencing, assembly, and analyses of 96 randomly chosen BACs from sunflower to provide additional information on the repeat content of the sunflower genome, assess how repetitive elements in the sunflower genome are organized relative to genes, and compare the genomic distribution of these repeats to that found in other food crops and model species. We also examine the expression of transposable element-related transcripts in EST databases for sunflower to determine the representation of repeats in the transcriptome and to measure their transcriptional activity. Our data confirm previous reports in suggesting that the sunflower genome is >78% repetitive. Sunflower repeats share very little similarity to other plant repeats such as those of Arabidopsis, rice, maize and wheat; overall 28% of repeats are “novel” to sunflower. The repetitive sequences appear to be randomly distributed within the sequenced BACs. Assuming the 96 BACs are representative of the genome as a whole, then approximately 5.2% of the sunflower genome comprises non TE-related genic sequence, with an average gene density of 18kbp/gene. Expression levels of these transposable elements indicate tissue specificity and differential expression in vegetative and reproductive tissues, suggesting that expressed TEs might contribute to sunflower development. The assembled BACs will also be useful for assessing the quality of several different draft assemblies of the sunflower genome and for annotating the reference sequence.
Abstract: Fibroproliferative diseases are one of the leading causes of death worldwide. They are characterized by reactive fibrosis caused by uncontrolled synthesis of type I collagen. There is no cure for fibrosis and development of therapeutics that can inhibit collagen synthesis is urgently needed. Collagen α1(I) mRNA and α2(I) mRNA encode for type I collagen and they have a unique 5' stem-loop structure in their 5' untranslated regions (5'SL). Collagen 5'SL binds protein LARP6 with high affinity and specificity. The interaction between LARP6 and the 5'SL is critical for biosynthesis of type I collagen and development of fibrosis in vivo. Therefore, this interaction represents is an ideal target to develop antifibrotic drugs. A high throughput system to screen for chemical compounds that can dissociate LARP6 from 5'SL has been developed. It is based on fluorescence polarization and can be adapted to screen for inhibitors of other protein-RNA interactions. Screening of 50,000 chemical compounds yielded a lead compound that can inhibit type I collagen synthesis at nanomolar concentrations. The development, characteristics, and critical appraisal of this assay are presented.
Abstract: As a consequence of intense fishing pressure, fished populations experience reduced population sizes and shifts in body size toward the predominance of smaller and early maturing individuals. Small, early-maturing fish exhibit significantly reduced reproductive output and, ultimately, reduced fitness. As part of resource management and biodiversity conservation programs worldwide, no-take marine protected areas (MPAs) are expected to ameliorate the adverse effects of fishing pressure. In an attempt to advance our understanding of how coral reef MPAs meet their long-term goals, this study used visual census data from 23 MPAs and fished reefs in the Philippines to address three questions: (1) Do MPAs promote shifts in fish body size frequency distribution towards larger body sizes when compared to fished reefs? (2) Do MPA size and (3) age contribute to the efficacy of MPAs in promoting such shifts? This study revealed that across all MPAs surveyed, the distribution of fishes between MPAs and fished reefs were similar; however, large-bodied fish were more abundant within MPAs, along with small, young-of-the-year individuals. Additionally, there was a significant shift in body size frequency distribution towards larger body sizes in 12 of 23 individual reef sites surveyed. Of 22 fish families, eleven demonstrated significantly different body size frequency distributions between MPAs and fished reefs, indicating that shifts in the size spectrum of fishes in response to protection are family-specific. Family-level shifts demonstrated a significant, positive correlation with MPA age, indicating that MPAs become more effective at increasing the density of large-bodied fish within their boundaries over time.
Abstract: While no doubt thought about for thousands of years, it was Antoine Lavoisier in the late 18th century who is largely credited with the first “modern” investigations of biological energy exchanges. From Lavoisier’s work with combustion and respiration a scientific trend emerges that extends to the present day: the world gains a credible working hypothesis but validity goes missing, often for some time, until later confirmed using proper measures. This theme is applied to glucose/glycogen metabolism where energy exchanges are depicted as conversion from one form to another and, transfer from one place to another made by both the anaerobic and aerobic biochemical pathways within working skeletal muscle, and the hypothetical quantification of these components as part of an oxygen (O2) uptake measurement. The anaerobic and aerobic energy exchange components of metabolism are represented by two different interpretations of O2 uptake: one that contains a glycolytic component (1 L O2 = 21.1 kJ) and one that does not (1 L O2 = 19.6 kJ). When energy exchange transfer and oxygen-related expenditures are applied separately to exercise and recovery periods, an increased energy cost for intermittent as compared to continuous exercise is hypothesized to be a direct result.
Abstract: RNA-directed histone and/or DNA modification is a conserved mechanism for the establishment of epigenetic marks from yeasts and plants to mammals. The heterochromation formation in yeast is mediated by RNAi-directed silencing mechanism, while the establishment of DNA methylation in plants is through the RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) pathway. Recently, splicing factors are reported to be involved in both RNAi-directed heterochromatin formation in yeast and the RdDM pathway in plants. In yeast, splicing factors may provide a platform for facilitating the siRNA generation through an interaction with RDRC and thereby affect the heterochromatin formation, whereas in plants, various splicing factors seem to act at different steps in the RdDM pathway.