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    ABSTRACT: Many bacterial populations harbour substantial numbers of hypermutable bacteria, in spite of hypermutation being associated with deleterious mutations. One reason for the persistence of hypermutators is the provision of novel mutations, enabling rapid adaptation to continually changing environments, for example coevolving virulent parasites. However, hypermutation also increases the rate at which intraspecific parasites (social cheats) are generated. Interspecific and intraspecific parasitism are therefore likely to impose conflicting selection pressure on mutation rate. Here, we combine theory and experiments to investigate how simultaneous selection from inter- and intraspecific parasitism affects the evolution of bacterial mutation rates in the plant-colonizing bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens. Both our theoretical and experimental results suggest that phage presence increases and selection for public goods cooperation (the production of iron-scavenging siderophores) decreases selection for mutator bacteria. Moreover, phages imposed a much greater growth cost than social cheating, and when both selection pressures were imposed simultaneously, selection for cooperation did not affect mutation rate evolution. Given the ubiquity of infectious phages in the natural environment and clinical infections, our results suggest that phages are likely to be more important than social interactions in determining mutation rate evolution.
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 12/2013; 280(1773):20131913.
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    ABSTRACT: The filamentous fungus Magnaporthe oryzae is the causal agent of rice blast disease. Here we show that glycogen metabolic genes play an important role in plant infection by M. oryzae. Targeted deletion of AGL1 and GPH1, which encode amyloglucosidase and glycogen phosphorylase, respectively, prevented mobilisation of glycogen stores during appressorium development and caused a significant reduction in the ability of M. oryzae to cause rice blast disease. By contrast, targeted mutation of GSN1, which encodes glycogen synthase, significantly reduced the synthesis of intracellular glycogen, but had no effect on fungal pathogenicity. We found that loss of AGL1 and GPH1 led to a reduction in expression of TPS1 and TPS3, which encode components of the trehalose-6-phosphate synthase complex, that acts as a genetic switch in M. oryzae. Tps1 responds to glucose-6-phosphate levels and the balance of NADP/NADPH to regulate virulence-associated gene expression, in association with Nmr transcriptional inhibitors. We show that deletion of the NMR3 transcriptional inhibitor gene partially restores virulence to a Δagl1Δgph1 mutant, suggesting that glycogen metabolic genes are necessary for operation of the NADPH-dependent genetic switch in M. oryzae.
    PLoS Pathogens 10/2013; 9(10):e1003604.
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    ABSTRACT: Pollution is a significant environmental pressure on fish populations in both freshwater and marine environments. Populations subjected to chronic exposure to pollutants can experience impacts ranging from altered reproductive capacity to changes in population genetic structure. Few studies, however, have examined the reproductive vigor of individuals within populations inhabiting environments characterized by chronic pollution. In this study we undertook an analysis of populations of three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) from polluted sites, to determine levels of genetic diversity, assess for evidence of historic population genetic bottlenecks and determine the reproductive competitiveness of males from these locations. The sites chosen included locations in the River Aire, the River Tees and the River Birket, English rivers that have been impacted by pollution from industrial and/or domestic effluents for over 100 years. Male reproductive competitiveness was determined via competitive breeding experiments with males and females derived from a clean water site, employing DNA microsatellites to determine parentage outcome. Populations of stickleback collected from the three historically polluted sites showed evidence of recent population bottlenecks, although only the River Aire population showed low genetic diversity. In contrast, fish collected from two relatively unpolluted sites within the River Gowy and Houghton Springs showed weak, or no evidence of such bottlenecks. Nevertheless, males derived from polluted sites were able to reproduce successfully in competition with males derived from clean water exposures, indicating that these bottlenecks have not resulted in any substantial loss of reproductive fitness in males.
    Aquatic toxicology (Amsterdam, Netherlands) 08/2013; 142-143C:264-271.
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    ABSTRACT: The recent demand for live seafood has made L. santolla a potential candidate for the live crab market. Since live transport implies long aerial exposure times, the present study determined the tolerance of L. santolla to aerial exposure and also explored the physiological status of L. santolla after six different aerial exposure times: 0, 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 h. No mortalities were recorded during emersion periods shorter than 40 h, however, all hemolymph parameters were modulated by aerial exposure. Hemolymph dissolved oxygen and pH were inversely related with the aerial exposure time (-0.016 mg L(-1) h(-1) and -0.018 h(-1), respectively), while oxyhemocyanin and hemolymph protein were positively correlated (0.006 mmol L(-1) h(-1) and 0.487 mg mL(-1) h(-1), respectively). Oxygen consumption at re-immersion was affected by aerial exposure time, with low values in animals emersed for longer than 30 h. We postulate that the unexpected high tolerance of L. santolla to aerial exposure is mainly related to adaptations to hypoxia, developed to overcome hypoxic events in their natural environment in deep water. The present findings are not only important for understanding L. santolla's physiology, but also provide the first evaluation of the potential marketing of southern king crab as live seafood.
    Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Part A, Molecular & integrative physiology 08/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: The past 60 years have seen a revolution in our understanding of the molecular genetics of insecticide resistance. While at first the field was split by arguments about the relative importance of mono- vs. polygenic resistance and field- vs. laboratory-based selection, the application of molecular cloning to insecticide targets and to the metabolic enzymes that degrade insecticides before they reach those targets has brought out an exponential growth in our understanding of the mutations involved. Molecular analysis has confirmed the relative importance of single major genes in target-site resistance and has also revealed some interesting surprises about the multi-gene families, such as cytochrome P450s, involved in metabolic resistance. Identification of the mutations involved in resistance has also led to parallel advances in our understanding of the enzymes and receptors involved, often with implications for the role of these receptors in humans. This Review seeks to provide an historical perspective on the impact of molecular biology on our understanding of resistance and to begin to look forward to the likely impact of rapid advances in both sequencing and genome-wide association analysis.
    Genetics 08/2013; 194(4):807-15.
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    ABSTRACT: Sexual selection requires both that there is heritable variation in traits related to fitness, and that either some of this variation is linked to traits of the parents, and/or that there are direct benefits of choosing particular individuals as mates. This suggests that if direct benefits are important offspring performance should be predicted by traits of the rearing adults. But if indirect benefits are more significant offspring performance should be predicted by traits of the adults at the nest-of-origin. We conducted cross-fostering experiments in great tits (Parus major) over four years, in two of which we manipulated environmental conditions by providing supplemental food. In a third year, some nestlings were directly supplemented with carotenoids. Nestlings in broods whose rearing adults received supplemental food were heavier and had improved immune responses even when controlling for body mass. Nestling immune function was related to measures of the yellow plumage color of both the rearing male and the putative father. Nestling body mass was influenced by the coloration of both the rearing female and the genetic mother. Our results suggest that features of both their social and putative genetic parents influence nestling health and growth. From this it would appear that females could be gaining both direct and indirect benefits through mate choice of male plumage traits and that it would be possible for males to similarly gain through mate choice of female traits.
    PLoS ONE 07/2013; 8(7):e69695.
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Filamentous fungi (moulds), yeast-like fungi, and oomycetes cause life-threatening infections of humans and animals and are a major constraint to global food security, constituting a significant economic burden to both agriculture and medicine. As well as causing localized or systemic infections, certain species are potent producers of allergens and toxins that exacerbate respiratory diseases or cause cancer and organ damage. We review the pathogenic and toxigenic organisms that are etiologic agents of both animal and plant diseases or that have recently emerged as serious pathogens of immunocompromised individuals. The use of hybridoma and phage display technologies and their success in generating monoclonal antibodies for the detection and control of fungal and oomycete pathogens are explored. Monoclonal antibodies hold enormous potential for the development of rapid and specific tests for the diagnosis of human mycoses, however, unlike plant pathology, their use in medical mycology remains to be fully exploited.
    Critical Reviews in Microbiology 06/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Long-distance bidirectional transport of organelles depends on the coordinated motion of various motor proteins on the cytoskeleton. Recent quantitative live cell imaging in the elongated hyphal cells of Ustilago maydis has demonstrated that long-range motility of motors and their endosomal cargo occurs on unipolar microtubules (MTs) near the extremities of the cell. These MTs are bundled into antipolar bundles within the central part of the cell. Dynein and kinesin-3 motors coordinate their activity to move early endosomes (EEs) in a bidirectional fashion where dynein drives motility towards MT minus ends and kinesin towards MT plus ends. Although this means that one can easily assign the drivers of bidirectional motion in the unipolar section, the bipolar orientations in the bundle mean that it is possible for either motor to drive motion in either direction. In this paper we use a multilane asymmetric simple exclusion process modeling approach to simulate and investigate phases of bidirectional motility in a minimal model of an antipolar MT bundle. In our model, EE cargos (particles) change direction on each MT with a turning rate Ω and there is switching between MTs in the bundle at the minus ends. At these ends, particles can hop between MTs with rate q_{1} on passing from a unipolar to a bipolar section (the obstacle-induced switching rate) or q_{2} on passing in the other direction (the end-induced switching rate). By a combination of numerical simulations and mean-field approximations, we investigate the distribution of particles along the MTs for different values of these parameters and of Θ, the overall density of particles within this closed system. We find that even if Θ is low, the system can exhibit a variety of phases with shocks in the density profiles near plus and minus ends caused by queuing of particles. We discuss how the parameters influence the type of particle that dominates active transport in the bundle.
    Physical Review E 05/2013; 87(5-1):052709.
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    ABSTRACT: The structure of microbial communities is key to their functionality. However, this structure is likely to be influenced by adaptive genetic change in members of the community, which can occur over a matter of days. Changes in community structure can in turn influence the evolutionary trajectories of species within the community, further altering community structure. Microbial communities provide evidence for this interplay between rapid evolution and community structure. To date, studies are primarily limited to simple in vitro systems, but we suggest similar processes are inevitably operating in both natural and derived communities, which are important for biotechnology.
    Current Opinion in Biotechnology 03/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Glacial and postglacial processes are known to be important determinants of contemporary population structuring for many species. In Europe, refugia in the Italian, Balkan and Iberian peninsulas are believed to be the main sources of species colonising northern Europe after the glacial retreat; however, there is increasing evidence of small, cryptic refugia existing north of these for many cold-tolerant species. This study examined the glacial history of Atlantic salmon in western Europe using two independent classes of molecular markers, microsatellites (nuclear) and mitochondrial DNA variation. Alongside the well-documented refuge in the Iberian Peninsula, evidence for a cryptic refuge in northwest France is also presented. Critically, methods utilised to estimate divergence times between the refugia indicated that salmon in these two regions had diverged a long time before the last glacial maximum; coalescence analysis (as implemented in the program IMa2) estimated divergence times at around 60 000 years before present. Through the examination of haplotype frequencies, previously glaciated areas of northwest Europe, that is, Britain and Ireland, appear to have been colonised from salmon expanding out of both refugia, with the southwest of England being the primary contact zone and exhibiting the highest genetic diversity.Heredity advance online publication, 20 March 2013; doi:10.1038/hdy.2013.17.
    Heredity 03/2013; 111(1).
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