[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Bacillus phage phiAGATE is a novel myovirus isolated from the waters of Lake Góreckie (a eutrophic lake in western Poland). The bacteriophage infects Bacillus pumilus, a bacterium commonly observed in the mentioned reservoir. Analysis of the phiAGATE genome (149844 base pairs) resulted in 204 predicted protein-coding sequences (CDSs), of which 53 could be functionally annotated. Further investigation revealed that the bacteriophage is a member of a previously undescribed cluster of phages (for the purposes of this study we refer to it as "Bastille group") within the Spounavirinae subfamily. Here we demonstrate that these viruses constitute a distinct branch of the Spounavirinae phylogenetic tree, with limited similarity to phages from the Twortlikevirus and Spounalikevirus genera. The classification of phages from the Bastille group into any currently accepted genus proved extremely difficult, prompting concerns about the validity of the present taxonomic arrangement of the subfamily.
PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(1):e86632. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Any method that de novo predicts protein function should do better than random. More challenging, it also ought to outperform simple homology-based inference.
Here, we describe a few methods that predict protein function exclusively through homology. Together, they set the bar or lower limit for future improvements.
During the development of these methods, we faced two surprises. Firstly, our most successful implementation for the baseline ranked very high at CAFA1. In fact, our best combination of homology-based methods fared only slightly worse than the top-of-the-line prediction method from the Jones group. Secondly, although the concept of homology-based inference is simple, this work revealed that the precise details of the implementation are crucial: not only did the methods span from top to bottom performers at CAFA, but also the reasons for these differences were unexpected. In this work, we also propose a new rigorous measure to compare predicted and experimental annotations. It puts more emphasis on the details of protein function than the other measures employed by CAFA and may best reflect the expectations of users. Clearly, the definition of proper goals remains one major objective for CAFA.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although the ultrastructure of the schistosome esophageal gland was described >35 years ago, its role in the processing of ingested blood has never been established. The current study was prompted by our identification of MEG-4.1 expression in the gland and the observation of erythrocyte uncoating in the posterior esophagus.
The salient feature of the posterior esophagus, characterized by confocal and electron microscopy, is the enormous increase in membrane surface area provided by the plate-like extensions and basal invaginations of the lining syncytium, with unique crystalloid vesicles releasing their contents between the plates. The feeding process was shown by video microscopy to be divided into two phases, blood first accumulating in the anterior lumen before passing as a bolus to the posterior. There it streamed around a plug of material revealed by confocal microscopy as tethered leucocytes. These were present in far larger numbers than predicted from the volume of the lumen, and in varying states of damage and destruction. Intact erythrocytes were detected in the anterior esophagus but not observed thereafter, implying that their lysis occurred rapidly as they enter the posterior. Two further genes, MEGs 4.2 and 14, were shown to be expressed exclusively in the esophageal gland. Bioinformatics predicted that MEGs 4.1 and 4.2 possessed a common hydrophobic region with a shared motif, while antibodies to SjMEG-4.1 showed it was bound to leucocytes in the esophageal lumen. It was also predicted that MEGs 4.1 and 14 were heavily O-glycosylated and this was confirmed for the former by 2D-electrophoresis and Western blotting.
The esophageal gland and its products play a central role in the processing of ingested blood. The binding of host antibodies in the esophageal lumen shows that some constituents are antibody targets and could provide a new source of vaccine candidates.
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