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Communicative & Integrative Biology

Maria Fernell, Cayley Swinton, Ken Lukowiak
Epicatechin (Epi), a flavanol found in foods such as dark chocolate has previously been shown to enhance memory formation in our model system, operant conditioning of aerial respiration in Lymnaea. In those experiments snails were trained in Epi. Here we ask whether snails exposed to Epi before training, during the consolidation period immediately following training, or 1 h after training would enhance memory formation. We report here that Epi is only able to enhance memory if snails are placed in Epi-containing pond water immediately after training...
July 2016: Communicative & Integrative Biology
Ting-Yi Wang, Jean-Philippe Pellois
Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) enter cells primarily by escaping from endosomal compartments or by directly translocating across the plasma membrane. Due to their capability of permeating into the cytosolic space of the cell, CPPs are utilized for the delivery of cell-impermeable molecules. However, the fundamental mechanisms and parameters associated with the penetration of CPPs and their cargos through the lipid bilayer have not been fully determined. This in turn has hampered their usage in biotechnological or therapeutic applications...
July 2016: Communicative & Integrative Biology
Peter W Barlow
Redundancy-the excess of supply over necessity-has recently been proposed for human sperm cells. However, the apparent superfluity of cell numbers may be necessary in order to circumvent the hazards, many of which can be quantified, that can occur during the transition from gametogenesis within the testes to zygosis within the female reproductive tract. Sperm cell numbers are directly related to testicular volume, and it is owing to a redundancy, and the possible exaptation, of this latter parameter that a putative excess of sperm cells is perceived...
July 2016: Communicative & Integrative Biology
Ana Kucera, Oddmund Bakke, Cinzia Progida
The small GTPase Rab9 has long been described as a protein that mediates endosome-to-trans-Golgi Network (TGN) transport, and specifically mannose-6-phospate receptor (MPR) recycling. However, studies have challenged this view by showing that Rab9 also is connected to sorting pathways toward the endolysosomal compartments. We recently characterized the spatio-temporal dynamics of Rab9 and, by using live cell imaging, we showed that it enters the endosomal pathway together with CI-MPR at the transition stage between early, Rab5-positive, and late, Rab7a-positive, endosomes...
July 2016: Communicative & Integrative Biology
Maude F Lévêque, Hoa Mai Nguyen, Sébastien Besteiro
Toxoplasma gondii and other apicomplexan parasites contain a peculiar non-photosynthetic plastid called the apicoplast, which is essential for their survival. The localization of autophagy-related protein ATG8 to the apicoplast in several apicomplexan species and life stages has recently been described, and we have shown this protein is essential for proper inheritance of this complex plastid into daughter cells during cell division. Although the mechanism behind ATG8 association to the apicoplast in T. gondii is related to the canonical conjugation system leading to autophagosome formation, its singular role seems independent from the initial catabolic purpose of autophagy...
July 2016: Communicative & Integrative Biology
Rouhallah Sharifi, Choong-Min Ryu
Bacterial volatiles protect plants either by directly inhibiting a pathogenic fungus or by improving the defense capabilities of plants. The effect of bacterial volatiles on fungal growth was dose-dependent. A low dosage did not have a noticeable effect on Botrytis cinerea growth and development, but was sufficient to elicit induced resistance in Arabidopsis thaliana. Bacterial volatiles displayed negative effects on biofilm formation on a polystyrene surface and in in planta leaf colonization of B. cinerea...
July 2016: Communicative & Integrative Biology
Kelly G Sullivan, Maya Emmons-Bell, Michael Levin
A key problem in evolutionary developmental biology is identifying the sources of instructive information that determine species-specific anatomical pattern. Understanding the inputs to large-scale morphology is also crucial for efforts to manipulate pattern formation in regenerative medicine and synthetic bioengineering. Recent studies have revealed a physiological system of communication among cells that regulates pattern during embryogenesis and regeneration in vertebrate and invertebrate models. Somatic tissues form networks using the same ion channels, electrical synapses, and neurotransmitter mechanisms exploited by the brain for information-processing...
July 2016: Communicative & Integrative Biology
Ann Kari Grindheim, Anni Vedeler
Annexin A2 (AnxA2) is present in multiple cellular compartments and interacts with numerous ligands including calcium, proteins, cholesterol, negatively charged phospholipids and RNA. These interactions are tightly regulated by its post-translational modifications. The levels of AnxA2 and its Tyr23 phosphorylated form (pTyr23AnxA2) are increased in many cancers and the protein is involved in malignant cell transformation, metastasis and angiogenesis. Our previous studies of rat pheochromocytoma (PC12) cells showed that reactive oxygen species (ROS) induce rapid, simultaneous and transient dephosphorylation of nuclear AnxA2, most likely associating with PML bodies, while AnxA2 associated with F-actin at the cell cortex undergoes Tyr23 phosphorylation...
July 2016: Communicative & Integrative Biology
Juan C G Cortés, Mariona Ramos, Masako Osumi, Pilar Pérez, Juan Carlos Ribas
In animal cells cytokinesis relies on the contraction of an actomyosin ring that pulls the plasma membrane to create a cleavage furrow, whose ingression finally divides the mother cell into two daughter cells. Fungal cells are surrounded by a tough and flexible structure called cell wall, which is considered to be the functional equivalent of the extracellular matrix in animal cells. Therefore, in addition to cleavage furrow ingression, fungal cytokinesis also requires the centripetal formation of a septum wall structure that develops between the dividing cells, whose genesis must be strictly coordinated with both the actomyosin ring closure and plasma membrane ingression...
July 2016: Communicative & Integrative Biology
Eun Ryoung Jang, Emilia Galperin
The extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK1/2) cascade regulates a myriad of functions in multicellular organisms. Scaffold proteins provide critical spatial and temporal control over the specificity of signaling. Shoc2 is a scaffold that accelerates activity of the ERK1/2 pathway. Loss of Shoc2 expression in mice results in embryonic lethality, thus highlighting the essential role of Shoc2 in embryogenesis. In agreement, patients carrying mutated Shoc2 suffer from a wide spectrum of developmental deficiencies...
July 2016: Communicative & Integrative Biology
Arto Annila, Keith Baverstock
The second law of thermodynamics is on one hand understood to account for irrevocable flow of energy from the top down, on the other hand it is seen to imply irreversible increase of disorder. This tension between the 2 stances is resolved in favor of the free energy consumption when entropy is derived from the statistical mechanics of open systems. The change in entropy is shown to map directly to the decrease in free energy without any connotation attached to disorder. Increase of disorder, just as order, is found to be merely a consequence of free energy consumption...
July 2016: Communicative & Integrative Biology
Antonio Daniel Barbosa, Symeon Siniossoglou
Survival during starvation depends largely on metabolic energy, which is stored in the form of neutral lipids in specialized organelles known as lipid droplets. The precursors for the synthesis of neutral lipids are also used for membrane biogenesis, which is required for cell growth and proliferation. Therefore cells must possess mechanisms to preferentially channel lipid precursors toward either membrane synthesis or lipid droplet storage, in response to nutrient status. How this partitioning is spatially regulated within the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) where lipid droplets co-localize, remains poorly understood...
July 2016: Communicative & Integrative Biology
Reina Inokuchi, Tomonori Kawano
Controlled generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is widely beneficial to various medical, environmental, and agricultural studies. As inspired by the functional motifs in natural proteins, our group has been engaged in development of catalytically active oligo-peptides as minimum-sized metalloenzymes for generation of superoxide anion, an active member of ROS. In such candidate molecules, catalytically active metal-binding minimal motif was determined to be X-X-H, where X can be most amino acids followed by His...
July 2016: Communicative & Integrative Biology
Moshe Gish, Mark C Mescher, Consuelo M De Moraes
Extrafloral nectaries play an important role in plant defense against herbivores by providing nectar rewards that attract ants and other carnivorous insects. However, extrafloral nectaries can themselves be targets of herbivory, in addition to being exploited by nectar-robbing insects that do not provide defensive services. We recently found that the extrafloral nectaries of Vicia faba plants, as well as immediately adjacent tissues, exhibit high concentrations of chemical toxins, apparently as a defense against herbivory...
May 2016: Communicative & Integrative Biology
Allan M Showalter, Debarati Basu
Arabinogalactan-proteins (AGPs) are ubiquitous cell wall components present throughout the plant kingdom. They are extensively post translationally modified by conversion of proline to hydroxyproline (Hyp) and by addition of arabinogalactan (AG) polysaccharides to Hyp residues. Two small gene subfamilies within the CAZy GT31 family, referred to as Hyp-galactosyltransferases (Hyp-GALTs and HPGTs), encode enzymes that specifically add galactose to AGP protein backbones as revealed by heterologous expression of the genes coupled with an in vitro enzyme assay and by biochemical characterization of the genetic knock-out mutants...
May 2016: Communicative & Integrative Biology
Stefanie Lucarelli, Rohan Pandey, Gurjeet Judge, Costin N Antonescu
Receptor tyrosine kinases, such as the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor (EGFR) and Met lead to activation of intracellular signals including Akt, a critical regulator of cell survival, metabolism and proliferation. Upon binding their respective ligands, each of these receptors is recruited into clathrin coated pits (CCPs) eventually leading to endocytosis. We have recently shown that phosphorylation of Gab1 and Akt following EGFR activation requires clathrin, but does not require receptor endocytosis...
May 2016: Communicative & Integrative Biology
Jan Krátký, Martin Lang, John H Shaver, Danijela Jerotijević, Dimitris Xygalatas
Despite the wide occurrence of ritual behavior in humans and animals, much of its causal underpinnings, as well as evolutionary functions, remain unknown. A prominent line of research focuses on ritualization as a response to anxiogenic stimuli. By manipulating anxiety levels, and subsequently assessing their motor behavior dynamics, our recent study investigated this causal link in a controlled way. As an extension to our original argument, we here discuss 2 theoretical explanations of rituals-ritualized behavior and automated behavior-and their link to anxiety...
May 2016: Communicative & Integrative Biology
Andreas Jeschke, Albert Haas
Professional phagocytes engulf microbial invaders into plasma membrane-derived phagosomes. These mature into microbicidal phagolysosomes, leading to killing of the ingested microbe. Phagosome maturation involves sequential fusion of the phagosome with early endosomes, late endosomes, and the main degradative compartments in cells, lysosomes. Some bacterial pathogens manipulate the phosphoinositide (PIP) composition of phagosome membranes and are not delivered to phagolysosomes, pointing at a role of PIPs in phagosome maturation...
May 2016: Communicative & Integrative Biology
Adrian Bejan
What is evolution and why does it exist in the biological, geophysical and technological realms - in short, everywhere? Why is there a time direction - a time arrow - in the changes we know are happening every moment and everywhere? Why is the present different than the past? These are questions of physics, about everything, not just biology. The answer is that nothing lives, flows and moves unless it is driven by power. Physics sheds light on the natural engines that produce the power destroyed by the flows, and on the free morphing that leads to flow architectures naturally and universally...
May 2016: Communicative & Integrative Biology
E M Eisenstein, D L Eisenstein, J S M Sarma
There are probably few terms in evolutionary studies regarding neuroscience issues that are used more frequently than 'behavior', 'learning', 'memory', and 'mind'. Yet there are probably as many different meanings of these terms as there are users of them. Further, investigators in such studies, while recognizing the full phylogenetic spectrum of life and the evolution of these phenomena, rarely go beyond mammals and other vertebrates in their investigations; invertebrates are sometimes included. What is rarely taken into consideration, though, is that to fully understand the evolution and significance for survival of these phenomena across phylogeny, it is essential that they be measured and compared in the same units of measurement across the full phylogenetic spectrum from aneural bacteria and protozoa to humans...
May 2016: Communicative & Integrative Biology
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