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Communicative & Integrative Biology

Fumihiro Kano, Christopher Krupenye, Satoshi Hirata, Josep Call
Using a novel eye-tracking test, we recently showed that great apes anticipate that other individuals will act according to false beliefs. This finding suggests that, like humans, great apes understand others' false beliefs, at least in an implicit way. One key question raised by our study is why apes have passed our tests but not previous ones. In this article, we consider this question by detailing the development of our task. We considered 3 major differences in our task compared with the previous ones. First, we monitored apes' eye movements, and specifically their anticipatory looks, to measure their predictions about how agents will behave...
2017: Communicative & Integrative Biology
Shuji Wakatsuki, Toshiyuki Araki
Axonal degeneration is a key pathological feature of several neurological disorders. Emerging evidence has suggested a pathological connection between axonal degeneration and autophagy, a lysosomal degradation pathway. We recently reported that GSK3B-mediated phosphorylation of MCL1 regulates axonal autophagy to promote axonal degeneration. GSK3B-MCL1 pathway affects ATP production locally in degenerating axons and the exposure of phosphatidylserine (PS), an "eat-me" signal for phagocytes, on degenerating axons, resulting in the failed engulfment of axonal debris in vivo...
2017: Communicative & Integrative Biology
Jaime Iranzo, Mart Krupovic, Eugene V Koonin
Viral evolution is characterized by high rates of horizontal gene transfer and fast sequence divergence. Furthermore, there are no universal genes shared by all viruses. As a result, distant relationships among viruses are better represented by a network than by a tree. Here we discuss 3 network representations of the virus world with decreasing levels of complexity, from a multilayer network that integrates sequence conservation and patterns of gene sharing to a classic genome similarity network. As new tools for network analysis are developed, we expect that novel insights into virus evolution will result from the study of more complex representations of the virus world...
2017: Communicative & Integrative Biology
Balázs Rada
Neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) formation represents a unique effector function of neutrophils (PMN). The mechanism of NET release in response to bacteria is largely unknown. We studied the process by which Pseudomonas aeruginosa, an opportunistic pathogen, interacts with primary PMNs, and found that flagellar swimming motility of the bacterium is essential for inducing NET extrusion. Cystic fibrosis (CF) lung disease is associated with P. aeruginosa infection and PMN-dominated inflammation. Although NETs are abundant in CF airways, the main factors triggering NET release in CF remain unclear...
2017: Communicative & Integrative Biology
Nobuko Sumiya, Shin-Ya Miyagishima
Chloroplasts have evolved from a cyanobacterial endosymbiont and multiply by dividing. Chloroplast division is performed by constriction of the ring-like protein complex (the PD machinery), which forms at the division site. The PD machinery is composed of cyanobacteria-descended components such as FtsZ and eukaryote-derived proteins such as the dynamin-related protein, DRP5B. In the red alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae, FtsZ ring formation on the stromal side precedes PDR1 and DRP5B ring formation on the cytosolic side...
2017: Communicative & Integrative Biology
Michael E Scharf, Yunpeng Cai, Yijun Sun, Ruchira Sen, Rhitoban Raychoudhury, Drion G Boucias
The termite gut accomplishes key physiologic functions that underlie termite symbiosis and sociality. However, potential candidate functions of the host-symbiont holobiome have not yet been explored across seemingly divergent processes such as digestion, immunity, caste differentiation, and xenobiotic tolerance. This study took a meta-analysis approach for concurrently studying host and symbiont gut metatranscriptome responses of the lower termite Reticulitermes flavipes, which has ancestral characteristics and hosts a diverse mix of eukaryotic and bacterial symbionts...
2017: Communicative & Integrative Biology
Francisco Figueroa-Martinez, Aurora M Nedelcu, Adrian Reyes-Prieto, David R Smith
The thing about plastid genomes in nonphotosynthetic plants and algae is that they are usually very small and highly compact. This is not surprising: a heterotrophic existence means that genes for photosynthesis can be easily discarded. But the loss of photosynthesis cannot explain why the plastomes of heterotrophs are so often depauperate in noncoding DNA. If plastid genomes from photosynthetic taxa can span the gamut of compactness, why can't those of nonphotosynthetic species? Well, recently we showed that they can...
2017: Communicative & Integrative Biology
Tomohito Yamasaki, Heriberto Cerutti
We have previously reported that the RNA-binding protein Dull slicer 16 (DUS16) plays a key role in the processing of primary miRNAs (pri-miRNAs) in the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. In the present report, we elaborate on the interaction of DUS16 with Dicer-like 3 (DCL3) during pri-miRNA processing. Comprehensive analyses of small RNA libraries derived from mutant and wild-type algal strains allowed the de novo prediction of 35 pri-miRNA genes, including 9 previously unknown ones. The pri-miRNAs dependent on DUS16 for processing largely overlapped with those dependent on DCL3...
2017: Communicative & Integrative Biology
Beatrice Vignoli, Marco Canossa
We have recently reported that long-term memory retention requires synaptic glia for proBDNF uptake and recycling. Through the recycling course, glial cells release endocytic BDNF, a mechanism that is activated in response to glutamate via AMPA and mGluRI/II receptors. Cortical astrocytes express receptors for many different transmitters suggesting for a complex signaling controlling endocytic BDNF secretion. Here, we demonstrated that the extracellular nucleotide ATP, activating P2X and P2Y receptors, regulates endocytic BDNF secretion in cultured astrocytes...
2017: Communicative & Integrative Biology
Anna Villar-Piqué, Giulia Rossetti, Salvador Ventura, Paolo Carloni, Claudio O Fernández, Tiago Fleming Outeiro
Copper is one of the metals described to bind the Parkinson disease-related protein α-synuclein (aSyn), and to promote its aggregation. Although histidine at position 50 in the aSyn sequence is one of the most studied copper-anchoring sites, its precise role in copper binding and aSyn aggregation is still unclear. Previous studies suggested that this residue does not significantly affect copper-mediated aSyn aggregation. However, our findings showed that the aggregation of the pathological H50Q aSyn mutant is enhanced by copper hints otherwise...
2017: Communicative & Integrative Biology
Juan Olvido Perea García, Tomáš Grenzner, Gabriela Hešková, Panagiotis Mitkidis
The notion that phenomenologically observable differences in the human eye are correlated with behavioral tendencies (other than gaze-following) has been addressed poorly in the psychological literature. Most notably, the proposed correlations are based on an arbitrary categorization in discrete categories of the continuous variability across various traits that could be contributing to individual eye morphologies. We review the relevant literature and assume a view of human eyes as sign stimuli, identifying the relative contrast between the iridal and scleral areas as the main contributor to the strength of the signal...
2017: 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
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