Expert opinion was assessed to identify current knowledge gaps in determining future changes in Arabian/Persian Gulf (thereafter Gulf) coral reefs. Thirty-one participants submitted 71 research questions that were peer-assessed in terms of scientific importance (i.e., filled a knowledge gap and was a research priority) and efficiency in resource use (i.e., was highly feasible and ecologically broad). Ten research questions, in six major research areas, were highly important for both understanding Gulf coral reef ecosystems and also an efficient use of limited research resources. These questions mirrored global evaluations of the importance of understanding and evaluating biodiversity, determining the potential impacts of climate change, the role of anthropogenic impacts in structuring coral reef communities, and economically evaluating coral reef communities. These questions provide guidance for future research on coral reef ecosystems within the Gulf, and enhance the potential for assessment and management of future changes in this globally significant region.
The pH dependence of native peptidylglycine monooxygenase (PHM) and its M314H variant has been studied in detail. For wild-type (WT) PHM, the intensity of the Cu-S interaction visible in the Cu(I) extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) data is inversely proportional to catalytic activity over the pH range of 3-8. A previous model based on more limited data was interpreted in terms of two protein conformations involving an inactive Met-on form and an active flexible Met-off form [Bauman, A. T., et al. (2006) Biochemistry 45, 11140-11150] that derived its catalytic activity from the ability to couple into vibrational modes critical for proton tunneling. The new studies comparing the WT and M314H variant have led to the evolution of this model, in which the Met-on form has been found to be derived from coordination of an additional Met residue, rather than a more rigid conformer of M314 as previously proposed. The catalytic activity of the mutant decreased by 96% because of effects on both k(cat) and K(M), but it displayed the same activity-pH profile with a maximum around pH 6. At pH 8, the reduced Cu(I) form gave spectra that could be simulated by replacement of the Cu(M) Cu-S(Met) interaction with a Cu-N/O interaction, but the data did not unambiguously assign the ligand to the imidazole side chain of H314. At pH 3.5, the EXAFS still showed the presence of a strong Cu-S interaction, establishing that the Met-on form observed at low pH in WT cannot be due to a strengthening of the Cu(M)-methionine interaction but must arise from a different Cu-S interaction. Therefore, lowering the pH causes a conformational change at one of the Cu centers that brings a new S donor residue into a favorable orientation for coordination to copper and generates an inactive form. Cys coordination is unlikely because all Cys residues in PHM are engaged in disulfide cross-links. Sequence comparison with the PHM homologues tyramine ?-monooxygenase and dopamine ?-monooxygenase suggests that M109 (adjacent to H site ligands H107 and H108) is the most likely candidate. A model is presented in which H108 is protonated with a pK(a) of 4.6 to generate the inactive low-pH form with Cu(H) coordinated by M109, H107, and H172.
Data-intensive science will open up new avenues to explore, new questions to ask, and new ways to answer. Yet, this potential cannot be unlocked without new emphasis on education of the researchers gathering data, the analysts analyzing data and the cross-disciplinary participants working together to make it happen. This article is a summary of the education issues and challenges of data-intensive sciences and cloud computing as discussed in the Data-Intensive Science (DIS) workshop in Seattle, September 19-20, 2010.
The Persian Gulf is a semi-enclosed marine system surrounded by eight countries, many of which are experiencing substantial development. It is also a major center for the oil industry. The increasing array of anthropogenic disturbances may have substantial negative impacts on marine ecosystems, but this has received little attention until recently. We review the available literature on the Gulfs marine environment and detail our recent experience in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) to evaluate the role of anthropogenic disturbance in this marine ecosystem. Extensive coastal development may now be the single most important anthropogenic stressor. We offer suggestions for how to build awareness of environmental risks of current practices, enhance regional capacity for coastal management, and build cooperative management of this important, shared marine system. An excellent opportunity exists for one or more of the bordering countries to initiate a bold and effective, long-term, international collaboration in environmental management for the Gulf.
In high-throughput mass spectrometry proteomics, peptides and proteins are not simply identified as present or not present in a sample, rather the identifications are associated with differing levels of confidence. The false discovery rate (FDR) has emerged as an accepted means for measuring the confidence associated with identifications. We have developed the Systematic Protein Investigative Research Environment (SPIRE) for the purpose of integrating the best available proteomics methods. Two successful approaches to estimating the FDR for MS protein identifications are the MAYU and our current SPIRE methods. We present here a method to combine these two approaches to estimating the FDR for MS protein identifications into an integrated protein model (IPM). We illustrate the high quality performance of this IPM approach through testing on two large publicly available proteomics datasets. MAYU and SPIRE show remarkable consistency in identifying proteins in these datasets. Still, IPM results in a more robust FDR estimation approach and additional identifications, particularly among low abundance proteins. IPM is now implemented as a part of the SPIRE system.
The SPIRE (Systematic Protein Investigative Research Environment) provides web-based experiment-specific mass spectrometry (MS) proteomics analysis (https://www.proteinspire.org). Its emphasis is on usability and integration of the best analytic tools. SPIRE provides an easy to use web-interface and generates results in both interactive and simple data formats. In contrast to run-based approaches, SPIRE conducts the analysis based on the experimental design. It employs novel methods to generate false discovery rates and local false discovery rates (FDR, LFDR) and integrates the best and complementary open-source search and data analysis methods. The SPIRE approach of integrating X!Tandem, OMSSA and SpectraST can produce an increase in protein IDs (52-88%) over current combinations of scoring and single search engines while also providing accurate multi-faceted error estimation. One of SPIREs primary assets is combining the results with data on protein function, pathways and protein expression from model organisms. We demonstrate some of SPIREs capabilities by analyzing mitochondrial proteins from the wild type and 3 mutants of C. elegans. SPIRE also connects results to publically available proteomics data through its Model Organism Protein Expression Database (MOPED). SPIRE can also provide analysis and annotation for user supplied protein ID and expression data.
Difficulties in scaling up theoretical and experimental results have raised controversy over the consequences of biodiversity loss for the functioning of natural ecosystems. Using a global survey of reef fish assemblages, we show that in contrast to previous theoretical and experimental studies, ecosystem functioning (as measured by standing biomass) scales in a non-saturating manner with biodiversity (as measured by species and functional richness) in this ecosystem. Our field study also shows a significant and negative interaction between human population density and biodiversity on ecosystem functioning (i.e., for the same human density there were larger reductions in standing biomass at more diverse reefs). Human effects were found to be related to fishing, coastal development, and land use stressors, and currently affect over 75% of the worlds coral reefs. Our results indicate that the consequences of biodiversity loss in coral reefs have been considerably underestimated based on existing knowledge and that reef fish assemblages, particularly the most diverse, are greatly vulnerable to the expansion and intensity of anthropogenic stressors in coastal areas.
High-throughput (HTP) proteomics studies generate large amounts of data. Interpretation of these data requires effective approaches to distinguish noise from biological signal, particularly as instrument and computational capacity increase and studies become more complex. Resolving this issue requires validated and reproducible methods and models, which in turn requires complex experimental and computational standards. The absence of appropriate standards and data sets for validating experimental and computational workflows hinders the development of HTP proteomics methods. Most protein standards are simple mixtures of proteins or peptides, or undercharacterized reference standards in which the identity and concentration of the constituent proteins is unknown. The Seattle Childrens 200 (SC-200) proposed proteomics standard mixture is the next step toward developing realistic, fully characterized HTP proteomics standards. The SC-200 exhibits a unique modular design to extend its functionality, and consists of 200 proteins of known identities and molar concentrations from 6 microbial genomes, distributed into 10 molar concentration tiers spanning a 1,000-fold range. We describe the SC-200s design, potential uses, and initial characterization. We identified 84% of SC-200 proteins with an LTQ-Orbitrap and 65% with an LTQ-Velos (false discovery rate?=?1% for both). There were obvious trends in success rate, sequence coverage, and spectral counts with protein concentration; however, protein identification, sequence coverage, and spectral counts vary greatly within concentration levels.
Tropical harmful algal blooms (HABs) are increasing in frequency and intensity and are substantially affecting marine communities. In October/November 2008 a large-scale HAB event (> 500 km(2), dinoflagellate Cochlodinium polykrikoides) in the Gulf of Oman caused the complete loss of the branching corals, Pocillopora and Acropora spp., and substantial reductions in the abundance, richness and trophic diversity of the associated coral reef fish communities. Although the causative agents of this C. polykrikoides bloom are unknown, increased coastal enrichment, natural oceanographic mechanisms, and the recent expansion of this species within ballast water discharge are expected to be the main agents. With rapid changes in oceanic climate, enhanced coastal eutrophication and increased global distribution of HAB species within ballast water, large-scale HAB events are predicted to increase dramatically in both intensity and distribution and can be expected to have increasingly negative effects on coral reef communities globally.
MS-based proteomics characterizes protein contents of biological samples. The most common approach is to first match observed MS/MS peptide spectra against theoretical spectra from a protein sequence database and then to score these matches. The false discovery rate (FDR) can be estimated as a function of the score by searching together the protein sequence database and its randomized version and comparing the score distributions of the randomized versus nonrandomized matches. This work introduces a straightforward isotonic regression-based method to estimate the cumulative FDRs and local FDRs (LFDRs) of peptide identification. Our isotonic method not only performed as well as other methods used for comparison, but also has the advantages of being: (i) monotonic in the score, (ii) computationally simple, and (iii) not dependent on assumptions about score distributions. We demonstrate the flexibility of our approach by using it to estimate FDRs and LFDRs for protein identification using summaries of the peptide spectra scores. We reconfirmed that several of these methods were superior to a two-peptide rule. Finally, by estimating both the FDRs and LFDRs, we showed for both peptide and protein identification, moderate FDR values (5%) corresponded to large LFDR values (53 and 60%).
The size structure of coral populations is the culmination of key demographic events, including recruitment, mortality and growth, thereby providing important insights to recent ecological dynamics. Importantly, the size structure of corals reflects both intrinsic (inherent life-history characteristics) and extrinsic (enhanced mortality due to chronic or acute disturbances) forcing on local populations, enabling post-hoc assessment of spatial and taxonomic differences in susceptibility to disturbance. This study examined the size structure of four locally abundant corals (Acropora downingi, Favia pallida, Platygyra daedalea, and massive Porites spp.) in two regions of the Persian Gulf: the southern Gulf (Dubai and Abu Dhabi) and eastern Gulf (western Musandam). Significant and consistent differences were apparent in mean colony sizes and size-distributions between regions. All corals in the southern Gulf were significantly smaller, and their size structure positively skewed and relatively more leptokurtic (i.e., peaky) compared to corals in the eastern Gulf. Sea surface temperatures, salinity, and the recent frequency of mass bleaching are all higher, in the southern Gulf, suggesting higher mortality rates and/or slower growth in these populations. Differences in size structure between locations were more pronounced than differences between species at each location, suggesting that extreme differences in environmental conditions and disturbance events have a greater influence on population dynamics in the Gulf than inherent differences in their life-history characteristics.
Breakwaters and related structures dominate near-shore environments in many Persian Gulf countries, but little is known of their ecology. To examine the influence of wave exposure on fish communities we surveyed exposed and sheltered breakwaters seasonally over 2 years and compared these with natural reef assemblages. Species richness and adult, juvenile, and total abundance were generally comparable among the three habitat types each season. However, differences in multivariate community structure indicated that each habitat contained a distinct assemblage, with strongest difference between sheltered breakwaters and the exposed natural reef. All communities were characterized by marked seasonality; abundance and richness were generally higher in the warmer seasons (summer, fall) than during cooler periods (winter, spring), and there were related seasonal changes in community structure, particularly on the natural reef. Results indicate that breakwaters are important fish habitats, but that breakwater communities vary with wave exposure and are distinct from natural reefs.
The functional composition of reef fish assemblages is highly conserved across large biogeographic areas, but it is unknown whether assembly rules hold at biogeographical and environmental extremes for coral reefs. This study examined the functional composition of butterflyfishes in the Persian Gulf, Musandam Peninsula, and Gulf of Oman. Only five species of butterflyfishes were recorded during this study, and mostly just in the Gulf of Oman. Unlike most locations in the Indo-Pacific where butterflyfish assemblages are dominated by obligate corallivores, the only obligate corallivore recorded, Chaetodon melapterus, was rare or absent at all locations. The most common and widespread species was Chaetodon nigropunctatus, which is shown to be a facultative corallivore. The diversity of butterflyfishes in the Persian Gulf is likely to have been constrained by its biogeographical history and isolation, but functional composition appears to be further affected by limited abundance of prey corals and harsh environmental conditions.
Multivariate analysis revealed distinct sub-regional coral communities among the southern Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, and Gulf of Oman. Differences in community structure among locations were associated with considerable spatial heterogeneity in oceanic conditions, and strong directional environmental gradients. Despite clear community differences, considerable changes to coral community structure have occurred throughout the northeastern Arabian Peninsula as compared with previous studies. The most dramatic of these are the apparent changes from Acropora dominated to poritid and faviid dominated communities, particularly in the southern Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz. Although temperature and salinity have previously been cited as the major environmental factors structuring coral communities around the region, additional environmental parameters, including chlorophyll-a, surface currents and winds are shown to be important in structuring reef communities throughout the northeastern Arabian Peninsula.
The 331-kbp chlorovirus Paramecium bursaria chlorella virus 1 (PBCV-1) genome was resequenced and annotated to correct errors in the original 15-year-old sequence; 40 codons was considered the minimum protein size of an open reading frame. PBCV-1 has 416 predicted protein-encoding sequences and 11 tRNAs. A proteome analysis was also conducted on highly purified PBCV-1 virions using two mass spectrometry-based protocols. The mass spectrometry-derived data were compared to PBCV-1 and its host Chlorella variabilis NC64A predicted proteomes. Combined, these analyses revealed 148 unique virus-encoded proteins associated with the virion (about 35% of the coding capacity of the virus) and 1 host protein. Some of these proteins appear to be structural/architectural, whereas others have enzymatic, chromatin modification, and signal transduction functions. Most (106) of the proteins have no known function or homologs in the existing gene databases except as orthologs with proteins of other chloroviruses, phycodnaviruses, and nuclear-cytoplasmic large DNA viruses. The genes encoding these proteins are dispersed throughout the virus genome, and most are transcribed late or early-late in the infection cycle, which is consistent with virion morphogenesis.
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