Using fluorescence super-resolution microscopy we studied simultaneous spectral, spatial localization, and blinking behavior of individual 1D J-aggregates. Excitons migrating 100 nm are funneled to a trap appearing as an additional red-shifted blinking fluorescence band. We propose that the trap is a Frenkel exciton state formed much below the main exciton band edge due to an environmentally induced heavy-tailed Lévy disorder. This points to disorder engineering as a new avenue in controlling light-harvesting in molecular ensembles.
Contamination by present-day human and microbial DNA is one of the major hindrances for large-scale genomic studies using ancient biological material. We describe a new molecular method, U selection, which exploits one of the most distinctive features of ancient DNA--the presence of deoxyuracils--for selective enrichment of endogenous DNA against a complex background of contamination during DNA library preparation. By applying the method to Neanderthal DNA extracts that are heavily contaminated with present-day human DNA, we show that the fraction of useful sequence information increases ? 10-fold and that the resulting sequences are more efficiently depleted of human contamination than when using purely computational approaches. Furthermore, we show that U selection can lead to a four- to fivefold increase in the proportion of endogenous DNA sequences relative to those of microbial contaminants in some samples. U selection may thus help to lower the costs for ancient genome sequencing of nonhuman samples also.
We sequenced the genomes of a ?7,000-year-old farmer from Germany and eight ?8,000-year-old hunter-gatherers from Luxembourg and Sweden. We analysed these and other ancient genomes with 2,345 contemporary humans to show that most present-day Europeans derive from at least three highly differentiated populations: west European hunter-gatherers, who contributed ancestry to all Europeans but not to Near Easterners; ancient north Eurasians related to Upper Palaeolithic Siberians, who contributed to both Europeans and Near Easterners; and early European farmers, who were mainly of Near Eastern origin but also harboured west European hunter-gatherer related ancestry. We model these populations' deep relationships and show that early European farmers had ?44% ancestry from a 'basal Eurasian' population that split before the diversification of other non-African lineages.
Marsupials exhibit great diversity in ecology and morphology. However, compared with their sister group, the placental mammals, our understanding of many aspects of marsupial evolution remains limited. We use 101 mitochondrial genomes and data from 26 nuclear loci to reconstruct a dated phylogeny including 97% of extant genera and 58% of modern marsupial species. This tree allows us to analyze the evolution of habitat preference and geographic distributions of marsupial species through time. We found a pattern of mesic-adapted lineages evolving to use more arid and open habitats, which is broadly consistent with regional climate and environmental change. However, contrary to the general trend, several lineages subsequently appear to have reverted from drier to more mesic habitats. Biogeographic reconstructions suggest that current views on the connectivity between Australia and New Guinea/Wallacea during the Miocene and Pliocene need to be revised. The antiquity of several endemic New Guinean clades strongly suggests a substantially older period of connection stretching back to the Middle Miocene and implies that New Guinea was colonized by multiple clades almost immediately after its principal formation.
We present the high-quality genome sequence of a ?45,000-year-old modern human male from Siberia. This individual derives from a population that lived before-or simultaneously with-the separation of the populations in western and eastern Eurasia and carries a similar amount of Neanderthal ancestry as present-day Eurasians. However, the genomic segments of Neanderthal ancestry are substantially longer than those observed in present-day individuals, indicating that Neanderthal gene flow into the ancestors of this individual occurred 7,000-13,000 years before he lived. We estimate an autosomal mutation rate of 0.4 × 10(-9) to 0.6 × 10(-9) per site per year, a Y chromosomal mutation rate of 0.7 × 10(-9) to 0.9 × 10(-9) per site per year based on the additional substitutions that have occurred in present-day non-Africans compared to this genome, and a mitochondrial mutation rate of 1.8 × 10(-8) to 3.2 × 10(-8) per site per year based on the age of the bone.
We present the DNA sequence of 17,367 protein-coding genes in two Neandertals from Spain and Croatia and analyze them together with the genome sequence recently determined from a Neandertal from southern Siberia. Comparisons with present-day humans from Africa, Europe, and Asia reveal that genetic diversity among Neandertals was remarkably low, and that they carried a higher proportion of amino acid-changing (nonsynonymous) alleles inferred to alter protein structure or function than present-day humans. Thus, Neandertals across Eurasia had a smaller long-term effective population than present-day humans. We also identify amino acid substitutions in Neandertals and present-day humans that may underlie phenotypic differences between the two groups. We find that genes involved in skeletal morphology have changed more in the lineage leading to Neandertals than in the ancestral lineage common to archaic and modern humans, whereas genes involved in behavior and pigmentation have changed more on the modern human lineage.
Annelida is one of three animal groups possessing segmentation and is central in considerations about the evolution of different character traits. It has even been proposed that the bilaterian ancestor resembled an annelid. However, a robust phylogeny of Annelida, especially with respect to the basal relationships, has been lacking. Our study based on transcriptomic data comprising 68,750-170,497 amino acid sites from 305 to 622 proteins resolves annelid relationships, including Chaetopteridae, Amphinomidae, Sipuncula, Oweniidae, and Magelonidae in the basal part of the tree. Myzostomida, which have been indicated to belong to the basal radiation as well, are now found deeply nested within Annelida as sister group to Errantia in most analyses. On the basis of our reconstruction of a robust annelid phylogeny, we show that the basal branching taxa include a huge variety of life styles such as tube dwelling and deposit feeding, endobenthic and burrowing, tubicolous and filter feeding, and errant and carnivorous forms. Ancestral character state reconstruction suggests that the ancestral annelid possessed a pair of either sensory or grooved palps, bicellular eyes, biramous parapodia bearing simple chaeta, and lacked nuchal organs. Because the oldest fossil of Annelida is reported for Sipuncula (520 Ma), we infer that the early diversification of annelids took place at least in the Lower Cambrian.
Aging is a major risk factor for carotid artery disease and stroke. Endothelin-1 (ET-1) and angiotensin II (Ang II) are important modifiers of vascular disease, partly through increased activity of NADPH oxidase and vasoconstrictor prostanoids. Since the renin-angiotensin and endothelin systems become activated with age, we hypothesized that aging affects NADPH oxidase- and prostanoid-dependent contractions to ET-1 and Ang II.
Two-dimensional polarization fluorescence imaging of single light harvesting complexes 2 (LH2) of Rps. acidophila was carried out to investigate the polarization properties of excitation and fluorescence emission simultaneously, at room temperature. In two separate experiments we excited LH2 with a spectrally narrow laser line matched to the absorption bands of the two chromophore rings, B800 and B850, thereby indirectly and directly triggering fluorescence of the B850 exciton state. A correlation analysis of the polarization modulation depths in excitation and emission for a large number of single complexes was performed. Our results show, in comparison to B800, that the B850 ring is a more isotropic absorber due to the excitonic nature of its excited states. At the same time, we observed a strong tendency for LH2 to emit with dipolar character, from which preferential localization of the emissive exciton, stable for minutes, is inferred. We argue that the observed effects can consistently be explained by static energetic disorder and/or deformation of the complex, with possible involvement of exciton self-trapping.
Aging, a physiological process and main risk factor for cardiovascular and renal diseases, is associated with endothelial cell dysfunction partly resulting from NADPH oxidase-dependent oxidative stress. Because increased formation of endothelium-derived endothelin-1 (ET-1) may contribute to vascular aging, we studied the role of NADPH oxidase function in age-dependent contractions to ET-1.
Excavations of a complex of caves in the Sierra de Atapuerca in northern Spain have unearthed hominin fossils that range in age from the early Pleistocene to the Holocene. One of these sites, the Sima de los Huesos (pit of bones), has yielded the worlds largest assemblage of Middle Pleistocene hominin fossils, consisting of at least 28 individuals dated to over 300,000 years ago. The skeletal remains share a number of morphological features with fossils classified as Homo heidelbergensis and also display distinct Neanderthal-derived traits. Here we determine an almost complete mitochondrial genome sequence of a hominin from Sima de los Huesos and show that it is closely related to the lineage leading to mitochondrial genomes of Denisovans, an eastern Eurasian sister group to Neanderthals. Our results pave the way for DNA research on hominins from the Middle Pleistocene.
Although an inverse relationship is expected in ancient DNA samples between the number of surviving DNA fragments and their length, ancient DNA sequencing libraries are strikingly deficient in molecules shorter than 40 bp. We find that a loss of short molecules can occur during DNA extraction and present an improved silica-based extraction protocol that enables their efficient retrieval. In combination with single-stranded DNA library preparation, this method enabled us to reconstruct the mitochondrial genome sequence from a Middle Pleistocene cave bear (Ursus deningeri) bone excavated at Sima de los Huesos in the Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain. Phylogenetic reconstructions indicate that the U. deningeri sequence forms an early diverging sister lineage to all Western European Late Pleistocene cave bears. Our results prove that authentic ancient DNA can be preserved for hundreds of thousand years outside of permafrost. Moreover, the techniques presented enable the retrieval of phylogenetically informative sequences from samples in which virtually all DNA is diminished to fragments shorter than 50 bp.
We present a high-quality genome sequence of a Neanderthal woman from Siberia. We show that her parents were related at the level of half-siblings and that mating among close relatives was common among her recent ancestors. We also sequenced the genome of a Neanderthal from the Caucasus to low coverage. An analysis of the relationships and population history of available archaic genomes and 25 present-day human genomes shows that several gene flow events occurred among Neanderthals, Denisovans and early modern humans, possibly including gene flow into Denisovans from an unknown archaic group. Thus, interbreeding, albeit of low magnitude, occurred among many hominin groups in the Late Pleistocene. In addition, the high-quality Neanderthal genome allows us to establish a definitive list of substitutions that became fixed in modern humans after their separation from the ancestors of Neanderthals and Denisovans.
IL-10-secreting regulatory B cells have been postulated as negative mediators of inflammation. However, their impact on immune-mediated diseases requires further investigation. We recently found that IL-10-secreting B cells infiltrate the kidney during crescentic glomerulonephritis (GN). We therefore studied the function of B-cell-derived IL-10 in light of the potential risks associated with increasingly used B-cell depleting therapies. Lack of IL-10 production by B cells, however, did not influence acute or adaptively mediated progressive renal injury in terms of renal function and histological damage in the nephrotoxic nephritis model of GN. Renal leukocyte infiltration and cytokine expression were similar apart from increased macrophages in mice lacking B-cell-derived IL-10. Systemic immune responses as assessed by cytokine production, leukocyte composition, proliferation, and activation were indistinguishable, while production and renal deposition of Ag-specific IgG were mildly impaired in the absence of B-cell-produced IL-10. Importantly, detailed analysis of systemic and renal regulatory T cells did not show any differences between nephritic mice bearing IL-10-deficient B cells and WT controls. Finally, studies in reporter mice revealed that B cells are only a minor source of systemic IL-10. In summary, our data reveal that endogenous B-cell-derived IL-10 does not play a major role in the nephrotoxic nephritis model of crescentic GN.
Under favorable conditions DNA can survive for thousands of years in the remains of dead organisms. The DNA extracted from such remains is invariably degraded to a small average size by processes that at least partly involve depurination. It also contains large amounts of deaminated cytosine residues that are accumulated toward the ends of the molecules, as well as several other lesions that are less well characterized.
In view of recent findings on the anatomic heterogeneity of rapid vasodilation via estrogen receptor (ER)-dependent mechanisms, it is obvious that with regard to human physiology and disease much of it is still unknown, and research in this area is urgently needed. This is also important because chronic drug therapy with estrogens in women systemically affects the circulation and may affect certain arterial beds but not others. It is conceivable that the presence of any vascular disease (as was the case for coronary and carotid atherosclerosis in many of the patients in the large randomized controlled trials HERS and WHI) is likely to affect vascular responses to estrogens as well, and that any beneficial effects may be attenuated or even completely lost. Further work is required to decipher the mechanisms of vasodilation brought about by estrogens in humans and experimental animals, whether anatomic heterogeneity exists with regard to vascular beds and individual estrogen receptors, and how vascular disease (atherosclerosis in particular) affects responsiveness. Also, pharmacologcial tools for newly identified ERs are now available. The hypothesis that disease may modify or even abrogate estrogen-dependent or ER-selective vasodilation should also be tested. Finally, given that certain clinically approved drugs such as SERM or SERDs (thought only to block or downregulate nuclear ERs) actually cause vasodilation through GPER and have been shown in recent clinical studies to provide cardiovascular protection in postmenopausal women, we may have to rethink our current understanding, concepts, and strategies of how to interfere with the increased risk of vascular disease in women with estrogen deficiency or after menopause.
This protocol describes a method for converting short single-stranded and double-stranded DNA into libraries compatible with high-throughput sequencing using Illumina technology. This method has primarily been developed to improve sequence retrieval from ancient DNA, but it is also applicable to the sequencing of short or degraded DNA from other sources, and it can also be used for sequencing oligonucleotides. Single-stranded library preparation is performed by ligating a biotinylated adapter oligonucleotide to the 3 ends of heat-denatured DNA. The resulting strands are then immobilized on streptavidin-coated beads and copied with a polymerase. A second adapter is attached by blunt-end ligation, and library preparation is completed by PCR amplification. We estimate that intact DNA strands are recovered in the library with ?50% efficiency. Libraries can be generated from up to 12 DNA or oligonucleotide samples in parallel within 2 d.
Hominins with morphology similar to present-day humans appear in the fossil record across Eurasia between 40,000 and 50,000 y ago. The genetic relationships between these early modern humans and present-day human populations have not been established. We have extracted DNA from a 40,000-y-old anatomically modern human from Tianyuan Cave outside Beijing, China. Using a highly scalable hybridization enrichment strategy, we determined the DNA sequences of the mitochondrial genome, the entire nonrepetitive portion of chromosome 21 (?30 Mbp), and over 3,000 polymorphic sites across the nuclear genome of this individual. The nuclear DNA sequences determined from this early modern human reveal that the Tianyuan individual derived from a population that was ancestral to many present-day Asians and Native Americans but postdated the divergence of Asians from Europeans. They also show that this individual carried proportions of DNA variants derived from archaic humans similar to present-day people in mainland Asia.
Obesity and arterial hypertension, important risk factors for atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease, are characterized by an increase in vascular tone. While obesity is known to augment vasoconstrictor prostanoid activity in endothelial cells, less is known about factors released from fat tissue surrounding arteries (perivascular adipose). Using lean controls and mice with either monogenic or diet-induced obesity, we set out to determine whether and through which pathways perivascular adipose affects vascular tone. We unexpectedly found that in the aorta of obese mice, perivascular adipose potentiates vascular contractility to serotonin and phenylephrine, indicating activity of a factor generated by perivascular adipose, which we designated "adipose-derived contracting factor" (ADCF). Inhibition of cyclooxygenase (COX) fully prevented ADCF-mediated contractions, whereas COX-1 or COX-2-selective inhibition was only partially effective. By contrast, inhibition of superoxide anions, NO synthase, or endothelin receptors had no effect on ADCF activity. Perivascular adipose as a source of COX-derived ADCF was further confirmed by detecting increased thromboxane A2 formation from perivascular adipose-replete aortae from obese mice. Taken together, this study identifies perivascular adipose as a novel regulator of arterial vasoconstriction through the release of COX-derived ADCF. Excessive ADCF activity in perivascular fat under obese conditions likely contributes to increased vascular tone by antagonizing vasodilation. ADCF may thus propagate obesity-dependent hypertension and the associated increased risk in coronary artery disease, potentially representing a novel therapeutic target.
Primates, the mammalian order including our own species, comprise 480 species in 78 genera. Thus, they represent the third largest of the 18 orders of eutherian mammals. Although recent phylogenetic studies on primates are increasingly built on molecular datasets, most of these studies have focused on taxonomic subgroups within the order. Complete mitochondrial (mt) genomes have proven to be extremely useful in deciphering within-order relationships even up to deep nodes. Using 454 sequencing, we sequenced 32 new complete mt genomes adding 20 previously not represented genera to the phylogenetic reconstruction of the primate tree. With 13 new sequences, the number of complete mt genomes within the parvorder Platyrrhini was widely extended, resulting in a largely resolved branching pattern among New World monkey families. We added 10 new Strepsirrhini mt genomes to the 15 previously available ones, thus almost doubling the number of mt genomes within this clade. Our data allow precise date estimates of all nodes and offer new insights into primate evolution. One major result is a relatively young date for the most recent common ancestor of all living primates which was estimated to 66-69 million years ago, suggesting that the divergence of extant primates started close to the K/T-boundary. Although some relationships remain unclear, the large number of mt genomes used allowed us to reconstruct a robust primate phylogeny which is largely in agreement with previous publications. Finally, we show that mt genomes are a useful tool for resolving primate phylogenetic relationships on various taxonomic levels.
The neuronal underpinnings of blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) resting state networks (RSNs) are still unclear. To investigate the underlying mechanisms, specifically the relation to the electrophysiological signal, we used simultaneous recordings of electroencephalography (EEG) and fMRI during eyes open resting state (RS). Earlier studies using the EEG signal as independent variable show inconclusive results, possibly due to variability in the temporal correlations between RSNs and power in the low EEG frequency bands, as recently reported (Goncalves et al., 2006, 2008; Meyer et al., 2013). In this study we use three different methods including one that uses RSN timelines as independent variable to explore the temporal relationship of RSNs and EEG frequency power in eyes open RS in detail. The results of these three distinct analysis approaches support the hypothesis that the correlation between low EEG frequency power and BOLD RSNs is instable over time, at least in eyes open RS.
Endogenous estrogens mediate protective effects in the cardiovascular system, affecting both endothelium-dependent and endothelium-independent mechanisms. Previous studies have suggested that nonselective estrogen receptor agonists such as endogenous estrogens inhibit endothelium-dependent vasoconstriction; however, the role of estrogen receptors in this response has not yet been clarified. This study investigated whether the intracellular transmembrane G protein-coupled estrogen receptor (GPER) regulates vascular reactivity in mice. Effects of chronic deficiency (using mice lacking the GPER gene) and acute inhibition (using the GPER-selective antagonist G15) on endothelium-dependent and endothelium-independent vascular reactivity, and the effects of GPER deficiency on vascular gene expression and structure were investigated. We found that chronic GPER deficiency is associated with increased endothelial prostanoid-mediated vasoconstriction but has no effect on endothelial nitric oxide bioactivity, gene expression of endothelial nitric oxide synthase and thromboxane prostanoid (TP) receptor, or vascular structure. GPER deletion also increases TP receptor-mediated contraction. Acute GPER blockade enhances endothelium-dependent contractions and reduces endothelial nitric oxide bioactivity. Contractions in response to TP receptor activation are unaffected by G15. In conclusion, this study identifies GPER as the first estrogen receptor with inhibitory activity on endothelium-dependent contractility. These findings may be important for understanding and treating diseases associated with increased endothelial vasoconstrictor prostanoid activity such as hypertension and obesity.
Due to the increasing throughput of current DNA sequencing instruments, sample multiplexing is necessary for making economical use of available sequencing capacities. A widely used multiplexing strategy for the Illumina Genome Analyzer utilizes sample-specific indexes, which are embedded in one of the library adapters. However, this and similar multiplex approaches come with a risk of sample misidentification. By introducing indexes into both library adapters (double indexing), we have developed a method that reveals the rate of sample misidentification within current multiplex sequencing experiments. With ~0.3% these rates are orders of magnitude higher than expected and may severely confound applications in cancer genomics and other fields requiring accurate detection of rare variants. We identified the occurrence of mixed clusters on the flow as the predominant source of error. The accuracy of sample identification is further impaired if indexed oligonucleotides are cross-contaminated or if indexed libraries are amplified in bulk. Double-indexing eliminates these problems and increases both the scope and accuracy of multiplex sequencing on the Illumina platform.
Evolutionary theory has gained tremendous insight from studies of adaptive radiations. High rates of speciation, morphological divergence, and hybridization, combined with low sequence variability, however, have prevented phylogenetic reconstruction for many radiations. The Hawaiian honeycreepers are an exceptional adaptive radiation, with high phenotypic diversity and speciation that occurred within the geologically constrained setting of the Hawaiian Islands. Here we analyze a new data set of 13 nuclear loci and pyrosequencing of mitochondrial genomes that resolves the Hawaiian honeycreeper phylogeny. We show that they are a sister taxon to Eurasian rosefinches (Carpodacus) and probably came to Hawaii from Asia. We use island ages to calibrate DNA substitution rates, which vary substantially among gene regions, and calculate divergence times, showing that the radiation began roughly when the oldest of the current large Hawaiian Islands (Kauai and Niihau) formed, ~5.7 million years ago (mya). We show that most of the lineages that gave rise to distinctive morphologies diverged after Oahu emerged (4.0-3.7 mya) but before the formation of Maui and adjacent islands (2.4-1.9 mya). Thus, the formation of Oahu, and subsequent cycles of colonization and speciation between Kauai and Oahu, played key roles in generating the morphological diversity of the extant honeycreepers.
Technological advances in DNA recovery and sequencing have drastically expanded the scope of genetic analyses of ancient specimens to the extent that full genomic investigations are now feasible and are quickly becoming standard. This trend has important implications for infectious disease research because genomic data from ancient microbes may help to elucidate mechanisms of pathogen evolution and adaptation for emerging and re-emerging infections. Here we report a reconstructed ancient genome of Yersinia pestis at 30-fold average coverage from Black Death victims securely dated to episodes of pestilence-associated mortality in London, England, 1348-1350. Genetic architecture and phylogenetic analysis indicate that the ancient organism is ancestral to most extant strains and sits very close to the ancestral node of all Y. pestis commonly associated with human infection. Temporal estimates suggest that the Black Death of 1347-1351 was the main historical event responsible for the introduction and widespread dissemination of the ancestor to all currently circulating Y. pestis strains pathogenic to humans, and further indicates that contemporary Y. pestis epidemics have their origins in the medieval era. Comparisons against modern genomes reveal no unique derived positions in the medieval organism, indicating that the perceived increased virulence of the disease during the Black Death may not have been due to bacterial phenotype. These findings support the notion that factors other than microbial genetics, such as environment, vector dynamics and host susceptibility, should be at the forefront of epidemiological discussions regarding emerging Y. pestis infections.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) contribute to tissue repair in vivo and form an attractive cell source for tissue engineering. Their regenerative potential is impaired by cellular senescence. The effects of oxidative stress on MSCs are still unknown. Our studies were to investigate into the proliferation potential, cytological features and the telomere linked stress response system of MSCs, subject to acute or prolonged oxidant challenge with hydrogen peroxide. Telomere length was measured using the telomere restriction fragment assay, gene expression was determined by rtPCR. Sub-lethal doses of oxidative stress reduced proliferation rates and induced senescent-morphological features and senescence-associated ?-galactosidase positivity. Prolonged low dose treatment with hydrogen peroxide had no effects on cell proliferation or morphology. Sub-lethal and prolonged low doses of oxidative stress considerably accelerated telomere attrition. Following acute oxidant insult p21 was up-regulated prior to returning to initial levels. TRF1 was significantly reduced, TRF2 showed a slight up-regulation. SIRT1 and XRCC5 were up-regulated after oxidant insult and expression levels increased in aging cells. Compared to fibroblasts and chondrocytes, MSCs showed an increased tolerance to oxidative stress regarding proliferation, telomere biology and gene expression with an impaired stress tolerance in aged cells.
Endogenous estrogens are important regulators of cardiovascular homeostasis in premenopausal women and delay the development of hypertension and coronary artery disease. These hormones act via three different estrogen receptors affecting both gene transcription and rapid signaling pathways in a complex interplay. In addition to the classical estrogen receptors ER? and ER?, which are known mediators of estrogen-dependent vascular effects, a G protein-coupled estrogen receptor termed GPER that is expressed in the cardiovascular system has recently been identified. Endogenous human 17?-estradiol, selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) including tamoxifen and raloxifene, and selective estrogen receptor downregulators (SERDs) such as ICI 182,780 are all agonists of GPER, which has been implicated in the regulation of vasomotor tone and protection from myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury. As a result, understanding the individual role of ER?, ER?, and GPER in cardiovascular function has become increasingly complex. With accumulating evidence that GPER is responsible for a variety of beneficial cardiovascular effects of estrogens, this receptor may represent a novel target to develop effective strategies for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases by tissue-specific, selective activation of estrogen-dependent molecular pathways devoid of side effects seen with conventional hormone therapy.
We extracted DNA from 39 Danish aurochs specimens and successfully amplified and sequenced a 252 base pair long fragment of the multivariable region I of the mitochondrial control region from 11 specimens. The sequences from these specimens dated back to 9830-2865 14Cyr BP and represent the first study of genetic variation of Danish aurochs. In addition, for all specimens we address correlations between the ability to obtain DNA sequences and various parameters such as the age of the sample, the collagen content, the museum storage period, Danish geography and whether the specimens were found in an archeological or geological context. We find that aurochs from southern Scandinavia display a star-shaped population genetic structure, that is indicative of a local and relatively recent diversification from a few ancestral haplotypes that may have originated in the ancestral Western European population before migration northwards during the retreat of the glaciers. Scenarios suggesting several invasions of genetically distinct aurochs are not supported by these analyses. Rather, our results suggest that a single continuous migration northward occurred. Our findings also suggest, although with only limited support, that aurochs in Northwestern Europe underwent a population expansion beginning shortly after the retreat of the glacial ice from Denmark and had a stable population size until the population decline that must have occurred prior to extinction. The absence of haplotypes similar to modern domestic cattle in our aurochs suggests that introgression between these species must have been limited, if it occurred at all. We found that the successful recovery of genetic material for PCR amplification correlates with sample age and local geographic conditions. However, contrary to other studies, we found no significant correlation between length of time in museum storage or the type of the locality in which a specimen was discovered (archeological or geological) and amplification success. Finally, we found large variances in our estimates of collagen content preventing an evaluation of this as an indicator of preservation quality.
Using DNA extracted from a finger bone found in Denisova Cave in southern Siberia, we have sequenced the genome of an archaic hominin to about 1.9-fold coverage. This individual is from a group that shares a common origin with Neanderthals. This population was not involved in the putative gene flow from Neanderthals into Eurasians; however, the data suggest that it contributed 4-6% of its genetic material to the genomes of present-day Melanesians. We designate this hominin population Denisovans and suggest that it may have been widespread in Asia during the Late Pleistocene epoch. A tooth found in Denisova Cave carries a mitochondrial genome highly similar to that of the finger bone. This tooth shares no derived morphological features with Neanderthals or modern humans, further indicating that Denisovans have an evolutionary history distinct from Neanderthals and modern humans.
Although the last few years have seen great progress in DNA sequence retrieval from fossil specimens, some of the characteristics of ancient DNA remain poorly understood. This is particularly true for blocking lesions, i.e. chemical alterations that cannot be bypassed by DNA polymerases and thus prevent amplification and subsequent sequencing of affected molecules. Some studies have concluded that the vast majority of ancient DNA molecules carry blocking lesions, suggesting that the removal, repair or bypass of blocking lesions might dramatically increase both the time depth and geographical range of specimens available for ancient DNA analysis. However, previous studies used very indirect detection methods that did not provide conclusive estimates on the frequency of blocking lesions in endogenous ancient DNA. We developed a new method, polymerase extension profiling (PEP), that directly reveals occurrences of polymerase stalling on DNA templates. By sequencing thousands of single primer extension products using PEP methodology, we have for the first time directly identified blocking lesions in ancient DNA on a single molecule level. Although we found clear evidence for blocking lesions in three out of four ancient samples, no more than 40% of the molecules were affected in any of the samples, indicating that such modifications are far less frequent in ancient DNA than previously thought.
The large amount of DNA sequence data generated by high-throughput sequencing technologies often allows multiple samples to be sequenced in parallel on a single sequencing run. This is particularly true if subsets of the genome are studied rather than complete genomes. In recent years, target capture from sequencing libraries has largely replaced polymerase chain reaction (PCR) as the preferred method of target enrichment. Parallelizing target capture and sequencing for multiple samples requires the incorporation of sample-specific barcodes into sequencing libraries, which is necessary to trace back the sample source of each sequence. This protocol describes a fast and reliable method for the preparation of barcoded ("indexed") sequencing libraries for Illuminas Genome Analyzer platform. The protocol avoids expensive commercial library preparation kits and can be performed in a 96-well plate setup using multi-channel pipettes, requiring not more than two or three days of lab work. Libraries can be prepared from any type of double-stranded DNA, even if present in subnanogram quantity.
It is now possible to perform whole-genome shotgun sequencing as well as capture of specific genomic regions for extinct organisms. However, targeted resequencing of large parts of nuclear genomes has yet to be demonstrated for ancient DNA. Here we show that hybridization capture on microarrays can successfully recover more than a megabase of target regions from Neandertal DNA even in the presence of approximately 99.8% microbial DNA. Using this approach, we have sequenced approximately 14,000 protein-coding positions inferred to have changed on the human lineage since the last common ancestor shared with chimpanzees. By generating the sequence of one Neandertal and 50 present-day humans at these positions, we have identified 88 amino acid substitutions that have become fixed in humans since our divergence from the Neandertals.
Neandertals, the closest evolutionary relatives of present-day humans, lived in large parts of Europe and western Asia before disappearing 30,000 years ago. We present a draft sequence of the Neandertal genome composed of more than 4 billion nucleotides from three individuals. Comparisons of the Neandertal genome to the genomes of five present-day humans from different parts of the world identify a number of genomic regions that may have been affected by positive selection in ancestral modern humans, including genes involved in metabolism and in cognitive and skeletal development. We show that Neandertals shared more genetic variants with present-day humans in Eurasia than with present-day humans in sub-Saharan Africa, suggesting that gene flow from Neandertals into the ancestors of non-Africans occurred before the divergence of Eurasian groups from each other.
To elucidate the history of living and extinct elephantids, we generated 39,763 bp of aligned nuclear DNA sequence across 375 loci for African savanna elephant, African forest elephant, Asian elephant, the extinct American mastodon, and the woolly mammoth. Our data establish that the Asian elephant is the closest living relative of the extinct mammoth in the nuclear genome, extending previous findings from mitochondrial DNA analyses. We also find that savanna and forest elephants, which some have argued are the same species, are as or more divergent in the nuclear genome as mammoths and Asian elephants, which are considered to be distinct genera, thus resolving a long-standing debate about the appropriate taxonomic classification of the African elephants. Finally, we document a much larger effective population size in forest elephants compared with the other elephantid taxa, likely reflecting species differences in ancient geographic structure and range and differences in life history traits such as variance in male reproductive success.
Golden moles (Chrysochloridae) are small, subterranean, afrotherian mammals from South Africa and neighboring regions. Of the 21 species now recognized, some (e.g., Chrysochloris asiatica, Amblysomus hottentotus) are relatively common, whereas others (e.g., species of Chrysospalax, Cryptochloris, Neamblysomus) are rare and endangered. Here, we use a combined analysis of partial sequences of the nuclear GHR gene and morphological characters to derive a phylogeny of species in the family Chrysochloridae.
Endogenous estrogens protect from coronary artery disease in premenopausal women, but the mechanisms involved are only partly understood. This study investigated whether activation of the novel G protein-coupled estrogen receptor (GPER, formerly known as GPR30) affects coronary artery tone, and whether this is affected by concomitant blockade of estrogen receptors (ER) alpha and beta. Rings of epicardial porcine coronary arteries suspended in organ chambers were precontracted with prostaglandin F(2)alpha, and direct effects of G-1 (GPER agonist) and ICI 182,780 (GPER agonist and ERalpha/ERbeta antagonist) were determined. In addition, indirect effects on contractility to endothelin-1 and serotonin (a vasoconstrictor released from aggregating platelets during acute myocardial infarction) were assessed. ICI 182,780 and G-1 caused acute dilation of coronary arteries to a comparable degree (p < 0.05 vs. solvent control). Both GPER agonists attenuated contractions to endothelin-1 (p < 0.05 vs. ethanol), but not to serotonin (n.s.). In summary, these findings provide evidence for direct and indirect coronary artery dilator effects of GPER independent of ERalpha and ERbeta, and are the first demonstration of arterial vasodilation in response to ICI 182,780.
Poly(2-alkyl-2-oxazoline)s can be regarded as pseudo-peptides or bioinspired polymers, which are available through living/controlled cationic polymerization and polymer ("click") modification procedures. Materials and solution properties may be adjusted via the nature of the side chain (hydrophilic-hydrophobic, chiral, bio-functional, etc.), opening the way to stimulus-responsive materials and complex colloidal structures in aqueous environments. Herein, we give an overview over the macromolecular engineering of polyoxazolines, including the synthesis of biohybrids, and the "smart"/bioinspired aggregation behavior in solution.
DNA sequences determined from ancient organisms have high error rates, primarily due to uracil bases created by cytosine deamination. We use synthetic oligonucleotides, as well as DNA extracted from mammoth and Neandertal remains, to show that treatment with uracil-DNA-glycosylase and endonuclease VIII removes uracil residues from ancient DNA and repairs most of the resulting abasic sites, leaving undamaged parts of the DNA fragments intact. Neandertal DNA sequences determined with this protocol have greatly increased accuracy. In addition, our results demonstrate that Neandertal DNA retains in vivo patterns of CpG methylation, potentially allowing future studies of gene inactivation and imprinting in ancient organisms.
Although the emergence of high-throughput sequencing technologies has enabled whole-genome sequencing from extinct organisms, little progress has been made in accelerating targeted sequencing from highly degraded DNA. Here, we present a novel and highly sensitive method for targeted sequencing of ancient and degraded DNA, which couples multiplex PCR directly with sample barcoding and high-throughput sequencing. Using this approach, we obtained a 96% complete mitochondrial genome data set from 31 cave bear (Ursus spelaeus) samples using only two 454 Life Sciences (Roche) GS FLX runs. In contrast to previous studies relying only on short sequence fragments, the overlapping portion of our data comprises almost 10 kb of replicated mitochondrial genome sequence, allowing for the unambiguous differentiation of three major cave bear clades. Our method opens up the opportunity to simultaneously generate many kilobases of overlapping sequence data from large sets of difficult samples, such as museum specimens, medical collections, or forensic samples. Embedded in our approach, we present a new protocol for the construction of barcoded sequencing libraries, which is compatible with all current high-throughput technologies and can be performed entirely in plate setup.
We found that the selective stimulation of the intracellular, transmembrane G protein-coupled estrogen receptor (GPER), also known as GPR30, acutely lowers blood pressure after infusion in normotensive rats and dilates both rodent and human arterial blood vessels. Stimulation of GPER blocks vasoconstrictor-induced changes in intracellular calcium concentrations and vascular tone, as well as serum-stimulated cell proliferation of human vascular smooth muscle cells. Deletion of the GPER gene in mice abrogates vascular effects of GPER activation and is associated with visceral obesity. These findings suggest novel roles for GPER in protecting from cardiovascular disease and obesity.
Newborns with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) or right heart syndrome or other malformations with a single ventricle physiology and associated hypoplasia of the great arteries continue to be a challenge in terms of survival. The vast majority of these forms of congenital heart defects relate to abnormal morphogenesis during early intrauterine development and can be diagnosed accurately by fetal echocardiography. Early knowledge of these conditions not only permits a better understanding of the progression of these malformations but encourages some researchers to explore new minimally invasive therapeutic options with a view to early pre- and postnatal cardiac palliation.
We report on the observation of the natural isotopic spread of carbon from single-molecule surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SM-SERS). By choosing a dye molecule with a very localized Raman-active vibration in a cyano bond (C[triple bond]N triple bond), we observe (in a SERS colloidal liquid) a small fraction of SM-SERS events where the frequency of the cyano mode is softened and in agreement with the effect of substituting (12)C by the next most abundant isotope, (13)C. This example adds another demonstration of single-molecule sensitivity in SERS through isotopic editing, which in this case is done not by artificial isotopic editing but rather by nature itself. It also highlights SERS as a unique spectroscopic tool that is capable of detecting an isotopic change in one atom of a single molecule.
The FOXP2 gene is required for normal development of speech and language. By isolating and sequencing FOXP2 genomic DNA fragments from a 49,000-year-old Iberian Neandertal and 50 present-day humans, we have identified substitutions in the gene shared by all or nearly all present-day humans but absent or polymorphic in Neandertals. One such substitution is localized in intron 8 and affects a binding site for the transcription factor POU3F2, which is highly conserved among vertebrates. We find that the derived allele of this site is less efficient than the ancestral allele in activating transcription from a reporter construct. The derived allele also binds less POU3F2 dimers than POU3F2 monomers compared with the ancestral allele. Because the substitution in the POU3F2 binding site is likely to alter the regulation of FOXP2 expression, and because it is localized in a region of the gene associated with a previously described signal of positive selection, it is a plausible candidate for having caused a recent selective sweep in the FOXP2 gene.
We present a DNA library preparation method that has allowed us to reconstruct a high-coverage (30×) genome sequence of a Denisovan, an extinct relative of Neandertals. The quality of this genome allows a direct estimation of Denisovan heterozygosity indicating that genetic diversity in these archaic hominins was extremely low. It also allows tentative dating of the specimen on the basis of "missing evolution" in its genome, detailed measurements of Denisovan and Neandertal admixture into present-day human populations, and the generation of a near-complete catalog of genetic changes that swept to high frequency in modern humans since their divergence from Denisovans.
Cell lines represent a key tool in cancer research allowing the generation of neoplasias which resemble initial tumours in in-vivo animal models. The characterisation of early tumour development is of major interest in order to evaluate the efficacy of therapeutic agents. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) based in-vivo characterisation allows visualisation and characterisation of tumour development in early stages prior to manual palpation. Contrast agents for MRI such as superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIOs) and manganese chloride (MnCl2) represent powerful tools for the in-vivo characterisation of early stage tumours. In this experimental study, we labelled prostate cancer cells with MnCl2 or SPIOs in vitro and used 1?T MRI for tracing labelled cells in-vitro and 7?T MRI for tracking in an in-vivo animal model.
With combined EEG-fMRI a powerful combination of methods was developed in the last decade that seems promising for answering fundamental neuroscientific questions by measuring functional processes of the human brain simultaneously with two complementary modalities. Recently, resting state networks (RSNs), representing brain regions of coherent BOLD fluctuations, raised major interest in the neuroscience community. Since RSNs are reliably found across subjects and reflect task related networks, changes in their characteristics might give insight to neuronal changes or damage, promising a broad range of scientific and clinical applications. The question of how RSNs are linked to electrophysiological signal characteristics becomes relevant in this context. In this combined EEG-fMRI study we investigated the relationship of RSNs and their correlated electrophysiological signals [electrophysiological correlation patterns (ECPs)] using a long (34 min) resting state scan per subject. This allowed us to study ECPs on group as well as on single subject level, and to examine the temporal stability of ECPs within each subject. We found that the correlation patterns obtained on group level show a large inter-subject variability. During the long scan the ECPs within a subject show temporal fluctuations, which we interpret as a result of the complex temporal dynamic of the RSNs.
The aim of this study was to investigate the current prenatal "off-label use" of cytomegalovirus hyperimmunoglobulin (CMV-HIG) in the prevention and treatment of congenital CMV (cCMV) infection, including the long-term outcome of the children.
Multiple visual pigments, prerequisites for color vision, are found in arthropods, but the evolutionary origin of their diversity remains obscure. In this study, we explore the opsin genes in five distantly related species of Onychophora, using deep transcriptome sequencing and screening approaches. Surprisingly, our data reveal the presence of only one opsin gene (onychopsin) in each onychophoran species, and our behavioral experiments indicate a maximum sensitivity of onychopsin to blue-green light. In our phylogenetic analyses, the onychopsins represent the sister group to the monophyletic clade of visual r-opsins of arthropods. These results concur with phylogenomic support for the sister-group status of the Onychophora and Arthropoda and provide evidence for monochromatic vision in velvet worms and in the last common ancestor of Onychophora and Arthropoda. We conclude that the diversification of visual pigments and color vision evolved in arthropods, along with the evolution of compound eyes-one of the most sophisticated visual systems known.
An increase in intracellular vascular smooth muscle cell calcium concentration (VSMC [Ca(2+)](i)) is essential for endothelin-1 (ET-1)-induced vasoconstriction. Based on previous findings that activation of the G protein-coupled estrogen receptor (GPER) inhibits vasoconstriction in response to ET-1 and regulates [Ca(2+)](i) in cultured VSMC, we investigated whether endogenous GPER regulates ET-1-induced changes in VSMC [Ca(2+)](i) and constriction of intact arteries.
High-throughput sequencing technologies frequently necessitate the use of PCR for sequencing library amplification. PCR is a sometimes enigmatic process and is known to introduce biases. Here we perform a simple amplification-sequencing assay using 10 commercially available polymerase-buffer systems to amplify libraries prepared from both modern and ancient DNA. We compare the performance of the polymerases with respect to a previously uncharacterized template length bias, as well as GC-content bias, and find that simply avoiding certain polymerase can dramatically decrease the occurrence of both. For amplification of ancient DNA, we found that some commonly used polymerases strongly bias against amplification of endogenous DNA in favor of GC-rich microbial contamination, in our case reducing the fraction of endogenous sequences to almost half.
Single-molecule Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS) detection of buckminsterfullerene (C(60)) is achieved by using different isotopologues of the molecule with a distribution around an average isotopic substitution ((12)C ? (13)C) of ~30%. The distribution of different isotopologues creates a broad (~20 cm(-1)) average SERS signal within which single-molecule SERS spectra of individual isotopic realizations of the molecule can be distinguished. The SERS enhancement factors for SM-SERS C(60) events are typically in the range of ~10(8), suggesting a limitation imposed by either photobleaching or surface interactions with the (Ag) metallic colloids to reach the highest SERS hot-spots (which can typically have larger maximum enhancements). SM-SERS signals of isotopically substituted C(60) also show broader peaks (FWHM ? 4 cm(-1)) than equivalent signals in natural C(60). The latter feature suggests a contribution to the homogeneous broadening coming from isotopic disorder in the molecule; a feature that can only be observed with the ability to detect single-molecule spectra.
In trying to understand the evolutionary relationships of organisms, the current flood of sequence data offers great opportunities, but also reveals new challenges with regard to data quality, the selection of data for subsequent analysis, and the automation of steps that were once done manually for single-gene analyses. Even though genome or transcriptome data is available for representatives of most bilaterian phyla, some enigmatic taxa still have an uncertain position in the animal tree of life. This is especially true for myzostomids, a group of symbiotic (or parasitic) protostomes that are either placed with annelids or flatworms.
Molecular barcoding is an essential tool to use the high throughput of next generation sequencing platforms optimally in studies involving more than one sample. Various barcoding strategies allow for the incorporation of short recognition sequences (barcodes) into sequencing libraries, either by ligation or polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Here, we present two approaches optimized for generating barcoded sequencing libraries from low copy number extracts and amplification products typical of ancient DNA studies.
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