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Find video protocols related to scientific articles indexed in Pubmed.
Phylotranscriptomic analysis of the origin and early diversification of land plants.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
PUBLISHED: 10-29-2014
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Reconstructing the origin and evolution of land plants and their algal relatives is a fundamental problem in plant phylogenetics, and is essential for understanding how critical adaptations arose, including the embryo, vascular tissue, seeds, and flowers. Despite advances in molecular systematics, some hypotheses of relationships remain weakly resolved. Inferring deep phylogenies with bouts of rapid diversification can be problematic; however, genome-scale data should significantly increase the number of informative characters for analyses. Recent phylogenomic reconstructions focused on the major divergences of plants have resulted in promising but inconsistent results. One limitation is sparse taxon sampling, likely resulting from the difficulty and cost of data generation. To address this limitation, transcriptome data for 92 streptophyte taxa were generated and analyzed along with 11 published plant genome sequences. Phylogenetic reconstructions were conducted using up to 852 nuclear genes and 1,701,170 aligned sites. Sixty-nine analyses were performed to test the robustness of phylogenetic inferences to permutations of the data matrix or to phylogenetic method, including supermatrix, supertree, and coalescent-based approaches, maximum-likelihood and Bayesian methods, partitioned and unpartitioned analyses, and amino acid versus DNA alignments. Among other results, we find robust support for a sister-group relationship between land plants and one group of streptophyte green algae, the Zygnematophyceae. Strong and robust support for a clade comprising liverworts and mosses is inconsistent with a widely accepted view of early land plant evolution, and suggests that phylogenetic hypotheses used to understand the evolution of fundamental plant traits should be reevaluated.
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Ultrastructure of the Algivorous Amoeboflagellate Viridiraptor invadens (Glissomonadida, Cercozoa).
Protist
PUBLISHED: 07-21-2014
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The family Viridiraptoridae represents a morphologically and ecologically distinct lineage of glissomonad flagellates (Cercozoa, Rhizaria). It currently comprises two highly specialised, algivorous genera inhabiting freshwater ecosystems, Orciraptor and Viridiraptor, for which ultrastructural data were lacking. In this study, the ultrastructure of Viridiraptor invadensHess et Melkonian, the sole described species of the viridiraptorid type genus, has been studied by transmission and scanning electron microscopy. In particular the flagellar transitional region and basal apparatus, both reconstructed from serial sections, revealed ultrastructural traits, that agree with the phylogenetic placement of the viridiraptorids within Glissomonadida: The transitional region contains a distal plate/collar complex and the basal apparatus comprises two ventral posterior roots and an anterior root, all known from other glissomonads. However, two additional small microtubular roots, two conspicuous rhizoplasts and probasal bodies present during interphase represent novel characteristics. Furthermore, an acorn/V-shaped filament system was discovered at the proximal end of the flagellar transitional region and used to establish a basal body triplet numbering system for flagellate cells of the Rhizaria. Finally, ultrastructural data on perforated algal cell walls suggest that the previously described reticulocyst of Viridiraptor represents an extrusome-derived, mesh-like coat supporting the invasion/feeding process.
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Immobilized growth of the peridinin-producing marine dinoflagellate symbiodinium in a simple biofilm photobioreactor.
Mar. Biotechnol.
PUBLISHED: 05-28-2014
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Products from phototrophic dinoflagellates such as toxins or pigments are potentially important for applications in the biomedical sciences, especially in drug development. However, the technical cultivation of these organisms is often problematic due to their sensitivity to hydrodynamic (shear) stress that is a characteristic of suspension-based closed photobioreactors (PBRs). It is thus often thought that most species of dinoflagellates are non-cultivable at a technical scale. Recent advances in the development of biofilm PBRs that rely on immobilization of microalgae may hold potential to circumvent this major technical problem in dinoflagellate cultivation. In the present study, the dinoflagellate Symbiodinium voratum was grown immobilized on a Twin-Layer PBR for isolation of the carotenoid peridinin, an anti-cancerogenic compound. Biomass productivities ranged from 1.0 to 11.0 g m(-2) day(-1) dry matter per vertical growth surface and a maximal biomass yield of 114.5 g m(-2), depending on light intensity, supplementary CO2, and type of substrate (paper or polycarbonate membrane) used. Compared to a suspension culture, the performance of the Twin-Layer PBRs exhibited significantly higher growth rates and maximal biomass yield. In the Twin-Layer PBR a maximal peridinin productivity of 24 mg m(-2) day(-1) was determined at a light intensity of 74 ?mol m(-2) s(-1), although the highest peridinin content per dry weight (1.7 % w/w) was attained at lower light intensities. The results demonstrate that a biofilm-based PBR that minimizes hydrodynamic shear forces is applicable to technical-scale cultivation of dinoflagellates and may foster biotechnological applications of these abundant marine protists.
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All-optical electrophysiology in mammalian neurons using engineered microbial rhodopsins.
Nat. Methods
PUBLISHED: 05-17-2014
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All-optical electrophysiology-spatially resolved simultaneous optical perturbation and measurement of membrane voltage-would open new vistas in neuroscience research. We evolved two archaerhodopsin-based voltage indicators, QuasAr1 and QuasAr2, which show improved brightness and voltage sensitivity, have microsecond response times and produce no photocurrent. We engineered a channelrhodopsin actuator, CheRiff, which shows high light sensitivity and rapid kinetics and is spectrally orthogonal to the QuasArs. A coexpression vector, Optopatch, enabled cross-talk-free genetically targeted all-optical electrophysiology. In cultured rat neurons, we combined Optopatch with patterned optical excitation to probe back-propagating action potentials (APs) in dendritic spines, synaptic transmission, subcellular microsecond-timescale details of AP propagation, and simultaneous firing of many neurons in a network. Optopatch measurements revealed homeostatic tuning of intrinsic excitability in human stem cell-derived neurons. In rat brain slices, Optopatch induced and reported APs and subthreshold events with high signal-to-noise ratios. The Optopatch platform enables high-throughput, spatially resolved electrophysiology without the use of conventional electrodes.
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Horizontal transfer of an adaptive chimeric photoreceptor from bryophytes to ferns.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
PUBLISHED: 04-14-2014
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Ferns are well known for their shade-dwelling habits. Their ability to thrive under low-light conditions has been linked to the evolution of a novel chimeric photoreceptor--neochrome--that fuses red-sensing phytochrome and blue-sensing phototropin modules into a single gene, thereby optimizing phototropic responses. Despite being implicated in facilitating the diversification of modern ferns, the origin of neochrome has remained a mystery. We present evidence for neochrome in hornworts (a bryophyte lineage) and demonstrate that ferns acquired neochrome from hornworts via horizontal gene transfer (HGT). Fern neochromes are nested within hornwort neochromes in our large-scale phylogenetic reconstructions of phototropin and phytochrome gene families. Divergence date estimates further support the HGT hypothesis, with fern and hornwort neochromes diverging 179 Mya, long after the split between the two plant lineages (at least 400 Mya). By analyzing the draft genome of the hornwort Anthoceros punctatus, we also discovered a previously unidentified phototropin gene that likely represents the ancestral lineage of the neochrome phototropin module. Thus, a neochrome originating in hornworts was transferred horizontally to ferns, where it may have played a significant role in the diversification of modern ferns.
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A promiscuous intermediate underlies the evolution of LEAFY DNA binding specificity.
Science
PUBLISHED: 01-16-2014
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Transcription factors (TFs) are key players in evolution. Changes affecting their function can yield novel life forms but may also have deleterious effects. Consequently, gene duplication events that release one gene copy from selective pressure are thought to be the common mechanism by which TFs acquire new activities. Here, we show that LEAFY, a major regulator of flower development and cell division in land plants, underwent changes to its DNA binding specificity, even though plant genomes generally contain a single copy of the LEAFY gene. We examined how these changes occurred at the structural level and identify an intermediate LEAFY form in hornworts that appears to adopt all different specificities. This promiscuous intermediate could have smoothed the evolutionary transitions, thereby allowing LEAFY to evolve new binding specificities while remaining a single-copy gene.
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Evolution of helix formation in the ribosomal Internal Transcribed Spacer 2 (ITS2) and its significance for RNA secondary structures.
J. Mol. Evol.
PUBLISHED: 01-15-2014
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Helices are the most common elements of RNA secondary structure. Despite intensive investigations of various types of RNAs, the evolutionary history of the formation of new helices (novel helical structures) remains largely elusive. Here, by studying the nuclear ribosomal Internal Transcribed Spacer 2 (ITS2), a fast-evolving part of the eukaryotic nuclear ribosomal operon, we identify two possible types of helix formation: one type is "dichotomous helix formation"--transition from one large helix to two smaller helices by invagination of the apical part of a helix, which significantly changes the shape of the original secondary structure but does not increase its complexity (i.e., the total length of the RNA). An alternative type is "lateral helix formation"--origin of an extra helical region by the extension of a bulge loop or a spacer in a multi-helix loop of the original helix, which does not disrupt the pre-existing structure but increases RNA size. Moreover, we present examples from the RNA sequence literature indicating that both types of helix formation may have implications for RNA evolution beyond ITS2.
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Application of a prototype-scale Twin-Layer photobioreactor for effective N and P removal from different process stages of municipal wastewater by immobilized microalgae.
Bioresour. Technol.
PUBLISHED: 01-14-2014
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In the view of limited phosphorous resources and tightened discharge regulations, the recovery of phosphate and nitrate from wastewater is of great interest. Here, the integration of microalgae into wastewater treatment processes is a promising approach. A prototype-scale Twin-Layer photobioreactor immobilizing the green alga Halochlorella rubescens on vertical sheet-like surfaces was constructed and operated using primary and secondary municipal wastewater. The process was not impaired by suspended solids, bacteria or loss of algal biomass by leaching. The average areal microalgal growth was 6.3 gm(-2) d(-1). After treatment, P and N concentrations in the effluents could efficiently be reduced by 70-99%, depending on element and type of wastewater. Mean effluent values of ? 1.0mg L(-1)P and 1.3 mg L(-1)N met the legal discharge limits of the European Water Framework Directive and show a potential to comply with upcoming, more stringent legislation.
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Nucleomorph and plastid genome sequences of the chlorarachniophyte Lotharella oceanica: convergent reductive evolution and frequent recombination in nucleomorph-bearing algae.
BMC Genomics
PUBLISHED: 01-10-2014
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Nucleomorphs are residual nuclei derived from eukaryotic endosymbionts in chlorarachniophyte and cryptophyte algae. The endosymbionts that gave rise to nucleomorphs and plastids in these two algal groups were green and red algae, respectively. Despite their independent origin, the chlorarachniophyte and cryptophyte nucleomorph genomes share similar genomic features such as extreme size reduction and a three-chromosome architecture. This suggests that similar reductive evolutionary forces have acted to shape the nucleomorph genomes in the two groups. Thus far, however, only a single chlorarachniophyte nucleomorph and plastid genome has been sequenced, making broad evolutionary inferences within the chlorarachniophytes and between chlorarachniophytes and cryptophytes difficult. We have sequenced the nucleomorph and plastid genomes of the chlorarachniophyte Lotharella oceanica in order to gain insight into nucleomorph and plastid genome diversity and evolution.
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Independent optical excitation of distinct neural populations.
Nat. Methods
PUBLISHED: 01-10-2014
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Optogenetic tools enable examination of how specific cell types contribute to brain circuit functions. A long-standing question is whether it is possible to independently activate two distinct neural populations in mammalian brain tissue. Such a capability would enable the study of how different synapses or pathways interact to encode information in the brain. Here we describe two channelrhodopsins, Chronos and Chrimson, discovered through sequencing and physiological characterization of opsins from over 100 species of alga. Chrimson's excitation spectrum is red shifted by 45 nm relative to previous channelrhodopsins and can enable experiments in which red light is preferred. We show minimal visual system-mediated behavioral interference when using Chrimson in neurobehavioral studies in Drosophila melanogaster. Chronos has faster kinetics than previous channelrhodopsins yet is effectively more light sensitive. Together these two reagents enable two-color activation of neural spiking and downstream synaptic transmission in independent neural populations without detectable cross-talk in mouse brain slice.
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The mystery of clade X: Orciraptor gen. nov. and Viridiraptor gen. nov. are highly specialised, algivorous amoeboflagellates (Glissomonadida, Cercozoa).
Protist
PUBLISHED: 05-12-2013
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In freshwater ecosystems a vast diversity of elusive protists exists that specifically feed on microalgae. Due to difficulties in isolation and long-term maintenance, most of these are still poorly known. In this study stable, bacteria-free cultures of several limnetic, algivorous amoeboflagellates were investigated by light microscopy and molecular phylogenetic analyses. All strains represent naked, biflagellate cells, either occurring as rigid flagellates or as surface-attached amoebae. They perforate cell walls of certain Zygnematophyceae and Chlorophyceae (Viridiplantae) and phagocytose algal cell contents. Time-lapse microscopy revealed the feeding behaviour, locomotional processes and life histories of the amoeboflagellates. Clear differences in cell morphology and food range specificity led to the description of two new, monotypic genera Orciraptor and Viridiraptor, which occupy similar, but distinct ecological niches in aquatic ecosystems as necrophytophagous and parasitoid protists, respectively. Molecular phylogenetic analyses based on 18S rDNA sequence data demonstrated that Orciraptor and Viridiraptor belonged to clade X within the order Glissomonadida (Cercozoa, Rhizaria). In conclusion, we established the phenotypic identity of a clade, which until now was exclusively known from environmental sequences, and erect the new family Viridiraptoridae for clade X. Its algivorous members are compared with other glissomonads and nomenclatural, methodological and ecological aspects of these novel raptorial amoeboflagellates are discussed.
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Picomonas judraskeda gen. et sp. nov.: the first identified member of the Picozoa phylum nov., a widespread group of picoeukaryotes, formerly known as picobiliphytes.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 02-19-2013
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In 2007, a novel, putatively photosynthetic picoeukaryotic lineage, the picobiliphytes, with no known close eukaryotic relatives, was reported from 18S environmental clone library sequences and fluorescence in situ hybridization. Although single cell genomics later showed these organisms to be heterotrophic rather than photosynthetic, until now this apparently widespread group of pico-(or nano-)eukaryotes has remained uncultured and the organisms could not be formally recognized. Here, we describe Picomonas judraskeda gen. et sp. nov., from marine coastal surface waters, which has a picobiliphyte 18S rDNA signature. Using vital mitochondrial staining and cell sorting by flow cytometry, a single cell-derived culture was established. The cells are biflagellate, 2.5-3.8×2-2.5 µm in size, lack plastids and display a novel stereotypic cycle of cell motility (described as the "jump, drag, and skedaddle"-cycle). They consist of two hemispherical parts separated by a deep cleft, an anterior part that contains all major cell organelles including the flagellar apparatus, and a posterior part housing vacuoles/vesicles and the feeding apparatus, both parts separated by a large vacuolar cisterna. From serial section analyses of cells, fixed at putative stages of the feeding cycle, it is concluded that cells are not bacterivorous, but feed on small marine colloids of less than 150 nm diameter by fluid-phase, bulk flow endocytosis. Based on the novel features of cell motility, ultrastructure and feeding, and their isolated phylogenetic position, we establish a new phylum, Picozoa, for Picomonas judraskeda, representing an apparently widespread and ecologically important group of heterotrophic picoeukaryotes, formerly known as picobiliphytes.
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A consensus secondary structure of ITS2 in the chlorophyta identified by phylogenetic reconstruction.
Protist
PUBLISHED: 01-23-2013
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The definition of species plays a pivotal role in biology. It has been proposed that Compensatory Base Changes (CBCs) in the fast-evolving Internal Transcribed Spacer 2 (ITS2) correlate with speciation and thus can be used to distinguish species. The applicability of CBC - based species concepts using ITS2, however, rests on the homology of the investigated ITS2 positions. We studied the ITS2 molecule of 147 strains of Chlorophyceae (Chlorophyta, Viridiplantae) including 26 new sequences in the order Chaetophorales, and compared their secondary structures to ITS2 in the sister class Ulvophyceae, represented by the order Ulvales. Using a phylogenetic/comparative approach, it was possible to identify 1) the first consensus structure model of the ITS2 molecule that can be applied to two classes of green algae [Ulvophyceae (Ulvales), Chlorophyceae] and 2) landmarks (the spacer regions separating the ITS2 Helices) for more robust prediction of the secondary structures in green algae. Moreover, we found that CBCs in homologous positions in these 147 strains (representing 115 validly described species) are either completely absent or mostly associated with internal branches representing higher order taxonomic levels (genera, families, orders). As reported for the Ulvales, CBCs are not diagnostic at the species level in the dataset used.
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A close-up view on ITS2 evolution and speciation - a case study in the Ulvophyceae (Chlorophyta, Viridiplantae).
BMC Evol. Biol.
PUBLISHED: 04-26-2011
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The second Internal Transcriber Spacer (ITS2) is a fast evolving part of the nuclear-encoded rRNA operon located between the 5.8S and 28S rRNA genes. Based on crossing experiments it has been proposed that even a single Compensatory Base Change (CBC) in helices 2 and 3 of the ITS2 indicates sexual incompatibility and thus separates biological species. Taxa without any CBC in these ITS2 regions were designated as a CBC clade. However, in depth comparative analyses of ITS2 secondary structures, ITS2 phylogeny, the origin of CBCs, and their relationship to biological species have rarely been performed. To gain close-up insights into ITS2 evolution, (1) 86 sequences of ITS2 including secondary structures have been investigated in the green algal order Ulvales (Chlorophyta, Viridiplantae), (2) after recording all existing substitutions, CBCs and hemi-CBCs (hCBCs) were mapped upon the ITS2 phylogeny, rather than merely comparing ITS2 characters among pairs of taxa, and (3) the relation between CBCs, hCBCs, CBC clades, and the taxonomic level of organisms was investigated in detail.
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Origin of land plants: do conjugating green algae hold the key?
BMC Evol. Biol.
PUBLISHED: 04-18-2011
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The terrestrial habitat was colonized by the ancestors of modern land plants about 500 to 470 million years ago. Today it is widely accepted that land plants (embryophytes) evolved from streptophyte algae, also referred to as charophycean algae. The streptophyte algae are a paraphyletic group of green algae, ranging from unicellular flagellates to morphologically complex forms such as the stoneworts (Charales). For a better understanding of the evolution of land plants, it is of prime importance to identify the streptophyte algae that are the sister-group to the embryophytes. The Charales, the Coleochaetales or more recently the Zygnematales have been considered to be the sister group of the embryophytes However, despite many years of phylogenetic studies, this question has not been resolved and remains controversial.
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Endosymbiotic gene transfer and transcriptional regulation of transferred genes in Paulinella chromatophora.
Mol. Biol. Evol.
PUBLISHED: 08-11-2010
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Paulinella chromatophora is a cercozoan amoeba that contains "chromatophores," which are photosynthetic inclusions of cyanobacterial origin. The recent discovery that chromatophores evolved independently of plastids, underwent major genome reduction, and transferred at least two genes to the host nucleus has highlighted P. chromatophora as a model to infer early steps in the evolution of photosynthetic organelles. However, owing to the paucity of nuclear genome sequence data, the extent of endosymbiotic gene transfer (EGT) and host symbiont regulation are currently unknown. A combination of 454 and Illumina next generation sequencing enabled us to generate a comprehensive reference transcriptome data set for P. chromatophora on which we mapped short Illumina cDNA reads generated from cultures from the dark and light phases of a diel cycle. Combined with extensive phylogenetic analyses of the deduced protein sequences, these data revealed that 1) about 0.3-0.8% of the nuclear genes were obtained by EGT compared with 11-14% in the Plantae, 2) transferred genes show a distinct bias in that many encode small proteins involved in photosynthesis and photoacclimation, 3) host cells established control over expression of transferred genes, and 4) not only EGT, but to a minor extent also horizontal gene transfer from organisms that presumably served as food sources, helped to shape the nuclear genome of P. chromatophora. The identification of a significant number of transferred genes involved in photosynthesis and photoacclimation of thylakoid membranes as well as the observed transcriptional regulation of these genes strongly implies import of the encoded gene products into chromatophores, a feature previously thought to be restricted to canonical organelles. Thus, a possible mechanism by which P. chromatophora exerts control over the performance of its newly acquired photosynthetic organelle may involve controlling the expression of nuclear-encoded chromatophore-targeted regulatory components of the thylakoid membranes.
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A study of conflict between molecular phylogeny and taxonomy in the Desmidiaceae (Streptophyta, Viridiplantae): analyses of 291 rbcL sequences.
Protist
PUBLISHED: 02-15-2010
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Molecular phylogenetic analyses of 93 new and 198 non-redundant GenBank rbcL sequences of the family Desmidiaceae (Zygnematophyceae, Streptophyta) established 22 mostly highly supported clades, in addition to four non-supported lineages and eight single-taxon branches within the family. Nine novel clades and single-taxon branches were identified, suggesting that current taxon sampling has not reached saturation in the family. The highly polyphyletic nature of most desmid genera corroborated in this study using a large taxon set, calls for re-evaluation of the genus concept in the family Desmidiaceae that traditionally relied on features of cell morphology. Molecular phylogenetic data have shown that these morphological characters are highly homoplastic or plesiomorphic and thus cannot be used to delineate genera. The dramatic discrepancy between the currently practised systematic treatment of the family and the composition of the clades based on sequence comparisons requires emendation of almost all existing genera and description of a larger number of novel genera. The clades identified during this study provide a framework for the future emendation/description of genera in the Desmidiaceae.
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Endosymbiotic associations within protists.
Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond., B, Biol. Sci.
PUBLISHED: 02-04-2010
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The establishment of an endosymbiotic relationship typically seems to be driven through complementation of the hosts limited metabolic capabilities by the biochemical versatility of the endosymbiont. The most significant examples of endosymbiosis are represented by the endosymbiotic acquisition of plastids and mitochondria, introducing photosynthesis and respiration to eukaryotes. However, there are numerous other endosymbioses that evolved more recently and repeatedly across the tree of life. Recent advances in genome sequencing technology have led to a better understanding of the physiological basis of many endosymbiotic associations. This review focuses on endosymbionts in protists (unicellular eukaryotes). Selected examples illustrate the incorporation of various new biochemical functions, such as photosynthesis, nitrogen fixation and recycling, and methanogenesis, into protist hosts by prokaryotic endosymbionts. Furthermore, photosynthetic eukaryotic endosymbionts display a great diversity of modes of integration into different protist hosts. In conclusion, endosymbiosis seems to represent a general evolutionary strategy of protists to acquire novel biochemical functions and is thus an important source of genetic innovation.
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Molecular phylogeny and classification of the Mamiellophyceae class. nov. (Chlorophyta) based on sequence comparisons of the nuclear- and plastid-encoded rRNA operons.
Protist
PUBLISHED: 08-10-2009
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Molecular phylogenetic analyses of the Mamiellophyceae classis nova, a ubiquitous group of largely picoplanktonic green algae comprising scaly and non-scaly prasinophyte unicells, were performed using single and concatenated gene sequence comparisons of the nuclear- and plastid-encoded rRNA operons. The study resolved all major clades within the class, identified molecular signature sequences for most clades through an exhaustive search for non-homoplasious synapomorphies [Marin et al. (2003): Protist 154: 99-145] and incorporated these signatures into the diagnoses of two novel orders, Monomastigales ord nov., Dolichomastigales ord. nov., and four novel families, Monomastigaceae fam. nov., Dolichomastigaceae fam. nov., Crustomastigaceae fam. nov., and Bathycoccaceae fam. nov., within a revised classification of the class. A database search for the presence of environmental rDNA sequences in the Monomastigales and Dolichomastigales identified an unexpectedly large genetic diversity of Monomastigales confined to freshwater, a novel clade (Dolicho_B) in the Dolichomastigaceae from deep sea sediments and a novel freshwater clade in the Crustomastigaceae. The Mamiellophyceae represent one of the ecologically most successful groups of eukaryotic, photosynthetic picoplankters in marine and likely also freshwater environments.
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Evaluating methods for isolating total RNA and predicting the success of sequencing phylogenetically diverse plant transcriptomes.
PLoS ONE
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Next-generation sequencing plays a central role in the characterization and quantification of transcriptomes. Although numerous metrics are purported to quantify the quality of RNA, there have been no large-scale empirical evaluations of the major determinants of sequencing success. We used a combination of existing and newly developed methods to isolate total RNA from 1115 samples from 695 plant species in 324 families, which represents >900 million years of phylogenetic diversity from green algae through flowering plants, including many plants of economic importance. We then sequenced 629 of these samples on Illumina GAIIx and HiSeq platforms and performed a large comparative analysis to identify predictors of RNA quality and the diversity of putative genes (scaffolds) expressed within samples. Tissue types (e.g., leaf vs. flower) varied in RNA quality, sequencing depth and the number of scaffolds. Tissue age also influenced RNA quality but not the number of scaffolds ? 1000 bp. Overall, 36% of the variation in the number of scaffolds was explained by metrics of RNA integrity (RIN score), RNA purity (OD 260/230), sequencing platform (GAIIx vs HiSeq) and the amount of total RNA used for sequencing. However, our results show that the most commonly used measures of RNA quality (e.g., RIN) are weak predictors of the number of scaffolds because Illumina sequencing is robust to variation in RNA quality. These results provide novel insight into the methods that are most important in isolating high quality RNA for sequencing and assembling plant transcriptomes. The methods and recommendations provided here could increase the efficiency and decrease the cost of RNA sequencing for individual labs and genome centers.
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Shedding light on vampires: the phylogeny of vampyrellid amoebae revisited.
PLoS ONE
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With the advent of molecular phylogenetic techniques the polyphyly of naked filose amoebae has been proven. They are interspersed in several supergroups of eukaryotes and most of them already found their place within the tree of life. Although the vampire amoebae have attracted interest since the middle of the 19th century, the phylogenetic position and even the monophyly of this traditional group are still uncertain. In this study clonal co-cultures of eight algivorous vampyrellid amoebae and the respective food algae were established. Culture material was characterized morphologically and a molecular phylogeny was inferred using SSU rDNA sequence comparisons. We found that the limnetic, algivorous vampyrellid amoebae investigated in this study belong to a major clade within the Endomyxa Cavalier-Smith, 2002 (Cercozoa), grouping together with a few soil-dwelling taxa. They split into two robust clades, one containing species of the genus Vampyrella Cienkowski, 1865, the other containing the genus Leptophrys Hertwig & Lesser, 1874, together with terrestrial members. Supported by morphological data these clades are designated as the two families Vampyrellidae Zopf, 1885, and Leptophryidae fam. nov. Furthermore the order Vampyrellida West, 1901 was revised and now corresponds to the major vampyrellid clade within the Endomyxa, comprising the Vampyrellidae and Leptophryidae as well as several environmental sequences. In the light of the presented phylogenetic analyses morphological and ecological aspects, the feeding strategy and nutritional specialization within the vampyrellid amoebae are discussed.
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Genetic Programming as a tool for identification of analyte-specificity from complex response patterns using a non-specific whole-cell biosensor.
Biosens Bioelectron
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Whole-cell biosensors are mostly non-specific with respect to their detection capabilities for toxicants, and therefore offering an interesting perspective in environmental monitoring. However, to fully employ this feature, a robust classification method needs to be implemented into these sensor systems to allow further identification of detected substances. Substance-specific information can be extracted from signals derived from biosensors harbouring one or multiple biological components. Here, a major task is the identification of substance-specific information among considerable amounts of biosensor data. For this purpose, several approaches make use of statistical methods or machine learning algorithms. Genetic Programming (GP), a heuristic machine learning technique offers several advantages compared to other machine learning approaches and consequently may be a promising tool for biosensor data classification. In the present study, we have evaluated the use of GP for the classification of herbicides and herbicide classes (chemical classes) by analysis of substance-specific patterns derived from a whole-cell multi-species biosensor. We re-analysed data from a previously described array-based biosensor system employing diverse microalgae (Podola and Melkonian, 2005), aiming on the identification of five individual herbicides as well as two herbicide classes. GP analyses were performed using the commercially available GP software Discipulus, resulting in classifiers (computer programs) for the binary classification of each individual herbicide or herbicide class. GP-generated classifiers both for individual herbicides and herbicide classes were able to perform a statistically significant identification of herbicides or herbicide classes, respectively. The majority of classifiers were able to perform correct classifications (sensitivity) of about 80-95% of test data sets, whereas the false positive rate (specificity) was lower than 20% for most classifiers. Results suggest that a higher number of data sets may lead to a better classification performance. In the present paper, GP-based classification was combined with a biosensor for the first time. Our results demonstrate GP was able to identify substance-specific information within complex biosensor response patterns and furthermore use this information for successful toxicant classification in unknown samples. This suggests further research to assess perspectives and limitations of this approach in the field of biosensors.
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What is Visualize?

JoVE Visualize is a tool created to match the last 5 years of PubMed publications to methods in JoVE's video library.

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We use abstracts found on PubMed and match them to JoVE videos to create a list of 10 to 30 related methods videos.

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In developing our video relationships, we compare around 5 million PubMed articles to our library of over 4,500 methods videos. In some cases the language used in the PubMed abstracts makes matching that content to a JoVE video difficult. In other cases, there happens not to be any content in our video library that is relevant to the topic of a given abstract. In these cases, our algorithms are trying their best to display videos with relevant content, which can sometimes result in matched videos with only a slight relation.