Many organisms exhibit parental optimism, producing more of the initial stages of offspring (e.g., eggs, embryos) than they can usually mature. For plants, parental optimism may be linked to the risk of seed production being limited by pollen receipt (pollen limitation). Here we elaborate a stochastic model of pollen limitation developed by Haig and Westoby ( 1988 ) and Burd ( 2008 ) and link it with published data on the magnitudes of prepollination costs versus postpollination costs of seed production in 80 plant species. We demonstrate that parental optimism should be expected when prepollination costs of seed production are small relative to postpollination costs. This was observed for most (62 of 80) of the plant taxa surveyed. Under parental optimism, plants overinvest in securing fertilized ovules, and consequently pollen limitation is predicted to be uncommon. However, for a sizable minority of plant species (18 of 80), prepollination costs approach or exceed postpollination costs. For these species, parental pessimism is instead optimal. Parents initiate fewer zygotes than they can usually mature, and pollen limitation is predicted to be severe. Because the relative magnitudes of prepollination and postpollination costs vary by more than 1,000-fold across plant taxa, parental outlook (optimism vs. pessimism) and levels of pollen limitation are predicted to vary widely.
Theoretical and simulation studies predict that the order of species loss from mutualist networks with respect to how linked species are to other species within the network will determine the rate at which networks collapse. However, the empirical order of species loss with respect to linkage has rarely been investigated. Furthermore, a species' linkage is a composite of its diet breadth and its abundance, yet the relative importance of these two factors in determining species loss order is poorly known. Here we explore the order of pollinator species loss in two contrasting study systems undergoing land-use intensification, using >20,000 pollinator specimens. We found that a pollinator species' linkage, as measured independently within plant-pollinator networks, positively predicted its persistence at human-disturbed sites in three of four analyses. The strongest predictor of persistence in all analyses was pollinator species abundance. In contrast, diet breadth poorly predicted persistence. Overall, our results suggest that community disassembly order buffers plant-pollinator networks against environmental change by retaining the highly linked species that make a disproportionate contribution to network robustness. Furthermore, these highly linked species likely persist because they are also the most common species, not because they are dietary generalists.
Research on threats to pollination service in agro-ecosystems has focused primarily on the negative impacts of land use change and agricultural practices such as insecticide use on pollinator populations. Insecticide use could also affect the pollination process, through nonlethal impacts on pollinator attraction and postpollination processes such as pollen viability or pollen tube growth. Hybrid onion seed (Allium cepa L., Alliaceae) is an important pollinator-dependent crop that has suffered yield declines in California, concurrent with increased insecticide use. Field studies suggest that insecticide use reduces pollination service in this system. We conducted a field experiment manipulating insecticide use to examine the impacts of insecticides on 1) pollinator attraction, 2) pollen/stigma interactions, and 3) seed set and seed quality. Select insecticides had negative impacts on pollinator attraction and pollen/stigma interactions, with certain products dramatically reducing pollen germination and pollen tube growth. Decreased pollen germination was not associated with reduced seed set; however, reduced pollinator attraction was associated with lower seed set and seed quality, for one of the two female lines examined. Our results highlight the importance of pesticide effects on the pollination process. Overuse may lead to yield reductions through impacts on pollinator behavior and postpollination processes. Overall, in hybrid onion seed production, moderation in insecticide use is advised when controlling onion thrips, Thrips tabaci, on commercial fields.
The phylogenetic composition of the epiphytic bacterial community of an invasive aquatic plant (Hydrilla verticillata) and a native species (Vallisneria americana [eelgrass]) of the Wakulla Spring (Florida) was investigated, along with the water column bacterial composition, using clone libraries of the 16S rRNA genes. The bacterial clones from three clone libraries were classified into 182 operational taxonomic units (OTUs), most of which were affiliated with bacterial divisions commonly found in freshwater ecosystems. Based on the identified classes, the bacterial communities on eelgrass and Hydrilla were distinct, such that Planctomycetes, Cyanobacteria, Bacilli and Actinobacteria were found on eelgrass and in the water column but not on Hydrilla. On the other hand, Deltaproteobacteria and Verrucomicrobiae were found on Hydrilla and in the water column but not on eelgrass. Further distinctions observed were that Armatimonadia and Deinococci were found only on Hydrilla while Gemmatimonadetes was found only on eelgrass. Our results indicated differences between the epiphytic bacterial community on the two plants and the water column at the species level, but an even representation of the most abundant phylogenetic taxa (classes) in all three libraries was revealed. Statistical comparison of the retrieved sequences confirmed that the three libraries did not differ significantly at the community level (LIBSHUFF, p <0.05).
Human T cells that express a T cell antigen receptor (TCR) containing ?-chain variable region 9 and ?-chain variable region 2 (V?9V?2) recognize phosphorylated prenyl metabolites as antigens in the presence of antigen-presenting cells but independently of major histocompatibility complex (MHC), the MHC class I-related molecule MR1 and antigen-presenting CD1 molecules. Here we used genetic approaches to identify the molecule that binds and presents phosphorylated antigens. We found that the butyrophilin BTN3A1 bound phosphorylated antigens with low affinity, at a stoichiometry of 1:1, and stimulated mouse T cells with transgenic expression of a human V?9V?2 TCR. The structures of the BTN3A1 distal domain in complex with host- or microbe-derived phosphorylated antigens had an immunoglobulin-like fold in which the antigens bound in a shallow pocket. Soluble V?9V?2 TCR interacted specifically with BTN3A1-antigen complexes. Accordingly, BTN3A1 represents an antigen-presenting molecule required for the activation of V?9V?2 T cells.
More diverse biological communities may provide ecosystem services that are less variable over space or time. However, the mechanisms underlying this relationship are rarely investigated empirically in real-world ecosystems. Here, we investigate how a potentially important stabilising mechanism, response diversity, the differential response to environmental change among species, stabilises pollination services against land-use change. We measured crop pollination services provided by native bees across land-use gradients in three crop systems. We found that bee species responded differentially to increasing agricultural land cover in all three systems, demonstrating that response diversity occurs. Similarly, we found response diversity in pollination services in two of the systems. However, there was no evidence that response diversity, in general, stabilised ecosystem services. Our results suggest that either response diversity is not the primary stabilising mechanism in our system, or that new measures of response diversity are needed that better capture the stabilising effects it provides.
The diversity and abundance of wild insect pollinators have declined in many agricultural landscapes. Whether such declines reduce crop yields, or are mitigated by managed pollinators such as honey bees, is unclear. We found universally positive associations of fruit set with flower visitation by wild insects in 41 crop systems worldwide. In contrast, fruit set increased significantly with flower visitation by honey bees in only 14% of the systems surveyed. Overall, wild insects pollinated crops more effectively; an increase in wild insect visitation enhanced fruit set by twice as much as an equivalent increase in honey bee visitation. Visitation by wild insects and honey bees promoted fruit set independently, so pollination by managed honey bees supplemented, rather than substituted for, pollination by wild insects. Our results suggest that new practices for integrated management of both honey bees and diverse wild insect assemblages will enhance global crop yields.
Bees provide essential pollination services that are potentially affected both by local farm management and the surrounding landscape. To better understand these different factors, we modelled the relative effects of landscape composition (nesting and floral resources within foraging distances), landscape configuration (patch shape, interpatch connectivity and habitat aggregation) and farm management (organic vs. conventional and local-scale field diversity), and their interactions, on wild bee abundance and richness for 39 crop systems globally. Bee abundance and richness were higher in diversified and organic fields and in landscapes comprising more high-quality habitats; bee richness on conventional fields with low diversity benefited most from high-quality surrounding land cover. Landscape configuration effects were weak. Bee responses varied slightly by biome. Our synthesis reveals that pollinator persistence will depend on both the maintenance of high-quality habitats around farms and on local management practices that may offset impacts of intensive monoculture agriculture.
Many short-lived desert organisms remain in diapause during drought. Theoretically, the cues desert species use to continue diapause through drought should differ depending on the availability of critical resources, but the unpredictability and infrequent occurrence of climate extremes and reduced insect activity during such events make empirical tests of this prediction difficult. An intensive study of a diverse bee-plant community through a drought event found that bee specialists of a drought-sensitive host plant were absent in the drought year in contrast to generalist bees and to specialist bees of a drought-insensitive host plant. Different responses of bee species to drought indicate that the diapause cues used by bee species allow them to reliably predict host availability. Species composition of the bee community in drought shifted towards mostly generalist species. However, we predict that more frequent and extended drought, predicted by climate change models for southwest North America, will result in bee communities that are species-poor and dominated by specialist species, as found today in the most arid desert region of North America.
In diverse pollinator communities, interspecific interactions may modify the behaviour and increase the pollination effectiveness of individual species. Because agricultural production reliant on pollination is growing, improving pollination effectiveness could increase crop yield without any increase in agricultural intensity or area. In California almond, a crop highly dependent on honey bee pollination, we explored the foraging behaviour and pollination effectiveness of honey bees in orchards with simple (honey bee only) and diverse (non-Apis bees present) bee communities. In orchards with non-Apis bees, the foraging behaviour of honey bees changed and the pollination effectiveness of a single honey bee visit was greater than in orchards where non-Apis bees were absent. This change translated to a greater proportion of fruit set in these orchards. Our field experiments show that increased pollinator diversity can synergistically increase pollination service, through species interactions that alter the behaviour and resulting functional quality of a dominant pollinator species. These results of functional synergy between species were supported by an additional controlled cage experiment with Osmia lignaria and Apis mellifera. Our findings highlight a largely unexplored facilitative component of the benefit of biodiversity to ecosystem services, and represent a way to improve pollinator-dependent crop yields in a sustainable manner.
Small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) is a powerful characterization technique for the analysis of polymer-silica nanocomposite particles due to their relatively narrow particle size distributions and high electron density contrast between the polymer core and the silica shell. Time-resolved SAXS is used to follow the kinetics of both nanocomposite particle formation (via silica nanoparticle adsorption onto sterically stabilized poly(2-vinylpyridine) (P2VP) latex in dilute aqueous solution) and also the spontaneous redistribution of silica that occurs when such P2VP-silica nanocomposite particles are challenged by the addition of sterically stabilized P2VP latex. Silica adsorption is complete within a few seconds at 20 °C and the rate of adsorption strongly dependent on the extent of silica surface coverage. Similar very short time scales for silica redistribution are consistent with facile silica exchange occurring as a result of rapid interparticle collisions due to Brownian motion; this interpretation is consistent with a zeroth-order Smoluchowski-type calculation.
The redistribution of silica nanoparticles between "core-shell" polymer-silica nanocomposites and sterically stabilized latexes is investigated using a combination of electron microscopy, disk centrifuge photosedimentometry (DCP), and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Facile exchange of silica nanoparticles occurs on addition of sterically-stabilized polystyrene (or poly(2-vinylpyridine)) latex to polystyrene-silica (or poly(2-vinylpyridine)-silica) nanocomposite particles previously prepared by heteroflocculation. In contrast, no silica exchange occurs after such a latex "challenge" if similar polymer/silica nanocomposite particles are prepared via in situ polymerization. Silica redistribution can be confirmed by post mortem electron microscopy studies, which are facilitated if the original nanocomposite and latex particles differ sufficiently in their mean diameters. Ideally, XPS requires a unique elemental marker for the nanocomposite particle cores, which become progressively more exposed if silica exchange occurs. DCP is a particularly convenient in situ technique for assessing whether or not silica exchange has occurred. If no silica exchange occurs, there is little or no change in the nanocomposite and latex size distributions. On the other hand, silica redistribution always results in a larger mean particle diameter for the (partially) silica-coated latex particles relative to the original bare latex. In addition, incipient flocculation is typically observed after silica exchange. Like electron microscopy, DCP studies are aided if there is a significant difference in particle diameter between the original polymer-silica nanocomposite particles and the added latex. Moreover, silica redistribution can be prevented for heteroflocculated polymer-silica nanocomposite particles under certain conditions. For example, although silica exchange is observed at pH 10 when adding sterically-stabilized polystyrene (or poly(2-vinylpyridine)) latex to heteroflocculated poly(2-vinylpyridine)-silica particles, it does not occur at pH 5. Presumably, this is due to greater electrostatic attraction between the cationic P2VP cores and the anionic silica nanoparticles at this lower pH.
The pre-T-cell antigen receptor (pre-TCR), expressed by immature thymocytes, has a pivotal role in early T-cell development, including TCR ?-selection, survival and proliferation of CD4(-)CD8(-) double-negative thymocytes, and subsequent ?? T-cell lineage differentiation. Whereas ??TCR ligation by the peptide-loaded major histocompatibility complex initiates T-cell signalling, pre-TCR-induced signalling occurs by means of a ligand-independent dimerization event. The pre-TCR comprises an invariant ?-chain (pre-T?) that pairs with any TCR ?-chain (TCR?) following successful TCR ?-gene rearrangement. Here we provide the basis of pre-T?-TCR? assembly and pre-TCR dimerization. The pre-T? chain comprised a single immunoglobulin-like domain that is structurally distinct from the constant (C) domain of the TCR ?-chain; nevertheless, the mode of association between pre-T? and TCR? mirrored that mediated by the C?-C? domains of the ??TCR. The pre-TCR had a propensity to dimerize in solution, and the molecular envelope of the pre-TCR dimer correlated well with the observed head-to-tail pre-TCR dimer. This mode of pre-TCR dimerization enabled the pre-T? domain to interact with the variable (V) ? domain through residues that are highly conserved across the V? and joining (J) ? gene families, thus mimicking the interactions at the core of the ??TCRs V?-V? interface. Disruption of this pre-T?-V? dimer interface abrogated pre-TCR dimerization in solution and impaired pre-TCR expression on the cell surface. Accordingly, we provide a mechanism of pre-TCR self-association that allows the pre-T? chain to simultaneously sample the correct folding of both the V and C domains of any TCR ?-chain, regardless of its ultimate specificity, which represents a critical checkpoint in T-cell development. This unusual dual-chaperone-like sensing function of pre-T? represents a unique mechanism in nature whereby developmental quality control regulates the expression and signalling of an integral membrane receptor complex.
Addition of excess sterically stabilized P2VP latex to a colloidal dispersion of P2VP-silica nanocomposite particles (with silica shells at full monolayer coverage) leads to the facile redistribution of the silica nanoparticles such that partial coverage of all the P2VP latex particles is achieved. This silica exchange, which is complete within 1 h at 20 degrees C as judged by small-angle x-ray scattering, is observed for nanocomposite particles prepared by heteroflocculation, but not for nanocomposite particles prepared by in situ copolymerization. These observations are expected to have important implications for the optimization of nanocomposite formulations in the coatings industry.
Pollen dispersal by animals varies extensively because of differences in pollinator visitation rates among plants, dissimilar pollination by the various pollinators that visit individual plants, and stochastic variation in deposition as an individual pollinator disperses a plants pollen to subsequently visited recipient flowers. Such variation reduces expected female and male success if seed production decelerates with increasing pollen receipt, because less than average receipt diminishes mean seed production more than copious pollination increases it (Jensens inequality). We report empirical studies of the nature and magnitude of pollen dispersal variance, which provide the basis for a numerical model of the consequences of dispersal for expected seed production. Model fitting revealed that dispersal of Brassica napus pollen by bumblebees and especially butterflies exhibited much more variation than is expected of a binomial process and was best modeled as a beta-binomial process with a constant mean. Overdispersion arose primarily during pollen dispersal by individual insects, since differences between individuals of the same pollinator type were limited. Our model revealed variance limitation as a previously unrecognized, substantial, and ubiquitous component of pollen limitation of seed production. Variance limitation should select for floral traits that increase pollinator visitation, reduce dispersal variance, or reduce the postpollination nonlinearities that cause Jensens inequality.
Crop pollination by bees and other animals is an essential ecosystem service. Ensuring the maintenance of the service requires a full understanding of the contributions of landscape elements to pollinator populations and crop pollination. Here, the first quantitative model that predicts pollinator abundance on a landscape is described and tested.
The adsorption of small silica particles onto large sterically stabilized poly(2-vinylpyridine) [P2VP] latex particles in aqueous solution is assessed as a potential route to nanocomposite particles with a "core-shell" morphology. Geometric considerations allow the packing efficiency, P, to be related to the number of adsorbed silica particles per latex particle, N. Making no assumptions about the packing structure, this approach leads to a theoretical estimate for P of 86 +/- 4%. Experimentally, dynamic light scattering is used to obtain a plot of hydrodynamic diameter against N, which indicates the conditions required for monolayer coverage of the latex by the silica particles. Transmission electron microscopy confirmed that, at approximately monolayer coverage, calcination of these nanocomposite particles led to the formation of well-defined hollow silica shells. This is interpreted as strong evidence for a contiguous monolayer of silica particles surrounding the latex cores. On this basis, an experimental value for P of 69 +/- 4% was estimated for nanocomposite particles prepared by the heteroflocculation of a 20 nm silica sol with near-monodisperse P2VP latexes of either 463 or 616 nm diameter at approximately pH 10. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy was used to quantify the extent of latex surface coverage by the silica particles. This technique gave good agreement with the silica packing efficiencies estimated from calcination studies.
The Src-family protein-tyrosine kinase (PTK) Lyn is the most important Src-family kinase in B cells, having both inhibitory and stimulatory activity that is dependent on the receptor, ligand, and developmental context of the B cell. An important role for Lyn has been reported in acute myeloid leukemia and chronic myeloid leukemia, as well as certain solid tumors. Although several Src-family inhibitors are available, the development of Lyn-specific inhibitors, or inhibitors with reduced off-target activity to Lyn, has been hampered by the lack of structural data on the Lyn kinase. Here we report the crystal structure of the non-liganded form of Lyn kinase domain, as well as in complex with three different inhibitors: the ATP analogue AMP-PNP; the pan Src kinase inhibitor PP2; and the BCR-Abl/Src-family inhibitor Dasatinib. The Lyn kinase domain was determined in its "active" conformation, but in the unphosphorylated state. All three inhibitors are bound at the ATP-binding site, with PP2 and Dasatinib extending into a hydrophobic pocket deep in the substrate cleft, thereby providing a basis for the Src-specific inhibition. Analysis of sequence and structural differences around the active site region of the Src-family PTKs were evident. Accordingly, our data provide valuable information for the further development of therapeutics targeting Lyn and the important Src-family of kinases.
The Janus kinases (JAKs) are a pivotal family of protein tyrosine kinases (PTKs) that play prominent roles in numerous cytokine signaling pathways, with aberrant JAK activity associated with a variety of hematopoietic malignancies, cardiovascular diseases and immune-related disorders. Whereas the structures of the JAK2 and JAK3 PTK domains have been determined, the structure of the JAK1 PTK domain is unknown. Here, we report the high-resolution crystal structures of the "active form" of the JAK1 PTK domain in complex with two JAK inhibitors, a tetracyclic pyridone 2-t-butyl-9-fluoro-3,6-dihydro-7H-benz[h]-imidaz[4,5-f]isoquinoline-7-one (CMP6) and (3R,4R)-3-[4-methyl-3-[N-methyl-N-(7H-pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidin-4-yl)amino]piperidin-1-yl]-3-oxopropionitrile (CP-690,550), and compare them with the corresponding JAK2 PTK inhibitor complexes. Both inhibitors bound in a similar manner to JAK1, namely buried deep within a constricted ATP-binding site, thereby providing a basis for the potent inhibition of JAK1. As expected, the mode of inhibitor binding in JAK1 was very similar to that observed in JAK2, highlighting the challenges in developing JAK-specific inhibitors that target the ATP-binding site. Nevertheless, differences surrounding the JAK1 and JAK2 ATP-binding sites were apparent, thereby providing a platform for the rational design of JAK2- and JAK1-specific inhibitors.
Species-rich tropical communities are expected to be more specialized than their temperate counterparts. Several studies have reported increasing biotic specialization toward the tropics, whereas others have not found latitudinal trends once accounting for sampling bias or differences in plant diversity. Thus, the direction of the latitudinal specialization gradient remains contentious. With an unprecedented global data set, we investigated how biotic specialization between plants and animal pollinators or seed dispersers is associated with latitude, past and contemporary climate, and plant diversity. We show that in contrast to expectation, biotic specialization of mutualistic networks is significantly lower at tropical than at temperate latitudes. Specialization was more closely related to contemporary climate than to past climate stability, suggesting that current conditions have a stronger effect on biotic specialization than historical community stability. Biotic specialization decreased with increasing local and regional plant diversity. This suggests that high specialization of mutualistic interactions is a response of pollinators and seed dispersers to low plant diversity. This could explain why the latitudinal specialization gradient is reversed relative to the latitudinal diversity gradient. Low mutualistic network specialization in the tropics suggests higher tolerance against extinctions in tropical than in temperate communities.
Variation in the availability of food resources over space and time is a likely driver of how landscape structure and composition affect animal populations. Few studies, however, have directly assessed the spatiotemporal variation in resource availability that arises from landscape pattern, or its effect on populations and population dynamic parameters. We tested the effect of floral resource availability at the landscape scale on the numbers of worker, male, and queen offspring produced by bumble bee, Bombus vosnesen?kii, colonies experimentally placed within complex agricultural-natural landscapes. We quantified flower densities in all land use types at different times of the season and then used these data to calculate spatially explicit estimates of floral resources surrounding each colony. Floral availability strongly correlated with landscape structure, and different regions of the landscape showed distinct seasonal patterns of floral availability. The floral resources available in the landscape surrounding a colony positively affected the number of workers and males it produced. Production was more sensitive to early- than to later-season resources. Floral resources did not significantly affect queen production despite a strong correlation between worker number and queen number among colonies. No landscape produced high floral resources during both the early and late season, and seasonal consistency is likely required for greater queen production. Floral resources are important determinants of colony growth and likely affect the pollination services provided by bumble bees at a landscape scale. Spatiotemporal variation in floral resources across the landscape precludes a simple relationship between resources and reproductive success as measured by queens, but nonetheless likely influences the total abundance of bumble bees in our study region.
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