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Generalized dynamic scaling for quantum critical relaxation in imaginary time.
Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys
PUBLISHED: 10-02-2014
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We study the imaginary-time relaxation critical dynamics of a quantum system with a vanishing initial correlation length and an arbitrary initial order parameter M_{0}. We find that in quantum critical dynamics, the behavior of M_{0} under scale transformations deviates from a simple power law, which was proposed for very small M_{0} previously. A universal characteristic function is then suggested to describe the rescaled initial magnetization, similar to classical critical dynamics. This characteristic function is shown to be able to describe the quantum critical dynamics in both short- and long-time stages of the evolution. The one-dimensional transverse-field Ising model is employed to numerically determine the specific form of the characteristic function. We demonstrate that it is applicable as long as the system is in the vicinity of the quantum critical point. The universality of the characteristic function is confirmed by numerical simulations of models belonging to the same universality class.
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Differential expression of Meis2, Mab21l2 and Tbx3 during limb development associated with diversification of limb morphology in mammals.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 08-28-2014
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Bats are the only mammals capable of self-powered flight using wings. Differing from mouse or human limbs, four elongated digits within a broad wing membrane support the bat wing, and the foot of the bat has evolved a long calcar that spread the interfemoral membrane. Our recent mRNA sequencing (mRNA-Seq) study found unique expression patterns for genes at the 5' end of the Hoxd gene cluster and for Tbx3 that are associated with digit elongation and wing membrane growth in bats. In this study, we focused on two additional genes, Meis2 and Mab21l2, identified from the mRNA-Seq data. Using whole-mount in situ hybridization (WISH) we validated the mRNA-Seq results for differences in the expression patterns of Meis2 and Mab21l2 between bat and mouse limbs, and further characterize the timing and location of the expression of these two genes. These analyses suggest that Meis2 may function in wing membrane growth and Mab21l2 may have a role in AP and DV axial patterning. In addition, we found that Tbx3 is uniquely expressed in the unique calcar structure found in the bat hindlimb, suggesting a role for this gene in calcar growth and elongation. Moreover, analysis of the coding sequences for Meis2, Mab21l2 and Tbx3 showed that Meis2 and Mab21l2 have high sequence identity, consistent with the functions of genes being conserved, but that Tbx3 showed accelerated evolution in bats. However, evidence for positive selection in Tbx3 was not found, which would suggest that the function of this gene has not been changed. Together, our findings support the hypothesis that the modulation of the spatiotemporal expression patterns of multiple functional conserved genes control limb morphology and drive morphological change in the diversification of mammalian limbs.
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Extensive remodeling of a cyanobacterial photosynthetic apparatus in far-red light.
Science
PUBLISHED: 08-21-2014
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Cyanobacteria are unique among bacteria in performing oxygenic photosynthesis, often together with nitrogen fixation and, thus, are major primary producers in many ecosystems. The cyanobacterium, Leptolyngbya sp. strain JSC-1, exhibits an extensive photoacclimative response to growth in far-red light that includes the synthesis of chlorophylls d and f. During far-red acclimation, transcript levels increase more than twofold for ~900 genes and decrease by more than half for ~2000 genes. Core subunits of photosystem I, photosystem II, and phycobilisomes are replaced by proteins encoded in a 21-gene cluster that includes a knotless red/far-red phytochrome and two response regulators. This acclimative response enhances light harvesting for wavelengths complementary to the growth light (? = 700 to 750 nanometers) and enhances oxygen evolution in far-red light.
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Adaptive functional diversification of lysozyme in insectivorous bats.
Mol. Biol. Evol.
PUBLISHED: 08-18-2014
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The role of gene duplication in generating new genes and novel functions is well recognized and is exemplified by the digestion-related protein lysozyme. In ruminants, duplicated chicken-type lysozymes facilitate the degradation of symbiotic bacteria in the foregut. Chicken-type lysozyme has also been reported to show chitinase-like activity, yet no study has examined the molecular evolution of lysozymes in species that specialize on eating insects. Insectivorous bats number over 900 species, and lysozyme expression in the mouths of some of these species is associated with the ingestion of insect cuticle, suggesting a chitinase role. Here, we show that chicken-type lysozyme has undergone multiple duplication events in a major family of insect-eating bats (Vespertilionidae) and that new duplicates have undergone molecular adaptation. Examination of duplicates from two insectivorous bats-Pipistrellus abramus and Scotophilus kuhlii-indicated that the new copy was highly expressed in the tongue, whereas the other one was less tissue-specific. Functional assays applied to pipistrelle lysozymes confirmed that, of the two copies, the tongue duplicate was more efficient at breaking down glycol chitin, a chitin derivative. These results suggest that the evolution of lysozymes in vespertilionid bats has likely been driven in part by natural selection for insectivory.
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Introgression of mitochondrial DNA promoted by natural selection in the Japanese pipistrelle bat (Pipistrellus abramus).
Genetica
PUBLISHED: 06-05-2014
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Introgression of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) between closely related taxa can be promoted by either neutral processes or natural selection. Since mitochondrial gene-encoded proteins play critical roles in oxidative metabolism, mtDNA genes are commonly considered to experience strong selective constraint. However, metabolic requirements vary across climatic and ecological gradients, thus modifying potential selective pressures acting on mtDNA genes. Here we conducted tests to detect adaptive evolution occurring in two mtDNA genes (Cytb and ND5) in individuals of Japanese pipistrelle bat (Pipistrellus abramus) across the mainland of China and Hainan Island. Nuclear DNA markers identified two clades in both the mainland and Hainan Island populations, whereas each of these regions had a specific mtDNA clade. This cyto-nuclear discordance is most likely caused by introgression of the mtDNA by ruling out two other alternative scenarios (incomplete lineage sorting and sex-biased gene flow). Although population-based analyses revealed purifying selection acting on Cytb and neutrality in ND5, multiple nonsynonymous substitutions in both Cytb and ND5 were suggested to have been caused by positive selection by a divergence-based analysis. Our study supports the view that molecular adaptation can occur at genes under strong purifying selection if nonsynonymous substitutions cause radical changes in the physicochemical properties of amino acids.
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Vipp1 is essential for the biogenesis of Photosystem I but not thylakoid membranes in Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002.
J. Biol. Chem.
PUBLISHED: 04-24-2014
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The biogenesis of thylakoid membranes in cyanobacteria is presently not well understood, but the vipp1 gene product has been suggested to play an important role in this process. Previous studies in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 reported that vipp1 (sll0617) was essential. By constructing a fully segregated null mutant in vipp1 (SynPCC7002_A0294) in Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002, we show that Vipp1 is not essential. Spectroscopic studies revealed that Photosystem I (PS I) was below detection limits in the vipp1 mutant, but Photosystem II (PS II) was still assembled and was active. Thylakoid membranes were still observed in vipp1 mutant cells and resembled those in a psaAB mutant that completely lacks PS I. When the vipp1 mutation was complemented with the orthologous vipp1 gene from Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 that was expressed from the strong P(cpcBA) promoter, PS I content and activities were restored to normal levels, and cells again produced thylakoids that were indistinguishable from those of wild type. Transcription profiling showed that psaAB transcripts were lower in abundance in the vipp1 mutant. However, when the yfp gene was expressed from the P(psaAB) promoter in the presence and the absence of Vipp1, no difference in YFP expression was observed, which shows that Vipp1 is not a transcription factor for the psaAB genes. This study shows that thylakoids are still produced in the absence of Vipp1 and that normal thylakoid biogenesis in Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002 requires expression and biogenesis of PS I, which in turn requires Vipp1.
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OB-RL silencing inhibits the thermoregulatory ability of Great Roundleaf Bats (Hipposideros armiger).
Gen. Comp. Endocrinol.
PUBLISHED: 04-22-2014
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Previous studies have shown that the hormone Leptin has an important role in mammalian heterothermy by regulating metabolism and food intake via lipolysis, as well as adaptive evolution of Leptin in heterothermic bats driven by selected pressure. However, the mechanism of Leptin in heterothermic regulation in mammals is unknown. By combining previous results, we speculated that the Leptin signaling pathway mediated by OB-RL (Leptin receptor long form) in the hypothalamus is important. OB-RL is one of the products of db gene and mainly distributed in the hypothalamus. In this study, we used OB-RL as a molecular marker, combining with the RNA interference technology and physiological/molecular analyses with Hipposideros armiger (a hibernating bat species) as an animal model, to explore the mechanism of Leptin in heterothermic regulation. Our data showed that all of four anti-OB-RL shRNA lentivirus significantly inhibited OB-RL expression (>90%), and the interference efficiency of PSC1742 lentivirus reached the highest value. In situ hybridization proved that PSC1742 lentivirus significantly decreased the OB-RL expression in the hypothalamus, especially in the ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus (VHM, 86.6%). Physiological analysis demonstrated that the thermoregulatory ability of bats (e.g., reducing core body temperature and heart rate) was significantly depressed after OB-RL silencing in the hypothalamus, and animals could not enter torpor state. Our study for the first time proved that the knock-down of OB-RL expression in hypothalamus inhibits heterothermic regulation of bats, and also provided the clues for further analyzing the mechanism of Leptin in the heterothermic regulation of mammals.
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Water-free titania-bronze thin films with superfast lithium-ion transport.
Adv. Mater. Weinheim
PUBLISHED: 04-17-2014
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Using pulsed laser deposition, TiO2 (-) B and its recently discovered variant Ca:TiO2 (-) B (CaTi5O11) are synthesized as highly crystalline thin films for the first time by a completely water-free process. Significant enhancement in the Li-ion battery performance is achieved by manipulating the crystal orientation of the films, used as anodes, with a demonstration of extraordinary structural stability under extreme conditions.
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[Plasma scavenger receptor BI and CD36 expression change and susceptibility of atherosclerosis in patients post liver transplantation].
Zhonghua Xin Xue Guan Bing Za Zhi
PUBLISHED: 04-17-2014
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To explore the association between expression changes of plasma macrophages scavenger receptor (SR)-BI and CD36 and risk of arteriosclerosis in end-stage liver disease (ESLD) patients post liver transplantation.
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Pharmacy Students' Use of and Beliefs About Traditional Healthcare.
J Immigr Minor Health
PUBLISHED: 04-09-2014
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Health professional students come from many different cultural backgrounds, and may be users of traditional healthcare (also known as ethnomedicine or folk medicine). This study aimed to explore New Zealand pharmacy students' knowledge and beliefs about traditional healthcare, and to examine whether these changed during the course. A questionnaire was administered to students in 2011 and again in 2013. Students were from a wide range of ethnic groups. Their reported use of traditional healthcare increased (from 48 % in 2011 to 61 % in 2013) and was usually for minor illness or prevention. Non New Zealand European students were more likely to use traditional healthcare. Use of traditional healthcare was relatively common, and after exposure to a biomedical curriculum students seemed to be more, rather than less likely to report using traditional healthcare. Education about traditional healthcare should not be based on the assumption that all healthcare students are unfamiliar with, or non-users of, traditional healthcare.
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Differential introgression among loci across a hybrid zone of the intermediate horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus affinis).
BMC Evol. Biol.
PUBLISHED: 03-28-2014
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Hybrid zones formed by the secondary contact of divergent lineages represent natural laboratories for studying the genetic basis of speciation. Here we tested for patterns of differential introgression among three X-linked and 11 autosomal regions to identify candidate loci related to either reproductive isolation or adaptive introgression across a hybrid zone between two Chinese mainland subspecies of the intermediate horseshoe bat Rhinolophus affinis: R. a. himalayanus and R. a. macrurus.
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Parallel evolution of the glycogen synthase 1 (muscle) gene Gys1 between Old World and New World fruit bats (Order: Chiroptera).
Biochem. Genet.
PUBLISHED: 02-21-2014
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Glycogen synthase, which catalyzes the synthesis of glycogen, is especially important for Old World (Pteropodidae) and New World (Phyllostomidae) fruit bats that ingest high-carbohydrate diets. Glycogen synthase 1, encoded by the Gys1 gene, is the glycogen synthase isozyme that functions in muscles. To determine whether Gys1 has undergone adaptive evolution in bats with carbohydrate-rich diets, in comparison to insect-eating sister bat taxa, we sequenced the coding region of the Gys1 gene from 10 species of bats, including two Old World fruit bats (Pteropodidae) and a New World fruit bat (Phyllostomidae). Our results show no evidence for positive selection in the Gys1 coding sequence on the ancestral Old World and the New World Artibeus lituratus branches. Tests for convergent evolution indicated convergence of the sequences and one parallel amino acid substitution (T395A) was detected on these branches, which was likely driven by natural selection.
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Investigation of the stability of Platinum nanoparticles incorporated in mesoporous silica with different pore sizes.
J Colloid Interface Sci
PUBLISHED: 01-16-2014
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The effect of the pore size of mesoporous silica on the stability of Pt nanoparticles (NPs) has been investigated. TEM observation and XRD measurement were conducted in situ for Pt loaded mesoporous silica with different mesopore sizes. It turns out that smaller pores are more effective to stabilize Pt NPs below 600 °C. However, aggregation of Pt NPs on the surface of particles is not fully suppressed more than 1000 °C in ambient atmosphere even though smaller mesopore size is applied. The type of precursor does not affect the stability of Pt NPs.
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Coverage, quality of and barriers to postnatal care in rural Hebei, China: a mixed method study.
BMC Pregnancy Childbirth
PUBLISHED: 01-14-2014
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Postnatal care is an important link in the continuum of care for maternal and child health. However, coverage and quality of postnatal care are poor in low- and middle-income countries. In 2009, the Chinese government set a policy providing free postnatal care services to all mothers and their newborns in China. Our study aimed at exploring coverage, quality of care, reasons for not receiving and barriers to providing postnatal care after introduction of this new policy.
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Critical roles of mitochondria in brain activities of torpid Myotis ricketti bats revealed by a proteomic approach.
J Proteomics
PUBLISHED: 01-04-2014
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Bats are the only mammals that fly and hibernate. Little is known about their overall metabolism in the brain during hibernation. In this study, brain proteins of torpid and active Myotis ricketti bats were fractionated and compared using a proteomic approach. Results showed that 21% (23 proteins) of identified proteins with significant expression changes were associated with amino acid metabolism and proteostasis. The expression levels of proteins involved in energy metabolism (15 proteins), cytoskeletal structure (18 proteins), and stress response (13 proteins) were also significantly altered in torpid bats. Over 30% (34 proteins) of differentially expressed proteins were associated with mitochondrial functions. Various post-translational modifications (PTMs) on PDHB, DLD, and ARG1 were detected, suggesting that bats use PTMs to regulate protein functions during torpor. Antioxidation and stress responses in torpid bats were similar to those of hibernated squirrels, suggesting a common strategy adopted by small hibernators against brain dysfunction. Since many amino acids that metabolize in mitochondria modulate neuronal transmissions, results of this study reveal pivotal roles of mitochondria in neural communication, metabolic regulation, and brain cell survival during bat hibernation. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Proteomics of non-model organisms.
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The Great Roundleaf Bat (Hipposideros armiger) as a Good Model for Cold-Induced Browning of Intra-Abdominal White Adipose Tissue.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2014
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Inducing beige fat from white adipose tissue (WAT) is considered to be a shortcut to weight loss and increasingly becoming a key area in research into treatments for obesity and related diseases. However, currently, animal models of beige fat are restricted to rodents, where subcutaneous adipose tissue (sWAT, benign WAT) is more liable to develop into the beige fat under specific activators than the intra-abdominal adipose tissue (aWAT, malignant WAT) that is the major source of obesity related diseases in humans.
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Effect of mono- and dichromatic light quality on growth rates and photosynthetic performance of Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002.
Front Microbiol
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2014
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Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002 was grown to steady state in optically thin turbidostat cultures under conditions for which light quantity and quality was systematically varied by modulating the output of narrow-band LEDs. Cells were provided photons absorbed primarily by chlorophyll (680 nm) or phycocyanin (630 nm) as the organism was subjected to four distinct mono- and dichromatic regimes. During cultivation with dichromatic light, growth rates were generally proportional to the total incident irradiance at values <275 ?mol photons m(-2) · s(-1) and were not affected by the ratio of 630:680 nm wavelengths. Notably, under monochromatic light conditions, cultures exhibited similar growth rates only when they were irradiated with 630 nm light; cultures irradiated with only 680 nm light grew at rates that were 60-70% of those under other light quality regimes at equivalent irradiances. The functionality of photosystem II and associated processes such as maximum rate of photosynthetic electron transport, rate of cyclic electron flow, and rate of dark respiration generally increased as a function of growth rate. Nonetheless, some of the photophysiological parameters measured here displayed distinct patterns with respect to growth rate of cultures adapted to a single wavelength including phycobiliprotein content, which increased under severely light-limited growth conditions. Additionally, the ratio of photosystem II to photosystem I increased ~40% over the range of growth rates, although cells grown with 680 nm light only had the highest ratios. These results suggest the presence of effective mechanisms which allow acclimation of Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002 acclimation to different irradiance conditions.
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Comparison of brain transcriptome of the greater horseshoe bats (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum) in active and torpid episodes.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2014
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Hibernation is an energy-saving strategy which is widely adopted by heterothermic mammals to survive in the harsh environment. The greater horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum) can hibernate for a long period in the hibernation season. However, the global gene expression changes between hibernation and non-hibernation season in the greater horseshoe bat remain largely unknown. We herein reported a comprehensive survey of differential gene expression in the brain between winter hibernating and summer active greater horseshoe bats using next-generation sequencing technology. A total of 90,314,174 reads were generated and we identified 1,573 differentially expressed genes between active and torpid states. Interestingly, we found that differentially expressed genes are over-represented in some GO categories (such as metabolic suppression, cellular stress responses and oxidative stress), which suggests neuroprotective strategies might play an important role in hibernation control mechanisms. Our results determined to what extent the brain tissue of the greater horseshoe bats differ in gene expression between summer active and winter hibernating states and provided comprehensive insights into the adaptive mechanisms of bat hibernation.
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Heteroplasmy and ancient translocation of mitochondrial DNA to the nucleus in the Chinese Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus sinicus) complex.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2014
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The utility and reliability of mitochondrial DNA sequences in phylogenetic and phylogeographic studies may be compromised by widespread and undetected nuclear mitochondrial copies (numts) as well as heteroplasmy within individuals. Both numts and heteroplasmy are likely to be common across diverse taxa yet few studies have characterised their frequencies and variation at the intra-specific level. Here we report the presence of both numts and heteroplasmy in the mitochondrial control region of the Chinese horseshoe bat Rhinolophus sinicus. In total we generated 123 sequences from 18 bats, which contained two different numt clades (i.e. Numt-1 and Numt-2) and one mtDNA clade. The sequence divergence between Numt-1 and Numt-2 was 16.8% and each numt type was found in all four R. sinicus taxa, suggesting either two ancient translocations of mitochondrial DNA into the nucleus from the same source taxon, or a single translocation from different source taxa that occurred before the split of R. sinicus into different lineages. Within the mtDNA clade, phylogenetic relationships among the four taxa of R. sinicus were similar to those seen in previous results. Based on PCR comparisons, heteroplasmy was inferred between almost all individuals of R. sinicus with respect to sequence variation. Consistent with introgression of mtDNA between Central sinicus and septentrionalis, individuals from these two taxa exhibited similar signatures of repeated sequences in the control region. Our study highlights the importance of testing for the presence of numts and heteroplasmy when applying mtDNA markers to phylogenetic studies.
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Relaxed evolution in the tyrosine aminotransferase gene tat in old world fruit bats (chiroptera: pteropodidae).
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2014
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Frugivorous and nectarivorous bats fuel their metabolism mostly by using carbohydrates and allocate the restricted amounts of ingested proteins mainly for anabolic protein syntheses rather than for catabolic energy production. Thus, it is possible that genes involved in protein (amino acid) catabolism may have undergone relaxed evolution in these fruit- and nectar-eating bats. The tyrosine aminotransferase (TAT, encoded by the Tat gene) is the rate-limiting enzyme in the tyrosine catabolic pathway. To test whether the Tat gene has undergone relaxed evolution in the fruit- and nectar-eating bats, we obtained the Tat coding region from 20 bat species including four Old World fruit bats (Pteropodidae) and two New World fruit bats (Phyllostomidae). Phylogenetic reconstructions revealed a gene tree in which all echolocating bats (including the New World fruit bats) formed a monophyletic group. The phylogenetic conflict appears to stem from accelerated TAT protein sequence evolution in the Old World fruit bats. Our molecular evolutionary analyses confirmed a change in the selection pressure acting on Tat, which was likely caused by a relaxation of the evolutionary constraints on the Tat gene in the Old World fruit bats. Hepatic TAT activity assays showed that TAT activities in species of the Old World fruit bats are significantly lower than those of insectivorous bats and omnivorous mice, which was not caused by a change in TAT protein levels in the liver. Our study provides unambiguous evidence that the Tat gene has undergone relaxed evolution in the Old World fruit bats in response to changes in their metabolism due to the evolution of their special diet.
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Unique expression patterns of multiple key genes associated with the evolution of mammalian flight.
Proc. Biol. Sci.
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2014
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Bats are the only mammals capable of true flight. Critical adaptations for flight include a pair of dramatically elongated hands with broad wing membranes. To study the molecular mechanisms of bat wing evolution, we perform genomewide mRNA sequencing and in situ hybridization for embryonic bat limbs. We identify seven key genes that display unique expression patterns in embryonic bat wings and feet, compared with mouse fore- and hindlimbs. The expression of all 5'HoxD genes (Hoxd9-13) and Tbx3, six known crucial transcription factors for limb and digit development, is extremely high and prolonged in the elongating wing area. The expression of Fam5c, a tumour suppressor, in bat limbs is bat-specific and significantly high in all short digit regions (the thumb and foot digits). These results suggest multiple genetic changes occurred independently during the evolution of bat wings to elongate the hand digits, promote membrane growth and keep other digits short. Our findings also indicate that the evolution of limb morphology depends on the complex integration of multiple gene regulatory networks and biological processes that control digit formation and identity, chondrogenesis, and interdigital regression or retention.
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Comparative inner ear transcriptome analysis between the Ricketts big-footed bats (Myotis ricketti) and the greater short-nosed fruit bats (Cynopterus sphinx).
BMC Genomics
PUBLISHED: 06-08-2013
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Bats have aroused great interests of researchers for the sake of their advanced echolocation system. However, this highly specialized trait is not characteristic of Old World fruit bats.
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Novel SARS-like betacoronaviruses in bats, China, 2011.
Emerging Infect. Dis.
PUBLISHED: 06-07-2013
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To clarify the evolutionary relationships among betavoronaviruses that infect bats, we analyzed samples collected during 2010-2011 from 14 insectivorous bat species in China. We identified complete genomes of 2 novel betacoronaviruses in Rhinolophus pusillus and Chaerephon plicata bats, which showed close genetic relationships with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronaviruses.
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Characterization of recombinant H9N2 influenza viruses isolated from wild ducks in China.
Vet. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 05-07-2013
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Wild birds are considered to be the natural reservoirs for avian influenza A viruses (AIV). During active influenza surveillance in Poyang Lake of southeast China, we isolated and characterized 11 H9N2 viruses from two species of wild ducks. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the 11 isolates were almost identical with 99.3-100% nucleotide homology in their entire genome, and they all closely related in whole eight genes (95.6-99.4% homology) to human H9N2 isolates (HK/33982/2009) and clustered in the same sublineage. The isolates belonged to triple reassortant H9N2 genotype viruses containing Ck/Bei-like NA genes, Y439-like PA genes and six other G1-like genes. We also found that the subtype of virus replicated efficiently in the lungs and tracheas of BALB/c mice and caused mortality in 20-40% of infected groups after 3-6 days, which indicates that the subtype of virus is capable of establishing lethal mammalian infections. However, whether or not the virus has features transmittable from wild ducks to humans is not known. This study showed H9N2 subtype avian influenza virus for the first time in wild birds, and suggests that wild birds may carry the virus along migratory routes, highlighting the need for continued surveillance of wild birds.
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The Glycogen Synthase 2 Gene (Gys2) Displays Parallel Evolution Between Old World and New World Fruit Bats.
J. Mol. Evol.
PUBLISHED: 04-12-2013
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Frugivorous and nectarivorous bats rely largely on hepatic glycogenesis and glycogenolysis for postprandial blood glucose disposal and maintenance of glucose homeostasis during short time starvation, respectively. The glycogen synthase 2 encoded by the Gys2 gene plays a critical role in liver glycogen synthesis. To test whether the Gys2 gene has undergone adaptive evolution in bats with carbohydrate-rich diets in relation to their insect-eating sister taxa, we sequenced the coding region of the Gys2 gene in a number of bat species, including three Old World fruit bats (OWFBs) (Pteropodidae) and two New World fruit bats (NWFBs) (Phyllostomidae). Our results showed that the Gys2 coding sequences are highly conserved across all bat species we examined, and no evidence of positive selection was detected in the ancestral branches leading to OWFBs and NWFBs. Our explicit convergence test showed that posterior probabilities of convergence between several branches of OWFBs, and the NWFBs were markedly higher than that of divergence. Three parallel amino acid substitutions (Q72H, K371Q, and E666D) were detected among branches of OWFBs and NWFBs. Tests for parallel evolution showed that two parallel substitutions (Q72H and E666D) were driven by natural selection, while the K371Q was more likely to be fixed randomly. Thus, our results suggested that the Gys2 gene has undergone parallel evolution on amino acid level between OWFBs and NWFBs in relation to their carbohydrate metabolism.
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Adaptive evolution of tight junction protein claudin-14 in echolocating whales.
Gene
PUBLISHED: 03-20-2013
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Toothed whales and bats have independently evolved specialized ultrasonic hearing for echolocation. Recent findings have suggested that several genes including Prestin, Tmc1, Pjvk and KCNQ4 appear to have undergone molecular adaptations associated with the evolution of this ultrasonic hearing in mammals. Here we studied the hearing gene Cldn14, which encodes the claudin-14 protein and is a member of tight junction proteins that functions in the organ of Corti in the inner ear to maintain a cationic gradient between endolymph and perilymph. Particular mutations in human claudin-14 give rise to non-syndromic deafness, suggesting an essential role in hearing. Our results uncovered two bursts of positive selection, one in the ancestral branch of all toothed whales and a second in the branch leading to the delphinid, phocoenid and ziphiid whales. These two branches are the same as those previously reported to show positive selection in the Prestin gene. Furthermore, as with Prestin, the estimated hearing frequencies of whales significantly correlate with numbers of branch-wise non-synonymous substitutions in Cldn14, but not with synonymous changes. However, in contrast to Prestin, we found no evidence of positive selection in bats. Our findings from Cldn14, and comparisons with Prestin, strongly implicate multiple loci in the acquisition of echolocation in cetaceans, but also highlight possible differences in the evolutionary route to echolocation taken by whales and bats.
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Multiple bursts of pancreatic ribonuclease gene duplication in insect-eating bats.
Gene
PUBLISHED: 03-05-2013
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Pancreatic ribonuclease gene (RNASE1) was previously shown to have undergone duplication and adaptive evolution related to digestive efficiency in several mammalian groups that have evolved foregut fermentation, including ruminants and some primates. RNASE1 gene duplications thought to be linked to diet have also been recorded in some carnivores. Of all mammals, bats have evolved the most diverse dietary specializations, mainly including frugivory and insectivory. Here we cloned, sequenced and analyzed RNASE1 gene sequences from a range of bat species to determine whether their dietary adaptation is mirrored by molecular adaptation. We found that seven insect-eating members of the families Vespertilionidae and Molossidae possessed two or more duplicates, and we also detected three pseudogenes. Reconstructed RNASE1 gene trees based on both Bayesian and maximum likelihood methods supported independent duplication events in these two families. Selection tests revealed that RNASE1 gene duplicates have undergone episodes of positive selection indicative of functional modification, and lineage-specific tests revealed strong adaptive evolution in the Tadarida ? clade. However, unlike the RNASE1 duplicates that function in digestion in some mammals, the bat RNASE1 sequences were found to be characterized by relatively high isoelectric points, a feature previously suggested to promote defense against viruses via the breakdown of double-stranded RNA. Taken together, our findings point to an adaptive diversification of RNASE1 in these two bat families, although we find no clear evidence that this was driven by diet. Future experimental assays are needed to resolve the functions of these enzymes in bats.
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Dispersal, mating events and fine-scale genetic structure in the lesser flat-headed bats.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-18-2013
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Population genetic structure has important consequences in evolutionary processes and conservation genetics in animals. Fine-scale population genetic structure depends on the pattern of landscape, the permanent movement of individuals, and the dispersal of their genes during temporary mating events. The lesser flat-headed bat (Tylonycteris pachypus) is a nonmigratory Asian bat species that roosts in small groups within the internodes of bamboo stems and the habitats are fragmented. Our previous parentage analyses revealed considerable extra-group mating in this species. To assess the spatial limits and sex-biased nature of gene flow in the same population, we used 20 microsatellite loci and mtDNA sequencing of the ND2 gene to quantify genetic structure among 54 groups of adult flat-headed bats, at nine localities in South China. AMOVA and F(ST) estimates revealed significant genetic differentiation among localities. Alternatively, the pairwise F(ST) values among roosting groups appeared to be related to the incidence of associated extra-group breeding, suggesting the impact of mating events on fine-scale genetic structure. Global spatial autocorrelation analyses showed positive genetic correlation for up to 3 km, indicating the role of fragmented habitat and the specialized social organization as a barrier in the movement of individuals among bamboo forests. The male-biased dispersal pattern resulted in weaker spatial genetic structure between localities among males than among females, and fine-scale analyses supported that relatedness levels within internodes were higher among females than among males. Finally, only females were more related to their same sex roost mates than to individuals from neighbouring roosts, suggestive of natal philopatry in females.
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Lineage divergence and historical gene flow in the Chinese horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus sinicus).
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-15-2013
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Closely related taxa living in sympatry provide good opportunities to investigate the origin of barriers to gene flow as well as the extent of reproductive isolation. The only two recognized subspecies of the Chinese rufous horseshoe bat Rhinolophus sinicus are characterized by unusual relative distributions in which R. s. septentrionalis is restricted to a small area within the much wider range of its sister taxon R. s. sinicus. To determine the history of lineage divergence and gene flow between these taxa, we applied phylogenetic, demographic and coalescent analyses to multi-locus datasets. MtDNA gene genealogies and microsatellite-based clustering together revealed three divergent lineages of sinicus, corresponding to Central China, East China and the offshore Hainan Island. However, the central lineage of sinicus showed a closer relationship with septentrionalis than with other lineages of R. s. sinicus, in contrary to morphological data. Paraphyly of sinicus could result from either past asymmetric mtDNA introgression between these two taxa, or could suggest septentrionalis evolved in situ from its more widespread sister subspecies. To test between these hypotheses, we applied coalescent-based phylogenetic reconstruction and Approximate Bayesian Computation (ABC). We found that septentrionalis is likely to be the ancestral taxon and therefore a recent origin of this subspecies can be ruled out. On the other hand, we found a clear signature of asymmetric mtDNA gene flow from septentrionalis into central populations of sinicus yet no nuclear gene flow, thus strongly pointing to historical mtDNA introgression. We suggest that the observed deeply divergent lineages within R. sinicus probably evolved in isolation in separate Pleistocene refugia, although their close phylogeographic correspondence with distinct eco-environmental zones suggests that divergent selection might also have promoted broad patterns of population genetic structure.
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Homocysteine homeostasis and betaine-homocysteine s-methyltransferase expression in the brain of hibernating bats.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2013
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Elevated homocysteine is an important risk factor that increases cerebrovascular and neurodegenerative disease morbidity. In mammals, B vitamin supplementation can reduce homocysteine levels. Whether, and how, hibernating mammals, that essentially stop ingesting B vitamins, maintain homocysteine metabolism and avoid cerebrovascular impacts and neurodegeneration remain unclear. Here, we compare homocysteine levels in the brains of torpid bats, active bats and rats to identify the molecules involved in homocysteine homeostasis. We found that homocysteine does not elevate in torpid brains, despite declining vitamin B levels. At low levels of vitamin B6 and B12, we found no change in total expression level of the two main enzymes involved in homocysteine metabolism (methionine synthase and cystathionine ?-synthase), but a 1.85-fold increase in the expression of the coenzyme-independent betaine-homocysteine S-methyltransferase (BHMT). BHMT expression was observed in the amygdala of basal ganglia and the cerebral cortex where BHMT levels were clearly elevated during torpor. This is the first report of BHMT protein expression in the brain and suggests that BHMT modulates homocysteine in the brains of hibernating bats. BHMT may have a neuroprotective role in the brains of hibernating mammals and further research on this system could expand our biomedical understanding of certain cerebrovascular and neurodegenerative disease processes.
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Independent losses of visual perception genes Gja10 and Rbp3 in echolocating bats (order: chiroptera).
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2013
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A trade-off between the sensory modalities of vision and hearing is likely to have occurred in echolocating bats as the sophisticated mechanism of laryngeal echolocation requires considerable neural processing and has reduced the reliance of echolocating bats on vision for perceiving the environment. If such a trade-off exists, it is reasonable to hypothesize that some genes involved in visual function may have undergone relaxed selection or even functional loss in echolocating bats. The Gap junction protein, alpha 10 (Gja10, encoded by Gja10 gene) is expressed abundantly in mammal retinal horizontal cells and plays an important role in horizontal cell coupling. The interphotoreceptor retinoid-binding protein (Irbp, encoded by the Rbp3 gene) is mainly expressed in interphotoreceptor matrix and is known to be critical for normal functioning of the visual cycle. We sequenced Gja10 and Rbp3 genes in a taxonomically wide range of bats with divergent auditory characteristics (35 and 18 species for Gja10 and Rbp3, respectively). Both genes have became pseudogenes in species from the families Hipposideridae and Rhinolophidae that emit constant frequency echolocation calls with Doppler shift compensation at high-duty-cycles (the most sophisticated form of biosonar known), and in some bat species that emit echolocation calls at low-duty-cycles. Our study thus provides further evidence for the hypothesis that a trade-off occurs at the genetic level between vision and echolocation in bats.
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Adaptive evolution of the myo6 gene in old world fruit bats (family: pteropodidae).
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2013
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Myosin VI (encoded by the Myo6 gene) is highly expressed in the inner and outer hair cells of the ear, retina, and polarized epithelial cells such as kidney proximal tubule cells and intestinal enterocytes. The Myo6 gene is thought to be involved in a wide range of physiological functions such as hearing, vision, and clathrin-mediated endocytosis. Bats (Chiroptera) represent one of the most fascinating mammal groups for molecular evolutionary studies of the Myo6 gene. A diversity of specialized adaptations occur among different bat lineages, such as echolocation and associated high-frequency hearing in laryngeal echolocating bats, large eyes and a strong dependence on vision in Old World fruit bats (Pteropodidae), and specialized high-carbohydrate but low-nitrogen diets in both Old World and New World fruit bats (Phyllostomidae). To investigate what role(s) the Myo6 gene might fulfill in bats, we sequenced the coding region of the Myo6 gene in 15 bat species and used molecular evolutionary analyses to detect evidence of positive selection in different bat lineages. We also conducted real-time PCR assays to explore the expression levels of Myo6 in a range of tissues from three representative bat species. Molecular evolutionary analyses revealed that the Myo6 gene, which was widely considered as a hearing gene, has undergone adaptive evolution in the Old World fruit bats which lack laryngeal echolocation and associated high-frequency hearing. Real-time PCR showed the highest expression level of the Myo6 gene in the kidney among ten tissues examined in three bat species, indicating an important role for this gene in kidney function. We suggest that Myo6 has undergone adaptive evolution in Old World fruit bats in relation to receptor-mediated endocytosis for the preservation of protein and essential nutrients.
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Adaptation of phenylalanine and tyrosine catabolic pathway to hibernation in bats.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2013
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Some mammals hibernate in response to harsh environments. Although hibernating mammals may metabolize proteins, the nitrogen metabolic pathways commonly activated during hibernation are not fully characterized. In contrast to the hypothesis of amino acid preservation, we found evidence of amino acid metabolism as three of five key enzymes, including phenylalanine hydroxylase (PAH), homogentisate 1,2-dioxygenase (HGD), fumarylacetoacetase (FAH), involved in phenylalanine and tyrosine catabolism were co-upregulated during hibernation in two distantly related species of bats, Myotis ricketti and Rhinolophus ferrumequinum. In addition, the levels of phenylalanine in the livers of these bats were significantly decreased during hibernation. Because phenylalanine and tyrosine are both glucogenic and ketogenic, these results indicate the role of this catabolic pathway in energy supply. Since any deficiency in the catabolism of these two amino acids can cause accumulations of toxic metabolites, these results also suggest the detoxification role of these enzymes during hibernation. A higher selective constraint on PAH, HPD, and HGD in hibernators than in non-hibernators was observed, and hibernators had more conserved amino acid residues in each of these enzymes than non-hibernators. These conserved amino acid residues are mostly located in positions critical for the structure and activity of the enzymes. Taken together, results of this work provide novel insights in nitrogen metabolism and removal of harmful metabolites during bat hibernation.
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The tricarboxylic acid cycle in cyanobacteria.
Science
PUBLISHED: 12-17-2011
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It is generally accepted that cyanobacteria have an incomplete tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle because they lack 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase and thus cannot convert 2-oxoglutarate to succinyl-coenzyme A (CoA). Genes encoding a novel 2-oxoglutarate decarboxylase and succinic semialdehyde dehydrogenase were identified in the cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002. Together, these two enzymes convert 2-oxoglutarate to succinate and thus functionally replace 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase and succinyl-CoA synthetase. These genes are present in all cyanobacterial genomes except those of Prochlorococcus and marine Synechococcus species. Closely related genes occur in the genomes of some methanogens and other anaerobic bacteria, which are also thought to have incomplete TCA cycles.
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The voltage-gated potassium channel subfamily KQT member 4 (KCNQ4) displays parallel evolution in echolocating bats.
Mol. Biol. Evol.
PUBLISHED: 12-13-2011
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Bats are the only mammals that use highly developed laryngeal echolocation, a sensory mechanism based on the ability to emit laryngeal sounds and interpret the returning echoes to identify objects. Although this capability allows bats to orientate and hunt in complete darkness, endowing them with great survival advantages, the genetic bases underlying the evolution of bat echolocation are still largely unknown. Echolocation requires high-frequency hearing that in mammals is largely dependent on somatic electromotility of outer hair cells. Then, understanding the molecular evolution of outer hair cell genes might help to unravel the evolutionary history of echolocation. In this work, we analyzed the molecular evolution of two key outer hair cell genes: the voltage-gated potassium channel gene KCNQ4 and CHRNA10, the gene encoding the ?10 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunit. We reconstructed the phylogeny of bats based on KCNQ4 and CHRNA10 protein and nucleotide sequences. A phylogenetic tree built using KCNQ4 amino acid sequences showed that two paraphyletic clades of laryngeal echolocating bats grouped together, with eight shared substitutions among particular lineages. In addition, our analyses indicated that two of these parallel substitutions, M388I and P406S, were probably fixed under positive selection and could have had a strong functional impact on KCNQ4. Moreover, our results indicated that KCNQ4 evolved under positive selection in the ancestral lineage leading to mammals, suggesting that this gene might have been important for the evolution of mammalian hearing. On the other hand, we found that CHRNA10, a gene that evolved adaptively in the mammalian lineage, was under strong purifying selection in bats. Thus, the CHRNA10 amino acid tree did not show echolocating bat monophyly and reproduced the bat species tree. These results suggest that only a subset of hearing genes could underlie the evolution of echolocation. The present work continues to delineate the genetic bases of echolocation and ultrasonic hearing in bats.
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Genomic and genetic evidence for the loss of umami taste in bats.
Genome Biol Evol
PUBLISHED: 11-24-2011
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Umami taste is responsible for sensing monosodium glutamate, nucleotide enhancers, and other amino acids that are appetitive to vertebrates and is one of the five basic tastes that also include sour, salty, sweet, and bitter. To study how ecological factors, especially diets, impact the evolution of the umami taste, we examined the umami taste receptor gene Tas1r1 in a phylogenetically diverse group of bats including fruit eaters, insect eaters, and blood feeders. We found that Tas1r1 is absent, unamplifiable, or pseudogenized in each of the 31 species examined, including the genome sequences of two species, suggesting the loss of the umami taste in most, if not all, bats regardless of their food preferences. Most strikingly, vampire bats have also lost the sweet taste receptor gene Tas1r2 and the gene required for both umami and sweet tastes (Tas1r3), being the first known mammalian group to lack two of the five tastes. The puzzling absence of the umami taste in bats calls for a better understanding of the roles that this taste plays in the daily life of vertebrates.
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Hierarchical polygyny in multiparous lesser flat-headed bats.
Mol. Ecol.
PUBLISHED: 08-08-2011
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How males gain access to mates and the potential for female choice will determine whether polygyny can operate at several levels, from within litters and groups to the wider population. Female lesser flat-headed bats (Tylonycteris pachypus) form maternity groups in bamboo stems. Unusually for bats, they are multiparous, providing the opportunity to test whether multi-level polygyny differs among males depending on whether they roost with females, with males or are solitary. We genotyped 662 individuals from 54 internodes and analysed parentage of 165 litters. Our results revealed 170 sets of paternal twins/triplets, of which 96 were full-sibs and 74 were half-sibs. We found that males captured roosting with females typically sired more offspring overall than did other males and also showed a greater tendency to monopolize paternity within both litters and roosting groups. In comparison, males that sired fewer full-sibs were assigned more maternal half-sibs. These latter individuals, which included solitary males and those from all-male groups, might gain copulations either via roaming with furtive mating or during visits by females. Indeed, female lesser flat-headed bats store sperm, so could benefit from multiple mating to reduce genetic incompatibilities. At the same time, however, we found no evidence of outbreeding. Finally, relatedness and mtDNA analyses revealed that polygyny also operated within matrilineal kin, suggesting a system that might promote social cohesiveness. Future studies of individual movements will help to determine the extent to which mixed paternities in litters, matrilines and groups are driven by male or female behaviour.
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Recent loss of vitamin C biosynthesis ability in bats.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 07-21-2011
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The traditional assumption that bats cannot synthesize vitamin C (Vc) has been challenged recently. We have previously shown that two Old World bat species (Rousettus leschenaultii and Hipposideros armiger) have functional L-gulonolactone oxidase (GULO), an enzyme that catalyzes the last step of Vc biosynthesis de novo. Given the uncertainties surrounding when and how bats lost GULO function, exploration of gene evolutionary patterns is needed. We therefore sequenced GULO genes from 16 bat species in 5 families, aiming to establish their evolutionary histories. In five cases we identified pseudogenes for the first time, including two cases in the genus Pteropus (P. pumilus and P. conspicillatus) and three in family Hipposideridae (Coelops frithi, Hipposideros speoris, and H. bicolor). Evolutionary analysis shows that the Pteropus clade has the highest ? ratio and has been subjected to relaxed selection for less than 3 million years. Purifying selection acting on the pseudogenized GULO genes of roundleaf bats (family Hipposideridae) suggests they have lost the ability to synthesize Vc recently. Limited mutations in the reconstructed GULO sequence of the ancestor of all bats contrasts with the many mutations in the ancestral sequence of recently emerged Pteropus bats. We identified at least five mutational steps that were then related to clade origination times. Together, our results suggest that bats lost the ability to biosynthesize vitamin C recently by exhibiting stepwise mutation patterns during GULO evolution that can ultimately lead to pseudogenization.
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Moth wing scales slightly increase the absorbance of bat echolocation calls.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 07-13-2011
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Coevolutionary arms races between predators and prey can lead to a diverse range of foraging and defense strategies, such as countermeasures between nocturnal insects and echolocating bats. Here, we show how the fine structure of wing scales may help moths by slightly increasing sound absorbance at frequencies typically used in bat echolocation. Using four widespread species of moths and butterflies, we found that moth scales are composed of honeycomb-like hollows similar to sound-absorbing material, but these were absent from butterfly scales. Micro-reverberation chamber experiments revealed that moth wings were more absorbent at the frequencies emitted by many echolocating bats (40-60 kHz) than butterfly wings. Furthermore, moth wings lost absorbance at these frequencies when scales were removed, which suggests that some moths have evolved stealth tactics to reduce their conspicuousness to echolocating bats. Although the benefits to moths are relatively small in terms of reducing their target strengths, scales may nonetheless confer survival advantages by reducing the detection distances of moths by bats by 5-6%.
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Adaptive evolution of Leptin in heterothermic bats.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 07-08-2011
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Heterothermy (hibernation and daily torpor) is a key strategy that animals use to survive in harsh conditions and is widely employed by bats, which are found in diverse habitats and climates. Bats comprise more than 20% of all mammals and although heterothermy occurs in divergent lineages of bats, suggesting it might be an ancestral condition, its evolutionary history is complicated by complex phylogeographic patterns. Here, we use Leptin, which regulates lipid metabolism and is crucial for thermogenesis of hibernators, as molecular marker and combine physiological, molecular and biochemical analyses to explore the possible evolutionary history of heterothermy in bat. The two tropical fruit bats examined here were homeothermic; in contrast, the two tropical insectivorous bats were clearly heterothermic. Molecular evolutionary analyses of the Leptin gene revealed positive selection in the ancestors of all bats, which was maintained or further enhanced the lineages comprising mostly heterothermic species. In contrast, we found evidence of relaxed selection in homeothermic species. Biochemical assays of bat Leptin on the activity on adipocyte degradation revealed that Leptin in heterothermic bats was more lipolytic than in homeothermic bats. This shows that evolutionary sequence changes in this protein are indeed functional and support the interpretation of our physiological results and the molecular evolutionary analyses. Our combined data strongly support the hypothesis that heterothermy is the ancestral state of bats and that this involved adaptive changes in Leptin. Subsequent loss of heterothermy in some tropical lineages of bats likely was associated with range and dietary shifts.
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Molecular cloning and evolutionary analysis of GJB6 in mammals.
Biochem. Genet.
PUBLISHED: 04-07-2011
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GJB6 plays a crucial role in hearing. In mammals, bats use ultrasonic echolocation for orientation and locating prey. To investigate the evolution of GJB6 in mammals, we cloned the full-length coding region of GJB6 from 16 species of bats and 4 other mammal species and compared them with orthologous sequences in 11 other mammals. The results show purifying selection on GJB6 in mammals, as well as in the bat lineage, which indicates an important role for GJB6 in mammal hearing. We also found one unique amino acid substitution shared by 16 species of bats and 10 shared by two species of artiodactyls. This positioned the artiodactyls at an abnormal location in the gene tree. In addition, the cytoplasmic loop and carboxy terminus were more variable than other domains in all the mammals. These results demonstrate that GJB6 is basically conserved in mammals but has undergone relatively rapid evolution in particular lineages and domains.
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Prestin shows divergent evolution between constant frequency echolocating bats.
J. Mol. Evol.
PUBLISHED: 03-15-2011
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The gene Prestin encodes a motor protein that is thought to confer the high-frequency sensitivity and selectivity that characterizes the mammalian auditory system. Recent research shows that the Prestin gene has undergone a burst of positive selection on the ancestral branch of the Old World horseshoe and leaf-nosed bats (Rhinolophidae and Hipposideridae, respectively), and also on the branch leading to echolocating cetaceans. Moreover, these two groups share a large number of convergent amino acid sequence replacements. Horseshoe and leaf-nosed bats exhibit narrowband echolocation, in which the emitted calls are based on the second harmonic of a predominantly constant frequency (CF) component, the frequency of which is also over-represented in the cochlea. This highly specialized form of echolocation has also evolved independently in the neotropical Parnells mustached bat (Pteronotus parnellii). To test whether the convergent evolution of CF echolocation between lineages has arisen from common changes in the Prestin gene, we sequenced the Prestin coding region (~2,212 bp, >99% coverage) in P. parnellii and several related species that use broadband echolocation calls. Our reconstructed Prestin gene tree and amino acid tree showed that P. parnellii did not group together with Old World horseshoe and leaf-nosed bats, but rather clustered within its true sister species. Comparisons of sequences confirmed that P. parnellii shared most amino acid changes with its congeners, and we found no evidence of positive selection in the branch leading to the genus of Pteronotus. Our result suggests that the adaptive changes seen in Prestin in horseshoe and leaf-nosed bats are not necessary for CF echolocation in P. parnellii.
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Prestin and high frequency hearing in mammals.
Commun Integr Biol
PUBLISHED: 01-17-2011
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Recent evidence indicates that the evolution of ultrasonic hearing in echolocating bats and cetaceans has involved adaptive amino acid replacements in the cochlear gene prestin. A substantial number of these changes have occurred in parallel in both groups, suggesting that particular amino acid residues might confer greater auditory sensitivity to high frequencies. Here we review some of these findings, and consider whether similar signatures of prestin protein sequence evolution also occur in mammals that possess high frequency hearing for passive localization and conversely, whether this gene has undergone less change in mammals that lack high frequency hearing.
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Progressive pseudogenization: vitamin C synthesis and its loss in bats.
Mol. Biol. Evol.
PUBLISHED: 10-29-2010
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For the past 50 years, it was believed that all bats, like humans and guinea pigs, did not synthesize vitamin C (Vc) because they lacked activity of L-gulonolactone oxidase (GULO) in their livers. Humans and guinea pigs lack the activity due to pseudogenization of GULO in their genomes, but there is no genetic evidence to show whether such loss in bats is caused by pseudogenization. Unexpectedly, our successful molecular cloning in one frugivorous bat (Rousettus leschenaultii) and one insectivorous bat (Hipposideros armiger) ascertains that no pseudogenization occurs in these species. Furthermore, we find normal GULO protein expression using bat-specific anti-GULO polyclonal antibodies in bats, evaluated by Western blotting. Most surprisingly, GULO activity assays reveal that these two bat species have retained the ability to synthesize Vc, but at low levels compared with the mouse. It is known that bats in the genus Pteropus have lost GULO activity. We then found that functional constraints acting on the GULO of Pteropus vampyrus (which lost its function) are relaxed. These results imply that the ability to synthesize Vc in bats has not been lost completely in species as previously thought. We also suggest that the evolution of bat GULO genes can be a good model to study genetic processes associated with loss-of-function.
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The oligopeptidase B of Leishmania regulates parasite enolase and immune evasion.
J. Biol. Chem.
PUBLISHED: 10-20-2010
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Proteases are a ubiquitous group of enzymes that play key roles in the life cycle of parasites, in the host-parasite relationship, and in the pathogenesis of parasitic diseases. Furthermore, proteases are targets for the development of new anti-parasitic therapy. Protozoan parasites like Leishmania predominantly express Clan CA cysteine proteases for key life cycle functions. It was therefore unexpected to find a high level of serine protease activity expressed by Leishmania donovani. Purification of this activity followed by mass spectrometry identified oligopeptidase B (OPB; Clan SC, family S9A) as the responsible enzyme. This was confirmed by gene knock-out of OPB, which resulted in the disappearance of the detected serine protease activity of Leishmania extracts. To delineate the specific role of OPB in parasite physiology, proteomic analysis was carried out on OPB(-/-) versus wild type parasites. Four protein species were significantly elevated in OPB(-/-) parasites, and all four were identified by mass spectrometry as enolase. This increased enolase was enzymatically inactive and associated with the parasite membrane. Aside from its classic role in carbohydrate metabolism, enolase was recently found to localize to membranes, where it binds host plasminogen and functions as a virulence factor for several pathogens. As expected, there was a striking alteration in macrophage responses to Leishmania when OPB was deleted. Whereas wild type parasites elicited little, if any, response from infected macrophages, OPB(-/-) parasites induced a massive up-regulation in gene transcription. Additionally, these OPB(-/-) parasites displayed decreased virulence in the murine footpad infection model.
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Widespread losses of vomeronasal signal transduction in bats.
Mol. Biol. Evol.
PUBLISHED: 08-06-2010
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The vertebrate vomeronasal system (VNS) detects intraspecific pheromones and environmental odorants. We sequenced segments of the gene encoding Trpc2, an ion channel crucial for vomeronasal signal transduction, in 11 species that represent all main basal lineages of Yinpterochiroptera, one of the two suborders of the order Chiroptera (bats). Our sequences show that Trpc2 is a pseudogene in each of the 11 bats, suggesting that all yinpterochiropterans lack vomeronasal sensitivity. The Trpc2 sequences from four species of Yangochiroptera, the other suborder of bats, suggest vomeronasal insensitivity in some but not all yangochiropterans. These results, together with the available morphological data from the bat VNS, strongly suggest multiple and widespread losses of vomeronasal signal transduction and sensitivity in bats. Future scrutiny of the specific functions of the VNS in the few bats that still retain the VNS may help explain why it is dispensable in most bats.
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The two suborders of chiropterans have the canonical heavy-chain immunoglobulin (Ig) gene repertoire of eutherian mammals.
Dev. Comp. Immunol.
PUBLISHED: 07-23-2010
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Bats comprise 20% of all mammals, yet little is known about their immune system and virtually nothing about their immunoglobulin genes. We show that four different bat species transcribe genes encoding IgM, IgE, IgA and IgG subclasses, the latter which have diversified after speciation; the canonical pattern for eutherian mammals. IgD transcripts were only recovered from insectivorous bats and were comprised of CH1, CH3 and two hinge exons; the second hinge exon was fused to CH3. IgA in all species resembles human IgA2 with the putative cysteine forming the bridge to the light chain found at position 77. Sequence comparisons yielded no evidence for a diphyletic origin of the suborders. Bats show no close similarity to another mammalian order; the strongest association was with carnivores. Data reveal that CH diversity and VDJ and CDR3 organization are similar to other eutherian mammals, although the expressed VH3 family repertoire was unusually diverse.
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Differential changes of regional cerebral blood flow in two bat species during induced hypothermia measured by perfusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging.
J. Comp. Physiol. B, Biochem. Syst. Environ. Physiol.
PUBLISHED: 07-17-2010
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Cerebral blood flow (CBF) of a vespertilionid bat, Miniopterus fuliginosus (M. f.), and a pteropodid bat, Rousettus leschenaultii (R. l.) was measured non-invasively during induced hypothermia (37-10°C for M. f. and 37-24°C for R. l.) with perfusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging. In both species, the average CBF was found to decrease with rectal temperature. The patterns of hypothermia-induced regional CBF changes, however, were different between the two species. In the pteropodid bat, the extent of CBF decrease at lower rectal temperature was similar in the cortex and thalamus, resulting in an unchanged thalamus/cortex CBF ratio. In contrast, the thalamus/cortex CBF ratio in the vespertilionid species increased progressively with decreasing rectal temperature (1.52 ± 0.14 at 37 ± 1°C vs. 2.28 ± 0.29 at 10 ± 1°C). These results suggest that the manner in which the two bat species cope with low body temperature may be reflected by a differential CBF regulation between thalamus and cortex.
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Bat head contains soft magnetic particles: evidence from magnetism.
Bioelectromagnetics
PUBLISHED: 07-08-2010
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Recent behavioral observations have indicated that bats can sense the Earths magnetic field. To unravel the magnetoreception mechanism, the present study has utilized magnetic measurements on three migratory species (Miniopterus fuliginosus, Chaerephon plicata, and Nyctalus plancyi) and three non-migratory species (Hipposideros armiger, Myotis ricketti, and Rhinolophus ferrumequinum). Room temperature isothermal remanent magnetization acquisition and alternating-field demagnetization showed that the bats heads contain soft magnetic particles. Statistical analyses indicated that the saturation isothermal remanent magnetization of brains (SIRM(1T_brain)) of migratory species is higher than those of non-migratory species. Furthermore, the SIRM(1T_brain) of migratory bats is greater than their SIRM(1T_skull). Low-temperature magnetic measurements suggested that the magnetic particles are likely magnetite (Fe3O4). This new evidence supports the assumption that some bats use magnetite particles for sensing and orientation in the Earths magnetic field.
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Cetaceans on a molecular fast track to ultrasonic hearing.
Curr. Biol.
PUBLISHED: 06-23-2010
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The early radiation of cetaceans coincides with the origin of their defining ecological and sensory differences [1, 2]. Toothed whales (Odontoceti) evolved echolocation for hunting 36-34 million years ago, whereas baleen whales (Mysticeti) evolved filter feeding and do not echolocate [2]. Echolocation in toothed whales demands exceptional high-frequency hearing [3], and both echolocation and ultrasonic hearing have also evolved independently in bats [4, 5]. The motor protein Prestin that drives the electromotility of the outer hair cells (OHCs) is likely to be especially important in ultrasonic hearing, because it is the vibratory response of OHC to incoming sound waves that confers the enhanced sensitivity and selectivity of the mammalian auditory system [6, 7]. Prestin underwent adaptive change early in mammal evolution [8] and also shows sequence convergence between bats and dolphins [9, 10], as well as within bats [11]. Focusing on whales, we show for the first time that the extent of protein evolution in Prestin can be linked directly to the evolution of high-frequency hearing. Moreover, we find that independent cases of sequence convergence in mammals have involved numerous identical amino acid site replacements. Our findings shed new light on the importance of Prestin in the evolution of mammalian hearing.
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Pleistocene climatic cycling drives intra-specific diversification in the intermediate horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus affinis) in Southern China.
Mol. Ecol.
PUBLISHED: 06-17-2010
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The repeated formation and loss of land-bridges during the Pleistocene have had lasting impacts on population genetic structure. In the tropics, where island populations persisted through multiple glacial cycles, alternating periods of isolation and contact are expected to have driven population and taxonomic divergence. Here, we combine mitochondrial and nuclear sequence data with microsatellites to dissect the impact of Pleistocene climate change on intra-specific diversification in the horseshoe bat Rhinolophus affinis. This taxon shows considerable morphological and acoustic variation: two parapatric subspecies (himalayanus and macrurus) occur on mainland China and a third (hainanus) on Hainan Island. Our phylogeographic reconstruction and coalescent analyses suggest the island subspecies formed from an ancestral population of himalayanus via two colonization events c. 800,000 years before present. R. a. hainanus then recolonized the mainland, forming macrurus and thus a secondary contact zone with himalayanus. Finally, macrurus recolonized Hainan following the LGM. We found that all three biological events corresponded to known periods of land-bridge formation. Evidence of introgression was detected between macrurus and both its sister taxa, with geographical proximity rather than length of separation appearing to be the biggest determinant of subsequent genetic exchange. Our study highlights the important role of climate-mediated sea level changes have had in shaping current processes and patterns of population structure and taxonomic diversification.
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Evolution of the sweet taste receptor gene Tas1r2 in bats.
Mol. Biol. Evol.
PUBLISHED: 06-17-2010
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Taste perception is an important component of an animals fitness. The identification of vertebrate taste receptor genes in the last decade has enabled molecular genetic studies of the evolution of taste perception in the context of the ecology and dietary preferences of organisms. Although such analyses have been conducted in a number of species for bitter taste receptors, a similar analysis of sweet taste receptors is lacking. Here, we survey the sole sweet taste-specific receptor gene Tas1r2 in 42 bat species that represent all major lineages of the order Chiroptera, one of the most diverse groups of mammals in terms of diet. We found that Tas1r2 is under strong purifying selection in the majority of the bats studied, with no significant difference in the strength of the selection between insect eaters and fruit eaters. However, Tas1r2 is a pseudogene in all three vampire bat species and the functional relaxation likely started in their common ancestor, probably due to the exclusive feeding of vampire bats on blood and their reliance on infrared sensors rather than taste perception to locate blood sources. Our survey of available genome sequences, together with previous reports, revealed additional losses of Tas1r2 in horse, cat, chicken, zebra finch, and western clawed frog, indicating that sweet perception is not as conserved as previously thought. Nonetheless, we found no common dietary pattern among the Tas1r2-lacking vertebrates, suggesting different causes for the losses of Tas1r2 in different species. The complexity of the ecological factors that impact the evolution of Tas1r2 calls for a better understanding of the physiological roles of sweet perception in different species.
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Contrasting genetic structure in two co-distributed species of old world fruit bat.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 04-20-2010
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The fulvous fruit bat (Rousettus leschenaulti) and the greater short-nosed fruit bat (Cynopterus sphinx) are two abundant and widely co-distributed Old World fruit bats in Southeast and East Asia. The former species forms large colonies in caves while the latter roots in small groups in trees. To test whether these differences in social organization and roosting ecology are associated with contrasting patterns of gene flow, we used mtDNA and nuclear loci to characterize population genetic subdivision and phylogeographic histories in both species sampled from China, Vietnam and India. Our analyses from R. leschenaulti using both types of marker revealed little evidence of genetic structure across the study region. On the other hand, C. sphinx showed significant genetic mtDNA differentiation between the samples from India compared with China and Vietnam, as well as greater structuring of microsatellite genotypes within China. Demographic analyses indicated signatures of past rapid population expansion in both taxa, with more recent demographic growth in C. sphinx. Therefore, the relative genetic homogeneity in R. leschenaulti is unlikely to reflect past events. Instead we suggest that the absence of substructure in R. leschenaulti is a consequence of higher levels of gene flow among colonies, and that greater vagility in this species is an adaptation associated with cave roosting.
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Historical male-mediated introgression in horseshoe bats revealed by multilocus DNA sequence data.
Mol. Ecol.
PUBLISHED: 03-08-2010
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Instances of hybridization between mammalian taxa in the wild are rarely documented. To test for introgression between sibling species of horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus yunanensis and R. pearsoni) and two subspecies of the latter (R. p. pearsoni and R. p. chinensis), we sequenced two mtDNA and two ncDNA markers in individuals sampled from multiple localities within their overlapping ranges. The interspecific mtDNA gene tree corresponded to the expected taxonomic divisions, and coalescent-based analyses suggested divergence occurred around 4 MYA. However, these relationships strongly conflicted with those recovered from two independent nuclear gene trees, in which R. yunanensis clustered with R. p. pearsoni to the exclusion of R. p. chinensis. This geographically widespread discordance is best explained by large-scale historical introgression of ncDNA from R. yunanensis to R. pearsoni by male-mediated exchange in mixed species colonies during Pleistocene glacial periods, when ranges may have contracted and overlapped more than at present. Further species tree-gene tree conflicts were detected between R. p. pearsoni and R. p. chinensis, also indicating past and/or current introgression in their overlapping regions. However, here the patterns point to asymmetric mtDNA introgression without ncDNA introgression. Analyses of coalescence times indicate this exchange has occurred subsequent to the divergence of these subspecies from their common ancestor. Our work highlights the importance of using multiple data sets for reconstructing phylogeographic histories and resolving taxonomic relationships.
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Delineation of diverse macrophage activation programs in response to intracellular parasites and cytokines.
PLoS Negl Trop Dis
PUBLISHED: 02-11-2010
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The ability to reside and proliferate in macrophages is characteristic of several infectious agents that are of major importance to public health, including the intracellular parasites Trypanosoma cruzi (the etiological agent of Chagas disease) and Leishmania species (etiological agents of Kala-Azar and cutaneous leishmaniasis). Although recent studies have elucidated some of the ways macrophages respond to these pathogens, the relationships between activation programs elicited by these pathogens and the macrophage activation programs elicited by bacterial pathogens and cytokines have not been delineated.
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Digital gene expression tag profiling of bat digits provides robust candidates contributing to wing formation.
BMC Genomics
PUBLISHED: 02-05-2010
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As the only truly flying mammals, bats use their unique wing - consisting of four elongated digits (digits II-V) connected by membranes - to power their flight. In addition to the elongated digits II-V, the forelimb contains one shorter digit (digit I) that is morphologically similar to the hindlimb digits. Here, we capitalized on the morphological variation among the bat forelimb digits to investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying digit elongation and wing formation. Using next generation sequencing technology, we performed digital gene expression tag profiling (DGE-tag profiling) of developing digits in a pooled sample of two Myotis ricketti and validated our sequencing results using real-time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) of gene expression in the developing digits of two Hipposideros armiger.
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Convergent sequence evolution between echolocating bats and dolphins.
Curr. Biol.
PUBLISHED: 02-05-2010
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Cases of convergent evolution - where different lineages have evolved similar traits independently - are common and have proven central to our understanding of selection. Yet convincing examples of adaptive convergence at the sequence level are exceptionally rare [1]. The motor protein Prestin is expressed in mammalian outer hair cells (OHCs) and is thought to confer high frequency sensitivity and selectivity in the mammalian auditory system [2]. We previously reported that the Prestin gene has undergone sequence convergence among unrelated lineages of echolocating bat [3]. Here we report that this gene has also undergone convergent amino acid substitutions in echolocating dolphins, which group with echolocating bats in a phylogenetic tree of Prestin. Furthermore, we find evidence that these changes were driven by natural selection.
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Rhodopsin molecular evolution in mammals inhabiting low light environments.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 10-17-2009
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The ecological radiation of mammals to inhabit a variety of light environments is largely attributed to adaptive changes in their visual systems. Visual capabilities are conferred by anatomical features of the eyes as well as the combination and properties of their constituent light sensitive pigments. To test whether evolutionary switches to different niches characterized by dim-light conditions coincided with molecular adaptation of the rod pigment rhodopsin, we sequenced the rhodopsin gene in twenty-two mammals including several bats and subterranean mole-rats. We compared these to thirty-seven published mammal rhodopsin sequences, from species with divergent visual ecologies, including nocturnal, diurnal and aquatic groups. All taxa possessed an intact functional rhodopsin; however, phylogenetic tree reconstruction recovered a gene tree in which rodents were not monophyletic, and also in which echolocating bats formed a monophyletic group. These conflicts with the species tree appear to stem from accelerated evolution in these groups, both of which inhabit low light environments. Selection tests confirmed divergent selection pressures in the clades of subterranean rodents and bats, as well as in marine mammals that live in turbid conditions. We also found evidence of divergent selection pressures among groups of bats with different sensory modalities based on vision and echolocation. Sliding window analyses suggest most changes occur in transmembrane domains, particularly obvious within the pinnipeds; however, we found no obvious pattern between photopic niche and predicted spectral sensitivity based on known critical amino acids. This study indicates that the independent evolution of rhodopsin vision in ecologically specialised groups of mammals has involved molecular evolution at the sequence level, though such changes might not mediate spectral sensitivity directly.
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Evolution of olfactory receptor genes in primates dominated by birth-and-death process.
Genome Biol Evol
PUBLISHED: 07-29-2009
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Olfactory receptor (OR) is a large family of G protein-coupled receptors that can detect odorant in order to generate the sense of smell. They constitute one of the largest multiple gene families in animals including primates. To better understand the variation in odor perception and evolution of OR genes among primates, we computationally identified OR gene repertoires in orangutans, marmosets, and mouse lemurs and investigated the birth-and-death process of OR genes in the primate lineage. The results showed that 1) all the primate species studied have no more than 400 intact OR genes, fewer than rodents and canine; 2) Despite the similar number of OR genes in the genome, the makeup of the OR gene repertoires between different primate species is quite different as they had undergone dramatic birth-and-death evolution with extensive gene losses in the lineages leading to current species; 3) Apes and Old World monkey (OWM) have similar fraction of pseudogenes, whereas New World monkey (NWM) have fewer pseudogenes. To measure the selective pressure that had affected the OR gene repertoires in primates, we compared the ratio of nonsynonymous with synonymous substitution rates by using 70 one-to-one orthologous quintets among five primate species. We found that OR genes showed relaxed selective constraints in apes (humans, chimpanzees, and orangutans) than in OWMs (macaques) and NWMs (marmosets). We concluded that OR gene repertoires in primates have evolved in such a way to adapt to their respective living environments. Differential selective constraints might play important role in the primate OR gene evolution in each primate species.
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Fellatio by fruit bats prolongs copulation time.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 07-20-2009
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Oral sex is widely used in human foreplay, but rarely documented in other animals. Fellatio has been recorded in bonobos Pan paniscus, but even then functions largely as play behaviour among juvenile males. The short-nosed fruit bat Cynopterus sphinx exhibits resource defence polygyny and one sexually active male often roosts with groups of females in tents made from leaves. Female bats often lick their mates penis during dorsoventral copulation. The female lowers her head to lick the shaft or the base of the males penis but does not lick the glans penis which has already penetrated the vagina. Males never withdrew their penis when it was licked by the mating partner. A positive relationship exists between the length of time that the female licked the males penis during copulation and the duration of copulation. Furthermore, mating pairs spent significantly more time in copulation if the female licked her mates penis than if fellatio was absent. Males also show postcopulatory genital grooming after intromission. At present, we do not know why genital licking occurs, and we present four non-mutually exclusive hypotheses that may explain the function of fellatio in C. sphinx.
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Distribution and ultrastructure of Merkel cell of the fishing bat (Myotis ricketti).
Sci. China, C, Life Sci.
PUBLISHED: 06-03-2009
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The distribution and ultrastructure of Merkel cells were described in detail in piscivorous bats through immunohistochemistry and transmission electron microscopy techniques. The findings indicated that Merkel cells are commonly found in raised-domes, hair follicles and in the basal epidermis of the skin from their back, abdomen, intercrural membranes, wing membranes and footpads. However, the density of Merkel cells is significantly higher in the footpad than in other places. These results suggested that there may be a link between Merkel cells and tactile sense, and also might imply that raised-domes with air-flow sensitive hairs played an important role in adjusting flying gestures by monitoring the air flow around the body. The ultrastructure of Merkel cells is similar to other vertebrates except having more intermediate filaments and larger granules.
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The evolution of color vision in nocturnal mammals.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
PUBLISHED: 05-26-2009
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Nonfunctional visual genes are usually associated with species that inhabit poor light environments (aquatic/subterranean/nocturnal), and these genes are believed to have lost function through relaxed selection acting on the visual system. Indeed, the visual system is so adaptive that the reconstruction of intact ancestral opsin genes has been used to reject nocturnality in ancestral primates. To test these assertions, we examined the functionality of the short and medium- to long-wavelength opsin genes in a group of mammals that are supremely adapted to a nocturnal niche: the bats. We sequenced the visual cone opsin genes in 33 species of bat with diverse sensory ecologies and reconstructed their evolutionary history spanning 65 million years. We found that, whereas the long-wave opsin gene was conserved in all species, the short-wave opsin gene has undergone dramatic divergence among lineages. The occurrence of gene defects in the short-wave opsin gene leading to loss of function was found to directly coincide with the origin of high-duty-cycle echolocation and changes in roosting ecology in some lineages. Our findings indicate that both opsin genes have been under purifying selection in the majority bats despite a long history of nocturnality. However, when spectacular losses do occur, these result from an evolutionary sensory modality tradeoff, most likely driven by subtle shifts in ecological specialization rather than a nocturnal lifestyle. Our results suggest that UV color vision plays a considerably more important role in nocturnal mammalian sensory ecology than previously appreciated and highlight the caveat of inferring light environments from visual opsins and vice versa.
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Adaptive evolution of 5HoxD genes in the origin and diversification of the cetacean flipper.
Mol. Biol. Evol.
PUBLISHED: 05-01-2009
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The homeobox (Hox) genes Hoxd12 and Hoxd13 control digit patterning and limb formation in tetrapods. Both show strong expression in the limb bud during embryonic development, are highly conserved across vertebrates, and show mutations that are associated with carpal, metacarpal, and phalangeal deformities. The most dramatic evolutionary reorganization of the mammalian limb has occurred in cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises), in which the hind limbs have been lost and the forelimbs have evolved into paddle-shaped flippers. We reconstructed the phylogeny of digit patterning in mammals and inferred that digit number has changed twice in the evolution of the cetacean forelimb. First, the divergence of the early cetaceans from their even-toed relatives coincided with the reacquisition of the pentadactyl forelimb, whereas the ancestors of tetradactyl baleen whales (Mysticeti) later lost a digit again. To test whether the evolution of the cetacean forelimb is associated with positive selection or relaxation of Hoxd12 and Hoxd13, we sequenced these genes in a wide range of mammals. In Hoxd12, we found evidence of Darwinian selection associated with both episodes of cetacean forelimb reorganization. In Hoxd13, we found a novel expansion of a polyalanine tract in cetaceans compared with other mammals (17/18 residues vs. 14/15 residues, respectively), lengthening of which has previously been shown to be linked to synpolydactyly in humans and mice. Both genes also show much greater sequence variation among cetaceans than across other mammalian lineages. Our results strongly implicate 5HoxD genes in the modulation of digit number, web forming, and the high morphological diversity of the cetacean manus.
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Molecular cloning and evolutionary analysis of the GJA1 (connexin43) gene from bats (Chiroptera).
Genet Res (Camb)
PUBLISHED: 04-28-2009
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Gap junction protein connexin43 (Cx43), encoded by the GJA1 gene, is the most abundant connexin in the cardiovascular system and was reported as a crucial factor maintaining cardiac electrical conduction, as well as having a very important function in facilitating the recycling of potassium ions from hair cells in the cochlea back into the cochlear endolymph during auditory transduction processes. In mammals, bats are the only taxon possessing powered flight, placing exceptional demand on many organismal processes. To meet the demands of flying, the hearts of bats show many specialties. Moreover, ultrasonic echolocation allows bat species to orientate and often detect and locate food in darkness. In this study, we cloned the full-length coding region of GJA1 gene from 12 different species of bats and obtained orthologous sequences from other mammals. We used the maximum likelihood method to analyse the evolution of GJA1 gene in mammals and the lineage of bats. Our results showed this gene is much conserved in mammals, as well as in bats lineage. Compared with other mammals, we found one private amino acid substitution shared by bats, which is located on the inner loop domain, as well as some species-specific amino acid substitutions. The evolution rate analyses showed the signature of purifying selection on not only different classification level lineages but also the different domains and amino acid residue sites of this gene. Also, we suggested that GJA1 gene could be used as a good molecular marker to do the phylogenetic reconstruction.
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Study of lanthanide aromatic acid complexes in silica gels by photoacoustic spectroscopy.
Spectrochim Acta A Mol Biomol Spectrosc
PUBLISHED: 04-08-2009
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Lanthanide complexes Ln(p-ABA)(3).H(2)O (p-ABA: p-aminobenzoic acid; Ln(3+):La(3+), Tb(3+) and Er(3+)) have been incorporated into silica gels via a sol-gel method. Upon heat treatment at 120 degrees C, photoacoustic (PA) intensity of the ligand increases for Tb(3+), La(3+) and Er(3+) complexes in silica gels, respectively, while this difference cannot be observed for the samples without heat treatment. Different PA intensities of the samples are interpreted by comparison with their luminescence spectra. The nephelauxetic parameters and PA branching vectors of Er(3+) complex in silica gel have been calculated. Spectral results indicate that p-ABA does not coordinate with lanthanide ions in silica matrix without a suitable heat treatment. For the co-doped samples, it is shown that the emissions of Tb(3+) are enhanced with addition of La(p-ABA)(3).H(2)O and remarkably quenched with the addition of Er(p-ABA)(3).H(2)O. The possible mechanisms for these phenomena are proposed.
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Differential stepwise evolution of SARS coronavirus functional proteins in different host species.
BMC Evol. Biol.
PUBLISHED: 03-05-2009
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SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV) was identified as the etiological agent of SARS, and extensive investigations indicated that it originated from an animal source (probably bats) and was recently introduced into the human population via wildlife animals from wet markets in southern China. Previous studies revealed that the spike (S) protein of SARS had experienced adaptive evolution, but whether other functional proteins of SARS have undergone adaptive evolution is not known.
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Positive selection drives the evolution of bat bitter taste receptor genes.
Biochem. Genet.
PUBLISHED: 02-26-2009
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Bitter taste reception is expected to be associated with dietary selection and to prevent animals from ingesting potentially harmful compounds. To investigate the genetic basis of bitter taste reception, we reconfirmed the bitter taste receptor (T2R) genes from cow (herbivore) and dog (carnivore) genome sequences and identified the T2R repertoire from the draft genome of the bat (insectivore) for the first time using an automatic data-mining method. We detected 28 bitter receptor genes from the bat genome, including 9 intact genes, 8 partial but putative functional genes, and 9 pseudogenes. In the phylogenetic analysis, most of the T2R genes from the three species intermingle across the tree, suggesting that some are conserved among mammals with different dietary preferences. Furthermore, one clade of bat-specific genes was detected, possibly implying that the insectivorous mammal could recognize some species-specific bitter tastants. Evolutionary analysis shows strong positive selection was imposed on this bat-specific cluster, indicating that positive selection drives the functional divergence and specialization of the bat bitter taste receptors to adapt diets to the external environment.
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Variations in the sequences of BMP2 imply different mechanisms for the evolution of morphological diversity in vertebrates.
Comp. Biochem. Physiol. Part D Genomics Proteomics
PUBLISHED: 02-24-2009
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Bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2) plays an important role in skeletogenesis, osteoblastic differentiation and limb patterning. Its protein coding region consists of the signal peptide, the pro-domain (that regulates post-translational control of synthesis) and the mature domain (that carries out gene function). This gene has been considered previously to be conserved. By re-analyzing the coding region of BMP2 in 31 species of vertebrates, we found that the mature domain region is indeed conserved in mammals, but not among non-mammalian taxa. Moreover, compared to the mature domain, the signal peptide and pro-domain have experienced dramatic variation in all vertebrates. Six amino acid sites in the pro-domain were identified to be under diversifying Darwinian selection in mammals. These results indicate that the signal peptide and pro-domain of BMP2 may be involved in skeletal poly-morphology during mammal evolution and the mature domain may also contribute to this function in non-mammals. This supports the hypothesis that morphological variations in mammals result mainly from a change in post-translational control of synthesis, whereas in non-mammals they result mainly from gene functional change.
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Phylogeography of the greater horseshoe bat, Rhinolophus ferrumequinum: contrasting results from mitochondrial and microsatellite data.
Mol. Ecol.
PUBLISHED: 02-05-2009
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Phylogeographical studies are typically based on haplotype data, occasionally on nuclear markers such as microsatellites, but rarely combine both. This is unfortunate because the use of markers with contrasting modes of inheritance and rates of evolution might provide a more accurate and comprehensive understanding of a species history. Here we present a detailed study of the phylogeography of the greater horseshoe bat, Rhinolophus ferrumequinum, using 1098 bp of the mitochondrial ND2 gene from 45 localities from across its Palaearctic range to infer population history. In addition, we re-analysed a large microsatellite data set available for this species and compared the results of both markers to infer population relationships and the historical processes influencing them. We show that mtDNA, the most popular marker in phylogeography studies, yielded a misleading result, and would have led us to conclude erroneously that a single expansion had taken place in Europe. Only by combining the mitochondrial and microsatellite data sets are we able to reconstruct the species history and show two colonization events in Europe, one before the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and one after it. Combining markers also revealed the importance of Asia Minor as an ancient refugium for this species and a source population for the expansion of the greater horseshoe bat into Europe before the LGM.
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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.